Punch Shots: Jarrod Lyle’s Comeback and John Daly at the Ryder Cup
Punch Shots is a collection of 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.
You’ll be forgiven if you’re not familiar with Jarrod Lyle and his story, as he’s not the most mainstream of names, but in the golf world, this is a very big deal. Lyle hasn’t played in a tournament since the Mayakoba in 2012, a span of 20 months, after he was diagnosed with myeloid leukemia, but he’s back this week at the Australian Masters even though he’s not sure if he has the strength yet for 72 holes.
It’s the second time that Lyle has fought off the leukemia, having done so as a teenager, and Lyle knows that his return will be really emotional for him and his entire family. From this Sky Sports piece:
“Just walking to that first tee and teeing the ball up and trying to hit it that’s probably going to be the hardest thing. It’s just going to let a whole lot of stuff out. Hopefully when that ball flies I can just get on to playing golf and put everything behind me and just get back to the golfer that I am.”
Players have worn the “Leuk the Duck” pin on their hats all over the world, and you won’t find a single player in the game today who has a negative thing to say about the guy. It doesn’t matter what Lyle ends up posting this week at Royal Melbourne, or when he gets back playing full-time, which may not be until 2015. What matters is that he’s battled back again to be with his family and that he feels good enough to play the game he loves.
Mickelson sat down with Harry Arnett of Callaway for the video below and he talked about a number of topics, but the one that got the most play this week comes at roughly the ten minute mark when he tells Arnett:
I want to be an Olympic athlete. I think it would be really cool. I think it would be a life experience. It would be something that I never thought would happen because golf’s never been in the Olympics.
Now, we all know the kind of season that Phil had in 2013, winning three times, including the unlikely Open Championship win at Muirfield, but this is a little bit of wishful thinking. By the time the Olympics in Brazil roll around in 2016, Phil will be 46 years old and you’d think that he won’t be playing at the same level he is now. Then again, Steve Stricker is playing at a ridiculously high level at 46, and Phil has been known to surprise, so we can’t really count him out right now.
A few weeks ago, it was Phil talking about his reduced schedule, and now it’s Steve Williams.
Williams, widely considered the best caddie in the business, is currently on the bag for reigning Masters champ Adam Scott, but has been working for the better part of the last 36 years for some of the biggest names in the game. Peter Thomson, Ian Baker-Finch, Greg Norman, Raymond Floyd and of course, Tiger Woods have all worked with Williams and perhaps just as important, they’ve all put up with him personally because of how good he is on the course.
What’s interesting is that if Williams decides to go through with this plan at the end of 2014, it puts Scott in a bit of a tough spot. Does he take Williams up on his offer of still working majors and bigger events, and then finding a secondary option for other tournaments? Or, does Scott go for a clean break and start fresh after having a great run?
Personally, I’d think that having Williams on the bag, even for a limited run of events, would be the best thing for Scott.
Previously, the PLAYERS had the distinction of owning golf’s biggest purse at $9.5 million, but now both tournaments will be moving to an even $10 million. I’d think that there’s a good chance that the other big tournaments, namely the three remaining majors, would be interested in bumping their payouts as well, but they haven’t said anything about that as of yet.
Some of the best stuff in golf media over the past week came from blogs. Adam Fonseca tackled the bloggers vs. mainstream writers debate, with some very interesting quotes from those on both sides of the coin. Surprisingly, the mainstream golf writers seem far more accommodating than other sports, and at the very least, aren’t anywhere near as dismissive towards the future of golf coverage.
Meanwhile, Jamie Kennedy took a look at the difference between a straight drive and a good drive, using the PGA Tour’s new, aptly named statistic, Good Drive Percentage. Speaking from experience, and I’m sure some of you agree, it’s not always a bad thing to be in the rough, nor is it consistently advantageous to be in the fairway.
Both pieces are linked above and are worth reading.
Sean Foley talks with Charlie Rose
It’s a long interview, coming in at a hearty 37 minutes, but this sit down with Sean Foley conducted by Charlie Rose is fascinating stuff, especially if you’re interested in the golf swing and Tiger Woods.
Rory and his lawyers
“I’ve seen more lawyers offices and more lawyers this year than I care to see in my entire life. It’s not something I ever want to go through again and I’m making sure I won’t ever go through it again.”
