Pet Peeves About Golf Channel’s Day 1 International Crown Coverage

In no particular order:

There’s No “Q” in Sakura!  And No “Mini”!!  Sa-koo-ra Yo-ko-mee-nay.  Say it fast with equal emphasis on each syllable and you’ll be fine.  Never mind that the romanized “r” in Japanese is somewhere between an English “r” and “l”–too tough to learn for just one week.  Although if you can learn how to lisp “Atha” and “Motho,” why not go the extra mile for one of the JLPGA’s best players ever?  [Update (7/26/14, 9:33 am):  Also, Sakura’s no “meanie” (although Kirk and Wright might beg to differ after that shot on 17 Friday!).  Yo-ko-mee-nay, people!]

Speaking of Sakura…  She’s got a John Daly-esque swing.  And I think we saw it once on the 18th hole.  C’mon, people!

First-Tee Footage?!  Everyone talked about how emotional (in so many ways) the 1st drive of the 1st tee was this week.  Yet did Golf Channel shoot it, save it, and replay it for us?  Noooo!!!!!  I know playing every national anthem would have taken too long.  But how about a quick montage with the last 2 seconds of each country’s anthem and reaction shots by the players during it and right after they knew where their 1st shots went?  Or feature the best reactions at the top of Day 2’s coverage?

Show More Tee Shots!  When something even remotely dramatic happens on the tee–shot in the woods, player hits fairway after partner puts it in woods, one bomber outdrives another, whatever–we oughtta see it.  Everything matters in match play and with so few groups on the course, we should be able to get a good sense of how every match is unfolding and not have to rely so much on Juli Inkster’s summaries of what happened.

Know Your Matches.  I can’t believe that Anna Nordqvist and Caroline Hedwall–the Vikings of the Solheim Cup–struggled so much in the 1st 12 holes yesterday against struggling young Okinawans Mika Miyazato and Mamiko Higa.  So much for Solheim Cup experience and heroics, eh?  You know what else I can’t believe?  That we barely saw a shot of the latter’s great play and not even much of the former’s great comeback.  This was a made-for-tv David vs. Goliath deal, but we saw very little of it.  (True, most of the fireworks from Team Japan occurred in the 1st 5 holes.  But this is what they make highlights for.)

Speaking of Balance…  Man, the cameras loved Teams USA and Spain, and I wholeheartedly endorse that decision.  But if 2 seconds per shot of golfers walking, standing, and consulting with each other and their caddies on non-pivotal shots were cut, just think of how much more could have been shown of the Vikings vs. the Okinawans, Karrie Webb and Minjee Lee taking it to Na Yeon Choi and In-Kyung Kim (with attendant speculation on how the pressure is affecting the half of Team ROK that isn’t coming into this week with a whole lot of confidence), and Inbee Park and So Yeon Ryu lighting up the course?

And Now a Word from Our Sponsors.  Given how many commercials that GC gets to show at the end of each day, wouldn’t it be nice if they cut back a little midway through the coverage?

[Update 1 (8:00 am):  Ruthless Mike wants more credit given where it’s due to Team Taiwan.  HappyFan gives Judy Rankin credit for mentioning the Japan-Korea almost-annual team matches during an interview, but rightly criticizes the bulk of the coverage for pretending as if the Asian and other non-Solheim Cuppers have no professional team experience.  I wish I had thought of both (or, more accurately, remembered the latter).  I mean, nobody remembers the Lexus Cup?]

Recommended Reading: Solheim Cup Day 1 Round-Up

Golfweek breaks down Day 1 at the Solheim Cup for us, shot by shot.  Julie Williams condenses Day 1 into 5 Things.  Beth Ann Baldry calls Kerr-Wie a match made in heaven.

Golf Channel summarizes each match.  Randall Mell tells the story of the morning and the day, while Jay Coffin expands on the tale of Jessica Korda’s 1st-hole nerves. GC has a host of short articles and video highlights to browse, as well.

Steve DiMeglio ably sums things up for USA Today, while Brent Kelley does the same for about.com and Stephanie Wei weighs in on the morning and afternoon matches.

[Update 1 (5:33 am):  Here’s a lucid overview from Ruthless Mike!]

[Update 2 (5:40 am):  Another good summary from Bill Rand.]

Recommended Reading: Solheim Madness II

Here’s the sequel to my last Solheim Cup link-o-rama.  Be sure to check out Geoff Shackelford on Colorado Golf Club, Stina Sternberg on why Solheim flair has to go, and bangkokbobby with lots of video and photos.  And of course follow James Corrigan at The Telegraph and Steve DiMeglio at USA Today!

[Update 1 (8/16/13, 8:28 am):  Here’s Ruthless Mike on the morning matches!]

Recommended Reading: Getting Psyched for the Solheim Cup

Brent Kelley and Tony Jesselli have already begun Solheim Cup blogging.  Be sure to check out their preview posts and Brent’s wonderful Solheim Cup overview.

And don’t miss coverage by espnW (Mechelle Voepel), Golfweek (Beth Ann Baldry), Golf Digest (Ron Sirak), USA Today (Steve DiMeglio), and Golf Channel (coverage starts Friday morning!).

Recommended Reading: Getting Psyched for the Solheim Cup

Brent Kelley and Tony Jesselli have already begun Solheim Cup blogging.  Be sure to check out their preview posts and Brent’s wonderful Solheim Cup overview.

And don’t miss coverage by espnW (Mechelle Voepel), Golfweek (Beth Ann Baldry), Golf Digest (Ron Sirak), USA Today (Steve DiMeglio), and Golf Channel (coverage starts Friday morning!).

Blazing Saddles and Transatlantic Postmodernism

[Note to my regular readers who come here for women’s golf coverage:  I’m airing Mel Brooks’s 1974 film Blazing Saddles tonight as part of SUNY Fredonia’s American Studies film series “Myths of the American West,” so decided to share a draft of my opening comments here at Mostly Harmless (which is, after all, “for fun”).  I’m aware of the 5-car collision that has lead to my favorite golfer Ai Miyazato withdrawing from this week’s LPGA event (and onechan’s favorite Paula Creamer being a likely WD candidate) and obviously wish them and everyone else involved in it a full and speedy recovery.]

