Monday, October 04, 2010

Click, Click

A huge break for the Ryder Cup getting rain delayed this weekend. That allowed for the event to finish on Monday and not get lost among all the NFL games. Yes, that put the final day of play on the USA Network rather than NBC, but NBC's all-day coverage on Saturday was almost totally eclipsed by college football. It figures that today's thrilling finish still probably garnered more audience on USA than it would have Sunday on NBC when most people were watching the NFL.

The interest in the Ryder Cup has been much stronger in Europe, and the media's over-the-top coverage caused some predictable problems. On Saturday, a camera shutter clicked right during the middle of a Tiger Woods back swing. Of course, Tiger backed off, the photographer was duly chastised, and Woods finished his shot.

The media requirements of different sports are fascinating, and in some ways, archaic. Golfers and tennis players require absolute silence and if the media intrudes the players get a "do over." Yet, a guy trying to make the winning free throw in a basketball game usually can't hear himself think for all the noise. I can't imagine it's harder to sink a putt than hit a fastball, so why the difference?

In some ways, it goes back to the evolution of the sports. While football and baseball were often viewed as brutish, golf and tennis were considered "gentlemen's games," and each had a strict set of rules governing behavior, deportment and dress. While golf and tennis still have many of these requirements, the increase in money and media coverage make it hard to think of them as gentlemanly anymore.

It would be interesting to see how these PGA professionals, making millions of dollars thanks to TV money and marketing sponsorships, would fare having to make a putt with 20,000 people screaming in their ears.


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