TGIF Thoughts


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Golf Channel seems to have written more about Tiger Woods than Jordan Spieth in their article ostensibly about Spieth winning this award.  Also, no mention of Spieth being the youngest U.S. Open winner in 92 years.  (Bobby Jones, ever heard of him?)  Or the youngest to win two majors in 93 years.  (Gene Sarazen, ever heard of him?)

I ask you, if Tiger Woods had accomplished what Spieth has done, would the articles have referred to Jones and Sarazen, or Norman and Faldo?

Listen up, golf media:  Jordan Spieth is chasing golf’s all-time immortals.  He is not chasing Tiger Woods.


Mistakeville: I turned on Morning Drive — Shack’s last day — and went to make coffee.  I return five minutes into the show (hmmm, maybe it was second hour; they might have started early today due to live coverage of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship), and Gary Williams is telling us something about how Tiger Woods  brought Jordan Spieth and the others to golf.  Will they never cut this bullshite?  Here are a few off-the-cuff comments on that, and on Morning Drive in general:

  • The happy-smiley MD tone has to go.  It’s like having a political debate and telling the participants they can only say positive things.  They use the tone of the Today Show when they are doing holiday cake recipes and laughing at the hostess’s story about the time she burned a batch of cookies.  That is to same, beyond lame.
  • Chris DiMarco’s tone is closer to how it should be.  Low-key, occasionally sarcastic.  Still, he has to stay between the lines on content.  But at least you don’t picture him skipping from the desk to the simulator like you do with Williams, Hack, and Rymer.
  • If Woods was such a big influence on kids, how come participation rates have steadily fallen over the course of his career?
  • If Woods was such a big influence on kids, wouldn’t he have been an especially big influence on African American kids?  Where are they?  The story is that Woods brought all these guys to golf — guys whose families were winning club championships for generations — but no one else?  Does not compute.  Davis Love III’s kid is playing college golf…  Thanks, Tiger, for inspiring him to take up the game!!
  • Back in the “racist” 70’s before Woods “kicked the door down,” there were 12 black players on Tour.  Now there is one: Joseph Bramlett.  Two, if Woods ever starts playing again.
  • What a waste Shackelford has been on MD this week.  They could have used him for some heated, riveting discussions on the runaway arms race in the golf equipment industry, but instead they used Shackelford to…   I don’t know what they used him for.  To see if he could be even blander than Gary Williams?

Bill Simmons Grantland Article Yesterday:  I’m just finishing reading that piece.  I spent a little time last night researching Simmons and Grantland.  Short summary:  Simmons was a hotshot blogger hired by ESPN to start Grantland, a serious “boutique” website focusing on quality rather than profit; ESPN fired him last May (the article I posted was from two years ago).  I had to wonder if praiseworthy journalism such as this one on PEDs led to him getting the axe.

A few additional parts that jumped off the page (well, screen):

And because we never stepped up, those enterprising dickheads bastardized baseball and ruined one of its most sacred qualities: the wholly unique way that eight generations of players relate to one another through statistics and records.

We’ve seen that in golf, too.  And, just as with baseball, the golf media turned a blind eye to Woods going from a scrawny ectomorph to looking “like a middle linebacker.”  They glossed over the Galea and Biogenesis stories.  Just as the baseball writers liked that the steroid-fueled home run race brought attention to their sport, and thereby, to them, so too did the golf writers enjoy their fifteen minutes of fame.  They were willing to overlook anything to continue it; they were willing to say anything to continue it.  It was fine to make ludicrous claims that Woods was “hitting shots we’ve never seen before.”  It was off-limits, however, to discuss the likely way Woods went from being a “98-lb weakling” ectomorph to looking “like a middle linebacker.”

The good thing for golf is that our version of baseball’s home run record is Jack Nicklaus’s 18 majors.  Fortunately, that record withstood the Galea/Rock Ishii “enhancements.”  Otherwise, golf would have lost its ties to history, just as baseball has.

The historical home run chart in the Simmons Grantland piece was eye-opening.  Yearly home run records had remained amazingly stable until the steroid era of McGwire, Sosa, and Bonds.  Then they were blown away by the juicers.  It might have brought attention to baseball for a couple of summers, but at what price?  Here’s how Simmons put it for baseball:

That list is dead. It means nothing. McGwire’s generation made it fundamentally impossible to put power numbers into context for the rest of eternity, basically.

