For the first time ever, I’m going to be taking some of your questions into a “mailbag” column, in response to a historic 2015 Masters. This week a lot of celebrities wanted to chime in, voicing a lot of legitimate concerns that we are all wondering:
1. Augusta National Golf Club is stuck in the 1950s, but is that really such a bad thing? -Don Draper
Thanks for the question Don Draper, star of Mad Men, and you have a valid point. Just as your show is set in the ’50’s and includes many ridiculous traditions and practices of the era, Augusta National hangs on to many traditions that are out of date and just a hair off from being offensive.
Here’s a more accurate Masters commercial that contains a lot of startlingly true facts:
So go back to your cigarette-smoking, ugly-girl-banging ways Don, and leave the sports and racism and sexism to the big boys.
However, there is one point to be made here. Augusta National is so extreme that it STRICTLY enforces it’s no cell phone policy on the premises. The stories are crazy, but how cool is this policy?
I was recently at the Final Four working for the @FinalFour social media accounts. At all of the events I went to, there was extremely cool stuff to do. However, most people spent the entire experience recording it and taking pictures on their phones and tweeting, and didn’t get to just experience the awesome circumstance they were in.
Golfers talk about the silence that adds drama to the competition, combined with the massive roars that explode once a good shot is played. Would that happen without this policy? Probably not.
Just one week before Spieth’s Masters victory he was in a playoff at the Shell Houston open, with a chip shot on the first playoff hole that he needed to stick close. In his backswing, there was the noise of a cell phone taking a picture. It rattled him, he flubbed the chip, and lost the tournament.
So, Don, in that case I guess you are right.
2. Didn’t the course seem really…well…easy this week? -Phil Mickelson
This is the most understated point of the 2015 Masters, and I’m really glad you bring up the point Phil. You were spraying the ball all over the place, with drives into the pine trees and approaches several yards from the green. However, like clockwork, you drew good lies from the pine straw and the perfectly manicured “rough” around the greens and put the ball close, taking the pressure off your putting.
Jordan Spieth should have easily broken the course record this week, and did break just about every other record: lowest 36 hole score, lowest 54 hole score, tied for lowest 72 hole score. And while Jordan played great, I can’t help but feel like the course helped him out, a lot.
The grounds people who set up the course cannot control the weather, and therefore cannot determine how soft the fairways and greens are going to be. But wow, they were SOFT. I’ve never seen balls sit on the heavily-sloped greens so immediately at the Masters before.
And the putting?? Those were the slowest those greens have ever been, I’m convinced. Veterans like Tiger and Phil were baffled by how slow the putts were, and came up short on numerous occasions.
If you watch golf at all, you know that Jordan Spieth is an excellent putter ON SLOW GREENS, so it’s no wonder he was such a wizard this week. It’s also no secret that Tiger is a wizard ON FAST GREENS, which is why he usually putts very well at Augusta, but not this week. Tough luck.
3. Is there any event that Jim Nance couldn’t announce? -Jim Nance
Valid point Jim, and the answer is no. I would be more than happy to hear your velvety voice announcing anything, whether it was related to sports or not.
I volunteer to start up a free lance service that people can hire out Jim Nance. I’m thinking everything from weddings and family reunions to children’s birthday parties.
“Hello friends, Jim Nance here, it looks like little Bobby has moved over to the foam pit, and Jimmy’s dad is trying very hard to hit on Stacy’s mom. I sure hope there’s cookie cake!”
4. Is this Jordan Speith guy really this nice? This is all just an act right? -Tim Tebow
Sure, Tim. Coming from the guy who was singing church hymns while he was warming up when NFL films mic’d up your helmet. Really?
But Timmy boy is right, there’s no way Spieth can be this nice. When asked about fellow competitor Ben Crenshaw (granted Crenshaw is 63 which is three times as old as Jordan), Spieth replied, “you mean Mr. Crenshaw?” Come on kid, I mean Ben F****** Crenshaw just answer the question.
Spieth seems like the type of guy who rescues kittens from trees on his walk to the course. And have you seen his PGATour.com commercial? That’s honestly probably not far off from how he is in real life.
But no Tim, I don’t think Spieth is an act, just how I’m still holding on to hope that you weren’t an act either, don’t let me down. Oh and tell Chip Kelley I said hello.
5. Was Nick Faldo actually good at golf? -Jordan Spieth
Jordan! Nice of you to chime in…hope you didn’t read what I just said about you, I am a huge fan!
You’re only 21 years old, born in 1993. Considering Faldo won his last major in 1996 and his last tournament in 1997, you probably don’t remember watching him first hand. Then again, you also may have been a scratch golfer from the back tees by then, who knows.
But I am wondering the same thing by the way Faldo commentates. The only thing I hear him say is, “wow he’s in deep trouble, this shot is so impossibly difficult,” only to have the players hit shots close to the pin over and over. At some point you stop looking at how impressive the shot was and wonder, “were you just bad at golf?”
He also cannot fathom in his mind what a flop shot is. I watch every major golf tournament and a lot of minor ones, so I’ve heard Faldo’s ramblings for countless hours. He has mentioned at least a thousand times how “back in my day you’d pull out a 7/8/9 iron and run up a little bump-and-run up the green.”
Which is great except that in all of those 1,000 times I’ve never seen the player actually attempt that shot. In 2015 people have figured out that pulling a 60 degree wedge and just dropping the ball on top of the whole is way easier, a concept that Faldo just cannot grasp.
6. How old is Verne Lundquist really, baby? -Dick Vitale
Listen Dickie V, I know you’re upset because ESPN is slowly fazing you out, and on a scale of John Bucigross to Lou Holtz for “ability to comprehend what the heck you’re saying,” you’re coming up on Lee Corso level (sorry, too soon).
But this is actually a fantastic question.
Friday was an emotional day at the Masters, as 63 year old Ben Crenshaw was playing his final round at a tournament he had won twice and at which he was beloved. He broke down in tears several times and the mood was very nostalgic, with all of the broadcasters giving their best “Gentle Ben” stories.
Well Ol’ Verne casually mentions that the first time he met Ben was when he was doing a feature on him. Ok this makes sense because Verne has been with CBS for a long time. Then he says it was when Ben Crenshaw was 13 years old, a freshman in high school. Excuse me….what?
As I watch Crenshaw walk up the 18th fairway, looking older than sin, I wonder how old Lundquist could really be. There’s no way he’s only 74. My guess is closer to 346 (over/under).
7. Why isn’t David Feherty funny anymore? -Jasper Parnevik
Who is Jasper Parnevik? This guy you uncultured swine.
Behold, the man who holds the career record for swag level, and it’s not even a close race.
On his best days, Feherty could make even non-golf fans interested in watching 4 hours of old white men walk around a perfectly manicured field. And his show on the Golf Channel is both legitimately hilarious and touching.
But I never heard Feherty crack a single joke or mention a single obscure species of tree/grass all weekend?? And considering his very forgettable playing career, it’s not like he has the prestige or experience of The Great Nick Faldo to go off of. So Feherty, please get back to teaching people how to purposely shank chips.
8. Why are all these guys so nice to each other?? -Paul Azinger
Thank you, someone finally noticed. In every other sport, even the new-era-NBA of happy go lucky friends, the competitors are so competitive that games can get chippy since both sides want to win. And I do believe that golfers share that same competitiveness, so why are they so nice!
Imagine Russell Westbrook on the PGA Tour. Now there’s a man I would go buy tickets to go see. I want to see him hit a hole-in-1, then just spike the club and give his playing partner one of his signature “stank eye’s,” all while wearing a ridiculous bahama patterned shirt and red-framed glasses.
I guess what I’d really like to see are some more Shooter McGavin type characters on tour, because it would make it so much more fun to watch. Jordan Spieth’s playing competitor on Sunday was Justin Rose, who’s nickname is “Rosey.” Are you serious? How can you be taken serious with the nickname Rosey?
Drop the act gentlemen. Spieth is an American, “Rosey” is a Brit. How bout we start actin’ like it. ‘Merica.
9. Why are golf’s former greats so much better role models than other sports? -Charles Barkley
To kick off the Masters every year, a ceremonial opening drive is hit by “The Big 3,” of Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and Gary Player. All three are beloved, and are just as amazing people off the course as they are players on the course. But why is it that golf’s greats are all also great people?
Think about basketball’s equivalent of this. The NBA Finals every year is kicked off by a one-on-one-on-one game between Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, and Larry Bird. Except all three are insanely competitive and the game would get too serious and eventually MJ and Bird would start playing dirty in order to gain an advantage and considering they are all now fat and out of shape that woul…ohhhhhhhhhh my goodness that would be the most hilarious thing ever! PLEASE, WE NEED TO START THIS.
But the point is, you just don’t get that from any other sport. Chuck, you should know better than anyone:
10. What kind of magic voo-doo powers does Tiger possess that we don’t know about? -Dr. Mantis Toboggan
Who the heck is Mantis Toboggan? Glad you asked. Frank Reynolds (Danny DeVito) was asked to create a “viral video” to promote his bar, Paddy’s Pub, in Always Sunny in Philadelphia. This is what he came up with:
Tiger in his round Sunday had a shot in which his club caught a root, and it appears to have injured his hand in some way. Listen to Tiger’s expert analysis on the situation.
“A bone kind of popped out of place, but I put it back in.”
Wow, that’s impressive. It’s also impossible. At least to normal humans…maybe Tiger spent his time off learning some sort of voodoo magic healing methods where you can snap bones together like LEGOs, I don’t know.
11. How long until Nike gives Jordan Speith an offer he can’t refuse? -Chris Broussard and Brian Windhorst
Wow, thanks NBA rumor guys, I was wondering when you’d chime in. Well we know that this happened to Rory McIlroy, who won 2 majors and then received a mega-deal from Nike which ultimately sent his game into a slump for over a year. I pray that Speith doesn’t fall into the same trap, not only because I am a huge Under Armour fan but also because of how good of an opportunity this is for a rivalry.
USA vs. UK, Nike vs. Under Armour, power vs. finesse. The opportunities are limitless. Don’t sell out and ruin this for all of Jordan. From all that we know about Jordan Spieth and how unbelievably humble and selfless he is, it doesn’t seem likely.
However, you rumor guys have stirred up more farfetched stories than this, and sometimes you just create things out of the blue which end up becoming true, so who knows.
12. Is Tiger going to win again? Another major? And why is America so quick to welcome him back with open arms? -Lance Armstrong
Oh Lance, you were a great story while you lasted. The difference between you and Tiger is that you were calling out other dopers and steroid users and turning them in, publicly humiliating them and calling them cheaters. That would be like Tiger holding a press conference and bashing Charlie Sheen.
No, Tiger’s PR guy was smarter than that. Almost as smart as, say, Ray Lewis’s PR guy (killed a guy, becomes America’s darling, Christian motivational speaker, beloved ESPN personality). Tiger just vanished as much as possible, attempted to make himself irrelevant, and then let his legacy and play speak for itself.
In the end, people care more about what you bring to your sport, and Tiger brings more to his sport than anyone else does individually to their respective sports. To be honest, if there was no Tiger Woods, then there would be no Rory McIlroy, just watch this commercial, which by the way is the greatest commercial I’ve seen in a long time.
Send your questions to me via email @ firstname.lastname@example.org and you could end up in the next mailbag!