May 15, 2013
Last week, we derided Jim Nantz for his contribution to Tiger Woods’s 4-shot penalty at Augusta…and justifiably so (see http://thepowerfade.com/2013/05/06/fail-of-the-week-11/). Jim Nantz was being a punk, plain and simple.
Buuuuut, I think the vitreal may have been a bit overstated given the events of this week. It seems we may have jumped the gun a little on this one…
Tiger Woods played a beautiful four rounds of golf last weekend to capture his second Players Championship, a tournament that, oddly, he has not seen as much success with as other large-but-not-a-major tournaments (Bay Hill, Memorial, Firestone, WGC, etc.). But Tiger again was thrust in the middle of controversy.
On Saturday, Tiger Woods was paired with Sergio Garcia, the then-leader of the tournament. Early in the round, Garcia hit a poor shot that led to a bogey. He blamed Tiger. Sergio stated that “[r]ight as I was on top of the backswing, he pulled a 5-wood or 3-wood out of the rough and, obviously, everybody started screaming, so that didn’t help very much.” Sergio contended that Tiger’s action led to a poor shot. Tiger responded that a marshal had told him that Sergio had already hit and, otherwise, he would not have pulled a club. Oddly enough, the marshals all said that they didn’t say anything to Tiger, and that he didn’t ask (see http://aol.sportingnews.com/sport/story/2013-05-14/tiger-woods-sergio-garcia-tpc-sawgrass-third-round-shot-marshal-controversy). Controversy.
While all this was swirling, some other spectators were pointing to Tiger taking an illegal drop on the 14th hole (you may remember that an illegal drop was the issue at the Masters as well…). And it was unquestionably clear, Tiger’s ball never crossed the hazard where he dropped (see http://www.sbnation.com/golf/2013/5/13/4326394/tiger-woods-players-championship-2013-illegal-ball-drop).
Those who frequent our blog know–we are pretty big Tiger fans. But even this we can’t defend. Tiger has been no stranger to controversy since his sex scandal. The world was starting to put that behind them–winning helps. The drop events of the Masters put him back in the controversy limelight again, and the opinions of what should have happened largely fell on whether people liked him or disliked him and were as polarized at Tea Party Patriots vs. Politico.
If he had half a brain, though, he would’ve steered clear of these types of things. I’ve played in multiple USGA and state golf association competitions and I would never in a million years consider pulling a club out of my golf bag without personally checking the status of my playing competitor. Yes, mistakes happen. And, yes, Sergio is a pretty annoying whiner. But in a pro event with thousands of spectators around, don’t you think Tiger would’ve at least heard the crowd clap if Sergio had hit his shot? If it had been someone we like who complained–Matt Kuchar, for example, or Fred Couples–what would you think of it? And, more egregiously, Tiger, you just were in the middle of a major-championship controversy over an illegal drop–and now you’re in another illegal drop controversy? Come on Tiger!
We want to see Tiger win as much as any Tiger fan, but this is not the way to do it. Be #1 in the world by being #1, not by taking advantages you don’t deserve.
For that, Tiger, you are this week’s FAIL.
Also, FAIL to NBC for showing a million close-ups of Lindsay Vonn. She is not anywhere near as hot as Elin, and, frankly, they’re just dating, so it’s really not even worth zooming in on her anyway since he’s probably going to dump her in a few months.
May 6, 2013
A few weeks later, the dust settles, and we find out the truth; the news is out on who outed Tiger Woods. We all assumed it was a random TV viewer call-in; those despised “I’m going to get you, professional athlete, while sitting on my couch” people are shamful, we all thought; so many people discussing “I don’t like the idea that golf entertains this type of thing!”
Well, that wasn’t the REAL story.
As reported by DeadSpin (http://deadspin.com/punk-ass-snitches-who-ratted-out-tiger-woods-identified-486213426), a Senoir PGA Tour player and none other than Jim Nantz combined to alter the outcome of golf’s greatest tournament, ruining the fun of watching for all of us.
