Posts tagged ‘Tiger Woods’

October 31, 2013

Defending Brandel Chamblee

As much as I can I try to stay away from talking about stories that the golf media create simply because there is nothing else going on in the golf world at the moment, but I can’t help myself but jump in on this Tiger vs Chamblee story.

If you want a good example of how back and forth the golf media is with the top stars, do yourself a favor and look back at the seemingly unbelievable breakdown Rick Reilly put together outlining who could de-throne Tiger. His conclusion was the only person to replace Tiger was Tiger himself! What? Wow! What an amazing insight Rick. The best part was that a few weeks later when Rory started winning Reilly quickly labeled him the next big thing. What about the wonderful world of Tiger you wrote about before Rick? I guess if Rick Reilly can so easily forget about his bold prediction we all should too.

Damon Hack went ahead and stepped over the line, in my opinion, with Rory a while back as well. In the beginning of Rory’s struggles Hack wrote and open letter to Rory. The letter basically questioned Rory’s work ethic, his motivations and his ability to stay focused in the lime light. How is it ok for someone to question these things but it is not ok for one writer to say that Tiger was “cavalier” with the rules this year?

I for one, think that Chamblee is a fantastic broadcaster. He brings a different view to the telecast that I enjoy. He is openly critical of not only Tiger, but all players when he feels it is necessary. Do I think he called Tiger a cheater? No. I think he stated what a lot of other people thought as well. The ruling at the Master’s was one of the strangest in golf history. Tiger openly admitted that he moved the ball backwards on his drop. that alone tells me he intended to give himself an advantage on his drop. Even other players came out and said Tiger should withdraw from the tournament due to the mix up. No one called him a cheater, they just said the rules of golf had been broken and the right thing to do would be to fess up and move on.

Can you imagine the ramification if he had been disqualified or had withdrawn himself? The TV ratings would plummet, the Master’s would be marred in scandal and Tiger would have missed another shot at catching Jack. There was NO WAY the golfing world would let that happen. If you think otherwise you are crazy.

Let’s fast forward to today. Chamblee has apologized to Tiger on air and in writing. I don’t think much more needs to be done from either end and I hope this goes away. The fact that it involves Tiger makes me know that this little feud will never go away as long as Chamblee is on air and commenting on the golf world. It will simply always be a story and I think that is sad.

The last point I will make in this whole rules debacle is the recent incident with Simon Dyson. The article is still up on Golf.com and can be read here. Dyson tapped down a mark on his putting line in direct violation of the rules and was disqualified and is now facing a fine and possible suspension from the tour. Where was this type of action for Tiger’s violation at the Masters? Why is it ok for Dyson to get the full extent of the rules and Tiger not? I firmly believe the rules should apply across the board and in my humble opinion it doesn’t seem like that is happening. It seems to me that Tiger is bigger than the game right now. I understand how much the game of Golf needs Tiger and how much he has done for the game. It can’t be quantified what Tiger means to Golf, but how can we crucify an analyst for pointing out what actually happened? It seems like a case of a slow news day that simply needs to go away.

June 6, 2012

Rory gets the Tiger Treatment from Damon Hack

Normally I don’t like to comment on pro golfers and the commentary that surronds them, but I couldn’t resist on this one.  If you haven’t read Damon Hack’s open letter to Rory go ahead and give it a quick read here.  I fully understand that Hack’s job is to report, find stories and generate traffic to his articles, but give me a break with this letter.

The glaring rips at Rory’s youth by calling him “bud” and “kid” are just poor taste.  The guy may be young but his game and his demeanor with the media and fans should garner a lot more respect that this.  Guys like Hack wonder why players are guarded around them and don’t want to open up (ahem Tiger).  Just look at this situation and you will know exactly why.

Three weeks ago all of the articles about Rory were praising his consistency, his poise, his new-found confidence due to his new girlfriend.  Now that he has hit a rough patch he has lost his commitment to golf, his consistency and the maturity he has been so praised for.  There is a reason Luke and Rory have been trading the world #1 spot for so long.  They both play well and they play well a lot.  Donald missed cuts this year, he struggled at the beginning of this year until he got back in the groove.

Hack continues his golden advice letter by claiming that Rory isn’t practicing enough.  I’m not going to vouch for Rory’s practice schedule because I don’t know what it is and I would venture a guess that Damon Hack doesn’t know what it is either.  It wasn’t that long ago that these same writers were scrambling around looking for someone to take over Tiger’s throne since he had completely lost his game.  Now guys like Hack are hell-bent on proving that no one can take Tiger’s throne because he is “back” and Rory is just a young kid again.

Stuff like this makes me think these guys have no idea what kind of sport golf really is.  It ebbs and flows, it’s about peaks and valleys, it’s about riding the highs and surviving the lows.  No one knows this better than Tiger and I would even argue Rory.  For the majority of Rory’s career he had under achieved since he hadn’t won with his god given swing.  Now that he has won he has also under achieved again after three poor weeks.  Give me a break.  Rory is going to turn it around and the same group of writers will jump back on his fan base and praise him like nothing happened.  If you don’t believe me, go read all the pieces that Rick Reilly has written about Tiger over the past two years.  One week he loves him the next he can’t stand him.  It is maddening.

