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The Last, Mind-Boggling Hurrah

In case you’re not paying rapt attention, this is a week of endings folks. 

First, and probably biggest; the interminably long US election is finally over!

Second; for many of you in various parts of the country, the local golf courses have taken the flags out for the season.

Last; the PGA Tour will be figuratively taking its flags out at the end of the weekend.

To be honest, I’m at a bit of a loss to figure out what the hell I’m going to do for entertainment starting next week.  But, no matter how bad the drought gets, I can guarantee right now that I won’t decline far enough into the abyss to get sucked into watching all those gawd awful dancing and singing shows my wife seems to live for.

Good thing I took up curling this year.

Before pressing onto golf for the last time…how about that US election?  Mind-boggling wasn’t it?

From a Canadian perspective, I think watching US politics unfold is one of the great, semi-evil joys in our lives.  It’s one of those rare occasions when we feel absolutely no reason to display that weird national sense of inferiority we always seem to adopt when comparing ourselves to our southern neighbours. 

In fact, I think most of the crap we see in US elections makes us feel positively god-like and omniscient compared to Americans.

Now if only we could find a better calibre of politician to elect while we’re feeling smug.

Before I continue, it’s time for some full disclosure.  I lean quite liberal on many issues (like equal rights for every citizen and fair pay) and tend to be extremely conservative on others (like taxes, smaller government, crime and punishment and the death penalty) 

Does that surprise you?

But I don’t lean in either direction to such a degree, that I willingly allow myself to be lobotomized to follow a person or a party, just because.  I vote in every election, often for different people and parties, but in every case the ones who get my check mark have to EARN my vote.

According to a poll conducted by the BBC last week, almost 70% of Canadians would vote for Barack Obama, if given the chance.  The Romney support here; a mere 11%. 

And, before any Americans who might be reading this would like to get on their high horse and start talking about socialism, or cultural jealousy or Canadians poorly educated in US politics, or any other ridiculous explanation you’d like to trot out to explain this (other than exercising pure logic, of course), here are a few telling stats from some other industrial nations you might have heard of:

Australia – 70% Obama, 8% Romney

Great Britain – 65% Obama, 7% Romney

Germany – 65% Obama, 8% Romney

France – 72% Obama, 2% Romney

There were many, many other examples, all of whom favoured Obama by margins of at least 3:1 and by as much as 10:1. 

And yet, in the US the popular vote came down to a mere 2% separating these two guys!  About 118 million votes cast and a difference of less than 3 million people!!!  Of course, the boneheads in Florida haven’t finished doing there times-bys and guzintas yet (2 times-by 2 is 4, 2 guzinta 4 by 2 times), but close enough.  We’ll find out where that state stands in a couple weeks, I’m sure.

At this point, people outside of the US are asking “how the hell could Romney possibly get all of those votes???”  And clearly, within the US borders, 48% of the population is asking “how the hell did Obama win???”

To the people within the US asking that question, it’s going to probably take a long while for the real answer to become obvious.  Here’s a helpful hint that will speed up the process; don’t look to fox News for any answers that will really explain it.  What they say might make you feel better, but it won’t be the truth.

Hmmm, come to think of it, what Fox says probably WON’T make you feel better at all.  But it will make you feel something; mostly hatred toward people who don’t think, speak, act, look, pray or have sex like you do.

For the people in the rest of the world, those on the outside looking in, the answer to the Romney conundrum springs to mind immediately and seems much more apparent. 

PARENTAL WARNING; the following paragraphs contain a hard, but a likely very unpopular truth.  Read on at your own peril.

This is not an answer that would make many of us people feel comfortable suggesting…and it’s one that even fewer of those involved would admit to in public, but it’s hard, if not impossible to come up with a better explanation for the results we see. 

And here it is; of the 48% of the population who bothered to vote in the US election, a startling high percentage of those who supported the Republican presidential candidate with a check mark didn’t vote for Mitt Romney…they voted against the black man.

