June 30th Mailbag: Peak Tiger in 2017, Rory and Steph Curry
As always, keep the questions coming on Twitter or send them to my e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Westwood Island is looking mighty bare these days, but Andy’s holding out hope and to be honest, I’m right there with him even if it feels like everything has to break Westwood’s way. He’s still a good player, and even though I have zero proof of this being true, it feels like he’s not the type of player that is overly bothered by the fact that he hasn’t won one of these things yet. The way I envision it happening is at the Open Championship, with Westwood going out and surviving in high winds and posting a number that can’t be reached. It seems far fetched sometimes, but if the putter gets hot for a few days, there’s no tournament that Westwood can’t win.
I’m not saying that I’d be betting on that to happen, but if it does, I’m not going to be one of the people that’s shocked by it either.
This isn’t the area that I’m the most comfortable in, but I can give a you a few names:
- Trey Mullinax
- Aaron Wise
- Cameron Champ
- Braden Thornberry
- Rico Hoey (h/t to The Fried Egg)
- From the Euro Tour: Renato Paratore and Thomas Detry, two players that I wouldn’t be shocked to see on the Ryder Cup team next year in France.
To be honest, most of my family does watch golf, but someone once told me that Louis Oosthuizen didn’t have the best looking swing in golf history and it doesn’t get much hotter than that.
Question via email from Trevor: Big fan of your work and love the Canadian perspective you have in the golf media landscape among the big dogs. Ive just finished all my schooling and have a gig with the Canadian Junior Golf Association as their Communications and Media Assistant which requires me to conduct player interviews and write pre and post tournament articles. I was wondering if you have any golf writing tips for a young Canadian golf guy just starting out in the industry and looking to have a bright career within the industry.
It sounds so simple, but really, there are two tips that I can give you and the caveat is that you need to do a lot of both.
When it comes to reading, don’t just stick to golf. Branch out and read all kinds of stuff, from sports to politics to culture and everything in between. More information, regardless of where it comes from, will inform you and make you a better writer. When it comes to the actual writing, I can’t stress enough how important it is to write as much as humanly possible. Even if it’s away from your gig with the CJGA and on a blog, the only way that you’ll improve as a writer and keep your skills sharp is if you write. Also, don’t hesitate to reach out to others in the industry and ask for feedback. I think you’d be pleasantly surprised at how willing people are to give you help if you just ask.
I’m torn on this. In a perfect world, the only players that would ever get invited to play in an event on a sponsor’s exemption would be players who are truly deserving of being in the field, but that’s just never going to be the case. When you take money from a sponsor and give them the ability to invite anyone to play, you run the risk of having someone in the field who probably doesn’t belong amongst the pros. Now, it should be noted that I don’t think anyone is expecting Curry to play overly well and he’ll probably miss the cut by quite a bit, but he’s also good enough that he’s probably not going to embarrass himself, either. If he was a much worse player than he is, he wouldn’t have received the invite in the first place.
For the first time maybe ever, the Web.com Tour is getting legitimate mainstream attention and while it sucks that it took Curry playing in the event for that to happen, it feels like a good thing overall. If Curry playing in the tournament gets people out to watch, and encourages anyone at all to pick up the game, it’s a win. I do sympathize with the players who say that there are much more deserving people for a spot like that, but again, this is what happens when a sponsor gets to pick who they want to tee it up.
So, to answer the question: the best use would be for a sponsor’s invite is probably this one if you consider all of the factors. You have a player who will attract attention, has a reverence for the game and won’t embarrass himself while he’s out there. I’m fine with it.
This is a great question, and to be honest, I don’t really know the answer. My guess is that the tours/governing bodies simply don’t think about what the other ones are doing, and they’re content to do their own thing. I agree though that with fourteen majors across these tours (4 on the PGA/Euro Tour and 5 on the Senior and LPGA), that you should be able to figure out something where you can get as many eyeballs as possible on the biggest events of the year. The other problem here is that, unfortunately, the focus for the most part from the golf world is going to be on the four men’s majors, with less attention given to the LPGA and even less to the Champions Tour.
The best example of this is that if you include this week, the next three tournaments on the Champions Tour are majors. I didn’t know that was a thing until this week, and if it happened on the PGA or LPGA Tours, people would revolt. All of the tours deserve attention, but when you have scheduling like this, it really does make it difficult to keep focus on all of them at the same time.
So, the first thing to note here is that the Presidents Cup is ran by the PGA Tour and the Ryder Cup is handled by the PGA of America. So, even though many of us think of the Presidents Cup as a tune up to the big event, the fact is that they are run by two separate organizations, each with their own set of goals in mind for an event. The last thing the PGA Tour wants to do is not have the best players show up for an event that they are specifically putting on because they want to give some lesser known players some experience.
The second thing is that, again, even though we view the Ryder Cup in greater reverence, the players do seem to care about the Presidents Cup. Phil talks about it all the time in conjunction with the Ryder Cup, as do other players and if the International team can continue to make this thing competitive, the Americans will care about it even more. All of these guys have a lot of pride, and none of them want to lose, even if it is in a tournament that we believe has a little less value than others.
Four questions via email from Tim: Whats your take on Luke Donald vs. The World? Referring to his tweet pointing out that 6,800 TPC River Highlands (potentially) played tougher than 7,600 yard Erin Hills the week before. With everyone consistently making a stink about the “distance issue” and how these guys are overpowering golf courses these days, I think the answer is probably somewhere in between a short tight course and an 8,000 yard marathon…but curious to hear your take on where course design and PGA tour venue layouts go from here.
Donald definitely has a point that length doesn’t have anything to do with the overall difficulty of the course, but if the wind blew at Erin Hills and it didn’t get soft from the rain earlier in the week, it would have been tough to see anyone get to double digits. I’d love to see more courses like TPC River Highlands or Harbour Town on the schedule, but that seems unlikely. Most of the tour stops tend to be bomb and gouge style, which is why the Travelers was so refreshing last week, but I don’t see them moving away from the vast majority of the layouts anytime soon, even if those courses tend to be boring and lack any sort of variety.
While we’re on the subject, what were your general impressions of Erin Hills and the US Open? Are you in the success camp or the traditional masochists who want to see these guys suffer more?
I wrote about this after the tournament, but I loved watching Erin Hills and really hope it gets another chance to host. I don’t mind the idea of the guys struggling, but ultimately, I want to see them play well and hacking it 25 yards down the fairway out of knee high rough isn’t exactly what I would call entertaining.
Any insight on Royal Birkdale and who it favours? I know the NLU guys went there a couple of months ago and said they couldn’t stop thinking it was very “spiethy”. I know it’s also Fleetwood’s hometown and after the US Open everyone will be pulling for that story too. I haven’t heard too much other chatter about the course layout yet though, what are your early thoughts?
For your Toronto readers…What’s your take on the Raptors off-season? Thoughts on whether they should resign Lowry/Ibaka or what changes you think they need?