Adam Scott choked in the British Open overnight. It’s an awful term which can only be used as a slur, but it’s the right word and it’s not callous to use it.
To paraphrase the words of Oscar Wilde and transpose them from polite London society to a windswept golf links: blowing a four stroke overnight lead may be regarded as a misfortune. But blowing a four stroke lead with just four holes to play was carelessness.
So where now for Scott? Will this haunt him for the rest of his career? Is he mortally wounded? Or, to borrow an equally droll British line from Monty Python’s Black Knight, is this “just a flesh wound”?
It’s time again to rejoice. That overbloated spectacle of sport, the Olympics, is upon us. Sixteen days of wall-to-wall, back-to-sport, starting with the usual ridiculous opening ceremony that meanders through to the largely irrelevant closing shindig.
In between there will be great moments. Moments of pure courage and daring. Moments that will captivate the entire television-watching world.
But there will also much that is pointless and annoying. Much that would be better off not being part of the Olympics at all.
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Most sports fans I know couldn’t give a stuff if Tiger Woods had sex with half the cocktail waitresses in America. We’ll still be cheering for him when he tees off as favourite in the Masters in Augusta, Georgia this week.
As Wimbledon is to tennis, so is the Masters to golf. It’s the one event every player wants to win, and the event which every fan wants their favourite player to win. And sex scandal or no sex scandal, Tiger Woods is still most people’s favourite player.
Tiger has won the Masters four times, the last time in 2005. He doesn’t need any more ceremonial winner’s green jackets. Nor does he, as sport’s first billionaire, need the $1.5 winner’s prizemoney, even if he’s worth a little less these days after his acrimonious split with ex-wife Elin Nordegren.
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The first rule of calling a black arsehole a black arsehole is that only another black arsehole can call a black arsehole a black arsehole.
The second rule of calling a black arsehole a black arsehole is that if a white arsehole calls a black arsehole a black arsehole, that white arsehole should be kicked very hard in exactly that location.
In short, Steve Williams, the glorified bouncer who carries other people’s sporting equipment for a living, should be bounced from the golf course for good for his comments about his former boss Tiger Woods in Shanghai last week.
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Remember Tiger’s wife brandishing a 9-iron as she chased him down the street like a madwoman? Well, he’s just been clobbered again, only this time the aggressor was his former caddie Steve Williams, whose weapon of choice was words.
A lot of people don’t care for golf, and fair enough. They’re just not interested in grown men in silly clothes with an unnatural obsession with balls and holes. Read into that line what you will.
But what happened on the golf course this weekend was so much more than mere golf. This was cold revenge. This was Robin teaching Batman about crime fighting and going home with Batwoman to boot. Here’s what went down…
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The annual Champions Dinner at The Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Georgia will take place early this week. The winner of the previous year’s competition gets to host the event and even pick the menu.
Tiger Woods met the challenge in 1992, serving cheeseburgers, chicken sandwiches, milk shakes and french fries.
Australia has never been a contender for this “honour”. But if we were, what dish would you be serving up?
Welcome to Monday at The Punch. What’s on your mind? Share it here.
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Look at the embedded video below. Not a leaf out of place. Not an errant grain of sand in the perfectly tended bunkers. Not a single majestic magnolia daring to burst forth in anything but full bloom. And classical music. Always with the classical music. Who knew Yo-Yo Ma was a golf fan?
Now, if you can bear it, take a quick squizz at the Masters theme song video. It’s basically more of the same. One of the commenters on YouTube says it’s the music they want at their wedding. Music for a funeral, more like.
Held in America’s Deep South in Augusta, Georgia each April, the Masters is the world’s most prestigious golf tournament. I’ve never been, but from where I sit, it has always looked like a good excuse for crusty old men to get bleary-eyed about the good old days, when lawns were always neatly cut, walls were not grafittied and everyone had three or four of those nice helpful slaves to help pick the cotton.
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Herald Sun golf reporter, Mark Hayes, opened his Monday piece on Scott Laycock’s win in the inaugural Surf Coast Knockout, with the statement that it occurred “on a day that stands to change the face of Australian Golf”.
