The Round Table: Tigermania again, Augusta #13 and the Christmas wish list

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.

The true Silly Season is now upon us, and a Tiger watch is in full bloom. Tiger was supposed to play in the Hero World Challenge Dec 1-4 but has pulled out with plantar fasciitis. He’s still scheduled for the latest version of the Match on Dec 10 featuring he and Rory McIlroy against Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas; then the PNC Championship Dec 17-18, where Tiger and son Charlie will team up. Obviously, Tiger’s condition will be of utmost concern to fans after his disappointing appearances in 2022. What do you expect from Tiger?

Jim Deeks, Fairways Magazine (@jimdeeks): I’m sure Tiger will continue to awe and amaze everyone, but I’ll be far more interested to see how Charlie’s game is coming along, and if he’ll start being touted as the Son of God by the media.

Craig Loughry, Golf Ontario (@craigloughry): I think Tiger will play better than average, some good and some bad shots with be played. Mostly rust early on I think though until he gets some competitive reps in. I hope he comes out storming though and throws eight birdies at the field every day. I just don’t see that as a possibility at this point, but we can hope. He’ll move the needle in December for golf though, make no mistake about that.

Michael Schurman, Master Professional / Hall of Fame Member, OGA of Canada: Tiger will make the most gorgeous swings, perfectly in balance. He will drive the ball into the center of the fairway and hit lots of really nice irons. His putting will be far less than we are used to. In fact, he will be Hoganesque based on the latter years of Hogan’s career. What I’m most anxious to see is how Charlie is coming along. BTW If Tiger played this way in his career and won just as much, he would be the 3rd best player of all time. (Hogan and Jack).

TJ Rule, Golf Away Tours (@GolfAwayTJ): Well, it’s disappointing that he had to withdraw from the Hero, and it’s a new injury, although likely related to one or more of the previous injuries.  Honestly at this point in time you can’t expect much.  After his performance at The Open, I’ve resigned myself to realizing that I’ll never see him compete to win again on Tour, which is a shame, but just the reality of an aging golfer.  I’ll still tune in to watch him play though, and hopefully he’s back again soon.

Hal Quinn, Freelance Writer, Vancouver: Nothing like a late-breaking case of plantar fasciitis to temper another wave of Tigermania. And that’s a good thing. This off-season has been all Eldrick all the time — that $15 M impact bonus the most ludicrous episode — and anything to shut up the sycophants is welcome. He’ll want to make it to The Match (sic) and play with Charlie, but he’s probably going to be using a cart, again.

Peter Mumford, Fairways Magazine (@FairwaysMag): The only thing of interest is Tiger’s health and I doubt we’ll get much insight in that regard. He’ll be in a cart in the Match and may also use a cart for much of the PNC, even though that’s just a 2-day event. I wanted to see him walk 72 holes but that’s not going to happen until next year. As for how he plays, he’s already demonstrated he can still hit every shot. Fans and the media will hang on his every word and ooh and awe at every shot like he’s defying all the laws of physics and biology combined. The only worthwhile aspect of the Tiger Revival will be watching Mini-Me. The kid has some moves.

Reports indicate that Augusta National has lengthened the 13th hole so that it will play 530-540 yards during the Masters. The added length plus a tighter teeing area should stop players from hoisting drives over the trees, leaving short irons to the green on this par-5 hole. In other words, there are likely to be fewer eagle opportunities. Do you think this is a good move on the part of Augusta National or will it rob the tournament of some excitement?

Deeks: I think it’s a good move, provided that a good drive will still set up a decent shot into the green, and the chance of an eagle. I agree that modern equipment and better conditioning of players has shortened the hole considerably in recent years, and I’d like to see it get back to a premium on long iron shotmaking.

Loughry: I don’t love this change, but I can see why they did it. And I think they’d only use the tee one or two days max to ensure scores to par don’t get out of hand.  I want to see charges on the back 9 on Saturday and Sunday, and this course provides that, and they could wreck it by toying with this this par 5.

