Final Wrap: There’s a point where I can’t root against “The Unknown.” If Rickie wanted to catch him early, fine, but I didn’t want to see Merritt collapse at the end. Great life-changing performance, and a great champion, Troy Merritt!
Nice backdoor top ten by Justin Thomas. Ollie Schniederjans beat Woods by a shot, but won’t garner enough of a point differential to make up much ground on Woods. Woods will pick up an honest OWGR point or two. Ryo finished 10th; a solid performance, but not what he wanted after the first two days.
4:00 pm Lanny H Does It Again!!!
Yesterday, I wrote this:
You’d think the danged HOST of the event would grant an interview, or, frankly, go up in the booth for an extended chat with Nick and Terry.
Today, Tiger Woods is in the booth during the telecast!
11:00 am: I wonder if the Pay To Watch PGA Tour stream means they will do a Tiger Only broadcast every week. If so, that would be great in that the networks could ignore Woods when he’s a non-factor. If people want Woods, they can pay for the stream, and the networks can focus on the players in contention.
10:45 am: Twitter Tiger Tracker is covering Woods’s round for those who wish to follow. It can be pretty funny when Woods plays poorly. I wonder if it will return next year. They really need to replace it with a GC Leaders Tracker. By the way, both of Woods’s head-t0-head betting matchup players (that I saw, Bohn and CHIII) beat him by seven yesterday.
FYI: The Women’s British Open is on ESPN2.
9:30 am: Stray Thoughts
- With “Altered Course” ending tomorrow, Golf Channel will be out of the reality show business. What will this mean? How will they fill up their prime time? I hope they return to showing classic tournaments, and maybe a return to a Peter Kessler-style live call-in show? Let us call in and ask about the “unknowns,” but also let us ask about Rock Ishii and Woods’s 2000 “dominance,” and, yes, Galea and Biogenesis. Let us have golf programming for, you know, adults.
- No mention of Ollie Schniederjans on Morning Drive this morning. He’s making his second appearance as a pro and sits T-14, four back. He played the Canadian Open and moved from #451 to #410. A good finish this week, and he’ll continue to climb. He started the year outside the top 1000. Is he not worthy of discussion? A top five would push him into the top 250 and likely lift him above Woods. He’d already be near the top 100 if he had more starts (and maintained the same standard of play), as right now his divisor is 40 when he only has 8 counting events!
- Does Morning Drive have trouble getting pros to appear? Why don’t they have Tour pros regularly doing call-ins? It seems like they’ll have a string of rookies appear in person on the show, but if an established player appears, you can be sure he is pushing a product or charity event. Contrast to NFL and NBA players who call into national sports talk shows all the time. They also call in to local sports talk shows, often those in the home market of the college school they played for. They are very outspoken, too; I’m surprised at their willingness to address timely topics. Also, I hear baseball players, including pitchers, call in at night after they played a game! Why not have PGA Tour players do the same? How much trouble is it to pick up a phone and talk for five minutes?
- I don’t know why, but the player that reminds me of the old days the most is Johnny Miller. When I see footage of Johnny Miller, I’m immediately back in golf’s Golden Age. Maybe it’s because Miller’s period of top play was relatively short.
9:00 am: A segment on the Senior Tour event. I’ve said it many times: Senior Tour events are fantastic to attend in person, but I don’t have much interest in watching on television.
They play Hendrix’s version of All Along the Watchtower on the fadeout. “There must be some kind of way out of here, said the joker to the thief.” A subliminal message about the future of Morning Drive?
They return to talk about the Women’s British Open. Very little talk about the Women’s Open this week, in the scheme of things. I haven’t gotten very interested. It occurs to me that it is probably on an alternate network. Or is it not even being broadcast? I’d watch a little of it if I knew when/where/if it was on. Lydia Ko is in the hunt, so they have a solid storyline. They seem to only like American Amazon Women With Blonde Hair.
Great News! Tomorrow is the season finale of Altered Course. This means the end of all Golf Channel’s reality shows. Yay! More on that in a moment.
They conclude with a standing roundtable where they all make picks for the Quicken Loans. The show ends.
8:45 am: This segment begins with some kind of “psychology of Tour pros” thing. I’m not sure of the point, but it does give Charlie a chance to joke about his past playing days. I found it amusing and entertaining in the way in the way it is when Golic trades mild gibes with Greenie on Mike and Mike. I’m sure it was scripted, but it came across as improvised, the kind of give-and-take you see on a show like Mike and Mike.