[Note to my non-regular readers who are coming here after watching Blazing Saddles (or missing it):  Hope you enjoy this post and are curious enough after reading it to browse around for other posts here that you may find interesting!]

I was four years old when Blazing Saddles was first released in American theaters and until Shannon McRae–the director of American Studies at SUNY Fredonia and organizer of the program’s film series “Myths of the American West”–took seriously my half-joking suggestion to include it in the series and invited me to introduce it, I had never seen it in its entirety until this month.  In a semester when I’m teaching American Identities, Introduction to African American Literature and Culture, and Critical Reading, I’m particularly pleased to take Shannon up on her kind offer, and offer a few comments as a new viewer of a movie that’s been well-known (even to me) for decades, comments that will hopefully be as useful to students in my classes this semester as everyone else who braved the rains to make it out here tonight.

Growing up, I put Blazing Saddles in the mental category of comedies too raw for me to watch, a remarkably capacious category that in the ’70s and too far into the ’80s included everything from Monty Python to Mad magazine to Saturday Night Live to just about every famous stand-up comedian of the time.  If this reference helps people place where I was at, probably Benny Hill was the rawest thing I got access to before graduate school.  Yes, I grew up in a small town in central NY and failed to take advantage of 2nd grade in Palo Alto and 7th grade in Chapel Hill.  Nevertheless, I was obsessed with everything comical and comics-al.  In high school I started a cartoon series called The Gray Area that, despite its being far too derivative of The Far Side, was seen, nay loved, by regular readers of the Pennysaver and other fine local publications for far too many weeks.  Me, I loved everything from Gilligan’s Island to Scooby Doo, from Diff’rent Strokes to The Facts of Life, from Benson to Newhart, from Doctor Who to The Greatest American Hero, from Airplane! to Ghostbusters, from The Muppet Show to The Tracey Ullman Show, from Tom and Jerry to Rocky and Bullwinkle (in reruns, duh) to Calvin and Hobbes to Mork and Mindy, from any DC comic Ambush Bug appeared in (even though I was almost exclusively a Marvel fan) to the animated version of The Tick.  Sure, I hated the Smurfs and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but otherwise I was pretty easy to please.  And I was a fan of The Simpsons before The Simpsons was The Simpsons, man!  (It goes without saying from the title of this blog what my favorite was, though!)

All of which is to say that when I go to grad school in the early 1990s I was perfectly primed to understand and appreciate what many still misunderstand and denigrate even today as a French theoretical import:  postmodernism.  As someone who saw The Simpsons parody of the end of The Graduate long before I ever saw The Graduate, who loved it when Beavis and Butt-head were watching a Johnny Cash video and decided it was gangsta rap, and who came of age in a hip hop culture rife with allusion and remixing and pastiche, I didn’t have to think twice about Jean-Francois Lyotard’s notion of “incredulity toward metanarratives” as a core characteristic of postmodernism.

So it’s all too easy and obvious now for me to look back at Blazing Saddles and see it as yet another exemplar of American postmodernism.  It’s certainly not an original point to make, as a quick google search will show you (I recommend posts by Mark Bourne and Mike Sutton on this aspect of the movie).  But what is originality, anyway?  Just another stinkin’ metanarrative–right, JFL?  Perhaps it’s slightly more original to claim that Mel Brooks and Monty Python were engaged in a transatlantic comedic one-ups-man-ship that was perfectly postmodern.  In the same way that Brooks and his co-writers, including Richard Pryor, were playing with myths of the American west and poking fun at founding narratives of the modern United States, Monty Python was taking on English legends of the Holy Grail and western icons of Christianity–and at roughly the same time.  Check me on this.  And, as you watch Blazing Saddles tonight, consider some of the debates over postmodernism that occupied so many western intellectuals in the last third of the 20th century:  is postmodernism all sound and fury, signifying nothing?  is it, in the final analysis, the laugh track of late capitalism? are its politics of race and gender and sexuality and [fill in the blank] reactionary, liberatory, laughable, nostalgic, or what? is postmodernism a thing of the past, and if so, how do we react to it today (and what comes after that post-?) if not, if we are still living in and with postmodernism, what does Blazing Saddles compare to in contemporary and recent culture?

There’s so much more to be said–about what light Blazing Saddles may shed on black-Jewish relations in the late civil rights era, for instance–but I think it ought to wait until after the movie.  Don’t you?

What Happens in Thailand Stays in Thailand?

If the most dominant golfer in the world, bar none, barely pulls out a victory in Thailand over 2 former world #1s, but nobody makes a big deal of it, has it really happened?  Well, of course.  But what does it say about the U.S. golfy media that Ya Ni Tseng’s dramatic win over Ai Miyazato and Ji-Yai Shin barely flickered across its collective consciousness?

Seriously, with the exception of 5 things from Julie Williams at Golfweek, 30 seconds from the SI guys (plus Stephanie Wei), and a straight-from-LPGA.com background 3-paragrapher from Randall Mell at Golf Channel, every other major golf web site simply relied on the AP.  The only site (besides this one) to put Tseng’s win in some kind of context is Golf Observer, but because they’re now subscription-based, once their story goes off their main page it’s not easily accessible.  So let me quote the key part here:

With the win is all of the talk that Tseng could be the all-time best player in LPGA history. We saw this happen to Tiger Woods a decade ago when he won the Masters and then went wild winning eight events in 1999 and nine times in 2000. For Tseng she has won 13 times and is 75 wins away from Kathy Whitworth, 69 wins away from Mickey Wright and 59 wins away from Annika Sorenstam. But at 23 years, 27 days old she is light years ahead of these three. For Whitworth she was 23 years, 17 days old when she won the 1962 Phoenix Thunderbird Open, her second career victory. For Mickey Wright she was 23 years, 128 days old when she won the 1958 LPGA Championship, her sixth LPGA Tour victory. For Annika Sorenstam, she was 24 years, 281 days old when she won for the first time at the 1995 U.S. Women’s Open. So you can she that Yani is light years ahead of the top-three but still has a lot to prove. To show you how really insane her game has been, she now has 33 wins around the world.

