Butler Cabin, Augusta National (c) Burgh Golfer

Friday, December 10, 2010

Silly Season Golf

What happened to the excitement in the Silly Season of Golf? It used to be that after the PGA Tour Championship there was not much noteworthy, televised Golf to watch. The Silly Season really began with the Skins Game, which in the 80’s and 90’s actually meant something. Then came the Shark Shootout, Wendy’s Three Tour Challenge, PGA Grand Slam of Golf and most recently the Tiger Woods Invitational, aka The Chevron World Challenge.

Since the 2001 Skins Game when Greg Norman won all the Skins in the event, I started to lose interest in Silly Season Golf. After all, it really comes down to a bunch of millionaire golfers playing for a few charity dollars, in events that no one watches or records on DVR to watch later, skipping through all the commercials and boring interviews.

So, after bashing the Silly Season, I must say that this year’s Tiger Woods Invitational, the Chevron World Challenge, was actually enjoyable to watch for two reasons. First, I predicted in a previous blog posted November 19th that Tiger may actually win this event. That prediction was very close to coming true. On the 18th hole of the Chevron, Tiger stuffed his approach shot to about three feet. In the past this would have caused his playing partner to fold like a tent. Then Tiger would stroll on to victory, smile for the cameras, answer questions without any meaning, then collect his check and fly home on his private jet. Not so fast this year. Graham McDowell, an Irish sensation, didn’t fold. He stared down Tiger on the 18th hole, hit an okay approach shot, and then drained about a 20 foot putt to force a playoff.

At this point Tiger must have been thinking “how is this possible?” “This never happens to me.” So, Tiger and Graham went to a playoff and once again Graham hit an approach shot on the 18th hole to about 25 feet. I thought to myself, what are the chances of Graham making another putt on the 18th hole to win this thing? On the “Man Couch” I said to myself, there is no way he misses this putt. Graham made every putt this year that counted. He’s made putts at the US Open, the Ryder Cup, and on this very same hole about twenty minutes earlier when it mattered.

Sure enough Graham drained the putt and went on to win the 2010 Chevron World Challenge. You could see the disappointment in Tiger’s eyes when he lost. Tiger didn’t want to finish the 2010 season without a win of any fashion, but he did loose. This is probably the first time since Tiger was a young junior that he did not win an event of a kind in a single year.

For me this event was not your typical “Silly Season” event. It was great golf, by two world class players battling to win a tournament, on a great Jack Nicklaus Golf Course. If this is the type of golf and competition we can come to expect from the Silly Season, count me in.

Now I can’t wait to see what the Shark pulls out at this weekend’s Shark Shootout. Stay tuned.

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