â†µExactly. There have been several first-time major champions in golf in the last five years, and every time a Zach Johnson, Trevor Immelman, Lucas Glover or Graeme McDowell shoots up the leaderboard of a major, the TV coverage immediately shifts to over-lauding his skills and prognosticating "more than one major in this guy's future." â†µâ†µ
â†µIt happens every time, except this week. Why not this week? Well, for starters, many of the ESPN analysts had never even heard of Oosthuizen. In fact, they refreshingly admitted as much throughout the telecast. If you heard Paul Azinger and a few other analysts refer to the new Open champion as "Louie" – that's how he pronounces his name –one might think they were doing so in a colloquial manner; that "Louie" was just one of the clubhouse regulars we've never heard of but all the players know and love. â†µâ†µ
â†µWhile that very well may be true on the European tour, ESPN analysts referred to Oosthuizen by his first name largely because it’s difficult to pronounce the guy's last name. At one point, Wendy Nix asked him how his name was pronounced, and ESPN followed that interview by telling viewers the network had been given five different official pronunciations of Oosthuizen. â†µâ†µ
â†µWith Oosthuizen having the tournament completely at hand, ESPN did do a great job of trying to break down his swing — Tom Watson compared it to Ernie Els, who Oosthuizen had studied under — and getting the likes of countryman Retief Goosen to talk about the player, and the man, the 2010 champ has become. ESPN eventually fell into the debate of whether this next first-time champion will be a one-hit wonder or a future Hall of Famer, but even that conversation seemed a bit half-hearted because, as they admitted, nobody knew anything about him before this week. â†µâ†µ
â†µMike Tirico finally mentioned he talked with Oosthuizen after he finished the Par 3 contest at the Masters – an event that he won, by the way — and shared that the South African has a good perspective and a good head on his shoulders. Even Tirico admitted that his opinion was based off of one conversation ... more than anyone else at ESPN had with the guy before the week began. It was a refreshing bit of candor from the entire ESPN crew. â†µâ†µ
â†µBut Was ESPN's Coverage British Enough?
â†µESPN did note on several occasions that Oosthuizen has had some success on the European tour (he was ranked 54th in the world before shooting up to 15th after his victory), which prompted the question: was ESPN's coverage British enough for the Open Championship? We lauded ESPN for including an international cast for the World Cup, including four play-by-play men from England, so should the WWL have taken its own advice for the British? â†µ
â†µOf the 17 on-air members of ESPN's coverage, only two were non-American and one of the two, Colin Montgomerie, spent much of the four days on the course, not in the booth. There was no lack of talent in the ESPN stable – Tom Watson, Tom Weiskopf, Paul Azinger, Curtis Strange and Andy North have 14 majors between them – but Peter Alliss was often the only British voice on America's broadcast view of the Open. â†µâ†µ
â†µAt the very least, with how exciting Ian Darke could make a scoreless draw at the World Cup, it would have been fun to see what he could do with an anonymous seven-stroke victory at the Open. â†µâ†µ
â†µDwyane Wade's Comments Were Lost In Transcription â†µâ†µ
â†µTim Povtak of Fanhouse wrote a story Sunday on the supporting cast to the big three in Miami, getting comments from Dwyane Wade – doing a week's worth of charity work at the time – about the pressure of winning now that his team has a rather unprecedented (and top-heavy) roster. Here's how Wade was quoted in the initial version of the story: â†µâ†µ
â†µâ‡¥"We're going to be wearing a bullseye," Wade said. "But that's what you play for. If we lose a couple in a row this season, it will be like the World Trade (Center) is coming down again." â†µâ†µNot long after the story was posted, it was updated, with the quote changed to this: â†µ
â†µâ‡¥"We're going to be wearing a bullseye. But that's what you play for," Wade said. "We enjoy the bullseye. Plus, there's going to be times when we lose 2-3 games in a row, and it seems like the world has crashed down. You all are going to make it seem like the World Trade is coming down again, but it's not going to be nothing but a couple basketball games." â†µâ†µThe initial correction updated the pull-quote as well, but in the version posted as of Monday morning, the pull-quote was taken out of the story altogether. The story also included this disclaimer at the top: â†µ
â†µâ‡¥Editor's Note: Because of a transcription error, an earlier version of this story contained an incorrect quote from Dwyane Wade. The full and accurate version of the quote is contained in this story. We deeply regret the error. â†µâ†µIt was good of Fanhouse to admit the mistake. Everyone knew what Wade meant in the first quote, yet adding in the line, "but it's not going to be nothing but a couple basketball games" could change the tenor for some and certainly takes out any doubt of his intent. So, was this a PR-spin job by Wade's camp, or something caught after-the-fact by the Fanhouse editors to soften the story? â†µ
â†µRegardless, the lesson for athletes is this: don't compare your sport to any devastating event, even if you bring up said event to illustrate how much your sport is not like that event. Be safe, and keep death and catastrophe out of future sports metaphors. â†µâ†µ
This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.