Tseng also is just six points away from qualifying for the World Golf Hall of Fame, she now is at 21 of the 28 points needed to get into the Hall. So there is a good chance that she could qualify this year, only problem because of the antedated rules of the LPGA she couldn’t enter the hall until 2017. With the win she increases her LPGA career earnings to $7,776,083 – passing Betsy King to move into 14th on the LPGA Career Money List and is just $14 and a half million to catching Sorenstam’s $22 and a half million dollar total. Now to show that Tseng is winning at a record pace, this was her 4th win in last 9 starts dating back to Walmart NW Arkansas Championship in September 2011. For Tseng’s career she has 103 starts so that means she has a 12.6% of her starts or one every 12 and a half starts. This isn’t even close to Tiger Woods who we all thought was the best, in 275 starts Tiger has won 71 times for a 26.1% or winning once in every 26 starts.

Yeah, the prose isn’t deathless (seeing all the run-ons and wrong or left-out words, I assume it’s by Sal Johnson), but the points made through it are valid. 

What’s even more impressive is that Tseng beat a pair of golfers who are just about as accomplished as she is, and by some measures, more so.  Ai Miyazato has 7 LPGA wins to go with 15 wins on other major tours, mostly on the JLPGA (because 2 of them came at the LPGA-LET co-sponsored Evian Masters, I believe she has 20 big-time worldwide wins).  Ji-Yai Shin has 8 LPGA wins, including a major, to go with 28 wins on other major tours, mostly on the KLPGA (when you don’t double-count co-sponsored wins, I believe she has 24 big-time worldwide wins).  By my count, Tseng has 13 LPGA wins, including 5 majors, but only 8 wins on other major tours, mostly on the LET, and hence only 18 big-time worldwide wins when you don’t double-count her 3 co-sponsored victories.  (I’m assuming that oft-cited 33 total adds in wins from such developmental tours as the ALPG, LAGT, CN Canadian Women’s Tour, and so on–and probably major amateur events, for that matter.)

I’m sure the showdown at Riviera between Phil and young guns Dustin Johnson, Keegan Bradley, and Bill Haas, coupled with Sergio’s amazing run at the top of the leaderboard, made for some gripping golf.  But remind me again how many career wins Haas, Bradley, and Johnson have…?  Or the highest they’ve ever been ranked…?  Or how they’ve proved themselves by dominating on another major tour…?

Look, I’m not saying Tseng is better than them, I recognize that live golf is a lot more compelling than tape-delayed coverage from half a world away, I understand that Phil is a much-more-established American star, and I’ll even acknowledge that the men’s game can be more fun to watch on tv than the LPGA.  Heck, I even found myself watching the Knicks on Sunday afternoon for awhile to see what all the fuss about Jeremy Lin was about (this from someone who never enjoyed watching the NBA and lost touch with the NCAA not long after graduating from college a couple of decades ago).  The only point I’m trying to make is that golf journalists have a job to inform and educate their audience, and part of that job involves assessing the historical significance of a tournament.  With all due respect to the guys involved last week, nothing they’ve done merits such an overwhelming lack of attention on the Tseng-Miyazato-Shin throwdown.  Maybe something like a Tiger-Donald-[Phil/Rory/Westwood/take your pick] shootout would be comparable….

Well, what’s done is done.  I just hope the Showdown in Singapore gets a little more attention from the U.S. golfy media….

[Update 1 (2/24/12, 2:54 pm):  Should have realized that Brent Kelley would put Tseng’s win in perspective, too!]

Lady Gaga on New Year’s Eve Kohaku Uta Gassen

Just like Annika Sorenstam and Paula Creamer before her, Lady Gaga delivered a great performance in a big event in Japan:  the New Year’s Eve countdown/musical extravaganza on NHK known as Kohaku Uta Gassen.

Somebody uploaded the closing montage from the 62nd annual show, along with the final judgment of who won the competition between the Red (girls’) and White (boys’) team.  It gives you some sense of the range and kinds of J-pop, enka, and other forms of music popular in Japan in 2011:

You probably noticed Lady Gaga in the montage, but here’s her full performance of “Born This Way”:

And “You and I”:

I don’t know if her performances counted toward the Red team’s total, but maybe she helped pushed them over the top for the 1st time since 2004. Somehow I doubt groups like AKB48 needed the help, though:

Heck, I think they outnumbered the guys all by themselves!

Editor’s Note: A profile of Yani Tseng appears on pg. 74.

Man, those editors at Golf Magazine are quick with the comebacks!  After LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan politely but resolutely roasted their ridiculous decision to name Rory McIlroy their Player of the Year instead of everyone’s obvious choice, Ya Ni Tseng, they responded with the bon mot that I took for my title.

I can come up with several ways of slicing the tone of that little note.  What do you got?

  • Move-it-along-nothing-to-see-here just-the-facts blaseness:  “[Whistling casually] Thank you for your letter.  Can we interest you in our table of contents?” 
  • Embarrassed defensiveness: “Hey, we screwed up, we know, but at least we mentioned her in this issue, right? Right? Come on, you guys, stop being so harsh on us!  ….Please?”
  • Brazen arrogance: “Yeah, Ya Ni had a pretty good year.  Not a Player of the Year year.  A pg. 74 year.  Siddown and shaddup, Commish!”

I’m leaning toward the last reading, given that the one line from the letter they chose to blow up in a graphic–“Yani certainly doesn’t need me–or anyone else–to validate her position”–seems to suggest that Whan didn’t need to write the letter and they didn’t need to award her the POY.

Nicely done, editors of Golf Magazine.  Well played!

[Update 1 (12/19/11, 4:30 pm):  Armchair Golf has picked up this story; instead of focusing on the editors’ anemic response, Neil summarizes Whan’s letter and adds in telling supporting evidence that Whan didn’t cite (like the fact that 96% of those Golf Magazine polled on Facebook thought Ya Ni should be POY!).]

Recommended Reading: Lisa Mickey Gets Tiffany Joh

Lisa Mickey shows once again why she’s one of the best writers in the world on women’s golf:  check out her Tiffany Joh profile!

Recommended Reading: Lisa Mickey Gets Tiffany Joh

Lisa Mickey shows once again why she’s one of the best writers in the world on women’s golf:  check out her Tiffany Joh profile!

