Damnation Game and other Loose Ends

Damnation It!  In the past, I wrote about Tiger Woods’s image post-Thanksgiving 2009, and the media’s attempt to salvage it.  At one point, I mentioned a horror novel I had read in the past where a character’s flesh is rotting off his frame, so he heavily douses himself with cologne to hide the stench.  My analogy equated Woods’s image to the character with the rotting flesh, and the golf media’s pro-Woods propaganda to the cologne.

Frustratingly, I could never recall the book.  Well, well, well, I found it.  It’s The Damnation Game by Clive Barker.  Now I can mark that off my list.

OWGR Website  I pulled up the rankings to see how Tanihara fared with his 4th-place at the Match Play (57th to 48th).  While there, I revisited the full list of events last year and noticed they now have them all on one page — to correct the error I discovered when I complained about the Masters “missing” when I sorted by Strength of Field.  When Lanny talks, people listen.  Well, some of the time.  The annoying, superfluous, useless, purposeless scroll remains at the top of every blanking page.  I’ll give a five-year subscription to Lanny H Golf to anyone who can tell me one reason why that scroll is a good idea.  It’s the most idiotic thing I’ve ever encountered in the world.  (1) It doesn’t change!  (2) I’m already looking at the full list on the page!  (3) It causes distraction and eyestrain.

Fried Chicken and Collard Greens  Tiger Woods will be at the Masters Champions Dinner this year.  No word on whether Woods will be in the Masters field seeking a tenth green jacket or whatever.  Fuzzy Zoeller’s plans are not yet known.

Whiplash  Boy, did I ever suffer a case of whiplash this morning.  I spotted an article entitled, “Fitness in Golf – a paradigm shift.”  I expected to see an article about how Tiger Woods prematurely ended his career by extreme workouts and steroids, and that was causing the golf world to have second thoughts about “the gym.”  Something along those lines.

But, alas, no.  It was a paean to “modern” training methods.  That was bad enough, but then I spotted this:

In an era where pot-bellied, un-fit golfers ruled the world-ranking charts, Tiger challenged that norm, and instilled the importance of being physically fit in a sport that is as demanding as any other. He was not just considered a golfer, but was one of the first few from the sport to be considered an all-round athlete.

First off, the word “considered” might make the last sentence true, but it certain was not true that Woods was golf’s first all-round athlete.  (Or that he even was an all-round athlete, for that matter.  Frankly, the ubiquitous attempt by the media to label Woods as “an athlete” strikes me as the sort of racist nonsense we used to hear, for example, about black NFL quaterbacks.  But we’ll leave that for another day.)  Jack Nicklaus played many sports growing up and had interest in continuing to play them in college.  Woody Hayes told Nicklaus’s dad not to let him!  Then, my favorite example: Hale Irwin, who won two U.S. Opens, played college football and was all-conference in the Big Eight two years running.

But let’s focus on the other contention, that athletes way back in the olden days of 1996 and before were pot-bellied and unfit.  A random OWGR week shows the following players at the top: Greg Norman, Colin Montgomerie, Nick Price, Ernie Els, Nick Faldo, Corey Pavin, Bernhard Langer, Fred Couples, Masashi “Jumbo” Ozaki, Steve Elkington, Tom Lehman, Phil Mickelson, Vijay Singh.  Was Colin Montgomerie more of a “pot belly” than today’s Patrick Reed.  Jumbo Ozaki, despite his nickname, certainly was no Andrew “Beef” Johnston.  Most of those flat-bellies of 1996 are playing on the Senior Tour — and still have flat bellies.

How aggravating — and easy to catch — is historical revisionism when the history was a mere twenty years ago?

Calling jalnichols  I’d love to see jalnichols (he’s more active on Twitter than on his website) do analysis of two things.  (1) What are the numbers for a player making the weekend who loses in the first round of the new Match Play format?  And, if that happens, what are the numbers for it happening via a three-man playoff?  (2) What are the numbers for player injuries today measured against past periods?   Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, and Dustin Johnson all have missed extended periods of time for injury (albeit DJ’s was not so much an injury as an “injury”).  Was Arnie, Jack, Gary Player, or Tom Watson ever out for injury?  I remember Lee Trevino had a balky back — after he got hit by lightning!

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2 Responses to Damnation Game and other Loose Ends

  1. ThreeWiggleExpert says:

    Take the PED’s for TW out of the equation for just a minute and I was just thinking. TW is largely promoted, as you said, as starting this fitness revolution. You have guys like Day and Rory who are on record as saying TW was who they looked up to, and I suppose part of that was getting into the whole “fitness craze”. Now, TW is battling injury, Day has fought his own injuries, and Rory just recently had his own battle with a rib injury (or whatever it was).

    Meanwhile, Phil is going along nicely, Jordan and DJ are into fitness, but not to level of these other guys, and you have a whole host of other top guys who may be doing the fitness thing, but not near the level of the the first three and have not had major injuries.

    Coincidence? I don’t think so.

    • lannyh says:

      From the perspective of the golf media — who obviously want nothing more than to cover the sport as Keeping Up With The Woodsdashians — they would give anything to have some of Woods’s early successes shifted to his later years, ala Mickelson. They could still push “chasing Jack,” or Snead, or whatever. Mickelson is a good example. He’s pushing 47 and he’s, within reason, about as likely to compete/win as he ever was. Consider he’s the 7th betting favorite for Augusta. At age 47. There are many things to be said for moderation, and a link to longevity is probably one of them.

      Like you said, putting PEDs aside, think about a run-of-the-mill (so to speak) player, ranked maybe OWGR #200. Would that player trade some longevity for wins RIGHT NOW? Probably so. For one thing, they wouldn’t see the shortening of the career as a certainty.

      At any rate, the golf media counted their chickens before they hatched. Remember their theories on how Woods’s “fitness” was going to keep him playing like he was 25 well into his fifties?

      By the way, I’ve recently been thinking about how wrong prominent media memes can be. Yet, no matter how embarrassingly wrong they are, the public seems to take their next meme and swallow it whole.

      By the way, I’m going to do an Open Letter to Tiger Woods soon. Maybe I should time it for Masters Week.

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