Monday Thoughts

8:20 pm Update  Rory to play PGA Championship?

Thanks to a reader for the heads-up.  Reuters reporting Rory to play a practice round Saturday at Whistling Straits.

I almost wish he wouldn’t.  I’d be happy to see him wait until next January.  But… he was probably going to have pressure on him to play the FedEx playoffs.

Tiger’s Excellent BBQ Adventure: The golf media seems to have launched a new wave of Tiger Image Rehabilitation.  The secretiveness concerning the Mystery BBQ was weird.  They couldn’t mention who hosted it, but they wanted to mention on national television that Woods was there.

Did Woods tell them and not want to tick off the host?  Did the host tell them and not want to tick off Woods?  Did another person tell them and not want to tick anyone off?  Who knows, but one thing has occurred to me: Woods has not exactly been able to draw strong fields to his event, so if one of the top players in the event invited him to a cookout, he probably felt it wise to attend.

The Excellent BBQ Adventure does not stand in isolation.  There has been a noticeable push to soften Woods’s image.  There has been for some time, particularly with The Kids The Kids The Kids.  Lindsey, The Kids.  Can’t practice as much, The Kids.  Play soccer with, The Kids.

I guess Nike wants to wring every penny of marketing they can out of Woods, and with the end of his career appearing nearer and nearer, they need to morph him into Good Ole Tiger.  The Friendly Golfer.

Here’s a problem, and it’s one I don’t think they can every really solve:  When Woods regained the OWGR #1 ranking in 2013, Nike put out an ad campaign, “Winning Takes Care of Everything.”  In other words:  I’m such a badass, I can do anything I want in “real life,” and still the public will bow at my feet.  Now, they want to start a campaign implying what?  “Losing Takes Care of Everything”?  “Being Mr. Friendly Takes Care of Everything”?

However, I think the public is well past the tipping point when it comes to Tiger Woods.  It’s become more fun — and there is less cognitive dissonance — to mock and laugh at Woods rather than to cling to the myth  of the Never Before Seen Invincible Golfing Machine.  The public was told it was okay for Woods to be rude and immature because he was so damned great.  With a capital G, Great.  Very special guy.  Bow before him.  Now they want to switch that to Just A Regular Guy One Of The Gang At The BBQ.

Nike would like to have Woods continue as a marketing aid for years and years.  You often hear the name of Michael Jordan.  But Jordan sells shoes, underwear, and hamburgers.  Golfers tend to represent companies like Accenture, and KPMG.  Banks, insurance companies.  Serious, you-can-trust-us companies that have already shown they have no interest whatsoever in Woods.  Accenture would as soon be affiliated with Bernie Madoff as Tiger Woods.

Morning Drive:  I’ve had Morning Drive on in the background, only half paying attention.  Williams interviewed Shackelford and asked, closely paraphrasing, “What characteristic does Jordan Spieth have that might make you think he could remotely get close to what Tiger did?”  Okay, Woods was supposed to catch Nicklaus, failed.  Spieth is ahead of Woods’s pace.  WHY do they continue to cling to the Woods 2001 narrative.

Earlier, Rymer used the victory of Troy Merritt to pump up Woods.  Rymer insisted that Merritt kept saying he was close — just like Tiger is saying! — then it suddenly all clicked.  Quite obviously, Rymer was pushing the idea that Woods could “click” just like Merritt and win.

WGC Rory:  Thanks to Jordan Spieth, I still have a very high interest level concerning these next two weeks, but I definitely feel Rory’s absence.

OWGR: Tiger Woods earned 2.55 OWGR points yesterday and climbed from #266 to #262.  I expected him to climb more than that.  Ollie Schniederjans collected 3.07 and climbed from #410 to #358.  Merritt got 34 points and moved from #180 to #99.

To Slam or Not to Slam, Ladies?  There’s a lot of discussion right now about whether it is a Grand Slam if an LPGA player wins the original four of the five majors?  It sure is.  It works like this.  If you win four, it’s a Grand Slam.  If you win five, it’s a Complete Grand Slam.  So if a woman wins all five some year, it would be winning a Career Complete Grand Slam All In One Year.

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30 Responses to Monday Thoughts

  1. Ken says:

    You’d think that the “characteristic” of winning two majors before the age of 22, something that Woods never did, would maybe, just maybe suggest that Spieth could approach Woods’ accomplishments. Or winning on tour as a teenager, something that Woods never did. Or finishing in the top twenty of an event at age 16, something that Woods never did.

    Gee, who would make the leap that Spieth might be something pretty special based on such paltry evidence?

    • lannyh says:

      Yes, it’s infuriating, really, that they would have Jordan with those accomplishments deferring to Woods. Using their influence to push propaganda for which they are probably compensated in some way.

