Tiger Bad for the Game

By Brian HewittMay 23, 2008, 4:00 pm
The Comebacker this week is a decidedly mixed bag. Weve got Sergio in the Publix; a conditional marriage proposal for Annika and a little Tiger bashing of sorts.
Without further ado:
Bryce writes: I heard someone on the Golf Channel comment that Kenny Perry got a bad break when his ball hit the tree. Yes, you are correct that the safe miss is to the right of the green. However, Kenny's ball was 50 yards off line and sailing beyond the safe area when it hit the tree. That was not bad luck, it was a bad shot. Bad shots are seldom rewarded.
The Comebacker
Correct. Any time you hit a ball to a place where a bad break is a possibility, you should not complain about the result. Hogan, you may remember, didnt get too many bad breaks.

James writes: When Kenny Perrys ball hit the tree and rolled over the green into the hazard, why did he drop in the fairway when the ball crossed the green before rolling into the hazard, don't you drop where the ball enters the hazard?
The Comebacker
As it was explained to me, the stakes were yellow which means the player has to drop on the side of the hazard he originally crossed.

Barrie writes: As much as I admire Tiger and enjoy watching him come up with impossible shots, I like tournaments without him. The reason? You never know who will win. I love it when on a Sunday there are seven guys within a shot of the lead. The winner could be anyone. There is often a playoff and there is drama. If Tiger were in the field and within a few shots of the lead, I would assume that he would win. It almost feels inevitable when Tiger is in such a spot and it is that inevitability that destroys any sense of drama for me.
The Comebacker
Blaming Tiger for being a buzzkill is like blaming the Johnstown Flood on a leaky faucet in Altoona.

Esteban writes: Just a quick anecdote of Annika to portray just why she'll be so missed: During a practice round in Bosque Real in Mexico City a few years ago, I caught Annika walking with her head down, completely absorbed in thought and a bit troubled. Since she was coming off the range, I assumed she was thinking about some aspect of her swing. I was hesitant to approach her so as not to disturb her when just then a group of people came up to her, and in stumbling English asked if they could take a picture with her. Immediately she changed her frown to a sunny, sincere smile, and posed for a bunch of photos. She was patient and friendly all the while. They thanked her profusely, and as soon as they were gone, her frown of concentration came back, and she kept walking, staring at the ground. I never got my autograph, but the memory of that moment will stay with me forever!
The Comebacker
Not enough stories like these make the printed light of day.

Michael writes: I try not to judge people until I have seen and talked to them in person. I met Sergio on Monday before the tournament at the Publix store where I work in the Produce department at Sawgrass near the Players club...Nobody but me recognized him as he was pushing a cart and buying his own groceries. I must preface this saying that Sergio is my favorite golfer...Seve was but he retired (not on top of his game like Annika). I introduced myself and we had a great 10-15 minute conversation. He's not used to Americans who appreciate how great a player he is and don't look for ways to criticize his putting or his attitude or the way he has helped the Europeans kick butt in the Ryder Cup over and over again. He could not have been nicer and I told him that the only person he needed to listen to was his father Victor and that he should have confidence after finishing 2nd last year. We talked about bullfighting, winning the Irish Open in 1999, and orange juice. He likes Tropicana Valencia which his roommate Camilo Villegas bought for him later that night. I realized that I had my golf bag in my trunk and so I got my EL TORO bull headcover that I have on my driver and he signed one of the horns.
The Comebacker
Was that orange juice no pulp, some pulp, or lots of pulp?

Wayne writes: I'd be more than willing to quit my current job to become Mr. Mom to Annika's offspring, however, I have a few demands...1) A daily golf lesson while baby is sleeping, in lieu of pay if necessary. 2) I don't cook so take out is mandatory, unless of course she enjoys barbequed steak/burgers/sausages everyday? 3) I refuse to field calls at 2 am from Lorena, who keeps saying No Mas and begging Annika to return so she has some real competition. 4) Includes me in her early Monday morning foursome with Tiger and Stevie so her (sic) and I can and work their wallets (don't forget, she's semi-retired now and will need the cash), while Mr. Sorenstam watches the kid(s). Those are my terms and they aren't negotiable.
The Comebacker
Sorry, Wayner, word out of the Sorenstam camp is that Annika isnt real big on barbecue.

Joel writes: I haven't seen this slant on Annika's retirement. If this is her farewell tour, think of the crowds that will be at the events. Crafty on her part. Sergio is, was, and will be a chump. When will you in the media stop doing the following: 1. Act as if anyone under 20 who wins is the next Messiah (sorry God). 2. Using the phrase good golf shot. With apologies to Bill Engvall, of course it's a golf shot because you are playing golf. DUH. You never hear a baseball announcer saying it was a good baseball shot or baseball catch. You also never hear a hockey announcer talk about a good hockey shot.
The Comebacker
Actually, the one thats been making me a little crazy lately is when basketball announcers talk about a player having the ability to score the basketball. Hubie Brown, who should know better, is especially guilty of this particularly annoying example of sportspeak.

