Heres the way it works. You write me (dont worry, I have a thick skin) and I respond to you (youd better have a thick skin).
I will weigh in on the issues and your opinions. I will even hand out praise when merited.
This weeks Comebacker is a mixed bag, although its clear a lot of you still have a lot of thoughts about the verbal antipathy expressed by Tigers caddie, Steve Williams, towards Phil Mickelson.
Without further ado:
Bob writes: The rules of golf permit a player to change caddies in the middle of a round. In fact, he can change caddies as many times as he wants. I fail to see what point you journalists are trying to make when you keep bringing up the fact that Daly changed caddies. What is the point? That Jon Gruden is not a caddie? What makes one a caddie? A big foul mouth like some other caddies and players?
This refers to John Dalys decision to return from a rain delay with Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden on his bag. And heres the deal, Bob: Can you spell the word travesty? Would the New York Yankees return from a rain delay with John Daly coaching third base? And not all caddies have big foul mouths. Some of them have small foul mouths.
Michael writes: The drug testing episode highlights a series of actions which could only stem from a sense of personal privilege accompanied by the conceited belief in one's uniqueness. She (Annika Sorenstam) tarnished her own image with petulant demands and attempts to intimidate others to gain unwarranted advantage in several tournaments. The image of a young Paula Creamer walking away in apparent disgust while Sorenstam dropped is a lasting one. The spirit of the game was sacrificed for self-inflation.
Wow, I can count the number of shots I have seen or heard taken at Annika Sorenstam, in my lifetime, on one hand. Tough crowd.
Dave writes: Just a thought ' the Mercedes-Benz Championship should include Winning Ryder Cup Team Members who have not otherwise qualified for the season-opening tournament. Probably would only add a couple of players ' but I think it would be a nice added perk for winning Cup members.
Off the top of my head, your concept would have gotten Hunter Mahan to Kapalua. Plus Im sure a number of Euros would have been happy to show up ' Ian Poulter first among them. Good suggestion.
Churchill writes: Happy New Year, PGA Tour! Or not. Will 2009 continue the downward spiral of talented golfers and vanilla broadcasts with little to no appeal to the viewer? The Tour seems to have forgotten that golf is entertainment. Perhaps the economic reality of 2009 and its many pains will force the Tour to recognize that players personalities are as important as a player's golfing expertise. Then maybe, they will act to put fun back into golf's agenda. Train golfers to have a personality worth watching. Require announcers to be frank as well as complimentary (good job Nick Faldo and Johnny Miller)I'm for more fun in 2009, including anything having to do with golf. I think we all will need it!
I especially like it when Nobilo is frank And, by the way, Im warning you people: Dont abuse the use of the exclamation point. The Comebacker will not tolerate unwarranted hyperbole in 2009.
Tom writes: He is fat, smokes, drinks and can't play. He should not be on the Tour. The fact he was arrested (for public) drunkenness is just one of the many..
And please, people, finish your sentences Anyway, for a second I thought Tom was talking about the late Jackie Gleason. But the subject box said Daly. Gleason, by the way, was the Great One long before Wayne Gretzky was born.
Ben writes: Brian I am very pleased with the way you do your job and just wished to say so. While I am sure you know you can't please everyone, the guys I play golf with, a bunch of old codgers and I mean old 80-plus, frequently hash out your comments over a beer after a round.
The Comebacker loves Ben and his boys, if not their demographic. Ben makes me think we ought to ask the readers for their golf Bucket List selections. What people, places or things in golf do you readers want to know, see or do before you die? Let me know.
Neil writes: About John, he and me are similar; we are both golf professionals, although I am just a journeyman club pro [and not a great typist]; (we) both share the same birth date (April 28); and we are both alcoholics (sober for 26 yrs). Once he accepts this and gets on with his life things will be OK. It is not his fault that he has this disease but it is his fault if he doesn't TRY to recover. There is lots of help out there for him. Golf needs John Daly.
Typing excused, Neil. Stay strong.
Phil writes: You said: And while were at it, lets thank our stars that the names of golfs best players arent regularly found on police blotters. Other sports should be so lucky. Let's be honest here. The word is privileged, not lucky. Crime patterns do not follow athletes who grow up in homes where china patterns are considered important. Yes, I know golf is reaching out to kids of less privilege, but too many of those efforts are doomed to financial failure, and this remains a sport (like tennis) where stars come from families who can support participant tutelage in ways few enjoy. There's a reason why you can count Tour Democrats, progressives, and (dare I say it?) liberals on one hand. Elite players come from wealthy backgrounds that are traditionally conservative or Republican, and either of unusual privilege, or with clear access to the benefits of privilege.
Never thought, when I woke up this morning, that the phrase china patterns would be linked to civil obedience. At least not in this space. The good news is the primary unusual privilege in Tiger Woods early years had nothing to do with a wealthy background and everything to do with great parents.
Thomas writes: Steve Williams spoke his mind. You can question how much of one he has (a mind that is) or what was going through it as he ripped Mickelson, but at least give him credit for putting out his opinion in a world where people work very hard not to have one. Was it a smart thing to say? Probably not as the smart thing is to play the game and say little to nothing as regards anything. Was he out of line? Probably, but I guess it depends on what you think of Phil and the degree to which you believe it reflected poorly on Tiger and the game of golf as a whole. Should he be fired? For speaking his mind, no. Did he put his boss in a tough spot? Absolutely and it required some work by Tiger to remedy a situation not of his doing.
And Ill bet you were beginning to think Id forgotten my promise to get into the Steve Williams issue. This one mostly supports him. The next one well ... read on.
Tom writes: Sounds like he (Steve Williams) is a drunk! Like a lot of golf people.
Hey, hey, hey.
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