Paint me as a redneck; golf etiquette is for snobs

April 08, 2011 |


God Knows You Need Marketing – Where Are The Carts ???

Yeah, I might as well kick things off with the NASCAR mentality bleeding out of my fingertips. What can I say? I see opportunities to market and advertise – and the PGA is all about advertising in today’s pro sports world. Just look at the ballcaps, logo polo shirts and tasteful banners in conspicuous locations of any given course.

Why not forsake the walking ordeal and have the golfers design and bring to life their own “cart sized” transportation from hole to hole? I’m certain Tiger could re-twist the arms of Ford or GM, while climbing aboard a replica Excursion or Cadillac. Rest assured, Phil Mickelson could sway the other company. And, well, we can only imagine what John Daly would use for transportation:

Don’t give me excuses like tradition, while citing “the walk” as part of the competitive balance. If the PGA wants more fans – KID FANS – get carts and start producing miniature models for retail sale, along with every other mitigating piece of merchandise tied to their favorite golfer’s course “ride”.

Toss The Slacks And Collars – Get Hip

The blunt truth is PGA competitors dress like middle-aged men, and older men. Yeah, yeah, it’s a gentleman’s game and rooted in tradition – BLAH, BLAH, BLAH. Do you want more fans and overall exposure? If so, stop compelling golfers to dress like they’re headed for a business-casual mixer.

I like this kid, Rickie Fowler. I like John Daly. And, I like Jesper Parnevik. They’re different in their own unique way. Fowler is immaturely entertaining, Daly is a trainwreck and Parnevick marches to the beat of a different drummer. But, their wardrobe is distinctly different from the dull, boring attire found on nearly everyone else.

Don’t misinterpret my message, I am not suggesting that Bubba Watson should be able to show up dressed like a hobo. And I absolutely agree with Masters officials compelling Fowler to wear his hat correctly during a recent press conference. Decorum should still be mandated – it’s a professional sporting event, not ladies night at Bourbon Street.

Once again, we’re talking about an opportunity for the PGA to grow and market products. If you want to be relevant, you absolutely need KIDS – they’re tomorrow’s adult consumers. I can go to Arundel Mills Mall tomorrow and spot kids wearing NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and NASCAR gear, but I won’t see anyone wearing one of Mickelson’s Barclays polos. Enough said …..

Why Be Quiet ??? It’s a Sports Event

Let me get this straight …. Nick Markakis will come to the plate tonight and the crowd will cheer, clap and stomp, especially if it’s a crucial at-bat. On the other hand, when Josh Hamilton makes his way to the box, he’ll be booed – and he might hear some unpleasant shouts during the course of each turn batting. That’s the territory for pro athletes.

Well, it’s the territory for most pro athletes …..

When Tiger walks to the tee, at Augusta, the crowd must be quiet. Did you hear me? I said QUIET !!!! Yep, I’m scratching my head on this one. After all, he’s hitting a stationary object …. not a 95mph fastball. And he’s not performing brain surgery.

I honestly don’t have an answer or suggestion beyond conveying my inability to comprehend why the “gallery” must be quiet when a golfer swings. Tradition, I suppose, huh?

I Must Be Honest …. And Get Disqualified

I will always respect any professional sports entity’s devotion to honesty and integrity. As a mainstream supporter of Roger Goodell’s mission toward cleaning up the character standards of the NFL, I cannot rightfully wag a finger at the PGA or any other league that seeks transparency, especially from a competitive standpoint.

But, it seems like the PGA’s standards of disqualification for scorecard violations, including honest oversights and mistakes are bound in some draconian doctrine of sorts …..

It goes beyond the simpleness associated with signing the wrong scorecard …..

Just ask Patraig Harrington; he was disqualified earlier this season, because he signed a scorecard that reflected the wrong score. However, on the day he signed the card, the score was CORRECT. A replay following the day’s events showed a nudge of a ball, which calls for a two shot penalty. Thus, the score on the card was incorrect and Harrington was tossed.

The PGA would be far better served by determining a firm distinction between mistakes and cheating.

For the record, everyone makes mistakes and nearly everyone cheats, even if it’s in a minor form. Baseball players steal signs, football players claw and dig while fighting for a fumble underneath a pile of bodies and NASCAR teams look for extra horsepower in the most innovative ways.

Indeed, it’s not cheating unless you get caught. But, where do those who make honest mistakes, or those who become victims of unfortunate circumstances fall? Well, if you’re a PGA golfer, you’re probably headed home, regardless of your intentions. Stupid …..

Athletes Spit, Curse and Throw Things

This is by far the most incidental, if not meaningless of my five points. In last year’s Masters, Tom Watson and a couple of his veteran fuddy-dud colleagues admonished Tiger for cussing, and “taking the Lord’s name in vain”, after the World’s greatest golfer displayed the very human side of a frustrated pro athlete.

Tiger’s antics weren’t necessarily rules breakers, but frowned upon, nonetheless. It’s a gentleman’s game, after all …..

Once again, I’ll throw the consistent realities of other sports leagues in one group, while singling out the PGA and golfing community as prisoners of their own pompous ideals. Athletes cuss ….. just stand on the sideline of an NFL game, or near the on-deck circle and within earshot of the dugouts at any ballpark.

And, if you want a real x-rated rant, go online and listen to the in-car radio conversation between a NASCAR driver and his crew chief. Yep, NASCAR has become one of the most family-friendly sports in America, and I’ve heard nearly every driver drop the f-bomb at one time or another.

Do pro golfers possess that obsessive competitive nature found in most premier athletes? I think so. Part of such a nature is in realizing they’re human and flawed, but they demand near perfection from themselves. When they’re upset, they curse, spit and throw stuff.

Some such actions warrant ejections or disqualifications. But, for the most part, we ignore or casually dismiss witnessing it, because its part of the sports landscape – especially at the highest level. Thus, I’ll wrap it up by simply suggesting the PGA needs to LIGHTEN UP.