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Long Live The King!

I saw an interview with John Cleese recently in which he was talking about the research of a friend of his, a fairly renowned professor at a very respectable US University (Cornell, I think he said). 

The professor’s research had revealed that it is only possible to truly and accurately appreciate exactly how intelligent a person is, if you possess the same or higher levels of intelligence that they do.  In other words, how many people have the intellectual capacity to really appreciate exactly how intelligent Stephen Hawking is…or how smart Einstein or Newton were in their day?

The same is true of talent.  You can’t really appreciate how talented someone truly is unless you are as talented as, or more talented than the subject.  How many people have achieved the level of expertise to really appreciate the depths of talent of a Mozart or a Da Vinci or even Woods, in his prime?

We know they’re extremely gifted…but lack the skills or talent to really know just how gifted they are.

According to the research, there is no other way to gauge that level of intelligence or talent and really have an accurate appreciation for it, unless you have first-hand intimate knowledge from achieving that same level yourself.  Knowing what is involved in achieving it…and what you can do with it. 

Anyone with lesser smarts or skills or gifts is merely imagining their way across the leap spanning their level of smarts or talent and that of the person who is above them.  It’s guesswork, not true appreciation based on knowledge.

This might seem obvious, now that you’ve read it…but has it ever occurred to you before?

The really interesting (and entertaining) angle on this revelation happens when you turn the entire premise on its head and look at it from the opposite angle. 

This is the kind of thing that I enjoy…and probably one of the reasons I have so few friends.

And when you do turn it on its head, here’s what you get; that a stupid person doesn’t have the intellectual capacity to appreciate how truly stupid they actually are! 

They sincerely believe that they possess much more intelligence than they do, simply because they’re not smart enough to realize how woefully simpleminded they actually are.

Consider this information a gift, dear reader…and a way to explain a lot of the people you are forced to deal with on a daily basis.  It’ll make those encounters suddenly a little more pleasant for you

This scientific discovery is also a simple, reassuring way of explaining the cultural and intellectual aberrations that we know as Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Glenn Beck, Anne Coulter, Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann.

They’re simply not smart enough to appreciate how hopelessly stupid they are.  Not sharp enough to realize how ridiculous most of the crap they say is. 

But by god, if they say it often enough and loud enough and with enough righteous indignation, then they must be smart…right?  And they simply have to be right…right?  Just ask them.

And the people who support them; who hang onto every word and gobble up every verbal turd they spew out as the “gospel” truth, are even further down the intellectual food chain! 

Q: Who does an imbecile look up to?

A: A moron.

So then, turning this hypothesis to the world of golf, let’s all give the Golf Channel’s Steve Sands the benefit of the doubt and assume that was simply not intelligent enough to realize how breathtakingly stupid he was when interviewing Ernie Els on Sunday afternoon.

If we refuse to accept that premise, then the only other option left to us, that I can think of, was that Sands was kicking a wounded man while he was down and almost out, just to make the wound bigger and evoke the worst reaction he could get…for your entertainment. 

He wouldn’t do that, would he?

 “Ernie, the entire golf world was cheering you on and you just blew a two-shot lead, then gagged on a 4-foot putt that didn’t even touch the cup and probably torpedoed your last chance to get into the Masters and win the green jacket you’ve been dreaming of your entire professional career…tell us how you feel?  Did you actually have the confidence to sink that putt?”

This is the journalistic equivalent of pulling the legs off of flies…and the Golf Channel’s Steve Sands was either the moron who didn’t understand the level of his own stupidity or the sadistic little man holding the tweezers….depending on the way you’d like to appraise his intelligence going into the interview.

And it couldn’t have been more painful to watch…especially since it was happening to one of golf’s most loved and respected players. 

You’d think that a guy as experienced and seasoned as Ernie Els would be prepared for just about any kind of idiocy that came out of a “reporter’s” mouth.  He’s faced thousands of interviews in his professional lifetime, after all.  But the absolutely stunned look on his already dazed face spoke volumes about the depth of stupidity and insensitivity he had just heard. 

To his great credit, Els managed to keep his shell-shocked self as composed as possible and offered a polite, if somewhat confused reply.  A lesser man probably would have shoved the microphone down Sands’ throat…then wrapped a 9-iron around his teeth for dessert. 

Now THAT would have been entertaining!

The Transitions Championship

In the last line of last week’s column I bid everyone my usual farewell and said, “Enjoy the tournament.  If this season continues the way it has every week, it should be another barn-burner!”

And, in retrospect, “barn-burner” might have been underselling what awaited us Sunday afternoon at the Transitions Championship.

It’s almost become redundant to say it, but this finish had it all. Nail-biting drama, thrill and chills and spills.  Tragic stumbles, epic heroics, the agony of defeat and the pure bliss of triumphant victory.

We’re less than 3 full months into the golf season and we’ve seen more jaw-dropping action and drama and heroics than we’d normally expect see in a full year…or more.

And, with only a few weeks to go until our first Major of the season, I’m officially going to go out on a limb and predict that we’re going to see a new course record set Sunday at Augusta…which would also set a new single-round record for all 4 of the four Majors.  You read it here first folks!

Results – The Transitions Championship

Derek’s Picks D&D (Daughter & Dartboard)
Luke Donald

1

 $            990,000 Bud Cauley

T16

 $                 85,250
Webb Simpson

T10

 $            132,000 Matt Jones

CUT

Charl Schwartzel

CUT

Brendon Todd

CUT

Nick Watney

T51

 $              13,118 Mark Wilson

T55

 $                 12,265
This Week’s Total  $         1,135,118 This Week’s Total  $                 97,515
Season Total  $         8,793,252 Season Total  $            2,001,069

 

For those of you keeping track at home, yes this is the fifth time I’ve picked a winner in the season’s first eleven events.  And by the way, what the hell are you doing keeping track at home???  Don’t you have a life or something?

