GOLFSPEAK is an unfortunate byproduct of the modern professional game, which sadly too often descends into glib, saccharine and utterly predictable ‘grabs’ from players rather than anything even resembling true thoughts and feelings.
For the golfers there’s too much at stake: sponsor satisfaction, media image, public persona, management wishes. We get that; we just don’t have to like it.
When Camilo Villegas won back-to-back tournaments on the US PGA Tour in 2008 and promptly used his televised post-victory moment to thank every sponsor under the sun (both times), I suspected the Colombian might be messing with his ‘golf karma’. And he’s won just twice on tour in the decade since.
Call it fatigue after nearly 20 years spent in the golf media, or merely the build-up of annoyance, but I’d like to hear more honesty from the players. Some are excellent, truly brilliant in cases (including Geoff Ogilvy, every time he speaks publicly). Others are lame and clearly see media obligations as a necessary evil in between the 18th green and locker room. It is possible to speak your genuine thoughts without treading on any toes.
With that in mind, I’ve applied some creative translations to what I think the players are really saying beneath the façade:
“I’m just taking it one shot at a time.”
I have no idea where the ball is going right now OR I have not yet figured out how to play this golf course.
“I’m putting really well, they’re just not dropping at the moment.”
If I admit that the fact I keep missing putts is due to a deficiency in my putting stroke, I won’t be in contention to win a tournament for months.
“I’m taking a different approach to my schedule.”
I hate any flight longer than two hours so I’m not playing there. Thank God we’re not on the ATP tour and required to be in a different country every tournament.
“This course has a lot of unique features.”
This place would look substantially better with a heap of cattle roaming across it.
“It’s great to be here this week” Mk I.
I have a lucrative endorsement deal with the tournament sponsor. Otherwise there is no chance I’d be seen dead playing this goat track. I’ve also got a flight home already booked for Friday night.
“It’s great to be here this week” Mk II.
My management company also looks after a lesser-known player, who is – completely coincidentally – also in the field this week as a sponsor exemption.
“I honestly think Brand X makes superior equipment.”
Brand X might make sub-standard clubs but they’re prepared to pay me half a million dollars a year more to use them than my previous equipment supplier.
“[Name] just outplayed me this week.”
[Name] got every lucky bounce under the sun and this will probably be the last time he holds a trophy this season.
“I can still take plenty of positives out of this performance.”
The only positive I can take out of this performance is the fact my clubs are still in one piece.
“We’ve got Tiger to thank for the prizemoney available on tour.”
I may never win a single tournament in my life, but playing in the same era as the Big Cat means I will never, ever be spotted working a 9-to-5 desk job.
“It is what it is.”
I’m over answering your questions. And my private jet is waiting.