If you treat it as a business, then passion for the subject shouldn't come into it. If you're doing it as a hobby/to make a bit of pocket money/learn the ropes ... then passion is great. Otherwise the business merits need to overweigh your interest in the niche.
Yes and no. If you want to have a "best of breed" golf or skiing site, it's useful to be interested in (and to be knowldgeable about) golf or skiing.
That doesn't mean a passionate golfer or skier doesn't need to think carefully about a business model (and to understand how publishing works) when deciding to publish a golf or skiing site that's intended to generate serious revenue.