In light of the news surrounding Rory Sabbatini's alleged argument with Sean O'Hair, should the PGA Tour always make public the details of fines or suspensions? Rex Hoggard and Randall Mell give their takes.
By REX HOGGARD
My esteemed colleague across the aisle – there is actually an aisle between us – will argue that no news is good news, or something to the effect. That ignorance is bliss, that nothing good can come from the PGA Tour airing its dirty laundry.
Yet making fines and suspensions public, an option the Tour has sidestepped for decades, is in the best interest of the sport, if not the players.
There is a legitimacy that comes with transparency. What else would explain policies in almost every other major professional sport that make disciplinary actions public? Twenty million NASCAR fans can’t be wrong, can they?
Earlier this year commissioner Tim Finchem, as only he could, explained that “we see no reason to advise the public of when one of our players does something silly.” Speaking of silly, we wonder if the Rory Sabbatini soap opera would have escalated to such explosive ends had the circuit mixed in a little public scorn.
If the Tour really wanted to convince Kevin Na to play faster, put him on the public clock. If Sabbatini’s habitually poor behavior really is a problem, let the world know. Public humiliation, more so than what amounts to marginal fines, can be powerfully motivational.
By RANDALL MELL
Be transparent, make the discipline public!
That’s what the journalist in me wants.
For the sake of this argument, trying to wear the commissioner’s hat, I’m resisting.
The PGA Tour’s image isn’t perfect, but it might be the best in all of professional sports. As commissioner, I’m protecting that image, the notion that my players may not be perfect, but they behave vastly better than athletes in any other sport. That image is vital to who we are.
Making discipline public suddenly throws a spotlight on bad behavior, every bit of bad behavior, threatening to make the smallest incidents seem larger than they are. If there are 156 players in a field and five of them are fined for cursing or thumping a club, it looks like a big deal in a headline somewhere, even if it isn’t.
The bottom line? If the commissioner detects he really does have a problem, that bad behavior is getting out of control and threatening his sport’s image, that extreme measures are required to repair the problem, then, yeah, he should make discipline public.
Rory Sabbatini, if the incidents alleged are true, is pushing the commish there, but the commish isn't there yet.