Retractions, Apologies and Rickie

Seeing that I haven’t written an editorial lately I thought that for a change I would partake in such an endeavor. In fact, it has been some time and there has been a few “stirs” in the world of golf lately. So where does one begin?

I suppose that we could start with Tiger Woods. There is no doubt that Tiger is a shell of his former self but more to the point his age and the years of hardcore torque on his body has taken its toll. When it came time for Tiger to tee it up in Dubai at the Dubai Desert Classic he did. But as soon as he teed it up the stories started to emerge through his agent that Woods had back spasms Thursday night. The next day after posting a 77 he would withdraw. With an injury like back spasms it’s difficult to sit in a chair let alone play golf. So it’s no doubt that he would be in tough to score. I mean I played all 18 holes in a Mini-Tour event (Moonlight Tour in Orlando) with gout and that was no picnic. It was sheer misery, so I can’t imagine being Tiger the golfer he is (or was) and trying to compete at that level. That level that all of his adoring fans and Tiger himself have come to expect. Of course there was his “Missed Cut” at The Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in lovely San Diego prior to Dubai and his withdrawal from the field at The Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club. It came out real recently through news outlets that even legend Jack Nicklaus is “puzzled” about Woods’ status. Is he what he once was?

Tiger’s… back? (Photo Credit: Golf Digest)

Well American golfer Pat Perez caused a stir when he made the statement on a show on SiriusXM PGA Tour radio show that Tiger “can’t beat anybody”. “The guy shot 77 (in Dubai). That guy can’t shoot 77,” Perez said. “What does he do the next day? Ah, my back’s gone. He knows he can’t beat anybody! I told you! He’s not going to come out and play, and play poorly.” If the casual golf fan were to read that exchange one might contend that he was calling Tiger a “faker”. Maybe Tiger is injured that bad, maybe Tiger has lost his game or maybe he is faking. All that I know is Perez would later retract the statement and say that he’s a “Tiger Fan” and wanted nothing more than to see Tiger start winning again on Tour. Perez would get lambasted and later make reference to knowing how it must have felt to be Fuzzy Zoeller. Remember the infamous “Zoeller Backlash of 1997″? In case you forgot, Fuzzy Zoeller suggested that for the Champions Dinner maybe Tiger would order “fried chicken”. A statement that would cost Zoeller endorsement deals. I guess my point is if you’re going to speak your mind on something think before you say it. If it happens to be inflammatory then be prepared to “stick to your guns” and don’t fumble around trying to retract what you said.

Pat Perez (Photo Credit: Golf Digest)

Which reminds me. When did so many professional golfers (men) get so damn “catty”? You hear it now… guys calling out other players about faking, or guys calling out other players after they withdraw when they receive sponsors exemptions. Like Grayson Murray did about Bryson DeChambeau when the latter withdrew after 28 holes at Riviera. The “Tweet” on Twitter was passive-aggressive and if Grayson is going to call out Bryson then call him out by name because the suggestion “Hey @PGATOUR there should be a rule if you get a sponsor invite and withdraw after 28 holes you’re not allowed any other invites rest of year” was pretty specific. Grayson, with all due respect worry about yourself and focus on making cuts (he missed it at Riviera). I’ll give Grayson credit where it’s due and he never retracted the statement. I respect that. Without looking at the fact that a ton of players withdrew from that tournament (the weather was abysmal), that Grayson talked crap about Bryson the bigger news was that Dustin Johnson won The Genesis Open and with it the #1 ranking in the OGWR. DJ has spent a ton of time putting and with his ability to just overpower a golf course I think we are only seeing the beginning. What DJ could do is just scary to think about and I said on my old blog that when he won his first Major… it would open the floodgates. Consider them opened. But getting back to DeChambeau. I have seen this guy get “trolled” on Instagram by teenagers wanting “money matches” stating that he “sucks”. But recently he did a little trolling of the USGA himself. As most know DeChambeau uses (or used) a side-saddle style of putting. However, a tournament a month ago the USGA informed him that his putter wasn’t conforming. So Bryson switched to a conforming model of putter. Ultimately though the USGA didn’t like the method. He stated that the USGA was “not a good organization” and that he could be quoted as saying such. After a myriad of USGA debacles (the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open) who wouldn’t be inclined to agree with him? Regardless of putting method there is no doubt  that the kid is struggling on the greens. The question is this. Legitimate gripe or blame-shifting?

Hey USGA… what’s the deal with side-saddle? DeChambeau (Photo Credit: USGA)

So Rickie Fowler can’t “close” eh?! This week was the first stop of the “Florida Swing” and PGA National Resort and Spa is home to “The Bear Trap” and The Honda Classic. I love the Florida Swing because that means that we are that much closer to driving down Magnolia Lane and The Masters. This weekend saw Rickie Fowler win and end a lengthy drought of not winning on the PGA Tour (last one in 2015). Apparently, there was or is a knock on Fowler that he cannot close out tournaments. Today, he closed out a victory by four shots to best the field. There were some struggles for Fowler today but his putter bailed him out. What is the lesson here kids? At any rate Fowler winning is such a great thing. Yes it ends a drought and yes he closed out a tournament but I think Rickie what’s more important is that Rickie is just so good for the game. He’s a good young man and he apologized over social media to his fans for not signing autographs after his Saturday round. This would not happen after the victory signing autographs for his fans after dark. The apology was classy and the signing today was pure class. Well done Rickie and congratulations on today’s win.

OMG… I closed it out. (Photo Credit: Golf Channel)

I guess there is one thing to take from this. Yes the game has its share of “blowhards” and it’s share of “entitled trash talkers” but for every one of them you have a Rickie Fowler, a Justin Thomas, a Jordan Spieth or a Christina Kim. Good people who are great for the game.

Christina Kim and me at Orange Tree (I know the grammar is bad but… it rhymed)

Until The Next Tee!




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