Golfer Kenny G Makes Music on Plane (for Charity)

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Guest Column From Kris

[We present a short guest piece from Kris.  Links will be provided at the bottom.]

In the escapist world of golf, Rory is getting hitched tomorrow, Tiger had a fusion surgery that will probably improve his quality of life while simultaneously hindering his golf game, and Ian Poulter lost his PGA tour card. Also, Shane Ryan said on he’s working on an article, with evidence, suggesting Justin Rose let Sergio Garcia win the Masters out of pity.


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Insanely Propagandic Article from NPR

We hear a lot about fake news these days.  I suggest that this article qualifies.

Put aside one’s views on tax rates.  (Bear in mind, mine lean left/liberal.)  That NPR article very obviously pushes a narrative that it is pure propaganda.  To cherry-pick numbers and twist facts is, I’m sorry, fake news.

The “fact” the article is pushing is that “tax rates on the rich are lower today than in the past.”  The format is a survey showing how misinformed people are today, because most think the opposite is true.

They compare today’s rates to 1980.  Now, if you have as much gray in your hair as I do, you know that 1980 was the year Reagan was elected, and that rates declined during his presidency.  So choosing 1980 is vastly different from 1988.  They are forcing people to define “the past” as 1980, when for many people the idea of the past might be 1988 or even 1998.  Or 2008, for that matter.

Even with 1982, there is a major difference.  Capital gains rates, compared to today, were higher in 1980, but lower in 1982.

Anyway, I don’t want to write a novel, so I’ll just sum up by saying, had they shifted the start date by just a few years, the stupid, ignorant, misinformed populace would have been very much correct.  People hear 1980 and they think the 80’s and Reagan and low rates, but 1980 was still Carter, and Reagan took several years to implement his policy of lower taxes.

(Amusingly, the author discusses the cruciality of wording in reference to the estate/death tax.)

So the public is uninformed only if you trick them by cherry-picking your compare date.  And, by the way, during the 90’s–  which is 25 years in the past — the capital gains rates actually were much, much lower.

Anyway, the entire article is a scam, basically.  If you want further proof, I was tricked by the following comment:

About half of the poll’s respondents (with very little variance by party) said they believe 75 percent of the federal government’s revenue comes from personal income taxes. In reality, it’s just under half.

I thought, Gee, we must get more from business and gas tax and the like than I thought.  I followed the link.  Uh, no.  They counted FICA (social security) as an on-budget tax and expenditure.  If you count SS as part of the general budget, why wouldn’t you count FICA as part of the general income tax?  Corporate taxes and things like the gas tax add up to only 20 percent of the total.

Oh, I almost forgot.  The question they asked was idiotic.  True or false:

The highest earners pay a significantly higher share of federal income taxes than they did in 1980.

Three things: 1980 was cherry-picked, as discussed above.  Then “highest earners” is undefined.  Does it mean the top 1%?  The top 50%?  We have no idea.   And then “significantly higher.”  Significant?  Who is the Decider there?

I don’t want to spend all day writing this.  It’s just that I hate such obvious lying, such obvious fake news, such obvious propaganda.  They wish to push two faux facts.  (1)  Taxes “in the past” were higher on the “highest earners” (whatever the hell that means) than they are now.  Therefore, one is expected to conclude, they don’t need to be cut now.  (2) Income taxes aren’t that critical a component of the budget, anyway.  Which, one presumes, is pushing the idea that income tax rates aren’t high enough to pull their weight.  Or something.

What’s particularly galling to me is that I favor raising tax rates, not lowering them — if one insists on making a change at this time.  But the author of this piece pushes an unfounded narrative to such extremes it turns into a lie.  That’s simply unacceptable.

Fake news, no two ways about it.

Oh, let me not forget the biggest propagandic point:  Don’t you believe what your fellow citizens — or another news outlet — might tell you.  Why, see how uninformed they are!  You just keep on trusting us.  If someone raises an inconvenient truth, why we’ll come up with a narrative to let your ignore it!  We’ll do your “fact checking” for you!

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A Good DVD Comment

“It’s all about the money and pandering to the lowest possible taste. That’s what’s happened, unfortunately. I don’t think anyone takes any responsibility.”

That’s Dick Van Dyke talking about the movie industry as pertains to violence in movies.  It could have been me talking about the golf media.  Or anyone talking about cable news, or scores of other areas.  Lowest possible taste.

