August 10, 2008

My opinion, without Tiger, TEAM USA will win.

A lot to comment on this week, so let me get to it.

Lets start with the obvious, namely that US captain Paul Azinger cannot see how "you –know-who" missing the Ryder Cup will help the team despite the fact that he’s never had a winning record in it.

Azinger thinks it gives Europe a huge advantage and I have to completely disagree because, in my view, "you-know-who" is a destabilizing factor. Too many people rely on him to save the day instead of taking their own games to a higher level.

Also, pairing him with someone is a major headache because of the ego factor. Putting two stars together just doesn’t work, so you have to find someone who is comfortable playing second banana to "you-know-who."

I have a feeling that the US Team has a good chance this year and, if I am right, the younger players should sit up and take notice that nobody is irreplaceable on the Tour.

Not even "you-know-who."

I cannot let this week go by without making some comment or reference to the Olympics, specifically, the possibility of golf being included in 2016.

Now, personally speaking, I have been quite nonplussed about professional athletes participating in the Olympics as it is supposed to be for amateurs only, but ever since the US Olympic "Dream Team" showed off a bit, the pros have taken centre stage.

I would love to see golf become part of the Olympics, but I also think that only amateur players should be allowed to participate. Watching "you-know-who" or some other PGA Tour millionaire kicking the stuffing out of some amateur player who is just happy to be representing his country for a gold medal would be painful.

Golf still remains one sport which has refused to blur the line between amateur and professionals thanks to the R&A.

Unfortunately, if history proved anything with the square groove and "spring-like effect" controversies, the market will pressure the powers-that-be to bow down because current conventional wisdom says that nobody will pay good money to watch amateurs tee it up.

I suppose we can all be thankful that these jokers weren’t around in Bobby Jones’ day.

Golf is bidding to become an Olympic sport for the first time since 1904, when 74 Americans and three Canadians contested the medals in St Louis. The IOC will vote on it in October 2009.

Ok, PGA Championship…the event where 17 years ago at Crooked Stick GC, Big John Daly made his mark on the world of golf and has been continuing to shake things up ever since.

Unfortunately, not all the shaking has been from his thunderous drives. Many times its because of his thunderous drinking, punching or talking, yet the world still loves him.

Daly is like everybody’s crazy brother or uncle…and we all have one in the family.

At the practice range at Oakland Hills, site of this week’s 90th PGA Championship, crowds couldn’t wait to see John Daly, proving that he is still a much-loved favourite of the fans despite all of his headline making shenanigans.

Ok, so the guy had some problems, well ok, a LOT of problems…like the public fight with his swing coach Butch Harmon, his public divorce, his public drunkenness, hanging out at the Hooters corporate tent, replacing his regular caddie with Tampa Bay Buccaneers football coach Jon Gruden, and hitting the ball off the top of a full beer can while playing with Kid Rock.

Now 42, Daly has not had his full PGA Tour card for two years, relying mostly on sponsor exemptions to get into tournaments and just recovered from rib surgery and the removal of a cyst on his hand. If that wasn’t bad enough, now he’s dealing with tendonitis in his left elbow.

So why does he remain a favourite?

It could be because of his overwhelming generosity. Very few players spend the time, energy and money that John Daly does for charity and the fans. When he’s in a good mood, he’s been known to stand at the ropes for hours signing everything that’s shoved at him. Golf flags, shirts, hats, programs, pictures and magazine covers, even a ladies bare chest once or twice.

A youngster shouted, "You’re my favourite player, Mr. Daly. I love you."

We all do, kid…


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