To my way of thinking, Fred Couples has to be one of the golfers who got the least out of his talent. One major! With that swing? How is it possible?
Well, Couples is now well past his prime and he’s weighted down with a bad back and troublesome putter. But even with all of that in consideration, it appeared he might win yesterday at Riviera. Of course he didn’t — throwing up all over himself on three of the last four holes while Rory “Man I like to play fast” Sabbatini roared to the finish line.
The self-deprecating Couples’ comments on Saturday should have made it clear that he was a longshot. Even while sitting right at the top of the leaderboard, he admitted his putting was in tough shape (“It would nice to have a longer, smoother putting stroke, but the clean and jerk is what I’ve got. If it was the Summer Olympics I would feel pretty good right now.”) and that he wouldn’t be playing as well on any other course (“What did I shoot? It was the biggest fluke of the year. If I had been playing a course I wasn’t accustomed to, I would have shot 75 the same way I played. Thank you.”). Turns out the miracle couldn’t hold up over four rounds. Too bad.
On the other hand, Sabbatini, the winner, actually carries a second yardage book (the caddy obviously carries the first) just in an effort to slow him down while he plays. Of course, every story today will mention the Ben Crane incident from last year. Some say Sabbatini violated golf’s clear etiquette rules when he played out of turn at last year’s Booz Allen Classic. I’ll tell you that if I had to play with Ben Crane, golf’s version of Mike Hargrove, I’d simply putt out and move along too. God, even Crane admits he’s too slow.
Here’s a quick story about Sabbatini’s win, of course referencing the Crane situation.
Tiger Woods had the flu and dropped out after making the cut. Apparently no one could tell the press directly that Woods was sick. Instead they issued a press release. Did they really need a press release to say Tiger’s stripes were turning green?
“Everyone saw how Tiger felt this week,” his agent, Mark Steinberg, said in
a release. “And he just can’t shake it. He feels awful. This is an event he
loves to play in and strives to win, his hometown tournament. Tiger doesn’t
want to pull out of any event, ever.”
Score Golf’s editor, Bob Weeks, blogged on Friday that Royal Bank has backed out of negotiations for sponsorship of the Canadian Open. That can’t be good news for the beleaguered Royal Canadian Golf Association. The organization is months past the time when it initially expected to announce a new sponsor and with the bank out of the picture, one has to wonder who is going to step up. Could they run the tournament without a major sponsor? We might just find out.