I'm sprawled here on the sofa, thick as a tick on a bloodhound, thinking about how my mammoth, turkey-swollen stomach will affect my golf swing on the driving range today. If they can wheel me out there.
So while I'm thinking about golf, it's time for my annual "thanks/no thanks" Thanksgiving column, an event the movers and shakers of the golf world wait for in earnest and include in their charts and graphs and pointers.
• Thanks for Michelle Wie, the golfer.
• No thanks for Michelle Wie, the conglomerate. No thanks for her entourage - parents, agents, sponsors, Nike snakes, et al. - and whoever else is giving her bad advice.
Wie should have been a rare gift to the golf world, a unique physical wonder for us all to marvel over. I would have loved to watch her career unfold naturally, organically. Instead she has embarked on a selfish, misguided track, turning other players against her and turning herself into a joke. And would somebody please tell her to close her mouth? She always looks like she's drooling.
• Thanks for letting me live in an era that started when Tiger Woods said, "Hello, world."
• No thanks for letting me live in an era when there is no one with the guts or mental fortitude to stand up to him.
• Thanks for the Europeans winning the Ryder Cup. It keeps the fat cats from getting too complacent and gives us golf writers a better story. As in politics, negative always makes for better stories.
• No thanks for the lopsided margin. Not only was there no drama, it was embarrassing for U.S. golf. A few more go-rounds like this and Ryder Cup will be back there with rugby, cycling and Missouri Valley Conference college football, at least on American TV.
• Thanks for the new FedEx Cup, I guess. It does provide a little late-season melodrama, though most of that derives from the vulgar cash prize.
• No thanks for the format for the Tour Championship, the last event on the schedule, in which the overall points leader rather than the tournament winner gets the gazillion dollars. Americans love winner-takes-all. We ain't Europeans here.
A suggestion: Incorporate match play into it somehow. That may be the only way we see two legitimate superstars going at it head to head on the PGA Tour.
• Thanks for the old Phil Mickelson, the rambling, ambling gambler.
Yes, it cost him the U.S. Open, but the Tour has become almost boring in its predictability, especially when you-know-who gets the lead. When Mickelson gets the lead you never know what the hell is going to happen. The guy is a walking hand grenade with the pin out, a frozen-smiled, hat-haired, man-bra-needing soap opera.
• Thanks for the LPGA, which is infinitely more exciting than the PGA Tour. Here's hoping for more cat fights in 2007.
• No thanks for LPGA Commissioner Carolyn Bivens. She could screw up a wet dream. And yes, I apologize for using "Bivens" and "wet dream" in the same paragraph.
• Thanks for Natalie Gulbis. That's about as far as I want to take this one.
• No thanks for Donald Trump. Ah hell, this is too easy. Pick your own personal reason.
Mine is not (to my everlasting shame) his "Big Break" show. It's that abominable project in Scotland, about which he said he didn't want any damn windmills obstructing his golf views. I have it from a highly placed source - a senior administration official, in fact - that The Donald was on Dick Cheney's secret energy task force.
• Thanks for John Daly. Yes, he's a train wreck, which is why he's one of the few pro golfers I and many like me can relate to.
• Thanks for the Bohemia Rhapsody I discovered on St. Kitts: Three parts rum (Cruzan banana, pineapple and coconut), equal parts orange juice, pineapple juice and passion-fruit juice with a splash of grenadine. It helped my concentration considerably at the Royal St. Kitts Golf Club.
• Thanks for Brett Wetterich, who went from Q-school to making the U.S. Ryder Cup team in less than a year.
• Thanks for low-cost, well-maintained munis. And while we're at it, thanks for those golf clubs that actually give juniors a break instead of just mouthing about how important juniors are to the growth of the game. I play maybe 150 rounds a year, and the average age of my random playing partners is well over 50. I've played with juniors maybe three times.
• No thanks for all the upscale, "semi-private" courses being built in my home state of Florida.
• Thanks for that 230-yard 3-wood I hit to within two feet of the cup at Royal St. Kitts. Those are the shots that keep us playing the game.
• No thanks for missing the two-footer for birdie. Those are the shots that keep us humble. As if I needed more reasons.
November 27, 2006
Simply select where you want to play, find a tee time deal, and golf now!