Tilghman being tried by opinion, not evidence

IAN HUTCHINSON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 2:45 PM ET

If you go by the true meaning of "lynch", the people threatening Kelly Tilghman's career are guilty of trying somebody by opinion instead of evidence, the same mentality that led to the horrifying incidents in American history that sparked all of the furor surround Tilghman's recent use of the word.

Tilghman's career at The Golf Channel took a serious hit when she said that young players who want to challenge Tiger Woods should "lynch him in a back alley."

First of all, the word "lynch" is not specific to people of colour, yet if Tilghman used the same word in reference to young players trying to take on Jack Nicklaus a couple of decades ago, it would never be an issue, even today.

What is at issue is the countless blacks who faced brutal executions because of mob rule and Tilghman unintentionally struck a sensitive nerve with her use of the word. Now, the same court of opinion is threatening not to end her life, but possibly ruin it under the guise of political correctness.

Had there been malicious intent, which clearly is not the case, or she was giving in to stereotypes, then the outrage would be understandable. Tilghman's sin was mindless prattle by someone expected to fill hours of air time in front of TV critics who feed off such things along with their hot buttered popcorn.

The Golf Channel should have let her off with an apology to Woods and those offended by the L-word. Instead, they suspended their workhorse announcer for a couple of weeks even though Tiger accepted her apology. Who knows how the fallout will affect her career?

Say what you want about Tilghman as a broadcaster, but the "lynch" affair is not a legitimate reason for potentially ruining someone's career.

Before we condemn her, is there any evidence that Tilghman is a racist? I've met her a few times and saw no evidence, nor has there been any indication in her previous work. A couple of years ago, I was at a reception in Las Vegas in which Tilghman interviewed Woods and it was all quite pleasant.

Admittedly, that's not enough to tell, but the people hinting at racism aren't going on anything more. Perhaps, we should turn the tables and say her accusers are going after Tilghman just because she's a woman in a male-dominated profession. After all, who needs evidence to condemn somebody?

The point of history is to learn from our mistakes, but the politically correct among us are repeating them through trial by opinion instead of evidence.

LESS MEANS MORE

British Open champ Padraig Harrington played in 29 tournaments last year, but suggested that playing less may be the key to success and pointed to Woods, 18 events in 2007 to prove his point.

The Irishman says that players can learn from the No. 1 player in the world, adding that studying what Woods does is conducive to winning.

He is correct, of course. TW's record speaks for itself. He's in a league of his own, which is why whatever Tiger does will not automatically work for other players. The fact is that Woods would be just as good a player if he was playing 25 events a year.

These days, you hear so many players talking about how they focus on the majors, but how many have a record in the majors that is comparable to Tiger's? By all means, emulate Woods, emphasis on fitness, or his practice habits, but cutting back on the number of tournaments per year isn't for everybody.

Harrington is at a point in his career where nobody would fault him for shaving three or four events off his schedule, but the reason his comments strike a chord is the numbers game that doesn't add up for fans who want to see the tour's big names.

If marquee players continue to shrink the number of tournaments they play, how many will be left as the tour adds big-ticket events? Last year, the tour unveiled Tiger's tournament, the AT&T National, as well as the three FedEx Cup playoff events and the muscled up Tour Championship.

The overload boiled over as the summer progressed when almost every week, there was a marquee event, whether it was the British Open, a World Golf Championship, FedEx Cup playoff tournament, Tour Championship or the Presidents Cup.

Harrington's comments, on their own, were quite innocuous, but once again highlight how the tour and its players want more for less, with the people along the ropes paying the price.


Videos

Photos