by Jeff Skinner
I fired up my DVR last evening as any self respecting golf fan does when he misses the day’s tournament to catch up on the leaders and the rest with a recorded version of Golf Central. Golf Central is the go to source for the news of the day and I hadn’t been able to check in on the WGC Cadillac Championship. I was waiting for Kelly Tilghman and Charlie Rymer to give me the standings and some video of the leaders right off the bat.
I should have realized what was about to happen: Tiger, Tiger and more Tiger. The show opened with video highlights of Tiger’s entire round continued with a clip of his post round interview and then Rymer, the good ol’ boy of The Golf Channel, presented an analysis of Tiger’s driving. Three minutes into the program and no mention of the leader of the WGC.
Cut to the next segment and we got video of Rory McIlroy as he stumbled playing his first round as world number one shooting his first over par round in months. They spent two minutes on Rory before they finally mentioned the leaders Adam Scott and Jason Dufner, with a quick clip and then a graphic of the leaderboard.
Are you kidding me? That was five minutes into the program and they finally get around to mentioning the leader. We all understand the “Tiger effect” and how he draws fans to the game but he was six over par and six strokes back of the leaders, who deserve another mention here, Scott and Dufner.
Kelly and the Golf Channel Team like to say that “Tiger doesn’t move the needle, he is the needle.” But give me a break. I would say about seventy five percent of the program was devoted to Tiger and they do a disservice to the rest of the field and the tournament itself.
I agree that with Tiger in the mix any tournament is a bit more exciting. But nowadays just as many fans are waiting for him to crash and burn as there are fans that want him to win again.
I am also wondering if any of those “Tiger Only Fans” who couldn’t tell Ernie Els from Ernie Banks are ever tuning in to Golf Central. These are the fans that only watch a round of televised golf if Tiger is playing and if he is out of contention will move on to another activity like Angry Birds or The Kardashians. Does the brass at The Golf Channel actually think that Tiger fans are sitting at their TV’s watching Golf Central to see Tiger? I doubt it.
Golf Central has a great following but it is a niche following. The casual golf fan or the casual Tiger fan isn’t watching The Golf Channel. The fans that watch every tournament, even when Tiger isn’t in the field (yes, casual fans, there is golf without Tiger) the ones who know Adam Scott from Adam Corolla and a birdie from a bogey are watching Golf Central. So the utter devotion to Tiger by the producers on Golf Central leaves me confused.
I do acknowledge the Tiger fascination that surrounds Woods. He gets faces to the tube, sells hats and shirts and gets hits on the internet. But the past two years, especially the past two months has showed us is that there are some very good, entertaining golfers out there that are capable of offering a great television product. It’s time they received their due.
One more thing: The leaders of the WGC Cadillac Championship after the first round are Adam Scott and Jason Dufner at six under par. But don’t wait to hear it on Golf Central.