Wednesday Thoughts

4:25 pm Update:  Jordan Spieth just mentioned Emiliano Grillo as a player who traveled the national junior circuit along with he and Justin Thomas and Daniel Berger and the rest when they were all youngsters.  Did not know they had that connection!

2:55 pm Update:  Credit Where Due

People love giving Kyle Porter a hard time for not doing enough original reporting.  Well, he just published an exclusive interview with Rickie Fowler from Whistling Straits, so stop complaining, and go read it!

11:10 am Update  The strongest OWGR event so far this year was the Players at 850.  This event is looking to come in at 910.

10:55 am Update  Tiger Woods is on the driving range.  Golf Channel has a split screen.  Both windows have Tiger Woods.  Two simultaneous camera angles of Woods on the driving range… Yay!!!  Great job, Golf Channel.  He’s so relevant and everything.

Spieth signing autographs for a few kids handing things to him below a fence/barrier.  Funny.

When the golf media says, “These young players aren’t afraid of Tiger Woods,” the message is, “In the past, players were afraid of Tiger Woods.”  Does anyone really buy that?  Woods was a tough competitor, and players knew that, but was it “fear”?

French Revolution:  More than anything, the Euro Tour protecting the French Opening at the expense of the WGC-Firestone shows how idiotic golf in the Olympics is — WHEN IT INVOLVES PRO PLAYERS.  Let the amateurs have the Olympics.

More and more I think the idea of golf in the Olympics was a failed plan for Nike and Golf Channel/NBC to have a Tiger Woods circle jerk at the Olympics.  I really do.  I’m a fairly major golf fan, and I have no interest whatsoever in watching golf at the Olympics.  Are “casual golf fans” Joe and Jane going to go ga-ga over a sport they don’t care about just because it’s in the Olympics?  The equestrian events say, “Good luck with that.”  If the purpose is to “grow the sport” in other countries, then go with amateurs and leave the pros alone.

Professional golfers playing in the Olympics is just as “compelling” to me as the Tavistock Cup was.

Tiger Pan:  I turned on Golf Channel this morning and found a replay of a Live From the PGA Championship I had not seen.  David Duval was there; I wish they’d replace the entire Morning Drive crew with Duval, Chamblee, Nobilo, and Lerner.  Anyway, Nobilo was going through a paint-by-numbers Tiger Woods apologia.  Lee Westwood rose to number one from even further back, blah blah blah.  He then said something like, “And once the fans return and start supporting him again, he’s really going to get it going.”  I immediately thought of Peter Pan where the audience is asked to clap their hands to keep Peter Pan alive.

Lerner threw some cold water on the idea by pointing out that fans have already moved on to guys like Spieth, Fowler, and Rory.

When Morning Drive came on, Chris DiMarco, within the first minute or two of the show starts his commentary by mentioning Woods ahead of anyone else.  Of course, Woods gave a shoutout to DiMarco yesterday during his press conference.  You scratch my back, I’ll scratch your back…

Lahiri!  So Anirban Lahiri won the long drive contest.  I didn’t see Brandt Snedeker’s name anywhere on the leaderboard.

Dinosaur vs Sea Monster (commercials): I’m sick of the guy acting like a dinosaur when he can’t get a tee time; there is something grotesque about those commercials, not to mention the annoying loudness of the dinosaur sounds.  On the other hand, I find the commercial with the sea monster grabbing the golfer quite amusing.  Of course, I’ve only seen it once.

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66 Responses to Wednesday Thoughts

  1. JoeM says:

    Just turned on the Golf Channel……We have the entire Tiger fan club on today. Begay, DiMarco, Cook, Rolfing….etc…….Cook what a loser, rah rah Tiger……hard to watch….changed the channel quickly

    • lannyh says:

      Yeah, I got a kick out of DiMarco. Now, they are doing “state your case for Tiger Woods.” If they would allow jokes and negative comments about Woods, their obsession might be amusing.

      I think Nike must be paying them, perhaps “indirectly.” Sort of like the Greenbrier’s non-appearance-fee appearance fees.

