Fail of the Week 14

September 30, 2014

This week’s FAIL could go a lot of different ways. But I think we’re going to avoid the bandwagoning on the US Ryder Cup team’s utter failure against Europe. They’ve had enough ire to suffice for the next two years. We need not pile on. Thanks to the US team for doing its best and, at the least, maintaining a bit of grace when falling to Europe.

This week’s FAIL goes to the subject of one of our earliest posts–one of the ones that got it all started: TPC Las Vegas. Our reviews (https://thepowerfade.com/2010/10/06/tpc-las-vegas-part-ii/ and https://thepowerfade.com/2010/10/06/a-review-of-tpc-las-vegas-aka-the-canyons/) highlighted some of the good things. After four years, a return trip seemed like a good idea.

I set up a round last weekend on a trip to Las Vegas. I called on a Friday morning after arriving Thursday night. The conversation went something like this:
Me: “Hi. I was planning to play on this trip. I really liked your course the last time I played it and was hoping to get back out.”
Course Rep: “Great. What time would you like to play?”
Me: “I’m pretty flexible. Wherever you can fit me in is fine. I can do this afternoon, tomorrow morning, tomorrow afternoon. My only scheduled item is dinner with my wife tonight, but that’s at 8:30 so I think I’ll have plenty of time.”
Course Rep: “OK. This afternoon looks like it’s open.”
Me: “Great. Thanks. I was thinking 2:30, but it might be a bit hot, right?”
Course Rep: “Meh, not really. I mean, you need to drink water, but it’s not that bad. It’s a dry heat.
Me: “OK, I can do that.”
Course Rep: “OK, You’re on at 2:30. The course was aerated recently, so the fairways are a little long in places, might be kind of soggy in spots. Also, because of the overseeding, we are cart path only today.”
Me: “OK. Thanks.”

Sounds great, doesn’t it? I mean, maybe a bit of a drag for the cart path only, but this is a great course, right? Wrong.

As I arrived to the course, I saw a line of 15-ish carts, each with two players in it, waiting outside the proshop. When I walked in, I asked the desk clerk what was going on. “Oh, that’s a shotgun. They’re going out at 2:30” *swiping credit card*.

Wait….what?

As I got back outside, I started talking to the cart staff. “This is 30-person scramble going from the 1st hole to the 7th hole.”

What? Why didn’t anyone mention that? “Where is the starter” I asked. “Oh, he’s on the megaphone. He’s about to drive them out to the holes. You can talk to him when he gets back.”

So, I went down to the range and warmed up. Then I putted. Then I got some water. Then I hit some chip shots. Then I went to the starter shack. And I waited. And Waited. Finally, the starter came back.

Me: “Hi, I’m the 2:30 group, JK.”
Starter: “Hi.” *starter’s nametag noted as “Frank”*
Me: “What’s that?”
Frank: “That’s a scramble. We’ve got them going out from holes 1-7.”
Me: “yeah. I heard about that just now. No one managed to mention that when I called to book this tee time. Look, it’s just me, can you send me off the back or work me into a group that’s already on the course?”
Frank: “No, I’m booked solid up until the scramble.”
Me: “Really? The WHOLE sheet is filled without a single spot?”
Frank: “That’s what I’m telling you. I had to stack the tee sheet and then hold it for an hour and a half so we could have a large enough gap to fill in these scramble groups.”
Me: *still not believing him that there isn’t a threesome anywhere on the course* “OK, that makes sense I guess. Can you just put me out in front of the scramble?”
Frank: “No, I can’t do that. The scramble is going to be right up against the next group.”
Me: “Uhm, don’t you think the scramble is going to go slower than the rest of the group?”
Frank: “No, it should take them four and a half hours to play.”
Me: “In my experience, it’s more like five and a half when it comes to scrambles.”
Frank: “No, we don’t allow that.”
Me: *incredulous look*
Frank: “Really! This course is rated at four and a half hours, and if it takes longer than that we don’t allow it. Now, if you’re playing as a single behind a scramble, is it going to feel slow? You bet…yes. But I promise you, it will not take you long than four and a half hours to play.”
Me: “Fine. Whatever. Can you at least pair me up with some people so it doesn’t feel so long?”
Frank: “yea, let me get some more here.”
Me: “You really think this isn’t going to take forever? I’ve been playing golf for over 20 years–I think I know how long scrambles take.”
Frank: “no, trust me. It won’t be an issue.”

