Getting Closer: We really just have to make it until Monday. That’s when the full attention of the golf world will turn toward Rory. It’s good the Ryder Cup captaincy talk is occurring now so as not to deflect attention from Rory next week.
This could be the year for Rory, and for golf history. I’m talking about — I’m not afraid to say it — the Grand Slam. A Rory Grand Slam is currently 80-1 at Bovada. That’s the same odds you get for Bill Haas or Harris English to win the Masters this year; I don’t think anyone would freak out if one of those two won at Augusta. Folks, a 2015 Grand Slam could happen.
What will happen when Rory begins his year is this: the four highest-rated golf telecasts of the year. Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Mark it down.
Pebble Beach Criticism: A lot of people have criticized the Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Generally, the complaints go something like this: I don’t want to watch a bunch of C-list celebrities try to be funny; I want to see the players trying to win the tournament. But, if you think about it, Golf Channel/NBC merely took the time they would normally devote to Tiger Woods facial reactions/swing analysis/walking around aimlessly and gave it to Kenny G, Ray Ramano, and a bunch of CEOs. Frankly, I would rather hear Bill Murray do his schtick for the 1,000th time than hear CBS do their “What swing should Tiger use” schtick for the 100,000th time. So, if you are a Woods apologist and think showing the celebrities is a waste of time and detracts from the quality of the broadcast, you now know how the rest of us feel the other 51 weeks a year.
Stephanie Wei’s Rant/Meltdown: It wasn’t a meltdown, and as far as rants go, it wasn’t much of one of those either. You can go look at her Twitter account to see her exact comments, but I can save you time and tell you that she complained about her fellow golf reporters harassing her for being a woman, young, and Asian.
I’m a Stephanie Wei fan, although I don’t follow her as much since she shifted her primary focus to television (Fox Sports Asia, a channel I don’t get). I have always admired her for putting truth above herd instinct. I will never forget her accurate, blow-by-blow portrayal of the Tiger Woods “stolen ball” incident, as well as her defense of Kevin Na when the media continued to use him as a punching bag well after he had put his slow play issues behind him. I once wrote of Ms. Wei: “She’s certainly not afraid to tell the truth — and that puts her ahead of 95 percent of her peers.”
Stephanie is pretty, and happy, and young, so she’s a natural target for bitter people. (I am neither young nor pretty, but as progenitor of this magnificent and groundbreaking golf website, I get my fair share of cheap attacks from bitter people.) That’s just the way the world works. The simple act of Wei’s Twitter “rant” will cause some of them to back off, as they see she’s no longer willing to go along with the game.
I would say this to Stephanie: Continue to stand up for yourself, but don’t let the harassment overly bother you. Everyone, especially when young, gets it to some degree or another. And, remember, you’re a Yale grad in a world of reporters who can’t properly use “begs the question,” “odds-on favorite,” or “enormity.” These are guys who think a relevant, hard-hitting question for Tiger Woods after, say, the new Galea revelations in the book Blood Sport is, “Tiger, did you miss that putt on No. 12 because you were thinking about how much you love your children?” Most golf reporters have yellow streaks down their backs as wide as an Interstate Highway.
One last thing: If you want to read an inspiring story about a sportswriter who endured harassment, read about David Walsh, the man who was onto Lance Armstrong’s PED usage from early on. His colleagues shunned him, and Armstrong sued Walsh and his employer, The Sunday Times — and won. But, alas, Walsh’s colleagues were ultimately shown to be incompetent and cowardly, and Armstrong had to return the money.
Lemmings: Brandel Chamblee recently wrote an article about Tiger Woods’s problem being that he is a perfectionist. I only saw the headline; that’s not the kind of thing I’d actually read. However, I’ve noticed that in the time since that article appeared, the comment sections to golf articles have been inundated with people explaining “what most people don’t realize is that…” …drumroll… “Tiger’s problem is he’s a perfectionist.”
Tiger Woods Fanboy Media: This is funny, even by the standards of today’s American golf media. From Bleacher Report:
Woods could have probably gone out and played left-handed between 1997 and 2008 and still won 14 major championships. He was simply that much better than his competition, no matter what swing or brand of equipment he brought to the golf course.
Two interesting charts: (1) Note that ratings were actually down during Woods’s 5-win 2013 season; (2) Note the obvious ratings downtrend at the San Diego Open over the Woods era. The media pretends to believe a 10 percent decline from the 2009 PGA Championship to the 2014 PGA Championship is a sign of the Apocalypse, but ignores that by 2008 Woods was drawing half the viewers he once did.
I grabbed this one from Sports Business Daily:
I grabbed this one from Sports Media Watch: