Welcome to this month’s installment of Pet Peeves, which triggered such underwhelming reader response in its debut that it made absolutely no sense to do it again. So, we did. You can just sit there and be happy, like any standard-issue weirdo, or you can get out of that chair and offer your own mouthful of malice.
Misery doesn’t just love company. It thrives on it.
The death of the money list – Since the PGA Tour introduced the FedEx Cup thing in 2007, players are no longer prioritized in the season-long standings by accumulated income. The switch to a points system was made to accommodate the tour’s playoff idea, which hasn’t really worked, so we traded in a comfortable, reliable sedan for a high-end SUV that spends half the time in the shop.
Matt Kuchar still leads the FedEx Cup derby over Brooks Koepka, who has only finished second, first and second at the three majors and piled up $7.3 million in earnings, $300,000 more than Rory McIlroy. Kuchar is third, and through the two lists are obviously similar in terms of composition, there are significant differences in the order of rank. It’s almost as if winning a major title works against you on the yellow brick road to Atlanta.
Speaking of which….
Spectators howling “KOOOOCH” every time Matt Kuchar does something he’s supposed to do – Something about the sound of our fourth vowel used consecutively turns golf fans into a herd of cattle. Boooo! We hear it with Luke Donald, although not very often anymore, and I remember the same tribal chant when Boog Powell stepped to the plate many years ago, when the Orioles actually were worth watching.
Maybe we can give it a rest for, like, 80 years. A long snoooooze, if you will.
The marine layer – I’d never heard of such a thing until I arrived in sunny southern California for the 2008 U.S. Open and was treated to four days of Seattle in December. It was even worse earlier this month at Pebble Beach, as that dense cloud cover brought temperatures in the mid-50s and turned golf’s greatest photo-op into a landmark fight with limited light.
Only a card-carrying pessimist would remember that two of the past three U.S. Opens played in California were held in the dark. The lone exception to those two weeks was a wonderful one: a brilliant, blue-sky Monday for the ’08 playoff between Tiger Woods and Rocco Mediate. No way the golf gods upstairs were going to miss that.
The “Open Championship” – Now I’m really getting grouchy. An exact date obviously is impossible to determine, but at some point in the early 2000s, people in this country began referring to the British Open by its proper name. It was as if they’d convicted themselves of sacrilegious misbehavior, which might be a capital offense in Scotland, but not here. In America, it’s the British Open. Do we slice off the name of the country when referring to our national championship?
The Fox Sports golf history department – Just when you might have thought the network was making strides in its presentation of USGA events, you’re reminded that it’s the same operation that brought us “Beverly Hills, 90210.” There were more factual errors and misidentifications during the coverage from Pebble Beach than CBS or NBC makes combined in five years. My favorite gaffe came in a graphic showing the handful of men who simultaneously have held dual major titles in the modern era. It included Craig Wood, who did it in 1941.
If 1941 is modern, we need to start a new era.
ESPN – At least Fox is trying. Having long ago pronounced itself as the “Worldwide Leader” in sports programming, the House that Berman Built now sees pro golf as little more than a pulpit for all things Tiger Woods. The network has become a fan club more than a legitimate journalistic entity or entertainment option, and its website is unbearably sophomoric.
It’s really kind of sad, how what was once an American empire finds itself stumbling down commercially friendly viewer paths, looking to reclaim the tens of millions of viewers it has lost due to the evolution of the television industry. Golf and ice hockey are the most obvious victims; you can show me 150 hours of college softball and not give me a leaderboard or 30 seconds of PGA Tour coverage?
By the way, LeBron James is still with the Lakers.
Desperado, why don’t you come to your senses?
John Hawkins is a longtime sportswriter who spent 14 years covering the PGA Tour for Golf World magazine. From 2007 to 2011, he was a regular on Golf Channel’s “Grey Goose 19th Hole.” Email: firstname.lastname@example.org