There’s nothing like being cornered to bring out the best of the worst in a fellow, which is why Bryson DeChambeau and Mark Emmert share a special place in our hearts and minds this Friday. DeChambeau, because his Blame Delegation Festival has finally hit a wall at the British Open, and Emmert because his declarations of victory as someone is standing on his neck are clearly losing their ability to revolt us.
DeChambeau, the heel/golfer for the new generation, was forced to apologize to his club maker after shooting a first-round 71 (good enough to tie for 68th in the field) and saying that his driver sucked—his elegant turn of phrase, not ours. DeChambeau’s mea culpa came after Ben Schomin, tour operations manager of Cobra, lashed back, “It’s just really, really painful when he says something that stupid. He has never really been happy, ever. Like, it’s very rare when he’s happy.”
Is this the end of DeChambeau’s relations with the manufacturer, as was his firing of caddy Tim Tucker two weeks ago? Put it this way: The tour operations manager isn’t the CEO, but he also wouldn’t offer that gem up—he also described DeChambeau’s meltdown as “like an 8-year-old”—without a clear go-ahead from the boss, and if you, a corporate middle man, can lash back at a usually successful golfer, said golfer has likely worn out his bullying skills.
Which brings us to Emmert, as played by John Cleese in the Black Knight sketch in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. In an interview with journalists wanting to know what the NCAA would do now that it’s been pantsed and taped to a tree by the Supreme Court’s intellectual featherweight champion Brett Kavanaugh, Emmert said it might be time to reconsider the NCAA’s role in college athletics now that its powers have been reduced to putting its logo on press-room paper cups.
Not that the NCAA is fully beaten yet. It is the creeping dry rot of sports and has been maintaining a chokehold on the industry through decades of well-compensated malfeasance so spectacularly clumsy that the Austro-Hungarian Empire wants its text messages returned. The Supremes broke from their time-honored pose kneeling on the neck of progressive America to chastise this anthrax piñata with an eye toward having it torn down and reconstituted as an ATM in a liquor store, but the NCAA still has lawyers dressed as weasels and vice versa to prolong its death rattle for years to come.
Still, to have Emmert explain how it might be time for schools and conferences to inherit increased powers of governance and banking is telling the fire outside town to stop and unburn all that acreage, lest you get angry and hold your breath until it does. Emmert has finally reached his apex of fecklessness, and he is now no longer adequate as a comedic foil because he is down to insisting that at least he gets to use his own pen to sign the surrender papers. The only thing left to do is to watch the conferences and schools backstab and screwjob each other into mutually assured bankruptcy … and their time … starts … now.
We won’t miss DeChambeau’s bullying now that it has been called out by a second-level executive, nor will we miss Emmert’s knack for seeking to lead a parade that has already trampled him en route to the town square. But now that their times have come, we’ll need new foils to laugh at because in the matter of golf, someone’s got to be the Republican in the clubhouse all the other Republicans in the clubhouse hate, and in the matter of the NCAA, well, it’s hard to hate a deposed king until we know what a bastard the new king will turn out to be.