As feelgood stories go, Danny Willett’s victory at the Masters was about as good as they get. He had two days to prepare, no major pedigree and was still embracing fatherhood when he landed in Georgia, against the advice of his manager Chubby Chandler. All signs pointed to a missed cut, and yet he somehow managed to achieve the improbable and tame one of the world’s toughest courses. The boy did good, but he wasn’t the only champion in the family.
His brother PJ won Twitter, according to social media experts, and did so with a running commentary that was almost as entertaining as the golf itself. He swore, drank and joked his way through the final round, before pleading for Danny to hold his nerve down the final stretch.
Come the trophy ceremony, PJ was celebrating with a bottle of bubbly and sharing some childhood memories of the new Masters champion. It was an insightful, yet touching tribute. This is when social media is good for the sport. His tweets probably weren’t for the easily-offended, but he was simply caught up in the emotion. As we all were. It was a refreshing mix of sincerity and quick wittedness. If only tour pros would follow his example.
Sadly, my Twitter timeline is normally awash with musings from players that have been carefully crafted to please sponsors. One individual, who shall remain nameless, once admitted he felt handcuffed by his own PR team. The merest whiff of anything controversial is either edited or deleted, with any real insight confined to how their game may or may not be shaping up. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule, which brings me nicely on to the Secret Tour Pro, who has an uncanny knack of courting controversy.
The Secret Tour Pro (@secrettourpro, in case you haven’t heard of him), is just that – a secret tour pro (or so we are led to believe). He uses social media to reveal the latest gossip – good and bad on Tour – and takes no prisoners as he calls out his fellow counterparts for slow play or poor attitude.
It was all quite exciting at first, and created plenty of talking points in the locker room. Why? Because we all wanted to know who this guy was. It was something I pondered for hours. I tried to set traps with a series of coded questions to unmask the mystery man or woman. The only problem is that the Secret Tour Pro seems more interested in paying tribute to the Boy Who Cried Wolf. They have to, to protect their facade. Hell, they’ve criticised so many people in the past that if they ever wanted to reveal their true identity, the repercussions could be unimaginable.
The lack of good English seems to suggest that they are foreign, but I am almost certain they are not a tour pro. I’ve heard Geoff Ogilvy’s name bandied about, but he simply hasn’t got the time to tweet. No Tour pro does – certainly not at the rate of the ‘Secret Tour Pro’ anyway.
Tour pros are too focused on fine-tuning their game before and during a tournament. There could be two or more players operating the account, but I’m inclined to think it’s a journalist. They are clever enough to cover their tracks and fake bad English, plus they have access to all the tournaments and people inside the ropes. Whoever it is, they’ve certainly done a good job in keeping their identity a secret. But at what cost?
Some people still enjoy the mystery and the thinly-veiled attacks – more than 38,000 at last count – but I, for one, have become disenchanted by the whole veneer.
Don’t get me wrong, the Secret Tour Pro clearly has some inside knowledge and we do need people who are not afraid to provoke debate in golf. As a nation, we all love a pantomime villain. But there’s a fine line between what constitutes defamation and an opinion. Perhaps that’s where the Secret Tour Pro oversteps the mark. His sense of humour is a redeemable quality, but then we have Tweeter Alliss and now PJ for that. All that’s left is STP’s inside knowledge, and even that’s about as reliable as the British weather. For that reason alone, they no longer warrant my interest or attention. You can only cry wolf so many times until you lose all credibility.