Sunday, August 26, 2007

Whadda Mean Tiger Ain't Showing?

Mike Vacarro of the New York Post (shut up, I’m a native New Yorker and I need a compass to decipher the web layout of the Daily News) practically canonizes Tiger Woods today for skipping The Barclays. His argument is that the FedEx Cup Playoff system is contrived and the sports watching public really doesn’t want to watch golf after the PGA Championship (except for the Ryder Cup every other year) and perhaps Tiger agrees with this, and his absence is a reaction to this. While I disagree with Vacarro on the substance of his thesis (why should the PGA Tour roll over and die just because he is too interested in Chad Pennington), there is something he neglected to mention about Tiger…

He asked for this.

Perhaps he didn’t specifically ask for the FedEx Cup, but he did (along with Phil Mickelson in particular) opine that the PGA Tour season was too long. The 2007 PGA Tour schedule and the Fed Ex Cup was the PGA Tour’s attempt to reach a balance between television partners (who didn’t want to spend top dollar on tournaments no one was watching), rank and file players (who didn’t want to lose tournaments/opportunities to make money), and elite players (who thought the schedule was too long).

Tiger wanted a shorter schedule (he wasn’t going to play past the PGA Championship anyway, but a shorter schedule would mean he would have to hear the ‘we never get a change at the Tiger windfall’ whining from tournament heads) and he got it. While I can compare Tiger not playing this week with a baseball team sitting starters out after they’ve clinched the pennant (with his #1 seed, he is assured of going through to the Tour Championship), not showing up for the first week is a bit of a slap in the face to the PGA Tour.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Tiger's victims

I've got a wonderful idea for a silly season event. Take the four players who have falled on their faces when paired with Tiger Woods in the final pairing of the final round of a tournmentthis year; Stuart Appleby (Masters), Aaron Baddeley (U.S. Open), Rory Sabbatini (WGC-Bridgestone) and Stephen Ames (PGA Championship )together for a skins games format. But instead of the Skins Game, you call it the Skinned Game.

It would be a traditional skins game, but on every other hole, a cardboard cutout of Tiger would appear to startle the players. I've never seen a skin won with a triple bogey, but you could at the Skinned Game.

The Monday Wrapup

Only one tournament to talk about this week. Fans of the Ladies European Tour have my apoligies.

Tiger Woods wins the PGA Championship by two shots for his 13th major victory

He won with his patented two deep zone golf once he secured the lead (a 63 in a major will have that effect), minimizing mistakes and daring his competitors to get close. Woody Austin (67)and Ernie Els (66) did a good job down the stretch, but it wasn't enough to catch Tiger, who looked like he had an extra gear if needed. His tee shot on the 16th was a ridiculous combination of power and precision; it served as a exclamation point for the win.

Speaking of winning, lets go through the Winners and Losers of the week:

Woody Austin - Winner: He couldn't catch Tiger, but he best performance in a major (second)got him on the Presidents Cup team, and maybe he will be remembered for something more than his Tobasco shirts and hitting himself over the head with his putter.

Ernie Els - Winner: I am a Knick fan, and clearly remember the 90's playoff wars between Patrick Ewing's Knicks and Michael Jordan's Bulls (don't get me started on Charles Smith and a layup). Because Jordan was so dominant, Ewing's career is looked at as somewhat of a failure since his team couldn't win a championship. Erine Els is in the same category. His career is Hall of Fame worthy with three major championships, but he almost seems to be a failure becasue Tiger.

He has finished tied for fourth and third in the last two majors. I assumed after the British Open that he is on the backnine of his career; he may just be getting fully healthy after his knee surgery in 2005, an injury he may have tried to come back from too soon. We will also see him at the Presidents Cup.

TNT - Winner: They broadcast the Grand Slam of Golf, the competition between the major championship winners. Before yesterday the participants were Zack Johnson, Angel Cabrera and Padraig Harrington. Ouside of Cedar Rapids, Iowa (Johnson's hometown) there wasn't going to be a lot of viewers dying to tune their Direct TV's to channel 245 to watch that matchup. With Tiger making it a foursome, TNT can charge a little more for and available ad time.

Stephen Ames - Loser: The Tiger Intimidation Tour continues as Ames shhots a 76 in the final round, 7 shots behind Tiger. He fell from second at the end of three holes to a tie for 12th at the end of the tournament. At least he didn't say anything stupid.

John Daly - Winner: He made the cut of a major and was close to the lead after the first round...

John Daly - Loser: and then flushed it away with three straight 73s.

A lot of poeple talk about having the mental capacity to win. Whatever mindstate that constitutes, Daly doesn't have it. While he didn't mentally check out like he has done in majors in the past, he doesn't change his approach to the game at all to fit the circumstances.

Monday, August 6, 2007

The Monday Wrapup

The number one male and female golfers in the world proved their mettle this weekend

Woods shot the best round of the day (by two strokes over Rod Pampling and Sergio Garcia) on a rainy Sunday where players were sent out in threesomes early to beat inclement weather heading for Akron. This is the sixth time Woods has won this event and the third year in a row. The victory is the third PGA Tour win for Woods this year, the only player this year to win that many, and it provides him some momentum into the PGA Championship, where he will be the defending champion. The AT&T National might be getting jealous; Tiger Woods also owns the Bridgestone.

