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  Why Play the Tournament?  

I was listening to commentary on the Golf Channel during the first day of the 2009 PGA Championship.  I like the Golf Channel and I like Kelly Tilghman, but she introduced a dialogue that was a bit off the wall.


It’s no secret that ratings are better when Tiger plays in a tournament, and I’m sure there is increased interest when he is in the lead or within striking distance.  Tiger was in the lead during this GC banter that I guess precipitated Tilghman’s remarks. 


Most golf fans know that Tiger is 4 majors away from tying Jack Nicklaus’ record of eighteen (18) majors, 5 majors away from establishing a new record.  I guess because Tiger was leading the first round, Tilghman threw out the notion that “what if Tiger won this PGA tournament and then would be only three majors behind Jack.”  OK – there is still a lot of golf to play, but many golf sportscasters announce each “Tiger tournament” like he is the only golfer in the field capable of winning.  And he is leading, so fair enough.


After then assuming Tiger would win the 2009 PGA, Tilghman next reminded everyone that Tiger is due to win at the Masters.  We all remember his performance at Pebble Beach the last time the US Open was there and it returns to Pebble in 2010.  St. Andrews – Tiger owns the place. 


So her point was – wouldn’t it be something if at next year’s PGA, Tiger could break Jack’s major record and accomplish the Grand Slam in one fell swoop.  Then Tilghman threw it out at her colleagues for discussion.


I don’t know – is it me, or this taking the Tiger-mania thing to a level of insanity?  What she was asking, I guess, is that, if you were a betting man (or woman), would you consider taking Tiger over the entire field for the next five majors.  The next five majors!  He hasn’t one this one yet!  Yes, he is an incredible athlete and possibly the best golfer ever, but what does this say about every other golfer out there?  If I was in the field, I would probably be upset except for the fact that this whole Tiger thing has driven up the weekly purses dramatically, so everyone has a chance of making more money.  I guess you can’t bite the hand that feeds you.


But the next five majors?  One more than the Tiger slam?  I could be wrong, but this doesn’t even sound like a sane topic of conversation.  The Golf Channel announcers have all played golf at a high level and they know how difficult the game of golf is.  But there logic must all go out the window when they step behind the microphone if they entertain a line of dialogue like this.


Maybe Tilghman forgets that Tiger now has a wife, a couple of kids, business commitments.  I wonder if golf is getting the same attention as when he was s single guy going to the range with Butch after every round that he felt was shaky.


These announcers have backed themselves into a corner.  Tiger in the field?  Lots to talk about.  But when you don’t bother to develop any other personalities, what do you talk about when Tiger is recovering from knee surgery?  Thank goodness Tom Watson became the story at the British Open after Tiger missed the cut.  Otherwise, the British Open would have been a complete sleeper (especially with all those Europeans playing).


Tiger is a great player and is often an exciting story.  But instead of talking about him winning the next five majors, how about developing a few more personalities so each tour event resembles competition instead of every tournament only being Tiger’s to win or lose.


Brad Townsend

August 14, 2009





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Birdie Man      Monday , Dec14, 2009
so question the networks all jump the gun.......what are they going to do now that he is not playing...
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