Appreciation and Annoyance - COPIED
Plus, The Comebacker appears to be getting under the skin of at least one reader.
Without further ado:
Sue writes: Brian, I think you are a complete idiot.
And exactly what does that have to do with golf?
Connie writes: After reading The Comebacker, it is amazing to me that golf enthusiasts can be so narrow minded. We all have favorite golfers and when mine is either not playing or playing and not faring so well, I am pleased to be watching others and enjoy their shotmaking. These men are called professionals for a reason. Let's lay off of the criticism and give the guys their due. There are a number of golfers who have won only one major. Is there a problem with giving them their due for the one they have one? Many professionals will play their whole career and never win a major, and why should that take anything away from the work they do to compete. In Immelman's case, he was fortunate to even be on the course with the health issues he has had in the past year. Congratulations, and I would not be surprised to see him win another. The world of golf ought to be about ALL professional golfers not just a select few.
Connie, I think you are a complete idiot..No, no, just kidding.Actually I think Trevor Immelmans health issues could have turned out to be a helping factor. After waiting for biopsy results, the pressure of trying to compete in the Masters cant possibly feel as intense.
Tom writes: Ill get to the point. Even though I appreciate the tremendously deep talent pool on the PGA Tour, I have definitely become a victim of what I call Majoritis Tigris..No, it probably wasnt the most exciting Masters of recent times, but a great tournament nevertheless. We all know the reasons for the final outcome and a simple hats off to Mr. Immelman.Dont get me wrong, I still genuinely appreciate the quality of golf played by these guys; but I think I have become so jaded by the emphasis placed on Majors, and Tigers flair for the ridiculously absurd, that my expectations for non-major events sans El Tigre have evaporated. Knowing that there will never be a fifth major, and that Tigers schedule will only get skinnier from here on in, I eagerly await the next prodigy/phenom to follow in his footsteps and rekindle my fervor for the everyday events. Someone please step up and save me from the doldrums!
So with Tiger now rehabbing his knee after recent surgery are you suffering from Minoritis Tigris?
Ed writes:It just dawned on me what Trevor did in The Masters. There is a maneuver called 'an Immelmann' named after a German, WWI fighter ace. This is where you fly level to gain speed, then pull up into a steep climb until you are inverted, roll the plane back to horizontal and proceed the other direction. It is done to get another fighter off your tail. Trevor made that move on Tiger last week who was too far back to shoot him down.
It never dawned on me that this Masters was all about aviation.
Canada Boy writes: I think I may have figured out why Brandt Snedeker had a rough Sunday and didn't win The Masters---three words--Toronto Maple Leafs. I noticed his caddie was wearing a Maple Leaf T-shirt under his white coveralls. As a die hard Leafs fan, I am well aware that we have not won the Stanley Cup since 1967. Once I saw that T-shirt, I knew Snedeker was not carrying around a particularly effective good luck charm. And those high paid analysts thought it was the Sunday pressure.
Good thing, I guess, Mike Weir isnt a Maple Leafs fan.
Chris writes: Heres to Trevor, a classy kid with a future ahead of him. Sorry folks, until Tiger becomes impervious to bullets, leaps buildings in a single bound, and has to start wearing a size larger to conceal his red and blue suit and cape, he is going to lose every once in a while. As my friends constantly reminds me why one day I shoot well, and the next day I suck (a 25-handicap), thats golf.
Or Tiger himself has said or more than one occasion, Welcome to golf.
Dale writes:NO, NO, NO, a thousand times - NO - to Olympic golf. This will be just another snafu that'll be nothing but problems for EVERYONE. The OLYMPICS are nothing but more corruption, stealing, more hassle about drug testing, and a lot more, ALL unpleasant disputes. - NOBODY needs it. Let's call it FINCHEM'S FOLLY
I take it, by the use of all those capital letters, Dale doesnt think golf in the Olympics is a capital idea.
Larry writes: When watching the PGA (TOUR), I know for a down home fact that I could never play to that level but now and then when I am watching the LPGA I feel maybe I could hit a shot or two the way they play. After watching Lorena and those young ladies play recently, cancel the maybe thought and insert no way. What wonderful golf we are privileged to see now.'
