Its the Medias Fault
In the time Ive written this column Ive seen more responses from enthusiastic folks like you finding fault with the media than Id believed was possible. Never did I think Id escape the comments all together, but WOW.
When Michelle Wie made headlines for playing the Sony Open in Hawaii you screamed that the medias over-hyping this story, and ruining this young girls teenage years.
Just cover the men, you said. Shes not even competitive. Let her win something first!
Not So Recently
When Annika Sorenstam played at the Bank of America Colonial two years ago you fired away with high pitched frequency saying that its a mans tour ' let her play where she belongs.
This is nothing but a publicity stunt, you declared.
When John Daly made all of his personal news off the course, we needed to let him alone.
Its none of your business, you moaned.
When Tiger Woods plays and we talk about it, we talk about it too much. When he doesnt play and we talk about him, we slight the rest of the PGA Tour. If he hits a jaw-dropper of a shot worth praising, we cant help ourselves. If he plays poorly and leaves us questioning him, we hold him to an unfair level.
You guys go on and on about Tiger so much it makes me sick, youve cried. Enough already with Tiger ' hes not the only player out there.
No player causes more of a stir with fans of the game than Tiger Woods. And by my mailbag theres a distinct love him or hate him feeling toward this guy. You folks always have something to say - which is great.
But a strong faction (cmon... you know who you are) seems to feel that Tiger gets too much of everything.
Too much hype. Too much coverage. Too much conversation. Too much criticism. Too much money.
WellHeres what Id like people to realize ' or at least consider when talking about the golf media. Were not in the business of creating the story. But we are in the business of delivering the facts behind what you watch on television or witness in person at a tournament.
And many times what fans of sport (golf in this case) dont realize is how often they steer the ship when it comes to continual storytelling. Give yourself the credit. What we do is react.
And I hope youre sitting down when I tell you that this media type believes our collective group is not positioned on a pedestal unfairly shouting down about the triumphs of Tiger Woods. In my opinion (and isnt it great that we can all have them), we dont dictate policy as much as we follow it.
Yes, everybody who covers golf has their designated rooting interests. But when Brian Hewitt and I talk on the Sprint Post Game about us rooting for the story, we mean it. I have never said Tiger Woods is my favoritebut tell me he isnt golfs biggest ongoing story and Ill beg to differ.
Tigers story started with numbers. Low rounds shot at a very low age. Large numbers of tournaments won growing up. An historic number of amateur wins. A crazy number of wins early in his PGA Tour career. A mind-boggling number of consecutive cuts made. And an impressive number of majors to date.
Heres where youre to blame. Forget the wins for a second. If Tiger plays ' ratings go up. If ratings go up that means youre watching in bigger numbers. Numbers signal interest. Interest shows need. And your need triggers our conversation. Are we at fault for talking too much Tiger? Apparently youthats rightyouare asking for it.
In fact, lately Im beginning to wonder if were actuallydare I say partners in all of this Tiger Woods coverage.
Sure, our mission is to provide fair and balanced commentary. However, our business is also about serving the publics intrigue.
Tiger in the field provides intrigue. Tiger dominating provides intrigue. Players beating Tiger at his best provides intrigue. Tiger struggling provides intrigue. Players stepping on Tigers neck while he is down provides intrigue. Tiger re-tooling provides intrigue. Tiger regaining dominance provides intrigue.
Trust me when I say the rest of the PGA Tours members also follow his every move. Ive witnessed the chit-chat in locker rooms on Tour.
So all I ask is that the next time you see a dip in the ratings or a spike in the ratings. check to see if Woods is competing. The next time youre at an event stuck amidst galleries 6-deep just to get a peek, check to see if its Tiger on the tee. The next time purses go up on the PGA Tour, check to see who gets credit from the rest of the field.
Excess coverage is in the eye of the beholder. At least thats my take as I ponder thoughts of the PGA Tour this weekend without ol whats his name.
Email your thoughts to Kraig Kann
Winning on Kerr's mind this week and beyond
Cristie Kerr moved into position Friday to do more than win the 21st LPGA title of her career.
She moved into position to claim an LPGA Hall of Fame point this week.
Yes, winning is foremost on her mind at the Kia Classic, where she took the lead with an 8-under-par 64 in the second round, she’s on a larger quest, too.
After turning 40 last fall, Kerr was asked what her goals are.
“The Hall of Fame is attainable, if I stick with it,” she said.
Kerr is five shots ahead of Lizette Salas (67), In-Kyung Kim (69), Hee Young Park (70) and Caroline Hedwall (70).
It’s a good time for Kerr to get on a hot streak, with the year’s first major championship, the ANA Inspiration, next week. She has long been one of the best putters in the women’s game, but her ball-striking is impressive this week. She hit 17 greens in regulation Thursday, and she hit 16 on Friday.
“I like winning,” Kerr said. “I like challenging myself. Definitely doesn't get any easier as you get older, with the travel and recovery time. I got up this morning and I'm like, `Man, why does my hamstring hurt?’ From working around this hilly golf course.”
Kerr acknowledged Friday that her body is more vulnerable to time’s realities, but her mind isn’t.
“The golf ball doesn't know an age,” Kerr said. “I've always said that. As long as I stay hungry, going to just keep playing.”
Kerr won two weeks after her 40th birthday last fall, boosting her LPGA Hall of Fame point total to 22. She is five points short of eligibility for induction. A player earns one point for an LPGA victory and two points for a major championship title. So there’s a lot of Hall of Fame ground to gain this week and next.
It’s a long-term goal that motivates Kerr to take care of her body.
“I don't think the golf changes,” Kerr said. “I think, physically, it gets harder as you get older. Like I said, I've got tape on my hamstring. I strained it, just a little bit yesterday, walking around this golf course. It's tough as you get older, just being fresh and rested. I put more focus into that as I've gotten older. I still practice, but off the course I try to get more rest.”
