Posts tagged ‘PGA Tour Golf’

June 17, 2011

Rory or Bust!

I am officially on the Rory band wagon for the US open.  Part of me feels bad saying that because I feel inclined to root for an American player in the US Open, but I honestly think it is Rory’s time.  I picked Kuchar earlier this week as my fantasy pick and he played well today to put himself in the mix, but I can’t imagine Rory giving another one away.  Especially since he has played so well.  He looks like the best player in the world right now.

I know everyone is expecting Rory to blow up over the weekend and give this tournament away, but I don’t see how that is possible again.  If it happens again it will be one of the most heartbreaking stories in recent golf history.  If he does win would it signify a new anti Tiger era?  Would this finally be the time that the young guns start taking over?  I don’t know why I feel so confident about this but I really think Rory will bring this one home in Tiger like fashion and the younger era of the PGA Tour will officially begin.

I can’t tell if I want this to happen more for people to start talking about other players besides Tiger or because I want Rory to redeem himself for his Augusta melt down.  I think it is more that I want to see him redeem himself.  How cool would that be if he came back in the very next major and got the job done?  I don’t know what else to say except Go Rory!

June 15, 2011

Van Sickle and Haney Miss Tiger Too Much

I knocked Rick Reilly yesterday for his single-minded view towards golf and Tiger, but it looks like Gary Van Sickle is following suit today.  Van Sickle published an article on golf.com where he sat down with Hank Haney to discuss the U.S. Open and Tiger’s practice habits.  Sounds interesting right?  Well Mr. Van Sickle made it through all of two questions about the upcoming U.S. Open before diving into the Tiger discussion.

Is Tiger not playing in the U.S. Open really a bigger story than the U.S. Open itself.  Take a second and think about that.  The U.S. Open is our national championship.  It is one of the most historic golf tournaments of all time.  Has it really taken a back seat because one player is not in the field?  How is this possible?

In his first two responses Haney says:

…you can make a case that anyone inside the top 75 has a chance to win the Open…When I was helping Tiger for six years and we went to the majors, we really thought there were 10 or 12 players who had a good shot. Now it’s 75 players who have a good shot. The number is huge and that’s a big difference for golf.” – Hank Haney

This is exactly what I have been trying to say all along.  Every week there is a feeling that anyone can win any golf tournament.  People need to snap out of their Tiger-phobia phase and understand that the parity in golf is incredible right now.  Has no one noticed that the European’s are kicking the American’s butts in world rankings?  How about that for a story?  Who in American golf will step up and defend our nation’s national championship?  The answer is not Tiger Woods.  I hate to break it to you, but he is not in the field and hasn’t played very well in over a year (minus the Masters).

The problem with Haney’s comment above is how he follow it up.  He goes on to say:

Well, it’s nice to develop other players and other names. If you’re not going to have a dominant player, the next best thing is having more stars, if you will, and more recognizable names. In the long run, sports with a dominant superstar or two who can compete against each other usually flourish the most. We may get there but right now, we’re in a place where we’re waiting to see who they’re going to be.” – Hank Haney

Hold on for a second.  Doesn’t this guy teach golf for a living?  Doesn’t he have multiple golf academy’s around the world?  Doesn’t he have his name on every teaching aid known to man?  This is supposed to be an ambassador for the game, someone who has spent his life teaching people that they can play the game and excel in the game of golf.  Now he is saying that it is nice to develop new names but the sport is better off when only a few players are dominating it?  I feel like I am taking crazy pills reading this stuff.

How about this for a response Hank, “I think the growth of the game in Tiger’s absence is amazing for the young talent emerging in the game of golf.  Obviously we all miss Tiger playing the great golf that we are used to seeing him play, but right now is an exciting time for the game.  Every week we have the opportunity to watch a new potential star emerge with a landmark win.”  I am not an expert of the golf swing, but even I know that is a much better response than what he said.

It makes me sick hearing everyone throw in the towel on golf because Tiger is hurt.  It isn’t the reality of the situation and I feel like a lot of genuine fans have been marred by their experiences growing up with Tiger.  Times change and maybe it is time for a few perspectives to change as well.

June 14, 2011

Is Rick Reilly Only a Tiger Fan?

Rick Reilly posted a video on Sports Illustrated yesterday that discussed how the throne in golf is wide open for the taking at the moment.  He ran through all of the viable contenders that could theoretically take up the throne that Tiger has vacated.  Guess what his conclusion was?  You guessed it, the only person able to take the throne back is Tiger himself.

