Arnold Palmer Now Driving
Yesterday’s first round of the Masters was, as usual, fantastic. As I’ve said a million times, the Masters Tournament never disappoints. Thursday’s round had so many great stories to it. There was the return of Tiger Woods, the resurgence of Ernie Els, and amazing play of Jordan Spieth and a few surprises like the super round of 67 by Charlie Hoffman.
Jordan Spieth was -8 going into the easiest hole on the course yesterday, the par-5 15th. That hole is practically a guaranteed birdie and he could easily reach it in two. He was between clubs though, and knocked his approach over the green and nearly in the water on 16. He failed to get the chip on the green and ended up making a bogey. He got that stroke back on the 18th with a birdie.
The low round of 63 in a major championship was in jeopardy for a while there and the golf media and social networks were blowing up into a “Spiethgasm.”
It will be interesting to see if he can keep it together for four days.
My prediction for Tiger Woods’s first two rounds has been 74-70. Yesterday he shot a 73. Not bad. Not good. Nine shots off the lead. It’s not close to over for Tiger and I expect him to make the cut. The problem I see is massive dipping in his head during his downswing. If that gets bad, his shot dispersion goes to hell. You can’t spray it around August and get away with it.
What the weekend holds for Tiger should be interesting.
Rory McIlory finished Thursday at -1. That’s an okay start and he’s not out of it by any means. I theorize that Rory wants to win this one so bad, it may cause him some mental issues.
Others on my radar include my pick to win it all, Jason Day. Jason’s first round was super solid, including five birdies in a row. He’s right in the mix at -5 after day one.
So many other great stories which could be entire topics of discussion. Ernie Els, at 45, is right up there. And speaking of older players, how about Tom Watson shooting 71? He’s the oldest player to break par at the Masters after yesterday.
Cant’ wait for the rest of the weekend.
I can’t take much of this idiocy anymore. The article “Golf Needs Tiger Woods To Save A Sport That Is In A Downward Spiral” on the website Atlanta Blackstar (never heard of it until today) is a triple bogey, including a shank out of bounds. It is a rehash of a theory which has more holes than the courses at Pinehurst.
Golf does not need Tiger Woods to save it.
It is not up to Tiger Woods to “save a sport that is in a downward spiral,” nor is it his job.
Author Chris Bunn writes of the decline in viewership and attendance at PGA Tour events which coincides with Tiger Woods’s absence and struggles. Fair enough. I agree. Chris writes that since Tiger Woods came into the picture PGA Tour purses have skyrocketed, making many Tour players would-be millionaires. I’ll give him that too. Yes, thanks to Tiger’s popularity the PGA Tour and the media outlets that cover it had a hell of a run.
Chris says golf is in a downward spiral, and Tiger is the one to save it. There are so many ways this is wrong I can’t begin to count them all. Chris has lumped apples and oranges into one basket and is calling them all apples. The apples are the PGA Tour and the media who cover it, and the oranges consist of the people who play the game, buy the equipment, book tee times, and travel to golf destinations.
The argument against my previous statement is that there’s so much more “exposure” to the game when Tiger plays or is winning tournaments. That exposure means more “awareness” for the game and would therefore translate to the entire industry and its bottom line. That sounds great except for the fact that golf was declining during a period in which Woods was excelling. Tiger just caught up to it.
Further, who exactly are those fringe viewers who will only watch when Tiger is playing? Are they actual golfers? Or are they fly-by sports fans just flipping channels on the weekend who tune in if they happen to notice that Tiger is playing? Back in the years of Michael Jordan I would tune in and watch basketball, though I had no interest in the Chicago Bulls or the NBA. I didn’t go down to Dick’s sporting goods and buy a basketball, and I didn’t join my local rec league after watching him play. I watched Jordan because he was the best.
The sport of golf existed 1,400 years before Tiger Woods was born, and barring the earth being destroyed or human civilization wiping itself out in the next 40-50 years, golf will exist after Tiger is dead.
