B Y JOHN STREGE
much longer than it was.”
NBC’s Mark Rolfing attempted
to quell any budding controversy.
“I was right behind the tee when
Woods hit the errant shot,” he said.
“I watched the flight of the ball and
I don’t feel bad about [the drop]. I
would know if he’d gone too far. And
I don’t believe he did.”
Miller was not convinced. “It was
just really close, is all I’m trying to
Agolf ball weighs no more than 1.62 ounces, yet every time Tiger Woods is required to drop one of late it seems to land with a resounding thud. It did so at Augusta National last month and
again last Sunday during the final round of the Players. NBC’s
Johnny Miller on air and a host of others on Twitter questioned
whether Woods, after hitting his tee shot on the 14th hole
into the water left of the fairway, had taken liberties with
Rule 26-1 requiring that he drop “within two club lengths” of
the point where the original ball last crossed the margin of
the hazard. He was leading by two at the time, when he hit
his tee shot into the drink.
“The drop that he made up there was really, really border-
line,” Miller said. “It was really close as to whether it had
crossed or not.”
Among Miller’s allies was Steve Elkington, a two-time
Players champ and a caustic and inveterate voice on Twitter.
“Forget Tigers shot!!!” he wrote regarding Woods’ ensuing
effort that nearly reached the green. “How good was that drop!”
“Hey NBC can we have a look at that blimp shot of Tiger’s
water ball?” he wrote in a second Tweet. NBC had shown the
blimp shot only once.
“Why isn’t NBC Rollin [sic] the tape?” he asked finally.
Here’s why, according to a spokesman from NBC: “The
blimp shot was not directly overhead [it was at somewhat
of an angle] so showing replays from that angle would
mislead the viewers thinking the ball was over the water
A WEATHER DELAY during a
telecast is an invitation to do, well,
just about anything else, unless one
has no aversion to watching tour-
nament reruns from a year earlier.
But those who hung in during the
third-round delay witnessed the
escalation of a long-simmering feud
between Woods and Sergio Garcia,
when in an interview Garcia blamed
Woods for inciting crowd noise
(however inadvertently) that caused
him to shove a 3-wood shot on the second hole into the trees.
Ensuing interviews with Woods and Garcia increased the
tension, though one prominent observer, Paul Azinger,
considered it an issue only because TV perpetuated it. Azinger
used the hashtag #WhoCares on a Tweet in which he accused
Golf Channel’s Rich Lerner of making “a bigger deal” of the
feud—odd coming from a television man himself. (On his Golf
World Monday podcast, Azinger said Woods might have defused
things by accepting some culpability in causing the crowd noise.)
The number of those who cared likely was substantially
larger than those who didn’t. The feud was the most compelling
development of a round interrupted by thunderstorms, and
the prospects of a Woods-Garcia Sunday duel only heightened
interest. Golf Channel’s Jerry Foltz had it right. “1st, Vijay sues
the Tour. Now, Sergio and Tiger in a cat fight of words..maybe
it’s not the 5th major, maybe it is, but it never disappoints,”
Foltz wrote on Twitter.
Hazarding a guess
NBC’S SHOTS OF TIGER’S DROP ON NO. 14 LEFT SOME WANTING MORE
SPEAKING OF VIJAY, would it have been too much to
ask that Golf Channel show Singh’s introduction on the
first tee on Thursday, so that viewers could have gauged
the crowd reaction for a man who a day before had sued
the PGA Tour?
Apparently so. It was left again to Twitter to fill the
television void. “Only one spectator sporting deer antlers for
Vijay’s first tee appearance. Normal applause, no boo birds,”
Golf World’s Geoff Shackelford wrote. N