The bottom line is that I firmly believe Rory will find his game and find it quickly.  He will contend in more majors than he will miss the cut and he will win on the PGA Tour again this year.  I also don’t believe Tiger is “back” and I don’t think he will ever be back to the old Tiger.  He is a new Tiger and he is still darn good.  I can’t wait to see how they all play in San Fran and over the next year.  If it is Rory that comes out on top I can’t wait to see the Hack job letter Damon will have for us then.  My guess is he won’t have one or have the guts to issue an apology letter.

December 5, 2011

Westwood, McIlroy AND Woods!?!?

I will go ahead and say that this weekend got me FIRED up for next year on the PGA tour.  Why?  Because Lee Westwood, Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods all won and will all be headlining the  PGA tour next season.  I know they will throw in Luke Donald, Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler, Bill Haas, Matt Kuchar, Webb Simpson and a few others as a marketing ploy, but I am calling it right now that these three will be the story of next year.

I am not the biggest Tiger fan in the world and I will be the first to admit that I never believe any of the rumors that he is back.  I truly believe that Tiger will never dominate the PGA Tour like he did earlier in his career.  That doesn’t mean I dont’ think he will win and win majors.  I think he will win next year and I am not sure if a major is realistic or not.  With that being said, you can’t deny the electricity he creates.  I know that he won the Chevron this weekend and not the Masters, but it felt like I was watching a major for the last two holes.  He has the IT factor and there is no denying it.

The reason I say he won’t dominate is because too many young guys have grown up on the tour in his absence.  They never experienced the aura of the dominant Tiger and they won’t be quick to back down when he is in contention.  Rory showed us all that he has mental toughness after absolutely embarrassing himself on the back nine at the Masters only to freakishly win the U.S. Open.  Westwood has been through a rebuilding of his game and has a huge chip on his shoulder of never winning a major.  He will get one eventually.  These are the guys who are going to challenge Tiger now that he is “back” even though I still don’t think he will ever be the Tiger of old.

I really think this next year on the PGA tour is going to produce some memorable golf.  Just like this year brought a bunch of first time winners to the winner’s circle, next year is going to generate some genuine rivalries and match ups that hopefully last all of us viewers a large chunk of time.  I, for one, can’t wait for it to get here and start all over again.

June 23, 2011

Chamblee Gets It…Plain and Simple

The Rory media bomb continues to dominate the headlines of the golf world and for good reason.  I think it is great that he is getting recognition for his amazing performance, but if I could tell the golf world one thing I would say, “be careful to tag him as the next great hope to beat Jack’s record.”  Does he have the potential?  Of course he does, but why not let him win his next major or his next 6 for that matter before that discussion is in any way relevant or realistic.

Throughout all of the coverage of Rory’s big win last week the media has been quick to say Rory is the new Tiger and Rory will break Jack’s record and Rory’s swing is perfect!  They got one thing right in all of this.  His swing is perfect and more importantly his swing is perfect for Rory.  His swing really is amazing.  It is athletic, aggressive and precise.  As I say this, I know where this is going.  When Tiger came on the scene everyone started to try to swing like Tiger.  It is great to try to emulate great players and pick up good habits from them, but does Tiger’s swing really fit you as a player?  I will bet it doesn’t.

The point I am getting at is that the coverage of Rory’s swing has missed one thing and Brandel Chamblee got it exactly right in his recent article on Golf.com.  You should check it out HERE.  Chamblee is 100% right that Rory’s swing is so perfect because it is built on fundamentals and not constructed by trying to be overly technical.  The point Chamblee is making is that your swing can be as unique as you want it to be as long as your fundamentals are solid.  Look at Jim Furyk’s swing.  It looks funky in full motion, but his stance, posture, balance, grip/grip pressure are all fundamentally solid.  And guess what?  He is a major champion.

It is refreshing to see a member of the Golf media take a step back from the rest of the media buzz and pull out a story that has serious value.  Was Rory’s win amazing?  Yes it was.  Will he be the next Tiger Woods?  Who knows?  But as a golfer myself I don’t want to hear instructors tell me to swing like Tiger or like Rory.  I want to hear tangible feedback about how to build a golf swing that works for me.  Essentially this is what Rory and Tiger both did when they were younger.  Obviously they both cultivated their swings into works of art, but the take away from Chamblee’s piece, for me, was to understand the fundamentals of the golf swing and stick to them.  The rest of the swing will hash itself out.  Rory doesn’t have a perfect swing because he has calculated his spine angle and shaft angle to the nth degree on countless launch monitors.  No, he has a perfect swing because he has perfect fundamentals.

Like I said before, Chamblee gets it…Plain and Simple!

June 16, 2011

What’s a bigger story, Rory winning or Rory losing?

I keep going back and forth on what is the bigger story of this US open. Is it Rory winning or Rory blowing another major. The odds have to be against him to lose his lead over the next three rounds. Honestly, I would love to see him bring home a major and validate all of his talent.