It is my not-so-humble opinion that Tiger Woods has little to no effect on the “sport” of golf. The effect he has is on viewership, not participation. Whether Tiger plays, doesn’t play, plays well, doesn’t play well, is in the field, is not in the field, has X-Majors, breaks Jack’s record, doesn’t break Jack’s record… has no bearing on whether I play golf, where I play golf, or what money or time I decide to put into playing golf.
In his article Mr. Bunn cites that TaylorMade Golf’s revenues are down some 28 percent. It would seem that the implication there is that if Tiger was “back,” TaylorMade’s sales would not be hurting? I don’t think so. TaylorMade’s sales are down because the economy is down, people don’t have the extra cash for a 12th driver, and the company releases a new golf club every 42 seconds. Golf equipment buyers finally hit the wall and Tiger’s status will not change that or give them more expendable money.
In his article Mr. Bunn cites “Young people—that coveted 18-to-30 demographic—playing golf has fallen an incredible 35 percent over the last decade.” So am I to conclude that if Tiger was playing better or more often this demographic would suddenly want to golf more? I don’t think so. They’re too busy posting selfies on Instagram.
“If, by some amazing reversal, Wood is in contention on Sunday, golf executives around the country would be kissing his spikes. He moves the interest meter like no one in sports has since Michael Jordan.”
Yeah, right. And who is “Wood” anyway? I can see the conversation between golfers on the first tee now:
Fred: “Hey Bob did you hear Tiger is back? He won last week!”
Bob: “Yup! I sure did. Watched the whole tournament. Since Tiger won I’m off to buy the latest TaylorMade driver. After that I’m going to put a down payment on a new lot for a home I’m going to build on a golf course.”
Yeah. That happens all the time.
When I go to my home courses they’re packed with golfers if the weather is good. We are there to golf. We are there for the sport, the competition, the camaraderie. We are not there because of anything Tiger Woods does or does not do. When I buy a new driver, I buy it because I have disposable income and I think the driver will help my game. I don’t buy it because Tiger won last week or is playing well. I will not be buying golf real estate based on how many FedEx Cup points Tiger has.
Yes The “Industry” Is In Decline
I’ll agree the golf “industry” is in decline. Equipment sales are dropping. Courses are going bankrupt. Why? Here are a few reasons:
- Golf is expensive
- Golf is difficult
- Golf takes too much time
- The golf industry (courses, manufacturers, media, marketing companies, golf real estate) over-expanded and over-saturated
In the digital, millenial, instant self-gratification world we live in golf is never going to be what those previously mentioned “golf executives” thought it would be in the golf bubble of the 2000’s. In that period, like many other industries, golf over-expanded. TaylorMade overexpanded. Golf courses over expanded and now are trying to figure out how to pay for the 100,000 square foot “wedding and banquet” facilities, and the $60,000 fountain in front of the clubhouse. It does look nice, even though they had to fire half the maintenance crew and let half of their greens die because of it.
They all went through the buffet a few too many times. All that’s left now is dessert and a few wilted brown lettuce leaves, and that one piece of black olive that’s between the olive bowl and the croutons. The industry is resetting to a level which is more reasonable, and more sensible. The buffet is gone. It’s Top Ramen time for a while, but golf will survive and might just end up better than it was when Tiger won his 14th major in 2008.
The “sport” of golf lives on and will live on. Take a trip to Scotland and watch entire families play the game. Watch two young teens putt on the Himalayas on their first date. Look a few feet ahead of them to the couple in their 80’s who have been married for 60 years, and still have that nightly match and a wee nip of scotch. None of them are on the course because of Tiger Woods. Take a look at my Sunday “money game.” We’re there to take that damn two bucks we lost last week after than awful 3-putt on the 18th. We golf to breath some fresh air; take a nice walk. We golf for the challenge. We golf for that all too seldom time when we “hit the screws” on our drivers and the ball goes 40 yards farther, and we can humiliate our friends a.k.a. opponents.
I don’t golf because of Tiger Woods. I golfed before he hit the scene and I’ll golf long after he leaves the scene… if I’m still alive.
Yeah, I’m bored. No, I’m not looking at “hot wives and girlfriends” of PGA Tour players for entertainment. I’m certainly NOT watching the Pebble Beach Pro-Am. I find it better for my golf health and sanity to NOT watch Chris Berman’s golf swing or listen to the horrid kazoo music that is Kenny G.
