Here’s an honest, if long overdue, piece from the L.A. Times. I appreciate that someone finally wrote it, but it’s unfortunate they waited until Woods fell off the cliff before stating such obvious truths:
The media that seems to know the name of one golfer, and only one, should learn about some new ones.
Regular golf fans get it. They appreciate the other guys. General sports fans seem to care only about Tiger.
That’s their prerogative and would not be an issue if today’s media spent more time focused on what the public needs instead of what it wants. Journalism is supposed to go deeper than merely feeding the cattle.
There are a million stories in the naked city and an equal number on the PGA Tour. But we can’t, and don’t, tell them because we allow ourselves to stay in the Tiger trap. It’s not his fault, although he doesn’t discourage the attention.
He could help himself and the tour with one statement along the lines of: “Look guys. Everything hurts. My swing is a mess. I’m closing in on 40 and the pursuit of Jack Nicklaus’ 18 major titles looks closer to a pipe dream than a real dream right now.”
Speaking of those million stories on the PGA Tour, this is a good time for me to express my rooting interest in today’s final round of the San Diego Open: Spencer Levin. You may recall three years ago when Kyle Stanley had a 72nd-hole meltdown to lose the San Diego Open, he bounced back to win the very next week at the Phoenix Open. It was Stanley’s first, and so far only, PGA Tour win. It was a great redemption story, but it came at the expense of Spencer Levin, who lost a 7-shot lead at the Phoenix Open where he was also in search of his first PGA Tour win. Levin is still winless, and I think there will be a lack of karmic balance in golf until Levin notches a victory. He’s currently playing the tour on a medical exemption, so he needs to take full advantage of every opportunity he gets.
There are plenty of other contenders I would not mind seeing win — Jason Day, Jimmy Walker, Jhonny Vegas, Poults, to name a few — but I am pulling for Spencer Levin today.
Today (Sunday) Golf Channel is devoting two full hours to discussion of — prepare yourself — Tiger Woods. Slow news day, I guess. After all, there are only a dozen players within two shots of the lead heading into the final round of the San Diego Open. You know, that little tournament Golf Channel ran endless promos for all last week.
From the Golf Channel press release:
A roundtable of experts will discuss the current state of Tiger Woods’ injuries, examine his golf swing and short game struggles, analyze the current mental aspect of his game and debate his future in a special Sunday segment on Morning Drive (10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. ET) on Golf Channel.
The panel discussion, moderated by Morning Drive host Gary Williams, will include The Golf Fix host and 2012 PGA of America Teacher of the Year Michael Breed, Golf Channel analysts Phil Blackmar and Brandel Chamblee and Golf World Editor-In-Chief Jaime Diaz, who has followed Woods’ entire career.
Talk about “feeding the cattle.”
Did you catch the article in the Chicago Tribune about the people who bet on Tiger Woods? It was interesting to hear the bookmakers speak so bluntly about them. Here’s a sample, but it’s worth reading all of the shortish piece:
“He’s still a betting favorite no matter what odds are posted — whether it’s 50-1 or 2-1,” Jimmy Vaccaro, sports book manager at Las Vegas’ South Point Casino, said in a telephone interview. “Even though he can’t hit it two feet anymore, for the time being anyway.”
From the National Post: “Those seven, major-less golf seasons, during which the godlike Tiger has been thoroughly de-mythologized, have been interrupted too often by nagging injuries and surgeries both major and minor.” About time he was “thoroughly de-mythologized. The mythology was laughable to the informed and in recent years had become weird and sad and a parody. Maybe one day the media will look at the actual prize money growth prior to Woods and realize their claims about Woods growing purses was False Myth Number One.
The National Post also pointed out that only two golfers have ever won three majors after reaching age 40: Jack Nicklaus and Old Tom Morris.
If it’s Saturday, it must be Carolina. Or California. I got a kick out of Martin Laird saying, “Southern Carolina, I mean, Southern California,” during a Golf Channel interview. I’d never really thought about the similarities in how the two sound before; it’s understandable how a guy from Glasgow might get them confused. I bet few Americans could properly point out Glasgow and Edinburgh on a map.
From The Garden Island in Hawaii: “If he never picked up another club, Woods would go down as one of the five greatest golfers ever and many would still argue he was the best.” Top five? It used to be undeniably greatest of all time. Then it was one of two best ever. Now it’s top five. What will it be in ten years? Fifty years?