If Draft Day Came to Golf
Well, they snuck a lot of things by us, but one of the most embarrassing has been hoodwinking us into thinking that things about sports are as interestinig as sports themselves. Silly us. We let it happen.
So it is that millions of guys (women are smarter) just tanked a perfectly good spring Saturday afternoon watching the National Football League draft. Oooh! Buncha stiffs in suits and too-tight golf shirts sit around on the phone and talk about whos going to actually play the game! Oh, the bone-crushing non-hits! The unthrown, uncaught passes! The endless yap! I cant take this kind of excitement.
Drafts, selection shows, trading deadline tickers ' all that stuff curls my lip faster than unsweetened lemonade. Its the derivatives of sport, the junk bonds of real action, the detritus that feeds sell-advertising-itis.
Again, golf has shown its smarts by never even sniffing at the idea of things for which you dont need TV. Drafts and such are for newspapers, maybe the Internet for the need-a-lifers who insist on hearing in real time that the Steelers bypassed QB Rex Grossman in the first round in favor of a defensive back. (Good pick, by the bye; I read about it in the newspaper.)
Thank goodness theres no Ryder Cup selection show. Merit is the ticket into matching outfits with 10 of your closest friends. True, we do get the captains picks announcements on TV, but its a short press conference, not an over-analyzed extravaganza complete with Boomer and the boys.
But what if golf had a business and endorsement draft? How would the picks fall out? If TaylorMade-adidas Golf really bought the remaining golf assets of Spalding Sports Worldwide (the current rumor, no comment from either party), who would get Spaldings picks?
In the spirit of fantasy leagues (ooh! More scintillating non-action!), here are a few possible picks:
First round, first pick: Despite some strong seasons from Hal Sutton and Jim Furyk, Spalding gets first pick. The Colin Montgomerie acquisition from Callaway helped broaden Spaldings international foothold. To cement the deal, Spalding would take Sergio Garcia or Ernie Els in the first round. If it could.
First round, second pick: Ping would nab either Els or Garcia, depending on who Spalding took. Again, if it could.
First round, third pick: Callaway would simply put a Great Big Bertha II in every PGA Tour players locker at about 3 a.m. on Thursday morning. Bombs away!
First round, fourth pick: TaylorMade-adidas would draft companies, not players. They bought West Coast custom putter shop K&M, now perhaps Spalding club and ball? CEO Mark King can be heard rummaging through his desk for his checkbookoh, thats right, Mike Weir has it.
First round, fifth pick: Titleist, happy with its stable of players, drafts more accountants and bodyguards to satisfy and protect its Midas-touch Pro V golf ball research and development team.
Second round, first pick: Having traded away so many draft picks all those years ago to get Tiger, Nikes lucky to be picking even this high. Theyd gladly take Charles Howell III if he werent under contract to Callaway; the thinking is that CHIII is the likely contender for the next eon-stopping, down-the-stretch, Nicklaus-versus-Watson type of major championship duel. Why not swoosh it up wall to wall? As it is, the Beaverton sages will keep an eye out for a phenom to be named later.
Second round, second pick: Cleveland Golf had to give away some picks to get Vijay Singh and David Toms, but theyre almost assured of that pair increasing their majors totals down the road. To add to the depth chart, they wisely drafted Beth Bauer. So far, so good: Industry numbers now show Cleveland to be the nations fourth largest golf equipment company, measured in dollar sales.
The remaining picks go to major corporations seeking big-name endorsement space on various TV-worthy hats, shirt fronts, sleeves and bags. Then theres the last pick:
Thirty-second round, fortieth pick: The Golf Channel drafts a business editor to be named laterjust in case.
Watch that time Tiger throttled Ames, 9 and 8
Nine and eight. Three words that live in golf lore. Just say them and any golf fan can tell you what they mean.
In the 2006 WGC-Match Play, Tiger Woods faced Stephen Ames in the opening round. Ames, when asked prior to the event about his chance of winning, infamously said, "Anything can happen, especially where he's hitting it."
What happened on Wednesday, Feb. 22 at La Coasta Resort & Spa, was the most lopsided result in tournament history: 9 and 8 Check out the highlights below:
Tiger Woods’ 2006 9&8 win at Match Play over Stephen Ames https://t.co/KlB39aNUZB— Skratch (@Skratch) March 20, 2018
After his win, Woods was asked if Ames' comment had motivated him. Woods replied, "9 and 8."
