Consulting the Golf Gods
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
To: The Golf Gods ([email protected])
From: Dan Mirocha ([email protected])
Subject: Major issues
Well, here we are. It’s the final major of the year – heck, the final major of the decade – and you (I know people usually refer to you in the plural as “Golf Gods” but I’m pretty sure you work alone) must be chuckling from your golden throne. I mean, you’ve completely outdone yourself this year. I think I speak for golf fans from Toronto to Timbuktu when I say our collective hearts feel like they been put through the ball washer a few too many times this major season.
Did Bobby Jones beat you, 3 and 2, at Pearly Gates National? Hogan hit his 1-iron past your driver? Sarazen show up to your pro-am wearing the same plus fours as you?
It’s like you’ve personally taken the wheel of each major and driven like a 13-year-old boy in a golf cart.
But what a ride it’s been. Let’s recap:
1) The Masters. Augusta was buzzing. Kenny Perry, who at 48 was bidding to become golf’s oldest major champion, was looking as spry as a a scissor-kicking Sergio Garcia. Remember the shot that Perry hit Sunday that stopped a foot from the cup on the par-3 16th? His tap-in birdie gave him a two-shot lead with two holes to play. He had the green jacket buttoned up.
Then, as if you issued a lightning strike from above, Perry promptly bogeyed No. 17 and hit into the left bunker off the 18th tee. From there, he missed the green and a 15-foot par putt and fell into a playoff. Instead of Perry hamming it up with Jim Nantz in Butler Cabin, Angel Cabrera partied into the night wearing a green blazer.
Nothing against El Pato, but we were all kind of hoping to see some tears of joy from Kentucky’s finest. The pancakes at the Waffle House on Washington Road didn’t really taste the same the next morning.
2) The U.S. Open. Phil Mickelson had the Bethpage faithful in the palm of his hand. New Yorkers were going bonkers. And for good reason.
Mickelson, whose wife, Amy, was back home battling breast cancer, was looking like he was finally going to win a U.S. Open. He came from five shots back during Monday’s final round to tie for the lead with an eagle on the 13th hole. The roar that erupted from the gallery could have been heard in Buffalo. (You probably even heard it.) It seemed like Lefty was destined to win, but then you again showed us a thing or two about destiny.
Two holes later, Mickelson botches a 3-footer and makes bogey. At the par-3 17th, he couldn’t get up-and-down for par and never recovered.
Not to worry, you said. I’ll throw you a bone.
Enter David Duval.
The former British Open champ had all but disappeared from the golfing universe. Who knew the world ranking went as high as 882? But there Duval was, looking cool as ever behind his Oakley shades, reeling off three consecutive birdies to share the lead with two holes to play.
Not so fast. Duval lipped out a 5-footer for par on No. 17 and tied for second with Lefty, who finished runner-up at the Open for a record fifth time.
Hey, I like Lucas Glover. Think he’s a swell guy who deserved to win. Might even win a couple more majors before he retires. But a Mickelson victory? You probably could’ve even got Frank Sinatra to write a song about that.
(Oh, and by the way. . . we’re still drying off from all that rain you dropped on Long Island that week. Next time you go on vacation, remember to turn off the kitchen faucet.)
3) British Open. Easily your cruelest attempt at humor. I mean, c’mon . . . Tom Watson with the lead on the 72nd hole? A guy just months away from turning 60 firing at flag sticks and snaking in 50-footers? What, were you jealous?
Turnberry was turned upside-down. Colin Montgomerie might have even smiled. And for goodness sake, Jack Nicklaus was so overcome with emotion while watching on TV, he asked his wife to send Watson a text message. I figured the Golden Bear was still sending telegrams.
Watson arrived at the 18th hole with a one-shot lead and a par away from his sixth Claret Jug. After splitting the fairway with a drive, he pured an 8-iron that bounced like a Super Ball and hopped over the green. On second thought, maybe you could have left the faucet running a little that Saturday night.
We all know what happened from there. Watson misses an 8-footer for par, goes into a playoff, and Stewart Cink wins by something like 37 shots.
• • •
Which brings us here to Minnesota for the PGA Championship. What do you have in your goodie bag for us this week?
Tiger hasn’t won a major this year. John Daly is back from his European tour looking as suave as a guy can in yellow-and-green checked pants. Padraig Harrington says his game is rounding into form after a runner-up at Firestone. Heck, Rich Beem is probably dying to do another goofy dance on the 18th green.
Personally, I think you have something special up your sleeve for us at Hazeltine. You’ve created so much excitement this year already. . . how about a nice little cherry on top?
Surely Jonesy and the boys in your Saturday foursome wouldn’t mind pitching in, too.
P.S. I’ve been enjoying your Twitter updates. Keep up the good work.