Tuesday Thoughts

[I inadvertently deleted the “Wee Hours” section, when I added “Brunch,” so here it is again…]

In the wee hours…

Facebook Commenters at CBS (and elsewhere):  Is there anything more inane than comments from Facebook people?  They sound like the classmates who signed your high school yearbook:

  • “We are pulling for you”
  • “You are a class act”
  • “Good to see you playing well”
  • “Go!  You can do it!”
  • “Be true to yourself”

After reading a few, I start expecting to see:

  • “Stay cool!”
  • “Good luck in the future”
  • “You made math class bearable”
  • “I’ll never forget Ole Lady Smith’s biology lab!”
  • “Don’t become a stranger”

Tiger Woods, Needle Mover?  The traffic to this website last week — with Tiger Woods in contention from day one, his most competitive tournament of the year — was surprisingly light.  It was the lowest in six weeks, and only topped three of the past twelve weeks.

Bryson DeChambeau:  This is the guy who just won the U.S. Amateur.  He plays irons that all have the same length shaft. I believe that would have helped me.  The only one of them I have anything approaching confidence in iss my 7-iron.  I would like to play a few rounds with them all that length.

I came up with an idea for a poll question you’ll never see from any of the Tigerstream Golf Media:  Who will win more PGA Tour tournaments in the next three years, Bryson DeChambeau or Tiger Woods?

Grace vs Sneds:  I have not outright pulled against Brandt Snedeker this year, but I certainly have pulled for the Euro Seven to outperform him.  This week, I was able to pull for Snedeker with no reservations.  The only Euro Sevener in the field was Branden Grace, and it was a new course for him, and he had outperformed Sneds by so much in the majors that this week wasn’t going to matter much.  So I hopped on the Snedeker bandwagon after that second-round 61.  You probably know the ending:  On an easy course, Sneds shoots a Sunday +5.  Winds up topping Grace by a single stroke.

Brunch…

I’m not dumping on Justin Leonard. I remember following him around at tournaments when he was the young hotshot Texas player with galleries shouting, “Hook ’em, Horns!” But those days are two decades behind us.

In 1997, Leonard won the British Open and finished T7, T36, and 2nd in the other three majors. (Who did he lose to that year in the PGA? Davis Love III.) In 1998, he climbed to OWGR #6.

Today he is OWGR #494. Now, ask yourself, do you think if Justin Leonard got his mind right, or got a new swing coach, or made changes in his personal life, that he would regain his form of the late 90’s? Do you think the golf media should cover Leonard’s every move, show his every shot on television, celebrate every birdie with “Justin’s back!”, put out headline news stories when Leonard enters the Bumfrack Open?

This year, Leonard has played 19 events, missing the cut 12 times. Three of his seven made cuts came in the Wyndham, Quicken Loans, and Greenbrier.

Do those tournaments sound familiar? They are three minor tournaments with weak fields. In fact, if you toss out the alternate-field events, they account for three of the six weakest fields of the entire year.  Here’s why they sound familiar to you: they also account for three of Tiger Woods’s seven made cuts this year, just as with Justin Leonard.

Why do I bring this up? Because I kept seeing Justin Leonard’s name on the same leaderboards whenever the media proclaims, “Tiger is in the hunt!”

So, yeah, Woods was in the hunt, but so too has been Justin Leonard, a man whose prime is also twenty years behind him. Think about this: Davis Love III, Tiger Woods, and Justin Leonard all won a major in 1997. How about lately? They have now missed five, three, and two consecutive cuts in majors, respectively. Contrast: They all finished in the top fifteen at the just-played Wyndham.

Gary Williams complained about people referring to the lesser tournaments as having “weak fields.” He said that term was a “euphemism,” whatever the hell he meant by that. (Would he prefer people to call them “shitty tournaments filled with a bunch of has-been and never-was players”? What exactly is “weak field” a euphemism for that troubles him so much?)

Yes, “weak field” is relative, and anyone in the Wyndham could win your local club championship, but is Williams truly in denial about the differing strengths of various tournaments? Was Jason Day’s win of the 219-point Canadian Open really on the same level as his win of the 902-point PGA Championship?

Let’s do a side-by-side of those three 1997 major winners:

            Woods  Leonard  Love

Wyndham      T10     T15      1
Quicken      T18     T52     DNP
Greenbrier   T32     T37     T54

Fact: Woods, Leonard, and Love all played about the same this year. On one hand, Leonard and Love were covered like guys who were scraping by; Woods, on the other hand, was covered like he was Jordan Spieth or Rory McIlory.

