Ranting Killjoy Gone (Wonderfully) Mad

John Huggan darts way past yours truly to the top of the subversive, technophobic evildoer list with this 2006 non-preview preview that must be read (because Lord knows you won't get anything like it here in the good 'ole US of A). And I don't want to hear any nonsense about how you have to register for The Scotsman...

Because even Monty might like this one, since he only takes a minor drumming compared to others.

So as James Taylor sang, line 'em up:

Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Retief Goosen and Padraig Harrington - haven't yet come out to play, as the wee souls are apparently in need of a break from first-class travel and all that arduous walking round courses with someone else carrying the bag...

It snowballs from there. 

Paired on the first day of the Bay Hill Invitational, old chums Rory Sabbatini and Ben Crane begin to reminisce about their previous rounds together. Unfortunately, the conversation remains in limbo when the duo become separated somewhere around the sixth hole. Still, in a gesture of friendship and goodwill, Sabbatini doesn't leave without saying goodbye. The South African eats lunch, hits balls for an hour, then has a massage as he waits for Crane to finish. 


The latest "new" Augusta National is unveiled at the Masters. Measuring 15,500 yards, the course is said by officials to be a throwback to the strategic, St Andrews-like golfing values extolled by Bobby Jones back in the 1930s. An eerie laughter is heard from somewhere up in the clouds. Tiger Woods wins by 25 shots, shooting four rounds of 82, 32 under par for the par-90 layout.

Mickelson makes his first appearance of the year at the tournament he won in 2004, but withdraws after 18 holes. "I'm missing my cousins back in California," he says.  

And that's just the first third. 


Elling Previews 2006

Boy, you just can't pick up a newspaper these days without these technophobes spreading the message of the devil! In spite his extremist views on technology, Steve Elling delivers an entertaining read. This time he previews 2006. (I love the "dump-and-chase" hockey metaphor for what has become of PGA Tour golf, and I don't even follow hockey).

What's it going to take for someone in a position of authority to take a real stance on runaway technology?

Driving distances are up a whopping 16 yards since 2000 on the PGA Tour, a massive increase that has rendered the game into a one-dimensional display of dump-and-chase hockey. The tour's driving leader averaged 319 yards -- and the first third of the season was played on slow, sloppy tracks because of rain.

Courses such as Augusta National have been forced to stretch (read: desecrate) their storied courses repeatedly, because the USGA is afraid of the equipment companies, and the PGA Tour won't get tougher with its course set-up.

And this on the USGA and PGA of America. Such cynicism. ;)

Place your bets. Which organization will screw up their major championship worse, the U.S. Golf Association or the PGA of America?

The USGA is the safer wager, having ruined so many U.S. Opens over the past decade that it was a huge surprise when absolutely nobody complained last year at Pinehurst.

The PGA, however, capitulated to the broadcasting whims of television and failed to react when rainy weather was in the forecast at the PGA Championship. Because tee times weren't moved up, rain delays pushed the end of the final round to Monday morning, robbing ticket-holders and weekend viewers of a terrific ending when Mickelson birdied the 72nd hole to win by a shot.

Whatever happened to common sense, guys?