Wei Over There: Stephanie Wei, who recently (and rightfully) had her credentials revoked by the PGA Tour, is heading to Wentworth to cover the European PGA Championship. Good for her! It’s a great idea. Rory is the defending champ, so there will be immense interest as he seeks to win his third event in four weeks. Then, the following week, she’ll be at the Irish Open to cover the start of that event, which is being hosted by Rory and has quite a strong field. I look forward to following her reporting.
Rory on the Dan Patrick Show: If you haven’t seen/heard Rory’s appearance on the Dan Patrick Show yesterday, it’s worth checking out. Rory has such good grace and humor about him. Whenever the interview seemed headed to an awkward place, Rory would right the ship with an amusing remark. I’m not really on board with his theory of golfers needing to look like “athletes.” I’m not naive; I realize that appearances matter in the entertainment world. However, I also remember a music video I saw decades ago on Headbangers Ball or somesuch. A heavy metal guitarist who looked like Arnold Schwazenagger was playing shirtless. It was amusing, but it quickly became apparent that while he could surely bench press more then Kirk Hammett, he couldn’t play like him.
Golf, like music, is not a beauty or bodybuilding contest. Either you can play or you can’t, and it doesn’t matter if you look like Chesson Hadley and Chris Robinson, or if you look like Brendon de Jonge and Adele. Looks help with sponsorship deals, sure. Ask Danica Patrick. On the other hand, skinny and fat golfers send a message that any body type can play and potentially excel. That message inspires some people to take up the game who otherwise might not.
I’m glad Rory feels free to voice his opinion, but I don’t have to agree. Golf has room for all body types. I don’t think the overweight NFL offensive linemen are causing kids to ignore football.
Lastly I would like to point out that during my youth there was a very photogenic man who was considered the World’s Greatest Athlete. He won the Olympic decathlon and looked very handsome and athletic on the cover of Sports Illustrated. However, try as they might, not everyone can look like Bruce Jenner.
Best. US Open. Ever. One of my favorite U.S. Opens is being replayed tonight on Golf Channel. It’s the 1995 tournament from Shinnecock Hills, won by Corey Pavin. Thinking about this event, I recalled an incident at Shinnecock nine years earlier in 1986. It shows how a real man handles hecklers. I’ll let the L.A. Times tell the tale:
As Norman addressed his ball on the No. 14 tee-box, a man who appeared to be in his early 20s began heckling the golfer.
“Norman, you’re choking,” said the man, who was wearing a white shirt that was unbuttoned, revealing his bare chest.
Norman didn’t flinch, hitting a solid drive down the middle of the fairway.
Norman then began searching the gallery for the man. When he found him, the man smiled at Norman.
The smile quickly disappeared when the man saw Norman step over the rope. If this were a movie, the theme from “Jaws” would have been playing. Norman’s nickname is the Shark.
He looked as if he were about to put a loud-mouthed shrimp on the barbie.
“If you want to say that, I’ll talk to you afterward,” Norman told the man. “But shut your face.”
“Oh, I’m sorry,” the man said.
Norman stalked away, not acknowledging the apology.
Tour Confidential: I try to read or at least scan Tour Confidential every Monday. Astonishingly, this week’s edition did not mention Tiger Woods. Not even once. I think that’s the first time ever.
Gold Medal, Schmold Medal: Speaking of Woods, I find it funny that suddenly it’s become de riguer to bash Olympics golf now that Tiger Woods is highly unlikely to be participating. If you want a laugh, google for old articles detailing how “if the games were held today, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson would qualify.” Of course, should Woods somehow make the field and win — and navigate the drug testing — the gold medal in golf would turn into the Holy Grail, the one true determinant of the Greatest of All Time. (For the record, I said Olympics golf was a bad idea from day one. Restrict it to amateurs, or do away with it. Adam Scott’s take is so obvious, it’s odd it is even considered a story.)