Final 2011 Review: Viral Videos, Huggy's

Mike Walker does a nice job compiling the best viral-videos-not-removed-by-the-PGA-Tour-for-copyright-reasons-yet.

I must say, while the Players Championship turtle remains my favorite, getting to see a clean version of Sergio's recent club hurl backed by Scott Walker commentary, brought the artistry and technical brilliance of young Mr. Garcia's tantrum to another level.

Just think of all the hours in the gym he put in to get this one-handed (take that Tommy Bolt!) club torque and speed:

Meanwhile, John Huggan's year-in-review involves giving out awards, and while many Huggy's were great reminders of the year, this as-yet-unspoken gripe for the "Most offensive waste of money" was a favorite:

The Presidents Cup, like all events that fall under the PGA Tour umbrella, prides itself on the contribution it makes to charity. Which is great. But oh my, how much more could have been passed to deserving causes had a veritable tribe of golf officials from across the globe – there must have been at least 40 of them – not been expensively kitted out in cashmere suits and jackets for the opening and closing ceremonies at Royal Melbourne last month?

The Huggy committee does not normally jump to conclusions, but it is a safe bet that every one of those officials already owns a nice suit, one that would have failed to offend any of the watching public. What a freeloading disgrace.

Donald, Tseng, Lehman Tabbed For Golf Writers' Dinner Speaking Obligation

Book those tickets to Augusta Yani Tseng and Tom Lehman, the writers will be expecting you to liven up their dinner and help sooth the pain of having lost to a press release about a not-famous golfer's dying basset hound in the Internet Column division. Oh yes, and to collect your player-of-the-year awards alongside Luke Donald.
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2011 In Review, Vol. 1

I really enjoy year-in-review items and Steve Elling posts the best overview of the year in pro golf, with this reminder for what continues to be an amazing story that hopefully gets plenty of attention during the first half of 2012:

Storybook tale continues: The Nationwide Tour doesn't get much coverage for obvious reasons. After all, Triple-A baseball doesn't, either. But one of the most heart-warming, fulfilling stories of the year continued to develop on the Nationwide this year when Erik Compton finished 13th in earnings to secure his PGA Tour card for 2012. Compton is, quite simply, a medical marvel and an inspiration in spikes. He's the only known sports figure in the world making a living in a professional game after having received a heart transplant, much less two of them. The obstacles that Compton has overcome defy description.

And what do Dan Quayle, Jack Nicklaus, Kevin Na, Roger Ebert and Luke Donald have in common? They're all part of Mike Walker's compilation of the best quotes of the year.

"It was a significant win because it was significant to Woods."

Regardless of how you feel about the strength/size of field, the course, the time of year or Tiger himself, Doug Ferguson's review of Woods's win sums up why this is a little different. He's stating the obvious, but sometimes the obvious gets lost in the obsession over numbers and personalities.
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This Weekend's Airplane Banner Won't Be Heckling Tiger

For those wondering what that plane is doing at the Chevron World Challenge this weekend, here's a news release explaining what's up. Though I'm not sure about cleverness of announcing such a stunt in advance.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DECEMBER 3, 2011

Chevron Challenged for Environmental Crimes at Golf Tournament

Groups Demand Company Follow Court Orders and Clean up Toxic Mess in Ecuador

Thousand Oaks, CA – Today Rainforest Action Network (RAN) and Amazon Watch challenged Chevron Chairman and CEO John S. Watson with a high-flying demand that he clean up his company’s toxic mess in the Ecuadorian Amazon. An airplane banner will circle overhead for three hours on two days of the Chevron World Challenge golf tournament, calling on the executive to remediate the environmental disaster in Ecuador after three decades of contaminating the country's rainforest in reckless pursuit of profit.

RAN and Amazon Watch sponsored this message to Chevron, demanding that the company abide by the $18 billion judgment resulting from one of the world's largest oil-related disasters in history. In a historic ruling this fall, a group of Ecuadorian indigenous and farming communities prevailed over Chevron in both U.S. and Ecuadorian courts in their legal efforts to hold the company accountable for human rights violations and the ongoing environmental crisis it caused in Ecuador. CEO Watson and other Chevron executives routinely defy court orders by stating publically that they will never pay.

“Chevron has spent the last 18 years waging unprecedented public relations and legal campaigns to avoid dealing with the environmental and public health catastrophe it left in the Amazon rainforest,” said Ginger Cassady, Director of RAN’s Change Chevron campaign. “Today we’re challenging Chevron to clean more than their public image and repair the toxic legacy left in Ecuador.”

Today’s banner action comes on the heels of damning statements from another group of Latin Americans: government and regulatory officials in Brazil. After Chevron spilled an estimated 110,000 gallons of pure crude into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of the state of Rio, Brazilian officials were outraged by Chevron executives’ response. At first Chevron lied about the origin of the spill, then they low-balled the number of barrels spilled into the ocean and told regulators the damage was contained when it wasn’t. Brazilian officials are threatening fines up to $145 million, as well as possible prison terms, for what they describe as Chevron’s "environmental crimes."

