WEBB AND OJ SIMPSON
While no one is comparing these Simpsons just because they share a love of golf, June 17, blonde women and Bruno Magli shoes, there is a connection.
Webb uses a long putter and the entire debate around the anchoring/long-putter is starting to resemble something: the OJ Simpson Trial.
Bob Harig at ESPN.com provided an excellent summary earlier this week of PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem's position last week. Harig does a great job pointing out all the problems with Finchem's statements - it's all there: suspect analysis, red herrings and a disingenuous characterization of the facts.
Finchem, a trained attorney, looks to be aspiring to achieve the level of the great Jackie Chiles (who himself wasn't afraid of using golf in his arguments) or even the incomparable Lionel Hutz:
Unlike the OJ trial jurors, let's not be duped by the distractions of minor inconsistencies and irrelevant details.
[Of course this analogy makes no sense if you believe OJ is innocent. True story: the cab driver of the taxi I was in during the announcement of the verdict to the OJ trial turned to me and asked in all sincerity, "Who do you think did it then?" I was dumbfounded. That said, as a lawyer and member of society, I did take some comfort in his faith in the judicial system.]
The point is this: it is easy to be distracted if one is caught up in the minutiae of manipulated statistics, personalities of fringe characters, fancy new words (e.g. bifurcation) and a clever turn of phrase. This is why conspiracy theories in general are so fun and can occasionally be convincing to many people.
Once the discussion turns to parsing the details of irrelevant factors, we lose focus. Do not get caught up in those arguments. The good news is that in this case of the long putter, we don't even have to meet the standard of beyond a reasonable doubt.
The insane thing is, you would think for the growth of the game, the PGA Tour would be on the side of banning the long putter because it looks so ridiculous and unathletic. The PGA Tour should be taking a leadership role. No one wants to watch Tim Clark and Carl Petterson putt to victory. The most popular golfer in recent memory (and maybe of all time) has been Tiger Woods. For the prior generation, it was Greg Norman. It is no coincidence that they had flair and were athletic. Athleticism and charisma is the antithesis to the long putter.
In going with your gut feelings, it is tough to argue with Ernest Hemingway. As Mike Clayton of BackPageLead pointed out, Hemingway may have said it best: "My attitude toward punctuation is that it ought to be as conventional as possible. The game of golf would lose a good deal if croquet mallets and billiard cues were allowed on the putting green. You ought to be able to show that you can do it a good deal better than anyone else with the regular tools before you have a license to bring in your own improvements."
So, ignore all the other issues of whether it is unfair to certain current players, whether the governing bodies are too late, whether it will affect participation by the public or whether the bigger issue is the technology of the ball and clubs. These are irrelevant to this discussion.
Ignore all of those little trees and take a look at the forest. On a deep down, gut and visceral level, ask this simple question: does the long putter/anchored stroke belong in the sport of golf?
The answer is no.
Through all the PGA Tour PR, bluster and posturing, it is best to paraphrase AC, 'you know what the answer is damnit!'
It's time to ban it and move on.
WHY ARE THERE NO GOLF DEALS LEFT ON THE INTERNET?
With the Golf Digest Hot List issue out and spring on the way, it would seem like a good time to move out some of last year's top equipment at great prices. Well, I get the Golfsmith Daily Deal email which normally involves stuff ranging from intriguing (Odyssey putters or decent balls) to semi-crappy (sunglasses and magnetic bracelets) to crappy (baggy looking shirts from what seems to be made-up brands or something that looks like a huge condom for a golf cart).
However, this last 'deal' I found in my inbox just seems like an attempt to sell crap from the lost and found.
In my experience, every driver comes with a head cover. Otherwise, every club and driving range has a lost and found lousy with them.
This doesn't exactly inspire a great deal of confidence as to what major golf retailers carry in inventory.
This does bring me to my main point. It certainly now seems like the maturing of the Internet and online retailing has actually hurt us consumers in terms of finding bargains. All golf equipment seems to cost the same at every online retailer. My sense is that every online retailer montiors the other and keeps pricing in line. I don't think there is anything consciously nefarious going on between the retailers or manufacturers (conspiracy theories are almost never true because outside of the movies, people/government/businesses in the real world are just not that smart and organized). After all, the same is happening outside of golf retailing.
The problem with the internet and getting a good deal on golf equipment is that every reatiler now knows what everyone else's prices are and there are not that many retailers. Unlike the past, there are fewer adjustments for geography, inventory and independent business decisions by retailers. Even on eBay, the pricing variance for golf equipment seems to have narrowed over the years.
Strangely, the local pro-shop or small retailer may be the new place to find a deal on golf equipment. They used to be the places where prices were a bit inflated. Now, it's worth talking to the local guy and maybe haggling a little down from what you see on the web. You never know.
Of course Golfsmith, if you would like to advertise here on TheTeeSheet, I take it all back and put me down for three headcovers and the big golf-cart condom.
SLIGHTLY MORE REALISTIC LOOKING THAN GOLDEN TEE
Well, I'm not much of a video game guy but the Legends feature of the EA Sport Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2014 looks pretty cool.
One of the more amusing parts of the video showing a bunch of features and aspects of the game (below) is the EA guy trying to explain the game to the non-golfing hipster dude. The neat looking aspect is that you can play as or against the legends with the clubs and the courses as they were in the past.
Here's a couple screens shots showing Tom Morris (you can choose between the mashies, spoons and brassies) and Jack Nicklaus at the Open.
This is the entire video.