Stop televising Arnold Palmer, part 2
A few readers objected to yesterday’s blog in which I said Arnold Palmer ought to stop playing golf on television. One reader called me a loser. A second said he was surprised that hit men hadn’t already gunned me down.
What we are dealing with here is a taboo. I don’t like taboos. Here’s how Webster’s defines a taboo: “The stinking turd on the carpet that everybody is too polite to smell.”
Every one of you, including the guy who called me a loser, knows it’s undignified for Arnold to play golf in his present state of deterioration. Have you looked at him play golf lately? He is all stooped over. He can barely hit the ball 200 yards. He is not as mentally sharp as he once was. It’s just awful to watch.
Arnold, in his heyday, was a matinee idol. Even other professional athletes and stars hero-worshipped him. I once interviewed Duke Snider, the great centerfielder for the Dodgers, who told me that meeting Arnold Palmer had been his lifelong dream.
Arnold’s problem is he loves public adulation and doesn’t want to give it up. I had hoped that after his farewell appearances at the Masters and U.S. Open, he’d have sense enough to quit. Unfortunately, the enablers who sponsor Skins Games think they can use Arnold to attract a few more viewers.
Those of you who think Arnold should continue playing golf on TV, answer these questions for me.
1) Do you really enjoy watching Arnold play golf now? If you enjoy it, you have no feeling for the man who once was.
2) Just how much further downhill must Arnie drift before enough is enough? What kinds of infirmities must he suffer before we remove him from the television cameras?
3) Do you think that Jack Nicklaus would allow himself to play golf on TV when he’s in the shape Arnold’s in? I will bet you that Jack is embarrassed for Arnold. As well he should be.
If Arnold is too far gone to realize what a fool he’s making of himself, the sponsors of these Skins Games should. This was a virile and mighty athlete. Let’s celebrate what he was by dropping the curtain on the sad clown act he’s got now.
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I think big money is largely to blame for this.
Yesterday, here in Bangkok, I was a passenger in the car reserved for British Open winner Paul Lawrie for the Royal Trophy event here. He won one major tournament and that made his career.
I don't think golfers think much about careers anymore. They don't have to. They think about one good year or two and then they are set for life.
Professional golfers not that long ago were forced to think about careers and adopting a style that set them apart. Now they don't have to think that way at all.
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