The withdrawal of Tiger Woods from the WGC-Cadillac Championship yesterday afternoon sparked hysteria among a press corps desperate for some controversy or weighty human interest with which to stuff the threadbare narrative unfolding out on the course.
For servants of the print media, that meant appending a speculative paragraph or two to a final round report, or cobbling together a blog post, poll or hastily-arranged Q&A session.
Broadcasters, however, particularly those working in that most fraught and uncertain of media – live television – crave contact with their subject. It’s not enough to wander off into abstraction or riff on the myriad inferences to be uncovered in a cryptic, two-second statement.
Compelling, story-shaping footage is required.
Hence NBC’s decision to treat its audience to a lengthy and bizarre overhead shot of Tiger Woods’s car – one hopes it’s an automatic; use of the clutch could aggravate that Achilles! – as it left Doral and began to weave its way through interstate traffic.
If it wasn’t for Peter Jacobsen’s very nearly hilarious commentary faux pas (which, dare I say it, only underscored the cynicism behind the directorial decision-making at work) the sheer indignity of it all – the insincerity, the lack of proportion, the sanctimony – would have been overwhelming.
The droll tone of this Australian news report says more than a blog post ever could: