Blog Entry

BBC gives Gallacher free pass in Ryder blowup

Posted on: October 7, 2010 10:13 am

Ah, the incredible irony.

The major media outlet that employed an analyst who admittedly and intentionally interfered with a key Ryder Cup singles match on Monday has finally spoken.

Unlike BBC Radio commentator Bernard Gallacher, who hurled insulting comments at American player Jeff Overton in the middle of a tight match, the company's stance on the outrageous behavior of its employee is a masterpiece of hollow words.

One said way too much. The other, not nearly enough.

A formal statement was issued by the BBC on Thursday morning about the actions of Gallacher, a three-time European Ryder Cup captain who was inside the ropes and calling Overton's match with England's Ross Fisher. Upset over something Overton said to the match referee about a free drop Fisher that received from a muddy area, Gallacher elected to offer his unsolicited opinion.

Among other remarks, he called Overton a "typical American" for not knowing the rules, prompting Ron Overton to confront Gallacher as a means of defending his son. The two engaged in a heated debate. Afterward, Gallacher continued to defend his decision to browbeat the American player and refused to apologize.

Said the BBC in a formal statement:

"During a tense conclusion to the Ryder Cup, highly respected former Ryder Cup player and captain Bernard Gallacher, spoke to American player Jeff Overton and his father regarding a referee ruling. The comment was made off air and didn't interfere with play or the referee's ruling, no offense was intended or taken."

Let's look at this masterpiece of public-relations delusion in piecemeal fashion, shall we?

What difference does it make whether Gallacher's comments were made on or off the air? He was present as a paid commentator of the BBC. He interjected himself into the match, a massive violation of so many ethical journalistic canons, it's hard to know where to start.

The comments absolutely interfered with play, or none of this would have happened. Gallacher was fortunate that Overton either didn’t hear his comments or elected to ignore the man. Neither Jeff or Ron Overton realized that Gallacher was a former Ryder captain.

Finally, as for the BBC's assertion that "no offense was intended or taken," well, hurling insults at a player is the definition of being intentionally offensive. You can bet your butt that Ron Overton was offended or he would not have stepped in and asked Gallacher to leave the players alone.

Overton, 2 down at the time of the incident, rallied to win the match 3 and 2.

At the British Open this year, I participated in a live 30-minute BBC Radio segment with Gallacher, and he seemed an introspective, mild-mannered sort. But the Ryder Cup makes some people behave in strange ways. If he can’t cover the matches with some degree of objectivity, without insinuating himself into the equation, he has no business being on the course in the first place, and the BBC is utterly wrong to sanction his behavior.

Ask yourself this question: If Gallacher has popped off like this to Phil Mickelson or Tiger Woods, what would have happened next? Just because Overton was the lowest-ranked player among the 24 players in the competition, and a largely unheralded Ryder rookie, doesn't mean he should be subjected to outside interference by a meddling commentator who can't remove his ego from the equation.


Since: Nov 9, 2008
Posted on: October 9, 2010 8:02 pm

BBC gives Gallacher free pass in Ryder blowup

Typical comment from an internet European coward.

Since: Oct 20, 2008
Posted on: October 9, 2010 1:21 pm

BBC gives Gallacher free pass in Ryder blowup

Accept defeat graciously?  The only person who stepped out of line in this incident is Mr. Gallacher.  Everyone agrees that he had NO business involving himself in the situation.  Overton was WELL WITHIN HIS BOUNDS to question the ruling.  Watson and Overton were not given relief in a similar ruling the day before.  He wanted the ruling explained, which is his prerogative.  There has been no real explanation as to why Fisher was allowed to move his ball when the Americans were not able to the day before-  The fact is that Overton was overstepping his bounds as a player -  Gallacher WAS overstepping his bounds as a member of the press covering the event.   
  The incident with DJ was at the PGA, NOT at the US Open.  DJ was correct.  He was not in a "bunker".  Just because you ball is in a sandy lie does not necessarily mean that your are in the confines of a bunker.  The place where his ball came to rest was OUTSIDE of the area that was intended by the designer to be a bunker -   It was a horrible call -  DJ got ripped off - He handled the situation with incredible poise.  He is and was "au fait" with the rules of the game - He has procured MILLIONS of dollars playing the game-  So I would say he knows a thing or two about it - 
Americans won more than their share of events on the PGA Tour this season -  No worries there - The USA is still the preeminent power in the game - and will continue to be #1 in golf in the foreseeable future -  

Since: Feb 15, 2008
Posted on: October 8, 2010 10:38 pm

BBC gives Gallacher free pass in Ryder blowup

bishopmill you really are a fool. Do you think anyone outside the UK gives a damn if he's English, Scottish or whatever? Do Englishmen quibble over whether someone is Canadian or American, Indian or Pakistani, Finnish or Norwegian, Spanish or Portuguese? That only shows how parochial you all are on that crummy little island that is pretty much a third world country nowadays. I wish Gallacher had mouthed off to Woods, just so we could watch Stevie Williams make him one sorry piece of garbage. Of course he wouldn't have dared try that on Woods, would he? He was a failure as a player, a captain, and now he can't even function properly as a third-rate journalist.

