Musings and Mulligans

Roy Lang III is The Times Assistant Sports Editor. He played golf at Centenary College. He has covered six major golf championships and also covered last year’s Ryder Cup. As an added bonus, both Hal Sutton and David Toms are on his speed-dial.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Early 2008 thoughts

So here we are, already a month into the 2008 golf season. What have we learned? Not much has changed.
Tiger Woods' success is officially mind-numbing.
It's sad, because I don't think anyone is impressed by what he does anymore. We complete our three-part installment with Hal Sutton in the paper tomorrow, and it's focused on the direction of the PGA Tour.
I have never subscribed to the theory that Tiger Woods' domination would eventually send golf fans packing. I still think sports fans enjoy dominant players and teams -- but only to a certain extent.
The thing is, we've never seen this type of domination -- ever. In any sport. And I've turned the corner a bit on this. Since Woods has taken is domination to an unheard of level, I DO believe fans are becoming bored with it in a way.
As I said earlier, pretty soon, nothing Tiger does will impress. People will only look at the events he doesn't win and ask, "What happened?"
That's not good. In golf, it's impossible to win all the time -- althought Tiger's going a long way to test that theory.
It's already clear that no one cares two you-know-whats about the events Tiger doesn't play in -- already a sign of fans' apathy. Events used to be judged by major/no major, the level of prestige and the purse money.
Now it's simply, "Is Tiger playing."
I can see Hal Sutton's point about the future being in doubt. Relatively speaking. Tiger may very well be pushing fans out the door every day. I tell you one thing, I appreciate what he does and I'm thrilled to know I'll be able to say I saw him play in his prime.

Other notions
Phil, Phil, Phil:
Awesome gesture to give the father and son Super Bowl tickets. However, John Holmes, sorry J.B. Holmes dusting you in a playoff probably won't help in your next showdown El Tigre.

Ian Poulter: Come on man. Don't say ANYTHING that can be misconstrued as a knock on Tiger. It's just not smart. My tactic would be to shower Tiger with love, but in the back of my mind make myself believe I could take him down. The old keep your friends close and your enemies closer rule.

David Toms: Starts outside a guaranteed spot on the U.S. Ryder Cup team for the first time in a while. Season didn't start well in Arizona, but then again, he hasn't played since the fall, so a rough start was likely. It would be tremendous to see him back in the Winner's Circle again this year. Unless he shoots 80 all year, he's a lock to be a captain's pick of Paul Azinger.

Richard Oliver: Who? If you don't know, he's one of the great minds in sports, especially golf. And he's a friend. He loves his work with the San Antonio Express-News and it's evident here in his blog. Bookmark it.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Sunday, August 06, 2006

Tiger continues to amaze ... but is he clean????

Of course he is. I am kidding. But you know someone is thinking Tiger's latest massage -- complete with "the cream" -- had something to do with it. That's too bad.
Tiger Woods collected his 50th PGA Tour victory -- wow, that's impossible to fathom -- Sunday. Woods to 50 at 30? Truly remarkable. He is in such control of his golf swing right now it is very, very scary. He hit 17 of 18 greens Sunday. And the one he missed was by 2 feet.
He will be an overwhelming favorite at Medinah in two weeks for the PGA Championship, where Woods will look for major No. 12.
What number will Tiger reach in both PGA Tour victories and major championships?
I'm guessing Sam Sneed's record of 82 wins will be broken. And so will Jack Nicklaus' 18 majors.
So here's voting for 85 wins and 23 majors.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Wie 9 back after first round 74

It appears Michelle Wie will not win her first tournament this week. The 16-year-old fired a 74 in the first round of the Women's British Open and is currently nine strokes behind Juli Inkster, who is 7-under par after 17 holes.
It's too bad it's going to take a victory for her to be considered a success. But this is the position she's (her family, too) put herself in.

Tiger sizzles at Buick

Tiger Woods apparently does OK with driver in his hand, too.
The best golfer on the planet opened his first round at the Buick Open with five straight birdies. He is tied for the lead at 5 under and the tournament is just resuming play after a 2-hour delay.
Woods is in prime position to make a sixth birdie on his 10th hole (No. 1 at Warwick Hills).
The second half of the 2006 season could be downright scary if Woods keeps this up.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Wie close but no cigar ... again

Is Michelle Wie ridiculously impressive or in the need of a win big time?
That is the question many golf fans are asking these days.
In my opinion, she needs a win ... like last week.
Wie, 16, has put herself in the position to have to live up to lofty expectations. She turned pro. And just because she's 16 doesn't mean she should be treated any different than the women she competes against. A victory doesn't pay any more for Wie because she's young. It's the same check Annika would cash.
Tiger Woods and his family chose another route -- winning. He collected three U.S. Junior Am titles, three U.S. Amateur tites and an NCAA crown before turning pro exactly 10 years ago. It took him all of five events on the PGA Tour -- at the age of 19 -- to win. He now has 49 career victories.
Wie has finished in the top 5 of every stroke play LPGA Tour event she's played in this season, but has shown a knack for freezing up on the back nine when she's in contention. That has to be related to one thing -- her lack of experience closing the deal.
Will she win? OF course. A lot. But no one should feel like they should take it easy on her close finishes. The decision to put Michelle in the world of professional golf, even at such a tender age, means she's just another competitor.

