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      Introducing TST "Clubs!"   08/28/2017

      No, we're not getting into the equipment business, but we do have "clubs" here on TST now. Groups. Check them out here:


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About PatrickMurtha

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  1. 2015 Arnold Palmer Invitational Discussion Thread

    Could you tell by LOOKING by Patrick Reed that he is a much better golfer than Harris English? Wouldn't you guess the opposite? And if the "athleticism" we are talking about is mainly hand-eye coordination, then we get back to my point about Morgan Hoffmann not being able to become Phil Mickelson by going to the gym - but in a slightly different way. Let's say that the intelligence of which I speak is the ability to DEPLOY superb hand-eye coordination situationally. We'll take Phil's, and Tiger's, and Greg Maddux's, and Randy Johnson's phenomenal hand-eye coordination as givens. I agree, they are all in the 99.99th percentile that way. I still think the "mental game" is phenomenally important as a separating factor among professional sports players, virtually all of whom have hand-eye coordination that would beggar yours or mine. We are comparing apples to apples, right? If I am COMPLETELY wrong about the importance of intelligence, then maybe in certain sports (and in certain positions in other sports), it does pretty much all boil down to hand-eye coordination, which is very largely a genetic factor assisted by repetitive practice. The gym is not going to help there, either. My guess is that the jury is still out on whether physical conditioning can make a good professional golfer a much better one. Tiger didn't improve after all the weightlifting, but who knows what the causes and effects are there. Whether Rory has benefited in the long run by so assiduously hitting the weights himself will play out over time. Remember, the original post I was responding to was comparing visuals of "fit golfer" with "unfit golfer," and that is what I have been responding to. I don't think the level of visible fitness or lack of it in a golfer tells us very much at all. I don't think I need to be a golfer myself to know that. I just have to look at Patrick Reed's belly!
  2. 2015 Arnold Palmer Invitational Discussion Thread

    Bill James wasn't a baseball player, how was he qualified to talk about baseball? Anyway, I'm not pretending to be an absolute expert, and I'm not talking about swing mechanics. I'm just offering a general opinion based on 40+ years of watching the game. And my point is really this: Body athleticism is MORE important in some sports, LESS important in others, and you can tell what category I put golf into.
  3. 2015 Arnold Palmer Invitational Discussion Thread

    Sure, Johnson is a more physical case than Maddux, no argument there. But what enabled him to have a 22-year HOF career? He was able to adjust as his speed inevitably declined. Many fast pitchers can't do that and don't do that. I would still argue for intelligence. Didn't mean to pull the subject away from golf!
  4. 2015 Arnold Palmer Invitational Discussion Thread

    Why so shocked? There are golf fans who are non-golfers, you know, even if they are a rather small minority. Anyway, you're obviously not going to be persuaded by anything I say. I still think I am correct, but of course I would . However, I will point out that virtually all the commentary on Greg Maddux that you can read anywhere stresses his intelligence, and that there is also a vast literature on "the mental game of golf" - way bigger than my puny comments. So I don't think that I am entirely alone in making these points.
  5. 2015 Arnold Palmer Invitational Discussion Thread

    And in what do those skills consist? Well, hand-eye coordination, for sure, but that is true of ALL sports. The reason I drew the comparison to pitching in baseball is that both golf and pitching are highly strategic, even chess-like. Why is Greg Maddux one of the greatest pitchers of all time? It's not his body, not even his arm (his speed was average), it was his mind. His concentration, his ability to carry out a plan, but also to adjust that plan on the fly, were uncanny. The great sabermetrician BIll James has made this point repeatedly - that the factor that unifies all great pitchers, as opposed to batters, is intelligence. (There are smart hitters too, of course, but hitting is more purely instinctive.) I think golf is like that, too. Now, as a non-golfer I may be talking through my hat - but I don't think so. I'm not saying intelligence is ENOUGH to make one a great golfer, but I am saying that there is no such thing as a great golfer without it. Morgan Hoffmann is not going to become Phil Mickelson by working out. Phil Mickelson's "golf intelligence" (and his general intelligence, too) is WAY beyond the average, and is what makes him Phil. I don't think HE goes to the gym much. I like the new athletic breed of young golfer, too - but you know, the sport is not ultimately about athleticism.
  6. 2015 Arnold Palmer Invitational Discussion Thread

    Well sure, but then why does Patrick Reed play so much better than far more athletic (and quite talented) golfers such as Harris English and Gary Woodland? Because, like baseball pitching, which has also had some highly unlikely physical specimens rank as masters (Mickey Lolich, Fernando Valenzuela), golf is more mental than it is anything else. This is not to say that strength and length don't count (of course, big guys can pack a wallop off the tee without necessarily hitting the gym). But that the best golfers are generally the smartest, wiliest golfers, of that I have no doubt. Jordan Spieth's brains will take him farther than his body.
  7. 2015 Arnold Palmer Invitational Discussion Thread

