The golf media has apparently become self-conscious about their constant obsession over Tiger Woods. Gary Williams recently brought up the matter on Golf Channel’s Morning Drive. He even referenced “the cameras on the parking lot” on Golf Channel last year. Geoff Shackelford happened to be a guest that day, and Williams asked him about over-coverage of Woods. Shackelford suggested it was okay and said it gave his readers an opportunity to discuss matters like Woods’s age and injuries. (That was amusing because just last week I had a comment “disappeared” at his website that said, from memory, “I find Woods’s struggles mind-boggling. I’ve followed sports for decades and not once have I heard of a case of an athlete performing worse at age 40 than age 25.”) Another topic I’ve seen Shackelford’s commenters mention is PED usage, but he didn’t feel the need to mention that one to Williams. At any rate, there’s also been a rash of articles about the media’s obsession with Tiger Woods (a couple of which I’ll mention later in this column). The best I’ve seen is the one in the L.A. Times I mentioned a couple of days ago.
Of course, you and I both know as soon as Woods returns to play and breaks 80, the golf media will revert to their “Tiger’s Back!” articles. As true golf fans, we need to keep the pressure on them. They may continue to try to ignore reality, but it’s obvious they have noticed a large portion — I personally think it’s a clear majority now — are sick to death of the Woods nonsense they keep shoveling at us.
It is rather ironic that Ian Baker Finch is now offering advice on golf psychology to Tiger Woods.
We are hearing a lot about the “Tiger and Phil Era” now that they appear to be in a dual downward spiral. We can’t expect to see anything like this again, we are told. But, if they weren’t so hellbent on pushing their Death of Golf narrative, they would see Rory and Kaymer (who are separated in age by the same number of years as Woods and Mickelson) have more total majors at this point than Woods and Mickelson did. Recall that until he reached age 34, the golf media wondered if Mickelson would ever win even a single major. The media would have you think Woods and Mickelson had 19 total majors the day they turned pro. One golf writer earlier this year, doing “analysis” of the field at the Tournament of Champions, literally did that, crediting the participants in a past field with their career majors rather than the far smaller number they owned at the time.
Billy Horschel has remarked that when Tiger Woods withdrew from the San Diego Open, the gallery following their group shrank from 600 or 700 people to 50. This was intended to be a statement of Woods’s great attraction to fans. 700 people? That can’t even be 10 percent of the total number of spectators. And those in the gallery who left would mostly have been following that group specifically for Tiger Woods. Does Horschel think they went home after Woods withdrew, or do you think maybe they decided to head over to the South course and watch Mickelson. (After all, many people following Woods have only heard of two golfers.) Or maybe they figured they’d seen enough of Horschel and Rickie, and wanted to catch Spieth or Koepka or any of the other 140 players in the field.
I’m okay with hard-hitting journalism. Period. But I can’t help but notice the contrast between the golf media going after Patrick Reed and the manner in which they have covered Tiger Woods. With Reed, “Patrick Reed said this, and his wife said that, but we call bullshit.” With Woods, it has always been, “Tiger denied it, his paid legal counsel denied it, and his paid coach denied it. That settles it!”
Here’s another example of the media admitting to Tiger Woods obsession. a piece entitled “Tiger mania must end” by Alex Miceli.
The best barometer will be TV coverage. When we stop seeing all 18 holes of Woods’ round – whether he is on the leaderboard or not – you’ll know that the public’s attention span has shifted.
And maybe that would be the best thing for Woods. He could enjoy some measure of privacy and maybe reclaim his game without the world watching.
Two things: (1) The public doesn’t make the call if all 18 holes of Woods’s rounds are covered. That’s you guys, the media. The same guys who decided Kim Kardashian is one of the most fascinating human beings walking the face of this planet. (2) Miceli’s expressed corn is in what is “the best thing for Woods,” not the best thing for golf fans.
By the way, here’s a synopsis of Miceli’s article prior to the one on ending Tiger mania: Several comments on Woods’s glutes, detailed analysis of what tournaments Woods might or might not play, a quote of Woods, speculation about Woods’s back. So, Miceli goes all Tiger manic on us right before saying the Tiger mania must end.
I doubt many of the current golf media members will ever be able to move on. They are like a married couple that bickers about the same things all the time. It’s the only way they know to fill the silence. The golf writers who went all-in with Woods will have no choice but to divorce. I mean, retire.
Yesterday, I took a (mild) shot at Rick Morrissey. He had it coming. That said, from the same article I skewered, I found this diamond in the rough:
I’m guessing many of you are happy that Tiger is in the background competitively. It has meant the end of golf being covered as if only one player mattered.