Monday, August 12, 2013

Random Monday Post: the Tiger Situation, PGA Championship, waggling, yelling stuff

Well, it's finally come to this. The random post. A collection of some odds and ends. It was inevitable, probably.

First let's talk a bit on the situation with the sports media and Tiger Woods--there is way too much negativity surrounding Tiger and his supposed struggles lately. Let's face it, this negativity casts a pall over the entire pro game, and who needs that. Let's not lose perspective here-even at the highest level, golf is supposed to be about fun, and having a good time.

I don't have to tell you people that in these troubled times negativity is all the rage in sports reporting. All news reporting for that matter. Anyways this year we've been bashed over the head with LeBron, A-Rod, Lance Armstrong, Tiger. Ok we get it, negativity stirs the pot, it generates more heat than talk about puppies and warm hugz. But let's not lose sight of the fact that negativity is a tool of the devil, and it's now being used by the corporate media establishment for greedy purposes.

One of the more disturbing recent innovations in negativity-mongering is the golf media's campaign to diminish Tiger Woods's accomplishments. Saying he only wins on his favorite courses. Suggesting that non-major tour titles are practically meaningless and require barely any effort to win.

Ok, again it's negativity to generate more money, blah blah blah and what's so unusual about that. That crap is fine for other sports, but in the context of golf it's in very poor taste. Because fans (and pundits for that matter) of golf aren't just fans--they are almost all avid players. Doesn't conventional wisdom say you should defer to players who are better than you? Isn't all this comparable to some double-digit 'capper spouting off in the 19th hole about how much the current club champion sucks, and telling everyone what that club champion needs to do to get his game back to where it belongs?

Well Tiger Woods is, in a sense, the club champion of the world. You can have your opinions, make your comments, but at some point you might want to defer. But there is no deference shown by the media. By the way, shouldn't we be allowed to see all their golf games and what makes them so qualified to spout off with such a high level of arrogance? Let's have a Golf Pundits Tournament and televise it, see what all these clowns are really made of, golfwise.

Also, doesn't all this diminishing of Woods's accomplishments then, by association, insult every non-major PGA Tour tournament?
"Tiger would trade seven victories for a major in a heartbeat." -- Mark Godich, 'senior editor', Sports Illustrated
"...would Tiger rather have his season thus far or Phil's? I say Phil's, just to grab that claret jug. Regular wins equal a good bank balance, not a major." -- Eamon Lynch, 'managing editor',
"Tiger's the Player of the Year, but I bet he'd cash in all five of his titles for one major." -- Jeff Ritter, 'senior producer',
Gad, could you imagine playing in a foursome with these twits and their group-thinking. And what an insult to pretty much every event on the Tour schedule. What did these tournaments do to deserve such treatment by the media? These disrespectful sploosers ought to be banned from attending any of these events going forward.

(I, on the other hand salute the regular PGA Tour events. Unlike those aforementioned toolbags, I understand that today's Tour events aren't what they were in Arnold Palmer's or Jack Nicklaus's day--they're big, splashy affairs with huge attendance, massive TV/internet coverage, seven-figure prizes and intense competition by a field of elite players from all over the world. In other words, winning one is almost never easy. In other words, why not send me a press pass?)
"A big reason why we media-types put so much stock in Tiger's major record is because Tiger puts so much stock in it." (Ritter)
No, it's not. Lies. That's more like a convenient excuse for more negativity peddling. Besides, shouldn't a sportswriter, a grown adult, have a little more backbone than that? Now I like Tiger Woods as much as the next guy but unlike these fly-by-night hacks, I wouldn't let Tiger Woods dictate my worldview. I'll figure out for myself where to put my stock.

This guy "brought it" more than anyone else on the PGA TOUR ever has. Can you name him? Thanks to the modern golf media, probably no!

A rational person who didn't know about golf, might naturally think that Sam Snead's all-time PGA Tour wins was one of, if not the most meaningful record in the game. After all, Tour wins are a standard by which most pro golfers are measured. Are they not?

When it comes to Tiger, they are just about meaningless, depending on the particular context that day. I get that any exceptional player is going to be judged by different standards, but when most of these pundits discuss this guy, the crazy talk starts and before long, the ridiculousness meters are pinned.

