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August 24, 2011

Truth & Rumors: Is Obama the Tiger Woods of Politics?

Posted at 12:01 PM by Steve Beslow | Categories: Barack Obama, Long Putters, Tiger Woods, Truth & Rumors

Presidential Slump
Thomas Friedman, a three-time Pulitzer Prize winner for The New York Times and a 6-handicap, takes a look at how President (and avid golfer) Barack Obama's current slump matches an only slightly less powerful international force.

He has accomplished a lot more than he’s gotten credit for — with an opposition dedicated to making him fail. But lately he is seriously off his game. He’s not Jimmy Carter. He’s Tiger Woods — a natural who’s lost his swing. He has so many different swing thoughts in his head, so many people whispering in his ear about what the polls say and how he needs to position himself to get re-elected, that he has lost all his natural instincts for the game. He needs to get back to basics.

Thankfully, that seems to be where the comparisons between Obama and Tiger end, but Friedman definitely has a point: Both Woods and Obama are struggling through big slumps, and time might be running out for both of them to finish their big goals.

Compromising Position?
With the recent successes of Keegan Bradley and Adam Scott (amongst others) using long putters, it has been almost impossible to escape the back-and-forth arguments about the plus-sized club's influence on the future of golf. On one hand, amateurs want to score better and enjoy the game more; on the other, we expect professionals to truly test their abilities. Robert Lusetich of Fox Sports thinks the solution might actually be pretty simple:

“Historically, most of the people who use long putters or belly putters are golfers who have mental demons—I hate to use the 'Y' word [for that dreaded affliction known as the yips]—or maybe have trouble bending over because of some physical ailment," Mike Davis, the USGA's executive director, told the Wall Street Journal. “We'd hate to pull these putters away from them, because golf is a game. It's for fun and recreation.”

Perhaps the answer lies in allowing long putters for recreational play, but outlawing them for professionals. Because there’s little doubt that putters whose nerves are shot can be re-born with a long putter. Doesn’t that give them an advantage they don’t really deserve? Shouldn’t dealing with nerves be an integral part of winning a golf tournament?

I'm actually a little surprised I haven't heard this suggestion being proposed more often, as it does seem like a simple, reasonable solution to the "problem" of long putters. It's essentially the same way that rangefinders have been handled: The USGA sets limitations but allows them, while the PGA Tour outlaws them from professional events. Mr. Finchem, make it so!

Tweet of the Day
The war between Hank "The Hammer" Haney and Tiger "Wipey Swing" Woods continues:
Haney

At some point, Tiger is probably going to have to explain just what the heck he was talking about...

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