"Make me a match." Indeed. The Tiger/Phil was hyped as a duel for the ages; too bad it made many of us want pay-to-view "Fiddler on the Roof" before we even got to the back 9... Granted, it was perfect for post T-Day tryptophan syndrome, eh? Drama? You bet - if you're into weekday, midday Soapies. And to think they played this thing in Vegas...
Some important takeaways (and links that can lead you to better golf + better entertainment), nonetheless, for the games we play on the links, and daily sidewalks:
- Mediocrity. The quality/level of golf, that is. Good thing they moved the two icons up a few tee boxes so they could make slews of birdies. Whoopsie. Might have considered using the Operation 36 teeing areas on the back 9... And the green-reading. Fell somewhere between pitiful and pathetic. Old eyes? Perhaps part of it; Tiger and Phil (and you?) could spend some time perusing pal David Orr's site, Flatstick Academy, for green-reading, and to explore the multitude of ways to better roll one's rock.
You, with your golf game, and life game? Stuck? Mired in 'so-so-ness?' Improving & evolving - or wallowing & wading in shallow water? Comfortably making a living - or considering diving into the deep end and making a difference?
- The Stakes. $9 mill. Ooh. Ahh. Yet we all knew it wasn't their own dough... Riveting indeed - if you were half-asleep on the couch, that is. And those challenges... $100k here, $200k there. MORE Ooh. MORE Ahh. Funny money.
But isn't that what your practice often looks like? No consequence. No pressure or anxiety. Do-overs like free drinks at the blackjack tables in Sin City. Then you wonder why it's so much different - so much tougher - when you go to tee it for real. For keeps.
I don't. It's why I developed my signature Train2Trust Programs - based in science and experience (now that's a powerful cocktail, comrades).
You want legit pressure to perform? Click on (rated "R" for the squeamish) the promo piece up top for a blast from Vegas past. A true taste of success or failure, make it or miss it, win or lose...
- Trash-talking & Authenticity. What were you expecting, anyway? A Gary Payton/Larry Bird-like jawing session? Shades of Reggie Miller/Draymond Green barking away? Or an MJ/Charles Barkley-esque ribbing? Uh... it was Phil and Tiger playing golf, remember? In hindsight, the powers-that-were might have considered bringing Sir Charles and Pat Perez out onto the course to stir things up a bit.
Fish out of water. Especially Tiger. Arguably the greatest we've ever seen supposed to flip a switch and go from "I'm going to step on your throat and rip your heart out (a fantastic mindset and demeanor for competition, BTW)" to "It's quite nice to be out here playing with, and oh yeah - against - you."
Wow, talk about unauthentic. What about you when you play your best? Who are you? And who shows up when things go South? What about in your daily doings? You pretending? Posing? Or present? Working on fattening your bank account and lowering your index - or working on helping someone, or something, who's less-fortunate than you?
Nice guys (and gals) are so sorely needed in our angry, fractured and divided world as 2018 comes to a close. Compassion. Kindness. Generosity. Understanding. And not just when the Butterball and Santa show up.
Feeling empty after a gluttonous weekend, and the anticipated 'showdown' that ended in a pitch-and-putt contest in the dark, for a lousy belt;? I understand. These shant disappoint - for your own eye and ears - or perhaps for a loved one this holiday season...
The Greatest Game Ever Played
His caddie was a 10-year-old kid. He worked at a sporting-goods store and needed to ask his boss for time off even to play in the United States Open. Then American Francis Ouimet, 20, goes and out-duels British legends Harry Vardon and Ted Ray down the stretch to win the 1913 Championship, in Brookline, MA. "Grow the game," you ask? In the 10 years after Ouimet's victory, the number of Americans playing the sport tripled, and public courses popped up across the country. Match that.
Author Mark Frost strikes again. This won deadlier/better than Tiger's chip-in (below) on 17 from just over the green.
The year: 1956. Ouimet's 10-year-old caddy, Eddie Lowery (small world isn't it boys & girls, especially the golf world), is now a wealthy car dealer and avid supporter of amateur golf. He boasts to fellow millionaire George Coleman that two of his salesmen - U.S. Amateur Champion Harvie Ward and up-and-coming star Ken Venturi, can beat anyone in the world in a best ball match. Coleman asks Lowery how he plans to prove it. 'Bring any two golfers of your choice to the course tomorrow morning,' Lowery tells him, 'and we'll settle the issue.' Coleman shows up all right - with Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson, the game's greatest living professionals.
