In Touch With My Feminine Golfer

By Adam BarrNovember 8, 2002, 5:00 pm
I think I may have figured out whats wrong with modern American golf.
 
Men.
 
Well, not men, strictly speaking. More like what men are programmed to do. Fact is, theres too much macho in a lot of our games, and we suffer for it.
 
Those of you who have not immediately consigned this column to the bottom of the birdcage may wonder what prompted this notion. Ill confess:
 
It has finally happened. I am two-tenths of a stroke worse than my wife.
 
We have a handicap club here at The Golf Channel, one of those golf-clubs-without-real-estate that enable folks who dont belong to a traditional club to play together and have a valid GHIN number. I stopped by the bulletin board to pick up my sticker the other day and grimaced at what my uneven ball striking has done to me: An index of 26.6. My wife doesnt work here, but she is also a member. I picked up her sticker too.
 
26.4.
 
Uh-oh, I said almost involuntarily, just as a colleague walked by. He looked at the stickers in my hands.
 
Oh man, he said. I wouldnt let anyone know about that. And off he went.
 
Well, why the hell not, I thought. Is it that big a deal? I mean, put aside the fact that my wife, an excellent mother to our son, has only been able to post four rounds this year, and I have logged 20. Why should a guy care if his wife is better than him? Its a hard game.
 
Step onto any first tee on any Saturday morning with a quartet of guys, and you can see it. Qui es muy macho?, worked out in head size and yardage. No matter what guys say about straight being better than long, no one wants to be the first to hit his second shot.
 
Add to that the history of this game, and of the man-centered American society at the time golf took hold here, and you have a potent testosterone brew rushing through the veins of most men who play golf. And remember how our dads (and even moms) taught us sports when we were little? Hit it harder, Danny! Wallop it! Too late, we discover that grace has more to do with a good swing that brute strength.
 
As a result, many of us overspend and overswing. The gotta-have-the-latest customer always buys the next big thing for that bag appeal. The receiving end of foursome envy feels good. And its hard to lose the notion that muscle is the driving force behind a driver.
 
Women generally dont suffer from this disease. Even the skilled women players I know seem to be more concerned about the breadth of the game than male recreational players I encounter. For some men, its all about the home run. For many women, its about the whole game, short and long.

It would be natural for you to think, Well, he has to say that. Guy cant beat his wife, fer Petes sake. Well, maybe that has something to do with it. But I doubt it. Neither my marriage nor my manhood suffers from my variable golf game. What really convinces me that weve all gone a little too Fernando Lamas is my recent experience with golf when Im playing well.
 
Ill boil it down: Fairways are nirvana. Longer drives are trailer parks disguised as paradise. For me and millions of others, the best reward for a smooth swing is a dot of white on bright, short green grass.

Of course, long drives are crucial to sustained skilled play. The best amateur men are almost all long hitters, and Tour players in the 260-yard range are considered short. But for us recreational players, for whom a nutted drive is 235 (and who must endure a higher proportion of off-the-world pokes), more accuracy and less posturing would make the game more enjoyable.
 
The lure of distance persists like a teen-age boys dreams of Britney Spears. So goes the industry. But as for me, Im comfortable enough with myself to go a little shorter ' and straighter.
 
Arent I?
 
[ahem] Umyour honor, honey.
Getty Images

Watch: Daly makes birdie from 18-foot-deep bunker

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 11:14 pm

John Daly on Friday somehow got up and down for birdie from the deepest bunker on the PGA Tour.

The sand to the left of the green on the 16th hole at the Stadium Course at PGA West sits 18 feet below the surface of the green.

That proved no problem for Daly, who cleared the lip three times taller than he is and then rolled in a 26-footer.

He fared just slightly better than former Speaker of the House, Tip O'Neill.

Getty Images

Koepka (wrist) likely out until the Masters

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 9:08 pm

Defending U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka is expected to miss at least the next two months because of a torn tendon in his left wrist.

Koepka, who suffered a partially torn Extensor Carpi Ulnaris (ECU), is hoping to return in time for the Masters.

In a statement released by his management company, Koepka said that doctors are unsure when the injury occurred but that he first felt discomfort at the Hero World Challenge, where he finished last in the 18-man event. Playing through pain, he also finished last at the Tournament of Champions, after which he underwent a second MRI that revealed the tear.

