The Players Championship is not a 5th Major


Got whacked after a last meal in a real steak house

They were talking fifth major back in the early 80’s when talk about it seemed like pure marketing with the lifespan of Jerry Pate’s colored balls (I did like the optic yellow ones).

The problem is that even with some longevity, the whole tournament doesn’t have the sentimentality and frank full on schmaltz. The Ken Burns effect black and white photo drifts of Francis Ouimet, Gene Sarazen, Sam Snead, Ben Hogan, and on and on doesn’t play well in the modernist course that is TPC Sawgrass which brings to mind monstrosities like 2 Columbus Circle pre-facelift.

They managed to soften the whole cheesy 70’s look by getting rid of the chariots of gods pyramid clubhouse for Mediterraneo Lite, a la Disney. My heart doesn’t weep thinking about Hal Sutton taking TPC while battling blond hair, or Calvin Peete marching down the fairway lined with National Guardsmen protecting him from protest against the diamond in his grill. I have no emotional connection to Pate jumping into the pesticide and alligator infested waters with Beaman and Dye. I do recall Fred Couples winning with the effortless swing -I was there, but try to hallow that!

It’s like the difference between a world class steak served at one of the classic NY steak houses versus one of the corporate cutouts that advertise in the airline magazines. It’s different knowing that you’re eating beef at the same place that Big Pauly got whacked. Steak tastes better, the wine bloodier.

Nope. Just a very fancy tournament held in a drained swamp. Don’t forget your Off.

This was a comment posted on my new favorite blog NiceBallz. Go check it out!

Wakonda shows me her incisions, healing nicely.

Fall at Wakonda is usually a brutal time. The fabric of space-time rips and golf balls disappear into these multi-dimensional portals. I’ve lost golf balls on the greens due to the leaves. I imagine these balls falling through some worm-hole and ending up as the cherished plaything of some child in the Pleistocene. I digress.

The renovations have been something I’ve mostly watched from the parking lot and driving range. I decided to take a golf cart for a spin around the course with my iPhone.

No dogs or vascular surgeons allowed...

No dogs or vascular surgeons allowed...

The new grass has taken, and the course looks ready to play. The grass on the greens has been mowed and does look great. The image to the right is the new practice green which greatly expands the area. New topography, including moguls and half-pipes, have been added. What I look forward to is having the practice green reflect the quality and nature of the actual greens on the course. I thought that the practice green had become a bit of a Potemkin green that looked a lot better than the actual greens on the course -now they are one and the same.

The drive was pleasant -and obviously popular as I saw another pair on a golf cart driving about. I drove up to number ten, which wasn’t changed at all. In fact, I could have hit approaches onto number 10 with impunity as the green had already seen action having been put in in 2007. I turned about and peaked at number 8, which didn’t strike me as much different. And then I saw number 11. Shown here on the left, I had featured it on an earlier blog entry as the “Carnival Hole.” The big Misery Tree was gone. So had the Crown of Thorns -the oaky headdress at the top of number 11 which shaded the green. It was a different look, and it took a moment to get used to -in fact, it will take a long time. The basic premise of the hole is now different. The drive no longer has to be left center and long. You can be fade right and have a reasonable approach. The pit of despair to the right hasn’t changed. Balls will still roll down and away if they come in too hot.

Here was the surgery revealed to me. It was like a face transplant. The skin was different and new, but the underlying bone structure was the same refined, beautiful Wakonda. As if to add emphasis to the change, the stylist cut back the hair, daring the observer to comment about the surgery. And where are the scars? They will be on your soul, my friend.

I cut back and down number 17 which hadn’t changed too much, and up 18. The trees lining the fairway were are still there -these are signature features and won’t be touched unless they become unstable or are blown down.

Oak privacy fence, to hide your shame

Oak privacy fence, to hide your shame

As we end the long march to the new presidency, I realize that in many ways, the renovations were not that painful for this member. Compared to the presidential campaign, the renovations were a breeze. Growing tomatoes takes longer. During that time, I sampled the golf fare at other courses and made new golfing friends. The fellowship of other golfists leavens the soul, and a new golf friend is a welcome ally against the oncoming Troubles.

The flag shows your way home

The ride up number 18 shows it hasn’t been changed. Seeing Ol’ Glory flapping above the green invigorated me. Presidents will change, and times will get tough before they get better, but golf will always be there. Remember, golf clubs can always be repurposed into dinner catching rabbit dispatchers.