Sunday, February 15, 2009

Lazy, Stupid Journalists (2009-02-09)

This is sort of a follow-up on my quick comment from earlier this week when I was wondering why CBS TV would show a bunch of players in their broadcast introduction that didn't in fact play in this tournament, starting with Tiger Woods. I know he has a 9 tournament winning streak at Torrey Pines, but he's still not the story this week, no matter how much you'd like him to be. Then Yahoo Sports decide to run with headlines like "Absent Woods still a major topic" and "Without Tiger, the Buick is anyone's game", during the run of the tournament. Now, I'm not knocking Tiger, far from it. He's the best golfer ever, and he's getting very close to being considered the best athlete of all time. We should consider ourselves lucky to get to watch him perform when he's at his peak. All I'm saying is that if you're going to report on the PGA Tour, the fact that he's not there can not be your lead story. We know he's not there. Even on a full year he doesn't play more than 15 or so tournament, which leaves 35 where he's absent. Since the first year he won a major he's won 14 of 48 majors, which is a similar ratio. There are MANY tournaments where he doesn't play, and MANY majors that someone else has miraculously managed to win, even with him in the field. The PGA Tour is full of stories, each and every week, and it's the responsibility of the paid professional who report on this tour to find these stories rather than pulling the easy Tiger-watch out of their empty note-books. And don't even get me started on those who half-jokingly suggest we should put an asterisk by each tour victory if Tiger didn't play in the tournament. It's absolutely laughable, and it's disrespectful to the golfers who do compete. Each and every player on tour is an awesome golfer. Every year dozens of players come out of every nook and cranny all over the world to try their hand against the PGA pros. They've beaten everyone they've ever played. They've won every tournament available to them. And many get to the tour and realize they're still just hacks compared to the established pros who make a living there year in and year out. PGA professionals make up the 99.999 percentile of all US golfers. That means each of them are better than 100,000 non-tour golfers. "These Guys Are Good" isn't just a clever marketing slogan, it's a scientific fact. So hold your head up high, Nick Watney and Pat Perez, and the other less known players who are competing at a very high level this year. You're the best of the best. It's not worth less because someone isn't playing, or someone else is rusty. This week, you're the story.

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