Distance has apparently become a real problem. I know I have too much of it. Don’t you? Golf courses are too short now, and many have to spend millions to make a their holes more challenging for .00000000000003% of the golfers on the planet. Why? Most think this “problem” is just the golf ball. This ball distance talk has heated up this year, especially after Dustin Johnson nearly made an ace on a 400 yard par-4 in Kapalua. People got all amped up about the ball going too far with no mind what the conditions were (downwind, downhill, hard ground). I’ve hit a 430 yard drive, in the mountains, on hard ground, with a heavy tailwind. I hit about a 520 yard drive also. It hit the cart path about 20 times. Roll back cart paths!
The subject of bifurcation seems to be making a comeback this year. Bifurcation in golf is the splitting of the golf ball into two different models: a “tournament ball” which the PGA Tour players would use, and a regular ball that Joe golfer would use. The tournament ball would be limited more in its distance than the regular ball.
I’m not a fan of bifurcation, and surely the golf manufacturers aren’t. The reason that 300 yard drives are impressive is because it takes some skill and athleticism to make it happen more than just a rare lucky swing. When I get ahold of one and hit it as far as Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlory, or Tiger Woods, I get excited.
Hitting a big drive is fun. That’s one of the few things that can help me stay interested in golf. How can I compare myself to those great golfers if I’m playing a different ball? Aspiring to hit shots like those pros is part of the fun, and the challenge.
Roll Back The Ball
Instead of bifurcation, some think all golf balls should be “rolled back.” Haha nice pun. The golf ball should be put back to a maximum distance number that’s in some golf governing body members’ heads, a distance shorter than it goes now. What distance? What’s fair?
This theory REALLY takes the fun out of it, and all it will do is make golf harder for those who don’t hit it far, most amateurs and Corey Pavin.
Rolling the ball back certainly wouldn’t help the golf equipment industry. It would pretty much kill every golf ball advertising and PR campaign theme since the beginning of golf balls, “this ball is longer!” What would the companies advertise if the ball is rolled back? This ball is the longest best rolled back ever!
What Else Should Golf Roll Back?
The problem with distance, if one actually thinks it is a problem, isn’t just the ball. There are many, many other factors involved in how far the golf ball travels these days. PGA Tour golfers are no longer out-of-shape pot-bellied smokers who drink booze all night, don’t work out, don’t have extensive teams of trainers and coaches, and don’t practice. Well, other than John Daly. PGA Tour golfers work out like crazy, have incredible flexibility, and have some of the most amazing advances in technology behind their swings and their gear. I’m not talking about just the golf ball. Here’s list of a few of the things professional golf would have to roll back other than the ball, though I’m sure there are some I’m missing.
Fitness – First, we will have to roll back fitness. Pro golfers today are super-fit (usually). Roll them back from the gym.
Flexibility – We must find ways of making today’s golfers more stiff and less flexible. No more yoga. No more flexibility training. Roll it back.
Personal Trainers – Speaking of training and fitness, part of that whole combo includes personal trainers. They’ll have to go.
Dietitians – Part of the fitness component is dietitians. Golfers who eat better can be more flexible and strong. Roll back the dietitians. Go back to the food pro golfers ate in the 50’s (except probably Gary Player). Make ‘em all eat fatty diets with lots of carbs! No more kale. Roll them back from precisely calculated sports diets to greasy burger
Golf Coaches – Golf coaches will certainly have to be rolled back.
Golf Shaft Technology – Shafts are as much to blame for distance as the golf ball. They’re waaaaay too good these days. Shafts must be rolled back.
Driver Head Technology – Driver head engineering is certainly a distance culprit. What is it this year? Jail face break twist technology I think. Roll back the drivers!
Swing Analysis & Launch Monitors – 99.9% of tour players utilize launch and swing analysis to optimize their swing, their shafts, their launch angles, spin rates and so on. Launch monitors have a huge impact on today’s distance problem. No more launch monitors. Roll ‘em back.
