Golf Food for Thought

By Brian HewittOctober 25, 2006, 4:00 pm
The e-mail messages come in all shapes and sizes and tones and biases. Every once in a while one arrives that gives you more pause than usual. The one I have decided to reprint today in its entirety feels to me, like it contains America-bashing -- which is not a good thing. But I think it also contains a lot of food for thought. It was in response to a column I wrote recently pointing out the failures of recent American Rookies of the Year to make the U.S. Ryder Cup team.

It came from someone named Rebekah. And I will let you decide which parts you feel are valid and which are objectionable. By the way, I have nothing against Annika Sorenstam.
A tale of two gifted third graders:

Chinese born female: top of the Math class -- everything done way beyond the call of duty. Parents hire classroom teacher to tutor her in the fourth grade math book -- they want her to be way ahead of the game.

American male: incredibly gifted at Math -- can 'see' solutions without being taught how to work through the problem. Arrives at school several times per week with written excuses from parents why he can't complete his homework. Fails tests because he doesn't do homework.

Yes, these are individual cases but I laugh when my friends who teach at the University level are now seeing the same trend.

As a generalization, my foreign born parents would come to me and say, '(W)hat can I do to help my child be more successful?' And, they would go home and work through the suggestions and come back for more!

American parents (and, of course, this wasn't every one but it was a large percentage) would come in with everything from mild excuses to outrageous blame including, '(W)hy do you hate my child and want to fail him/her?'

I saw an article last week -- I'm sorry I don't remember where -- about a study that happy and contented students were actually less successful than unhappy students. This generation of(:) Americans have lost the work ethic that characterized the Americans at the turn of the last century. They have been taught to look for excuses and tomorrow will be another day. Mathematics and Science are lacking American students because they're subjects that require work and they just aren't 'fun'.

Of course, it's a generalization and my international parents were oftentimes students themselves working on advanced degrees. But your international golfers represent the same self-selection: they intend to take full advantage of the opportunities that they've worked hard to give themselves and they are the best of the best. Villegas is a perfect example -- arrived at UF underweight, saw that working out would improve his golf game... no excuses, he became a gym fanatic. Kind of like the women of the 70's when breaking gender boundaries -- they knew they had to work twice as hard and still couldn't expect to be GIVEN any breaks:-) Foreign golfers on American soil have to work hard to prove themselves and even when they do (see Sorenstam -- ((and exactly why do you dislike Annika? -- you make such a face whenever her name comes up -- like you're looking at a vegetable that you hate)), anyway, they often aren't given the recognition that they deserve.

Unfortunately, it's a huge trend in the American culture that the children of the 80's, 90's and 00's have been taught to look for excuses rather than gutting it out and working for the goal. My latest take on Tiger is that Earl maybe wasn't trying at first to raise a world class golfer but Earl had lived through the segregation era before the 60's and through the Vietnam (W)ar perhaps he was only trying to give Tiger the mental stamina to survive the racism and brutality of Americans against black men.

An untempered sword will break in battle. When a sword is forged, it must be heated then beaten... heated then beaten... and the process continues until the blade is hard and razor-sharp. Tiger was carefully forged. The Depression and WWII forged our parents -- Palmer still does not take for granted what the game of golf has given him. Laura Davies is one who always is grateful for what the game of golf has given her. Unfortunately most of our young American golfers were raised in relatively affluent homes (I'm including middle class because American middle class is a very high standard of living) -- things come easily to them. Michelle (Wie) is the perfect example -- she is being handed exemptions, money, fame, etc. and given excuses when she doesn't perform. Oh let's just casually drop out the fact that she was T26 at the Women's British when we calculate her placement on the LPGA for 2006 -- does this now mean that I can drop my worst hole from my scorecard?

Karrie Webb's comment at the Trump a few years ago when Annika surged ahead of their rivalry is appropriate -- I don't want to work that hard. She's obviously changed her mind as her game shows this year.

But there was also (John) Feinstein's comment in I believe it was a Good Walk Spoiled that he actually spoke with players that would rather be just below the limelight -- a great living without the hassle (I'm obviously paraphrasing).

Somewhat on the same subject -- yes, I agree with you that Lorena (Ochoa) will be a great LPGA player... she does know what it means to do the required work and, like Laura Davies, is appreciative of the life golf provides. My husband and I have been looking for this year since we noted her college career. She looks quiet and demure but it has been obvious for a long time that she has Annika's drive and determination.

And on a final note, I didn't bother to count how many Englishmen were ahead of Rose in the World Rankings -- I don't really care but when you said there were two Simon's -- I also immediately knew who they were. Don't underestimate your golf addicted viewers... TGC does carry the European Tour and the Simons have contended this year.
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
Getty Images

Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

"That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

Getty Images

Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

Getty Images

Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

“It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

“What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

“When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

Getty Images

Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.