As a recap, those who may or may not know the story, on the Friday round at Augusta National Golf Club for the 2013 Masters, Tiger Woods struck the pin with his approach to the 15th hole. The ball ricocheted back into the water in front of the green–a terribly unfortunate result. What happened next was just strange. Tiger reviewed his options for places to drop and elected to re-play from the original spot. He dropped his ball, hit a shot within putting distance of the pin, and went on to make the putt.
Rule 26-1 governs the ability of a player to take a drop. Tiger’s election was under Rule 26-1(a):
26-1. Relief For Ball In Water Hazard
It is a question of fact whether a ball that has not been found after having been struck toward a water hazard is in the hazard. In the absence of knowledge or virtual certainty that a ball struck toward a water hazard, but not found, is in the hazard, the player must proceed under Rule 27-1.
If a ball is found in a water hazard or if it is known or virtually certain that a ball that has not been found is in the water hazard (whether the ball lies in water or not), the player may under penalty of one stroke:
a. Proceed under the stroke and distance provision of Rule 27-1 by playing a ball as nearly as possible at the spot from which the original ball was last played (see Rule 20-5); or
b. Drop a ball behind the water hazard, keeping the point at which the original ball last crossed the margin of the water hazard directly between the hole and the spot on which the ball is dropped, with no limit to how far behind the water hazard the ball may be dropped; or
c. As additional options available only if the ball last crossed the margin of a lateral water hazard, drop a ball outside the water hazard within two club-lengths of and not nearer the hole than (i) the point where the original ball last crossed the margin of the water hazard or (ii) a point on the opposite margin of the water hazard equidistant from the hole.
When proceeding under this Rule, the player may lift and clean his ball or substitute a ball.
Shortly after, the Masters Tournament Rules Committee took a call that indicated that Tiger Woods had not dropped “as nearly as possible” because his ball was a few yards behind his original spot. The Rule Committee reviewed tape, decided not to talk to Tiger about his drop, and allowed him to sign his scorecard. Tiger Woods took a post-round interview from CBS in which he discussed the whole (as it had quite a negative affect on his round) and described how he dropped “a few yards back” because his first shot was a little too long. The Rules Committee was then again notified about Tiger, but this time it was that his post-round comments may have indicated he was not in compliance with the rule because dropping “a few yards back” is not “as nearly as possible.”
Tiger was not disqualified but was given an additional two-stroke penalty for signing an incorrect scorecard. The Rules Committee decided not to disqualify Tiger–which would have been likely in different circumstances–because they had made a ruling on the situation and allowed him to sign a wrong scorecard. Tiger finished 4 shots off the lead of Adam Scott and Angel Cabrera, who went to playoff with Scott winning.
Although it seemed odd at first not to disqualify Tiger, the Rules Committee’s explanation of it as “we made a ruling and Tiger was entitled to the benefit of that Ruling” seemed to make sense. The PF has no quibble with that. It seemed like the Rules Committee got that right. Although many called for Tiger’s disqualification or withdrawal because he was getting “special treatment,” no one seemed to acknowledge that the only reason this was an issue was because cameras were on him. If you think other players were not violating this rule, you are crazy.
Moreover, it’s not exactly sure what “as nearly as possible” means. Does a player have to drop in his own divot? If so, why would anyone ever choose that option? Surely, that cannot be what is required. How close is “close enough?”
Alas, we digress. This FAIL is reserved for none other than Jim Nantz.
Jim?! For Real?!?!? What were you thinking?
Look, you get to go to this tournament every year, experience some of the finest accommodations anyone could imagine, and be a part of everyone’s memories of this amazing tournament. WTF are you thinking sticking your nose in the middle of the tournament?
Broadcasters have no business interfering with the tournament any more than couch potatoes do. You are not a pro golfer. You are not a competitor. You are a side show to what is going on out there. If we wanted to watch you referee a game of golf…well, no one would ever want that.
Look, First, we’re sick of you getting googly-eyed over Tom Brady. He’s a good quarterback. No one needs to you emphasize that for them. Next, stay where you’re put and don’t interfere with the event you’re broadcasting. You basically killed your own broadcast by taking the most popular player in the tournament completely out of the competition. If Tiger is one down coming to 18, do you not think everyone on earth is watching, hoping he’ll make a birdie? If he didn’t have to shoot 65 to tie the lead, do you think things would have come out differently–or maybe just been a little more exciting for all of us?
