Each week we ask our panel of writers, PGA members and golf industry experts to weigh in with their views on the hot topics of the day.
Jordan Spieth will be trying to win the third leg of the Grand Slam next week at St. Andrews. Many people urged him to get to Scotland early to gain some experience on the Old Course and let his body adjust to the time difference well in advance of the Open Championship. However, Spieth has committed to play in the John Deere Classic this week, the site of his first PGA Tour victory. Good decision or not?
Jim Deeks, Fairways Magazine (@jimdeeks): A good decision, in the sense that it shows Spieth to be a young man with good principles – i.e., loyalty to an event, which is admirable. A bad decision, for fear that he’s just not used to the links game, or as familiar with the quirks and bounces of the Old Course as you surely must be to dominate the field. Still, this kid’s got such patience and skill that I’d be happy to put five quid on his chances.
Dave Kaplan, Freelance Writer (@davykap): Spieth has that young blood so I’m not too concerned about him being fatigued. It’s like staying out late for consecutive nights when you’re young. If I tried to do that now, I would be a disaster the following days. But when you are Jordan’s age, it’s no biggie.
Peter Mumford, Fairways Magazine (@FairwaysMag): I admire Spieth’s loyalty to the John Deere Classic but an extra week in Scotland tuning up on links courses and learning some of the subtleties of St. Andrews would be the wiser choice. Years from now, nobody will remember the Deere winners but a Grand Slam is the stuff of legends.
Jim Kenesky, Golf Genius Software (@JimKeneskyGolf): I think it is a good decision as he’s respecting the people that were apart of his early success. However, it seems with his recent world travels it doesn’t matter what Jordan does. He’s good under any circumstances. I really like his chances at St. Andrews and figure we could all be watching the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits with some big history on the line.
Craig Loughry, GAO Director of Handicapping (@craigloughry): Good decision, a smart one by the young lad. And there’s the key, he’s young, he has a ton of energy, and he’ll be just fine adjusting to conditions and time zone for the British Open. He’s also accustomed to playing in a Texas wind, and he’s ON right now. He’ll contend.
Donald Trump made inflammatory racist remarks about Mexicans as part of his campaign to become President of the United States. The major golf associations reacted with not much more than a mild rebuke even though all of them play events on Trump courses. Should they have taken a stronger stand against Trump’s comments such as pulling events from his courses?
Kaplan: Donald Trump is the worst. Absolutely, the golf associations should have taken a stronger position against Trump’s remarks. I was certainly expecting more of a lambasting, but it appears that only Univision had the courage to do something about it.
Mumford: Trump has a history of saying and doing almost anything to get attention, which leads people to think this is just another instance of Donald being Donald. Well it’s not. Donald Sterling lost his basketball team for saying less; broadcasters have lost their jobs for less; sponsors have pulled their support for less. Kudos to NBC and Univision for pulling out of their event at Doral. It’s time the golf associations did the same. What Trump is selling has no place in golf.
Deeks: I can’t stand Donald Trump or anything he stands for. But I think a lot of the knee-jerk reaction and cancellations of business deals will only truly hurt a lot of far-less wealthy people who work hard to make these enterprises work. So I’m actually happy that the golf associations didn’t over-react, and in particular, the charities that benefit from the Trump-related events won’t suffer.
Kenesky: The Donald is doing some great things for golf and the industry. But maybe politics isn’t his thing. I don’t feel his golf businesses and the people around them should suffer for his comments. It was Trump’s mistake and he needs to correct his actions.
Loughry: Well, this is an interesting predicament. One, consider the source: Trump is an IDIOT. They respectfully rebuke Trump’s comments so as to not bring additional and unnecessary attention to it. Crafty and strategic response, make no mistake about that.
Tiger Woods shot a bogey free round on the weekend and finished middle of the pack at the Greenbrier Classic. Is that progress or have our standards sunk too low for the former World No. 1?
Kenesky: Definite progress. However, my expectations of him are similar to our Canadians. I watch with wonder and am pleasantly surprised when they achieve nice results. Tiger is massively important to the game, so I am hoping this is progress. I don’t think he’ll dominate the sport like he used to but there’s got to be some fuel left in the tank. I expect Tiger to be in the mix heading to the weekend at St. Andrews.
Deeks: Good for Tiger, but can we PLEASE stop watching and reporting on his every move? To answer the question, yes, our standards have sunk too low.
Kaplan: Well … for tour standards, I think that course was playing really easy, especially with how wet and receptive the greens were all week. It was his first bogey free round in like 65 rounds or something insane like that, so I guess he does deserve some credit. But don’t expect much out of him at St. Andrews — which will play the exact opposite of the Greenbrier in a couple weeks — unless Tiger keeps his long sticks in the trunk and plays his iron stinger game off of the tee. He’s so consistent when he hits that shot, I can’t understand why he doesn’t elect to go iron off the tee all the time.
Loughry: I look at that as progress from where he’s been the last 20 months or so. Related to our next question, Hearnsy had a bogey free first round, in fact had only one bogey the second day – that’s ONE bogey in 36 holes. Back to TW: I don’t think standards have sunk, but maybe expectations are adjusting to be more realistic. We’re not watching Tiger in his prime but I’m not willing to completely write him off yet.
Mumford: I don’t really care what Tiger does but the bloody golf media keeps following his every move. What’s the matter with us?
The Round Table panel is divided on whether David Hearn’s second place tie at the Greenbrier Classic is deserving of inclusion in our weekly discussion. Should we be talking about Hearn or not?
Kaplan: Of course we should be talking about Hearn. The odds for a Canadian to take home the Claret Jug just doubled. I was downright pissed off with the lack of coverage that Hearn got up until the final stretch. I am starting a #CBShatesCanadians thread on Twitter!
Deeks: I’d rather talk about David Hearn than Tiger Woods. If he wasn’t Canadian, no, we wouldn’t be talking about him, and frankly, I don’t know that he’ll ever pass the likes of Dave Barr or Dan Halldorson in career achievements, but if nothing else, it’ll be interesting to see who gets his first win on the PGA Tour – Hearn or Graham DeLaet.
Mumford: David Hearn is one of a hundred very good golfers on the PGA Tour looking for his first win. Nice guy, decent game but nothing that makes him stand out from the pack. It’s a nice story that he got close this past weekend but there’s no debate for the Round Table. If he weren’t Canadian, we wouldn’t be talking about him. And to try and turn his playoff appearance into some sign that a victory is just around the corner is false hope or a sign of desperation for a home grown hero. We’ll talk about Hearn when he wins.
Loughry: I know I started this so I’m going to use this space for a bit of a rant. I need to disclose to readers that I’ve known Hearnsy for quite a long time, so this may be a bit biased. In my humble opinion, he doesn’t get the respect I believe he deserves. So, you’re DAMN right we should be talking about him this week. He played great, hit stellar shots coming in and made a Tiger-like putt to extend the playoff under great pressure. Although Danny Lee prevailed in the playoff, we should be talking about Hearnsy. It is very difficult to win on the PGA Tour and he’s come as close as you can on many occasions – two in particular, both losses in playoffs. His game is incredibly consistent. I encourage everyone who reads this to watch him over the next few months. I think we’ll see something special.