Why were we told it was “win or go home” only for Woods (he went in at FedEx #187), and not for Justin Leonard (#191) and DL III (#186) and the scores of other players in the same predicament?

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37 Responses to Tuesday Thoughts

  1. JoseyWales says:

    Shackle with more Tiger wallow:

    “Last Tiger Poll For 6 Weeks: Good Finish To An Awful 2015?:”

    They just can’t resist feeding the cattle

    • lannyh says:

      The weirdest thing to me is that, with Woods, unlike all the other sports obsessions, it can only be happy talk.

      With Brady, Favre, and the rest, there is more negative sports media coverage than positive. With Lance Armstrong, when the story changed, so too did the sports media’s opinion. With Woods, no matter what he does, he’s still Mr. Wonderful, and you will never hear two sides of the story.

    • lannyh says:

      Shack, with his background of opposition to distance equipment should be front-and-center about Woods’s 2000 year being tainted. But goes along with “dominant 2000 Tiger” with the rest of the Tigerstream golf media.

      • JoseyWales says:

        Shack is a card carrying member of Golf Channel and Golf Digest…he sold out to the mainstream a long time ago…

    • lannyh says:

      A journeyman is a guy who spends most of his days on web.com and who fights like hell to make the top 125 when he makes the Tour. His claim to fame is a T4 in the Phoenix Open one year. I think winning even a single tournament takes away the journeyman label, though I’m sure there are some cases where that it would still be appropriate. Justin Leonard was the farthest thing from a journeyman. He spent ten consecutive years in the top 64 and five of those in the top 30.

  2. Bird says:

    Just a thought about Justin Leonard’s game. In the quest for more distance, maybe his short game suffered. Too, he’s in a holding pattern for the Champions Tour. A good journeyman career with a major, and good chances at more. I think he’ll do well with the old boys.

    • lannyh says:

      Don’t you think getting to World #6 is a bit more than “journeyman”? Twelve PGA Tour wins, one of them a major. Won NCAA’s, then went straight to PGA Tour, making enough via exemptions to bypass Q School. Twenty straight years on the PGA Tour. That’s not “journeyman.” (Fred Couples is a Hall of Famer with 15 PGA wins and one major.)

      • Bird says:

        No win for seven years, and nothing big since ’98. Texas Opens, St. Judes, and Bob Hope, etc. don’t do much for me. Though granted, it’s probably enough to get him into the increasingly lame HOF.

  3. Ken says:

    Good comparison Lanny. Love to see a graphic like that on GC.

    They’re asking Jordan questions about his lifelong Cowboy fandom. Who the hell cares? Friggin’ media.

    Leonard was no journeyman. He was a premier player for a good stretch. Elite? Maybe just briefly. But darn good. Jerry Kelly is a journeyman. Good player, keeps his card even at 48, couple of wins thrown in.

    • Ken says:

      I think Ken Duke may be the quintessential journeyman. Makes a living, not much more. Sometimes struggled to stay on tour. Finally eeked out a win last year at 44.

    • lannyh says:

      I’ve notice Kyle Porter at CBS will put up inane, boring articles about Jordan Spieth, then something provocative about Woods. People start commenting on the provocative one, of course, which snowballs into more comments/views, so Kyle tells himself, “See, Woods gets the attention.”

      By the way,

      • Ken says:

        Porter did a pretty honest assessment of Woods. He said that Wyndham is what to expect. Good play, decent finishes sometimes, missed cuts, and maybe some wins. No dominance and no majors. I was surprised he wrote the last bit.

      • lannyh says:

        Does the Tigerstream media not see the irony when they write, “Tiger Woods was in a ‘win or go home’ situation at they Wyndham, which was won by Davis Love III.” (who was also in a “win or go home” situation…) In no other sport do we see such nonsense.

      • lannyh says:

        There’s no doubt he brings in TV watchers, but that’s been his only contribution to golf. I’m going to write something tomorrow about how Trump’s ratings are high, too (4x Woods), but that doesn’t mean Trump and Woods should be praised and admired. (Does it?)

