There is a lot of silent strategy in sports that your opponent doesn't know about (that is, unless you're playing the New England Patriots). Golf isn't one of those sports. If your strategy is to hit irons off certain tees, or play a shot to a certain spot on the green, the people you're playing against can see this. While you can't exactly tell your competitors which club you're hitting from certain places, everyone knows because everyone looks at the other person's club. It's pretty obvious.
But don't tell that to Justin Rose. The 30-year-old Englishman who won two times last season on the PGA Tour was Sports Illustrated's "My Shot" writer this week, and spoke about players being miked this season, something The Golf Channel has started doing after landing approval by the PGA Tour. He said he won't do it because he doesn't want others learning his edge. Wrote Rose:
There's also a lot that goes on that's considered intellectual property. It's a competitive disadvantage if players can listen in on other players' conversations. Each guy is different, but I like to talk strategy with [caddie Mark] Fouch. We'll have chats that help me stay in the moment, and there are things he'll remind me to do. Regarding course strategy, there might be a bunker shot that most guys play straight for the pin, but they don't realize that if they hit 20 feet up a ridge -- a much easier shot -- the ball will roll back to six feet. It's difficult to gain an edge, and I don't want to give up any that I have.
OK, can we take the paranoia level down a notch?
First, how many PGA Tour players are watching the telecast trying to get an edge over the other players? That number could be counted on one hand, if that. Second, is this the CIA? These are golfers, playing their own game, and most have too big an ego to even think about taking someone else's strategy and applying it to their game. They spend countless hours learning how to play their best golf, not someone else's game. Third, you really think what you have to say is that insightful? Players and caddies alike are all walking the same course before it begins, writing down the same notes, and trying to find a similar edge. There aren't any windmills and clown's mouths on the PGA Tour. It's drive, iron, putt, putt, next hole.
It just seems a bit absurd that this is Rose's reasoning. If he thought it was uncomfortable to wear, that would be understandable. If he thought he had to think about what he was saying too much and it took away from his focus, that'd be fine. But to think you're giving away some code that the others don't see is a bit far-fetched. This is golf, not World of Warcraft.