Sunday Night Wrapup:
This was an incredible golf weekend. I watched almost none of the men’s event, but almost all of the women’s. I think golf is less susceptible to hype than other sports. A good tournament is a good tournament, major or not, hype or not.
Let’s start with the men’s event, which, as I stated, I hardly watched. Nevertheless I scoreboard watched (until Jordan’s comeback petered out) and read a post-tourney wrapup. We got one of those “journeyman makes good” stories that make golf so beautiful. 38-year-old who has never won. In his entire life, he’s played only two majors, a couple of U.S. Opens. Now, he wins, will be exempt for at least another 2-1/2 years, and will be at Augusta next week. It’ll put him in some other majors as well, and he’ll move up in the OWGR and perhaps start making some of the WGC events. A life changing day.
Then the women. A wonderful, bunched leaderboard. Maybe I am wearing 30-year-old rose-colored glasses, but, to me, there is no event on the women’s tour that even comes close to the Dinah Shore. Yes, the pond jump is hokey and scripted, and I fear injury every time they do it. But, above all, this is a WOMEN’S event. It’s not the U.S. Women’s Open or British Women’s Open — just like the men, whee! No, this is a women’s tournament, their Augusta, and it doesn’t take a back seat to any men’s tournament. And yes, I know, the week is sometimes referred to as “lesbian spring break” because of the makeup of some of the gallery, but so what? They support the hell out of the event.
Dinah Shore, Nancy Lopez, even Annika, this event has history. It has meaning beyond TV ad sales and corporate logos and phony-baloney hype. Today’s event had sporting tragedy with Ariya Jutanugarn struggling down the stretch. It was painful to watch. Even though I was rooting for the other three contenders more than her, I felt sick for her and did not root for mistakes. But there was also sporting heroics, with Lydia Ko holing crucial par putt after crucial par putt, then laying up on the final hole, before hitting one to kick-in distance to win by one over Charlie Hull and In Gee Chun.
But I would be remiss if I didn’t praise what was arguably the most critical factor in my enjoyment of the event: the stellar job done by Terry Gannon, Judy Rankin, and the rest of the Golf Channel crew. The best way to describe why it was so great is to describe why it was not awful. We see awful almost every week: too much idiotic talking; too many attempts at humor; too many distracting and useless graphics; too many meaningless statistics; too many on-course reporters; loud-mouth announcers talking too loudly and “energetically” in addition to too much. Today’s broadcast had none of that, and, as a result, was a thing of beauty. If they ran promos or pre-recorded segments today, they were so few and far between that I didn’t even notice; I literally can’t recall a single one. The focus was on the action, on the players, on the course. And on the players actually in contention; there was no obsession over Lexi or Michelle Wie once they fell off the pace. Honest to goodness, it was the kind of sports television that gives me hope for the future.
- First off, why did I list Roberto Castro and In Gee Chun as my two favorite players? Intelligence. Chun scored 138 on an IQ test as a youngster, and Castro is a cerebral guy who once blogged about music and other topics. (Maybe he still does, but allthingsthataregood seems to be gone.)
- Leaderboard! The Dinah Shore leaderboard is pretty much perfect. Lexi Thompson is a damn player. Did you see her weave that shot under the trees? Quail high? More like rabbit high. Lydia Ko. Charley Hull, for crying out loud. Ai Mayazato. Suzann Pettersen. Oh, have you ever heard of Michelle Wie? This leaderboard is so good, it looks fake. By the way, did you see that bender Ai made on the 54th hole? A gutsy birdie putt following Lexi’s eagle.
- I thanked Doug Gottlieb for asking Shipnuck about Galea:
Can’t wait until tomorrow. Then, after the Dinah Shore is completed, it’s… Masters Week!
My two favorite golfers, Roberto Castro and In Gee Chun, are in contention. Castro, unfortunately, will have to play three holes this morning to complete his second round.
We might have a couple of decent tournaments this weekend. I watched quite a bit of last night’s Dinah Shore. Morning coverage starts at Noon Eastern, lasting four full hours. Not bad. Then three hours of Houston, then back to the Dinah for two more hours. That’s nine straight hours of live golf coverage!
Unfortunately, there’s a weather delay in Houston right now with the leaderboard sounding like a law firm: Hoffman, Hoffman, Lovemark, and Brown. Rickie and Jordan off to good starts, but will have to cool their heels a while now. At least they are likely to get their rounds finished today, so no Saturday finish for them (assuming play resumes in a reasonable amount of time).
8:10 pm Update: What a leaderboard! Azahara is probably my favorite player. Charley Hull is another. Always fun to watch Stacey play. Even Wie is in the hunt, as is NYC. Oh, and some player name Ko. Shaping up to be one heck of a tournament.
Evening: Don’t forget the Dinah Shore! Prime time coverage! Terry Gannon on the mic, so it’ll be a good broadcast.
Morning: Well, the strength of field doesn’t look significantly changed from last year, so there was apparently no dramatic shift due to the scheduling of the Match Play.
2014 - 461 2015 - 380 2016 - 397
A great country and western song by a real Texas cowboy, not some phony urban wannabe: