Over the last few days, I’ve spent time here and there reading through a bit of Shane Ryan’s Slaying the Tiger.  I picked it up after reading a short excerpt on about the Masters and the membership at Augusta National Golf Club, and even though I’ve only managed to get through a couple of chapters, I don’t think there is a single golfer that follows the PGA TOUR at all that would not be fascinated by the stories in this book.

Ryan does an incredible job (thus far) of researching his subjects, creating a storyline that feels like it has progression, and telling the story in a way that is relatable to the average golfer.  In short, he posits a more clear picture of life on TOUR than we get from your average Golf Channel broadcast and associated advertising.

From the book: “As the golf writer for Bill Simmons’s Grantland, Shane Ryan is the perfect herald for the sport’s new age. In Slaying the Tiger, he embeds himself for a season on the PGA Tour, where he finds the game far removed from the genteel rhythms of yesteryear. Instead, he discovers a group of mercurial talents driven to greatness by their fear of failure and their relentless perfectionism. From Augusta to Scotland, with an irreverent and energetic voice, Ryan documents every transcendent moment, every press tent tirade, and every controversy that made the 2014 Tour one of the most exciting and unpredictable in recent memory.

Here are indelibly drawn profiles of the game’s young guns: Rory McIlroy, the Northern Irish ace who stepped forward as the game’s next superstar; Patrick Reed, a brash, boastful competitor with a warrior’s mentality; Dustin Johnson, the brilliant natural talent whose private habits sabotage his potential; and Jason Day, a resilient Aussie whose hardscrabble beginnings make him the Tour’s ultimate longshot. Here also is the bumptious Bubba Watson, a devout Christian known for his unsportsmanlike outbursts on the golf course; Keegan Bradley, a flinty New Englander who plays with a colossal chip on his shoulder; twenty-one-year-old Jordan Spieth, a preternaturally mature Texan carrying the hopes of the golf establishment; and Rickie Fowler, the humble California kid striving to make his golf speak louder than his bright orange clothes.”

Pick it up today for only $11.84 on your Kindle (or your iPhone) at Amazon:

Where to begin, where to begin?  First, we sincerely apologize for falling off the map.  JK and I are both junior attorneys at law firms, and JK has an army of little munchkins to corral.  it is easy for us to fall off the wagon.  But, we are back!  Let’s do this awards show style (the Power Fadeys):

Best Original Screenplay: Tiger Woods

It wouldn’t be the Power Fade without a shout out to our boy, TW.  While Bay Hill always provides an amazing venue and great host, the tournament becomes electric when Tiger is in contention.  He absolutely owns the place.  With an air tight tee to green performance and outstanding putting.  Tiger showed a true return to what we remembered.  79.2% of GIRs and a 1.8 putting average will win a LOT of golf tournaments.  More importantly, he only made 5 bogeys on the week.  Grueling conditions appear to be the norm for Mr. Woods.  The moment that I thought he was “back” was when I realized he was the only player under par in the last four groupings.  Ring a bell?  (2000 U.S. Open at Pebble, anyone?).   Here’s to you, Mr. Woods.

Best Crybaby: Sergio Garcia

JK and I have gone back and forth on Sergio.  JK doesn’t like him.  I used to.  Sure his mental game needs work, but he hits the ball so pure.  Surely it was only a matter of time before he made the breakthrough?!  Well, now, if you talk to Sergio, even he will say it’s not going to happen:

“I’m not good enough, and today I know it,” he said. “I’ve been trying for 13 years, and I don’t feel capable of winning. I don’t know what happened to me. Maybe it’s something psychological. … I’m not good enough for the majors.”

For that, Mr. Garcia, you win the Fadey for “best crybaby”.

Worst Timing: Dustin Johnson

Quick shout out to DJ.  How are you going to go and miss the masters?  fail.

At least he has a sense of humor about the whole Whistling Straits thing…

Best Supporting Actor: Louis Oosthuizen

Oostie put on one hell of a show.  The sweet-swinging South African put on a clinic for knocking in pressure putt after pressure putt on the back nine on Sunday.  He really did look like he had “ice water in his veins.”  Cool as a cucumber, as JK might say.  There isn’t much for me to say that his swing didn’t say on Sunday.  For some reason, we forget that he won the Open Championship at the home of golf by an outstanding 7 strokes.  Oostie, you are a brilliant golfer.  After you performance on Sunday, I consider it only a matter of time before the past champions are looking down at their plates the year after you win saying “what the hell is this?”

By the way, nice double eagle, guy.

Best Picture/Best Actor: Bubba Watson

This is an obvious choice, but we here at the PF love the Masters.  We love everything about it.  It’s our favorite week of the year.  You wrote the perfect story.  The second playoff hole is the reason we play golf.  Crush the ball dead right into the trees…no shot…dead.  Unless you’re Bubba.  150-odd yards to the green, but you have to make the ball take a screeching right turn off of some pine straw.  That sounds like Bubba golf to me.  There’s really nothing I can say that Bubba can’t say for himself:

“I get down there, saw it was a perfect draw,” Watson said. “Even though the tower was in my way, I didn’t want to ask if I could get relief or anything, because it just set up for a perfect draw – well, hook. That’s what we did. We just kept talking about you never know what’s going to happen out here. Anything can happen.”

Way to make it happen, Bubba.  You deserve it.