Thursday, February 14, 2008

Warning: Golf Rant

So I read this and immediately started laughing my ass off.

Adam Scott? Tiger Woods? Give me a fucking break. Yea, if you're a golf afficianado like myself, then you know that Butch Harmon has molded Adam's swing into a mirror image of Tiger's before he started working with Hank Haney and started staying more on plane. Yea, Adam is long off the tee and has a ton of talent. Yea, he's still young and has a lot of room for growth.

Golf is in an odd situation right now. During golf's Golden Age when Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Lee Trevino, Raymond Floyd, Gary Player, an aging Arnold Palmer, and Johnny Miller were taking turns at winning majors, there was a constant struggle. The Golf Channel constantly shows Classic tourney's of these guys going at each other, and it was fucking great. I love that shit. But now? It's Tiger or a no-name guy, and really, little else.

I know that the media has to try and create some drama, but there needs to be some cooperation from the players. I'm getting sick and tired of seeing guys like Phil Mickeltits, Els, Goosen, DiMarco, and others constantly fail to do anything when Tiger is on the leaderboard in a major. I'm not talking about the Deutsche Bank or whatever it was called, I'm talking about a big-boy tourney.

One of my favorites, Vijay, has the mentality, but age has caught up with him and, with his current swing change, it's looking less and less likely that he's going to return to 2004 form. So that leaves us with the young guys. This group of golfers like Adam Scott, Justin Rose, Luke Donald, Sergio and a few others have mounds of talent, probably equal to that of Tiger, but what have they done? JACK SHIT.

That's my problem with shit like what Butch Harmon said. It's not that Scott doesn't have the game to compete, it's just that when has he EVER shown he can compete with the top-guys on American soil? The TPC was his biggest PGA win and he almost ruined a week's worth of fucking epic ball-striking on the last hole, and in pathetic fashion. Really, this dude is going to go up against Tiger...the guy who's swing he stole? When have you ever seen Scott's name on a major leaderboard? I don't care to look it up, but I'm pretty sure his highest finish is 6th.

Yea, he has the game, so do a lot of guys, but come on, they've been around, we know what to expect. When Phil was the "greatest without a major," it was because he had shown he has elite game and was constantly on major leaderboards. Same with Monty. Honestly, same with DiMarco. But, aside from Sergio, when were these guys actually players on a back nine on Sunday?

It's one thing to have major-caliber game, it's another to BE a major-caliber golfer. Sure, most of these guys are Euros and play the majority of their tourneys across the pond (except Donald who is a Chicago resident) and have had great success there, with Rose winning last years Order of Merit. But, and I'm not being an ugly American here, that's akin to saying you were the D-League MVP or won the AAA Cy Young. Sure, it's great, but the fields are watered down and the courses not as tricked out.

I'm just sick and tired of hearing Adam Scott this or Justin Rose that. Fucking show you can compete first, then you have potential. But if you're missing the cut or finishing 12 strokes behind every time a major rolls around, you're simply not an elite player. Does that make guys like Zach Johnson, who hasn't really done much other than the Masters, elite? No, that makes them lucky. Zach Johnson is not an elite player because he's not on the leaderboard that often when it matters. Just because he can't bomb it out there 350 like Scott or Sergio doesn't mean they're any different a caliber of player.

In all sports there are champions and runners-up, very good players who just can't push it over the top. I know all about this, Bernie Kosar, Brad Daugherty, Mark Price, Albert Belle, Jim Thome, all the heartbreak we've suffered through, Cleveland is the breeding ground for the runner-up. These younger golfers have shown they're simply runners-up, and at this point, if they win a major, it'll be almost as big a fluke as Rich Beem or Shaun Micheel winning the PGA Championship. It'd be like those Cavs teams beating Jordan or Kosar beating Elway. The connection is personally painful, but it's also apt.

So instead of focusing on guys like Adam Scott, who have a history of not getting it done, we should look at the next generation, guys like Hunter Mahan and Anthony Kim, guys who show they can hang in there mentally and are confident. Phil always got this look on his face when he fell flat, the look of pure terror. See if you can dig up a video of Adam Scott on the last hole when he won the TPC, it's the exact same look. But the difference between Phil and Scott? Phil has all-time game, one of the best in history, Scott is copying off of someone, Tiger, who admitted his swing was flawed and not built for long-term success.

I don't mean to rag on Adam Scott, by all accounts he's a nice guy and a damn good golfer, but when does he fall into pre-2003 Phil territory and realize that he needs something else to be great? He isn't like Monty, if Monty had Scott's game, he'd have at least 4 majors by now. Monty is mentally tough and a great competitor who suffered from lack of talent, the same can't be said for this 25-30 year old generation which has done absolutely nothing.

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