Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The PGA Championship Preview

I periodically wonder why I devote several hours a week to writing this column* and then I come across an item like the following piece from the Associated Press last Thursday glorifying the United States basketball team's annihilation of Nigeria in which they set a bevy of meaningless records while running-up the score to 156-73. (Stay classy Coach K). The story starts with "[t]he last group in England with this many records was the Beatles."** Wow. That one made the writers for the Hollywood Squares wince.*** It's not so much that comparing the U.S.A. Basketball team to the Beatles was a bad idea, it's the half-assed effort that followed. I mean if you feel committed to that analogy, at least smarten it up a bit and say something like, "the last group in England with this many records had bowl cuts and practiced transcendental meditation." (That's still pretty lame . . . it might not be salvageable after all).

"I would have called it the
'Goddamn Beatles Record
Standard' OH! OH! OH!"
In the end, articles like that inspire me and, from this point forward, the level of journalism achieved by the A.P. last Thursday will be known on the FGR as the "Beatles Record Standard."**** Our mission statement will be to attempt to exceed that standard every week. (Keeping with the recent Olympic theme, we're starting with a low bar). Now let's move on to the business at hand.  

The PGA Championship Preview

I swear I made my top two picks before Rob Bolton posted his Power Rankings on PGATour.com and went with the same two guys - Louis Oostuizen and Jason Dufner. Then again, it's hard to pick against players who currently seem to be standing in the middle of the fairway every time the cameras find them. My theory approaching this tournament is that it's going to have a British Open feel so I've had Oosthuizen penciled into that top spot since he reappeared briefly at Royal Lytham a few weeks ago. His top 5 finish last weekend only made me feel better about the pick. Dufner is something of a no-brainer at this point as it's not a matter of if he's going to win a major but when. The rest of the list is filled with bombers who have won majors or come very close (D.J., Watson and Bradley) and guys who have the game and patience to survive on a brutally frustrating course (Harrington, Rose, Schwartzel and McDowell). And then there is Luke Donald in the 9th spot which is about where he will finish by shooting a 68 on Sunday to move from out of contention into the top 10.

The frustrating nature of the course and the unpredictability of the weather keep Tiger and Rory out of my top 10. I just don't see a good week coming for either one of golf's divas as neither of them have thrived lately when the conditions have been tough. Remember, this is the course that made Mark Calcavecchia cry in the 1991 Ryder Cup after he blew a 4-up lead with 4 to play against Colin Montgomerie by making a double on 16 and a triple on 17 ('91 Ryder Cup - note at about the 1:47 mark when the announcer says, "you wouldn't like to play medal around this course." Uh oh). The player who wins this week is going to have to deal with a few ugly holes, just say "fuck it" and move on and I don't think Tiger and Rory have that in them right now.

The PGA Championship Top Ten

Alas, new FGR favorite Alison Stokke
did not make the U.S. Olympic team.
Hopefully see you in 2016 Alison.
1. Louis Oostuizen
2. Jason Dufner
3. Dustin Johnson
4. Padraig Harrington
5. Justin Rose
6. Bubba Watson
7. Keegan Bradley
8. Charl Schwartzel
9. Luke Donald
10. Graeme McDowell

Last Week's Report Card: C-

1. Tiger Woods - T8th
2. Dustin Johnson - T19th
3. Lee Westwood - 70th
4. Luke Donald - T8th
5. Bo Van Pelt - T8th
6. Hunter Mahan - T55th
7. Franceso Molinari - T40th
8. Retief Goosen - T29th
9. Bubba Watson - T19th
10. Zach Johnson - T40th

For those who actually rely on these rankings for gambling purposes and want to smash a Volkey wedge over my head for last week's performance, I don't blame you. If it makes you feel any better, I pretty much torpedoed my one and done team by going with Hunter Mahan and Peter Hanson after deciding to save Keegan Bradley and Louis Oosthuizen for the PGA Championship (ouch . . . actually that doesn't do it justice, that was more like a toe striking a brick followed by an OUCH, SHIT, FUCK THAT REALLY HURT! . . . (10 seconds later) . . . fuck, fuck, fuck). To be honest, I never considered putting Bradley in my top 10. He was just one of the best players I hadn't used yet and Furyk's performance came a little out of nowhere so I never had him in the mix either but shame on me for not having Dufner (7th) and Oostuizen (4th) in there. I'm not making the same mistake this week.

Endnotes

* I refuse to call it a blog because that would make me a blogger and I am not a blogger, I am a writer dammit!
Kobe has entered the "Nick Young
Zone" by averaging  a dismal 0.8
assists per game in the Olympics.

** Here is the link to the whole article which goes on to say that "[t]he U.S. men’s Olympic basketball team beat Nigeria 156-73 Thursday night, an epic blowout that answered the Americans’ detractors." (AP - USA Crushed Nigeria). It didn't answer this detractor who then watched them struggle to beat Lithuania a few days later because Kobe refuses to pass to any of the 9-10 players on the team who are now better than he is and everyone out there other than Tyson Chandler fancies himself a 3-point shooter. They could cruise to the gold medal if they focused on defense and started Chris Paul, Andre Igoudala, LeBron, Kevin Durant and Tyson Chandler with Kevin Love, Russell Westbrook and (if they really need more scoring) Carmelo Anthony coming off the bench. Just tell Kobe, James Harden, Deron Williams and Anthony Davis to chill at the hotel until the medal ceremony. (Sorry for the tangent but the fact that any of these games are close in the second half is a joke).

*** And I'm referring to the unwatchable new version of Hollywood Squares with Bruce Vilanch, not the hilarious classic version hosted by Peter Marshall with Paul Lynde, George Gobel and Jonathan Winters - Hollywood Squares.

**** I'm getting very close to needing a glossary of terms for this site along with a better way of handling the endnotes so I can ditch all of these ridiculous asterisks.

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