I thought I’d analyze the year Tiger Woods had in 2014. According to Forbes Tiger pulled in roughly $61 million in 2014. That figure includes tournament winnings and endorsements. 2014 was less than half of what Tiger had made in his top earning years. It is interesting to look at these numbers in a few different ways.
Dollars Per Shot – Tiger Woods 2014
Tiger hit a total of 1522 shots in tournament play in 2014. Dollars made per golf shot: $40,078.84.
If I made that much money per golf shot, I’d make $2.92 million in ONE ROUND of golf at my average score.
Tiger played 378 holes of golf in 2014. Dollars made per golf hole: $161,375.66.
Tiger played 21 official rounds of golf on Tour in 2014. Dollars made per round: $2,904,761.90.
Tiger played in seven, yes seven, events in 2014. Money per event: $8,714,285.71.
Tiger’s best finish in 2014: Tied 25th at the WGC Cadillac, a no-cut event with a limited field.
Tiger Woods Compared to an Elementary School Teacher
For contrast, I’m looking at Tiger’s earnings in 2014 as compared to an elementary school teacher. This teacher is SO important the development of our kids and the future of our country. The average elementary school teacher in the USA makes about $41,000.00 per year. These statements are crazy…
It would take an average american elementary school teacher one year of work to earn roughly the same money Tiger Woods made in ONE golf shot in 2014.
It would take an average american elementary school teacher four years to earn what Tiger Woods made in one golf hole for 2014.
It would take an average american elementary school teacher 70 years to earn what Tiger Woods earned per golf round in 2014.
It would take an average american elementary school teacher 212 years to earn what Tiger Woods earned per golf tournament in 2014.
It would take an average american elementary school teacher 1,487.8 years (let’s just call it 1488) to earn what Tiger Woods earned in 2014.
Has Tiger lost his bite?
I’ve suffered from severe back pain for most of my adult life. In my case a nerve pinches in my lower spine, then it is a week of stabbing pain which brings me to my knees. Hurts so bad I can’t even tie my own shoes. Back pain is no joke and I feel for Tiger Woods, who withdrew yesterday at Torrey Pines due to back pain related to his glutes not “activating.” That WD followed his worst score as a professional golfer last week, an 11-over 82 at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Here’s his explanation:
It’s just my glutes are shutting off. Then they don’t activate and then, hence, it goes into my lower back. So, I tried to activate my glutes as best I could, in between, but it just they never stayed activated. ~Tiger Woods
This is a strange comment and has already been the “butt” of many jokes. I find it hard to resist the “glutile dysfunction” jokes myself. My wife is about ready to kill me.
The back problems come after Woods’s supposed successful surgery to fix his back last year. Remember he sat out at the Masters following the surgery?
The last 12 months have been horrid for Tiger:
- Best finish: T25 at the WGC Cadillac, a limited field, no-cut event
- T80 2014 Farmers (Torrey Pines)
- T69 2014 Open Championship
- Three withdrawals
- Three missed cuts
Former world #1 Tiger has dropped to 56th, and he will continue to drop without a doubt. His eligibility for some events now becomes a question. He’s a lifer at Augusta so that’s no worry, but other events like World Golf Championships take the top 50.
I’m quite puzzled by Tiger the last couple of years. In every interview he tells the press and the fans that he feels great. He’s 100%. At the Waste Management Phoenix Open he told the press he was as healthy as he has been in years. Before Torrey he said he was hitting the ball as good as he was back in 2000, at the peak of his career. That period of time was possibly the best ball striking of any golfer, ever…in history… Ben Hogan included.
At the same Time he says he’s hitting it as good as ever, he can’t hit a fairway and his chipping is worse than mine. So what’s the deal? Is he what he calls a “Ranger Rick” now? Ranger Rick is the guy who kills it on the range but can’t bring that game to the course. Or is he trying to use the mind-over-matter theory to convince himself that he’s hitting it good? If that’s the case, the matter is not listening to the mind.
