Archive: April 2012
PGA Tour vs. Deadspin
Toward the end of January, Deadspin posted this pretty hilarious video of a sound guy biting it as Ryuji Imada prepared to tee off at the Humana Challenge. According to Deadspin's Barry Petchesky, the PGA Tour did not find the video nearly as funny.
It was not the pinnacle of sports commentary, but it was a guy falling down, and I thought it was pretty funny.
The PGA Tour disagreed. They sent us a nice little letter on PGA letterhead, noting that "deadspin.com is displaying unauthorized PGA TOUR video content....This footage could not have been captured except in violation of the PGA TOUR's on-site policies, and in violation of PGA TOUR's copyrights."
That letter insisting the video be taken down can be seen here.
Deadspin and the Gawker Media legal team responded to the PGA Tour, arguing fair use. The PGA Tour and their lawyers have since rejected that argument, as seen in this letter, stating, "Gawker used the most substantial, important, and commercially profitable portion of PGA TOUR's content."
We'll have to wait and see if further legal action is taken against Deadspin, but Petchesky seemed to find the entire squabble just as funny as the video that sparked it all.
Once again, we're talking about a guy falling down. If that's the most profitable portion of the entire Humana Challenge broadcast, they've got bigger problems than some tinpot website milking it for laughs. The video stays up. Damn the man, save the Empire.
Bubba ready to go home
It has been a whirlwind ride for Bubba Watson since winning the Masters, and now he is ready to get home to his wife and new son, reports Ryan Ballengee.
"I just want to go home and then see what it feels like to be a real dad and be there and support my wife and everything," Watson said Sunday. "So, that's where I really want to be right now."
Despite the exhausting schedule and missing home, Bubba still pulled together a T18 finish at the Zurich Classic, keeping his goal to finish every event in contention alive and well.
"Pretty good week being tired, coming back for the first time after winning the Masters, all this different media attention, you know, all the stuff that comes with it," he said. "It's something you got to get used to. Wears on you, tires you out. Somehow, I finished in the top 20. A lot of guys wished they did that. Not a bad week."
Watson will skip this week's Wells Fargo Championship, but never fear, he'll be back in time for the Players — that is, unless he opts out for diaper duty.
"That's where I'm supposed to be. That's where I'm scheduled to play. We're going to go home and evaluate and see where we're at," he said.
Lexi's prom date controversy
Lexi Thompson is 17, and like thousands of teenagers across America, she'll be attending her high school prom in a few weeks. But Lexi isn't just any teenager, so she can't have just any date. She needs an American hero. By now you've probably seen the video in which she announces a contest for U.S. servicemen, who can upload a photo to her Facebook page in hopes of winning the chance to take her to prom. The video has sparked some controversy, and many in the media have deemed the stunt "creepy."
I'm scratching my head at the controversy. Clearly this is a calculated PR move -- everything Thompson does from this point forth essentially will be -- but creepy? It's not like Lexi is trying to knock down the door of 30-year-old servicemen, and she specifically states that candidates must be between the ages of 18 and 20. That doesn't seem like an unreasonable or inappropriate age range. But more importantly: it's simply a date to a high school prom.
Tweet(s) of the Day
If this is true, then how will Tiger Woods describe his old swing? lockerz.com/s/205362018— Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelGC) April 30, 2012
Check out the highlights from the final round at the Zurich Classic, where Jason Dufner beat Ernie Els on the second hole of sudden death to earn his first career PGA Tour victory.
Instead of taking questions from the media, Woods will only answer questions from his fans. According to ESPN.com, Woods will post a video on his website Monday and answer questions from Facebook and Twitter.
"We've been thinking about this for a couple of months now," Woods's agent Mark Steinberg told ESPN.com on Friday night. "We wanted to have a little bit more direct interaction with fans, and they've been very good to him over the years. We're probably a little bit behind with social media and this is a way to do that."
Steinberg said it was not a response to any negative media coverage, and Woods would only do this a few times a year. Steinberg also said Woods would continue to meet with the media after his rounds, and before the start of major championships.
