Merrill Lynch Skins Game field like 3-legged stool
Loyal readers of my admittedly sporadic and occasionally soporific blogs (i.e., the six people I pay to read them) already know of my ambivalence toward made-for-TV events like the upcoming Merrill Lynch Skins Game. On one hand, I like to watch good golf, and have fond memories of watching the Skins Game and eating left-over turkey sandwiches as a child with my grandfather.
On the other hand, I cannot quite understand why my small-business-owning, lower-middle-class, frugal late grandfather, I, or anyone else should want to watch the extremely rich and enviably talented get even richer. I mean, ain’t life good enough for them without the extra dough from meaningless media events?
And now that I see the field for this year’s Skins Game, I’m even more torn.
We have Tiger – OK. No quarrels there.
We have Fred “Boom Boom” couples, who got his nickname by either booming drives well past the competition in his prime OR by autographing more breasts than a lead singer in a hair-metal band. No problem – the guy’s got my respect either way. (Plus, he usually wins these things, with over $3 million in career Skins winnings.)
Then we have Annika Sorenstam, returning for the third year in a row. Annika is, and has been for some years, statistically the most dominating golfer on the planet. And now that she’s single, she needn’t feel shy about approaching Boom Boom with her own Sharpie. So she’s a great fit, as long as you’re not one of those Neanderthals who believe girls shouldn’t play with boys, even in fake events.
Finally, we have Fred Funk.
May I ask why Funky was invited? Was it because the producers wanted to include a guy whose drives won’t make Annika’s look so short? (Annika’s driving average is 248 yards, Funky’s is 270). Or, for that matter, won’t make Annika look short? (Annika is 5’6”, Funky is 5’8” in heels).
Maybe it’s because of Funky’s huge crowd-appeal. He’s an affable, jovial Joe. An every-man among prima donnas. Right?
Well, I can’t say for sure, but something about lil’ Funky doesn’t quite jibe with this image. Namely, the following quote from the Oct. 2004 issue of Golf Digest:
“Huge Bush fan. Hate the Democrats.” - Fred Funk
Now, I don’t hold Funky’s political tastes against him, but I wonder just how lovable the guy can really be deep down when he goes about proclaiming hatred for an entire group of people whose views do not agree with his own. There were dozens of Tour pros in that same issue pledging allegiance to the Republican party, and many were candid about the economic basis for that allegiance: Republicans tend to support tax cuts for the extremely rich, a category that most of the Tour pros polled fit comfortably into. No problem – people do vote their pocketbooks. But NO ONE OTHER than Funky espoused hatred. Distaste for Kerry, yes. Hatred for all Democrats, no.
Back to the Skins Game: We have three electrifying players, and one hate-filled short-knocker trying to get even richer in hopes that his political heroes will find some way to make Skins winnings for those earning over $1 million a year tax-exempt.
I think even my grandpa—a populist Republican—would have choked on his turkey sandwich.
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I agree with you on the 3 star players.
As regards Fred Funk, I think you have a point, in that he doesn't hit it too much further than Annika.
I also don't think the 248 yards average for Annika is completely accurate, cause women's courses are just set up differently. Sure there are plenty of holes where it could be bombed out there, but there is several where if you hit it too long you would be in trouble. I think it's fair to say, if Tiger played an lpga course, his average would be a bit lower.
As regards Funky, it was just a slip of the tongue. He doesn't like democratic politics. Big deal. I'm sure he doesn't hate democrats as such.
Since you brought up the topic of hatred. Wasn't Chris Dimarco talking recently about his HATRED for the european ryder cup team. Actually he said there was hatred involved in the ryder cup. Since the Europeans have all said there is none from them, I guess all the hatred must belong to DiMarco .... or could it be possible that the veteran of ONE ryder cup, is jealous at having got throunced by the europeans. Could it be that!
I don't think she is that far ahead of (quoting Kiel) Annika: 248 yards.