Steve writes: I call him Garcia, not Sergio, because I don't believe he's earned, and I don't believe he deserves the one-name moniker our beloved athletes are sometimes known by, like Tiger, Annika, Phil, Arnie, Jack, etc. He has a lot to prove to me before I accept him as an athlete worth considering for such sentiment. He is, to put it bluntly a petulant brat and his post-game comments did nothing to sway me..He needs to grow up, humble himself and show respect for the game and his competitors. Until he does, I will root against him.
The Comebacker
So Im guessing, Steve, you wont be asking Sergio to sign your headcover any time soon.
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  • Open Qualifying Series kicks off with Aussie Open

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 21, 2017, 4:24 pm

    The 147th Open is nearly eight months away, but there are still major championship berths on the line this week in Australia.

    The Open Qualifying Series kicks off this week, a global stretch of 15 event across 10 different countries that will be responsible for filling 46 spots in next year's field at Carnoustie. The Emirates Australian Open is the first event in the series, and the top three players among the top 10 who are not otherwise exempt will punch their tickets to Scotland.

    In addition to tournament qualifying opportunities, the R&A will also conduct four final qualifying events across Great Britain and Ireland on July 3, where three spots will be available at each site.

    Here's a look at the full roster of tournaments where Open berths will be awarded:

    Emirates Australian Open (Nov. 23-26): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    Joburg Open (Dec. 7-10): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    SMBC Singapore Open (Jan. 18-21): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 12 and ties

    Mizuno Open (May 24-27): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 12 and ties

    HNA Open de France (June 28-July 1): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    The National (June 28-July 1): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 12 and ties

    Dubai Duty Free Irish Open (July 5-8): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    The Greenbrier Classic (July 5-8): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open (July 12-15): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    John Deere Classic (July 12-15): Top player (not otherwise exempt) among top five and ties

    Stock Watch: Lexi, Justin rose or fall this week?

    By Ryan LavnerNovember 21, 2017, 2:36 pm

    Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.


    Jon Rahm (+9%): Just imagine how good he’ll be in the next few years, when he isn’t playing all of these courses for the first time. With no weaknesses in his game, he’s poised for an even bigger 2018.

    Austin Cook (+7%): From Monday qualifiers to Q-School to close calls on the Web.com, it hasn’t been an easy road to the big leagues. Well, he would have fooled us, because it looked awfully easy as the rookie cruised to a win in just his 14th Tour start.

    Ariya (+6%): Her physical tools are as impressive as any on the LPGA, and if she can shore up her mental game – she crumbled upon reaching world No. 1 – then she’ll become the world-beater we always believed she could be.  

    Tommy Fleetwood (+4%): He ran out of gas in Dubai, but no one played better on the European Tour this year than Fleetwood, Europe’s new No. 1, who has risen from 99th to 18th in the world.   

    Lexi (+1%): She has one million reasons to be pleased with her performance this year … but golf fans are more likely to remember the six runners-up and two careless mistakes (sloppy marking at the ANA and then a yippy 2-footer in the season finale) that cost her a truly spectacular season.


    J-Rose (-1%): Another high finish in Dubai, but his back-nine 38, after surging into the lead, was shocking. It cost him not just the tournament title, but also the season-long race.  

    Hideki (-2%): After getting blown out at the Dunlop Phoenix, he made headlines by saying there’s a “huge gap” between he and winner Brooks Koepka. Maybe something was lost in translation, but Matsuyama being too hard on himself has been a familiar storyline the second half of the year. For his sake, here’s hoping he loosens up.

    Golf-ball showdown (-3%): Recent comments by big-name stars and Mike Davis’ latest salvo about the need for a reduced-flight ball could set up a nasty battle between golf’s governing bodies and manufacturers.

    DL3 (-4%): Boy, the 53-year-old is getting a little too good at rehab – in recent years, he has overcome a neck fusion, foot injury, broken collarbone and displaced thumb. Up next is hip-replacement surgery.

    LPGA Player of the Year (-5%): Sung Hyun Park and So Yeon Ryu tied for the LPGA’s biggest prize, with 162 points. How is there not a tiebreaker in place, whether it’s scoring average or best major performance? Talk about a buzzkill.

    Titleist's Uihlein fires back at Davis over distance

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 21, 2017, 12:59 am

    Consider Titleist CEO Wally Uihlein unmoved by Mike Davis' comments about the evolution of the golf ball – and unhappy.

    In a letter to the Wall Street Journal, the outlet which first published Davis' comments on Sunday, Uihlein took aim at the idea that golf ball distance gains are hurting the sport by providing an additional financial burden to courses.

    "Is there any evidence to support this canard … the trickle-down cost argument?” he wrote (via Golf.com). “Where is the evidence to support the argument that golf course operating costs nationwide are being escalated due to advances in equipment technology?"

    Pointing the blame elsewhere, Uihlein criticized the choices and motivations of modern architects.

    "The only people that seem to be grappling with advances in technology and physical fitness are the short-sighted golf course developers and the supporting golf course architectural community who built too many golf courses where the notion of a 'championship golf course' was brought on line primarily to sell real estate," he wrote.

