(British) Open Championship
This is such a great shot from the Open Championship.
Somewhere in the gorse is Padraig Harrington.
Anything interesting happen in professional golf over the last few weeks? Actually, I wouldn’t know much other than Jordan Spieth set the record for most prize money ever, at somewhere around $22 million. He won the
FedEx Cup Reset Cup. When I saw him play as an amateur at the age of 16 (picture) I was sure he was amazing, but had no idea anyone could rake in that kind of dough in prize money in one year.
Yes, a great year. Player of the year for sure. I have/had no interest in the Reset Cup.
Recently Comcast, or as I like to call them “Crapcast,” doubled my TV bill. That was the deciding factor in my cutting the cable and going to NO TV. None. No golf. Nothing. It has been quite nice.
Though I’ve attended and covered many professional “tour” events, I find it quite uninteresting to watch other people play golf, as good as they may be. I’ve watched many greats up close and personal including Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player, Tom Watson, Jordan Spieth, Fred Couples, Rory McIlroy, Chi Chi Rodriguez, John Duval (I know what I’m typing), Lee Trevino…. dozens of others.
The pros are great but after I watch them hit a few shots in person I realize one thing:
I’d rather play golf than watch other people play it.
There are some occasions where that’s not the case. The Masters? I’d rather watch it. British Open? Watch it. U.S. Open? Maybe. PGA Championship? Meh. Presidents Cup? Not interested. Ryder Cup? Okay, I watch that…
Where am I going with this drivel? This is a blog. I don’t have to go anywhere. As much as I’ve struggled this year with my game and my attitude, I’ve not watched much golf nor played as much. My last round, one of those nuggets the golf gods throw struggling golfers, might keep me in the game for a bit. Even par. Kind of like making a blackjack on the last hand in Vegas, that round will get me coming back, but golf hasn’t fooled me this time.
Naturally the press has gone into a complete Spiethgasm. Let’s face it, we haven’t see a player this good since Tiger Woods and the numbers prove it. By his 22nd birthday yesterday, Spieth had racked up five PGA Tour wins including two majors, the 2015 Masters and the 2015 U.S. Open. He’s already a lock for PGA Tour Player of the Year. When Tiger Woods was 22, he had six victories to his name, but only one major championship, the 1997 Masters.
For 15 years we’ve countlessly read and heard the nauseatingly repetitive debate in the press and on social media as to whether or not Tiger Woods would break Jack Nicklaus’s major championship record of 18. Woods has been sitting on 14 since 2008 and there is no part of his current game which would lead us to believe he will win even one more, let alone five more.
So the discussion has moved to Speith. At this early age he is already one major ahead of Tiger and unfortunately, that same discussion has begun: “Will Jordan Spieth break Jack Nicklaus’s major championship record?” Puhlease. Let’s not put the golf cart in front of the golfer. Even if he won two majors every year it would take him eight more years to tie Jack. So many things could happen between now and 18 majors for Spieth.
In my sick and twisted mind I thought it would be great to produce a top ten list of ways Spieth could guarantee failing to break Jack’s record. Someone had to do it. But 10 wasn’t enough.
Drumroll please… Top 15 ways Jordan Spieth can guarantee failing to break Jack Nicklaus’s major championship record:
#15: Retire early
#14: Baseline shifts
#13: Switch to an inferior golf club sponsor
#12: Unhealthy love affairs… with launch monitors
#11: Drop F-Bombs in front of small children
#10: Trash his body
#9: Treat the press and fans like crap
#8: Become a PR and brand puppet
#7: Become “Ranger Rick,” hitting flawless and perfect golf shots on the range but not being able to take them to the course
#6: Focus too much on “release patterns” and not enough on knocking a golf ball in the hole
#5: Focus too much on “traj” and not enough on knocking a golf ball in the hole
#4: Focus too much on “spin rates” and not enough on knocking a golf ball in the hole
#3: Fire swing coach and hire new one. Break swing down completely and rebuild it from scratch to “get better”
#2: Fire new swing coach and hire a newer one. Break swing down completely and rebuild it from scratch to get better… again.
#1: Fail to activate glutes
I’ve been thinking a lot about Jason Day and how close he has come to winning majors over the last few years. The psychology of winning majors is tough. You know he has the physical tools to win one, but has yet to overcome the psychological part.
Think about the two winners this week on the PGA Tour and the European Tour, Jason Day and Danny Willett. Both of those players were on the top of the leader board in the Open Championship 1.5 weeks ago. All due respect to the RBC Canadian Open and the Omega European Masters, but I think Day and Willett won partly because there was much less pressure than in a major.
Not sure about Willett, but I do believe Day will win a major at some point. But I think the pressure and psychology of coming so close time after time make winning a major tougher and tougher.
For the first time in my entire life, I read an Alan Shipnuck article at golf.com. The only content I’ve seen on that website previously featured Rickie Fowler’s girlfriend and Holly Saunders, so I was surprised to see an article about golf.
Alan Shipnuck’s “Heros and Zeros” article about the Open Championship was a zero.
The facts are that golf.com posts more click bait T&A photos than golf articles…
Shipnuck calls the Old Course a zero, right after listing it a hero in the previous paragraph:
“The Old Course. Sad to say, it has gotten much too short to provide a true championship test. The long hitters can reach both par-5s and up to four par-4s, and even medium-length players have flip wedges into half the holes. Speeding up the greens clearly isn’t the answer, as wind delays in the last three Opens have shown. It’s not the course’s fault the R&A has let equipment for the pros get out of control, but the Old Course is the saddest casualty.”
The Old Course is too short to provide championship golf? I disagree. Did it not expose the player who had the best all around game, short, long and with the putter? That player was most definitely Zach Johnson. Look at the leader board. Look at the players who were in the top 5-10. It’s a reflection of the best golfers in the world sans a couple who weren’t there in the final round because of injury (Rory McIlory) or not knowing/liking links golf (Bubba Watson). Many of the world’s top 15-20 players floated to the top of the leader board by the end of the tournament. The drama was high. The finish was very exciting. It was great championship golf on the world’s greatest golf stage.
I listened to the broadcasts and read the whining about how the course is too short and the bombers will eat it up all week, as Dustin Johnson held the lead for the first two rounds. Where did Dustin finish? Oh, tied for 49th. Where did Bubba Watson finish? Missed cut. How about Gary Woodland? Tied for 58th. The one bomber who was in the hunt was Jason Day, who also happens to have a great iron and short game and a knack for finishing in 2nd in majors.
If anything the stats show that the Old Course defends long driving well, and rewards accurate shotmaking and course management. Winner Zach Johnson hit 94% of his fairways.
Think about some of the shots the players were hitting. I remember playing the par-3 8th and hitting 8-iron and 9-iron. Some players were hitting 6-iron because of the conditions. One hole a player might hit a 330 yard drive but on the next hit a 150 yard 6-iron. The course required the players to think, manage, execute, avoid hazards, and putt well. The player who did all those things the best won.
What IS Championship Golf?
Maybe Shipnuck’s criteria for “championship golf” is the scores must be at or near even-par like a U.S. Open? Phooey. The Open winner finished at -15. If you recall, Jordan Spieth was at -19 in this year’s Masters Tournament with one hole left to play. With a large lead of five strokes, he safely won the tournament with an easy bogey on the 72nd hole to finish at -18. -18 eh? Does that mean Augusta National Golf Club isn’t a championship course either?
Golf.com should stick with its strengths, posting T&A photos of the “most beautiful women in golf.”