Tuesday, July 19, 2011

After Sandwich

At least in the USA it was a non-TV event with Women's Football loss to Japan garnering much higher ratings. Ah, the all-coveted ratings and advert index.

This was an Open Championship for the true golfer, one who understands that 62*, off and on rain and 30 knot winds are golf. Darren Clarke is everyman, he won for everyone, has not actually drunk a thing from the Claret Jug as of this writing and will not change. Meanwhile we have to wonder about Rory McIlroy and wonder who he really is. Is he a petulant poorly prepared 22-year old making haste comments about foul weather and his preference for American Golf? Will he get around to understanding what is required for character and an all-round game? Will his girlfriend transfer request make any differences - that is interesting as Wozniacki was very closely linked (and neighbors with Novak Djokovic) as recently as Wimbledon's proverbial Fortnight to the same girl. From her interviews she seems as grounded as a 15 year old women's tennis star so maybe she's perfect for Rory.

Sandwich also gave us another good run from Tom Watson who had he not had the same end of the draw as McIlroy might have been even closer in the end.

We were treated to a cold sh@nk from Dustin Johnson in the heat of contention and another round of Mickleson's balky short putting. (This from the man under the tutelage of RocketScientist Dave Pelz and his make 400 putts in a circle in a row drill? I think we might have learned that too much is never enough or was it less is more? I've never been a practicer so I don't have that answer. A season's practice for me is 300 long balls, 300 chips & pitches and 300 putts, spread out over 365.25 days every year. Add to that one or two demo days and that's it.

From this Open I liked attitude. Tom Watson's "Come what may, do with what we're given". Darren Clarke's keep on plugging through thick and thin and Phil's I'm going to start over, fresh and anew!

I'll give 22-year old Rory a pass on this one. 10 years from now he'll say "Knowing what I know now - in 2011 at Royal St. George's - I would have prepared differently, but I don't regret what I did." At least I hope that's what he will have decided by this time next year, but won't say.

The US PGA is of interest to me for the first time in many years as a friend of the redanman will be caddying for his brother!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Open Championship Week

In a move to wean myself from other internet golf locations, look for me to have more to say. I've got the photos for Kohler on another computer so look back soon.

The Open Championship Week is my favorite personal week in golf. It is the world's tournament, too much of world golf is still in the USA although the news of the Women making the Evian a Major is good news this week. Even though a good friend of mine's younger brother has qualified for the US PGA (Major) I feel most strongly that it needs to be dropped from Major status and a Bermuda/Couch surface tournament needs to be added in its place with debate between the Australian Masters and Oz Open. Perhaps a brand new Australian Tournament rotating through the most revered venues is the answer.

This week at Royal Saint George's Rory McIlroy returns to the world golf stage against Westwood, Donald and recent Major winners Kaymer, Schwartzel, Oosthuizen and the apparently renewed Sergio Garcia. My no means a comprehensive list, add all-rounder current top American and my personal favorite American these days Wisconsin's own Steve Stricker and you probably have covered the top betting favorites. This Open will be decided by the weather and who handles it best if current forecasts hold.

Dan King invited me to my first Open Championship when he was at GolfWeb.com - now defunct. In a house in the town of Carnoustie we had a true cast of characters and I had the car. It was also my first trip to play links golf and that Peugot 206 covered over 1,000 miles. It was a helluva good time.

The Open is so very special in that it is so egalitarian - walk up and pay on Sunday and you'll get in. I did that on Sunday in 1999 and stood directly behind Jean Van de Velde ready to rush down the 72nd fairway with the traditional throng of golf's most knowledgeable fans only to need to scramble around (with my friend-making umbrella) to see Aberdeen's Paul Lowrie keep the Claret jug in Scotland for the year. It remains one of my top memories in golf and fully cemented my love of The Open championship. Enjoy and see you soon.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Moving On

As bad as things are, it can always be worse.

Golf is having a bit of an identity crisis right now. When Tiger Woods came along if there was ever a doubt prior then - at that time the world of golf embraced the long ball to great exclusion. The ball has gotten out of control, at least coupled with the modern driver. At any rate Golf has become very closely equivalent to Men's Professional golf (which it definitely is not) and Men's Professional Golf sadly has become Tiger Woods - or at least tied all of its future to Mr. Woods. Orthopedically speaking Mr. Woods is nearing the end of his career as we have know it to date. He is a man and men have limitations. As Clint Eastwood in Character of Dirty Harry Callaghan once said "A man has got to know his limitations". I've often called this the Clint Eastwood school of golf instruction but it applies to a great many things.

As an Orthopaedic Consultant and former surgeon I can tell you that there is little in a 35-year old world class athlete that needs the sort of "rest" that we seem to constantly hear that he needs. And oh yes, "pain" is irrelevant to all of this. This is the man of the "broken leg", never forget that. Somehow we are to accept these two irreconcilable positions. The Golf World collectively holds its breath every time Mr. Woods is about to speak. This time we are told that he will not be competing in the Open Championship, no surprise as he had reportedly not hit a ball through last week save with a putter. There's much more afoot, but no one is asking Mr. Woods “What will happen when inevitably you do NOT reach the proverbial 100%?" His knee is indeed crocked and there is no role for a knee replacement for those of you unaware what those words actually mean. Tiger then gives us the line that Jack was competitive at 46, but Jack continuously played in nearly 40 years of Major Tournament Golf. Age is meaningless. (Had JWN just played in one major in 2006, he would have played at least one major per each of 50 years!) Herein lays a fact of life Tiger has to come to grips with, that is that no matter what sort of will we have, we have to deal with reality testing and Tiger must come to grips with the fact that he cannot and will not reach the 100% he is loftily seeking.

There was so much inconsistency in his press conference in Pennsylvania last Tuesday at Aronimink; it appears that damage control preparation may be prefacing his non-return but if that were the case then he would be reality testing. Why any further surprise today? From last week - how can one reconcile three "Intense" 60 minute works-out daily for explosiveness to return yet nothing but a putter is in use to date? WE should all reject this notion from the outset, it is just another in a long line of posturing. The mantra of continuing to make progress is a transparent lie to those who have worked with athletes. Most likely suspect is that there is not a swing that has yet to work with the limitations imposed by that knee. There has not yet been found a swing with which Tiger can go forward as he did in the past, he must adjust or go away.

No matter what, it is time for golf to wean from the teat of Tiger Woods. It's been a good run, but golf is bigger than professional golf and that part of the game that is not Professional Men's Golf is just fine. We tend to forget that and get focused on the men's pro game far too much; it is a game of the common man and woman. It has been very fine before and will go forward without him as well.
You heard it here first, If Tiger cannot find a swing that works with his knee, it's maybe completely over. It's certainly over as it was at the turn of the century. I am not a man to listen to B.S. on my own time, I listen to it for a living.

Now get out and play golf.