Apr
13
2010
The Gospel According to Jim Nantz
By Stephanie Wei under General

Apparently Jim Nantz has taken it upon himself to play the police on morals when it comes to Tiger Woods and foul language. During the weekend telecast, Nantz immediately made it clear he was “disappointed” when five minutes into the coverage, Tiger let out his now infamous “Tiger Woods, you suck! G**dammit!

He continued with his sermon for the rest of the weekend because well, gosh darnit, Tiger promised he wasn’t going to use foul language anymore. But no! He used the Lord’s name in vain, according to Nantz.

Speaking to WFAN’s Mike Francesca on Monday (I recommend listening), Nantz fervently explained his criticism of Tiger’s language and of course, compared him to everyone’s favorite family man, Phil Mickelson:

If I said what he said on the air, I would be fired. I read in the USA Today and it was called “mild language.” Someone on my broadcast dismissed it as him having a camera in his face. Well, guess what? Phil Mickelson had a camera in his face all week and did you even hear him come close to approaching that? He didn’t hit every shot the way he wanted. Have you ever heard Arnold Palmer or Jack Nicklaus use that kind of language? What are the parameters between what’s right or wrong?

But most of all, Nantz was upset because Tiger broke his promise:

I’m not trying to be a prima donna, but he promised it wasn’t going to happen. I’m not saying my language is perfect. I try my best. I can’t say anything I want when I’m on a live broadcast. Tiger isn’t the only one who has a camera in his face, but he’s the only one who said he wasn’t going to do that. I have a lot of forgiveness in my heart for a lot of things. He’s not the only one who is around cameras and a microphone.

The argument in the past has been that Tiger receives more camera time than other players, but it’s true that we never saw Phil or the other leaders come close to a Tiger-like outburst. At the same time, anyone watch Thursday’s online telecast? Robert Allenby and Steve Flesch let some choice words (worse than Tiger’s) rip. But I guess that doesn’t matter because no one was watching.

What’s more, according to Nantz, Tiger’s language is just not family-friendly:

How about the father and son who are standing right there by the tee? How about the hundreds of people who are around that tee who hear that? How about the hundreds of letters I’ve gotten through the years from people who have been outraged at the language they’ve heard there and have written me and said, ‘Why don’t you guys ever say something about that?’

While Tiger did pledge he would try to control his outbursts, he isn’t going to change overnight. It seemed obvious that he was doing his best to restrain himself. There were no f-bombs or club throws (at least that I’m aware of). If he actually really is trying, then we should give him the benefit of the doubt and hope he improves. Even the Buddhists would agree. And at least he didn’t chuck a driver into the gallery — yeah, apparently he really has set the bar that low.

But like Tiger said in his press conference, if he’s going to tone down his fiery reactions, then he’s going to show less exuberance, too. Do we want a tame Tiger? I guess the best we can wish for is something in the middle. May all the moralizing voices judge him again…at The Players? Excuse me, I meant THE PLAYERS.

The lesson is, don’t swear if you’re mic’ed up and Jim Nantz is within ears’ reach.

[Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images]