Monday, July 28, 2003

Can't resist golf talk: It's amazing how little attention anyone payed to Suzy Whaley's 75-78 stroll in Hartford. Being in the golf world every day, I heard exactly three mentions of her over three days. They consisted of "What do you think she'll shoot today?" and two occurences of "What did she shoot yesterday?" Annika stole her thunder, which was one of my beefs with the way she timed her PGA Tour debut. But notice that there was no Vijay this week, an evil man protest a woman getting out of place. That's 'cause nobody felt threatened by Suzy, like they did when Annika played. I feel bad that Whaley didn't get her deserved recognition for qualifying for a men's event, but she was probably relieved that the media whirlwind was much less intense than it could have been. All in all, I'm more impressed with her performance than Annika's.

Watson's win was most deserved, especially with the way he's played all year, and the affection and loyalty seen between him and Edwards has been touching. I have to say, though, that I was a little annoyed by the attention given to them at the U.S. Open. The media made Edwards their pet for the weekend, reshowing an interview of him slurring his speech and openly weeping over and over. It made me a little uncomfortable, a little sorry for Edwards because he seemed exploited. I'm a little conflicted over Watson's handling of it, that he hasn't been so quiet as he could have been. I'll discuss it another time, perhaps. It's not easy to handle tragedy in public, I'm sure. Always expectd to have a sound byte, to do something, to use one's celebrity for goodness. Thin line to tread, I suppose.

As a golfer, though, Watson could have challenged Nicklaus as the greatest. While Jack won 18 majors over almost twenty years, Watson got his eight in a seven year span; a Tiger-like pace. He cooled off and is often forgotten when the "greatest ever" debate comes up. His resugence this year is a great reminder of his talent.

As for the scores at the Senior (but they're active Seniors) Open, the difference is in the courses. You can't set up a course to be a fair test for a 54 year old, fit, strong, and tough Watson and an ancient Jack Fleck (who I'm shocked to learn is still alive and tried to qualify this year). It's like putting me on the same course as Tiger. Something's got to give, so they trim the rough, shorten the holes, and put the hole in the easiest place they can find. And then, the weather lays down and leves the course defenseless, just like it did in 1977 when Watson's weekend scores of 65-66 beat Jack's 66-66. The youngsters would have shot 30 under this week.

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