This is what passes for analysis these days? The first golf article I encountered this morning had this blurb: “ESPN’s Bob Harig breaks down Tiger Woods’ decision not to play in next week’s Honda Classic.” What the hell is there to break down? Not to mention that Woods announced this “decision” a week ago. Talk about “feeding the cattle.”
A Real Golf Article: I stumbled upon a golf article by Ron Kroichick of the San Francisco Chronicle that actually has meaty content about golf. Go figure. It’s not a long piece, but it’s packed with good information about the upcoming WGC Match Play at Harding Park. It sounds like the Match Play might be heading back to February, which I think is a good idea. There are also Harding Park comments from Jason Day, and info about Lucy Li as well.
Wrong Fairway interviews Steve Elling: A reader brought to my attention this Steve Elling interview from the summer of 2013, in which Elling made this comment regarding his departure from CBS:
CBSSports.com elected to eliminate its golf position last summer and to go the blogger route, using an inexperienced writer who never attends tournaments.
First time I’d ever heard the matter addressed so directly, or addressed at all, really. Elling goes on to mention other factors he suspects might have been involved. I consider Steve Elling THE best golf writer in the world, and the 2500-word interview flies by.
In addition to his departure from CBS, Elling discusses Tiger Woods coverage (I disagree with his conclusion; I would contend that the media obsession prevents the coverage from organically evolving) and reigning in the golf ball:
Well, they have all the data they need to justify pulling back the ball 10-15%. They just need the stones to stand up to the manufacturers, and to a lesser extent, the distance-fixated public, and implement the rollback.
My hands-down favorite Elling line from the interview — and a sentiment I wholeheartedly endorse — falls in the middle of this:
At April last year, I got in trouble with Augusta National for interrupting Billy Payne during his press session, which is treated like a papal visit. He was refusing to answer a salient question, and I interjected – in my own words – what the previous questioner was trying to say in order to re-emphasize the point. You would have thought I threw a grenade into the room. The question needed to be asked, the pious decorum be damned. Within hours, I was hearing about it through CBS channels. Why? I suspect that every network suit in New York City wants to be an Augusta member someday. When my job was eliminated three months later, I was assured that this incident – I would call asking questions at a press conference to be responsibly aggressive reporting among a sea of mostly impassive lemmings – was not a factor in the position being red-lined.
What other golfer reporter would refer to his peers as impassive lemmings?
Stephen A, Michael, and Me: For whatever reason, it seems the world is in denial about the extent of Tiger Woods’s back injury. Cheerleaders ignore it, and detractors seem to be more interested in pronouncing Woods’s problems mental, a case of “the yips.” Anyway, you can add the voice of ESPN’s Michael Collins to Stephen A’s and mine:
Tiger should not play Honda. I believe he is hurt more than he is letting on. To get truly healthy, physically and mentally, I would hope to not see him playing tournament golf until after the U.S. Open or this will be a recurring theme.
I differ from Collins in that I think it will be a recurring theme no matter what. We have gotten a lot of lying from the Woods camp on the injury. How many times has Woods insisted he was 100 percent fine before a tournament from which he withdraws?
This Week’s Action So Far: I love the city traffic noises at the Indian Open in Delhi. There’s something about a golf course in an urban area. I’m reminded of the No. 7 tee box at Las Colinas, where a busy highway passes close enough for passengers to disrupt with shouts of “Fore!” The pros get it just like muni players.
In L.A., I was glad to see Jordan Spieth recover from a slow start to thump Freddie Golfdashian. Jordan sits at T-12. Justin Thomas is T-8. I hope those two can stay in the mix all week, as well as Bubba, who is positioned at T-17.
PED talk on Golf Channel? Golf Channel’s Charlie Rymer just discussed a PED accusation against a PGA Tour player. You guessed it: Vijay Singh. You know damn well Tiger Woods could walk into the studio with a needle in his arm and Golf Channel would ignore it.