Tag:Men's Golf
Posted on: July 28, 2008 1:10 pm

You into the Brett Favre Saga? Me Neither.

Maybe I am alone; maybe I am out of touch; maybe I am just missing something. No matter what, I do not think it's a bad thing.

When I woke up this morning, I made my normal voyage over to ESPN.com. I don't like ESPN, never have and never will, but I need to make the trip in order to keep the proverbial enemy closer.

And there I see it.

A tag-line that seems as foreign to me as Louisiana electoral procedure. A tag-line that I would have hoped would be considered a cold-blooded lie. A tag-line so incomprehensible I was not sure whether to be afraid or laugh.

“Are you on Brett Favre watch? Us, too, so here's the latest from him:”

ESPN asked me, did not wait for my response, and told me anyway what was going on.

The network told me that he had not gone to camp, yet. That he hadn't been traded, yet. That he hadn't sent in his letter of reinstatement, yet.

Basically, ESPN told me that Brett Favre's situation is exactly the same as it was three hours after he retired.

And people care about this?

I look down the right side of the page to view the other, so-called secondary headlines. These are things that news status quo reports about Brett Favre trump, apparently.

Gold medal-winning gymnast Paul Hamm withdraws from Olympic games.

Goose Gossage inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Rafael Nadal wins the Rogers Masters to close in on Roger Federer's top ranking.

And those are just the news reports that interest me.

Champions were crowned in the Arena Football League, Tour de France, and World Cup of beach soccer. An unheralded golfer came back to beat John Cook to win the Senior Open Championship. A feature-length article about a player traded to the Harlem Globetrotters is almost impossible to find.

All of these, each and every one of them, clearly news, and each and every one of them is trumped by nothing.

And I'm supposed to believe that I'm the only person who does not care?

I am jonesing for football season unlike anything else, but this was never what I wanted. I never wanted a 24-hour-a-day media frenzy into each action Brett Favre has taken. Why would I? What am I learning? What do I get out of it?

Yet apparently, this is what everyone wants, at least according to ESPN.

Yes, ESPN thinks everyone wants to know everything Brett Favre, well, hasn't changed, from the last update. We apparently want to know every team that he hasn't been traded to, whether it is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Minnesota Vikings, the New York Jets, or whomever. Of course, we also want to know the thoughts of all the players on all of these teams that Brett Favre has not been traded to.

Gene Wojciechowski, never one to shy away from the easy, obvious argument, claims that nothing has happened because Green Bay is in a no-win situation. The Packers don't want to trade him to an NFC North team or wave him to where he signs with an NFC North team, but they also don't want to alienate Aaron Rodgers further. They also owe Favre at the very least the ability to play somewhere if he wants to play.

And that's all fine and dandy.

But we knew that four months ago.

We knew four months ago; we knew in the middle of his retirement speech when he said, “I still can play” and just a minute later reaffirming that with, “I know I can play;” we knew when he threw that interception in overtime against the New York Giants in the NFC Championship that Brett Favre would be back in 2008, even if it was not with the Green Bay Packers.

And yet, somehow, this entire saga in which nothing has happened is news? I don't get it.

When Brett Favre gets traded, that is news.

When Brett Favre gets waived, that is news.

When Brett Favre is reinstated by commissioner Roger Goodell, that is news.

When Brett Favre reports to training camp, any training camp anywhere, that is news.

But when Brett Favre answers his telephone, when he considers doing something he's been considering for five months, when he fills out a form that means nothing until sent, that is news? I really just don't get it.

Maybe I am alone when I think ESPN is being just a tad bit presumptive when it assumes we are all hooked on the Brett Favre watch, stalking his every movement like only ESPN knows how.

Or maybe I am just out of touch.

But I'd like to think that I'm not. I'd like to think that there are some slightly more significant things going on in the world of sports.

I'd like to think Bruce Vaughan's birdie on the first playoff hole of the Senior Open Championship is a better story. It's a story that signifies that a career journeyman who never finished better than a tie for 22nd in one year on the PGA Tour, who previously only won two minor-league tournaments in his life, can still compete with and defeat someone who won 11 PGA Tour events in a major championship.