    The Titleist CEO even went as far as to suggest that Tiger Woods' recent comments that "we need to do something about the golf ball" were motivated by the business interersts of Woods' ball sponsor, Bridgestone.

    "Given Bridgestone’s very small worldwide market share and paltry presence in professional golf, it would seem logical they would have a commercial motive making the case for a reduced distance golf ball," he added.

    Acushnet Holdings, Titleist's parent company, announced in September that Uihlein would be stepping down as the company's CEO at the end of this year but that he will remain on the company's board of directors.

    Class of 2011: The groups before The Group

    By Mercer BaggsNovember 20, 2017, 9:00 pm

    We’ve been grouping things since the beginning, as in The Beginning, when God said this is heaven and this is earth, and you’re fish and you’re fowl.

    God probably wasn’t concerned with marketing strategies at the time and how #beastsoftheearth would look with a hashtag, but humans have evolved into such thinking (or not evolved, depending on your thinking).

    We now have all manner of items lumped into the cute, the catchy and the kitschy. Anything that will capture our attention before the next thing quickly wrests said attention away.

    Modern focus, in a group sense in the golf world, is on the Class of 2011. This isn’t an arbitrary assembly of players based on world ranking or current form. It’s not a Big Pick A Number.

    There’s an actual tie that binds as it takes a specific distinction to be part of the club. It’s a group of 20-somethings who graduated from high school in the aforementioned year, many who have a PGA Tour card, a handful of who have PGA Tour wins, and a couple of who have major titles.

    It’s a deep and talented collective, one for which our knowledge should continue to expand as resumes grow.

    Do any “classes” in golf history compare? Well, it’s not like we’ve long been lumping successful players together based on when they completed their primary education. But there are other notable groups of players, based primarily on birthdate, relative competition and accomplishment.

    Here’s a few on both the men’s and women’s side:

    BORN IN 1912

    Birthdate Player PGA Tour wins Major wins
    Feb. 4, 1912 Byron Nelson 52 5
    May 27, 1912 Sam Snead 82 7
    Aug. 13, 1912 Ben Hogan 64 9

    Born six months within one another. Only a threesome, but a Hall of Fame trio that combined for 198 PGA Tour wins and 21 majors.

    BORN IN 1949

    Birthdate Player PGA Tour wins Major wins
    Sept. 4, 1949 Tom Watson 39 8
    Dec. 5, 1949 Lanny Wadkins 21 1
    Dec. 9, 1949 Tom Kite 19 1

    Only 96 days separate these three Hall of Fame players. Extend the reach into March of 1950 and you'll get two-time U.S. Open winner Andy North.

    BORN IN 1955

    Birthdate Player PGA Tour wins Major wins
    Jan. 30, 1955 Curtis Strange 17 2
    Jan. 30, 1955 Payne Stewart 11 3
    Feb. 10, 1955 Greg Norman 20 2

    Another trio of Hall of Fame players. Strange and Stewart were born on the same day with Norman 11 days later. Fellow PGA Tour winners born in 1955: Scott Simpson, Scott Hoch and Loren Roberts.


    Birthdate Player LPGA wins Major wins
    Feb. 22, 1956 Amy Alcott 29 5
    Oct. 14, 1956 Beth Daniel 33 1
    Oct. 27, 1956 Patty Sheehan 35 6
    Jan. 6, 1957 Nancy Lopez 48 3

    A little arbitrary here, but go with it. Four Hall of Famers on the women's side, all born within one year of each other. That's an average (!) career of 36 tour wins and nearly four majors.


    Birthdate Player Euro (PGA Tour) wins Major wins
    April 9, 1957 Seve Ballesteros 50 (9) 5
    July 18, 1957 Nick Faldo 30 (9) 6
    Aug. 27, 1957 Bernhard Langer 42 (3) 2
    Feb. 9, 1958 Sandy Lyle 18 (6) 2
    March 2, 1958 Ian Woosnam 29 (2) 1

    The best 'class' of players Europe has to offer. Five born within a year of one another. Five Hall of Fame members. Five who transformed and globalized European golf.


    Birthdate Player PGA Tour wins Major wins
    Sept. 12, 1969 Angel Cabrera 3 2
    Oct. 17, 1969 Ernie Els 19 4
    May 12, 1970 Jim Furyk 17 1
    May 12, 1970 Mike Weir 8 1
    June 16, 1970 Phil Mickelson 42 5

    Not a tight-knit group, but a little more global bonding in accordance to the PGA Tour's increased international reach. Add in worldwide wins – in excess of 200 combined – and this group is even more impressive.

    BORN IN 1980

    Birthdate Player PGA Tour wins Major wins
    Jan. 9, 1980 Sergio Garcia 10 1
    July 16, 1980 Adam Scott 13 1
    July 30, 1980 Justin Rose 8 1

    Could be three future Hall of Fame members here.

    Editor's note: Golf Channel's editorial research unit contributed.