♦◊♦◊♦ “Mastering Sidehill Lies” — I have watched maybe ten minutes in total of Golf Channel’s non-live coverage this year, but this is Masters Week, so I try Morning Drive. The first thing I see is a teaser for mastering sidehill lies. A pun; I’ve seen worse. Then, before you can blink, John Cook is at the simulator with a club showing some other non-sidehill-lie tip. Something occurs to me: Morning Drive is the annoying guy who feels obligated to give you a tip after every poor shot you hit.
♦◊♦◊♦ I recently made an impulse buy of a paperback book prominently advertised in my grocery store. The Stranger, by Harlen Coben. I’d never heard of the author, and I seldom read popular fiction, but the seed was planted and I bought a copy. I read the book — quickly by my slow standards. I was scanning the Acknowledgments when I spotted “Heather and Charles Howell III.” Seems you can have your name used for a character in the book if you make a donation to a charity of the author’s choosing. I tried to tweet CHIII to mention it, but I couldn’t find an account.
♦◊♦◊♦ I just went to PGATour.com to see if CHIII is in the Masters field. They still have last year’s information. Great job, Mr. Finchem. Let me try Masters.org… They are up to date (Jim Herman is listed), but there is no Charles Howell III. Too bad. The Augusta native in the field is always a plus.
♦◊♦◊♦ By the way, the PGA Tour website still has for its top-billed player, “Tour Eligibility Ranking.” I believe I spend more time on this website than the PGA Tour does on theirs.
♦◊♦◊♦ I suppose Augusta National might be filled with azalea blooms after all. My yard and neighborhood looks pretty good even after the weird blooming in December. And the “big azalea bushes,” which did not bud and bloom in December, seem to be on their normal timetable.
♦◊♦◊♦ Do you remember a couple of months ago when an announcement was made that a new book on Tiger Woods was being written? Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian are the authors. We speculated whether the book would be a disposable rah-rah-yay-whee effort, or whether they would write about Galea and the other shady doping doctors associated with Woods. Whether they would write about the Rock Ishii ball Woods used during his “dominant” year of 2000. Benedict and Keteyian two years ago wrote The System: The glory and scandal of big-time college football. I decided to read that book to see if there might be hope the writers will write an honest book about Woods.
It’s hard to say. I guess there is reason for hope. The System definitely covered damning topics, such as player criminality (sexual assault is a biggie), “tutors”/sluts, and bribery. On the other hand, there were two or three book-long threads about coaches where he painted them as heroes. So it’s hard to predict how the Woods book will turn out. Will Woods be a “good coach” who is treated with kid gloves? Will PEDs, crass marketing, anti-social behavior, and the sex scandal be examined in great detail like the negatives of college football were?
It’s a tough call. With college football as the topic, you could have “good people” and “bad people” in the same book. I’m not sure how they can use that same template for the Woods book. One major thing has changed in the two months since the announcement, however. Woods won’t be going into the Hall of Fame anytime soon, so if the authors planned to write a fluff book to coincide with Woods’s HOF induction, they just suffered a setback.
♦◊♦◊♦ Oh, I almost forgot. I was making the rounds of golf blogs last night — first time in forever — when I found something at Shackelford’s that was very cool. The Masters.org website has the final round telecast of Jack’s 1986 victory available for viewing all this week. On a related note, GC will be showing the “Masters Highlights” from 1986 Tuesday afternoon at 5:00 pm Eastern. Then, that evening, GC’s ’86 will premiere at 9:00 pm, with a replay three hours later.