Masters Wednesday Thoughts

[NOTE:  Here’s the line I liked.  It’s from the point of view of Rory being treated the same way as Woods:

If a fans tell him, “Good luck,” and Rory responds, “Thank you,” let’s discuss it all day as if he donated a kidney to a complete stranger.

Well, I liked it, anyway…]

[Note: This article contains the best line I’ve ever written.  The first to spot it will win a one-year subscription to this website.  The second will get a two-year subscription.]

Tiger Woods, Just Do It (Go Away): USA Today recently reported: “Woods isn’t good for the game anymore.”  Golf Channel is proving that point this week.

Golf Channel is unwatchable.  They are saying of Woods yesterday, he “won the press conference.”  He was bland and uninformative before the media.  Just like he has been in every press conference since, “Hello, world.”  Woods is a dull, boring guy.  If that hurts your feelings, tough.  I’m not going to deny reality to prop up your fairytale.

Case in point: A reporter asked Woods to walk through the 8-week process of getting ready to play at Augusta.  Woods said, “I worked my ass off.”  Then he said he worked from sunrise to sundown, and so on and so forth.  But he never once said a word about what he actually did, which is what the reporter very precisely asked.  Woods did not say if he worked on his full swing, chipping, stretching, strength conditioning, or what.

In other words, he gave a dullard’s boring answer.  He said nothing.  He completely avoided the question.  Golf Channel declares “he won the media center.”  If they consider that a win, were they expecting Woods to break down in tears?

Golf Channel spent so much time Monday and Tuesday gushing over Woods’s attitude and mood, I thought I was watching a Hallmark Channel movie.

Rory’s Trouble Holes:  Here’s the link I mentioned yesterday.  Chamblee did a great job with this piece.  As you watch, think how interesting it would be to get Rory’s take on these holes.  Then realize that the golf media didn’t ask Rory about these holes at all during his press conference, but instead asked Rory SIX questions about Tiger Woods.

Skinny Woods: Woods has become so thin that he was asked about his weight in his press conference yesterday.  Let’s see: (1) rumors are rampant that Woods is serving a non-suspension suspension for PED usage; (2)  Woods shows up looking like he’s lost 50 lbs; (3) Not one article has appeared linking the weight loss to the PED non-suspension suspension rumors.  Not one.

Those Darn Kids:  Tiger Woods loves his kids so much he can’t tear himself away from them to practice.  His love for his kids — a very admirable thing, indeed — is keeping him from playing quality golf.  But, hey, you have kids, there goes your golf game.  Right?  Well, hold on, how do you explain Jack Nicklaus having five kids, born when Jack was 21, 23, 25, 29, and 33, and playing his best golf when he had kids the very age Woods’s are now?

Geoff Shackelford’s Profiles in Courage: I hope everyone got a chance to read Shackelford’s wonderful report from Augusta for Golf Digest.  It contains some of the best writing I’ve ever encountered.  Forget JFK.  Forget McCarthy, Munro, and Roth.  Relish this:

AUGUSTA, Ga. — For a guy with the yips, Tiger Woods just announced to the world that he’s not afraid to show off his short game. Showing up at Augusta National’s tournament practice area around 3:40 ET, Woods briefly stopped to talk to Mike Weir about the Canadian’s elbow issues, them marched boldly to the short game practice area.

Announced to the world that he’s not afraid!  Marched boldly!  Wow!  Good stuff!  That paragraph brought a tingle to my spine and a tear to my eye.  And Shackelford was just getting started.  Here are more highlights:

  • “Talk about a bold statement.”
  • “If the range swagger was a statement, the body language on course all but spilled over the top.”
  • “…patrons gasped at his sleek physique…”
  • “…the downright jovial Woods…”

All aspiring writers should study this piece with the utmost attention.

Rosenberg Tosses His Hat Into the Ring: In the battle for Worse Writer, Biggest Tiger Apologist, Michael Rosenberg has tossed his hat into the ring.  Exhibit A: this “poor ole Tiger” article:

But ask yourself: what would the reaction have been if Tiger had thrown a club in the water at Doral, as McIlroy did last month? Or if he had walked off the course at the Honda Classic citing tooth pain, as McIlroy did two years ago?…I’m not saying we should treat Rory like we treat Tiger. I’m saying we should treat Tiger more like we treat Rory.