Friday, July 21, 2006


The table have turned in the battle for the Ryder Cup. Europe now boasts the best team on paper -- certainly the deeper of the two squads.
Only five would-be American Ryder Cuppers made the cut at Royal Liverpool compared to six for the Euros. As expected, the United States' elite (Tiger, Phil and Furyk) are faring well, but the bottom end of the list isn't doing so well.
A look at how current Ryder Cuppers are faring at the British Open:
(based on up-to-date point standings)
United States
1. Tiger Woods 1st (-12)
2. Phil Mickelson 22nd (-4)
3. Jim Furyk 9th (-5)
4. Chad Campbell 57th (-1)
5. David Toms DNS (back injury)
6. J.J. Henry 91st (missed cut at +2)
7. Zach Johnson 91st (missed cut at +2)
8. Brett Wetterich 91st (missed cut at +2)
9. Vaughn Taylor 57th (-1)
10. Lucas Glover 83rd (missed cut at even par)
11. Davis Love III 106th (missed cut at +3)
12. Fred Couples 91st (missed cut at +2)

David Howell 133rd (missed cut at +6)
Colin Montgomerie 116th (missed cut at +4)
Jose Maria Olazabal 37th (-3)
Henrik Stenson 57th (-1)
Luke Donald 48th (-2)
Paul Casey 48th (-2)
Padraig Harrington 124th (missed cut at +5)
Paul McGinley 72nd (missed cut at even par)
Sergio Garcia 9th (-5)
Paul Broadhurst 48th (-2)


Friday's second round set up perfectly for Tiger Woods to take a hold of the British Open. And how! Tiger's 7-under 65 helped put some serious distance between himself and most of the field. Chris DiMarco and Ernie Els are in contention, but the jam-packed leaderboard is no longer crowded -- at least for the lead.
Tiger's hole-out from more than 200 yards on No. 14 will be replayed forever and his touch around Royal Liverpool's tricky greens has the world's best golfer in position to capture major No. 11.
Woods has never lost a major when leading at the halfway mark.
Els will play with Tiger on Saturday. The only problem I see with Woods' position is his late tee time. If the weather picks up in the afternoon along the Irish Sea, the leaders could play a completely different golf course than guys that are at 4 or 5 under. Woods shot 81 when hurricane-like conditions attacked Muirfield in 2002.
With winds gusting to 30 m.p.h. and rain blowing sideways in the cold (low 50s Fahrenheit), many of the players wore sweaters and wool caps under their rain gear and hats.
Woods went from two behind Els to 11 behind the eventual champion after shooting his 10-over-par 81. Colin Montgomerie followed his second-round 64 with a third-round 84.

Thursday, July 20, 2006


If you didn't believe the recent results in the Ryder Cup, take a look at the world rankings and the leaderboard at the British Open to see how the Americans have been engulfed at the top of the golf world. Tiger Woods is the lone American in the top six at Royal Liverpool. There are just four red, white and blue representatives in the top 19 (Woods, Jim Furyk, Ben Crane and Tom Lehman). Clearly, golfers from all over the world are finding success in men's golf.
A look at the World Rankings:
Members in top 20
Europe 8 (Garcia, Howell, Donald, Montgomerie, Olazabal, Stenson, Harrington, Clarke)
USA 5 (Woods, Mickelson, Furyk, Toms, Cambell)
South Africa 4 (Goosen, Els, Immelman, Clark)
Austraila 2 (Scott, Ogilvy)
Australia's Stuart Appleby and Nick O'Hern rank 21 and 22. The Americans have the top-notch superstars, but need several golfers to step up for some depth if the Ryder Cup will even be competitive.


What a finish for Tiger. Tiger Woods didn't struggle Thursday, but at the same time, he wasn't on his game. Nevertheless Woods eagled the 18th hole at Royal Liverpool to get within one of Graeme McDowell's lead after one round at the British Open. Tiger shot one of the best rounds in the second half of the tee block and that may setup well for Friday, when Woods tees off early (2:58 a.m. Central time, 8:58 in Hoylake). Phil Mickelson on the other hand, while shooting a solid 69 (3 under), will tee off later Friday afternoon (8:31 a.m. Central, 2:31 local). The winds should howl Friday and the course, soaked early Thursday, will be extremely firm and fast in the afternoon, assuming there are no more rains. Tiger Woods is in the driver's seat right now. With a low round Friday morning, he could start to eliminate some of the contenders. There are more than 30 golfers within three shots of the lead.