Without golf, weekends are blank

First Posted: 1/15/2009

Today marks the 46th straight day in which I have not played golf, the longest such drought through which I have suffered since the late 1970s.
The reason I am not playing golf is because I have tendinitis and when I swing a golf club, it feels like someone just stuck a knife in both elbows.
Life without golf is challenging, but if you ask me, I'd tell you that I'm holding up reasonably well. If you ask people who have to deal with me, they might offer otherwise.
My doctor, who has my best interest at heart, suggested rest for my tennis elbows. My golfing pals, who are more interested in my money than my health, have suggested a more aggressive approach, such as cortisone shots, acupuncture, 5,000 milligrams of Ibuprofen and for me not to be such a big baby about a little pain. Some have suggested a combination -- or all -- of the above.
So far I am listening to the guy with a medical degree, but I must admit that my friends' suggestions are sounding saner each time dusk drops on another golfless day.
One of the ways I deal with not playing golf is by watching golf on television. It's like therapy, which is perfect because I'm on the couch. I know some of you think watching golf is boring, but that's only if you have something better to do.
This past weekend, I didn't have anything better to do, which is why I was disappointed that there wasn't more coverage of The Masters to fill in my blank time. CBS had scheduled 13 hours, but rain shortened that to 11.
Still, this year's was the most extensive coverage CBS has ever provided of The Masters, because the network finally got permission to take its cameras to the heretofore unseen front nine, although that coverage was limited to Sunday.
For some of you, 11 hours might seem like a lot of golf to watch. It might be in a day, but isn't when spread over four days.
For example, NBC and ESPN combined to provide about 311 hours of the U.S. Open last year. You could get up in the morning, watch golf, go to work, head to the course for a quick nine, grab a bite and return home to watch the U.S. Open. Ditto for the British Open, which was covered by ESPN and ABC, the same duo that provided us cover-to-cover coverage of the PGA.
On Sunday, CBS was finally allowed to show The Masters leaders as they teed off No. 1. But compare that with NBC and ABC, which pick up their Saturday and Sunday coverage of golf's other majors when the leaders are hitting the snooze button.
What's interesting about all this is The Masters likes to brag about its television coverage. Chairman Hottie Johnson begins each broadcast by thanking the sponsors for allowing CBS to interrupt the golf for no more than four minutes of commercials during each 60 minutes.
I don't mind the commercials. I've got to get another Budweiser sometime. And that often leads to a need for more commercials.
Memo to Hootie: Go ahead and allow about 10 minutes of commercials every hour, but expand the number of hours broadcast to eight or 10 on Saturdays and Sundays. And USA Network needs to expand its coverage on Thursday and Friday, which at 4 to 7 p.m. is like a striptease.
Do we really need to see Chuck Norris in yet another bar fight when Tigers Woods is trying to loft a sand wedge off hard pan to a short pin? By the time USA Network began its Thursday coverage, Woods was taking a shower at the Westin.
Woods is only the most recognizable athlete in the world, and he was only playing in golf's No. 1 event, so why not let us watch? And if you think I'm the only one who wants to watch, watch what happens when Tiger contends in The Masters.
And speaking of Woods, I've got one more complaint about CBS' coverage of The Masters. It seems like the endings are the same each year.
-- Douglas can be reached at 739-4322, Ext. 104 or by email at [email protected]

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