The Arnold Palmer Invitational

I said it last season…and my opinion hasn’t changed a bit.  So, in my tiny mind (see above, about stupidity), it bears repeating:

Arnold Palmer has done so much for the game of golf as we know it, that attending his tournament should be mandatory for every player on the PGA Tour.  He simply deserves that much reverence and appreciation from everyone who makes a living from playing professional golf.

So, despite the strength of the field (and it is a strong one!), it always makes me a little sad to see the players who have decided that this week is unimportant, inconvenient, skippable or disruptive to their preparation for Augusta. 

There are things you just do…and, for a member of the PGA Tour, going to Bayhill should be one of them.

Derek’s Picks

Justin Rose – With one win, two top 5’s and 3 top 25’s in just six starts this season,  Rose is one of the hottest players on Tour right now.  He’s currently 6th on the US Money List…and 2nd on the Euro Tour’s Race to Dubai.  He’s also climbed to #8 in the World.

To say that this is the best start he’s ever had should elicit a pretty huge “Duh!” from anyone who follows golf.  And to pass over a guy who is “on a heater” like that, is to ignore a trend while it’s happening…waiting to buy at the top of the market or sell at the bottom.

I didn’t take Rose to do well last week at The Transitions, figuring that he’d be pretty run-down from an exhausting week, acquiescing to all the “I just won a big one” demands from media, sponsors, fans, etc.  Rose finished a respectable, but unspectacular, T29 at the event…and whether that was due to fatigue or simply being a “bit off,” is anyone’s guess.

And if you want to look past his present form for more reasons to take him, simply roll the clock back a year and see how he did at last year’s Arnie Invitational.  Okay, never mind…I’ll save you the time; he finished T3.  He also racked up a T8 her back in 2006 during one of his first appearances on the King’s course.

Sean O’Hair –  Based on his current form on Tour, there aren’t a lot of reasons to take O’Hair this week.  He did get off to a good start in Hawaii; finishing 17th at the Tournament of Champions and then tied for 2nd the week after at the Sony…but since getting off the islands, his game has kind of gone in the crapper.  T45, T29, T44, Cut.  That’s how he’s done on the mainland so far folks.

Having said all that, there are actually two reasons why I like O’Hair this week.  First, he went absolutely crazy earlier this week and shot an amazing round of golf…a 60, on his own ball, in the Tavistock Who Gives a Rat’s Rectum Cup. 

True, it’s an event packed with pretty much zero pressure to perform and just barely resembles a real Tour event…but still, shooting a 60 is a hell of a feat!  He has to be enjoying some form mojo from that right now, don;t you think?

The other reason to like O’Hair this week, is in the way he’s performed at Bayhill in the past.  He’s a horse who likes this course folks.  T2 in 2009, T3 in 2008, T14 in 2007, T21 in 2010. 

Maybe the starts will all line up this week for O’Hair and he can carry over some of his Tavistock mojo into a real tournament…and pick up where he left off before swimming back from Hawaii. 

Mahalo Sean!

Sergio Garcia – Man it’s fun to watch this guy play again, isn’t it? 

After several painful years, watching him lose his touch…and then his interest…and then his cool…it’s wonderful to see the big grin and infectiousness that made us love Sergio in the first place.  It seems like only a matter of time, before he dashes down another fairway, leaps split-legged into the air and cranes his neck over the hill to see where his next miracle shot lands.

Sergio showed some major glimmers of the Sergio of old for a good chunk of the 2011 season…mostly in Europe.  He finally got the no-win monkey off his back, spectacular fashion by closing off the year with back-to-back titles.  The only thing he has yet to do, to really come all the way back, is score another win in North America.

And the King’s tourney probably presents one of his best chances of the season.  Sergio often shines on Arnie’s course.  He finished T8 here last year, T5 in 2007 and T10 in 2006.

I think he’s definitely worth a flutter this week…and I know I’ll be cheering for him.

Webb Simpson – Half of the time Simpson has teed it up this season, he’s finished in the top 10.  The other half, he’s finished in the 30’s.

This is almost the same way young Webb started the 2011 season…with a few nasty cuts thrown into the mix for bad measure.  And then…well, you remember how he took off from there right?  Who doesn’t! 

In the last 22 events he played in 2011 (just a few weeks after missing the cut at Bayhill), Simpson had THREE firsts, two seconds, eleven top 10’s and 18 top 20’s!!!  The guy was an absolute machine…and damned near won the FedEx Cup along the way.

True, he doesn’t have a great record at the King’s tournament (T11 in 2009 is his best finish), but the guy walking onto this week’s tournament is a Webb Simpson that Bayhill has never seen before.  I like his chances.

And now that I’ve had my rant, let’s turn our attention to the basement and see what daughter did on the dartboard this week…

D&D’s Picks (Daughter & Dartboard):

  • ·         Ernie Els
  • ·         John Huh
  • ·         Cameron Tringale
  • ·         Camilo Villegas

Out of the mouths (well, darts actually) of babes!  Dart #1 goes into Ernie’s box!  If ever there were a week when I was rooting insanely for my daughter to get one right, this is it.

And that’s all for now.  As always, thanks very much for reading and playing along with the silliness…and enjoy Arnie’s big shindig.  One way or the other, I think this one should be epic!

Cheers,

Derek

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