Even for a guy silly enough to try. A guy cockamamie enough to find similarities between eating peanut butter and apples for breakfast and Sherman’s tromp through the Peach State.
Drawing parallels is a gnawing affliction. Who knows why I even attempt it.
Any similarity is surely not orange-obsessed Rickie Fowler. With his hip hop Puma ballcap and outrageously colored garb, fifty years back, he’d surely have been asked by the muckety mucks in charge at the Columbus (Ohio) C.C. to, you know, “perhaps wear something more appropriate to the situation of a major golfing event.”
Nor is it the amount of winnings pocketed by the victors. St. X grad Nichols earned the princely sum of $18 large for his wire to wire W. Baby faced Rory McIlroy will deposit 100 times that amount for his title, $1,800,000.00.
There is this familiarity. Nichols was chased that final Sunday by the game’s elite, a couple of first name notables. Arnie and Jack. Palmer and Nicklaus, who plundered his home course with a 64 on that final Sunday, were to their day as Ben Hogan and Slammin’ Sammy Snead had been to a previous era. As Rory and Rickie (Or Adam, or Henrik, or Dustin?) are to Lefty, who did his best Fat Jack impersonation Sunday, and Tiger, may he rest in peace, to the “era” which ended Sunday on Shelbyville Road with Rory’s third tourney title in the last month.
Like that final Sunday a half century ago, some of the best in the game came at Rory, the leader teeing off for the final 18. And they passed him, after the winner wobbled on the front side.
Then, McIlroy blasted that No, Fellas, I’m The Man second shot on the 10th, a roaring fairway wood that somehow skipped like a stone on a lake across Valhalla’s rain-soaked velcro turf. To a spot on the green within gimme eagle putt distance. Game on.
Two birdies and a steady six pars later, it was Game Over.
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The post tourney controversy is whether Valhalla played too easily? Whether it is even worthy of hosting this championship or the Ryder Cup again?
Legit questions, those. Though it will be of no consequence, since the Professional Golfers Association, the body that makes those decisions, just happens to be the owner in fee simple absolute of this golfing venue. Bottom line: They’ll be back.
And, yes, the course can use a tighten up. Narrow the fairways a few yards. Let the rough grow, if not to U.S. Open length, at least to a level that finding it is a penalty. Make 18 a par four.1
That said, the competitive play this weekend was scintillating. The course, we are wont to say, was the same for all.
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One guy’s opinion. Golf is the singular sport where it is significantly more fun to watch on TV than in person.
Different players in different situations on different holes. It’s hard to grasp and impossible to observe that when trudging about the links with a stool in hand.
Watching on the telly, especially with David Feherty punctuating the action with his uniquely pithy commentary,2 it was like watching match play. Actually it was like watching a heavyweight title fight. Rumble in the Rain Forest.
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I also thought the dramatic ending, with dusk overwhelming play, and the final twosome becoming a foursome, just added to the excitement.
Mickelson, despite some easily observed pique, and his playing partner Rickie Fowler, were gracious in comments about the situation. And McIlroy was equally as generous in his thanks to those two for not protesting the decision to allow them all to play out together.
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Of course, as the media is still inclined to do even though his time is obviously passed, the story on the day after the tournament was . . . Tiger.
Tom Watson did his Monday morning meet & greet on the matter of the Ryder Cup squad. Tiger’s still under consideration, he reiterated.
Watson’s consideration, to me, is laughable.
Woods’ denial of his situation and play, based on his post round comments, reminds me of the Norma Desmond fading silent screen star character in Billy Wilder’s classic “Sunset Boulevard.”
“And I promise you I’ll never desert you again because after ‘Salome’ we’ll make another picture and another picture. You see, this is my life! It always will be! Nothing else! Just us, the cameras, and those wonderful people out there in the dark!… All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up.”
— Seedy K