A couple things came to light last week in Banff where a sellout crowd of more than 5,000 watched five of golf's biggest names at the Telus Skins Game.
One, those in attendance saw firsthand why golf is, by far, the worst live spectator sport.
Two, locals unfamiliar with seeing world-class golfers in the flesh demonstrated the same sort of ignorance sport newbies such as Anaheim hockey fans are prone to.
As TSN's weekend broadcast of the Skins demonstrated, TV is so much better at capturing the banter, emotion (or drama in the case of a real golf tourney) than the fan in attendance is capable of seeing. Scrambling from hole to hole trying desperately to catch an unobstructed, up-close glimpse of a tee shot or putt is an exercise in futility few can enjoy.
While the crowds were respectful and supportive, Alberta's golf neophytes in attendance did exactly what drives touring pros crazy: Cheer mediocre shots. Understandably oblivious as to what constitutes a good golf shot when it leaves the clubface of a top pro, loud cheers followed every shot, good or bad.
While nobody was daft enough to shout out the ol' "You da man!" the gallery's lack of knowledge was akin to Ducks fans cheering icing calls or offsides.
Make no mistake, their enthusiasm and support did the area proud. But the next time a guy such as Sergio Garcia mistakenly knocks his ball off the tee when addressing it, keep in mind the only man who ever thought it was funny to say 'one' is Bob Hope.
Now, more notes, quotes and anecdotes from a sports world touting Matt Leinart as NFL MVP (Most Vials of Penicillin) after the Arizona Cardinals rookie hooked up with Paris Hilton:
LEFTOVER SKINS: John Daly on whether he might return to Alberta to ski: "I'm not a snow skier -- I did it one time and I made my own slope." ... Daly after Sergio Garcia boasted about out-driving Long John by two yards: "Yah but I can out-drink you." ... Greg Norman when asked about Nicklaus' influence on his life: "The only two books I read were Golf My Way and 55 Ways to Lower Your Golf Score. Those are the only two golf books I've read in my life. I still have them. Instead of reading physics or chemistry for homework, I'd be studying Jack Nicklaus' books. I failed chemistry. I passed physics and I passed my golf career." ... Daly openly admitted Nicklaus was the reason he played golf and said one of the most cherished things he has is a note slipped into his locker at the 1991 PGA Championships by the Golden Bear wishing the tour rookie well in the final round of golf's most improbable major win. Daly has the note framed.
PARTING SHOTS: Under the heading 'couldn't have happened to a nicer guy,' Casey Printers' NFL debut was a nightmare Saturday night. The former B.C. Lions sulker/CFL MVP completed six of 12 passes for 71 yard, threw an interception, lost a fumble, was sacked five times and had an intentional grounding penalty that cost the Chiefs a field goal attempt in a 24-14 pre-season loss to Houston. Printers is pencilled in as Trent Green's backup thanks to injuries to Damon Huard and Brodie Croyle ... Excuse me for not getting all misty about Harry Sinden's departure in Boston as he had as big a hand as anybody in running the once-proud Bruins into the ground. In this case, the owner's son may actually do a better job ... Those still asking about the merits of new Flame Eric Godard as a legitimate tough guy should know the 6-ft. 4-in., 225-lb. winger is the same size as arguably the league's toughest hombre, Ottawa's Brian McGrattan, against whom he held his own three times last year.