    Myself, I suspect that Rory is going to have an off-year in 2015, and I think that he will have off-years THROUGHOUT his career. True, he looked like the second coming last year; but remember, there was a fairly long stretch of 2013 when he played rather indifferently. I don't think it was just the change in clubs.
  8. Everything counts for the OWGR, too. The OWGR is often criticized, and it can be nitpicked in certain ways - for example, the two-year sample may be too long. But in the main, with the different weighting of events both on different tours and even within those tours, I think the OWGR is a fine, sensitive instrument.
  9. I don't mind pro golf being a year-round sport any more than I mind its being a worldwide sport with many tours. Just makes it more interesting to me. And lately, there have been some great stories coming out of the last quarter of the calendar year: Jimmy Walker's sudden emergence at the end of 2013 (before which he had missed 6 of 8 cuts); Adam Scott's King of Australia routine, also in 2013; Jordan Spieth's two wins in a row in 2014.
  10. 2015 Arnold Palmer Invitational Discussion Thread

    He does! I don't think the dipping habit, so visible in these pictures, will do anything for his marketability, though. Duf might get away with it because his whole image and appeal is (let's face it) kind of slobby, but a fresh-faced 21-year-old kid like this can't pull it off. What do these guys do out there? Do they spit on the greens? Or maybe in the rough, that would be more genteel. Do their caddies carry spit cups for them? I'm surprised that the PGA Tour even allows this, frankly.
  11. 2015 Arnold Palmer Invitational Discussion Thread

    Spieth was never planning on playing this tournament this year, I don't believe.
  12. No, alas, not since the start of 2014. Rickie still only has the one PGA Tour win (Well Fargo in 2012). He also won the Korea Open in 2011. Jason Day had the same "highly talented but doesn't win" rep as Fowler, but he has started to crack that with his Match Play win in 2014, and the Farmers Insurance Open win this year. Here are Day's numbers since the start of 2014: Day - 21 tournaments, 2 wins, 9 Top 5s (43%), 10 Top 10s (48%), 14 Top 20s (67%), 3 MC/WDs (14%) If we extend Day back 8 tournaments into 2013, his numbers start to look very close to McIlroy's: Day - 29 tournaments, 3 wins, 12 Top 5s (41%), 15 Top 10s (51%), 21 Top 20s (72%), 3 MC/WDs (10%) Considering he's been hurt at times, which is the reason he has WDs and fewer tournaments played than others, these numbers are mighty good. The Day / Dubuisson showdown at the Match Play in 2014 was a sheer joy.
  13. Thank you kindly! I got started on this when a commenter at Golf.com asserted that Reed kept himself in contention more than Spieth did. I wasn't sure that was true, and decided to check. Another thought on Spieth: Whenever I think of him, I'm reminded of something Kirk Douglas said about his son Michael Douglas: "I am proud of Michael for many, many reasons. But I am more proud of how he HANDLES his success than I am of his success." This is one of the things that makes Jordan special, I think. At 21 - at 21! - he handles his success with poise, grace, and style. This bodes very well for his future.
  14. I'm increasingly fond of Patrick Reed. He won me over big time at the Ryder Cup. And how great is it that, having been roundly lambasted for putting himself forward as a Top 5 in the world golfer, he might actually turn out to be one? I think that Spieth has a bit of a edge on him at the moment, but nothing major. Since the start of 2014, they have both played in 36 tournaments: Spieth - 3 wins, 10 Top 5s (28%), 14 Top 10s (39%), 23 Top 20s (64%), 4 MCs (11%) Reed - 3 wins, 7 Top 5s (19%), 9 Top 10s (25%), 14 Top 20s (42%), 6 MCs (17%) Of course, Spieth has three years on Reed, and that counts; true greatness in golf typically reveals itself early (Tiger, Seve), although obviously there are exceptions to that too (Tom Watson). How about McIlroy, using these same categories? Right now, he is way ahead of everyone: McIlroy - 28 tournaments, 5 wins (2 majors), 12 Top 5s (43%), 19 Top 10s (68%), 23 Top 20s (82%), 2 MCs (7%) 82% Top 20 finishes, that is a run of greatness. How about Rickie Fowler? Fowler - 32 tournaments, 0 wins, 7 Top 5s (4 in majors!) (22%), 13 Top 10s (41%), 15 Top 20s (47%), 7 MCs (22%) I wish he'd start winning, because he's obviously got game; those four consecutive Top 5 finishes in major are something special. But Fowler is more inconsistent than Spieth, missing the cut twice as often. Jimmy Walker? Walker - 34 tournaments, 3 wins, 5 Top 10s (15%), 12 Top 10s (35%), 18 Top 20s (53%), 4 MCs (12%) Jimmy is very strong in the Top 20s column. He is consistently in the hunt. I intend to play with this method for other golfers, but that is what I've got now.
  15. I do get what you're saying, and I'll grant you the homogeneity. I guess the nature of my fandom is a little different. I have golfers that I root for, definitely, but my major interest is in the sport itself, and thus everything that happens in the sport is interesting to me by definition. I get absorbed by knowing about every player who has cracked the Top 200 in the past several years. That's undoubtedly not the commonest way of relating to the pro game, but I do find it satisfying. When I was a kid and baseball was more my thing, I could tell you about every player on every major league roster, and a fair number of minor leaguers as well.