Big names chasing Kerr into the weekend at Kia Classic
CARLSBAD, Calif. - Cristie Kerr shot an 8-under 64 on Friday in the Kia Classic to take a five-stroke lead into the weekend.
The 40-year-old Kerr had eight birdies in her second straight bogey-free round to reach 13-under 131 at rain-softened Aviara.
''I like winning. I like challenging myself,'' Kerr said. ''Definitely doesn't get any easier as you get older with the travel and recovery time. I got up this morning and I'm like, 'Man, why does my hamstring hurt?' From working around this hilly golf course. The golf ball doesn't know an age. I've always said that. As long as I stay hungry, going to just keep playing.''
She has 20 LPGA victories, winning at Aviara in 2015. She won twice last year and helped the U.S. beat Europe in her ninth Solheim Cup appearance.
''It's tough as you get older just being fresh and rested,'' Kerr said. ''I put more focus into that as I've gotten older. I still practice, but off the course I try to get more rest.''
Lizette Salas, In-Kyung Kim, Hee Young Park and Caroline Hedwall were tied for second. Salas shot 67, Kim 69, and Park and Hedwall 70.
''I really like this golf course. I really like the environment,'' said Salas, the former University of Southern California player from Azusa. ''My family gets to come out. So much confidence at the beginning of the week, and definitely showed the first two days.
Jeong Eun Lee was 7 under after a 69, and defending ANA champion So Yeon Ryu had a 70 to get to 6 under.
Ariya Jutanugarn (72), Brooke Henderson (70) and 2016 winner Lydia Ko (71) were 5 under. Shanshan Feng (68) was another stroke back, and Singapore winner Michelle Wie (72) was 1 under.
Lexi Thompson was 2 over after a 74, making the cut on the number in the final event before the major ANA Inspiration next week at Mission Hills.
Kerr opened with birdies on the par-5 10th and par-3 11th, added birdies on the par-4 16th, 18th and second, and ran off three in a row on the par-3 sixth, par-4 seventh and par-5 eighth.
''I don't think you can fall asleep on one shot,'' Kerr said. ''It's a really good golf course. I think I play better on courses that demand the focus, so I think that's why I've played well here in the past. ... I'm trying not to put limits on myself right now. I've got some good things going on with my swing.''
She has long been one best putters and green-readers in the world.
''I can see the subtleties that a lot of people can't,'' Kerr said. ''It's a gift from God being able to do that. I've always had that, so I'm lucky.''
Laura Davies withdrew after an opening 82. The 54-year-old Davies tied for second last week in the Founders Cup in Phoenix, playing through painful left Achilles and calf problems.
DJ hits 489-yard drive, but it doesn't count for history
AUSTIN, Texas – Dustin Johnson is no stranger to big drives, but even for DJ this one was impressive.
Trailing in his Day 3 match at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, Johnson launched a drive at the par-5 12th hole that traveled 489 yards, but that number comes with an asterisk.
“He got lucky it hit the road,” smiled Kevin Kisner, who was leading the world No. 1, 3 up, at the time. “I thought he would make an eagle for sure, he only had 80 yards [to the hole]. He didn’t hit a very good putt.”
Johnson’s drive, which was 139 yards past Kisner’s tee shot, is the longest recorded on the PGA Tour in the ShotLink era, surpassing Davis Love III’s drive of 476 yards in 2004 at the Tournament of Champions.
The drive will not go into the record books, however, because the Tour doesn’t count statistics from the Match Play.
It should also be noted, Kisner halved the 12th hole with a birdie and won the match, 4 and 3, to advance to the round of 16.
Durant leads Champions event in Mississippi
BILOXI, Miss. - Joe Durant had three straight birdies in a back-nine burst and a shot 6-under 66 on Friday to take the first-round lead in the PGA Tour Champions' Rapiscan Systems Classic.
Durant birdied the par-4 11th and 12th and par-5 13th in the bogey-free round at breezy and rain-softened Fallen Oak. Because of the wet conditions, players were allowed to lift, clean and place their golf balls in the fairway.
''It just sets up nice to my eye,'' Durant said. ''It's a beautiful golf course and it's very challenging. The tee shots seem to set up well for me, but the greens are maybe as quick as I've ever seen them here. You really have to put the ball in the right spots. I played very nice today. With the wind swirling like it was, I'm really happy.''
He won the Chubb Classic last month in Naples, Florida, for his third victory on the 50-and-over tour.
''Done this long enough, Friday's just one day,'' Durant said. ''Especially in a three-day tournament, you've got to go out and shoot three good numbers. Fortunate to put one on the board, but I know I have to back it up with a couple of good days because you can get passed very quickly out here.''
Mark Calcavecchia was a stroke back. He won last month in Boca Raton, Florida
''It's probably my best round I've ever had here and it was a tough day to play,'' Calcavecchia said. ''The greens are just lightning fast. They're pretty slopey greens, so very difficult to putt.''
Steve Stricker was third at 68. He took the Tucson, Arizona, event three weeks ago for his first senior victory.
''Just getting it around and managing my game I think like I always do,'' Stricker said. ''You get in the wrong position here with the greens being so fast and you're going to be in trouble. I did that a couple times today.''
Billy Mayfair, Billy Andrade and David McKenzie shot 69. Jerry Kelly, the winner of the season-opening event in Hawaii, was at 70 with Wes Short Jr., Glen Day, Gene Sauers and Jesper Parnevik.
Bernhard Langer opened with a 71, and two-time defending champion Miguel Angel Jimenez had a 72.
Vijay Singh, coming off his first senior victory two weeks ago in Newport Beach, California, had a 73.