      • JoeM says:

        When did Nobilo jump on the Tiger bandwagon….He use to seem neutral but no longer is…….Lanny, who do you think does a fair job of covering Tiger without all the rah rah rah Tiger is king?

      • lannyh says:

        In defense of Nobilo, at least he publicized the Rock Ishii ball this past January.

        I cover Woods with even-handed objectivity, of course, but I suppose you mean someone other than me. I would point out Mr. Elling; his fearless attitude goes back at least to Pond Scrum. I should also mention Shane Ryan, whose recent piece about Woods never coming back is worth reading multiple times.

        No one seems to be willing to bust certain of the myths. Like the “Tiger brought the money to golf.” The only ones who research and report on that are “unknowns.” I mean, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know ALL sports money went up, but in golf, for some reason, this is all supposed to be attributable to Woods.

        A big problem even with the ones who are unafraid to point out the negative about Woods is that they’ll often turn around and write a rah rah article pushing every one of the talking point buttons. “We all marveled at how every putt he needed fell, how he hit shots no one else could, how he enriched every golfer, how he… blah blah blah.” That, to me, undoes the accurate, reality-based reporting they may have done. Still, there are a LOT of guys who make a living writing about golf who will never say ANYTHING negative about Woods. They are the ones who write that if a camera was on any player on the Tour, they would catch him cursing. Jordan Spieth has pretty much destroyed that line of BS.

      • WordSmith says:

        That’s something that has always bothered me for some reason. “Son of gun”, “Gosh Darn it”, “Dag Gum”……all meant to communicate frustration and, to an extent, anger with a golf shot (among other things). But those are okay. “Son of a bitch”, “Fuck”, “Dammit”, “shit”…..totally unacceptable. They’re all words that communicate the same sentiment. What’s the problem? Some of them are labeled “bad words”. It’s like, “who decided those were bad words?”

      • lannyh says:

        I don’t find that odd at all. Proper behavior is a marker that a person understands the rules of society, or a rung of society. In prison, those words are fine; in a presidential inaugural speech, not so much.

        Would you transfer your tolerance for individual words to topics as well? Racial epithets? How about Reed calling himself a “fag”?

  2. EuroSeventeen says:

    What did Anirban win for his first place finish in the long drive contest?

  3. JoseWales says:

    Here’s the kind of golf journalism we all need more of…”Tiger Thinking Long Term…”
    blah, blah, blah…by Geoff Shackleford

  4. Sports-realist2 says:

    …..The OBVIOUS reality is that the so-called MEDIA is NOT allowed to talk REAL or NEGATIVE about Woods….Ok so why? A combination of Steinberg’s CONNECTIONS with Nike’s CONNECTIONS keep this ‘fairy tale’ going—-for now….
    …..Not only that, but the FORMER PGA golfers on the CULT channel(formerly known as golf channel) MOSTLY have NO pride or respect for themselves….These former PGA golfers play the FOOL, and read the ‘kiss up to eldrick’ teleprompter….I mean seriously, they should be ashamed of themselves, as they are former PGA golfers, but act like media cowards—it’s VERY pathetic…..
    …..HOW in the world does a former PGA golfer/millionaire decide “Hey, I want to work for a channel who focuses on ONE golfer, and I’m expected to CONSTANTLY kiss up and talk about him?”…………..WHY? WHY? Why would a former PGA golfer/millionaire want to do this?????????

    • lannyh says:

      “These former PGA golfers play the FOOL, and read the ‘kiss up to eldrick’ teleprompter”

      Here is something sad: It’s not just FORMER players. Many currently on Tour spit out the Oh-Tiger-Made-Money-Go-Up fairytale. An example: Jim Furyk is no dummy; he knows better (and has no ties to Nike that I know of), but I heard him say that just a week or two ago.

    • Bird says:

      Money and Orlando escorts?

  5. JoseWales says:

    “WHY? WHY? Why would a former PGA golfer/millionaire want to do this?????????”
    The answer is very simple…they need their jobs and they need the money…they will suck up in order to stay employed. As usual in golf, it’s all about the money.