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Good Media, Bad Media

Positive: I was listening to NPR this morning, a segment featuring a man who just wrote a book about the Colorado River and the serious situation with water’s future there and elsewhere.  Suddenly the hostess mentioned the author having written a piece for Golf Digest in 2011 (I think it was) about Donald Trump; she used this as a springboard to launch into a series of questions designed to belittle President Trump.  But the writer, David Owen, didn’t play her game.  Much of what he said about Trump was upbeat and positive, though he was not a Pollyanna, allowing a not-so-flattering remark or two.  In other words, he was honest and journalistic.  (Unlike the NPR hostess, Terry Gross.)  It was really cool, and from a golf writer no less!  (Apparently, he is a guest editor at Golf Digest.)

Here’s David Owen’s website.  You can read more about his book there.  I plan to buy and read it.  (As soon as I finish the little beach read I’m currently working on, James Joyce’s Ulysses.)

Negative: I had on CNN.  I saw the White House press secretary make a statement.  It started at 24 minutes after the hour.  I noted the time because it was a late start.  At 16 minutes after the next hour, CNN re-ran video of it, with the heading “Moments Ago.”  Now, CNN is a network that can’t use the word “liar” often enough when it comes to President Trump.  But calling 52 minutes “moments ago” is not an attempt to misleadingly lend immediacy to old news, I guess.  Which leads to an accompanying observation.

The U.S. just dropped the “Mother Of All Bombs” on an ISIS hideaway.  The CNN anchors went on and on (and on and on) about how that was totally in conflict with what Trump said during the campaign.  Except… anyone who paid any attention to Trump’s campaign whatsoever would know Trump said, rather crudely, that he planned to “bomb the shit out of ISIS.”  Now, I’ll leave it to others to debate what he should or should not do, but claiming an inconsistency between “I will bomb the shit our of ISIS” and dropping the Mother Of All Bombs on ISIS…  well, that shows a complete absence of intellect on the part of the CNN talking heads.

If there’s anything I can’t stand it is stupidity masquerading as intelligence, and, sadly, that’s all the rage in the U.S. these days.

So, allot your time wisely.  Skip cable news, and go read David Owen’s “Where the Water Goes: Life and Death Along the Colorado River.”

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Enough About Sergio, On to Erin Hills

Now that Sergio has a green jacket, it’s time to look ahead to the U.S. Open.  Where is it going to be played this year?  Erin Hills.

Where, you ask?  Erin Hills.  It’s in Wisconsin, thirty-five miles northwest of Milwaukee.  Kind of a combination of Chambers Bay and Whistling Straits.  Actually, more succinctly, it’s a British Open links imitation.

I’ve got a complaint.  A major complaint.

Reading the course website, I found this in the Frequently Asked Questions section:

What options do I have for getting around the golf course?

Erin Hills is walking only. We highly recommend using one of our professional caddies or you may decide to carry your own clubs. Outside caddies and pull-carts are not allowed.

Okay, fair enough, but that makes Erin Hills a knockoff British links course that doesn’t allow the use of pull-carts (trolleys in British parlance).

“Lanny, give us a break.  This is an upscale course that is hosting a U.S. Open, for crying out loud.  Of course they are not going to let idiots take pull-carts out on their blessed turf.”

I will respond to that with a question and an answer.  What’s the policy regarding pull-carts (trolleys) at St. Andrews?  Let’s let them answer for themselves:

There’s no need to book trolleys in advance, simply turn up and hire them from the Starters Boxes at the New, Jubilee or Balgove, at the Golfers’ Check-In in the Eden Clubhouse or at The Castle Course Reception. Trolleys are available for use all year round on the New, Jubilee, Eden, Strathtyrum, Balgove and The Castle Course.

So, you see, not only does St Andrews allow pull-carts, but they happily rent them to you.

“Uh, Lanny, the Old Course is not on that list.”

Hold on, my friend.

The use of trolleys on the Old Course is more limited. With 14 holes played to double greens, the movement of golfers is severely restricted and we therefore have to take special care to manage wear and tear on this very special course. Trolleys on the Old Course are therefore only permitted after 12 noon between the months of April and October.

It’s unclear what that means precisely (are they allowed or banned November-March), but the takeaway is that pull-carts ARE allowed on the Old Course.

Erin Hills can do what they want, as can every other course in America.  But it angers me and discourages me from playing when none of my local yokel “upscale” courses allow pull-carts.  Nor do the downscale courses, which is even sadder.

I know it’s all about the Benjamins, but the U.K. is capitalist society, too, and they allow pull-carts.  What’s the deal in the U.S.?  Must we squeeze every penny out of an industry until we destroy it?

