The LPGA is requiring golfers to achieve a basic level of competence in conversational English in order to continue to play on tour. This has, as you might expect, caused a firestorm of reaction. For a balanced, nuanced view, Ron Sirak looks at reaction from players and agents. Read the rest of this entry »
This year’s U.S. Open golf tournament was much more exciting and competitive than your average walk through the kikuyu grass. But with this news it moves into mythic territory.
I wrote to friend Jason Sobel at ESPN.com Sunday, scroll down to 1:10 pm, about Tiger’s playing on a sore knee being impressive, but perhaps it was being overplayed a bit by the media. Missing from what he quoted there is that I said Tiger was no Johnny Baun (who scored a Stanley Cup winning goal on a broken leg). Wrong I was!
I’m sorry, but walking six miles a day for five straight days on a broken leg (yes, stress fractures are less painful than displaced fractures, but they’re no picnic) is no mean feat. But stopping every few minutes to twist the painful joint into a pretzel with the force of a very fit body behind it had to be excruciating. The ability to compete under those circumstances was laudable, notable, and possibly a bit insane. The ability to win under them? Epic.
My oldest sister pronounced Tiger Woods overrated on Friday. Do you suppose by now she’s realized how absolutely clueless that was? Even before he hobbled around to win the 2008 U.S. Open for his 14th major championship this weekend, that was a pretty darned stupid thing to say. Is he perhaps overexposed? Yes. Can the constant “Tiger Tiger Tiger” of the announcers get a bit tiresome on occasion? Sure it can. But is there any doubt that this man is head and shoulders above the competition? Not on your life. Read the rest of this entry »
Rick Reilly seems to be feeling sorry for Phil Mickelson. He wants Tiger fans to leave the fold and root for Phil.
I root for plenty of other guys, like Rocco Mediate (with whose sister in law I’ve worked for many years), local boy Sean O’Hair, and Rich Beem. But Lefty? Please. He has plenty of fans rooting for him as the anti-Tiger. You know, lack of fitness, insufficient preparation, and repeated mind farts resulting in unbelievably poor decisions that result in exactly what you’d expect under the circumstances.
I don’t need Reilly to tell me who I should be rooting for. I can see clearly who’s sincerely trying to win and who’s merely trying my patience. I can do without the Phil Mickelson pity party.
Watching the PGA Championship today, a thought struck me. Tiger may be in a slump, but where the heck are all of the other names?
With the announcers wondering at the poise of the contenders, I was wondering how poised they’d be if anyone with a recognizable name was within five strokes? Two guys who’ve never won a PGA tournament are battling each other for the PGA Championship. They concentrated on each other. And there was surely no intimidation factor.
This made for great golf by the way. Back and forth they went, with nary a charge or runaway attempt in sight. But sadly, it is unlikely to make for great ratings. Tuning in, even I, registered majors junkie, thought, “Ho hum.” But once I started watching, it was riveting. Sadly, someone not quite as addicted as I would likely have ho-hummed right on to the back yard with a Bud.
It isn’t like these guys are hackers getting lucky. It wasn’t just errors or slumps by the bigger named guys that put them in position for this mad Sunday afternoon March.
When Micheel hit his second shot at 18, he proved beyond doubt he was a deserving champion. His question to the CBS camera guy, “How close is it,” went unanswered. But the answer could have been, “Any closer and you’d already be dancing a jig.”
Tiger was right (well, and why wouldn’t he be, he was talking about golf). He said Annika should play four or five events to get a true measure of what she could do.
As for the few, the proud, the clueless, including the PGA tour official who said they’d be discussing adding “men only” to the rules of the tour, they need to open their eyes and see how great the PR fallout was from this. I know folks who never watch SPORTS (let alone golf) who were obsessed with how Annika was doing the past two days. And I know that I have new men on the tour to root for, starting with Dean Wilson and Aaron Barber, who showed us all that sportsmanship is still alive and kicking in golf. They also showed us that the PGA tour is not a personality-free zone, something that the PR mavens at the tour need to find a way to exploit.
I’m glad Annika had the courage to try, thereby providing us all with the opportunity to enjoy the ride. Isn’t that what being an athlete, or a sports fan, is all about?