It Wouldn’t Be LPGA Q-School Without a Controversy or Two: On Stephanie Kono and Hannah Yun

For the 2nd year in a row, and the 3rd since the LPGA switched over in July 2008 to its Priority Status List system for entry into full-field, non-major domestic tournaments, their Q-School has been visited by controversy.  Last year, the LPGA retroactively awarded memberships to nine golfers after it was determined that there shouldn’t have been a playoff to determine membership in Category 20 on the 2011 Priority Status List.  Back in 2008, the LPGA mistakenly ran a playoff at T21 to determine membership in Category 11, when they really should have either run it at T25 or not held it at all. 

Now, having switched over to a 3-stage qualification process that merges the former Futures Tour (now Symetra Tour) and LPGA Q-Schools for the 1st time, the LPGA is facing bad publicity for refusing to allow UCLA senior Stephanie Kono to defer her 2012 membership.  Instead, it’s forcing her to decide between turning pro immediately following her T9 finish at the Final Qualifying Tournament today or giving up her ticket for full-time status on the LPGA next season in order to maintain her amateur status.  Why is this such a terrible thing?  Well, the argument goes, since all Kono wanted to do was assure herself of membership on the Futures Symetra Tour next season when she turned pro as planned after the Curtis Cup, and since she and her coach repeatedly checked in with LPGA HQ on whether she needed to play in the Final Qualifying Tournament to do that, and since the LPGA repeatedly made a mistake in assuring her and her coach that she did, therefore the LPGA needs to do something to compensate Kono by putting her in a tight spot–and probably compensate UCLA for depriving them of one of their star players, as they did when Kono decided to turn pro.  As Beth Ann Baldry puts it:

To correct the situation, the LPGA should make an exception for Kono and allow her to defer membership until after she graduates. The LPGA made a mistake. An apology doesn’t seem like enough this time, and it’s ludicrous to expect her to withdraw.

Kono agrees that solution would be ideal, but thinks it’s a long shot.

Forsyth brings up a good point to consider: Eliminate amateurs at the final stage. Give amateurs the chance to earn status on the Futures Tour through two stages, and then if they want to give the LPGA a chance, make them turn professional. Sounds fair to college coaches, who are tired of their programs being used as a safety net when Q-School doesn’t work out.

While it does seem odd that you can choose to defer your membership onto the LPGA’s developmental tour but can’t onto its big tour, this rule has been in place for a long time and there’s no point in bending it just because you feel bad about your mistake and feel worse for the player affected.  Doing so would be bad for the players who exercise that option, too, as it would make it very difficult to win enough money in the events they entered after the NCAA season were done or after the Curtis Cup were over to avoid 2012 Q-School.  More important, it’s the player’s responsibility to know the rules; if Kono and her coach thought the LPGA was misinterpreting their own rules, they should have made a bigger stink this fall and forced the commissioner to offer a final ruling.

So the most the LPGA could, and probably should, do for Kono is offer to pay her travel and lodging expenses, and, for UCLA, donate the amount Kono would have won if she hadn’t competed as an amateur to their women’s golf program ($2125).  Well, maybe they should also follow Kono’s coach’s suggestion.  I’m not sure if it’s a good one–I’d have to think about it more carefully than I have time to now–but since there’s no way it could be implemented until 2012 Q-School, and then only after being vetted according to the LPGA’s constituted procedures, there’s no sense in my taking the time now to sort through its pros and cons.

As bad a beating as the LPGA may take in the media (and has already taken on twitter) for the Kono conundrum, imagine the controversy that would have erupted if the 2-stroke penalty given to Hannah Yun for returning her ball to its original spot after the wind blew it an inch on the 3rd green had dropped her back into the playoff for the 20th spot (which most likely would have dropped her back to Category 16 status) or back to +6 (which would have dropped her down to Category 20 status).  Turns out that in the heat of the moment, Yun, who told me on the phone at 5 pm tonight that she knows the correct ruling–play it from where the wind blew it–followed the advice of playing partner Tanya Dergal instead of sticking to her guns, calling for a decision right then from a rules official, or playing 2 balls (1 from each spot) and getting a ruling after her round.  Whether Dergal really was unsure whether she had given Yun the correct advice or whether she had laid a subtle trap for the 19-year-old is unclear, but she reported what had happened to a rules official in the scoring tent and Yun was assessed a 2-shot penalty.  It was the right call, but if Yun hadn’t finished birdie-birdie to end up T15, the LPGA would have been in a world of hurt–again for making the right call.  As Yun hastens to emphasize, it was her responsibility to know the rules and apply them correctly.  Failure to do that should entail consequences.

Hopefully this will be a lesson for Dergal, Yun, Kono, and the LPGA.

[Update 1 (11:21 pm):  Baldry follows up on her earlier Kono story.  I wonder if the LPGA will offer take up my earlier advice and also pay for her last 6 credits at UCLA?]

Will Steve Elling please pick up the blue courtesy phone

The CBSSports.com writer whines about the LPGA Tour again.

The scheduling of these LPGA-sanctioned events continues to baffle one and all. Why have this event the same week as the PGA Tour’s bazillion-dollar finale? With the choice between watching the Solheim or the East Lake event, most Americans will, of course, choose … football. Hey, at least I am honest.

Steve, you’re not being honest. You’re being a total imbecile. When does this weekend’s Solheim Cup go up against any form of football?

The Solheim’s television schedule

# Friday: 2:30 am – 1:00 pm (replay 10:00 pm – 12:30 am)
# Saturday: 2:30 am – 1:00 pm (replay 7:00 – 10:00 pm)
# Sunday: 5:00 am-11:30 am, plus Closing Ceremony (replay 8:00 – 10:00 pm)

The only time Football goes up against the Solheim is Saturday afternoon for an hour(or two. The matches are known for running late)

On Sunday the television coverage ends 90 minutes before the NFL begins playing. There is no football vs. Solheim Cup choosing to be done.

Elling has been showing signs of carrying a grudge against the LPGA ever since he wrote this column which took to a shredder here. If he picks up the courtesy phone, I will recommend he see a good proctologist. So to get his head out of his ass.

