Monday, August 1, 2011

The Greenbrier Update

It's not easy to make a three-way playoff boring but if you want to try, here is the recipe: (1) start by including Bob Estes who is to a golf tournament what tryptophan is to Thanksgiving dinner; (2) add bland nice guy Bill Haas; (3) throw-in a relatively unknown rookie who had missed 12 of 20 cuts coming into the tournament; and (4) hold the playoff on a very short par 3 with no bunkers or water in sight.  They might as well have made it a closest to the pin contest.  I get that you want the playoff to end in front of the crowd but you have to make the winner earn it by doing more than hitting a 9-iron and a six foot putt.  If only they had a good playoff hole nearby that could have created some drama, maybe a reachable par 5 with water in play off the tee....hmmm....like the 17th hole?!? 

"The sun was in my eyes!"
The decision to use 18 for the playoff had to be related to the fact that this the whole tournament was one long ad for the Greenbrier - kind of like the AT&T Pro-Am but, instead of gratuitous promotions for unwatchable CBS shows, they just kept shooting the resort from every conceivable angle and had Jim Nantz fawn all over it.  You know it's a serious event when they close the Saturday coverage by showing Sergio Garcia playing mixed doubles - "hey we've got Sergio playing tennis on camera 12, the Greenbrier people will love that."  So we saw Sergio's partner hit five shots in a row before a ball came to him. Fortunately, he promptly hit it into the net, jumped in the air, did a scissor kick and spit on his racket.  We're clearly due for another major. 

What they needed was a camera on Spencer Levin on Sunday as he was hacking it around to a 77.  That should be the Golf Channel's next show.  "Back of the Pack" where they follow hotheads while they're either blowing-up on Sunday or just playing out the string of a tournament that they threw away on Saturday.  My order of viewing preference yesterday would have been:  (1) watching Spencer Levin sulking and seething his way to a 77, (2) watching Brendon De Jonge eat the hamburger from the Jeremiah Weed commercial, and (3) watching Bob Estes shoot 64.           

"I won the real U.S. Open. 
How do you like them apples?"
My crack at Jim Nantz notwithstanding, he confirmed again yesterday that he is the best in the business as we had the rare opportunity to hear him side-by-side with Dan Hicks who was doing the U.S. Senior Open and droning on and on about what an interesting guy Olin Browne is because he reads Malcom Gladwell.  He then he qualified it by saying, "I mean he's no Lucas Glover."  Is Lucas Glover some kind of genius?  (That would explain the Unibomber beard).  When he bumps into Olin Browne does it go down like this, "you got that from Gladwell.  Outliers, page 72, right?  Yeah, I read that too.  You gonna' plagiarize the whole thing for us?  Is that your thing?  You come into a clubhouse, you read some obscure passage, and then pawn it off as your own idea to impress some announcers?"  To quote my wife after listening to Hicks for five minutes, "who is this jackass?"                        

For the second week in a row my pick came to the 18th hole with a chance to make the playoff but Gary Woodland attempted to defy the laws of physics and hit a pitching wedge from 168, made par and missed it by a stroke.  Woodland now has a win, six top 10's and three top 30's in the majors.  He has a Samuel L. Jackson type demeanor in that, when he does something good he looks like he's saying, "that's right muther---ker" and, when he screws-up, he cracks a psycho smile.  Despite all of this, he never seems to be in the conversation about the best young American players.  Maybe he needs to dress in all orange or blow a couple of majors on Sunday to get noticed.