  2. Ken says:

    I like watches. I haven’t been able to talk myself into buying a luxury watch like a Rolex because I just can’t convince myself that it’s really worth it (thus far I’ve stayed at the Seiko/Bulova/Citizen level).

    As long as Rolex continues to use Woods as a sponsor, I would never buy one. I have always like Omegas and would lean towards them if I ever bought such a watch. They use McIlroy as their spokesman. I wouldn’t buy a watch based on who endorses them. But I would avoid a brand that associates itself with someone like Tiger Woods. Advertising has always had sort of a negative-only effect on me. If commercials annoy me, I’ll avoid the advertiser. I never thought much of NIke products long before Tiger Woods came along; I always found them overpriced and lacking in quality and durability. Their association with him doesn’t make me feel any better about them.

  3. HennyB says:

    Lanny,
    Can you comment further on what sportsrealist2, Ken, and yourself were discussing yesterday in regards to Woods’ social awkwardness? I’m referring to his early days on tour. I don’t remember hearing about his attempts to “fit in and be one of the guys” and it backfiring. Or his attempts to be “cool” with the reporters. (I do remember the GQ interview and how weird that was) This of course was before the internet and these things were easily swept under the rug. He is a very odd person to say the least and I must confess I just cannot figure the guy out. There is much more going on here than what meets the eye. It’s beyond being a dork or uncool. I actually don’t like it when people call him a nerd because nerds are actually cool people (calling him a nerd is a compliment in my eyes). There is something psychologically going on here and I cannot figure it out. Freud would have a field day with this guy! Why is he so secretive all the time? Look how upset he got when a reporter asked him if he ever wanted to be a Navy Seal. All he said (and if looks could kill) was “Is it in the book?” Who cares if you did? Why not just say yeah I thought about it, it looks like it would have been a riot and a great way to make a living. It would have been a honor to be in special forces. That’s all you had to say. Big deal. Nobody cares. Instead he tries to maintain this enigmatic persona that’s just plain weird. Maybe one day he will come out and tell us that’s he’s been a secret agent all along and he has double o status.

    • lannyh says:

      I too thought of the GQ article.

      I think Woods got painted into a corner, whether by design or just inertia. If he gave a snippy answer that had zero wit to it — a natural thing for an introvert to do, just to get the press conference over with — the golf media would play it up as if he’d made the greatest zinger of all human history. So Woods saw he could get great press by doing nothing more than making short comments saying little or nothing. The golf media would take it from there. Kind of like the movie, “Being There.”

      “How did you prepare for the US Open?” Woods, maybe not wanting to reveal what he was working on, might say, “I went snorkeling with Elin.” The golf media would turn that into, “Woods is so much better than every other player that he doesn’t even practice golf before majors, he goes snorkeling!!! While every other player is spending hours on the range, Woods is swimming in the ocean!!!”

      He sees how well that played int he media, and he would naturally go the lather-rinse- repeat route in the future.

      I actually don’t remember saying much of anything on the topic, but maybe I did and have forgotten.

    • Ken says:

      Henny, I don’t have a source on it now. But I’ve read stuff about him over the years. I’m not making it up.

      In his early days on tour, he would try to mix in with other players and also reporters. He had a tendency to do this by telling jokes that were often of a sexual nature employing racial stereotypes (like black man=big penis). This got reported to a degree, though I never remember it being particularly widespread or controversial. Of course the Woods camp became incensed that someone actually reported what Tiger said. Once he signed on with Nike especially, his interactions with the media and other players became much stiff, scripted, and controlled. Some say to this day that he became defensive and wary because of some supposed mistreatment but in fact, he only had himself to blame.

      It’s funny how his camp blames the media for his treatment. The media has never bowed down to anyone this side of Barack Obama more than Tiger Woods.

      Hey, not everyone can be preternaturally mature like Jordan Spieth. But the answer to Woods’ early social awkwardness was to work on how he presented himself, not to build a cocoon. His issues with the press and other players are his own fault.

      • HennyB says:

        Thank you very much for responding to my question. Your analogy: “Building a cocoon rather than working on himself” is perfect. I understand it all now. Your correct, when was he ever mistreated by the media? He’s had carte blanche with them since day one. I’m asking this question in all sincerity, has he been a narcissistic spoiled little brat all his life or did this type of behavior evolve after the whole “Hello World” press conference or 1997 Masters victory? I get the impression he’s been this way since childhood. He was an only child whose parents, by their own admission, dedicated their lives 100% to his success and their constant reinforcement that he is the greatest human being to ever walk the earth.

    • Bird says:

      Mickey Ds and porn for Messiah.

  4. Ken says:

    There’s a Reuters story that McIlroy is going to play at Whistling Straights on Saturday!

  5. SpinDoctor says:

    I just can’t get on board with this “youngest to accomplish” jargon. Once upon a time it was Jack, then Tiger, now Spieth, one could argue there will eventually be someone after Spieth. After all, we’ve already seen a 13 year old play, and play relatively well, at The Masters.

