For the life of me I can’t understand the ongoing push to have players or caddies wear microphones during tournaments.
Not for the first time, the topic was on the agenda this past week when CBS golf anchor Jim Nantz claimed every player in the field at the game’s first event since March had been asked if they would be willing to be ‘mic’d up’ but only one, Rickie Fowler, agreed.
And I, for one, am glad.
The problem with this old chestnut is that what we want and what we would get are two completely different things.
What we want is outbursts like the one Patrick Cantlay had on the 17th tee at Hawaii earlier this year (relive the moment here if you missed it at the time).
But what we would get is a bland stream of inane diatribe designed implicitly to not be interesting.
"While it would be great to be able to eavesdrop on what the players and caddies are really talking about, putting microphones on them isn’t going to achieve that outcome and never will."
The problem is the same as that encountered by ‘reality TV’, which is to say the introduction of the camera (or in this case the microphone) immediately removes any semblance of ‘reality’.
A player wearing a microphone knows he/she is wearing a microphone. And for that reason, understandably, they are guaranteed to moderate what they say.
To be honest, it is a distraction they simply don’t need and given the less than compelling content it would produce I’d rather we just let them play golf.
This idea belongs in the same waste-paper basket as the one that says we want to hear from players during their rounds.
European Tour head Keith Pelley bragged unashamedly on a recent podcast about how his Tour now regularly conducts interviews with the tournament leader at the halfway point of the final round.
I hate to disagree, Keith, but the only valuable part of that whole endeavour is for us media types who can learn a thing or two from the brilliance of the interviewer, Tim Barter.
As one who has asked more than their fair share of stupid questions, the thought of being asked to do what Barter does every week is legitimately terrifying.
But even for all Barter’s brilliance, there is never anything revealing during these moments.
I mean, what do we honestly expect a player to say?
“Well I’ll be staggered if I get it to the house, to be honest with you Tim. I’ve never been so nervous.”
Or perhaps: “It’s as good as in the bag, Tim. I’m sure you’ve noticed how jumpy Sergio is over the short ones. Can’t see him making it home without a meltdown.”
While it would be great to be able to eavesdrop on what the players and caddies are really talking about (even if it was just the nerdy golf stuff), putting microphones on them isn’t going to achieve that outcome and never will.
Let them entertain us with their play instead of trying to manipulate the coverage. Their golf games say way more than microphones will ever pick up, anyway.