Rickie and the Brave, Anonymous Critics

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All photos courtesy of pgatour.com

When did it happen? At what point in time did our culture shift from one that encourages and cheers others to succeed, to one that constantly derides, mocks, and tears down anyone who would dare do well in their chosen profession?

There must have been a keystone event where it was suddenly decided that fully grown, professional, educated adults were required to drop all pretense of decency and, under the guise of anonymity, slam their cohorts without justification.

As you have likely heard by now, Sports Illustrated conducted an anonymous poll of Tour players, asking them to name the “most overrated player on Tour.” There was a tie atop that leaderboard with Rickie Fowler and Ian Poulter each bringing home 24% of the vote.

You now know how Fowler responded – with a smile and a giant novelty check after a dramatic win at TPC Sawgrass. But can someone tell me what possesses other players to take part in a poll like that?

promo255578317I realize we now live in a nation where anyone achieving success through hard work and excellent performance is to be reviled and mocked. The wealthy businessman who buys a huge home and drives the car of your dreams? He clearly fell into some lucky hot streak, cheated his friends and family, and gamed the system. There’s no chance on earth he studied hard, took massive risks, worked long hours, and saw his germ of a dream grow into a profitable endeavor.

From the President we hear whining diatribes about the successful not “doing their fair share,” while over half of the nation – his core voting bloc – contributes no share at all. It’s somehow deemed acceptable and proper to divide a nation and demean the successful in an effort to score political points. You can hate as long as you win.

This same nation holds in high esteem those who have no talent, do no work, and generally make a public spectacle of themselves day after day. (Right, Kim and Chloe?)

But in the case of Fowler, his performance in big time events has been stellar. His hard work with Butch Harmon has been reaping dividends well before a hot, underdressed model rushed out to plant one on him at TPC Sawgrass.

Apparently, Sports Illustrated forgot to inform the brave, anonymous voters that in 2014, only one player on the planet finished in the Top 5 of every major. His name is Rickie Fowler. Had it been Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson, we would be reading stories of “renaissance” and “timeless champions cementing their legacy.”

fowlerfamily-1268Instead, we get haters who hide behind the modern day Witness Protection Program that is the anonymous poll. How embarrassing both for the pollster and the respondents to be so very wrong and so very childish all at the same time.

To the behemoth that is Sports Illustrated, stop stooping to the same level of journalistic muck that I can find in the checkout aisle at the grocery store. Anonymous? That’s the best you can do? No wonder the world of print media is in such dire straits. You’ve forgotten how to write actual content and instead turned over the pages of a once iconic institution to the same mindset that brought TMZ to life. Well done.

In an odd bit of coincidental timing, I decided in February that after 25+ years of being an SI subscriber, I was done with the magazine. My tolerance for shoddy writing, coupled with a blatantly liberal editorial bias leading to the coverage of too much non-sports pseudo news, had brought me to the end of my allegiance to the magazine.

The anonymous poll silliness helps vindicate that decision.

Finally, on the off chance that this column somehow makes its way into the inner sanctum of a PGA Tour locker room, I hope the talented independent contractors therein can pull from these words one core message: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Demeaning your colleagues anonymously is neither brave, proper, or manly. Put your name on it or better yet, just say no.

 

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