Just some trivial stuff that I took from the week in Maui… not that I was there. I’ll start with the bad and work my way into the good.
- Can these guys play any slower?
David Toms went out as a single in the final round, first player on the course on Monday. He finished 2-and-a-half hours after he started his round. He was probably getting his baggage at an airport on the East Coast by the time the last group made it to the final hole. Seriously? You’ve got a 26-player field, and half of the tee boxes had courtesy cars to trek each group from the tees to the fairways, and they still can’t get these guys through 18 holes in under 5-and-a-half hours? Mark Rolfing commented during the final round that it took Jonathan Byrd over 90 seconds to hit a tee shot on one of the par3′s, and this was after they were allegedly put on the clock. In the opening round three days earlier, it took Byrd nearly 5 minutes to read a putt on the 18th green. Commissioner Finchem, you have an obligation to not just address this problem, but correct it. Can anyone tell me when the last time a PGA Tour player has ever been penalized for playing too slow? You can’t. You wanna know why you can’t? Because it’s never happened. I can guarantee you that when that starts happening, you’ll see a lot of these telecasts finishing on time. This isn’t just a problem with Jonathan Byrd… it’s a problem with 3/4 of the players on tour, INCLUDING Tiger Woods. This is unacceptable.
- Enough with the Miller versus Faldo Crap….
The Golf Channel has improved their telecasts over the years, but do I really need to be reminded every 10 minutes during the coverage that Johnny Miller and Nick Faldo have this lighthearted battle of egos going on in the booth? Do I really care if the one guy doesn’t totally respect the other guy’s take on golf? Is that supposed to somehow add to my enjoyment of watching the telecast? You want to add to my personal enjoyment of the telecast, Golf Channel? Stop showing 8 players putting for every one player who takes a full swing, and keep your damned mouths shut when the caddie and his player are talking! That’s an opportunity for the viewer to listen in, to maybe learn something. You’ll never be as good as the European Tour golf commentators, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t try!
- Maybe they’re not athletes….
Lucas Glover gets injured paddle boating and ends up missing the tournament the same week that Paul Casey gets injured snowboarding. I’m not trying to be insensitive, I know these guys have lives outside of golf. But maybe they ought to consider the consequences of season-ending or career-ending injuries a little more than they do?
- The guy who complains about slow play the most is actually late for his starting time?
At least Jim Furyk didn’t hear his wakeup alarm when he missed that FedEx Cup playoff event a few seasons back. It’s not like he was actually there at the course, a mere 100 yards away from the starting tee and fiddle farting around with his caddie, totally unaware that he was supposed to be putting a peg in the ground, unlike Rory Sabbatini.
- Nick Watney’s Caddie…
I know that it’s a game of honor, and we’re supposed to take a player at his word. But Nick Watney’s caddie looked like he’d just eaten Tweetie Bird with a feather hanging out of the corner of his mouth after I watched that replay of him brushing the grain of the green with his hand. Or what appeared to show him doing that, but was ruled inconclusive. Watney had a bad week, so I guess it won’t get talked about too much after last week. But that was highly suspicious.
- Give us more AimPoint and ShotTracker, Please….
Unless you’ve been to a tour event that has severely undulating greens, you have no idea of the contours and the enormous breaks on some of the putts that we see tour players standing over. That AimPoint technology is pretty cool, and so is the ShotTracker that shows the flight of the golf ball on full swings. I’d like to see more telecasts using this enhanced technology to make watching televised golf a little more enjoyable.
- HD Telecasts Rock.
Kelly Tilghman never looked so old, but some of the tropical ocean views never looked so good. I’ll give the Golf Channel credit – when they converted to high-def, it made a HUGE difference.
- The quality of professional golf has never been greater.
Not to belabor the point, but again – if you ever go to a pro golf event – you will never again question just how good these guys really are. I can remember not all that long ago that you would have maybe a handful of shots from each tournament that made the highlight reels. Every single round this week at the Hyundai could’ve made an entire season of highlight reels just 15 years ago. Between the improved mechanics, the advances in equipment technology, and players just really grooming their games at a much younger age as they’re coming up through the ranks – you really start to believe it when you hear a veteran who has won 12 times on tour say that it’s not easy to win.
- Good guys don’t always finish last.
You know, I’ve watched a lot of golf over the past 20 years of my life. I’ve been fortunate to attend several events in person, and during this time I’ve gotten the impression that 90% of the players on tour appreciate the fans and the fact that they do what they do for a living. But I find it very difficult to believe that any player on tour is as genuinely humble as Steve Stricker. When guys like him win – it makes me feel good as a fan of the game. I’d love to see Strick win a major, and maybe he will someday. But regardless, he’s a great example of a guy who appreciates his place in life and understands priorities. That is refreshing in this day and age of Kobe and Lebron.