Full Disclosure: There was a funny line in yesterday’s edition of Tour Confidential. Mark Godich, Sports Illustrated senior writer wrote, “The PGA Tour won’t want to hear this, but the Presidents Cup truly is an exhibition. Which makes it the perfect event to develop young talent for the Ryder Cup.” Uh, Mr. Godich, the Ryder Cup is also an exhibition.
Follow the Media: Shane Ryan, in Slaying the Tiger: “[P]layers enjoy certain protections from the media, especially on the television side. Fans take their cue from the broadcasts, and have followed suit in fabricating saints from the raw material of mere athletes. It takes a lot to lose this security blanket — to stand exposed before a press that typically goes out of its way to accommodate.” Like when a player getting loaded on drugs, driving his car into his neighbor’s tree and passing out in the street, combined with a creepy sex scandal and links to a doping doc is referred to as “Tiger’s auto accident.”
The Truth Hurts: From the Daily Mail:
There is also the small matter of a Ryder Cup next year but, asked if he [Rory McIlroy] would prefer to win the Masters or the Ryder Cup, there is no hesitation: ‘Masters.’ Some may find that unpalatable, especially as McIlroy had to prove he cares about the competition he once referred to as an ‘exhibition’.
Dovey Mountain Breakdown: The World Match Play was moved from Dove Mountain because “the stars” wouldn’t play there. In 2014, the final year at that venue, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, and Adam Scott did not play. But here’s the thing: Tiger Woods was injured and would play only two more events before getting back surgery; that’s why he did not play, as he had played every event at Dove Mountain until 2014. Adam Scott’s singles match play record is 17-21; he went 0-3 in 2015; is his presence really a big deal? Then there is Phil Mickelson, aka Whiny Little Bitch. He was the lead Dove Mountain/Match Play basher, got his way with the venue and format change — then still didn’t play. The reason? We’re not supposed to mention it, but he was busy trying to stay out of prison for trading Dean Foods on insider information. One other thing: By February of 2014, the guard had already changed. The Day vs Dubuisson was a key day in the transition. Woods, Mickelson, and Scott have won a combined one tournament since that last Match Play at Dove Mountain. They are OWGR #311, #24, and #14, respectively. In 2015, their combined OWGR points gained comes up to 1/3 of what Jordan Spieth alone earned. 1/2 of Jason Day. Fewer than Rickie Fowler. Fewer than Rory in his “disappointing year.”
The Sun Has Setted: I didn’t really give it all that much thought at the time, but Notah Begay’s recent comment about Woods knowing “the sun is setting” on his career was pretty damned harsh. Consider that Notah is pretty much a mouthpiece for Woods, so Notah was probably instructed to used those very words. Consider also that Woods has always pushed happy talk even when it did not match reality. The media expects that, and aids him. Then, too, consider that golf is a sport where, almost always, your career doesn’t die, it fades away. (Look at Ian Baker-Finch; the narrative may be that he fell off a cliff, but he faded away.) So, to use the phrase “the sun is setting” instead of “dominant days are behind him” or “on the downside of his career” must have raised a few eyebrows at Nike. Of course, it might just be planned bar-lowering so, next year, Damon Hack can describe a Woods T10 at the Barbasol as “the biggest story of the year.”
He Swings and Misses: Shane Ryan wrote of the Players, “by the world rankings, even stronger than the other [sic] majors since there are no amateurs here.” Huh? Although it ranked second this year (due to the scheduling of the Match Play the week before), it is not stronger than the PGA Championship or British Open (or U.S. Open, I need to check that one). It is stronger than the Masters due to Augusta’s smaller number of players. The Players is weakened by not having the top Euro Tour players.
Another problem with the endless season… Almost every week, the golf media is stuck in the position of magnifying an event that isn’t that big a deal. I understand sponsors pay a lot of money, and the golf media is anxious to stir up interest, but there is a saying, “If everything is a big deal, nothing is.” Maybe I just stole that from, “Everybody’s friend is nobody’s friend.” At any rate, it’s true. Maybe it’s The Boy Who Cried Wolf.
I’d like more coverage of the golf course and less faux excitement about who wins. When’s the next time we’ll see this much coverage of an event at this course? In fact, I’m going to go look for a good flyover or something right now. I’ll add it later if I find it.