Monday Thoughts

Why Mr. Elling is the Greatest:


Last Call:  Why is Golf Channel forcing this Altered States crap on me when I want to watch Live from the British Open?  I hardly saw it all day, thinking I’d catch it in the evening.  But, instead, GC is running a a bullcrap reality show.  They already announced all the reality show projects have been scuttled.  They need to clean house at GC from the executive suite to the on-air presenters to the receptionist.  Get rid of all of them!

4:40 Update: A Brit Shows American Golf Writers How It Is Done:  Here’s an excellent piece on Jordan Spieth from the Guardian.  “Jordan Spieth: the all-American hero predestined for golfing greatness,” by Ewan Murray.  As you read this article, make mental comparisons the the tripe we get from the American golf media.

I do have one minor complaint, though.  “First three majors of the calendar year.”  What other kind of year, is there?  Certainly the wraparound season doesn’t affect the majors.  A fiscal year for tax purposes?  This “calendar” crap is getting out of hand.  But, other than that, the article is damn good.

Josh Sens, Part Deux:  More Josh Sens nonsense from today’s Tour Confidential:

SENS: One of the myths surrounding golf is that it is somehow intrinsically more “honorable” than other sports, that those who play it are by nature more upstanding than the middling swaths of humanity. Bulls–t.

It’s not a myth; it’s reality.  It doesn’t mean golfers are perfect, but when is the last time you saw video of a college golfer punching a coed in the face because she wouldn’t give him her phone number?  Can you remind me of the name of the PGA Tour player who is in prison for an execution-style slaying?  Remind me of the PGA Tour players or NCAA players who can’t spell “cat” if you spot them the “C” and the “A.”

Come on.  Not a weekend passes when some football Einstein isn’t stabbing or shooting someone — or getting stabbed or shot — or punching someone in the face.  (The face of a female quite frequently.)  A scandal for an NCAA football player is committing a murder or rape, assault or armed robbery.  Or all four.  Patrick Reed is the Al Capone of golf for being accused of writing down an incorrect score in a college team qualifying event.

[This just in, from ESPN:  “Buffalo Bills offensive line coach Aaron Kromer was arrested early Sunday morning in Florida on a misdemeanor battery charge after allegedly punching a boy in the face and threatening to kill his family.”]

Get real, Josh Sens.  Golf tends to attract a more cerebral and honorable type of person.  That doesn’t mean they are flawless, or that outstanding people can’t play other sports, but all things considered, golfers ARE better than the average bear.  It might be really cool and PC to pretend every human being is the same, but they aren’t.  Claiming they are is, to use your terminology, bullshit.

Rigged British Open Pairings?  I’m not kidding; this disturbs me.  (Here’s the full list.  Why in the hell do they use photos?  Does anyone even look at them?  I just see amorphous splotches of color in my peripheral vision.  My ancestors switched to written language instead of hieroglyphics quite a few years ago.)

Exhibit A:  Spieth, DJ (and Matsuyama).  Putting Spieth and DJ together was unnecessary.  That’s like putting Woods and Dufner together as in my joke earlier this morning.  It’s disruptive (at least to a minor degree; DJ was asked about the pairing in his presser, for example) and causes me to wonder if the R&A is trying to add their own obstacle to Spieth’s quest for the Grand Slam.

Exhibit B:  This one is even worse.  Louis Ooosthuizen, who is playing some great golf and damn near won at Chambers Bay is paired with Tiger Woods (and Jason Day).  As you may recall, Oostie was paired with Woods (and Fowler) at the U.S. Open.  The Tiger Woods Freak Show where Woods went 80-76-gone.  Woods’s traveling circus act brought down the entire group:  Fowler was 81-73-gone.  Oostie was dragged down to a 77 in the first round, but battled battle to close with 66-66-67 and finish T-2.  That might have been the performance of the tournament.

Louis may well have won the U.S. Open had he had a less disruptive grouping in the first two rounds.  So why in world would you stick Oostie with Woods in the very next major?  Jason Day is also an odd choice as he battle through vertigo issues at Chambers Bay to finish a very respectable T-9.  For that he is rewarded with a Woods pairing?

My conspiracy theory:  The R&A is finagling for a Euro winner.  Pairing DJ and Spieth is distracting for two American favorites.  Putting Oostie and Day with Woods handicaps the top South African and Australian.

Exhibit C?  Even Rickie Fowler, who got a good pairing with Rose, will have Sir Nick Faldo in his group.  I am a huge fan of Nick on TV, but this is his farewell outing, and that will add a level of distraction to Rickie’s round he could well have done without.

DJ Presser:  I thought it was pretty good.  He answers questions in a laidback, but forthright, manner.  Got in a nice little shot at the Chambers Bay greens.  Solid questions from the media.  None of the fluff-puff bullcrap we so often see in the U.S.