I’ll end with this,  a product review no U.S. golf media company will touch with a 10-foot pole.

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Masters Semi Live Blog — Sunday

7:30 pm:

S E V I O    S U N D A Y !

6:30 pm:

Best. Masters. Sunday. Ever?

5:55 pm:

Worst.  Masters.  Sunday.  Ever?

2:30 pm:  It’s go time!


Great line from ESPN: “Not only that, but no one has rallied from 10 shots back after 18 holes — Spieth was 10 behind Charley Hoffman after Thursday — to win a major since the ’96 Open Championship. That would be the 1896 Open Championship, and it was done by none other than the venerable Harry Vardon.”

I didn’t notice Els’s 83 until this morning.  Very sad Els never won a green jacket.  Would have been nice to see him playing in this event for the next twenty years.  As it is, this is likely his last.

ESPN: “It’s not as distinctive as Rory McIlroy’s head-bobbing, club-twirling alpha male strut…”  Bad description. Better would be: head-bobbing, club-twirling, it-ain’t-bragging-if-you-can-do-it schoolboy bounce.  Other than that minor complaint, though, it’s a fantastic article.

Is it better to be paired with someone you know well and like, or with someone you don’t much know and can politely ignore for the most part?  All else being equal, I think I’d prefer the latter.  (Friends or foes, if I am a Corey Pavin, I would prefer not to be paired with a Dustin Johnson bomber.)

Finally…

It’s 10:45, video just went live at masters.com.  I gave up on Morning Drive.  Tried cable news for a while, but on Masters Sunday they seemed even more inane than normal.

Why the Masters is the Greatest Sports Event in the

WORLD

Beauty of the Masters, Told in Headlines

GERMANY: Routinier Langer genießt nach Masters-Aus Familienzeit (Mitteldeutschen Zeitung)

MEXICO: Desde el Masters 2017 (II) (Excelsior)

FRANCE: Le résumé vidéo du 2e tour (L’equipe)  “Des eagles de Thomas Pieters et Branden Grace aux meilleurs coups de Sergio Garcia et Phil Mickelson, revivez l’essentiel de cette deuxième journée ventée à Augusta.”

JAPAN: Matsuyama moves up to 16th at Masters (The Japan News) “AUGUSTA, Ga. — Hideki Matsuyama fought off the winds and battled his way into contention at the Masters on Friday, firing a 2-under 70 to easily make the cut and move up to 16th place.”

UNITED KINGDOM: Masters 2017: Justin Rose admits putting will be crucial to winning first Green Jacket (London Daily Star)

The Masters 2017 third round: What time do Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia tee off, what TV channel is it on and what are the odds? (U.K. Telegraph)

Masters 2017 on TV: UK start times, highlights and radio coverage (London Evening Standard)

That’s just a small sampling.

  • What a leaderboard! Nothing to add to last night’s blog entry and comments.
  • Tirico just said “slick and cool and hip” or something, in regards to golf and kids.  If you have to tell people something is cool, it’s not.  Golf has been going for nearly 600 years old.  Do you think hipsters, skinny jeans, and watch chains will still be around in the year 2617?  Fads are “cool.”  Golf is golf.
  • Charley Hoffman and Ryan Moore, the two forgotten men of the leaderboard.  The talking heads go straight from Jordan Spieth to Adam Scott and Charl Schwartzel.
  • Rickie Fowler was defined by the golf media, back in the TOE (Tiger Obsession Era), as “one of the new, young guys.”  He’s 28 years old now, and the golf media is still stuck in the past.  Can we agree Rickie is a full-grown man now, playing golf in his prime?  You know, at some point, Little Stevie Wonder became simply Stevie Wonder.  Shirley Temple became a United States foreign ambassador.  Opie became a film director.  I know the media likes to define and pigeonhole, but a label of “young” has an expiration date.  Golf media, you gotta let them grow up, no matter how painful.
  • Doesn’t look like any of the leaders are in a Featured Group live stream at masters.org.  In a way, I’m glad, as I would have watched that over CBS.  Yesterday’s Rory-Kuch-Spieth-Mickelson stream was simply spectacular.  (No commercials; just two groups; no cutaways to chips by non-contenders that you know in advance are going in; the sounds of birds and distant gallery roars.  It was almost like being there.)  On the other hand, I’ve been watching Masters Sunday on CBS for as long as I can remember, so it’s nice to keep the tradition going.  And CBS does a great job.  The live streams don’t have Sir Nick, after all.
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