9:25 am Update: Wally Pipp; Golf Channel Graphics; Mickelson vs Woods
The Iron Child: Has Rory McIlroy just become golf’s Wally Pipp to Jordan Spieth’s Lou Gehrig? Once Jordan Spieth takes over No. 1, he’s going to be very hard to replace.
Scroll You, Viewers: Golf Channel likes to run a constant scroll, and it almost always provides useless information. Who the hell reads a scroll to get the European Tour season rankings on scrambling or putts per round? Those are two of the items I just noticed on the scroll. Anyone who cares about those would look them up online. I suppose the entire scroll was just an excuse to keep “Wilson Staff” on-screen. I hope Wilson didn’t pay much for that ad; maybe a dollar for a month. Everything about that scroll screams, “Second rate!” I doubt that’s the image Wilson is aiming for.
I wouldn’t have even read the scroll had it not blocked a photo of Paige McKenzie wearing a boot for an ankle injury. Golf Channel put up an old photo of Paige wearing the boot, so we could see what it looked like — then they blocked it with the scroll (twice! — the scroll has run nonstop today). Brilliant. Just a day or two ago, they showed a historic video of some Hall of Famer or other putting. The scroll blocked the hole, so you could only guess whether he made the putt or not.
Golf Channel Covers
Phil Tiger: Here’s something I find funny and couldn’t help but notice. I’m not much of a Phil fan. He was never one of my favorites; I had nothing against him, I just liked a lot of other players a lot more than him. And, now, after the insider trading stuff, I like him even less. I mention that only to show I’m not an Only Phil The Anti-Tiger Matters type.
We all know how the golf media shills for Woods nonstop. Last year’s PGA Championship live video of Woods’s empty parking space was one notable low point. His coverage at this year’s Masters was typical overkill — from headphones to hugs to chipping to Lindsey and kids to wrist “injury.” The same at Chambers, where Chris DiMarco told us on Golf Channel that Tiger Woods was THE story going into the U.S. Open.
Where am I going with this? Let’s look at the recent results in majors for Woods and Mickelson since the last time one of them won (two years ago):
1 6 72 40 CUT DNP 28 DNP 23 69 2 CUT 2 17 64 CUT
You can see that Woods has only beaten Phil Mickelson in a major once in the past eight, and that came in 2013. The Anti-Tiger is beating Tiger every time out, basically, so why is Mickelson an afterthought (except for the tired “My oh my, he’s the heartbreak kid at the U.S. Open”) before majors, while Woods is “the big story” over and over again? Forget Rory. Forget Kaymer. Forget Spieth. Forget Bubba. Woods isn’t even beating the 44-year-old Mickelson.
6:50 am: More Thoughts on Rory’s Injury
- The New York Times wrote that Rory was injured while playing on a “less-than-pristine” field.
- Andy Murray said, when asked about Rory and the injury, “I sometimes play football. I always play with ankle braces and stuff in case something happens.”
- I wonder if alcohol is involved.
- What good is all the training to prevent injury if you are going to play soccer on a less-than-pristine pitch?
- The popular modern training methods are not a written-in-stone matter of science. Here’s a pro-heavy-lifting guy criticizing part of Rory’s regimen:
“You always want to think about the risk-reward ratio of every exercise you do, and the risk in this case is far greater than the reward. I don’t think any athlete should kneel on a Swiss ball while having medicine balls thrown at him, let alone an athlete worth millions.”
Are “Modern” Training Methods Causing Injuries?
Maybe my memory is faulty, but I don’t recall the PGA Tour having injury problems like those we see nowadays.
Lee Trevino had a bad back — after he got hit by lightening while playing in a tournament. Hogan got injured in a car accident. But I don’t remember much else. Maybe some lingering, nagging injuries as players aged, but not the kind of injuries that kept players out of majors.
I would include the “injury” of Dustin Johnson, too. There were players in the past who drank too much, but they seemed to manage to play. I guess that’s a totally different subject, but it seems relevant to the discussion.
Consider John Daly. He’s never been in training for the Iron Man Triathlon, but he’s always been injury-free as long as best I remember.
I can’t remember a Rory-Jordan type matchup being spoiled by an injury during the Nicklaus era. And Golf Channel has been stating a stat about Nicklaus playing something like 146 straight majors without missing a start.
Think about the players who have recently missed time due to injuries. Casey, Oostie, Jason Day spring immediately to mind. I am sure you can think of others.
I can’t quantify this trend, if indeed such a trend exists, but anecdotal evidence seems to indicate an era of golf injuries. Be it modern training methods, “supplements,” extreme practice regiments, reckless outside activities, whatever, it seems like “the product” suffers when so many big-name players are sitting on the sideline.
Rory at St. Andrews and Rory at Whistling Straits were going to be huge stories. I wrote some anticipatory things several times over the past few weeks. I was particularly looking forward to Whistling Straits; as you may or may not recall, Rory finished one shot out of the Kaymer-Bubba playoff in 2010. Now, at most, we will get a less-than-one-hundred-percent Rory.
Jordan Spieth remains Story 1A for the British Open, but Rory would be been 1B, and it’s a lesser event because of his injury.