    • lannyh says:

      The money, but also a chance to stay in the public eye.

      • Sports-realist2 says:

        Dimarco made $24 MILLION in his PGA career…David Duval made around $19 million PLUS endorsements…..The TRIVIAL amount of money paid by the golf channel wouldn’t attract MOST former PGA golfers….
        ……Staying in the public eye OR giving them SOMETHING to do is a more likely scenario…..But still, you could do podcasts or youtube or something, which would get you as much or MORE attention, than the golf channel, who as we know doesn’t get good ratings…..
        …….I realize CUTTING THE AMBILICAL CORD can be a tough thing to do for former players….They want to SOMEHOW be apart of things, even in a small way….Over time though, it’s a rather hollow connection, especially when you are just a ‘yes man’ for the network……

  6. Sports-realist2 says:

    Now Brandel Chamblee made $2.9 million, Frank Nobillo made $2.8 million, and Charlie Rymer ONLY made $383 THOUSAND in their PGA tour careers, may still need the money…..Oh and COMBINED they had a total of 2 PGA wins……

    • Sports-realist2 says:

      Chamblee’s only win was the Greater Vancouver Open(not to be confused by the LESSER Vancouver Open), which the field consisted of about 2 players you recognize….Nobilo won what is now called the Wyndam(formerly called the Greater Greensboro Chrysler Classic)….
      Point is JOURNEYMAN golfers like these would probably need the work….

      • Bird says:

        GC pays peanuts to its performing _______. It’s the residual work that can come from constant GC on-air appearances. Isn’t Bran-del Mr.Arizona Chamber of Commerce?

    • DanishDude says:

      Frank Nobilo also had quite a successful European Tour career.

  7. Sports-realist2 says:

    …….Lanny, are they talking about how Woods has a chance to get THREE STRAIGHT MAJOR…um, uh, MISSED CUTS!!!!!! in a row???????? Have they mentioned that tid-bit, or is it all flowers and sunshine……
    …….So they build him up through the week, show multi camera angles, spend hourse discussing a fading player, then when he misses the cut, it’s BACK to start talking about his POOR children……
    …….Eventually, Eldrick’s part time children will be shown on a commercial, similar to those showing beat up dogs, with an “I will remember you” song in the background…..That way, we will REALLY then understand how tough it is being a part-time dad and a golfer at the same time….I’m tearing up just thinking about it….

  8. Ken says:

    I’d love to see a player qualify for the Olympics and decline, saying that golf has far more important events that he would rather focus on.

  9. Ken says:

    A split screen with Woods in both halves sums up the Gold Channel better than anything.

    Next they should do a Brady Buch-style screen with Woods in all nine boxes.

  10. Sports-realist2 says:

    Since I haven’t looked, what is Mcllroy saying? Does he consider himself healthy? Will we get the “OH I THINK HE LIMPED THERE PETER!!” announcing all day long…

  11. Ace says:

    There really must be something Golf Channel knows that the rest of us don’t. I think Morning Drive is the worst sports program on television. The set looks cheap and the on-air talent is beyond bad. I honestly had never heard of Gary Williams until this show came along and I can now understand why. They drone on and on about Woods asking each other “can he contend this week”? He could not contend in a tour event right now and they all know it. I find myself almost embarrassed for them sometimes the show is so 3rd-rate rinky dink.

    • Sports-realist2 says:

      …..Yeah the group reminds you of a bad school play….They need a major overhaul…Remember NBC ran CNBC into the ground by not changing their programming, so don’t expect them to change…

    • Kris says:

      The thing about Gary Williams is he was a successful sports radio host for a decade before Golf Channel hired him for Morning Drive. It started out as a “Mike and Mike” style radio show, and Gary Williams and Erik Kuselias were great foils. It was often playful, they said what they believed and there were golfers co-hosting, visiting and calling in constantly. Gary kept order, and asked probing questions that sparked unexpectedly good discussions. I miss that.