Treat Tiger and Rory alike?  Good idea.  How about if Rory is found to have been visited fourteen times by convicted PED dispenser Anthony Galea — after Rory stating “four or more” —  let’s all just pretend there’s nothing to it.  Forty-nine visits from Mark Lindsay?  Let’s look the other way.

Imagine if Rory were found to have told a woman this:

I want to treat you rough. Throw you around, spank and slap you

Slap your face. Treat you like a dirty little whore. Put my cock in your ass and then shove it down your throat

Hold you down while i choke you and Fuck that ass that i own

Let’s pretend that is perfectly acceptable behavior and talk about what a great family man and all-around great guy he is?  If a fans tell him, “Good luck,” and Rory responds, “Thank you,” let’s discuss it all day as if he donated a kidney to a complete stranger.

Here’s what Rosenberg wrote:

But it sure was strange how Woods was vilified while other famous athletes get caught cheating on their wives and nobody seems to care.

Mr. Rosenberg, can you not comprehend the difference between “cheating on their wives” and “hold you down while I choke you and fuck that ass”?  “Creepy” is the nicest thing you can say about the latter.  “Psychotic” is more accurate.  That you would equate choking and slapping women with an extramarital affair shows a basic dishonesty.  (Or your own psychosis, I suppose.)

Or, hey, how about Rory falls to OWGR #104, let’s all keep calling him “the biggest story.”

Let’s end on a bright note:  The economy must really be improving if Michael Rosenberg can keep a job as a golf writer.

Time to Clean House:  Golf Journalism is not going to improve until all the old guys are replaced by young guys.  The old guys fell in love with the Tiger Mythology — hook, line, and sinker — and have a strong emotional attachment to Woods.  They see positive comments about other golfers as insults to Woods.  I wouldn’t trust any golf writer over age 25.

No Par-3 Contest for Lanny:  I’d sooner watch a WNBA preseason game.

Bipolar Golf Media:  The golf media is in love with this “new Tiger” (you know, the one who is desperately trying to change his image from Wretched Asshole to “All-American Daddy-Pop Father of the Year” [to borrow Dan Jenkin’s phrase]).  Once the media raved about his steely demeanor and his killer instinct and how he put his foot on other player’s throats.  Now that Woods sucks at golf, we learn what’s important are his kids — you know, the kids he exposed to every venereal disease know to mankind (and some that aren’t).

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51 Responses to Masters Wednesday Thoughts

  1. JoseyWales says:

    All year long Shackelford hides behind his blog to make fun of Augusta National…he belittles the golf course, bashes the Tom Fazio work, says the course has been ruined with lousy improvements, makes fun of the trees, makes fun of the members, makes fun of Billy Payne…and now one week a year he is a media guest and slobbers all over the place?
    No to mention the Woods suckage…”patrons gasped at his slim physique”?…what a frickin’ phony Shackelford has become.
    I’m sure he isn’t refusing the free food and drinks in the press tent.

    • lannyh says:

      Haha, yeah, that article was like a parody of a suck-up writer. Courageous Woods was boldly chipping with his rippling physique while patrons gasped… That’s just embarrassing.

  2. JoseyWales says:

    You read a lot of these “live on the scene at the Masters” reports, tweets, FB posts, etc…but the fact is reporters are not allowed phones on the course…NOBODY IS ALLOWED A PHONE ON THE GOLF COURSE…so they have to go out on the course and then run back into the press building before they can tweet or text or post. None of these reports or “trackers” are live from the golf course.

  3. Sports-realist says:

    It’s as close to a CULT as you can get for a sports figure past his prime…..Consider bloggers could be getting paid to write a certain way(wouldn’t have to pay much), then just kickback a few bucks to a dozen or so writers and whallah—rigged coverage……I just don’t watch it….I watch delayed coverage if I care enough, otherwise, I just check the scoreboard at the end of the day…..If Eldrick is in there, the coverage is just ruined, EVEN if he’s 10 strokes, 15 strokes, 20 strokes back, they will show his every shot, and make excuses….Every birdie is treated like a double eagle, while every double bogey is because ‘it just takes time’…..

