Pet Peeves The Sequel

By Brian HewittOctober 24, 2008, 4:00 pm
The Comebacker has struck a nerve again. This time it was a column on pet peeves. Turns out tons of readers have tons of golf pet peeves. And they arent afraid to share them.
So without further ado, here are the best of theirs followed by The Comebacker coming back at them:
Emmitt writes: A good imagination is something my wife has! No one but a golf course designer has imagination when referring to a golf course not a golfer. The only thing I imagine when I am playing is that I imagine I may get mad a few times, curse a bit and then when I feel I am getting tired or fried, I can only imagine' having a cold beer at the end. It's the commentators who make the knobby comments about imagination, talking about Tiger and Phil that the rest of us snicker at and as they say in Cape Breton where I'm from: Go chew on yer cud, which is an unflattering reference to a cow's chewing grass and is usually said to someone who is annoying you.
The Comebacker
Chew on yer cud? Sounds like something the Golf Guy would udder er utter.

Joe writes: Thanks for venting. Those have been pet peeves of mine, too ' especially the spin issue. I'm going to play professional golf in a couple of years. I know whether it will spin or not when I hit the shot. To say that I'm good enough to control it all the time would be a laugh, but I do know it's possible to manage it. The guys on the PGA Tour are there for a reason. It's because they're good. The commentators do not need to make them look any better. Or, in this case, they do not need to make a poor shot just seem like bad luck. Most of the players have studied the courses, even played them for years. They should know when to turn it down.
The Comebacker
May you never be a bit unlucky.

Neil writes: Right after a friend of mine flies the green with an 8-iron, he says I just hit it too well. Hit it too well? Boy, do I hear that one a lot; and from some pretty good players. Nice shot, Jerry, you just hit it too well. That bugs me almost as much as tamping down an imaginary spike mark after shoving a 2-foot putt a ball outside the hole. I feel better now.
The Comebacker
There, there now. Much cheaper than paying a shrink $150 for 50 minutes.

Rich writes: Can we please stop seeing the players spitting all over the golf course. More and more of this is shown on television during a tournament. And, the worst offender is Tiger Woods! First of all, I don't really need to see anyone spitting, particularly all over a golf course. Second, in the case of Tiger, everything he does is emulated by most of the golfing world and particularly the younger golfers. Last year I was out on the course. After putting the ball I marked the ball and as I picked it up realized there was a big gob of spit on the ball. Apparently it had rolled through the spot where someone had spit on the green. Maybe it's my imagination, but I don't remember much spitting going on at the golf course over the 35-plus years I've been playing, but lately I see it all the time when I play.
The Comebacker
Reminds of that famous Dickens novel ' 'Great Expectorations.'

Scott writes:: You left out courage, as in, Oh, he hit a courageous putt. I can imagine the troops in Afghanistan getting ready for their night patrol watching on TV. Wait a minute, Sergeant, Tim Herron is about to hit a courageous putt for birdie and win $90,000 for 45th place.
The Comebacker
$90,000 for 45th place?

Mo writes: Add to the list makeable putt. They all are makeable if there is an open hole. Some chances just are not very good; also, the negative or dire predictions about a shot's success chances. As you stated, the guys work on tough shots all day long. It is us country club guys who never practice side-hill and downhill shots because there is no place to do so. Driving ranges are flat. Practice sand traps don't have high sides and fluffy lies. Give the pros the credit they deserve. Those guys are good or they don't survive.
The Comebacker
I could have sworn I saw a couple of putts at Oakland Hills in August at the PGA Championship that were not makeable.

Hugh writes: How about good touch for a big man ' what does a beer gut have to do with a greenside shot? Example: (Craig) Stadler or (Phil) Blackmar ' every time.
The Comebacker
Exactly. Ive been telling anybody who would listen, for years, that a beer gut has nothing to do with a greenside shot.

Jim writes: I've been playing golf for over 65 years and have never had anyone line up my putts nor did I switch to a long-shafted putter. This applies to both men and women professionals. They are professionals and should be able to line up their own putts and throw away those long putters.
The Comebacker
While were at it, Ive never liked those putters with the suction cups on the butt end for people too lazy to bend over and fish their ball out of the cup.

Fred writes: My pet peeve is calling slow players methodical. Call them what they are: slow players. Lets just start with Ben Crane and work our way down through Padraig Harrington, Stuart Appleby, Michael Letzig, etcAll I can say is thank goodness that the broadcast channels doing the telecast know who the slow golfers are and time it where we are just about to see their shots as opposed to going through their whole pre-shot routine.
The Comebacker
Michael Letzig?

Larry writes: I also have a golf telecast pet peeve. It is when a player hits a poor shot and then he or she (or the announcer) terms it a bad break when it ends up in a tough spot. My theory has always been: If you hit a poor shot the only break you can get is a good one.
The Comebacker
But but Michael Letzig?

