A good hobble wasted

All the drama of the US Open was almost enough to make me want to watch golf.

Calling it “probably the greatest tournament I’ve ever had,” Tiger Woods outlasted a determined Rocco Mediate on Monday, finally defeating him on the first hole of sudden death to win the 108th United States Open.

Woods again came back from the brink of defeat, with a birdie on the final hole in the 18-hole playoff to pull even with Mediate at an even-par 71 and then a par on the first hole of sudden death to win.

Almost.

Oh, and notice that I have not checked the ‘sports’ category when submitting this post.

[tags]golf, us open[/tags]

0 thoughts on “A good hobble wasted

  1. By your own admission, the criteria for a sport is

    physical prowess + clear scoring = sport

    (which is the exact argument I’ve been making for years as well, btw)

    If you don’t think the modern golf game requires physical prowess, you’re not looking very closely. What Woods does with a golf club is otherworldly. It’s more complicated than “hitting the ball a long way”. There are very few people who are physically capable of launching a golf ball at 180mph, even fewer who can do so while maintaining a clubface angle that needs to be accurate within millimeters. The precision required to control his power is incredible.

    The days of the Craig Stadlers of the world competing in professional golf are long over. Tiger Woods is in better physical condition than most the players in either MLB or the NFL, and that’s a big part of the reason he dominates the sport.

    Simply walking a PGA-quality golf course is no picnic–it’s 5 hour hike. These courses have elevation changes that you don’t see on TV…it’s nothing like walking around your typical 5500 yard municipal course.

    Feel free to come out and walk Blue Springs with me for 18 holes in 30C weather and tell me golf doesn’t require physical prowess.

  2. I’m not saying golf doesn’t take skill to play well. Of course it does. So does billiards. Or chess. Those certainly aren’t sports.

    I’m also not saying there isn’t a hike involved with golf. Of course there is, even if (at the pro level, anyway) you have your clubs carried around for you and bottled water handed to you. But I can’t say that walking unassisted up and down a series of manicured fields makes it a sport either.

    Is it closer to being a sport than bowling or bridge? Of course it is. Is it even in the same realm as hockey or the 100m dash? In my opinion, it is not.

  3. You seem to be equating physical prowess with movement. There’s a lot more to it than that. Feel, touch, balance, hand-eye coordination, flexibility all enter into athletics. Just because you keep your feet in a static position during a golf swing doesn’t make it any less of an athletic movement (even that is a bit of a simplification, footwork is an important part of a good golf swing).

    physical prowess + clear scoring = sport

    If that’s your definition, then golf is a sport my friend. Otherwise you need to rework your definition.

  4. You’re right, I do equate physical prowess with movement. All those other things you list — feel, touch, balance, hand-eye coordination, flexibility — I equate with skill. As I said before, I make no claim that golf doesn’t require skill at the pro level, but skill != physical prowess.

    Anyway, forgetting Tiger Woods — who, by anyone’s estimation, is an aberration of athleticism in pro golf — for a moment, can you say that the average pro golfer would look at home on a treadmill alongside an average NHL defenceman, Premiership footballer or NBA small forward? I suspect they’d look more at home alongside some MLB pitchers.

    In closing, let me say this: Angel Cabrera won the 2007 US Open while smoking cigarettes between shots. I believe that should instantly disqualify golf from being considered a true sport.

  5. 10 years ago, I would agree with you about Tiger being an aberration, but not anymore. The new generation of professional golfers (Luke Donald, Adam Scott, Sergio Garcia, Charles Howell, Carmello Villegas, to name a few) are in great physical condition. Guys like Angel Cabrera and Rocco Mediate competing on a regular basis are the rarities now.

    Hell, I look every bit as comfortable on a treadmill than any of those athletes you give as an example, but I’m not about to break into the NHL anytime soon. Skill is a much more important aspect of sport than you’re giving credit for.

  6. I didn’t say that skill isn’t an important aspect of sport, nor would I. Of course it is. I didn’t even say it’s less valuable than physical prowess…I just said it’s just not the same thing. It probably takes just as much training to be able to throw a dart perfectly into triple-20 ten times in a row as it does to run a half-marathon, but I don’t think anyone would argue that the training methods won’t differ.

    That difference, to me, is what separates a sport from a game. Those two probably form the extreme opposite ends of a continuum, and to me golf falls closer to “game” than “sport”.

    Not that anyone would know the difference anymore, since sports channels still show poker almost non-stop.

  7. From The Onion:

    “A man who used several different bent sticks to hit a ball to an area comprised of very short grass surrounding a hole in the ground was praised for his courage Monday after he used a somewhat smaller stick to gently roll the ball into the aforementioned hole in fewer attempts than his competitors.”

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha.

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