Yikes. Careful of what you ask for, right? And how about the threads these two are sporting back in the day? In need of some fresh looks for 2019? Click on the two Texans above for some ideas from Nike Golf.
Shell's Wonderful World of Golf: Hogan vs. Snead
Quite possibly the Match of the Century...
It's May of 1964 and the two Goliaths collide at Houston Country Club in an 18-hole stroke play event. It would prove to be the final time the then 51 year-olds would meet in competition - and unlike this past Turkey Day weekend's snooze-fest - this one didn't disappoint.
Appropriately, it would be seen by one of the largest TV audiences recorded at the time for a golf event: 3.47 million viewers, according to Nielsen. Who wouldn’t want to watch Ben Hogan go 'mano a mano' with Sam Snead?
The Hogan/Snead match was effectively an exhibition, entertainment. And there wasn’t much money or glory involved: $3,000 to the winner, $2,000 to the loser; no green jackets, glittering trophies - or belts; only a few column inches in the sports pages. That took nothing away from its significance, symbolic or otherwise.
Coaching & Guidance
Per writer Al Barkow, present at the match: "Given their larger-than-life personas and competitive records—against the pros of their generation and between each other—Hogan and Snead could have played for marbles on a muni in Muncie, Ind., and they’d have commanded the attention of even the most indifferent golf fans."
Amen, Mr. Barkow. Wanna watch this epic battle? Click on that coolio black and white unit just above, and catch it on YouTube. The urban legends - and lessons for us all ("CS takes & tidings") - around this match are abundant - but here's some 'not fake poop' to add to the intrigue:
- Hogan who won his nine major championships between 1946 and 1953, had become increasingly reclusive in the ′60s. At most he was playing four tournaments a year, and he showed little interest in the perks that come with legend status: designing courses, commenting for TV, or promoting a tournament in his name. Asked if, as a Tour player, he ever considered himself an entertainer, his response was a curt, unequivocal “No.”
CS take & tiding: You? You play this game for the 'perks' of flaunting, bragging rights and SM plastering/posting - or for the love of the game and its non ego-stroking offerings?
- Hogan proceeds to hit every fairway and green in regulation over the soggy, 7,000-yard layout, playing equipment and ball (of course) from that era. Oh, and he summons his famous fade only a couple of times; the ultimate course-strategist & ball-striker decides the layout mainly requires draws.
CS take & tiding: You? Adjusting and adapting to the course & conditions you have no control over - or stuck in some time warp or mode from yesteryear? Hint: a round of golf is an adventure! Ready or not, here it comes...
- Snead, on the other hand - just loved to play - especially against Hogan, “because he never says anything to you, except now and then, “You’re away.””
CS take and tiding: You? Love to play - or frustrated to death? Maybe you need some insight on how to 'find the love' again. You too getting used to your playing partners constantly saying "you're away?" Sounds like you need to add some speed into your swing (think arms and club moving faster, a la Hogan) and some pressure into the backside of the ball. I can help..
- A downpour started in the middle of the second hole; tee shots were hit on the third, but thunder and lightning then arrived with a particular Texas violence. The course was evacuated. The rain delay lasted about four hours. When play resumed on the par-5 third, Hogan hit first. He roped a 4-wood (yeah, that's right - his was made out of wood) onto the green to within 25 feet of the hole. Heads shook in amazement—after such an interminable wait, how could he deliver such an explosive strike?
CS take and tiding: Can't help you here, mere mortals, sorry. He was Ben Hogan, you are not :) But that doesn't mean you can't become more resilient, less soft, when things don't go just as you'd planned.
SO much more. Battle Royale. Match that.
I'm here to help. To prepare you for 'the match' that happens each and every time you step into the golfpark: you against yourself, and the golf course.
On my home turf at Eugene Country Club, or a golf park near you.
"We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be,"
-- Kurt Vonnegut
Be kind, be good, be happy,
~ CS ~