Pet Peeves


Imagine this. Imagine a column about imagination. Imagine a pet peeve about imagination.
Like when a golf fan, or a golf writer or a golf announcer or a professional golfer gushes over a player because he or she has so much imagination around the greens.
If you think about it, its an insult to the skill and the nerve of the player being praised. Or its an insult to the intelligence of all the professional golfers who, it is assumed, dont have 'imagination' around the greens. Or both.
The two American players most often singled out for their imagination around the greens are Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. What, you dont think the Bart Bryants, the Ken Dukes, the Jim Furyks, the Justin Leonards of the world ' just to name a few ' dont have imagination? You think they dont see those same shots?
Of course they do. Theyve hit hundreds of thousands of different kinds of chips and pitches in practice and competition. They see the shots. Its just that the overwhelming majority of all players dont have the skill (and the confidence that comes with those skills) to pull off those shots with any kind of percentage that makes sense.
Its time we gave Woods and Mickelson credit for their skill and nerve around the greens and stop getting all gooey about their imagination.
This is a pet peeve of mine. And, kind of like my friend John Hawkins from Golf World who is that publications Angry Golfer, I needed to get this off my chest while the season was winding down.
But lets not stop at just one peeve. Ive got another one. It goes something like this:
When a Tour quality player lasers a short iron onto the green and the ball corkscrews back off the putting surface, it is almost always a bad shot.
Too many of us ' spectators, writers, announcers, etc. ' let the player off the hook by calling the result a little unlucky.
It is almost always NOT unlucky. These are the best players in the world. They are supposed to be able to control the spin on their golf balls. Their equipment has been tested and suited to them through the wonderful technology of launch monitors. They have the best instructors money can by.
There is no such thing as a little bit unlucky. There are good shots and there are bad shots. And we should call them as we see them, and the worlds best players should own up to the ones that dont work out. Lord knows, they dont mind taking credit for the ones that do work out.
All of the above having been ranted, there is one exception to the imagination screed. And it involves two-time Masters champion Ben Crenshaw and the gravely ill Seve Ballesteros who, in his prime, was a match for Woods and Mickelson around the greens.
Ballesteros, Crenshaw said recently, saw shots that he (Crenshaw) couldnt see. Yes, Crenshaw was talking here about imagination.
And I saw enough of Ballesteros, live and on television, to defer to Crenshaws judgment on this.
My hope now, when it comes to Ballesteros battle with a brain tumor, is that they can find a doctor who can see something nobody else has. That would be called a cure. And whether its skill, nerve or imagination that produces that cure, Im rooting for it.
Im Brian Hewitt. Im passionate about all things golf. And I approve of this message.
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