It’s no secret that Rory hasn’t had the kind of season that he wanted, and it certainly seems like his two lawsuits with Horizon and Oakley have been weighing on him with a quote like that, but he’s looked way better in recent weeks and should be primed for a big 2014. I think it’s all too easy sometimes to forget that this is a 24-year old with two major wins already. He’s going to be fine.
A group of over 100 professional caddies across the world have banded together in an attempt to improve their working conditions. According to Michael Collins of ESPN, the move had been talked about for some time, but it was brought to the forefront again after a few incidents from last season. First, the caddie races at the Waste Management were deemed unsafe by the PGA Tour and cancelled, even though the caddies themselves weren’t consulted. Then, as Collins notes, there was an incident at the Barclays that set the whole thing in motion:
“The straw that broke the camel’s back for us came at the Barclays during a rain delay,” said APTC President James Edmondson, who caddies for PGA Tour player Ryan Palmer. “This security guy came in, started berating us, asking to see everyone’s ID, and then began kicking out our families into the rain. We all thought, ‘Would they ever do this to the players in their area?’ That’s when we decided to have a meeting.”
Some big name guys are taking part, including Joe LaCava, who currently loops for Tiger Woods, so that definitely gives the group some weight.
Rocco uses Hogan’s driver
Cool video from about a month ago where Rocco Mediate experiments with Ben Hogan’s old driver at Cyrpess Point, and discusses it afterwards with Steve Elkington, who both seem like they were slightly under the influence after being on the course.
Tiger sits down with Rachel Nichols
Tiger sat down with CNN’s Rachel Nichols a few days ago and talked about a variety of topics, including his major drought, Lindsey Vonn and what the last few years have been like for the world number one.
On his poor performances on weekends of majors:
“I’ve been there with chances to win on the weekend, I just haven’t done it yet.”
Nice little exclusive report here for Golf World’s Tim Rosaforte, who found out that club president Jimmy Dunne was able to pitch the USGA and Seminole on hosting the Walker Cup. Seminole is one of those places that you really only hear about these days, much like Cypress Point, mostly because Seminole has yet to host a public competition in the 84 years that it’s been around. It may not seem like much, and the Walker Cup isn’t a major or the Ryder Cup, but this is a very big deal.
In addition to that, the fantastic Golf Course Histories linked to their piece on how little Seminole has changed from the original Donald Ross design back in 1929. Give them a follow on Twitter too: @GolfHistories.
Captain John Daly at the Ryder Cup?
Did you know that Daly is the only multiple time major winner, of those eligible, to never play in the Ryder Cup? He’d also love a chance to captain a U.S. team at some point in the future, as he told Cara Robinson of Golfing World in a two-part interview.
More Old Course renovations
The renovations to golf’s most famous course have continued over the last few days, and the reviews have ranged from mixed to flat out brutal. The biggest critic? John Huggan wrote a scathing article for the Scotsman on Sunday that is worth reading in it’s entirety, but here’s a quote:
Verdicts on the work already in place have inevitably ranged from outrage to point-missing acceptance, the latter’s adherents citing the fact that change has always been part of the Old Course’s long history. Which is true. But never before has that change been provoked by incompetence rather than progress.
Geoff Shackelford points out some pictures as well from Graylyn Loomis, which will likely make some recoil in horror. I was on the fence previously with changes simply because I don’t feel like we should just criticize without seeing the results, but the more I read about it, the more I think something horrifying is happening to the birthplace of golf.
Rory and Caroline
I guess we can put those relationship rumours to bed.
The global golf tour concept
So, we’ve been over this one before, but it was brought up again this week when Matt Kuchar mentioned the likelihood while in Australia for the Aussie Masters, and Ryan Ballengee gave his thoughts over at Golf News Net on what it could possibly look like if it were done. I don’t have any issue with the way that Ryan went about it, although you could argue that there could still be some more international flavour to the schedule, most notably in Asia, but it’s a great start.
Now, could this actually work? I’ve been on the record in the past that this is the best thing for the overall health of the game outside of America, but there are so many logistical issues with TV deals, broadcast times, what it does to American golf, the loss of power for organizations, and I’m sure that the financial side of things would be an absolute nightmare. Hardcore golf fans would be in love with it though, especially if it meant that we could see the best players tackle Royal Melbourne, Stoneforest, Le Golf National, Royal County Down, and so many other courses.
I do think we’re closer than ever to Greg Norman’s dream of a global golf tour, but I don’t think any of us really know how close that is.