Jewish World Review Oct. 16, 2003 / 20 Tishrei, 5764

David Grimes

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Consumer Reports

TV golf needs a kick in the pants | It's unclear whether the whispered commentary is to blame or the 20 minutes it takes a player to line up a putt but professional men's golf is the fifth most hated or disliked sport in America.

According to a poll conducted by the Sports Marketing Group in Atlanta, dogfighting is the No. 1 hated or disliked sport, if sport is indeed the right word.

No. 2 is pro wrestling, which I found rather surprising since few things rivet my attention so much as two steroid-inflated madmen pummeling each other with folding chairs. Perhaps this sport's image would improve if contestants were issued guns and live ammunition.

The third most hated or disliked sport is bullfighting, another choice I found odd since few Americans have actually witnessed a bullfight or know anything more about it than what they may have read in a Hemingway novel. Still, like most Americans I love animals and hate to see them treated cruelly, which is why I've started ordering the single patty rather than the double when I go to a fast-food restaurant.

The fourth most hated or disliked sport is pro boxing, loathed by 31.3 percent of the public. Why pro wrestling is disliked more than pro boxing, where people can and do get killed, is a mystery that the pollsters make no attempt to solve.

Which brings us to No. 5, the PGA Tour, hated or disliked by 30.4 percent of Americans. (The PGA seniors' Champions Tour is close behind with a 29.9 percent hate/dislike rating, followed by the women's LPGA Tour at 29.2 percent.)

I have watched more than my share of PGA Tour golf on TV and I can think of several ways to improve the sport's popularity:

1) If someone other than Tiger Woods is threatening to win a tournament, he should be picked up and body-slammed by a pro wrestler. This would not only add some much-needed action to TV golf, it also would expose pro wrestling to a whole new demographic and possibly improve its ratings.

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2) Limit commercial interruptions to no more than 30 per hour. Also, no technology companies should be allowed to run commercials where it's not even remotely possible to tell what they're selling.

3) Every time a TV golf announcer says that a player has "dissected" the fairway with his drive, he shall have a portion of his ear bitten off by Mike Tyson. This would teach the announcer a lesson and would in no way harm Tyson's reputation.

4) TV golf camera crews need to stop showing the ball flying through the air. Compared to this, watching a player flip a few blades of grass into the wind is heart-stopping action.

5) Any player who glares at or curses a spectator for making noise, such as chewing or breathing, in the middle of the player's backswing shall be subjected to close-range blasts from an air horn at random times during his round.

6) At next year's Masters tournament, Hootie Johnson will conduct the champion's interview in Butler Cabin while wearing a skirt.

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JWR contributor David Grimes is a columnist for The Sarasota Herald Tribune. Comment by clicking here.


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© 2002, Sarasota Herald Tribune