Maybe it doesn’t seem like it right now. Maybe our image of Tiger Woods as invincible and super
human is shattered for the moment, but this is good for golf.
Who among us didn’t watch in utter disbelief -- jaws on the floor-- as some
guy we’d never head of named Y.E. Yang
faced down the mighty Tiger?
Who among us hadn’t figured that Tiger’s15thmajor championship
was already in the bag, in the record books, a foregone conclusion?Tiger
blow a two-shot lead in the final round?Yeah, right.No way?Fat chance.
Not gonna happen.
It’s tempting to say that Tiger
didn’t blow the PGA, that Y.E. Yang came and got it.But the fact is, Yang shot 70 in the
final round, not 63 or 64, and Tiger shot 75.That’s blowing it.We just can’t believe it was Tiger who did the blowing.
If you watched the post-game press conferences, Tiger was in a place I’ve never seen him before.He looked stunned, beaten, humbled,
like a hit-and-run victim who hadn’t quite gotten the license plate of the car
that just hit him.He had no
excuses because, well, he had no excuses.For once, the opposition refused to
fold in the face of his intimidation and he flat-out got out-played.
Tiger said he hit the ball great on Sunday, and it looked like he did.But he missed a half-dozen putts that
he usually makes.Come to think of
it, for all the awesome length and majesty of Tiger’s tee shots, never lose sight of the fact that it is his short
game – specifically his putter – that has always separated him from
the rest of the golfing pack.
We are left to wonder what this means?Is Tiger now
broken, or brought down a notch?Or is it a freakish occurrence, a minor mishap?Remember, even if he didn’t win a major
this year, he has still won four times so far, including state-of-the-art, back-to-back wins at the Buick and the WGC-Bridgestone
just before this.
I started by saying I think this is good for golf.I do, because I think this makes Tiger seem human, not some mythic
figure.Everybody saw this, everybody.
The next time Tiger strides
onto the practice tee at a tournament, with that air he has of a man who cannot
be beat, who owns golf, every single guy on the range will look up and
notice.They won’t say a word,
they wouldn’t dare, but they will think, "It turns out you can be beat, Tiger Woods.Next time, maybe it’ll be me."It gives them
hope, a reason to work harder.
Imagine what Phil Mickelson must
be thinking tonight.
Best of all, this will spur Tiger on
to even greater things.Words
cannot describe how he hates to lose.The man who we thought couldn’t work any harder will work harder.He is determined to eclipse Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 majors.He will, eventually.On Sunday at the PGA, he was
denied in humiliating fashion.In
the long run, he will not be.
Itís his putting that was way off at the PGA. His best round was on Thursday when he teed off early and the poa greens were freshly cut. His last 3 rounds started late in the day when the poa grows and blossoms. On Sunday, when he missed very makable birdie putts on 1 & 2, I thought he was in for a long day. Yang stood up to the test and won the tournament. That hybrid shot of his on 18 was terrific. Iíve added a 5hybrid to my bag this year. My lowest iron is a 6. Those hybrids work for me too-just not a the same level
Is it just me or does the idea of a full-throated debate about whether
golf should be included in the 2016
Olympics also make you want to curl up and take nap.
I mean, really.I love
golf.Played it since I was 8 or 9.I make my living writing about it. I watch way too much golf on TV.Still, for some reason, I couldn’t care
less whether golf becomes an Olympic
Chances are, it’s going to happen.On Thursday, the International
Olympic brass picked golf and rugby from among a half dozen or so sports
(baseball, softball, squash, karate, roller sports) for proposed inclusion in 2016.
I am fully aware of the arguments in favor of adding golf to the Olympics – namely, that it will
give the game worldwide exposure, immediately igniting golf crazes in such
potentially robust markets as Russia,
China and India.
No question, given the current economy and the sluggish growth of the game
here in America, equipment
manufacturers and out-of-work golf course architects would love it.
The PGA Tour also supports
golf’s Olympic push, along with the U.S. Golf Association and the Royal & Ancient, the governing
bodies of golf, whose missions include growing the game.Even Tiger Woods, the only golfer who really matters, said this week at
the PGA Championship that he would
play in 2016, if he’s not retired by
then.He said that last part with
I also know the arguments of the naysayers, that golf already has four major championships that are
increasingly full of international players, not to mention the Ryder Cup, the Presidents Cup and the World
My only reason for shrugging is, well, what has happened with
basketball.I am old enough to
remember when the United States, long the king pin of basketball, got beat by
the Soviet Union in the 1988 Olympics, largely because of a
cheap, bogus call but a ref.Of
course, that’s when it was our college players against the essentially
professional national teams from around the world.