He was referring to the world first knockout golf format. The championship was decided by three rounds of stroke play. On the fourth and final day the top 32 players competed in a series of six hole matches in a knockout draw to determine the winner.
When Tiger played the Australian Masters last year, he was the only story in town. His every move was scrutinised and we tripped over each other to ask him really, really dumb questions.
This year, meh. Tiger’s playing golf somewhere, pass the pretzels.
But for those of you experiencing a major letdown at the lack of buzz over Tiger, worry not! Melbourne is world-renowned as a fabulously exciting city, especially in Melbourne itself. There really are so much attractions that don’t involve chasing around the world’s most famous philanderer and occasional golfer. Like these things!
Giant balls of string
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Pssst, Tiges. I know you’re busy with the Masters starting tonight and all, but I’ve got this ripper idea I want you to hear. You might’ve thought car park sex with cocktail waitresses was mind-blowing, but forget it. This is the real deal.
Anyway, here’s the idea. Be yourself. That’s it. I could go on all day, but that’s the guts of it. Be the guy you really are. Or the guy you were, before the advisers and minders hooked their manicured claws into you.
Fact is Tiger, since you burst onto the world stage winning your first Masters in 1997, your golf has been dynamic as your off-course persona has been as dull. We fans have always kinda felt that if we were going to have a good time at an American billionaire’s BBQ, we’d try Warren Buffet’s house before we rocked up with a six-pack to the Woods mansion.
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As the spotlight rests on Tiger Woods following his admissions he was a sex cheat, we ask ourselves ... can Tiger change?
Can Tiger change his addictive behaviours which threatened to derail his life? History is our greatest measuring stick when we look at a person’s character and whether they are capable of change.
I believe in the old saying that a leopard can’t change its spots. But can Tiger change his behaviour which has dictated his wayward life in recent years?
At about 3 o’clock tomorrow morning AEDT Tiger Woods will face a room full of “friends and colleagues” in Florida, and the world’s TV networks, to take the first step in rehabilitating his image after three months of tawdry sex scandals.
According to the golfer’s official website: “Tiger plans to discuss his past and his future, and he plans to apologize for his behavior.”
“While Tiger feels that what happened is fundamentally a matter between him and his wife, he also recognizes that he has hurt and let down a lot of other people who were close to him. He also let down his fans. He wants to begin the process of making amends, and that’s what he’s going to discuss.”
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I’ve got it. I know what Tiger Woods should do with the rest of his life, and it doesn’t involve hitting more white balls or telling more black lies.
As things currently stand, everyone is expecting a grand, cleansing gesture. A god conversion, perhaps. Or at the very least, a weepy tell-all on the Oprah couch.
Well, I’ve got a much better plan. It might not save Tiger’s marriage, but it will save his reputation over time. And boy oh boy, will it make a huge difference in the world. Who knows? It might even allow him to keep playing golf.
Hello from the Masters, where the action is as hot as the weather. No, scratch that. Nothing is hotter than eight hours of blazing Melbourne sun.
I’ve just spoken with a 28 year old Australian golfer called Tim Wood. Poor old T Wood isn’t quite as famous as T Woods. In fact, he’s just missed the cut, which for you golf illiterates, means he finished in the bottom half of the field and has been eliminated.
Before Tim left the course in a car which was most definitely not a limousine, I caught up with him in order to paint a contrast of life on the right and wrong side of golf’s tracks.
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Matt Windley of the Herald Sun followed Tiger Woods around Kingston Heath today. You can see how it unfolded over the jump.
Editors’ note: Noel Blundell is a sports psychologist who works with elite athletes, including some of the world’s best golfers.
He was totally absorbed for two hours. Tiger walked into the grass bunker near the club house at the Australian Golf Club in Sydney and randomly tossed five golf balls into the grass. They wandered into a range of lies varying from the impossible to very challenging. He chose to play every ball from where it lay. No short cuts. There were no adoring crowds and he had shot 79 in the first round. Was this kid overrated?
