In spite of myself, I do a fair amount of commenting on online newspaper stories. I won’t tell you what my “alias” is, because having an online nickname provides a welcome degree of anonymity. Even though I try to stay positive and complimentary, and non-controversial, I’d hate to get into a slinging match with some nutbar who knows my real name, and could easily find my address. (But rest assured, dear reader(s), Jim Deeks is my real name, and I trust you will not fire-bomb my house if you don’t like my columns.)

On Monday morning, I was reading the Globe and Mail’s coverage of Jordan Spieth’s outstanding victory in the Tour Championship, the FedEx Cup, and his overall season which is among the greatest of all time. At the bottom, a commenter with the unlikely but interesting name of “Ollie Closeoff”, said this:

Spieth>Tiger….Better champion, better person. Its very easy to root for a guy like Jordan Spieth (….or Rory, or Jason, or Rickie)

I thought to myself, I couldn’t have said this any better, so I “replied” with:

Perfectly said, Ollie!

About an hour later, I checked back and a commenter with the ironic name of “Laugher” had responded to Ollie and me with:

Everyone has their time. Tiger had his. So astounded that all these goodie goodie guys and gals post against him. None of you have shadows in life, obstacles. If that is the case, none of you are human. Everyone has vices, for you that do not, again, ur not part of the human race.

While I disagree with Laugher’s comment, I respect his right to make it. But I was dumbfounded that anyone could have found Ollie’s and my comments so objectionable, much less that they would take the time to write such a nasty and disrespectful response. Then again, to my chagrin I’ve found there are a lot of low-lifes who comment online, which may or may not put me in that category, too.

But enough of that. I just wanted to say in this blog much of what Ollie said in his comment. These four guys – Jordan, Jason, Rory and Rickie – are four young men from very different backgrounds, who all exemplify everything that is great about golf. Namely, RESPECT… for the rules, the tradition, the good sportsmanship, the goodwill, their opponents, the fans, the media, and the sheer good fortune that they have to be able to play a wonderful game in beautiful surroundings, for a living.

I haven’t seen any of these four guys spit, swear, throw a club, berate a volunteer, storm off the course, ignore an autograph-seeker, or get caught in the back seat of a car with a pancake waitress.

Of all these guys, the one with the most compelling background story is surely Jason Day. If you haven’t seen the video that RBC has just produced about Jason’s youth and dedication to his game, I urge you to take ten minutes and see it HERE

I commend and thank RBC for putting this together (as I do for its entire contribution to the game of golf.)

What’s particularly interesting and reassuring with the emergence of this new Big Four, is the fact that none of them came from well-to-do, country club backgrounds. Spieth is probably the most middle class of the four… but there are no silver spoons hanging from any of these four mouths… just good values and mature perspective, no doubt learned as much FROM playing golf, as applying it TO golf.

I hope these four guys dominate the game for many years to come. I hope they all continue, through great play, to alternate the World Number One ranking amongst themselves. I hope they influence a whole new generation to take up the game, and to play it with the same dedication and respect. I hope my grandchildren come to revere these four the same way I revere Jones, Hogan, Palmer and Nicklaus.

I hope Laugher ultimately recognizes that I’m part of the human race.

Jim Deeks
Jim Deeks has been writing for Fairways for over a dozen years. He is a former Executive Director of the Canadian Open and Canadians Skins Game, and currently the Executive Producer of CANADA FILES on PBS.

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