Taking AIM With Michael Bamberger

AIMDarwin.jpgSports Illustrated writer Michael Bamberger has authored this week's cover story on Tiger Woods's win at Hoylake as well as a new book on director M. Night Shyamalan and his new film.

After returning from Hoylake, Bamberger kindly took a few minutes chat about The Open Championship for this site's occasional Taking Aim series.

GeoffShac:    Your game story focused on Tiger, but I'm curious what you thought of Hoylake

MBamberger:    I thought Hoylake looked dull, and there was nothing about it that would make me want to play it. But when you heard the players talking about, especially Tiger, it was a reminder that they see courses completely differently.

GeoffShac:    so even after seeing how it rewarded thought, you still can't get excited about it?

MBamberger:    I'd play it in a minute, because I think you can understand these courses only if you've played them yourself. But no dunes, no sea, no wind--nothing to get too excited about.

GeoffShac:    What did you think of the weekend hole locations?

MBamberger:    Excellent. Kept the players on their toes. The R&A did a superb job of setting up the course.

GeoffShac:    Andy North and Nick Faldo hinted that some were a bit over the top, with many seemed to be designed to induce pars after the low scoring over the first 36. No?

MBamberger:    I didn't feel that--just progressively harder over the course of the week, which I think is appropriate.

MBamberger:    The greens were puttable--if that's a word--so that you could put the hole most anywhere.

MBamberger:    But to chip it and pitch it you needed big-time game.

GeoffShac:    Where does this performance of his rank among his best and others you've seen?

MBamberger:    It was a stirring performance because of his father's death, his year, the leaderboard. But hitting one driver, and playing links golf in little wind, it's not the complete test an Open sometimes is. Still, an inspiring thing to be around.

GeoffShac:    Do you view it as a weakness of Hoylake that it did not force him to hit driver?

MBamberger:    No, not Hoylake's fault. Damn ball goes too far.

GeoffShac:    Ah, good answer!
GeoffShac:    Did you play any golf over there, or was it all work?

MBamberger:    Usually I play, but this time I didn't.

GeoffShac:    Have you ever played or seen links golf in conditions like the players saw at Hoylake?

MBamberger:    I wans't there, but when I asked Tiger about his win at St. Andrews win 2000, when I was writing him up as Sportsman of the Year for the magazine, he kept going back to how still it was.  I couldn't get him off that.

GeoffShac:    And finally, I have to ask about your new book...
GeoffShac:    how did that come about?

MBamberger:    The Night book?

GeoffShac:    Yep

MBamberger:    I met him, was struck by him, asked if I could hang out with him. He said yes and I wrote it up as I saw it.

GeoffShac:    This is two non-golf books in a row (basically, not including your fine anthology from last year)...will you be getting back to golf or sports with your next?

MBamberger:    I appreciate the question, Geoff, but I'm looking forward to just working my day job for a while--no plans at all.

GeoffShac:    Cool. Keep up the great work and thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions

MBamberger:    A pleasure, Geoff, and thanks for all you're doing to help keep the game sane. You play Sebonack yet?

GeoffShac:    no, but I sure hope to see it soon...I'm sure it's interesting, though maybe not as interesting had Doak been able to do it by himself :)