Tuesday Thoughts

Submitted, For Your Approval, By a Reader:  A reader found a fantastic piece written by former PGA player Robert Damron.  The PED comments are misinformed, but the rest is great.  I hope one day Damron writes a book and names names.

Rory and Nike:  [Update: There is now a denial that Rory has scheduled the practice round.  I maintain my opinion that he should just wait until next January, and do his annual Dubai “spring training” golf camp.  Nike already screwed you once, Rory, don’t let them do it again.]

I wasn’t happy when Rory signed with Nike.  For one thing, the equipment change resulted in a lost year.  In contrast, Jordan Spieth jumped at the chance to represent Under Armour, a major reason being they didn’t require an equipment change.

It is said that injuries like Rory’s require 84 days (12 weeks) to heal.  When the PGA Championship begins, Rory’s recovery will be at the 41-day mark.

This morning I pulled up Rory’s Twitter account to see if he posted anything about Whistling Straits.  There was nothing, but these two old tweets, one of which you’ll remember, were still there:

rornikOkay, about three weeks prior to Rory’s injury, Nike makes a tweet about how Rory is going rule the summer.  He’s going to run roughshod over the competition just like he did last year.  Now, go buy some clothes from the Nike Rory Collection!!

So Rory injures himself, and it looks like he will miss the entire summer.  So, suddenly, with no prior leaks about Rory’s “injury healing faster than anticipated,” we hear Rory is going to play a practice round at Whistling Straits five days before the PGA Championship.

Is Nike putting pressure on Rory to return too early?

Whistling Straits 2010:  Don’t forget that Golf Channel is replaying the 2010 PGA Championship, the one where DJ grounded his club, Bubba and Kaymer played off, Rory finished one back, and the broadcast producer cut away from Rory playing Snake, a critical par-5, in order to show Woods lining up a meaningless putt on the final hole.

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25 Responses to Tuesday Thoughts

  1. Ken says:

    Off topic, but I thought that this was pretty interesting:


    Interesting stuff about competition, expenses, retirement.

    It’s written by Robert Damron. One of his eight points is naive, and he allows that maybe he is naive. He doesn’t think that there are any PEDs in pro golf. His take on PEDs is apparently that they’re all rage-inducing steroids, which would hurt a player’s concentration, bought on the street corner and injected secretly by a player into his own butt. He doesn’t understand that there are different types of PEDs being researched and administered by real – though unscrupulous – doctors.

    • lannyh says:

      Thanks. I’ll give it a read right now.

    • lannyh says:

      That’s a fantastic article! I’m going to stick it on the front page. I agree with you that Damron was off base regarding PEDs; his comments could even be described as naive. It’s all about the recovery time after intense practice sessions, Robert. It’s funny how his same claims were once made about baseball players and PEDs.

    • Kris says:

      I hadn’t heard of this guy until I read the article, but what he says makes a lot of sense. He describes what it’s like to be a journeyman pro, not one of the big dogs. In the comments everyone is saying great article, but PGA Tour players do take PEDs. Nice find.

      • Bird says:

        As long as the PGA Tour and European Tour resist blood testing, the suspicion of PED use will be there. But realistically, the candidates should be few. This “hobby” is an expensive one, that only superstars can afford. Its prolonged use has also been proven to be destructive.

        There are more foolish and rich candidates in the NFL, MLB, and NBA, and that’s where blood and urine tests are done. To reassure some folk, the PGA Tour should join them in blood testing..

        I knew of journeyman Robert Damron. He wouldn’t be travelling in the same circles as these drugs prime candidates, and he obviously wasn’t willing to risk any retirement money in sharing whisperings.

      • lannyh says:

        You make a great point about the retirement money potentially affecting the behavior and comments of the non-stars. That might explain why the pros are so willing to stick to nothing but happy talk.

  2. Ken says:

    I was happy to see a Wilson Staff guy winning this week. Wilson has had a massive fall in prominence, after being the dominant iron for decades. It’s market share has collapsed since around 1980 to the point where few amateur players even consider them. Yet, they’ve never really stumbled in terms of quality. They were outmarketed and outhustled by Taylor Made, Titleist, Callaway, and others and were hurt by selling a lot of cheap, low-end, boxed sets at discount stores, which is pretty much what also did in Spalding. When I was starting, Wilson and Spalding were probably the two top brands; even Top Flite (part of Spalding back then) had tour pros playing their clubs and balls.

