Examiner Sports Column April 11

April 11, 2008

Fawning and yawning: The Masters to a tee

THE MASTERS. Even the word catches in your conversation like a fishhook.

Play the word-association game and what do you come up with? Treacly Southern-states accents; snore-inducing TV shots zooming in on … flat lawns; the usual nonsense being spouted about Tiger Woods; a green jacket assembled from the covering on a snooker table.

All this dewy-eyed hyperbole is about what, exactly? An exclusive
suburb. A bastion of middle-class ideals dangled in front of the masses like a carrot. Creating an ambient respectful hush before the skull-warping boredom that is a professional golf tournament.

As you can probably guess, this column does not live for nine quick holes on a Friday morning before lunch.

THE Masters doesn’t occupy a particularly elevated/depressed position in the circle of hell this column reserves for golf. But it does help to crystallise an often unfocused dislike of the game.

The last time this happened was around the time of the Ryder Cup when the sports editor, in his wisdom, suggested an opinion piece outlining why this column would not be tuning in to the proceedings.

If memory serves, he questioned the description of Tiger Woods as a
corporate glove puppet; our response was that he should have seen the term we used in the first draft. He was
holding the second draft at arm’s length with a pair of tongs.

That was two years ago, when the country was a very different place. The boom had us all by the throat and it was clear to everyone that it would continue forever, the arrival of a couple of dozen well-known golfers copperfastening our arrival in the global
middle class. Their clash would be an enthralling fight to the end we’d all carry with us forever.

About all that anyone remembers of the Ryder Cup tournament in 2006 now is the quickfire drinking of a few pints of stout by some of the winners afterwards. It turned out the bitter end of the glass was all that they were
flailing their way towards.

Nowadays there’s a certain level of economic nervousness within our
happy land; it’d be very interesting to see how much interest people would now have in seeing preening
millionaires sauntering around a golf club. That nervousness was symbolised neatly and unfortunately with the
closure of a golf club in east Cork.

THE MASTERS is not to blame for falling house prices in
Ireland, of course. If it did, this column would be the first to dish out the blame. As it stands, it’s like all golf events — only more so.

Which is to say full of false
reverence, arbitrary rulings, fossilised decisions, ersatz traditions, inane
commentary, overhyped heroes, masked commercialism, smug congratulation and eventual wheezing achievement.

You may feel that’s overstating
matters, but we don’t think so. In fact, to see a supporting strut for this particular stance, consider David Feherty’s recent comments on the event.

Feherty, who played in the Ryder Cup himself, is famous for being a mythical creature on the same level as a unicorn: an interesting commentator on golf. The main evidence is his
description once upon a time of Colin Montgomerie as looking like a “warthog licking piss of a nettle”, thus offending warthogs everywhere.

But even Feherty feels compelled to rein in his own tongue at the Masters — to the extent that nettles remain unlicked, no doubt. He’s not his usual self at this tournament because … “I behave differently at the Masters
because it is such a great American
institution, with its own particular

“The good thing is you don’t have to worry so much about saying anything at all because the pictures are so good they pretty much tell the story for you.”

That they do, Dave. That they do.

contact: michael.moynihan@examiner.ie

One Response to “Examiner Sports Column April 11”

  1. […] michaelmoynihan wrote an interesting post today on Examiner Sports Column April 11Here’s a quick excerptTreacly Southern-states accents; snore-inducing TV shots zooming in on … flat lawns; the usual nonsense being spouted about Tiger Woods; a green jacket assembled from the covering on a snooker table. All this dewy-eyed hyperbole is … […]

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