with Robert Bicknell
Every time I go on line looking for interesting golf news, I cannot escape Tiger stories. Even when he isn't winning the writers simply cannot leave him alone and focus on players more worthy. Is this some kind of conspiracy? Have the writers been paid off to keep his name in front of the public, or are they just lazy and know that Tiger is easy copy.
If they write, "Tiger takes a dump in a parking lot port-a-toilet" it will be front page news with bloggers claiming to know what he ate, the brand of toilet paper and that port-a-toilet will be stolen over night and bronzed.
It's pathetic, but there is a simple rationale behind this - Tiger is money. Win, lose, struggle, triumph or getting caught with his pants down, Tiger sells magazines, newspapers, TV ad space and, more importantly, increases viewership which makes sponsors happy.
Which is why Tom Watson really has no choice when it comes to using his captain's pick on Tiger. If he didn't, the sponsors would scream at the top of their lungs. So would the PGA, The TV network and anyone with a vested interest in the Ryder Cup.
In other words, the USA winning doesn't matter anymore. It's all about the Benjamins (US $100 bills). America has always been for sale. We sell real estate to foreigners, we market our products all over the world, we are the quintessential salesmen, er… persons…(I truly detest "political correctness". I was happier when I could say what I wanted and if people were offended, too bad.)
And it looks like the Ryder Cup is just another money maker. You can imagine the fat cats with cigars in hand grinning over it. US lose the Cup, but money is made. People will forget the record soon enough and besides, it will just make them hungrier for the next Ryder Cup.
Tiger's Ryder Cup record isn't stellar to begin with: 13 wins, 14 losses and 2 halves.
He's number one on the USA list of foursome losses (8), fourth on the list of USA players with 4-ball match losses (7); third on the list of most matches lost (17) and with this new swing, I cannot see his record going anywhere but down.
Bottom line: Tom Watson has his pick of many talented players which would give the US a chance of winning the Cup, Tiger isn't one of them.
Johnny Miller says that with today's equipment, the 1994 Tiger Woods would outdrive Bubba Watson by 30 yards. Apparently, in his youth, Tiger's swing speed was 133 and a style more suited to long drive contests. Well, he hasn't lost much as his speed before injury was still clocked at 126 mph, which is amazingly high.
My question is, what could Sam Snead, in his prime, do with today's equipment?
I have zero doubt that today's equipment is making almost every player longer. In fact, when I was young, I was over 300 yards and that was with persimmon-headed clubs and balata balls. Nowadays, I am 56 years old and even longer than when I was young.
The argument of making golf easier through technology was been going on since the first metal shaft appeared on the scene. Heck, they probably had this argument when switching from a leather bag filled with feathers to gutta percha balls and then to the rubber ball.
Purists will always bemoan technical advancement and what it does to the "spirit" of the game, but to be fair, without technical advances, golf would have never risen to the heights worldwide that it has for the simple fact that the game is just too darn difficult for the average person.
Unfortunately, to combat technical advantages, golf course architects have to make longer and harder courses to protect "par". This leads to 650 yard par 5's and 300 yard Par 3's. They also litter the course with bunkers to put a premium on accuracy, which takes the fun out of the game for most average players. There are quite a few courses out there that people walk off shaking their heads and muttering "I'll never play here again."
This is not good for the game, but the solution will not be easy to find. — VNS