11 January 2008

Kelly Girl in a Back Alley

Is being stupid a firable offense?

If so, then Kelly Tilghman most definitely should lose her job as the lead anchor on the Golf Channel telecasts.

Let's be honest, even before she uttered those six infamous words about Tiger Woods: "Lynch him in a back alley," Tilghman had dubious credentials to get the gig after the PGA Tour inexplicably signed a 15-year deal with the Golf Channel.

Ironically, the first and foremost reason for Tilghman to be chosen was her too-chummy and cozy relationship with Woods. She forged a friendship with Tiger after having many opportunities to interview him during tournaments when she served as a reporter for the Golf Channel.

Tilghman is always deferential toward Tiger on the air, nary a negative word or inference. She would frequently substitute "The World No. 1," or "the best golfer in the world," for Woods' name. While technically not wrong, her actions betrayed an unprofessional amount of worshipping. And it is perhaps fitting that she spewed out her ill-advised attempt at humor during yet another moment of Tiger Kiss-Ass.

Secondly, she got the job because she's a woman, and a pretty one at that. Anyone who disputes this is just being dishonest or naive. There was a virtual silence from the predominantly male golf media members immediately after the incident. It was no coincidence, to a man, they were all wishing this would've gone on unnoticed.

I say "to a man" because besides the esteemed Ann Miller (Honolulu Advertiser) and Melanie Houser (PGATour.com), the golf media is one big fraternity. And the guys generally like Kelly because she's a good-looking woman who's also a nice person. The boys wanted to be chivalrous and cut her some slack by maintaining silence.

And what of the Tour? As the entity that signed on with this outfit for 15 years, don't you think Tim Finchem and Co. at least express their displeasure? Not a word.

The fact that this entire episode almost went on unnoticed reflected the abysmal ratings PGA Tour events have recorded ever since the Tour ditched ESPN in favor of the Golf Channel. Almost nobody watches it.

Unfortunately when the good Rev. Al Sharpton got the wind of this, it wasn't gonna get swept under a rug. The Golf Channel at first was only going to issue a reprimand -- and three days after it happened. After ESPN, no doubt indulging in a bit of Schadenfreude, made this a national story, TGC had no choice but to hand down a more severe punishment: Two weeks suspension.

It's not enough. Not nearly enough.

You think if Roger Maltbie or Mark Rolfing said this, they'd skate with a two-week suspension?

Never mind that Tilghman is not a racist and probably felt horrible about making such an idiotic comment. The point is: She's in way over her head at a job she should never have gotten in the first place. Frankly, she's quite incompetent. And making such an absurdly offensive comment only illuminated how ill-suited she is for the job.

And it doesn't matter that Tiger "forgave" her quickly, as opposed to in 1997, when he famously let Fuzzy Zoeller twist in the wind for several weeks after Fuzzy's "friend chicken and collared greens" wise crack. This is now bigger than Tiger. Tilghman's remark may not seem much to Tiger, it is deeply hurtful and offensive to a lot of folks, particularly African-Americans.

She should be kicked out of the broadcast booth and be returned to Orlando for "Golf Central" telecasts. People have been fired for less so she should consider herself lucky that she still has a job.

But TGC is banking on the two-week suspension to take the edge off the story. And when she returns to the booth at Torey Pines, Tiger will be making his first appearance of the year. He'll put his arm around Kelly and tell her that everything's fine and that he doesn't understand what the big fuss was. Tilghman will be giddy as a schoolgirl, smiling and giggling as the pathetic sideshow unfolds.

That's why nobody watches the Golf Channel.

1 comment:

ugandachik said...

Pretty girls get special treatment from guys. Smart girls get... well, treated like Hillary.