    They’re still pretty respected clubs everywhere and are thought of as a premium brand in Europe.

  3. Sports-realist2 says:

    Did Titleist make a serious run at signing Rory? Obviously they didn’t care to match the $250 contract from Nike, but I just wonder how much Titleist did offer him…..
    Obviously he’s won majors with Nike, but you just wonder how much more he would have won, had he stayed with Titleist and not had to change equipment…..I think he would have had at least one more Major at this point…
    Since $250 mill was the offer, there MUST have been some other SERIOUS offers made by other companies…..

    • lannyh says:

      The word at the time was that Titleist doesn’t do big star contracts, so they really couldn’t/wouldn’t compete. They are more about those ads where they say things like, “Titleist balls have won 84 percent of this year’s events,” or, “145 of the top 170 golfers play Titleist balls.”

    • Ken says:

      Titleist should probably advertise its clubs more. They’ve done well with Jordan and Zach this season.

      • Bird says:

        Titleist should market hacker-friendly clubs. Their $50 to $60 Pro Vs aren’t being bought by enough of them…excepting fatcats on generous expense accounts.

  4. Kris says:

    I thought Rory was brought to Nike by Tiger. Tiger started acting buddy-buddy with Rory and in less than a year Rory was walking out to a laser light show. I always thought Tiger did it to get a bonus from Nike for helping them sign a star player and to throw Rory off his game like it did Duval. Interestingly, Duval was also sued by his former sponsors during his switch to Nike. Nike has shown themselves to be an unscrupulous company that protects cheaters. As a fan of Rory before the switch, I didn’t feel like I could trust him after the switch. Rory is richer than God now, but other than that Nike is bad for him.

    • lannyh says:

      Rory always seemed a little starry-eyed about Woods. I’m not saying totally, because after all he had the “gall” to say he fancied his chances against Woods at a Ryder Cup. But Rory always seemed to Yay Tiger player, albeit in a lesser way than Woods’s contemporaries.

      I say that as a setup to this: I don’t think Jordan Spieth gives two damns about Tiger Woods. He’s beaten him like a drum when paired, and Jordan spoke about the Grand Slam — the true, unaltered, actual meaning of the term Grand Slam — right after Augusta. He says all the right things in public, but you can tell he’s… saying the right things in public. You see true affection when he speaks of Ben Crenshaw, Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan, et al.

      Now, of course, being a stablemate of Woods, Rory has to be even more supportive of Woods. I probably didn’t realize at the time, but Spieth’s decision to go with Under Armour has really shaken up the world of golf. I’m so glad he did that.

      I’m still a huge Rory fan — he seems to be a happy-go-lucky guy at heart — but I think there have been some suboptimal career decisions made.

      • Kris says:

        I don’t think Jordan or Rory have much respect for Woods as a person, but it seems like Rory has an easier time overlooking that and still respecting his accomplishments. Rory grew up idolizing Nick Faldo, who like Woods, had a great game but was a jerk and a scumbag. Jordan grew up idolizing Ben Crenshaw, who had a great game and is a good person. It makes sense that Rory would be more in Tiger’s corner than Jordan.

        By signing with Nike, Rory has put himself in a position to have to be friendly with Tiger and occasionally defend him, such as going after Brandel during the “F for cheating” fiasco. Nike also seems to muzzle Rory’s personality to an extent. He seems more withdrawn, and like you said, not as happy-go-lucky.

        Jordan has more freedom with Under Armor and makes it known that while he acknowledges Tiger’s accomplishments, they aren’t relevant to Jordan’s career. Rory welcomed the comparisons and Jordan shuns them. I hope Jordan’s attitude toward Tiger permeates the golf media and changes golf coverage for the better.

      • lannyh says:

        I wonder if Rory’s physical conditioning was due to any Nike input. Did they tell him that image was of key importance? There is a point where conditioning turns into Arnold Schwarzenegger bodybuilding. A golfer would probably be better off looking like, I don’t know, Michael Phelps, or not worrying about it at all.

