Masters Friday Thoughts

Final Update: Golf Channel’s Dumbest Ever

I have heard this three or four times now… Golf Channel saying, “If Jordan Spieth weren’t 12 shots ahead of Woods, and Hoffman not 7, the buzz would be about Tiger being in the hunt.”  Talk about grasping at straws.  Sad, but funny.  They are in Monty Python skit territory.  Would you like some Tiger with your Tiger?  Or, He’s not 12 shots back, he’s pining for the fjords.”

When Woods was playing so well in 1997, do you remember how the golf media being consumed with who, if Woods weren’t leading by so much, the “buzz” would be about?

Not to mention that Rory is tied with Woods, and Rory is going for three majors in a row.

7:15 pm Update:  It’s on!!!

If they play twosomes, Sergio and Tiger will be paired!

5:00 pm Update:  ALERT  ALERT  ALERT!!!

50-50 chance of Sergio and Tiger being paired tomorrow!

Woods might be playing with another of his “good friends” this weekend.  It depends on if there is a one-man shift (when all is said and done).  If one guy moves up (from -2 to -3), or one guy moves down (from -3 to -2), they would be paired.  If two move, they won’t.  If three move, they will.  And so on.

Hack Attack: Damon Hack, on Morning Drive, informs the world that Tiger Woods’s chipping yesterday was “shockingly good.”  Was it because of the chip-ins?  Holing shots from bunkers?  The Dubuisson-like saves from cacti?  What exactly was shockingly good about it?

Golf Media’s Worst Nightmare?  Woods wasn’t competitive, but neither did he throw up on himself.  How the hell can the media make a mountain out of that molehill?

CBSPN: Faldo and Nantz are ESPN?

Shout, Shout, Let It All Out:  Was there any screaming at all?  I remember hearing a few “nice shot” comments — after actual nice shots.  But I don’t recall any tee box idiots screaming, or any greenside idiots screaming.  I’m going to deliberately monitor today.

Ernie Els, Weather He Can Win:  With the weather threatening to interrupt play, Ernie Els has a great draw, with today’s early tee time.  He will almost assuredly get his entire round in today, and might remain dry for most of it.  I suppose, on the other side, you could say wet greens might be more receptive than they are right now.  An aside: Ernie took the time to stop numerous times to sign autographs on his walk to the first tee.

SI/Golf Live Blog: I found it very disappointing.  They moderate the comments, and they do so in a bizarre manner.  Here’s my take on their moderation:

  • Sergio looked like he farted after that shot. (approved)
  • Farted?  More like dropped a load in his pants. (approved)
  • LOL — It must really stink now. (approved)
  • Do you think the media short-changed Rory on the amount of pre-tournament coverage he got? (deleted)
  • Does Sergio fart in Spanish or English? (approved)
  • LOL (approved)

I expected a place for fans to interact with the media (rosy remembrance?), but it is more a place for low-brow people to exchange “wit” with other low-brow people.  As if there aren’t already enough places on the Internet for that.

Crayon-Toting Golf Media:  On one level, I understand what they are trying to do.  They are trying to “introduce the characters” and make them memorable to the public in the manner of a novelist or screenwriter.  But I don’t think golf fans, in general, are as stupid as other sports fans; we’re capable of more nuance and subtlety.  We’re several levels beyond I-Love-Tebow vs I-Hate-Tebow.  Anyway, let me not stray off-point here.

The golf media tries to neatly summarize “useful” golfers with one or two tags.  One example: Rickie Fowler is fancy clothes; kids like him; to a lesser extent nowadays, extreme sports.  That’s pretty much it.  For “hard reporting” on Fowler, it’s “always competes in majors; inveterate top-five finisher” (based on last year).

Consider Spieth:  Somehow, our wonderful golf media decided these things about him: he lacks distance; he has no particular strong suit, he’s just solid all-around.  There are a couple of problems with that.  Spieth is not a short hitter.  I pointed out a few days ago that a Tour Insider participant compared Spieth to Zach Johnson (who truly is a short hitter).  The host at the SI/Golf live blog yesterday referred to Spieth as a short hitter.  Problem is, Spieth is in the top 25 percent of PGA Tour pros in driving distance.