In pga Annika would be maybe 260 ?
I've watched Annika bomb it 280+ in person on the range and on courses that allow it.
eg. 270.3 for the top women, Brittany Lincicome, would beat only 6 on the pga tour list of 202 players.
Corey Pavin the shortest driver at 258.7 yards would be joined 13th on the lpga tour.
Of the short drivers, obviously Fred Funk is the most successful this season with $2,830,046 and is 11th on the money list. So the women do have some chance.
Norman mentioned above, that the women would drive longer if on mens courses. I don't know if this is true, but if it is, I guess the longest drives on the lpga would be up slightly further on the pga long drives list.
Nonetheless, I never said I "hated" Ray Floyd. But point taken: Maybe every Democrat has almost run over Funky's foot at one time or another.
The Republican party stands for:
- lots of guns for everybody, big machine guns, as many as you can get.
- lower taxes for the rich.
- no abortion, thus saving lives.
The Democrat party stands for:
- greater gun control, thus saving lives.
- higher taxes for the rich and throughing out tonnes of social welfare to those who can't be bothered getting jobs as well as those no able to.
- abortion, thus killing more than they are saving by greater gun control.
Is there any other MAJOR policies I should be aware of.
Give me a break with Funk. Please tell me at one time or another you haven't made a comment like "I hate those so and so's". If you haven't, I'll come over and knight you myself.
Stupid to say? Yes. But to call him a hate filled short-knocker is just plain stupid. And much beneath you.
Asking about Funky's qualifications to be in the Skins game is fair. Debate the continued need for the Skins game. Talk about whether Annika belongs. Create dialogue on why Freddy is good during the silly season, but doesn't seem to be able to win during the regular season. But don't sink to the Baldwin and McDonald level.
The funny thing is Funky will probably win this thing, just to confuse us all.
It would be nice for Annika to do well. It is just so difficult to envisage her winning any hole though.
The sad thing is Tiger's 3 wood will go further than Annika and Fred's drivers.
And just by the way, that term was hyperbolic (purposely), but not stupid (at least arguably).
A great guy to you may be a schmuck to me. Seems pointless to debate who's a nice guy, who's not.
I would agree that he doesn't belong. In my mind, nor does Annika or Couples, for that matter. But who wants to play in this thing anymore?
Many rip Tiger or Phil for skipping out on the occasional tournament, but when we look at made-for-tv crap like the Skins game, who can blame them? I think it may be time to retire the Skins game for awhile.
The issues you brought up are pretty much meaningless peripherals. On most issues both sides are more or less on the same page, and I believe a conservative in the U.S. would be a centrist liberal in the UK.
Really the best way to tell them apart is that the republicans are a lot louder and more obnoxious while the democrats are prone to spontaneous pants wettings.
-- Those Republicans who are "hawks" on the Iraq war are generally those who did everything to avoid actually fighting themselves when they had the chance. See "Chicken Hawk" Dick Cheney, with six student deferments, and George Bush, who cowered in the National Guard, before finally not bothering to show up.
-- Republicans want NO taxes for the rich, especially their corporate buddies.
-- Democrats generally mean well, but have been bullied by the Republicans into complete incompetence, though they have started to show backbone of late.
-- As far as gun control, no real party difference. It's so violent here, you MUST bear firearms just to take your dog for a walk.
-- Regarding abortion, the Republicans are simply pandering to their far-right wacko wing, the religious nuts who like to bomb abortion clinics.
Hope that helps.
I'm an Independent by the way, disgusted with both parties.
Politics aren't that simple here in the US. Both parties are experiencing an identity crisis of sorts, because individual issues create splinters across party lines.
1. Gun control - NRA usually aligns itself with the Republican party. Both parties generally believe in the right to bear arms, but have knock-down, drag-outs on gun control law. (What types of weapons, registration/privacy laws, etc.)
