Thursday, February 18, 2010

PGA Tour commish surely has his head up...

By now you have surely heard that on Friday at 11AM EST Tiger Woods will be making his first public statement since he drove his SUV (not a Toyota) into a tree and then his wife discovered he was having a good time on the side.
And if you didn't expect this to be a totally controlled environment, you might also have your head ... well, never mind.

Tiger will make a statement from, of all places, the clubhouse at the TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, home of the PGA Tour. This is an invitation-only event which includes reporters from three media services and a small pool of reporters representative of the Golf Writers Association of America (GWAA).

Now there are a couple of facts here that you might find curious. First, why conduct this spin session on Friday right in the middle of the Accenture World Match Play Championship? Is he taking a little jab at the sponsor Accenture who dumped his butt following the sex scandal?

At this point you might ask yourself what the hell has Tiger been thinking through all of this or perhaps what was he thinking even before his antics came to light? But the answer to those questions is for another discussion. The real question that needs an answer is what the hell is PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem thinking? Finchem stated that the fact that Tiger will be speaking from Florida on Friday was not going to undermine the World Golf Championship event.

Really!? What planet is he from? Perhaps we should Finchem on the final space shuttle shot and leave him on the space station.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Golf in America

As we have stated in the past golf literature takes us down many paths. One of those magical, mystery tours is the history of the game. Often, when we think of the history of the game, we are drawn to the players and the tournaments. A quick glance at the history books in our library reveals such titles as The Greatest Game Ever Played by Mark Frost and The Majors by John Feinstein. Both are historical works that focus on the players and the tournaments.

But there are many exits off the history highway. And recently a historical volume has been published that approaches the history of the game from a different angle – Golf in America by George B. Kirsch. Kirsch is a professor of history at Manhattan College and the author of several other historical sports book. This present volume focuses directly on the development of the game in the United States from 1888 to the present. If we were to more accurately title this book, it would be The Story of Golf in America for it is a history of the game but not in the sense of name, dates and tournament results. There is biographical information and there is tournament information, but it is woven into the text when it is applicable to the period being discussed. Golf in America is primarily a socio-economic history of golf in the U.S. with the proper infusion of human interest. Kirsch gives us just enough human interest information to peak our interest for further research.

It is not the purpose of this book to provide total in depth fact and analysis on the growth of the game we love in the United States. Rather, by reading Golf in America you will come to understand why the game has become so popular despite economic downturns and various forms of segregation. Kirsch helps us to understand how golf survived two major wars and the Great Depression and how it became the game of the business world. The volume is all encompassing of the game including the development of public golf courses, African-American and female involvement in the game. Beginning of page 79 the author provides an excellent six-page expository on the development of golf in the African-American community.

Kirsch's chapter on “The Americanization of Golf” is well documented and makes for fascinating reading as he traces the growth of the game at the turn of the 20th century and the reasons for it. We also learn how golf course construction provided vast unemployment relief early in the Great Depression.

Despite the fact that this volume barely touches the surface of golf's impact on the American society, there is much to learn from a careful reading. Serious students of the game will also enjoy Kirsch's detailed Bibliography. We highly recommend that any golfer with a sense of history for the game, read Golf in America.

Friday, February 05, 2010

The world of golf is having a bad 90 days

I thought I would write this short entry in a hurry. After all, really, if we're going to comment on the last 90 days in golf, why would we want to think out what we're going to say (or do). Obviously Tiger didn't. Obviously Phil didn't. Obviously the USGA and the PGA Tour didn't.
So why should we not just put out a few words with little or no thought behind them?

Take the Tiger state of affairs. Well, never mind, everyone else has spewed forth opinion. Let's just say that if you Google “tiger,” the first result will not be a picture of a fuzzy little cat with stripes. In fact we just did that and here is number one.

Enough said.

And then poor Phil. With Tiger not anywhere near the teeing ground, Phil's at the top of the leader board – well, perhaps not score wise. At least he's trying to get to the top - by using Ping wedges that are 20+ years old. (Bear in mind he's not the only one using them.) It's really okay though despite the fact that the grooves no longer meet specifications, but actually they do because of a court ruling that happened 20+ years ago. Got it?

Then the soap opera continued. Scott McCarron accused Phil of cheating or at least not playing within the spirit of the rules. Phil took offense and Scott backed down and apologized. Tim Finchem, the ivory tower honcho of the PGA Tour, has no clue what to do. Well, he did say, in a masterful political sidestep, “We have options.”

So, with all this going on in the world of golf, can you answer this question without having to “Google” the answer: The PGA Tour has played four events so far this year. Can you name two of the four winners? Or, question number two: Can you provide the names of two of Tiger's female liaisons?

Do you understand why the world of golf is having a bad 90 days?