What the Golf Media Won’t Tell you about Rory at the Masters: After fifteen years of insisting the only thing that mattered in golf was Tiger Woods chasing Jack Nicklaus, it’s odd the golf media hasn’t mentioned that should Rory McIlroy win at Augusta this April, he will move ahead of Jack’s pace of winning majors.
Lack of Compassion for Tiger Woods: There seems to be a serious lack of compassion for Tiger Woods’s current among the general public. I’m not talking about the type people who cheer when an opposing team’s football players suffer a gruesome injury on the field. Those type people exist, yes, and some of them are cheering Woods’s injuries. But forget them: I’m talking about normal, good-hearted people.
No doubt the reason regular people have so little compassion is due in part to how Woods has behaved off the course to. But more than that, I think it was the way he behaved on the course, combined with how the Golf Media presented him.
If you think of Bubba Watson’s defining moment, you likely think about his shot out out of the trees on the first playoff hole at Augusta. The huge hook that landed on the green turning a likely bogey into a green jacket. Do you remember what Bubba did after that shot? Me, either. You remember the shot, though.
With Woods, his defining moments are not shots, but his reactions after the shots. His “sack dances.” Jumping across the green, punching the air with an uppercut while screaming. Such demonstrations have always been considered rude and out of place in golf, but with Woods the golf media told us they were “cool” and “exciting.” But make no mistake about it. Woods knew he was being rude, and did it in an attempt to throw his opponents off their games. I mean, come on: five-year-old kids get sent to time-out for acting that way after winning at a board game. Act like that if you wish. It’s not against the rules of the game, just the spirit of the game. But don’t condemn people for mocking your “glutes” and “first loser” comments. Don’t condemn them for doing their own sack dances at your expense.
The media loved to push the narrative that Woods broke the spirit of fellow competitors, caring not a whit how those players might feel about such a media description. The other players didn’t matter. They were the Washington Generals, there only to provide a punching bag for Woods. Now, golf fans are cheering a broken man playing like a 20-handicapper. What goes around comes around.
So here we are: People laugh, and say to their televisions, “Haha, why don’t you do one of your exaggerated in-your-face fist pumps now?” after Woods duffs a chip three feet or skulls a shot across the green into a sandtrap. When Patrick Reed, no Miss Manners himself, wears red and black when paired with Woods, we laugh and think, “Payback’s a bitch, isn’t it?”
What’s that saying? Be nice to the people on your way up because you’ll see them again on your way down.
Tiger Woods at Augusta: I admit to hoping Woods does not play. There will be monster ratings if Rory is in the hunt, and I can’t wait to see the “golf needs Tiger” crowd silenced once and for all.
Golf Media vs Dotcom Bubble: I was reflecting how, fifteen years later, it’s hard to fully remember what the dotcom era was like. Good jobs were plentiful, the stock market was zooming up, and the media preached that the “New Economy” had changed everything.
I know these things, and I remember then, but I can’t really feel the way it felt back then, but I cannot immerse myself in that late 90’s zeitgeist. The worldview that passed for conventional wisdom back then is gone. Back in those days, few were concerned about the unintended consequences of outsourcing and offshoring, and few were suspicious of the bogus accounting practices that led to Enron, Worldcom, and the rest.
It was simply: “This is a New Economy, I hear that from experts twenty times a day. When it comes to investing, the only risk is in not being in the stock market.” Few could imagine the stock market and economy going down. (I could just as easily have used the housing bubble as my example.)
I believe that, fifteen years from now, people will reflect upon the Tiger Woods media in a similar manner. They will remember intellectually how Golf Channel mentioned his name every five seconds. How he was worked into every conversation no matter the topic. How tournament coverage focused on him even when he was completely out of attention. The camera in the parking lot. The slow-mo facial reaction shots. They will intellectually recall these things, in the matter-of-fact way we recall the capital of North Dakota is Bismarck.
My point: In not too many many years, it will seem unreal that golf media coverage could have been so much like Kim Kardashian coverage. We will once again have golf tournament coverage, not the Tiger Woods reality show, and the past will seem so awful, so impossible to have been so bad, that people will gradually forget how horrible and silly — childish, really — it was. This age of terrible golf coverage will become Bismarck, ND.
Bible Verse: There’s a verse in the King James Bible that goes like this: I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. Wouldn’t it be nice if the golf moneychangers lived by that wisdom? If I hear one more of those idiots talking about “growing the game” I’ll puke. We all know “grow the game” means nothing more than “put more money in my pockets.”