As for the solid, all-around game meme, that’s true to the extent that Spieth has no glaring weakness.  However, there’s been a lot of discussion right here about what a spectacular putter Spieth is.  (Gary Player, on Morning Drive today, labeled Spieth’s putting “spectacular.”)  Spieth ranks 5th on Strokes Gained Putting.  Rory was 3rd in long-driving last year (he does not yet have enough drives this year to be ranked), and that’s damn near all the media talks about.

Anyway, the main point is how the golf media doesn’t do any research or thinking for itself.  They just repeat ad nauseam what someone else said or wrote or tweeted.  Even when it’s wrong.

More From Gary:  Gary Player gave the best interview ever.  He has such a matter-of-fact demeanor, with honesty the only arbitor.  If I can find a replay of his interview online, I’ll transcribe it.  His comments about rolling back the ball (“slow the ball down,” I think is how he put it) were what jumped out.  It’s such an obvious solution to many of golf’s ills, but it won’t be addressed due to the stubbornness (I think that was his word) of the powers-that-be.  I really hope I can find this interview online, either as video or a transcription.

He also said, apropos of both Spieth and slowing the ball down, “straightness in golf not being rewarded in golf the way it should be.”

 Tiger vs Tebow:  What happened more recently, Tiger Woods won a major, or Tim Tebow won a playoff game?  It’s no contest.  Tebow won the playoff game in 2012.  Woods last won a major in 2008.  As much of a “needle mover” as Tebow was — that playoff game drew nearly double the television rating of the 1997 Masters — NFL reporters were able to move on.  Also, needle-mover that Tebow was, the football media was certainly unafraid to criticize him.  Obviously, the golf media could learn a lot from them.

The Cut:  I hope Spieth goes low again today, to limit the cut to the top 44 players.  There’s a better chance the “distraction players” won’t be around for the weekend.  Nothing against Woods, but I really don’t want Masters weekend marred by, “The leaders are flying under the radar because we, the golf media, AKA ‘the radar,’ refuse to discuss anything but Tiger.”

Huff and Puff:  Have you ever seen a four-year-old pick up something “heavy”?  He will puff his cheeks out and make a great show of how much effort he is expending to accomplish this great feat.  Compare to Woods’s dramatic displays every time he hits a ball out of heavy rough.

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70 Responses to Masters Friday Thoughts

  1. Debra with an H says:

    Breaking news!! GC just said Tiger Woods had breakfast!!

    • Sports-realist says:

      wow, he’s just like one of us…but i thought he came from the planet Crypton to save..oh wait, I always get my fictional superheroes confused….

  2. HennyB says:

    Spieth is such a class act. Its nice to see a great player with some humility for a change. Although he shot 64, he was more than happy to laugh at himself and call a few of his shots just dumb luck. He pointed out that a few of his bad shots could just as easily turned out to be a disaster but was lucky enough to catch a break. For example on No. 14 if his ball doesn’t hit the pin, it may have ended up in the parking lot and he pointed that out. We didn’t have to hear about how he really meant to do that and intended to do it by dividing the wind velocity, multiplied by the barometric pressure, subtracted from the Earth’s rotation (You know who I’m referring to here.) Jordan Spieth is going to carry the game of golf well into the 21 century along with a cadre of great players. I’m very happy to say that the game of golf is going to be just fine in the hands of these fine players.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Lanny, if you are able to find the Player interview it would be great.

    I missed the Morning Drive show this morning and from scrolling through the GC schedule it does not look like the show gets replayed.

    Go Ernie!

  4. Ken says:

    I’ve always enjoyed Gary Player. He can get a bit schmaltzy when he discusses friendships and comraderie and glosses over some of the rough patches in the Big Three relationship (which were mainly Palmer-Nicklaus issues).

    But he can also make great points and sometimes is bluntly honest. He made some comments about Ben Crenshaw’s too-late retirement that were impolitic, but spot on. And he and Nicklaus both should be listened to about the future of golf equipment.

  5. Sports-realist says:

    Still no shot tracker or a shot by shot anywhere that I could find….so it’s intentionally done….not sure what they think that accomplishes….

    • lannyh says:

      I’m using master.org’s Tracker. It works pretty well.

      Golf Channel seems upset that Spieth made a birdie and a par-saving putt. You can tell they are cheering against him. They should root for that stuff in the back room, if they must do it. Not on air.

      • Sports-realist says:

        I heard the same thing earlier today when they were talking about the cut….Ofcourse now the cut will be the MOST important thing to the golf channel for the rest of the day…..

