Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Oakmontgate: Winners and Losers

On Wednesday, we'll get to a preview of the poor sucker of a tournament that's following the U.S. Open this year but, if you're not expecting something out of the FGR on Sunday's shamockery of an imbroglio, then I don't know my business am I right? [sniffs, twitches head and grabs crotch] So let's cover it using the old crutch of alternating "Winners" and "Losers" and there were certainly plenty of worthy competitors for both honors. 

Winner: Dustin Johnson

We'll start with the most obvious one. D.J.'s 6-iron to three feet on the 72nd hole is arguably the greatest "Fuck You" shot in the history of golf. Remember that, in addition to the steaming bullshit cloud hanging over his head related to the potential penalty that may or may not be called between the end of the round and the 4th of July, he also had to back-off the shot because a walkie-talkie or something else went off right as he was about to pull the trigger the first time. It's almost cooler and more chill-inducing to watch it after the fact. 

Loser: The USGA

If I was one of the ten Judge Smails impersonators who paraded out there for the awards ceremony, I would've been screaming "STOP TALKING!!!" every time Jeff Hall, the Managing Director of Rules & Competitions for the USGA, decided to make himself the story by going on television to explain how he was taking a straightforward decision and turning it into Sophie's Freakin' Choice (never saw it but I understand that Meryl Streep had to make a tough call). That was some Roger Goodell level ineptitude. It was like a Cliffs Notes version of Deflategate except there was actually a side to root for that didn't make you feel like you bathed in Carnival cruise ship bilge water.       

Winner: Jack Nicklaus

After the round, Nicklaus said that when he congratulated Johnson he added, "What you did with all that crap thrown at you was pretty good." Even if he didn't say it that way to Johnson, the fact that he said that he said it is good enough for us. We're glad that Jack took a break from hawking ice cream to use his clout.   

Loser: The Game of Golf

Avoid having Jeff "I'll have to get 
back to you on that" Hall involved 
in any time sensitive decisions.
For a game that often struggles to legitimize itself as a "sport," having a rules system that allows for a call to be enforced after the players have finished playing ain't helping. The easiest analogy to what almost happened yesterday would be if a World Series game 7 was tied through nine innings but then the umpires decided to change a play at the plate call in the third inning from a run to an out thereby ending the game and changing the outcome. If you want to know what that would look like if it ever really happened, George Brett will be happy to show you.  

Winner: Brad Faxon

Fax was the only one on the air who had the stones to just come right out and call total fucking bullshit on the USGA. Thank God he was there to act as a dam to slow down the torrent of nonsense coming out of the mouth of . . . 

Loser: Paul Azinger

As soon as he started talking, I tweeted "Azinger sounds so unbelievably full of shit right now." That was when he tried to distract us from the USGA's witless pursuit by saying how the players really had to bear down and focus. Then he completely doubled-down on that crock by saying that every player at some point in his career had to play a round with the possibility of a penalty hanging over his head. Oh really Paul? So you say we're blowing this out of proportion because it happened to Shooter McGavin in the second round of the Jimmy Dean Sausage Swing Invitational back in 1983 and he kept it together to bring home the title? Congratulations. You just proved that someone can sound more tone deaf in a golf announcing booth than Joe Buck. It's a mystery why you two only get to call one tournament a year.

Winners: Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth

They came out firing at the USGA on Twitter as soon as the Keystone Cops left D.J. dangling on the 12th tee. Rory was a little quicker and snarkier but he's Irish so he has a big edge there:

"This is ridiculous... No penalty whatsoever for DJ. Let the guy play without this crap in his head. Amateur hour from @USGA."

But Spieth held his own:

"Lemme get this straight. DJ doesn't address it. It's ruled that he didn't cause it to move. Now you tell him he may have? Now? This a joke?"

Loser: Rickie Fowler

Rickie has now missed the cut in the three tournaments that matter (Masters, U.S. Open and The Players) since he applied for membership with the Big Three. Not helping his case is the fact that D.J. just moved-up to #3 ahead of Rory and Rickie has dropped below Bubba to #6 in the World Golf Rankings (which now seem to be kind of working after the Luke Donald/Lee Westwood ridiculousness of 2011). What does that have to do with Oakmontgate? Well Rickie also decided to chime-in on Twitter but he was the guy who just "randomly" happened to be in the bathroom when the fight broke-out in the bar and, by the time he got out, all the real punches had been thrown and everyone was just jumping on the pile. His "shot" at the USGA came seven minutes after Rory and Spieth had already stuck their necks out and it went like this:

".@JordanSpieth @McIlroyRory w/ you boys! The fact that the@usga thinks that DJ caused the ball to move is completely ridiculous! Laughable!"

In other words, "yeah USGA, what those major winners said."