Hat tip- Geoff Shackelford

Will Steve Elling please pick up the blue courtesy phone

The CBSSports.com writer whines about the LPGA Tour again.

The scheduling of these LPGA-sanctioned events continues to baffle one and all. Why have this event the same week as the PGA Tour’s bazillion-dollar finale? With the choice between watching the Solheim or the East Lake event, most Americans will, of course, choose … football. Hey, at least I am honest.

Steve, you’re not being honest. You’re being a total imbecile. When does this weekend’s Solheim Cup go up against any form of football?

The Solheim’s television schedule

# Friday: 2:30 am – 1:00 pm (replay 10:00 pm – 12:30 am)
# Saturday: 2:30 am – 1:00 pm (replay 7:00 – 10:00 pm)
# Sunday: 5:00 am-11:30 am, plus Closing Ceremony (replay 8:00 – 10:00 pm)

The only time Football goes up against the Solheim is Saturday afternoon for an hour(or two. The matches are known for running late)

On Sunday the television coverage ends 90 minutes before the NFL begins playing. There is no football vs. Solheim Cup choosing to be done.

Elling has been showing signs of carrying a grudge against the LPGA ever since he wrote this column which I took to a shredder here. If he picks up the courtesy phone, I will recommend he see a good proctologist. So as to get his head out of his ass.

Hat tip- Geoff Shackelford

CN Canadian Women’s Open Saturday: Tiffany Joh and Michelle Wie Catch Ai Miyazato at -12

Somehow Ai Miyazato held onto a share of the lead at the CN Canadian Women’s Open despite charges from Tiffany Joh and Michelle Wie and about a half-dozen putts that looked from 6 inches out like they would drop that didn’t. If T-Joh had been able to sustain her early birdie barrage, where she birdied 7 of her 1st 11 holes but took “one delicious chili dip” from close range on the par-5 12th to stop her momentum dead–or if Wie had gotten another few close birdie tries to fall instead of naging on or burning the edge of the cup–Miyazato would have been left in the dust. As it is, she shares the lead for the 3rd straight round, now at -12.

On a moving day when few players made big moves–Hee-Won Han‘s 66 and Maude-Aimee LeBlanc‘s 67 were the only really nice numbers put up besides Joh’s bogey-free 65 and Wie’s 5-birdie 68–Miyazato and 2nd-round co-leader Angela Stanford let the field back into contention with shaky ballstriking on the latter’s part and a less magical putter than the previous 2 rounds on the former’s. As a result, Catriona Matthew, Jennifer Johnson, Natalie Gulbis, and Anna Nordqvist pulled within 5 shots (or less) of the lead by matching Wie’s 68, while 69s brought Brittany Lincicome within 1 and Cristie Kerr, Na Yeon Choi, and Ji-Yai Shin within 2 of the co-leaders. All in all, with 24 players within 5 shots of the lead, I wouldn’t be surprised to see another 65–or better–from one of them later today, while most struggle to break 70. After all, we only have 4 players left–Wie, Lincicome, Choi, and Kerr–who have broken 70 all 3 rounds

So who’s going to pull this one out tomorrow? There are so many great potential stories. Successful title defense from Wie on the eve of the Solheim Cup would be the best for the tour and the corporate media. Solheim Cup statements by Stanford, Lincicome, or any other Team USA member would also work (although one by Catriona Matthew would be almost as good). Sunday redemption for Choi after last Sunday’s collapse would be awesome. Charges by Creamer, Kerr, Shin, or Kim to break their winning droughts (or mini-slumps) would be super-cool (a Stanford or Matthew win would also fall in this category). Star-is-born stories for Joh, Jennifer Johnson, Caroline Hedwall, or hometown fave Maude-Aimee LeBlanc would be heart-warming (and get Hedwall a Solheim Cup captain’s pick for sure). And let’s not forget Becky Morgan at -10. A win for her would also guarantee her a spot on Team Euro for the Solheim Cup. Naturally, I’m pulling for a win from one of my faves, namely Ai Miyazato, Tiffany Joh, or Na Yeon Choi, in that order. But I mostly want an exciting finish. It seems pretty likely I’ll get it, given that LeBlanc is riding a 50-hole-and-counting bogey-free run, Shin has missed only 1 fairway all week, Kerr’s made only 1 bogey all week and is riding a 45-holes-and-counting bogey-free run of her own, Ai’s wielding her irons like a brain surgeon, and Lincicome hasn’t come close to playing her best this week but is only 1 back. Whoever beats them–if anyone does–will have accomplished something very significant.

I’m hoping that the CBC’s announcing and production team successfully conveys a sense of that significance. One major gaffe they made yesterday makes me worried, though. I was stunned that they failed to mention T-Joh’s 2 WAPL wins at any time during yesterday’s broadcast. The announcers seemed to be at a loss for what to say about Joh, mostly repeating that she came from San Diego and UCLA and hardly ever going deeper. If you couldn’t tell from yesterday’s interview at LPGA.com, T-Joh has one of the truly awesome personalities on the LPGA–and the planet. I’m not just saying that because I’ve been following her career for years or because she granted me a long interview right after finishing the Wegmans LPGA Championship. Nope, just check out the music videos she’s made that bangkokbobby embeds in his 3rd-round recap post (which also includes other good background on Joh and observations on the other leaders). You’ll see what I mean. If the CBC can’t get across what T-Joh is like to their audiences, they’ll have missed a major opportunity.

That said, Joh’s going to have to conquer the last several holes of Hillsdale’s Laurentien course (provided she can keep herself in contention that long today) if she wants to walk away with a win. On Thursday, a walkoff double made her go +2 over her last 5 holes; on Friday, 2 late bogeys put her at +2 over her last 4. Given that recent history, she was right to be satisfied Saturday with her even-par finish over her last 7 holes. But she’ll need to hang in there for all 18 holes to get her 1st LPGA win.

Here’s hoping Mother Nature treats Montreal better than Hurricane Irene’s been treating NYC! The tournament organizers are sending the players out early in threesomes, so the tv coverage that starts at 2 pm will be tape-delayed. Still, the LPGA should get a little more of a spotlight from the golfy media than usual, what with the Barclays reduced to 54 holes and all. (Too bad the U.S. Amateur’s final’s happening today, too. Go, Cantlay!) Time to shine, ladies!

