June 8, 2011
I have struggled with this question quite a bit ever since Tiger announced he won’t be playing in the U.S. Open next week. When I first heard the news I wasn’t that surprised that he was taking a tournament off to heal his leg. I was surprised he was taking the U.S. Open off though. The U.S. Open is what Tiger is all about. It is where he recorded the most iconic win of his career at Torrey Pines.
I am still very excited for the U.S. Open and plan to watch as much of it as I possibly can. I have been writing for a while now that people need to get over Tiger Woods and embrace the new winners out on Tour and give them their due. I still hold that stance, but part of me is having second thoughts about being super excited for the U.S. Open without Tiger playing. He adds an undeniable pulse of excitement to any tournament he plays in and even more excitement to tournaments he is in contention to win.
Does this mean I am back on the Tiger wagon? Not a chance, but I do think his in ability to insert himself into contention more has been a disappointment from a viewers standpoint. I do think Golf is evolving at the moment and we may never see the Tiger era of old again. What if we don’t? Will golf melt away into a nothing sport? I don’t think so and I think the face of the game is taking shape right here and now in the midst of Tigers decline. Young guys like Day, Scott, Johnson, McIlroy, Fowler, Kaymer and Manassero are taking the spotlight much more and are going through growing pains along the way that are going to shape them into major championship winners in the coming years.
I guess my main point here is that I am upset Tiger isn’t playing next week because I enjoy watching him play good golf. Face it, we all enjoy watching it. At the same time, I don’t think all is lost because there will be a new deserving U.S. Open champion next weekend that we will get to praise, knock down and dissect his game and longevity for another full year! I just hope the winner can hold a torch to the level of class and respect Graeme McDowell brought to the title of U.S. Open Champion!
March 24, 2011
With Round 1 under way there are a few things that are really exciting. The first story line has to be Duffner. The guy pretty much needs a win to get into the Masters and he is doing his part early. Obviously, there is a ton of golf left, but you have to love the fact that he knows he needs a win and is out there going low.
Am I the only one who wants to see Fowler bag his first win? The kid is downright fearless on the course and eventually that has to work to his advantage. He hasn’t been in serious contention since the Memorial last year and I would love to see him in the mix on the weekend. There is a lot of talk about young American talent in Golf right now and Fowler is always mentioned but still remains winless. The kid has more swagger than any player out there and a win would only embolden him more. I for one am ready to see that happen.
Lastly, take a second and look at the names on the leaderboard behind the leaders. Again, it is super early in the day and it is only round 1, but there are some serious names up there already. If this is any indication of the way the tourney is going to go I will be glued to the TV all weekend. It helps that it snowed last night here in Chicago so I doubt I will be missing any tee times this weekend. Perfect recipe for watching a great golf tournament.
P.S. my pick to win (Graeme McDowell) is not doing too hot. Looks like a bad start to my season of predictions!
March 23, 2011
It is impossible to overlook the fact that Tiger has absolutely dominated when he has played at Bay Hill in the past. The guy has won 6 times there. 6 times! That is absurd. Do I think he will win this week? No, he has made great progress with his swing and he is talking about his swing as a process and finding solice in small victories around his game. Even when he hits a bad shot he is happy that he knows why he hit that shot and can fix it. That is great and when I hear that I truly believe he is getting comfortable and will find his way back to the winners circle soon, but not this week.
There are a few guys to keep an eye out this week. First and foremost is Graeme McDowell. He had a runner up at Bay Hill in 2005 and can flat out putt. Even though he is only ranked 62nd this year in total putting I can’t think of a guy who has holed out more clutch putts in the past year than this guy. My money is on Graeme to make it back into the winner’s circle this week.
Stuart Appleby holds two runner up finishes at Bay Hill and although he had a terrible finish (77, 70) to his weekend this week I expect him to hit the range, figure it out and come out firing. He is one of those guys that has such a simple game and swing that it is surprising he hasn’t won more on tour. Edoardo Molinari also owns a runner up at Bay Hill and will be in the field this week. There are a lot of past winners in the field this week and with the Master’s looming so close by I think we are going to see a past winner come into form instead of a first timer like this past week. Only time will tell, but I expect a great tourney this weekend.