Our response was the original Dream
Team in ’92, an array of NBA
stars – Michael Jordan, Larry
Bird, Magic Johnson, Charles Barkley, David Robinson, Scottie Pippen
– that mowed down the international competition.
Boy, did we show them.
Okay, but here’s the thing.That first U.S. win in ’92 was sweet.Revenge is always sweet.But somewhere along the line, I stopped keeping track of Dream Teams.We made our point.Now, Olympics basketball is like a bad NBA All-Star.Do you care?No.Do you
My fear is that golf in Olympics would be cool in 2016.Then it would go the Dream Team route.By 2020,
when Tiger really is retired, the Olympics would be a burden that Tour
pros who reluctantly try to squeeze it into their schedules.Another week they’d play for free.They’d say they were playing out of
national pride, but deep down, it would be because they didn’t want to be ripped
in the media for not wanting to play for the US of A.
I ‘d prefer that didn’t happen.And so, when the subject of golf in the Olympics comes up, my reaction
is to yawn.Sorry, I’m just
If Tiger Woods’ image is at a rock bottom, you wouldn’t know it from
the reception he is getting at the AT&T
National at Aronimink GC.
Not only did Tiger have the largest following during
Wednesday’s pro-am, around the golf course he was greeted with applause and
pre-scandal respect and awe.No
catcalls, no hoots or hollers, no thumbs-down, no embarrassing banners being towed
overhead behind airplanes.
It almost feels like Tiger is still the host of the
tournament, despite the fact that he was famously dumped by communications
giant AT&T at the wake of his
personal life meltdown and his name was scrubbed from the tournament.
On Tuesday, Tiger was ushered into the media center
for his pre-tournament press conference, which felt no less official than when did
them as the host of the three previous AT&T
Nationals at Congressional CC in
And late yesterday morning, Tiger was seated front and center at
the tournament’s opening ceremonies on the back lawn behind Aronimink GC’s ornate clubhouse.He was right there with PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem and rocker Jon Bon Jovi.
So confusing is his role
here this week that earlier today CBS
Sports, which willbroadcast
the tournament Saturday and Sunday, issued a press release headlined:
WOODS HOSTS AND AIMS TO DEFEND TITLE IN "AT&T NATIONAL" ON
JULY WEEKEND, JULY 3-4 ON CBS SPORTS
Minutes later the network
sent out a corrective press release:
PLEASE NOTE PREVIOUS RELEASE ...."TIGER WOODS HOSTS AND AIMS
TO DEFEND TITLE AT AT&T NATIONAL" .....
TIGER IS DEFENDING TITLE, NOT HOSTING
Of course, whether Tiger is hosting or defending doesn’t
seem to much matter to golf fans.All they seem to care about is that they’re finally getting to see the
No. 1 golfer in the flesh.
For reasons that never made much
sense to me, golf, which often gets lumped in with polo and yachting as a
frivolous pursuit of the rich, took a major public relations hit during the
nation’s financial meltdown a few months ago.
Remember the outcry over Northern Trust,
which took bailout money, having the audacity to sponsor the Northern Trust
Open in Los Angeles? And don’t forget the fallout when AIG was discovered to be entertaining clients at a golf resort.
Suddenly, from coast to
coast, companies and corporations that had long used golf to lubricate the
gears of commerce were distancing themselves from the game, for fear of being
portrayed as fat, rich and wasteful.
At the U.S. Open
many corporations tried to get out of their contracts for hospitality
tents.Of those who stuck it out,
many opted not to display their corporate logo.
And nothing sums of the
state of things any better than the recent departure from the game of Buick, once
the sponsor of four PGA Tour tournaments, not to mention Tiger Woods.
So it was a pleasure, and
a surprise, to pick up yesterday’s New York Times and see a positive story about
golf, accompanied by photo, occupying a large chunk of page 1-A.
In a nutshell, the story
said that in areas such as the arid Southwest and drought-ridden Southeast,
nobody has figured out how to stretch a gallon of water more efficiently than
your average golf course super.
