So many questions in game that needs answers

Fellow Fanatics,

Yours truly decided to answer all of the questions Mike Purkey in an article on Morning Read this morning. Read his questions and my answers below and weigh in with your opinions…

Questions born of watching way too much golf:

David Duval said on television that we should not expect a threesome of the best players in the world to complete a round of golf in less than five hours at the U.S. Open? Does that bother you?

Until the USGA/R&A/PGA Tour get serious and starts fining players nothing will change except for the worse.

If you could buy stock in Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth or Rickie Fowler, whom would you choose?

Brooks Koepka. Golfers as athletes are the future of competitive golf.

Shouldn’t Johnny Miller just get over it?

Actually, no. Erin Hills is no Winged Foot and the Erin Hills set-up isn’t even close to the way the USGA used to set up courses. i.e. narrow fairways, punishing rough, no intermediate rough, and no shaved greenside aprons. Hit it straight or pack your bags on Friday afternoon and catch the next flight out of town. And may the most accurate golfer win.

Isn’t Spieth’s real problem that he’s not very good with his driver?

Yes. And it’s because of his weak grip and chicken-wing follow-through – most likely developed when he was a young junior golfer to counter a snap-hook. He’s a great athlete with a bad grip, a bad swing and a great mind.

Is Kevin Kisner the most underrated player in golf?

Perhaps. But he’s won twice and contended several times.

Phil Mickelson and Golf Digest’s “Anonymous Pro” have accused some PGA Tour players of cheating. Shouldn’t someone take that seriously?

Yes. But the PGA Tour is a fraternity that takes care of its own. The players know who cheats on the course, cheats on their wives and uses drugs (PED’s and otherwise). They all keep their mouths shut to avoid repercussions from the Tour and from their peers. As for cheating during a competitive round, the Tour brass should set up an anonymous reporting mechanism for players to report cheating violations.

It’s premature to say Lydia Ko is a burnout candidate, but shouldn’t we be concerned?

It sounds like a personal problem. What good would our concern do her? She’s a multi-millionaire.

What would you bet that this was the last U.S. Open at Erin Hills?

That’s a safe bet. The US Open at Erin Hills looked more like a cross between the Open Championship and the PGA Championship. WAY too easy. The records set for low rounds and under par 72 hole scores is the proof that it is not a good US Open course. Fairways were too wide, the intermediate rough of recent years is a joke, and shaved green surrounds have Jack Nicklaus and Johnny Miller shaking their heads, and Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson rolling over in their graves.

Don’t you think that if Mickelson made a nice donation to his daughter’s school, the graduation date could have been changed?

Mickelson should have quietly withdrawn from the US Open to attend his daughter’s graduation. Instead, he made it a media event. Disgusting…

Are Adam Scott and Henrik Stenson one-and-done major winners?

Scott, maybe…but we all love him. Stenson, no. Too much talent. The right course the right week and he runs the table.

Has anyone seen Keegan Bradley?

Does anyone care? They took the putter out of his belly button and now he can’t play.

Does anyone else think it’s hilarious that the USGA has a champion (Stewart Hagestad, U.S. Mid-Amateur) who uses a long putter?

Yes. It is hilarious and ironic. I hate the long putter and so do most, if not all, traditionalists. It is NOT golf. Never will be. Hello, USGA…ban the damn thing!

Has anyone seen Tim Clark?

No. He apparently can’t putt without anchoring his long putter to his chest. Maybe he’s preparing his lawsuit against the USGA citing pain and suffering, and loss of income.

Why doesn’t anyone copy (or teach) Brandt Snedeker’s putting stroke?

I don’t know. Because he makes too many putts??

Pink shirts are fine; Arnold Palmer wore them all the time. But shouldn’t there be an age and weight limit for pink pants?

Only Arnold Palmer looked good in a pink shirt…and pink pants should be banned except on the LPGA Tour.

Which would you rather watch: NCAA Championships or PGA Tour Champions?

It’s a tie…for neither.

Isn’t it time for Matt Kuchar to step up in a meaningful way?

We all love Matt Kuchar because he seems to be having such a good time competing in the cauldron of the PGA Tour. By the way, he DID win the US Amateur. That’s pretty meaningful to us amateurs.

Among the professionals, who has done the most with the least talent? (Jim Furyk?) Who has done the least with the most talent? (Michelle Wie?)

Jim Furyk has tremendous talent. He was a great athlete who chose golf as his profession. He just has a unique swing that he trusts. Brendan Steele at 13th on the FedEx list immediately comes to mind. He’s #1 in scrambling, I believe.