Woods eventually lost, 1 up, to Chad Campbell in the third round. He then won his next start at Doral and went on to finish the season with six consecutive Tour wins, including The Open and PGA. He also won his first start in 2007 to make it seven consecutive Tour titles.
Schedule change, caddie change for Casey at Match Play
AUSTIN, Texas – Paul Casey originally planned to skip the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, opting for two weeks off before the Masters.
Those plans changed when he removed the Arnold Palmer Invitational from his schedule and returned home to England last week to attend the funeral of a family friend. That adjustment also prompted a caddie change this week, with Scott Vail stepping in for the Englishman’s normal caddie, John McLaren.
“We looked at tickets and it just didn't make sense for Johnny to fly back. We try and base our schedule around playing the best golf possible, but also having quality family time,” Casey said on Tuesday at Austin Country Club. “For Johnny to break up a nice three-week break with his family, there was no point to ruining that.”
This isn’t the first time Casey, who won the Valspar Championship two weeks ago, has needed a replacement caddie. At last year’s Travelers Championship, McLaren took a similar break and was replaced on the bag by Shannon Wallace. Although it’s not uncommon for caddies to take a week off, McLaren does have one stipulation.
“The only rule we have is that if Johnny is not going to work, he picks my caddie. So he picked the caddie,” said Casey, who is 20-12-1 in 12 starts at the Match Play and has advanced to the championship match twice.
Westchester selected to host 2021 U.S. Women's Am
The USGA announced Tuesday that Westchester Country Club in Rye, N.Y., has been selected to host the 2021 U.S. Women's Amateur. The tournament will be held Aug. 2-8, 2021.
The club's West Course first hosted the event in 1923, and it boasts a storied history of professional tournaments as well. The PGA Tour hosted the Westchester Classic, later known as the Buick Classic and eventually The Barclays, at Westchester from 1967-2007, including the first-ever FedExCup playoff event, won by Steve Stricker in 2007.
The course was also the site of the 2011 Constellation Energy Senior Players Championship, won by Fred Couples, and the 2015 KPMG Women's PGA Championship, won by Inbee Park.
"The USGA is thrilled to bring the U.S. Women's Amateur to Westchester Country Club for the second time," Stuart Francis, USGA championship committee chairman, said in a release. "One of the USGA's three oldest championships, the Women's Amateur consistently identifies the world's top female players, and we are confident Westchester will provide the ultimate test for the championship's 121st playing."
First held in 1895, the Women's Amateur is open to players with a USGA handicap index not exceeding 5.4. Sophia Schubert won last year's event at San Diego Country Club, while this year's tournament will be held at The Golf Club of Tennessee in Kingston Springs.
Stock Watch: Park rises again, under the radar
Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.
Rory (+10%): The massive drives, the fist pumps, the unmistakable strut – McIlroy finally found the spark that he needed to play confident, aggressive golf. Bring on Augusta and his shot at history.
Tiger (+7%): It was another forgettable end to a final round, but let’s not lose sight of the big picture: Five events into his comeback, Woods has now carded 10 consecutive rounds of par or better – all on tough tracks – and can be viewed as a legitimate threat at the Masters. Remarkable, really.
Inbee Park (+5%): Fighting injuries and questioning whether she should retire, the Queen ‘Bee routed a top field in just her second start back. Stud.
Bryson (+3%): When The Machine operates properly, he’s one of the best ball-strikers in the world. Yes, he’s still painfully slow, but there’s no denying his talent – his runner-up against a star-studded field should help him tremendously.
Laura Davies (+2%): Fifty-four years old and nursing an Achilles injury, she turned back the clock with one of the coolest performances of the young season, on any tour. She’s still got tons of game.
Henrik Stenson (-1%): Maybe he’s just destined to go winless at Bay Hill. In the past four years, he’s had three excellent chances to win there and came away empty-handed each time.
Rickie (-2%): Hanging near the lead, Fowler closed his third round bogey-double, then shot 74 in the final round to drop out of the top 10. Sigh.
P-Reed (-3%): His whiny protest to a rules official about a free drop – “I guess my name needs to be Jordan Spieth” – got even juicier when the Ryder Cup partners were drawn in the same group at the Match Play. Get your popcorn ready.
Ted Potter Jr. (-5%): His impressive victory at Pebble Beach over DJ, Phil and J-Day is looking more and more like a fluke each week. He’s now missed four consecutive cuts.
Fan behavior (-7%): Another week, another player complaining about increasingly hostile spectators. The Tour has (frustratingly) remained quiet on the issue, but the tipping point will come when one of these dopes affects the outcome on the 72nd hole.