The Weight Debate - Are Portly Players Bad for Golf?

Golf has its share of image issues... there's no denying that. ~ It's often thought of as elitist and exclusionary, because at one point in history, it clearly was.

In addition, there's the popular perception that it's excruciatingly boring... and for those who haven't played... who don't know a thing about it... I suppose it is quite boring. There are even some who question golf's very status as a sport. ~ And the oversize midsections on a number of today's tour players are often sited as proof... proof that golf is no more than a game, like darts... or maybe Monopoly.

After all, they say, "if golf were a sport, men so out-of-shape as... say Tim Heron, or Guy Boros... or Northern Ireland's Shane Lowery, could never have won a competition... not to mention several.

Passionate golfers naturally don't like the idea of their sport's credibility being questioned and it's sometimes suggested that these hefty hitters are to blame... and that these men would be well advised to lose some poundage for the sake of golf's good name. Either that or they should just bow out... leave the game.

A couple of days ago when PGA Tour champion and British Open winner, Mark Calcavecchia announced that the time had come for him to move on to the Champions Tour, there was a bit of a brouhaha at the popular golf blog, Wei Under Par when enterprising editor Stephanie Wei suggested it was high time the corpulent Mr. Calcavecchia retired and stopped reinforcing golf's reputation as an activity where the elderly and elephantine could excel.

Ms. Wei wrote the post with the same sarcastic wit she's known... and loved... for, but clearly this topic hit a bit too close to home for some readers, and the comments were quite... um, virulent testy.

So the question is definitely an interesting one: Are portly players bad for golf? Do they, as Steph suggests, "give naysayers extra ammo to mock golf as a sport"?