Wouldn’t you love to be a fly on the ball at a golf tournament? How cool would it be to hear what Tiger Woods and caddie Steve Williams discussed before Tiger hit that amazing chip shot on the 16th hole at the Masters that we’ve all seen replayed 50 times? Did Stevie talk him into trying that bank shot? Did they consider a flop? A bump-and-run? Or did they talk about a hot girl in the gallery?
We don’t know, but our curiosity is why we ought to embrace Golf Channel’s move to put microphones on a few players each week. The plan is strictly voluntary and the audio wouldn’t be live, so there’s no chance that the wrong moment will be broadcast. I was on the PGA Tour’s policy board a few years ago when we approved miking players during tournaments, but it never happened. I hope it catches on now. The bottom line is, we’re trying to sell a product. Anything that helps is good.
It could be entertaining because golf has so much down time between shots. There are opportunities to chat, which could be fascinating. You’d have to mike the right guys, of course. My No. 1 choice would be Rory Sabbatini. He’s funny, plus you never know what’s going to come out of his mouth. Jesper Parnevik is hilarious and could be a star wearing a microphone. I’d also mike Tim Herron, an easy-going guy who interacts well with fans. And, of course, Tiger and Stevie if they’d go along.
It’s too bad Tiger and I weren’t miked when we played in the Western Junior Amateur semifinals years ago. I grew up playing with Tiger, and he can trash talk, believe me. He had a 2 1/2-footer for par on the 2nd hole that day, and I made him putt it. He holed it and said, “Purdy, why the hell didn’t you give me that putt?” I said, “Did that piss you off?” He said, “Yeah, it kind of did.” “Well,” I said, “that’s why I didn’t give it to you.” That would’ve been great TV. By the way, I was 5 up with five holes to play and barely won on the 18th.
When I was in college I followed Nick Faldo one Sunday when he was in contention at the Tucson Open. He was walking up the par-5 15th at Tucson National when I heard Nick and his caddie, Fanny Sunesson, talking about hummingbirds. Apparently Mr. Intense wasn’t made of stone after all.
None of us Tour players are. You can’t focus for six straight hours. Conversations are inevitable. In the age of blogging, Tweeting and podcasts, wearing microphones shouldn’t be a big deal. I think it’s worth a try.