Enough about Woods, how about Rory 'Chickenhawk' Sabbatini?

Losing to Tiger Woods isn't a crime, no one else could keep up with him Sunday. Mouthing off that the Tiger of today isn't as dominant as the Tiger of 2000 is technically accurate, if not the smartest thing to say out loud. Giving Tiger Woods added motavation may seem silly, but I'd rather golfers in the Tiger era take on the best player than defer to him (it is probably a good idea to use their inside voice instead of looking for the closest microphone, but different strokes for different folks).
What shouldn't be done is what Sabbatini did Sunday, quitely leave center stage when the world is looking. After a birdie on the first hole, Sabbatini went five over par the next nine holes. Even if Tiger played par golf over that stretch (he went 3 under par), he would have been four shots ahead of his fellow Nike endorser.
Failing early doesn't get the label that failing late does, just ask Phil Michelson. Sergio Garcia did this last year at the Open paired with Tiger and Stuart Appleby did it this year at the AT&T National and last year at the Masters. In some ways it says more about the athlete than failing late; it takes a level of athletic bravery to play a high level when the pressure is at its highest. It is easier to fade back when it gets hot; then you don't have to see if you can face late pressure.
Sabbatini already has had a great career in golf. I question if when his career ends, it will be able to cash the check his mouth regualrly writes.
The Major Mono (monkey in Spanish) is off Ochoa's back. Her prior failures are now in the 'learning how to win' category. Which would be bull, you don't get to be the number one golfer in the world without knowing how to win. What got her the win is blowing the field away in the first three rounds (she was six shot clear after the third round), and keeping it on the course Sunday.
The depth at the top of the LPGA is pretty good (especially if Annika Sorenstam fully recovers from her neck injury), but this win could propel Ochoa to an all-time season in 2008. She already has the LPGA Player of the year sewed up; she could decide to compete in triathlons (she's done so in the past) for the next six months and still would win.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Who's Your Caddy

There is not a chance I will see this movie. Okay, there is a chance when Showtime is showing it on an endless loop (like they currently do with Soul Plane), I will glance at it for a few minutes. But that is it.

It has been panned by the critics for being at best derivative and at worst lazily pandering to the easiest and worst stereotypes about black and white people. If it seems like the people at BET got a production company and this is their first movie, that is exactly what happened.

The real sin of this movie being made (besides the clothes that even Ian Poulter would pan as being over the top) is it probably kills the chance that an African-American version of Caddyshack would be produced. That movie, with the correct script and cast, would be funny. Watch me cast the movie:

Ted Knight/Judge Elihu Smails:
Should be: Samuel L. Jackson
Would be: Phil Morris

With his propensity to do any movie where the check clears (I don't know if he is the black Christopher Walken or Christopher Walken is the white Samuel L. Jackson), and his personal love of golf, Jackson would be an obvious choice. He would never do the movie though; the metric ton of rappers doing cameos would clash with his alleged hatred of rappers taking roles from actors.

Phil Morris (last seen in the stuffy black guy in Wanda At Large) will have to do.

Chevy Chase/Ty Webb
Should be: Ludacris
Would be: Ludacris

Ty Webb's character bridges the gap between the stodgy members and the brash newcomers with his detached coolness. Since Ludacris can actually act (rent Crash if don't believe this) and he has the necessary (I hate to use this line) street cred, he could be that guy. Plus, the catchy tune he records would be the first single off the soundtrack.

Michael O'Keefe/Danny Noonan
Should have been: Nick Cannon
Would be: ?
Nick Cannon would be too old for the role of the teenage caddy. I can't think of a prominent young black actor that would pull off the role.

Rodney Dangerfield/Al Czervik
Should be: Diddy
Could be: Ludacris
Would be: [enter southern rapper here]

Diddy, playing himself, would be an inspired choice. The guy who rides a wave runner in a bathrobe in St. Tropez in real life could easily play the brash new money character. Luda could do it as well, with a Dirrty South flair. With my luck, one of the Yin Yang Twins would be cast. T.I. wouldn't be too reprehensible.

Bill Murray/Carl Spackler
Should be: Dave Chappelle
Could be: Bernie Mac
Would be: Mike Epps

If Chappelle could focus long enough, the role of the crazy greens keeper would be perfect for him. If they wanted to go the crazy old guy instead of the crazy burnted out by THC guy, Bernie could do the job. Of course, it will go to Mike Epps. I think there is an unknown amendment in the U.S. Constitution that states Epps must be in all movies like this. I blame Chris Tucker; if he would have done at least one more Friday movie, Epps would be opening for D.L. Hughley somewhere. Or hosting a BET game show.

Of course, there would be scenes that would make me squirm in my seat:

  • The Escalade golf cart with spinning rims
  • The video hoochie selling Kool-Aid, shots of Hennessey and White Owl cigars out of the beverage cart. Or worse, Moniqué manning the beverage cart
  • Everyone showing up to the movie ending golf battle wearing red shirts and black pants, like Tiger Woods

but hopefully they would be in passing.