2. Lower taxes for the rich - We have a tiered tax system in the US. So if you make more $$, you pay a higher % of your pay in taxes. Generally the Republicans believe in order to stimulate the economy, reducing the tax burden on the rich will stimulate job growth, expansion, etc, for corporations and small business owners. They believe in a trickle-down effect througout the middle and lower income citizens. Democrats generally believe in reducing the tax burden on the lower income citizens and investing in job training, education, etc. They believe in a social welfare, of sorts, and that by investing in the lower income strata, we can "raise the tide", so to speak.
3. Abortion - Far right of the Republican party believes no abortion should be legal. Far left of the Democratic party generally believes that all abortion should be legal. In the middle, you have all types of variances on this issue. This is one of the issues creating divides within the Republican and Democratic parties. There are many pro-choice Republicans and pro-life Democrats, which make convention time interesting to watch.
But alas, there are some axioms you can still live by:
Republicans usually include:
3. Professional Golfers
Democrats usually include:
2. Airline employees and union labor
3. Media (apparently including golf writers on this site)
So Norman, be careful where you get your political advice from. Tim McDonald may not be the best source for purposes of your US political enlightenment.
To be very honest, it sound pretty familiar with here in Ireland. At the moment a centre party & a right wing party are in governemnt together.
However, all the 4 major party's are all moving rapidly more and more into the centre. Sound familiar?
If I had a US vote, I would probably just go with the candidate.
I am in favour of the US taking out dictatorships, but against the fact that the US armed them and is probably arming many more at the moment.
On the abortion thing, I definetely don't support people just having abortions as if they were getting a hair cut or something, and that seems to be many peoples perception.
Gun control is just a joke over there, I'm glad we don't have your problems, even though there are some drug gangs getting hold of some automatic weapons, but they are few in numbers.
By the way, if I had a vote in the last election, I would've voted for Bush over Kerry. I hope Hilary Clinton doesn't get in next time, I don't trust her.
The funny thing is Funky will probably win this thing, just to confuse us all.
So someone predicted the result.
Republicans are usually those with scowls and digestive track problems.
Democrats are usually those with blow-dried hairdos and cheap suits.
Independents like me can usually be recognized by their steely gaze and steadfast demeanor.
I guess now that she is rich, maybe she is a republican.
Secondly, Norman, I think one of the things the U.S. needs to get back to is to start voting for whom they like and who represents them the best. Just because they offer two stiffs every four years doesn't mean we have to vote for them.
The fear of "wasting a vote" by voting for someone who will likely not win is a fear U.S. voters need to overcome.
In my lifetime, only John Anderson and Ross Perot had decent 3rd-party runs, Perot especially. Then the lil' bugger kinda went nuts.
Finally, I have promised myself to keep my mouth mainly shut about politics, but I'll say that I come from Minnesota originally. You know, the state that elected Jesse "The Body" Ventura as governor a few years back. Folks were tired of the two parties thinking they owned the place. Funny, though. If you'd asked me whenthe movie Predator came out which two cast members would be governors someday, I would have guessed Carl Weathers and, um, the Predator.
It's digestive "tract", my friend.
For the Democrats you forgot the cheap plasic surgery. Have you seen Nancy Pelosi? She is beginning to look like Joan Rivers.
And by the way, Ross Perot has ALWAYS been nuts.
I can't say that Admiral Stockdale had the "steely gaze and steadfast demeanor" that you claim independents possess. A great american in his military life, but a bit of a buffoon in his short political one.
Basically, imagine you have 3 candidates:
Voters go in and number the candidates in order of their preference.
Bush gets 47%
Next what happens is Baldwin gets eliminated, and the number 2 votes from his votes, are distributed.
So image 5% goes to Bush and 6% goes to Kerry.
Then Bush is on 52% and Kerry on 48%, so Bush is elected.
This is good, because people voting for Baldwin, won't feel that they are wasting their vote, because when he gets eliminated, their votes goes on.