Monday, April 09, 2007

Commentary on The Masters and a proposed new PGA Tour slogan

These Guys are Good Pretty Good Better than You.

Whether it's all part of the hoax or not, Tiger Woods looked almost human at The Masters.

In fact, Augusta National Golf Club made a bunch of professional golfers look silly this year. The combination of the weather, the rock hard course conditions, insanely slick greens and magnitude of the event made for unprecedented high scores at The Masters this year. The more it gets to you, the more it'll get to you.

The shot that doesn't fly as far as you'd expect and spins back into the water starts you thinking.

Now that you're thinking, you miss a putt by less than an inch and it ends up 10 feet away from the hole which makes you nervous.

Now that you're nervous, your next tee shot finds the trees and forces you to lay up (if you can get out) and now you're scared.

Now that you're scared, you remember where you are and you try too hard instead of just playing your game.

Now that you've abandoned your game, you'll be lucky to shoot even par.

Don't try to tell me these guys made bad swings, poor decisions and squeaky putts because their skill sets weren't strong enough. They should be able to adapt to difficult course conditions, formulate sound strategies, club up and calm down. They got rattled on that first demanding day and their mental games failed them.

The strangest thing about it all for me is that every golf writer or blogger I've read is complaining that it was no fun to watch! Au contraire!

Now it's not that I enjoy watching people suffer (not that anyone who gets invited to play at Augusta - in The Masters, no less - should be considered to be suffering at any time) but watching them struggle a bit allowed me to relate a little better to the players.

Of course, if in some parallel universe I actually got to play that course in those conditions from a special set of tees at a reasonable distance even without the added pressure of the event, I'd be lucky to break 100. But the point is, their struggles were recognizable. I am very familiar with punching out from the trees and hitting from drop areas and three putting. I could practically feel myself there doing it.

Unlike Zach Johnson whose dream of playing in The Masters was realistic, most of us will have to settle for watching others do it. Perhaps a realistic dream for mere mortals is to watch them do it in a recognizable fashion.

For me, this tournament was not only not boring, it took entertainment to a new level for golf. Even if my skills could improve enough so I could play more like the pros, this may have been the closest I'll ever get to playing Augusta.

Next post.


Patricia said...

Well put Kristen! All weekend I was wondering why I was the only one enjoying the Masters. I couldn't put my finger on what it was. After reading your post I realized I enjoyed it because it was just a tiny bit more "relate-able" than usual. The thing is, I guess most don't want relate-able, they want the uber-fantasy. That's fine most of the time, but sometimes I long to see the pros in situations more in line with normal human aptitude.

Great post!

Scott said...

I'm right there with ya, Kristen...in fact, this was probably the MOST interesting PGA Tournament that I've watched in awhile...
Sure, there were MOMENTS of Superman-ness, but it wasn't that EVERY single shot was for the highlight reel...
You could FEEL their emotions better, you COULD relate the the predicaments they found themselves in, and for some reason, I saw more LOUSY driving than usual...
Upon momentary reflection on that last observation, seeing more was probably attributable to the lack of a COMMERCIAL every two minutes, and the overall presentation had more content, more flow, more interest...
Maybe the PGA Tour will want to THINK about that, and have two/three major sponsors, and cut away every 20 minutes for two minutes of commercial breaks...it made for a MUCH more enjoyable telecast on Sunday....
Great post!

bobsblog said...

I agree this was a great Masters.
I hate to say it but when I see the pros struggle, I feel a little better about my game.