      • lannyh says:

        Good point. If Woods were in top 10, the cut would hardly be mentioned. By the way, Spieth just birdied No. 5. GC is NOT going to be happy about that development.

      • Sports-realist says:

        That’s what I mean about the masters.org site, it doesn’t say what happened, just shows lines and distance…… A little upgrade is needed me thinks……Yep, cuz the Masters ONLY requires 50 golfers for the cut….

      • lannyh says:

        Oh, yeah, right. Agreed. You just kind of have to guess the lie/situation unless it’s on the fairway.

  6. Barry Burn says:

    @Ken,

    If you see this, what did Player say about Crenshaw?

    Thanks.

  7. Sports-realist says:

    Spieth could be making this a catch me if you can type tournament already…..

  8. Sports-realist says:

    Wow did spieth just put a 220 shot to 3 feet…masters.org says he did..

  9. Sports-realist says:

    Sorry, looks like its 13 under for the 36 hole record at augusta

  10. Ken says:

    Shane Bacon, who is on the Kyle Porter level of Woods worship, just said, “Incredible birdie by Tiger on 7. Apparently he’s not afraid of Jordan Spieth.”

    Huh? What does that even mean?

    • lannyh says:

      Haha, you got me there. Gratuitous comments about Tiger Woods are the golf media’s raison detre.

    • Sports-realist says:

      lol Ken, they are in a NEW level of dellusion……It’s ‘cult’ like is the only way I can explain it….Every birdie is TREMEMDOUS, while every bogey is “WELL IT TAKES TIME”..

  11. Sports-realist says:

    12 under for Spieth with still 13 and 15 ahead……

  12. Anonymous says:

    Rory who?

  13. Barry Burn says:

    Dustin Johnson may be starting to percolate.

  14. lannyh says:

    Question: Why does Golf Channel act like Spieth is running away with this when Hoffman is only four back with two entire rounds to go?

    Answer: I think we all know the answer.

  15. Sports-realist says:

    So once again, the abortion of coverage by ESPN…..Treating every leave of absence, even for a few days, a week, a few months is such an abortion………………AND THEY DONT SHOW JIMMY WALKER MAKING A 30 footer on the same hole for birdie????????????????????????????????? This is why the coverage is disgustingly unentertaining when they show Eldrick only….smh

    • lannyh says:

      They showed Woods walking around on the green, lining up his putt, plenty, though.

      My favorite comment of the day, “If Spieth hadn’t shot so well, the buzz would have been about Woods being in the hunt.”

      All you can do is laugh. It really shows their mindset, though.

      • Sports-realist says:

        For being 2 under par? Ofcourse they will make it the story, regardless….Spieth NOW has the Augusta record for 36 holes that stood since Raymond Floyd, and they will talk about -2 under in the same breath with -14? I’m also wondering who is Rory’s swing coach? Is he basically doing it on his own, or does he have a ‘Butch Harmon’ style person? Obviously, his approach in 2015 hasn’t worked so far…..

  16. Ken says:

    I can’t stomach any more GC. Have they started the “Inspired by his childhood hero Tiger Woods, young Jordan Spirth set out to……” line of stories yet? There’s sure to be a lot.

    • lannyh says:

      Oh, they are trotting out everything imaginable. 🙂

      • Sports-realist says:

        Ok so if Rory who just made an eagle was, that other guy, we’d be hearing WOW AN EAGLE, HE IS SOOOO BACK, JUST AN INCREDIBLE SHOT, PROBABLY THE BEST SHOT IN HISTORY..HE’S NOT AFRAID OF JORDAN…….Instead, it’s, yawn, an eagle for Rory, that’s nice….

  17. Ken says:

    With Johnson, Casey, Rose, Moore, maybe Mickelson in the hunt, this isn’t over. But I’d love to see Spieth cruise all the way.

  18. Barry Burn says:

    I really don’t get all the hoopla about Crenshaw’s last Masters.
    He was never in the superstar category.

    • Ken says:

      Everyone has always liked him. Class act, nice guy. And he did win a couple.

      • Barry Burn says:

        CBS gave a truly great golfer in Gary Player a quick 10 second spot showing him kissing the 18th green and that was it. And he wasn’t embarrassing himself shooting 91 at the end.

        Crenshaw’s exit should definitely been acknowledged, but it was overdone, imo.

