Golf doesn’t receive enough coverage in the national press. Despite the fact Britain currently has 15 players in the top-100 on the Official World Golf Ranking, three of whom have been ranked at Number 1 at some point in the last three years, the sport gets just a smattering of column inches outside the very most significant events.
The only time golf seems to hit the headlines is when something unfortunate occurs – Tiger crashes into a fire hydrant and confesses to multiple infidelities, or Rory McIlroy plays/behaves badly after signing a multi grillion dollar contract, or that there’s going to be some sort of monumental schism in the game because of belly putters. The latest is the on-going “feud” between Sergio and Tiger, and Sergio’s “racist jibe” at the European Tour awards, as I saw it referred to.
It sometimes seems to me the press is more interested in hurting the game of golf than in championing it. A quick look at the Telegraph online and these are the first 10 headlines:
1 – McIlroy trips up at Wentworth ‘circus’
2 – Tour chief reignites racism row with ‘coloured’ remark
3 – How a glare sparked 14-year feud (Tiger and Sergio)
4 – Olazabal calls for peace talks (between Tiger and Sergio)
5 – Racist taunt at Woods may cost Garcia millions
6 – Officials spineless in Garcia row
7 – Sergio Garcia: I feel sick. I am sorry
8 – Garcia sorry for ‘fried chicken’ taunt at Woods
9 – Garcia Woods ‘racism’ storm
10 – Anchoring ban sparks US rebellion
So in the first 10 stories on the website of a newspaper historically renowned for its golf coverage, there is absolutely nothing positive to be said about golf. The only story there that’s properly about golf is the first one and it focuses on Rory and Luke Donald playing poorly. There’s a similar spread of stories on the sites of most of the major news providers.
The BBC is a little better with the top story “Big names falter at PGA Championship,” and only five of the first 10 stories listed focusing on off-course disputes and controversies.
But can’t we have a little more positive reporting from Wentworth? Perhaps a headline on James Kingston’s excellent first round of 66, after he received a sponsors’ invite to the tournament. Or Scott Henry’s fine round of 68, having only made it into the event on Monday.
Surely there are enough people in the UK interested in golf to merit more coverage about the tournaments being played, rather than the flippant remarks and silly spats between the sport’s leading protagonists.
Some 4 million people in the UK play golf each year and a good proportion of them love the sport, I’m occasionally one of them. As an occasional lover of the game, I would like to see more about the sport rather than off-course tiffs. Just asking.