It has long been said that working in the real world is like being back in high school again.
There’s the whining, the backside kissing, the cliques, the gossip, the jealousy, etc.
Apparently the PGA Tour is no different.
Remember when that top notch player on your little league team showed up with a brand new bat and started hitting more home runs?
All of those jealous 12-year-olds immediately began pointing towards the bat as the reason why this one player was hitting so much better than everyone else.
“He’s not that good,” you may remember hearing around your little league dugout, “he just has a brand new bat with all of that pop in it so he can hit more home runs.”
Well on the PGA Tour they use golf clubs instead of bats, and Scott McCarron is the one running around the dugout accusing players of cheating because of a new, or in this case an old, club they are using.
If you can believe it, Tiger Woods “transgressions” have now been replaced by a 20-year-old Ping Eye 2 wedge as the biggest story in golf.
Not to get too technical, but here is the point of contention:
In 2010, the PGA Tour implemented a rule limiting the depth and sharpness of grooves on all irons. This was done in an attempt to bring back some form of premium on driving accuracy by eliminating players’ ability to gain backspin while hitting the ball out of thick rough.
Due to a successful lawsuit by Ping in 1990, which is still applicable today, the only non-conforming clubs tour professional are allowed to play are the 20-year-old Ping Eye 2 wedges.
Phil Mickelson, John Daly, and several other members of the PGA Tour are now carrying these ancient, yet sharp, Ping Eye 2 wedges in their bags.
Last Thursday, Scott McCarron, who, in case you didn’t know, is actually a tour professional, said that Mickelson’s decision to play the Ping Eye 2 wedges was “cheating and I am appalled Phil has put it in play.”
Thus began a week of childish bickering.
Phil said he was playing by the rules.
McCarron didn’t back down from his previous statement.
Mickelson began hinting at the possibility of suing McCarron for “publicly slandering” him.
McCarron, clearly nervous that this entire situation was beginning to spin out of control, released a statement to the media on Monday saying “After two days of careful contemplation I have decided to release this statement in hopes of setting the record straight. On Jan. 28, I was interviewed by Ron Kroichick of the San Francisco Chronicle. Ron asked me what I thought about, ‘Phil and a couple other guys playing the old Ping Eye 2’s,’ and I responded, ‘It’s cheating and I am appalled Phil has put it in play.’
‘Despite contrary reports by the media, both in print and on TV, I never called Phil Mickelson a cheater.”
The only problem with McCarron’s little game of semantics was that his intended audience consisted of men and women who use written and spoken language to earn a living.
Needles to say, McCarron’s “What? Technically I didn’t call Phil a cheater” excuse didn’t fly very far.
Those who spent a painful Sunday afternoon watching contenders tumble like dominos at the Farmers Insurance Open will know that Ben Crane’s one-stroke victory over Michael Sim was not what you’d call an overly exciting finish to the first “Tigerless” tournament of the 2010 season.
Considering Sim’s decision to lay up on the reachable par-five 18th when trailing by a stroke and Crane nearly whiffing his 10-foot birdie putt, it was more like watching a train wreck.
Heck, Mickelson’s three straight bogeys to start off his final round were more exciting than watching the leaders playing the 72nd hole on Sunday.
But my goodness, the bickering, the gossip, the semantic games, the threats of legal action, the PGA Tour releasing yet another carefully worded statement that mildly glanced the issue at hand – it was like being back in high school all over again.
Nick Watney may be the only sane person associated with the PGA Tour these days.
On Sunday evening, Watney said the first intelligent thing we’d heard all week: “Let’s all just shut up and play golf.”
Well said, Nick.
Anyone seen Tiger…please…anyone?