Punch Shots: Vijay’s lawsuit, Snedeker vs. a Segway and more
Punch Shots will run whenever there are enough stories that I didn’t get around to earlier, or didn’t fit into another article. I’ll give a link to a larger story, and have some quick thoughts below.
The above link actually needs a bit of an update, as we heard this week that Phil has committed to playing in Abu Dhabi to start his season, meaning he won’t be playing in the three course shootout formerly known as the Bob Hope, the Humana Challenge. It’s the first time in a few years that he won’t be appearing at the Humana, and it should be noted that it’s a near certainty that Phil got a heft appearance fee to go to Abu Dhabi, which organizers were more than happy to hand out after Tiger decided not to show up this year. Phil joins a strong field that already has commitments from Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald and Justin Rose.
The more interesting thing to me though is his decision to cut his schedule by roughly 25% next year in an attempt to focus on the majors. Historically, Phil has played more events than the other big stars, and if he thinks that this helps him at age 43 to stay fresh in the big tournaments, then this is what he needs to do. His focus next year is definitely going to be on Pinehurst and the U.S. Open, the site of his first of a record six runner-ups at the U.S. Open. Oh, and it happens to be the 15th anniversary of that runner-up to Payne Stewart. If you think the media coverage of Phil at the U.S. Open was overdone this year, just wait a few months.
The lawsuit isn’t exactly new, but Vijay’s lawyer Peter Ginsburg dropped a pretty big allegation on the PGA Tour this week, suggesting that they have looked the other way in the past when it comes to violators of the drug program:
“[O]ne of the elements of bad faith that we are prepared to show in this case, is that the PGA (Tour) has made exception after exception after exception, both with regard to whom it was administering this drug policy, and against whom it was disciplining, violators of the drug policy.”
At the moment, only Ginsburg and Vijay have any idea what they’re referring to, but you can imagine the kind of scandal this could create, depending on who they are referring to. For his part, Tiger Woods said in Turkey this morning that this is the first he’s heard of such allegations.
And now, there’s more. From Alex Miceli’s latest piece for Golfweek:
“Vijay Singh last week was literally walking onto the golf course. Someone from the PGA (Tour) came to him and gave him yet another adhesion contract where, not only did the PGA (Tour) try to force Mr. Singh to waive the very rights that we are seeking redress in this court, but more,” Ginsberg said. “The PGA (Tour) now wants Mr. Singh to waive his right to any medical privacy that he might have.”
Those are pretty serious accusations, and you can be sure that this is far from over.
The stupidity of the European Tour’s Final Series is something I touched on a couple of weeks ago with Joost Luiten’s ridiculous, but completely understandable, withdrawal of the BMW Masters, and now it seems to have gotten even worse. Ernie Els, Charl Schwartzel and Sergio Garcia have decided to boycott the DP World Tour Championship because of it, and there’s some thought that the new changes that were made to the qualification system for this season are already being changed for next year. Here’s Els from Corrigan’s piece above:
“I don’t think they really care,” Els told Reuters. “Why would they make a decision like that and expect guys to play? It’s farcical. In my view it’s an absolute joke.”
It seems like the European Tour does something every week that alienates their players, pushing them further away and into the arms of the PGA Tour. Of course, the added money involved in North America doesn’t hurt either. We’re getting closer and closer to that global golf tour.
Lindsey Vonn calls Tiger “dorky and goofy”
You mean a golfer is being described as dorky? This guy?
Imagine doing something well enough to earn over $1 million as a teenager. Then imagine that you had to turn it down because you weren’t eligible to receive the money. That’s basically what Lydia Ko did over the past few months, becoming a star in the professional game as an amateur at just 16-years old. To date, she’s picked up four professional wins, and has climbed to fifth in the world rankings. She announced her turning pro in an unconventional manner, doing so with rugby star Israel Dagg.
Thankfully, the LPGA Tour accepted her application, which they need to do with her being just 16 years old. Golf, and women’s golf in particular, needs star power and Ko provides that.
Rory chimes in on Tiger/Brandel saga
‘I say Brandel was completely wrong and I don’t think he has the authority to say anything bad about Tiger,’ said McIlroy. ‘People wouldn’t know who Brandel was if it wasn’t for Tiger, so I am completely against what he said and he should be dealt with in the right way.’
