If You Dont Have Anything Nice to Say
Nowhere, as far as I know, does it say that a golfer must, after finishing his round, talk to the media. He has to show up on time, abide by the rules, sign his card and he is free to go. Of course, we want more. We want him to tell us the story, fill in the blanks and give us sound bites that are clever, free of clichés and do all this in a civil manner.
Are we asking too much? After all, to quote Maximus Decimus Meridius from the movie “Gladiator,” “Were we not entertained?” I most certainly was. I was beyond entertained; I was engaged and my head was spinning with the maelstrom of birdies and eagles. Yet, I wanted more, I wanted Tiger to say, “Well Bill, it felt good to be in the hunt late on Sunday in a major and I hope Brandel is choking on his analysis of my swing. I hope he knows by now that my ‘faux’ finish is real and it works.”
Better yet, he could’ve said: “I don’t know how this is going to end but I want to thank the patrons for their support this week and like the rest of the golfing world I’m going to go watch this tournament end and hope that I get to play more golf today. Nice talking to you, Bill.”
Instead Tiger was terse and short, possibly distracted by thoughts of what might have been or angered by what might have been. Nonetheless, his chance to connect with the fans on any level other than a visceral one was missed.
Why agree to talk if you’re not going to cooperate and what prompts Tiger to be so consistently smug, when he is interviewed? Most agree to talk after a round, either with TV or writers, out of a sense of obligation to their sponsors who pay them large sums of money for exposure and because there is much to gain by telling their story. Perhaps unfair judgments are made immediately, as to the intellect of the individual – whether he is nice, whether he is tough minded, whether he is bitter or emotional – but regardless, we all want to hear what they were thinking as they played. Having just jumped out of the fire it is understandable if players are not as interesting as their golf led us to believe, but we are a forgiving audience, who by and large, just want to know that the player is worthy of our interest.
Arnold Palmer gave so much to the throngs of reporters and they loved him for it and continue to love him for it, evidenced by the fact that he is still one of the highest paid athletes in the world and hasn’t won on Tour since the early '70s. Jack Nicklaus was respectful of journalist’s jobs to tell the story and was always appropriate.
Today, Phil Mickelson is good when dealing with the press, calls them by name, smiles and gives more than he is asked and when a question isn’t well phrased or isn’t clear he is accommodating, knowing that interviewers make bogeys from time to time too. Phil makes millions because of many things – because he wins, the way he wins and the way he answers questions, all of which make him a very attractive spokesperson for companies. CEOs of the companies he represents tell me he is worth every penny.
Tiger, despite not winning last year and despite losing sponsors, made over $70 million and was the highest paid athlete in the world. What is he being paid for? Is it just to win? Perhaps it is and that is enough for his sponsors, but if he wins and then is rude, does the sponsor get what it is paying for? Does the sponsor get the positive association that they hope will bias a viewer to buy its product? Maybe it doesn’t matter what Tiger says after an interview or how he says it, but I suspect it does.
It does matter and the millions Tiger is paid are for what he does after he wins, when we all want to connect the dots and figure out if he is worthy of our attention. He is free to be terse and short and smug but I suspect it will hurt him eventually, because skills fade, legacies endure and after the curtain goes down, companies pay for legacies. In the meantime I think Tiger should just say no and let his golf speak for him, because at least that gives us hope.
Years ago, when enduring a long series of questions after a round, Ben Hogan said, “ I hope one day that a deaf mute wins the U.S. Open, so you guys will have to figure things out on your own.”
I’m sure Tiger feels the same way, but since he is neither deaf nor mute, he should give his sponsors what they are paying for or give the money back. After all, he is not obligated to talk after a round; he is paid to.
Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off
NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.
Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.
The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.
Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.
Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.
Third-round tee times for the 147th Open
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.
Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.
Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.
Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.
Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.
4:15AM ET: Gavin Green
4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed
4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose
4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton
4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley
5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner
5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson
5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)
5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood
5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello
6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford
6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma
6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele
6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood
6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na
6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin
7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim
7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira
7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters
7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li
7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker
7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink
8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook
8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris
8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim
8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari
8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson
8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell
9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka
9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott
9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren
9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone
9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett
10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler
10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell
10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau
10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen
10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele
10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood
11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson
Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.
He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.
“There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.
At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.
Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.
“I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”
Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?
Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.
Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.
“I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”
Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.
Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.
“It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.
More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.
“I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”