Tuesday, July 21, 2015

our father who art in heaven, help me eagle hole eleven

In the wake of the thrilling climax to The Open Championship, here's a short list of reasons why we should cherish 2015 champion Zach Johnson a bit more than we are perhaps naturally inclined to:
  • he's a rare case of a small-ish guy (by modern standards anyway, a slim 5ft 11in makes him not exactly a midget) holding his own among a host of great muscle-bound hulks who bomb it 300 yards through the air by virtue of being very accurate and having a stellar short game;
  • he's sneakily successful - of properly active PGA Tour players only Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Jim Furyk and David Toms have more tournament wins than Johnson's twelve;
  • he had enough self-awareness to tailor his victory speech to the audience and tone down the reflexive Goddiness - he got through thanking Peter Dawson, the greenkeeping staff, the fans, his caddy and his wife before he got onto thanking the Lord;
  • he is far from being the only tedious God-botherer on the PGA Tour - of recent major winners both Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson are also pretty serious about the whole Jesus thing, and generally speaking the fairways are awash with simpletons who imagine that offering incantations to an imaginary Jewish zombie will help steady their nerves over critical shots coming down the stretch at major championships.
Other Open news: it was nice to see David Duval having a decent week; he eventually finished in a tie for 49th at four under par, but he had been as high as eight under at one point during the last round. A pretty decent performance for a man whose involvement in golf tournaments is increasingly as a broadcaster rather than as a player, and for whom making the cut is a major achievement these days.

Here's another short list for you: you may recall me singling out Paul Auster's Invisible as a book whose title was a sub-string of another one in the book list: well, the most recent entry provides another example, the pair of Solar and Solaris.

18 comments:

D MackD said...

Few things.

1- Wondered when you'd mention Duval. (You often have). Why?

2- Looking at the final leaderboard (or at least the top 9)... only Day and Garcia bomb it 300+yds plus and Garcia is shorter and arguably slimmer (your word) than Zach Johnson.
In fact the only people standing clearly over 6 foot in the top 9 finishers are Leishman (not long off the tee) and that beanpole Amateur. I think Spieth is 6 foot on the nose but hardly muscle bound and doesn't hit it much further than Johnson on average (290y vs 280yds).

I'd rather have had Jason Day win thanks very much. He's due a little luck from the Jewish zombie. But he CLEARLY doesn't pray enough.

On the subject of GAD, yes Bubba is tedious in that respect I know.
But, the man genuinely makes me smile each time I watch him hit a ball (crazy crazy swing) and the shape he puts on shots is incredible.
Not so for Zach Johnson. Not even comparable.

So I'll leave the Zach Johnson "cherishing" to you bate.
You and Kool & The Gang.

D MackD said...

Actually. Whilst I'm here.
Looking even further down the final leaderboard, the only players that bomb it 300yds+ off the tee and I suppose could be described as "muscle bound hulks"(your words) finishing in the top 12 or so were Brooks Koepka & Adam Scott (both 6 foot pretty well exactly... although Scott does gave a 6 foot putter too!).
I put real money on Koepka because I think he will be VERY good quite soon (not because I like him... not at all... if I bet on people I like only I'd have put a bet on oh... I don't know... Sandy Lyle or Miguel Angel Jimenez for example (who both missed the cut)).

When Scott was at the top of the leaderboard you predicted he might win.... thus immediately condemning him to drop 5 strokes and eventually finishing joint 10th.

Interesting to note also that whilst Rory McIlroy wasn't at St.Andrews, he's almost the shortest golfer on either tour, but almost the longest off the tee also.
Is he a "muscle bound hulk"?

Where I absolutely agree with you though is Zach Johnson's "sneaky" success.
What's that now. Two majors now and multiple tour wins.
As I said before it all kicked off, St.Andrews had a habit of having the best (of the best) win rather than the big boomers often.
I don't think Zach Johnson could be described as the best of the best (a bit like Oosthuizen) but pretty close to it...

electrichalibut said...

Garcia "slimmer" than Johnson. Wow. Take another look.