  4. Sports-realist. says:

    …..Ratings are irrelevant, this isn’t a ‘Miss America’ Pageant….
    …..After this year, it would no longer surprise me if Woods is DONE winning any real PGA event…
    …..In 4 of the last 6 seasons he has zero wins….He is going to be 40 in November, and with his ‘injury-itus’, whether it be real or fake, he does seem FRAGILE…
    ….The media is COMPLETELY ignoring the ‘age’ thing, and how it DOES matter in professional sports…..

    • Bird says:

      Better make that unrealist. Ratings aren’t irrelevant. You just don’t like Tiger Woods. Eventually, his lack of performance and the public’s disinterest in an old man train wreck will “make things right”. Until then, complain away to no avail.

      • lannyh says:

        I disagree. He’s right that ratings are irrelevant to golf fans. If ratings were important, we’d watch Two Broke Girls and the reality shows on television instead of golf.

        People brag of Woods playing and the tourney gets a 3.9, but that’s far short of the majors — where Woods missed three cuts. And, as I’ll write tomorrow, Donald Trump got FOUR TIMES 3.9 ratings (16.0) for his debate. Should that sway voters or something?

      • Sports-realist. says:

        ……Better make that un-bird….yeah that’s right…..But ‘ratings’ don’t help folks make putts or drive it well….Joe Citizen doesn’t make a dime whether ‘fair weather’ fans watch or not, so YES, ratings are irrelevant in adding quality to the sport…
        ……By the way, I’d tell you who those FAIR WEATHER fans are, but you’d think I’m racist..lol……

      • lannyh says:

        I think you could say that the lower the ratings, the better the broadcast. They don’t bend over backward to mention Woods every 90 seconds for fear the “casual” fans change channels.

  5. TruthTeller says:

    Yeah, lower ratings equals better broadcasts equals fewer eyeballs and in the broadcast world…that ain’t good. Broadcasters feed the public and the public as a whole still loves Tiger.

    Now, I said, I think it was last year, it’ll be at least a couple years of this type of Tiger performance for the media to move on. To me 2016 is the tipping point. He plays 2016 like he did this year? Boom, transition in 2017. If he wins, or at least seriously contends in several events, then we see the continued Tiger love fest.

    Likely, the media didn’t harp on the “win or go home” montra for DLIII because…”nobody” cares. Similar situation for Justin.

    • lannyh says:

      Polling shows the public most decisively does NOT “love Tiger.” I’d said about a thousand times, having Fuse and Science and MusclePharm as your bag sponsor is a pretty good hint, you’ve hit rock bottom with the public.

      There may be a lot of racists — both black and white — who watch who normally wouldn’t, but the sport will be better off when all of them are gone.

      • TruthTeller says:

        The business world doesn’t want to hitch their wagon to a person that has the off the course reputation that he has, which is why he has such lame sponsors. But there is no question there is a lot more interest in an event if Tiger is involved.

      • lannyh says:

        Well, the one part of the Woods mythos that is actually true is that he brings more TV watchers. But, like everything else, that’s been exaggerated, too.

        Like Woods missed three consecutive major cuts in a row. Those events had great ratings. The Wyndham had a freaking 3.9, which is not all that hot. It would have been, what… 2.6 without Woods? But what would it have been without Woods, but WITH Jordan? And if you credit Woods with 1.3 ratings points, that’s good and all, but it ain’t mind-blowing.

        I have put up charts showing ratings at Torrey Pines for Woods and the trend was down, down, down after 2000.

        I’ll look for that link, and also the one about the Pebble Beach Pro-Am in 1975. Which was a pretty staggering number. I think the only majors with Woods that were higher were 97 Masters and 2001 Masters.

    • lannyh says:

      Here’s the Pebble thing: “First, I just read that the Pebble Beach Pro-Am in 1972 drew a 13.1 Nielsen rating. Johnny Miller and Jack Nicklaus were battling it out in that tournament. That’s higher than all but two Masters. Yeah, golf was really struggling and boring before Tiger Woods, wasn’t it?”

      Johnny and Jack got a freaking 13.1. You ain’t gonna hear that on Golf Channel!!

    • lannyh says:

      Here’s the other: https://lannyhgolf.wordpress.com/2015/02/17/countdown-to-rory-only-8-more-waiting-days-left-and-other-tuesday-thoughts-stephanie-wei-ryder-cup-and-more/

      “Note the obvious ratings downtrend at the San Diego Open over the Woods era. The media pretends to believe a 10 percent decline from the 2009 PGA Championship to the 2014 PGA Championship is a sign of the Apocalypse, but ignores that by 2008 Woods was drawing half the viewers he once did.”