Perhaps his mind is still what it was, but his body doesn’t, or can’t listen anymore. In the early 2000’s he could will the ball into the hole. He could will his young body to do anything. But his body isn’t young anymore. He’s 39 his body isn’t. As USA Today’s Steve DiMeglio said:
“His birth certificate reveals he’s 39, but his body language makes it look like it’s going on 60.”
Another thing I find very puzzling is Tiger’s comments in just about every post-round interview when he’s struggling. Between his finishing hole and his courtesy car he’s already told the press what his issue is and how he’s going to fix it. If he knew it, why didn’t he fix it before? The issues and solutions are always these bizarre and overly-technical and overly-analytical things. Case in point yesterday with the glute activation comment. So is Tiger saying that he’s already got a solution? Just activate the glutes?
I really think it might be a case of analysis paralysis. Once again he’s trying to be in complete control, and use his mind to overcome whatever issues. It also may be a byproduct of having too many cooks in the kitchen from trainers to coaches to massage therapists to nutritionists to witch doctors, all producing a bunch of technical mumbo-jumbo, so they can get paid. Jack Nicklaus didn’t have any of that. He just played golf. I would have much rather heard this in the post round interview:
Press: Tiger what happened out there?
Tiger: My back went out.
End of story.
Oh boy the pundits were buzzing last week with all the expert solutions to Tiger’s chip-yips. They are already spouting their expert analysis and solutions for Tiger and his back. It makes me want to disconnect entirely from golf media. If Tiger would just listen to them he’d be winning majors again! The press are like abused dogs that keep coming back to their abuser.
Then there’s this guy who gets kicked off of Tiger’s withdraw cart, then chases it. If I ever become that guy, kill me.
I don’t comment on the PGA Tour or Tiger Woods much, but I just can’t resist. Tiger Woods shot his worst round as professional this past week in Phoenix at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, an 11-over 82. I witnessed none of it. Let me know when it’s Masters week.
It was strange that he was even in the field given the fact that many years ago he said he would never play in the event again. I thought Woods was doing it to get back in the feel of competitive tournament golf, but later I thought perhaps it was more of a public relations move. A few articles lately claim the reasoning might be much more intriguing, that Tiger may have a large lump sum payment due to ex-wife Elin Nordegren next year and he’s trying to make some hay. Whichever of the three reasons above it might be, it was mission not accomplished.
It was especially entertaining to me that in the pre-tournament interviews Tiger said he is hitting it as good as he did in the peak of his career back in 2000. Is he really or is he trying to convince himself he is? Mind over matter or something? Or maybe he’s hitting it that well on the range but not on the course? His “Ranger Rick” gig I suppose.
Whenever Tiger struggles the experts all come out of the woodwork. GolfWeek Magazine had two back to back articles about what it will take to fix Woods’s problems. One said “no quick fix for Woods,” and the next one said his problems could be “fixed in minutes.” Which one is it?
Every wannabe golf instructor and Twitter golf geek has his solution and has been writing, tweeting, facebooking, google-plusing, instagraming, pinteresting, linkedining… about it. There’s so much out there it would take years to digest it all.
The Only Two People Who Don’t Know How to Fix Tiger Woods are Tiger Woods and His Coach
Obviously Tiger and his new swing coach don’t read any of the experts’ solutions, or Tiger would have won last week instead of missing the cut and finishing DFL.
If he really feels he’s hitting it as good as back in 2000 then the only thing I can come up with is WTF? There’s my expert commentary. Such a pro.
Tiger is in action again this week at Torrey Pines, a course he has won EIGHT times on, including his last major championship back in 2008. 2008, about SEVEN years ago. That nugget of history is awesome. The Tiger fans believe playing Torrey means a guaranteed victory. The rest of the field should just stay home I guess. It is already a lock, despite the fact that Woods is completely lost and may even have the chip-yips.
My short game is terrible but it just might be better than Tiger’s right now. That’s a very bad thing, for Woods.
This week should have more entertainment value. Can’t wait to hear what the experts come up with if Tiger struggles. If Tiger plays well and makes the cut, or even wins (50-1 odds in vegas), the experts will surely know exactly what Tiger did to fix the problem.