I know that we’re in an era of instant judgement on happenings…and far too often (like almost always) that snap judgement isn’t correct.
I’ll admit to not being much of a fan of Eldrick “Tiger” Woods, but seeing the knives come out yesterday after his first round after his latest comeback…I’m not quite sure what to make of it.
This isn’t to say I think he’s going to win another major or five. I don’t. I think his body is breaking down on him, and other, younger players have come to the forefront. However, do I know this as fact? Of course not. He could still find lightning in a bottle for four days and win a major, especially if he ever gets going with the putter.
The golf talking heads were pretty quick to hit Twitter over this. I’ll spare you the details, but one of my larger complaints about Twitter is that it feels like we’re losing the ability to have any sense of perspective about anything. The guy who wins that week’s tournament is surely the greatest golfer going, and how it will propel him or her to winning multiple majors (seriously- watch Golf Channel on a Sunday night if you don’t believe me).
So maybe, just maybe, let’s not write that death warrant on Tiger Woods just yet. Let’s see what he does in full field Tour events, and more importantly weekend rounds in majors. Maybe he finds that formula.
Fast forward to Saturday morning, and the talking heads are talking about his body language. In a tournament with a very small invitation-only field. It’s not the old giggle-golf (courtesy to John Feinstein for coining that phrase) of 15-20 years ago but it’s close. Woods chooses to be very secretive with what he shares with the press. It’s his choice, and while he would help the game by being more open, ultimately he’s not beholden to anyone except his own interests.
And while we’re holding thoughts, I want to get something off my chest. As many of you know I follow hockey when not playing mediocre golf. One of the terms I hate is when people describe Twitter as “fill in name of activity” Twitter. So there might be Golf Twitter, Hockey Twitter, Politics Twitter, Men Who Like Toy Trains Twitter, and so on. My dislike is because it pigeonholes people into silos. I like people who have an array of interests- the people I follow on Twitter can talk about advanced stat metrics, the best cut of steak (either a bone-in ribeye, a Tri-tip or skirt steak if you want my opinion), beer/wine options, and the many and varied forms of what constitutes family (because in those pictures you can see the passion that they have for these things).
This past week a prominent blogger and a writer with the Denver Post were both fired for their behavior on social media, with most of it directed at women in the form of DM (direct messages) and things of that nature. I’ve followed this stuff all week, choosing not to weigh in because I’m not sure what my voice will bring to the conversation in the heat of the moment, and because I wanted to take a moment and think about what it is I wanted to say.
Reading numerous accounts of female hockey bloggers (most of whom could write me under the table and provide a welcome and needed voice; they’ve championed advanced statistics and their perspective is invaluable at growing the game) who’ve been subject to sexually inappropriate and unwanted DM’s and other garbage, I’ve been sickened by seeing things laid out, because (and this is where I’m more than a bit naive) I didn’t think people did stuff like this. It never occurred to me to do this- whatever opinions I have about someone’s views, I will tend to keep them to myself more often than not, and it never occurred to me to treat Twitter like a singles bar while acting like some stereotypical lecherous barfly.
A week of long nights at work has given me a chance to pause and think about all this. It’s not enough to talk the talk, it’s time to prove it. So, if you’re at a golf course and you’re paired up with a woman or two women, treat them like golfers above all else. Period. No flirting, no comments. no ogling and yes- this includes the beverage cart driver. If they don’t tell you what set of tees they’re playing from, ask them what set they will be playing from (you know, like you do with everyone else), and then remember it and drive to said tee box. Give them every courtesy you’d give someone else. Help them look for lost balls if they ask, or do the “need an extra set of eyes?” thing. Make them feel welcome- their money is every bit as good as yours. If you have a rangefinder/GPS and they don’t, offer to assist or let them use it. Don’t patronize them. When the round’s over, shake hands just like you would with everyone else. No speeches, a simple “thanks for the round, enjoy your day” will work just fine. At some point, someone helped each of us when we were novices. It’s time to pay it forward. It’s time to stop the nonsensical bullshit. They are our sisters, moms, daughters, girlfriends, wives, and in some cases, best friends. It starts with every single one of us. It starts with me.
Note: I’m not Stina Sternberg (whose monthly column in Golf Digest is a must-read), but having read her columns I’m trying do right (why she’s not on TV is beyond me- her voice and perspective would be a great addition to the landscape). Plus I know damn well she’s wipe the floor with me if we ever played a match.