High quality article from Jason Sobel at ESPN. It’s very rare to find a golf article with information I haven’t heard countless times before. Good stuff. I would just say that I’m not quite as high on Harris English as Sobel is; that said, the next couple of years will be important for Harris; will he keep improving and become one of the elite players, or has he plateaued? (Nothing wrong with plateauing as a PGA Tour regular, by the way. But there’s a big difference between the Fore Horsemen and, say, Hunter Mahan.)
Another player mentioned by Sobel is Justin Thomas. I like the fact that he’s a smallish guy who hits it a mile, too, but he’s yet to put together four solid rounds when he was in real contention. Now, realize Thomas is a great player, but that said, there are clearly tiers of “great” on the PGA Tour. You have the perennial favorites on the majors betting lists (the Fore Horsemen); then you have guys who are never in any danger of losing their card (Kuchar, Mahan); then guys who are ever-aware they need to retain their Tour card for the next season (Jhonny Vegas, Billy Hurley III). If you number those tiers 1, 2, and 3, it seems like golf reporters are fighting each other to label Thomas a 1-1/4 player when, in my view, he’s playing more like a 2-1/4 player. He’s in danger of becoming a little bit like Rickie: more hype than results. Like I said, I like Thomas, too, but Daniel Berger played better, won Rookie of the Year, and got less publicity than Thomas. (Other than the week Berger lost to Paddy in the playoff.) We hear Justin Thomas is a top ten machine, and while he had six of them to Berger’s four, his top finish was 4th. Berger had two seonds, one of them a playoff loss. Again, I am not slamming Justin Thomas, just saying not to let the hype outrun and overwhelm the results. I watched Justin Thomas a lot this past year, and the One Bad Round cost him from being a Sunday back-nine competitor quite a number of times.
The new (well, a few months now) format at ESPN is annoying, but it did lead me into reading the Harig article below Sobel’s. It was a darn good article, too, for the most part, but Harig couldn’t resist a section of Woods (and Mickelson) shilling. It’s so obvious, it’s embarrassing. His theme was that since Woods texted someone a message in 2008, it showed how much Woods cared about the Ryder Cup (or Presidents Cup, I forget). I mean, come on: (1) Harig is obviously carrying the water for Woods by challenging Chamblee’s recent comments, and (2) Texting during one of the Cups shows interest? Hells bells, imagine the response if Rory had texted Wozniacki to break up? Texting ranks below a telephone call on the Care Meter. Harig on Rory? “He cared sooooo much that not only did he text her, but he called!!!” Woods has a private jet; he could easily fly to these events just to cheer; maybe then Harig would have something to write about.
With the old golf season just ended and a new one about to begin, it’s time to announce this year’s Lanny Award winners:
First Runner-Up goes to Damon Hack, for letting the golf world know that Tiger Woods winning the Wyndham would be the biggest story of the year. Spieth winning two majors at age 21, no. Woods winning the mighty Wyndham, that would have been your story of the year.
Damon Hack, you are a journalist!
The Winner is Kelly Tilghman for her great investigative reporting whereby the world learned that the 6′ 1″, 185 lb. Jordan Spieth is smaller than the 6′ 1″, 185 lb. Tiger Woods. We wrote about it in, “Who are you going to believe, Golf Channel or your lying eyes?” and in “Kelly Tilghman has lost all touch with reality, must be fired — NOW!“. Let’s let Kelly speak for herself. She said, to Jordan, her exact words: “You’re starting to draw comparisons to the man who hosts this golf tournament [Woods’s Hero Challenge]. Not so much in stature, some have said, you know, you don’t bring the physical presence of a Tiger Woods, a tall, strong, and powerful figure.” By the way, when Woods was Spieth’s age, he weighed a whopping 158 lbs.
Kelly Tilghman, you are a journalist!
Honorable Mentions: Brandel Chamblee for his out-the-ass “fact” that Woods won 90 percent of his Match Play matches; the reporter who mocked Jordan Spieth at the conclusion of a press conference by saying, “Jesus… coming home.“