Overblown but fun to see Johnny Miller make fun of Ian Poulter and then Poulter's initial reaction as noted by Alex Miceli of GolfWeek. Everyone loves the I-dare-you-to-say-it-to-my-face comeback. The only problem with that is that in the case of Johnny Miller and other great commentators like John McEnroe and Charles Barkley, they actually would say it to you face. This is the primary reason it is important to have a former accomplished player as commentator because critiques can be taken seriously.
The issue has more with the athletes than the viewers. Viewers are smart enough to absorb good commentary not matter who the source is. However, media outlets are dependent on access to players and that access can be compromised by an athlete angered by commentators. However, such anger (i.e. sulking) is mitigate when the course if a former great makes the comment - because the athlete subject to the criticism is on the defensive and no the commentator. Even if in the subconscience, the criticized player would prefer praise and acceptance from the former great athlete.
It partly explains why experiments like Dennis Miller, Tony Kornheiser and Rush Limbaugh didn't work in the booth. Viewers would happily watch criticism from non-players but the athletes themselves do no initially take such commentators seriously.
If you recall, Rory McIlroy's response to criticism from a non-legend was based on the fact he was non-player.
Of course there are notable exceptions like Howard Cosell. In the news more recently was another exception: Larry Merchant for boxing. Regrettably, Larry retired from regular HBO Boxing commentary last month ... but he leaves us with one of the great recent sports interviews.
I'm all for controversy and players fighting with the media, but alas this was no big deal.
Sadly but appropriately, Poulter himself realizes it was not a big deal and backs off in his "hahaha" tweet.
It does beg the question whether a player like Poulter would back off if the comment had been made by someone without the playing pedigree of Miller.
Would This Even Be A Possibility if McIroy Were Sprinting for the 100M?
It was reported last week that Rory McIlroy may not play in the Olympics because he is feels uncomfortable choosing between representing Britain and Ireland. Now, don't worry golf fans, Rory will play in Rio. This is just a handy way for a 23 year old not to have to worry about it until later. Keep in mind for a 23 year-old, 2016 if over 3.5 years away ... or to put it another way, more time than already 15% of his life already lived. That's is and should feel like an eon for a 23 year-old. When the time comes, he'll tee it up.
All this said, it is further evidence that golf doesn't really belong in the Olympics.
You can also be reasuured Rory will be in Rio for another reason: he just signed with Nike.
Paddy on the Wagon
Gotta love Padraig Harrington because he just loves golf. In a recent interview, he said he wants to be playing competitive golf when he's 70.
We knew Harrington loved everything about golf when he was the guy who was willing to test out the Happy Gilmore swing -- and this was after winning two Majors. [skip to 3:10 mark to get to good part]