Take Jason Day for example. Not to bash the guy on the internet--I like the guy and his game--but to make a point about sensationalism and boneheaded double standards. Any avid follower of pro golf knows that Day is a pretty highly regarded player, since he has shown some flash in some big tournaments. A winner of one "B-flight" title in four-plus years on Tour, he's regularly touted for his clutch play and steely nerves in the most pressurized tournaments. A lock to win, really:
There is no way that Day can continue on this upward trend without eventually winning one of these coveted prizes. -- Farrell Evans, Sports Illustrated
In contrast Tiger, who within the first couple months of the this year's PGA Tour season eclipsed Day's entire career, is somehow portrayed as the opposite of all these: tentative, mentally weak, doubtful to ever win a major title again:
"Tiger Woods has always been a great putter but he failed at Merion and he might never again succeed at a US Open." -- Kyle Porter, 'golf writer' at
All of this is why, in my opinion, you and all your friends and family ought to read this blog instead. You see, this blog is driven by the truth, and not by revenue. Not yet at least. We all, on some level, understand that the mainstream media controls people's thoughts--a brief look at any big-scale internet messageboard is enough to confirm that. Considering that, all this negativity-mongering is irresponsible on a massive scale, and who wants to be a part of that.


Speaking of Tiger, this weekend some guy named Jason Dufner evoked Tiger '07 by shooting a 63 in the PGA Championship and then following it up by winning the whole thing. Jason Dufner's win is good for the game because he's a Ben Hogan guy, and surely it'll bring lots of attention to the fundamentals and in particular the waggle.

As Hogan puts it, the waggle is "an extremely important part of shotmaking". But old Ben was always nagged by the word itself, lamenting that "waggle" suggests some kind of casual, random or willy-nilly waving about of the golf club.

Not so. When done properly, using primarily the left hand (of a right-handed golfer) to move the club back and forth through the hitting area, the waggle does a hell of a lot more than loosen up your arms and wrists. It gives you a preview of the crucial first portion of the backswing arc. And waggling the clubhead just past the point of impact tells you a lot about how your clubface is going to come into the ball.


Speaking of the PGA Championship (and impact), the situation with fans yelling after impact has at last come to a head. On the 15th hole yesterday, in the midst of a very tense back nine, Jim Furyk hit his tee shot, and then turned around to glare and wag a finger at some offending spectator.

Human nature dictates that continuing to poo-poo this kind of behavior, by invoking stuff like respect, dignity and proper golf behavior, will never improve the situation and will only provoke people to be even more willfully annoying. The only practical solution in my opinion, is to try and pervert the trend.

Fight fire with fire in other words. We should all take to yelling stuff after impact, but instead of the usual self-serving nonsense, we will shout out stuff that connotes positive golf values. At the next PGA Tour event, in the instant after a favorite player makes contact, I would like to hear someone scream out in a lunatic voice:


or how about


or why not even


Ok, so that last one's completely self-serving. But hey, it carries a positive message at least. In any case I'm making an offer to anyone who reads this--if you can manage to get one of these shouts heard on a telecast of a PGA Tour event, I will PayPal you $10 US. No joke.


And lastly, we found out over the weekend that the FOX network will be taking over the broadcast of the U.S. Open. Personally, while I'm not thrilled about that, I sort of look forward to a moment where a player lets out a curse, or flings a club, and maybe we'll get to hear one of Joe Buck's truly awful attempts to smooth things over, kind of like this:


  1. I like the odds and ends article format - keep 'em coming. Also, I think 'El Waggle' sounds far less willy-nilly than the vanilla English version.

  2. When I started "playing", 8 or 9 years ago, it was mostly banging balls at the range, followed by hacking my way around an easy 9-hole track, and my left hand quickly developed blisters, undoubtedly because of my poor grip. So, I had to get a glove to ease the pain, and the habit stuck. Plus, as you say, it's part of the lore/folklore of looking like a golfer. Perhaps, I'll try a few round without it and see how it goes.

    The other thing is that when it rains, I use rain gloves, worn on both hands and that helps tremendously with keeping control of the club, but I don't like that it is way too cumbersome to remove two gloves to putt, and I can no longer see myself wearing a glove while putting: it really affects the feel of the stroke. YMMV.

    1. I entered the above comment in the wrong post. My bad...

      My comment about this post is that I too think that it is high time that the "authorities" deal with the stupidity of the crowd, perhaps by banning offenders for life?

      I know I would be mightily irritated with all the yelling before the stroke is even finished, much less if it occurred at impact or worse. And sadly, getting the USGA tournaments on Fox is not going to help increase the IQ of said crowd, I fear...

      On the PGA championship, kudos to Jason Dufner: he kept his cool, outside at least, where I am sure that he was really boiling inside, as evidenced by his 3-putt on #17. What a way to get his revenge from 2 years ago.

      As for the Tiger haters, there will always be many, even if he ever manages to get 19 major wins. I just ignore them and indeed most of what is being said/written about him.


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