Sunday, Day Four: The Players Semi Live Blog


And Then There Were Two…

7:43 pm Update:  Sudden death now.  Back to No. 17 for Rickie and Kisner.

Will Sergio or Kisner “Cink” Rickie?

6:55 pm Update: Should Kisner lose in the playoff, he will still get a sweet payday and move from OWGR #123 to approximately #70.  So I won’t feel horrible pulling against him.  And Sergio, he’s already won this event.  So… Go, Rickie!!!

6:50 pm Update:  Reminiscent of Turnberry 2009, a big fan favorite is headed for a three-hole playoff.


5:45 pm Update:  Sergio Garcia is going to be the least-cheered Spaniard coming in since Seve in 1986.

5:40 pm Update:  Rickie Fowler has The Players field against the ropes.  In clubhouse with two-stroke lead.  Will it hold?

2:00 pm Update:  Rory misses a makeable birdie putt, then bogeys the next hole.  That does not help the cause one bit…

Yesterday Brandel Chamblee was crediting Tiger Woods and Golf Channel for Justin Thomas’s success at a young age.  Today we learn Justin’s father was a PGA pro who was teaching the boy the game at the age of two.  That would have been well before any influence of Woods or Golf Channel was even possible.  I guess the son of a PGA pro who started playing at age two was doomed until he saw Woods and Golf Channel at some point in his life.  “Oh, I need to pump my fist more!  That’s been the missing ingredient!”  Or, “Oh, I should use a 3-wood to chip from high grass around the green!  Thanks, Hank Haney! Now I’m on my way!”

1:25 pm Update:  Did announcer “Todd” just say Kevin and his other brother Kevin?  I missed Rory’s first two holes.  If shot-tracker is accurate, he got one weird birdie on No. 2.  I like his pairing; Harman seems like a good match.

11:45 am Update:  Woods triples the 14th hole, just in time for fans to head to the range and watch Rory get ready for his tee time an hour from now.

8:50 am Update: The online live stream is up and active.  Coverage is of Woods and DJ.

7:30 am Golf Channel’s Propaganda Campaign:

Even Tiger Woods struggled” —  Charlie Rymer, discussing short game challenges at Sawgrass.  It was so challenging that even Tiger Woods struggled.  Such comments, such shaping words, are part and parcel of the ceaseless propaganda Golf Channel pumps out in an attempt to prop up Woods’s image, to shape the public’s perception of him.  The simple truth is Woods isn’t special any more.  Those days are long gone, and it’s only going to get worse for him.  Reality: “Even Tiger struggled” is being replaced by “only Tiger struggled.”  (While I write, John Cook informs the world, “If you take away Woods’s two double bogeys, he shot 70.”)

It wasn’t Rymer’s comment that caused me to write this.  It was something I read last night.  Joe Posnanski, of Golf Channel, wrote an article, “Why we still care about Tiger Woods.”

That title is straight out of Propaganda 101.  “We” rather than “I.”  The uncontested declaration of “still caring.”  Posnanski presumes to speak for everyone, and that everyone still cares.  If you disagree, you are no longer part of “we.”  You don’t want to be an outcast, do you?

I read the article, which was just what you would expect it to be.  Because it was such obvious propaganda, I thought of Edward Bernays.  I decided to send a tweet to Posnanski:

“If Golf Channel mentioned Ben Crane in every other sentence, he’d have big galleries. We’ve all read Bernays.”

Bernays made a science of persuasion, or the manipulation of the public, of consumers.  His ideas could be applied in advertising, political campaigns, whatever.  Here’s something from Wiki:

He and other publicists were often attacked as propagandists and deceptive manipulators, who represented lobby groups against the public interest and covertly contrived events that secured coverage as news stories, free of charge, for their clients instead of securing attention for them through paid advertisements.

What jumps out me is the use of fake news stories in lieu of paid advertisements.  I wonder what value would be placed on the free advertising Golf Channel gives Tiger Woods.  “Covertly contrived events that secured coverage as news stories.”  Like, oh, I don’t know…  the “schedule release” of Tiger Woods a couple of weeks ago.  The only event on the list that was even remotely “news” was Greenbrier, and Greenbrier pays Woods an appearance fee, so Golf Channel making a news story out of the schedule release precisely fits “covertly contrived events that secured coverage as news stories, free of charge.”

What price could be put on the “news coverage” Golf Channel provides for Woods which serves as free-of-charge advertising?  How much money would a Jimmy Walker have to pay Golf Channel in order for them to start saying, “That shot is hard even for Jimmy Walker.”  To write articles like, “Why We All Still Care About Jimmy Walker.”  To surround mentions of Walker with “buzz” and “moves the needle.”  To point out galleries cheer when he makes putts.  If the golf media did that, do you think Jimmy Walker would attract more attention and get some mind-boggling sponsorship deals?

