Skins Games are not interesting. If you are a spectator, it is impossible to see the action, packed like sardines in with 10,000 of your closest friends on a single hole.
In the Canadian Skins game last year, an event put on by IMG Sports, there wasn’t even a Canadian in the field. Turns out Telus wasn’t keen on having Mike Weir and his Bell Canada (a Telus rival) hat in the field and decided not to ask him in 2003. Then Weir won the Masters and IMG and Telus looked really, really bad. Especially since Weir is an IMG client.
In 2003, IMG invited former tour winner and Cambridge, Ont. golf pro Ian Leggat. Only problem? Leggat was hurt and no one really cares about him anyway.
So, with that in mind, there was no Canadian in the field in 2004.
That’s changed this year, with Stephen Ames teeing it up.
But the outspoken Ames, who is always good with a quote and a fine player (though he hails from Trinidad and lives in Calgary), won’t be hogging the limelight this year when the made-for-TV event plays on TSN in Canada.
That’s because the Golden Bear, Jack Nicklaus, is making what will likely be his Canadian swansong at Nicklaus North, the course he created in Whistler, BC. The following week Jack will head to St. Andrews to make his final appearance there.
The field will be rounded out by the dull Vijay Singh and John Daly, who doesn’t look like he can play anymore.
It is a bit of a letdown that Nicklaus is going to make his final appearance at a TV event in Whistler, on the marginal course he designed there. If the planets had been aligned, Nicklaus would have appeared at last year’s 100th Anniversary Canadian Open at Oakville. The crowds would have been there, it was played on a course he designed and he might have even made the cut.
Instead he turns up in Whistler for an IMG event. Ugh.
In other news, there are a series of stories in various media outlets today about Pinehurst No. 2, the fabled course in North Carolina which will hold the U.S. Open in a months time. The Detroit News has a story about players being concerned the USGA will bugger up Pinehurst like they did Shinnecock last year. USGA executive director David Fay admitted Shinnecock got away from the USGA last year, but said Pinehurst, which will have 3 inch rough, won’t have the same problems. The USGA has a terrible history of getting the setup on the courses they use right for the conditions. There were issues with the greens at Olympic, the rough at Bethpage and the greens (again, sense a theme?) at Shinnecock last year.
I bet they screw up Pinehurst this year as well.