8:30 am: After the break, I return to find Paige and Charlie analyzing a shot of Tiger Woods. They continue and show some other players. I’m not a fan of these morning drive tips. They have entire shows devoted to improving your swing, so this seems to merely take time away they could be discussing up-and-coming players.
Okay, they just ran an uninterrupted clip of Lee Trevino, playing with Player and Nicklaus (and Miller?), telling a story about how he used to carry a .38 in his bag, and one day a guy saw it and asked about it, and then Player make another joke, and then Nicklaus said, “Okay, guys, back to golf.” Trevino turns around, hits the ball after about five seconds — holing it from the fairway.
8:15 am: The second topic was the Women’s British Open. With Tiger Woods falling apart, suddently the PGA Tour event is an afterthought. I wonder how the show would have gone had Woods shot 3-under instead of 3-over? Rickie Fowler, who won the strongest tournament of the year to date, being one back doesn’t rate a mention in the first ten minutes?
So, they finally mention Rickie. AFTER they mention Tiger Woods.
After the commercial break, they show Woods highlights, including an extended reaction shot. Now, they go to a live-from-the-course report from Todd Lewis to discuss Woods. They show more Woods highlights while Lewis repeats the meme about Woods “not carrying it from the range to the course.” Then he tells us a human interest story about Woods going to the cookout of a “high-profile” player, and tells us Woods has undergone a personality shift from four or five years ago. (Lack of steroids?) All during that discussion, they ran Woods highlights.
Finally they show and discuss Rickie for about 45 seconds. Merritt and Chappell get quick treatment, with no video highlights. Okay, here come the video highlights. Two or three quick ones of orange-pants-wearing Merritt.
Gary Williams mentions the tangerine togs Merritt was “rockin'” yesterday. (That’s one of my banned words for golf reporters. I’ll post the current list after the show.)
8:00 am: Morning Drive starts, delayed 30 minutes by a live coverage overrun. It looks like they have a full house. Damon, Cara, Gary Williams, Paige, Charlie Rymer.
They start with three or four minutes of conversation about the Euro event that ran long. Aphibarnrat will meet Howell in the finals, starting in an hour. Wow, how long until they start talking about Tiger Woods, and how they are never going to obsess over him again?
7:50 am Update: Live Blogging Morning Drive
I will live blog Morning Drive when it begins. I think today will be the day they announce they will no longer be carrying the water for Tiger Woods. They’ll admit he’s 40 years old, his career was overhyped, and apologize for their past decade of obsession. They will say they are embarrassed by it and assure us that the responsible people have been fired. Stay tuned!
On the Range: I keep hearing, “Tiger’s problem is he can’t take his swing from the range to the course. He’s hitting it great on the range.” But I wonder. I remember a day at a major where they had Shot Tracker set up on the range. Maybe it was the U.S. Open, because I remember Rory being one of the players. Rory was hitting shot after shot with the same club, and they all had the same pattern, an ever-so-slight draw, every shot looking the same. They switched to Woods and he was hitting the same club each time, too, but his patterns were substantially different each time. Now, it’s possible he was mixing it up, hitting a low draw, followed by a higher draw, followed by a straight ball, all with slightly more/less draw/fade. But, if that is the case, how would the golf writers know if he was hitting them like he wanted?
Maybe they mean he is hitting drive after drive without a big right miss, or a big duck hook. But that isn’t that odd, even for casual golfers. If I hit ten drivers in a row on the range– and I’m a very pedestrian golfer — most of them are good. I get into a rhythm, and even with my awful swing, I get loose and start smacking them pretty good (by my standard). But on the course where you hit a driver about once every 15 minutes, with putts and chips and irons in between, I miss big, wide fairways.
There’s been so much false information about Tiger Woods, I’m skeptical. Combine that with what I saw on Shot Tracker, and I’m very skeptical.
Feeling Sorry: Someone said yesterday they couldn’t help feeling sorry for Tiger Woods. I replied that I didn’t feel sorry for him, and I stand by that. He brought most of his problems on himself, and in the scheme of things, he’s better off materially than most of us can even imagine.
However, I do feel sorry for some of his fans. For instance, I saw a black kid with a black man, who had obviously taken the boy to the tournament. They were, not surprisingly, following Woods. At first, I assumed the guy was the kid’s dad, but he looked a little older, so I decided it was more likely his grandfather. Either way, I thought about how they were probably all keyed up about Woods being in the hunt, and they discussed it the night before, and they discussed it that morning, and as they drove the course, etc.
Anyway, I do find myself feeling sorry for those guys.