By Ken Reed
Once again, we witnessed a tense, dramatic Sunday at the Masters. What a great shootout over the last couple holes and sudden death. Adam Scott has to be one of the classiest athletes in all of sport. And Angel Cabrera was a gracious runner-up.
As Scott was celebrating his last putt, I couldn’t help but flashback to last year’s British Open and reflect on how classy Scott was in handling his collapse over the final four holes, and how genuinely gracious he was afterwards while interacting with the winner, Ernie Els, and the media.
Scott’s story is such a heartwarming contrast to the sad spectacle that is Tiger Woods. Considering the two cases, Woods and Scott, it made me think of one of my favorite quotes from John Wooden (a legendary coach and man): “Sport doesn’t build character, it reveals it.” The character of Tiger Woods and Adam Scott has been revealed in recent years, on and off the course, and, of course, during the last few days at Augusta.
Woods took an illegal drop during Saturday’s round and ended up signing an incorrect scorecard, traditionally an offense resulting in disqualification from the tournament. Due to a relatively new loophole in golf’s rules, Tiger avoided being disqualified. Instead, he was given a two-stroke penalty at the discretion of the Masters rules committee (I’m sure it had nothing to do with television ratings or sponsor dollars …).
Legally, Woods was within his rights to continue in the tournament. However, golf is by tradition a game of honor in which players call penalties on themselves, to protect the field and the integrity of the game.
In his post-round interview, Woods admitted breaking the rule, if unknowingly (ignorance of a rule isn’t an allowable defense). Tiger, who recently approved a Nike ad that claimed, “Winning takes care of anything,” had a choice: he could continue playing in the tournament, or take the ethical path, the path of sportsmanship, and disqualify himself. Disqualifying himself would have raised his status in the golfing and sporting worlds more than winning a 15th major tournament. It also would’ve done a ton of good for the game of golf.
Saturday was about Woods, his dilemma, and his choice.
Sunday was about amazing golf and outstanding character.
It doesn’t always happen in sports — or life — but Sunday the good guy won.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #29 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Honorable Tom McMillen Visits League of Fans’ Sports Forum – McMillen is a former All-American basketball player, Olympian, Rhodes Scholar and U.S. Congressman, and has a long involvement with the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sport (now called the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition). We discuss the state of college athletics today, given the pressures of NIL, the transfer portal, sports gambling and huge media contracts. McMillen then provides great perspective on the poor state of physical fitness our young people are experiencing today.
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Episode #28 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Chat With Mano Watsa, a Leading Basketball and Life Educator – Watsa is President of PGC Basketball, the largest education basketball camp in the world. We discuss problems in youth sports today.
Episode #27 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Kids’ Sports: How We Can Take Back the Game and Restore Quality Family Time In the Process – Linda Flanagan is author of “Take Back the Game: How Money and Mania Are Ruining Kids’ Sports and Why It Matters.” We discuss how commercialized and professionalized youth sports are hurting kids and their families.
Episode #26 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Fix Youth Sports? – John O’Sullivan is Founder and CEO of Changing the Game Project and author of “Changing the Game: The Parents Guide to Raising Happy, High Performing Athletes and Giving Youth Sports Back to Our Kids.”
Episode #25 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Physical Education Should Be a Critical Component of K-12 School Design – Michael Horn is co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation.
Episode #24 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Mental Health and Athletes: Ending the Stigma – Nathan Braaten and Taylor Ricci are the founders of Dam Worth It, a non-profit created to end the stigma around mental health at colleges and universities through sport, storytelling, and community creation.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
- Reed Appears on Ralph Nader Radio Hour League of Fans’ sports policy director, Ken Reed, Ralph Nader and the New York Times’ Tyler Kepner discussed a variety of sports issues on Nader’s radio show as well as Reed’s updated book, How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan. Reed's book was released in paperback in February, and has a new introduction and several updated sections.
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
Vanderbilt Sport & Society - On The Ball with Andrew Maraniss with guest Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director for League of Fans and author of How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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Ken Reed’s Author Page on Amazon