Monday, June 19, 2006

Tiger, come back.

Let me qualify the title of this post. I'm not a huge Tiger fan, simply because he doesn't embrace his role as the #1 golfer in the world with much eagerness--no signings, no bumps, nothing. He could use a lot less prima dona and more Everyman. But that aside, it was amusing to watch the U.S. Open unfold without Tiger's presence--we could subtitle the '06 Open the "Implosion" Open. Afterall, how many pros had a chance to win the event with nothing more than a par at the last? Furyk, Monty, Figjam Mickelson, and Harrington all had a chance to win--on 18, no less--but fluffed it out. The sad thing is that the back 9 had potential fto produce drama we hadn't seen in thirty years. Monty could have landed his elusive major, or Furyk could have gone on to claim his spot among golf's semi-greats. Figjam Mickelson could have laid claim to a spot as a genuine Tiger threat, having won three of four of the last majors. Instead, we were faced with a bunch of guys shaking their heads after missing shots which could have brought them the Open. Oh well, majors are meant to be won or lost on fantastic plays, and the '06 Open was no different--just so happens the plays were real stinkers.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Golf's Big Five bores or Come on, Golfers -- Act Like You WANT it!

It may gratify some to watch the perennial favorites win, but I'd rather watch the smaller, more significant dramas unfold. Take last weekend's Barclay Classic. An early leader was Billy Andrade, a pro golfer who has fallen on relatively hard times (I say "relatively" because with his sponsorships and earnings, he's still doing financially better than 97 percent of Americans--$11 million career earnings since '87 (by comparison, I've made $600,000 in the same period.)) Azinger commented that Andrade is no longer exempt, and needs to get inside the top 125 in earnings to secure his card for next year. A win would have gone quite a ways toward that end, but he didn't win. He played good, but not great, and came in fifth. One more top ten and he'll probably be okay for next year. But isn't it more fun to watch a guy like Andrade play for his life and/or career than watch Veej stoically win another check for his retirement fund? I could have even rooted for Adam Scott, who is also quite stoic, if he had shown in some demonstrable way that he really wanted to win--a twitch, hyperventilation, ANYTHING. Which brings me back to the Big five Bores. (Note: These guys may not currently be in the top five, but they are more often than not in the top five, which is why I'll spend an inordinate amount of time commenting on them.) Woods can be fun to watch--when he isn't acting like a robot, but Mickelson, Veej, Els and Goosen are sleep-inducingly boring.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Living without a net

I was watching the Golf Channel the other night and their resident psychologist took a question from a viewer. The viewer wanted to know if, since he had lowered his handicap from 18 to 8 in a year, he was justified in wanting to turn pro. My first instinct was to wonder, "Are you NUTS? At least get to scratch and play some competitive golf and see if you like it." The psychologist decided he had no right to tell anyone what to do with their life--which is true--but for the would-be pro to be cautious.
I then went on to consider my own life, and the risks I've taken on as a would-be pro writer in Los Angeles. I guess I could also apply the "Are you NUTS" comment to my own life. I'm probably about an 8 handicap writer--better than 99 percent of the public, but still with lower handicap writers ahead of me, and a few more hard-knock lessons to learn. I think Ray Bradbury said it best:
If we listened to our intellect, we'd never have a love affair. We'd never have a friendship. We'd never go into business, because we'd be cynical. Well, that's nonsense. You've got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down.

I guess that means if you're an 8 handicap golfer or writer, it's time to jump.