Woods returns to Quail Hollow for the first time since 2010. He is coming off his worst finish (T40) at the Masters since he turned pro. Woods is also scheduled to play the following week at the Players Championship.
(Photo: David Cannon/Getty Images)
LPGA golfer Se Ri Pak withdrew from this week’s Mobile Bay LPGA Classic in Alabama after she injured her shoulder slipping on stairs, Pak said Friday in a statement.
Pak said she has a slight tear in the labrum of her left shoulder. She hurt her shoulder when she slipped on stairs Tuesday. After an MRI on Thursday, Pak decided to begin rehabilitation immediately to avoid surgery, she said.
“Right now, there is no timeline for my return to the LPGA, but I know the next two months of rehab will be important for my recovery,” said Pak. “I have a positive outlook and I fully expect to return to the LPGA Tour as soon as the time is right.”
Pak, 34, has won 25 LPGA Tour events and five major championships. She was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2007 at age 29, the youngest living entrant ever.
(Photo: David Cannon/Getty Images)
The Merry Mex isn't so merry these days—at least not when it comes to the state of golf-course design and its impact on the game. In an interview with Mike Bailey of GolfChannel.com, Lee Trevino painted a grim picture of, well, just about every topic Bailey broached:
Bailey: Do you think we should go more toward what they do in Great Britain, just a couple of sets of tees that everyone plays?
Trevino: Yes. And the greens are open in the front and you can run the ball up. In other words, a high handicapper can bump and run the ball on the green. These new modern courses they've built in the last 30 years are all carry. There are a lot of people who can't get it in the air or they get it in the air and it's low, and they don't have a chance to run the ball to the green. They've got to carry bunkers and false fronts. We've really gone the wrong way.
Bailey: But don't you think modern equipment combined with great athletes is making many of these golf courses obsolete?
Trevino: The guy with the lowest score wins, whether it's 9-under, 12-under or 22-under. Who gives a damn? The problem is, who pays for that course and the maintenance of that course? It's the member, and thousands and thousands are dropping out.
Even the seemingly benign Tee it Forward program, which encourages Sunday hackers to play from shorter tees, came under the Mex’s fire.
Trevino: Guys feel like they're going to the ladies tees when you push them up forward. They don't like that. Golfers want to be macho, play it from the tips. Why they're building these golf courses longer than 6,900 yards is beyond me.
'World's greatest golf course' may not be world's greatest golf course
It's not like Donald Trump to throw around superlatives, so when he promised that his new links in Aberdeen, Scotland, would be "the world's greatest golf course," there was reason for great optimism. Now, however, it seems the Donald might have been a hair overzealous with his prediciton. "The dunes are superb, the views are often beautiful and those who enjoy being pampered will find the grooming a step up from most other links in Scotland,” writes Darius Oliver at planetgolfusa.com, in one of the most incisive reviews yet of the Donald’s new playground. But the course, Oliver says, also has its flaws:
The main issue with the playability of the Trump International Scotland course, is that fairways are relatively tight given the frequent high winds here and the off fairway areas are quite penal. There is no doubt that over time the maintenance crew will have to soften some of the problem areas, and likely learn to keep the marram grass in the immediate surrounds under control.
While there is obvious quality here and literally dozens of gorgeous vantage points across Trump Scotland, the big issue purists will have with this layout is the lack of truly outstanding design and the number of awkward architectural features. The small revetted bunkers, for example, are well built and formidable as hazards, but they are often placed in formations that lack elegance or genuine strategic merit, particularly on the par fives. The use of 18 scattered traps to defend the 18th hole seems curious, as does the apparently random structure of the diagonal bunkers short of the 4th green.
More bizarre still is the 200-foot manmade wonder—known as “Cristal Falls”—that dumps champagne into a pond behind the 18th green.