Josh Sens, Odds-On Man Out:  Josh Sens, professional sportswriter, does not know what “odds-on favorite” means.  From this week’s edition of Tour Confidential, in reference to Rory missing the British Open:

Anytime the odds-on favorite and defending champ has to pull out of an event, the results have an asterisk beside them.

Odds-on means greater than 50/50 odds to beat the entire rest of the field.  Like what American Pharoah was at the Belmont.  If American Pharoah pulls out of the Belmont, an asterisk.  If a 6-1 golfer pulls out… not so much.

“Potential Grand Slam”:  Damon Hack just said Jordan Spieth is looking at a “potential Grand Slam.”  Not a calendar Grand Slam.  Nice going, Damon.  [Then 40 minutes into the program, a teaser for the Open referred to Jordan’s quest as being for the “modern Grand Slam.”  Personally I just call it the Grand Slam, as I see no reason not to include Bobby Jones’s feat; he did get a tickertape parade, after all.  Still, my point is that the word “calendar” was excluded from the promo.  Is Golf Channel getting the message?]

British Open Dream Group:  Admit it.  You want to see Jason Dufner and Tiger Woods in the same group.  Along with either Sergio Garcia or Phil Mickelson.

OWGR Report:  Rickie Fowler has moved up to #5, his highest ranking ever (his previous best being #7).  Spieth now trails Rory by just over 1.2 point, so he’ll need a win this week to ascend to the top spot.  Five of the top six spots are held by Americans; a year ago, there wasn’t an American in the top five.  Young Englishman Eddie Pepperell has worked his way up to #85, closing in on WGC tournament territory; he started the year at #151.  Branden Grace, one of jalnichols’s targets, has worked his way into the top thirty.  Tiger Woods is now #241 and trails Sanghyun Park, who might be an LPGA player, I’m not sure.

Tiger Talk:  Morning Drive made a gratuitous reference to Woods (some past accomplishment) about nine minutes in, but I have not noticed a mention since.  I could have missed some, sure, but for the most part, they are covering real golf today.  A welcome trend, or an anomalous morning?

Tracking The Trackers:  Golf Channel refused to reply to my inquiry about a GC Jordan Spieth Tracker account, but look what I found this morning:

tttI assume the Tiger Tracker is not a single person, but a revolving cast of Golf Channel employees, so I don’t think they sent someone to Scotland just to do Tiger Tracker, or that whoever does it has no other duties.  But, clearly, Golf Channel plans to track Woods all week, and they still don’t have an official, announced Jordan Spieth Tracker.  TT’s snide remark about the “241st ranked player” makes me wonder if the typer doesn’t wonder if it’s time to move on to other, more compelling players.

Six More For Jack:  Should the Australian Open be considered a fifth major?  David Graham, on Morning Drive, just commented on how the Australian Open was considered one of the biggest events of the year.  Jack won it six times; Gary Player won it seven times.  Rory and Jordan have both won it.  I vote yes and will henceforth include it in my majors totals:  Jack 24, Player 16 (putting him two ahead of Woods), Rory 5, Jordan 3.  If a player hasn’t won the Australian Open, I don’t consider him as having won a career slam.

Hideki:  What is up with Matsuyama?  Haven’t heard his name much lately.  He seemed to be playing every week early in the year, now he’s cut back quite a bit.  He hasn’t played since the U.S. Open. Maybe he’s focusing on the majors.  He’s playing well, finishing inside the top 25 his last nine times out.  I can’t find an article on what his strategy is.  You’d think he’d get more coverage in the English-speaking world.

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22 Responses to Monday Thoughts

  1. Ken says:

    As soon as Woods tees off, GC will be back to “normal”.

    The Australian Open is a nice event that has had a great list of champions. Looks good on Spieth’s resume. But the field is typically pretty weak. It’s no more a major than the Italian or Spanish Opens, which probably get stronger fields due to more favorable geography for the European tour. Australia is just such a long, difficult trip that many pros don’t want to undertake in December.

  2. Ken says:

    There’s something that bothers me about golfers Matsuyama’s age who decide to focus on the majors. I think regular tournaments are important too. For one thing, they teach you how to win. And winning tournaments is important, major or not.

    Maybe I think that they need to earn the “focus on the majors” right by actually winning other tournaments first. This bothered me about Fowler too. Until this year he had won almost nothing, but some said that he was focusing on majors (which he also hasn’t won). I guess that’s what happens when there’s so much money in the game. You can just play when you feel like it and go through the motions otherwise.

    That “overrated” thing apparently was the kick in the pants that Fowler needed. A talented guy like him playing with a chip on the shoulder could be very dangerous for everyone else.

    Is Matsuyama playing on the Sunshine Tour or elsewhere? Maybe he’s just spending some time closer to home.

