Why All the Venom Toward Woods

By Kraig KannMay 14, 2004, 4:00 pm
I thought about titling this weeks column, Why do we Love to Hate? And after giving it strong consideration I remembered something my parents told me long ago. Hate is an awfully strong word, they said.
So I didnt go with it. But I want this weeks words to act as a solicitation of your thoughts on this. (For whatever its worth, last week an overwhelming 85-plus percent of you strongly agreed with my take on the Champions Tour cart issue.)
Seriously, why is it that so many people who follow this game seem to have this harshly negative tone toward Tiger Woods?
Some, by comments I read and receive, actually come across as though theygulphate this guy and what he stands for.
Well, your arguments had better be good, because Im hardly buying the thought. Heres the list of most often stated commentary concerning Tiger.
1. Top of the list ' hes cocky, arrogant, distant and unconcerned about the paying customer who goes out to watch him play.
2. You guys in the media go gaga over this guy and I cant take it anymore!
3. He throws more clubs than a Las Vegas Black Jack dealer, and he gets away with it!
4. His on-course reactions include more foul language than Andrew Dice Clay in his heyday.
5. Hes hardly a role model for kids because of his on-course behavior.
6. Hes not the best, and never will be.
7. His likeness dominates the television screen every time he plays. Arent there any other players playing?!
I could go on, but you get the point.
Now, here is mine: Like it or not, hes the Worlds No. 1 ranked player. He got there by dominating the PGA Tour over a period of time and though hes not presently at the same level, hes still the most talented, most intimidating and most skilled player in the game. So APPRECIATE the talent he has, dont take out your frustration over network coverage being overwhelmingly SLANTED his way, and be glad that the game WE love has an athlete of his caliber playing it.
As for my belief that there is indeed a thread of hatred toward what Woods stands for and also a true enjoyment gained (by some) from his recent struggles, I believe I know where it comes from.
Follow me on this: Sports fans in general love to hate the perceived very best at anything. Some feel as though it is ones civic duty to root strongly against those who are at the top. Dont they?
For example; non-NY Yankee fans gloat when Steinbrenners money doesnt buy a World Series ring. For all his stats, Barry Bonds has more detractors than supporters. John McEnroe was the tennis lightning rod for years. He was looked at as a brat - seemingly despised, despite his enormous talent and record. The Dallas Cowboys were designated as Americas Team for years despite the widespread belief that 49 states in America disagreed with everything they stood for.
Maybe Im wired the wrong way, but as a Chicago native who grew up with a love for the White Sox ' I actually root for the Cubs too! Always have. So in that sense, if you love Davis Love or Mike Weir (not hard to do), cant you also appreciate the man they are trying to supplant at the top of the World Golf Ranking? I dont think we rooted extra hard against Alydar when Affirmed was the horse folks found so perfect.
Like him or not, Tiger Woods is the establishment. He drives the PGA Tours bus. He drives ratings for the networks, and even if his drives arent finding the fairways, he drives folks out to the tournament to watch him play.
So dont blame HIM for being shown on seemingly every shot. Dont abuse HIM for a $2 million dollar overseas appearance fee. Dont carve HIM up for every week that he stays at No. 1 in the world. Hes just doing what he does for a living (damn good one) and he only tees it up about 18 times a year anyway. Thats 34 weeks left for television domination by Heath Slocum, Todd Hamilton and Craig Parry among others.
Know this: I, for one, do not put Tiger at the top of my personal rooting favorites list. But I appreciate the heck out of his ability. I cant think of a time when hes ever intentionally shown me a lack of respect personally or professionally. And I do admit to getting enthused when hes at his best.
Recently, in a brief conversation, I told him that I hoped hed get back his A game. I told him that I felt the game is far better when hes at the top of his trade. And I told him that I felt that the likes of Vijay, Ernie, Phil, Davis and Mike Weir would feel even greater about their current accomplishments if those accomplishments were to come while Woods was playing his best golf. You can call that fawning if you like, but I call it understanding whats best for the current state of our sport and understanding how guys like Weir and Love can become even bigger than they are right now.
So, here's message to all you Tiger Trashers, and folks who cant stand the thought of Tiger Tuesdays despite a very strong viewer rating. Try a new approach. Take it easy on greatness, and find a way to appreciate it for what it is. Find reason to applaud the man. After all ' every time television shows a shot of his gallery ' you ARE THERE instead of somewhere else on the course.
And if, for whatever reason, you cant get past the venom and the hate, sell me on your reasons why. Believe it or not, some of us media types are not a closed shop.
Email your thoughts to Kraig Kann
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Vegas helicopters in to Carnoustie, without clubs

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 9:33 am

Jhonattan Vegas did some range work, putted a little and strolled to the first tee for his 5:31 a.m. ET start in the 147th Open Championship.

Everything before that, however, was far from routine.

Vegas' visa to travel to Scotland expired and the process to renew it got delayed - and it looked like his overseas' flight might suffer the same fate. Vegas, upon getting his visa updated, traveled from Houston, Texas to Toronto, Canada to Glasgow, Scotland, and then took a helicopter to Carnoustie.

He arrived in time on Thursday morning, but his clubs did not. Mizuno put together some irons for him and was able to cobble together his preferred metal woods. He hit the clubs for the first time on the range, less than 90 minutes before his start.

"I'm going to go out there and play with freedom," Vegas told Golf Channel's Todd Lewis.

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How to watch The Open on TV and online

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 5:40 am

You want to watch the 147th Open? Here’s how you can do it.

