The US PGA Tour commissioner, a former White House lawyer of diminutive stature but oversized ego, strode into the media centre at Royal Melbourne with a retinue of hangers-on trailing in his wake to give his thoughts on the Cup and, for those interested, the state of the golfing nation.
With the formalities out of the way, Finchem was asked – by yours truly, as it happens – what he felt the US Tour’s obligations were to the rest of the world, in terms of promoting the game, ensuring its health in the byways, backwaters and distant outposts and, you know, spreading the wealth around a bit.
Finchem kind of shrugged – as if the notion had never crossed his mind before – and said his overriding priority was the US Tour. He was not commissioner of the world game and his remit did not extend beyond the boundaries of the USA. His KPIs all related to the health of the PGA Tour and that was that. The rest of the world could, basically, whistle Dixie; it had to learn to look after itself.
(For those players who have difficulty controlling their driver, we await the announcement from Tour HQ that the use of grenade launchers from each tee will soon be permissible.)
Michael Clayton’s piece at BackPageLead is also a good read. The long and short of it: a debacle, features a nice quote from Ernest Hemingway;
It was the great American novelist, Ernest Hemingway, who presciently argued decades ago that: ‘my attitude toward punctuation is that it ought to be as conventional as possible. The game of golf would lose a good deal if croquet mallets and billiard cues were allowed on the putting green. You ought to be able to show that you can do a good deal better that anyone else with the regular tools before you have a license to bring your own improvements.’
John Huggan is at his usual best in a piece he wrote for the New Scotsman: Golf equipment tightens straitjacket.
So, while many fans will argue that watching the likes of Bubba Watson hitting a 330-yard drive is both exciting and great theatre, those unsophisticated individuals are also misguided. Quite apart from the fact that it is all but impossible – especially on television – to distinguish between a Bubba tee-shot and one that flies, say, 40 yards less, the professional game is an obviously poorer spectator sport than it was as recently as the turn of the century.
I know it’s an individual’s sport and narcissism is rampant, but still, it’s pretty appalling to see such reversals all in the name of self-interest.