Bubba’s Hover was the video rage. Bubba Watson released a golf cart hovercraft!
Of course, April is Masters month. Not a month is busier for me or HOG. Lots of Masters related articles. Adam Scott won the Masters in dramatic fashion. Angel Cabrera hit what I consider the shot of the year with his approach on the final hole to about two feet. That shot resulted in a birdie to tie Adam Scott and force a playoff.
Tiger Woods won THE PLAYERS (always write “The Players” in ALL CAPS, it is what they do). Sergio Garcia and Tiger Woods had a little tiff which the media went into a feeding frenzy over. Sergio eventually apologized for some not-so-nice comments.
Each year around Thanksgiving break I post the Hooked On Golf Blog Turkey of the Year awards. The golf turkey of the year awards is top-10 style list of the boneheads of the year in the golf world.
Previous winners include the likes of John Daly (for simply being John Daly), Sergio Garcia (spitting in the cup, watching a video of himself spitting in the cup and then refusing that he spit in the cup), Tiger Woods (cheating on Elin), etc.
This year was an interesting year. There are numerous candidates for the Turkey of the Year. It seems like some players, such as Sergio Garcia, manage to keep themselves on the list year after year.
And now, the Hooked On Golf Blog Turkeys of the Year for 2013. Drumroll please….
I admit I jumped on the Rory McIlory bandwagon. After the impressive PGA Championship and U.S. Open wins where he lapped the field, I was very impressed.
Then in the end of 2012 leaks started going out to the public that McIlory was switching primary sponsors from Titleist to Nike. At the time McIlory was still under contract with Titleist. Then after switching to Nike, McIlroy had an awful season with missed cuts, walking off the course and even destroying his own equipment on camera.
Was it the equipment switch? Nike haters would say yes. Hindsight tells us it was likely a combination of the switch plus a whole bunch of legal issues which came about because of his formation of his own management company, dumping his two previous management companies and not properly giving Oakley their first right of refusal on his endorsement deal with them.
Now that most of worst legal stuff is over and Rory has had a year to get used to the gear, there shouldn’t be any excuses in 2014.
During THE PLAYERS (always spell “The Players” with all caps, that’s what they do) Championship, Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia were paired together. Yes, predictably the golf media treated us for the billionth time to the ever tiring and nauseating replays of Sergio’s most famous moment, when he ran and jumped during the 1999 PGA Championship. I digress.
During the 2nd round, Sergio was hitting a shot on the par-5 2nd hole. Tiger was trying to decide what club to hit, whether to go for the green in two or lay up. As Tiger pulled his 5-wood, signifying that he was going to go for it, the crowd cheered… right in Garcia’s backswing.
After the round Garcia complained (of course) that the action Tiger took was intentionally done. Following those complaints, Garcia futher shoved his foot in his mouth with racist comment about Tiger, even going Fuzzy Zoeller and mentioning fried chicken. Very poor judgement and worth of a TOY award. Later Garcia apologized.
In the Arnold Palmer Invitational Garcia gained quite a bit of media attention by hitting a shot out of a tree. He injured himself and had to withdraw. That’s worthy of a TOY award as well but I had other thoughts, which I never bothered to research. During the shot Garcia braced his left hand on the trunk of the tree. I’m not sure if that is legal or not. Rules gurus may chime in and clarify that one for me.
Over the past year or so of following Ian Poulter on Twitter, I’ve begun to like the guy. I wish more players would freely speak their mind like he does, rather than being so politically correct. Though this is a turkey award, I have to give a thumbs up to Ian for this gesture at the 2013 Masters.
Frustrated with poor driving and missing the cut, Poulter gave his Cobra driver to a kid who was completely decked out in the Rickie Fowler orange traffic cone outfit. Later, in an even cooler gesture, Poulter worked to find out the kid’s name so he could sign and authenticate that it was his driver.
USGA & R&A
A TOY award goes out to the United States Golf Association and Royal & Ancient Golfing Society, the two governing bodies in golf. They dropped the ball, so to speak, with regards to anchored putting. Anchored putting should have been banned decades ago and they’ve basically fixed the cart barn door after the carts came home.