      • lannyh says:

        Well, there was also the caddy aspect. The guy who comforted Ben when he was crying on the 72nd green, and he is retiring from Augusta, too.

        You’re just a damned hardass! This ain’t the frigging ESPY Awards! 🙂

      • Ken says:

        It Tiger had still been on the course, they probably wouldn’t have bothered with Crenshaw.

        I don’t remember Player’s last hole. I watched Palmer in 2004. They showed a lot of his round. Have to admit I was glassy eyed watching him finish.

      • lannyh says:

        I cried watching Rory’s final round in 2011.

    • lannyh says:

      Yeah, it’s about way more than being a “superstar.” The Masters Ben won after Penick died was very emotional. And Crenshaw has golf’s core values. Lots of so-called “superstars” don’t.

  19. Barry Burn says:

    Woods and Garcia are the 19th and 20th names on the leaderboard at the official website.

    This makes me think they will be paired tomorrow.

    • lannyh says:

      That’ll make a nice substory to tomorrow’s round!

    • Sports-realist says:

      For tee times, I believe with tied players, that the first players in with that number are considered ahead of future players who finish with the same score……Sometimes those scoreboards are random, but you ofcourse could be correct, as they should already have the tee times…

  20. Sports-realist says:

    With the success that Spieth has had by LAYING UP on the par 5’s, he will probably do that for the rest of the weekend….No reason to take chances….Esp when you consider alot of guys had good rounds today, not just Spieth, so a couple under par could give him a 7 or 8 stroke lead going into Sunday….

    • lannyh says:

      Yeah, he’s really a clinician (if that’s the word) when he’s executing his golf strategy. I think that’s how he stays in so many events until the very end, giving him a chance for those 72nd hole heroics. He doesn’t seem to lose his cool.

  21. JoseyWales says:

    Shackelford complains and whines Masters.com is not showing enough Tiger Woods…honest…

    Golf Digest.com headline:

    “The fact that we can’t see Tiger Woods play golf today is kind of absurd”

    By Geoff Shackelford
    “As phenomenal as the Masters.com/DirecTV digital options can be, the uptick in social media gripes and venting emails suggests it will be increasingly difficult for the Masters to continue limiting the weekday broadcast time.”

    Unbelieveable what a Tiger licker Shackelford has become.

    • Sports-realist says:

      The ultimate hypocrisy by the media after the round: Well Spieth has the lead but it’s ONLY 36 holes…….Compare that to Eldrick: “Well we now KNOW that his short game is fixed and he is back”(paraphrasing give or take a word)………………………um, isn’t that also only 36 holes? Isn’t that a bit premature golf channel? But it’s only premature to those clowns if you are anyone else…..

      • lannyh says:

        It’s like they knew he wasn’t really hurt, or afflicted with “the yips,” but was serving a non-suspension suspension. After he returned to play, they wanted to feature, “Oh, what an incredible comeback.” To make T-18 look like something remarkable. But Jordan peed in their punch bowl.

  22. Debra with an H says:

    Yes it is official. Group 19 at 1:15 pm ET tomorrow – Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia – sweet.

  23. Kris says:

    Sergio wasn’t chatty with Rickie and Jason, and they’re good friends. He’s never in a good mood at the Masters. Tiger and Sergio played together at the BMW Championship in 2013 and Tiger started calling Sergio “Serg” and gave him the bro handshake. Also, Sergio waved Tiger and O’Meara through during one of the practice days, so I’m guessing they’ve moved from seething hatred back to two guys who don’t care about each other either way. They won’t be chatty, but hopefully they’ll be civil and courteous.

  24. Anonymous says:

    The Media is the story!

  25. Sports-realist says:

    So when coverage starts at 3 pm, Spieth will be just starting his 3rd round and Eldrick will be on the 9th hole…..So only half of the coverage will be ruined….Expect both Rory, Eldrick, and Phil to be going for everything, and probably all end up over par for their round…..I expect Spieth to shoot a 69 or better…

  26. Ken says:

    Was out all day. Just turned on CBS. Big surprise, Nantz is waxing poetic about Woods.

    I like CBS way better than NBC. I think they normally do a good job. But no one does a good job with Woods in the field.

    • lannyh says:

      Yeah, that’s an undeniable fact. When I saw Poults and Fowler at -5, I knew if Woods got early birdies on an easy-playing course, it would be presented as a “charge.”

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