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.
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McCoy earns medalist honors at Q-School

By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 am

One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Tour Q-School.

McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.

It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.

McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).

Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).

Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.

Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

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Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.



Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

"We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."

Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout

Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.