Labor Day Semi Live Blog



“The Fowler is coming, the Fowler is coming!”

— Paul Revere

Under a sunny, late-summer Massachusetts sky, Rickie Fowler served notice to the Big Three.  Fowler, who already owned the second-strongest title of 2015, survived some early breaks, then held serve on the 72nd hole to close out a tenacious Henrik Stenson to win the Deutsche Bank Championship, the second leg of the FedEx Cup Playoffs.

5:33 pm Update

Rickie one up with two to go!

5:00 pm Update

Rickie one back with four holes to go in a two-horse race.

2:15 pm Update

There’s a long way to go, but we could end up with a very interesting two man competition between Stenson and Fowler.

Orange Is The New Cablanasian:  Joseph Bramlett made the PGA Tour and will begin playing this fall.  If you remember him being on Tour in 2011, you were probably as confused as I was when Golf Channel kept insisting he was “the first black player to make it to the Tour via qualifying.”  Talk about a stupidstic.  Bramlett has already been on Tour, but he go there through Q School.  His second time on Tour is, Golf Channel insists, historic because it was via instead of the no-longer-possible Q School route.  Hmmm…  It’s a historic first, even though it’s his second time.  Okay, Golf Channel, if you say so.

Anyway, that was not my reason for bringing up Bramlett.  He was recently being interviewed by Golf Channel and was asked what he thought about being an “inspiration to African American kids.”  He very politely replied that it was nice, but he hoped to be an inspiration to all kinds of people.

You sense Bramlett wants to focus on golf and keep his card and become a Tour fixture.  Golf Channel wants to pigeonhole him as “the black guy who is not Tiger.”  I wish him the best, and he will be a fun story to follow this fall.  I was sorry to see him lose his card that last time.  I hate to use this phrase, but here goes:  I think Bramlett is “good for golf.”  Having a non-freak-show black golfer on Tour would be a good thing for aspiring black golfers.

I think Bramlett (whose mom is white, by the way) will sidestep much of the “symbolism” that accompanied Tiger Woods.  (In fairness to Tiger Woods, I don’t think he was ever really comfortable with that, and he didn’t seem to seek it out.  On the other hand, he sure let Nike run with it.  The funny thing is, Woods was not at all a trailblazer; blacks had been playing and winning on Tour for decades prior to Woods.)  By not being pushed by media as “symbolic,” I think Bramlett has the capacity to be more symbolic.  Woods was always ridiculously portrayed by the media as a sui generis uber golfer.  You know the routine.  “No one else could hit that shot!”  “Other players fear him.”  “He’ll win 30 majors.”  Blah, blah, blah.

Woods was a one-off.  An anomaly. Bramlett, on the other hand, could be a modest, workmanlike golfer who quietly goes about carving out an outstanding career.

Thought Experiment:  Forget the scandals of Tiger Woods; imagine they never happened.  If “boring” Matt Kuchar were black, would he have been better at attracting blacks to the game?  His message: You don’t have to be part of an Nike/IMG circus to carve out a great living as a pro golfer.  You can do it modestly and mostly out of the limelight.  I guess another way to put that would be that if Calvin Peete had had his career concurrent with Woods, Peete would have been a far better role model.  (And, remember, for this thought experiment, we are pretending Woods’s scandals never happened.)

Monday Finish:  I have mixed feelings about this week’s Monday finish.  It makes sense as far as the people attending in person.  And I rather like it as the appetizer to tonight’s Ohio State game.  On the other hand, it throws off the natural timing of a golf tournament.  I didn’t watch much yesterday at all, but I checked the leaderboard last night.  I thought, “Aww, too bad, Rickie almost caught Stenson.  Oh, well, Henrik has been playing well and deserved the win.”  Later, a commenter on here said something about things setting up for a great final round.  Only then did I remember the tournament is not over!

Not My Job!  I’m shocked at how little coverage the Rookie of the Year race has gotten this year.  Berger and Thomas are going deep into the playoffs.  Some others, too.  I don’t think Brooks Koepka is considered a rookie, but I don’t know why.  [Update: apparently last year was his rookie year, even though he didn’t have a card?  If you play seven or more events, even if you don’t have a card, that’s considered your rookie year.  I think…]  Why doesn’t this get discussed on Golf Channel or during telecasts?  (Here’s something online that is useful, if rather confusing.)

Speaking of Lack of Coverage…  I’m still shocked at how rapidly Davis Love III’s becoming the third oldest PGA Tour winner was swept under the rug by the golf media.

Stray Comment, Apropos of Nothing:  I am not a great player.  I was never much more than a good, honest bogey player.  So interpret this as you will:  I don’t think a new ball or new clubs EVER improved my game.  There was no correlation whatsoever.  That said, I do think there was one equipment-related thing that helped: replacing grips.  I was always one of those players who changed his grips once every… never.  But the handful of times I changed grips, I could feel a dramatic improvement and had better results.

Semi Living Wage:  In honor of Labor Day, Lanny H Golf will pay all our employees a living wage for today.

Sonny and Cher, Brad and Angelina, MD and Tiger:  I was watching CNN when I remembered Morning Drive.  I flipped to it and was informed it was Juniors Week.  Not my cup of tea.  I flipped back to CNN.  Then, I laughed and thought, “How long until they talk about Woods as a junior”?  I got distracted and didn’t pay attention, but there was a Woods mention at seven minutes after.  Maybe it was the first, maybe no.  Like Old Faithful, you can count on Morning Drive to mention Woods every few minutes.  I flipped back to CNN.

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13 Responses to Labor Day Semi Live Blog

  1. benchrat says:

    i look forward to the day you could read or talk about a player for ever and not know what his skin color was until you happened to see him or her visually. it’s as if we had been talking about deflategate for 50 years.

    • lannyh says:

      It’s weird. It seems like today is the exact opposite of what Dr. King wished for: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

      There are all kinds of “rules” of what can and cannot be said. Consider Vijay Singh, who is much darker than Woods. He pretty much was covered the same way as some interchangeable white country club kid. Why? Don’t ask me!

      • Sports-realist. says:

        ……..Just another PC story…..Ofcourse the PC crowd are nuts….Ironically Martin Luther Kings jr’s character has rapidly been eroded with his private life revelations by the FBI and friends of King…Even if his message was good, his the ends do not justify the means……..
        ……In fact MLK jr’s coverup by the media is not too dissimilar to Tiger Woods personal life coverup……The media FORCED to ignore who these people REALLY are all in the name of who they want them to be or represent…..
        …….We are told how great it is for the Tiger Woods foundation, even though his REAL life represents one of a DISGUSTING behavior and lifestyle…..Yet he is deemed a HERO by the golf channel and an idol for people to look up too….Even having the media lying about his marriage and his relationships and his children…..

      • lannyh says:

        The ends don’t justify the means? MLK’s peaceful protests were bad?

        Nowadays people riot not for equal rights, but for preferential treatment. I’ll take MLK’s “means” any day.

      • Sports-realist. says:

        ……Well then you could the same thing about Woods then….Sure he’s scumbag, but hey he was a half black golfer, so we should just celebrate that and not worry about anything else he did….Is that what you are saying?….The media’s take on Woods is his private life doesn’t matter, so let’s just focus on his golf…….
        …..They build Eldrick up “a great AMBASSADOR for the game.”…….Is Woods a great ambassador or a fraud? Let’s just talk about what the Tiger Woods foundation represents and how great it is–like the media does……OR we can talk about reality and how a fraud is still a fraud, no matter how you package it……
        …..King was a so-called Reverend, who was a constant adulterer with prostitutes, who stole funds from his own organization, and had ties with the communist party(which is why the Kennedy’s put a wire tap on him through the FBI)……
        …..We bash Woods for being a MORAL degenerate, but somehow protect King for what people WANT him to represent…….Sure peaceful marches are nice, but……

      • lannyh says:

        King helping bring black people equal rights (the end) was not justified by adultery (the means)?

        I’ve never slammed Woods for being an adulterer. I have slammed him for the twisted misogynistic stuff, and I’ve slammed him for selling a false image.

        You could certainly slam King for being a preacher and committing sins of the flesh, but, to me, he’s not a preacher, but a civil rights leader.

        I just don’t see the two as similar. King was a civil rights activist (who cheated on his wife) seeking equal rights for black people.

        Tiger Woods was a guy with twisted, misogynistic weirdo who used his family in commercials and Glamour Shot photos to sell a false image to enrich himself.

        King wasn’t like, “Black people should be treated fairly because I’m such a great guy.” On the other hand, Woods was telling people, “You should admire and cheer for me because I’m such a great guy.”

        I understand your contention, but, to me, King was selling not himself, but rather the cause of fair treatment for all people. Woods was selling himself.

        And, of course, I’m leaving out all of the Woods/Galea stuff.

  2. Sports-realist. says:

    Until Stenson proves he can show up in the final round, you have to like Rickie Fowler, granted someone usually shoots a 64 in the final round, so anyone around 9 under still has a shot….

  3. JoseyWales says:

    Lanny…why no mention of the vulgar heckling of Stenson by the unruly Boston fans?

    • lannyh says:

      There were gaps in my viewing, so I must have missed the worst of it. There was one point where I thought they cheered Stenson’s ball rolling off the green, but that was the only time I personally saw it, so I wasn’t aware of the extent. If you want to write something up and post it here, I’ll gladly cut and paste it into tommorrow’s Thoughts. If you do that, tell me if you want me to credit your handle or just “a commenter” (which is what I normally do).

  4. TigerFan says:

    IDK, seems like both Rickie and Jason, and Rory some too, have all been seen as a little more chummy with Tiger over the last year. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that all of them, besides Tiger, are playing great, high level, golf right now.

  5. benchrat says:

    seems to me, if there are many rifts or petty jealousies between greats/goods of different gens, they don’t air their laundry in public for the most part. i kinda like it that way. keeps things civil. besides, why give modern media a chance to tear all of you apart. so they all just kinda say nice things about each other. i’m not going to ask them to change that.

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