[This is the first of several pieces about the golf media planned for this week.]
A year ago, I was a big fan of Geoff Shackelford. Now, not so much.
What happened? Well, let’s go back about a year. I started regularly reading, and occasionally posting comments, on his website. It seemed a decent enough place. At some point, and for a period of a few weeks, I posted there fairly regularly. I noticed the occasional disappearing comment, but I gave him the benefit of the doubt and figured maybe I had forgotten to hit “Post Comment.”
However, disappearing comments happened frequently enough that I eventually had to accept that they were being deleted. Let me be clear: When I post comments, it’s not like I use crude language or start foodfight arguments with other posters. But, to be sure, I don’t post just to repeat things I heard Gary Williams tell Damon Hack: I think this course really suits both Tiger’s game and Phil’s game; I would love to see those two in the final group on Sunday, I’ll tell you what. No, my fingers are not going to be typing that.
When my posts disappeared, I disappeared. Better to post at CBS. It’s exasperating when CBS deletes comments for pointing out logical problems with their articles, but they let pretty much everything else go, so there is a generally lively crowd posting there, even if it can skew juvenile. The CBS website covers all sports, too, so posters tend to have more of a rough-and-tumble attitude than at golf-specific websites. It’s simultaneously refreshing and tedious to see comments of this sort: “Golf isn’t a dying sport because it’s not a sport. It’s a game for girls — and men too feminine to play real sports.”
So, after that Ode to CBS, back to the story… Shackelford’s blog was no longer part of my regular routine, but I still stopped by once in a while. After Dan Olsen’s recent radio comments about Tiger Woods and PEDs, I made the rounds of the golf media to see what people were saying. Here’s what I found at Shackelford’s website (you can read the entire exchange there):
Nothing To See Here, Move Along Files: Tiger PED Suspension
I’m a little surprised how many people found even a shred of credibility in former tour player Dan Olsen’s comments to Lansing, Michigan’s WVFN-AM suggesting Tiger was serving a suspension for PED usage.
Wow, not even a shred of credibility. Because, like, we all know, there is no reason at all to suspect Tiger Woods has used PEDs. Despite the fact that in 2010 — predating both Biogenesis and Blood Sport, by the way — 24 percent of PGA Tour players surveyed by Sports Illustrated said they thought Woods juiced. Not a shred of credibility, I tells ya!
He concluded his piece by linking Olsen to Birthers and Truthers. Well, as you might have guessed, I responded. I mentioned the SI survey, and I wondered about the weirdness of Steinberg and Votaw releasing statements concurrently. Then I quickly forgot all about it.
Until one of my readers posted this:
I read your post on at Shackelford’s site…and I saw his reply where he basically made fun of you.
I went to see the response. My hide is thick, but Shackelford’s reply hurt me. I cried. Literally. Okay, not really; I got carried away there. Shackelford told me his problem was with Olsen’s “wild accusations,” not the suspicions about Tiger Woods and PEDs. To me, that’s a distinction without a difference given the overall mocking tone of the piece and, especially, the title: “Nothing to see here, move along.” (The title pretty much nails the golf media’s attitude toward the now five years old Woods-Galea revelations.)
In addition, Shackelford mocked: the 2010 SI survey; my questions about Steinberg and Votaw (he completely missed my point); and, oddly, my prediction that Woods and Vonn were going to wed on Valentine’s Day. (Actually, that prediction might yet prove to be accurate; Damon Hack reported this morning that no one seems to know where Woods is; could he be on a honeymoon?)
I responded; he responded; I responded; the end. You can go read the exchange for yourself if you care to. It’s still there, it looks like.
When a few days later Tony Massarotti wrote, “But in some corners, the response to Olsen’s initial comments have been so strong that they border on psychotic.” I immediately thought of Shackelford. Nevertheless, I thought the exchange was interesting and informative, even if Shackelford tried to slur me with the Woods-Vonn marriage stuff the same way he tried to slur Olsen with the Birther/Truther stuff. That was disappointing, argumentum ad hominem being such an obvious logical fallacy, at least for me and my readers.
Anyway, I moved on and quickly forgot about the exchange. A few days later, making the rounds of the golf websites, I encountered a poll Mr. Shackelford was conducting:
Poll: If Tiger Had Tossed A Club Into A Doral Lake…
If Tiger had tossed a club in the water at Doral…
•He would have been praised for his humanness, passion and general boyish wonderfulness
•He would have been lambasted for continuing to set a poor example for kids
•The reaction would have been somewhere in between
I laughed at how everything with these guys has to be about Tiger Woods. Rory chunks a club in the water, so their mind immediately turns to… Tiger Woods. (By the way, Shackelford’s top story this morning is about Tiger Woods taking a car ride with Michael Jordan.)
I read through the comments to the poll article and then wrote my own witty (this is verifiable, be patient) comment, making a point about the golf media’s undying obsession with Woods. I checked back later to see if anyone had remarked upon my comment. Lo and behold, my comment had been deleted!
Damn! In my earlier back-and-forth with Shackelford, I had carefully copied and saved my comments before posting them, knowing they might well be deep-sixed, but this time I had been negligent.
Here is where my wit saved me. My comment had been so witty and insightful that a commenter after me had quoted my words and given me the “+1” treatment. Saved by the wit!
+1: A better poll question would be: If Tiger Woods threw a golf club into the water, would there be a poll question about Rory McIlroy?
Now why in the world would Shackelford delete that comment? Seriously, why?
He was on Morning Drive this morning, and his poll question was a topic of discussion. Later, he said he has been “needling” the Ryder Cup task force. Needling? Isn’t that what my (verifiably) witty comment was doing?
Ah, well. I’m back to posting at CBS. If anyone has thick skin, it’s Kyle Porter. Every week when he posts his Expert Picks, some guy shows up Old-Faithful-like to tell Porter he’s not an expert and blah blah blah worst writer ever blah blah blah know someone at CBS blah blah blah… Those comments survive.
Thin skin, thick skin.