If you think of Golf Channel as the provider of free advertising for Tiger Woods — perhaps they see it as a trade for access to Woods, or some other quid pro quo situation — you can see why they ignore or cover up the negatives about Woods, why they won’t touch the Galea and Biogenesis stuff.  If Senator Crook hires you to handle his public relations, you are certainly not going to report his shady business dealings or his DUIs.  (Another example: Dan Olsen’s comments about Woods, PEDs, and a suspension were ignored until the coordinated, concurrent press releases of denial from the PGA Tour and Steinberg.  At that point, Golf Channel interrupted their regular programming to break “the news.”)

When Woods was the game’s best player and a consistent contender, Golf Channel could get away with it.  Now that Woods is duck-hooking drives and duffing chips, they just look silly and corrupt.

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66 Responses to Sunday, Day Four: The Players Semi Live Blog

  1. Ken says:

    Your point about how Ben Crane would have huge galleries if GC vovered him incessently is one I’ve tried to make to people too. The media has a huge role in creating heroes. Woods used to “move the needle” because he’s one of the few players the casual fan knows.

    Look at Fowler. The media to a degree but more his own promotion has made him a popular, well-known player. He’s won less than Crane who plays in virtual anonymity.

    • lannyh says:

      And the amounts of money being directed or redirected have to be staggering. It reminds me of some crooked mayor awarding a $40 million contract to his brother-in-law.

  2. Sports-realist2 says:

    So as predicted they are trying to shove Eldrick as the ‘featured group’, once again, for no reason but to keep his face around…..I’m sure the golf channel will keep us updated to by showing his score about 10 times…..The golf channel will ALWAYS show 10 minutes of Eldrick’s highlights/lowlights, regardless of his position or score….They will have to have that ‘SO WHAT DOES THIS MEAN’ conversation at the end, for no other reason, but to talk about their hero….Again, this is the guy who JUST yesterday, decided to NOT talk to these morons who kiss his azz….

    • lannyh says:

      Yeah, I’d already forgotten about him stiffing the media post-round yesterday. They don’t care; they are right back out there championing their man.

      These online announcers are pretty funny. If Woods hits two good shots in a row, it’s like, “Alright, now he’s got full control of his game. This is the Old Tiger.” Next shot is horrible, then, after his next two good shots, “Oh, wow, he’s got that Tiger magic back!”

      Put all this media cheerleading together, and it truly reaches Kim Jong-il levels.

      • Ken says:

        Reminds me a bit of what we used to see reported here in the Pittsburgh area when I was growing up in the 1970s. The local papers always highlighted the names in the golf scores of players with local roots. Of course, the most famous of those was Arnold Palmer. Long after Palmer was a real contender, any sign of life in his game was typically met with a feature article on him. “Arnie’s Back!” “Palmer in Contention!” “Palmer Still Believes He Can Win!” He got a huge amount of coverage at any sign of life, like when he opened the 1983 Masters at age 53 with a 68 or when he shot 68 to open the PGA in 1989 when he was just shy of 60 years old.

        Of course, Palmer was the eternal optimist about his golf game and always professed that he still thought that he could win. And being a local hero, the coverage was welcomed by readers, including me. But this was coverage in local papers. The national-level coverage by nearly every media source of everything Tiger Woods does is just insane.

      • lannyh says:

        I remember those bold names. Hadn’t thought about that in years and years. We had no Arnold Palmer, but we had a journeyman golfer or two, and now that you mention it, I remember some weeks when one of our bolded names made an appearance near the top of the column, even if just in the Friday morning paper!

  3. Kris says:

    The thing about Joe Posnanski is he’s a general sports guy. He’s written about golf, baseball, college football and nascar, and that’s just the stuff I’ve heard of. He seems to like writing controversial things about controversy in sport. I’ll give him a pass on not understanding that most of us are absolutely sick of Tiger Woods. I did like his point that people are waiting for closure. His idea of closure is seeing Tiger do well in one last hurrah. My idea of closure is seeing Tiger finally get taken to task for his PED usage which leads him to being kept out of the hall of fame. I can dream, can’t I?

    • lannyh says:

      Good post. I was not familiar with Posnanski. I’m with you on your version of closure.

    • Ken says:

      He’s written some good stuff. Did a great piece on the PSU/Patero scandal.

