Friday, 1 May 2015

Lost in Translation

There was a rather disturbing incident today at the WGC Match Play event. Miguel Angel Jimenez elected to offer his unsolicited input into a ruling involving his opponent, Keegan Bradley. His input was flatly rejected by Bradley and his caddie.

Miguel ended up telling Keegan's caddie to shut up, prompting a heightened response from Bradley which came close to getting physical and left everyone feeling quite uncomfortable.

The talking heads on The Golfchannel were quick to criticize Jiminez, a fellow known for his friendliness and good humour on the course, for inserting himself into the ruling and being rude to the caddie. At face value, perhaps they were right. However, my impression was that the whole event was lost in translation. Jiminez was, from his comments after the fact, simply trying to be helpful, not trying to insinuate that Bradley had done anything untoward. His poor command of English caused him to be misunderstood.

While it is clear, given what transpired, that Miguel should have left well enough alone. His attempt to be helpful was interpreted as unwarranted interference, or worse. But, I am of the opinion that it really was an attempt by Jiminez to be helpful, not an exercise in gamesmanship, or bad sportsmanship. Nothing in Miguel's long and respected career would suggest that he is given to, or even capable of, poor sportsmanship. Unfortunately, he is working at a distinct disadvantage dealing in English, and we shouldn't lose sight of that fact.

I, for one, intend to give Miguel the benefit of the doubt in this incident. He has always been a class act and a credit to the game. If the American Press choose to vilify him over this incident, I guess that is their prerogative. But, for me, Jiminez will continue to be one of my favourite players, and one of the really good guys. If Pepsi, the caddie, resents being told to shut up, he can choose to be offended and refuse, as he did, to shake Miguel's hand. If he wants to shun Jiminez, I figure it's his loss. For an American to tell another American to shut up is inviting a punch in the nose. For a Spaniard, not so much. It's all in the translation, boys. Just get over it and remember what a great guy Jiminez has always been with the fans and the players. He's one of the good guys.

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