Monday Morning Musings

Not that anyone asked but . . .

Whatever fallout Matt Kuchar may have suffered from his cheapskate tipping in Mexico seems to have dissipated, given the volume of “KOOOOOCH” chants heard at Harbor Town this past weekend.

Then again, golf fans seem to forgive a lot. Just ask Tiger Woods.

The Golf Channel was certainly ready to hand over the Heritage Classic to Dustin Johnson going into Sunday’s round. It’s hard to figure out a lot of times what (if anything) is going through DJ’s brain at any given time. His closing nine brought back memories of faulty finishes at past tournaments (the last US Open at Pebble Beach comes to mind). There are times that DJ seems absolutely unstoppable, but there are enough lapses in his play that bring to mind troubling comparisons to Greg Norman.

To be fair, Harbor Town played stout over the weekend, and in particular on Sunday. My sister commented that it’s seemed like Sir Nick Faldo was saying “Oh dear” quite often.

But all credit to Thailand’s C.T. Pan, who kept himself to only one bogey over the final 26 holes to come away with a single shot victory over Kuchar.

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As I’ve found myself in my car quite often over the past few years, I’ve sought out more listening alternatives and in the course of doing so, have come across a larger than expected number of golf themed podcasts. The quality of content varies wildly. At some point I may delve more deeply into the pros and cons of the various pods, but one set that I would highly recommend can be found online at Talkin Golf (https://www.talkingolf.com/).

Talkin Golf hosts a platform of different podcasts, each of which tackles different aspects of the game. Australian journalist Rod Morri hosts several of these – the State of the Game podcast is quite lively, as Morri is joined by the always opinionated Geoff Shackelford and Australian PGA pro Mike Clayton to opine on current hot button topics.

But my fancy is most tickled by Talkin Golf History, in which Morri’s co-host is the Society of Golf Historian’s Connor T. Lewis, who brings an effervescence to golf’s past that would be off-putting if not for the fact that he is just so damned sincere and passionate about it.

And as with most things in this world, history brings perspective. In response to the current outrage expressed by PGA Tour pros about now having to take a relief drop from knee-height (they claim it looks “unathletic”), Connor spoke of the evolution of the relief drop, which back in the day involved throwing the ball over one’s shoulder and ensuring that the ball traveled at least six yards.

In any event, Talkin Golf History is definitely worth a listen – it particularly came in handy for me as I traversed the remarkably ugly landscape of western Kansas.

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This last thought, I’ve been hesitant to comment about but feel like I should.

Shortly after the Masters, Donald Trump announced that he would be awarding Tiger Woods the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Now, there is certainly precedent for athletes receiving this honor, including Arnie and Jack (Curiously, Ben Hogan’s name is absent). It typically isn’t awarded to an athlete who is still active, which leads the cynic in me to believe that perhaps the president wants to capitalize on Tiger’s popular victory as another deflection from the controversy that surrounds him and his office.

I’ve written in the past (prior to his election) about Trump’s relationship with golf, and if we are to believe noted sports writer Rick Reilly, he pretty much makes a mockery of the game in the way he goes about playing it.

Based on this, I would think that any self-respecting golfer would not want to set foot on a golf course with this man, much less accept an award from him.

But that’s just me.

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