February 18, 2011
Three things that you can always bank on; death, taxes, and Jim Gray getting into it with some athlete or coach.
The latest episode came on Thursday at Riviera, when Gray got in a heated argument with Dustin Johnson's caddie, to the point that The Golf Channel has removed Gray from its coverage this week from the Northern Trust Open.
According to USA Today's Michael McCarthy, Johnson's caddie went into a profanity-laced screaming match with Gray after he reported on The Golf Channel earlier that day that Johnson had landed a two-shot penalty for being late to the tee.
Johnson's caddie, Bobby Brown, took most of the heat for the late tee-time arrival, with Dustin even commenting after the round that he doesn't look at the time, leaving that up to the caddie.
But Gray's argument with Brown is far from the first time he's been involved in a confrontation with athletes and coaches. Famously, Gray lambasted Pete Rose during Game 2 of the 1999 World Series, an interview so harsh that Rose concluded it by saying, "This is a prosecutor's brief, not an interview, and I'm very surprised at you. I am, really."
More in the game of golf, Gray was involved in a spat with Corey Pavin over a captain's pick at the 2010 Ryder Cup. Pavin went to Twitter to correct a report that Gray and The Golf Channel made, and it infuriated Gray to the point that he confronted Pavin, calling him a liar.
The Golf Channel's decision to bench Gray this week is mainly to avoid any distractions with the coverage, but it brings up a deeper problem: Can certain journalists make themselves too much of a story? Gray has been around the block a long time, but when you're getting in multiple arguments with people in the games you're reporting, you really are becoming a nuisance, and nobody wants to deal with those types of people.
Who knows what was said to get Brown to flip out at Gray, but the caddie was already having a tough day, and the wrong thing could have pushed him over the edge. Is that the proper move for a journalist for a story, or overstepping your boundaries? For me, it's the latter.
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