      There would be peep-ins during commercial breaks and people would be ribbing each other or singing to the music that was playing. Todd Lewis rocked out to Michael McDonald. Tim Rosaforte played la bamba and house of the rising sun on guitar skyping from his house. Annika Sorenstam and Trevor Immelman discussed the origins of swedish fish candy. Erik Kuselias ranted about “hugs not drugs” after Rory and Sergio hugged at the Masters in 2012. I also miss that.

      Golf Channel was a quickly growing network because of shows like the old morning drive and the 19th hole and on the range. I miss shows like Our Longest Drive and Chasing the Dream. Feherty is a waste of time because he never asks hard questions. Playing lessons with the pros and the instructional shows are alright, but they can be repetitive. Inside the PGA Tour is the last decent show on the network and that’s because it’s produced by PGA Tour Productions, not golf channel. Their programming has become drivel, unless Frank or Brandel decide to threaten their positions by going rogue. I don’t get it.

      • lannyh says:

        Great summation, Kris. I feel like any “edge” Morning Drive left with Eric Kuselias. I remember Kuselias saying years ago, “I think Rory is ALREADY better than Woods.” And he said it in such a way as I interpreted it as, “We spend all this time discussing Woods when we should be discussing Rory.

      • Ken says:

        Feherty has had some great interviews. Most of them were with guys like Trevino, Watson, Norman, Floyd. Guys for whom there really aren’t a lot of tough questions since they aren’t current players. The Ventury interview was outstanding. The show with Nicklaus was disappointing, but with Jack an hour isn’t close to enough and you’ve heard most of it before.

        I enjoy his show but I supose there have been some guests that he could have been tough on. But really, what tough questions do you ask Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson, or Brandt Snedeker. They aren’t controversial figures. I’d like to see Woods or Mickelson grilled, but even if they ever do the show, it would be with preconditions.

      • lannyh says:

        I would probably like Feherty’s show if I watched it, but I just can’t gin up the energy to devote an hour to it. I get my fill of “what a swell guy” interviews pretty quickly.

      • Ken says:

        They are largely “swell guy” pieces, but a lot of his subjects turn out to be more interesting than I’d have guessed. Not all are golf figures. Bill Russell, Rudy Giuliani, and even John Boehner were all pretty interesting. Tim Finchem was dry as dust.

        The one with Tom Watson, who along with Nicklaus intervened and got Feherty to realize that he needed help was outstanding. Some of the Euro players have been really good interviews, like Garcia, Clarke, and Torrance.

      • lannyh says:

        I’ve always found the Euro players to be more open and willing to express their opinions.

      • Bird says:

        Can we say Feherty is a Texas Republican suckass?

      • Ken says:

        Feherty’s political opinions are pretty diverse. Socially very libertarian. Economically conservative. Strong supporter of military causes for wounded veterans.

    • lannyh says:

      ” I find myself almost embarrassed for them sometimes the show is so 3rd-rate rinky dink.”

      Me, too. And I think they COULD have a good, lively show if they’d stop being afraid to disagree, and stop handling Woods with kid gloves. People are into Brady Deflategate because the media isn’t afraid to present people saying, “Hell, yeah, he knew about it! How could he not!” If they handled it like the golf media, all of them would just repeat what Brady’s agent said, and call everyone else a conspiracy theory kook.

  12. Ace says:

    Does anyone know who the target audience is for Morning Drive? I’m a big fan of golf and find myself watching reruns of The Rifleman in the mornings while eating breakfast. Is Matt Ginella still doing his travel segments? Beyond awful.

    • lannyh says:

      Ginella is pretty good at those travel segments, but he does too many of them. Pretty clearly they are ads for the courses. Also, while he’s good at it, they don’t appeal to me. I already know the golf destinations I want to go to. (Murrieta Driving Range, etc.)

      I’ve been thinking about their target audience a lot lately, and it seems to me they could get 60,000 from people who work in the industry and follow just to hear any breaking golf news.

  13. Ken says:

    I can’t stand Porter. Check out his “Who to Root For at the PGA” column. #3 is Woods. He writes as though he’s speaking for everyone about how we’d all be back on board with “Big Cat” if he’s in a final pairing on Sunday. Speak for yourself you toady.

