June 29, 2008

Golf means taking responsibility for your actions...and that includes club owners too!

Dean Cashion "skyped" me the other day and asked a valid question...why do I focus so much on US players and give the international players only passing reference?

Dean was referring to my comments about Tiger and Mickelson’s pairing in the US Open and the fact that I didn’t mention Australian golfer Adam Scott who was also paired with them.

Well, to be honest, Dean has a very valid point and I will take steps to correct that.

I was actually thinking of picking Adam Scott to win the US Open, but I didn’t want to jinx him as I am never correct in my predictions, but the column was about a media-created Tiger / Phil rivalry which has almost zero chance of replicating the excitement of Palmer – Nicklaus, Nicklaus – Watson, etc.

Adam Scott reminds many of us like a young Greg Norman. He’s got all the tools and the attitude, but he’s not there yet. A few more years of seasoning in the PGA Tour pressure cooker and he could indeed be a major force to be reckoned with, but not just yet and even implying it now would be doing a disservice to him.

Look at all the players who crashed and burned after being called "the next Nicklaus" or the "next Tiger."

These kids don’t need unnecessary pressure from the media to carry a banner that they’re not ready for just because the industry needs more excitement and the pundits need a rivalry to sell magazines or newspapers.

I said a long time ago that the next rival to Tiger Woods would probably have to come from the European Tour or even Australia because US Tour professionals have been conditioned to roll over and play dead whenever Tiger is on the prowl.

Yet, with Tiger out of action for the rest of the season, we will have a golden opportunity to see who will rise to the occasion and try to make a name for themselves.

Sure, Mickelson, Els, and Garcia will be the drawing cards for the tournaments and with no Tiger around, they will walk real tall and talk real loud...but I have a feeling that we will see a lot of younger kids stepping up and making themselves heard.

If Adam Scott wants to take his game to the next level, now is the time and then maybe next year he will have the confidence to take on Tiger face to face...

Onwards...

To the outside observer and investors, Vietnam’s golf industry seems robust and heading like a skyrocket in the right direction. Unfortunately, while that might have been true 18 months ago, according to the Vietnamese media – especially Thanh Nien, that’s not the case today and I have to agree somewhat.

Golf course development got a bit out of hand and greed got the better of everyone. So, the Government had to exercise its prerogative of throwing cold water on the hopes and dreams of many potential investors who never bothered to perform due diligence and figured building a golf course is an automatic path to riches.

The truth is that far too many people are launching golf courses without the slightest idea of what they’re doing and without bothering to ensure their business model makes sense in today’s economy.

Golf-related stories in the Vietnamese media over the last month (including Vietnam News) have been downright hostile and accused golf courses of almost every sin under the planet.

Unfortunately, some of the accusations have some truth to them.

They claim golf courses use more chemicals than farmers, which is false and under normal circumstances golf courses have a certified expert to apply them safely.

Unfortunately, some courses cut corners and let unqualified people apply them, or fail to safeguard the local environment. Owners and players want their own course to look like the ones they see on the PGA Tour, which is unrealistic because those courses have been groomed for two years just to peak for the one week they’re on TV.

Foreign golf course superintendents and golf directors try to explain this to the owners constantly, but it falls on ears deafened by the sound of money being counted.

Golf expects people to be responsible for their actions...

That applies to everyone, not just players.

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