Blog Entry

Newspapers cheated in Lyle affair, too

Posted on: July 15, 2009 2:51 pm

TURNBERRY, Scotland -- Nobody elected we Yanks as the moral conscience of the newspaper biz, but when a handful of American scribblers saw the European Tour's biting condemnation of Sandy Lyle on Wednesday, it was hard not to laugh.

Tour commissioner George O'Grady said, in part, "The tour fully understands Sandy Lyle’s disappointment at not being elected [Ryder Cup] captain, but deeply regrets his comments, which are considered wholly inappropriate and ill-timed."

As they say around here, "Aye, there's the rub."

Lyle, guilty as charged on all other counts, had nothing to do with the timing, which has caused a veritable feeding frenzy that has threatened to engulf British Open week.

The timing came courtesy of an orchestrated attempt by the papers that jointly broke the "news" story Tuesday to maximize the impact of the comments during the season's third major. In the reports, which also appeared in two other U.K. papers Tuesday, Lyle characterized fellow Scotsman Colin Montgomerie as a cheater by dredging up a 4-year-old incident.

A day later, O'Grady, officials with the Royal & Ancient Golf Club and other players were pressed into commenting on what is now being called a "scandal" -- albeit a clearly contrived one. Here's how it went down, and it's disappointing that the typically freewheeling, mega-competitive British papers agreed to sit on the story for six days in order to heighten the impact:

Two highly respected European golf writers interviewed Lyle last week at the Scottish Open. During the broad conversation, Lyle made his unflattering characterization of Monty. Afterward, since it was a busy sports week in the U.K., the writers agreed not to publish the story until the British Open began, because they knew it always causes a stir whenever the word "cheating" and golf are associated. Last week, during an important cricket test match, it would have gotten buried in the sports section.

Talk about sticky wickets.

The plan worked to perfection, swallowing the two players, the tournament and most of the headlines for two days and counting. Lyle said he was awakened by ringing telephones at dawn on Tuesday as friends called to read him the scathing headlines, which included a highly interpretive version of what he had said, "You're a Cheat Monty," in the irreverent Sun of London.

Ugly as the unseemly incident was with Monty and the improper drop in Jakarta that started this whole affair -- Lyle clearly deserves some heat for napalming his countryman shortly before a huge Scottish sports spectacle -- the media handling of the affair reeks nearly as badly.

The canned Lyle comments have, to some degree, overshadowed the tournament, at least as far as the British storylines go. It has been a huge distraction to Monty, the Ryder Cup captain for 2010, during an important week. The committee that selected him as the captain was fully aware that the Jakarta incident would be exhumed, and picked him anyway.

The conniving papers set the timer on the news bombshell to ensure that it detonated in the most public of places and created high casualties. But they sold a slew of papers in the process, by gawd.

Category: Golf

Since: Feb 1, 2009
Posted on: July 17, 2009 2:35 pm

Newspapers cheated in Lyle affair, too


How ya like your Tiger now, HAHAHAHA

Since: Feb 15, 2008
Posted on: July 16, 2009 6:54 pm

Newspapers cheated in Lyle affair, too

I should add, don't worry Elling, you have lots of company. The reporters for the local online newspaper I read appear as though they only recently completed an ESL course.

Since: Feb 15, 2008
Posted on: July 16, 2009 6:50 pm

Newspapers cheated in Lyle affair, too

Elling likes to think he's on a par with Shakespeare, the way he overloads his stories with puns, alliterations, and other, what I guess he considers, witticisms. It gets to the point where the story is almost unreadable at times, but then a simple mistake of "we" instead of "us" exposes him for the bush league reporter he is. Elling: "we" is the subjective form; "us" is the objective. Still don't get it? Didn't think so.

Since: Jul 16, 2009
Posted on: July 16, 2009 3:27 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Dec 31, 2006
Posted on: July 15, 2009 6:21 pm


Media spinning stories to thier liking, manufacturing a "buzz", what is this world coming to????? steroids in professional sports? Large corporations cooking the books? a state run automaker?...  non story.  In most published public trust rankings, journalists rank right up there with used car salesmen.  This is one of the 3 stories (if it was treated fairly there should be thousands) that will be written this year about how the media is made to sell ads.... nothing more.  As soon as we think otherwise we are out of touch with reality.   

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