A South Florida newspaper has apologized for using the headline “No-Name Champion” to describe Keith Mitchell’s victory Sunday at the Honda Classic.
The Palm Beach Post used the all-caps headline on the front page of its sports section Monday, splashed directly above a picture of Mitchell holding his first PGA Tour trophy. The “no-name” phrase played off a story that Mitchell shared during his press conference after holding off Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler for the title.
Mitchell and Sungjae Im shared the 36-hole lead, prompting another local publication to use a headline of “Two relative unknowns share lead at Honda Classic.” Mitchell’s friend sent him the article, and he used the “no-name” slight as motivation over the weekend.
“I don’t expect to have any great stuff written about me because I’ve only been out here a year, so I’m not saying that in a negative light,” Mitchell said. “I just used that as a little kind of emotion, that everyone gets their start somewhere, everyone gets their first win somewhere, and I wanted this to be mine and I was able to do it.”
Despite the backstory, the Post was lampooned on social media for its headline choice, which came across as a slight toward Mitchell in the midst of the biggest moment of his career.
As the backlash continued Monday afternoon, the publication’s sports editor penned an apology and explanation, stating that while Mitchell’s 15-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole found the mark, their headline “missed the cup by 10 feet.”
“While every golfer enjoys a mulligan, our chance passed once the presses started rolling Sunday night,” wrote editor Nick Pugliese.
With his name a bit more recognizable than it was a week ago, Mitchell made the short drive from Palm Beach Gardens to Orlando and is in the field for this week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational.