Wednesday Thoughts

Blogging the Presser (starting  3:00 pm EDT)

3:11 pm Update  Golf Channel puts up a graphic with Tiger Woods in it.

3:10 pm Update  Asking what major winners drink out of trophies is a question which has jumped the shark.

3:01 pm Update Tim Rosaforte has mentioned Tiger Woods (who is not even playing) four times in the first minute!

3:00 pm Update  Here we go!  Hold onto your seats!

12:30 pm Update:  Looks Golf Channel has press conference coverage planed to 3:00 pm EDT, 2-1/2 hours from not.  Maybe they’ll have Spieth on.  I need a little something to up my pre-tourney interest level a little bit.  To be honest, I’m kind of looking forward to fall football and a little break from golf.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally fired up about Jordan going for his third major this year at Whistling Straits — and I love that course — and I inevitably follow the FedEx Cup playoffs even though football has started, and I’ll follow the fall season events if one interests me.  However, that said, I’ve felt burnt out on golf a few times in the last month, and I think I’m ready for an extended vacation from the sport.  Then, when January rolls around, I’ll read a book about, I don’t know, the origin of the old Clam Bake, way back in the day.  And set my clock for the middle of the night to get up and watch Rory play Abu Dhabi and Dubai.  And start counting the days until Jordan defends at Augusta.

Missing Rory:  I think Rory is missed more in the WGC events than in majors.  Majors are majors.  Put Patrick Reed or Rickie Fowler in the running, and it’s a huge story.  Rose or Adam Scott, and you have a guy looking to add to his total.  An older guy, or an “unknown” having a great week, and it might be his one and only chance to win a major.  Maybe you have a Kuch or Sergio trying to finally break through.

The attraction of these WGC events is the star-studded field, but they have limited fields without a cut.  Reed or Fowler in the running isn’t the same as if it were a major.  Bottom line: Without Rory, we are robbed of the game’s biggest name, and of a bunch of storylines, not the least of which is, as they pair by rankings, so Rory and Jordan would have been in the same grouping.

Limited-field events, by their nature, sacrifice quite a bit of excitement/buzz in a couple of ways.  The limited field means play doesn’t cover the entire day.  One thing I love about golf is how you wake up in the morning and guys are already on the practice range, teeing off when people are thinking about breakfast and coffee.  Then there is the lack of a cut, which always adds a little spice to Friday.  Also, the lack of a cut means guys completely out of the picture are still around, needlessly cluttering things up on the weekend.

But, then, these events are kind of scammy, anyway.  Reality in golf doesn’t fit the Great Man theory.  The fact it, the most-talented player isn’t going to win every week.  If you don’t get the breaks, or if someone else gets more than his fair share, a less-talented player can win.  What this means is that OWGR #300’s can beat all the players ranked above them during any given week.  Leading us to this point: the size of the field has a huge impact on the difficulty of a tournament.  A tournament of the top 70 players is easier to win than a tournament of the top 156 top-ish players.

These points lead us to the real Tiger Effect.  The idea behind these tournaments was to make it easier for the “stars” to win events — weaker events that would be, ironically, sold as some of the strongest.  And these events would ensure that Tiger Woods would be there all four days, where the golf media could put him on TV, in their obsessive manner, even when he had no bearing on the outcome.  Thinking about that, it’s funny Woods isn’t even qualifying for the WGC events this year.

Olympics, Things a Man Would Never Say Department: A woman golfer, Cristie Kerr, just said on Morning Drive that winning the Olympics would be the pinnacle of her career, topping the two majors she has won (one of them a U.S. Open).

Prez Cup, What Does Tiger Need to do to Get a Captain’s Pick?  Replace Jay Haas with Freddie Couples.

Wow, Jay Haas is actually still mentioning Woods’s name along with Mickelson’s.  It will be refreshing to have a Ryder/Prez Cup team without Woods or Mickelson either one.  I assume it would be the first time in a long time.  On the downside, it’s a splash of cold water in the face telling me that some 20 more years of my life are behind me.

Olympics, Growing Golf, Tiger Woods, Etc.  We hear about the exposure of the Olympics growing golf.  This is supposed to be a universal good we all accept.  But there are some contradictions in the narrative.  Asian women are dominating the LPGA Tour, and the Power Elite are not all that happy about that development.  The American golf media consistently pushes the big Nordic-type women in their promotions.  (Michelle Wie is kind of a weird exception, in that she is Asian genetically, but quite tall, and pretty much the All-American girl in her personality and mannerisms.  And, above all, she’s incredibly composed and well-spoken.)  The point is that “growing the games” internationally via the Olympics is not likely to produce more Paula Creamers.

[A stray thought occurs: Is the PGA Tour’s ever-growing emphasis on distance a way to protect American/European Caucasian-type players since they tend on average to be somewhat physically larger?]

Of course, “growing the game” really means “the big manufacturers selling more gear to improve their bottom lines.”

Then the Morning Drive commentary about the Olympics bring casual sports fans to golf, well, that, to me, is a claim filled with holes.  Are “sports fans” really even the audience for the Olympics?  Isn’t a high percentage of the audience watching because the Olympics are presented as a kind of Hallmark Movie Channel offering?  “Here’s little Kimmy, her mother drove her 85 miles every morning at 4:00 am to take her to gymnastics practice, and now there’s her mother in the stands, watching Kimmy go for a medal in the Olympics, thousands of miles from that dark and cold of old Highway 52.”

I’m a sports fan, but I hardly watch the Olympics.  All I can remember in the past decade or two is watching is curling.  Why?  Because I watch CNBC (NBC’s financial channel a fair amount, and during the Olympics, NBC uses the channel to show some of the “off” sports.  And isn’t that going to be golf’s fate, to be shown on a secondary or tertiary channel of the NBC family?  Is some theoretical “casual sports fan” going to watch golf on CNBC rather than women’s gymnastics on NBC?  Oh, and by the way, even though I have seen a lot of curling over the past decade, I’ve yet to develop a hankering to play.

I’m sure some will say, Lanny, you are always so negative about everything.  You even criticize the Olympics!  But the thing is, if you are positive about everything, you are positive about nothing.  The focus should be on things like Jordan Spieth going for the Grand Slam.  On the majors.  How about taking this publicity wasted on the Olympics and put it toward restoring the West Coast early year events to prominence?  The Masters are a big deal in golf.  The Olympics are not.

Vagina Watch:  I notice Bailey Mozier wears “cave woman” skirts almost every day.  For some reason, they are cut uneven at the bottom, the cuts slanting from side-to-side.  I guess the purpose is to make the eye notice something out of the ordinary and bring the focus to her vagina — in case the short skirt alone didn’t do it.  The NBC family of networks seems to have full-force gone into this vagina focus.  On CNBC this morning, Michelle Cabruso-Cabrera was filling in for Andrew, and they had a three-person panel discussion shot with Michelle in the middle.  There was no table, just the three of them sitting in chairs and the camera was level with the seats of the chairs.  In other words, it was perfectly placed so people would watch to see if Michelle, sitting with uncrossed legs, might offer a beaver shot.

NBC’s legitimacy is in total freefall.  Their content is so awful they are fighting tooth-and-nail not to lose their final constituency: peeping Toms.

One Last Olympic Golf Thought:  For rank-and-file Americans, is any amount of flag-waving over golf in the Olympics going to undo two decades of nonstop Only Tiger Matters propaganda from the media?  “We were just kidding with our Tiger obsession.  What really golf interesting is an unknown 5-handicap from Malaysia.”

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15 Responses to Wednesday Thoughts

  1. Ken says:

    I’ve never understood this weird appeal that the Olympics has on people. I’m just not into pageantry, the endless “inspiring” human stories, and the over-the-top displays of fake patriotism.

    I’m very much a cynic, I think that 99.9% of the athletes who talk about what an honor it is to “play for their country” are fake. You’re not playing for your country. You’re playing for yourself because you’re an athlete and it’s what you do. And there’s nothing wrong with that. I’m sorry, I don’t believe that there’s any connection between “my country” and some guy running down a track, putting a shot, or driving a golf ball.

    • Sports-realist2 says:

      ………Yeah, the ‘cold war’ made the olympics seem MORE relevant than it really is today…As I recall, the MAIN reason they wanted PRO players was for the basketball, since America wasn’t winning consistently…
      ……..The olympics are ok for certain events, but golf really, really, really sounds uninteresting to me as an olympic event, ESPECIALLy with professional athletes…
      ……..PGA players’ agents will just have $$$$ in their players contracts, IF they play in the Olympics….Thus making it all just another money making event for the PGA players..
      I’m sure the same has been done for the NBA players as well…..All this talk of country and pride are really about the $$$$, so let’s quit pretending the Olympics matter anymore, at least in the same ‘cold war’ context….
      I assumed, back in the day, MOST olympic athletes were NOT paid anything UNTIL they won a gold medal….Then you would see them get money with Wheeties cereal/commericals, tv stuff ect…..Now maybe that is naive how it worked back in the day, but it seemed like it…
      Now the PRO players/agents are rapidly RUINING the Olympics, to have any real meaning of depth, at least for me….

      • lannyh says:

        Yeah, I think our amateurs lost to the Russians in 1972, and people whined, “Yeah, that’s because the Russians are pros, and our pros aren’t allowed to play!” So we lost. Big deal. It was cool as heck for our amateur kids to compete. I think, for me, the tipping point for losing interest in the Olympics was the “Dream Team” of NBA all-stars who ran roughshod over the other participants. What kind of achievement was that? Also, the “Dream Team” seemed to steal all of the oxygen from the REAL events, the ones for which the Olympics truly are the pinnacle.

      • lannyh says:

        Kuch is doing some kind of publicity thing with a couple other golfers, and he just said his main memory of the Olympics from when he was growing up was… wait for it… the Dream Team. He was “captivated” by that. Not Olympics hockey. Not swimming or gymnastics or track and field. No, a bunch of millionaire NBAers overwhelming overmatched foes. Yeah, Matt, that was wonderful.

    • lannyh says:

      They weren’t so bad when the USA and USSR were serious political/military enemies and had approximately the same size populations. There was a real “rivalry” and it was fairly competitive. Also, the participants were all amateurs. I would add, too, that boxing was much bigger back then, and Olympic boxing often introduced the nation to up-and-coming boxers.

      Then came the boycotts, the breakup of the USSR, and the introduction of NBA and NHL players.

      Now we are left with all sizzle and no steak. The vibe, to me, is somewhat similar to something like a Miss America or Miss Universe contest. A faux excitement, intended to attract viewers quite about from the niche of sports.

    • Bird says:

      The best thing about the Olympics is it’s only two weeks, versus Race to Dubai or the FedUp Cup.

  2. Sports-realist2 says:

    …….It would be very cool if Spieth were to win Akron, then the PGA, then the Fed Ex Cup, how the media would react…………
    …….: Would we still here the recent nonsense of :”Well how can Spieth even come remotely close to remotely being in the same zip code as our master and eternal hero, bla, bla, bla”…….

    • lannyh says:

      Yeah, that would be sweet. It would all be over. In a way, it’s already over, what with Jordan winning two major so much younger than Woods.

  3. lannyh says:

    It’s ridiculous for Golf Channel to keep saying the Olympics are the biggest accomplishment in sports. The Masters has come to almost define golf; now we’re to think golfers grow up secretly longing for Olympic gold?

  4. Kris says:

    Your “dirty old man” is showing. Bailey wears skirts like that because she’s freakishly tall and asymmetrical skirts make tall girls look less lanky. The chairs on that set are always filmed like that, and any woman who has ever worn a skirt above the knee knows how to keep from giving a peep show, even without crossing her legs. Get your mind out of the gutter.

    The LPGA players play fantastic golf, but they don’t get as much respect because they’re female, even though it has been improving recently. The Olympics are the best opportunity for female golfers to showcase their talents in front of a global audience, so medaling in the Olympics probably would be the highlight of Kerr’s career.

    • lannyh says:

      Okay, how do you know so much about women’s fashions? I plead total ignorance in that matter.

      About the CNBC set, I’m not buying it. They have not even been in that Manhattan studio for very long. They certainly did not have a Beaver Shot stage at the old studio in New Jersey.

      Christie Kerr is very well-spoken and looks fantastic on television. She looks like an infobabe, and one of the classier ones at that. However, saying the Olympics would be the highlight of her career is heresy. I fully understand her and your point, but, I’m sorry to say, the two of you are wrong.

      • Kris says:

        Being a woman with friends of various body types, you learn a little bit about which styles flatter which figures. I don’t profess to be an expert on CNBC sets, but I do know that other shows have women sitting in tall chairs without tables in front of them and my mind has never gone where yours went. I view both situations as completely non-sexual, but maybe that’s because I’m a woman.

        Christie Kerr is successful and her two majors are huge for her career. However, with the LPGA redefining majors left and right, I can see why she would feel the way she does about the Olympics. I don’t see what her appearance has to do with anything.

      • lannyh says:

        I was just saying she’s telegenic, which was often said of Freddie Couples. It’s just an observation and a comment about potential for a career in television post-golf.

        You need to see the Michelle Caruso-Cabrera video. She was clearly uncomfortable with it. We keep seeing more and more of these “sex sells” touches on the NBC family of networks. I think it cheapens the anchors and shows a lack of focus on content.

    • Bird says:

      My mind is perfectly fine in the gutter, but until they quit just teasing, I refuse to v-hunt.

  5. GolfFan says:

    Suppose I have to agree about golf in The Olympics. Sure I’ll watch but that’s because I tend to watch golf. The fact that it’s The Olympics really makes no difference to me.

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