      He did a great statistical breakdown of baseball that shows how the current hyper-specialized use of bullpens and closers has had absolutely no impact on how often the team with the lead late in baseball games ends up winning the game. Teams won at the same rate in the 40s, 50s, 60s, and on to the current time

      • lannyh says:

        It’s funny how things like that baseball micro-managing in baseball become “fact” even when they aren’t. I guess it’s all about perception. Managers probably got fired for not doing it just because it became THE thing to do. Sure does break up the flow of the game.

  4. Sports-realist2 says:

    A few minutes ago, I heard the golf channel saying something “Woods is trying to do something that he hasn’t done in bla, bla, bla”….then he just got a triple bogey to go back to 71st place, so I guess the golf channel will move on to something else….

    • lannyh says:

      They have been doing a lot of that, in various forms, with various goals. Like with yesterday’s two doubles on par-5 holes. “This is first time ever he’s ever in his entire career…” Sort of like, “He’s so good, he never does this, but, of course, other players double par-5’s with great frequency.” Man, they just need to stop all their yapping. There’s nothing good left to say about the guy, and they are bound and determined not to mention the negative. For that reason, I with they’d just shut up!

      But instead, they say he’ll still be their big story in ten years…

  5. Sports-realist2 says:

    Rory is due for a good start on the front 9, as he’s done fine on the back….He’s probably thinking 11 under is either a playoff or a win, so 5 under on the day…….It’s so hard to trust Sergio, even though he has won this tournament before…..

  6. Ken says:

    Damn it. If it wasn’t for the triple on 14 and all those double bogeys and missed putts and wayward drives this week, Tiger would be winning this thing. Damn the luck!

    • Sports-realist2 says:

      but Ken it’s all part of the infamous ‘process’…..Once you fake an injury, you get months of ‘process’ time to work it out….Then when you announce you are 100% healthy, but you still suck, you find ANOTHER injury to fall back on…Then the media can do their COMEBACK, PROCESS, and other overstated words for all of us to enjoy all over again……….

      • Sports-realist2 says:

        and again on CBS sportsline golf page, in 70th place, they have Eldrick as their main PHOTO to introduce this final round…………..???????????????????????????????????????????

    • lannyh says:

      Yeah, because none of the other players had any wayward shots they’d like to play over.

  7. Sports-realist2 says:

    Rory’s putting stroke is interesting…He steps back then just puts his putter behind the ball, without any additional practice swings….I would think you’d be more comfy with a few practice swings as you are over the ball, RIGHT before you putt the ball…

    • Sports-realist2 says:

      Rory so far continues to do his ho-hum act on the front nine…..Some of his course management really needs work…

  8. Sports-realist2 says:

    So 10 minutes at the start of coverage before they show a single live shot? pathetic….No one gives a crap about NBC’s OVER done ‘analysis’ and ‘storylines’ about golf but while not showing golf….

  9. Sports-realist2 says:

    So Rory only 4 shots out(and #1 player in the world–ho hum, I guess)….Sure there’s alot of players ahead of him, but if this were Eldrick, they’d be showing EVERY SINGLE SHOT, regardless…..We know this, but NBC show their media hypocrisy every day(and not just in sports)……..Oh now ONLY 3 shots out, yet they ONLY showed his putt for birdie…..pathetic NBC pathetic…

  10. Sports-realist2 says:

    That was a Craig Perks like finish…If you are Sergio, you’ve gotta be like “(*(#*$#(*%#)%)#”……Granted Sergio still has a chance…

    • lannyh says:

      Sergio already has one of these, so I can pull against him. Haas won that cool 10 million from the FedEx, so I can pull against him.

  11. TrueGolfFan says:

    Sergio/Rickie Playoff? Yes please!

  12. Sports-realist2 says:

    OH MY, to quote Dick Endbert….Did Sergio just topped the better than most ey? Considering Sergio was DOWN to this putt, where Eldrick already had a one shot lead before his putt, if I recall correctly……So if Sergio wins this, you’d have to put Sergio’s above either Kaymer’s or Eldrick’s…

  13. Sports-realist2 says:

    Anyone have any doubt that the PGA is deeper than it used to be? 3 at 12 under par and ALL 3 of those BIRDIED the 17th….Fowler, Garcia, and now Martin..

  14. Anonymous says:

    Finally I agree with Johnny M on something… Best closing hole action ever at this tournament!

  15. Sports-realist2 says:

    So a 3 hole playoff at 16, 17, and 18…I like that, granted the sun is going down…My guess would be that Fowler used up alot of his energy and perhaps luck on those last 6 holes…..I’d take Garcia at this moment…..

    • lannyh says:

      With a four- or five-man aggregate playoff, they will play slowly and likely end with a tie requiring further play. Daylight will surely become a factor. If no one steals it on No. 18, we might have a Monday finish.

