Debate: Is it a good idea for athletes to tweet?

By Randall MellOctober 15, 2012, 3:21 pm

Brittany Lincicome and Christina Kim got into a tweeting argument this past week. If you were advising athletes, would you recommend that they go ahead and tweet or steer clear of it? Our writers chime in with their thoughts.


Pros, keep tweeting until you develop carpal tunnel.

Just learn from your more reckless peers.

Last month, Luke Donald called architect Gil Hanse an unprintable word on Twitter and had to issue an apology, and then, over the weekend, Christina Kim and Brittany Lincicome engaged in a squabble that never should have gone public.

The takeaway from those blunders is obvious: Take five seconds to review the tweet before you click send. Double-check. That could have saved Donald, in particular – his message was intended to be private.

As for the LPGAers? Well, that was just embarrassing – for the players themselves. They came off as catty and childish. The back-and-forth was reminiscent of a schoolyard scuffle, each clique growing in numbers, the name-calling becoming more and more vicious … until the teacher breaks it up, and everyone is sent into timeout, humiliated. If I’m LPGA commish Mike Whan, I fine them not just for conduct unbecoming of a professional, but for conduct unbecoming of an adult.

Instead of reaching their combined 70,000-follower audience, why could they not settle their beef through a text message, or an email? Remember those other methods of communication? I know, I know. So 2010. But every thought doesn’t need to be 140 characters or less. Sometimes, ideas need to be expanded upon. Crazy, I know.

So, young tweeters, when in doubt, dust off the ol’ laptop, fire off an email. Close Twitter, use that message icon.

You’ll spare yourself the embarrassment.


Seriously? Are we really asking this? This is 2012, isn’t it? OK, I thought so.

Yes, of course athletes should tweet. Depending on their personality, these 140-character bursts can be anything from revealing studies of the inner machinations of their personalities to free advertising for corporate sponsors through supportive shoutouts. Either way, tweets bring the athlete closer to his or her fans and the fans closer to their favorite athletes. It’s a win-win scenario on so many different levels.

If I were offering advice to an athlete on how, what, when and why to make their thoughts public, it would probably mirror the advice my dad gave me on prom night: Don’t be an idiot.

More than ever, it’s easy for an athlete – or anyone else, for that matter – to get himself into hot water on a 24/7 basis. No longer must any of them be summoned to a podium in the interview room or stationed in front of awaiting microphones to have their words travel around the world. It can now happen right from the confines of the living room couch, a simple screen tap of the thumbs causing major headlines.

The advantages of tweeting – and other social media adventures – far outweigh the negatives. Like everything in life, though, tweets must be accompanied by a measure of intelligence and caution to avoid those negative situations.


Twitter feels like a more intimate way to communicate directly with your audience, but there’s nothing intimate about it.

Tweets are public property.

Ultimately, there’s no difference between what you tweet and what you say into a microphone in a TV or radio interview or to a reporter holding a digital recorder. In fact, if you’re going to tweet, treat it just like you would a live interview. Don’t say anything you wouldn’t say to a reporter, because Twitter is actually less protected than talking to a reporter. Nothing is off the record on Twitter. There is no such thing as `deep background.' What you tweet today can be a headline in newspapers across the world tomorrow.

Twitter is a terrific tool, an effective way to help build rapport and relationships with your audience, but it’s not much different than calling a news conference.

So if you’re going to tweet beyond the game you play, if you’re going to take stands on politics and religion, don’t feign surprise if it becomes a big deal. You are, after all, practically calling a news conference every time you tweet. You might argue differently, but good luck with that.


In the emerging world of new media the rule of thumb suggests that as a journalist you should never tweet anything you wouldn’t write either in a news story or column, an apropos guide considering this weekend’s public dustup between Christina Kim and Brittany Lincicome.

The LPGA duo went toe-to-toe in 140 characters or less with a healthy portion of tweet-dom watching, and as much as officials would have preferred the two keep their row private neither player tweeted anything that they wouldn’t have said in front of a camera or open microphone.

Therein lies the appeal of Twitter – an unfiltered glimpse (at least in theory) into an athlete’s persona free from media bias and the inherent limitations of our sound-bite society.

Why Kim and Lincicome were sideways really doesn’t matter so much as how they settled their differences, with nothing lost in translation or taken out of context. It was social media at its most enlightening, if not entertaining.

Twitter has facilitated a better understanding of players like Ian Poulter, Stewart Cink and, yes, Kim, that we wouldn’t have had otherwise. You may not always like the message, but you can’t criticize the medium.

Let them tweet.