Rachel writes: So, let me share my favorite pet peeve. Professional golfers have putting gurus, swing gurus, exercise gurus, psychology gurus, etc., etc., etc. Also, a majority of the PGA Tour players went to college. However, only about one in 10 can put together a few grammatically correct sentences when interviewed. I guess they were asleep in English class. Obviously they need a communications guru as well. When I was in English class (back in the Stone Age) the first rule they taught you about public speaking was to avoid clichs. Every other word or two from these guys is the worst clich of all, you know. Here's an example: Announcer ' You certainly had a great game today. What's the secret to your success? Joe Blow from Kokomo replies, Well, you know, I just tried to relax, you know, take one step at a time, you know. It sounds kinda easy, you know, but you have to stay in the moment..
The Comebacker
As they say in Kokomo: At the end of the day, it is what it is.

Jim writes: I can agree with you on the imagination issue which is a much overused phrase. It is true at all levels of golf, those golfers that have the confidence and talents to perform difficult shots are quite simply better players than those who cannot. Everyone has imagination, but not necessarily the ability to pull off miraculous shots on a regular basis. This is what separates the men from the boys.
The Comebacker

Andrew writes: How about an unforced error? For example, the player hits a shot into a bunker from 125 yards or so, and the announcer calls it an unforced error. Please tell me what exactly would constitute a forced error in golf, since there is no opponent acting contradictorily to what a player is attempting on each shot.
The Comebacker
Good point, Andrew. You cant play defense in golf. But Rachel might want to bust you on the grammatical usage of the word contradictorily.
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Tiger's checklist: How he can contend at Augusta

By Ryan LavnerFebruary 21, 2018, 8:31 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Augusta is already on the minds of most players here at the Honda Classic, and that includes the only one in the field with four green jackets.

Yes, Tiger Woods has been talking about the Masters ever since he started this latest comeback at Torrey Pines. These three months are all about trying to build momentum for the year’s first major.

Woods hasn’t revealed his schedule past this week, but his options are limited. He’s a good bet to play at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, where he has won eight times, but adding another start would be a departure from the norm. He’s not eligible for the two World Golf Championship events, in Mexico and Austin, and he has never played the Valspar Championship or the Houston Open.

So there’s a greater sense of urgency this week at PGA National, which is realistically one of his final tune-ups.

How will Woods know if he’s ready to contend at Augusta? Here’s his pre-Masters checklist:

1. Stay healthy

So far, so good, as Woods tries to resume a normal playing schedule following four back surgeries since 2014. Though he vowed to learn from his past mistakes and not push himself, it was a promising sign that Woods felt strong enough to sign up for the Honda, the second of back-to-back starts on separate coasts.

Another reason for optimism on the health front: The soreness that Woods felt after his season opener at Torrey Pines wasn’t related to his surgically repaired back. No, what ached most were his feet – he wasn’t used to walking 72 holes on hilly terrain.

Woods is stiffer than normal, but that’s to be expected. His back is fused.

2. Figure out his driver

Augusta National is more forgiving off the tee than most major courses, putting more of a premium on approach shots and recoveries.

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That’s good news for Woods, who has yet to find a reliable tee shot. Clearly, he is most comfortable playing a fade and wants to take the left side of the course out of play, but in competition he’s been plagued by a two-way miss.

In two starts this year, Woods has hit only 36 percent of the fairways, no matter if he was using driver, fairway wood or long iron.

Unfortunately, Woods is unlikely to gain any significant insight into his driver play this week. PGA National’s Champion Course isn’t overly long, but there is water on 15 of the 18 holes. As a result, he said he likely will hit driver only four times a round, maybe five, and otherwise rely on his 3-wood and 2-iron. 

Said Rory McIlroy: “Being conservative off the tee is something that you have to do here to play well.”

That won’t be the case at Augusta.

3. Clean up his iron play

As wayward as Woods has been off the tee, his iron play hasn’t impressed, either.

At Riviera, he hit only 16 greens in regulation – his fewest in a Tour event as a professional. Of course, Woods’ chances of hitting the green are reduced when he’s playing from the thick rough, sand and trees, but he also misfired on six of the eight par 3s.

Even when Woods does find the green, he’s not close enough to the hole. Had he played enough rounds to qualify, his proximity to the hole (39 feet, 7 inches) would rank 161st on Tour.

That won’t be good enough at Augusta, where distance control and precision are paramount.

Perhaps that’s why Justin Thomas said last week what many of us were thinking: “I would say he’s a pretty good ways away.”

4. Get into contention somewhere

As much as he would have liked to pick off a win on the West Coast, Woods said that it’s not a prerequisite to have a chance at the Masters. He cited 2010, when he tied for fourth despite taking four months off after the fallout from his scandal.

In reality, though, there hasn’t been an out-of-nowhere Masters champion since Charl Schwartzel in 2011. Since then, every player who eventually donned the green jacket either already had a win that year or at least a top-3 finish worldwide.

