An Insightful Fellow
By Tom Abts
I recently wrote about PGA TOUR player Patrick Cantlay in my weekly blog. Not about his golf game… rather about how insightful he is. Last week he won the FedEx Cup. I think he’s rated #3 in the world. Obviously, he’s an incredible player, but I’m more impressed with his insights. Here’s the one from about a week ago, regarding Bryson DeChambeau that blew me away.
“I think it’s a tough situation. Naturally, of course there is sympathy because you don’t want to see anybody have a bunch of people be against you or even be heckled. I think that anybody that watches sports and sees someone being heckled, they don’t like that because if you imagine yourself as that person, it wouldn’t feel good.”
I think unfortunately, it may be a symptom of a larger problem, which is social-media driven and which is potentially Player Impact derived. I think when you have people who go for attention-getting maneuvers, you leave yourself potentially open to having the wrong type of attention, and I think that’s maybe where we’re at, and it may be a symptom of going for too much attention.
But it can be awesome too, because if you succeed and you act perfect all the time and do perfect things, and then you go for the right attention-seeking moves, you get like double-bonus points because everyone loves you, and you’re on the perfect side of it. I think it’s just a very live-by-the-sword die by-the-sword type of deal. And when you leave it to a jury, you don’t know what’s going to happen. So, it’s hard to get all 12 people on a jury on your side.
And if you’re playing professional golf on the stage that you’re playing on and 98 percent of people are pulling for you and there are 10,000 people on the green, I don’t know, what does that leave, 20 people that don’t like you, even if 98% of the people like you? And if those 20 people have had enough to drink or feel emboldened enough to say something because they want to impress the girl they’re standing next to, then, yeah, like you’re in trouble. People are going say bad things.
Golf, unfortunately, doesn’t and probably shouldn’t tolerate that. I think there’s a respect level in golf and an intimacy that the fans can get so close to you, and you’re all by yourself, and don’t have the armor of putting on Yankee pinstripes and knowing that if the people hate you and you’re playing in Boston, you can tolerate it because you know that next week, you’re going to be in Yankee stadium.
And I think golf shouldn’t let that happen. I think the Masters is a great example of a place that doesn’t let that happen. And it’s the greatest place to watch and play professional golf because of the atmosphere they create. I think if you look at the history of the game and you look at the respect that underlies the entirety of the game, we shouldn’t tolerate that, and we shouldn’t celebrate it. We should celebrate the fan that is respectful and pulls for that side.
“So, it’s a tough situation. It’s a tough topic but that would be my take on it, and I’m sure it’s not perfect, but after thinking about it a little bit, it’s the best I can come up with.”
That was not a prepared statement. That was a live answer during a press conference.
Obviously, Cantlay will be on the American Ryder Cup Team. It’s only two weeks away. So, my next blog will be the continuing battle between Marty Lass and myself. Marty is the revered, long-time Head Golf Professional at Edina CC. He will explain why he believes that the European team will win. His reasoning is always very insightful. I’ll be defending the American team. I just hope that I can be half as insightful as Mr. Lass and Mr. Cantlay.