California’s Monterey Peninsula features some of the most stunning coastline in the United States, some of the most expensive real estate outside the major cities, and some of the most famous and spectacular golf courses on the entire continent.
In more ways than one, it is the perfect venue for a professional golf tournament, with Pebble Beach’s US Open legacy the icing on what should be a deliciously sweet cake.
Yet, since my new year blues were somewhat alleviated by the return of quality PGA Tour golf in early January, this is the weekend viewing that appeals to me the least. And I sat through Andrew Landry’s win at the American Express Championship at La Quinta!
What a shame that is. Along with Pebble Beach, Monterey Peninsula Country Club, and Spyglass Hill in particular, the blend of scenic beauty and quality golf courses is the best that any multiple course event has to offer.
So what makes it, in my opinion, the worst spectacle of the year? Well, the celebrities of course. Now, maybe that’s a little unfair, for it’s a combination of the red-carpet brigade, the PGA Tour, and event broadcasters CBS who collaborate to ruin what could be a genuinely special event.
What started as Bing Crosby’s Clambake tournament back in the 1930s and featured a line-up of the who’s who of Hollywood’s A-list, the current event is supposed to appeal to a wider audience who don’t watch golf on a weekly basis. Those for whom golf is either a passing interest or of no interest at all. So basically, I’m at the far end of the spectrum as far as target audiences are this week, and this would be a lot easier to accept if the list of contestants was the least bit interesting or likely to resonate with younger viewers.
Let’s see who we’ve got. A host of retired (or close to retiring) sports stars, a worryingly high number of country and western singers, and a bunch of actors who few people under the age of 35 will have even heard of. Not exactly appealing to the pop-culture market, are they?
Even Justin Timberlake who was the most – and even writing this word makes my skin crawl – “hip” of the regular participants despite having peaked in about 2003, isn’t in attendance this year. Instead, we can look forward to watching Tony Romo out for a hit and giggle off the amateur tees having almost made the cut on a PGA tour event last season, and painfully watch as Bill Murray tries desperately hard to be funny for four six-hour-long rounds. Still, that’s probably preferable to listening to commentators chuckling over Murray’s role as a flower killing, gopher hunting greenkeeper in a forty-year-old movie.
Still, Murray has my sympathies. Imagine being followed by a camera for hours on end and being expected to perform the dancing monkey routine non-stop for four days on the trot. How he hasn’t shot up a movie theatre on his way home I’ll never know.
If the PGA Tour really wanted to spice this event up and get the red tops talking about golf, they’d replace Macklemore – the 21st Century Vanilla Ice – with Ghostface Killa of the Wu Tang Clan. I don’t know if he’s ever played golf but who cares. The thought of listening to Jim Nantz and Nick Faldo talking through the thematic nuances of his Twelve Reasons to Die album would make the entire telecast worth watching.
Alas, I fear we’ll be treated to the same old story. Swing analysis of the soon-to-be 70 Huey Lewis, a Manning versus Manning storyline as brothers Eli and Peyton battle it out for family bragging rights, and a few token shots of former Miss America Kira Dixon while Faldo stumbles over himself in a desperate attempt not to appear condescending and sexist.
Sure, a few non-golf acquainted Millennials may check in, may even be familiar with one or two of the celebs if they watch the NFL, but it won’t be long before they are back posting pictures of themselves watching TV on Instagram. After all, the Oscars are on and who wants to miss the award for best hairstyling and makeup.
As for me, I’ll tune in on Sunday evening to see who wins the golf tournament. I can guess the rest…