CN Canadian Women’s Open Saturday: Tiffany Joh and Michelle Wie Catch Ai Miyazato at -12

Somehow Ai Miyazato held onto a share of the lead at the CN Canadian Women’s Open despite charges from Tiffany Joh and Michelle Wie and about a half-dozen putts that looked from 6 inches out like they would drop that didn’t. If T-Joh had been able to sustain her early birdie barrage, where she birdied 7 of her 1st 11 holes but took “one delicious chili dip” from close range on the par-5 12th to stop her momentum dead–or if Wie had gotten another few close birdie tries to fall instead of hanging on or burning the edge of the cup–Miyazato would have been left in the dust. As it is, she shares the lead for the 3rd straight round, now at -12.

On a moving day when few players made big moves–Hee-Won Han‘s 66 and Maude-Aimee LeBlanc‘s 67 were the only really nice numbers put up besides Joh’s bogey-free 65 and Wie’s 5-birdie 68–Miyazato and 2nd-round co-leader Angela Stanford let the field back into contention with shaky ballstriking on the latter’s part and a less magical putter than the previous 2 rounds on the former’s. As a result, Catriona Matthew, Jennifer Johnson, Natalie Gulbis, and Anna Nordqvist pulled within 5 shots (or less) of the lead by matching Wie’s 68, while 69s brought Brittany Lincicome within 1 and Cristie Kerr, Na Yeon Choi, and Ji-Yai Shin within 2 of the co-leaders. All in all, with 24 players within 5 shots of the lead, I wouldn’t be surprised to see another 65–or better–from one of them later today, while most struggle to break 70. After all, we have only 4 players left–Wie, Lincicome, Choi, and Kerr–who have broken 70 all 3 rounds

So who’s going to pull this one out tomorrow? There are so many great potential stories. Successful title defense from Wie on the eve of the Solheim Cup would be the best for the tour and the corporate media. Solheim Cup statements by Stanford, Lincicome, or any other Team USA member would also work (although one by Catriona Matthew would be almost as good). Sunday redemption for Choi after last Sunday’s collapse would be awesome. Charges by Creamer, Kerr, Shin, or Kim to break their winning droughts (or mini-slumps) would be super-cool (a Stanford or Matthew win would also fall in this category). Star-is-born stories for Joh, Jennifer Johnson, Caroline Hedwall, or hometown fave Maude-Aimee LeBlanc would be heart-warming (and get Hedwall a Solheim Cup captain’s pick for sure). And let’s not forget Becky Morgan at -10. A win for her would also guarantee her a spot on Team Euro for the Solheim Cup. Naturally, I’m pulling for a win from one of my faves, namely Ai Miyazato, Tiffany Joh, or Na Yeon Choi, in that order. But I mostly want an exciting finish. It seems pretty likely I’ll get it, given that LeBlanc is riding a 50-hole-and-counting bogey-free run, Shin has missed only 1 fairway all week, Kerr’s made only 1 bogey all week and is riding a 45-hole-and-counting bogey-free run of her own, Ai’s wielding her irons like a brain surgeon, and Lincicome hasn’t come close to playing her best this week but is only 1 back. Whoever beats them–if anyone does–will have accomplished something very significant.

I’m hoping that the CBC’s announcing and production team successfully conveys a sense of that significance. One major gaffe they made yesterday makes me worried, though. I was stunned that they failed to mention T-Joh’s 2 WAPL wins at any time during yesterday’s broadcast. The announcers seemed to be at a loss for what to say about Joh, mostly repeating that she came from San Diego and UCLA and hardly ever going deeper. If you couldn’t tell from yesterday’s interview at LPGA.com, T-Joh has one of the truly awesome personalities on the LPGA–and the planet. I’m not just saying that because I’ve been following her career for years or because she granted me a long interview right after finishing the Wegmans LPGA Championship. Nope, just check out the music videos she’s made that bangkokbobby embeds in his 3rd-round recap post (which also includes other good background on Joh and observations on the other leaders). You’ll see what I mean. If the CBC can’t get across what T-Joh is like to their audiences, they’ll have missed a major opportunity.

That said, Joh’s going to have to conquer the last several holes of Hillsdale’s Laurentien course (provided she can keep herself in contention that long today) if she wants to walk away with a win. On Thursday, a walkoff double made her go +2 over her last 5 holes; on Friday, 2 late bogeys put her at +2 over her last 4. Given that recent history, she was right to be satisfied Saturday with her even-par finish over her last 7 holes. But she’ll need to hang in there for all 18 holes to get her 1st LPGA win.

Here’s hoping Mother Nature treats Montreal better than Hurricane Irene’s been treating NYC! The tournament organizers are sending the players out early in threesomes, so the tv coverage that starts at 2 pm will be tape-delayed. Still, the LPGA should get a little more of a spotlight from the golfy media than usual, what with the Barclays reduced to 54 holes and all. (Too bad the U.S. Amateur’s final’s happening today, too. Go, Cantlay!) Time to shine, ladies!

Will Shane Bacon please pick up the red courtesy phone

Here’s some very superficial golf analysis from one of the contributors at Devil Ball Golf-

The PGA Championship is this week, and I think most would agree that this is the least exciting major of the season. It doesn’t have the sanctity of the Masters, the grind of the U.S. Open or the history of the British, but it does have one thing that most don’t; a history of drama, and a lot of that drama was from one-hit wonders. Names like Rich Beem (pictured), Bob May, Shaun Micheel, Chad Campbell and Y.E. Yang come to mind. So what is it about this major that brings out the randoms?

Let’s look at all the lesser lights who have either won, finished 2nd, or missed a major championship playoff by one shot since 2000. Shane Bacon used 2000 PGA Championship runner-up Bob May for an example, so we’ll use that year as a cutoff point.

Masters– Charl Schwartzel, Zach Johnson, Trevor Immelman, Len Mattiace, Jason Day, Tim Clark

US Open– Stephen Leaney, Michael Campbell, Angel Cabrera, Lucas Glover, Graeme McDowell, Jason Day, Gregory Havret, Ricky Barnes

Someone might even add Rory McIlroy. Forget all the hype and count his pro win total. It’s three and that’s less than YE Yang and equal to Rich Beem’s!(Beem has five wins as a pro but two were team events.)

