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Dublin: 12 °C Monday 14 October, 2019

TV Wrap: More Kerry jerseys at the Masters while Tiger doesn't cry and Healy-Rae moans

Woods was subjected to a bizarre Butler Cabin interview after his remarkable triumph, while the FAI story became about one man.

‘TIGER’S BACK! GOLF’S back!’ proclaimed Butch Harmon on the 18th green of Augusta National, as Tiger Woods raised his arms in the image of a man who has endured his own personal crucifixion.

Masters Tournament 2019 - Day Four - Augusta National Golf Course The Resurrection of Tiger Woods. Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

Sadly for Tiger, it was into Jim Nantz’s hands he then had to commend his victory.

Nantz didn’t share Harmon’s sense of economy during the traditional Butler Cabin interview, as the CBS commentator saw in Tiger’s triumph a chance to tether himself forever to one of the most iconic sports stories in history.

Thus began the unseemly spectacle of one man trying to make another man cry.

Following a juxtaposing of Tiger hugging his late father in 1997 with his embrace of his son moments earlier, Nantz paused and asked,

How much does it mean to you as a Dad…[pause for emotional build-up]…for your children to experience this, to see their Dad win a Major championship?

Nantz’s voice quivered with the ludicrous emotion he hoped would soon be reciprocated.

But Tiger didn’t cry, and Nantz was left to slowly walk back from it all.

Whether this was down to Woods’ legendary disregard for others is unclear: it may be due to where the interview was taking place.

Butler Cabin looks like the set of one of those cheap evangelical talk shows which promises deliverance from sins once you pay the postage and packing, and it has an atmosphere stilted enough to make tear ducts arid, making crying like trying to scream in space.

The whole thing was another reminder of the utter nonsense that clings to the Masters: there is no competition in sport that is so consistently compelling and dramatic in spite of the best efforts of its organisers.

The word “patrons” began to grate by about 8.15pm on Thursday, TV coverage is infuriatingly restricted on the opening couple of days and then the organisers moved the final day to clash with the Premier League, thus scuppering the marathon day of sport we had spent a whole week negotiating for.

Then Donald Trump tried to ruin it all by tweeting about it all weekend, desperately @ing Tiger Woods and seeing in it all his own pitiful obsession with attention: “Ratings Gold – Good luck to all!”

Much of the coverage, particularly before ‘Moving Day’, is the general crooning about gardening, with Harmon quoting Seve Ballesteros saying that everyone should treat Augusta National “like an elderly person”.

If Seve meant ignoring some outdated values and the occasional racism for the sake of an easier life, then he was probably right.

Elsewhere, with Shane Lowry missing the cut and Rory McIlroy out of contention, there was little Irish interest beyond the annual practice of Spotting Kerry Jerseys At The Masters.

Remarkably, there were two sightings on the opening day, meaning the tradition can continue for another year.

Kerry appearing in full view at the edge of the centre of the world brings us to the other big sporting story of the week.

As the FAI were given a kicking by politicians on Oireachtas TV, one man rode to the side of John Delaney, with Deputy Michael Healy-Rae braying a full-throated defence of the Executive Vice-President.

“Mr. Delaney will be most welcome to Kerry. He will get what I would call the mother of all welcomes when he comes to Kerry because his reputation and his respectability will precede him” said Healy-Rae, expounding his belief that “if Mr. Delaney is guilty of anything, it is of trying to help an association in the best way that he saw fit at that time.”

Ruth Coppinger called him “a joke”, to which Healy-Rae responded by claiming he was being “goaded”.

Healy-Rae has always held a high regard for his supposed persecution at the hands of those Up in Dublin, yet remains heroically happy to put up with it on radio and television, so he briefly made the FAI Shambles a story largely about him and his Outsider Complex.

There was another unseemly set-to on Virgin Media’s Tonight Show, during which he and Ivan Yates started throwing insults at each other like apes slinging excrement through trees.


“A craven, leprechaun appearance” roared Yates, to which Healy-Rae theatrically responded by calling Yates an “arrogant bully”.

This fulfilled what seems to pass for good television in Ireland: best to get two men to shouting loudly at each other, and all the better if one of them wears a silly hat.

Frustratingly, this slagging match interrupted Niall Quinn, who was outlining structural ideas for the future of Irish football, something of far greater benefit to us all.

But rather than listen to vital ideas as to how to affect great, lasting, and positive change in Irish football, we got to watch Michael Healy-Rae blithely fight against the tide like a whistling, tweed-clad King Cnut.

Amid all of this, Healy-Rae will no doubt be proud to hear he has proved another fella Up in Dublin wrong.

It’s Oscar Wilde, who said that it is “personalities, not principles, that move the age”.

In Ireland, certain personalities keep us from going anywhere. 

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About the author:

Gavin Cooney

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