Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Masters

I'm watching the Masters, and have some thoughts.

1) Have you noticed how big the club heads have become, particularly the driver? Are the improvements in technology equivalent to the use of steroids in baseball? Remember, the clubs all used to be wood heads with stiff shafts. These days, the metal heads and flexible grafite shafts allow players to generate enormous club speed. That, coupled with the improvement in the aerodynamics in the golf ball, certainly give today's modern players an edge against the records of such former great such as Nickalas, Palmer, Sneed, Hogan, Player, etc.

While the technology makes it more difficult to compare players from different eras, it does not equate to the use of performance enhancing drugs in baseball. Why? Because in golf, everybody is using the advanced technology and it is legal. In baseball, it is covert and not legal, thus the playing field is not level.

2) I miss Greg Norman, my favorite golfer of all time. His aura was unbelievable. His swagger, his confidence, his blonde locks, his wide shoulders and V-shaped back, his majestic drives. His ability to always compete for the major championships (29 top-ten finishes in Major championships), and his near Shakespearean "tragic-hero" status. What do I mean by this? Simply, Norman had some shocking and unlikely losses in majors, whether it was Bob Tway holing an 18th hole shot from the bunker in the 1986 PGA Championship or Larry Mize's chip in from 45 feet in the playoff of the 1987 Masters. In addition, Norman had some major chokes of his own, most notably, the 1996 Masters in which he held a 6-shot lead going into Sunday, but shot a 78 and ended up losing by 5 strokes.

His estimated net worth is about $500 million, but I bet he would give up a huge chunk of it to have a few more of those Major championships under his belt (his only 2 Major wins were the 1986 and 1993 British Opens). I seriously worried about him committing suicide at one point. He was never the same after that loss in the 1996 Masters.

3) Augusta is a beautiful golf course. Of note, however, they still do not allow women to be members (and finally allowed a black member in 1990).

4) Caddyshack is still such a great movie. One of Chevy Chases 3 great movies (Vacation and Fletch, the other 2) in a now washed-up career. Rodney and Bill Murray were obviously hilarious in their roles as well.

5) Tiger won't win today, but he is more dominant than any other athelete ever (more than Jordan, Brady, Jim Brown) perhaps since Babe Ruth.


Will said...

Steve - seriously, you know everything about medicine, a fair bit about a zillion other things and ... you watch golf?!?! what's the secret?

Also, can we give golfers a different label besides 'athlete?' how about 'sportsman?'

Yes, there is the power, hand-eye coordination and skill but the 'athleticism' of golf seems to be more on the order of billiards than football/basketball/soccer and yes baseball. I mean, you never hear about pro golfers who were also recruited for other sports. Why? because they aren't athletes - or , yes, in Tigers case they did nothing but golf since they were two blah blah blah

Bob said...

Steve, that was quite a description of Norman's hair and body/back.

Augusta's yardage stayed the same for a long time. I think it was around 6900 yards for 50 years.They started lengthening it in 2001 with the advances in technology. It now measures almost 7450 yards.

Surprisingly, the avg scoring was the pretty much the same in 1970 as it was in 2004.

Jeanette said...

Nothing yet about last night's debate? I was counting on it. So disappointed...