Masters Thursday Thoughts

Final Wrap:

Is Jordan Spieth the best 18th hole putter the game has ever seen?

  • Sneds lost to three of the EuroTourFive.  He leads the other two by a single stroke.  If all five of these guys (some of whom are playing the course for the first time) make the cut, I think we can put to bed the nonsense about the “massive inferiority” of the European Tour.
  • Jason Day was on fire on the back nine.  Too bad he faltered a bit before getting to the clubhouse.
  • How many “excellent” and “spectacular” shots did Woods hit today where you could see one of his playing partners’ balls inside of his?
  • Anirban Lahiri shot -1, tying Bubba Watson and Rory McIlroy.  And Tom Watson.
  • Keep an eye on DJ and Reed at -2, Henley at -4.  Justin Rose at -5 could be in it for the long haul.  Rory will need a good round to make up ground; He’s T-19, but he’s four shots out of 5th, and there’s no reason to think Spieth and Day will falter.  Still early, though.  No need to panic or take risks, just get the ball in the fairway.
  • Nick and Nantz say this is a “great day” for Woods.  I wonder what an average one looks like.

4:25 pm That shot of Wood’s…  They said it went 30 degrees to the right.  That is EXACTLY what I described yesterday.  Let me fetch my quote…  (by the way, Woods hits two consecutive shots that were lucky to stay on the course, then hits a shot over the green from a bad location….  Nantz is all “Oh, my, that was an incredible shot.  How remarkable.”  Okay, here’s what I wrote yesterday, in a reply to someone’s comment:

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.

Now… if I could see that just watching television, why didn’t all those wonderful golf reporters who obsess over Woods, whose companies paid for them to go to Augusta, and who described every kid hug and earphone and dance and his mood…. why didn’t a single one of those guys see the shots at the practice range veering off to the right?

3:03 pm Rory birdies No. 15!!!  Moves to 1-under!!!

2:40 pm In case you have to miss the opening of ESPN’s coverage in twenty minutes, I’ll give it to you in advance.

In a hushed tone…  “Tiger Woods started off with a bogey, and things looked bleak, but then he came charging back with THIS shot on No. 2.  He would make a birdie and put himself back into the hunt!  Rumors of his demise were greatly exaggerated.  The buzz around here is that the old Tiger is back!  Hold onto your hats, it looks like Tiger is chasing Jack again!  And we’ll be here to show you every shot.”

Rory sits at even par, T-26, through eight holes.  Hard to say if he’s lucky or unlucky to be on that number.  Rory is now just two holes away from the Amen Corner coverage.  I’ve had my fill of this Masters Tracker.  This is ridiculous.  It froze up on Sneds.  I had to refresh to find he was already two holes ahead.  With Rory, he sat in the No. 8 fairway for 20 minutes, then suddenly the entire hole shows up all at once.  Augusta is a laughingstock with their antiquated coverage.  The tradition of the Masters?  Yeah, the tradition of 1960’s coverage.

Rory birdies?  Oh, yeah!  Back to level par!  Three more holes until he reaches the Amen Corner coverage cameras.

The Masters Tracker is the way to go.  You choose the player you want, then get a nice display of their shots.  I’ve turned off my TV; it was a distraction hearing Golf Channel repeat the same crap they’ve been repeating for days.  I’ll turn on the Amen Corner stream when Rory reaches No. 11.

[NOTE: The Masters website Amen Corner live stream is active now.] Live Blog:  The SI/Golf live blog will start at 8:00 am EDT and is usually pretty decent.  [Connell Barrett is doing a good job on the morning shift.]  Way too much focus on Tiger Woods, but if you want to ask a golf reporter a tough question, this is just about the only place you can do it with any expectation of getting an answer.  I guarantee you’ll see some Tiger PED comments and questions.  The hosts will be Connell Barrett, Brendan Mohler and Josh Sens.  I’ve often criticized Josh Sens — the $15 Billion Dollar Man — but he’s always been willing in these live blogs to answer any tough questions I asked him (including one about that $15 billion).

