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Golf Talk: Tiger Bigger Than Golf Itself?

By    |   Monday, 16 June 2008 03:05 PM EDT

  • Tiger Bigger Than Golf Itself?

  • Jay Haas Talks a Good Game

  • Ernie Els Vineyard Wins Big

  • McGinley: Make Mine Old-Style

  • Europeans Skip Out on Bumpy Greens

  • BBC's Peter Alliss: Golfers Too Thin-Skinned

  • Lindley Comes on Strong in LPGA

    Tiger Bigger Than Golf Itself?

    While Tiger Woods continues to proclaim his love for golf and his respect for the greats that came before him, his actions say differently; it’s appearing more and more that Woods thinks he’s bigger than the game, and that’s a shame.

    For instance, he didn’t have the courtesy to personally contact Jack Nicklaus, host of the Memorial Tournament and his supposed idol, to say he would not be playing while recovering from another knee surgery.

    “It’s a different day and age today, guys,” Nicklaus said. “It’s all through agents.”

    Nicklaus did point out that a representative from Tiger’s management did contact him, calling twice over the last few months to report on Woods’ progress, and twice more leading up to the decision to withdraw.

    “Every tournament I ever played in, I always dropped the sponsor a note,” Nicklaus said. Unfortunately very few players today have the Nicklaus ethos.

    “We get one or two,” Nicklaus said of a written thank you. “I’m not saying that of everybody. We do get one or two. But not very many.”

    While most of the golfing media is content to coddle Tiger Woods, there is a bit of an uprising as a few find inherent contradictions in Tiger’s statements and his actions.

    John Hawkins, of Golf World magazine, takes Woods to task for being bothered by seemingly every little sound — or shadow of a passing bird — while on the golf course.

    “I do recall Tiger saying he was impervious to such disturbances because Earl, his all-knowing father, used to jingle his keys in the kid’s backswing. Focus must be something you measure after determining the quality of the shot,” Hawkins wrote.

    Jay Haas Talks a Good Game

    A bogey, the result a poor drive by Jay Haas in the 1995 Ryder Cup at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, N.Y., cost the American team a crucial point as the Great Britain and Ireland squad won 14 1/2 to 13 1/2.

    Recently Haas stepped to that same tee needing a par that would all but guarantee the Senior PGA Championship. The memories may have come flooding back but he nailed his tee ball, hit a wonderful approach shot and made a par defeating Bernhard Langer by a stroke.

    “I kind of had a chuckle with myself on the 18th tee, like, ‘Well, you've been talking about this. It's time to put up or shut up,’ “ Haas said. "You talk about ripping it and all that stuff and, damn, if I didn't do it."

    He finished at 7-over 287, took home his 11th Champions Tour title and the $360,000 first prize.

    Ernie Els Vineyard Wins Big

    Ernie Els' vineyard recently took three silvers for his Stellenbosch Bordeaux-style reds at the International Wine Challenge held as part of the London International Wine Fair.

    The honored vintages were the 2004 Ernie Els, (praised for its "big fruit oak nose"), the 2006 Cirrus ("ripe crunchy berries"), and Lapa Cabernet Sauvignon ("woody but well integrated").

    McGinley: Make Mine Old-Style

    Paul McGinley has heard enough about the various attempts to combat long hitters by adding length to golf courses while at the same time narrowing landing areas, saying, especially in the U.K., there needs to be a return to traditional course conditioning.

    “They talk about Tiger-proofing courses by making them 7,500 yards. They are playing into his hands by doing that,” he said after the first round of the European Tour PGA Championship, their biggest event of the year, held at Wentworth Golf Club in England.

    McGinley shot 65 the first day, which would explain his love of the firm-and-fast conditions. “That was very tricky, a real, proper, test of golf. You are not tested on course management anymore because a lot of the courses we play on these days are soft and one-dimensional. Whereas, this course is about old-style golf. This is links golf.”

    McGinley followed with rounds of 66-79-72 and finished five strokes behind winner Miguel Angel Jimenez.

    Europeans Skip Out on Bumpy Greens

    Some of the biggest names on the European Tour skipped Wentworth because of their dissatisfaction with what they call bumpy greens.

    Defending Open champion Padraig Harrington, Sergio Garcia and Ian Poulter all elected not to play. Poulter teed it up on the PGA Tour and will be fined.

    “No administrator could ever say he's pleased when players of that level aren't playing in what we term our flagship tournament,” said George O’Grady, head of the European Tour.

    BBC's Peter Alliss: Golfers Too Thin-Skinned

    Nick Dougherty found criticism leveled at him by legendary BBC golf announcer Peter Alliss during the final round of the European PGA Championship, “disgusting commentary,” saying Alliss could not fathom how tough were the conditions.

    Alliss fired back.

    "I know it is bloody difficult," he said. "I played at Wentworth before they had bloody watering, when you had eight wooden shots into the green with your second shot.

    "Don't tell me it's bloody difficult. I won 21 tournaments, played in eight Ryder Cups. I am not here to do anything but say what is going on and they didn't play well."

    “They are so thin-skinned nowadays. It is quite extraordinary. They all say they can take criticism and they don't mind constructive criticism . . . They do mind,” he said.

    “Years ago, the courses weren't manicured, and you had to make the most of it. I always say the golfers of a 100 years ago were 10 times more skilful. They had hickory clubs, the bunkers weren't raked, the greens weren't cut, sheep were on the course and a fellow cut the greens with a bloody scythe. And they went around St Andrews in 73 or 74.”

    Lindley Comes on Strong in LPGA

    It took some time but now Leta Lindley is a winner on the LPGA Tour, the victory coming at the Corning Classic.

    “I am thrilled. I dreamed about this day for over 13 years, and, gosh, for a while you kind of wonder if it's ever going to come,” Lindley said.

    “When it comes down to it, am I going to be good enough to make those clutch putts coming down the stretch or to win on 18? I'm absolutely thrilled. I can't believe I'm living this experience."

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    Tiger Bigger Than Golf Itself?Jay Haas Talks a Good GameErnie Els Vineyard Wins BigMcGinley: Make Mine Old-StyleEuropeans Skip Out on Bumpy GreensBBC's Peter Alliss: Golfers Too Thin-SkinnedLindley Comes on Strong in LPGATiger Bigger Than Golf Itself?While Tiger Woods...
    Monday, 16 June 2008 03:05 PM
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