Golf Grip Technology – Golf grip technology certainly helps the pro golfer connect to the club. Let’s roll back that connection. Make the grip weaker, less stable. Roll it back.
Golf Course Conditioning – Hard ground certainly is a contributor to the distance problem. Short, precisely cut grass is too. Roll ‘em back. Let’s make some soft, wet courses with longer fairways and be sure to cut those fairways with inconsistent, dull mower blades. Roll back the roll so to speak.
I find it mildly confusing and entertaining when I hear that golf courses are “too short.” Many courses are ruining their original designs and spending millions by adding more length because .0000000000000003% of the golfers in the world can hit the ball so far. Meanwhile the average golfer’s scores haven’t improved in decades. In fact, over the last few years average golfer’s scores have edged upward. All that extra distance the average golfer is getting these days is really helping!
To fix this mythical distance problem golf’s governing bodies are considering solutions that will hurt the golf equipment industry and simultaneously make golf less fun for the average player. With all this talk of the golf industry’s struggles and the need to “grow golf,” making it less fun is a really dumb idea.
ORLANDO, Fla. (Jan. 26, 2016) – World No. 1 Jordan Spieth will tee it up at the Asian Tour’s SMBC Singapore Open, and his opening round will air in primetime on Golf Channel beginning at 8 p.m. ET on Wednesday night. The LPGA Tour kicks off its 2016 season with the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic, as Nos. 2-4 in the world: Inbee Park, Stacy Lewis and Lexi Thompson lead a field that includes 11 of the top-20 in the world. The PGA TOUR shifts to Torrey Pines outside of San Diego for the Farmers Insurance Open, with Jason Day (No. 2 in the world) and Rickie Fowler (No. 4) headlining the field. On the European Tour, South African Branden Grace defends his title at the Qatar Masters.
SMBC Singapore Open
Dates: Jan. 27-30
Venue: Sentosa Golf Club (Serapong Course), Sentosa Island, Singapore
Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Wednesday 8-11 p.m. (Live) / 11:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m. (Replay)
Thursday 8-11 p.m. / 2-4:30 a.m. (Live)
Friday 11 p.m.-3 a.m. (Live) / 10 a.m.-Noon (Saturday replay)
Saturday 11 p.m.-3 a.m. (Live) / 10 a.m.-Noon (Sunday replay)
Spieth’s opening round airing in primetime at 8 p.m. ET on Wednesday: World No. 1 Jordan Spieth is in the field competing in the 50th edition of Singapore’s national open. Spieth will tee off in his opening round at 6:50 p.m. ET, with the majority airing in primetime on Golf Channel beginning at 8 p.m. ET Wednesday night.
Event returns for first time since 2012: The event is being played for the first time since 2012, and is co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Japan Golf Tour. Matteo Manassero won the event in 2012 when it was last contested.
Headlining the field: Jordan Spieth, Byeong Hun An, Darren Clarke, Jamie Donaldson, Y.E. Yang, Jeev Milkha Singh, K.T. Kim and Shingo Katayama.
Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic
Dates: Jan. 28-31
Venue: Ocean Club Golf Course, Paradise Island, Bahamas
Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. (Live)
Friday 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. (Live)
Saturday 3-5 p.m. (Live) / 5-7 a.m. (Sunday replay)
Sunday 3-5 p.m. (Live)
Season-opening event: The 2016 LPGA Tour season kicks off this week with the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic, airing live on Golf Channel Thursday-Sunday, Jan. 28-31. The event begins a series of eight LPGA tournaments airing live on Golf Channel over the next 10 weeks leading into golf’s first major championship of 2016, the ANA Inspiration.
Kim defends: Sei Young Kim defeated Ariya Jutanugarn and Sun Young Yoo with a birdie on the first playoff hole to earn her first career LPGA Tour win.