Koepka is expected to miss the next eight to 12 weeks.

“I am frustrated that I will now not be able to play my intended schedule,” Koepka said. “But I am confident in my doctors and in the treatment they have prescribed, and I look forward to teeing it up at the Masters. … I look forward to a quick and successful recovery.”

Prior to the injury, Koepka won the Dunlop Phoenix and cracked the top 10 in the world ranking. 

Getty Images

Cut Line: Color Rory unafraid of the Ryder Cup

By Rex HoggardJanuary 19, 2018, 7:09 pm

In this week’s edition, Rory McIlroy gets things rolling with some early Ryder Cup banter, Dustin Johnson changes his tune on a possible golf ball roll-back, and the PGA Tour rolls ahead with integrity training.


Made Cut

Paris or bust. Rory McIlroy, who made his 2018 debut this week on the European Tour, can be one of the game’s most affable athletes. He can also be pointed, particularly when discussing the Ryder Cup.

Asked this week in Abu Dhabi about the U.S. team, which won the last Ryder Cup and appears to be rejuvenated by a collection of new players, McIlroy didn’t disappoint.

“If you look at Hazeltine and how they set the course up – big, wide fairways, no rough, pins in the middle of greens – it wasn’t set up for the way the Europeans like to play,” McIlroy said. “I think Paris will be a completely different kettle of fish, so different.”

McIlroy has come by his confidence honestly, having won three of the four Ryder Cups he’s played, so it’s understandable if he doesn't feel like an underdog heaidng to Paris.

“The Americans have obviously been buoyant about their chances, but it’s never as easy as that,” he said. “The Ryder Cup is always close. It always comes down to a few key moments, and it will be no different in Paris. I think we’ll have a great team and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

September can’t get here quick enough.

Mr. Spieth goes to Ponte Vedra Beach. The Tour announced this year’s player advisory council, the 16-member group that works with the circuit’s policy board to govern.

There were no real surprises to the PAC, but news that Jordan Spieth had been selected to run for council chair is interesting. Spieth, who is running against Billy Hurley III and would ascend to the policy board next year if he wins the election, served on the PAC last year and would make a fine addition to the policy board, but it is somewhat out of character for a marquee player.

In recent years, top players like Spieth have largely avoided the distractions that come with the PAC and policy board. Of course, we’ve also learned in recent years that Spieth is not your typical superstar.


Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

On second thought. In December at the Hero World Challenge, Dustin Johnson was asked about a possible golf ball roll-back, which has become an increasingly popular notion in recent years.

“I don't mind seeing every other professional sport. They play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball,” he said in the Bahamas. “I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage.”

The world No. 1 appeared to dial back that take this week in Abu Dhabi, telling BBC Sport, “It's not like we are dominating golf courses. When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy?”

Maybe it didn’t feel that way, but DJ’s eight-stroke romp two weeks ago at the Sentry Tournament of Champions certainly looked pretty easy.

Long odds. I had a chance to watch the Tour’s 15-minute integrity training video that players have been required view and came away with a mixture of confusion and concern.

The majority of the video, which includes a Q&A element, focuses on how to avoid match fixing. Although the circuit has made it clear there is no indication of current match fixing, it’s obviously something to keep an eye on.

The other element that’s worth pointing out is that although the Tour may be taking the new program seriously, some players are not.

“My agent watched [the training video] for me,” said one Tour pro last week at the Sony Open.


Missed Cut

Groundhog Day. To be fair, no one expected Patton Kizzire and James Hahn to need six playoff holes to decide last week’s Sony Open, but the episode does show why variety is the spice of life.

After finishing 72 holes tied at 17 under, Kizzire and Hahn played the 18th hole again and again and again and again. In total, the duo played the par-5 closing hole at Waialae Country Club five times (including in regulation play) on Sunday.

It’s worth noting that the playoff finally ended with Kizzire’s par at the sixth extra hole, which was the par-3 17th. Waialae’s 18th is a fine golf hole, but in this case familiarity really did breed contempt.

Tweet of the week:

It was a common theme last Saturday on Oahu after an island-wide text alert was issued warning of an inbound ballistic missile and advising citizens to “seek immediate shelter.”

The alert turned out to be a mistake, someone pushed the wrong button during a shift change, but for many, like Peterson, it was a serious lesson in perspective.

Getty Images

Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

“I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.