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Labor Day Hooks Cuts

  • Understanding that youre reading this in hopes of gleaning minor pearls of semi-lucid golf wisdom, youll forgive me for starting this effort with a riff on the sport of tennis. Very early this morning, at about 12:45 eastern time, I finished watching one of the most compelling events Ive seen in years. Andre Agassi ran to the corners of the earth and back at age 36 to outlast the gamest of opponents, 21-year-old Marcos Baghdatis, who fought from 4-0 down in the fourth set and through leg cramps in the fifth to extend the legend to the bitter end of a sweat-soaked fifth set. Agassi won and staved off retirement. 23,000 stayed and stood and cheered and cried into Fridays first hour. Each man hit ground strokes as hard as Tiger hits 2-iron. Im no tennis maven, but I guarantee theyll talk about that match for years.
  • When I was a kid, we used to play baseball, basketball and hand-ball with tennis balls. Not surprisingly, they frequently ended up on the roof. Thats why I wasnt shocked to see Tiger get a free drop at Firestone. My dad used to do the same for us.
  • Everyones piling on the poor U.S. Ryder Cup team. Rick Reilly humiliated them in SI and John Hawkins panned them in Golf World. Its all part of Tom Lehmans master plan to make absolutely, positively certain that the Yanks go in as the underdog this time.
  • Can you think of a single player ready to challenge Tiger on a regular basis?
  • Just returned from Bandon Dunes but it could have easily been Scotland or Ireland. Three courses sit on a remote patch along the rugged Oregon coast. When the mist crawled across the fairway I experienced one of those moments you read about in those golf-as-mystical-journey books that are so popular. Pacific Dunes in particular is hauntingly beautiful and in my humble estimation easily the equal of Pebble Beach.
  • Young golfers would do well to watch Agassi for the manner in which he gives so completely of himself to the fans who adore him and to the sport which has given him so much. He takes nothing for granted and leaves everything on the court.
  • Tigers halfway to a second version of a slam. Obviously, hell be a prohibitive favorite at Augusta. If he wins the Masters, and theres little reason to think he wont, well go to Oakmont next June with a chance to end any and all debates about whos the best ever even before he gets to 18 majors. If Tiger were to own two runs of four majors in a row, the question wont be, is he better than Nicklaus but is he better than Jordan or Thorpe or Mays or Gretzky and the answer will very likely be yes.
  • I missed a 3-footer for all the cheese on my last hole of my last round at Bandon. Hooded the putt dead left and never even sniffed the cup. My partner bought me a commemorative cap. Instead of Bandon Dunes it said Bandon Dunce.

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