Indeed, these women are good. Especially Lorena.
Jan writes: Without Tiger teeing it up, theres a Tiger-esque feeling being generated by Ochoa. It makes me wonder if we arent going to ascribe Elvis-esque attributes after Tiger leaves this life for the next, refusing to believe hes really gone, spotting him on this or that golf course. Perhaps his ghost will visit Augusta National every April. Is it possible to go even one hour one simple broadcast hour without mentioning Tiger Woods? But back to Lorena momentarily she is amazing shes closing in on Nancy Lopezs record lets highlight that and leave Tiger out of womens golf.
Im guessing if Jan had to use one adjective to describe Tigers incipient course design in the Middle East, it would be arabesque.
Shawn writes: I'm curious, why there hasn't been any talk of Lorena playing in a men's event? With her recent great play she seems to have been crowned the queen of the LPGA.
She seems disinclined to play on the PGA TOUR. The marketing experts say she could raise her profit margins with the wider exposure a start on the PGA TOUR would provide (like it did for Annika Sorenstam) But unlike Annika, Ochoa doesnt feel the need to measure her skill sets against those of the best men.
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
Punch shot: Predictions for the 147th Open
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – In advance of the 147th Open Championship, GolfChannel.com writers sound off on burning questions as players ready for a fast and firm test at Carnoustie. Here’s what our writers think about myriad topics:
The Monday morning headline will be …
REX HOGGARD: “Survival.” This one is easy. It always is at Carnoustie, which is widely considered The Open’s most demanding major championship test. Monday’s headline will be that the champion - pick a champion, any one will do - “survived” another dramatic Open. You don’t dominate Carnoustie; you endure.
RYAN LAVNER: “DJ Bashes Way to Victory at Carnoustie.” If somehow a two-win season could be disappointing, it has been for DJ. He’s first in scoring average, birdie average, par-4 scoring, par-5 scoring, strokes gained: tee to green and proximity from the rough. Those last two stats are the most important, especially here at Carnoustie, with these dry conditions. The game’s preeminent long-and-straight driver, there’s a better-than-decent chance he rolls.
MERCER BAGGS: “Rahm Tough: Spaniard charges to Open victory.” Jon Rahm will claim him maiden major title this week by powering his way through the winds and fescue at Carnoustie.
JAY COFFIN: “Thomas wins second major, ascends to world No. 1 again.” Shortly after The Open last year, Thomas rolled through the end of the PGA Tour season. This is the time of year he likes best. Despite a poor Open record the last two years, he’s not remotely concerned. He’s a tad miffed he didn’t win in France two weeks ago and comes to Carnoustie refreshed, with a gameplan, and ready to pounce.
Who or what will be the biggest surprise?
HOGGARD: Style of play. Given Carnoustie’s reputation as a brute, the surprise will be how the champion arrives at his lofty perch. Unlike previous editions at Carnoustie, this week’s dry conditions will promote more aggressive play off the tee and the winner will defy the norm and power his way to victory.
LAVNER: Tiger Woods. This is Woods’ best chance to win a major this year, and here’s believing he contends. His greatest strengths are his iron game and scrambling, and both aspects will be tested to the extreme at Carnoustie, helping separate him from some of the pretenders. With even a little cooperation from his putter, he should be in the mix.
BAGGS: Padraig Harrington. He had a good opening round last week at the Scottish Open and has some good vibes being the 2007 Open champion at Carnoustie. He won’t contend for four rounds, but a few days in the mix would be a nice surprise.
COFFIN: Alex Noren. Perhaps someone ranked 11th in the world shouldn’t be a surprise, but with so much focus on some of the bigger, household names, don’t be surprised when Noren is in contention on Sunday. He hasn’t finished worse than 25th since early May and won two weeks ago in France. He also tied for sixth place last year at Royal Birkdale.
Who or what will be the biggest disappointment?
HOGGARD: Jordan Spieth. Although he was brilliant on his way to victory last year at Royal Birkdale, Spieth is not the same player for this week’s championship, the byproduct of a balky putter that has eroded his confidence. Spieth said giving back the claret jug this week was hard, but his finish will be even tougher.
