by G. Rennie
The Golf Channel has an ever expanding stable of expert commentators and they put them to good use at events like The Masters where they don’t get to broadcast any live action. Ensconced in wood paneled, fireplaced sets evoking the finest private clubs GC’s team of talking heads probe and pronounce on just about any issue of interest to golfers. One of the newer additions to the roster, who seems to get air time only when the majors are in play, is Notah Begay. A four tie winner on the PGA Tour, Notah is probably best known as a close friend to Tiger Woods and a former teammate of Tiger’s on the Stanford golf team. I’ve been favorably impressed with Notah’ s thoughtful, sometimes offbeat opinions but he had a bad day yesterday as he got the worst in an exchange with John Feinstein. The subject, of course, was Tiger. Over the past 18 months, since TigetGate, Fienstein has been a consistent voice noting that Tiger, despite his announced commitment to change his ways, hasn’t changed in any notable way. Feinstein is one of the most eminent writes/commentators in golf and he doesn’t pull his punches. He said Tigers’ behavior on course, and in the golf world hasn’t changed at all. He hasn’t changed how he relates to fans, with autograph sessions brief and always while he walking and with a photographer in tow. He hasn’t changed his schedule to help out some of the lesser stops on tour that would get a huge gate boost from his attendance. He hasn’t played in the Par 3 at Augusta which could show his fans the lighter side of Tiger. On course, he’s still slamming clubs, cursing like a weekend hacker, and spittin’ all over the course. ”Where’s the change?” Feinstein asks, and he’s right on the mark, in my opinion.
Notah didn’t see it that way, reasoning that Tiger is justified in using the same approach now that brought him success in the past. I suppose it’s predictable that he would be an unabashed apologist for Tiger but it’s disappointing . It’s reasonable to think that Notah landed his Golf Channel spot, in part, due to his friendship with Tiger but that doesn’t mean he must reflexively defend Tiger in every instance. A little more critical judgment will serve Notah better in the future.