The PGA Championship returns to Whistling Straights and for many sports fans it couldn’t come soon enough. Recent headlines have revealed the darker side of professional sports and the even darker side of human nature. People have become so accustomed to having their news when they want it these days, that it is becoming more and more dangerous to report it. We have become a society who feed off of rumors and speculation simply because we are taught to do so almost everywhere we look. Many of our most viewed television shows demand that we pick a side based on our own biases long before we get the entire story. This is something people may have always done, but with the speed of social media a person’s reputation can be destroyed long before they ever have a chance to speak on their own behalf. To make matters worse, lines are being drawn in the sand by individuals who bring nothing to the table but their opinion. No facts. No research. No knowledge of the situation. They bring the opposite; hearsay, speculation, and regurgitated garbage they have put together based on their opinion or someone else’s. What we once heard at the water cooler is now plastered on message boards, comment sections, and Twitter accounts all of which are easy places to hide ones identity. Zero accountability typically means zero credibility so as you put together your own opinions together these days it would be wise to do so based on facts.
The fact is that people will always have their own opinions on everything and that’s totally fine. Situations become dicey when we allow that opinion to take the place of the truth. Not liking someone or the way they live their life isn’t grounds to report something that may or may not be true. This is especially true when it comes to legal matters and their reputation. It’s very easy to say, but clearly hard to do. The reality show world we now live in has taught many young people to speak first and deal with the consequences later. We have pretty much witnessed this on every show for years now. It is encouraged for entertainment purposes. The real world doesn’t work that way. Once someone posts something inaccurate or irresponsible about professional athletes or anyone for that matter people know about it and are very quick to share it with someone else. Today people would rather be the first to chime in on the issues even if they don’t have the facts to back it up. Again, people can have their own opinions but those that express that opinion publicly should let it be known that it is just that; their opinion. Don’t hide behind a source close to the investigation. Let your audience know that you are passing judgment before the facts come out. Then people will know what to expect from you before they even hear what you have to say. Allow them to judge whether or not you are worth listening to based on credibility and the facts. Give those who you report on the same respect you would want if you were in their shoes. Holding people accountable for their actions is just as important as holding people accountable for what comes out of their mouths. Ok I will get off the soap box now.
Golf is no stranger to controversy and speculation either. The games most polarizing figure once lived a very private life before that all changed on Jupiter Island back in 2009. The games most recognizable lefty continues to deal with IRS issues. Just a year ago one of the games brightest stars was contemplating retirement due to his cocaine addiction. Six months later he returned and is in the middle of one of his best seasons. Still, you will rarely hear of serious crimes being committed by PGA players and if you do it will come as a big surprise. The only controversy you will hear of in Sheboygan, Wisconsin this weekend will surround the health of Rory’s left ankle, and many people will have something to say about it. Twenty six year old superstars will always have haters who are quick to comment on what goes on off the golf course. Many people are interested to see if he can recover from this injury and hoist the Wanamaker trophy as he did last year, and just as many would like to see him fail. The odds makers have McIlroy at 9-1 behind America’s Golden Boy Jordan Spieth who comes in at 11-2. Both should contend this weekend but Whistling Straights is no cakewalk.
The course plays just under 8,000 yards and rewards those who can bomb it off the tee. Don’t be surprised to see some of the long hitters get off to a good start on Thursday and carry it into the weekend. Ball placement will be the key come Sunday as the contenders focus on finding the most reasonable places to putt from. The course is neatly tucked into a two mile stretch of Lake Michigan that replicates and resembles something you may see across the pond. In 2010 Martin Kaymer won his first major championship there and should be in the mix come Sunday afternoon. He has the perfect game to conquer the golf course and plans to claim Europe’s only Major this season. Since 2010, Kaymer has missed the cut at the PGA three times with just a tie for 33rd back in 2013. He is due just like many of the Usual International Suspects who will also be in Wisconsin this weekend to make a run at the title. They include Jason Day, Adam Scott, Justin Rose, and my dark-horse pick Henrik Stenson. I would love to see the United States sweep all the Major Championships this year and in the back of my head I would love for it to be number fifteen for one specific Floridian. Tiger is 40-1 at a course he would have dominated when he was on top of his game. Unfortunately he isn’t the player he once was but in golf anything can really happen. He has serious major experience and could be fun to watch if he plays over the weekend.
It’s worth pointing out that Whistling Straights will be the third Links style course in a row for a major this season. Strangely enough, that might be the only controversial subject that comes up at all once play gets underway. Well, in regards to golf anyway. Sadly, the ticker will continue to come across the screen while golf is on supplying all sports fans with the most up to date information we can have; whether we like it or not.