by Jeff Skinner
You know that old public relations adage “Any publicity is good publicity?” Well I don’t think the latest publicity is doing golf any good. It seems that all the latest headlines are covering everything except what is happening on the course. Golf looks more like a Jerry Springer Show than the calm and civil sport we have come to know.
Controversy, lawsuits, bickering and verbal spats between players are the territory of the NFL, NBA and MLB. The world of golf is far too refined and dignified to partake in such boorish behavior. Well, not so much anymore.
We should be talking about Tiger’s four wins, the impending U.S. Open, Rory’s game, first time winners, Phil’a arthritis, anything on the course …please. Instead we are deluged with off course issues that are dragging the game down.
First Tiger takes a “bad drop” at The Masters and then there’s outrage when he doesn’t withdraw. Vijay gets off on a technicality from his banned substance admission and he turns his lawyers loose on the PGA Tour. What would he have done if he was actually punished?
Sergio says he doesn’t like Tiger, Tiger says big deal I don’t like him either. Tiger’s accused of being a bully on the course. Sergio’s accused of being a crybaby.
The USGA and R&A say they will ban the anchored stroke. The PGA Tour says they’ll think about it and maybe will play by their own rules. A few players threaten to sue if they are not allowed to anchor their long putters.
And then Sergio drops the “fried chicken” bomb. Is this golf or reality TV?
Golf is supposed to be different. All the other sports are the ones that deal with drugs and lawsuits and spoiled prima donnas that ruin their sport, not golf.
It’s not supposed to be this way. Remember this is the game of sportsmanship and integrity. This is a sport where etiquette is just as important as the rules. Heck you’re supposed to call penalties on yourself. Where else does that happen?
All this mess may be good for the ratings on The Golf Channel and good for the media and websites and bloggers. But it sure isn’t good for the game.
At this rate it won’t be long before when someone asks “Who won?” they won’t be asking about the golf. They’ll be asking about the lawsuit.