Writer Tries to Goad Mickelson into Admitting Tiger Woods is Better than He Is

Some AP sports writer named Paul Newberry is shocked and amazed that he couldn’t get Phil Mickelson to say “Tiger Woods”. Or “Tiger”, or “Woods”.

He asked three separate questions meant to hound Mickelson into finally admitting “yes, YES, fine, I’ll say it: winning this tournament might be a little easier without Tiger here, because, quite frankly, the rest of us are not as good.”  And he even wastes extra words, and precious seconds of my life that I’ll never get back, noting that Phil wouldn’t even say “Tiger”.

Oh, good grief.

Well, it probably is true that Tiger Woods is just better than everybody else, but that doesn’t matter.  He may go down as the greatest golfer of all time, but that doesn’t matter either.  Because it isn’t about Tiger Woods.  Since, he, you know … isn’t in the golf tournament.

Yet the media wants to continue yakking away about him.

Phil Mickelson, as a professional golfer, can’t afford to buy into the Tiger Woods Cult of Personality that the rest of the media world enjoys so very much.  And any writer covering the frigging British Open, the most storied tournament in the history of golf, should damn well know that.

Let’s review.  If you’re a professional golfer, your goal is to win the tournament you’re playing in that week, not to obsess over a player that is not at the tournament in question, and is out for the rest of the year. You should really not spend a single second of your week even thinking about a golfer who isn’t there.  Mental toughness is part of the job as a professional athlete — the major part, at the highest level — so if you’re smart, you don’t take the bait of just any old goofy writer that jams a microphone in your face and asks about some other golfer that isn’t even there.

Even if that golfer is Tiger Woods, and even if the writer happens to be right.

I guess the thing that annoys me the most about such stories, though, is the way they are constructed.  The whole story revolves around a game of “gotcha”, where the writer baits the athlete, hoping to get him to bite.  What is this, Watergate?

Who do these “journalists” think they’re kidding?  Harrassing a great guy like Phil Mickelson, just so you can get a Tiger Woods angle in there?  No thanks, I’m trying to cut down.

Other than that, though, nice story!

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