In stark contrast to North Americans, Europeans -- especially the British, and especially those who play and watch golf -- are by nature skeptical of enthusiasm. Exuberance is frowned upon and the over-eager treated with a wary eye.
It's a distinction that makes Keith Pelley's on-going transformation of the European Tour something of a delight.
The Canadian, appointed to the role of chief executive officer midway through the 2015 season, wears the colorful spectacles and has the puppyish zeal of a children's television presenter. Although he is 53 years old, Pelley thrives on the possibilities of the modern media world.
The average British observer could not be more different, with carefully affected indifference only broken when chuntering about foreigners who reference the British Open.
If this clash of personalities provides entertainment, there is absolutely no question that everyone who cares about the European Tour understands that in 2017, the organization faces some pretty important questions.
1. How to keep the superstars happy?
In truth this is no new dilemma -- it's a yearly predicament. The PGA Tour offers greater riches, less travel (once in America), and the ambitious golfer will always view it as the next step.
Pelley inherited the Final Series, an echo of the FedEx Cup, with an end-of-season run of events boasting big prize funds and, in theory, high drama.
In reality, the Series didn't attract the stars (for its entirety, that is; in crowded schedules something has to give) and the mad trolley dash for cash not only failed to fuel their participation, it didn't provide much excitement either (not a unique problem -- the FedEx Cup encounters it, too).
Pelley's solution is the Rolex Series, now eight events boasting a minimum prize fund of $7 million, and in a break to the recent mold, they are spaced out through the year: starting with the traditional BMW PGA Championship, continuing with the HNA Open de France, Irish and Scottish Opens prior to The Open (producing a very strong midsummer swing), with a quick dash to Italy ahead of an end of season trio of tournaments.
He told the tour's podcast last week that this deal "was monumental for us. It's transformational and a game-changer."
On the face of it, many have been left scratching their heads. What's so transformational? Will big pots of money be enough to draw the stars? Or will those subtle tweaks to the calendar do the trick? Is there something he's not telling us?
Cagey onlookers need to retain faith. On the one hand, it's just churlish to carp before a new idea has been tested. On the other, it might be that Pelley's game-changer is not so much what happens on the course as it is how we are exposed to the action.
Which leads us to ...
2. How to build on the success of 2016 and improve the fan experience?
Pelley joined the tour from Rogers Media, and he is no stick in the mud about promoting the message.
"Creating innovative content that lands on, and lives on, our digital formats is a critical priority for us going forward," he said of the Rolex Series, adding, "Our digital content has exploded over the last three or four months."
It's a straightforward fact that Twitter users consistently credit the tour's digital team with bettering the opposition, creating genuinely original ideas, promoting player personalities and generating debate.
Beyond breaking the world record for the fastest hole played, making a star of interviewer "Little Billy" and owning the Mannequin Challenge, the tour broadcasted live night golf at the British Masters, had a "Beat the Pro Par-3 Challenge" during the KLM Open and the Himmerland Hill in Denmark has become Europe's equivalent of the 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale.
This February will witness the inaugural World Super Six in Perth, Australia, the announcement of which promised to "revolutionize" golf with six-hole shootouts. They were somewhat vague about the exact dynamics of the format, prompting confusion rather than subversion (although some critics did give the impression of being willfully baffled).
"Golf needs to look at new and innovative formats," Pelley said of the Perth launch, and he's not wrong. With his background in communication, it's a little strange that he's twice made bold calls alongside hazy detail -- he should know the media are quick to pounce on the latter. In fact, 2017 really is the first schedule he has had the opportunity to paint his own colors, so he deserves to be cut some slack.
Immersive ideas, freed from constraints of the past, are vital to Pelley's vision. It's inevitable that some of these initiatives are going to appear gimmicky to some.
The sport needs new fans rather than pandering to old ones. Does everyone have to like all of the innovations? Of course not. Should the game's integrity be maintained? Yes. So long as it is, throw every idea into the melting pot, give it a go, then change it or ditch it as required.
The only real letdown about the tour's embrace of the digital age is the disregard for statistics, even more peculiar given that it pushes two fantasy games.
In a world where the PGA Tour, and even handicap golfers, possess more numbers than ever before, since October the European Tour's leaderboard has lacked simple individual round-by-round stats. If the digital content is very much about tomorrow, the scoring page has unaccountably regressed a decade.
3. What of the core membership?
Increasingly it's the case that sponsors like the top or the tail: big-money backers demand the attendance of the world's best players, smaller backers maintain the growth of the Challenge Tour.
Throw in the financial woes of Europe -- which have seen the number of events hosted in the continent drop dramatically -- and the worst hit are the mid-ranking performers, those who fill 60th to 115th in the rankings (who retain a tour card, but miss out on the seasonal finale in Dubai).
These golfers used to be able to ply their trade in multiple events in Spain, Portugal, Italy and Great Britain. Now they have slimmer pickings.
Rather than ease the pressure, the core membership was concerned the Rolex Series would only exaggerate this growing "them and us" aspect. With that in mind, the tour has introduced an Access List, which will reward in-form players with entry to the Rolex Series and run alongside the Race to Dubai, with the top-10 players retaining cards (an attempt to deal with a perceived skewing of the rankings by large purse events).
It's another work in progress for 2017 and is related to another question. That of ...
4. What is the purpose of the Fiji International?
In one sense, co-sanctioning is a potential answer to the problems faced by the core membership. In another sense, it doesn't always work.
Last year the Fiji International was played in the same week as the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, toward the end of the season, and just three European Tour regulars made the trip. This year it is played opposite the Paul Lawrie Match Play and the week before the Made in Denmark event.
Although a wonderful country, Fiji is more or less the longest journey possible by air from Western Europe. As such it might be the most inconvenient playing opportunity ever devised.
Meanwhile, what of the enhanced relationship with Asia? In August 2015 the European and Asian Tours announced a Joint Vision, but by year's end Asian Tour CEO Mike Kerr had resigned amid rumors of furious discontent among his members.
In July 2016 the Joint Vision had become a Strategic Alliance. Hopefully there is progress on the promised "significant exchange of playing opportunities." Otherwise, it might be back to the thesaurus this summer.
Whatever happens, 2017 promises enhanced curiosity ahead of, and during, the new innovations, all flavored by the delicious contrast of Old World natives and a New World CEO.
Matt Cooper is a golf writer from the United Kingdom who has worked for SkySports.com and SportingLife.com. He is a writer for Golf365.com and a number of print magazines. He also writes for espnW.com.