Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Debbie Schussel-professional vs. personal on Tiger Woods

Debbie Schlussel's is always an interesting read and I really like tuning into her blog to catch the latest movie review or political jab, but as a golfer I just had to weigh in on the other side of the balance as I read her blog entitled ironically " Think Tiger Woods Would Do This?", instead of “Look What Davis Did”.

Debbie trumped golfer Brian Davis's two stroke penalty on himself for nicking a loose reed on his backswing and costing himself the difference in first and second place roughly $400,000, however that’s not what lost him the tournament. I beg to differ, it cost Brian Davis nothing.

Brian Davis lost when his second shot from the fairway went into the hazard at Calibogie Sound. After a birdie on the 18th first time around to tie Jim Furyk he hit an errant fairway shot. This is where he lost the tournament. Calling the two shot penalty was just a slap on the left side of the face after getting slapped on the right side and took everyone’s mind off the shots that did cost him the tournament.

She remarked, "The Brit penalized himself two strokes on a playoff hole, and as I read this, I thought, Tiger Woods would never do this. The man simply doesn’t have the integrity of Davis. Never had it, never will,” and then includes a remark slamming all American Golfers by Brian Dryfhout, writing at mouthpiecesports.com, seems to think honor might be ingrained in players from the other side of the Atlantic Ocean.

There are just a few things Debbie either doesn't know, failed to state, or just plainly is not considering that are very important.

When a golfer calls a penalty on himself, he does so with integrity no doubt, but let’s be realistic here, he also does so with the fear that, ‘an official may have seen it and could contend his failure to call it on himself when he enters the score room, thereby eliminating himself from the tournament completely in a DQ or disqualification.

Especially in a playoff scenario, talk about being under a microscope, Davis would have been a fool not to call this on himself and risk not getting the $615,000, because of his failure. Call it honest foresight, or not being a fool, in realizing you’re under a microscope in a playoff. This is not to demean Davis for his call, for he did have integrity for calling it on himself, but he also had $615,000 instead of a DQ and a fine.

DQ’s have happened to plenty of golfers for relative what novices may call small offenses in the 2007 PGA Championship I was there when Sergio Garcia was disqualified after signing an incorrect scorecard after the third round Garcia, who had just three-putted the 18th hole, signed for a par 4 on No. 17 when he actually made a bogey and left the scoring area at Southern Hills Country Club. Garcia's score should have been 4-over-par 74, which would have left him at 9 over for the championship, but he instead turned in a 73. This is not a sport where the officials call you back in and point out your mistake, the axe falls very hard so you better be on guard.

Unfortunately, to my own chagrin, I’ve been penalized myself for 5 years with 10 years to go, for showing a changed score card to someone who was not an official scorekeeper, nor did I turn in the card or pretend to turn it in or think about turning it in. I had withdrawn from the tournament completely, and thought wrong about being cute in showing a false score to someone. It was reported and I’ve been suspended ever since and I hate it and I’m starting to think in some ways the PGA is a good ole boys club, and I’ve been penalized so severely for “other reasons” to get me off the tournament circuit, but I digress.

Debbie rains a shower of praise on Davis, without stating he may have had to in order to stay in the money, and surmises off the course that Tiger’s private life fiasco somehow translates to what he would do on the course, which undermines the professional integrity of the golf game itself and all of golf’s rules and officials and this is not a slam on Tiger but, I believe an unintended consequence of the media in general, not just Debbie, placing misdirected blame where it doesn’t belong, and to that I must mount a defense both the game of golf and the integrity of the field and it’s associates, as well the integrity of Tiger’s, yes, moral compass.

Quoting from an article called Tiger: I was a living a lie http://www.insidegolf.ca/content/view/109957/366/ and reported on the golf channel,
“ Tiger Woods acknowledged "living a lie," saying he alone was responsible for the sex scandal that caused his downfall and that no one in his inner circle was aware of his misdeeds.

"It was all me. I'm the one who did it. I'm the one who acted the way I acted. No one knew what was going on when it was going on,"

Debbie, in front of all your colleagues and fans could you possibly understand the level courage this took if you yourself acknowledged in front of everyone your own indiscretions as Tiger has done. I grasp some concept of that, but it is a bitter cup of which it is very easy to shrink from.

Not to be outdone by this or to be remiss of the lapse of the media mixing up professional and personal all up in a big batch on everyone else but themselves, Debbie makes no mention of the same thing happening with Phil Mickelson’s off field personal circumstances and trials in the professional record. She states:

“Oh, and BTW, last week, I showed you the ridiculous USA Today Sports Section cover when Phil Mickelson won the Masters. The photo sizes made it look like Woods won for certain, even though he barely tied for fourth place.”

What may be ridiculous in the professional coverage is rather then extol how Phil Mickelson won the Masters with a few record sentences of his daring shots, the paragraph mentions 1 sentence of his golf triumph, and 5 lines of his wife and mothers record of beating back cancer. So it’s the same philosophy going both ways, Mickelson highlighted for his off record trials, and Tiger also.

This is not to say that either of these can’t be highlighted in their own accord, but there’s a real scalding caldron on mixing up all the stories and trying to make cookies. I think about how Schlussel has been cited by liberal media watchdog Media Matters seven times regarding accusations of Schlussel spreading misinformation[19]. Schlussel has responded by calling Media Matters "nazi-collaborators and maybe they were or are, but I look at Tigers example of taking the heat responsibly and not calling the Media or anyone names and I think, ‘there’s a free lesson for everyone.’

Tiger’s level of play on the course is not to be slammed with his personal life off the field, accept in a confusion of the subjects. He has played and followed the very strict rules of golf unwaveringly and I personally have enormous respect for his professional management of golf on the field and it’s important to note that when all is said and done, Tiger broke no rule on the field which prohibits his being a competitor.

And off the field, I get really tired of the virtues of men with women like Moses Abraham and David being so unselectively considered, but that’s another story where I think our society is to blame for confusing moralities about marriage and the laws of nature differing in genders.

Deb, I don’t think I could ever not be a fan of yours with that beautiful brain of yours.


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