  4. Sports-realist says:

    The good thing is we’ve seen this ‘build up’ now oh about 20 times by the golf media, and the result is the same—–pppphhhhhh….They keep trying to have the Beetles show up for for the 1st time, but the Beetles ain’t coming back….

  5. HennyB says:

    Best line you’ve ever written?
    The golf media is in love with this “new Tiger” (you know, the one who is desperately trying to change his image from Wretched Asshole to “All-American Daddy-Pop Father of the Year” [to borrow Dan Jenkin’s phrase]).

  6. Debra with an H says:

    Lanny – Interesting comment by Duval when asked about the course set up and feedback from the players – seems the players are not sure how the areas around the greens have been cut during the practice rounds. Typically cut away from the green. Do you think Augusta would stoop so low as to change their normal course prep to provide an advantage for someone that may have been struggling from around the green?

    • lannyh says:

      I wouldn’t put it past them, but I’m not sure they would do it for Woods.

      Here’s a story you probably already know. Arnold Palmer illegally re-played a ball on No. 12 after holing out (after disagreeing with a ruling about an embedded ball). Venturi told him Palmer was violating a rule. Arnold ignored him, and played the ball a second time. Augusta eventually ruled that Palmer had played fairly and was the winner, costing Ventura a green jacket. Something like 30 or 40 years later, when both were old men, Cliff Roberts pulled aside Venturi (who worked for CBS now) and apologized. Two months later Roberts blew his brains out (on the grounds of Augusta National). I guess he wanted to get it off his chest.

      Anyway, I would answer thusly: It wouldn’t shock me, but my guess in this particular case is that they are not doing anything to help Woods. Maybe it has to do with the rain situation?

      It’s interesting, though. I’ve been out of touch for a while. I’ll try to find something about Duval’s comment.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Isn’t Shackelford a regular guest at the GC Morning Drive?

    Reckon he smells a nice permanent gig somewhere in TV land if only he becomes part of the “golf establishment”?

    btw, I just added the GC to my cable package recently. Had a chance to watch Morning Drive. Decided very quickly that it is a pitiful collection of nitwits and is totally unwatchable.

    • lannyh says:

      Yeah, Shackelford is on every Monday, and has been on every day pretty much this Masters week. Yeah, maybe he wants to be a regular on Golf Channel. About the Morning Drive crew, let me praise Cara Robinson. She’s really good. She seems to prefer talking about the players top to bottom, not a one-man reality show. Although, it’s not like she can single-handedly change the course of the show.

      There’s not much security in print/online journalism these days. Radio and television seem to be the goal. I’m speaking in general now, but media companies can’t afford big full-times staffs like they could 30 years ago. A lot of journalists are patching together several gigs. Most of them probably don’t have benefits-paying traditional jobs. The job openings for golf writing seems to be for Yay Tiger Yay Tiger crap, so we wind up with 95 percent of golf writers “feeding the cattle” — and getting paid poorly for it.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Is this it? “I’m not going to deny reality to prop up your fairytale.”

    • lannyh says:

      That’s not the one I had in mind, but I kind of like it, too. I guess this is pretty difficult, what with my writing so full of Bartlett’s-bound show-stoppers. It’s possible the one I have in mind triggers a downer vibe in some people, be it conscious or subconscious.

  9. Sports-realist says:

    If anyone wants to puke later, just watch the par 3 contest, which will show FAMILY MAN OF THE YEAR with his kids……They will probably be playing the Brady Bunch music in the background……Seriously, if you buy that image they are pitching, you might just work for NBC…LOVE those ‘texts’ Lanny btw of our GOLF FATHER, I will start saying these to all my family, as I want them to be raised correctly…

    • Ken says:

      Woods’ new act is the phoniest display since Hitler shook hands with Chamberlain.

      • lannyh says:

        Funny you mention Hitler because I toyed with the idea of using him in a comparison in the bit I did on the guy who wrote all Woods did was “cheat on his wife.” I was going to write that comparing what Woods did to guys who cheated on their wives would be like comparing George H.W. Bush to Hitler because Bush invaded Kuwait, and Hitler, Poland. Same damn thing. The guys are equivalent.

