Rude: On Tiger, Tianlang, Muirfield and more
Jeff Rude’s “Hate To Be Rude” column appears on Golfweek.com on Wednesday.
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Why is Tiger Woods skipping the Wells Fargo Championship? A better question is this: Why not?
Woods has missed but 11 PGA Tour cuts as a professional, and two of them have come in his last two starts at Quail Hollow, last year and in 2010.
The guy has been a master over the years at picking venues that give him the best chance of winning. Yes, he won at Quail in 2007 and has a couple of other top-4 finishes, but that was then, and this is now.
He’s hardly the first Tour player to skip a tournament where he has unpleasant memories. Or a tournament that potentially will have suspect greens.
• Speaking of choosing carefully ...
China’s 14-year-old sensation, Tianlang Guan, will play this week’s Zurich Classic in New Orleans two weeks after remarkably winning low-amateur honors at the Masters.
Guan, who hit hybrid after hybrid into greens at Augusta, surely will boost interest in the Big Easy’s tournament. But going forward, he needs to choose his events carefully based on courses that suit him. Namely, shorter ones.
The TPC Louisiana is a long track (7,425 yards) that doesn’t suit a short hitter such as Guan. There’s a reason Annika Sorenstam chose to make PGA Tour history at Colonial 10 years ago, for it gave her a chance to succeed. There’s a reason Woods didn’t move up to higher levels of competition growing up until he was ready to win.
Confidence is at stake.
As David Duval told me last year when expressing regret about coming back from injury too soon and thus eroding his golf esteem, “You have to protect your confidence at all costs."
• Interestingly, Peter Dawson, chief of the all-male R&A, said this about all-male Muirfield, site of this year’s Open Championship: "To think that the R&A might say to a club like Muirfield, 'You are not going to have the Open any more unless you change your policy,' is frankly a bullying position that we would never take.”
Funny, but when the PGA Tour, PGA of America and USGA decided not to conduct tournaments at clubs with exclusionary memberships policies after the 1990 Shoal Creek controversy, the new anti-discriminatory guidelines seemed to be viewed more as enlightening than bullying.
• Mr. Dawson also said the debate over the proposed ban on anchored putters has hurt relations between rulesmakers and the professional game in America, where the PGA Tour and PGA of America opposed the proposal during a 90-day comment period.
"I'm disappointed at the way that campaign was conducted,” Dawson said, adding, "The bodies in golf have always been working well together and mutually respectful of each other's position. But this latest incident has set this back.”
Campaign? Setback? What did he expect, a rubber stamp, a simple throat-shove and no honest discussion on a divisive issue? Rather, his mind should be wide open, not closed, because powerful groups such as the Tour and PGA oppose, not to mention countless recreational golfers.
• RBC Heritage champion Graeme McDowell wasn’t the only winner Sunday. So were people who happened to be in his new Orlando restaurant, Nona Blue, right after the victory.
McDowell called business partner Bill Bona and bought a round of drinks for the estimated 200 patrons there at the time, Bona said. It wasn’t an open bar as some have reported, but each customer did get a free drink.
An exhausted G-Mac himself joined in on the waning celebration around midnight when he got back in town from Hilton Head Island, S.C. More free drinks went around then for McDowell’s posse of friends and restaurant staff, Bona said.
“It was a nice, relaxed unwind for him,” Bona said.
• If you don’t think drivers can be like snowflakes, as in all different, think again.
Rich Beem, of course, is known for winning the 2002 PGA at Hazeltine National by a stroke over Tiger Woods. Beem drove the ball beautifully that week, better than he had before or since, he told me the other day. Unfortunately, when he got to the next tournament, he discovered an inch-long crack on the driver head.
He had a new one made up to identical specifications but said, “It was never the same. I never drove it that straight again.”
Mark Calcavecchia had the same problem after breaking his driver soon after he won the 2001 Phoenix Open with a then-Tour record 256. Calcavecchia said he tried 50 drivers with the same specs, but none performed the same for him.
“They have a mind of their own,” he said.
• By the way, that magical week in Minnesota earned Beem a playful nickname from Woods: “Rich (Frickin’) Beem,” as in, “Can you believe I lost to Rich (Frickin’) Beem?”
The Beemer laughed when informed of the label and said, “I’ve got the same nickname for him: Can you believe I beat Tiger (Frickin’) Woods?"
• When it was announced the other day that a special early premiere of “Iron Man 3: An IMAX 3D Experience” would take place May 2 at the World Golf Hall of Fame IMAX Theater, I wondered this:
Have they finally made a movie about Vijay Singh?
He is, after all, Iron Man 3, no? Figuring, of course, that Ben Hogan and Dana Quigley are Nos. 1 and 2.