Boom times for golf stocks
Can’t get a piece of the Facebook IPO? Then you might consider sinking some clams into the suddenly resurgent golf industry. So says John Udovich of smallcapnetwork.com, who offers a bullish outlook on the equipment sector:
Since the start of the year, golf stocks Callaway Golf (NYSE: ELY), Adams Golf (NASDAQ: ADGF) and Golfsmith International Holdings (NASDAQ: GOLF) have all given double digit returns to investors. Moreover, it's being reported that the number of rounds played on American golf courses has climbed for four straight months as of February after the number of golfers fell from 30 million in the middle of the last decade to 26.1 million in 2011 due to the recession. More attention is also being played to the PGA Tour this year which should also help increase spending on golf which currently stands at $4 billion a year on equipment, $1 billion a year on golf apparel and $20 billion a year on greens fees according to the National Golf Foundation.
Tweet of the day
Roger Goodell is dapping up draft picks left and right. I can't imagine Tim Finchem hugging a warm puppy, much less an N'Wide grad.— Ryan Ballengee (@RyanBallengeeGC) April 27, 2012
Last week, the House of Representatives voted to award the Congressional Gold Medal to 18-time major champion Jack Nicklaus. The House voted 373-4.
The clever sleuths at Deadspin decided to contact the four congressmen and ask them why they didn't vote for the Golden Bear. Rep. Justin Amash, a republican representing Michigan's third district, posted this message on his Facebook page, which pretty much summed up the feelings of the other three voters:
The Congressional Gold Medal originally was awarded for acts of heroism, especially during war. George Washington was the first recipient, and until the Civil War, the medal was given only to members of the Armed Forces. In the late 1800s, Congress began awarding the medal to civilians in recognition of other talents or achievements. In the 1900s, Congress awarded many more medals, sometimes to celebrities such as Frank Sinatra and John Wayne. I think the original purpose of the Congressional Gold Medal is better than Congress's modern practice. Jack Nicklaus had a legendary golfing career. But I think it's better to reserve the medal for those whose heroism and self-sacrifice was made to save the lives of others.
Bubba vs. The Media
Bubba Watson has been on a nationwide charm tour since winning the green jacket, but Golfweek's Jeff Rude pointed out that Bubba's relationship with the golf media needs a little work after his press conference in New Orleans.
In other words, there is a lot to like. In the process of all that, he has become a fan favorite, particularly post-Augusta, and something of a media darling.
Yet there was something a bit concerning about his news conference in The Big Easy. Watson went out of his way a few times, sometimes playfully, to poke “the media.” One sensed an undercurrent of distrust or dislike.
The headline could have read, “Freshly minted media darling bites the hand that helps feed.”
Lexi Needs a Prom Date
I'm all about doing nice things for the military, but anyone else think this is really odd?
Tweet of the Day
A picture of me when I was 2! Putting stroke still looks the same! Lol twitter.com/McIlroyRory/st…— Rory Mcilroy (@McIlroyRory) April 26, 2012
IBM CEO Virginia "Ginny" Rometty ducked a question about whether she was a member of historically male-only Augusta National Golf Club at a shareholder meeting Tuesday, according to Bloomberg News.
IBM is one of the sponsors of the Masters, held at Augusta National, where no woman is known to have been offered membership since its founding eight decades ago. Historically, the club has offered a membership to the CEO of IBM, allowing him to don the club's green member blazer.
"I'm certainly very happy about our CEO and be anxious to know if she's a member of Augusta?" the unidentified male shareholder asked at the meeting in North Charleston, South Carolina. "No response is required," he added.
Rometty, 54, didn't answer while the room was filled with laughter. Chairman Sam Palmisano, standing next to her on the stage, thanked the shareholder for the "very kind comment."
"We were all curious as to when that would come up," Palmisano said. "But thank you again. Can I have another question please?"
Hal Sutton says modern players are 'selfish'
Hal Sutton, two-time PGA Championship winner and captain of the losing U.S. side at the 2004 Ryder Cup, said that today's players are selfish and that 2012 captain Davis Love's best bet is to "stay out of their way," according to USA Today.
"I don't know that guys are following anyone but their own selves today. We live in a pretty selfish world. It's not a criticism, in my mind that's a fact," said Sutton, the 2004 captain.
