PGA Microphone – Can You Hear Me Now?

Some Charles Schwab Pros Will Carry A Microphone

I cannot recall off-hand the name of the person who invented the microphone, but he or she certainly did start something. For public entertainment, spy networks, eager historians and family tree researchers, it has been a boon For various politicians or anyone invested in preserving a pristine public image, it has often been a career-ender.  It has ended marriages and initiated federal investigations. Be that as it may, in the upcoming Charles Schwab tournament, the first week for the post-viral PGA, some players are going to carry the infernal things on purpose.

There is a type that can pull off such a thing as pausing in mid-performance to chat. And, there is a type that cannot. I’m sure that Fuzzy Zoeller could have done it, and equally certain that Ben Hogan could not. If you’re the squeaky clean public image type, a local and national television audience may very well hear what you really said, the words you chose for saying it, and the tone in which you delivered it.  One could whittle his fan base down to nothing with one authentic reaction he couldn’t stop in time. It doesn’t matter whether the pro knows he’s carrying the equipment. Sooner or later, the real person is going to come out.

There is also the type that doesn’t care, and would tell his audience to just get over it. That in itself is attractive to a certain type of listener, one who is equally self-expressed when he plays. Especially in his early career, Tiger Woods probably could have melted a microphone through sheer rhetoric. Gary Player could have done it through sheer concentration. The thought of switching the game face on and off in mid-round seems entirely contrary to the great analytical players. I wouldn’t interrupt Player with a question any more than I would a brain-surgeon.
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The microphone and accompanying unit that goes on one’s belt are thankfully a little smaller than they used to be. Outdoor performers used to go out on stage with what looked like a backpack. Still, they still look big enough for one to know it’s there. For some extra-sensitive types, that could affect a golf swing in some unknowable way. I shorten or pull back on a swing if I feel the slightest unfamiliar sensation in the torso, whether an ache or an itch. I don’t like stuff like that when I’m concentrating.

As an additional thought, the sanctified relationship between a golfer and his caddie, whether collaborative or combative, is thrust into the open air. These are conversations some golfers don’t want anyone else to hear. It might be strictly a case of information, or it might be mixed with personal matters better left out of the public ear. Brooks Koepka could produce an interesting story. Given his mood on a certain day. he is well known as a ‘direct’ player. Rickie Fowler is a pretty clear type as well, although perhaps a little less aggressive. Still, one seldom needs to ask him what he meant. The personable Fowler may be an excellent candidate for the microphone.

The talkative types forget more quickly than the others that a poorly chosen phrase is indelible. It can be played back at any time, on any occasion. Similarly, for some, answering questions in mid-round seems like a profound momentum-breaker. Added to that, of course, is the nature of question you might receive. Celebrity questioners get pretty personal these days, and it is difficult to know what will set a pro off. After all, you’ve just met him, and your image of this star is still unbroken. “You’ve been my hero since childhood” can go home in tatters with a poorly formed question.

Depending on the malicious or benign possibilities present in the use of the microphone or camera, the chatting performer will have to enter at his own risk. A million small things can send a round of golf into the dust bin of bad memories. I assume that four-putting on the final hole to lose the Masters by one wouldn’t inspire a player to talk with anyone. However, if it makes you feel relaxed, step right up to the microphone, and tell us a little something about yourself.


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