And before you brand me whatever kind of epithet you’d like to use, consider this:

1)       Romney and his partner Paul Ryan were caught telling an almost non-stop series of lies and spreading deliberate disinformation throughout their campaigning.  In one 3-week period, Romney alone was documented as telling something like 150 different lies about Obama or his track record.  27 of those lies were told in the first 90 minutes of the first presidential debate alone!

2)      Romney continued to show a blatant disdain for the working class and the poor.  His 47% comment by itself should have dropped his election results to the low 20% area…tops.  (The fact that these same people make up the bulk of the “Republican base” that supported Romney in droves, is VERY telling).

3)      Not once did Romney provide any details about his ‘magical plan’ to lower taxes across the board and increase military spending, while cutting the crippling US deficit at the same time.  Even when challenged by every legitimate economist in the US who said that the math absolutely, positively doesn’t work… or when pressed to name a single cost reduction measure (other than Big Bird)… he refused to answer the simplest of questions…”HOW?”  (Why would he do this if he did have an answer…was his plan too good to share?)

And yet, even despite these three enormously glaring holes revealed in his plan, in his character and in his integrity, Romney still gets 48% of the vote? 

Please look me straight in the eye and tell me that the people who voted for Romney honestly were thoughtful about their decision and voted for the “best man” for the job…the man with the best plan to help the country recover.  And while you’re at it, please tell me that colour played no significant part in the voting…that many of these people actually voted for Romney and not against the black candidate (the guy with the superior record and thoughtful, intelligent, clear, transparent, well articulated ideas).

And please, do your best to keep a straight face when you say it.

In the poignant words of Jon Stewart, in his live election night coverage; “Mitt Romney scored a landslide…in the Confederate states!”

Okay…how about some golf?

After I posted my picks for the HSBC Champions event last week, respected golf scribe Gary Slatter posted a comment on my column…saying my choices were “pretty risky picks.”

We REALLY need a sarcasm font on these damned word processing programs! 

At the risk of sounding like an apologist, I don’t think it’s really my job as CanadianGolfer’s official “tournament prognosticator and laureate babbling goof” to spend a great deal of time out on the limb. 

After I cleanse my colon of whatever I feel like riffing on in any given week (like the 9,000 painful political paragraphs above) I’ve always assumed that both of my regular readers actually expect me to pick some winners…or at least guys who have a chance of winning.

Oddly enough, most of the people I pick each week are rarely from the nether regions of the money list. 

That’s not to say that I haven’t gone out on limbs from time to time.  Bud Cauley at the Canadian Open and Wyndham spring to mind.  So do my selections of Pettersson, Piercy, Vijay, Fowler and Tommy Gainey (right guy, wrong week) over the course of the season. 

But the limb is simply not a place I tend to go often…and for pretty good reason, I think.

So then, for those of you who have nodded off, let’s recap who I did take last week in China…and how they ended up doing, shall we?

Results – The HSBC Champions

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

T18

 $        75,000 Thomas Aiken

T28

 $          57,500
Ian Poulter

1

 $   1,200,000 Yuta Ikeda

T72

 $          27,500
Martin Kaymer

9

 $      140,000 Prom Meesawat

T11

 $          98,000
Louis Oosthuizen

T6

 $      190,000 Garth Mulroy

T56

 $          34,750
This Week’s Total  $   1,605,000 This Week’s Total  $        217,750
Season Total  $  39,779,354 Season Total  $    11,979,376

And by the way, just to put a fine point on the point, Ian Poulter was my 14th winner in this season’s 40 weeks of golf. 

Your Honour…the defense rests!

The Big Finale

And now, the end is near,

And so I face the final curtain. 

My friend, I’ll state it clear,

I’ll state my case, of which I am

Abso-posi-fracking-lutely NOT certain!”

This week the 2012 PGA Tour season wraps up with the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. 

For those who don’t know this part of the world, it’s Disney world.  But for the dozens of golfers in the field this week struggling to earn enough cash to keep their Tour Cards for 2013, this is no Mickey Mouse golf tournament.

