By now, if you’re anything like me, just the mere mention of the drama that unfolded between Tiger Woods and Brandel Chamblee in October makes you groan. Certainly nothing more of any value could possibly come of this discussion at this point, right?
Well, that’s what I thought when I heard that PGA Tour veteran Geoff Ogilvy had written a column about the subject for Golf Digest. But as it turns out, the 2006 U.S. Open champion actually brings a remarkably balanced and fair approach to the situation, and it’s one that should hopefully help calm any lingering bitterness that fans and possibly even his fellow players may have.
Ogilvy prefaced his remarks by stating that in his time spent with Tiger on the course, he had never seen him “attempt to gain any unfair or dubious advantage” on the course, and that as such, he could not agree with Chamblee’s characterization of Woods as being “cavalier” with the rules of golf.
It’s not so much the face that Ogilvy believes that all media members – Chamblee included – should be able to provide their insights and analysis as they see fit that impressed me. Rather, it’s his recognition of the responsibility he and his fellow players share toward advancing open, honest dialogue as well.
“Maybe tour players are just too spoiled,” Ogilvy wrote. “Because we are pampered in so many areas of our lives, we perhaps have unrealistic expectations when it comes to the media. In general we’d be better off not being so precious about what appears in print and on-screen. Our relationship with the media should be similar to what we have with our parents or closest friends: one where absolute frankness is best for all concerned.”
This moment of sparkling clarity is refreshing to see from a world-class player. Golfers are some of the most well-catered-to of all athletes. How quick were people to speculate that Tiger Woods may avoid interviews with Golf Channel following Chamblee’s article, even though it was for an entirely different organization? It serves no good purpose when players of Woods’s stature use their clout to avoid discussing the tough subjects with the media, but they recognize their power to do so if they feel they’ve been treated poorly.
The entirety of Ogilvy’s piece can be found here, but the message is clear. Players and media both play an integral role in this up-to-the-second media age in promoting the game and its integrity. The only way that can be done is if we go back to what we were told as children – honesty is the best policy.