Wentworth Blog: Don't blame the media

2013 08 Sergio 1
Anyone in the media corps hoping for a quiet start to the final practice day at Wentworth ahead of the BMW PGA Championship getting underway had those plans shot to bits by the latest twist in the Tiger Woods/Sergio Garcia feud.

At a European Tour dinner on Tuesday evening, Garcia was asked if he would have Tiger round for dinner during next month’s US Open Championship, to which he flippantly replied that he would and that he would serve him fried chicken. By the time the Spaniard woke up on Wednesday morning, the story had gone all the way round the world and the inference was being made that Sergio was a racist.

The consensus amongst people I spoke to on Wednesday at Wentworth was that, no, Sergio is not a racist but, yes, he said something that could be interpreted as such. He apologised, was admonished by the chiefs of both the European and PGA Tours and that, we were told, was the end of the matter. It amazed me, though, how many people I both heard at Wentworth and saw on the likes of Twitter and Facebook making out that the whole incident was just sensationalistic media opportunism.
If you don’t like reading about what golfers get up to (the bad bits as well as the good), then I’m sure there’s a story out on there about what Kim Kardashian is wearing today that you’ll enjoy.

A word to those people directly: what Sergio said was reported faithfully and accurately. When you’re dealing with such a sensitive incident, you can’t exactly go making stuff up. You also can’t ignore it. The media has a duty to report when incidents like these happen. Cook’s cook. Bakers bake. Teachers teach. Reporters report. You might not like it and, in an ideal world, we’d only have positive, happy stories to report on. But it’s clearly not an ideal world and if you don’t like reading about what golfers get up to (the bad bits as well as the good), then I’m sure there’s a story out on there about what Kim Kardashian is wearing today that you’ll enjoy.

So, back to the golf. You think you’ve seen a driving range busy? Trust me, you ain’t seen nothing until you go to Wentworth on the Wednesday of PGA Championship week. The place was heaving with golfers going through some last minute preparation, as well as various other well-known faces who were taking part in the pro-am.

Ian Wright and Jodie Kidd were there – Wright, incidentally, was struggling to get the ball airborne from what as I saw – as were Greg Rusedski, Matt Le Tissier and former England coach Glenn Hoddle.

Out on the course, I saw Chris Evans tee off at the first. The Radio 2 breakfast DJ was playing with Graeme McDowell and is a very, very tidy player. However, the first tee nerves clearly got to him as he sprayed his shot hard left in the direction of some spectators who were sent diving for cover.

The usual batch of autograph hunters were out in force again, though luckily not too many of the professional leeches who swarmed all around the course on Tuesday.

Ian Poulter deserves particular credit. The Ryder Cup hero signed pretty much everything that was thrust under his nose, even on the course. He gets a bit of stick from time to time but no-one can deny the Englishman is good to his fans.

And so the tournament begins today. I’m sticking by my prediction: Branden Grace to win. He’s 40/1. Now, how much do I put on him...


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