Trash Talkin' heats up
May 19, 2013
By Dan Daly
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First and foremost, the golf world lost a legend on Friday. Ken Venturi was about as good as it gets both on and off the course. A Hall of Fame inductee just weeks ago, Mr. Venturi was everything great about the game of golf, first as a player and later as the voice of CBS. On a personal note, I (along with my brother and a friend) had the indescribable honor of being in the 18th tower at TPC Avenel with Jim Nantz and Ken Venturi for his final broadcast ever in the booth. Watching the players walk off of the 18th green saluting Mr. Venturi and being there for his final broadcast ever was something that I will take with me as long as I live.
If you have never read the book The Match, buy it today, it’s phenomenal. And if you have four minutes, here is Jim Nantz's tribute to Ken Venturi. God Bless Kenny!
"This is for Venturi up in the booth thinking I should lay-up."
"Yeah, what does he know? He only won this tournament before you were born."
Unfortunately for the fine folks in red pants that run the Byron Nelson, the lead story in golf this week, outside of Mr. Venturi, continued to be the soap opera between Tiger and Sergio.
I know, I know, you are sick of hearing about…or so you say.
The general public, along with the "golf experts," golf writers, former players, ESPN and everyone at the Golf Channel tried to keep saying all week how overblown this Tiger/Sergio ordeal is and everyone needs to move on and focus on golf. Yet the most viewed articles, tweets and podcasts from the "golf experts," golf writers, former players, ESPN and everyone at the Golf Channel all week was about the Tiger/Sergio ordeal. I said it last week and I'll say it again, this is great for the PGA Tour even if the people associated with the PGA Tour don't want to admit it.
The bottom line is that numbers don't lie, and the numbers from last Sunday tell me what I already knew. People care about this story. Last Sunday was the highest rated non-major PGA Tour event since the Buick Invitational in 2006 (won by Tiger). In fact it was higher rated than quite a few major Sunday's as well. And with all due respect to Casey Wittenberg and David Lingmerth, I'm pretty sure people weren’t tuning in because of them. Tiger has won 26 times in the aforementioned seven-year span and yet that was the highest rated tournament in seven years? Yeah, total coincidence I'm sure. People care about this story. And if they are both in contention and in the same group over the weekend at the Memorial in two weeks, or better yet, the US Open, wait until those numbers are released...then tell me people are sick of this story or don't care. Sorry, sell that shit somewhere else.
Like any good soap opera we did have some fun twists and turns over the course of the week. Like Monday, when two of the marshals from the second hole basically told Sports Illustrated that Tiger is a liar. “He didn’t ask us nothing, and we didn’t say nothing. We’re told not to talk to the players,” said one marshal, Gary Anderson. The head marshal, John North (an admitted Tiger fan) who was five feet away during Woods' shot said, “Nothing was said to us and we certainly said nothing to him. I was disappointed to hear him make those remarks. We’re there to help the players and enhance the experience of the fans. He was saying what was good for him. It lacked character.”
Despite Gary Anderson's poor use of the English language, this story just keeps getting better. First of all, golf course marshals are being interviewed and more importantly one of them publicly said that Tiger Woods "lacked character"?! No wonder this story won't go away, it's gold.
I'm guessing those comments didn't sit well with Tiger. Put it this way; if you think Sergio calling him out pissed him off, just imagine how pissed Tiger was when some no name marshal from the Everglades publicly called him a liar in Sports Illustrated.
By Wednesday two more marshals came forward and contradicted Gary and John’s story saying that one of them did in fact tell Tiger that Sergio had already hit. And guess what the golf headline/lead story was both times? But hey, people are sick of the story right?
But before the story came out on Wednesday somewhat clearing Tiger of any wrong doing I'm guessing the phone call was made on Tuesday from Tiger to marshal John North and it went something like this:
Tiger: I want the truth.
John North: You can't handle the truth! Son, we live in a world that has rules. And those rules have to be guarded by men with 'quiet please' signs. Who's gonna do it? You? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Sergio and you curse the marshals. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: That Sergio's meltdown, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves strokes. You don't want the truth because deep down, in places you don't talk about at swingers parties, you want me on those ropes, you need me on those ropes. We use words like quiet please, no cameras, and no running...we use these words as the backbone to a life spent defending you. You use 'em as a punch line. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who wins and loses under the blanket of the very freedom I provide, then questions the manner in which I provide it. I'd prefer you just said thank you and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a 'quiet plese' sign and stand a post. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you heard me say about Sergio.
Tiger: DID YOU TELL ME THAT SERGIO HAD ALREADY HIT?
John North: I did the job the tour sent me to do.
Tiger: DID YOU TELL ME THAT SERGIO HAD ALREADY HIT?
John North: (pause)…..YOUR’RE GODDAMN RIGHT I DID.
Or something like that?
Finally, it looks like Billy Horschel’s sad and desperate twitter campaign to win the April player of the month award shockingly failed. Tough break Billy.
Until Next Week,