LAVNER: Weather. This might sound a little sadistic, but one of the unique joys of covering this tournament is to watch the best in the world battle conditions they face only once a year – the bone-chilling cold, the sideways rain, the howling wind. It doesn’t appear as though that’ll happen this year. With only a few hours of light rain expected, and no crazy winds in the forecast, the biggest challenge for these stars will be judging the bounces on the hard, baked-out turf.
BAGGS: Jordan Spieth. The defending champion is still trying to find his winning form and Carnoustie doesn’t seem the place to do that. As much as he says he loves playing in strong winds, there should be enough danger around here to frustrate Spieth into a missed cut.
COFFIN: Rory McIlroy. I hope I’m wrong on this, because the game is better when Rory is in contention at majors. Putting always has been his issue and seemingly always will be. While there isn’t as much of a premium placed on putting this week because of slower greens, he may still have to hit it close. Super close.
What will be the winning score?
HOGGARD: 10 under. The last two Opens played at Carnoustie were won with 7-under and 6-over totals, but this week’s conditions will favor more aggressive play and lower scores. Expect to see plenty of birdies, but the great equalizer will come on Sunday when wind gusts are forecast to reach 25 mph.
LAVNER: 15 under. An Open at Carnoustie has never produced a winner lower than 9 under (Tom Watson in 1975), but never have the conditions been this susceptible to low scores. Sure, the fairway bunkers are still a one-shot penalty, but today’s big hitters can fly them. The thin, wispy rough isn’t much of a deterrent. And the wind isn’t expected to really whip until the final day.
BAGGS: 12 under. We aren’t going to see the same kind of weather we have previously witnessed at Carnoustie, and that’s a shame. Any players who catch relatively benign conditions should be able to go low, as long as they can properly navigate the fairway rollout.
COFFIN: 14 under. Walked into a local golf shop in the town of Carnoustie wearing a Golf Channel logo and the man behind the counter said, “It’ll take 14 under to win this week.” Well, he’s been here for years and seen Carnoustie host The Open twice before. He knows more about it than I do, so I’ll stick with his number.
Watch: Na plays backwards flop and practices lefty
Fresh off his victory at The Greenbrier, Kevin Na is taking a quite-literally-backwards approach to his Open prep.
Caddie Kenny Harms has been sharing videos of Na's early work at Carnoustie.
This one shows Na standing in a bunker and playing a flop shot over his own head (as opposed to someone else's):
While it's unlikely he'll have a need for that exact shot this week, it's far more likely a player may have to think about turning his club over and playing from the wrong side of the ball, like so:
Na has made 4 of 6 cuts at The Open and will look to improve on his best career finish, currently a T-22 in 2016 at Royal Troon.
McIlroy growing 'comfortable' on Open courses
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – For a player who once complained about the vagaries of links golf, Rory McIlroy enters this Open with a dazzling record in the sport’s oldest championship.
Though he missed the 2015 event because of an ankle injury, McIlroy has now posted three consecutive top-5 finishes in the year’s third major.
“It’s surprising a little bit that my best form in major championships has been this tournament,” he said Wednesday, “but at the same time I’ve grown up these courses, and I’m comfortable on them. I think going to courses on The Open rota that I’ve played quite a lot. I think that helps. You have a comfort level with the golf course, and you’ve built up enough experience to know where to hit and where not to hit it.”
McIlroy still regrets what happened in 2015, when he “did something slightly silly” and injured his ankle while playing soccer a few weeks before the event. That came a year after he triumphed at Royal Liverpool.
“Since 2010, I couldn’t wait to play The Open at St. Andrews,” he said. “I thought that was one of my best chances to win a major.”
He tied for 42nd at Carnoustie in 2007, earning low-amateur honors.
Height of irony: Phil putts in front of 'rules' sign
A picture is worth 1,000 words and potentially two strokes for playing a moving ball under Rule 14-5 but not Rule 1-2.
Phil Mickelson has been having some fun during his Open prep at Carnoustie hitting flop shots over human beings, but the irony of this photo below is too obvious to go over anyone's head.
Mickelson also tried tapping down fescue two weeks ago at The Greenbrier, incurring another two-shot penalty.
And so we're left to wonder about what Phil asked himself back at Shinnecock Hills: "The real question is, ‘What am I going to do next?’”