To paraphrase the great Forrest Gump, golf leaderboards are like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get.
Just take this past weekend.
Marcel Siem won for the first time on the DP World Tour since the 1800s. Chris Kirk beat a 34-year old Rookie in a playoff at the Honda, and Charles Howell III put the greatest field in the history of golf to the sword in Mexico having won only three times in his previous 23 seasons.
There was something for everyone last weekend, or no-one, depending what tickles your fancy. I for one didn’t giggle all that much but then I’ve never been ticklish when it comes to regular season golf in February.
In truth, outside the four majors and a handful of other events, my consumption of golf directly relates to how the Irish are playing, and with missed cuts on the DP World Tour, McDowell of little interest and Lowry’s putter in a Sunday slumber, I found myself watching Stanley Tucci eating his way across Italy instead – bellissimo!
Meanwhile, over in hell, Golf Twitter grovelled over which of the three tournaments meant more to the world. I chuckled as the faceless LIV bots screen-grabbed leaderboards to compare their lot to the Honda; some stretched longer than the Bayeux Tapestry to include 4Aces Captain, Dustin Johnson leading by example with a final round 78.
I remember when Golf Twitter was a happy place. Now it’s a bit like America, and not the America I grew up reading about where rabbits roamed free and dreamers strived to live offa the fatta land. No, this is America split down the middle; a vast territory smeared red and blue where your views on the world differ radically depending on which side you reside.
“Those who watch Fox News and those who read The New York Times occupy completely different realities,” former President Barack Obama once said.
“If I watch Fox News, I wouldn’t vote for me. I would watch it and say, who is that guy? This character Barack was portrayed in weird ways. It is all edited and shaped. The point is, you get multiple realities.”
Welcome to Golf Twitter, Sir, where the LIV fanboys fight tooth and nail for Ian Poulter’s generational wealth. Where grown adults watch Sergio Garcia spit into a cup and claim he was cleaning it. And where, perhaps worst of all, some people see Greg Norman as the voice of reason.
I find it very hard to believe anything I read on Twitter these days, whether it comes from a blue tick or a plain old thick. The platform has become a battleground for schoolyard disputes. A place where the PGA Tour promotes the Players Championship without any word for its defending champion. Where it claims the deepest field in golf will descend on TPC Sawgrass when clearly the majors will be most inclusive and competitive this year.
This week the ALLCAPSTOUR heads to Bay Hill where the best renewal in recent memory featured two contrasting styles of golfer in 2021- Bryson DeChambeau and Lee Westwood; the former hitting peak popularity in his attempt to drive the par-5 sixth green, the latter plotting his way ‘round in a fascinating tussle only to come up one shot short.
Both players have since been erased from history, or abducted by aliens. Conspiracy theories, eh? It’s exhausting trying to decipher what’s fact or fiction. And more tiring still is having my Twitter feed flooded with fools trying to convince each other that Howell III’s win meant more than Kirk’s last week when in reality, neither leaderboard set the world alight, in so far as I asked my partner to point out how many names she recognised before managing to spot one – congrats Mr Lowry!
For my money, unless you’re a real golf pervert, the back stories of Captain Kirk, Not King Cole and Chuckie Three Sticks wouldn’t be known to the average golf fan, and would be of even less interest. And that’s OK. Dismissive, but OK.
Sure there are some people out there who’ll see golf on the telly, put the feet up and the kettle on and indulge for hours regardless of who’s playing. But there’s just as many, if not more, picky spoiled brats like me who’ll wait for the right leaderboard or the big event to roll round that makes for must-see viewing.
And that’s fine too by the way. Golf has never been deep enough to be compelling every week. There were too many tournaments that left little to be desired long before LIV arrived. Now the ecosystem is more diluted than ever, which means weeks like the one just past are here to stay.
Thankfully, life leaves plenty of room for lulls. They’re what make the highs so thrilling. So I say, instead of exhausting the propaganda machine, leave it plugged out and embrace the few weeks a year that really are special. The majors, the odd designated event that throws up a grandstand finish, and the few surprise packages sprinkled with the magic dust that makes our game so great.
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