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Crocker among quartet of Open qualifiers in Singapore

By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 2:20 pm

Former amateur standout Sean Crocker was among four players who qualified for the 147th Open via top-12 finishes this week at the Asian Tour's SMBC Singapore Open as part of the Open Qualifying Series.

Crocker had a strong college career at USC before turning pro late last year. The 21-year-old received an invitation into this event shortly thereafter, and he made the most of his appearance with a T-6 finish to net his first career major championship berth.

There were four spots available to those not otherwise exempt among the top 12 in Singapore, but winner Sergio Garcia and runners-up Shaun Norris and Satoshi Kodaira had already booked their tickets for Carnoustie. That meant that Thailand's Danthai Boonma and Jazz Janewattanond both qualified thanks to T-4 finishes.

Full-field scores from the Singapore Open

Crocker nabbed the third available qualifying spot, while the final berth went to Australia's Lucas Herbert. Herbert entered the week ranked No. 274 in the world and was the highest-ranked of the three otherwise unqualified players who ended the week in a tie for eighth.

The next event in the Open Qualifying Series will be in Japan at the Mizuno Open in May, when four more spots at Carnoustie will be up for grabs. The 147th Open will be held July 19-22 in Carnoustie, Scotland.

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Got a second? Fisher a bridesmaid again

By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 1:40 pm

Ross Fisher is in the midst of a career resurgence - he just doesn't have the hardware to prove it.

Fisher entered the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship with a share of the lead, and as he made the turn he appeared in position to claim his first European Tour victory since March 2014. But he slowed just as Tommy Fleetwood caught fire, and when the final putt fell Fisher ended up alone in second place, two shots behind his fellow Englishman.

It continues a promising trend for Fisher, who at age 37 now has 14 career runner-up finishes and three in his last six starts dating back to October. He was edged by Tyrrell Hatton both at the Italian Open and the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in the fall, and now has amassed nine worldwide top-10 finishes since March.

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

Fisher took a big step toward ending his winless drought with an eagle on the par-5 second followed by a pair of birdies, and he stood five shots clear of Fleetwood with only nine holes to go. But while Fleetwood played Nos. 10-15 in 4 under, Fisher played the same stretch in 2 over and was unable to eagle the closing hole to force a playoff.

While Fisher remains in search of an elusive trophy, his world ranking has benefited from his recent play. The veteran was ranked outside the top 100 in the world as recently as September 2016, but his Abu Dhabi runner-up result is expected to move him inside the top 30 when the new rankings are published.

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McIlroy (T-3) notches another Abu Dhabi close call

By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 1:08 pm

Rory McIlroy's trend of doing everything but hoist the trophy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship is alive and well.

Making his first start since early October, McIlroy showed few signs of rust en route to a tie for third. Amid gusty winds, he closed with a 2-under 70 to finish the week at 18 under, four shots behind Tommy Fleetwood who rallied to win this event for the second consecutive year.

The result continues a remarkable trend for the Ulsterman, who has now finished third or better seven of the last eight years in Abu Dhabi - all while never winning the tournament. That stretch includes four runner-up finishes and now two straight T-3 results.

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

McIlroy is entering off a disappointing 2017 in which he was injured in his first start and missed two chunks of time while trying to regain his health. He has laid out an ambitious early-season schedule, one that will include a trip to Dubai next week and eight worldwide tournament starts before he heads to the Masters.

McIlroy started the final round one shot off the lead, and he remained in contention after two birdies over his first four holes. But a bogey on No. 6 slowed his momentum, and McIlroy wasn't able to make a back-nine birdie until the closing hole, at which point the title was out of reach.

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Fleetwood rallies to defend Abu Dhabi title

By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 pm

The 2018 European Tour season has begun just as the 2017 one ended: with Tommy Fleetwood's name atop the standings.

Facing the most difficult conditions of the week, Fleetwood charged down the stretch to shoot a 7-under 65 in the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, good enough for a two-shot win and a successful title defense.

Abu Dhabi was the start of Fleetwood's resurgence a year ago, the first of two European Tour victories en route to the season-long Race to Dubai title. This time around the Englishman started the final round two shots off the lead but rallied with six birdies over his final nine holes to reclaim the trophy.

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

Fleetwood was five shots behind countryman Ross Fisher when he made the turn, but he birdied the par-5 10th and then added four birdies in a five-hole stretch from Nos. 12-16. The decisive shot came on the final hole, when his pitch from the left rough nestled within a few feet of the hole for a closing birdie.

Fleetwood's 22-under total left him two shots ahead of Fisher and four shots clear of Rory McIlroy and Matthew Fitzpatrick. After entering the week ranked No. 18, Fleetwood is expected to move to at least No. 12 in the world when the new rankings are published.