In my Twitter feed there are a lot of video clips from the PGA Championship. One in particular caught my attention, because someone in the press had the golf balls to ask Tiger Woods if he has lost a step. The second the video started and I heard the voice of the person asking the question, I knew who it was… Jay Flemma.
Tiger’s answer was intended to be a joke, followed up with a big Tiger smile. Nobody got it. #crickets #illbehereallweek #trytheveal
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’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.
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.