"In order to be a leader you've got to understand that from the beginning. These guys don't want to follow anybody. The hard part about being a captain is you're the greatest guy in the world if you win and did the worse job in the world if you lose and you never hit a shot. And with golf I think there's more to it than that."
The 2004 team lost to the Europeans 18 1/2 to 9 1/2. The competition is remembered for Sutton pairing Tiger Woods with Phil Mickelson.
Where have all the American women golfers gone?
Sports Illustrated legend Frank Deford wonders what happened to women's golf in the United States in an NPR essay.
After all, at a time when U.S. women are succeeding so across the cultural spectrum, when more and more of our girls also grow up playing sports, it remains both an irony and a mystery why American female athletes are enjoying such little success in the popular international individual sports. Good grief, it if hadn't been for Lindsay Vonn skiing down the Alps ahead of everybody else this winter we'd never get a sports page headline, women's division.
The American failure in tennis and golf is especially curious because women's team sports receive commensurately so little notice in the United States and, consequently, the players receive so little remuneration compared with what male American team athletes make.
You'd expect, then, that the most promising American young female athletes would naturally migrate to individual sports, especially to tennis and golf, where the big money is made. But obviously this is not the case.
In tennis, Europeans dominate. In golf, Asians.
Dead whale had swallowed golf ball
A whale found dead in Washington state had swallowed a golf ball, according to the Associated Press.
A gray whale found dead in Washington state's Puget Sound had been feeding on shrimp and also had some debris, including a golf ball, in its stomach, but scientists don't know what killed the animal
The stomach examination Monday found the shrimp, woody debris, algae, pieces of rope and plastic, the golf ball and some flat spongy material, NOAA Fisheries said.
The garbage was minimal and not the cause of death, which remains under investigation with tissue tests, spokesman Brian Gorman said. It's common for whales to pick up debris near urban areas because they are filter feeders. There were no signs of trauma or entanglement on the whale, he said.
No Seinfeld jokes, please. It's too soon.
Tweet of the Day
Love my haters but love my true fans even more...I'm a lover not a hater...life is way too short to worry about bringing others down!— Rickie Fowler (@RickieFowlerPGA) April 24, 2012
Sean Foley's not going to like this. Peter Dawson, who as chief of the Royal & Ancient Golf Club oversees the game everywhere in the world except for the United States and Mexico, said that Rory McIlroy will take over Tiger Woods's position as golf's major star, according to the BBC.
Rory McIlroy will replace Tiger Woods as the big golfing star, according to Peter Dawson, chief executive of the sport's governing body.
McIlroy, 23, is world number one while eighth-placed Woods, 36, struggles to regain his best form.
"You're really seeing the old guard in Tiger, he's only mid-30s, isn't he, and the young Rory," said the Royal and Ancient Club's Dawson. "Every generation has its stars and Rory is going to be this one."
Still, we're not sure if anyone would pay $10,000 for a seat in a "Rory Poker Night" tournament...
Mickelson will still play Houston in 2013 despite schedule change, still hates rough
The Shell Houston Open has carved out a niche with its week-before-the-Masters spot in the PGA Tour schedule by setting the course up to be similar to Augusta National. Because of a scheduling quirk, Houston will be two weeks before the Masters next year, but Phil Mickelson says the tournament will still be his No. 1 Masters tune-up, according to My Fox Houston.
"I think this tournament has found a very good niche. A lot of players really enjoy coming here and getting ready for the Masters, because the superintendent does such a great job of setting the course up as close as possible to what we'll see the following week at Augusta."
The Valero Texas Open is the tournament that replaced the SHO next year in the week prior to the Masters.
"I think next year it's actually tougher for the players, because the course now in San Antonio is so different than Augusta, that I don't know if guys will still go there," Mickelson said. "I think they'll still come to Houston, because of the way the course is set up.
"I'm certainly planning on it, yes. I don't know why I wouldn't. I've played well here now the last couple of years, and again I think that it's a great way to prepare for the Masters because of what the setup is.
"Now listen, the fact there there's no rough really, it's first cut much like Augusta, anytime I see that sign me up."
