John Wayne was born as Marion Morrison. All the greats must need to have 2 names.
Without question, this is the one international golfer that is most needed on the PGA Tour. Hands down. Bar none.
Ok, ok, technically his name’s not “Alpha-Barn-Rat,” it’s Aphibarnrat, but it’s so close, it’s scary.
First, a little bio on my man, the Barn Rat. He’s 25 years old and is from Bangkok, Thailand, and makes his living on the Asian, European and Japanese Tours. With 4 wins worldwide, plus 4 junior world titles, the guy’s no hack.
However, he’s referred to as “Asia’s John Daly!” Yep, this is not your typical PGA Tour clone. For instance, checking in at 5’8″ and 230 lbs, he’s already working on that “Baby Daly” frame. He’s also known to tug on the the smokes like JD, but here’s the best part. The backswing! Daly-esque! Almost to his left knee it goes! Check it out in slow-mo below.
Plus (along with being a plus size), the guy’s a player. Golfer, that is. The svelte one is currently 84th in the Official World Golf Rankings, which means he’s almost lapping that guy named “Woods” twice, you know the one we keep writing about and the TV can’t quit showing when he decides to play in at tournament here and there.
All it took was one major at Crooked Stick for Daly to become a folk hero. Give the Barn Rat a few months over here and if a win happens, it’ll be like the Beatles hitting the states on their first U.S. tour in 1964.
Tournaments are doing creative things to entice top players to consider playing in their events.
The Travelers Championship is known for its “custom” red and white M&M’s with the winner’s name and image, along with other enticements to attract players.
Case in point, the Travelers Championship, seated immediately behind (and completely across the country) from this year’s U.S. Open, offered players free charter flights for them and their families from the Seattle/Tacoma to their tournament near Harftord.
They also are famous for the custom M&M’s with the likeness of their winner.
So, how do you attract the former World’s #1, and believe it or not, now the World’s #220 (wow, what a fall from Blues Station 104.0, click HERE if you didn’t catch our blog on it), Tiger Woods?
Well, not many of those tournaments have been successful yet, but we’re pretty sure we know what you DON’T want to offer as an incentive to get him to your place. Here are our Top 5, in descending order:
#5 – Barbasol Classic – Assuming there’s a year sometime in the next 40 years when Tiger doesn’t want to play in the Open Championship, the second best place to be that week is in lovely Auburn, Alabama (although Alabama Crimson Tide fans might dispute that) for the Barbasol Classic. It might not be a good idea for the folks in Auburn to offer an “Instructors All Star Foursome” for Tiger’s pro-am partners, those being Butch Harmon, Hank Haney, Sean Foley and Chris Como. If we were on the Barbasol committee, we’d suggest working a deal where Tiger gets to toss the first roll of toilet paper after Auburn beats Louisville on September 5. The game’s in Atlanta so if the toss doesn’t go that great, not many will see it anyway.
Harbour Town Marina at Sea Pines Plantation, immediately behind #18 green of Harbour Town Golf Links
#4 – RBC Heritage – Probably one of the most popular tournaments on tour, Woods has never played in this event at Harbour Town Golf Links. Likely, because it’s the week following the Masters. In the recruitment of Tiger, we certainly would not suggest a practice round with Rick Reilly, who wrote the book “Tiger, Meet my Sister…….and other things I possibly shouldn’t have said.” Stick with the red tartan winner’s jacket and soft shell crabs at the marina.
#3 – John Deere Classic – Rumor has it that the folks at the John Deere were thinking of offering up a secret time and place for Tiger to have a lesson with David Leadbetter, the only instructor that TW’s not tried to this point. We suggest otherwise, perhaps offering to pair him with Bill Murray in the pro-am, or guaranteeing Tiger his 2-4 tournament rounds (depending if he makes the cut) with 3 time champion Steve Stricker, who basically owns the place.
Former Edwin Watts Golf employee Kenny Nicholson, along with former World’s Number 1 Tiger Woods, play blackjack at a NIKE Golf sponsored event a few years back.
#1 – The FUTURE MASTERS – If he ever get’s tired of the real Masters, there’s always the Press Thornton Future Mastersin Dothan, Alabama which has been going on for 66 plus years. With winners such as Stewart Cink, Briney Baird, Shaun Micheel and Mark Brooks, TW would have a chance to add his name to an impressive list of past champions, although they won at 18 years of age or less. While we do recommend showing some of the sights and attractions of Dothan, such as the Ross Clark Circle and Wiregrass Churchto the esteemed tournament guest, we certainly would not recommend to the committee under any circumstances waiving the mandatory qualifying and and the $250 non-refundable entry fee.
It was actually very ironic that we saw trains crisscrossing the US Open venue on a regular basis. I’m just glad none of them took a cue from the players Sunday afternoon and derailed.
The first derailment came from Rory McIlroy. 6 under for the day and staring at a 4 footer for birdie on 14 to go -3 for the tournament. With the reachable par 4 16 coming up as well as the par 5 18th Rory was looking to post a -5 on the board and make the players behind try to match it. But he misses the 4 footer and bogeys 15 and 17 and ends up even for the tournament.
