Monday Thoughts

Frustration Town: The PGA Tour had the third best event this weekend.  The LPGA tourney, which ended on Saturday night, was far and away the best.  S.Y. Kim’s win can’t be topped when it comes to drama.  Then there was the Euro Tour event in Shenzhen, China, where Kiradech Aphibarnrat battled a 19-year-old Chinese youngster in a playoff.  Think the crowd had a favorite there?

Perhaps I’m being unfair to the PGA Tour event.  After all, it too had a playoff.  The real problem was that the tournament was not televised live.  Moving up the start times was the right decision, but I sure wish they’d moved up the television coverage time as well.  Tape delay in 2015 doesn’t get the job done.

So I “watched” Harbour Town via the PGA Tour’s online leaderboard, using ShotTracker and Play-by-Play.  The problem there is that the quality of the leaderboard has fallen dramatically over the past two years.  As you scroll through the names, advertisements constantly pop up to obscure the screen.  There are also periodic freeze-ups which last for several seconds.

I understand the need for advertising, but there is also a need to advertise your own product.  A quality, advertisement-free online scoreboard would be more beneficial than the endless promos the Tour runs during television broadcasts.  There should be an effort to ensure consumers associate a quality, enjoyable experience with your product.  That’s no longer the case with the PGA Tour and their online leaderboard.  I’m left feeling their goal is to expose me to the maximum number of intrusive advertisements per visit.

On a more general topic, two recent trends have really lessened the usefulness of the Internet: (1) Intrusive advertisements; (2) The focus on “mobile devices.”

Stupid Golf Media #1:  When did golf interviews become marriage counseling sessions?  If I hear one more question about how a player felt after winning or losing, I’ll puke.  If there is any question that doesn’t need to be asked, it’s that one.  When you accomplish a goal, you feel good.  When you don’t, you feel disappointed.  It’s been that way throughout the history of mankind and will always remain that way.  Also, golf media, winning an event doesn’t turn a player into Nostradamus, so stop asking, “What do you think this win will do for your career going forward?”

Stupid Golf Media #2:  A reader recently remarked upon this: the golf media’s obsession with fist pumps.  What’s with this childish fascination with “reactions”?  When a player pumps his fist, or smiles, or grimaces, it invariably leads to a conversation about “showing emotion.”

Is this an appeal to the “casual golf fans”?  Are they so stupid they can’t understand that controlling your emotions is one of life’s key ingredients to success?  When a decision goes your way in a business meeting, do they think an “in-your-face” victory dance is the best path to future success?  If a decision goes against you, should you throw things and sulk?

I think it’s residuals from the Tiger Woods nonsense.  “Him wear red shirt!”  “Look him jump around on green!”  “Him hit shots no one hit cause him Superman.”  It’s like five-year-olds doing a broadcast for three-year-olds.  Damn, give us a break.

It’s as if the golf media is trying to “educate” the players and viewers that golf needs NFL sack dances and NBA chest thumping.  Listen, those are things dumb people do.  Sorry, if that hurts anyone’s feelings, but you know it’s true.  Golf appeals to a different demographic.  Stop trying to turn golf into hockey.

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20 Responses to Monday Thoughts

  1. Sports-realist2 says:

    So Lanny, how do you feel about your article today, and what do you think it will do for you going forward?
    Why humans care about interviews anymore, I have no idea….Yet sports has INCREASED how many interviews we hear in every sport…..Unless there is a UNIQUE situation or QUESTION, then what’s the point? Todd Lewis and all those folks know asking dumb interview questions is better than pumping gas, but I’ve said if it’s your JOB to do interviews, then they need to work on their craft…

    • lannyh says:

      They have large teams of people supporting their golf coverage. Can’t one of them come up with an interesting, pertinent question? A question about a strategic decision would seem appropriate.

      Instead, if a guy jars one from 180 yards on the 72nd hole to make a playoff (and wins in sudden death), they will ask him, “Did you think you had lost as you stood over that shot?” Clearly, the player knew the odds were about 1000-1 he had lost, but he also knew that 1-in-1000 events happen sometimes.

  2. Kris says:

    Showing emotion is important in sports because it’s hard to get emotionally invested in someone who doesn’t seem emotionally invested themselves. Club throwing, strings of obscenities, destruction of property, screaming and fist pumping as if to say “take that, loser” are inappropriate behaviors. However, if every reaction to every great shot was a blank expression and a polite wave I would lose interest. I want to see high fives and smiles after a hole out. I want to hear “oh no, get lucky” when it goes in the trees. I want someone to act like a jerk so I have someone to root against. I want to see tears, a hug or some expression of emotion after a win. Sports is entertainment, and watching robots fling a ball around isn’t entertaining.

    • TrueGolfFan says:

      I can agree with that. Lot’s of guys fist pump. Tiger just does it more emphatically than anyone else. But I’ll take it over a guy like Kuch seemingly going through the motions with his tip of the cap. And I like Kuch.

      • TrueGolfFan says:

        Like Kris said, it shows emotional investment.

      • lannyh says:

        It’s a given that there is emotional investment. That’s my point. I tend toward, “When you get to the endzone, act like you’ve been there before.”

