Bigger and (sometimes) better: Woods, golf holes, more
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Jeff Rude’s “Hate To Be Rude” column appears on Golfweek.com on Wednesday.
• I look at a muscled-up Tiger Woods and wonder: Is he preparing for Olympic golf or the Mr. Olympia bodybuilding contest?
• A large headline in a newspaper ad the other day read: “Scientists predict end of obesity by 2018.” I was disappointed when the subhead didn’t read: “But Gary Player is skeptical.”
• At least one new golf initiative intended to pump more fun into the game suggests oversized cups on greens. The archives, though, show that old is merely new again. In 1933 at The Biltmore in Coral Gables, Fla., golf star Gene Sarazen experimented with expanding the cup from 4 1/2 to 8 inches in an effort to “put a new thrill in golf.”
As for it catching on, better luck to the new breed.
• After playing in Dubai, Tiger Woods made his first trip to India. He received an appearance fee with multiple zeroes and commas to participate in a Tuesday outing at Delhi CC for Hero Moto Group.
Since the event was closed to the public, it’s sensible to wonder: Don’t the people of India know that Earl Woods said his son would be a man of the people?
• If I could have back all the time spent waiting in doctors’ offices and trying to fish Parade Magazine out of the Sunday newspaper, I believe I’d be 12 years younger.
What does this have to do with golf? Some of my doctors play golf.
• For the first time since he turned professional in 1996, Woods has failed to finish in the top 20 in either of his first two starts of a season. He followed 80th at the Farmers Insurance Open with a T-41 Sunday at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. His previous worst was in 2011 at those two tournaments, when he was 44th and 20th, respectively.
In other words, he had two or three coats of rust on this time after not playing or practicing much for about a month and a half. Woods, though, fixed his grip last weekend and thus drove the ball better in the final round.
Not that it matters. There are several million other things to worry about than the game of someone who won five PGA Tour events last year and won yet another Player of the Year award. Smart money says the rust comes out soon in Florida sunshine.
• Bernhard Langer, 56, goes for his 20th Champions Tour victory this week at the Allianz Championship in his hometown of Boca Raton, Fla. He’s seeking to become the first senior to hit 20 wins since Gil Morgan in 2001.
How good is Langer’s haul? Well, he has won five more Champions Tour titles than all of these major champions combined: Ben Crenshaw, Mark Calcavecchia, Steve Elkington, Larry Mize, Mark O’Meara, Corey Pavin, Nick Price, Scott Simpson, Curtis Strange, Hal Sutton, Bob Tway, Lanny Wadkins and Fuzzy Zoeller.
How does Langer do it? German engineering, competitive focus and a fit body that you’d think belonged to a 34-year-old if you put a bag over his head.
In other words, some over-50 players keep the game face on and the stomach off better than others.
• If you are looking for a second home in the desert and can fill up a Brink’s truck, consider that Adam Scott is listing his Abu Dhabi house for more than $6 million, about what he paid for it. Apparently he didn’t spend enough time there and never actually lived in it.
Hey, even Masters champions downsize from time to time. But this comes with an interesting twist: Scott says he'll play an 18-hole round with the buyer.
• Your correspondent is surprised and pleased the R&A has approved the use of distance-measuring devices for amateur tournaments. I’m guessing that is a back-room kiss blown back to the U.S. Golf Association since the USGA went along with the anchoring-ban nonsense.
After all, a longtime friend says he once played golf with R&A chief Peter Dawson and that Dawson pointed to the man’s GPS range-finder and said, “Does every bad idea come from America?”
Given the new R&A approval, apparently not.
• Brandel Chamblee, the well-researched and opinionated Golf Channel analyst, used to be a thorn in the side of Hank Haney when Haney coached Tiger Woods. Chamblee would criticize Woods’ swing and Haney would bristle. This was recurring.
Now, Haney, almost four years removed from Woods’ employ, said this recently about Chamblee: “(He) has opinions that are all researched and studied, and you have to give the guy credit for really putting in the time and effort to do his job. And people think he picks on Tiger, but he’ll say lots of good things about Tiger. But he also tells it like it is. I like to hear a guy that tells it like it is.”
In other words, world peace is attainable.