Isn't that what we want to hear?

There are definitely more riveting, more charismatic and heartwarming stories out there, even if ESPN is too caught up in the nothingness to let you know what is happening.
Posted on: July 18, 2008 10:26 pm
Edited on: July 18, 2008 10:28 pm

Top 10 Golf Images of the Tiger Era

These are the 10 images that have defined golf since Tiger Woods first appeared in the Masters Tournament as an amateur in 1995.

I have made this the cutoff for simplicity reasons. Yes, there are great images from before, but I wanted images that defined this era.

Top 10 Golf Images of the Tiger Woods Era

10. Woody Austin, putter, ear, water

Seriously, I did not know which to put here. Woody Austin seemed destined to forever be remembered for one incident during the 1997 Verizon Heritage at Hilton Head. After a horrible putt, Austin began whipping his putter against his head repeatedly. Of course, we should have known Austin could do something that would outlive that. What we did not know is that he could outperform that twice.

Although it was quickly forgotten because of what happened one month later, Austin's ear cup is an amazing image. After making a putt from the fringe on the opposite end of the green to close within one stroke of Tiger Woods at the 2007 PGA Championship, Austin made a cup around his ear. Why did Tiger get cheers when he made shots like that and not Austin? Well, at least that's what Austin thought.

The last image? Well, it's fairly self-explanatory. Austin fell into the water after his shot in alternate-shot doubles at the 2007 President's Cup. David Toms, of course, hit the ball right onto the water's cusp, so I guess Austin has Toms to thank for that. And he should thank him. It's a lot less embarrassing to be remembered for that than it is to be remembered for striking a putter against your head.

9. Bruce Edwards and Tom Watson, 2003 U.S. Open

Bruce Edwards had been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, more commonly called ALS or "Lou Gehrig's Disease," only a few months before he returned to the bag for Tom Watson's 2003 U.S. Open campaign.

No, that alone would make a touching story, but it pales in comparison to the image of Edwards and Watson at Olympia Fields Country Club walking up 18 with Watson's hand on Edward's back. For 30 years and eight major titles, Watson and Edwards were a team. Watson shared the first round lead despite his 53 years, but faded to 28th. Edwards would die less than one year later due to complications from ALS.

8. Payne Stewart, 1999 U.S. Open

This one is a double-image if you will. When you think of Payne Stewart, the first image has to be his "soaring eagle" pose after he made a 15-foot putt to save par to win the 1999 U.S. Open. The second is him clutching the U.S. Open trophy a few minutes later.

Even if Stewart did not die in the plane crash a few months later, these images would be just as iconic. I doubt if there would yet be a bronze statue at Pinehurst #2 commemorating the event, but there would be one day. His socks over the bottom of the trousers is as unforgettable as the joy he brought onto the golf course every time he played.

7. Ben Crenshaw, 1995 Masters Tournament

Harvey Penick, author of the Little Red Book, the highest-selling golf book of all time and mentor and coach to Ben Crenshaw for the previous 37 years of Crenshaw's 43-year old life, died just a few days before the Masters Tournament. The day before Crenshaw was a pallbearer at Penick's funeral.

Despite entering the week having missed three cuts in his previous four starts overall and outside the top-50 on tour in putts-per-round, Crenshaw miraculously found his game. After tapping in for bogey on the 72nd hole for a one stroke victory over Davis Love III, Crenshaw fell into his knees and covered his face while caddie Carl Jackson held him up. The crying didn't cease until he got his green jacket.

6. Justin Leonard, 1999 Ryder Cup

The United States had lost the previous two Ryder Cups by identical scores: 14 ½ to 13 ½. Heading into the final day, it looked like Europe would have to collapse just to win by that little.

Well, Europe did collapse, completely. The United States scored 8 ½ points to 3 ½ for Europe to score a remarkable 14 ½ to 13 ½ victory. That victory was clinched when Justin Leonard made a 45-foot putt on the 17th hole, clinching at least a halving of the match against Jose Maria Olazabal.

