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Thursday, May 5, 2016

The Answer Man

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Q: Are some sports announcers too young to be truly effective?

A: Too many sports announcers have their heads buried in the sands of their own particular time.

Sports announcers have a tendency to think the athletes of their time are the best ever.

There were two young ESPN reporters the other day moaning the fact that Tiger Wood's poor performances of late could spell an end to golf popularity; that golf needed Tiger at dominant level.

This is past silly, and into a ludicrous Twilight Zone.

Tiger Woods is one of the greatest golfers ever - maybe the best ever. And there is little doubt that his recent demise has cost some TV viewers. But Tiger inherited golf at a high level on the sports scene. He didn't create it.

There was a time several years back when about the only grass green golf between Memphis and St. Louis was at Blytheville Arkansas.

Somewhere along the line golf courses started popping up all over the country.

What was the reason for this?

Just a little attention to history might reveal the presence of a golfer named Bobby Jones. Bobby Jones won the first Grand Slam of his times. He is considered the greatest amateur of all times, plus he could compete successfully with the top pros. Bobby Jones was the star of two ticker-tape parades in New York City. How many athletes can make the same boast?

How can today's sports reporters forget the 11 straight tournaments that Byron Nelson won - or the fact that streak came from a stroke average of 67.92 , with equipment only found in an antique store today. This received huge national attention.

How can the youngsters dismiss the contributions of Sam Snead and Ben Hogan?

"Slammin" Sammy Snead won 84 PGA tournaments. Lee Trevino once said that God wanted everyone to see a sweet swing. So He sent us Sam Snead. Country boy Snead had more witticisms in just one tournament than Tiger has had in his entire career.

How can they overlook the mechanical perfection of the stoic Ben Hogan. There are people today that say there was no better player from tee to green than Hogan. A movie has been made of Hogan's brilliant career.

And then along came came Arnold Palmer. Palmer's blue collar image took the game out of the country club set and captured the imagination of the country. He created a special charisma, and his following at the course became "

Arnie's Army." Players who followed Palmer say that he had more to do with the big prize money of today than anyone else.

Then of course came the great Jack Nicklaus. Many consider Jack the greatest player of all times. Tiger may sometime win more major tournaments than the "Golden Bear," but the question will always remain - what could Nicklaus have done with a 45 inch, graphite shaft driver, with a head on it as big as a soccer ball?

Many others have contributed to the greatness of golf today that has put it almost on the same level as baseball, football, and basketball.

The idea that if Tiger Woods never won another golf tournament the game is somehow going to collapse is lunacy. The game is simply larger than Tiger. It is a great game that he inherited and has enhanced. But there were many stars before him, and there will be more on the horizon.

What may be a more serious problem is the rapid advance in technology that is turning short courses into pitch & putt.

Without some control of this technology the 400 yard or 500 yard drive may be just around the corner.

To comply with this, new courses are going in much longer, and old courses adding on distance where they can. Many courses - Kennett Golf Course being an example - simply don't have the geographical capability to add significant distance. They could become anachronistic.

Most golfers don't want to see golf turned into a version of baseball's Home Run Derby.

Continued technology improvements are much more threatening to the game than any temporary demise of Tiger Woods.

The Answer man
The Answer Man