    • lannyh says:

      He’s not playing anywhere. I think he played Memorial, then the U.S. Open, and that’s it. I’m just speculating that he’s focusing on majors, but for some reason, he’s playing less. Maybe he doesn’t like the heat? I wish there were some good articles on him; actually, I have a hunch there are about a million good articles on him — written in Japanese. He looks like he’s a very solid player who is going to be a factor for a long time.

  3. Ken says:

    Who did Oosthuizen piss off to be stuck with Woods two majors in a row? He was hurt having to watch Woods hit it sideways shooting 80 at Chambers Bay.

    Last two St. Andrews champions have to play together for some reason? Draws should be random.

    • lannyh says:

      Exactly! I writing about that right now. (I have a budding conspiracy theory…) That was a horrible pairing that stuck out like a sore thumb!!

      I don’t know if there is a formula for past champions, but if there is, they could have added John Daly.

      • Sports-realist2 says:

        Ironically I think this works to Louis’ advantage, more than the other way around…..
        FYI, here were the 2010 British Open pairings at St. Andrews for the first 2 rounds:
        ALSO, notice how weak this field seems to be compared to today,just 5 years ago..
        1:30 a.m.-6:41 a.m.: Paul Lawrie, Thomas Levet, Steve Marino

        1:41 a.m.-6:52 a.m.: Loren Roberts, Mathew Goggin, Marcel Siem

        1:52 a.m.-7:03 a.m.: Robert Rock, John Senden, Bill Haas

        2:03 a.m.-7:14 a.m.: Simon Dyson, Jason Dufner, Soren Hansen

        2:14 a.m.-7:25 a.m.: Todd Hamilton, Ryuichi Oda, Alexander Noren

        2:25 a.m.-7:36 a.m.: John Daly, Andrew Coltart, Seung-Yul Noh

        2:36 a.m.-7:47 a.m.: Martin Laird, Sir Nick Faldo, Soren Kjeldsen

        2:47 a.m.-7:58 a.m.: David Duval, Ross McGowan, Trevor Immelman

        2:58 a.m.-8:09 a.m.: Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, Ryan Moore, Charl Schwartzel

