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Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Type of Rivalry Golf Doesn't Need

So we’re two weeks removed from the Player’s Championship and the shoes are still dropping, and ending up in people’s mouths. Just as things had started to subside and the talk had actually turned back to golf and the US Open, Sergio not only rekindled the flame but doused it with gasoline as his “fried chicken” comments that were exponentially magnified with the aid of social media over the past two days. Garcia did his best to sound contrite during a public apology "I feel sick about it and I feel truly, truly sorry," he said Wednesday from the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, site of the European Tour's flagship event. Tiger wasn’t quite so public but taking to twitter to voice his response, "The comment that was made wasn't silly. It was wrong, hurtful and clearly inappropriate," Woods said in a series of tweets. "I'm confident that there is real regret the remark was made. The Players ended nearly two weeks ago and it's long past time to move and talk about golf." It’s no secret PGA ratings plummeted during Tiger’s slump as golf proved like every other sport you need a Heat, Patriots, Canadians, “Money” Mayweather or dominant force for everyone to want to knock off the top. Tiger was perfect for that and when Lefty and Tiger were dueling it was the greatest thing for the sport, as someone was finally challenging for the title but that didn’t last long, and once beat down Lefty hasn’t been back. Then Rory stepped up, actually took the champs title as best in the world and became the poster boy for European golf as a look at the future. He even shot a commercial with Tiger to publically throw down the gauntlet and announce he planed to be “the man” but so far that hasn’t materialized as he hasn’t been in the hunt on a Sunday since. Now Tiger has returned to form, has 4 tour wins already this year (next closest is a tie with 1) and is playing back to his old form. So now that all PGA sponsors can breathe a sigh of relief that the cash cow is back, they need a challenger other than “the field” to step up. At least now there are plenty of challengers that can be that other guy, and rest assured their trying hard to create one, as they would love to get back to the Tiger/Phill days again. However the sour grapes between Garcia and Tiger had way too much yeast and turned into a barrel of whine, then the got sour with Sergio’s recent comments. This type of rivalry is not what the game means as unlike any of the afore mentioned it doesn’t focus on what happened on the links. It’s a racist comment followed by high school folly of a bunch of people talking for the two at the center of it all and fanning the fire when the two principals should just get together for a brew and put it behind them. But that won’t happen because media outlets need the story and are trying to parlay this into a preamble for the US Open. Which is exactly what the sport doesn’t need is more character controversy as it had just gotten over Tiger’s scandal and collapse before Vijay’s PED story took over, golf needed some time between rounds to fix the cuts on their face but they got this instead. But fortunately there is a cure, and it’s competition. The nation wants to see Tiger playing on Sunday for either ‘love him or hate him’ reasons and someone, anyone, with a name to step up and challenge, that can stick around for more than one tournament. That’s what we all need, to put this catfight behind us and get back to the frustrating game we love watch and sometimes dare to play. Good competition that will overshadow the off the course circus that we let it become.

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