        I detest the embarrassing lack of logic in what passes for golf writing these days.

      • Sports-realist says:

        Like Lanny has said, it’s just becoming a ‘freak show’…There is no substance to it, just a bunch of ‘marketing tactics’ and ‘built-in excuses’ that are lame….I doubt MOST golf fans look to the golfchannel for their ‘golf reality’, but the ESPN’s and others aren’t far behind in trying to keep this myth alive…..LIke I said though, regardless of what they say, he becomes 40 years old in 7 months…Now that’s not old in normal life, but in ‘professional sports’, you are way past your prime….

    • lannyh says:

      The par-3 contest ruins Wednesday if you ask me. I have GC on right now, and they already started with the “two beautiful kids.” It’s never his “two kids,” but always “beautiful” or “gorgeous” or something.

  10. Jason says:

    They should add some validity back to the par 3 tourney. How about giving the winner automatic entry to the Masters the following year? I would like to see them actually try to win.

    • lannyh says:

      Yeah, it’s more like a children’s petting zoo now than a competition.

    • Ken says:

      Agree. Play for real. Stop dragging the kids out there as caddies. It’s all so contrived.

      It doesn’t need to be serious. It was cool seeing 91 year old Jack Fleck there. An old guy could compete here. But the players should at least try.

      It is a great day to be there. While much of threcrowd was watching that in 2011, I was able to easily get around the course and watch practice rounds.

  11. Jason says:

    That was awesome! Golden Bear ace!!

  12. JB says:

    How ’bout: “I’d sooner watch a WNBA pre-season game.” If not, those are my same thoughts anyway.

  13. Debra with an H says:

    Holy Shit – Tom Rinaldi to Dustin Johnson – “Have you used cocaine?” WTF – it’s just not fair

  14. Debra with an H says:

    Wow – then at Shackleford post everybody saying it’s ok – but no one has the balls to ask TW about Biogenisis?

  15. JoseyWales says:

    Someone should ask Shackelford…”are you a gay man?”…” how come you never mention a wife, girlfriend, family, kids?…how come you have never, ever been seen with a woman?…never even a photo with a woman…how come you deride women on your site?…how come?

    • Debra with an H says:

      I think he’s going to Indiana for pizza

      • lannyh says:

        First off, I have no idea what that Indiana comment means, but if you want to bash Shackelford (or anyone else), confine it to his writing and television work. I’ll let any serious dissent (or praise) about anything go here, but I have to draw the line somewhere or this place will devolve into “You’re a fag, Lanny H Fag,” etc. I’m not lecturing, but it’s up to everyone here to uphold our lofty standards!

    • lannyh says:

      Well, I don’t care about any of that stuff, but I didn’t like my polite, on-topic posts being deleted, and it does seem like he’s much more of a Tiger cheerleader than I once thought. Nevertheless, I still think he has the right idea about rolling back golf equipment, and still urge everyone to read his book “The Future of Golf.”

      In summary, I don’t divide the world up into straight and gay; I divide it up into Those Who Delete My Polite, On-Topic comments and Those Who Don’t!

  16. Kyle says:

    Something seems off about Tiger’s appearance this year, and the media’s coverage of it. Has anyone even done any swing/game analysis from the practice rounds? Even last year, the GC ran a segment with a looped 5-second clip of him hitting a poor tee shot in a practice round.

    This time around, it’s mentioned in passing, with focus on the person rather than the golfer. Indeed, I think Arnold Palmer’s game has been the subject of more discussion so far with his shoulder injury. Did anyone even ask if Tiger is now officially back from his leave of absence?

    • lannyh says:

      It’s been VERY weird. And when I saw a look-in at him at the range today, I saw a sequence of three drivers. 1. He hit it, then twirled the club. 2. He hit it and it looked to me like it headed right right off the clubface. (Not a shank, just a big push-slice or something). No twirl. The coach went and talked to him for a moment. 3. Looked like the right thing again, and coach, caddy, and Woods all stood looking for a long time. No twirl.