The least with the most talent? Hmmm…Michelle won the US Women’s Open. I’ll pick Charles Howell III. Great guy, great game. Not a lot of W’s. Should have won a major.

Has Stacy Lewis lost her game or her competitive edge?

Probably a combination of a temporary burnout and increased competition from the newcomers.

Besides the players, captains and some officials, does anyone really care about the Presidents Cup? (Maybe the players not so much.)

No

Dan Jenkins once said that if you finish in the top 10, it means that you had a chance to win – and didn’t. Is top 10 the most irrelevant statistic in the professional game?

No. that would be “Best Player to Never Have Won a Major”.

Has anyone seen Hunter Mahan?

No. But the question is why? That would be a great story to find out where he has gone and why. Could actually be burnout.

In this age of professional golf gym rats who work on their physique, doesn’t it make you feel better about yourself to watch Jason Dufner or Andrew “Beef” Johnston play?

Yes. We love those guys for all the right reasons. They love life, they love golf, they love competing, and they love people. What’s not to like?

When you and your buddies talk golf, how often does the FedEx Cup come up?

Never. Absolutely never. That would be because we don’t understand it. It’s one of the worst advertising, marketing and branding promotions of all time. Their commercials are idiotic too.

Do you think that Steve Elkington cares that Rory McIlroy cares that Elkington said that McIlroy doesn’t care?

Does anyone care about Steve Elkington?

What’s going to happen to Tiger Woods? Do you think he even knows?

Tiger Woods is yesterday’s news. His career is over. He knows it. His peers know it. The media know it. The fans know it. Game over. And it all started with that fire hydrant. He lost permission – from himself and millions of others – to be great any longer and it’s been a steady downhill slide ever since. Shame is a powerful human emotion. He looks in the mirror every single day and tells himself, “You blew it.”

Founder & Head Fanatic

Honourable Society of Golf Fanatics

The Culprit(s)!

U.S. Open 2017: That annoying noise you heard for two long days was a plane flying a GEICO ad banner!!

It went on and on and on and on without regard for the spectators, competitors or television audience. Personally, I find all of their commercials annoying as hell, so no surprise that it was them annoying the hell out of everyone trying to watch the US Open.

There was also an anti-Trump sponsored plane endlessly circling the grounds. Gee, what a surprise…

So, if you’re a golfer, don’t ever buy GEICO insurance.  If you already have a policy, cancel it and buy one from a company perhaps like American Family, the company that sponsors the nicest guy on tour: Steve Stricker.

Click HERE for the story. That’s right, the plane was so annoying that it made the news. Way to go, GEICO. Your marketing department is pure genius.

Woods needs help, and his life might depend on it

By MIKE PURKEY  | May 31, 2017

Tiger Woods apologized, but he didn’t go nearly far enough. Not by a long shot. More than 12 hours after his arrest in the early hours of Monday, he said he was sorry “with all my heart” to “my family, friends and the fans.”

But the people to whom he owes the biggest amends are the residents of Palm Beach County, Fla. Driving in the condition in which he was found by police, he could have killed people, including himself. If this had happened at 5 p.m. instead of 3 a.m., the carnage that could have been caused by someone who was so impaired that he couldn’t walk without help is unimaginable.

Woods’ arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence can’t be explained away with ignorance or bad timing. This was a dereliction of responsibility the likes of which hasn’t been seen in the insular world of golf for as long as anyone can remember.

It’s almost impossible to see a path out of the woods for Tiger. Perhaps the best course of action is for him to announce his retirement, solve whatever personal problems he has as a result of this arrest and spend the rest of his life in service and philanthropy.

Otherwise, his image – and yes, his legacy – is forever ruined. He won’t be remembered for the best golf perhaps anyone has ever played. Instead, the mug shot that depicts droopy eyes, dilated pupils, scraggly beard, a broken man looking lost and disconnected will be an everlasting memory.

Woods was arrested at about 3 a.m. Monday in Jupiter, Fla. In a statement at about 5 p.m. Monday, Woods claimed that he had an “unexpected reaction” to pain medication and that “alcohol was not involved.”

Unfortunately, we might never know the whole truth. Woods has been taking prescription narcotic pain medications for years, owing to four knee surgeries and four back surgeries.

A DUI might be the least of Woods’ problems. It could represent the biggest red flag he’s ever seen. Opioid addiction has reached epidemic proportions in the U.S., and when opioids are mixed with alcohol, it can be a deadly combination.