“From Ecuador to Brazil, Chevron has cemented its position in South America as an ambassador of arrogance and environmental racism,” said Mitch Anderson, Corporate Campaigns Director at Amazon Watch. “This is a company that consistently flouts the rule of law with tremendous hubris. As we know from the ancient Greeks, hubris comes with an awful price.”

The Brazil spill is the most recent embarrassment for Watson during his tenure as Chevron’s chief executive. The Ecuador disaster has generated negative publicity for 18 years and cost Chevron hundreds of millions of dollars in legal fees.

Both Chevron and the Ecuadorians have appealed the $18 billion judgment in Ecuador. The Ecuadorians are arguing for a higher damage award. If the judgment is upheld by the country's appeals court, the Ecuadorians will prepare to seize Chevron's assets in other countries, possibly in Latin America, as the company no longer owns assets in Ecuador.

DVR Alert: First Round Chevron World Challenge

Really!

I know, the first round of the Chevron World Challenge may not normally be one of your top 5 "Must DVR" rounds of the year, but with weather forecasts calling for 50 m.p.h. Santa Ana winds this could be wild.

Jim Furyk explained in his pre-tournament press conference:

When you think about the weather that's coming in, what makes this golf course difficult is a lot of Jack Nicklaus's golf course designs are built to be played in the air.  If you think of Muirfield in Ohio, one of my favorite golf courses, it's a golf course that if you're not bouncing the ball into a lot of greens, you're putting the ball up in the air and stopping on the greens.  And it makes it very difficult in the wind.  And it's the same with this golf course.

If the conditions are nice and the greens are soft, we can put the ball in the air and stop it and kind of maneuver around or over trouble, and with the winds kicking up and being I'm hearing 25 to 35 with gusts over 50 ‑‑ that's what I read this morning, gusts over 50, this place isn't ‑‑ it won't be playable.  So I don't know if that's actually the weather report, but I read that on weather.com this morning.  And it was worse last night when I checked.  It was 25 to 40 and gusts over 60.

So supposed to start at midnight tonight and last till noon on Friday.  So if we get weather like that, gusts over 50, the ball will not stay still on a green here.  We have to put the ball in the air to play this golf course, so the wind, we're going to have to be very careful and hitting very solid shots to control the ball when you put it up in the air in a strong wind.  I would expect scoring to be high, and I would expect the greens to be quite soft and quite slow.

I mean if you're going to get winds that are actually 35 miles an hour, I don't think you can cut the greens, to be honest with you.  Or else it's not going to stay on the green.  So it'll be interesting to see what the weather does and how everything plays out.  It won't be any fun.  I promise you that.

While Royal Melbourne was designed for the wind, I can confirm that Sherwood most definitely is not playable in high winds.

Stevie Case Closed, Say Commissioners Who Do Not Comment On Disciplinary Matters

So, let me get this straight. The PGA Tour does not comment on disciplinary matters, which was reaffirmed yesterday in the Steve Williams matter. Today, the PGA Tour and European Tour Commissioners Tim Finchem and George O'Grady issue a statementsaying "We are aware he has apologised fully and we trust we will not hear such remarks again."

Iain Carter reports on the rest, which sounds like teachers scolding 5th graders:

Their statement added: "The International Federation of PGA Tours feels strongly there is no place for any form of racism in ours or any other sport.

"We consider the remarks of Steve Williams, as reported, entirely unacceptable in whatever context.

"We are aware he has apologised fully and we trust we will not hear such remarks again. Based on this, we consider the matter closed and we will have no further comment."

Doug Ferguson says Adam Scott was shown the statement after his 73 Sunday and is not concerned the story will linger.

The following week is the Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne, where Scott and Woods - or is that Williams and Woods? - could face each other in any of the four days of competition.

Scott tried to deflect speculation that he could be walking into a frenzy Down Under.

"Hopefully, it's just for my good play rather than anything else. I don't think there's a story going forward," he said, adding that "the matter has been put to bed and I've got nothing more to talk about it with anyone. So I'm moving on."

Stevie Initially Denied Slur, Then Cited Context

Joanne Carroll has several vital details in the Stevie scandal, including the word that Williams only attended because Adam Scott asked him to go.

And we do seem to have different takes on which version of a--hole was used (or was it ar--hole..inquiring minds want to know!).

When asked if he used the words "black a***hole" he initially denied using the racially motivated language: "I did not say those two words."

However, he refused to clarify exactly what he did say on stage at the event, attended by more than 100 top players, caddies and golfing officials.

"Things get taken out of context," he said.

Regarding the context, these comments from Greg Turner probably best sum things up.

However, former New Zealand No1 Greg Turner said he did not think Williams could survive the media backlash, particularly in the United States.

"I can't see this ending well. There's some things you can't get away with and this is one of them. I have been trying to think of a context that might have been acceptable but can't come up with anything. I think this is a pretty big one," he said.