        When Jordan Spieth hit that ball into the tree and it ricocheted onto the green, I knew he was happy about THAT development. (I’m not complaining about reaction shots like those, where something unusual happens, like a holed fairway shot, or a hole-in-one. I’m just saying a guy jumping around after a hole-in-one is no happier than a guy who shrugs his shoulders and smiles.)

        I can’t stand the endzone celebrations and sack dances that dominate the NFL. It’s the whole “I got you down, and I’m going to taunt you” mindset. The worst of human nature.

    • lannyh says:

      Well, it’s starting to seem as scripted as WWE. Show emotion, dammit! (But not too much…)

      Sincerity is everything. Once you can fake that, you’ve got it made.

      That said, I certainly agree with your take on the “take that, loser” comment.

      • TrueGolfFan says:

        Guys hit home runs, score touchdowns, score a goal, etc and players celebrate. Fans like that and want to celebrate with them.

      • lannyh says:

        That’s a narrative you can present, but fans celebrate prior to the player reactions, even on NFL TDs. Are San Antonio fans less happy because Tim Duncan doesn’t try to show up the opposing players?

        And I would add that what the golf media is doing goes well beyond showing player reactions. The reactions are the centerpiece of the coverage.

        They can’t stand the Korean golfers on the LPGA because they don’t come from an “in your face” culture. Don’t they realize that those girls come from a culture where success is HIGHLY prized. You just aren’t supposed to show up other people.

        I guess I’d say the golf media is letting the tail wag the dog when it comes to “showing emotion.”

    • Ken says:

      I have no problem with genuine displays of emotion. I think that even Woods’ emotion is genuine. But why the media and some fans think it’s so cool and important to display emotion is a mystery to me.

      Choreographed displays like sack dances I absolutely despise.

      • Speedy says:

        Now, tell us you don’t miss Chi Chi’s sword brandishing. Or Rich Beem’s machalena.

      • lannyh says:

        Chi Chi was entertaining, and it was HIS thing. (For the record, I saw him do that in person one time.) Hahn’s dance a couple year’s ago. Chesson Hadley’s finger snaps. Those are fun little things. But you don’t hear…

        “Matt Kuchar was happy about that birdie. It looked like he was just about to do a finger snap.”

        “I wish he would. Finger snaps show emotion. Shows the player really cares.”

        “I agree. These players that don’t finger snap — they are like robots. Fans want to see finger snaps.”

        “Yeah, these players all need to finger snap after birdies. That would help to grow the game.”

      • Ken says:

        I don’t miss ChiChi’s sword thing. I don’t remember whatever Beem did.

        Chi Chi’s sword thing was cute. Once.

        Like I said, I don’t like calculated things like that. I don’t realy care that he did it, but I don’t need to see it either. But at least he was original.

  3. Speedy says:

    Since I wanted PU to win, I left the Chinese tourney early. I’m surprised he finished as high as he did. He looked confused, when I watched him.
    Re fist pumps, yes I agree, it’s old hat. Belly bumps had no staying power whatsoever. LOL

    • lannyh says:

      I was thinking the other day about some of the phases sports displays have been through. The oldest one I recall was where guys would make two fists, then hit the top of a guy’s fists with bottom of another guys, then repeat the other way. It was a fist bump, I suppose, but not like today. We all copied it in gym class.

  4. Ken says:

    A frequent golf partner and I back in the early 2000s had this running gag between us. We’d add “Tiger did that first” or “Tiger started that” or “No one does that better than Tiger” etc. to ordinary, mundane activities. Order a hamburger, and one of us would say, “No one ate that before Tiger.” Drive up in clean car, “No one ever washed their cars before Tiger.”

    It was in response to all the bizarre claims made about Tiger Woods by the golf media:

    Fist pump after making a putt? “No one did that before Tiger.” Really? I’m not emphatic, but I think I’ve done one little fist pump after making a good putt since 1984.

    In the 2000 US Open he hit a 7 iron from somewhere around 180 out of a sand trap to the green. Great shot, but nothing you hadn’t seen done a thousand times before, but it was described as a shot “only Tiger could hit.” Many other shots over the years were described like this.

    Bouncing a ball off your wedge. “No one did that before Tiger.” No one except me and every other kid who ever took up golf.

    AT&T Tournament, “Tiger’s Tournament,” in the DC area, the announcer claimed that “Tiger was the best tournament host.” Yeah, Jack and Arnie and Bing and Bob and Byron were all hacks.

    • lannyh says:

      Funny stuff. The media went all out to paint Woods as one-of-a-kind, never-before-seen. Some of them still do. I just saw something somewhere — a headline or maybe a tweet — saying “You don’t remember how good Woods was in 2000.” I immediately thought of Frank Nobilo and the Rock Ishii-designed distance ball no one else had. I should go find the article and see if that is mentioned…

      The Irish Open — Rory’s tourney — is going to be quite strong this year. It will be interesting to compare how it compares in strength to Woods’s DC area tournament.

      • Ken says:

        The AT&T tournament in DC doesn’t typically draw a great field. If they play at Avenel, it’ll be really bad. Congressional will do better, but it’s just not a popular tour stop.

        Why is it “Tiger’s tournament?” They’ve played it for decades as the Kemper and AT&T.

      • lannyh says:

        I don’t know, but he’s been the “host” for a while, and Quicken Loans (who took it over in 2014) forced an injured Woods to play last year.

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