Jim, this week, you’re the FAIL.
April 28, 2013
Last year, for the first time in our relatively short blog history, LG celebrated the turning of the year of PF awesomeness with a gift for himself and for me, Stanley Mayhem scorecard and yardage book wallets, which he reviewed in detail here: http://thepowerfade.com/2012/11/15/review-leather-scorecard-wallets/. After fully agreeing with LG’s analysis, it became apparent that this should be a yearly exercise for the PF–not only to review excellent equipment, but to support the artisans who make them.
This year, I stumbled upon a tremendous offering from a friend of the PF, LaMont Mann. I’ve known LaMont Mann since he lovingly crafted my putter, which is reviewed here: http://thepowerfade.com/2011/05/02/review-sunset-beach-golf/. LaMont is one of the kindest and most humble people you will ever meet, but he is also one of the most talented in crafting putters. His custom and hand work has become a springboard for a great business. LaMont is capable of making things in the golf world that few can, and he offers his services at a reasonable price to those lucky enough to find him in a world where marketing often wins out over true craft.
I’d recently noticed LaMont’s postings on his Facebook page about some new divot repair tools. His initial offerings were single-prong tools. While those appeared to be well-crafted and of tremendous quality, they did not pique my interest for the simple reason that I never have liked to use single-prong tools. I’m sure someone was in his ear telling him “you have to make these in a two-prong shape.” Well, he did.
Coinciding with LG’s birthday, LaMont released his two-prong version. The moment I saw it, I knew this had to be the PF equipment of the year. I purchased one for LG’s birthday and one for myself. I asked for LG’s to be stainless steel and torched, while my tool is carbon steel and torched. LaMont not only sent me pictures of them in process, he returned my request to produce LG’s especially quickly knowing he had a birthday upcoming. The beautiful results are shown below:
As you can see, these tools are custom milled, torched to perfection, and hand paint filled by LaMont himself. The cost was $86 for both tools with shipping included–certainly not inexpensive, but not as much as I would have expected for custom-made equipment.
So, any downsides? Well, the answer to that is a “sort of.” These tools are really, really cool items–especially for someone who knows custom equipment and/or knows who LaMont is. For the casual golfer, the reaction might be “why did you pay so much for something that nice clubs give away for free?” Or “I bought one of those at the Tour Championship for $36 and it had the Tour Championship logo on it! That’s an absurd price!” I understand where those people are coming from. I think these are tremendous. The personal craftsmanship is there. They are milled steel, paint filled, and made just like I wanted. On the other hand, these are not performance golf tools; they are being used to fix pitch marks in the green. They don’t have to be perfectly balanced to strike a ball correctly or milled to tight tolerances to avoid defects. However, when I use my custom tool by LaMont, I’ll know that I have exactly what I want in my hands and that it is as good of a tool as I could’ve gotten. That alone will give me confidence not to think of the wrong things on the course.
Speed of Production: 10
Customer Service: 10
Overall: 8 (and it’s 8 only because it’s not required for everyone, but for those that do get it, it’s a 10 all the way)
April 16, 2013
I’ve had a few recent additions/deletions from the bag for 2013. My bag has changed greatly from my prior WITB. I’ve come into a position of being able to purchase TaylorMade equipment, and that’s exactly what I’ve done. I still have my Adams XTD Super Fairway, I still have my Fourteen MT28v5 lob wedge, and I still have the world’s greatest putter, my Sunset Beach Ocean Isle crafted by LaMont Mann. Otherwise, the bag is very different.
A few of them were undesired changes. For example, a caddy at East Lake lost my Mystery Valley towel along with several towels that LG gave me. I haven’t had a chance to make it back to MV to purchase another. I haven’t yet transferred all paraphernalia from my old PING bag to my new RBZ bag, but it’s in progress.
Some highlights of the new additions are below.