Headlining the field: Inbee Park, Stacy Lewis, Lexi Thompson, Sei Young Kim, Hyo Joo Kim, Cristie Kerr, Michelle Wie, Anna Nordqvist, Brittany Lincicome, Brooke Henderson and Cheyenne Woods.
Farmers Insurance Open
Dates: Jan. 28-31
Venue: Torrey Pines Golf Course (North & South Courses), La Jolla, Calif.
Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Thursday 3-7 p.m. (Live) / 11 p.m.-2 a.m. (Replay)
Friday 3-7 p.m. (Live) / 7:30-11 p.m. (Replay)
Saturday 1-2:30 p.m. (Live) / 7-11 p.m. (Replay)
Sunday 1-2:30 p.m. (Live) / 7:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. (Replay)
Golf Central special: Day, Fowler news conference, Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. ET: Jason Day and Rickie Fowler (ranked No. 2 and No. 4 in the world respectively) headline the field and will take part in a Golf Central special news conference from Torrey Pines, airing at 3:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday.
Course rotation: The event utilizes both the North and South courses at Torrey Pines, with players competing once on each course over the first two rounds prior to the 36-hole cut. The final two rounds are then contested on the South Course on Saturday-Sunday.
Day defends: Jason Day defeated J.B. Holmes with a par on the second playoff hole to win his third PGA TOUR victory.
Headlining the field: Jason Day, Rickie Fowler, Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Patrick Reed, Justin Rose, J.B. Holmes, Hideki Matsuyama, Brandt Snedeker, Anirban Lahiri and Bill Haas.
Commercial Bank Qatar Masters
Dates: Jan. 27-30
Venue: Doha Golf Club, Doha, Qatar
Tournament Airtimes on Golf Channel (Eastern):
Wednesday 1:30-4:30 a.m. / 6-8:30 a.m. (Live)
Thursday 1:30-4:30 a.m. / 6-8:30 a.m. (Live)
Friday 4:30-8:30 a.m. (Live)
Saturday 4-8:30 a.m. (Live)
Grace defends: Branden Grace won by one shot over Marc Warren for his sixth career European Tour victory.
Headlining the field: Bryson DeChambeau (a), Sergio Garcia, Ernie Els, Branden Grace, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Louis Oosthuizen, Thomas Pieters, Peter Uihlein and John Daly.
If you are an achiever by nature, just like golf stars and top poker players are, then it’s easy to understand why leading players like Rory McIlory get frustrated when their swing leaves them in the lurch, or why the game’s foremost putters such as Luke Donald, Phil Mickelson or Tiger Woods get upset when they don’t make the putt. Poker players, too, lose their cool when things don’t go their way. Just ask Phil Ivey and Brandon Adams.
The answer to the professionals’ lack of absolute top performance each time they step onto the links or touch the green felt can often be found in their emotional makeup; at the level that these gents compete, often only fractions divide them. All of them are talented individuals and on any given day it may be tough to predict the winner. Perseverance, a steely reserve and a never-say-die attitude often save the day.
GOLF AND POKER: SIMILARITIES
An interesting observation is the “close” relationship that exists between golf and poker. The similarities are not to be denied; in both cases the player has to heavily rely on skill, temperament and – often – experience. That is not to say that newcomers can’t be successful (of course they often are). However, the experienced player just has so much more to draw from. All professional golfers and poker players have a competitive edge that spectators can only admire.
If you want to compete, you need to be tough mentally as well as physically. Nothing can be left to chance. When going for glory on the greens, all the top players have to be in great shape. They have to walk many miles over a four-day spell in the big tournaments, and the unfit will not be there to lift the trophy. The same can be said for poker players; many hours of concentration are necessary to come out on top. It is a fact that, like the masters of the greens, those who rule on the green felt follow a strict exercise routine, and often a proper diet.