Schurman: I like the changes. Seconds will now require a longer iron, but it will be from a ‘hanging’ lie. There will be fewer eagles but more balls in the water providing a lot of excitement, just in a different way. I wish there was land to lengthen #15 so more second shots had to be played short. That third from a severe downslope would inevitably catch a few in the pond or long over the back to an impossible pitching location.

Rule: I don’t like it.  I know a couple of guys could cut the corner but really it was a risky move that may not always pay off.  As it stands, it’s perhaps the best golf hole in the world, so why mess with it.  I love the idea that the guys can hit a great shot and pick up two on the field.  And it’s not an easy second shot, normally from a hanging lie even if they hit the fairway, and to an undulating green that is well protected.  It’s just a great hole and I hope they still keep the tees up at least a couple of the days.

Quinn: Well, it had become boring, not exciting, watching the bombers hit short irons — even wedges — into a par five. Nothing has been done to reign in the balls or clubs, so adding length (and pinching fairways and growing rough) are the only options if a course is to play anything like it was designed to be played. Of course, the adding length option is only available to clubs that can afford to buy a huge chunk of their neighbour’s land whenever they need it. Only the green jackets can make a stand like this. Look forward to watching the 13th again.

Mumford: It was one of the most exciting holes on the back nine, so if this means more lay-ups, I’m not in favour. As Craig says, maybe they won’t go back every day and will play the old tee on Sunday to bring eagles into the mix. That would be good.

We’re now into Shopping Season, which officially started last week with Black Friday and will culminate with Last Minute Christmas Sales. What’s one golf item that’s on your list to purchase for yourself or (HINT HINT) receive from someone else?

Deeks: After years of living without a rangefinder, in defiance of technology, I find I’m often asking playing partners to give me a distance from theirs. Or I’m relying on golf carts with navigation systems that tell me how far it is to the pin and how far I’ve hit my drive. So, I’m finally thinking it’s time I got one of my own… hint hint. (I did win one a few years ago, but I believe it was made in Lower Slobovia, and would give me three different and widely varying reads on each shot, so it’s now in my basement, unused and unloved.)

Loughry: My golf Christmas wish list is short, a launch monitor, just a simple one, The Mevo. It has all I’m looking for. Come on Santa!

Schurman: There is a new product called deWiz that really intrigues me, but it will be close to $1000 CDN. I know I have been quite good this year but maybe not THAT good. I was thinking perhaps if I built up my points over a couple of years, but I don’t know if I can sustain that torrid pace for that long.

Rule: A set of US Kids clubs for my 4 year old son Julian.  He loves the game, and he’s been hitting some cut down hand me down clubs for the past two years, so I’m excited to get him clubs that fit him a bit better.  I’m excited that he loves the game, and hope that continues!  I know the question says “purchase for yourself”, and that is basically for myself because it means we’ll continue our weekly boys nights at Scarboro next summer, hitting the range, chipping area and putting green before settling in for some chicken fingers and fries on the patio.

Quinn: I don’t think it’s too much to ask to have a full-on simulator (with all my favourite courses and one that measures every possible nuance of the strike) installed in time for Xmas. Of course, it would have to also have a putting green with a few subtle mounds and maybe three pin placements (not hole locations). And a wet bar. All that’s needed is about $30-40,000 (US). Oh, right, and a larger house and a slightly bigger property. Hey c’mon, it’s Christmas!

Mumford: As great as a simulator sounds, I don’t have room for one. However, I could happily convert some of my back lawn to a putting green. More fun, less cutting.

The Round Table
The Round Table is a panel of golf writers, PGA members and industry experts.

One thought on “The Round Table: Tigermania again, Augusta #13 and the Christmas wish list

  1. Peter, if you need someone to maintain the perfect back-lawn putting green, I know someone who’s a dab hand at striping to perfection!

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