Masters coverage: Of networks, pundits, kneepads and chapstick.

I watched final round coverage of the Masters today and in case you didn’t hear yet, Jordan Spieth was transcendent.

There was a problem, though. The network obviously focused camera time on the Spieth/Dustin Rose pairing, which is where all the drama was (not that there was much actual drama once they made the turn onto the back 9), and they also showed us most of what Phil Mickelson, who wound up tied with Rose for second, was doing.

So far so good. The remainder of the attention was given to the guy who finished … fourth? No. Fifth? Nope. Sixth? Nuh-uh. Continue reading

Even high jumpers get the yips

The yips plague athletes in many sports, and even musicians. Hopefully sports psychologists can find a cure.

Golfers know all about “the yips.” If they’ve never experienced it themselves, they’ve probably played with someone who has. And they certainly know the stories of famous golfers whose careers were challenged, if not devastated by the phenomenon. This list includes Tommy Armour, who coined the term to describe the condition that forced him to abandon tournament play. He was hardly the only one.

Golfers seriously afflicted by the yips include Bernhard Langer, Ben Hogan, Harry Vardon, Sam Snead, and Keegan Bradley, who missed a simple 6 inch putt in the final round of the 2013 HP Byron Nelson Championship due to the condition (although he may also have been suffering from Strabismus).

Continue reading

SportCenter’s guide to golf coverage: all things Tiger, all the motherfucking time

ESPN isn’t a division of TMZ, but some days they might as well be.

ESPN-golfI was just watching SportsCenter as I ate dinner. After telling us the good news and the bad news about today’s Lakers/Thunder game (good news: OKC lost; bad news: LA won) co-host Matt Barrie turned to the weekend’s big golf tournament, the Doral. Obviously, the dictates of big time sports journalism meant that he led with the winner guy who tied for 25th. Continue reading

Hank Haney's 'The Big Miss' is just that: Nothing new about Tiger Woods

by Chip Ainsworth

A good nonfiction sports book is hard to find because most authors tend to put athletes on a pedestal. There are exceptions, such as Robert Creamer’s biography of Babe Ruth and Pat Jordan’s brutal self-assessment of being a failed Milwaukee Braves bonus baby in the 1950s. The Big Miss: My Years Coaching Tiger Woods by Hank Haney falls into the former category.

Haney was Woods’ swing instructor from 2004 to 2010. During that time Woods won 39 tournaments, including a half-dozen majors. Regrettably, Haney can’t get past the golfer to talk about the man, and even the golfing prose is less than revelatory: “Tiger was so good he could still win with less than his best stuff.”

No kidding. Continue reading

Donald Trump threatens Scotland; Scotland yawns

You know The Donald™. He likes to be, well, public. So when he wanted to build a fancy new golf course and super-duper resort in Scotland a couple of years ago, he went public. And after his proposal was turned down by the local planning authorities, he went nuclear and got his good buddy Alex Salmond, leader of the Scottish National Party, to override the local council’s objections, which Salmond, or more specifically his Finance Secretary, duly did. So it looked as if The Donald™ would bring to Scotland something it sorely needed—another golf course.

But then Salmond decided that in order to bolster the case for further Scottish separation from Great Britain, if not outright independence, it needed to become a trailblazer in renewable energy, particularly wind farms, where Scotland claims to have one quarter of Europe’s wind resource capacity. Salmond’s ambitions are high, indeed—the government is currently targeting 100% of Scotland’s energy need be filled by renewable sources by 2020, and there are a number of programs in place to move this along. Continue reading

Nota Bene #119: Think! It Ain't Illegal Yet

“My wife and I were happy for twenty years. Then we met.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #117: Wake Up!

“Hollywood is so crooked that Mafia gangsters are entirely outclassed and don’t stand a chance. People in Hollywood are smarter. They have more sophisticated knowledge of money and deals and how to steal legally rather than illegally.” Who said it? Continue reading

The eye of the Tiger: does Woods have to choose between being a great golfer and a good human being?

Tiger Woods wrapped up the 2010 Open Championship at St. Andrews tied for 23rd and 13 strokes off the pace, “his worst finish at a major in which he completed 72 holes since a tie for 24th at the 2004 PGA.” You might remember that Woods had a little domestic dustup last November, and since then he hasn’t exactly been his old competitive self. For instance, have a look at his post-Tigergate results:

  • Masters: Tied for 4th
  • Quail Hollow: missed cut
  • Players: withdrew (injury)
  • Memorial: Tied for 19th
  • US Open: Tied for 4th
  • AT&T National: Tied for 46th
  • JP McManus Invitational Pro-Am: Tied for 24th
  • British Open: Tied for 23rd

Excuses are easy to come by: long layoff, off-course distractions, injury, etc. A lot of people would be 0-fer under these circumstances, but a lot of people aren’t Tiger. With Woods, there are two outcomes: first is first and second is last. Continue reading

Nota Bene #112: GOOOLLLLLLLL

“Freedom of any kind is the worst for creativity.” Who said it? Continue reading

This is not about Tiger Woods. It's about Billy Payne. And Augusta National. And sexism. And racism.

