Friday, Day Three: WGC Match Play Semi Live Blog

R O R Y  !!!

8:58 pm Update:  Miller says, “This is really the match of the day.”  So, uh, why did we see fifteen straight, uninterrupted minutes of 0-2 Jimenez vs 0-2 Bradley when Rory’s match was at a critical juncture?

8:25 pm Update:  Now NBC is giving Keegan the camera in the parking lot treatment.  Holy shit.  The two guys argued about a ruling.  Big freaking deal. NBC is acting like they came to blows.  What is wrong with them?  Man, I’m glad Fox has the U.S. Open.  Golf Channel is horrid, and NBC Golf is even worse.  This is just embarrassing.  Johnny, Hicks, and the producer should resign immediately.

8:10 pm Update:  Rory pulls to within one, so by all means, Golf Channel, show two 0-2 guys playing a meaningless match because they argued.  Just brilliant.  Par for the course, sadly.

What in the hell is going on!!!  They are showing Bradley and Jimenez as if this is the most critical match in the world’s history.  Ridiculous.  Someone should be fire over this.  And why the hell is Johnny Miller doing this instead of Nick?  Maybe that’s the problem.

They aren’t freaking leaving this 0-2 vs 0-2.  “Must make for Keegan.”  LOL.  He’s 0-2, now 0-3.  I think NBC’s incompetence there was the final straw; this format will not be back next year.

Well, now NBC gives us the “Rory had this to halve the hole, he misses.”  We didn’t see a single shot of that hole.  Not one single shot.  We saw two 0-2 guys because they had a mild disagreement.  I hate NBC.  I am SOOOOOOOOOOOO glad they lost the U.S. Open.  No way Greg Norman pulls that stunt.  Go to hell, Johnny and the NBC incompetents!  Ridiculous.

6:40 pm Update:  Euro Sixer Branden Grace advances!  Defeats Jason Day, Zach Johnson, and Charlie Hoffman.  Crickets, jalnichols, crickets?

6:10 pm Update:  Too much tension today.  The first two days made for enjoyable viewing.  This is too stressful to enjoy.  Is there some animosity between Westwood and Spieth?  Westwood’s cursing (or so GC seemed to indicate) and Jordan’s hard post-swing swing looks like a loss of composure by both of them.

4:45 pm Update: Spieth-Westwood all square at the turn.  Jordan let a 2-up lead slip away.

4:30 pm Update:  I like to do Google news/sports searches sometimes just to see who is getting “touted.”  Nice surprise today as we enter a weekend with the Kentucky Derby, NFL draft, NHL and NBA playoffs, Yankees-Red Sox, and a little fight Saturday night in Las Vegas.  Check it out:

jordgoog3:30 pm Update:  Jordan off to a quick start today.  2-up after three holes.  With luck, he’ll have it sewed up by the time the television coverage starts.  Brilliant, Golf Channel…

Lahiri has rallied from 2-down to even through 12 holes.

3:05 pm Update:  I notice television coverage starts an hour later today than Wednesday and Thursday.  Why?  There are no fewer matches.  And, today, there might be playoffs.  Seems like they would have started both the matches and the coverage earlier.

2:20 pm Update:  Thirty minutes until Jordan tees off.  Playing Westwood to see who advances.  Just over three hours until Rory tees off.

1:00 pm Update:  And they’re off!  Suggestion for the future: Put the meaningless groups off first.  Have Rickie Fowler, for example, play early so the matches that matter will be in the television window more.

Lahiri fans should be for Lahiri and Palmer (to beat Rose).  So far, so good: Palmer one-up after one hole.

10:45 am Update:  Very useful scenario summary at the Golf Channel website.  You can easily see what needs to happen for your favorites to advance.

9:15 am Update: Rory-Horschel Past Bad Blood; DiMarco’s Ames-Woods Memories:  Golf Channel yesterday mentioned some bad blood between Rory and Horschel at a past Walker Cup.  I did a little digging and found a pretty decent description courtesy of John Huggan and Rory:

McIlroy was annoyed at what he considered repeated displays of “bad manners” and “ignorance toward the spectators.” As a result, he turned on American Billy Horschel when the pair met on the final day.