The British Open– Louis Oosthuizen, Todd Hamilton, Thomas Levet, Chris Wood, Andres Romero, Ben Curtis, Gary Evans, Niclas Fasth

Some people might add Shigeki Maruyama and Thomas Bjorn to this list.

If you’re going to use Yang as an example, you then have to bring in European and other golfers who have done their primary winning on tours other than the PGA.

Also note Ben Curtis has notched a pretty good record since his coming out of nowhere at the 2003 British Open. I’m only including golfers who were at the time unrecognized. Chad Campbell finished runner-up at the 2009 Masters to Angel Cabrera. By that time Campbell had multiple PGA Tour wins and Cabrera a major championship title.

PGA– Bob May, Rich Beem, Shaun Micheel, Chad Campbell, YE Yang

Some people might put Bubba Watson, Rory McIlroy, and Martin Kaymer on this list.

So look at the lists again. Including the iffy ones,

The PGA has 8
The British Open has 10
The U.S. Open has 9
The Masters has 6

Conclusion- The PGA brings out the 2nd least randoms of the 4 major championships. I suggest Shane Bacon brush up on his major championship history.

Evian Masters Thursday: Hjorth, Stupples, Shin-Ae Ahn Lead with Soggy 67s

A day of couldabeens and comebacks in the 1st round of the Evian Masters was epitomized by 2 European veterans with the talent to have won much more often than they have in their stellar careers. Maria Hjorth and Karen Stupples joined KLPGA star Shin-Ae Ahn with matching 67s, but little else matched in their rounds. Playing in horrid weather for the vast majority of the day, Hjorth posted the classic couldabeen round after making 8 birdies in 1st 14 holes, while Stupples enjoyed one of the best comebacks of the day with a bogey-free 30 on the back after suffering a double bogey on the par-5 9th. As bangkokbobby notes in his photo- and video-rich 1st-round recap, Hjorth bogeyed her last 3 holes while Stupples birdied them. Ahn, by the way, couldn’t quite finish with 3 birdies in a row, but she birdied 3 of her last 4 and 4 of her last 8 to post a Stupples-like 67.

After Nadeshiko Japan‘s numerous comebacks on their way to their stirring Women’s World Cup victory, Ai Miyazato may have been especially motivated to bounce back from her early double bogey on the par-4 5th. Much like Stupples, Ai-sama birdied 5 of her last 10 holes and ended up hitting 11 fairways and 15 greens in regulation on her way to a 68 that puts her only 1 shot behind the co-leaders. Her countrywoman Miki Saiki was more Hjorthesque, however, as she birdied 8 of her 1st 15 holes but sprinkled in 3 bogeys over her last 6, including 2 of her last 3, to settle for a 68 of her own. 23-year-old Ritsuko Ryu had a little bit of both her sempai’s rounds: she birdied 6 holes between the 8th and 16th but had to endure a walkoff bogey.

It was pretty much the same for the top Americans in the field, as well. Like Shanshan Feng, Brittany Lincicome birdied 3 of her last 6 holes to join the Japanese contingent at -4 (actually, Feng birdied 3 of her last 4 on a day she hit 13 fairways and 16 greens!). On the Hjorth side of the ledger, Stacy Lewis had a little more good weather at the end of her round than the co-leaders, but she squandered a 6-under-par bogey-free run through her 1st 14 holes with a double on the par-5 16th and a bogey on the par-5 18th (just in time for the Golf Channel coverage). 1 shot better was Cristie Kerr, who sprinkled a couple of bogeys into her 6-birdie 68.

Ditto for the international contingent who joined Lewis at -3. Eun-Hee Ji eagled the par-4 16th and just missed a hole-in-one on 17 and a birdie on 18. Meanwhile, defending champion Ji-Yai Shin birdied 2 of her last 4 holes, while dual LPGA/JLPGA member Inbee Park and KLPGA standout Ran Hong birdied 3 of their last 5. But Ya Ni Tseng couldn’t follow up on her eagle on the par-5 7th and birdie on the par-5 9th; although she didn’t make a bogey all day, she had to have felt that with 12 fairways and 15 greens she left a lot of shots out on the course on Thursday. By contrast, the LET’s Virginie Lagoutte-Clement bounced back from 3 bogeys in her 1st 4 holes with 6 in her last 12 (including all 4 par 5s).

Of course, not everyone broke 70. In fact, some didn’t even break 75, among them Vicky Hurst and Amanda Blumenherst at 78, Anna Nordqvist at 77, Sun-Ju Ahn, Lee-Anne Pace, Michelle Wie, Laura Davies, and Kristy McPherson at 76, and Americans Juli Inkster, Christina Kim, Brittany Lang, Mindy Kim, and Jennifer Song, nihonjin Yukari Baba, Rui Kitada, Hiromi Mogi, Kumiko Kaneda, and Harukyo Nomura, and Europeans Beatriz Recari, Ashleigh Simon, and Trish Johnson, all at 75. They’ll need to go low today just to make the cut, while In-Kyung Kim (74), Suzann Pettersen, Amy Yang, Sun Young Yoo, and Caroline Hedwall (73), Na Yeon Choi, So Yeon Ryu, Melissa Reid, Azahara Munoz, Seon Hwa Lee, and Jee Young Lee (72) will need to get it in gear to be within shouting distance of the leaders heading into the weekend. There are opportunities for Karrie Webb, Se Ri Pak, Yuri Fudoh, Sophie Gustafson, Catriona Matthew, Morgan Pressel, Mika Miyazato, and Hee Young Park at -1, along with Paula Creamer, Angela Stanford, Sandra Gal, Natalie Gulbis, and Lexi Thompson at -2, to put their names in the mix on Sunday if they can go low today and/or tomorrow, but they can’t count on the longer-than-usual-playing course and faster-than-ever greens to bring all the leaders back to them.

I’ll avoid spoilers on today’s round until after the Golf Channel coverage, so for now check out LPGA.com’s notes and interviews from the 1st round. I can’t believe how apparently nobody in the European press has asked a Japanese golfer about Nadeshiko Japan yet!

