Bill Moeller Commentary: Golf — Sport or Entertainment?


Whether it’s actually true or not, I’ve made the statement several times that after watching the Seattle Seahawks, my favorite sports are, No. 1, watching tennis, and No. 2, watching golf tournaments.

I prefer tennis over golf because it consists of one player facing one other player. I eliminate tennis doubles because they’re usually too quick to follow and strategy doesn’t seem to count as much as it does in singles.

This past weekend’s golf Masters Tournament in Augusta, Georgia, was probably watched on TV by more people than usual, mainly because those of us who watched were more interested in how well Tiger Woods was able to play than in who actually won the tournament.

I imagine that after the third round was played, the answer was obvious to all that the fire that used to follow him from one tee to the next had not yet entirely returned.

I don’t think I’m alone in not even wanting to watch the final match on Sunday because a player that I didn’t know existed — Scottie Scheffler — had too far a lead after the first three days to be overtaken.

My dad was a golfer for many years and I tried to follow in his footsteps. I think he took me with him only two or maybe three times, but I cannot remember his coaching me in anything other than the proper way to hold a club.

Oh, there were occasional instances when three or four of the boys from our church would get together, but none of us played well enough to make any bets on the outcome. That was the procedure we followed until high school graduation meant that I was old enough to start my five-year career on Uncle Sam’s courses.

After that, my play on the greens remained dormant until I wound up as the afternoon and nighttime announcer and disk jockey at KELA in 1960. For 12 years, my days off were Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Bob Delapp was the daytime announcer and his shift ended at 2 p.m. when mine began. So on my days off, we could sometimes get together for a round back in the days when the Riverside Golf Club’s course was half — or less — the size it is today.

I think the two things that brought my golf career to an end were: (1) the increases in prices to play the game and (2) my inability to play the second hole where the tee and the green were separated by a pond and the two conspired to collect too many of my golf balls.

But getting back to the tournament, I was irritated — and I think many others might have had the same reaction — by the fact that applause — supposedly by the viewers at the event — was recorded and not an actual reaction to a great play.

Each applause was the exact copy of the one before it and the one after it. It was the deciding factor that caused me to not even want to watch Sunday’s final round in the series. The effect was not subtle. It was flagrant.

May I digress for a moment or two? That word “flagrant” has two “a’s” in it — but each is pronounced differently! And in the word “subtle,” the letter “b” is not pronounced at all. No wonder some people have trouble learning English.

And returning to the tournament again — which I finally decided to watch Sunday (but with the sound off) — young Mr. Scheffler won it handily with 12 strokes under par. But you probably knew that? 

Oh, and one more comment about phony soundtracks. I’m also disgusted at what is supposed to be the audience responses to activities on my favorite quiz show, “Jeopardy.” There used to be a live audience in the show, but that facet never returned after the COVID-19 pandemic.

All we’re hearing these days is recorded applause. Leaving out the world crisis, how long do you think it will be until our old routines will be able to return to “normal?” 


Bill Moeller is a former entertainer, mayor, bookstore owner, city council member, paratrooper and pilot living in Centralia. He can be reached at