Adam Fonseca-Stephanie Wei Interview

I’m very much in a function-over-form mood today, so here’s the link, and let me start with two lists:

Questions Fonseca Should Have Asked:

  1. Thank Wei for her defense of Kevin Na, and ask her her general thoughts about how all that was handled and the way the media sets up a narrative from which it seems incapable of deviating.  Kevin Na — Slowing Playing Weirdo.  Then, in the context of Na and the slow-play rap he got, bring up the slow play of Tiger Woods — David Duval famously pointed this out — and how the media literally never mentioned that.
  2. Ask her about the Tiger Woods missing ball episode wherein a marshal ruled that the ball had been stolen, not lost, based on a bizarre story from a fan.  The question would not be so much about the incident as about any fallout or followup she got.
  3. My memory is that Wei had a soapbox moment this past year on Twitter wherein she wrote of sexism and racism among golf reporters.  (Okay, I would research that better if I were actually going to interview her…)  I would use that as the basis for a question on what she thinks about the coverage of Asian players in the U.S., on the men’s tour, and, perhaps even more, on the women’s tour.
  4. I would ask about the Fox Sports Asia television gig, what it was like, whether she is still doing it or seeking to do it, if she liked television, etc.
  5. What the whole Ivy League thing was like.  I could spend an entire hour on that.
  6. What the whole NYC socialite thing was like.  I could spend an entire hour on that, too.  It’s not my thing, and I generally have a pretty negative view of it, but it’s a exotic, foreign culture to me, and the anthropologist inside me would find it fascinating.  Before asking, I’d tell her she should not feel obliged to answer if she didn’t want.

Questions I Would Have Asked:

  1. What have you heard about woods and PEDs?
  2. What do you know the Terez Owens report about Tiger Woods and Biogenesis?  How much is this, or was this, discussed among the golf media?  Isn’t it odd that this remains posted, when there was such a strong reaction to Olsen’s radio comments (concerning a suspension; DJ was suspended, recall, he was “suspended”)?  Does it not seem like the facts must have not suited them regarding Biogenesis?  What have players said about it?  Does the media even ask?
  3. Who are the worst Tiger Woods cheerleaders?
  4. Who is the most cheerleader out there?
  5. Thoughts on Golf Channel, on Morning Drive.  (Fully aware she might be less then forthright if she saw them as potential future gig.)
  6. Tell her about my article describing the day Kelly Tilghman was leaning into Tiger Woods like cat rubbing against the leg of a farmer holding a milk pail.”  Tell her that sums up the golf media in my eyes.  (I’d swear to her I was describing the incident accurately, but I’d also have to know she might not believe me.  Why oh why didn’t I video record my computer screen!)
  7. What do you think of Phil Mickelson and his insider trading situation?

I would probably come up with a lot more questions if I were actually doing an interview and spent time thinking about it.

Okay, with that out of the way, let’s look at the actual interview.  Let’s start with something that got a little more timely in the two days since I jotted down my notes.  Here are a few snippets of  Stephanie discussing the Tiger Woods presser at last year’s PGA Championship:

  • “The weirdest press conference”
  • “People were asking Tiger about his thoughts on, like, the weather.”
  • I was like, “What is he doing here even?”
  • “He’s not going to say anything new.”
  • “… was getting lobbed the most random questions, and it just made me, it was kind of sad, in a way, cause I was like, ‘Wow, no one really cares.'”

Stephanie referred to the Ryder Cup Task Force as “ridiculous, absurd.”  Amen.  (Another question for Stephanie…  Woods and Duval, in the past, called the Ryder Cup an “exhibition.”  Rory has, too, I believe.  Thoughts?)

There was a kind of melancholy to it.  Or maybe it was just me.  At any rate, I picked up the vibe of a last day at high school, or a last day at college, or a last day at a long-held job, or a relationship.  You are moving to a new town and you see the city limits sign in your rearview mirror.

Is the PGA rinky-dink?  I’d always thought of them as a big, top-notch, professional organization, but was I was just naive?  Big corporations can be corrupt and incompetent, of course, but they are seldom petty.  Wei related a couple of incidents that show downright pettiness.  The first one: she had always gotten credentials tied to Sports Illustrated; last year, after applying as normal, the PGA Tour granted credentials, but tied to her website, Wei Under Par; seems rather arbitrary.  The second one: After the infamous Periscope incident, a lawyer representing Wei spoke to Ty Votaw, and here is how Wei described the early conversations:

Wei: They tried to blackball me; they weren’t going to give me a credential back.

Fonseca: At all?

Wei: At all.

Overall, Wei’s description of her interactions with the PGA Tour left me with the feeling that they are an inferior organization.  That would certainly go along with Finchem’s history of being a blatant Tiger Woods toadie.

Wei remarked that she had some regrets about spending so much time on her golf blog, especially in the early days.

She referred to herself as “bored” — then backed off that word — with her blog.  I think I would be bored to tears if I had to cover golf within the confines of “the industry.”  It would be horrible to write with the purpose of attracting an audience.  I love telling people in the comments section that they should stop wasting time on my website and go post at golfchannel.com.  I never have to “go on a rant” because I can always say exactly what I’m thinking.

Wei’s description of her early days was interesting.  She got a gig covering a major for the Wall Street Journal in 2010 and receive a cold reception from many in the golf media.  (They must have realized she could not possibly suck as bad as them.)  She said she represented everything they feared, and that with their concerns about the bad economy and job insecurity, it was easy for them to take it out on her.

Wei’s future is a bit up in the air.  Did she say “crossroads”?  She said she is going to cover the first two events in Hawaii, but was not looking past that.  She said she would prefer a staff job somewhere, and I hope she gets it.  (Although mainstream golf coverage is too fawning not to suck.)

 

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2 Responses to Adam Fonseca-Stephanie Wei Interview

  1. As always, thanks for listening LH. Very much enjoy your reaction pieces. Keep up the good work.

    • lannyh says:

      Well, thank you very much. I’m keeping an eye on TWIGB. I hope it doesn’t lose its edge. Suggested topic: Why Did Tiger Woods Fall Off Cliff Immediately After Two Major PED Reveals?

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