Congrats To Zach Johnson, But He Bores The Shit Out Of Me
If I’m anything, I’m honest. The reason I watch the men’s tour is because they can hit shots that I can’t. They can hit a 7 iron 215 yards with a cut that drops and stops next to the flag. They can hit a 385 yard drive and reach a 650 yard par 5 in two shots. They can back up a 108 yard shot 20 feet right back to the hole. Zach Johnson, well…..he can’t do any of those things. I’m not saying he plays like a chick, and I’m definitely glad he’s on American teams for Ryder/Presidents Cup teams, I just wouldn’t buy a ticket to a golf tournament in advance if I knew he was going to win.
What Zach does well is roll his rock. He makes putts like Lindsay Lohan snorts lines of blow. Easily, often, and quickly. That’s great for him, his career, and his wallet, but it bores the shit out of me when watching a golf tournament on television. Remember watching him wedge Augusta National to death to win a green jacket in 2007? Most boring Masters ever.
To me, watching the action from Conway Farms today felt a bit like Zach’s victory at Augusta. The weather was cold and windy, Tiger couldn’t get anything going, and Zach made every fucking putt he looked at to come out on top. Johnson’s performance on the greens was absolutely unbeatable. He’d miss a green and hit a questionable chip, but save his bacon by nailing the 9 foot slider for par. His countless par saves kept his round going early, then when he did start hitting greens he started making bombs for birdies. Carding a final round 65, with no bogies, in those conditions, is absolutely impressive. Zach just doesn’t do it with style points.
Now the bible thumper from Iowa is in prime position to win at East Lake next week and pocket another $10 million in the process. He could be the 3rdFed Ex champ to win the big money after missing one of the playoff events. Remember, Zach sat out the Barclays to be the best man in his brother’s wedding. NBC just happened to note that his brother was married in the Chicago area and Zach squeezed in a practice round at Conway Farms before the ceremony. Zach also was familiar with the course from playing a college tournament there.
With this win, Johnson now has 10 victories in his PGA Tour career. Those wins and his green jacket mean that Zach is eligible for induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame on his 40th birthday. Get the fuck out of here! No, it’s true. I think he needs a much stronger resume to have a real chance of getting voted in, but stranger things have happened, just ask Colin Montgomerie.
Oh boy, where to begin? In a cluster-fuck of a Monday finish with 40 guys getting sent home for the season it feels like there are too many train wrecks to mention them all, but I’ll try…..
Luuuuuuuuuuuke — As previously noted, Luke is a member at Conway Farms and was an integral part of getting the BMW Championship to be played at his home club. Luke woke up this weekend realizing he was projected to finish outside of the top 30 and therefore end his 2013 in Chicago like fellow Euros Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood. The former world number 1 was fighting for his Fed Ex life and went out and played his ass off to fire a 66 and tie for 4th to secure his spot in the top 30.
Think about that for a second. Three former world number 1s from Europe, all of them playing for their Fed Ex livelihood…..that tells you how deep the talent pool truly is on the tour. Luke tweeted with excitement about making the field in Atlanta. To an extent, it’s a little fucked up that a player of his caliber is grinding to make the Tour Championship. Fucked up because he should have played better all year, but also because it weakens the field at East Lake if guys like him don’t make it.
True Temper — My personal favorite moment of the day belonged to Henrik Stenson. NBC/TGC didn’t show much of Stenson in the fourth round, and why should they? He was ten shots or more off the lead for most of his round. Yet, Stenson was 2nd in the Fed Ex standings coming into Chicago, so a few mentions of him seemed necessary. When he first appeared on camera he hit a putt that he was clearly unhappy with and walked to the cup to meet the ball almost before it stopped to tap it in. That’s usually a sign that your patience is lacking. The next time he appeared was in a prerecorded highlight package that showed him making eagle at the 14th hole. Four holes later the broadcast caught up with him again when Henrik was going for broke at his 72nd hole. The following ensued:
Oh yeah!!!! That’s always a go to move if you really want to break something. Apparently Stenson dumped his tee shot in the hazard and wasn’t very happy about it. I’ve been there. Seeing that broken club is always one of the worst feelings an angry golfer can have. Stenson made a boatload of cash with that club over the last 3 months. Today it is being reshafted somewhere on its way to Atlanta. It won’t feel the same, that is for sure. Pay close attention to how well, or poorly, Henrik drives the ball in the Tour Championship. I bet he struggles.
Big Jim Choked Again — Jim Furyk has been only a 39% winner when holding a 54 hole lead in his professional career. At this point, we’re just not surprised when he doesn’t win when playing in the last group of a final round. Even worse, Jim is 0 for his last 6 when he’s in such a situation. The last time this happened he lost to Jason Dufner at the PGA Championship a month ago. Dufner took that one and won it. Jim didn’t choke. Today? Not so much. He could have hit greens and fairways all day to likely shoot a score good enough to win or get into a playoff.