First, RocketBladez Tour irons. These are tremendous irons. I originally purchased my set 3-PW, but I had to buy an AW because I hit them too far. I am pushing 250 with the 3-iron. The slot technology really does improve the distance, but that’s not why I bought them. The more important part is that it improves the feel. The sweet spot is enormous on these–almost the size of a quarter. To a good golfer, the difference between nickle- and quarter-sized sweet spot is enormous. Perhaps that’s the reason so many pros got them.
Anyway, here are the specs:
1 degree weak lofts
mostly standard lie (had a dynamic fitting to get them right, some are a bit flat)
Dynamic Gold X100–swingweights to the D3.5-D4 range, which is great for me
As you can see, I still have my MT28V5 lob wedge, but I’ve replaced the sand wedge after a few seasons and a restoration. I went with the TaylorMade ATV wedge in 56 degree bent 1 degree weak to 57 degree. This was the loft I had always played in my wedges going back to when I was 16 years old, so this just made sense. ATV’s sole flange is actually really good out of sand because it gives more bounce contact with the sand. Plus, they are naturally set up a little shorter and a little heavier than a standard wedge, which is what I do anyway, so it works out great. I have since changed the paint fill on the two stripes to yellow/yellow, but for the purposes of getting this uploaded and online, it’s on in black and red.
Now, the beauty–R1. This driver is a beast. First off, the customizability is a tremendous feature. For a better player especially, this works wonders. You go out to the range, hit it 20 times, tweak it, hit it again, tweak it again, and go over and over until you hit the flight you want. If you can find a few different shafts to try, even better. Mine is dialed in to 10.5 loft (higher than the 9 I used to use) with a TP shaft in it, a RIP Phenom in 65g. The original 55g RIP Phenom I felt was a bit too light. I also cut it down to 45″ from the original 45.5″, which is stock. To compensate for swingweight, I replaced the heel weight (1g) with a 6g screw-in weight. It really is a driver that I customized for me. Best part–if I ever find I don’t like it, I can change it. I think LG is going to work on a new shaft in his–we’ll see what he ends up with.
This driver is a beast. It is every bit as long as my last driver, but I never seem to mishit it. Even the ones that don’t feel great are still long and around the fairway. I’m able to move the ball both ways but it doesn’t ever get out of control. I really like this driver, but that’s what TaylorMade has always done well.
I’m now using TaylorMade Lethal golf balls, which work great. Maybe not quite as much spin as Pro-V1x, but it’s frankly been a good thing because I can’t seem to hit my driver anywhere other than exactly where I want to. The ball feels great on and around the greens. As you can see, I still have my gold markings commemorating Georgia Tech. I recently found new Sharpie markers in an Office Depot, as well. It seems Sharpie has finally re-released the gold, silver, and copper colored Sharpies (not paint markers) again. Great news for me, as I was down to my last gold Sharpie.
That’s it. As you can see, a lot has changed, but a lot remains the same. Most of the inner workings of my golf gear has not changed–the ball liner, the scorecard cover from LG (thanks bud), the range finder, etc. However, the influence of a good deal is evident–I definitely am getting great pricing on TaylorMade gear. But it should be noted–I have elected to continue to play equipment that works well for me (which is why I still have some non-TaylorMade equipment). With the new additions–especially the newer and better driver–I’m striking the ball well and looking forward to a good season.
April 8, 2013
The best week of golf all year. The Masters. A tradition unlike any other. Hello Friends. Are you excited yet?
Our predictions are below. As always, take them for what they are, but if you win money, we get 1/2.