      But the media just sort of says things like, No signs of the yips, and He’s striking the ball well. Just kind of generic stuff. And, now that you bring it up, I don’t think I heard a single person do swing analysis, and normally they do that every fifteen seconds. Brandel would never shut up about it.

      And, like you said, it’s all about his mood, his relaxed demeanor, his kids. It’s weird. His odds dropped from about 50-1 to 33-1 and it was about 1-1 on him making the cut, but is now approaching 2-1 that he WILL make the cut (last I looked). Somewhere between 3-2 and 2-1.

      Something weird is going on. Maybe they feel like another “Tiger is going to do it this time” attitude before a withdrawal or yips display will be the straw that breaks the camels back for their credibility.

      • Kyle says:

        I think even Hank Haney had a post on Twitter expressing his approval of his ‘new’ swing from some practice round footage. Haven’t seen any mention of this on the GC, who usually write a story whenever Butch Harmon uses a sentence that includes ‘Tiger Woods’.

        You had an earlier post wondering if this is ‘Quicken Loans II’. Suppose that is the case, that he is either being dragged out of a suspension or retirement. Wouldn’t his sponsors like the media focus to be on Tiger’s demeanor, footwear, headphones and taste in music? If they just talk about how Tiger Woods the person is doing, well, it’s easy to put on an act for a few days to make yourself look good.

        I only hesitate a little with this theory because it would be a bad idea for a sponsor to have Tiger chunking chip shots with their ear buds on.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Tiger’s kids are painfully shy and don’t look comfortable around him. Every interaction with his children felt forced. They clung to Lindsey if Tiger wasn’t directly engaging with them. He was also making them work like real caddies cleaning balls and holding clubs. Mostly kids under 10 run around with the other kids in the group and the parents end up carrying the clubs. Everything Tiger does feels like a disingenuous PR stunt, even his relationship with his kids.

    • lannyh says:

      I didn’t watch, but the look-ins I saw earlier in the day… now that you mention it, the kids did seem to kind of cling to her. I’m sure he’s very kind to them, and wants the best for them, but there are some people who bring a tension to a room.

      On the other hand, there are a lot of undisciplined kids in this world that I just shake my head when I see their parents let them run wild. But, yeah, I guess I did kind of notice them gravitate toward her. Maybe they saw Dad as being “on stage” or “in the spotlight.”

      • Sports-realist says:

        Wouldn’t surprise me if those kids have some ‘behavoral problems’ as they older, esp once they find out what their ‘father of the year’ did most of their lives away from their mother…

      • lannyh says:

        You know, when I cut and pasted those text mesages, I thought about his daughter finding those at TMZ when she’s a teenager. Oh, well, she’ll have plenty of money for psychological counseling if the wants it.

      • Kris says:

        There’s nothing wrong with Tiger’s kids being shy and well behaved, it’s just the way they interact with him in public doesn’t match the stories he tells about being home. He’s a hard person to get close to, and I think even his kids are having trouble connecting with him. At least he’s trying, even if it is motivated by a desire to improve his image more than a desire to improve his children’s lives. I wouldn’t be surprised if they publish a tell-all book after Tiger’s death called “Into the Woods: Growing Up a Tiger Cub”.

  18. Sports-realist says:

    Kris, just write it now and at least ALL the golf channel employees will buy a copy…..They won’t know the difference..

  19. BigTimeTimmyJim says:

    Quite interested to see what Rory does tomorrow. He has more scores 76 or over than he does under 70 at the Masters. But, he does have a first round 65 on his record from 2011. Kind of hard to see what we’ll get from him tomorrow. I’ll guess something around 70, plus or minus a stroke or two.

    • Sports-realist says:

      I’m sorry, Who did you say? Ror what? Is he even a PGA golfer? I’ve listened to golf channel all week, so I have no idea who you mean…..Has he done anything special?

  20. Sports-realist says:

    I’ll give Rory a fighter’s chance…He’s still the longest hitter, and prob most accurate off the tee…..Jason day my runner up and Jordan Speith my ‘dark horse’ as they call it…

    • BigTimeTimmyJim says:

      If Rory finds his short game, he’ll run away with it. That’s his biggest issue. Wedge and putter have a tendency to misbehave.

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