Instead, Furyk was often scrambling to save par, missing greens, and only hit about half his fairways after hitting 30 some in a row earlier in the tournament. He missed plenty of makeable/short putts too. Those are all indicators of a choke job. I still don’t think struggling to close a 72 hole tournament is a reason Jim shouldn’t be on the Prez Cup team. His 59 proved how well he’s playing. A 3rd place finish is miles ahead of where Webb Simpson is right now. Jim just needs to get over the hump. Hopefully he plays some events in the fall to break through and start 2014 with a slump-buster.
Misery For Matt Jones — Journeyman Matt Jones had a 12 foot birdie putt at the last hole to likely secure a spot in the top 30 and move on the East Lake. The bigger deal for a guy like Jones is, securing that top 30 spot also would provide him with an automatic spot at Augusta for the following year. Most of the top 30 players at years end are already exempt to the Masters, but not Jones. The putt of course lipped the low side of the cup and stayed out. Jones smiled and tapped in having no clue what that putt actually meant to his career. Turns out he needed that 12 footer to make his first Masters appearance. Feel bad for him? Well don’t. Jones plays golf and makes a great living at it. Plus, his wife Melissa is of course a nice piece of ass. Take a gander:
Watney — Where the fuck has Nick Watney been? Similar to 2012, Watney has played like shit for most of the year until heating up for the Fed Ex playoffs. Last year he won the Barclays at Bethpage. This year he got warm in round 4 at the BMW and will be one of the favorites going to Atlanta. Watney’s good play is being credited to a switch from swing coach Butch Harmon to Sea Island’s Todd Anderson who’s best known for working with Brandt Snedeker.
Watney shot the round of the day with a 64, but ended up finishing two shots behind Zach Johnson. It’s hard to say a round that good could have been better, but Nick has to be kicking himself for what he did on the par five 8th hole today. He was 25 yards short of the green in two and chunked his 3rd shot to the fringe. That was followed by a 3 putt for a 6. Watney probably gets his ball up and down for a 4 there 80% of the time. Doing that in this instance would have putt him in a playoff with Johnson. Watney played the 8th hole two over par for the week. Ouch.
You Can’t Beat Mother Nature
When I started this site at the beginning of the year the tour was in Hawaii and play was being delayed due to gale force winds on the Plantation Course at Kapalua. The players waited 3 days for those conditions to subside and finish the tournament. After today the tour has now played 39 events for the year, and 23 of them have been delayed at some point by weather. A handful of those events have even moved their finish to Monday. That’s pretty hard to fathom when you consider the fact that the tour strives to place their events in regions during that area’s peak golf season.
Practice rounds at the BMW were played in near 100 degree conditions. Players teeing it up in the Northern Chicago suburbs on Friday morning did so with temperatures in the 40s. When a front like that moves through an area it usually comes with rain, and that rain hit Sunday to wash out play for the day before the leaders could tee off. I’ll be curious to see what the ratings ended up being for the BMW being shown on a Monday on the Golf Channel compared to a normal NBC Sunday broadcast of the event from past years.
Obviously Tiger’s performance would have some impact on it, but at the same time playing on Monday before football coverage begins also isn’t a bad idea. One of the reasons the Fed Ex Cup playoffs were born was to end the meat of the tour season earlier so they didn’t directly compete with the NFL and college football for ratings. What more can they do? I could see a day where they play night golf on a Wednesday in prime time, can’t you? Donald Trump would install lights on one of his courses in a New York minute to land that event.
I’ve beaten this horse to death over the last 9 months. What else can I tell you? In summary, I thought NBC did a fine job covering the BMW. They showed just enough Tiger based on where he stood in the tourney. That’s a tough balancing act. Miller was at his best, and Hicks, Koch, and Maltbie are some of the best at what they do. I still enjoy CBS’ production value more, but NBC is no scab here. I always hope/wish for more technology to be involved, more hole graphics, stats, information, etc., but I digress. That isn’t NBC’s M.O. You want to know what NBC is really good at? Showing golf shots. You know, the shit we actually tune into see.
That’s Martin Kaufmann, an editor at Golfweek Magazine. Martin writes a similar piece to what I provide here that discusses the coverage provided on the previous week’s event. Martin’s critique of the recent tour events in Boston and New York compared and contrasted the amount of actual shots shown by both CBS (New York) and NBC (Boston) in these events. The results of Kaufmann’s study showed that CBS constantly showed a player putting and then stayed on him waiting for him to tap in before they cut away. Both networks showed similar ratios of full shots to putts, but because NBC cut away after assuming the player would make the tap in, the peacock could show more actual shots. In reality, not counting tap-ins, NBC shows golf on TV at a 2 to 1 ratio over CBS. Thanks for the info, Martin. Keep up the good work.
In my previous post I commented on Tiger’s ball moving and how I thought it resulted in a bull shit penalty. I also said that I didn’t see the ball move in the video. Upon seeing the video in full high definition on a bigger screen you can clearly see the ball move. The tour got it right. I still think it’s possible Tiger didn’t see it initially, but after seeing the video I’m not sure how he could still believe in that argument.
On to East Lake.