Fortunately for myself and two colleagues Ken Berndt and Ian Triggs, we had chosen to take a break from working with one of our players Peter Senior who played the first 2 rounds with Tiger. It was chill time for us, sitting near the bunker with a couple of coffees reflecting on the day.
The ensuing couple of hours provided clear insights into the mental template of arguably the greatest golfer to grace the planet.
A few grouches have been rolling their eyes this week at the hysteria around Tiger Woods playing at the Australian Masters. I must admit to being a bit taken aback by the extremity of the hype but then you watch him go around this morning, sinking three birdies on the back nine to lead the field in the clubhouse and you remember.
The guy’s a freak.
Granted, he’s a freak with not much personality, but then for all their colourful trousers golfers are an unexciting species. The closest thing golf has produced to a John McEnroe or Diego Maradona is John Daly who likes to do a lot of eating, drinking and even (gasp!) smoking. Maradona, by contrast, was busted for cocaine use, spent time in hospital after overdoses and had to have his stomach stapled because it was the only way to stop him becoming morbidly obese.
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A TV rights technicality meant you couldn’t watch Tiger’s first round at the Australian Masters live. Russell Gould of the Herald Sun followed him around the course live-blogging the event. You can replay it over the jump.
Woods finished the clubhouse leader at six under par.
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Catch the Tiger Woods press conference on Nine and/or Fox Sports today? That, ladies and gentlemen, was the most cringeworthy 30 minutes of television I’ve seen in a long, long time.
I’m heading down to cover the tourney for Alpha magazine on Thursday. Wish I’d been there today, though. There are at least 10 REALLY DUMB QUESTIONS I could’ve asked which would’ve OUT-DUMBED even the DUMBEST questions the DUMB Oz media put forward. So here they are. Add yours in the comments.
1. No, but do you really, really, really, really, really, really, really like being in Australia?
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This week a man who will likely become the greatest champion in the history of world sport has arrived on our shores for the first time since 1998 to play in golf’s Australian Masters.
Amongst the greatest of his contemporaries there are only four who have managed to win three major championships. Tiger has won fourteen.
Tiger is not just the best in the world, he is in a world of his own. Over the course of history sport has blessed us with a handful of such champions such as Ali and Jordan; but with the possible exception of Bradman none has soared so much higher above the rest than Tiger Woods.
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SO Melbourne gets Tiger Woods. So what? Sydney got Long John Daly and, on behalf of this city of drunken misfits, I say we couldn’t be happier.
Sure, the man they call “Wild Thing” isn’t exactly sweating Tiger in the rankings or snapping up Nike contracts bigger than the GDP of African nations.
Truth be known Daly, whose financial nous could have seen him make the board of Enron, is flat broke. He was selling t-shirts out of his car at the US Masters and depends largely on the proceeds of his
psychedelic golf trouser label to pay the bills.
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It has been an extraordinary few hours in sport.
Overnight Usain Bolt ran a world-record 9.58sec in the 100m sprint, and Tiger Woods just lost the US PGA Championship to Y.E. Yang - the first time he has ever lost a major tournament having held the lead at the start of the final day.
So here’s a question for you: Which do you think is the more amazing feat? I say Tiger’s defeat, and here’s why.
Of all the vices enjoyed by MPs the one which is subject to the greatest secrecy is golf.
An MP can be a tennis player, a cricketer or a devotee of super rules without affecting the bank balance of brownie points. Indeed if you’re an MP boxer, cyclist or charity fun runner you can actually accumulate brownie points fast enough to become a political tycoon.
But admission to being a golfer carries with it the same terminal qualities as membership of the Democrats.
Hot news. I’ve just received a press release from the PGA of Australia which says that golf participation rates increased by a whopping 27 per cent in 2008.
And the reason we’re all flocking to the first tee in unprecedented numbers? Well, apparently it’s because we’re unemployed and have nothing better to do.
Seriously. Here, word for word, is the PGA of Australia CEO Max Garske’s breathtaking spin on the sudden surge.
“Typically the biggest concern for golfers is not finding enough time to play a few holes on a regular basis. But the current economic situation has created more leisure time for many Australians.”
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