The Match Play

I love this tournament and I love match play. I don’t want it every week, but it’s nice to have it once a year in a big event like this.

Match play is also the best way to play one of those desert courses where every errant shot results in death by magumbo (all those who know that dirty joke will understand).

Tiger showed why he is nowhere near anything. He couldn’t hit a 60 yard wide fairway with his “old faithful” 3-wood on the 19th hole. I don’t care what is going on with the changes. When a player who has held up under that much pressure can’t hit a huge fairway with his best club, that is not the right swing even if he started it yesterday.

I have slipped a time or two myself, but saying you’re “pissed” in an interview for national TV is a bit of a faux pas. He will get angrier and angrier as he is unable to pull off the shots he has grown accustomed to.

A “Tin Cup” moment where he breaks every club in the bag but the 7-iron is not far off. Obviously this is hyperbole, but I recognize the frustration and broken clubs (plural) are the next stage.

Public finger pointing at Sean Foley is on the horizon, as well. My guess is the irritation and anger will grow, he will have a 75+ one of the rounds at Augusta and the barbs will fly.

The course is a typical desert pile. Beautiful, scenic and the same exact course that has been built 1,348 times already. Target fairways in between the scrub and fairways and greens that repel the good shots like a links course, but since it is on the side of a mountain, it plays nothing like a links and it gets the dreaded, “links style” moniker. Like I always say, calling a course on the side of a mountain in the desert “links style” is like saying a guy
with a beer gut had a “pregnancy style” weight gain. In other words, “links style” is a meaningless marketing term that allows them to charge $200 for a green fee, or $200,000 for a membership.

I ranted about Tiger, golf course design, golf marketing and a major rant about Leadbetter last week. What’s left? How about those gas prices? If I were a host on Fox News I would get death threats…but as usual, I digressed. 😀

I didn’t get to watch much of the event other than Tiger’s round.

I knew Johnny Miller would give me some ammo. “Instructors today don’t teach people to keep the face square longer by leading with the left hand…like they did in my day.”

That was what he said when they showed Luke Donald hitting a hook and the face closing a bit too soon. Um, John, that’s because…I can’t do it, my head will explode. Let’s just say I disagree and most of you can come up with 15 reasons why he is wrong.

OK, one…Luke release the pants off the club and won…end of story.

Congratulations to Martin Kaymer for becoming #1. I really enjoy watching him play. It’s a good swing, but doesn’t seem to be a manufactured swing…and if I had his demeanor, I might have achieved a greater success, but then my wife probably wouldn’t have liked me as much and I wouldn’t be here for your edification.

Bubba Watson continues to show (as I said 😀 ) that he is fast becoming one of the top players in the World and my pick to break out and win a major this year.

Matt Kuchar continues to show me that knowing how to score is more important than how you look swinging or playing. I can also put Luke Donald in the category, although he is very straight. Luke Donald also proves a point I am going to make tomorrow about length.

I also want to slip in that a guy (Spencer Levin) with a “terrible” golf swing almost won in Mexico at the secondary Tour event.

I didn’t get to watch much of the golf, but the cold weather looked like it made the play less than stellar. However, I really respect all four of these guys and the way they play. Kuchar has been so consistent, Bubba is the best “player” in golf right now. What I mean is he plays shots, he doesn’t swing the club. Donald’s rhythm is so great, I don’t know how he misses a shot. I really like his release. He has the “gradual” release of the club I advocate, yet has plenty of forward shaft lean. I know he is not long, but he is not a masher like many of the other young guns. He has the type of swing most amateurs could emulate.

…and what can you say about the most recent major winner and current #1 player?

I know he didn’t win, but being a runner up just solidifies his assent to the top.




  1. s.

    Here’s a comment about a “terrible” golf swing, and about sports.

    Anyone watch bowling? Pro bowlers can bowl great scores without looking alike. Some have a high swing, some keep their hand more under the ball. The smooth swingers seem to last longer: Norm Duke and Pete Weber. And then there’s Jason Belmonte. Here’s somebody doing his style:


    I can see myself getting hurt badly trying Belmonte’s style, but he gets a lot of speed, and is near the top of the sport right now. Ah…same with Bubba Watson.

  2. rojoass

    Super post Monte. May be one of your best.
    I heard the Miller comment as I was close to the set when it fell out of his mouth. I had to run to the nearest waste area.
    I caught glimpses of Spencer playing & cringe every time I see him swing…..but he can play.
    Donald & Kymer are both cool dudes. I liked Donald’s comments about how his new-born “changed” him.
    I don’t think Kymer will be intimidated by anyone. He knows he can play. His swings sometimes looks somewhat “whippy” at times but he’s solid at impact.

    Gas prices…..don’t get me started here……….maybe over there….

  3. Michael

    I thought Tiger’s swing on 19 was a mix of Haney and Foley. Got under the gun, and just didn’t trust it. Judging by the 7 practice swings on the tee, he didn’t trust it either.

    If it took him 18 months for Haney’s swing to click, let’s see where he is by 2012.

      • Michael

        Maybe, maybe not. I know how it is to not be able to trust a thing when in the middle of trying to change thoughts, and I’m not playing for a living. Hell you have too. You’ve even said you were still trying to fix what others messed up. Easy to do on the range, but put pressure on it and then see what happens?

        Let’s just see how the rest of his year goes. He’s too good not to get back to winning tournaments.

  4. s.

    Why don’t people ever talk about baseball swing coaches? Maybe because everyone knows that it’s kind of an honorary position, and the best that could happen is that the coach changes a .232 hitter into a .245 hitter.

    For a coach to say something to Tiger, like, “Why don’t you change your grip”? Is the height of idiocy.

    If it were my brain in Tiger’s body, I would have told Haney something like, “Look, I am Tiger Friggin Woods, and you are just a guy with driver yips who runs a golf school. Don’t talk to me about changing my grip when I am winning Majors by double-digits.”


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