My apologies…but making one obligatory Mickey Mouse reference, per year, is in my contract.  I feel a little Goofy doing it, but I have no choice and, after all, it is a fairly Minnie matter.

Derek’s Picks

Having said all that stuff above about not spending a lot of time on the limb, Wolf Blitzer from CNN is projecting a high probability that I actually will be “out there” a few times in the following paragraphs.  The reason is pretty clear…almost all of the guys playing this week are “limb guys.” 

Go ahead…try and find a Ryder Cupper or top-20 money-lister in the field.  I dare ya!

Robert Garrigus – In terms of 2012 performance and money, Robert is probably the top-ranked guy in the field this week. 

He finished the FedEx Cup in 25th place and climbed to 23 after the playoffs.  According to my calculations, he’s also the highest-ranked guy on the World Golf Rankings…at #42.  And he’s #22 on the Money List.

That makes Garrigus, a guy you could probably bump into 12 times in a trip around the mall and never recognize once (other than the fact you keep bumping into the same guy), the alpha dog in the field this week.

In case you’re wondering, Garrigus also has a little Mickey Mojo going for him in this tournament too.

Damn it…I’ve gone and done it again now! 

He’s posted two top ten finishes here in the past 4 years… including a win in 2010.  Book ‘em!

Davis Love IIIIt seemed pretty ludicrous to take him the week after the Ryder Cup wrapped up…and I made a special point of mentioning why I wasn’t going to.  And I didn’t 

Then the bugger went out and played fantastically well on the first two days at the Shriner’s Hospitals for Kids Open, shooting 68-67, to be deep in the hunt! 

Fortunately for me, Davis stumbled into the clubhouse on the weekend, shooting 73-76 to finish T66…while one of the guys I did pick (Ryan Moore) won the whole thing.

It goes without saying that this was good for me…not so much for Davis.

Still though, I think enough time has passed that he can clear his mind a bit and focus back on his game right now.  And what better way is there to put a bow on the season than by finishing with a win?

Davis’ prestige and place in this field is obvious.  He has more wins than anyone else playing.  Probably more wins than the next 3 or 4 or 20 guys combined (he has 20 PGA Tour wins in his career). 

And that means he can dig deep and get it done when he has to.  Of course, he hasn’t done it in quite a while, but I wouldn’t underestimate him this week in Florida.

Justin Leonard – There was a time, not that long ago, when people would look at you funny if you said Leonard was a “limb pick.” 

They’d think maybe you’d gotten a head-start on Washington and Colorado’s new recreational pot laws (good work folks!)

Sadly, Leonard isn’t the ‘sure thing’ he once was…and I think it’s fair to call him a “limb pick” now.  At the very least, he’s a “branch pick.”

If you need rationale, the reason I’m taking Leonard is simply for the way he plays in THIS event.  And when he comes here, he plays REALLY well!  In his past 4 appearances at this tournament, Leonard has registered a 6th place finish and two 2nds (one of them a playoff loss).

Scott Verplank – Gainey, Rollins, O’Hern and Howell were all guys who could have easily made it from my draft list and fit into this final slot…but in the end I decided to go to Verplank.

For the record, Verplank does have a little credibility at this tournament.  He finished T3 in two consecutive years at this event back in ‘07 and ’08.

Yes, that was quite a while ago…and yes, he’s been pretty erratic (i.e. awful) over the past year or three, but there’s something in the back of my head screaming to me to take him.  He’s the kind of guy that seems to pop out of nowhere to surprise you with a win…or at least he was.

Then again, after thinking about it, I believe I’d rather have Gainey.

Confused yet?

And now that I’ve had my interminably long say, let’s turn it over to my little girl.

D&D’s Picks (Daughter & Dartboard):

 Jerry Kelly

Richard H. Lee

Patrick Sheehan

Garrett Willis

And that’s all for this week folks.  As always, thanks VERY much for reading and for playing along with my nonsense…and enjoy the last tourney of the season!

I’ll be back one more time with the final results and season wrap-up next week…then I’m Gandhi.

Cheers,

Derek

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