As Jimi said to Bill Graham, “How was that, [expletive deleted]?”
Rory played great. A fun round to watch. The coverage was pretty great today, too. Sure, we missed most of Rory’s birdie on a par-5, but that was so we could see Phil play one off the second floor of the hospitality suite. (Phil slowing down and swooping to his right to fist-bump the little kid was the quintessence of fan-friendly. That kid will never forget this day.)
I do wish they’d showed a little more Jason Day (although he got a decent amount of coverage) and a lot more Patrick Reed. Good golf today. Adam Scott stuck the ball close all day, but missed a lot of shortish putts. Setting up for a fun weekend. I wish Rory had made that birdie putt on No. 18, but, still, he’s in quite okay position.
I want to make a couple of comments about Rory’s pre-tourney press conference held earlier in the week. I found it really annoying, not because of Rory, but because of the stupid questions. For one thing, Rory is coming off of three straight wins, two of them majors, and, yet, the first two questions were about Tiger Woods. The guys asking those questions — and I mean this as a simple statement of fact, not merely a way to insult them — need to find another job. Woods hasn’t won a major in over six years. Asking Rory what he thinks Woods thinks about something is like asking President Obama what he thinks George W. Bush thinks about something. Time to move on, guys.
Do you remember earlier this year when Graeme McDowell made some innocuous comment about Tiger Woods in response to a question, and the press made a mountain out of a molehill, and Graeme had to later clarify that he meant no insult. Do you remember Graeme’s not so subtle hint to the media, something along the lines of — a very, very loose paraphrase here, and as I interpreted it — “Guys, 90 percent of the questions you ask me are about Tiger Woods. I try to politely answer, but then you twist my words and try to created a situation. How about asking me questions about me and addressing your Woods questions to Woods?”
Back to Rory’s presser: Someone asked him about about rivalries. If he needed someone to have a rivalry with, and who it might be, after all there was Jack-Arnie and Phil-Tiger, etc. Rory answered, in a polite manner, but did astutely point out that Tiger and Phil really didn’t face each other more than three or four times.
The problems with that reporter’s question are many. First off, why is the reporter asking Rory a question that has nothing to do with Rory, really? That’s the kind of question Golf.com asks participants when they do a live blog of a major. Q: Does Rory need a “rival”? Can’t these idiot reporters find anything more substantive to ask?
Of course, Rory’s comment about Tiger and Phil not battling each other much on the course was not going near as far as he could have gone. For one thing, Mickelson didn’t win a major until, what, 2004 or so, by which time Woods had about seven. Woods and Mickelson’s rivalry, such as it was, was always more a case of the media defining Mickelson as the anti-Woods, so they could show Mickelson too much, and hope that somehow justified showing way, way too much of Woods. Sort of, “Sure, we obsess over Woods, but, hey, we show Phil when he’s out of contention, too!”
Anyway, if the reporter wants to write an article claiming Rory needs (or doesn’t need) a “rival,” he should do it. But Rory’s opinion really doesn’t add anything. Rory is on the inside. Every tournament in which he contends is exciting to him. Whoever is closest to him is his “rival.” I doubt Rory sits around pining over, “Gee, willikers, I wish Rickie finished second to me more often.” Or, “If I don’t win, I always hope Rickie wins, so we could be rivals. That would be so neat-o!” Those kind of media questions strike me as coming from guys who never really played competitive golf.
Here’s what I mean. Remember the story about Ben Hogan? A young rookie playing with Hogan had a horrible day, hacking the ball all over the course. Afterward, he apologized: “Mr. Hogan, I’m sorry I slowed things down so much. I hope I didn’t distract you.” Hogan replied, “Oh, did you have a bad round today?”
Rory’s job is to play golf, not to write fluff pieces for inept reporters.