        3:09 a.m.-8:20 a.m.: Robert Allenby, Nick Watney, Oliver Wilson

        3:20 a.m.-8:31 a.m.: Lucas Glover, Rory McIlroy, Tim Clark

        3:31 a.m.-8:42 a.m.: Thomas Bjorn, Hunter Mahan, Shunsuke Sonoda

        3:42 a.m.-8:53 a.m.: Ian Poulter, Ernie Els, Stewart Cink

        3:58 a.m.-9:09 a.m.: Sean O’Hair, Yuta Ikeda, Ross Fisher

        4:09 a.m.-9:20 a.m.: Tiger Woods, Justin Rose, Camilo Villegas

        4:20 a.m.-9:31 a.m.: Padraig Harrington, Ryo Ishikawa, Tom Watson

        4:31 a.m.-9:42 a.m.: Henrik Stenson, Jin Jeong, Matt Kuchar

        4:42 a.m.-9:53 a.m.: Jason Day, Chris Wood, Kenny Perry

        4:53 a.m.-10:04 a.m.: Mike Weir, Darren Clarke, Davis Love III

        5:04 a.m.-10:15 a.m.: Thongchai Jaidee, Fredrik Andersson Hed, JB Holmes

        5:15 a.m.-10:26 a.m.: Mark O’Meara, Byeong-Hun An, Stephen Gallacher

        5:26 a.m.-10:37 a.m.: Alejandro Canizares, Michael Sim, Gregory Havret

        5:37 a.m.-10:48 a.m.: Zane Scotland, Tom Pernice Jr, Jamie Abbott

        5:48 a.m.-10:59 a.m.: Bo Van Pelt, Phillip Archer, Ewan Porter

        5:59 a.m.-11:10 a.m.: Cameron Percy, Tano Goya, Kyung-Tae Kim

        6:10 a.m.-11:21 a.m.: Mark F Haastrup, Steven Tiley, Tom Whitehouse

        6:41 a.m.-1:30 a.m.: Mark Calcavecchia, Peter Senior, Anders Hansen

        6:52 a.m.-1:41 a.m.: Louis Oosthuizen, Jeff Overton, Colm Moriarty

        7:03 a.m.-1:52 a.m.: Ignacio Garrido, Hirofumi Miyase, Shane Lowry

        7:14 a.m.-2:03 a.m.: Tom Lehman, Kevin Na, Marc Leishman

        7:25 a.m.-2:14 a.m.: Sandy Lyle, Bradley Dredge, Koumei Oda

        7:36 a.m.-2:25 a.m.: Simon Khan, Vijay Singh, Scott Verplank

        7:47 a.m.-2:36 a.m.: Luke Donald, Y.E. Yang, Ricky Barnes

        7:58 a.m.-2:47 a.m.: Toru Taniguchi, Robert Karlsson, Dustin Johnson

        8:09 a.m.-2:58 a.m.: Alvaro Quiros, Jerry Kelly, Katsumasa Miyamoto

        8:20 a.m.-3:09 a.m.: Peter Hanson, Francesco Molinari, Ben Curtis

        8:31 a.m.-3:20 a.m.: Paul Casey, Angel Cabrera, Rickie Fowler

        8:42 a.m.-3:31 a.m.: Miguel Angel Jimenez, Lee Westwood, Adam Scott

        8:53 a.m.-3:42 a.m.: Jim Furyk, Graeme McDowell, Geoff Ogilvy

        9:09 a.m.-3:58 a.m.: Hiroyuki Fujita, Steve Stricker, Sergio Garcia

        9:20 a.m.-4:09 a.m.: Colin Montgomerie, Phil Mickelson, Retief Goosen

        9:31a.m.-4:20 a.m.: Rhys Davies, Edoardo Molinari, Justin Leonard

        9:42 a.m.-4:31 a.m.: Zach Johnson, Martin Kaymer, Eric Chun

        9:53 a.m.-4:42 a.m.: Kj Choi, Bubba Watson, Victor Dubuisson

        10:04 a.m.-4:53 a.m.: Ben Crane, Richard S Johnson, Thomas Aiken

        10:15 a.m.-5:04 a.m.: Jason Bohn, Kurt Barnes, Laurie Canter

        10:26 a.m.-5:15 a.m.: Darren Fichardt, Jose Manuel Lara, Heath Slocum

        10:37 a.m.-5:26 a.m.: Paul Streeter, Brian Gay, Gareth Maybin

        10:48 a.m.-5:37 a.m.: Tim Petrovic, Paul Goydos, Jean Hugo

        10:59 a.m.-5:48 a.m.: Gary Clark, D.A. Points, Danny Chia

        11:10 a.m.-5:59 a.m.: Glen Day, Josh Cunliffe, Tyrrell Hatton

        11:21 a.m.-6:10 a.m.: Jae-Bum Park, George McNeill, Simon Edwards

      • lannyh says:

        Thanks for that. I was wondering. If I’m not missing something, Woods, the defending champ was not paired with a past champ, or even a major winner (in Rose and Villegas). So it doesn’t appear to have been a formula five years ago, anyway.

        You think the field in 2010 was stronger? I think I’d give this year’s field the nod, even though Rory is missing.

    • Sports-realist2 says:

      I think the 2015 field is MUCH deeper than the 2010 field….

  4. TruthTeller says:

    I’m not kidding; this disturbs me. You are actually bitching about the inclusion of photos. Seriously?

    • lannyh says:

      I don’t follow. What would bitching about superfluous photos be considered odd in the least? It makes you scroll and scroll and scroll with no offsetting value add.

    • Sports-realist2 says:

      Wait truth, you’re bitching about his bitching? This cycle has to stop somewhere before it’s too late…

  5. DanishDude says:

    Apparently Tiger Woods played a practice round with Jason Dufner…

    • lannyh says:

      Seriously? Maybe Dufner got an appearance fee from Steinberg’s Damage Control Team.

      • Ken says:

        Maybe he’s grateful that someone got him out of that marriage. Being pretty to look at doesn’t meant that she wasn’t hell to live with.

      • Sports-realist2 says:

        My guess is that she was cheating, cheating, and cheating…..Perhaps Dufner gave up on this marriage long ago…..I will say the IRONY/TIMING of it all is SOOOO thick, that you can’t help but smell a Steinberg….and boy does that smell…..

  6. GolfFan says:

    Nobilo made a fair point as it relates to Jordan deciding to stay stateside for the JDC instead of heading over early for extra prep. Back in November Jordan demolished the Australian Open field and then flew halfway around the world to obliterate an admittedly small field at Tiger’s Event. Seems jet lag or whatever will be something Jordan will handle just fine.

  7. Barry Burn says:

    Is it true that Spieth and DJ are paired together?

    Not a very nice move by the R&A, if true.

    DJ has got to be hurting big time, even though he won’t admit it.

  8. TruthTeller says:

    The idea the Ausie Open should be considered a major is laughable. Just using 2014 as an example, you had Jordan, Adam Scott, and Rory. There are a few other recognizable names but most are probably outside the top 50. It might have had more status “back in the day” but not so much anymore.

  9. Ken says:

    Great line from Elling.

    I see that Arnold Palmer is playing in the champions exhibition on Wednesday. Good to see that he’s well after the pacemaker and separated shoulder. They should do something like this at the Masters, maybe include non-Masters champs. Have a nice team exhibition for the players and leave the par 3 to Woods and his oh-so-adorable children.

  10. JoseyWales says:

    To me, Steve Elling is becoming one of the best golf follows on Twitter.

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