I have to give another TOY award to the USGA, a “non profit” organization that works “for the good of the game.” They went for the money and moved the U.S. Open to Fox Sports, a network which has never broadcasted any major league golf event, ever.
When did they announce this change? This quote from Geoff Shackelford says it best:
“…in an utterly low class, ungentlemanly fashion on the eve of the PGA Championship which happens to be run by the organization that did not support us on the anchoring ban. Coincidence?”
For the good of the game? Let’s check back on this one in a year and see.
Presidents Cup Streaker
I have to hand it to Kimberly Webster, the “streaker” who outran security for quite a while at the 2013 Presidents Cup. Her reasoning for streaking was to make the game more interesting. Can’t say I disagree on that one.
BUT, Kimberly, if you are going to streak then REALLY streak. This g-string and pasties gig is gutless. That is not streaking. It is running around with a g-string and pasties on. Next time, take it all off or stay home.
Speaking of g-strings…
For a long time I had NO idea what Back9Network was. I saw them online and at the PGA Merchandise show, but it seemed like a bunch of hype with no substance. There’s substance though. Its called silicone.
Back9Network is golf’s version of TMZ, only even more sucky (if that is possible). This entity seems solely dedicated to posting photos of Paulina Gretzky in her bikini, or 20 hottest women in golf posts…
Not golf journalism. It is tits and ass to get cheap hits.
What’s the over/under on when their VC funding runs out?
An instant turkey award goes to any “golf journalist” who writes, tweets or Facebooks the tired and worn out question, “will Tiger Woods break Jack Nicklaus’ major record?”
Yep. This is a good old standby subject golf writers turn to when they can’t think of anything else to write about.
Surely this question hasn’t been asked and argued enough. I think 47 billion more times might do it.
The golf media deserves TOY awards for their over-coverage of the Sergio-Tiger “incident” mentioned above. The coverage was nauseating.
The golf media deserves TOY awards for their over-coverage of Tiger Woods. I love the shots of Tiger’s “empty parking space” and the video clips of him blowing snot out of his nose while some other player is busy winning the tournament. Lets not forget the “here’s Tiger going in the porta potty,” and “here’s Tiger leaving the porta potty.”
One might argue that Tiger Woods should win the Turkey of the Year and until a month or two ago, he had it in the bag. There were three major rules problems which reflected quite badly on the world #1.
At the 2013 Masters Tiger’s 3rd shot on the 15th hole hit the flagstick and then bounced into the water. Tiger took a drop and hit one stiff, saving bogey. Later Tiger mentioned to the media that he moved back a yard to get a better number. Rules infraction. He wasn’t on the line that the ball entered the hazard.
The Masters committee had already made a ruling and decided not to disqualify Tiger for signing an incorrect scorecard, so he played on. Adam Scott (soon to be illegal belly putter), won the tournament.
At THE PLAYERS Championship (always write “The Players” in ALL CAPS, it is what they do), Tiger pulled his shot left on the par-4 14th into a water hazard. He took a drop which sent Johnny Miller though the roof. Johnny called the drop improper and much discussion ensued. Tiger lovers defended the drop and of course, Tiger haters called him a cheater.
In the BMW Championship Tiger Woods hit a ball into some trees by the first hole. He started moving loose impediments. While moving those sticks and things, Tiger’s ball moved. The split second the ball moved, Tiger stopped. He did not assess a penalty on himself for moving the ball. Did he see the ball move? If he didn’t, why would he have suddenly stopped rather than continuing to clean up the loose impediments? Tiger fans and haters have been arguing this point ever since it happened.
PGA Tour rules official Slugger White showed Tiger video of the ball moving. Tiger still argued that the ball didn’t move.
Later in the year, the USGA would make an announcement that phone-in rules issues will no longer be accepted.
2013 TURKEY OF THE YEAR – BRANDAL CHAMBLEE
For a long time I’ve had respect for Brandel Chamblee. He is one of the few media members who has the golf balls to be critical of Tiger Woods.