The celebration after that putt was criticized by the European side as Olazabal could still halve it if he matched Leonard's birdie, which he did, and won the 18th hole, which he did again. But the celebration occurred there on the 17th green.

5. Phil Mickelson, 2004 Masters Tournament

"Is it his time?" Maybe more famous than Mickelson's actual celebration was the call by CBS commentator Jim Nantz, but the image was pretty memorable itself. After years of heartbreak, years of never making that putt, Mickelson finally came through and made that putt to win a major.

He leaped into the air, both hands raised, the putter in his right hand, and his mouth open screaming joy. It's hard to remember when or even if his feet ever touched back on the ground. In the photograph, they never do.

4. Arnold's goodbye, 1995/Jack's goodbye, 2005

What more fitting place to say goodbye than St. Andrews?

Arnold Palmer required the Royal and Ancient Golf Club to change its rules in order to invite him to the 1995 Open Championship. Previously, only former winners under 65 were admitted. Palmer himself was 65. Now it is "former champions 65 and under."

Jack Nicklaus also took advantage of the rule change, albeit 10 years later. While Palmer continued to play stateside after 1995, Nicklaus made the Open Championship his farewell to competitive golf altogether.

Both made that walk over the Swilken Bridge on what is fittingly known as the Swilken Burn on the 18th hole, waving goodbye to the oldest major in the world.

3. Costantino Rocca, 1995 Open Championship

It's amazing how quickly we forget that Costantino Rocca hit one of the worst shots a professional golfer could possibly hit right before he made the 65-foot putt to force a playoff at the 1995 Open Championship. His second-shot chip from right off the green was completely gaffed, landing firmly in the "Valley of Sin" on the edge of the green. Then Rocca worked some magic.

Somehow, despite being completely deflated, Rocca made a 65-foot birdie to tie John Daly and force a four-hole playoff at the Open Championship. His reaction was legendary.

Rocca fell onto his knees and backwards, looking right into the skies. Then he fell to the ground and started punching the ground. Sure, he lost the playoff after emotionally draining himself on that 18th hole, but like the image that will follow, his celebration was a lot more lasting than anything the winner did that afternoon.

2. Jean van de Velde, 1999 Open Championship

You know the story. There's no point telling the entire thing. But that one moment needs to be discussed. Mistake after mistake by the unheralded Frenchman threw away the 1999 Open Championship, but it was the one correct decision on the hole that he's most remembered for.

For the only time on that 72nd hole, common sense prevailed. But that was not before Jean van de Velde took off his shoes and socks, rolled up his pants, and went down into the Barry Burn to see if he could hit his fourth shot out of it. He finally picked it up and took a penalty drop.

Dozens of pictures were snapped of him in the Burn , but none captured it quite as well as the one of van de Velde looking hopelessly at his ball. The disbelief in his stare is just iconic, as iconic as his collapse.

1. Tiger's fist pump, whenever

Does it matter which fist-pump this is referring to? Sure, I could have put the ball falling into the cup on the 15th hole at the 2005 Masters and Woods laughing, but that isn't as lasting.

No, I had to have Tiger's fist-pump at number one. Besides occurring more often than anything else on this list, it has grown to define golf over the past 15 years. It has become as synonymous with Tiger as Tiger has become with golf. How could it possibly not be the top image of the Tiger Woods era?


The site wouldn't let me upload the images, so here they are:


10a. http://s1.mcstatic.com/thumb/763908
10b. http://img.timeinc.net/golf/i/tours
10c. http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images
9. http://cache.viewimages.com/xc/3264

8a. http://i76.photobucket.com/albums/j
8b. http://www.rollins.edu/olin/images/
7. http://img.timeinc.net/golf/i/tours

6. http://i.pga.com/pga/images/rydercu
5. http://assets.espn.go.com/i/magazin
4a. http://www.sportphotogallery.com/co
4b. http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/imag
3. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sol/shared/sp
2. http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/imag
1. http://s2nblog.files.wordpress.com/

Category: Golf
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