The Lesson from Pete Roses Confession
Of course, Jones would protest politely in his deep, relaxing Atlanta drawl. And Rose would demur at the idea of returning the loot, saying, I guess Im supposed to feel all sorry, Bob. But Im just not built that way.
Many people who love golf also love baseball, so it must be grating to acknowledge that the greatest golfer who ever lived was a paragon of honesty while arguably the greatest baseball player is a lying, remorseless jerk. Fans of both games tend to want heroes of the Roy Hobbs mold, which magnifies the disappointment when they realize that only Jones truly approached that standard.
The Rose issue has to do with more than the Hall of Fame, which will forever be the center of an irresolvable debate as to which qualities it should reward and which ignore. Roses anything-but-contrite confession in his new book of gambling on baseball during his career gives baseball a chance to say, yes, we admit that a number of rogues populate our corridors of glory. But from now on, the once-and-future pastime will take a stand and demand reasonable citizenship of its greatest hitters, fielders, pitchers and managers. Of course, baseball wont do that. No ROI on that one.
But the Rose matter ' and the Bryant case, and the Rae Carruth episode, and a dozen others ' gives golf an indirect opportunity to capitalize on one of its greatest assets.
Yes, I have often noted golfs squeaky-clean image in this space. And Im not suggesting some sort of organized gloating. But maybe just resurrect an old tag line: These guys are good. No, I mean really good.
To be fair, the PGA and other tours have at times highlighted good works by their players. But in an age when there seems to be a deep hunger for sports heroes, there may be a vacuum the major tours should rush in and fill in a big way. While baseball continues to shoot itself in whats left of its foot, golf can solidify its foothold as the sport with athletes you want your kids to look up to.
There may never be a better time. Even baseballs nice guys, such as Sammy Sosa, cant handle the straight, narrow and uncorked. And throughout the pro game, the steroids thing lingers, at best in the form of doubt, and at worse as truth.
On the other hand, golf haswell, throw a dart at the PGA Tour Media Guide and open to the last page it pierces. Davis Love III? Rocco Mediate? Solid family men. Mike Weir? Charles Howell III? Fierce competitors and perfect gentlemen. Nick Price? Known more for his consistent affability than his consistent ball flight. The other tours are filled with good people as well, from Annika Sorenstam to Juli Inkster to Tom Watson to D.A. Points.
In a way, this approach could be called chicken-soup marketing. Explained by my mom, that would be, It couldnt hurt. Its not unreasonable to think that if other sports completely abdicate integrity to golf, then participation, fan interest and revenues could follow in years to come. Indeed, the PGA Tour has marketed sponsorships on the strength of its players character for years. Why not expand from a solely business-to-business methodology?
Maybe capitalizing on this opportunity wont immediately catapult golf to the No.1 sport in the world. But its a step in the right direction ' and for sports, in the direction of right.
Email your thoughts to Adam Barr
Watch: Fleetwood gets emotional with family after Race to Dubai win
Tommy Fleetwood took home the season-long Race to Dubai title on Sunday after a T-21 finish at the DP World Tour Championship.
He was, understandably, emotional after learning his fate while sitting with his wife and baby following a career year in which he won the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship and the French Open and finished fourth at the U.S. Open.
Luckily for us, cameras were rolling:
Matsuyama after Koepka rout: 'Huge gap between us'
Hideki Matsuyama offered a blunt assessment after finishing 10 shots behind Brooks Koepka at the Japan Tour's Dunlop Phoenix event.
Koepka waxed the field en route to successfully defending his title in Japan, shooting a 20-under par total that left him nine shots clear of a runner-up group that included PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Xander Schauffele. Koepka's score was one shot off the tournament record, and his margin for victory eclipsed Tiger Woods' eight-shot romp in 2004.
Matsuyama appeared set to make a final-round charge after a birdie on No. 2 was followed by an ace on the par-3 third hole. But he played the next eight holes in 3 over and eventually finished alone in fifth place following a 2-under 69. Afterwards, he stacked his game up against that of Koepka in a telling comment to the Japan Times.
"I feel there's a huge gap between us," Matsuyama said.
The Japanese phenom entered the week ranked No. 4 in the world, though he will be passed in the next rankings by Jon Rahm following the Spaniard's win in Dubai. Matsuyama won twice this year on the PGA Tour, including the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, but he has largely struggled since missing out on a maiden major title at the PGA Championship, where he tied for fifth.
Matsuyama was a runner-up to Koepka at the U.S. Open earlier this summer, and the 25-year-old seems headed back to the drawing board before defending his title at the Hero World Challenge in two weeks.
"I don't know whether it's a lack of practice or whether I lack the strength to keep playing well," Matsuyama said. "It seems there are many issues to address."
McCormick to caddie for Spieth at Aussie Open
When Jordan Spieth returns next week to defend his title at the Australian Open, he will do so without his regular caddie on the bag.
Spieth and Michael Greller have combined to win 14 tournaments and three majors, including three events in 2017. But Greller's wife, Ellie, gave birth to the couple's first child on Oct. 13, and according to a report from the Australian Herald Sun he will not make the intercontinental trip to Sydney, where Spieth will look to win for the third time in the last four years.
Instead, Spieth will have longtime swing coach and native Aussie Cameron McCormick on the bag at The Australian Golf Club. McCormick, who won PGA Teacher of the Year in 2015, is originally from Melbourne but now lives in Texas and has taught Spieth since he was a rising star among the junior golf ranks in Dallas.
While Greller has missed rounds before, this will be the first time as a pro that Spieth has used a different caddie for an entire event. Greller was sidelined with an injury last year in Singapore when Spieth's agent, Jay Danzi, took the bag, and trainer Damon Goddard has subbed in twice when Greller was sick, including this year at the Dean & DeLuca Invitational.
Spieth's torrid 2015 season traced back to his win at The Australian in 2014, and he returned to Oz last year where he won a playoff at Royal Sydney over Cameron Smith and Ashley Hall.
Rahm wins finale, Fleetwood takes Race to Dubai
Jon Rahm captured the final tournament on the European Tour calendar, a result that helped Tommy Fleetwood take home the season-long Race to Dubai title.
Rahm shot a final-round 67 to finish two shots clear of Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Shane Lowry at the DP World Tour Championship. It's the second European Tour win of the year for the Spaniard, who also captured the Irish Open and won on the PGA Tour in January at the Farmers Insurance Open.
"I could not be more proud of what I've done this week," Rahm told reporters. "Having the weekend that I've had, actually shooting 12 under on the last 36 holes, bogey-free round today, it's really special."
But the key finish came from Justin Rose, who held the 54-hole lead in Dubai but dropped back into a tie for fourth after closing with a 70. Rose entered the week as one of only three players who could win the Race to Dubai, along with Sergio Garcia and Fleetwood, who started with a lead of around 250,000 Euros.
With Fleetwood in the middle of the tournament pack, ultimately tying for 21st after a final-round 74, the door was open for Rose to capture the title thanks to a late charge despite playing in half the events that Fleetwood did. Rose captured both the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open, and was one round away from a two-trophy photo shoot in Dubai.
Instead, his T-4 finish meant he came up just short, as Fleetwood won the season-long race by 58,821 Euros.
The title caps a remarkable season for Fleetwood, who won the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship as well as the French Open to go along with a pair of runner-up finishes and a fourth-place showing at the U.S. Open.
"I find it amazing, the season starts in November, December and you get to here and you're watching the last shot of the season to decide who wins the Race to Dubai," Fleetwood said at the trophy ceremony. "But yeah, very special and something we didn't really aim for at the start of the year, but it's happened."