Evian Masters Thursday: Hjorth, Stupples, Shin-Ae Ahn Lead with Soggy 67s

A day of couldabeens and comebacks in the 1st round of the Evian Masters was epitomized by 2 European veterans with the talent to have won much more often than they have in their stellar careers. Maria Hjorth and Karen Stupples joined KLPGA star Shin-Ae Ahn with matching 67s, but little else matched in their rounds. Playing in horrid weather for the vast majority of the day, Hjorth posted the classic couldabeen round after making 8 birdies in 1st 14 holes, while Stupples enjoyed one of the best comebacks of the day with a bogey-free 30 on the back after suffering a double bogey on the par-5 9th. As bangkokbobby notes in his photo- and video-rich 1st-round recap, Hjorth bogeyed her last 3 holes while Stupples birdied them. Ahn, by the way, couldn’t quite finish with 3 birdies in a row, but she birdied 3 of her last 4 and 4 of her last 8 to post a Stupples-like 67.

After Nadeshiko Japan‘s numerous comebacks on their way to their stirring Women’s World Cup victory, Ai Miyazato may have been especially motivated to bounce back from her early double bogey on the par-4 5th. Much like Stupples, Ai-sama birdied 5 of her last 10 holes and ended up hitting 11 fairways and 15 greens in regulation on her way to a 68 that puts her only 1 shot behind the co-leaders. Her countrywoman Miki Saiki was more Hjorthesque, however, as she birdied 8 of her 1st 15 holes but sprinkled in 3 bogeys over her last 6, including 2 of her last 3, to settle for a 68 of her own. 23-year-old Ritsuko Ryu had a little bit of both her sempai’s rounds: she birdied 6 holes between the 8th and 16th but had to endure a walkoff bogey.

It was pretty much the same for the top Americans in the field, as well. Like Shanshan Feng, Brittany Lincicome birdied 3 of her last 6 holes to join the Japanese contingent at -4 (actually, Feng birdied 3 of her last 4 on a day she hit 13 fairways and 16 greens!). On the Hjorth side of the ledger, Stacy Lewis had a little more good weather at the end of her round than the co-leaders, but she squandered a 6-under-par bogey-free run through her 1st 14 holes with a double on the par-5 16th and a bogey on the par-5 18th (just in time for the Golf Channel coverage). 1 shot better was Cristie Kerr, who sprinkled a couple of bogeys into her 6-birdie 68.

Ditto for the international contingent who joined Lewis at -3. Eun-Hee Ji eagled the par-4 16th and just missed a hole-in-one on 17 and a birdie on 18. Meanwhile, defending champion Ji-Yai Shin birdied 2 of her last 4 holes, while dual LPGA/JLPGA member Inbee Park and KLPGA standout Ran Hong birdied 3 of their last 5. But Ya Ni Tseng couldn’t follow up on her eagle on the par-5 7th and birdie on the par-5 9th; although she didn’t make a bogey all day, she had to have felt that with 12 fairways and 15 greens she left a lot of shots out on the course on Thursday. By contrast, the LET’s Virginie Lagoutte-Clement bounced back from 3 bogeys in her 1st 4 holes with 6 in her last 12 (including all 4 par 5s).

Of course, not everyone broke 70. In fact, some didn’t even break 75, among them Vicky Hurst and Amanda Blumenherst at 78, Anna Nordqvist at 77, Sun-Ju Ahn, Lee-Anne Pace, Michelle Wie, Laura Davies, and Kristy McPherson at 76, and Americans Juli Inkster, Christina Kim, Brittany Lang, Mindy Kim, and Jennifer Song, nihonjin Yukari Baba, Rui Kitada, Hiromi Mogi, Kumiko Kaneda, and Harukyo Nomura, and Europeans Beatriz Recari, Ashleigh Simon, and Trish Johnson, all at 75. They’ll need to go low today just to make the cut, while In-Kyung Kim (74), Suzann Pettersen, Amy Yang, Sun Young Yoo, and Caroline Hedwall (73), Na Yeon Choi, So Yeon Ryu, Melissa Reid, Azahara Munoz, Seon Hwa Lee, and Jee Young Lee (72) will need to get it in gear to be within shouting distance of the leaders heading into the weekend. There are opportunities for Karrie Webb, Se Ri Pak, Yuri Fudoh, Sophie Gustafson, Catriona Matthew, Morgan Pressel, Mika Miyazato, and Hee Young Park at -1, along with Paula Creamer, Angela Stanford, Sandra Gal, Natalie Gulbis, and Lexi Thompson at -2, to put their names in the mix on Sunday if they can go low today and/or tomorrow, but they can’t count on the longer-than-usual-playing course and faster-than-ever greens to bring all the leaders back to them.

I’ll avoid spoilers on today’s round until after the Golf Channel coverage, so for now check out LPGA.com’s notes and interviews from the 1st round. I can’t believe how apparently nobody in the European press has asked a Japanese golfer about Nadeshiko Japan yet!

NBC’s idiotic golf coverage or where in the world is YE Yang?

Rory McIlroy has a 10-shot lead at the moment in the 2011 U.S. Open. South Korean YE Yang is tied for second. NBC, who is televising this year’s U.S. Open, acts like Yang isn’t even playing in the tournament.

On the 3rd hole we see Yang’s tee shot but nothing else. When he was putting for birdie, NBC showed a short piece on former Open winners.

On the 5th hole, none of Yang’s putts are shown.

The 6th hole after McIlroy tees off, you’d think NBC would show Yang’s tee. Nope, they don’t. Instead we get a fluff piece on McIlroy.

There was an earlier lapse in NBC’s coverage of Yang on either the 1st or 2nd hole but I didn’t take notes.

Hardcore LPGA followers have been noting for a long time the way Korean golfers are covered on television. Or call it lack of coverage. Just a month ago NBC had no problem telling us David Toms had a very poor record at The Players Championship while he dueled KJ Choi. NBC didn’t mention that Choi’s record at the TPC of Sawgrass is even worse.

Yang just made birdie at the 6th hole to pull to nine shots behind. NBC also issued an apology for editing out part of the pledge of allegiance in an opening segment of today’s broadcast.