Unfiltered Friday: Cheating Golfer Caught, and Golf Blogger Destroys Tournament!
Welcome back to Unfiltered Friday, where the headline on this week’s article is good, ol’ fashioned clickbait garbage.
Neither statement is true, and you clicked on the link anyway.
But don’t worry: you’re not the only one. I am not immune to the allure of clicking on a sensationalist headline with the hope of whetting an appetite fueled by controversy. The table required to seat all of us with similar tastes would be immense, validating the adage of the company misery enjoys.
I contend this is a growing problem in golf journalism, especially when it comes to spreading misinformation in the hope of sparking a reaction. That’s not a hot take by any means. Journalism as a whole needs an enema to cleanse what is made available on all forms of media. Writing clickbait headlines is nothing new, and it works.
Two recent examples come to mind in our industry: Xander Schauffele’s driver test kerfuffle and golf blogger Kyle Porter’s tweet joke. The former is an example of how we are conditioned to judge athletes for any misstep (even if completely out of their control). The latter is simply an overreaction that turned into a personal attack by one’s peers.
I’ll spare the details of both topics — one, because a link is included above; the other would require me to link to a hit-piece on Kyle by a woefully irresponsible journalist that doesn’t deserve the traffic — but when combined the two paint a very ugly picture.
Perhaps I am naive to think that journalism in the golf industry is immune from the nonsense we see at other major news outlets. Maybe I’m dreaming of a reprieve from political sensationalism, misconstrued outrage and outright dishonesty in my timeline every day. Hell, maybe I should follow less people.
But golf can be different if we want it to be. There’s no rule that says we have to abide by the same hurtful tactics to gain an audience as those outside the sport. Instilling negativity sprinkled with feigned outrage benefits nobody at all. Instead, it reinforces the worst parts of our society and rewards those who erroneously call themselves marketers or “disruptors.”
Golf. Is. A. Game.
It is also a business, and it is a livelihood to so many. We can choose to be outraged every single day, looking for missteps or mistakes, ready to label them as criminal acts instead of byproducts of the qualities that make us human.
If you can to this post by clicking on the ridiculous headline, I understand. If you are still reading this post, I thank you.
All I ask is you take a moment to contemplate what is important to you, the way you see life, and how you choose to be entertained.