At the time, most Redskins fans saw Haynesworth as akin to the lazy grumbler at their office, the guy not pulling his (literal and metaphoric) weight.
Me? I saw Haynesworth as a champion—albeit a really, really fat champion—for the kind of labor-management leverage most of us dream about. Either
way, the tête-à-tête resonated in a way that typical training camp injury reports don’t, and was a heck of a lot more entertaining
than anything Haynesworth did on the field.
As such, I submit that the PGA Tour needs more than spats. It needs jerks. Honest, public ones. Hampton, are you with me?
So, all you guys are saying, really, is that golf needs a little more personality, right? The players—and even (gasp!) the lowly caddies—should open up more, put their personalities on display. They should feel free to talk a little smack in the media, and maybe even do a little hot-dogging on the links. Chi-Chi did it.
Riiiiiiiight. Gee. That's a super idea, fellas. Pay no attention to these syringes I'm filling with sedatives, nor to those men in white suits sneaking up behind you.
Pardon the psychological jargon, but are you freakin' nuts?
Oh, sure. If there's one thing that the sports world needs, it's more jerks and narcissists. The country is desperately, desperately short of pampered, self-congratulatory, athletes who live out every, petty emotion on camera. You nailed it, guys. That's the whole problem with big-time sports today—there's just too darn much dignity, humility and quiet grace.
At the risk of revealing my inner-Andy Rooney: No, no, and a thousand times no. It's bad enough to see sports become ever more TMZ-ified, without being asked to cheerlead for the process. Sure, spectator sports are a kind of theater. As such, they do much more than merely provide catharsis. That is, a football game is about way, way more than just getting a little Primal Scream therapy on the cheap. Sports show us the values our society finds important, and they are an utterly vital, ancient way of transmitting those values to rising generations. Like, for example, the ideas that it's important to win with humility and lose with grace. We need more of that—in every sport—not less. And we certainly need it, maybe most of all, in golf.
In other words, we need more sublimating. We need more tamping down of that savage beast within us all, more of that mental process by which the energy behind socially unacceptable impulses (like wanting to bash a competitor's skull with a 9-iron) is consciously transformed into more socially constructive acts (like shaking his hand and saying "Good game").
Does golf need charismatic stars? Of course. Always. The PGA, at bottom, is in the entertainment business. But I simply refuse to believe that being an entertaining athlete and being a gentleman can't co-exist. For me, in fact, they must. On the day that sportsmanship no longer matters in sports, the games themselves will no longer matter to me.