    Instead I like to compare careers.

    Jordan turned pro in 2012. Since then he has played 74 events, winning 5 times including 2 majors. Awesome stuff.
    Tiger turned pro in 1996 and in a similar time frame played 70 events, winning 24 including 2 majors.

    Now if you prefer to only look at majors that’s up to you but 24 is kind of better than 5. Jordan may be younger which should give him more time to catch up but in my book comparing careers, TW is still way ahead given they’ve both been pro’s for roughly 3 years based on these comparisons

    And of course there is always the NBA analogy. Very few would argue Bill Russell was a better all time player than Jordan but Russell has 11 titles to Jordan’s 6.

    • lannyh says:

      It’s funny how with Woods, it was all about his being “ahead of Jack’s pace.” He was going to smash Jack’s record. Where where the complainers then?

      And you are obviously wanting to penalize Jordan for being talented enough to play PGA Tour and win as a teen.

      Whatever. The Woods Only crowd will wear their Tiger pajamas for the rest of their lives.

      • SpinDoctor says:

        Well, if memory serves, there was some merit. When TW won what is now his last Major, he had 14 to Jack’s 11, which both happened 12 years in to each career.

        And, I’m not “wanting to penalize” Jordan. It’s just something we see across all sports. Guys are getting in the door younger and younger. If you simply look at the number of events they have played at similar points in their career, Tiger won more.

        Don’t get me wrong, I like Jordan a lot and want him to do very well. Was even disappointed he didn’t get that Open Title. But I am a golf fan, and I refuse to down play one of the best decade performances in golf history.

      • Sports-realist2 says:

        Yeah, the PGA accomplishment ‘pissing contest’ is rather interesting now……
        The Eldrick crowd will be QUICK to point out how he won more events at a certain age, but NOW slow to realize that Eldrick is BEHIND Jack in Majors…Yep, Jack was BETTER than Eldrick at winning Major championships…..HMMMM, let’s all let that sink in for a while…..
        Now, since the Eldrick group PUSHED breaking Jack’s MAJOR record, as the ULTIMATE goal, it’s hard to back track from that now, WITHOUT them having some egg on their face, trying to switch tactics….
        When I hear the ‘kids’ as an excuse, for instance, it sounds to me like RETREAT, RETREAT!!!!! I think that’s more Steinberg pushing that mantra than Eldrick, but who knows…..

      • lannyh says:

        “the Eldrick group PUSHED breaking Jack’s MAJOR record, as the ULTIMATE goal, it’s hard to back track from that now”

        Great post. It’s all about finding comparisons that make Woods look like Mr. Never Before, but they’ve had to stop playing up the Jack’s Majors number. Like you said, the fact is, Jack was better at winning majors.

        The commenter here is torn between going with a career (he wants to do that when comparing to Spieth) or to great play at an early age (when comparing to Jack).

        I got a kick out of “the 142 made cuts in a row” meme they floated earlier this year. Of course, 1/3 of those were in no-cut events, and many others were limited-field tournaments. But that’s not why they dumped it. No, they dumped it because none of the Woods Only people cared about it. Not even those guys could pretend that was any kind of consolation for majors.

      • SpinDoctor says:

        It’s pretty simple. Tiger did it better. Jack did it longer.

      • lannyh says:

        “It’s pretty simple. Tiger did it better. Jack did it longer.”

        How exactly did Woods do it better? Will you go cherry-pick some accomplishment of Woods and then assign some great importance or significance to it? Come on, for fifteen years all we heard about was how important it would be when Woods passed Jack.

        Byron Nelson won eleven in a row; did he too do it better than Jack?

      • Sports-realist2 says:

        Your definition of ‘better’? Eldrick did steroids/peds….The way the media doesn’t even mention it, avoids it, never discusses it ect, SCREAMS of probably the LARGEST sports cover up in history….This headed by Steinberg and friends…
        No, I don’t consider cheaters to have done stuff BETTER…..aka all those other steroid folks….

      • SpinDoctor says:

        I don’t deny the reports/rumors of steriod/ped use but I need to hear something official….the specific what, where, and when, before I officially acknowledge it.

    • Ken says:

      I don’t know that champions will continue to get younger as you suggest. It’s really nothing new; some champions start young, always have.

      Spieth won as a teenager on tour. The last man to do that was 80 years earlier so it wasn’t unprecedented. Spieth is the youngest US Open champ since Bobby Jones. Spieth is the yoingest two-time major winner since Sarazen.

      Winning young is nothing new.

      • SpinDoctor says:

        Yes, champions have always won young. But in today’s world, there are more of them trying and trying at earlier ages.

    • Bird says:

      But Urkel/Messiah wanted more, more, more, and eventually he would make the fatal mistake of meeting with Dr. Anthony Galea.

      Lessons and asterisks apply the rest of the way.

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