While reading the sports section over breakfast this morning (a lifelong habit), I plunged into an AP story headlined “Tiger opens with a 72 at Torrey Pines” purely because it was there — I care nothing about golf — and was pulled up short by this paragraph:
“Even par is not too bad, but I didn’t play the par 5s worth a darn today,” Woods said. “Obviously, that’s (tantamount) to try to get any kind of scoring on the South Course. You’ve got to take care of the par 5s because there’s not a lot of holes you can make birdie here. Subsequently, I didn’t finish under par.”
Tantamount? (thought I) — that makes no sense here. What on earth did Woods actually say? So I googled another phrase from the quote and got this USA Today story, which has the actual quote:
“Well, even-par’s not too bad, but I didn’t play the par-5s worth a darn today,” said Woods, who won last year’s Farmers by four shots. “I played them even-par. Obviously that’s paramount to try to get any kind of scoring on the South course … “
Paramount. Of course. A perfectly good word which some idiot at the AP changed to the meaningless (in context) tantamount. It is of paramount importance to know what words mean before editing them; to change a perfectly good word to one that will cause readers to lose the train of thought is tantamount to treason against your language and your profession.