With the Masters and the U.S. Open now behind us, and the Open about to start, if the players on the PGA Tour are not careful, they are going to completely alienate more and more of the viewing and paying public and kill the golden goose.
With each passing week, there are a growing number of players on the tour who, when they pull off a great shot or drop a long putt, look like they are getting a root-canal. Chip in for a birdie? Root-canal face. Drop the 50 foot par-saving putt? Root-canal face. If the viewers or those in attendance are really lucky, they might get an almost imperceptible wave connected to a stoic or even annoyed-looking face.
My advice to these emotionless robots who give the air that we should be thrilled to be in their very presence is to remember it's a very tough economy out there in the real world and it's getting worse by the day.
I know the game fairly well, play to about a 10 handicap, and have gone to a number of tournaments in person. More than that, I know a number of people who are true fans of the game and who comment almost every single time they now watch one of these PGA robots displaying their "Let them eat cake" demeanor that, "Don't these guys know how lucky they are? Don't they know how blessed they are to be playing a game for a living? Don't they understand that most of those who come to a tournament or watch on television are more and more frightened for the economic future of our children?"
How about being grateful? How about giving something back to the fans? How about at least walking up to one of the children lining the rope line -- good tee shot or bad --- and talking to them, patting their heads, or giving them a ball? How about offering-up a genuine smile?
As a child, I grew up in abject poverty and was homeless a number of times. By the time I was 17 years of age, I had moved 34 times. All evictions. Simon & Schuster was just nice enough to publish my memoir. Because of the memoir, I have gotten hundreds of emails from people all over the country who bought and read the book and told me how much it meant to them or their children. My point here being I know it's an honor for anyone to buy my memoir or one of my novels. I know it's humbling experience to have someone take the time to write. I will always be grateful and always take the time to answer every single email or letter
For many of these PGA players, it's as if the joy of the game and basic gratitude and good manners has been ground out of them by countless swing coaches, managers, agents, and privilege, coupled with endless hours, days, weeks and years on a golf course.
For these PGA players, it's certainly their right to be spoiled brats who don't want to acknowledge how lucky they are or to give back to the fans who ultimately fund their wealth.
But, it's also the right of viewers and the paying public to decide they have much better things to do with their hard-earned and many times dwindling dollars than to waste them on those who find no joy in a game full of joy.
The next time one of these PGA zombies drops an eagle putt or chips in for a birdie and then refuses to smile, I suggest they go back and watch the commercials of the smiling faces of the children from St. Jude hospital or go to a Veteran's Administration hospital and see the faces of our wounded warriors who have sacrificed so much for all of us and yet can still find something to smile about.
Get over yourselves and enjoy the game.
Douglas MacKinnon is a former White House and Pentagon official and author of the memoir 'Rolling Pennies In The Dark.'