Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Interviews...

In evaluating the value of tonight's two, five-minute, restriction-free Tiger interviews, I've analyzed them in the most basic of ways. By asking one simple question:

What did we learn?

That is, after all, the purpose of an interview, yes? To get answers to questions the interviewee has yet to answer.

Okay, good. With that in mind, here's what I came up with:

--Tiger's nervous about fan reaction when he returns.

--Tiger has a new bracelet which he will wear for the rest of his life.

And.... yep, I guess that's pretty much it.

I'm really not trying to be cynical here, and correct me if I'm wrong, but this was the only new information, yes?

In light of this, I think it's a little difficult to compare this to David Frost sitting down with Richard Nixon.

I don't want to look like one of those people who will never be satisfied with anything Tiger says, but when you can't be straightforward about the type of treatment you've been receiving and still won't give even the most general of explanations regarding a very bizarre late-night car crash, he makes it hard to move on.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Nathan Green Takes One...Actually 3, for the Team

With Camilo Villegas running away with a win at the Honda yesterday, the most compelling two minutes of the tournament came when Australia's Nathan Green tried (and then tried again) (and then again) to extricate his ball from the sludge just short of the 17th green.

In case you missed it, he progressively got wetter and muddier with each swing, as the ball popped up, flew a few yards and then rolled back through the rough and into the water. His 3rd attempt was the most impressive, for he not only moved his ball a few feet, he also uncovered another ball that was buried beneath his own, somehow moving that one farther than his own.

The whole thing reminded me of the time in high school golf where my teammate J.C.'s ball had trickled into one of the many algae-filled lakes at Olivas Links, our home course an hour north of LA which was recently re-designed and made a heck of a lot of fun. (You can usually find a good rate for it on my favorite golf course finder.) So. J.C.'s ball is sitting a good two inches beneath the surface of the water and his initial reaction was to take the penalty and drop, but we convinced him that it was totally playable.

"Just pretend the water isn't there," we said. "Oh, and swing hard." J.C. grabs a short iron, hovers his club above the lake and swings as hard as he can. The club never even touched the ball. But it sent a wave of water over J.C., drenching him in foul, reclaimed, muny water. As far as I know, J.C. never grew an extra toe or a tail, but we were all reminded that unless most of the ball is sitting above the water line, don't even try.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

"Yes, Dear" Speaketh the Truth...

Thanks to my friend David for sending along this YouTube video from a 2005 Yes, Dear episode where we unknowingly predicted Tiger's fall from grace. I'd completely forgotten about this joke but will go ahead and take credit for it since after 5 years, no one can remember who wrote what...

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Weighing in on Laying Up...

Everyone else has given their criticism or defense of Rickie Fowler's lay up on TPC Scottsdale's 15th hole, but I'm not sure anyone has poked the hole in what I saw as the total mathematical misfire in Fowler's brain as he assessed his situation.

Fowler's said afterwards that considering he was only one shot back at the time, he figured that even if he didn't make a birdie on 15, there were multiple birdie opportunities coming in, including the short 17th. Makes sense.

However, by that same logic, shouldn't he be assuming there was a decent chance that Hunter Mahan would birdie that same 17th hole as well? If that had happened, Rickie's failure to make a 4 on the 15th would leave him two behind Mahan with three holes to play.

I'm also not sure I buy the math about laying up being the higher percentage birdie for Fowler, despite Waggle Room's attempt to sell me on it.

Now beware, I was an English major... But from 200+ yards, Fowler hits the green 51% of the time (49th on Tour this year). From the sand, he gets up and down half of the time. Put those two stats together and it means if Fowler goes for the green ten times, five times he's got no worse than a two-putt for birdie and another two (or three) times he's got a sandy birdie. That's seven out of ten.

While Fowler is pretty good with a wedge from 80 yards, he's not getting up and down 70% of the time from there. No way.

But what the attempt from 200+ does bring into play is the water. And the big number. And the chance that Fowler ultimately loses the tourney on the 15th hole. But when it was all said and done, the truth is he lost it there anyway.