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I almost made the first eagle of my modest golf existence. It was the Par-5 fourth hole at the Westport Golf Club in Westport, Ireland, and there is a metaphor somewhere in here.
In fact, he is slated to miss the cut for just the eighth time in 266 career PGA Tour starts, finishing at even par through two rounds at Quail Hollow in the Wells Fargo Championship -- one below the projected cut line.
But it wasn't for a lack of trying -- on his part, or the tour. Per ESPN.com's story on Woods, who started on the back 9:
All of this occurred despite a fortunate ruling for Woods at the par-5 fifth hole, where Woods hooked his second shot to the left of the green -- and nobody could find it. A lost ball would have meant a penalty stroke and going back to the original spot to hit again, but witnesses told a PGA Tour rules official that they saw the ball land and that a spectator must have picked it up. Woods got a free drop and made par.
"It was a very unusual situation, but based on all the evidence ... where else could the ball have been," said PGA Tour rules official Mark Russell. "It was like being lost on the floor right here."
None of that mattered, however, when Woods wasn't able to birdie any of the closing holes. He had a 5-footer at the par-4 eighth that might have put him on the cut line but missed it.
The ruling could have very well been correct, but some golf writers on the scene weren't convinced. Some on Twitter said eyewitness accounts of what happened to the ball conflicted. And there was this fun Twitter exchange:
Maybe it wouldn't have been the right time or place. Maybe it would have been awkward to ask Bubba Watson for his opinion on Augusta's policy of excluding women shortly after he won his first green jacket.
But it would have made for great theater -- not just because it is a dicey subject that came up again this year, but because of what Watson likely would have said based on what he has previously stated.
One of the questions was "Does it bother you that the club's membership excludes women?"
Well, 90 percent of the players reportedly responded, "no." One of the anonymous answers: "It's their club. They can do as they like."
But 10 percent said it did bother them. And the example answer given was from Watson -- in fact, it was the only answer in the entire survey that had a name attached to it. The answer read: "'Yeah, I care, and you can quote me on it.' — Bubba Watson."
As Golf.com notes, Bubba was never asked in his post-victory press conference. Wrong time? Wrong place? Perhaps. But it would have been awfully interesting if a Masters champ had re-iterated his stand with millions watching.
While flipping back and forth early Sunday afternoon between the Twins and the Masters, we were struck by a recognizable song playing in the stadium background as catcher Matt Wieters walked to the plate for the Orioles. It wasn't your standard country, rock or hip-hop song -- the three genres from which 99 percent of walk-up songs are chosen -- but instead was ... no, it couldn't be ... it was!
"The Golf Boys," the ridiculous song (and accompanying video, below) put together by four PGA players, led by Ben Crane, was Wieters' walk-up song yesterday (corroborated, it seems, by CBS golf writer Steve Elling). When we did a Q&A with Crane a few months ago, and he described the dancing thusly: "It took us a long time to learn a few simple moves, but we hung in there because we’re such great athletes, and we got it done."
The three other golfers in the video? Hunter Mahan, Rickie Fowler and ... wait for it ... Bubba Watson. All four golfers not only made the cut but had top 30 finishes. Mahan tied for 12th (albeit after a disappointing final-round 74, Crane tied for 17th and Fowler tied for 27th. Watson, as you might know, won the whole thing -- punctuating a remarkable round with a fantastic save from the pine needles on the second playoff hole.
The Golf Boys had a great day as a group. And the Twins? Well, they couldn't fend off that kind of omen. Wieters took the collar at the plate, but he once again must have called a masterful game. Minnesota couldn't even muster a hit until the 8th inning.
All we know is this: The Orioles are 3-0 -- three games ahead of the Yankees and Red Sox -- and Watson just won his first major championship. Oh, Oh, Oh, indeed.
Golf's obsession with making the simplest things ridiculously difficult was underscored again yesterday -- and it nearly cost the No. 1 golfer in the world a chance to compete in perhaps the most prestigious tournament in the world.
What happened? Per ESPN.com:
Luke Donald avoided disqualification from the Masters on Thursday when it was determined his first-round score was improperly entered in the tournament's scoring system because a fax machine produced a smudged number.
Donald, the No. 1-ranked player in the world, shot 75 in the opening round at Augusta National, but tournament scoreboards had him for a 73 because his score was improperly read after it had been faxed to those recording the scores.
Had Donald really signed for a 73 when shooting a 75, he would have been disqualified. The error occurred at the par-4 fifth hole, where Donald three-putted for a bogey 5 and acknowledged as much after the round. But the score went down as a 3 in the scoring system because officials read it as a 3 -- not the 5 that Donald told them was written on the card.
Could there possibly be a dumber way to record scores in a sport?
Per golf's long-standing tradition, players are required to essentially keep score for themselves. They are beholden to know what score they had on each hole, and their round is not official until they sign their scorecard. Failure to do so -- or signing, accidentally or not, for a score lower than what a golfer actually achieved, has resulted in disqualification in countless tournaments over the years.
While we understand the noble ideas of accountability, fair play and sportsmanship which go into this concept, we've still always found the scorecard rule in golf to be insane. Can you imagine a football game result being overturned because a head coach forgot to put his signature on the final score? Can you imagine NBA players having to keep track of their own point totals? At a tournament like The Masters, it should be the job of an official -- not a player -- to keep track of the score.
But even if we can at least see the principle at play with golf's tradition, how on earth does it make sense to then send the score via FAX MACHINE to someone else, who then records the scores? A fax machine? Seriously? Was it too inconvenient to make a photocopy, seal it up in an envelope and mail it? Did Augusta run out of tin cans connected by strings? This is 2012. Data travels faster than a downhill putt. Even if using such an antiquated type of technology fits the overall philosophy at Augusta National, there absolutely should not be faxing -- thus eliminating the chance that there would be smudges on said faxes.
Seriously, stories like the Donald situation make golf look silly. Until we read something even more ridiculous -- "Carrier pigeon error reverses result of NHL playoff game; Flyers advance" -- golf will be alone in its shame.
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