In the week after the Presidents Cup, the Golf Twitter world was up in arms over the fact that there was not a credit to another media outlet on a quote by an older respected media member, Bob Harig.
The majority of the vitriol came from younger golf media members, who missed the point that they didn’t get an exclusive quote from Patrick Reed’s caddie, brother-in-law Kessler Karain, after he went after a fan and was banned from Sunday singles at the Presidents Cup. Harig’s quote was obtained by ESPN’s Michael Collins, who has a great relationship with Tour caddies and got the quote from Karain himself.
While I understand the frustration from the guys on the younger side of things, because I am a part of the young “new media” because it is important to us to have that credit as respect that we are good at our jobs, I also understand that old media – guys like Bob Harig, Doug Ferguson, and Geoff Shackelford, etc. – bring a LOT to the table and we young bucks can learn a lot from them. It’s not the new media’s job to tell them how to do something they’ve been doing at a very high level for longer than a lot of us have been alive. They know what they’re doing, how to do it, and the proper way to do it and in retrieving a quote on his own, Harig did things the right way. He didn’t need to credit anyone else for something he went out and got.
As GOLF.com’s Alan Shipnuck writes:
Golf has always been a niche sport, so I’m thankful for anyone or anything that grows the audience. I also have a deep reverence for the written word. It was unfortunate that John Huggan, Geoff Shackelford and Bob Harig were singled out as the Old Man point-missers because each is a valuable voice: Huggan is an expert on all things pertaining to the Euro tour, European Ryder Cup team and links golf; Shackleford is a preeminent critic of golf course architecture and the media; Harig is a pro’s pro who has covered more tournaments than almost any other scribe on the planet and is respected by all the players. The Stoolies could learn a helluva lot reading their stuff. And Old Man Media needs to adapt, too, by being more open to outside voices and non-traditional outlets. The beat has changed, like it or not.
There’s no point in one side ripping the other. There’s no point in having fans of one side attack guys like Shackelford saying things like, “Your days are numbered fella.”
What purpose does that serve?
I’m not against new “fan boy” media. Even though I consider myself more old school in thinking, I am also one of the first guys who started making videos and GIFs and sharing them on social media. I know the importance of those platforms when growing a brand, but while likes and RTs on Twitter are important, they aren’t everything. Being respected is also something to strive for in this golf niche.
It would be great if we could all get along and not have awkward media center moments where we’re all looking across the room at each other with smirks on our faces.
There’s plenty of room for both types of media and both types of media need each other to continue to grow the wonderful game of golf that we all love.
Michael is the founder and Editor in Chief of The Stiff Shaft. He is also the Senior Editor of Golfweek Custom Media and covers the World Long Drive for Golf Channel.
He has 8+ years of covering golf, is an LSU fan, and prefers to hit driver-wedge as often as possible.