Since: Jul 13, 2008
Posted on: October 8, 2010 2:58 pm

BBC gives Gallacher free pass in Ryder blowup

Our single country, played against your 14 country conglomerate and lost by 1/2 a point.  We only won a single major this year, but look at our history.  It's pretty storied in my estimation.

Golf may have been invented on the other side of the pond, but no single country in the world could beat our team of 12 players.  Bar none. 

Gallacher is in the wrong and BBC is in the wrong not apologizing for trying to affect the matches.  I just think it's too bad that we couldn't pull it out in the end.  That would've been justice.  It was the turning point in JO's match and almost the turning point for the whole team. 

Hats off to Westwood, Donald, McDowell and McIlroy.  Their golf was amazing and they didn't have to act like A-holes to do it. 

Watching Sergio as the team erotic masseuse is hillarious.  The only thing better would've been watching Ian Poulter cry after the loss. 

Since: Apr 21, 2009
Posted on: October 8, 2010 1:41 pm

BBC gives Gallacher free pass in Ryder blowup

any way you slice it, the comment was needed from a journalist. 

stay classy redcoats. 

Since: Sep 5, 2007
Posted on: October 8, 2010 12:45 pm

BBC gives Gallacher free pass in Ryder blowup

Steve - please do what you can to keep up the media pressure on this. It's worth your time and you've presented this really well already. This is absolute BS. Gallacher had no business whatsoever weighing in on ruling like that. While I understand your concerns about his lack of professional integrity as a journalist, I'm more concerned about the fact that he did this when he's had so much Ryder Cup experience. If anyone on the whole course should know he shouldn't involve himself in a ruling that has nothing to do with him, it's Bernard Gallacher.

The BBC's cowardice in dealing with this is deplorable.

Since: Oct 2, 2008
Posted on: October 8, 2010 12:41 pm

BBC gives Gallacher free pass in Ryder blowup

This has nothing to do with accepting defeat graciously.  In fact, Overton won the match.  This brouhaha would still be going on even if the Americans had won.  The information given in the comment does not relate at all with the actions of Mr. Gallacher.  Thinking that a journalist should remain unbiased in reporting on an event and that emotions should be held in check while attempting to do so is nothing new.  It's well established, except for with what might be considered tabloids.  The last I knew, the BBC is not considered a tabloid.
As much as I root for American golfers during any event (usually, as I do like non-American golfers, too) I root for GOLF and all the majors and the Ryder Cup were excellent events.  I would feel the actions of Mr. Gallacher were wrong even if he had said them regarding a European player.  Can you imagine the outcry by the European press if Mr. Elling or Mr. Maltbie had done that on course?
Anyway, Dustin Johnson knew the rule, the definition of bunker was arguably iffy; major and tour winners do not address the issue; the actions by ALL the team at that green in 1999 were ill-advised at best.  Look at the replay and try to pick Tom Lehman out of the crowd.  Once again, does not address the "Gallacher" issue.  If I was an attorney, I would object to the comments on the grounds of lack of relevance.
Maybe Mr. Gallacher is still feeling a little inferiority complex because the rules of the Ryder Cup were changed in the late-70's to allow him and the rest of Europe to participate. 
The bottom line is Gallacher was off base.  If he knew the rules of golf, he would realize it is a competitor's right to have any ruling within his match explained to him, whether it was for him or his competitor.

Since: Oct 8, 2010
Posted on: October 8, 2010 9:44 am

BBC gives Gallacher free pass in Ryder blowup

Steve, good story, but your mistake is in assuming the Limey media feel any professional obligation to be "objective." They consider themselves to be PART OF the European team, not separate from it. Big, big difference from the American reporters. Gallacher was simply doing what any paid POS whore would have done from any other British media outlet.

Since: Nov 12, 2007
Posted on: October 8, 2010 7:22 am

BBC gives Gallacher free pass in Ryder blowup

You and those like you are hypocrites.  It's not about the loss, but about the action of an employee who is there to REPORT- not play, not interject.

Since: Oct 8, 2010
Posted on: October 8, 2010 6:56 am

BBC gives Gallacher free pass in Ryder blowup

Why can't you Americans accept defeat graciously.

Seems to me that if most of you refer to English snobbery, when Bernard Gallacher is actually Scottish and given that Dustin Johnson obviously is not au fait with the rules of golf - ref. U.S. Open - there is every chance that Overton is also lacking in that department and needed some educating, as do a fair proportion of your readers.

This season three of the four majors were won by non Americans and the only major won by an American is a restricted field event.

Additionally in 2010 non Americans such as Kaymer, Atwal, Appleby, Els, Westwood, Poulter, Ogilvy, Clark, Rose, Villegas, Scott, Mc Ilroy, all won on your tour this season.

Perhaps examining those facts and the reasons behind them may prove more valuable for U.S. Golf.

And lest we forget, whatever the rights or wrongs of the Gallacher/ Overton incident nothing bears comparison with the conduct of past American Captain and current vice-captain Tom Lehman on the seventeenth green at Brookline in 1999.

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