Newspaper under fire for 'derogatory' Keith Mitchell headline

Keith Mitchell Honda Classic Winner

A Florida newspaper has come under fire over its coverage of Keith Mitchell’s Honda Classic victory on Sunday.

The Palm Beach Post, the most widely-read publication in Palm Beach County, where Honda Classic host venue PGA National is based, led its sports section yesterday with a report on Mitchell’s first PGA Tour victory… accompanied by the banner headline “NO-NAME CHAMPION”.

Palm Beach Post

If you think that’s harsh, consider the story’s lede:

The PGA Tour and Honda Classic officials had the makings of several great finishes Sunday.
-- A playoff between local residents Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler.
-- Vijay Singh becoming the oldest winner in Tour history.
-- Even Ryan Palmer posting a 63 to come out of nowhere with the best round of the day.
Then along came Keith Mitchell.

Wow…

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To his credit, the sports editor of the Post, Nick Pugliese, has since apologised for the headline, saying it “missed the cup by 10 feet”.

“While every golfer enjoys a mulligan, our chance passed once the presses started rolling Sunday night,” he added.

Pugliese explained that the background for the headline came from Mitchell’s winner’s press conference on Sunday night, where he said that a friend had sent him a newspaper clipping (not from the Palm Beach Post) that had the headline “No-Name Leading Honda”.

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The Post, said Pugliese, attempted to integrate that line, and the fact it had motivated Mitchell to hold off higher-profile players like Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler to seal the win, into its headline.

“We could have tweaked the No-Name headline to make it more appropriate,” he acknowledged. “For instance NO-NAME NO LONGER, or even putting ‘NO-NAME’ in quotes, reflecting his words, not ours would have been better. “We promise never to use No Name and Mitchell in the same sentence again.”

Fair play. However, Pugliese’s apology and explanation came too late for some social media users who had already vented their anger at the perceived slight.

Canadian PGA Tour pro David Hearn was amongst the first.

Eddie Pepperell referenced Game Of Thrones’ “Faceless Man of Braavos” in offering his own, characteristically unique take.

Others soon chimed in.

The Palm Beach Post wasn’t the only one outlet to shank it spectacularly in covering Mitchell’s triumph.

During Sunday night’s telecast in the US, as Mitchell was closing out the win, broadcaster Dan Hicks called him Kevin. Fortunately, Mitchell saw the funny side.

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