Golf has never had someone dominate it the way Tiger has and no one can knows if we will see a dominating force like him again.  The same thing can be said for the NBA and Michael Jordan.  When Jordan left the NBA the throne was wide open and guess what?  No one took the throne the way Jordan did.  Yes, great players have come along like Kobe and company, but none are quite Jordan.  This is the same thing that is going on with Tiger.  If Tiger walked away from golf tomorrow the game would not crumble like some have suggested.  It would simply mean the end of an era.  Just like the Jordan Era ended the Tiger Era would come to a close.  Just like the Hogan Era, Palmer/Nicklaus Era and so on.

No one wants to see that happen, but Reilly quickly discounts the promise and ability of a lot of quality golfers.  I understand that Reilly is making a bold statement that the only person that can be the next Tiger is Tiger, but that is a very narrow view of the game of golf.  He is basically saying that everyone who has accomplished anything on the PGA Tour this year isn’t that great because they aren’t dominating like Tiger dominated.  How were golfers measured before we knew what Tiger dominance looked like?  Don’t you think it looked a little bit different?  We, as viewers and fans, might need to take a step back and re-evaluate how we view success in golf in the new post Tiger Era.

I for one have enjoyed the revolving door of winners this season on the PGA Tour.  It reminds me that golf is a sport that gives hundreds of players a chance to win every weekend.  Not many other sports can say that.  It also makes me tune in to see who is going to step up on any given weekend.  I won’t deny that Tiger brings something special to a weekend, especially when he is in contention.  On the flip side, Tiger is not the end all be all of golf and I don’t understand why people like Rick Reilly don’t embrace the changing of the guard more.  He is a fan of the game, yet he sounds like the world of golf was boring before Tiger got here and will be boring after he leaves.  Tiger is amazing and what he did we may never see again, but a true fan of golf would still appreciate the accomplishments of those out on the Tour winning right now.

I am a fan of Golf not just a fan of Golf with Tiger.  I think many people need to make that distinction for themselves as well.

If you want to watch Reilly’s video you can check it out here.  Golf’s Empty Throne

May 19, 2011

Everyone Hates Golf Practice, Yet We All Come Back!

I am working out in the suburbs this week at a client and I quickly realized that there is a grass driving range just down the street from the office.  I brought a few clubs with me yesterday and utilized my lunch break to get a little practice in.  I thought I would have the range to myself since the weather wasn’t great and it was right around noon.  Boy was I mistaken.  Just like me, there were TONS of people out hitting balls on their lunch break.  The range is just across the street from a business park and the stalls were filled with guys wearing ties and dress shoes.

It was cool to see so many people out actively working on their game in bad weather and in the middle of the day, but it got me thinking about the nature of golf practice.  Is there any other sport where numerous people will go out on their lunch break and take part in an utterly frustrating and sometimes demoralizing game?  I’m sure there are a few people out there who go shoot free throws, bowl a few frames or throw the baseball around but not nearly in the numbers that people go out and practice golf.

In all the years I have played sports I have never experienced the amount of frustration while practicing as I have with golf.  I have played competitive sports my whole life and have put in countless hours of practice that has been rewarding and made a tangible difference to my playing ability.  Golf is not the same.  I have often left the course or range feeling like I have taken steps backwards and lost all confidence in what I had been previously working on.  I really believe this is unique to Golf.  I am not saying that players don’t experience setbacks in other sports, but how many times have you seen people at the range slamming clubs on the ground or expressing their frustration in a very visible manner?  I can’t remember a time when I have been at a crowded range and not seen someone have a minor melt down due to frustration.

Regardless of that frustration factor we all still come back for more!  It blows me away how much we are willing to put up with in terms of frustration to try and get better at this game.  What blows me away further is that people think they can get better simply by going to the range and hitting balls with no foresight, keys to work on or outside help to assist them with their swing.  It is never going to happen.  Never ever.  Just hitting balls to hit balls is more detrimental and increases the amount of frustration we normally experience.  I can’t stress enough the importance of utilizing your practice time with a focused approach that is aimed to helping your game.

Pounding balls at the range to pound balls never got anyone on the Tour.  Try and focus your practice where your game needs it the most and by all means take a lesson to identify glaring bad habits that you are most likely engraving into your muscle memory at the range.  When you go out and practice with an attainable goal in mind you will leave feeling much happier and optimistic about your game.  Trust me, it makes a difference and you will feel much better walking off the range and enjoying a small laugh to yourself at all the players slamming their clubs in frustration.