During the second round of the 2010 Masters, Tiger Woods was beginning the comeback from the scandal that had shaken his career. He stood on the sixth tee and, after mis-hitting his shot, he yelled, “Tiger Woods, you suck!”
In one moment, because a microphone captured his words, Tiger revealed more about his mental state and the condition of the game than any post-round interview ever could.
This little glimpse into Tiger’s mind made the whole story better, not worse. If anything, it made us sympathize with Tiger rather than simply demonizing him. So for the sake of the fans and for the sake of golf, what if every player was miked up at all times?
Yes, I’ll acknowledge right away that PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem would hate this idea. He goes to great lengths to make sure that nothing negative about his players ever comes to light. So this wouldn’t be a purely positive thing. We might (gasp!) hear some curse words once in a while. But the PGA Tour ads say “these guys are good” and having them miked up will only show us just how good they are.
There are a few other benefits I see from catching all player conversations on record:
- We would get a better sense of which players like each other and which ones are in heated rivalries. At the 2010 Zurich Classic, Bubba Watson ripped into playing partner Steve Elkington and then nearly holed an 88-yard pitch—an awesomely dramatic scene. Miking these guys up would let us witness other intriguing little spats. We would also discover what pressing issues Tiger and Rory are always talking about: possibly the latest events on ABC’s The Bachelor?
- We would each learn things to make our own games better. The Konica Minolta Bizhub SwingVision camera is great, but if it were that easy for me to change my swing movements, I would’ve done it already. Where most of us fall down is in our course management, the little decisions that we make through the course of playing a hole. Strapping a microphone to each of these guys would give us immensely valuable information about how to better approach our own games.
- New personalities would emerge. I think we’d probably be surprised with who’s actually interesting to listen to the golf course. I have the sense that Sean O’Hair is about as entertaining as a USGA agronomy seminar, but maybe I’m wrong, and he’s a laugh riot. This would allow new personalities to mature, rather than just focusing on five or six well-known guys.
- We would see moments when we realize that these guys are just like us. It’s fun to be in awe of pro golfers, but it’s also cool to realize that even they mess up. They sometimes struggle out of heavy rough. They dramatically misread putts. I would personally love to hear somebody let loose with a stream of expletives, much like I do when I takes me three shots to get out of a bunker.
There’s no reason this can’t happen now. So stop worrying about live leaderboards, PGA Tour—let’s hook up some live mikes.