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  • Writer's pictureRichard Mandell

Selena Roberts Burning Out?

Are you kidding me? Selena, do you even play golf? Could you not have passed that back page SI assignment on to Chris Ballard or Phil Taylor? All these weeks later, it’s still bugging me! Tiger burning out? You can’t be serious! If you haven’t seen the October 5th Sports Illustrated, the final article of the issue is truly the culmination of clueless media pontificating on Tiger Woods.

A few quick points before I hammer those media who are really “Johnnies come lately” when it comes to covering golf. Or should I say, Selenas come lately? Selena continues to belittle Tiger’s six victories this season without a single major as if it is as common as rushing for 1,000 yards in the NFL, “Being stalled at 14 majors must blow his beautiful mind”. Paddy Harrington points out for Selena that Tiger needs someone to push him at this stage of his career but neglects to point out that the best one to push Tiger is Tiger.

Then Ms. Roberts breaks down the reasons why Tiger will not make it past Jack Nicklaus (really). First off is the Mike Douglas Effect, citing that Tiger has been in the spotlight since he was two years old, going as far as comparisons with Danny Partridge (nee Bonaduce). According to Roberts, Tiger won’t last as long as Jack because Jack started playing at age ten. Yet she neglects to point out that Tiger is farther along in the chase than Jack was at the age of 33.

Apparently Tiger’s stubbornness will also contribute to falling short of Mr. Nicklaus. Ironically, that stubbornness could also be translated as drive – just a small element in Tiger’s cause. Roberts calls this his Persistent Flaw. Her note that Tiger doesn’t win majors by double-digits anymore signaling a crumbling empire is pure absurdity. No one wins majors by double digits except Tiger and Old Tom Morris. Jack never did (He did win the 1965 Masters by nine). Nineteen majors are not measured by shot differential between first and second.

Then there is the Patriots Syndrome, which is the oncoming pressure from the media as Tiger gets closer to nineteen. I think Tiger is used to those people at this point and by the way, he handles pressure quite well. Maybe if people like Selena Roberts stop with these idiotic articles, he may have an easier row to hoe. The media continues to shine the spotlight on themselves as being part of the story instead of reporting the story. Stop it. By the way, without a miracle Tyree catch, the Pats are undefeated.

It seems that when Tiger turned professional back in’ 97, a whole group of media were transferred from the movie reviews and dining sections to cover this new phenom of this odd sport called golf. I can hear it now, “I don’t know the first thing about golf” a writer pleads to the editor. The response: “What is there to know, just get a rule book, you’ll figure it out.”

Now I’m not saying I’m the second coming of Herbert Warren Wind or Charlie Price, but I have experienced the game of golf over the past quarter-century from my own experiences to watching the professional game all those years. In the process, respecting and embracing the history of the game that came long before me. Granted I’ve never played professionally.

In fact, my most impressive victories were a University of Georgia Intramural Championship in the late eighties and back to back victories in the Bedford (New York) Golf & Tennis Club Caddy Championship. But the point is that I have experienced breaking 100, 90, and 80 and shot as low as 73 in my life. I also know who Old Tom Morris is and why he is significant. I doubt many of the people writing about golf today have played more than twenty rounds of golf in their life. Come on Selena, find another subject. In the meantime pick up some classics about the game like The Story of American Golf by Wind or American Golfer by Price.

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