The Galactic View Complete with Futura Shock
I was abducted by aliens. Golf aliens.
Well, not abducted, really. Kind of commandeered. The creatures waited until I had gotten home with the usual gallon of 2% milk, and when I reemerged to check the mailbox, they nabbed me and took me to their ship. I was groggy ' they had overpowered me by reading a paragraph from a recent Dan Jenkins column ' but I think the ship was constructed in the shape of a giant Great Big Bertha II.
Once inside, I got a look at my captors. They were mostly pear-shaped. I got the idea they were largely perimeter weighted. They had roundish faces topped with golf hats, all bearing patches that said things such as 4001 U.S. Open. Their hands were blistered, as if they had been hitting a lot of balls. They wore Softspikes.
The inside of their enormous driver-ship was filled with easy chairs, televisions, and little refrigerators. On every monitor, Jim Nantz or Dan Hicks or Mike Tirico appeared. (Well, OK, one had Brian Hammons.)
One of the aliens, apparently the leader, sat me down and fixed me with a look.
We dont intend to hit you out of bounds. We have lifted you, and we promise when we are done to clean you and place you. We have many questions.
I politely refused whatever cleaning they had in mind and asked to simply be replaced next to my mailbox, with no penalty strokes for anyone involved, secret safe with me and all that stuff. No dice.
I am Niblick. We are from the planet Links, a galactic par 5 away. We must have some questions answered. We have seen your broadcasts on our satellite. You can help.
I was incredulous. What, wasnt Iron Chef on? I stammered.
Enough. Tell us, why does gender disturb the serenity of your golf on this planet? Niblick demanded.
Oh, that. Well, some people object to a private and exclusive club holding one of our most important championships, I said.
The Linksians looked at each other. What means private? Niblick said.
But with all the attention to that issue, Niblick continued, growing heated, and with people protesting the Burk womans right to protest, and the guys in the white hoods, and Jesse Jackson ' what planet is he from? ' will anyone care about the tournament?
Well see in a few weeks, I suppose.
Hmm. I dislike your answer, Niblick said. It lacks focus. Let us try another subject. Why do some Earthlings blame technology for all the games woes, while some forget about the effects of increased fitness, improved technique and better mowing? Why do so many chafe at regulation? Cant anyone down here manage multi-factor analysis? And what about the difference between elite players and recreational golfers?
Well, thats complicated, I said. It involves considerations of different players ideas of what golf is, and economic pressure that manufacturers have to deal with, all juxtaposed against the missions of the regulatory bodies.
Do not say words like juxtaposed. It gives us migraines, Niblick said. Is no compromise possible? Do not Earthling golf companies and regulators worry about showing only dissension and disagreement to those who they wish to adopt the game?
Say, why dont you kidnap one of them?
Hush! We shall return to gender. What is the big ' how do you people say it ' hoopla about that charming woman who wishes to play a tournament with the men of your planet?
Oh, you mean Annika Sorenstam? Well, she has risen to the pinnacle of her sport, and now she wants to test her skills against players she wouldnt ordinarily play with.
This seems to be a problem for some of your male Earthlings.
Has been since King versus Riggs, yes.
Never mind, I said.
We are no less confused than when we came to your planet. We shall deposit you by your dwelling now.
Oh, good. Hey, could you kind of coast in so as not to wake up the ki '
Silence! We have one more question. That putting device Scott Hoch used to win Doralthe Futura. Where can we get 500 million of them?
Well, I can give you Scotty Camerons number.
Oh, its his? No problem. Hes in our cells.
You guys have cell phones?
No, in our cells. You wouldnt understand.
And with that, I found myself unceremoniously dropped onto the ninth green at Bay Hill. I started the long walk home.
Singh's lawsuit stalls as judge denies motion
Vijay Singh’s attempts to speed up the proceedings in his ongoing lawsuit against the PGA Tour have been stalled, again.
Singh – who filed the lawsuit in New York Supreme Court in May 2013 claiming the Tour recklessly administered its anti-doping program when he was suspended, a suspension that was later rescinded – sought to have the circuit sanctioned for what his attorneys argued was a frivolous motion, but judge Eileen Bransten denied the motion earlier this month.
“While the court is of the position it correctly denied the Tour’s motion to argue, the court does not agree that the motion was filed in bad faith nor that it represents a ‘persistent pattern of repetitive or meritless motions,’” Bransten said.
It also doesn’t appear likely the case will go to trial any time soon, with Bransten declining Singh’s request for a pretrial conference until a pair of appeals that have been sent to the court’s appellate division have been decided.
“What really should be done is settle this case,” Bransten said during the hearing, before adding that it is, “unlikely a trail will commence prior to 2019.”
The Tour’s longstanding policy is not to comment on ongoing litigation, but earlier this month commissioner Jay Monahan was asked about the lawsuit.
“I'll just say that we're going through the process,” Monahan said. “Once you get into a legal process, and you've been into it as long as we have been into it, I think it's fair to assume that we're going to run it until the end.”
