Media and Pro Golfers Growing Farther Apart
Bianchi, Mike, The Florida Times Union
You knew it would come to this. It was as inevitable as a Tom
Watson three-jack, as inescapable as a John Daly hangover, as
inexorable as Craig Stadler's frantic midnight searches for the
hidden Girl Scout cookies.
Why did we ever think golf would be any different? What fools
we were to believe golfers were somehow immune to the
debilitating disease that afflicts all other major-league sports
. . . Mega-Media-Phobia: A fear and loathing of middle-aged men
carrying note pads and wearing rayon golf shirts that say "Ocala
Jai-Alai Celebrity Challenge."
Of course, we shouldn't be at all shocked with the undercurrent
of suspicion rippling through the PGA Tour and pitting golfers
against those who report on them. Really, all that should
astound us is this: What took so long?
In pro football, basketball and baseball, the relationship
between athletes and reporters has disintegrated to a point
where it's tolerable at best, volatile at worst. Just this week,
New Jersey Nets coach John Calipari referred to one
Hispanic-American reporter as a "Mexican idiot." Which
presumably is different from being a normal, run-of-the-mill
White Anglo-Saxon Protestant Idiot.
Golf, though, was always different. It was the last bastion of
common courtesy and chumminess between players and media. It was
a gentleman's game -- and that's how it was covered. . . . Mr.
Palmer, sir, I'd like you to meet the Tribune's new golf writer,
H.R. Puff 'N' Fluff.
But as we approach tee time for the 24th Players Championship,
there are some golfers on the verge of media mutiny. The
acrimony has intensified in the wake of a controversial Tiger
Woods article in the latest issue of Gentleman's Quarterly.
There is a feeling among many golfers that the writer
overstepped ethical boundaries by printing some off-color jokes
Woods felt should have been off the record.
Of course, one wonders why Woods, who is black, would
tastelessly lampoon African-American stereotypes. Unless, of
course, it was the one-quarter Thai in him telling the jokes. Or
do we now have proof of what really happened to Sherman
Hemsley's long, lost son? Check young Tiger's birth certificate
and see if he's not really George Jefferson Jr.
It has reached a point where golfers, as they did at a players
meeting last night, are seriously discussing whether reporters
should be banned from PGA Tour locker rooms. …