Prior to the open the storyline consisted of “would Phil finally win one” and “would Watney, Johnson or McIlroy validate their past screw ups with a win?”. Well Rory put himself right back in the spotlight. I’m rooting for him but I think the golf media would rather see him lose his lead rather than hold on to it and become a serious name in the game.

The golf media has largely written off the young talent in the game because they don’t think Tigers shoes will ever be filled. I will say right now that the majority of golf analysts will side on the side of Rory blowing his lead rather than keeping it just because they miss Tiger. They miss the days of writing about how amazing he was. I for one am rooting for Rory to bring it home and officially usher in the new generation of golf post Tiger.

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

June 8, 2011

Does the U.S. Open Even Need Tiger?

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!

May 31, 2011

Power Play Golf is not for me!

I have read about the new format of “Power Play Golf” that is being promoted in a few highly publicized events this year.  I don’t know about everyone else, but it seems like a really cheesy attempt at making golf more extreme and exciting for viewers.  The people behind power play golf should have taken a good lesson from the flop that was the XFL and left this one alone.

This first obstacle is the fact that they are implementing new rules for the new format.  Most people don’t understand the current rules of golf and now they are going to have to figure out what the heck is going on with brand new rules?  Sorry, but that isn’t going to happen.  I have a feeling that most novice viewers will be lost at the first sight of two flags on the green.

Just the name alone makes it seem like golf is trying to take a stab at an X-games type feel to golf which is never going to happen.  Golf is a game built on tradition and there is no getting around that.  No matter how much the high ups in golf want to reach new markets and grow their viewer base they will always be hindered by the fact that golf is a game of tradition.  It doesn’t have the flash of end zone dances and huge hits like some other sports.  Tiger changed that for a time when he was dominating, but that isn’t the case anymore.  Just look at who is the new world #1!  It is a scrappy looking Englishman who doesn’t hit it much further off the tee than most lower handicap players.  He is steady in his game and is a great putter, but lacks all of the flare that Tiger did.

That last sentence might sound like a bad thing, but I assure you I 100% think it is a good thing.  I truly believe golf is one of the pure sports left out there.  It doesn’t have the big ostentatious draft day like the NBA or NFL.  It’s players don’t have tattoos from head to toe.  The game is played with respect and integrity.  Most NBA players try to get fouled in order to make baskets and gain an advantage.  PGA tour players call penalties on themselves just to preserve the integrity of the game.

What I am really trying to say is that I don’t like the idea of power play golf and I think the powers that be should leave golf alone.  It is a wonderful game of tradition and respect.  Those two character traits have largely been lost in the world of sport recently and we should embrace them where they still remain in tact.

 

April 18, 2011

Why Do Writers Hate Golfers?

Normally, I love all things golf.  I like reading about golf, I like watching golf and I like playing golf.  Recently, I no longer enjoy reading about golf.  I feel like every time I start reading a golf story the only thing that people want to talk about is how poorly Tiger is doing.  Has the golf media always been this cynical or do we as the public just love to see golfers do poorly?   I could be wrong, but I am pretty sure there were a few golf tournaments played this weekend and some players who played well and actually won.  Maybe that is worth talking about, especially since one of those winners was 17 years old.  It seems like the golf media only wants to embrace Tiger (good or bad) and not the plethora of young talent budding before our eyes these days.

Maybe I am just making a sweeping generalization here, but the lead story (main photo) on golf.com today is STILL about Kevin Na’s 16 and not about Matteo Manassero winning his second European Tour event or Brendan Steele winning his first PGA Tour event.  How are those stories not more important than Kevin Na’s 16?  I get the fact that we don’t normally see that high of a score from a professional, but it isn’t front-page news to me.  The New York Times would disagree with me on this point.

It just seems wrong to me that the Golf world would rather talk about a high score or Tiger’s struggles than young new talent excelling and coming into their own.  A few people say we will never see another player like Tiger Woods, but guess what?  Manassero might just be that player and no one seems to care.  Shouldn’t the golf community be more excited about great young players taking the game over instead of Tiger’s return to dominance?

Ok, I agree that watching Tiger play and win is exciting and great for the game of golf, but it isn’t the only reason I like golf.  Golf was a popular sport before Tiger came along and it will stick around long after he is gone.  It is inevitable that new stars will come up in the ranks in every sport.  I don’t understand why more people don’t see this as exciting and good for the game.  We should be embracing this change and not desperately hanging on to the past where Tiger won every tournament he entered.

I know the discussion about Tiger’s comeback won’t go away, but to be blunt I don’t care if he comes back or not.  I think golf is full of young stars right now and I love the game for what it is not for who is playing it.  Watching Tiger make a charge at the Masters was fun, but Charl Schwartzel’s closing birdie run was down right amazing.  Guess what people talked about more?  You got it, Tiger.  That, to me, is wrong.  I don’t care who wins each golf tournament as long as they earned it with their play.  I for one am excited for the future of the game in the post Tiger era.  Even if this isn’t the end of the Tiger Era just yet, it will come one day and people will have to accept that.  Eventually, there will be new stars for the media to latch on to and obsess over when they play poorly.  I’m sure they can’t wait!