I am happy that golf will not suffer the same fate.

Simmons made some other great points:

The whole “innocent until proven guilty” mind-set will always be our default … until you burn us.  If you burn us?  Then, and only then, do we flip out. […]  We hate people who lie to our faces.

You can put aside the links between Woods and PEDs and just focus on the sex scandal from the man who was sold to the public as — how did Dan Jenkins put it? — the “All-American Daddy-Pop Father of the Year Who Also Wins Golf Tournaments.”  People don’t like such lies.  Almost all of Woods’s image has turned out to be a lie.

We don’t like people who “lie to our faces.”  That would explain the growing dissatisfaction with the golf media.  Yesterday, here, we looked at two examples — one from ESPN, another from Shane Bacon — where the golf media was lying to our faces.  They would deny it, but the fact is, when you show stats for Nicklaus and Watson that include only years when they were growing old, and compare them to the prime of other players, you are lying.

I need to read the rest of the article before commenting further.

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17 Responses to TGIF Thoughts

  1. JoseyWales says:

    Shackelford is horrible on TV…just another bland, phony talking face trying to join the mainstream and feed the cattle. All these golf bloggers, writers and thinkers want to be TV stars…guess what?…they all suck at it. They all look alike…were the same silly sweater vests…the same phony smile…the same stupid commentary. Shackelford will have to move to Orlando…good luck with that.

  2. JoseyWales says:

    Golf Channel is notorious for being cheap…Shackelford probably worked for union scale plus expenses.

    • lannyh says:

      I mean guys like Williams and Hack. How about Cara? I get the impression that Chamblee makes relatively big money, but I don’t know what that means in the world of golf announcing.

  3. JoseyWales says:

    The starting pay for Golf Channel announcers/commentators is $80,000…more $ as they work their way up or get promoted. Hack and Williams and the blonde “host” chickie are probably making around $100-$150K…no more than that. Rymer and Paige are around $80-$100K. What Golf Channel uses in lieu of salary is perks…free golf, equipment, travel, etc. That’s why you see so much lightweight talent on GC. These folks have basically given up chasing the big bucks by taking less money with fringe bennies to work at TGC. Tilghman was making $375,000 as of 2006…she is probably the highest paid at TGC…they gave her a bump when they put her as “play by play” for PGA Tour events with Faldo but that was a huge mistake and a disaster….and now they are stuck with her and her inflated salary…she has seniority but no talent. I’m sure they would love to unload her overpaid self but cannot for reasons we’ve discussed. I would guess Chamblee makes less than Tilghman. I’m sure Holly Sonders was making the minimum at TGC and probably doubled her salary or more by moving to FOX. Golf Channel is notoriously cheap.

    • lannyh says:

      Very interesting! Thanks for the great info. When young, traveling would be a nice perk, but when older, well, I have to think Gary Williams would prefer to drive to the studio in Orlando every day.

      I guess I would have guessed around those number, perhaps a little bit higher, but I would not have been shocked if you said they were much higher.

      Given the choice between making 100K for a good tech or accounting job or making 100K to cheerlead Tiger Woods and have millions of people insult you on Twitter and elsewhere… I’d opt to be the anonymous computer network technician. Right now I feel like a jerk for criticizing them. Although… there is a point where you have to put pride above a job — especially if they aren’t all that lucrative — and how can you keep your pride if your are told to cheerlead for Woods as you read about Galea and the coed neighbor and Perkins waitress and the choking and slapping texts and the…

      Tilghman was a host — I think the main one — for the last Olympics. She was pretty stilted.

      I get annoyed because they seem to have an agenda, and they don’t seem to care about even-handedness and factual accuracy. But in their minds, they probably think, “You don’t understand. I’m paid to go on live TV, look nice, and make emphatic comments (or, in Charlie’s case, to crack tame jokes and be cheerful). Consistency, accuracy, nuance — who cares about those!

      But, then, guys like Mike and Mike manage to entertain AND provide legitimate debate and criticism.