My respect for Brandel’s golf balls peaked when he wrote an article in Golf.com grading Tiger an “F” for the 2013 season. I thought it was funny that a player with five tour wins on the season could get an F. Five wins would make a great career for most players. But when talking about Tiger Woods, major championship wins are what are most important now. Tiger had zero, and has had zero since winning the 2008 U.S. Open.
So hats off for Brandel for grading Tiger his F. The media of course went nuts and blew this whole thing way out of proportion (another TOY award for the golf media). This story was so over-publicized.
Why does Brandel Win the TOY for 2013? After many weeks of pressure and negative publicity, Chamblee gave in and apologized for grading Tiger his F.
Not having the golf balls to stand up for what he originally wrote (and surely still believes) means lost respect and the 2013 Turkey of the Year award for Brandal Chamblee.
I’d like to personally wish The King, Arnold Palmer, a great 84th birthday. While I grew up on the waning side of Arnie’s career, I still loved to watch him play. I seriously break into tears every time The King leads off the Masters with the ceremonial tee shot. Yeah, I’m soft.
Arnold Palmer after ceremonial tee shot at the Masters
I did follow around Arnie a few times on the course during some Champions Tour (then the Senior Tour) events and it was a blast. Perhaps the best group was the time I followed Arnie, Jack Nicklaus and Lee Trevino. Fantastic. Arnie and Jack didn’t get much of a word in over Lee. No surprise.
Nobody has done for golf what Arnie did. This blog probably would not exist and I’d probably be blogging about pool or something if not for the popularity The King brought to this great game in the 50’s.
Many people have “Arnie stories.” My lovely mother (RIP) had one. She was watching Arnie play during a tournament. After putting out, The King walked up to my mom and gave her a big wink, then went on to the next hole. She melted. I always loved hearing that story from her.
My dad had an Arnie story too. He was a sports writer here for many years and had the opportunity to interview The King for an hour. He asked Arnie, “if I practice as much as you do and hit as many range balls as you, can I beat you?” Arnie’s answer was, “no.” My dad asked Arnie how he could play so great under pressure. What makes him so good? His answer, “I WILL the ball into the hole.” My dad later told me that if he was Arnie’s golf ball, he’d be afraid not to go in the hole.
I hope to have my own similar Arnie story someday.
Thanks for everything Mr. Palmer. Have a great birthday.
Misfortune at Merion
Misery at Merion
Merion Comes Up Rose
Mahan Misses at Merion
Mickelson Misses Moment at Merion
USGA Declared Winner At U.S. Open
I didn’t feel too well after the U.S. Open finished yesterday. Either I was dehydrated from my early morning pre-Open round, or I was jacked up from the pressure and gut wrenching drama of the U.S. Open. How’d you like the Open? How was the course setup for you?
The “U.S. Open-ifying” of the course was exactly what I’d expected. I expected to see rough that produced bogeys or worse, and insanely fast greens. The USGA is looking for a winning score of even-par and that’s what they essentially got (+1). There is a lot of discussion, as there always is during the U.S. Open, about whether the setup was “fair” or “manipulated” or “tricked up.” If the goal was to produce a winning score of even-par, the USGA nailed it. Did they compromise some of the holes at Merion in doing so?
If the goal was to preserve some of the same shot values as those in the past Opens at Merion, they probably missed the mark. The par-3 3rd hole was playing at about 274 uphill, into the wind. Many players had to hit driver. There was no bailout or layup area. After scoring a double on the hole in the final round, Phil Mickelson turned to USGA Executive Director Mike Davis who was following his group and said, “274? That’s terrible. Can’t even reach it.”
The final hole was playing so difficult that none of the 148 who played it Sunday made birdie. None. The eventual open winner Justin Rose, navigated the final hole in par after hitting a brilliant 4-iron approach which went through the green to the back fringe.
No matter what side you’re on regarding the course setup, you might agree that the player who executed the best shots all around did win the championship.
Tiger Woods was crowned the 2013 U.S. Open trophy by many in the media and many fans before the championship even started. Tiger’s play was below mediocre. His putting and chipping were downright awful. Before the Open, the “will Tiger break Jack’s major record” questions were nauseatingly once again being posed. After this open I can’t help but think that those who ask that question should forget that one and start asking whether or not Tiger will win another major, ever.
