IF THE GLOVE FITS

Least surprising major champion this year
That may be a strange way to say it, but if you ask me Lucas Glover’s win was less surprising than Angel Cabrera’s at the Masters. Coming into the week Glover was getting no attention, but the fact is he is a now to 20 in the world according to my ranking, higher than two-time major champ Cabrera.

Glover showed that even when soggy Bethpage is a course for ball strikers. His sweet swing was 4th in GIR and hitting over 70% of the fairways allowed him to do that.

What is more impressive, is that even with the three stroke Friday wave advantage Glover still topped the Thursday wave’s best Tiger Woods. Glover now sits at over four tenths of a standard deviation better than the tour average, which is pretty elite company. That is over 1 stroke per round better than the tour average and sits him right below the elite names.

Glover seems like a nice guy and at his age there is definitely still room for improvement. Expect Glover to be a mainstay in spots 5-10 of the United States international team lists.

Raining on Amy’s parade
Excuse me while I don’t root for Phil. It seems I was the only one in New York with the possible exception of Johnny Miller(Duval) not rooting for Phil.

The problem with Phil is that people expect him to be Tiger. They look at Tiger and say if only Phil could cut out the mistakes he would win by 5. The problem is Phil is not Tiger and the mistakes are part of his game.

Dan Hicks brought up a great point when he said that Phil had four penalty shots on a course with no water. Phil had some absolute shanks and got really lucky on a few lies, not to mention the fortunate tee times. Phil played well, but it was top-ten well, not second well.

Phil now holds the record for most second place finishes in a US Open. There is nothing that sums up his career better. In the history of Golf, Phil is probably one of the ten best players but he has always been overshadowed by the greatest to ever play the game.

USGFAIL
Also please excuse me while I don’t fall all over myself praising Mike Davis. First, whoever made the decision to send out the Thursday wave with the impending deluge that everyone knew was coming should be fired. If the wind comes up in the afternoon that is luck of the draw. If players are sent out with the knowledge that the round will not be completed and the course will play significantly easier the next day, that is unfair.

Second, how about at least trying to make it difficult in some manner for the first two rounds. Yeah, so the fairways are soft, the greens are soft AND slow, why not let the rough up to at least scare the players a bit. It turned into a pinseekingfest on Friday, which is not US Open golf.

Third, the tees and pins over the weekend were a joke. 8 and 14 were not the holes how they were designed. If you want a course that has more variety pick a different course, don’t play from the red tees. Glover hit 6-iron, 9-iron to the final hole. That is not what the course designer had in mind

Next year, how about we get more rough(the graduated stages is a good idea, but the first cut is too wide) fast greens(uncontrollable this year) and let the best players play a US Open.

Surprise, Surprise
What do you do with Duval and Ricky Barnes? On one hand, Duval was once the worlds best and keeps yelling from the mountain tops that his game is back. On the other, minus this US Open he has no other good finishes. Tough to make sense of that. He will also be tough for anyone to gauge going forward. Its easy to say he is overrated because of the popularity of his run, but with his history a return to the game’s top 100 doesn’t seem impossible. If that is the case, you don’t want to be against him because the lines won’t be priced that way. Duval jumped up to 338 in my rankings.

Ricky Barnes is even stranger situation. If you wanted to stretch yourself, you could make a case that he always has had potential. Unfortunately he hasn’t ever done anything with it on the PGA Tour. At 28 he could improve, but with his performance in the Open he just moved inside the top-200 of my rankings still slightly below the tour average. What’s worse is he doesn’t stand out as a great ballstriker, is an awful putter and has a terrible swing. I’m going to say we won’t be seeing a whole lot of Barnes.

This win does get both of these players into at least the next 4 majors, plus some possible sponsors exemptions on the regular tour(for Duval) so they will have a chance to prove themselves.

Sim City:
Someone we will see a lot of is Michael Sim. With a nice finish that is somewhat hidden by a unfortunate run of the draw Sim moves into the top-50 in my world rankings. He has proven himself on the Euro and NW Tour so far this season and all that is left is the PGA Tour. You haven’t really heard the pub for Sim that you have for Jason Day, but Sim has better results worldwide.

Best European Major ever?
The slow soft course played right into the hands of guys that are used to conditions on the European Tour schedule. That being said, it was still a strong showing from the European contingent. Fisher, Stenson, Garcia, Hansen, McIlroy, McDowell, and the other Hanson were all in contention in this tournament. Most of that list didn’t get any attention, because they weren’t Phil Mickleson’s wife, but they did have a nice showing. Fisher in particular is about to become overrated, but he has a solid game.

New World Rankings:
WGR62209

Welcome Back
To Anthony Kim and Sergio Garcia. Both were fortunate in terms of tee times but it was the best showing by either in a long time. Garcia continues to struggle with the putter and his manhood but actually played pretty well. I think his best bet is to sharpen up the iron game and forget about his putting woes. Kim actually was awful on the first day considering his tee time, but slowly climbed up the leaderboard and has nothing to be ashamed of with a +1 final round.

Angry Kitty
Tiger Woods is smart enough to separate the means from the ends, which is why I don’t think he will lose too much sleep over losing this Open. Sure, I think he was second best of anyone on the course this week, but he did that getting NO breaks at all(By breaks, I mean good tee times, making a few long putts, etc.) Tiger knows how well he played and the luck will even out in the end. I assume Tiger is excited about getting Congressional firm and fast with greens rolling about 17 for his own tournament, then laughing at the field as he wins by 11.

