November 2009


Excuse me while I throw up.

Since hearing about the Tiger Woods situation on Saturday morning, I’ve been reminded why I hate the media. And, no, not because it’s “liberal,” because, the fact is, both CNN (“liberal”) and Fox News (“conservative”) both have something to sell and it usually isn’t objectivity.

The reason I disdain the media is because 50% of media coverage these days is gossip. Whether it’s John and Kate, Tiger Woods, Taylor Swift, Alex Rodriguez–or you name the the latest 15-minute-famer–most television hosts would rather discuss some reality contestant’s one-night-stand more than [insert anything that actually matters here].

Image: scubaeddie32/Flickr

Look, I’m not naive. Tiger Woods is one of the world’s most famous people. He’s an icon. If he allegedly gets in a wreck in his driveway at 2:30 in the morning and passes out in the street with cuts all over his face, then, yes, that’s going to make news.

But somehow, probably with the dawning of the internet age (I’m doing my part), our society has turned news into a voyeuristic obsession to know everything about everyone who is more famous and makes more money than we do.

It’s sad, really.

I’ve done it. Heck, I listened to the radio today while two idiot sports talk hosts speculated for 15 minutes about what Tiger was up to at that hour. We thrive on it. You’ve got to watch National Geographic or the Food Network just to get away from all the gossip nonsense.

Massive websites and companies exist with the sole purpose of finding out who A Rod is sleeping with and where Kanye West ate dinner last night. But we’re buying it, or else they wouldn’t be selling it. And we’ve been eating up this Tiger Woods story.

So let me say this: I don’t care. Tiger Woods is not my president. Tiger Woods is not my pastor. Tiger Woods is not my family member. Tiger Woods is not my friend.

I like Tiger Woods as a golfer. He’s always been one of my favorites, actually. I’ve built him up quite a bit on this blog in the last 18 months. I really like the guy. But I don’t know anything about him. Nothing. Tiger Woods’ personal life is not my business, and Tiger Woods’ personal life in no way affects my job, my marriage, or anything else that matters in my life.

If it turns out that the pedestal couldn’t support Tiger and his lack of judgment, then that’s our fault for placing him on the pedestal in the first place. He’s got issues just like the rest us.

Maybe not the same stuff, and maybe not to the same degree. But we’ve all got baggage, no? Tiger’s just got a lot of money to hide his issues–or, maybe in this case, to put a big fat nationally televised spotlight on them.

As I said, I’m not stupid enough to think this isn’t going to get covered. It is THE Tiger Woods, after all. But the morbid rubbernecking with this story is flat out disgusting. And, the fact is, we know very few facts outside of scumbag gossip websites. But as long as they get the web traffic, they’ll keep on posting.

In sum, don’t give in to the gossip. And if it’s all true–whatever “it” may be–take a deep breath and realize that Tiger Woods is just a dude who is really good at a game. That’s it.

Your neighbor Bob the candlestick maker is probably a much better person than Tiger, or any other athlete, ever dreamed of being. That’s not a slight to Tiger; it’s just reality. Celebrity does not guarantee morality.

***

Several years ago, I had an article published on this exact topic from a Christian angle. But the subject wasn’t Tiger Woods; it was Michael Vick and baseball players on steroids. Read “When Heroes Fall.”

Enjoy the turkey and the football.

This Thanksgiving brings two guarantees for me.

First, I will gorge myself on fried turkey over the next four days, but hopefully not to the point that I undo all of the health benefits from having run in two half marathons in the last two months.

Second, my Georgia Bulldogs will unfortunately get throttled by Georgia Tech in the 2009 version of “Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate.” Call me a pessimist, but I’ve never been more certain of anything. This doesn’t happen often, so Tech should enjoy the upperhand this year.

If you’d like to read about golf with a Thanksgiving twist, something I simply don’t have the creative juice for today, then check out ESPN Golf Writer Jason Sobel’s “99 reasons to be thankful.

See you next week.

Welcome to Game Under Repair’s yearly nugget of news about the LPGA Tour.

Life isn’t so good on the LPGA.

With the economy continuing to suck, corporations are choosing their sponsorships more prudently. Apparently, professional women’s golf isn’t high on the list.

This week, new LPGA Commissioner Marty Evens announced that the LPGA Tour would be cutting back its slate of events in 2010. The 24 scheduled events are three less than the total number in 2009 and mark the least amount of events on the LPGA Tour in 40 years.

Of the 24 events, only 13 will be hosted in the U.S., with the season opening in February in Thailand and Singapore.