        But then again, I tend to look at it all from the standpoint of wanting to see guys have staggering careers, whereas they may just want to cash in while they have a hot hand. I mean, it’s not like I made perfect decisions in my own life, haha.

        But… Rory was more fun pre-Nike, although he did seem to be getting back some of his joie de vivre in the ten months prior to his ankle injuury.

  5. KnowItAll says:

    “but Spieth’s decision to go with Under Armour has really shaken up the world of golf. I’m so glad he did that.” Gonna need some elaboration on that one, Lanny.

    Couple of you are saying Rory was more “happy go lucky” pre-Nike. That also happened to be pre bigger time success. Have we not seen similar writings about Tiger becoming more “reserved” as his success grew? I won’t be surprised to see Jordan trend a little that way too assuming he keeps on keepin’ on.

    • Sports-realist2 says:

      Reserved? Perhaps you can expand on that one also? Woods has been the same act, if anything, he’s gotten worse, since he’s not as good anymore….

      • KnowItAll says:

        There were people saying Tiger was a little more open with the media early on and then over time, as his success grew, he became more reserved, less open with the media. That’s kind of the same thing people are saying about Rory.

      • lannyh says:

        The narrative there is that Woods was crude when he was outgoing, the GQ article wrote about that, Woods started saying less and controlling who he spoke to. Dan Jenkins has written how Woods would not grant him an interview (I can’t recall the details, but his article on the matter is widely available).

        But if you contrast Spieth’s expansive answers to press conference questions, I don’t think you can find anything comparable from Woods. He’s always relied on the media to make his boring, monosyllabic answers “fascinating.”

    • Sports-realist2 says:

      I would say ANYONE who has to deal with the press, eventually gets bored, annoyed, tired of the same ‘bla, bla, bla’ interviews and questions…….
      I can’t believe most of these media folks have jobs, considering how inept they seem at asking interesting or intelligent questions…..
      Would Nike tell Eldrick to skip interviews, as he does, if he has a bad round, if they gave a crap about his image(whatever it’s supposed to be)?
      Wouldn’t Nike be MORE likely to tell Eldrick he NEEDS to do all the interviews, just because they are paying him oodles ect?
      I take the ‘club thrown in the water by Rory’ a few months ago, as a media hypocrisy example…..The interviewer(s) asked Rory about it several times over the next few days and weeks……..Would ANY of them asked Eldrick, had he done the same thing? I doubt it….
      Since they are BOTH with Nike, the only conclusion has to be STEINBERG and friends, have an ability to control the media from asking Eldrick ANY questions about affairs, steroids, relationships ect…..
      The way the media has walked on egg shells around Eldrick is one of the most bizarre things I’ve seen in sports…

      • lannyh says:

        Maybe Nike sees Woods in those whiny, sullen, angry post-bad-round interviews and thinks “we’re damned if he does, we damned if he doesn’t.” 🙂

        I sense the egg shell thing is ending, but, of course, let him win an event, and it will return. One example I can’t forget is when he made some really lame attempt at a joke, and you could hear three or four female voices giggling in the otherwise silent room. Like, “Tiger attempted a funny, now’s the point where the script calls for us to laugh.”

    • lannyh says:

      Rory was huge pre-Nike, which is why they went after him. If you are going to drag Woods into the conversation, please do so logically. Woods was never not under contract to Nike as a pro. And Woods was never really an outgoing person. The GQ interview cemented things. Woods created a completely phony image, too, so a person living a lie is always going to be hesitant to say much of anything.

      Elaboration on what? How Under Armour has shaken up golf? Look at the logos. (Was it Paul Lunde, the amateur at the Brit who was sporting the UA logos — for free.) Look at the trends in how much golf gear UA is starting to move.

      Nike is starting to look like old VCR tapes. UA is online streaming.

      • Ken says:

        You sure about Woods always having been with Nike as a pro? He did make a switch to their equipment at some point. Was he under contract for clothing and then made the switch to their clubs? Were there Nike clubs pre-Woods?

      • lannyh says:

        Well, he announced his Nike deal at his “Hello, World” news conference. That’s what I was going on.

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