You may have caught the story last week. Augusta National Chairman Billy Payne stomped the balls off Tiger Woods for … well, if you need to be told what for, then you probably don’t know who Tiger Woods is in the first place. Or Billy Payne. And you probably don’t know what the Master’s is, or where Augusta is, and you may not even have heard of “golf.” So you can safely skip ahead to the next article.

Are Billy’s remarks about Tiger true? Maybe. Probably. Are they in-bounds, given what Augusta is? Sure – why not? Continue reading

Of tigers and dogs and the howling jackals of the press: what the Woods trainwreck can teach us about public relations

In case you missed it, Eldrick Tont Woods, the world’s greatest golfer, has been up against some pressing PR issues of late. Pretty much nobody is arguing that he’s handled it well. Begin with the official record. While it’s not yet 100% clear what touched off the fateful events of November 27, 2009, everybody is denying that Elin was trying to neuter him with a long iron.

But think about the story we’re being sold: The National Enquirer pubs a story saying Tiger is stepping out on his wife. A couple nights later, at two or three in the morning, Tiger decides to leave the house for no apparent reason. While trying to back out of the driveway – stone sober, the reports insist – he manages to wrap the Escalade around a tree. With me so far? Good. Then his wife comes out and tries to “rescue” him by bashing out the windows with a club.

If none of this smells a tad overripe to you, call me. Continue reading

Scott McCarron needs to run for office

File under “T” for “thanks for clearing that up”:

Despite reports to the contrary, Scott McCarron would like to clear up his thoughts on Phil Mickelson: He never called his fellow player a “cheater.”

In a statement released Monday, McCarron discussed his original comments to the San Francisco Chronicle regarding Mickelson and other players using Ping-Eye 2 clubs that have grooves which no longer conform to USGA and PGA Tour standards, but are still considered legal because they were grandfathered in two decades ago.

“I responded, ‘It’s cheating and I am appalled Phil has put it in play,'” McCarron stated. “I never called Phil Mickelson a cheater. That being said, I want my fans, sponsors, and most importantly, my fellow players, to know that I will not be silenced and I will continue my efforts to get the groove issue resolved.” Continue reading

Nota Bene #91: No Joke

Well I figured I’d give you all a break Continue reading

Bush golfing again, says "long nat'l nightmare" over

by Brad Jacobson

President Bush, who recently revealed he gave up playing golf on Aug. 19, 2003 because it “sends the wrong signal” during a time of war, has ended his near five-year sacrifice. The Wounded-Courier has obtained a rush transcript of the president’s discussion to air tonight on Fox News’ Special Report with Brit Hume. The following is an excerpt from that interview:

BRIT HUME: Mr. President, why did you decide to take up golf again?

PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, Brit, I’ve proven my solidarity with our troops and their families. I haven’t hit the links for longer than the longest tours of duty of any of our brave fighting men and women. And, quite frankly, I think this country has sacrificed enough. Continue reading

Because I didn't feel bad enough about my golf game already

Legally blind golfer scores hole-in-oneCLEARWATER, Fla. — A hole-in-one is rare on the golf course, but what are the odds of a blind golfer sinking one?

Leo Fiyalko couldn’t see it, but his golf buddies did — a hole-in-one on the fifth hole at the Cove Cay Country Club.

Leo Fiyalko brushed off the feat, and had to be prodded to tell his wife about it at the end of the round.

Fiyalko is 92 and has macular degeneration. He’s been golfing for 60 years, but his 110-yard shot with a 5-iron on Jan. 10 was his first hole-in-one.

Blind. 92 years old. You’re kidding me, right?

Pardon me. I have to go throw my clubs in a lake.

The L-word: Al Sharpton and the Golf Channel eliminate racism in America

Political correctness elevates sensitivity over truth. – Bill Maher

You Americans can be so silly sometimes. Take the latest flare-up of political correctness in your sports world.

Kelly Tilghman, the Golf Channel anchor who during Friday’s broadcast from the Mercedes-Benz Championship said while discussing Tiger Woods’ dominance that young players on the PGA Tour should “lynch him in a back alley,” was suspended two weeks Wednesday for the remark.

The move came after a wave of outrage that included a call for her to be fired by civil rights activist Rev. Al Sharpton and despite a statement from the Woods camp saying, “It is a complete non-issue.” (Story)

Let’s see if we can sort this out. Continue reading