I’m a bit hammered this morning. Certainly a case of U.S. Open hangover. I had expected to be getting ready to watch a Monday playoff today, the day after Sunday’s final U.S. Open round. Dustin Johnson’s stunning and heartbreaking 3-putt on the final hole nixed that great idea. Boy I feel bad for the guy. He looked like he’d seen a ghost after that 3-putt. I probably would have thrown up after that, if I was in that situation. Hell, I would have probably thrown up before each putt…
Hats off to Jordan Spieth for putting the winning number up on the board and putting the pressure on DJ to tie him. The Spieth story is becoming legendary in a very short period of time. It is quite a time in golf, with Tiger seemingly on the way out and Spieth and McIlory taking over.
Chambers Bay quickly became a very polarizing topic of discussion on golf TV, interwebs, and socials. Having been to Chambers Bay myself, and playing dozens of rounds of golf in Scotland, I’m a fan of hard, fast, brown golf. So I get what course architect Robert Trent Jones II was going after. The course’s location though, meant not just hard conditions, but Poa annua grass on the greens. We deal with Poa here in Salt Lake too. It grows faster than other grasses and has tougher leaves. So when a green isn’t 100% Poa (like Pebble Beach), it gets bumpy. It can be very frustrating to putt on greens like that and many pros voiced their displeasure with the bumps, along with their displeasure of the USGA setup. Fans see a brown course and think it is dead. They expect golf to be like Augusta National and the Masters Tournament. In reality, almost no courses have that kind of budget and with water as short as it is becoming, minimalist brown golf is the future. Plus, it is more fun in my opinion.
Chambers Bay – Click for more…
I engaged (perhaps still) in some great debates on my Twitter and Facebook pages with friends about the setup and conditions. It seems, almost like the fans or haters of Tiger Woods, that people either loved the course or hated it.
Gary Player had some pretty harsh commentary about Chambers Bay. I was quite surprised he called out RTJ like he did. Then again, he’s a golf course architect and RTJ is a competitor who just had his course featured in the U.S. Open. So I take his commentary in that context a bit:
On Sunday the greens looked to be rolling quite well. Spieth made an incredible long-range putt for birdie on the 16th which had perfect speed and dropped in on the side of the hole. No bumps there. DJ’s 3-putts all rolled nicely, unfortunately for him the first two didn’t roll nicely into the hole.
Well if the golf media wasn’t already in a Spiethgasm, they will be now. Be ready for the Spieth-slam talk, and for the ever popular “will Spieth break Jack’s major championship record?” drivel. That of course between the “hottest women in golf” and “hot wives and girlfriends” photo gallery garbage.
How can you not have a Spiethgasm though? This 21 year old kid is doing something special, and I’m glad I’m here to witness it. What’s more is he’s not an overpowering player like Tiger Woods was (yeah I said was). He’s not long, but he’s long enough. There are really no holes in his game. No weaknesses I can see. The next few years are going to be a joy to watch.
I felt really bad for DJ after the 3-putt. The look on his face was unreal. He was melting. I melted too. He’s had many chances to close out majors. Undoubtedly he has the game. He needs to overcome the pressure and mental aspects of winning the big ones and he’ll get it done.
What’s wrong with Tiger Woods? A lot apparently. After rounds of 80 (+10) and 76 (+6) he went home early. I tuned in just in time Friday to watch him DUFF a 3-wood. It was a horrid shot, so bad that I recorded it and watched it several times in disbelief. There were so many things wrong with that particular swing that it looked like a 15 handicapper.
There are many theories as to what Tiger’s problem is. A new one discussed in my golf group is his possible fear that his will be the biggest fall from the top in sports history. I don’t know what the problem is, and it is likely a combination of many many things. Physically he looks fine, which leaves the only possible solutions within the 5-inch course between his ears.
I watched Jason Day collapse on the 18th hole Saturday, a result of vertigo. Man that’s terrible and I felt for the guy. He did manage to finish the tournament but what a story it would have been had he won the tournament. A valiant effort by Day.
Rory McIlory is no Tiger Woods. Tiger was much more consistent when in his best years. Rory is super-streaky. When he’s hot, nobody can beat him. When not, he can miss cuts. McIlory showed some life in the tournament, but in the end was not a factor. No worries about his game. That’s the way he rolls.
Wow tough deal for Branden Grace (also known as “Branden Gracen” on the Fox broadcast). Standing on the 16th tee he was at -5, tied with Spieth, two shots ahead of the nearest competitors. One swing later his 3-wood goes out of bounds and kills his chances of winning. Brutal.
Fox Sports Coverage
Funny how so many people hated the Fox Sports coverage of the Open, even before they saw it. It seems those same people hated the course before they saw it in action as well. I didn’t expect the Fox broadcast to be perfect and it certainly was not. There were dozens of instances of bad camera work, shaky commentary, and technical issues.
There was a little too much talking, almost like baseball announcers who think they have to fill up all the dead space with sound. Many complain(ed) that all Greg Norman does is talk about himself. Seemed like Greg was fine to me and not this self centered personality they made him out to be.
What I did like was the drone coverage, since I too build and fly drones, mostly for flying over golf courses and shooting video and photos.
Many complained about not seeing the shots, and I agree. Fox had it tough though, having to break themselves in at such a difficult venue.
Overall I’d give Fox a C grade and I do expect they’ll analyze what they did, listen to the critics, and try to improve their product.
In the end the 2015 U.S. Open was exciting, controversial with regards to course setup like EVERY U.S. Open is, and produced a stellar leader board of the world’s best golfers. The USGA got what they wanted, a handful of players under par and a test that filtered out all but one of the top two players in the world as its champion.