As for the rest of it, the short version seems to be: you like who you like, without necessarily being able to explain why. Opinions differ. I find Bubba Watson to be an insufferable arse, for instance, and the crazy swing can't redeem that. Equally, Sandy Lyle: meh. That shot out of the bunker was pretty good, I suppose. See how this works?

D MackD said...

I was just interested (after reading your blog) in comparing real stats in terms of height (or physique?) & tour average driving distances.
To me there's no obvious clear link.
Apart from freaks like Dustin Johnson for example.

As for the respective builds of Zach J. & Sergio... you may be right... not that ive given it any real thought until now but i suppose they've always both seemed quite slim to me (but then again they would do eh?!)

Just had a quick fumble around in google (for what that's worth) Zach is 2cm taller than Sergio and the same weight exactly.
Which would make him a smidge slimmer then. Possibly.
Nothing in it though.
Certainly not a "wow take another look"?

D MackD said...

As for Bubba. Yep. From what I hear most people (even his fellow pros) probably think of Bubba as an insufferable arse! I don't think we'd get on as such, me and the Bubmeister. But I do find his shot making genuinely fascinating... especially off the tees! (That's my (pretty reasonable?)attempt at explaining why I like watching him).

electrichalibut said...

No, I meant literally look at them, not the stats. Garcia always looks quite chunky and compact to me, like corned beef. Maybe Johnson is just denser. That would explain all the Jesus stuff I suppose. Or maybe he just moves in a mysterious way?. Or a mysterious WEIGH? Geddit?

D MackD said...

I think that's also why I like(d) Sandy (primarily).
Genuinely naturally gifted.
Little thought as to the mechanics of the (half in his case) swing. Just seemed to know how to present the face to the ball without too much thought.
Very unlike people like.... for example.... Faldo.
For me anyway.

D MackD said...

Ah I see.
I will never look at Sergio Garcia again without thinking corned beef.
In fact I may just shout that, instead of Mashed potato or hot dog if I ever see him live!

D MackD said...

So anyway. We know why you are cherishing Zachs win.
But I am (still) genuinely interested in understanding why you seem (at least - after mentioning him to me on a good number of occasia now) to like Duval.
Anything in particular?
Have a go.

D MackD said...

I mean to me... when I look at Duval... I just see a man made OF SPAM.
Or reconstituted chicken.
Or something.

electrichalibut said...

Duval? well there's some background in the links in the post, but basically: interesting back-story, bright, articulate, slightly awkward guy very dubious about fame and publicity, interesting home-made swing, best golfer in the world for a year or so and now can barely make a cut. It's an interesting story, I think. I don't require that anyone else find it particularly interesting, but, hey, it's my blog.

electrichalibut said...

and, as you say, he is made entirely of Bernard Matthews turkey steaks, and you know how I love those.

D MackD said...

Right. Gotcha. Just clicked on your links. Ta.
Should do that more often I guess.

D MackD said...

And that IS interesting thanks very much.

Particularly the "back-story" link above.
And particularly the part about his Oakley shades.
If I'd not read that.... I migggghhht have suggested you appeeearrrr to like golfers with space-age Oakley (or Oakleyesque, or quasi Oakleyoid) shades quite often:

Zach Johnson.

Henrik Stenson. (Think you said you like him too once or twice).

David Duval.

Any others?

D MackD said...

And also his trub (like Day and like Furyk) with vertigo.
During my bad times a year or three back that's one of the few diagnoses that I managed to get (although not the main one that was unnecessary after they sucked my sloppy appendix out of me) and seemed to actually be right. Not at all pleasant.

D MackD said...

Now.
The important stuff.
Might have asked you this before so stop me if I have...
WHERE THE HE'LL HAVE TURKEY STEAKS DISAPPEARED TO?
Have they gone forever?
I miss them...

D MackD said...

Although I blame you for introducing me to them in the first place.
If it wasn't for you I doubt I'd even know of their original existence at all (fish fingers were pretty well it for me in terms of breaded meat or fish)...let alone miss them now.

electrichalibut said...

they've had a slight facelift but they still exist. Check out the serving suggestion: yeah, why not put them in a wrap with some lettuce and peppers and wash them down with a couple of tumblers of lager? Sounds good to me.