If the Palm Beach County state attorney has Woods’ own admission of being under the influence of painkillers, Woods’ lawyer has a good chance to help him avoid any legal jeopardy. Granted, driving under the influence of narcotic medication is just as serious as drunk driving. But he is Tiger Woods, and it’s his first offense. A judge is not likely to slap Woods with anything more than probation, perhaps with some community service.

Some will insist on giving Woods the benefit of the doubt. But there are a couple of things at work here. First, there is the arresting officer’s account:

When police encountered Woods, his car was stopped in the right lane. The brake light and right blinker was on, and he was asleep at the wheel.

“Woods stated he was coming from LA (Los Angeles) California from golfing. Woods stated that he did not know where he was. Woods had changed his story of where he was going and where he was coming from. Woods asked how far from his house he was.”

What’s more, Woods utterly failed a field sobriety test. Officers had to repeat instructions several times, and when he was asked whether he understood reciting the alphabet backward, he said yes and said he would sing the national anthem backward.

Then, there is the “unexpected reaction” to the medication. He was asked what medication he was taking and officers listed soloxex (sic), vicodin, Torix and viox (sic). In his condition, he couldn’t have been counted on to give an accurate accounting of the medications he was taking. Having said that, Vicodin is an opioid, Torix is an anti-inflammatory and Vioxx, also an anti-inflammatory, was pulled from the marketplace in 2004 because of increased cardiovascular risks.

He has been taking pain meds for years, and it’s just now that he’s reacting unusually? If he felt such a reaction, wouldn’t he try to get home as quickly as he could? Or call someone to come pick him up?

Finally, there is the time of his arrest. What was he doing out at 3 a.m., driving in the opposite direction of his home? Look at his mug shot and you decide.

He was, however, truthful that he hadn’t been drinking. He was administered a Breathalyzer test twice, according to the police report, and blew .000 each time.

Woods has only a few close friends. One of them might be his best chance at getting past this problem. Notah Begay III, who roomed with Woods in college at Stanford, had his own DUI problem but got into recovery and says he has been sober for 17 years.

Begay said Monday on Golf Channel, where he is an on-air analyst, that he hopes changes would be made in his friend’s life as a result of this arrest. Before you wonder out loud why Begay hasn’t been able to successfully intervene before now, perhaps the seed already has been planted and this is the event that will trigger a change.

Begay knows full well that he alone can’t do anything about this. His experience shows that unless the afflicted person “hits bottom,” nothing that’s said will have any positive effect.

Whether Woods listens will depend in large part on how entrenched he is in denial. But if this is as grave as it looks, he no doubt will hear from his friend that this is now a matter of life and death.

Mike Purkey has written about golf for more than 30 years for a number of publications, including Golf Magazine and Global Golf Post. He lives in Charlotte, N.C. Email: golfedit@gmail.com; Twitter@mikepurkeygolf

Here’s a great piece on Hogan’s clubs…

How would modern tour pros do hitting Ben Hogan’s old clubs? We had them try, and it wasn’t pretty

By Curt Sampson

Golf World

Ben Hogan died 20 years ago, but for a few hours on Tuesday he lived again on the practice tee at Colonial.

The Hawk won what’s now called the Dean & DeLuca Invitational five times, and there’s a statue of him by the clubhouse. But we thought of a more intimate way to feel him: by blowing the dust off a couple of his drivers and a Hogan model 1-iron, and putting the odd, old sticks in the hands of PGA Tour professionals. Who, for the most part, couldn’t hit them.

“Forty-three inches, D-2, extra-stiff Apex 5 shaft,” said Mike Wright, the head professional at Shady Oaks, the keeper of the Hogan flame and of his old locker. “This one’s persimmon, this one’s laminated. Tipped. Zero bulge and roll.”

Those last specs might need some explaining. “Laminated” means layers of wood—often maple–glued together. Most purists in the “wood-wood” era insisted on solid blocks of persimmon. But Hogan manufactured clubs, and he loved to experiment, and he found laminates to be perfectly fine. “Tipped” means that the bottom of the shaft was driven through the club head, for still more stiffness; Ben’s clubs were about as limber as telephone poles. “Bulge and roll” is the side-to-side and up-and-down curvature along a wood’s face, an ingenious late-19th century invention that corrected a bit for mishits. Hogan did without B&R because he didn’t mishit much, and he wanted to know when he did.

“How big is this thing?” asked Stewart Cink. He uncovered his white, Taylormade R15 5-wood and compared; the metal club’s head was plainly bigger.

“Probably still some of his sweat in these grips,” said Cink, waggling the approximately 200 cubic centimeters of heavy Hogan lumber, less than twice the size of today’s drivers.

hogan-driver-experiment.jpg
A closer look at the driver and grip from Hogan’s club.