      Thinking about pay, I guess they don’t have to pay too much because, if you have the right personality, the job is pretty soft. If you are nice-looking and outgoing and well-spoken, even if not all that astute, you can handle the job. So I guess there is a long line of people who would love to step in and replace these guys. Which would have a dampening effect on salaries.

      Good info. Thanks, again.

      • JoseyWales says:

        they get free golf…they get free golf clubs…they get inside the ropes…they get free food in the press tent…that’s enough in lieu of dollars for most of these hacks…MSNBC took a shot with Tilghman at the Olympics…she laid an egg and was not asked back…

  4. Lanny…I enjoy reading your stuff because it can be controversial…and that I like.
    But methinks that you do go overboard with your GC personality criticisms.
    They have a job to do.. They know that Woods is still important to many people.
    You can see the responses to any article that includes Woods…so why wouldn’t they use him as much as they can… As for the Josey Wales character…Where is he getting this inside information and why are you so eager to accept it ?

    • lannyh says:

      He’s been here a long time and is honest. I assume he go the information from research, or perhaps contacts. I accepted it because he’s always been honest, and the information seems plausible.

      Now, pay attention to what I am about to say: If they want to discuss Woods for ratings, fine, but why cheerlead for him? Brady has gotten a ton of attention, but much of it was negative. See the difference? The golf media treats Woods with kid gloves and acts like his paid publicity firm. See?

    • JoseyWales says:

      hello Arthur…Golf Channel announcer salaries have been published from time to time…Tilghman’s salary was published…my numbers are not precise but are pretty close…I did work for a major media corp. for ten years so I have some knowledge…you don’t have to accept them as gospel…I just put it out there for conversation and discussion purposes…my Golf Channel TV ratings are taking from actual Nielsen numbers…take care and regards…Josey

    • JoseyWales says:

      just as a guide…here are some other sports announcer salaries…
      Jim Nantz 7-10mil
      Joe Buck 7mil
      Bob Costas 5.5mil
      Al Michaels 5mil
      N. Faldo 8mil
      C. Berman 3mil
      Dan Patrick 5mil
      M. Tirico 3mil
      C. Barkley 1.6mil
      Johnny Miller renewed his contract with NBC through 2017…I don’t know how much he makes….am guessing he is making around 3mil per year with a limited work schedule. Guys like McCord, Maltbie, Peter Kostis are probably around 800k. As for those folks who work exclusively for the Golf Channel like Chamblee, Lerner, Tilghman, etc…all are under 500k per year.

      • lannyh says:

        Interesting! That’s a huge difference. Maybe that’s why Chamblee was so touchy when I mentioned Nobilo (who moved to CBS).

  5. Another thought on one of your statements Larry….That Jordan is chasing “all time immortals” and not Tiger Woods…I would rather phrase it this way….Jordan is chasing golf immortals…then he’ll chase down Tiger Woods and finally chase down the “all time immortal”, Jack Nicklaus.
    But with the talent out there today it will be a massive task.

  6. TigerFan says:

    “You get a nice trophy and it goes down on your Wikipedia.” – Spieth on what he gets for being POY”

    Wonder what he’ll think if he wins SI’s worthless award.

    • Sports-realist. says:

      …, the more we learn about these rigged awards(from the emmy’s to the grammy’s to the oscar’s), and to these little magazine trophies(I picture the Caddyshack tournament trophies for the caddie tournament), the less I think any of us care……
      …..To follow up, there were multiple sources that states these awards shows are usually about the labels,movie companies, ect, DECIDING who they want to PROP up to help them make more money, as opposed to who was really the best ect……..
      ……This ofcourse goes right into the “why are they still always bringing up Tiger Woods in articles” by today’s media….

  7. Sports-realist. says:

    So far I’m not impressed if that “S” is the Spieth symbol…First impressions is that it reminds me of those atari 2600 graphics for a racetrack or something……Maybe it wil grow on me….Ofcourse this took hours/weeks/months for their creative dept to come up with that? eh….

    • TigerFan says:

      I think I’m agreeing with you when I say, that “logo” is awful. Reminds me of the Ian Poulter logo that takes way to long (relatively speaking) to figure out what it is.

      Of course I have to throw out the TW logo which is obvious, but, also look at the logos of Serg and Justin Rose….very obvious at first glance. I’m sure there are others but those jump out.

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