I’ve made my thoughts on the Tiger/Brandel nonsense clear already, but Tom English had a good take on Rory specifically for the Scotsman, suggesting that he could use a “gentle slap.” I understand that Rory is sticking up for a friend here, but this is more than a little ridiculous. There’s also a good chance that if it wasn’t for Tiger, people wouldn’t know who Rory was either, and he certainly wouldn’t be as loaded financially if it wasn’t for Tiger setting that bar either.
I love that Rory is always willing to speak his mind, but sometimes a “No comment” is for the best.
The Simon Dyson situation
This got out of hand quickly, didn’t it? Dyson’s rules violation at the BMW Masters made the rounds a couple of weeks ago, and yeah, it was pretty clear that he broke the rules. So, after a viewer phone in (still hate those), Dyson was rightly disqualified. You can’t push down a spike mark in your putt line, and what Dyson did was in direct violation of rule 16-1a, which you can view at the USGA website. For those that may have missed it, the video is embedded below.
You’d think that would be the end of it, but word came out that Dyson was being investigated and further sanctions were possible, either via fine, suspension or even expulsion from the European Tour. Expulsion! Dyson even withdrew from the Turkish Airlines Open this week to prepare for a disciplinary hearing that he’s supposed to have later this month.
I don’t think this goes any further than this, but good god is this asinine. Dyson has never been known as a player with a reputation for cheating, so I don’t understand what all the uproar is about. He made a mistake and was punished for it when he was disqualified from an event where he was in contention. Surely that’s enough for a player with a clean record.
Much like PGA Tour Canada and LatinoAmerica, the PGA Tour is extending their reach even further with the addition of PGA Tour China, a new feeder tour for the Web.com and eventually the PGA Tour. We’ll find out more details eventually, but it’s a move that makes sense with their “growing the game globally” initiative.
Interesting stuff from Polygon at the link above, as they spoke to EA Studios Executive VP Patrick Soderlund about a number of topics, namely their recent mutual parting with Tiger Woods, suggesting that it’s nothing indicative of future change at the gaming giant.
“I think it’s more coincidental than anything else,” he said. “Tiger Woods, as an example, was [that] we came to the end of an agreement with Tiger. It was mutual that we part ways. We’re still going to make golf games. We think people want to play on the major courses.”
“I think it’s more normal course of business and actually not so dramatic,” he said. “To me, it’s, ‘Okay, we’re making a golf game. Tiger’s not going to be on the cover of it. That’s fine by me.'”
As one of the rare people, I think, who loves both golf and video games, I can say that the news doesn’t matter much to me. If they can put the money behind things like getting more courses, like Soderlund kind of alludes to, than I’m all for it. The game hasn’t changed much or sold overly well in recent years, so maybe this is what they need to give it a bit of a kick start. From personal experience though, I’ve talked to several casual golf fans and gamers who have all said that they will be skipping the game since Tiger isn’t involved at all. How that affects the bottom line going forward is going to be interesting to monitor.
How good can Dustin Johnson be?
Both Shane Bacon and Kyle Porter tackled this after DJ won in Shanghai, and to be honest, there’s probably no real limit to where he can end up. He’s got the game to dominate, both with the short and long clubs, but I think the general consensus with him has been a combination of poor course management skills and a lack of focus that has deterred his progress as a player. Still though, nine wins as a pro is bloody impressive, and he’s not even 30 years old yet. Jamie Kennedy also looked at it, and came up with this list, which I can’t find much fault in:
Snedeker was supposed to join Adam Scott and Rickie Fowler this week at the Australian PGA Championship, lending some name brand value to the tournament, but he won’t be doing that, as he hurt his knee and will miss anywhere from two to eight weeks. How’d it happen? Well, as Brian Wacker tells us, it’s kind of embarrassing:
According to his trainer Randy Myers, Snedeker injured his knee while hopping off a Segway scooter during a corporate outing on Monday at Sheshan International Golf Club in Shanghai. He suffered a bruised tibia and a strained ACL. “I felt a pop in my knee and pain,” Snedeker said Tuesday night in a statement released by his management company. “Fortunately this is a relatively minor injury and no surgery is required, so this is good news.”
This certainly doesn’t help the perception that golfers aren’t real athletes, that’s for sure.