On the first tee, ESPN:  The burning question is, “Will we see Augusta National at all, or will our entire screens be obscured by scrolls and banners and graphics and ads swooshing in and out?”  I want to say, “Hey, it can’t be any worse than GC, NBC, and CBS,” but with ESPN, yes, it can.

Weather:  Today looks fine, Friday wet, Saturday and Sunday okay.  Not horrible.  Better than what was being predicted a few days ago.  I’m glad today is okay, so we’ll have an uninterrupted start to the tourney, anyway.

Online Streams Running Dry:  I’m not pleased with the streams.  No Rory featured group today, for example, and the streams don’t start until noon.  (I’ll have to check on when spotlight holes coverage begins.)  My patience with the Masters seems to grow thinner every year.  For starters, it’s a limited-field tournament which is weaker than all of the other three majors — plus three additional tournaments to boot!  And the limited coverage is silly in 2015.  If the idea is to “grow the game,” how does it help grow the game to limit coverage in this manner?  The course is beautiful, but too easy for today’s equipment; tricked up greens are its only defense.  My point is that this is by far the weakest of the majors, and yet it’s the tournament which goes all prima donna on us.  I think making a push to put Augusta National in a 3-year rota with Dubai and Abu Dhabi being the sites for the other two years would grow the game and allow golf fans to see more of the actual event.  “The Masters” could be played anywhere, and Dubai and Abu Dhabi would be able to handle full-field events, making the Masters equal in player quality to the other three majors.  I’m sick and tired of following Rory’s rounds on a 1930’s tickertape.

Take that, Augusta National!

Feelings, Nothing More Than Feelings:  What is it with all the focus on “how it feels”?  Cook is asked, “How do the players feel now it’s starting?”  They ask DiMarco, “How did you feel when you teed off?”  I think all of us have been nervous about something before; I don’t need Chris DiMarco to tell me players are keyed up on the first tee.  Besides, not every player is going to feel the same, anyway.

Tiger’s Excellent Vacation:  Photos of Woods’s kids have dominated the first five minutes of Morning Drive.  In today’s world, we often hear about a need for transparency, but there is nothing more transparent than the Golf Channel’s agenda.

Grand Grand Slam:  I guess it’s a replay, but I’m watching Jack and Arnold and Gary being interviewed, and Jack is making the point that their big goal was to win the Grand Slam.  Which means all four majors in a year.  That’s what I have been trying to tell people, but for some reason — cough, cough, the media — total career majors became the only achievement worth mention.  Now that Woods is apparently going to fall well short of that mark, the media seems to think consecutive made cuts is what it’s all about.

Remember the Euro Six Five!  Don’t forget five of the Euro Six will be facing off against American champion, Brandt Snedeker.

Make Me Pay: I need to make this official: The Lanny H Golf “Make Me Pay” picks are Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth. Should either of those players win this week, Lanny H Golf will donate $100 to the St. Jude Children’s Hospital. If Rory wins two majors this year, we will donate $300; if he wins three, we will donate $600; if he wins all four, we will donate $1000. Rory, make me pay!

Wattniacki:  Apparently an NFL football player, J.J. Watts, is now seeing Caroline Wozniacki, and the two were recently in the spotlight at the March Madness finals.  Some have pointed to this as a distraction for Rory, but Rory will be elated at this, as he was the one who called off the engagement.  He will be happy, and relieved, that Wozniacki is moving on with her life and finding happiness.

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60 Responses to Masters Thursday Thoughts

  1. Barry Burn says:

    Looking forward to the day. Pulling for Henrik Stenson, Angel Cabrera, and Ernie Els, if he putts conventionally.

  2. Anonymous says:

    ESPN did a great job with the Par 3 contest. Limited commercials and no graphics at all, not even the channel logo. Their tournament coverage might surprise you. Also, has added a shot tracker and it’s great. It’s actually aerial shots of the course instead of pitiful digital renderings. Much better than 30’s ticker tape.

    • lannyh says:

      That’s encouraging to hear. I just discovered the shot tracker; agreed, it’s great! I’m in the process of setting up a few windows for the players I want to follow.

      Reed bogied No. 1, but bounces back with birdies at 2 and 4. I guess he’s alright.

