They’re piling on to Tiger:
By: Richard Lee King, Author of A Pursuit of Life.
Boy they were piling on to Tiger yesterday. Good thing he turned it around. The way they got started he could have turned into a real villain, if he hadn’t.
Yesterday, during the lead-in to the 3rd round of the United States Open Championship in golf for 2010, Jimmy Roberts, one of the announcers, says to David B. Fay, president of the USGA, “Let’s move on, to another topic that’s been a big issue this week, the Greens. The course is in magnificent condition, at least to the eye, but there has been some criticism, notably from some top players, about the condition of the course. What’s your take on that David?”
Mr. Fay responds, “Well it’s the old saying, you are entitled to your own opinions, but not necessarily Fact, the golf greens are in excellent condition. They are in the best condition they have ever been for a U S Open here……” “…… On Thursday, you had two players make comments as it related to the putting greens and putting. Worlds #2 said ‘I putted awfully.’ “I can accept that,” says Fay, then he continues with this little tidbit, “Worlds #1 said, ‘The greens were awful.’ That’s wrong, I cannot accept that.” If you follow golf, you probably know that the Worlds #2 was referring to Phil Michelson and Worlds #1 refers to Tiger Woods. The USGA doesn’t like to be criticized and Mr. Fay was letting Tiger know that.
Later, on Tigers second hole, he has a tough shot from heavy rough, just behind a sand bunker. They talk about how tough it is and finally Tiger hits it and one of the announcers, (Sorry I didn’t catch his name, but I think it was Brad Faxon) comments something like that’s about all he could do, and Johnny Miller comes back. “I don’t know about that, that’s just a bad shot. He could have done better than that………….” I must say, they aren’t cutting him any slack at this point in the telecast.
But, you have to give it to Johnny Miller. He must have realized that he had criticized the number one player in the world and got to worrying about what would be said about him… So a little while later they show a “slow mo replay” of Tiger hitting a driver off the tee to the 3rd hole, and Miller goes into the biggest, gushiest explanation of anybody’s swing that I have ever heard from him….. I can’t repeat it word for word, but as he is completing his analysis of it he says, “Perfect. Perfect. Perfect. And Perfect!” I’ve never heard him gush more. Then, just a few minutes later, Tiger hits his second shot into the same hole, he hits it a little long and Johnny is all over him again…. he says, “He can’t go there, Brad.”
Later, he is trying to indicate how difficult he considers a putt of about 4 foot, that Tiger is faced with, is going to be and he says, “This is the putt that made me an announcer.” Tiger, of course steps up and knocks it right into the heart of the hole and Johnny says, “He made it look easy.”
The point is, this is not an indictment of Johnny Miller’s announcing style. He gives credit when credit is due. But, he’s doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to talking about any deficiencies he might perceive in a player. Between his comments and those of David B. Fay, one would get the impression that Tiger still hasn’t regained his “MEDIA GLOW” on all fronts. However, the 66 that he put on the board during that round has more than likely staved off a lot of criticism down the road. Historically, we are a “bandwagon” society. You’re either on or off that bandwagon.
We talk about the US Open a lot. But as a golfer, I’m here to tell you we don’t really think about playing in it. Not really. Why would we. It’s a pipedream if you think you could ever qualify to play in it. How many years have they been playing it? One hundred and Ten, or something like that. How many different players have ever played in it? How many millions of people, world wide have played at least 20 rounds of golf in all that time? One would think that at least half of those people, at one time or another, must have fantasized about how great it would be, if one day they were lucky enough to qualify for the US Open….. Yet only a few have. Each year several thousand of the most elite golfers in the world attempt to qualify for that very limited field. When all is said and done less than150 people actually get to play in it. And about 70 of them will make the cut to play on the weekend.
Now, imagine yourself as Russell Henley or Scott Langley the two amateurs to make the cut this year. Just imagine playing on Saturday and Sunday in the US Open. Add to that, the fact that it’s being played at PebbleBeach, often referred to as the best golf course in the world and it’s just hard to believe that any golfer in the world wouldn’t give back his only hole in one to trade places with you. And that’s just for the privilege to play in it. Winning it, just once, would be the crowning achievement of a lifetime. Tiger is already a three time winner of this most prestigious event. Maybe Johnny and David should cut him a little slack.
© copyright 2010 Richard Lee King, author of: A Pursuit of Life