Next comes Brendan Grace. Tied for the lead going to the reachable 16th he looks like he actually tried to hit one of the trains off the tee. His OB leads to a double bogey and his chances were gone. Jordan Speith is next. After a brilliant birdie putt on 16 to go 3 up on the field he butchers the par 3 17th and make a double bogey. He does get it back on the track with a clutch birdie on 18 to get it to -5.
But the biggest derailment is yet to come. Dustin Johnson seemed like a man among boys on Sunday.
Booming drives and seemingly hitting wedges into every par 4. His power game was in full display. It looked like he could have birdied almost every hole on the front side. But DJ has some bad memories in majors. The collapse at Pebble Beach, the wayward 2 iron at the Open Championship and of course the confusion at Whistling Straits.
He stepped to the tee at 17 on Sunday at -3 and realistically knew he had to play the last 2 holes 2 under to have a chance.
What follows are 3 of the best shots hit in the entire tournament. He hits it to 3 feet for birdie on 17, a hole no one could get close to all day. He follows that up with maybe the best tee shot ever hit in a US Open on 18. It enables him to hit a 5 iron into a 600 yard hole that lands 12 feet from the hole. I can’t remember anyone hitting 3 shots like that in a US Open with the tournament on the line. But DJ joins the derailment party and 3 putts and finishes second.
Two shots cover 600 yards but it takes 3 to go 12 feet. It just doesn’t seem fair. But the US Open usually isn’t.
Watching Tiger and FOX this weekend, I guess “strange to watch” was the first thing that came to mind. “Painful at times” was the second. And those phrases were a bit of understatements.
First, let’s talk FOX. These guys wanted in the golf game badly. 12 years at $100 million a year is the rumor of the going rate they paid the gents from Far Hills, NJ for the rights.
They’ve hired an all-star cast of announcers. Great announcers.
But, are they great golf announcers? Nope. Not yet.
Joe Buck and the Hall of Famer, Greg Norman (photo courtesy Golfweek)
“There are no gimmies out here.” Really, How many times did we hear that one on Saturday and Sunday?
“I’m Joe Buck and this is the Hall of Famer, Greg Norman.” Ok, Joe, but do you have to say it every time the camera hits you two? Thanks for the intro, but I don’t think Jim Nantz does that every time the single time they cut to him. Once a day is fine, we know who you are.
“With that putt, Johnson’s lead goes to 3.” No it didn’t, it went to 2 shots!
And, Holly Sonders interviewing Kevin Kisner after Saturday’s round with multiple questions….all about Jason Day, then thanked him for stopping by. I would have fallen out if Kisner would have ended it with, “Don’t you want to ask me anything about my round?”
But, it wasn’t just the announcers (although Corey Pavin, Brad Faxon were good, as was Juli Inkster who was rarely heard and never to be seen). The PRODUCTION was like they’d never worked a major before.
Alright, they hadn’t.
Shots of golf balls were lost in flight, images on the screen freezing up, cutting to a player 35 seconds before he hit the shot, announcers being cut off in the middle of a sentence. I’m trying to imagine what the late, great Frank Chirkinian would have done to the trailer at CBS if this was on his watch. Probably something like that fire that broke out near the course.
The shot tracers and various yardage graphics were great, but come on, guys.
So, how does FOX get better covering majors? How does Tiger get better playing in majors?
More regular tournaments!
But, that’s not as easy as it sounds. FOX wanted in this game and the only nuggets up for bid were USGA tournaments. Remember, this is the same network that wanted in college football so badly, a market that was owned by the Worldwide Leader, CBS and NBC (Notre Dame) that it did the same thing that they did in golf. Bought the rights to just a few games.
Most all of the BCS Bowl Games including the Championship Game!
Beginning in 2006, FOX did all of the BCS games (Sugar, Orange and Fiesta Bowls leaving the Rose to ABC) and the BCS Championship Games. The coverage for a network that did zero regular season games was about the same as a network that broadcast zero professional golf and then takes on our country’s National Championship.
FOX is like the millionaire parent of a kid that wanted to go to a summer camp, but couldn’t get in because it was full. So the parent bought the camp. Kid’s in, problem’s solved.
So back to golf, with NBC and CBS owning the PGA Tour for the most part, there are no other ways for FOX to improve by taking on a few regular tour events.
But, maybe the former world’s #1 could, if ego will allow it. Personally, I just don’t see Tiger teeing it up at the John Deere or the Greenbrier. However, red alert: you’re not in the WGC Bridgestone where you’ve won 8 times, and there’s already talk that your U.S. Open exemption as a past winner runs out in 2018. The 2019 U.S. Open is at Pebble Beach and there’s already talk that you’d have to qualify if you wanted to be a part of the party.
Humble yourself, TW. Play some more. No more swing overhauls, go back to Tiger 1.0, not some other version.
And to FOX, I wish we could say do some more tournaments, but other than the U.S. Senior Men’s and the Women’s U.S. Open, there won’t be many that anyone’s really watching and engaged. You guys live on the edge, that’s what made you FOX Sports. However, PLEASE, look in the mirror and learn from your mistakes.