“I was up against Horschel on the first day, too,” he smiles. “I messed up the last hole and lost to him. I wasn’t happy. Then I got him again, twice, on the Sunday. His antics were really p—– me off. For example, he had hit a bunker shot at the 14th in our morning foursome. It was a great shot and finished inches from the cup. But he came running down the hill hollering at the top of his voice. He was so loud and so obnoxious.

“Anyway, that outburst of his was probably the worst thing he could have done. In the second singles, I set out to be as loud as he was. On the first tee I ripped a drive up the middle, hit my 7-iron approach to maybe 15 feet — I was shouting ‘Be good! Be good!’ all the way — and holed the putt for an eagle. When the ball went in, I gave it the loudest ‘Come on!’ you’ve ever heard. I think he got the point.”

Loud and obnoxious?  Too funny.  Horschel likely learned that was “cool” behavior from watching American golf telecasts.

What’s with these University of Florida golfers?  Chris DiMarco this morning said his favorite match play moment was when Tiger Woods beat Stephen Ames 9&8.  This is some spectacular occurrence because Ames said beforehand he didn’t see why he couldn’t beat Woods.  I guess he was supposed to bow before the mighty Tiger.  On the other hand, if DiMarco hadn’t been so submissive Tiger Woods, maybe he would have been able to win a major.  When it comes to Chris DiMarco and Tiger Woods, it’s clear who was pitching and who was catching.

What’s funny is Ames’s words were nothing.  “Anything can happen, especially where he’s hitting the ball.”  DiMarco’s idea of the proper mindset is to tuck your tail between your  legs and say, “No way I can win.”

Anyway, to finish this story, Woods didn’t even make the weekend, losing to Chad Campbell on Friday.  I guess Woods wasn’t really trying, eh, Chris?

8:10 am Update:  Thoughts on the NFL and their Draft as it Relates to Golf

When we wind up with a Spieth-McIlroy final on Sunday, I don’t want the mainstream sports media anywhere near the story.  Nor do I want the “casual sports fans” opening their mouths about it.  Spieth is going to be the biggest story in American sports for the next twenty years, and yet the general sports media this week focuses preternaturally on the NFL draft.

NFL Draft obsession is nothing new, of course, but the ridiculous extent of the coverage this year makes TMZ and Entertainment Tonight look like a Stephen Hawking Physics conference.  This morning I had my radio on, listening to an early morning national sports talk program.  The two hosts were making fun of the NFL commissioner for mispronouncing the name of a “famous” player chosen in the draft.  As if the commissioner of football cares one iota about whether Billy Bob Thornbuck from Arkansas winds up at Dallas or Detroit.  He makes $40 million a year for covering up and minimizing criminal behavior of the players.  He recently oversaw the unwinding of the NFL’s status as a non-profit.  He’s not some pathetic fan wearing a team jersey, painting his face, and cheering on his “fantasy” team.

Well, I don’t want to turn this into a novel, but I was thinking how profitable it is for the NFL to convince fans that not only are the games fun to talk about, but all the backroom, off-season stuff is also fun and important.  When I was a kid, the NFL draft took place over two days.  We read the results in the newspaper the next day: a column of compact, small type with all the pertinent details.  You checked who your favorite pro team drafted, and where the players for your favorite college team went.  And got on with your life.  Nowadays, they have 365 days a year “mock drafts.”  They have call-in shows flooded with callers demanding that San Diego trade their second round draft pick so they can move up and draft Keylatwan Johnson of Boston College in the first round.  They’ve made it acceptable for grown men to fantasize and play pretend the way six-year-old girls fantasize and pretend with their Barbie dolls.

Anyway, I’m kind of assuming you already know all this.  And you know about the “fantasy” football stuff and all the other silly stuff having nothing really to do with actual football games being played on the field.  All this brainless hype and other nonsense is profitable for the NFL, but it’s really embarrassing lowbrow stuff that diminishes the sport.  The NFL has made millions and millions of people think it’s really important and worthwhile to devote a large chunk of their lives to following all this pablum.

The Golf Powers — speaking of Stephen Hawking — seem to think the NFL model is an admirable one.  All they are thinking about is making money, of course; they think no farther than that.  They want to “grow the sport.”  But stop and think.  People like to bash the “exclusivity” of golf.  That’s largely nonsense, but it’s a common meme.  [It’s like calling a restaurant “exclusive” because they have sign on their door saying, “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service.”]  But consider how much better the Masters is — from soup to nuts, from spectator behavior to the telecast — for the very reason that they are “exclusive.”