Myanmar proves that golf and military dictatorships can co-exist
Looking for a long shot in your 2016 Olympic golf pool? You couldn't find a darker horse than Myanmar. According to ChannelNewAsia.com, golf is very popular in the Southeast Asian country, which has been under military rule since 1962.
After decades in the shadows, Myanmar's sudden opening-up to the outside is shining a new light on the country -- and revealing, amongst other things, one of Asia's most vibrant golf communities.
Behind Myanmar's "bamboo curtain", golf, a relic of British colonialism, has been an enduring pastime with scores of public courses -- often with green fees as low as US$5 -- and a dozen driving ranges in Yangon alone.
According to Asian Tour executive chairman Kyi Hla Han, a highly successful Myanmar golfer who first represented his country at the 1980 World Cup, many visitors are taken aback when they see the extent of the country's facilities.
"People don't realise how popular golf is in Myanmar. They don't know that we already have such a strong golf culture," Han told AFP.
Caroline Wozniacki makes music video (without Rory McIlroy)
Tennis player Caroline Wozniacki, one-half of the sports power couple known unfortunately as Wozzilroy, has a new music video. We wish Rory McIlroy would have appeared in the video, if only to see the tweets from Lee Westwood.
Tweet of the Day
The only way to shut McCord up is to ask him to talk about his wins on the PGA tour— David Feherty (@Fehertwit) April 24, 2012
Each week, 15 staffers from SI Golf+, Golf Magazine and GOLF.com vote for their top 10, awarding 10 points to their first choice and proceeding in descending order to the 10th player, who gets one point. The points are then added and the ranking calculated. This ranking aims to be an of-the-moment measure of who’s playing the best right now. Tell us your top 10 in the comments field below.
RANK (TOTAL VOTES, FIRST PLACE VOTES, LAST WEEK'S RANK)
1. Bubba Watson (136, 8, 1) - Last three finishes: 1, Masters; T4 Arnold Palmer Invitational; 2, WGC-Cadillac Championship
- Official World Golf Ranking: 4
2. Rory McIlroy (129, 6, 2) - Last three finishes: T40, Masters; 3, WGC-Cadillac Championship; 1, Honda Classic
- Official World Golf Ranking: 1
3. Phil Mickelson (105, 0, 3) - Last three finishes: T3, Masters; T4, Shell Houston Open; T24, Arnold Palmer Invitational
- Official World Golf Ranking: 9
4. Lee Westwood (98, 0, 4) - Last three finishes: 1, CIMB Niaga Indonesian Masters; T3, Masters; T21, Shell Houston Open
- Official World Golf Ranking: 3
5. Louis Oosthuizen (88, 1, 6) - Last three finishes: 1, Maybank Malaysian Open; 2, Masters; 3, Shell Houston Open
- Official World Golf Ranking: 11
6. Hunter Mahan (69, 0, 5) - Last three finishes: T12, Masters; 1, Shell Houston Open; T42, Arnold Palmer Invitational
- Official World Golf Ranking: 5
7. Luke Donald (65, 0, 7) - Last three finishes: T37, RBC Heritage; T32, Masters; 1, Transitions Championship
- Official World Golf Ranking: 2
8. Justin Rose (38, 0, 8) - Last three finishes: T8, Masters; T15, Arnold Palmer Invitational; T29, Transitions Championship
- Official World Golf Ranking: 10
9. Branden Grace (29, 0, NR) - Last three finishes: 1, Volvo China Open; T40, Maybank Malaysian Open; MC, Sicilian Open
-Official World Golf Ranking: 66
10. Carl Pettersson (15, 0, NR) - Last three finishes: 1, RBC Heritage; 2, Shell Houston Open; MC, Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard
-Official World Golf Ranking: 34
Others receiving votes:
Keegan Bradley (12)
Tiger Woods (11)
Matt Kuchar (10)
Bill Haas (4)
Kyle Stanley (4)
John Rollins (3)
Martin Kaymer (2)
Brandt Snedeker (2)
Ben Curtis (2)
Peter Hanson (1)
John Huh (1)