    • Sports-realist. says:

      …..The point isn’t about how the media will deal with Eldrick…..I have ZERO faith in today’s RIGGED corporate media….Peter Kostis acts like a school girl going to a rock concert, when he interviews Eldrick….
      …..You do hear Jim Nance make some statements about ‘moving on’, but it’s like he’s preaching to the choir, and no one else is listening yet…..
      …..As Lanny points out, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer were HUGE fan and corporate favorites, not to mention VERY successful golfers, BUT we didn’t see this type of LAME coverage they now do with Eldrick…..
      ….Change? Well the golf channel announcer said that winning the Wyndham would EXCEED what Spieth had accomplished this season…Ian Baker Finch credited Woods for Davis Love’s win, due to his ‘tip’ of telling Davis he should try to win….smh……Yeah, I have ZERO faith in this pathetic media…..

      • lannyh says:

        I’m still bumfuzzled by the comment about Woods winning Wyndham would top Spieth. Someone needs to be fired over that. Who is responsible for the content on that show?

        What kind of message does THAT send to the “casual golf fans”? Oh, Spieth winning majors is not big deal. It’s only Tiger that matters.

  6. Sports-realist. says:

    ……The Fed Ex cup will probably be some great coverage, although I don’t know what Kyle Porter will do for the next month…..I’m sure he’ll keep doing those lame ‘TEXT by Eldrick to other golfers’ articles……

    • lannyh says:

      The funny thing about Porter is he totally knows the score. He knows what he’s doing. He does podcasts with NLU and Shane Ryan (and probably some others from time to time). He has said why he puts up Woods articles, which is that people respond to them. What he didn’t say is that he intentionally trolls, and that he loves that when he says “Big Cat,” he can be sure of getting many comments just to bash him for that. People who leave comments will check back to see if they got a response, which ups the view count. (For example, I left a comment at his playoffs “preview” [a really weak preview…] and I’ve checked back two or three times to look for replies.)

      Another point, though, about Woods “popularity” — it’s a chicken/egg thing. The media won’t discuss any other golf with “goo goo eyes” reporting. Jordan Spieth is accomplishing more than Woods at a younger age, but look at the coverage of Woods in 97 vs Spieth 2015. Is it simply a matter of race? Is Spieth the wrong skin color to be raved about? Is it, “Jordan’s icky, he’s not like progressively diverse and stuff…” I mean, come on, why should golf fans have to suffer for a bunch of BS political agendas.

      • Sports-realist. says:

        …..It’s very easy to tell by now, that Porter would put Woods into a ‘how to make oatmeal cookies’ article for the ‘hits’….
        ….We all know RACE is the big 4 letter word….If Woods were white it would be very interesting how different all this coverage would be……but yes it would be different…..We’ve already had hints with the coverage of Spieth or Rory, and how they ignore them at times, how differently they choose to do it….

  7. Newbie says:

    Admittedly, ratings are not something I’m all that interested in or pay attention to that much. So, when it comes to ratings, what counts? TV viewing? Online Streaming? Twitter feeds? Facebook pages? All the above? It feels like, to me, the increasing avenues of coverage may have artificially lowered the “ratings” but I don’t know.

    • Bird says:

      TV ratings are generally very low for golf, especially when comparing to decades before, when there were 500 fewer channels.

      And ratings get even lower when pro and college football seasons begin. But it’s Golf’s Cup Season–FedUp, Solheim, President’s! ha ha Forgetaboutit.

  8. benchrat says:

    i don’t particularly like the politically correct trend that’s out of control, but in today’s media environment, how is something like considered ok??

    from Alan Shipnuck ‘heroes and zeros at golf.com…

    Zeros
    1. Brian Stuard. The journeyman missed the cut at the Wyndham and fell to 127th in the FedEx Cup standings and thus out of the “playoffs.” At least the poor BASTARD at 126th, Will Mackenzie, can say he was too hurt to tee it up in Carolina.

    • lannyh says:

      Haha, that is indeed rather odd. Mackenzie is an interesting guy; maybe Shipnuck and Mackenzie are buddies, so he felt okay to write that. But why use coarse language when so unnecessary? Maybe he sees “poor bastard” as fine.

      But, yeah, with the PC Gone Wild environment we have nowadays, “bastard” is seldom used.

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