I could not get into this week’s tournament whatsoever. I pulled up the leaderboard this morning to have a gander. Half-hearted is not a strong enough word for my near total lack of interest. Low and behold, I see Braden Thornberry three shots off the lead. Who the heck is that? Well, here’s what ole Lanny wrote just twelve days ago:
I’m reminded of Braden Thornberry, winner of the NCAA tourney. While waiting for last night’s Golf Central, I was mindlessly watching the NCAA tourney. Thornberry came on the screen and hit an iron out of the rough. He smashed it. Pummeled it. Crushed it. Annihilated it. With his stocky build and close-cropped blond hair, I immediately saw young “Fat Jack” Nicklaus. Now, the swings are nothing alike. (Thornberry’s is largely homegrown.) But the way the ball flies off his club, well, you need to see for yourself. And you’ll soon get a chance to. He’s got a sponsor’s exemption into the St. Jude’s next week. Don’t miss it.
Thirty years ago, there was not near the amount of golf coverage there is now. For current golf news, you had televised tournaments, newspapers, and the occasional mentions on the general sports television news (a few minutes local, or CNN’s 30-minute “Sports Tonight” with Nick Charles and Fred Hickman). My golf life back then went something like this:
- Work all week.
- Play a dew-sweepers round on Saturday or Sunday.
- If playing Sunday, hit a bucket of balls on Saturday afternoon at a very basic driving range. (This ritual was why I preferred Sunday rounds. Also, the course was less crowded.)
- Come home — sometimes loving golf, sometimes hating it — have a couple of beers, and watch the PGA event on television.
Here’s where I’m going with this: I often had no idea what tournament was being played. If there was a major that weekend, my foursome would talk about it, but regular tournaments didn’t get much discussion. I’d turn on the TV, and, if lucky, maybe the Western Open or another strong event would be on with many top players. Other weeks were like St. Jude’s this week with big names noticeably absent. Greg Norman was the litmus test back then. If the Shark was playing, it was a good event. Sometimes a great storyline would develop in a lesser tournament, but often not. I find it amusing now — in this age of information glut — that I’d turn on a golf tournament and have no idea what to expect.
It was better back then. It really was. And I’m not just saying that because I was younger.