Why they call’em Pros!

January17/ 2000

  assume most of you watched some part if not all of the weekend rounds of the U.S. Open from Shinnecock Hills.  What jumped out at you?  “Those slick greens” … “the high scores” … “Tiger and Els stumbles” …  etc, of course you are right.  I’ve watched golf for years on TV but this time it was what I did NOT see or hear that made the most startling impression.  In case you did not notice …

   What I did NOT see/hear in over 14 hours of telecasts: Discussion of steroids … unions … free agency …  salary caps … blaming the refs or the coach or the owner … illiterate trash talking players  … consensual sex, spousal abuse, and illegitimate children … taunting and woofing … end zone sideshows … T&A cheerleaders … visible tattoos or piercings. 

   The eternal debate of “are golfers athletes” ( … are race car drivers athletes?) is best left to the Internet crowd to chew on anytime that golf or racing makes front page news.  I happen to think they are and I counter that old arguments with “Are NBA/NFL/MLBers “sportsmen”?  Golfers certainly are “sportsmen” and exemplify the gentlemanly traits of sportsmanship to a degree that many touted “athletes” cannot begin to understand.

   Taken as a group, professional golfers represent a cultural antithesis from the African-American dominated NBA and NFL and the African American & Hispanic dominated Major League Baseball.  Simply because all of the above pro sportsters “make a lot of money and have celebrity status in our society” does not dissolve the innate socio-cultural differences.  The nature of the sports also effect how the participants behave. … I am not passing judgment of right or wrong … I am making an observation of what I see when I spectate respective sports events in 2004.

   As a middle class middle aged Caucasian male, I cannot dunk a basketball without a mini tramp AND a ladder.  Time me in the 40 with a sundial.  I cannot bench press a Buick … or even a Mini Cooper.  I could “go yard” into McCovey’s Cove … (IF I stood at 1st base with a corked fungo bat and a bucket of superheated Precepts, with a strong wind at my back … maybe!)  I marvel at the physical athletic skills of people who can do all of the above with apparent ease.

   I also marvel at Retief Goosen’s ability to one putt glass topped greens at Shinnecock with the entire golf world watching. All of us have three putted from inside 10’ like Phil did on #17.

   As regular SwaggerSays readers know … I have spent time around the PGA Tour guys.  I have seen the B, C, and D rank players make shots that defy explanation.  The A list guys can perform magic with a club and a ball.  The skill level of these guys is incredible.  If multiple Tour winner Billy Mayfair shoots an 89 at Shinnecock then you can bet that cocky stockbroker that wins your club championship each year could not have broken 100 on that layout on Sunday.

Be it duly noted that every PGA Tour “pro” is an independent contractor.  There are no multi-year guaranteed contracts w/ option years.  Not only is Joe Pro not guaranteed a penny when he tees it up on Thursday … he has to pay an entry fee for the opportunity to compete.  Personal accountability and having to reprove himself every week with no “guarantees” … what a concept!

   Yes … the course set-up was probably “unfair” but it was the same for everyone and that’s how “the pros” accepted it.  They were competing against each other under the same conditions so they teed it up and went about their business. They were not trashing the USGA and whining. That’s why they call’em “pros”.


Swagger’s Stumper

Who were the Milwaukee Brewers before they moved to Milwaukee?


   I loved the Father-Son stuff with Jay and Bill Haas and the young amateur and his Dad who caddied for him.  Fred Funk is one of my special favorites so I was pulling for him.  The wheels came off early in Fred’s round but he cashed a quite nice check and got lots of TV exposure.  I hope you caught his exceedingly good nature as he smiled and mugged his way around that chamber of horrors. Fred’s corporate outing fee just ratcheted up a few notches.

   I did not see even one instance of jackass behavior from anyone.  Tiger, Ernie, Phil, et al accepted the reality of the difficult conditions and exhibited true sportsmanship with every errant shot.

   The media tried to make something of Tiger’s caddy, Steve Williams, encounter with a photographer … and Butch Harmon tried to create some exposure for himself … but those incidents were nothing compared to the “side issues” that dominate most major sports events these days.

   I am not a social anthropologist so I don’t know where cultural differences and just plain “jackass behavior” divide.  

  • Why doesn’t Mike Weir have his nose pierced?     
  • Do ya think Jeff Maggert had consensual sex with the concierge at his hotel 10 minutes after he checked in? 
  • Does Vijay Singh have a string of illegitimate little Vijays all around the world?    
  • Will Retief DEMAND that Taylor Made renegotiate his contract now?     
  • Is Cory Pavin good friends with the BALCO guys?    
  • When Tiger made that eagle on 18 did he pull out a cellphone or a Sharpie?     
  • Does Shigeki have a Samurai tattoo on his forearm?    
  • Should Amy Mickelson have bared her breasts and run across 18 to distract Retief?

    I enjoyed watching a very entertaining worldclass sports event without the usual accoutrements that now seem to dominate sports. OK … the Amy Mickelson thingie would have been pretty exciting, I admit.  Amy is a Kelly Ripa clone.

Evonne Goolagong was Chris Evert’s Aborigine rival in the 70s. 

Goolagong is a fun word to say.


BobLee on TV

Wednesday night at 10 PM

News14 Carolina’s Subway Sports in the Triangle area

Subject: 2004 ACC Football


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