Someone is filming me right now, as I write this. It's the latest reality show on The Golf Network: Golf writers using redundant adjectives.
A reader wrote to me a few weeks back, asking me what I thought of The Big Break's producers pushing so-and-so on viewers. One of those contestants - note that I didn't say "competitors" - with a name like Brie or Ashley or something. I almost regurgitated.
The question should have been: Why is The Golf Channel pushing this show on us in the first place?
Isn't this the network that is supposed to be televising the PGA Tour next year?
Yes, yes, I know, it's wildly popular. And you should all be ashamed of yourselves. What's wrong with you? Have you no decency, no sense of decorum?
I'll admit to a guilty pleasure. I watched The Big Break's first few episodes. Even worse, I enjoyed it. But I think that's because golf, as a sport, embraces humiliation, and golfers enjoy watching someone else be humiliated for a change.
I still watch it, but only because it's work-related, and I can't take it seriously anymore. The breathy announcers, acting like the next shot is for a win at Augusta; the falsely sympathetic shots of the women crying; the fake buddy-buddy stuff; the over-marketing; the game show teases.
It's basically a soap opera for golf fans. You pick the villains and root for the good guys. What a bitch! Ooooh, he's cute!
It keeps getting worse. More and more they put the contestants in extreme situations, the kind that really don't come up that often on the course. So the winner isn't the most skilled, he or she just got luckier than the other idiots.
How has this guy gotten to be such an icon in our culture? Another sign of the decline of Western Civilization.
So the TV people get with the golf people, the golf people get with the marketing people, the marketing people have a lunch with Donald Trump, his people say, "Hey, you're a brand name - why not?"
Then they search for contestants, who are only too ecstatic to join the clown club. (One thing about this country that has been proven time and time again: Dangle a little TV time and some prizes in front of people and they'll hop around like monkeys for you.)
Result: hit show.
It isn't like these contestants really deserve a big break. Most don't do anything with the exemptions they win. As far as I know the most successful was Ashley Prange, who won a Futures Tour event but failed to make the cut on the big tour.
They couldn't play their way onto a tour. They have to hope Emperor Trump can get them on one. Whatever happened to earning it the hard way? These aren't golf tournaments; they're staged, contrived events involving has-beens, never-weres and never-will-bes. When I tune in now, I particularly enjoy watching the losers.
Honestly, you could take your video recorder out to the local muni and get as much drama, or more. Only the production values would suffer, but not by much. I'd rather watch YouTube.
Pretty soon the world will be nothing but made-for-TV events. If you aren't on TV, you won't exist.
The Golf Channel, particularly as it will soon be carrying the PGA Tour, should stick to more responsible programming that more accurately reflects the wants and needs of real golfers. Programming like The Natalie Gulbis Show.
Now, there's a show. My wife can tell you how I suddenly get up off the couch and get all energetic when Natalie comes on. True, she doesn't do much on the show, and she is rather bland and doesn't seem particularly intelligent, and the show never really goes anywhere. But man, can she wear short golf skirts.
Memo to The Golf Channel: Less of Trump's hair, more of Natalie's skin. Result: hit show.
December 11, 2006
Simply select where you want to play, find a tee time deal, and golf now!