MEMO: On the proper use of “self-imposed”
- All full-time employees
- All part-time employees
- All interns
- All stringers and freelancers
There seems to be a great deal of confusion about the proper use of the term “self-imposed.” A recent case of misuse resulted in great embarrassment to Lanny H Golf. We do not wish to repeat that fiasco, so I will make clear how our writers are expected to use this term. Read this carefully; I do not want to have to revisit this matter
Use self-imposed in front of every noun you use to describe Tiger Woods’s absence from the game. These examples from our competitors should help show what I mean:
Sports World News: Still enjoying a self-imposed hiatus from the PGA Tour, largely due to injury, there is no timetable for Woods’ return to the golf course.
Washington Post: But that doesn’t mean his self-imposed break should be read as a signal that the end of his PGA career may be nigh.
Fox Sports: Presently on a self-imposed “benching” to work on his game, Woods hasn’t made any announcement regarding a return to action.
New York Post: With no one knowing when Woods will return from his self-imposed game-crisis hiatus and, whenever he does return, whether he’ll ever win another tournament or even make another cut, the mantel is McIlroy’s until further notice.
Yahoo! News: Tiger Woods said he hoped to return from a self-imposed lay-off to in time for the US Masters starting on April 9.
Stephanie Wei: Tiger Woods self-imposed leave of absence from tournament golf will continue for at least another week.
L.A. Times: Tiger Woods’ self-imposed exile will continue through next week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational, but the former No. 1 golfer in the world is aiming to play in the Masters.
Folks, this should not be hard to remember: I do not expect to see another such mistake.
Now, when it comes to Dustin Johnson, the rules are a little bit different, and I sense this is the source of your confusion. Again, examples from our competitors should help:
New York Post: Whether or not Dustin Johnson’s six-month hiatus from golf was self-imposed (as he has tried to indicate) or an unannounced PGA Tour suspension (which sources have said it was), there is no question Johnson is back in a big way.
ESPN: In just his fifth tournament back from what he and the PGA Tour called a “self-imposed” leave of absence, Dustin Johnson defeated a world-class field to take the WGC-Cadillac Championship on Sunday.
U.S. Golf TV: After an extended absence, whether it was self-imposed or a suspension, Dustin Johnson claimed his first PGA Tour win of 2015 on Sunday when he bested the Blue Monster at Doral.
Golf Channel: For Johnson, however, his ninth Tour victory went well beyond the box score. The last 12 months have been the most tumultuous of his professional career, a span that included a six-month, self-imposed hiatus from the game to deal with “personal challenges,” and a published report, citing an anonymous source, that he had been suspended by the Tour for failing a drug test.
That Golf Channel example is wonderful. They started with the simple self-imposted hiatus, but tacked on the information about an anonymous source saying Johnson was on hiatus for failing a drug test. You guys could learn a lot from studying that paragraph. Golf Channel fully understands how to properly use the term. Here’s another excellent GC example, this one from Rex Hoggard:
Golf Channel: How thoroughly things unraveled in 2014 for the long-hitting 30-year-old came sharply into focus a day after Johnson announced what he billed as a self-imposed exile when Golf.com published a tell-all tale of illegal drug use and infidelity.
Here’s another from that same article!
Whatever prompted Johnson’s hiatus from professional golf, be it self-inflicted or imposed, his exit was not an isolated incident…
I hope these examples have made clear what I expect from you. Folks, something as simple as quote marks around the term can make all the difference in the world. They show we don’t really believe what the PGA Tour told us about Dustin Johnson. But DO NOT confuse the Dustin Johnson usage with the Tiger Woods usage, where we must present the PGA Tour’s comments as absolutely true and unimpeachable.
Print these two rules and tape them to your display screens:
When writing about Tiger Woods’s absence, always use self-imposed, because the PGA Tour said Woods was not suspended.
When writing about Dustin Johnson’s absence, phrase your use of self-imposed to question the PGA Tour’s saying Dustin was not suspended. Add quote marks or a snide parenthetical comment.
Thanks for your attention to this matter and for all of your hard work which has made Lanny H Golf truly “The Only Golf Website That Matters.”
President, Lanny H Golf