  3. Sports-realist says:

    ESPN shows us why they followed Michael Sam’s every move, when it was TOTALY retarded….Because these networks try and PUSH an agenda on folks……I JUST heard AGAIN, how Rory needs Eldrick somehow, and that him being there helps Rory????????????????? So Rory has won 4 majors ALREADY(winning two wire to wire), going for THREE majors in a row, which would also COMPLETE the grand slam(winning all 4 majors in a lifetime), but somehow still needs help? So after Rory wins his 15th major, I suppose it will help to have Eldrick show up in his wheelchair and just his presence will help Rory get through it………………….SMH X 1 million……

    • Sports-realist says:

      I’m really starting to question why the Chris Dimarco’s and others former/current PGA golfers work at the golf channel….I really think they look silly just pandering to the narrative, instead of telling the TRUTH…..If they have any pride, they should do something else, or find a more neutral place to give their views…..As you pointed out, even Chris seems a little dumb, when it comes to ‘cuts’ and all that…..

      • lannyh says:

        I think it’s all about the paycheck. They don’t want to wind up giving golf lessons in the Adirondacks.

        Rory with a nice birdie look on No. 1. Glad to seem him start strong, as that hole has been problematic for him at times.

    • lannyh says:

      I could not agree more. I’m sitting here watching a Rory retrospective or something right now on Rory, and it’s more about Woods than Rory. Some guy said, “And here’s a guys almost as good as Woods.” Rory is more likely to catch Jack than Woods. Woods is close to Woods’s pace, and Woods’s career was front-loaded. Rory should still be going strong in his 30’s.

  4. Jason says:

    I would like to understand why the broadcast has spent a fair amount of time showing Mike Weir and Ben Crane (who are both already on their way out) and zero coverage of Phil and Rory?

    Hope the coverage switches to those that are competing soon.

    • lannyh says:

      Sadly, that’s not going to happen. And don’t expect Woods tomorrow. For whatever reason, neither is in a “feature group.” That said, be sure to pull up Amen Corner stream when the guys you want to see get to No. 11. After that, there is coverage of Nos. 15 and 16. So you can see a fair amount of their back nines, but that’s it. Very disappointing.

  5. Ken says:

    Sirius radio golf show just said that only Woods winning would be a bigger story than Rory winning. Unreal. Three majors in a row and the career slam and that wouldn’t be the biggest story? It would take a miracle like Tom Watson winning to be a bigger story.

    • lannyh says:

      It’s hard to comprehend that golf specialists would say such a thing. A sports generalist like Jim Rome, sure. He’s ignorant for the most part, for the most part.

      I think these golf reporters dream of moving up in the world of sports coverage, but they all say the same things. Nothing distinguishes one from another.

  6. Sports-realist says:

    I can’t get the pga shot tracker to work..just seems to sit there….The masters tracker is ok, but is rather generic, imo….

    • lannyh says:

      It’s pretty much a mess. I think we get 14 hours of live action coverage at the British Open, but three at Augusta. I’ve had my fill of this Augusta National bullshite. This is supposed to be golf’s Super Bowl or Daytona 500? Can you imagine those events not covering it all live?

      • Sports-realist says:

        yeah I mean are they NOT allowed to show a shot by shot with just numbers? I mean I can’t watch the golf channel, it’s like watching the Taliban channel…..

      • lannyh says:

        Someone at the SI/Golf live blog this morning asked: Who actually pays Notah, NBC or Tiger?

      • Sports-realist says:

        yeah i don’t buy that suddenly the shot tracker doesn’t work, for some reason, when they had all week to make sure it was working……just shows you how they can rig coverage, and this is just a sporting event…

  7. Sports-realist says:

    Rory paring both par 5’s on the front….smh…

  8. Ken says:

    Tom Watson’s round is amazing. -1 at 65 years old on a 7400 yard course. He plays some par 4s as par 5s.

    I can see him playing the British well where length isn’t a bug factor. Here it’s an amazing feat.

    I bet he’s motivated to leave a better last memory than the Ryder Cup debacle.

