A Lot of Winning* at the Masters
*The word “winning” in this and all other posts is not meant to be a reference to the context in which Charlie Sheen has recently used the word. That particular joke is still unironically being made all over the place even though it has never been funny once. I watched the interview that started this whole “winning” obsession and upon hearing it, immediately said ‘That word is already played out.’ And it turns out we’re all tired of it.
I’m not about to pretend that I’m a golf fan. Please don’t misread this post as me trying to come off as one. Because I’m not. I consistently watch one golf tournament a year in its entirety (the Masters) and I generally keep up with the leaderboard of the other major tournaments, but in general I don’t know enough about the sport or the field of players to bet on the sport confidently, which is currently my bar for what qualifies as a true fan.
Even for someone who knows the game of competitive golf as loosely as I do, this year’s Masters was something special. Everybody not name Rory McIlroy walked away from this tournament a winner for just being involved. It was one of the more thrilling tournaments I can remember in my very limited PGA memory and it was all positive.
Let me recap a brief list of winners from this year’s Masters:
Charl Schwartzel — He literally won the whole thing. In the most strict sense of the word, Schwartzel is a winner and has earned not only the green jacket but the general disdain of sports writers and editors everywhere for his mouthful of a last name. He’s a young golfer (one of a bunch in contention last weekend) who handled the Sunday pressure phenomenally (antonym: Rory McIlroy) to shoot a great final round.
Here’s something you probably didn’t know — I am the reason behind Charl Schwartzel’s success. No joke. After he finished his 14th hole, I tweeted the following:
Whether or not he comes away with the green jacket, Charl #Schwartzel already won the Detlef Schrempf impossible consonant:vowel ratio award.
After winning this Twitter award, Charl had the confidence to birdie the final 4 holes and come separate himself from the field. Think about it. I don’t want to take all the credit, but at least one sleeve of the jacket would be appropriate.
Everyone else who was in the title hunt at the end — Sure Schwartzel won by 2 strokes, but the entire tournament was decided in the final 30 minutes. At one point, it looked like there was an actual chance for an 8- or 9-player playoff shootout extravaganza. I was cheering for it. That kind of ending would have been unbelievable to see. For all the guys in the hunt at the end, it had to be a very unique experience and the publicity they got from being so high up so late can only be good for the game and its players, especially the young ones.
Tiger Woods — If you care to know, you already know; he played like the old Tiger (really well) and was actually in the lead on Sunday for a brief time. He looked good, and it finally got some conversations started about him that did not involve his marital fidelity. As a student of PR in general and sports PR in specific, I’d be ashamed not to point out that at the end of the day Tiger, like all other athletes, produce a single product that is more important than the rest — performance. They can do other things, surely they have free time and other interests, but nothing cures an image problem faster than winning. Congratulations to Tiger Woods for his weekend play, and congratulations also to
The game of professional golf — Tiger being back means golf is back. Whether or not he likes it, whether or not he deserves it, Tiger Woods is golf. He’s golf all by himself more than any other athlete has ever represented a sport individually. His personal non-golf-related failures were bad for him and just as bad for every other golfer who gets paid to play.
Sorry for the lack of posts lately, as most of you know, I’m finishing up grad school right now and have a lot to do. I’d hope there are some people reading this who don’t know me personally, but everyone else can appreciate how much of my time school has demanded lately. But rest assured, because I’m back for a while and you’ll be getting SpreeGooged plenty in the near future.