Fox Sports is taking a beating for its golf broadcasts from many out there who think they can do better or know better. Hat’s off to Fox Sports for introducing drone coverage to the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay. As a “drone pilot” and builder of several unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) myself, I’m stoked to see some new looks.
I’m miffed that Fox Sports didn’t hire me to do this gig though. I have to be the world’s best combination golf/drone authority.
Chambers Bay – Click for more…
Thanks to the PR for DirecTV for sending in the information about their “Open Experience” this week. DTV has some very cool coverage over several channels which blows away regular single channel TV viewing of what may be the carnage at Chambers Bay.
Fans can watch the world’s best golfers take on the unforgiving Chambers Bay course at the 2015 U.S. Open on four different TV channels when they tune into DIRECTV’s U.S. Open Experience, beginning Thursday, June 18. The four-screens-in-one HD mix channel and interactive app are part of DIRECTV’s expanded coverage of this year’s second major.
Each channel of the U.S. Open Mix (701 & 205) is in HD and fully produced with its own announcers, and will include:
- The network feed from Fox Sports (702)
- Featured Group (703): This Thursday’s groups are: Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson, Angel Cabrera, teeing off at 7:33 a.m. PT; and Tiger Woods, Rickie Fowler, Louis Oosthuizen at 2:28 p.m. PT.
- Featured holes (704) are the 12th and 15th
- U.S. Open 360 (705), an all-access look from the grounds of Chambers Bay – behind-the-scenes to action on the course.
Loading times for the interactive app will be even faster this year. Users can select the red button to bring up a list of features alongside the broadcast video that include:
- Player Scorecard
- Contains key bio info, player headshots, scores and stats
New this year – Additional Stats
The top 10 players will have the following stats made available on their scorecard:
- Their best finish at the U.S. Open
- Their finish at The U.S. Open 2014
- The number of titles they’ve won at the U.S. Open
- Player Bio
Allows users to get player bio info, access to their scorecard or add player to their favorites list
- Pairings and Tee Times
- All the groups and tee times for the current round
Mix Broadcast dates: June 18-21 Times in PST
6/18 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. FS1
5 p.m. – 8 p.m. FOX Sports
6/19 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. FS1
5 p.m. – 8 p.m. FOX Sports
6/20 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. FOX Sports
6/21 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. FOX Sports
Golf websites are scrambling, producing all sorts of “what’s wrong with Tiger Woods?” articles. The pundits are pontificating and theorizing, endlessly babbling about what Tiger is doing wrong or what’s wrong with him. From Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee to Fox Sports’ Greg Norman to the every day six-pack hack golfers wearing their sleeveless shirts showing their barbed wire tattoos, everyone has their theories.
None of them are correct.
It’s All About Apparel Scripting
To the uneducated/inexperienced golf media member or golf spectator the solutions would lie in Tiger’s swing coach, practice routine, equipment, personal problems, etc. But to my keen and experienced golf blogger eye, the reason for Tiger’s poor play is obvious: bad apparel scripting.
While we can’t be sure if it is one piece or the whole ensemble, the results don’t lie. Something is rubbing, squeezing, chafing, blistering, or perhaps cutting off Tiger’s circulation. Maybe his hat is too tight and it cutting off blood flow to his brain causing bad golf decision making? Maybe the tighty whities are too tight? Shoes might be causing blisters? Maybe it is just the color schemes? The white hat and black belt don’t match? The socks aren’t moisture wicking enough?
Whether it is one of the issues above, all of them, or a combination of a few, something is going to have to change. If Tiger, Nike, and Tiger’s “handlers” don’t adjust his apparel scripting soon, the 85 from last week’s Memorial Tournament could be the tip of the iceberg.
Get Leonardo DiCaprio on the phone.
There are SO many websites covering Tiger Woods 24/7/365 that I try to stay away from Tiger play by play and reporting PGA Tour news. I can’t help myself this rainy evening. Honestly, I don’t watch the PGA Tour that often. It all starts to look the same after a while. The last golf I actually watched on TV was the Masters Tournament. I’d much rather play golf than watch it. Even in person.
Instead of watching the Memorial 3rd round today, I was hiking in the beautiful mountains of Northern Utah, my back yard. When I got home and powered up the MacBook Pro, I was flooded with the number 85 and news of Tiger Woods’s worst round in his professional career. He chased down another one of Jack Nicklaus’s records. Jack’s worst round as a pro was 85 as well. The only difference is that Jack was 63 years old and playing the Masters. Details details.
I have not heard or read of any post round commentary or interviews. If and when I do I hope I don’t hear “it’s a process” and “I’m close.” There are no health issues we know of. No excuses. It doesn’t matter if he can hit hundreds of perfect shots in a row on the practice range. Anyone with a brain knows that whatever Woods is doing is not working, be it mental or physical.
After a decent spring I’ve reached the first bump in the road of my golf season (yawn). I’ve shot my three worst rounds of the year in the last four or five rounds. The worst of those is 85. Those rounds have had me toying with the thought of quitting golf and doing something else more fun, like jabbing myself in the eyes with an ice pick. I’m a hack amateur so that’s expected. I can’t imagine what’s going on inside the cerebral cortex of Woods. Imagine being what appeared to be the best player the game has ever seen and suddenly losing your game.
I lose my game, my swing, my scores 2-3 times per year. It’s like clockwork. I go from low-single-digit hack to mid-single digit hack and back over the season. In the end it doesn’t matter at all. But for Woods the psychology must be incredible. The player who in years past could seemingly win tournaments by sheer confidence, has lost it.
What’s different between now and when Woods was dominating? He was certainly younger. 39 isn’t a spring chicken in golf. His body has broken down quite a bit. The sick and sarcastic part of my mind can’t help thinking perhaps testosterone is the missing ingredient, if you know what I mean.