I don’t want golf to be “like other sports.”  I think it’s kind of cool that golfers don’t do sack dances, don’t taunt opponents, that they speak in grammatically correct sentences.  If that’s “exclusive” and “elitist,” well… cool!!

[I have CNN on as I type this.  They just did a “Great Sports Weekend” segment.  (They also mentioned that the NFL Commissioner mispronounced the “famous” player’s name.  How the hell did that become a NEWS story?)  Kentucky Derby, Mayweather-Pacquiao, NFL draft, NBA, Yankees-Red Sox, but no mention of Spieth and Rory potentially meeting.  See why I said I want them to stay away this next decade of the Rory-Jordan golf battles?]

6:30 am:  There are four 2-0 vs 2-0 matches today: Spieth-Westwood; Rory-Horschel; Webb Simpson-Woodland; Bubba-Oostie.  Interestingly, last year’s two finalists, Jason Day and Vic Dubuisson, are both 0-2 and out of the running.

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16 Responses to Friday, Day Three: WGC Match Play Semi Live Blog

  1. Ken says:

    I was doing my annual rant to a friend yesterday about the two stupidest sports days of the year. In Pittsburgh, the marathon is this weekend. People actually go early to set up along the route to watch the race. I can’t imagine a more boring sports event. Just go to your local park and watch people jog by. Heck, just go to the mall and watch people walk by. Same thing.

    Then there’s the NFL draft. It’s is a more boring event than the marathon, but I don’t consider this a sports event at all. Even if you’re the biggest football fan on the planet, why would you actually spend time watching the draft show? Just pick up the paper the next day and see who your team picked. This gets bigger every year, which irrefutably means that society gets stupider and stupider every year.

    In Pittsburgh, the Steelers could introduce their #1 pick to the city the next day and tell them, “Bow down to your new god!” Sadly, one hell of a lot of the locals would do just that.

    • lannyh says:

      “This gets bigger every year, which irrefutably means that society gets stupider and stupider every year.” Amen.

      Quite a change from when the Steelers drafted guys like Franco and Swann and Bradshaw… And not a change for the better.

      Another change… I heard Roger Staubach relating the story of how he got a phone call one day, and the guy said, “Roger, this is the Downtown Athletic Club. We wanted to let you know we chose you for our Heisman Trophy winner.” There’s so much hype about everything these days, and it goes on 24/7.

    • BigTimeTimmyJim says:

      Along those lines, I’ve never understood the coverage the Kentucky Derby gets. First of all, it’s horses racing. Second, there is hours of coverage, like 4 or 5 televised hours, for a horse race that lasts about 2 minutes.

  2. JoeJoe says:

    What are the odds Rory and Jordy both make the finals? Would love to see it but golf has a way of letting us down when it comes to big time matchups like this.

    • lannyh says:

      If outcomes are all 50/50, if they both made the final 16, the odds from there would be would be… I think… 31-1. Push that to 63-1 if you count Rory’s yet to be played match today. (Jordan is winning today, so I assumed that win.)

      I guess the odds would be lower for Spieth and Rory, but how much? Spieth is playing solid and seems unlikely to commit “unforced errors,” but I’m not sure Rory is hitting on all cylinders right now.

  3. DifferentFromTheHerd says:

    Let’s go Westy!

  4. Jaybird says:

    Rory did his part; too bad Spieth couldn’t handle his business.

  5. TruthTeller says:

    Rory….”Hey Billy, thanks man for the gift”.

    • lannyh says:

      I haven’t looked at the brackets, but I remember Rory and Westwood meeting in the semis one year. Tomorrow I know Rory has Matsuyama, so for him it’s out of the frying pan and into the fire.

      What a gutsy performance by Rory.

    • Ken says:

      What are you talking about, “gift?” McIlroy birdied his way back to square the match.

  6. Kris says:

    I know “the match of the day” was going on, but it’s not like they were on their last 3 holes. Miguel and Keegan nearly coming to blows is a bigger story at that point. The golf channel has spent the last few years singing Miguel’s praises calling him the most interesting man in the world, so I like that they were willing to highlight him showing his true colors. It wasn’t just two guys disagreeing about a ruling, it was about a golf channel hero acting out of line and being completely disrespectful to three people, including a rules official. I don’t feel they neglected the Rory vs Billy match to show something meaningless.

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