  16. TrueGolfFan says:

    Looks like Kisner is gonna mess it all up.

  17. TrueGolfFan says:

    Yes! Playoff!

  18. Anonymous says:

    Stoned the wife’s kiss effort. OUCH

  19. Sports-realist2 says:

    I’m taking Garcia….how bout you guys..

  20. Sports-realist2 says:

    Really surprised how Garcia kept hit the same shot on 17 today..

  21. Sports-realist2 says:

    Garcia pisses me off….He can’t miss in the Ryder Cup, yet in these situations, he is just soooooo average……Especially when he just had that similar putt before….

  22. Sports-realist2 says:

    Well Both Fowler and Kinsler deserve to win this one….They’ve played 17 as good as you can….

  23. Anonymous says:

    WOW – Richie is so money. Clutch on 17

  24. RickieWoods says:

    Rickie is doing what Tiger used to do. Shutting up the naysayers with his play.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Hope Kisner makes putt!

  26. Anonymous says:

    Awesome finish!! And the GF is smoking!!!!

  27. Sports-realist2 says:

    Does Steve Sands ever ask a question that doesn’t suck?

    • Kris says:

      No, that’s pretty much his trademark. I have no idea how he’s kept his job so long.

      • lannyh says:

        I hate the “what does this mean?” and “how does this feel?” questions. If they won it feels good, if they lost it feels bad. And win a trophy, not a crystal ball, so how they heck would they know what it means.

      • Kris says:

        The best example of his horrible interview skills is that interview he did with Ernie Els at the 2012 transitions. It was right after he missed a short putt that would have gotten him into the masters. They talked about it on morning drive over a year later when Sands was co-hosting and Els called in. Gary Williams asked Ernie if he wanted to land a right hook across that glass jaw of Steve’s, and all Ernie did was laugh in that way that meant hell yes.

  28. Jason says:

    Yes, it’s official!! Poulter is now the most overrated player in golf!

  29. Kris says:

    Considering Sergio’s putting and attitude this week, it’s miraculous he got into a playoff. The heckling he gets on 17 is ridiculous. People yelling “get in the water” on a putt? Get your life together. I’m not a fan of Rickie’s girlfriend. She needs to grow up, put on some clothes and stop hanging all over him. That kiss was grotesque. Good for Rickie, though. You could tell this win meant a lot to him. He’s been so close for so long, and he got super hot for 3 holes and hung on to win. It was certainly an exciting Sunday.

    • lannyh says:

      I think pretty much the hecklers are lemming who are loaded with alcohol. With luck, one day they’ll make the Jerry Springer or Maury Povich Show. They shame American golf fans.

      I agree re that kiss! I was thinking TMI, only it was not Too Much Information, but it was definitely too much something.

      • Sports-realist2 says:

        The pga should stop the whole ‘SHOW THE FAMILY OR GIRLFRIEND’ thing altoghether imo….Think about how those women who are looking to land one of these PGA players must think, after KNOWING they will get some national attention, if their f-buddy, I mean boyfriend wins a tournament……I don’t care about seeing Phil’s or anyone else’s kids running up to give them the STAGED hugs and kisses either…..

      • Kris says:

        Haha, f-buddy, those were my thoughts exactly. Rickie having a girlfriend like that lowers my opinion of him. I don’t believe it’s always staged, but it is disruptive to have the family go inside the ropes after a win. A well-behaved kid in your lap in the media center is fine, but making out with your wife on the green and then holding your kids while you get interviewed is too much. That doesn’t happen in any other individual sport I can think of.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Re – girlfriend and family- you haters should grow up. Apparently Rickie has been in relationship with woman for a long time and she has her own job and life. As golf fans we supposedly like golfers to have personalities and lives – not automatons. Real emotion is good and welcome, and I didn’t think it was staged here, nor typically elsewhere on 18th or winning hole. Tremendous emotional moment to win-and share with ones you love. But, maybe the haters hating have not experienced that kind of moment….

    • lannyh says:

      Speaking for myself, I don’t have a problem with wife/kids, but the kiss was a bit… uh… graphic. That said, Jimmy Walker’s wife tweeted him tonight, saying (paraphrasing), “Honey, we really need to work on our post-win kisses.”

      • Ken says:

        I was out playing, so I didn’t see the end. Was the kiss make you feel as uncomfortable as the infamous Al & Tipper Gore one at the DNC back in 2000? That was almost barf-inducing.

      • lannyh says:

        I only vaguely remember that — and I’m not going to pull it up on YouTube! About Rickie, I’d say half the problem was the intrusive portable camera two feet from them.

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