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Crazy Week in Review

Jul. 24, 2008     By     Comments (15)

This past week has given golf fans a lot to talk about.

Thrash TalkIt has taken a few days to recover from the crazy last week in the world of golf. Padraig Harrington won his second consecutive British Open, and congratulations are definitely in order for the Irishman. The Open Championship also provided a couple turn-back-the-clock moments as well. Were the names Duval and Norman really at the top of the leaderboard heading into the weekend?

In other happenings, Michelle Wie officially put her name right in the middle of the spotlight once again. Wie had an up-and-down week to say the least, and I'll talk more about that later in the article. Continue reading to find out what I think about Harrington, Duval, Norman, and Wie.

Padi Goes Back-To-Back
Padraig Harrington was among the best without a major victory for a few years before winning last year's British Open. The Irishman didn't settle there and won the event for the second consecutive year this past weekend at Royal Birkdale. His win at Carnoustie last year was deserved, but his performance this past weekend was incredible. The conditions were nasty, and he still won by four shots. His play down the stretch was as solid as it gets.

With the win, Harrington moved up to number three in the world rankings. Along with Tiger Woods, the two have won four of the last five majors, and there could be a few more in store for the Irishman. He has the game to win any major, and with two now under his belt, it will be surprising if he doesn't finish his career with four or five. What looked like a solid golf career for Harrington has now turned into a possible Hall of Fame career. He will need to win a few more big ones, but it's possible.

Shark and Double D Sighting
Padraig Harrington's performance at this year's British Open was amazing, but the Irishman flew under the radar a little because of two other golfers. Greg Norman turned back the clock in a major way this past weekend en route to finishing in a tie for third. The Shark led after the first and third rounds, and while he slipped a little in the final round, he held things together really well.

Less than a month ago, the 53-year-old Norman married tennis Hall-of-Famer Chris Evert in the Bahamas. With so many other business ventures, golf fans don't get to see the Shark much these days. Everyone was treated to something special this past weekend, however.

Norman's game looked as solid as it has in years, and it will be interesting to see what happens in his golf future. One thing is certain: fans will get to see him at next year's Masters because of his solid finish at Royal Birkdale. He didn't end up winning, but his play was probably still the biggest story of the week. And if he would have held on and won, it would have been the biggest story in the history of the game.

David DuvalGreg Norman wasn't the only unlikely name near the top of the leaderboard last week. David Duval turned back the clock a few years as well. He had an awful third round, but he showed promise the other three rounds. Heading into the weekend, he was only three shots off the lead and played in the second-to-last group. That's a good thing to see for golf fans all around the world, but was it a one-time only thing?

It will be exciting to keep track of Duval's next few tournaments. He has talked about his game coming around for awhile, and fans finally got to see glimpses at Royal Birkdale. That being said, he played well a couple years ago at the U.S. Open and struggled mightily afterwards. There is a very good chance we won't see Duval at the top of the leaderboard for a long time, but here's hoping I'm wrong with that assumption.

Here Wie Go Again
Newsflash: Michelle Wie is back in the spotlight. After struggling quite a bit the last year or so, Big Wiesy had herself in prime position to win her first professional tournament this past weekend. After the third round, she was in second place. Unfortunately, that round didn't officially count because she was disqualified after finishing her second round. Wie forgot to sign her scorecard before leaving the scorer's tent and was disqualified in the process. A rule is a rule.

After all the ups-and-downs, Wie finally seemed to have things back in order. With this past weekend's DQ, she might tailspin into another slump if she doesn't handle things the right way. It's been stated time and time again how great her success would be for women's golf, and there is a reason for that. She has loads of talent, and hopefully fans will get to see more of her great play in the near future.