What is amazing about Golf is that Tiger played pretty well last year, for having a broken leg, but got all the breaks(chip-ins, long putts, other people failing) and won by the smallest of margins. This year he plays better against the field, but loses by three shots. Such is Golf.

Looking ahead and Random thoughts:
-The Difference between Tiger’s gallery and Phil’s gallery is about 30 IQ points. I’ll let you guess who has the edge.
-I still don’t think Tiger is extremely overrated if at all. At least not in the way Phil is.
-I know with 99% certainty who I am picking for the British Open although I am not at all certain he will even be there. If you want an early tip, Hunter Mahan or Anthony Kim are probably good looks.

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11 Comments

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11 responses to “IF THE GLOVE FITS

  1. Brian

    Awesome post.

  2. cajuncook

    Yeah, I’m really digging the deep golf analysis and recaps of the weekend. I understand it can’t happen with every tournament, but it’s this kind of stuff that makes me turn on golf when I’m debating between it and baseball or tennis or whatever.

    • Thanks. Honestly, I don’t watch every tournament as closely as I do a major, I’ll try to bang out some of my thoughts when I can after a tournament. Unfortunately, not all tournaments are as exciting as this past weeks US Open.

  3. Golf Is Fun

    I’m swamped and battling some stupid gallstone bullshit, but I enjoyed every bit of your coverage this weekend — very well done.

    I will offer a dissenting view on Phil, at least from a “character” standpoint. First, let me stipulate: I do not root for either Tiger or Phil. My favorite golfers are Harrison Fucking Frazar and Hank Kuehne. Don’t ask. Or do — I grew up playing with both (along with Justin, for whom I also root, though he’s a bit of a dullard).

    I think Tiger is without question the greatest golfer ever, and I enjoy watching him more than any other athlete on the planet. Phil is probably second on that list, though I despised him personally for a good long time early in his career. Seemed like an ass. And then I started hanging out at the DFW tourneys. With the people that work them, the people who put them on, the people who do the most miniscule shit to make a little extra cash on the side. And every single one of ’em (figuratively) has a story about Phil’s generosity. Sending clubs to the daughter of a clubhouse attendant with a bevy of autographed gear in tow. Flying down for a 3 hour charity function on his own dime, and sending his plane back two days later to pick up a beneficiary of said charity for a golf outing in California. He tips everyone. His wife is the most popular woman “on tour”, and she works her ass off in the gym, to boot. I could go on, but, in a nutshell, the dude treats people right. He’s a good dude.

    Is he Tiger on the course? Umm, duh? But who is? He’s still, as you note, one of the greatest golfers of all time, and the fans like him because he (gasp!) treats them like humans. What’s so wrong with that? To each their own with their favorite athletes, obviously, but Phil is quite undeserving of any scorn imo, and pretty much reaps what he sows, in a good way.

    All that said, I couldn’t help but root for Duval and his mammaries down the stretch, how silly would that have been?

    Good times.

    • The reason I was rooting against Phil, was because everyone in the media kept telling me he was a fan favorite and the best story, and the idiots following Phil at Bethpage were so stupid. Those two things pissed me off.

      Obviously, I can’t make personal judgements about his character because I have never met him. For me, though, I’d rather watch Tiger’s excellence coupled with his aloofness over Phil’s flaws with personality. To each his own, though.

      In reality, you can’t knock Phil’s game or place in history, as he is almost certainly deserves to be in the discussion with Player, Watson, Trevino, Palmer as the guys that were great but not quite Hogan, Woods, Nicklaus or Jones.

  4. Just a quick note on the Weekend scores, seems like the weekend did a better job of seperating the best from the rest:

    Tiger Woods-137
    Henrik Stenson-138
    Phil Mickelson, Soren Hansen-139
    Hunter Mahan, Rory McIlroy, Ian Poulter-140
    Average-145.8

  5. More random meaningless scores, Top-5 players making the cut in both Majors:

    Phil Mickelson-557
    Tiger Woods-560
    Hunter Mahan-561
    Steve Stricker-565
    Ross Fisher, Sean O’Hair, Kenny Perry-566

  6. Glover’s prices for this week are whacky. A respectable 35-1 to win and yet a somewhat absurd +125 & +170 against Curtis/Mahan (absurd track record here) respectively.

    In other news, the odds makers opinion of Steve Marino has caught up to ours.

  7. I am just realizing that now as I look over the lines for the first time. 35-1 seems pretty fair(but I don’t think playable), considering I have him as the 8th best player in the field, but the match-ups are definitely weird.

  8. Eric

    Since I constantly obsess about my Stricker future, every week I check the updated 5Dimes “PGA Money Leader w/o Woods” odds. This week, Phil is +200, the lowest odds out there. He’s money leader right now, but not by a significant advantage and, if I’m not mistaken, planning to take a significant break from golf.

    Is there any good info on his near term plans? I read and hear that he might play the majors and skip whatever other tourneys he usually plays – at least for the rest of the summer. However, it seems the oddsmakers are still optimistic about his chances of playing more this year. This is really apropos of nothing – I just wanted to throw it out there and see if you knew something, Rex.

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