WELL-KNOWN GOLFERS WHO ENJOY GAMBLING
Anyone who can read knows the name Tiger Woods. Apart from Jack Nicklaus he has won the most majors in golf (an amazing total of 14) and is a true modern day icon. He may well be the best golfer ever to have stepped onto the fairway and mesmerized us all with his abilities on the greens of the world’s greatest golf courses. Few in the history of the game have had The Tiger’s talent or shown his resilience. After a bad spell following marital problems, it seems that his game is on the up again and it is not at all impossible that he may win many more of golf’s big tournaments. Aside of his near perfect swing or putt, Tiger is also an avid poker and blackjack player. A regular at the casino tables of Las Vegas, Woods is reported to have started playing soon after graduating from university. At first he placed small bets; of course later, given his confidence in his own abilities, The Tiger stepped it up a notch and began betting like a seasoned champion. Tiger also hosts his own poker tournament every year.
Another one of golf’s great characters, John Daly is often spotted at the Las Vegas gambling tables. He himself estimates that he must have lost around $55 mill. John is honest: “I should say I regret it. But I did it, I move on from it. I had a lot of fun doing it…I love the action. I love the adrenaline going in there.” It seems the rush is what often pushes these stars to win, not only in front of admiring crowds at the 18th during exciting finishes and play-offs; no, also in the world’s casinos where sometimes the financial stakes can be high. To be one of the top golfers in the game, a definite competitive edge is not negotiable. The same is true in the poker, blackjack or billiard room.
POKER PLAYERS ON THE FAIRWAYS AND GREENS
Not only do golfers like the tables – the men from the gambling rooms often enjoy stepping out to tee off. A fine example is the highest-earning tournament player of all time, Daniel Negreanu who is an avid golfer and plays as regularly as time permits. In his own words: “I’m addicted.” Daniel was one of almost 20 big poker stars to take part in the inaugural High Stakes Golf Tour event in 2007 which was organized by gambling legends Doyle Brunson and Dewey Tomko. Daniel has not let up and enjoys a day on the course with friends, other poker players or serious golfers.
Brunson, a naturally gifted athlete in his youth, started playing golf at 30 and it immediately became clear that he was a serious contender. Because of his competitive nature and belief in his own abilities, such as not folding under pressure (very important at the poker table) he often was a match for far more talented golfers.
Another well-known poker player often found on the golf course is Tom Schneider, twice winner of a WSOP bracelet. Tom loves the similarities between poker and golf because he believes there are betting opportunities on the golf course as there are on the green felt. Skills often applied in the poker room can easily be transferred to the fairway and greens. Because of its nature, as opposed to the ‘’fast’’ games, golf allows time to think between shots, just like one would do in the poker room. When it comes to planning and outsmarting the opponent, golf and poker go hand in hand for Tom.
Poker players and other gamblers tend to be very good at sensing stress in the body language or on the face of an opponent. Therefore they find it easier than most to capitalize on a situation and to take control whether they’re out on the golf course or in the poker room.
Not enough can be said about mental toughness when it comes to performance, endurance and showing verve. Not everybody with talent will hit the big time, either on the links or in the games room. Players with no financial support or sponsorships have to work so much harder to get to tournaments or to be allowed entry in top competitions; they very often have to pay their own way, airfare and hotel accommodation. Of course, once they make it, the choice of hotels and limousines seems to be just another of the perks.
Poker players’ fascination with golf has been well documented, and we know from social media that many of the world’s top golfers will never say no to a night on the green felt.
The results are in… Love it or hate it, Tiger Woods has won his 11th PGA Tour Player of the Year award, as voted on by his peers. While I may have preferred to see Adam Scott or Phil Mickelson win POY, based on the pure numbers I can’t say I disagree with the outcome.
Tiger won five times on tour in 2013: Farmers Insurance Open, WGC Cadillac, Arnold Palmer Invitational, THE PLAYERS (always write “The Players” in ALL CAPS, it’s what they do) Championship, WGC Bridgestone. Two of the five events were World Golf Championships events. These events have stronger fields in terms of world rankings.
