Play of the Week 36

July 13, 2012

This week’s POTW is the John Deere. Normally, we wouldn’t be worried about a “grade B” tournament, but watching the coverage of the first two rounds, I’m brought back to my childhood.

But, not by the John Deere itself–by the players.

When I was young, I was a nerd. Being a nerd, I played golf as a kid (before Tiger Woods–I got cool really fast when he jumped on the scene). I enjoyed watching the tournaments. My favorite player at the time–Nick Price–was doing a great job cleaning up majors and dominating the tour with his Ram Zebra and Goldwin AVDP. Davis Love III was in his prime, and “the greatest player never to win a major.” Phil Mickelson was young…and skinny. Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book was the best seller for golf instruction.

I thought it was odd when I saw some Tour Balata and Professional 90 golf balls on sale earlier this week. But theres something to this nostalgia thing. It helps remind you of your past and gives you a flashback to some great memories. I remember the first time I hit a Tour Balata….pretty awesome.

Apparently, I wasn’t the only person to buy some of those Professional 90s, because the guys on the leaderboard this week at the John Deere sure are the ones who know to use ’em. Let’s look at it this way: If I told you that Jeff Maggert was T-2 going into the weekend after shooting 68-62, that Lee Janzen was T-7 at -10, and that Steve Stricker was going for his 4th win, your first reaction would probably be “where’s Greg Norman on the leaderboard” followed by “hey, did you hear what the president said at the deposition? ‘It depends on what the meaning of the words “is” is.'” Yet that’s the leaderboard at the John Deere classic this year.

Alas, it IS 2012. Davis Love III is all but forgotten on the PGA Tour. Nick Price is on the “Champions Tour” (back when I was growing up, we called it the Senior Tour). Phil Mickelson turned out to be every bit the player everyone thought he would be and more so the eater that no one thought he would be. Goldwin and Ram are no longer companies. And if you ask a playing competitor for his “little red book,” you better be ready for some funny looks and a quiet rest of the round. Still, I love when the Tour shows up at an “easy” course, and the old-timers (short hitters) come out and show these young kids how it’s done. Even Stewart Appleby has shown up at T-23, -7.

I’m sure some of the younger kids in their Puma Monolines and Cobra Amp driver are probably thinking “what is this guy talking about?” The golfers of today just are missing something. I won’t say class, but there’s a way the game used to be played that just doesn’t exist anymore. It’s nice to see a flashback of some of these guys–I wish them all the best.

Thanks, guys, for the trip down memory lane. Now go out there and show the young guns how it’s done.