Despite going FIVE years without a major win and so many poor showings, Tiger is the favorite already to win the British Open Championship. I’ll take the field until further notice.
I’m not sure if it is the gear change to Nike and/or the big money that came along with it. Perhaps it is a matter of focusing more on the hot tennis pro girlfriend. Perhaps it is just a case of sophomore-itis. Whatever the reason, Rory McIlory is not focused. Until he can refocus, he will not be a factor in major championships.
It was heartbreaking to watch Steve Stricker collapse Sunday. He was in a great position to win his first major. Hitting a shot OB and then shanking another OB was brutal. I felt terrible for him. That was perhaps part of the reason I didn’t feel well after the tournament was over. He’ll get more chances at major championships obviously, but this one was there for him.
What can you say about Phil? Some people love him and some hate him. He put on quite a show for both of those groups. He’s the only player I can think of in history that can make two double bogeys in the final round of a U.S. Open and have a shot at winning it with 1-3 holes to go.
In my own (very) small way I empathise with Hunter Mahan. His driving and ball striking was so good, but his short game was the weak link which cost him this major.
Jason Day is amazing. He’s always in contention in majors lately. His performance this week was just short of brilliant. Mark it down. He’ll win a major. Best shot for him would be the Masters in my opinion.
The Schwartz was definitely not with Charl yesterday. He was in the lead for a moment, but then uncharacteristically melted down. My golf buddies call that a “Chernobyl.” I couldn’t believe how many putts he missed. Charl had five bogeys and a double-bogey on the front alone. That was tough to watch and very unexpected for a player who has such big golf kahunas. Held the lead at one time, shoots +8 and ends up tied for 14th.
This was a tournament well suited for a Luke Donald win. Hitting that girl in the head with his drive (on a par-3, the 3rd hole) did Luke in. He was visibly shaken by that event, though not as shaken as the girl, who was knocked unconscious.
I throw up in my mouth a little bit, every time I hear that ESPN will be covering golf. I’ve grown so tired of Chris Berman’s awful golf announcing that I had the sound turned off the first two days. Nothing personal, but I don’t want to hear “underneath par” and “rumblin’ stumblin’ bublin'” ever again. The shtick is old. Really old.
I know a lot of people don’t like Johnny Miller’s commentary, but at least he knows about golf.
The U.S. Open is a great championship and I enjoy watching the drama. It isn’t the kind of golf I’d want to watch week in and week out though. I think most golf fans would agree. Is it the best tournament as far as excitement and entertainment goes? Not even close. The Masters blows it away.
Congratulations to Justin Rose. A well deserved championship to the player who clearly handled the conditions and challenges at Merion the best this past week.
Below is the network broadcast schedule for the 2013 U.S. Open. Also below is some info on the mega-cool interactive viewing setup for those of you, like me, who have DirecTV.
U.S. Open TV Coverage
6/13 Thursday – 12-3p ESPN, 3-5p NBC, 5-10 ESPN
6/14 Friday – 12-3p ESPN, 3-5p NBC, 5-10 ESPN
6/15 Saturday – 2-8p NBC
6/16 Sunday – 1:30-7:30 NBC
U.S. Open DirecTV Information (courtesy of DTV)
TheMix Channel for this event will include the home network broadcast (ESPN) (Ch. 702), two featured group channels (Ch. 703-704), and dedicated coverage (Ch. 705) of the two toughest holes on the course, 11 and 18. Viewers can watch them at the same time or select any one and tune in directly to full screen. (When the NBC coverage begins, viewers will see a slide on the home network screen that directs them to tune to their local NBC affiliate.)
Viewers of the Mix and Feature Channels also have access to an interactive Menu of features. Pressing the red button on your remote will provide access to:
Top five Leaders – top five current scores against par
Leaderboard – Select any golfer for a more in-depth scorecard and set up a “favorites” list
“Tune to” – Returns you to any one of the Mix channels
2013 DirecTV U.S. Open Interactive – Click to zoom