“I would like to play well,” Woods said. “I would like to win golf tournaments leading into it. The years I’ve won there, I’ve played really well early.”

Indeed, he had at least one win in all of the years he went on to win the Masters (1997, 2000, ’01, ’05). Throw in the fact that Woods is nearly five years removed from his last Tour title, and it’s reasonable to believe that he at least needs to get himself into contention before he can seriously entertain winning another major.

And so that’s why he’s here at the Honda, trying to find his game with seven weeks to go. 

“It’s tournament reps,” he said, “and I need tournament reps.”

Add that to the rest of his pre-Masters checklist.

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Players winner to get 3-year exemption into PGA

By Rex HoggardFebruary 21, 2018, 8:01 pm

Although The Players isn’t golf’s fifth major, it received a boost in that direction this week.

The PGA of America has adjusted its criteria for eligibility into the PGA Championship, extending an exemption for the winner of The Players to three years.

According to an official with the PGA of America, the association felt the winner of The Players deserved more than a single-year exemption, which had been the case, and the move is consistent with how the PGA Tour’s annual flagship event is treated by the other majors.

Winners of The Players were already exempt for three years into the Masters, U.S. Open and The Open Championship.

The change will begin with this year’s PGA Championship.

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Thomas: Playing in front of Tiger even more chaotic

By Randall MellFebruary 21, 2018, 7:52 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Justin Thomas may be going from the frying pan to the fire of Tiger Woods’ pairings.

Translation: He’s going from being grouped with Woods last week in the first two rounds at the Genesis Open to being grouped directly in front of Woods this week at the Honda Classic.

“Which might be even worse than playing with him,” Thomas said Wednesday.

Typically, the pairing in front of Woods deals with a lot of gallery movement, with fans racing ahead to get in position to see Woods’ next shot.

Thomas was quoted after two rounds with Tiger at Riviera saying fans “got a little out of hand,” and saying it’s disappointing some golf fans today think it’s “so amusing to yell and all that stuff while we’re trying to hit shots.”

With 200,000 fans expected this week at the Honda Classic, and with the Goslings Bear Trap pavilion setting a party mood at the 16th green and 17th tee, that portion of the course figures to be quite lively at PGA National.

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Thomas was asked about that.

“I touched on this a little bit last week,” Thomas said. “I think it got blown out of proportion, was just taken out of context, and worded differently than how I said it or meant it.

“I love the fans. The fans are what I hope to have a lot of, what all of us hope to have a lot of. We want them cheering us on. But it's those certain fans that are choosing to yell at the wrong times, or just saying stuff that's completely inappropriate.”

Thomas said it’s more than ill-timed shouts. It’s the nature of some things being said.

“It's one thing if it's just you and I talking, but when you're around kids, when you're around women, when you're around families, or just around people in general, some of the stuff they are saying to us is just extremely inappropriate,” he said. “There’s really no place for it anywhere, especially on a golf course.

“I feel like golf is pretty well known as a classy sport, not that other sports aren't, but it has that reputation.”

Thomas said the nature of the 17th hole at PGA National’s Champion Course makes it a more difficult tee shot than the raucous 16th at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Typically, players like to hear fans get into the action before or after they hit shots. Ill-timed bluster, however, makes a shot like the one at Honda’s 17th even tougher.

“That hole is hard enough,” Thomas said. “I don't need someone yelling in my ear on my backswing that I'm going to hit it in the water, to make it any harder. I hope it gets better, just for the sake of the game. That's not helping anything. That's not helping grow the game.”

Those who follow golf know an ill-timed shout in a player’s backswing is different than anything a fan says at a football, basketball or baseball game. An ill-timed comment in a backswing has a greater effect on the outcome of a competition.

“Just in terms of how much money we're playing for, how many points we're playing for ... this is our jobs out here, and you hate to somehow see something that a fan does, or something that they yell, influence something that affects [a player’s] job,” Thomas said.

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Rory: Phil said RC task force just copied Europe

By Randall MellFebruary 21, 2018, 7:21 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Playing the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am two weeks ago, Rory McIlroy quizzed Phil Mickelson about what the Americans got out of the U.S. Ryder Cup task force’s overhaul.

McIlroy and Mickelson were paired together at Pebble Beach.

“Basically, all they are doing is copying what the Europeans have done,” McIlroy said.  “That's what he said.”

The Europeans claimed their sixth of seven Ryder Cups with their victory at Gleneagles in 2014. That brought about a sea change in the way the United States approached the Ryder Cup. Mickelson called out the tactics in Gleneagles of captain Tom Watson, who was outmaneuvered by European captain Paul McGinley.

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The Americans defeated Europe at Hazeltine two years ago with that new European model.

“He said the first thing they did in that task force was Phil played a video, a 12-minute video of Paul McGinley to all of them,” McIlroy said. “So, they are copying what we do, and it's working for them. It's more cohesive, and the team and the core of that team are more in control of what they are doing, instead of the PGA of America recruiting and someone telling them what to do.”