This buddy-buddy thing feels a bit forced. Even so, it's okay if the best two golfers in the world are cordial and maybe even like each other, but can we give the rom-com stuff a rest and get down to some competitive golf. All and all, Rory and Tiger have the onscreen chemistry of Affleck and J-Lo in Gigli.
Rory and Tiger interlocking arms for coffee and doing a passable Nike ad together is fine for now -- but is this what we really want as golf fans? Would you rather see Tiger and Rory yukking it up while making the turn at Amen Corner on Sunday or both with their game faces on and a hint of dislike in their eyes. The latter is so much more compelling.
You can forgive Rory who seems like a nice kid and must be flattered to be treated nicely by the guy who one seven Majors when Rory was 10-12 years old and another five between Rory's 16th and18th birthdays. It must be a whirlwind for a 23 year-old kid -- new untold riches and a girlfriend who is one of the best tennis players in the world. Now the man that was the most dominant player and personality in golf, and maybe all of sports, during his childhood is being friendly. That's a lot to take in for anyone, never mind someone Rory's age (upon listing this, maybe the saying "youth is wasted on the young" doesn't apply to rich pro-golfers-dating-tennis-players because it doesn't seem like Rory is actually wasting anything).
Tiger's new found congeniality is more interesting. Jack and Arnie were't buddies during their peak. Ali-Frazier? Bird-Magic? Gretzky-Lemieux? Brady-Manning(s)? Jordan and anyone? They may be pals now but therewas never a sense these elite athletes were buddies with their main competitors while at their peaks. The time to relax and let down your guard with each other is after your playing days (well, except for Frazier who never forgave Ali and probably for good reason).
The point is that Tiger has always been an ice-cold assassin on the course. His unrivalled intensity on and off the course and that killer stare made him who he is. It is what made Tiger so compelling and arguably the greatest golfer ever. So why the embrace for Rory?
Just for fun, let's play pop-pychologist here and consider the possible reasons for Tiger's embrace of Rory.
Tiger is kid at heart: Tiger sees a young kid on top of the world that reminds him of himself during the best times of his life. He wants to relive his youth and the best way to do it is alongside and vicariously through Rory.
Tiger is worried: Tiger is past his 37th birthday and sees that he can no longer intimidate and dominate on the course. He hates to lose and thus the best defense mechanism against the future possibility of getting beat on the course, even when he is playing his best, is to convince himself he is a friend of Rory. Thus, if and when Rory beats him down the stretch at a Major, he can genuinely say he is happy for his pal -- and skip the hard part about getting beat.
Tiger is just continuing to rehabilitate his image: Tiger still needs to rehabilitate his image from the events of November 2010. In sports, the best way to get everyone to forget your indiscretions is to win, win and win again. See Kobe Bryant, Ray Lewis, Lance Armstrong (um ... hang on ... maybe hold off on that last one). In the world of golf, that means winning Majors. He hasn't been able to do that yet so this approach with Rory is the next best thing. Consider this: if Tiger had won three or four Majors over the past couple of years, would he be interlocking arms and sipping coffee with Rory in Abu Dhabi?
Tiger is a Changed Man: He's a father who went through an ugly and public divorce. Dominating golf physically and psychologically is no longer his sole focus in life. Tiger has matured and simply wants to be a kinder and friendlier person and sees this relationship almost as a mentor - while still being a competitor. While this is one of the nicer options for Tiger's own sake and his growth as a person, it may be the least interesting as a golf fan.
Tiger as Michael Corleone: Tiger is still intense and still want to be that stone-cold assassin on the course. He knows he can't intimidate Rory so he feels his best chance of getting even the slightest edge on Rory is to actually befriend him. After all, Tiger is half-Asian so he could be drawing on the philosophies of Sun-Tzu.
Agreed, this is just a bunch of Dr. Phil-like pop-psychology. One or none of these theories could be true. It seems most likely there can be some truth found in a combination of them.
As a golf fan, here's hoping its the Tiger as Michael Corleone theory. It will make for the best golf to watch over the next few years.
Well, there's not much left to be coy about as between Dustin Johnson and Paulina Gretzky judging from Gretzky's recent Instgram.
DJ seems well recovered from his 'flu' that caused him to withdraw from the Sony Open last Friday (granted, the flu did hit epidemice levels last Friday according to the CDC).
For those of you who may have or are thinking of taking DJ in your golf pools, this relationship should be seen as good news. Recall Tiger played some of his best golf while addicted to sex.
IS CONDOLEEZZA RICE ALLOWED TO PLAY THIS GAME?
While we don't do product reviews on TheTeeSheet, this version of TigerWoodsPGATour14 looks intriguing because it appears to let you play Augusta National as it was in 1934. Very cool.
Watching this clip also reminds me of one of the better shows they used to have on The Golf Channel: Bobby Jones' How I Play Golf. For me, it was my first real in-context introduction to the mashie-niblick (which I called the mashie-niblet for the longest time before these videos).
It is hard not to love Bobby Jones after watching these. I found myself actually starting to talk like him when talking golf. Try it and you'll feel more like a gentleman. Here's a great clip of Jones showing James Cagney(!) how to practice (Martha Burke, please avert your eyes from the depiction of women in these videos):
This was before before The Golf Channel got all that, y'know, actual tour golf coverage. While I miss Bobby Jones, I can't say I miss those infomercials for The Perfect Club. It is with great sadness and possibly relief that we can report it appears there are no versions of those old Peter Kessler Perfect Club infomercials on YouTube or anywhere else on the web. There can only be two possible explanations: (i) Kessler also burned that bridge so thoroughly that he or the company made sure there was no evidence of his involvement; (ii) that informercial was on so often, no person ever actually recorded it on a VCR because if you wanted to watch it and listen to Kessler's soothing voice, you could just switch to The Golf Channel.
If you do happen to somehow have a copy of the old Perfect Club commercials, TheTeeSheet requests you put it up on YouTube, in case a need for emergency procrastination pops up.