Archive for the ‘golf’ Category

The Brandt Snedeker story: One weekend reaps one windfall

"High five for the man who just broke the bank!" (AP photo by John Bazemore)

"How about a high five for the man who just broke the bank?" (AP photo by John Bazemore)

The Tour Championship isn’t considered one of golf’s majors — or even the figurative fifth Beatle, the Players Championship having laid claim to that designation — but this autumn event has risen above niche status. It’s golf for those who don’t much care for golf. It’s golf on (medicinally prescribed) steroids. It’s golf with huge names and big money and fabulous prizes.

Those who do care for golf might cringe at the description, but the Tour Championship is golf as done by NASCAR. Which is no accident, seeing as how the season-ending Chase was the figure-it-out-on-the-fly model for this whole FedEx Cup deal. (”Deal,” as we know,  being the catch-all term favored by those on the stock-car circuit.) Only the PGA might just have out-NASCAR’ed NASCAR.

On Sunday at East Lake, Brandt Snedeker won himself a tournament — something he’d done only three times on tour — and the $1.4 million purse …

Continue reading The Brandt Snedeker story: One weekend reaps one windfall »

Augusta National admits women, and we all should smile

The man who made it happen. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

The man who did the right thing. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

That a day too long in coming has finally arrived probably shouldn’t touch off a celebration, but somehow this does. There was never a good reason for Augusta National not to include women among its membership. There was no reason beyond the stubbornness that human beings — both male and female, let’s stipulate — can sometimes mistake for “tradition.” But now the famous private club has admitted two women into its green-jacketed ranks, and that’s one less reason to regard Augusta National as the tin-eared old coot it has often seemed.

Yes, went the hollow argument, Augusta National is a private club and as such could admit whom it chooses. But Augusta National is a private club with a ragingly public face. It invites outsiders — at least those fortunate enough to land tickets — onto its premises for a week every April, and through television and the Internet and even iPhone and Android apps it invites the rest of …

Continue reading Augusta National admits women, and we all should smile »

Tiger Woods won’t say as much, but he’s ticked at his ex-toter

Tiger Woods wasn't all smiles Wednesday. Here's an exception. (AJC photo by Jason Getz)

Tiger Woods wasn't all smiles Wednesday. Here's an exception. (AJC photo by Jason Getz)

Tiger Woods hasn’t been Tiger Woods lately, but nobody else has, either. The media vortex, like nature, abhors a vacuum. Which is why, in the absence of Tiger winning anything, we’ve latched onto the curious case of Tiger’s “winning” ex-caddie and rendered it Breaking News.

You know the story: Tiger fired Steve Williams, the caddie nobody much liked, and then Williams carried Adam Scott’s clubs as the player was winning last week’s Bridgestone Invitational. This prompted the bag-toter to go on TV and call it “the most satisfying win” of his career, which would have been akin to Yogi Berra shoving aside Don Larsen to proclaim what happened in the 1956 World Series “the greatest game I’ve ever caught.”

This week brings the PGA Championship in Johns Creek, and Woods briefed the assembled media Wednesday while working hard to say nothing about his ex-valet. But Tiger remains so measured in his …

Continue reading Tiger Woods won’t say as much, but he’s ticked at his ex-toter »

Nicklaus says Tiger will play in Augusta; I say, ‘Well, duh’

He’s embarrassed, sure, and it seems he’s contrite. But he’s also the world’s best golfer, and if you’re the world’s best golfer the one thing that overrides embarrassment and contrition is a major championship. And they hold one of those every April in this state.

Jack Nicklaus, who won 18 majors and therefore has a keen sense of their worth, said it Wednesday: Tiger Woods will be back when it’s tee time in Augusta. “It would surprise me if he didn’t [play the Masters],” Nicklaus told reporters in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., according to Bob Harig of ESPN.

Then, even more on point: “I can’t imagine in a hundred years he is going to miss Augusta.”

Unlike, say, Roberto De Vicenzo, Nicklaus is good at math. Forget the number of women with which Woods has allegedly dallied. (Last I checked, the estimate was 19, not counting his wife.) The key numbers here are 18 and 14.

Nicklaus: “If Tiger is going to pass my record, I think this is a big year for him in that regard. If he doesn’t …

Continue reading Nicklaus says Tiger will play in Augusta; I say, ‘Well, duh’ »

Here’s what Tiger Woods needs to tell us: Absolutely nothing

I keep hearing and reading that Tiger Woods “needs to come clean.” (Here’s a boilerplate screed from the self-styled King of Outrage.) But you know what I say?

No he doesn’t.

He doesn’t need to say one thing more. He doesn’t have to talk to police, and he hasn’t. That’s his right under the law. And we the people have no overarching Need To Know on this issue. From the above expression of outrage: “The public deserves to hear exactly what happened in the wee hours of Thanksgiving night outside his mansion in Windermere, Fla.”

One question: Why?

It’s clear Mr. and Mrs. Woods had a discussion that didn’t end well. We can surmise that it had to do with the National Enquirer’s report of a Tiger dalliance with a New York nightclub hostess. We the people are not naive. But what exactly is Tiger supposed to say to us after driving his Cadillac into both a tree and a water hazard? (When run over by a vehicle, a fire hydrant qualifies.)

Should he paint himself into a Clinton-esque …

Continue reading Here’s what Tiger Woods needs to tell us: Absolutely nothing »

Cink sinks history, and for that he deserves our sympathy

If it’s possible to feel sorry for a guy who just won his first major tournament, I feel sorry for Stewart Cink. Because 10 years from now, maybe 10 days from now, nobody outside Atlanta will recall the 2009 British Open as Cink’s breakthrough. It will forever be the one Old Tom Watson almost won.

And that’s a shame. Facing the onrushing tide of history, what was Cink to do? Jump out of the way and grant the watching world its fervent wish? On ABC, Paul Azinger said afterward: “This would have been the greatest feat in the history of sports,” and a listener’s first thought wasn’t, as is always the case when confronted with such absolutes, to yell, “Heck no!” but “Well … maybe.”

But Stewart Cink didn’t pull a Tonya Harding and club Watson with a mashie. Cink simply played winning golf when Watson’s body remembered that, 46 days hence, it’ll turn 60. Watson missed an eight-foot putt on the 72nd hole and Van de Velded the playoff, and the Georgia Tech man was a six-shot winner …

Continue reading Cink sinks history, and for that he deserves our sympathy »

A Tweetin’ Tech man denies Old Tom and the tide of history

Maybe only a Yellow Jacket could have held back the tide of history. Maybe only someone who played at Georgia Tech, which is an underdog in its own state, could have thumbed his nose at the hopes of a globe of golf watchers. Maybe Stewart Cink, who lives in Duluth, was the exact right man to do the exact wrong thing.

The sporting world wanted Tom Watson to win the British Open, and he came as close as you could and not win. One modest putt on the 72nd hole and he’d have lapped what Jack Nicklaus did at Augusta in 1986. The famous Golden Bear comeback Masters came at age 46. On this Sunday in Scotland, Watson was 46 days short of his 60th birthday.

Watson was once the greatest player in the world, but his last major title came in 1983. The 1983 National League Most Valuable Player was Dale Murphy of the Atlanta Braves, who retired from baseball in 1993. The 1983 AL MVP was Cal Ripken Jr., and even the iron man of his sport stopped playing in 2001.

Twenty-six years after the …

Continue reading A Tweetin’ Tech man denies Old Tom and the tide of history »