  9. Sports-realist says:

    Rory’s short game looks like it has the last 6 weeks or whatver so far…..How you can blast it off the tee, then not be able to chip it, i have no idea…

    • lannyh says:

      He had one chilidip, and another pitch that went halfway to green. He’s not playing well. And that chip on No. 10 after watching Mickelson come up short was pretty disappointing.

      • Sports-realist says:

        He should employ the Jack Nicklaus approach around the greens: when you can use a putter–use it….

  10. Sports-realist says:

    yeah the tee times were definitely rigged….I know what KINDA of coverage is coming sooooooooooo I will do something else for the next few hours….

  11. Sports-realist says:

    Main point is Rory keeps going for eagles on the par 5’s, and has come up with 1 out of 4 birdies, it looks like, unless he makes a 21footer….You want to win this tournament, don’t suck on the par 5’s….

  12. Barry Burn says:

    Crenshaw shot 91.

  13. Sports-realist says:

    yep , coverage is starting to suck…starting to show every eldrick shot,whether in the tress or those exciting two foot putts, followed by the 20 seconds of following him as he walks off the green….

  14. Sports-realist says:

    Meanwhile, Jordan Spieth……looking right now like the ‘going to be’ round of the day…

    • lannyh says:

      Yeah, I’m sure we’ll see all his four-foot birdie putts. Meanwhile, let’s watch Woods walking up the fairway after a mediocre shot. And let’s not show 5-time winner in last 18 months Walker who is in Woods’s group and shooting same score…

      That was funny how in first ten minutes, ESPN hardly showed Woods, then started showing him constantly. I guess the first five minutes was to show “see, we don’t only cover Woods.”

  15. Debra with an H says:

    Ok hopefully this is a good sign – loving the 9th hole – Sweet!!

    • lannyh says:

      Haha, it might be getting close to back-grabbing time.

      • Sports-realist says:

        Just so you know, Ernie Els was a -155 to make the CUT…….and at the moment leads the tournament..

    • Sports-realist says:

      Debra, it also shows what is sorta wrong with Augusta, and other golfers have said it—you can spray it all over the place and still have a chance….They could add ditches, so you can’t just go from one fairway to another, and they should definitely thicken up the tree areas…..As Lanny said, it’s somewhat of an obsolete golf course, so that would make hitting fairways paramount on this course…

      • Debra with an H says:

        That’s true – I’m just waiting for when the round is over and all the idiots say that anybody else would have shot a 78

  16. Sports-realist says:

    I think we can all agree, that what we were missing all this time, and didn’t even know it, was ALL the STARING and WALKING that they weren’t showing before……..It’s just RIVETING…..Golf Channel’s new show will be called ‘Eldrick walking down fairways’……

  17. Barry Burn says:

    Very nice to see Ernie using a proper putter. Hope he wins. He is extremely deserving.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ernie so deserves a green jacket!

      • lannyh says:

        I have to be honest: When you first mentioned him yesterday, I thought, “No way…” Ernie is the one old timer (well, and Tom Watson, of course) who I like to see win this thing. If it came down to Rory and Spieth and Ernie, I could not root against Ernie.

  18. Sports-realist says:

    Spieth is getting all the breaks, not to mention playing great….That equals chance at the course record…

  19. lannyh says:

    “And now we show Tiger Woods from the portable camera we have positioned behind him… He’s a mere nine shots out of the lead… He’s hit some wonderful shots today… Just a lot fewer of them that most everyone else… But his great shots were as great as anyone’s!”

    • Sports-realist says:

      So get ready for the narrative…..His short game, my gosh his short game really saved those pars and bogies….His driving—Um, well let’s show his kids, his beautiful kids…..

      • Sports-realist says:

        Why do Nance and Faldo suddenly become the EXCUSE machine on the 18th….Faldo is such a putz to me anymore, as he just sounds like he never played competitve golf….Enough of these pro golfers becoming massive pussies and just cowtailing to the media nonsense….How bout “Hey, he still hasn’t gone under par since returning”, or, “besides 3 of the par 5’s, he did NOTHING.” on the other 15 holes….