Time and hours of abrasion from the owner’s ungloved hands had worn the rough rubber “cord-line” grips to slickness. Hogan had run a piece of string underneath the grip and a little to the right so that his hands fell naturally into a “weak” position. That rib and the other custom features in the Hogan drivers virtually eliminated his bugaboo, the unexpected hook.

Knowing this, Cink, 44, who was among the last on tour to use a flammable club, tried to hit a hook. Did he ever; the ball veered like a drunk driver swerving five lanes left. His next two tries sliced right, over the yellow ropes and into the rough on Colonial’s adjacent fifth hole.

Chris Stroud, practicing next to Cink, laughed. Then he tried the half-century old club, and laughed again, as he, too, swatted a couple hard to the starboard side.

“He didn’t like to hit it left, did he?” said Stroud. “But the club head is very stable at the ball; it just doesn’t move. It’s beautiful.”

RELATED: If Ben Hogan met TrackMan

As the clubs moved up and down the tee, the hit-and-giggle pattern continued. J.T. Poston’s banana balls cracked up Billy Horschel. Tim Herron’s line drives got big laughs from three caddies. Jason Kokrak swung, and swung again, and the guy manning the Trackman chuckled, amused by the numbers coming up on the launch monitor.

Launch angles with the throwback club were much lower, around 9 degrees instead of Kokrak’s usual 11. Spin rates were dramatically higher, 3,100 rpm versus the usual 2,200; thus, the curve balls everyone was hitting. Ball speed was 164 mph against the 179 Kokrak gets with his Titleist 917D2. As for distance: Kokrak’s tournament roll-included average of 304 yards contrasted with his max carry of 271 with the old club. Of his 10 drives, most flew in the low 260s.

ben-hogan-driver-tony-finau-driver.jpg
The size of Hogan’s driver compared to today’s standard club is striking.

Kokrak, from Warren, Ohio, 6-foot-4 with a program weight of 225, looks like he could have played offensive line at Ohio State. The club appeared to be too small for him, and the acoustics seemed too puny, too. Even with Kokrak’s lusty attack, wood on ball sounded like a knuckle rapping on a door, while nearby the cataclysmic threek! of 460cc titanium heads reminded us that modernity was close at hand. Still, Kokrak got into it, and a small crowd gathered behind him. Caddies, reps, two writers, and a physio.

“Heavy and flat,” said Steven Bowditch of the weight and the lie angle.

“I kinda leave it off to the right,” commented Daniel Summerhays.

“My launch is a little low,” understated Herron.

“Felt awesome when I hit one in the middle of the face,” said Poston, 24. “I don’t really remember these. I think my grandpa had ‘em. … My regular driver’s gonna look enormous.”

“I played Hogan woods in college and growing up,” said Keith Clearwater, 57, the 1987 Colonial champ. “And for a few years I snuck one in my bag on tour.”

“What’s the loft on this? Two degrees?” asked Tony Finau. He swatted out a couple of drives—solid shots, probably 260 in the air—and then he snapped a photo of his big modern driver next to the little old one.

“We really should be using balata balls,” pointed out Graham DeLaet. Exactly: with a softer-covered ball with rubber-bands wound around the center, the distances would be still less and the area over the fence even more dangerous.

“Let me try that 1-iron,” Kokrak said.

Ah, the 1-iron. Hogan is identified with it. He hit one of golf’s most famous pressure shots with the unfriendly-looking stick, his second to the 72nd hole in the ’51 U.S. Open at Merion. The two things people always say about the longest long iron were quickly said. Someone compared it to a butter knife. And an equipment rep repeated Lee Trevino’s old joke about holding a 1-iron above his head in a lightning storm, because “not even God can hit a 1-iron.”

But Vaughn Taylor could. “What’s the loft on this—zero degrees?” he asked. Then he struck three square shots in a row, with his slow, rhythmic swing, and said, “That little blade narrows your focus.”

Jordan Spieth put the Hogan 1-iron behind a ball—then declined to hit it. “Ouch,” he said after his first shot with the driver, a short soft slice you could have caught barehanded. But he nailed his second try, and the ball sizzled through the air.

“What if you had to use a whole set of these,” asked his caddie, Michael Greller. “Could I beat you?”

Spieth thought for a moment. “No,” he answered. “I’d adapt.”

A few spaces away, the ghost of Ben Hogan burned a cigarette and narrowed his eyes. He threw the butt down, took another swing, and then he faded away.