Jason Sobel during the Masters. (Kevin Maguire/ESPN)
Jason Sobel during the Masters. (Kevin Maguire/ESPN)

Golf is a game steeped in history and tradition, but like any sport these days, the storylines change quickly. Just ask Jason Sobel, senior golf writer for ESPN.com, who is covering the Masters in Augusta, Ga., this week.

What is your strategy for covering major golf events like the Masters? How do you make sure you’re in the right place at the right time?
I always try to explain to people just how difficult it is to cover professional golf tournaments. Unlike a football or basketball game, where the entirety of the action is right in front of you at all times, golf tournaments are conducted over a couple hundred acres of land. You can’t be everywhere all the time. But part of being good at the job is being able to get into the right place at the right time more often than not.

As your piece on this week’s young golfers to watch shows, Tiger Woods’ impact is still felt even when he is not playing. How challenging is it to recognize that part of the Masters story this year, while maintaining a focus on what’s actually happening on the course?
This is the third time in the last four years that Tiger hasn’t played the Masters – and honestly, it’s become less of a story each time. It was newsworthy when he announced last Friday evening that he wouldn’t play, but while that news would’ve overshadowed the week previously, it’s now just part of a 24-hour news cycle. By the time practice rounds had started, there were many more pertinent stories than Tiger’s absence.

Now that you’ve seen the field of competitors this week, and given the weather forecast, who is your pick for the green jacket on Sunday?
I’ve covered too many golf tournaments to go chalk too often. My pick is Rickie Fowler, who isn’t exactly a dark horse, but is still seeking a first career major championship. People tend to still think of him as that brash young kid who was more hype than hope, but he’s 28 now and ranked in the top-30 this season in driving, ball-striking, chipping and putting. Winning a green jacket would be the culmination of his maturation.

Brave victims speak up on Sunday’s Outside the Lines


This Sunday’s Outside the Lines (9 a.m. ET, ESPN) investigates an elite private boarding school in Minnesota, Shattuck-St. Mary’s, which has been known for its high school hockey program that has sent dozens of players to the NHL. But the school has also made news for the sexual abuse that occurred on its campus more than a decade ago. Reporter Steve Delsohn interviews two former hockey players who are speaking publicly for the first time about being sexually abused during their time at the school.

“For quite a while, the two survivors weren’t ready to talk to us. I had several phone conversations with both of them, no commitment on their part, we were just talking and ultimately they decided to share their powerful stories,” Delsohn said.

But not everyone was willing to speak, which presents a challenge when trying to tell a story.

“Lynn Seibel, the perpetrator, did not want to talk to us,” Delsohn said. “The school that employed him has been sued for negligence and school officials did not want to talk to us either.”

Had it not been for the bravery of victims, Shattuck-St. Mary’s and Seibel’s scandal might have never been discovered and at least six victims’ voices would never be heard.

“Nine years after leaving Shattuck-St. Mary’s, Seibel was finally arrested and even then it was almost by chance,” Delsohn said. “A young man who’d been arrested in an unrelated criminal case told his probation officer that Seibel had sexually abused him when he was a student at Shattuck-St. Mary’s. If that conversation never happened, Seibel may have gone unpunished forever.”

– by Molly Mita

Journalism on Display

  • ESPN.com senior writer Ian O’Connor was the recipient of the “Best Daily Column” award from the Golf Writers Association of America for 2016 at the association’s annual awards banquet in Augusta, Ga., the night before the start of the Masters Tournament. O’Connor’s column “The Force That Drove Arnold Palmer” reflected on the life of the golfing legend after his passing last year.
  • After countless injuries over the course of his high school and college career kept North Carolina guard Theo Pinson from playing the game he loved, playing in this year’s NCAA championship erased all the pain the injuries brought him. The Undefeated’s Marc Spears tells the triumphant story of Pinson and how he overcame obstacles to get to that victorious moment.
  • A look at the award-winning documentary “Speed Sisters” which follows the first group of female race drivers in the Arab world, five relatable women who struggle to get ahead racing cars in occupied Palestine. Tony Fabrizio writes for espnW.
  • Last week, the 2017 PEN America Literary Awards were held in New York City. ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption host Tony Kornheiser and E:60’s Jeremy Schaap presented two of the night’s biggest awards. Kornheiser presented Bill Nack with the Lifetime Achievement Award for Literacy Sports Writing and Schaap presented Joe Nocera and Ben Strauss, the co-authors of “Indentured: The Inside Story of the Rebellion Against the NCAA,” with the award for Literacy Sports Writing.
  • The Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor is one of Major League Baseball’s biggest rising stars. ESPN writer Jerry Crasnick dissects Lindor’s passion for the game that began in Puerto Rico at a young age to reveal how his role models helped shape him as a player.
  • Panelists on Sunday morning’s The Sports Reporters (9:30 a.m., ESPN; 10:30 a.m., ESPN2) will be Mike Lupica (host), Jackie MacMullan, Manish Mehta, and Bob Ryan.

– by Molly Mita

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