While it would be nice to see Wie play great in the near future, that doesn't necessarily transfer over the men's game. That's right, she has accepted a sponsor's exemption to play in a PGA Tour event next week. The tournament will probably benefit a little in the attendance and interest department, but it's ridiculous. It would be nice to see Wie finally give up playing against the men and start focusing on playing against the women. I've always been a critic, but I was finally starting to cheer for her a little. Then she decided to make another wrong decision. Get your mind out of the gutter Michelle!

The Final Say
It's been a wild past week in the golf world, but that's a must with Tiger on the injury list until 2009. Casual golf fans need good stories like this to stay interested in the game over the next several months. I talked about a few big stories, but I didn't even touch on Jack Nicklaus' comments about golf and money. There might be a Thrash Talk dedicated to that in the very near future because that's an interesting subject.

It's your turn to tell me what you think about the past week? Does Padraig Harrington have anymore majors in his future? Also, what does the short-term future hold for Greg Norman and David Duval? Finally, does Michelle Wie finally have things back in order, or will her disqualification throw things back into a tailspin? If you have anything to add, please comment below or discuss it in the forum. Thanks for reading this week's Thrash Talk!

Photo Credit: © 2008 The Sand Trap .com.

Discussion

  1. John says:

    I just wanted to say what absolute horse-shit Michelle Wie's disqualification was. For the record I'm not a Wie fan or hater, in fact I don't think I have ever seen her hit a ball. Can someone please explain to me what benefit she could possibly have gained from leaving the scoring tent / roped-off area and then signing her name when called back? And if someone says "rules are rules" about this one, I might just quit golf! I accept all the dumb rules where you might just about get some advantage if broken but this one is just so idiotic it hurts.

    Anyone care to enlighten me?

  2. Anyone care to enlighten me?

    On the LPGA Tour, it's defined that you've turned your scorecard in when you leave the scoring area. Michelle left the area, thus "turned in her card," but it didn't have a signature. Thus, she broke the rules and earned herself a DQ.

    You may think it's a "stupid rule," but I think the basics of signing your name to attest to your score and that of your fellow competitors is one of the foundational Rules of Golf. Almost every other rule is based on the fact that, at the end of the day, the player is accountable for his own actions, and attests to that by checking his card, signing it, and turning it in. We sign our checks, we sign contracts, we sign letters we send to relatives or friends on their birthdays, and we sign our scorecards. A signature means something.

    Furthermore, you may not like it, but rules are rules, and most of them are written to eliminate any grey areas. This particular rule has tripped up less people than you can count on one hand in the past few decades in professional golf. Rules are also written to avoid bifurcation, so I don't want to hear any crap about how "everyone knew her score." The same doesn't apply at your local club championship or during a casual round for your handicap.

  3. Tom Albergotti says:

    Why wasn't Wie disqualified on Friday?

    This is her second DSQ and they both happened a day late.

  4. Why wasn't Wie disqualified on Friday?

    Tournament officials were not notified of the infraction until play had begun on Saturday. They waited for Michelle to finish, got her side of the story, and DQed her when she confirmed everything.

  5. Tom Albergotti says:

    I wonder if it was the same reporter that reported her to the officials last time.

  6. Trav says:

    Peripatetic but knowledgable observer John Feinstein commented yesterday on radio that he thinks Wie is simply "not that smart." Not as in failing to understand there is such a rule, but as in acting like an unfocused and mentally undisciplined child who doesn't have it together enough upstairs to pay attention to such routine things.

  7. Mark says:
    Anyone care to enlighten me?

    foundational

    Almost every other rule is based on the fact that, at the end of the day, the player is accountable for his own actions, and attests to that by checking his card, signing it, and turning it in. We sign our checks, we sign contracts, we sign letters we send to relatives or friends on their birthdays, and we sign our scorecards. A signature means something.

    foundational.huh??

    Yeah but my birthday card isn't rendered invalid because I didn't sign it within a specially designated fenced off area.

  8. bobsuruncle says:

    While the "rules are the rules", and some rules are "dumb", etc...the main point to take away here is Wie's maturity and focus, or lack thereof.