Well, Frank was right about one thing. It definitely didn’t take me longer than four and a half hours to play. In fact, it only took me three hours. Actually, sub 3:00. Because at the 2:55 mark, I walked off the ninth green swearing that if I saw Frank I was going to punch him in the face.

TPC Las Vegas: Here is how you could have fixed this. First, you could have mentioned somewhere on the phone call (like, maybe, right after I said “I can come out today OR TOMORROW”) that maybe tomorrow would be a better day since you had a scramble going off. Second, you could get a started who knows literally anything about golf and has 1/2 of a clue not to blow smoke up an experienced golfer’s ass. Perhaps my favorite part of the BS was him telling me “WE DONT ALLOW THAT”–like they have any control how long a scramble is going to take. Here’s a hint: I’ve played golf for over 20 years and been in countless scrambles. Not a single one of them has ever taken less than 4:45, and the average time is probably close to 5:45. That’s just how it goes BECAUSE IT’S A SCRAMBLE! Yet this doofus has the gall to look me straight in the eyes and say “we don’t allow that.”

So, to you TPC Las Vegas, you have FAILed. I will not return to your course.

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Fail of the Week 13

August 11, 2014

We’ve been putting off the 13th edition of our FAIL series for quite some time because it’s such a dubious honor (and possibly because we’ve been kind of bad at posting updates lately, but we’ll go with the first reason). It’s time.

This week’s FAIL goes to…drum roll….


BUBBA

The two-time Master’s Tournament champion often incites odd responses from people, sometimes rubs folks the wrong way, and is wacky almost a totality of the time. Bubba constantly produces goofy self-videos (see http://vimeo.com/user27337521); some of his exploits include (1) playing putt-putt with buddies, (2) hijacking a Golfsmith outside of LA and challenging the staff to a putting competition and a local man who was nearing retirement to a long drive competition, (3) driving a hovercraft golf cart around (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5u_2bGPdUY). By all accounts the guy is a bit of a goofball. Some people would even go as far as to say fun-loving.

Apparently not.

The PGA Championship practice rounds included a little bit of fan fun this year–a long drive competition for the pros on the par 5 10th hole. The hole measures 595 yards. It’s not like anyone on Tour is going to be hitting anything other than driver. Unless you get your panties in a wad, and that’s exactly what happened to Bubba.

Despite being one of the longest hitters on Tour, Bubba decided he wanted to make a statement, pulling 3-iron instead of driver (see SBNation story for video: http://www.sbnation.com/golf/2014/8/5/5971891/bubba-watson-comments-rips-pga-championship-long-drive-contest). Bubba was quoted as saying “I’m there to play golf, not to hit it far. I’ve got to practice. I’ve never been to the course. I don’t need to worry about a long drive on the 10th hole.”

Really, Bubba? It’s a practice round. It’s not like you couldn’t hit 3-iron if you wanted to (which you didn’t–it’s a 595-yard par 5, and you hit driver every single day of the tournament! see videos at http://www.pga.com/pgachampionship/scoring/scorecard/25804) and then follow-up with a driver for the fans. It’s a freaking practice round!

Most surprising, however, is this remarkably serious stance from the guy who literally stated “No drills, that makes it a job. I don’t want it to be a job. I just want to have fun and play golf for a living….for me, it’s just goofing around. This is just golf. This is just fun. It shouldn’t be work.” (see http://www.golf.com/video/practice-pros-bubba-watson).

Really Bubba?

To you, we here at the PF say, you have FAILED!

bubba is an epic fail

Fail of the Week 12

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 https://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.

Fail of the Week 11

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.

Dear Readership,

We apologize for our months long delay in posting.  We have had numerous personal and professional issues between the two of us that have prevented us from being as active as we would like to be with the PF.  Whether it was traveling more weeks than not or changing jobs, we have simply not had the time to commit to the blog that we would like.  Like our friend Rory, we have not been in the best place mentally to give the PF our best.  But like Rory, we recommit to providing you with course reviews, equipment reviews, and technical know-how to improve your own game and golf experience.  Please stay tuned for new reviews and tips!

Thanks for sticking with us.