Five wins makes a great career for most tour players. For perspective, these PGA Tour players have recorded five wins in their entire careers: Nick Watney, Justin Rose, Scott Verplank, Billy Mayfair, Hunter Mahan, Tom Lehman, Padraig Harrington, Bill Haas, Luke Donald, John Daly.
Tiger led the season long FedEx Cup points standings until the final round of the playoffs where he “ran out of gas.”
Woods led the world golf rankings by a large margin over #2 Adam Scott.
Woods also led the money race, finishing at $8,553,439. The closest competitor was Henrik Stenson at $6,388,230.
Tiger also won the Vardon Trophy for adjusted scoring average at 68.985.
Looking at these numbers it is an easy pick, as Scott and Mickelson both only had two wins.
The funny thing about this season is that most Tiger Woods fans would call his season disappointing. I can’t say I disagree there, based on the standard which has been set.
I believe that major championships, just like in FedEx Cup points and world rankings, should have considerably more weight in calculating awards like Player of the Year. A major in my mind is worth several regular tour victories. How many? I’d say at least three. That’s why I would have had no problem voting for Adam Scott or Phil Mickelson, if I had a vote to begin with.
2013 was quite a year for Tiger with regards to rules infractions. First was the bizarre situation at The Masters where Tiger’s approach on the par-5 15th doinked off the pin and into the water. He then made an improper drop and later signed an incorrect score card as he did not assess himself the penalty. Nobody would have known about the improper drop had Woods not commented that he dropped his ball farther away from the original position. But the Masters rules committed ruled in his favor before his round concluded and Woods was not disqualified. Tiger haters were throwing fits online, calling for him to be disqualified, while fans argued the opposing view.
Then there was the drop on the 14th hole at THE PLAYERS (always write “The Players” in ALL CAPS, it’s what they do) Championship. Woods pulled his tee shot left into a water hazard. The position which he dropped was harshly questioned on the air by Johnny Miller.
Finally there was the infamous ball moving problem on Friday of the final FedEx Cup event at East Lake. Tiger was in some trees and moving loose impediments from near his ball. His ball moved at which time he immediately stopped as if to say “uh, oh. I just caused the ball to move.” But he didn’t call a penalty on himself, nor did he call a rules official over. After video review, PGA Tour rules official Slugger White tacked on two more shots to the already double-bogey Woods scored on the hole. Despite seeing the video several times, Woods still refused to admit moving the ball.
Tiger is a very polarizing figure no doubt. Reading social networking threads and blog comments regarding Tiger can be quite entertaining as the fans and haters tend to go at each other’s throats digitally.
I was quite surprised to hear Tiger cite “running out of gas” as a reason for his poor performance down the stretch of the FedEx Cup playoffs. When I first heard that statement I thought, “what the #$&? He’s a world class athlete!”
But Woods is not getting any younger. Perhaps all the wear and tear on those knees and back are catching up to him? Maybe. I suspect the bulk of the fatigue Woods was referring to was mental. Anyone who plays golf would understand that.
How many majors Tiger wins from this point on, if any at all, remains to be seen. Any conjecture is just that, conjecture. Personally I’m very tired of the constant “will Tiger break Jack’s record?” dribble from the mainstream golf media. Its so old, and its getting older. Maybe that dribble will “run out of gas” too.
I hope so.
I’ve made fun of John Daly on many occasions. But this time around I sincerely send JD my best and congratulations for winning a battle to get custody of his seven year old son. I’ve got a bit of experience in that genre and I can tell you it is no fun.
Daly’s 4th wife, who he divorced in February, lost custody and will serve jail time for interfering with JD’s visitation privileges, failing to get the child to school, failing get the child needed speech therapy, as well as contempt of court. Appeals by her attorney were denied.
“I want her to see the inside of a jail cell this weekend.” ~Judge Donna Fields
Divorce court judges don’t put up with people who don’t comply with their orders.
“The best Christmas gift a father can ask for and a great day in this two year journey for what is best for my son. So proud being awarded full custody of my son today!” ~John Daly