    I think Butch Harmon once said of Tiger (who was then a teenager also) - once he stepped "inside the ropes" (the boy) had the "head of a 35 year old veteran". The way Tiger conducts himself on and off the course, the focus, dedication, etc is a credit to both himself and his upbringing (and hence his parents).

    Perhaps the Wie's can learn from this.

  9. bobsuruncle says:

    Of the 3 golfers who made waves at The Open, I believe Paddy has it in him to win perhaps 1 more major, likely a third Claret Jug. The reason I say this is bcoz, of the current crop of major winners on tour, the most anyone not named Tiger holds is 3. This includes such superstars as Phil, Vijay, and Ernie. They then seem to fade away.

    I don't see either Greg nor DD making more waves. Greg just doesn't practice enough to keep 4 good rounds going.

    Like IBF (Ian Baker Finch), DD has "lost it" mentally and it's very difficult to come back from there. Tiger is Tiger coz he has the strongest mind in golf today. Without the mind, the body can't follow. Sorry DD.

  10. John says:

    foundational.huh??

    Yeah but my birthday card isn't rendered invalid because I didn't sign it within a specially designated fenced off area.

    Thanks for backing me up on that one Mark.

    Whether or not you sign the card inside or outside a designated area makes no difference as long as you sign your name to a card showing the correct scores. I asked in a previous comment which never got published what the rule that caught Wie was supposed to prevent or control but as I said this comment was never published and thus I never got an answer.

    So I ask again: what is the rule that states you must sign cards in a particular area designed to prevent or control?

  11. Shortgame85 says:

    foundational.huh??

    Yeah but my birthday card isn't rendered invalid because I didn't sign it within a specially designated fenced off area.

    You are lacking a Wie bit of relevance, here, my man.

  12. So I ask again: what is the rule that states you must sign cards in a particular area designed to prevent or control?

    The USGA Rules of Golf stipulate that a card must be signed when it is turned in (rule 6-6). The LPGA further defines when you've turned your scorecard in as "when you leave the scoring area." It's pretty clear.

    In other words, the Rules of Golf require that you "turn in" a properly signed scorecard. The LPGA defines when "turning in" the card occurs.

    The Rules of Golf seek to eliminate as many "grey areas" as possible, and any of the possible rules revisions people have proposed to "fix" this rule introduce grey areas or unnecessary complexity. It's not like this rule has tripped up more than about, oh, one person in the past ten years.

    I disagree that it's a stupid rule. Your signature means something, and the way it's currently defined, it's very clear when you've turned your scorecard in. Furthermore, the rule has to work for a junior golf tournament, a club championship or member-guest, and pro events as well.

    I do agree that the LPGA failed its fans and its players by not having an official in the tent.

  13. John says:

    Fair enough. Thanks for clearing that up.

  14. Jeremy says:

    hmm... I see what you are getting at Erik

    'In other words, the Rules of Golf require that you "turn in" a properly signed scorecard. The LPGA defines when "turning in" the card occurs.'

    It's arguable that if she 'turns in' an unsigned scorecard that she has in fact turned in nothing at all, (as if I had paid you with an unsigned check) meaning that if she subsequently signs a card and turns it in that action could be coinsidered to the first 'turn in'.

    I can see the value of a rule against signing an incorrect card, but on this one I don't see who or what benefits.

  15. It's arguable that if she 'turns in' an unsigned scorecard that she has in fact turned in nothing at all, (as if I had paid you with an unsigned check) meaning that if she subsequently signs a card and turns it in that action could be coinsidered to the first 'turn in'.

    I'm sorry, but no. If you've "turned in" your card per the rules, you've turned in your card. You've not "not turned in" something and you've not "turned in nothing." If your "turned in" card lacks a signature, per the Rules of Golf, "too bad, so sad" for you. The current rules have no ambiguity. They're clear, concise, and easy to understand.

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