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Posts Tagged ‘Tom Watson’

Why is Stewart Cinking?

I was perusing the World Golf Rankings list (http://www.officialworldgolfranking.com/rankings/default.sps?region=world&PageCount=3) a few moments ago and it struck me, what’s going on with Stewart Cink? He is 134th in the world. As of December 4th he is 101st on the PGA Tour money list (http://www.pgatour.com/r/stats/info/?109). Well inside the top 125, but not where I would have expected to see him as a non-watcher of the money list. Is he having issues or is he just “comfortable?”

Since his win at the Open Championship at Turnberry, bittersweet to most golf fans because he won over the resurgent 59 year old Tom Watson, Cink has been on a “Bear market trend” in world ranking points and earnings (that is not a good thing). For the remainder of 2009 (after his win), he had one top 10 finish. In 2010 he had three top 10 and twelve top 25 finishes on the PGA Tour. And this year he managed only one top 10 and six top 25 finishes. This is a precipitous drop in performance for the 38 year old golfer since his British Open win.

Stewart Cink turned pro in 1995, playing and winning on the Nike Tour then graduating to the PGA Tour in 1997 where he won the Canon Greater Hartford Open that year. He has six career PGA Tour wins and eighty-eight top 10 finishes. A dozen years or so he has been “in the mix,” but win a major and all of a sudden you never hear about him.

I came across a story on PGA.com that may provide some light. As reported in March 2011, he dropped his longtime swing coach Butch Harmon for his putting coach Pat O’Brien who will advise him on all aspects of play. According to the story he did so because of “scheduling conflicts.” Harmon Is based in Las Vegas and Cink lives in Atlanta and Cink decided family time was more important than travelling time to get to Harmon. Understandable, but I wonder if Cink hasn’t lost “the fire” since his win -acquiescing to do the more comfortable thing rather than that which makes him most competitive.

I like what I see in Stewart Cink’s talent and demeanor – a great golfer and seemingly a genuinely nice guy. I was sorry for him that his British Open win came with the pallor of Tom Watson’s loss. I think he has more majors in him. As a fan, I’d like to see him turn this around, but the indications are that he is “surfing.” Did I piss you off Stewart? I hope so! Get your ass in gear!

The Players’ 2011 Champion KJ Choi

I keep hearing about David Toms’ second shot choice on 16 on Sunday and I wonder, what about KJ Choi’s magical pitch shot on the same hole?  As you should know, David Toms was leading by one on Sunday in the heat of finishing arguably the “fifth” Golf Major.  If David Toms hadn’t made that putt on 18 to tie KJ for a playoff would we be talking about KJ’s pitch?  I doubt it, why is that?

I have been listening to the PGA channel on Sirius/XM during the last two days and Matt Adams (I like this guy) and his callers are discussing the Toms shot.  Now, to be fair, Adams is not second guessing Toms’ choice to try and get to number 16 green in two rather than lay up with a one shot lead…especially since KJ had to lay up because of his crooked drive to the left.  KJ left himself in an awkward spot short and left of the 16 green with a tree overhanging his line to the pin.  Callers are commenting that upon seeing this it should have been a key to Toms to layup as well with his lead in hand.  Toms never thought twice about going for it and mishit his shot slightly and put in into the water ultimately making a bogey 6 on the hole.  KJ then hit a magical “threading the needle” pitch shot to the green just skirting the rough and a trap on the right to get his ball to within about 7 feet or so.  Hit missed his putt for birdie to take the lead, but made par and tied it up.  This was the turning point!!

Of course, after Toms made an awesome birdie on 18 (from a lie in the fairway in a divot to about 20 feet and 1 putting) to take it into sudden death, KJ won with a par on the par 3 17th after Toms’ 3 putt. 

Not quite, but somewhat like the popular let down we saw at the British Open when Stewart Cink beat Tom Watson in the playoff, it seemed a ‘disappointment’ for Toms to lose to KJ Choi.  That is a shame.  KJ seems to be a terrific person and wonderful golfer who raised his game to this level on his own later than most in life.  We should be proud of KJ andhis accomplishment…and proud of David Toms in his gracious failure to win for the first time in several years, heartbreaking as it was.

Masters Review

This year’s Masters was a “masters-piece!”  Aside from (and also because of) all the Tiger focus and distractions pre-tournament, it proved to be an event to remember.  The Tiger saga was interesting as we watched his tournament unfold, each day like a four-step program of reintroduction into the competitive world of PGA golf – surprise, elation, reality, and struggle.  He finished fourth and he was disappointed, and if not for a very sloppy three-putt from six feet on the 14th hole during the final day he would have tied for third.  Only he could be that disappointed after the layoff he had.  If only I could struggle so mightily and still shoot 3 under par…but he’s Tiger. 

Lee Westwood has finished in the top 3 of the last 3 majors.  He’ll win The British Open if he wins a major this year – so much for my predictions to date, but there it is.  The big surprise for me was the surge of Anthony Kim in the final round, the failures of my South Africa contingent to place, and Harrington and Furyk missing the cut so badly.  Freddie and Mr. Watson should be a surprised, but somehow they don’t feel that way. And we have, yet again, another possible Seve from Europe…the young  Italian 16 year old Benissimo Matteo.  Can he live up to the billing?  Obviously, only time will tell.  This youngster is about to turn pro so we’ll hear a lot more about him in the coming months, I hope.

Phil was masterful, and did it his way which made it all the more satisfying to watch.  No laying up for him!  When asked about the shot off the straw through the trees on 13 during the last round he shrugged and said, “It was only a 6 iron.”  Hmmmmm….

Comment on Tiger’s language.  I was watching the tournament when I thought I heard him drop the “F-Bomb” as clear as day after hitting an apparently abhorrent shot from the tee on the par 3 sixth hole…hit the green by the way.  Jim Nantz jumped all over it, as he should have.  Except, it really wasn’t the “F-Bomb,” it was another word that sounded like it.  In an ESPN replay, I heard it more clearly and he said, “Tiger Woods, you SUCK.”  SUCK accentuated louder than the other words, which is why it sounded like *UCK.  I really don’t consider telling yourself out loud that you suck as profanity.  Other than this instance, I don’t recall hearing any ‘profanity’ from him.  I do recall, however, hearing him say aloud Tigeeeer, in his best valley girl imitation.  That seemed a bit odd, but probably came out that way as a result of trying to control his words.  What is interesting is that previous to all his controversy, that “…you SUCK” event would probably have wafted by like a near silent popcorn fart, no one mention it and it will quickly go away.    We’ve seen the genteel segues occur before in tournaments when Tiger has cut loose an expletive because his ball didn’t do exactly as he desired.  But he has since lost his luster and now is seemingly free game.  In fact, we are poised to target the small lapses from his promised good behavior on the course.  Interesting.