If the LPGA wants to drum up more corporate support in the States, then hosting 11 events overseas might not be a good plan. But my guess is that the LPGA is pretty desperate right now, and an official event in Singapore is better than no event at all.

Join me again sometime in November 2010 for my next update on the goings-on of the LPGA Tour.

I’m going to be honest: I’m not a well-traveled golfer.

I’ve played at a lot of nice courses over the years, thanks to high school, college, and summer tournaments. But outside of that, about 95% of the golf courses I’ve played are in my former home state of Georgia. Since moving to Tennessee last March, I’ve probably made it to about 10 courses here. I guess I’m just a creature of habit.

Maybe I’m an optimist, but I see some type of golf vacation in my future. The future could be ten years away, but it’s the future nonetheless.

pinehurst2

Pinehurst tops my wish list of golf vacations. (Image: deltaMike/Flickr)

Here’s a few of my vacation targets:

Pinehurst: Is there a better golf destination in the world?  With 8 courses on the resort, a spa and plenty of shopping for the wives, plus a world-class hotel and restaurant, does it get better than this?

Scotland: I’m a Bruce, so Scotland is a no-brainer. Italy and Scotland are the top two countries on our must-visit list, even if I never play golf. That said, it’s hard to pick just one course from Scotland—St. Andrews, Carnoustie, Turnberry. It’s a long list.

Pebble Beach: This one is going to happen one day, maybe sooner rather than later. Maybe I can even work up a second round at Spyglass Hill.

Spain: I’ve read a little about La Manga Las Lomas Village lately. The resort has been named European Golf Resort of the Year several times. With three outstanding championship courses, this is as good as European golf gets.

So those are a few of my wishlist destinations. Any suggestions?

Sometimes, golf etiquette seems so obvious that I wonder how people miss it in the first place.

Such is the case with cell phones on the golf course.

cell phone guy

When Cell Phone Guy isn't looking, throw his phone in the lake. (Image: Explosion 5000/Flickr)

In my opinion, cell phones are welcome on the course—with a few seemingly obvious stipulations: only use them in between shots, preferably whilst driving the cart, and never within 100 yards of your fellow player. Yes, 100 yards.

This past summer, I was playing in a tournament at my local course. One of my playing partners answered a call, on the tee box,  as I was stepping up to my shot on a 205 yard par 3.

Not only was his phone on, it was also turned up, it rang three times to the tune of some god awful 80s pop song, he answered the call, and proceeded to talk, rather boisterously, while I attempted to prepare for my shot.

I waited on him for another minute to finish the call. In a tournament. Seriously. This guy wasn’t even a new player; he was a solid golfer. Isn’t this basic golf etiquette 101?

Cell Phone Guy needs to realize this: Most people go to the golf course to get away for a few hours from the distractions and stresses of life. A round of golf is a mini-vacation of sorts. The golf course is a resort, a bastion of peacefulness and solitude, though only temporary.

The last thing in the world we (and by “we” I mean golfers everywhere) want to hear is a playing partner “whispering” on his phone about his girlfriend issues, his crappy stocks, or the milk and bread run his wife wants him to make after the round. Please, spare us.

If  your life is so hectic that you can’t place that cell phone on silent, that you can’t return that call in three minutes when your fellow golfers have already played their shots, then maybe golf isn’t your game, my friend.

Give bocce ball or lawn darts a try. They take much less time and obnoxiously loud phone calls are welcome.

Previous Golf Pet Peeves

#8: The Intrusive Golf Course Maintenance Worker

#7: The Drunken Wedding Party

#6: The Distance Exaggerator

#5: The Golf Channel Guy

#4: Stewart Cink’s Green Shirt

#3: The Mulligan Golfer

#2: The Shot Jinxer

#1: The Shot-By-Shot Recap Golfer

Armchair Golf is currently featuring another edition of my Golf Pet Peeves series.

Go over to Armchair Golf and refresh your memory of The Golf Channel Guy.

Golf Pet Peeve #9 to come here on the blog later this week.

pga logoThe PGA Tour’s version of the crappy BCS will not be changing in 2010.

Awesome!

I always have  a blast getting out the calculator during the Tour Championship to find out how many decimal points a missed four-foot putt will cost Phil Mickelson.

This is the first time since 2006 that the Tour hasn’t changed the points system. Apparently, the decision-makers didn’t even discuss changing the system at their board meetings this week.

The point system actually worked in 2009, but it still sucks. It’s an uninteresting way to end the season during a time in which the Tour is competing against the NFL and the MLB for viewers.

I’ll say it for the 9,000th time. The Fed Ex Cup needs a match play format.

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