Golf Channel and NBC Sports will be televising 182 hours of overall programming from the men's third major of the year at Carnoustie

In addition to the traditional coverage, the two networks will showcase three live alternate feeds: marquee groups, featured holes (our new 3-hole channel) and spotlight action. You can also watch replays of full-day coverage, Thursday-Sunday, in the Golf Channel app, NBC Sports apps, and on GolfChannel.com.  

Here’s the weekly TV schedule, with live stream links in parentheses. You can view all the action on the Golf Channel mobile, as well. Alternate coverage is noted in italics:

(All times Eastern; GC=Golf Channel; NBC=NBC Sports; GC.com=GolfChannel.com or check the GLE app)

Monday, July 16

GC: 7-9AM: Morning Drive (stream.golfchannel.com)

GC: 9-11AM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

GC: 7-9PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

Tuesday, July 17

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

Wednesday, July 18

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

Thursday, July 19

GC: Midnight-1:30AM: Midnight Drive (stream.golfchannel.com)

GC: Day 1: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

GC.com: Day 1: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

GC.com: Day 1: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

GC.com: Day 1: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

Friday, July 20

GC: Day 2: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

GC.com: Day 2: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

GC.com: Day 2: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

GC.com: Day 2: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

Saturday, July 21

GC: Day 3: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

NBC: Rd. 3: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

GC.com: Day 3: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

GC.com: Day 3: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

GC.com: Day 3: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

GC: Live From The Open: 3-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

Sunday, July 22

GC: Day 4: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

NBC: Rd. 4: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-2:30PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

GC.com: Day 4: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-2:30PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

GC.com: Day 4: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-2PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

GC.com: Day 4: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-2PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

GC: Live From The Open: 2:30-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

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The Open 101: A guide to the year's third major

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 5:30 am

Take a look at some answers to frequently asked questions about The Open:

What's all this "The Open" stuff? I thought it was the British Open.

What you call it has historically depended on where you were. If you were in the U.S., you called it the British Open, just as Europeans refer to the PGA Championship as the U.S. PGA. Outside the U.S. it generally has been referred to as The Open Championship. The preferred name of the organizers is The Open.

How old is it?

It's the oldest golf championship, dating back to 1860.

Where is it played?

There is a rotation – or "rota" – of courses used. Currently there are 10: Royal Birkdale, Royal St. George's, Royal Liverpool and Royal Lytham and St. Annes, all in England; Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland and St. Andrews, Carnoustie, Royal Troon, Turnberry and Muirfield, all in Scotland. Muirfield was removed from the rota in 2016 when members voted against allowing female members, but when the vote was reversed in 2017 it was allowed back in.

Where will it be played this year?

At Carnoustie, which is located on the south-eastern shore of Scotland.

Who has won The Open on that course?

Going back to the first time Carnoustie hosted, in 1931, winners there have been Tommy Armour, Henry Cotton (1937), Ben Hogan (1953), Gary Player (1968), Tom Watson (1975), Paul Lawrie (1999), Padraig Harrington (2007).

Wasn't that the year Hogan nearly won the Slam?

Yep. He had won the Masters and U.S. Open that season, then traveled to Carnoustie and won that as well. It was the only time he ever played The Open. He was unable to play the PGA Championship that season because the dates conflicted with those of The Open.

Jean Van de Velde's name should be on that list, right?

This is true. He had a three-shot lead on the final hole in 1999 and made triple bogey. He lost in a playoff to Lawrie, which also included Justin Leonard.

Who has won this event the most?

Harry Vardon, who was from the Channel Island of Jersey, won a record six times between 1896 and 1914. Australian Peter Thomson, American Watson, Scot James Braid and Englishman J.H. Taylor each won five times.

What about the Morrises?

Tom Sr. won four times between 1861 and 1867. His son, Tom Jr., also won four times, between 1868 and 1872.

Have players from any particular country dominated?

In the early days, Scots won the first 29 Opens – not a shocker since they were all played at one of three Scottish courses, Prestwick, St. Andrews and Musselburgh. In the current era, going back to 1999 (we'll explain why that year in a minute), the scoreboard is United States, nine wins; South Africa, three wins; Ireland, two wins; Northern Ireland, two wins; and Sweden, one win. The only Scot to win in that period was Lawrie, who took advantage of one of the biggest collapses in golf history.

Who is this year's defending champion?

That would be American Jordan Spieth, who survived an adventerous final round to defeat Matt Kuchar by three strokes and earn the third leg of the career Grand Slam.

What is the trophy called?

The claret jug. It's official name is the Golf Champion Trophy, but you rarely hear that used. The claret jug replaced the original Challenge Belt in 1872. The winner of the claret jug gets to keep it for a year, then must return it (each winner gets a replica to keep).

Which Opens have been the most memorable?

Well, there was Palmer in 1961and '62; Van de Velde's collapse in 1999; Hogan's win in 1953; Tiger Woods' eight-shot domination of the 2000 Open at St. Andrews; Watson almost winning at age 59 in 2009; Doug Sanders missing what would have been a winning 3-foot putt at St. Andrews in 1970; Tony Jacklin becoming the first Briton to win the championship in 18 years; and, of course, the Duel in the Sun at Turnberry in 1977, in which Watson and Jack Nicklaus dueled head-to-head over the final 36 holes, Watson winning by shooting 65-65 to Nicklaus' 65-66.

When I watch this tournament on TV, I hear lots of unfamiliar terms, like "gorse" and "whin" and "burn." What do these terms mean?

Gorse is a prickly shrub, which sometimes is referred to as whin. Heather is also a shrub. What the scots call a burn, would also be considered a creek or stream.