Videos and images from Tiger's Tuesday at Torrey
Tiger Woods played a nine-hole practice round Tuesday at Torrey Pines South, site of this week's Farmers Insurance Open. Woods is making his first PGA Tour start since missing the cut in this event last year. Here's a look at some images and videos of Tiger, via social media:
Tiger sighting on the range! pic.twitter.com/rcJYLCes7R— Morning Drive (@GCMorningDrive) January 23, 2018
Back on TOUR.pic.twitter.com/OPmjaXFo1l— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) January 23, 2018
Power Rankings: 2018 Farmers Insurance Open
The PGA Tour remains in California this week for the Farmers Insurance Open. A field of 156 players will tackle the North and South Courses at Torrey Pines, with weekend play exclusively on the South Course.
Be sure to join the all-new Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge - including a new One & Done game offering - to compete for prizes and form your own leagues, and log on to www.playfantasygolf.com to submit your picks for this week's event.
Jon Rahm won this event last year by three shots over Charles Howell III and C.T. Pan. Here are 10 names to watch in La Jolla:
1. Jon Rahm: No need to overthink it at the top. Rahm enters as a defending champ for the first time, fresh off a playoff win at the CareerBuilder Challenge that itself was preceded by a runner-up showing at Kapalua. Rahm is perhaps the hottest player in the field, and with a chance to become world No. 1 should be set for another big week.
2. Jason Day: The Aussie has missed the cut here the last two years, and he hasn't played competitively since November. But he ended a disappointing 2017 on a slight uptick, and his Torrey Pines record includes three straight top-10s from 2013-15 that ended with his victory three years ago.
3. Justin Rose: Rose ended last year on a tear, with three victories over his final six starts including two in a row in Turkey and China. The former U.S. Open winner has the patience to deal with a brutal layout like the South Course, as evidenced by his fourth-place showing at this event a year ago.
4. Rickie Fowler: This tournament has become somewhat feast-or-famine for Fowler, who is making his ninth straight start at Torrey Pines. The first four in that run all netted top-20 finishes, including two top-10s, while the last four have led to three missed cuts and a T-61. After a win in the Bahamas and T-4 at Kapalua, it's likely his mini-slump comes to an end.
5. Brandt Snedeker: Snedeker has become somewhat of a course specialist at Torrey Pines in recent years, with six top-10 finishes over the last eight years including wins in both 2012 and 2016. While he missed much of the second half of 2017 recovering from injury and missed the cut last week, Snedeker is always a threat to contend at this particular event.
6. Hideki Matsuyama: Matsuyama struggled to find his footing after a near-miss at the PGA Championship, but he appears to be returning to form. The Japanese phenom finished T-4 at Kapalua and has put up solid results in two of his four prior trips to San Diego, including a T-16 finish in his 2014 tournament debut. Matsuyama deserves a look at any event that puts a strong emphasis on ball-striking.
7. Tony Finau: Finau has the length to handle the difficult demands of the South Course, and his results have gotten progressively better each time around: T-24 in 2015, T-18 in 2016 and T-4 last year. Finau is coming off the best season of his career, one that included a trip to the Tour Championship, and he put together four solid rounds at the Sony Open earlier this month.
8. Charles Howell III: Howell is no stranger to West Coast golf, and his record at this event since 2013 includes three top-10 finishes highlighted by last year's runner-up showing. Howell chased a T-32 finish in Hawaii with a T-20 finish last week in Palm Springs, his fourth top-20 finish this season.
9. Marc Leishman: Leishman was twice a runner-up at this event, first in 2010 and again in 2014, and he finished T-20 last year. The Aussie is coming off a season that included two wins, and he has amassed five top-10s in his last eight worldwide starts dating back to the Dell Technologies Championship in September.
10. Gary Woodland: Woodland played in the final group at this event in 2014 before tying for 10th, and he was one shot off the lead entering the final round in 2016 before Mother Nature blew the entire field sideways. Still, the veteran has three top-20s in his last four trips to San Diego and finished T-7 two weeks ago in Honolulu.
Davis on distance: Not 'necessarily good for the game'
It's a new year, but USGA executive Mike Davis hasn't changed his views on the growing debate over distance.
Speaking with Matt Adams on SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio, Davis didn't mince words regarding his perception that increased distance has had a negative impact on the game of golf, and he reiterated that it's a topic that the USGA and R&A plan to jointly address.
"The issue is complex. It's important, and it's one that we need to, and we will, face straight on," Davis said. "I think on the topic of distance, we've been steadfast to say that we do not think increased distance is necessarily good for the game."
Davis' comments echoed his thoughts in November, when he stated that the impact of increased distance has been "horrible" for the game. Those comments drew a strong rebuke from Titleist CEO Wally Uihlein, who claimed there was "no evidence" to support Davis' argument.
That argument, again reiterated Tuesday, centers on the rising costs associated with both acquiring and maintaining increased footprints for courses. Davis claimed that 1 in 4 courses in the U.S. is currently "not making money," and noted that while U.S. Open venues were 6,800-6,900 yards at the start of his USGA tenure, the norm is now closer to 7,400-7,500 yards.
"You ask yourself, 'What has this done for the game? How has that made the game better?'" Davis said. "I think if we look at it, and as we look to the future, we're asking ourselves, saying, 'We want the game of golf to be fun.' We want it to continue to be challenging and really let your skills dictate what scores you should shoot versus necessarily the equipment.
"But at the same time, we know there are pressures on golf courses. We know those pressures are going to become more acute."