  20. Sports-realist says:

    Yep, they have ALWAYS allowed the fraud ‘comebacks’ to cloud their understanding that Eldrick is just another golfer now….But instead, they still have the EXCUSE MACHINE going like it’s STILL 2009…..Now Tom Rinaldo might as well have put on the knee pads and started sucking, with his interview…..Notice Tom didn’t just ask Eldrick about steroids…..

  21. Sports-realist says:

    Did you notice, how on 16, when Walker birdied the hole, they didn’t even show it, and instead showed Eldrick’s miss…? At least I didn’t see them show Walker’s make……I guess misses are more exciting than makes now….

  22. BigTimeTimmyJim says:

    Watching some of the post round coverage and Brandel drops this beauty.

    “These are some of the best athletes in the world. Ask Gary Woodland to throw a ball and he can do it. Ask Tiger to do anything, and he can probably do it”.

    • Sports-realist says:

      Yeah the hero-worship only seems to get THICKER with each passing year, regardless of stats, rankings, or the ability to even compete…….Do these idiots realize Eldrick was 29 years old when he won his last Master’s? To these idiots realize Eldrick will be 40 by the start of next year’s Master’s?

    • Ken says:

      Oh brother. What sports feat has anyone ever seen Woods do outside of golf?

    • Ken says:

      LOL. Throw a ball? You have to be an athlete to throw a ball?

    • lannyh says:

      Haha, not only a gratuitous (wishful) Woods mention, but Woodland, their poster boy for “athlete” who has mediocre results (by top-level PGA player standards).

  23. BigTimeTimmyJim says:

    To Lanny and Sports-realist

    I get the disdain for all the TW hype. But, you two in particular, have gone so far in the opposite direction that you are “hyping” the criticism of the coverage at the expense of the action. I came here, after a full days work where I didn’t have a chance to watch barely an ounce of coverage, thinking I would see some Jordan Spieth “love”. Nope. All it was was bitching about TW this and TW that and the media sucks, and the announcers suck, and etc.

    For a website labeled, “only golf website that matters” it sure is a major let down.

    • lannyh says:

      I have said it 100 times: this website exists only to fill a void in the golf world. If you want tournament coverage, why would you read this website instead of Golf Channel or Golf Digest, where they have entire teams of people onsite at Augusta? Teams of people being paid to do nothing but cover golf.

      This website exists to point out the Yay Tiger agenda of the golf media, to discuss Woods and Galea and Bosch and other things that are anathema to the mainstream golf media. To bust the lies that pass for the Tiger Mythology. To call a sex and PED scandal what they are, instead of an “auto accident.”

      I made Jordan Spieth a Make Me Pay pick this week, and will donate to the St. Jude Children’s Hospital if he wins, so clearly I know who the lad is. I was covering him since at least when Texas played Alabama in the NCAA finals two or three years ago, and have continued to do so until this day. However, if you expect to find, “Then Spieth pulled out a 6-iron and played a nifty slice around the tree and onto the green,” well, why would I do that? There are a lot of big-dollar golf websites that do that better than I ever could. And like I said, they have dozens of people onsite at Augusta.

      We cover what they REFUSE to cover. I will gladly end this website the day SI/Golf starts a feature called “Bad Lies: A Weekly Analysis of the Tiger Cheerleading Media.”

    • Sports-realist says:

      understand Bigtime, it’s nice to vent somewhere….Try this experiement next time—-I will turn on the golf channel to see how long it takes them to mention Eldrick…I JUST RANDOMLY turned to the channel today—-it literally took 3 seconds…This is not uncommon(even though he hasn’t played in two months, it hasn’t been uncommon)..Their conversation when I turned to it was basically HOPING Speith faulters so that Eldrick can make the cut????????????????????????????????????? Yes VENTING is needed….Please understand…

      • Ken says:

        Been doing rhe same thing. Every time I turn on GC, it’s Tiger time.

        They think people want that. It they focused as hard on any other player, people would want that. The casual fan knows only what is fed to him by the media. I think any sports channel should cover the sport fairly.

        It’s insulting to the rest of the tour for GC to still have a “Tiger tracker”.

  24. JoseyWales says:

    well said, Lanny

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