So, without further ado, here’s our predictions:
Winner: Tiger Woods (T4; ADAM SCOTT)
If you had to pick someone other than Tiger…: Louis Oosthuizen. Man, he was so close last year. (MC)
Winning Score: -14 (-9)
Runner Up: Jason Dufner (T20)
Low Amateur: Micheal Weaver (MC, Tianlang Guan)
“Unknown” in the Top 10: Kevin Streelman (Marc Lieshman or Thorbjorn Olesen)
Last Year’s Winner (Bubba Watson) Will … (Win, Top10, Make the Cut, or Miss the Cut): make a strong showing – Top 10 (T50 at +7)
How many prior winners will be in the Top 10: 4 (2, Tiger Woods, Angel Cabrera)
Dustin Johnson will… Make the cut (T13, -1)
Fred Couples will … Top 10. (T13)
US Open Champion (Webb Simpson) will … Miss Cut (MC)
British Open Champion (Ernie Els) will … Miss Cut (T13)
PGA Champion (Rory McIlroy) will … Miss Cut (T25, +2)
Guan Tianlang (14 year old from China) will … Miss Cut (low amateur, solo 58th, +12)
Will there be a hole in one? Yes, obviously. (i don’t think there was)
What will be the major storyline of the tournament? one of the following: 1) the weather, 2) Tiger’s 5th, and/or 3) Fred Couples turning back the clock. (Scott v. Cabrera, no doubt; or, Tianlang Guan)
What is your Bold prediction? None of the current major champions make the cut. (wrong)
Number of times “dufnering” is referenced on Sunday: 6 (0, thank God)
Winner: Tiger Woods
If you had to pick someone other than Tiger…: Justin Rose (T25, +2)
Winning Score: -6 (-9)
Runner Up: Dustin Johnson (T13)
Low Amateur: Steven Fox (MC)
“Unknown” in the Top 10: Matteo Manassero (MC)
Last Year’s Winner (Bubba Watson) Will … (Win, Top10, Make the Cut, or Miss the Cut): Make the cut but that’s about it (MC)
How many prior winners will be in the Top 10: 3 (2)
Dustin Johnson will… Top 10 (T13)
Fred Couples will … Make the Cut, just outside the top 10. (T13 – nice!)
US Open Champion (Webb Simpson) will … Make the cut (MC)
British Open Champion (Ernie Els) will … Make the cut (T13)
PGA Champion (Rory McIlroy) will … Top 10 (T25)
Guan Tianlang (14 year old from China) will … Miss Cut (Made cut, low amateur)
Will there be a hole in one? I’m guessing 16th. That’s the most likely.
What will be the major storyline of the tournament? Probably will be Tiger winning wire-to-wire. Also, an amateur pushes for a top 10 spot (a la Beau Hossler at the US Open last year).
What is your Bold prediction? Phil Mickelson visits the hospital with a Kevin Ware compound fracture after slipping on a pimento cheese sandwich.
Number of times “dufnering” is referenced on Sunday: I hope none…. the announcer that brings it up should get the Gary McCord treatment.
March 25, 2013
Nice win, Tiger. But seriously?
77 PGA Tour wins? 8 times at Bay Hill alone? 8?
That’s an insane PGA Tour CAREER for most players, but you had to do it on one course.
That’s about all we need to say.
Good job holding off Rickie, if he was even in your rear view. That orange is pretty distracting.
Oh, you should probably try the new R1 before Augusta. 14 fairways. Think about it.
March 6, 2013
How many times have you checked in your golf clubs with an airline due to the enticement of vacation golf? Now, how many times have you received your clubs only to find your precious Scotty Cameron to have a new idiot mark on it that you didn’t put there? JK and I have had that experience all too often. In fact, JK used to carry a special travel putter just so his gamer wouldn’t get nicked by TSA.
Well, JK, TSA now agrees with us that this is ridiculous. Beginning April 25, passengers on U.S. flights will be allowed to carry on — among other things — up to two golf clubs. This marks a huge win for reticent golfer who would have rather rented “clubs” at the course than check or ship his own. There are obviously 12 more reasons to keep fighting, but for now, we have two reasons to be very excited. Also, please be advised, this rule does not appear to apply to international flights. Those of you traveling abroad for your golf will still have to check the Big Dog and Lola.
I am also particularly excited because TSA will now allow me to to carry on include pool cues! If you think golfers are anal about their equipment, go talk to a pool junkie. Also, for you knife enthusiasts, you can carry on a retractable blades shorter than 6 centimeters (2.36 inches) and narrower than 1/2 inch. Why the two different metrics, you ask? I guess TSA really just wants to use both sides of that ruler. Enjoy!