"In Georgia, golf course
managers have emerged as go-to gurus on water conservation for both industries
and nonprofit groups," said the Times story, which carried an Atlanta
The story recounted the
horrific drought in the Southeast of a couple of years ago, and described some
of the creative measures golf courses adopted in their misery use of water.
They mowed less frequently and more selectively, found grasses and plants that needed
less water to survive and, of course, reduced irrigation, to name a few
president of the Georgia Water Wise Council, told the newspaper that her group had
relied heavily on golf course superintendents in drafting guidelines for
homeowners and industries.
As somebody who has hammered Michelle Wie with criticism over the past couple of years, let
me be the first to say, "Welcome back, Wie."
Did you see that U.S. Solheim Cup captain Beth Daniel made Wie,
who is still only 19, as one of her two captain’s picks for the upcoming match
(The other pick was eight-time Cup veteran Juli Inkster.)
And did you see and hear young Wie
when they handed her the microphone at the press conference?
"I am so honored and so
thrilled," she said. "I'm just so excited to be wearing this jacket and this
hat and to be representing my country; it's such a thrill for me. I'm just so
honored and so thankful that Beth picked me and I'll do my best not to let her
so...poised, so...grown-up, so...likeable.
the sullen attitude Wie had shown in recent years, replaced
by a new reality-based view of herself and the world around her.Can it be only a year or so ago that Wie was careening from one bad
decision to another?
she did seemed to be wise or right back then: playing injured, firing caddies
or agents, making yet another ill-advised and failed attempt to play against
the me in a PGA
Tour event.It was beginning
to look like the erstwhile promising young phenom
from Hawaii was going to implode or, more likely, simply fade into
something happened once she got to Stanford.Maybe it was because she was a little older, a little wiser
– or maybe she discovered life not being under the thumb of her
began to blossom, or blossom once again. You never see or hear about her
parents these days.She seems to
have taken control of her own young life and, frankly, her life and career
appear to be on an upward trajectory.
Now, having earned her way onto the LPGA tour
via Q-school, Wie is a rookie in good standing.She still hasn’t won a tournament since
Women’s Amateur Public Links, when she was 13, but victory will come sooner
rather than later.So far this
year, she has five top 10 finishes in 13 tournaments and ranks 17th
on the LPGA
If she didn’t earn one of the 10 Solheim Cup spots
on points, it was only because she ran out of time. Wie was 13th on the points list, an
impressive feat considering she did that in only one year.Everybody ahead of her earned their
points over two years; if they had gone by only this year’s points, Wie
would have ranked 6th and made the team on her own for the Cup, set
21-23 at Rich
Harvest Farms outside Chicago.
The bottom line is that the Michelle Wie we all rooted for several years ago looks like
she’s back.Good.Here’s hoping she does well in the Solheim Cup, gains
a ton of confidence and truly sets her young career on the fast track once
The idea for this
site has been kicking around in the back of my mind for more than a year, since
before I left The Philadelphia Inquirer in September 2008. I had
hoped to launch it early in the golf season, in March or April; so much for my
timing. To do it the way I wanted – to do it right – took
longer than I expected.
The key was finding
the right business partner, who I found in Craig Ammerman,
golf man, former newspaper editor, entrepreneur, CEO. (For more on Craig,
click on "About Us" on the Home
page menu bar.) Next, we had to come up with designers who could bring to life
the website I saw in my head.
Now, we’re up and
running, but I hope you’ll bear with us in the early going. I’m still learning
how to fly this state-of-the-art baby. Every time I open the back end,
I’m as awed as a rookie pilot sliding into the cockpit of an F-14 Tomcat.
Our goal for MyPhillyGolfis simple in concept, difficult in
execution. Here, in one of the great golf cities and regions in the country,
we want to become the single most dominant source of golf news, views,
information, conversation, debate, course and equipment reviews and tips from
pros. We want to come as close as we can to one-stop shopping, regardless
of whether you’re a daily fee golfer or a member of a private club.
We obviously have our
own ideas about what myphillygolf.com should be, as you can see. We’re
born but not yet fully developed. Some features are still to come; more on
those as we implement them. No doubt there are also good ideas that haven’t
occurred to us. If you’ve got a suggestion, please let me hear it at firstname.lastname@example.org
or Craig at email@example.com.
In the meantime, we
can surely use your help in spreading the word. Please bookmark MyPhillyGolf.com,
add it to your list of favorites, then check in every day to see what’s
new. And help us spread the word throughout the golf community.