-The PF Team

 

Fail of the Week 10

December 12, 2012

This fail of the week comes a little late, but with a large amount of failure. The PGA Tour gets the crown this week for its failure to make an exception for 17 year old Si Woo Kim of South Korea. Somehow, this machine of a 17 year old not only overcame what must have been immense culture shock during his amazing run, but also made it through all four stages of the last Q school EVER to send players right up to the big boy tour.

Talk about pressure. For all of his effort, which would normally result in 7 figure endorsement deals, Kim’s big achievement likely earned him only a spot on ESPN Golf’s news feed until Rory McIlroy is caught by the press in a bar in Vegas with yet another terrible haircut. I mean, come on Rory, what were you thinking?

20121213-015946.jpg

Now, whether you think he should be allowed to play or not, the fact that he gets no choice in the matter seems kind of ridiculous to me. If you’re 17 and can make it through 4 of the hardest tournaments in the world, why shouldn’t you at least have the choice to play golf if you want? No concussions or life ending injury,and an insanely long playing career make this far less controversial for me than most professional sports. In any event, we here at the powerfade want to congratulate Si Woo Kim on doing something no one will ever be able to do again. You are the man. Keep swinging!

20121213-020509.jpg

Fail of the Week 9

December 4, 2012

Ok, so it’s been a little while since we did a FAIL. Actually…it’s been a long while…like…a day short of one year (see https://thepowerfade.com/2011/12/05/fail-of-the-week-8/). Buuuuuuuut, this is sadly a great, great time to put together this week’s FAIL.

For this week’s FAIL, I turn to no other than the USGA and the R&A. Within the last week, the USGA and R&A have announced a proposed rule to ban the use of belly and long putters in the game of golf. The proposed ban–summarized at http://www.golfwrx.com/53307/usga-ra-propose-anchor-ban/–would restrict many types of anchoring, although not all. In an odd twist, the USGA/R&A has determined that it is OK to anchor a club to your forearm to make a stroke, or to unintentionally anchor your arms to your body and prevent their movement. As stated in the article, USGA executive director Mike Davis stated “Throughout the 600-year history of golf, the essence of playing the game has been to grip the club with the hands and swing it freely at the ball.”

One problem with this, however, is that it’s 100% false. Bobby Jones, Arnold Palmer, and Jack Nicklaus all putted with the club somehow anchored to their bodies. Just because they used a regular length putter doesn’t make it any less true. Don’t believe me? Look at the photos:


https://i1.wp.com/atruegolfer.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/JackNicklaus.jpg
https://i1.wp.com/www.mikemunnsautographs.com/sc_images/products/564_image.jpg

Or… even better, here another respected member of the tour talk about them: (starting at 1:10)

The PGA of America–and many avid golfers around the globe–has publicly come out against the USGA, urging the USGA to change its stance for the advancement of the game. At the very least, the PGA would prefer to allow beginning golfers to use such clubs to advance the interest in the game.

But none of that really matters as compared to the USGA’s handling of the issue. Long putters have been at issue since the 1970s. Bernhard Langer has been using one for almost as long as I’ve been playing golf. My first experience with a belly putter was when a high school friend started using one and I putted with it for a few strokes…that was 12 years ago. In other words, the cat is out of the bag. The USGA has had over 3 decades to rule on this issue and has done nothing, but all of a sudden has an interest now that a few players have won with them. That’s a sad state of the game–allow something until a player becomes good at using it. What’s more, there is STILL no statistical evidence that using a belly or long putter improves a golfer’s performance above and beyond use of a traditional putter. The USGA’s rule is based SOLELY on the idea that an anchoring stroke is somehow contrary to the game as it was intended to be played.

I’m glad the USGA sees itself fit to decide what is the original intent of the game of golf. Were 460cc titanium drivers, performance golf balls, game improvement irons, or, heck, even golf spikes within the “original intent of the game?” Who knows. I guess it’s only a matter of time before the USGA decides that we all have to play in street shoes because golf wasn’t meant to be played with spikes.

If the USGA showed some proof that the belly ban was due to an unfair advantage in the game, it would be one thing. Heck, even if the USGA just SAID that belly putters were unfair, I would take their actions more seriously. But to publicly come out and say that anchoring is just not how it was meant to be–when millions of golfers have invested hundreds of dollars of their own money buying belly and long putters to make the game enjoyable for themselves–I simply can’t understand the logic.

The USGA, once again, is a FAIL. Let’s hope for all our sake that this turns out better than the groove rules.