It looks like we're in for another round of John Daly stories. In the aftermath of his most recent domestic troubles, the Golf Channel has aired yet another "up close and personal" style profile of Daly in the form of a "hard-hitting" interview from Rich Lerner. But while most of us probably want to either yawn or vomit at the prospect of more exposure of big John, something is rapidly fading from the landscape surrounding the controversial razorback: his place in golf history.
"They always show Tiger even when he's not in contention."
"I want to see more golf. Less jibber-jabbering and network promos, more actual golf shots."
"Why do they always show people walking around when other players are hitting golf shots?"
No doubt you've heard golf fans complaining about network coverage of PGA Tour events. This weekend, I put CBS on the clock and took notes on their network coverage of the inaugural AT&T National. The results… well they may not surprise you, but they do shed some light on the subject.
In 1989, Mark Calcavecchia hit a remarkable golf shot into the 18th green at Royal Troon, setting up a birdie that lead to an eventual victory in the (British) Open Championship. Almost 20 years later in the Tiger era, we have become awash in so many remarkable golf shots that Calc's 5-iron is almost forgotten today. But it is a very important shot historically, and it's worth recounting today. Especially as the USGA is about to embark on the biggest rule change in the last 30 years.
I attended the U.S. Open yesterday and sat behind the first green for about five hours. Then I went to the ninth green for about three hours.
I saw one birdie: a chip-in by Justin Rose at the first. I saw Ian Poulter's long putt from off the green nearly fall and Shingo Katayama's chip from the fairway rattle the pin before rolling a few feet away. He would later miss the par putt.
Friday I sat behind the 18th green. Though the hole was blocked by a large tree, reasonable views of the tenth, twelfth, and fifteenth tees as well as the ninth green (if you're on the railing). Sitting in the shadows of the trees, and with the wind whipping, the location was less than desirable: walking the course until about noon is advised for those coming on Saturday or Sunday.
Anyway, here are my observations…
The USGA's U.S. Open is, without question, the most difficult tournament in golf. Since its inception in 1895 thirty-two winners have been decided in playoffs. The first playoff was won by Willie Anderson of Scotland in 1901. An eventual four-time U.S. Open winner, Anderson won three U.S. Opens in a row from 1903 to 1905. It is a record that still stands. Hard living Anderson died at age thirty of "hard living."
What Willie Anderson and eventual 1906 U.S. Open victor Alex Smith did well over one-hundred years ago in their playoff has been repeated many times.
A few years ago I gave Michelle Wie the benefit of the doubt. Last year I stood up for her. While people were screaming "she hasn't won anything!" (despite winning the 2003 Women's Public Links) and declaring that she should follow the same path Tiger took to success in the world of golf, I sat back. I suggested that the Michelle Wie story will be written by Michelle Wie, and that only years (or decades) later could we sit back and judge whether Wie had taken the best path.
I was both wrong and right. It appears the story is no longer being written by Michelle Wie - she's merely a bit player in the sad story of B.J. Wie's corruption of his daughter. She's the "talent" and he's the ruthless, money-hungry stage dad who's making all the wrong moves.
Golfing dads are notoriously difficult to buy for. If they're serious about their game they are probably already well equipped with clubs, shoes, and balls.
Shirts and sweaters are an easy way out, but are you really sure about his size? Plus who really needs a sweater in June? And you're not really thinking about giving him another exploding golf ball, are you?
Luckily, however, golf is rich in lore, accessories, and gadgets. Just a little digging over at our friends at Edwin Watts website produced a number of items that I, as a golfing dad, would love to get. So, as we did last year, here's our Father's Day gift suggestions…
Anyone who calls themselves a real fan of the PGA Tour has watched the television coverage of a major and thought "How great would it be to attend!?" Fans of Tiger, Phil, and the rest of the boys on Tour would all love to follow the action live. Sure, your couch has some comforts, but how many times are you going to stride along with Tiger as he wins another U.S. Open?
The people attending these events by and large look like you and I. They're normal guys who just happened to nab some great tickets. Scoring passes to prestigious sports events does not come cheap. Look around sometime and price out tickets to a World Series, or if you dare, The Super Bowl. Major events on the PGA Tour are not much easier on the pocket books. In fact, depending on the event, they can be considerably more expensive.
In this week's The Numbers Game, we'll have a look at the cost of being a fan.
The minute Phil Mickelson or any other big-name player wins a tournament - any tournament - the media is abuzz with questions whether or not that player can overtake Tiger Woods in the World Golf Rankings.
While Phil has probably exceeded his short-range goals with swing-coach Butch Harmon, there remain many obstacles between Phil and the number-one ranking. Outside of Phil Mickelson there is nobody who seems to have the consistency to challenge Woods week in and week out. While there is a ton of potential on Tour, potential does not a winner make.
Here's my best stab at why Tiger is a lock as the world number one for a long time to come…