The Final Leg for The Claret Jug

Courtesy of TheOpen.com

That was the best golf I have seen at a Major on day 3 in years. Who would have predicted that there would be three tied at the top of the leaderboard with 9 players within 4 strokes. Given the action on Moving Day, I would say that they and probably others are in the hunt for the Claret Jug! Continue reading

Slow Play Costs Jordan Spieth

Loyalist Country Club (12)

Slow Play! No Way!

As one of my must read golf blogs, White Dragon Golf, by Pete Robbins, hammered home a misunderstood point about a contentious topic: Slow Play! This what Pete wrote:

World #1 Jordan Spieth received a slow play penalty at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championships.

Jordan reported that he had no idea why he got the penalty in the first place, he said it was a surprise to his playing partners Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler as well. The official ruling was that he took too long over a putt, while already being on the clock.;

“It didn’t make any sense to me”

“It didn’t affect the round, but Rory and Rickie were surprised as well.”

Under the European Tours slow play policy, two monitoring penalties will result in a fine, of about $2,800.

Rory commented;

“It was a bit of a weird one.”

“Sometimes the refs have to use common sense. With the time we’re allowed if you take an extra look at a putt you’re over the time.”

“But if we’re in position relative to the group ahead there’s no reason to time us.”

So I guess walking around to check all angles of a putt is verboten on the Euro Tour, you just have to stand up and hit it. Officialdom gone mad, if you want to watch the best golf in the world, let the players take some time over a putt. There are too many rules already.

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Everyone plays to quick!

As you can see, Spieth’s playing partners were flabbergasted by the call and wondered why the penalty was assessed. The apparently were keeping pace with the group in front of them, and they were not holding anyone up! Thus, is this really slow play.

According to Pete, Spieth took too long over his putt. He had already been warned, thus the reason for the penalty. However, does this really constitute slow play when you are keeping pace with the group in front?

Personally, if a group is keeping pace, it is impossible to call someone for slow play! A player might take a bit longer putting or aligning a shot, but as long as it does not jamb you for time on your shots or cause the group to fall behind, slow play cannot be called. I am not sure what the referees were thinking, but I am sure more of the story will unfold over the next few days!

What do you think? Should Jordan Spieth have been called for slow play?

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!

The Masters – Day 1

The first round of the 2015 Masters is in the books. The stellar play by Jordan Spieth (-8), Ernie Els, Charley Hoffman, Jason Day and Justin Rose (all -5) have them leading the field. Except for Jordan Spieth and Jason Day, the rest of the names in the top 10 were not on most pundits’ radar! But, it is still the first day.

The Masters is a game of endurance, it is not a sprint. As the next three days unfold, many aspects of the leader’s game will be tested. Most of all, their ability to handle the pressure of leading the Masters.

The first day of the Masters is always exciting where the anticipation for fantastic golf changes to reality for golfing fanatics. However, for me, there is always one aspect of the Masters I look forward to seeing each year. The honorary starters hitting the first ball. This year, like others in the past, Arnold Palmer , 85, Gary Player, 79, and Jack Nicklaus, 75, thrilled the crowds with three awesome shots.

When I look at these great players, I cannot help but remember all the fantastic memories they have created. They transcend time as I see them bend over (more of a feat than we would think given their age), line up, and launch their drives down the first fairway. These three giants are worthy of our respect and admiration for making golf the game it is today. Their stats are simply amazing. Here is a quick snapshot of how great these players really are:

Honorary Starters of the 2015 Masters
Arnold Palmer Gary Player Jack Nicklaus
Masters Played 50 52 45
Masters Won 4 3 6
Masters Top 10 9 8 15
Total Majors 7 10 14
Professional Wins Worldwide 95 178 116

The stories these golfing legends could tell would be mind-boggling. Each time they tee it up at the Masters, I take a trip down memory lane. The championships they have won and lost; the spectacular shots over the years; and the grace and gentlemanly fashion in which they carried themselves is a lesson for us all. Watching the honorary starters is a tradition I love about the Masters and if you missed it:

Tomorrow is another day. The pressure will continue to build. I am looking forward to seeing if the current leaders have the game (both mentally and physically) to extend their lead. Right now, many players are working towards the privilege of playing on the weekend; I still think Rory McIlroy will win and he will start making his move tomorrow. Who are your movers and shakers for tomorrow?

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!

Ko and Spieth Against the World

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Lydia Ko, pictured here after winning the Canadian Women’s Open in Edmonton on Aug. 25, will join the LPGA Tour next year. (Jason Franson/Canadian Press)

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Jordan Spieth holds the trophy after winning the John Deere Classic on Sunday at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Ill. (Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press)

The female and male darlings of golf are Lydia Ko and Jordan Speith. Both have fantastic starts to their career and seem to be well on their way to making a name for themselves as professional golfers. Ko just turned pro and has already won an event on the LPGA. Speith is also a one time winner with 2013 rookie of the year honors to boot. Both appear to have focused goals and positive personalities that the golf industry want to leverage.

There is no question the media are going crazy, the golfing world is talking about their successes and the sponsors are circling. But, is this really what golf is about? Don’t get me wrong, golf is a business and there is money to be made; however, at what cost. There are several players who were treated with the same awe and reverence in the past 10 years, but have disappeared completely or failed to meet the huge expectations of being a world ranked golfer. They were discarded like yesterday’s newspaper. Is to be the fate of Lydia Ko and Jordan Speith?

Expectations of professional or amateur golfers can be a positive influence or a destructive power. We do not have to look far to see the fickle nature of the sports media, golfing fans or professional pundits. Examples like Rory McIlroy playing so poorly in 2013 – how many times was he kicked; Tiger Woods stalled at 14 Majors…..stalled at 14 Majors – are you kidding; Phil Mickelson not winning the US Open is tarnishing his greatness … come on; and finally Henrik Stenson touted as one of the greatest golfers never to win a Major…wow! Is there a possibility that the expectations of some of the golfing greats is a little out of whack?

It is important to understand that expectations are relative. At every level, each golfer has expectations (realistic or unrealistic) about their capabilities. Those are easy to accept. What is difficult to swallow are the golfing analysts who pass judgement on players while sitting in their armchair in a climate controlled room. Is it possible, that golf has lost its way and some major re-tuning is required?

Golf is a great sport! We all have expectations, but let us not forget that golf is meant to be enjoyed.  Competition is healthy, fun and exciting. However, a ‘win or else’ competition seen at the professional level is not good for the game. What do you think?

I am a grateful golfer!  See you on the links!