posted on June 14, 2012 09:00
So it’s U.S. Open week and there is a lot to talk about. We’ll start off with some odds and ends, and then move on to the mailbag…
There has been a lot of talk this week about the pairings the USGA made for the golf tournament, specifically the Tiger-Phil-Bubba group. Count me among those who think this is great. I suppose if I had thrown down the cash for a flight, hotel and ticket to the event I might be a little bummed about having to fight the crowd that will be following the group, but since I’m sitting on my couch to view like most of us are, I’m pretty thrilled about that group.
Congrats to a friend of mine, Josh Phillips, on a nice weekend recently at the East Side Amateur at Belk Park in Wood River. Josh posted a strong 69-73 to finish T-2. Josh has been a part of the golf scene in the area for a long time, and hopefully this showing is a sign of more good things to come.
It’s pretty cool that Casey Martin qualified for the U.S. Open 14 years after his first and only other major championship appearance, also at Olympic in San Francisco. Casey was born with a birth defect in his right leg that has made it nearly impossible to walk a competitive round of golf, and will be using a cart at Olympic. This was a huge deal in the world of golf back in the day, and thankfully most everyone has come around on the issue and realizes that Casey isn’t using a cart for a competitive advantage, and that it hasn’t opened the floodgates for others to take advantage that don’t require a cart.
Stat of the week: Rory McIlroy, after a recent stretch of poor play, has now missed 8 cuts on the PGA Tour. Tiger Woods, a member of the PGA Tour since 1996, has missed 8 cuts in his career.
Now for the mailbag. Please feel free to email me questions for use in future mailbags.
I saw an interview this week with Lee Trevino, who ripped the USGA and PGA “Tee it Forward” campaign. As a good player who regularly plays the ball down from the back tees, I’m not sure I agree with a stance that encourages making the game easier. Aren’t we out there for the challenge?
Andy S., Chesterfield, MO
Andy – Calling yourself a good player is a questionable call, but I’ll answer anyway. Lee did rip the Tee it Forward program a bit, but the main point of contention for him was that it would not be necessary if all of the new golf courses being built weren’t so damn long. He certainly has a point. Getting away from whatever your daily life offers and spending several hours at the course should be an enjoyable experience. One way to keep running new golfers away is making every tee shot a tree lined chore, where a 250+ yard carry is the only way to even reach the fairway. I can’t remember the last new course I played that wasn’t acting as if a major championship was being played there in the near future. I agree with Lee, and believe there is an unfilled market for new courses that aren’t meant for the small percentage of golfers who hit it 280 yards and straight. My suggestion, more than trying to dictate what tee boxes someone plays from, it to make sure the course and price are in line with your ability, and will provide an enjoyable day at the course.
Phil Mickelson recently withdrew from the Memorial due to mental fatigue, but there has been speculation that his WD was a protest against the recent policy allowing customers to have their cell phones at tournament sites. Where do you stand on the issue?
Rick A,. SoCo
Rick – I’m probably the wrong person to ask about the phone issue. While I trend towards being a conservative and traditional as far as golf goes, I can’t get behind these guys whining about the phones. People pay good money to attend these events, and while I know a lion’s share of the purse comes from television, without these fans there would be no million dollar checks for the winner of every event. It’s not as if in any other sport everyone shuts up for your well being. I’ve witnessed too many free throws being knocked down in hostile environments to feel too bad for the golf gang. While I believe the customers who take a phone to a tournament should be respectful, in many cases the people who have the disposable income to attend these tournaments might have to squeeze some work in every so often, and everyone should just get over it.
So who you got this week?
Cletis, St. Louis
That’s tough, but answering questions like this is why I get paid the big bucks. My first instinct is to say Tiger and be done with it, but as much as I would like to see TW get it done, that’s too easy. The last 2 winners at the Olympic Club were Lee Janzen and Scott Simpson. While both very good players in their own right, this venue hasn’t produced all time great champions recently. I am considering Matt Kuchar as I write this, but ultimately my money will be on Hunter Mahan taking down his first major championship with a score close to par.
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