Saturday, April 10, 2010

Playing Through Meets Being There

I came home yesterday afternoon and did something I have no conscious memory of ever having done in my entire life: I watched golf on television (technically in television, I guess, otherwise it'd be a vastly different sport-not better, just different).

I've reported on golf and I found it to be a challenge to shoot and edit, not to mention a lug and half, back in the day when the video camera of choice was a Sony DXC-M7A. I've always enjoyed Twain's observation though I'm not sure how accurate it is.

Watching golf on television has never done anything for me. I smiled a few weeks back watching the commercials promoting this year's the Masters (it really has a lower case the in front of it; imagine saying The Topo Gigio (oh Eddie!). Nope.) and all the stock footage had been edited so we saw nary a frame of Tiger 'but officer that light pole just darted out in front of my SUV!' Woods.

I don't think Tiger minded not being in the spotlight as it was plenty warm where he was already (funny how there are no pills for his ailment; well, hardly). It's not that I am more forgiving of the peccadilloes of others, and my own life is empty enough that this kind of detritus could help fill it. I simply don't care what the guy does when he's not playing golf, though the reports suggest he was rather industrious, and yet, somehow, inclusive.

But all of that became past tense when Tiger announced he was joining OJ in the search for the real killers-kidding! Just wanted to see if you were still reading. No, actually what he said was that he was returning to golf at the Masters (notice how I'm passing). People who've watched golf their whole lives vowed to NEVER watch him and people who had never watched golf in this or any other life vowed to go on double dates with him if their name was Jesse. It was a touching moment, especially if you were ESPN.

The CBS Sports crowd had the final two rounds of the tournament nailed down for Saturday and Sunday and ESPN had to content itself with the weekday sessions on Thursday and Friday (yawn, ratings wise in comparison) when, like a nine iron through a car window, Tiger's announcement transformed ESPN's coverage of the first two rounds.

I was deeply impressed by Billy Payne ripping Tiger a new one-that took ba--, well, you know what it took and how heavy they made the bag for the caddy to carry. Didn't Billy wonder why all the TV cameras were there in the first place? Did he think they were covering the announcement of the winner of the Jesper Parnevik lookalike contest? Could happen.

I mean, golf is pure sport aside from the commercial endorsements on every stitch of clothing every golfer (but none of the caddies, why?) wears-and none of that Go Daddy endorsement horse pucky, we're talking KPMG (I'd never heard of 'em until Phil M's ball cap and now I know why. I don't make enough money to ever need them).

I tuned in for Jim Furyk and Martin Kaymer and other golfers whose names are way harder to spell (much less Google) or at least that's my story. By the time I got home Friday, Tiger was already in the clubhouse (no word on whether he was alone) so I watched people sitting in lawn chairs at the Eleventh Green and assume they paid money to be on Augusta's grass. Do they follow a golfer from hole to hole or does their admission cover just where they are and is the First Green cheaper than the Eighteenth? My front lawn faces Lincoln Avenue and there's some pretty interesting traffic on a Saturday, if you know what I mean; that'll be eight dollars, sit over there and be quiet.

I watched until I fell asleep and I know I fell asleep because my wife woke me up but I think that says more about me than the golf on television. And why in golf does everyone watching have to quiet-as opposed to practically every other sport where we yell and scream. Imagine a golf clap in Yankee Stadium when Granderson takes a slow curve to deep center. Or think World Cup stadium filled with Shields and Yarnell wannabees. Though if that were to happen, Elin, hand me a Big Bertha, but handle first.
-bill kenny

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