Monday Mulligan No. 10
I don’t reiterate history on this site, so you will never find extensive shot-by-shot reporting here. My focus on this site is about the Big Show, the preposterous and lovable entertainment menagerie of people, places, and things known as PGA Tour televised golf.
2013 professional golf is half game, half show. Most sports on TV are exactly the same, yet golf is so pedestrian that the showmanship screams in contrast to the demeanor of the game itself. And out of the lush abundance of verdant greenery and majestic trees strolls a wealthy, long-haired young man dressed entirely in orange.
I jump on trends, too. One trend these days is in the announcers’ booth. No matter who is there, or on the course, they wield words of so-called wit like swords of dragonbone steel. There’s a real competition out there to get the best one-liner or obvious observation on-air before your colleague.
Gone are the soft-talking, reverent commentators. Now it’s a free-for-all of forced and repeated observations about the ocean, the grass, the gallery, an idiosyncrasy, or themselves, even while the golfer on the screen is swinging. They talk over each other and don’t make the call on the screen. It’s about them, not the golf. Anyone else notice this? Thank you, I’m glad you agree.
What has gotten much better, are the on-course interviews. The players seem more prepared and hip than they used to be. They give the interviewer a wry smile if they are now asked stupid questions, which has forced interviewers to raise their game.
Here’s another trend: the LPGA has gotten better, sharper, friendlier, more informative, more personal. And the golf is spectacular to watch.
Tell me if I’m wrong: On the PGA Tour, when a pro hits a slightly offline shot or misses an improbable 30-foot putt, he curses and sulks and probably spits. When an LPGA player misses, she shakes her head…then smiles! Who is enjoying the game more?
Some culture shift has happened on the inside of the LPGA tour that I really like. And if you’ve read my previous series on the LPGA, you’ll know that this is a big shift from what I thought back then. They still have not addressed the stronger marketing issues I brought up, but they have nailed the rest.
So, congrats to Mr. Merrick, Ms Shin (and Ms. Ko!), not to mention the Man of Steel, Mr. Langer.
And good luck to Mr. Faldo, Mr. McCord, Mr. Feherty, and Mr. Nance in your arena-like battle of words, wit, and WTF.