    • lannyh says:

      I’m coming up with a list of things to avoid for golf writers. That “we” stuff is one of them.

      But, as for Porter, I think he does that stuff by a CBS formula. The new guy, Robby Kallard, is writing precisely the way Porter does. As if they have a boilerplate form for articles. With lots of “awesomes” and “rockin’ new kicks.”

  14. TrueGolfFan says:

    Sat down after returning from work to watch some of Live From and something struck me.

    The talking heads, without question, are rooting for Jordan to over take Rory as official #1!

    The conversation was had over the last couple years about Rory as #1 but you had the sense “nobody” really wanted him in that spot.

    Maybe over thinking it but, “Wow! All of the sudden the notion just up and slapped me upside the head.

    • Ken says:

      Thete is a strange undercurrent of anti-Rory sentiment among American media and fans. A lot if fans call him unfounded things like arrogant and punk.

      • lannyh says:

        Agreed, Ken. I’ve never gotten it. They even took Rory’s rather minor losses of temper — the one at Doral almost a performance by a not-that-angry Rory — and tried to paint them as equivalent to Woods’s meltdowns. (Rory did have a couple of really bad ones, though, and I am not defending him for those. I blasted him right here. However, the ones they have gone after him for lately are nothing.)

      • Bird says:

        Red, White & Blue is heatin’ up. Erection year, Ryder Cup year, same thing.

    • lannyh says:

      I think you are right, but they seem, to me, to be rather lacking in enthusiasm. If it were Woods, they’d have Count von Count from Sesame Street on with a white boards showing all the permutations which would allow Woods to assume No. 1. With Spieth, it’s more like they decided in a production meeting, “Yeah, I guess we should play this up.”

      More generally, I think they have always had some reluctance to embrace Rory. I guess because he just trampled over their Woods agenda. He took “parity” (which was always presented as a derogatory word) out of their vocabulary. Spieth on top of Rory smashes it into oblivion.

      • Bird says:

        Urkel’s Lake Michigan ballcount? I say 2, since he’s likely to only play Thurs & Fri.
        Another good sidebet–How many club pros will beat Urkel? 10, I say.

    • Bird says:

      Uhhh, Youngman Spieth us Amarcan. You’re either with us, or agin us.

  15. TrueGolfFan says:

    Kaymer presser. Guy asks about #17 and something like “I think it was a 3 iron”, Kaymer immediately holds up his right hand to indicate it was actually a 5 iron. Then the reporter, some what frazzled, said “Oh, I was thinking of Zach Johnson”. Hilarious!

  16. Bird says:

    Who’s Lahiri?
    IOC is a sordid organization that pro golf’s thugs can deal with. Leave ’em all alone, I say.
    I expect Bible thumper Zachary Johnson and Shutface’s “Big Gay German” Martin Kaymer will stand their ground admirably at Whistlin’ Straits.
    And I expect Youngman Spieth to have good inside info, as he had at Chambers Bay and TOC. Smart boy, him, spending money on intelligence, rather than women and casinos.

  17. TrueGolfFan says:

    Once again, maybe I’m reading too much into it but during the part of the Jordan presser I caught, he seemed quite annoyed by the media and their questions. I don’t blame him but it seemed pretty obvious to me which was a bit surprising.

    • Sports-realist2 says:

      After awhile everyone turns into Bill Bellichick towards the media….MOST of the questions are dumb and pointless, and ‘going through the motion’ questions….
      My dog could give better interviews than most of the golf media(no offense to dogs)….

    • Kris says:

      Jordan isn’t good at hiding his emotions. It’s obvious when his patience with the press is wearing thin. When Todd Lewis was interviewing Jordan after he won the Masters, they had to cut away from the sour expression on his face when Todd compared him to Tiger. In one presser someone noticed Jordan was handling himself well in spite of being irritated and they said “you’ve had media training haven’t you?” and he smiled and said something like “yeah, a little bit”.

      • lannyh says:

        Oh, maybe they want people to fork out money for stream coverage? Speaking of which, does the stream coverage cost this week? This is PGA, not PGA Tour. Let me check…

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