Hurry, Fox. Hurry, Greg Norman. Hurry, Joe Buck.
Golf Channel/NBC went into an inevitable session of “Tiger Woods Time” during this afternoon’s telecast of the Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Brandel Chamblee and his partner (Rich Lerner, maybe) turned into Tiger apologists which makes me think there is going to be NO letup on Golf Channel’s All Tiger All The Time format. I don’t have access to a replay, so this comes from notes I jotted down as I Chamblee spoke.
You heard that right. Even with Woods playing embarrassingly poorly, the Golf Channel refuses to apologize for distorting the coverage of the game; in fact, it sounded like they actually intend to double down, as Brandel said (remember, I have to paraphrase from my notes) said, The coverage of Woods trying to come back from this will be just as captivating as his past successes. What bullshit.
Lerner started it off with, We catch a lot of flak for how much coverage we devote to Tiger Woods.
In an obviously rehearsed answer to Lerner’s comment, Brandel told us that Tiger Woods IS bigger than the game of golf. Yup, Brandel informed us, Tiger Woods is bigger than the game of golf. Brandel said that should be defined as known outside the sport or something along those lines. I guess Kim Kardashian is bigger than television because I have never seen her actually do anything, but I know her from showing up constantly in sidebars at websites I visit.
Brandel addressed the fact that golf participation in the U.S. is actually down during the Woods Era. He said, Yeah, that’s true, but participation is up worldwide and that’s due to Woods. Uh, right. Golf wasn’t already growing in those nations, and Jack and Arnie weren’t already building golf courses in damn near every nation on the planet. It has nothing to do with the appearance of a middle class in traditionally poor nations, no, no, it’s due to Tiger Woods. Chamblee said so.
Chamblee went on to say there wouldn’t be golf in the Olympics if not for Woods. Of course, they already had golf in the 1900 and 1904 Olympics. I’m sure Tiger Woods was somehow responsible for that. (Of course, golf in the Olympics is tacky, anyway. Why litter the Olympics with events that detract from the sports whose pinnacle is the Olympics? Golf is about the majors, tennis the grand slams. Why should those sports detract from the gymnasts and swimmers and track-and-field participants?)
Brandel’s last point was particularly stupid, although it’s widely repeated. It’s the claim that Woods brought “athletes” to golf. If by that, Chamblee means steroids, yeah, well, I’ll grant that. But, if anything, golfers are less “athletes” now. Do they spend more time in the gym? Sure, but so do NASCAR drivers and tennis players. So do accountants and computer network managers. Brandel said, Now the players are 6’2″ and look like tight ends. Huh? Rory is head-and-shoulders above the whole lot of them, and he’s a wee lad. I suppose working at Golf Channel, you wouldn’t know that because Rory doesn’t get any airtime when Bigger Than Golf Tiger Woods is around. (And let’s be honest, Tiger Woods is no athlete. Hale Irwin was an athlete.)
Chamblee is letting us know that Golf Channel’s response to use saying “Enough with the Tiger Woods nonsense!” is to tell us “It’s what you want!” Brandel alluded to the galleries following Woods. Horschel said they had 600 or 700 following them. Okay, another way to put that: 90 percent of the tournament attendees were NOT following Tiger Woods. Yeah, Brandel, that makes perfect sense.
Look, most of us golf fans don’t fit your “either you love him or you hate him” bullshit. What we hate is BAD TELEVISION COVERAGE. See, I still remember the network switching away from Rory at the 2010 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, who was very much in contention, at the par-5 “Snake” where he was near the green in two, to show Tiger Woods putting out meaninglessly on No. 18 about 25 groups ahead of Rory’s. That’s not hating Tiger Woods. That’s hating bad coverage.
Rory ended up parring that hole. We still don’t know why he didn’t get birdie, but we do know that stroke was critical. He missed the playoff by one.