Each Tuesday for the remainder of the golf season we will be rolling out a mailbag, with any and all questions invited from readers and fans around the world. Have a good question you want answered? Hit me up on Twitter at @shanebacon and we will try to get to it in the coming weeks. Here we go ...
@shanebacon Is it time to start freaking out about Tiger's back yet?— Adam Fonseca (@ChicagoDuffer) March 9, 2014
Bacon: The short answer; yes. The long answer; absolutely, 100 percent, no doubt in my mind yes.
I've backed Tiger since his controversy years ago, simply saying that no matter what happens off the golf course he is still going to be this incredible golfer that wins golf tournaments at a rate we won't see in the near future.
This back stuff is serious. He winces after any hard swing, is struggling to even get comfortable with his putting stroke and no matter what he does it seems the pain comes back.
Could this be the end for Tiger? I'm not ready to scream "DOOMSDAY" just yet, but I definitely think this is a bigger deal than most are making it out to be. If you're a golfer, a bad back is basically the one thing you can't live with (ask Fred Couples) and as we sit four weeks until the Masters, a golf tournament we thought Woods might win 10 times before his career ended, we don't even know if he will be able to make it all four rounds without having to leave because of the pain.
It has been a strange season already, and the Tiger injury is making it even weirder.
Bacon: I got a few questions about the quote by Patrick Reed that he thinks he's a top-5 player in the world, as it really seemed to tick off a lot of golf fans.
Here is my take on what Reed said, what he probably meant and why it shouldn't be this big of a deal.
First, Patrick Reed is 23. He's won on every level, making it to the PGA Tour and winning three times before he even got into his first major championship. He is the youngest World Golf Championships winner ever, he's joining short lists with the biggest names in the game with every win he accumulates and he is beating some of the biggest names in the game with these wins.
Arrogance might not be something we praise in the real world, but professional athletes are supposed to be overly confident. That's why they're so good! Reed is on a high right now, doing what he has always dreamed of doing and doing it at a relatively consistent clip. The kid is a stud, and while his comments might come off as over the top, it's just a guy being as honest as he can be with the media.
Do I think he's a top five player in the world? Not if you look at the big picture, but I definitely think he's playing as good as anyone in the world right now, and has been for the last eight months and counting.
Some might think he should tone it down, but I've actually enjoyed someone saying exactly what they want to say and being honest about how they really feel. It's refreshing given how much our athletes are sheltered these days with agents, managers and coaches telling them exactly what to say and how to say it.
@shanebacon Making first trip to Augusta next month. What are some off the radar must see's?— Ashley Harrison (@ashdharrison) March 11, 2014
Bacon: Here is what I tell everyone to do on the first day of the Masters (especially if you are there early in the weeks). Get through the gates, walk directly to Amen Corner, passing some amazing holes in the process. There is a concession stand down by Amen Corner, so snag a pimento cheese sandwich, get a cheap beer and just sit in the grandstands and enjoy the best view in golf.
Also, when you finish doing that, go to the merchandise tent if you want to buy anything, because the good stuff goes fast.
@shanebacon Should walkers be banned on the weekends at crowded courses? (Recently walked off a public SoCal course after a 3+ hour front 9)— Matt Tanton (@ThatMattTanton) March 11, 2014
Bacon: Wait, ban the only people that are actually playing the game the way it's supposed to be played?! That doesn't seem right.
That said, I do get your point. This goes back to my theory on the "good/bad golfer versus the bad/bad golfer." Basically the good/bad golfer is not a good player, but he understands that and tries to keep up and play the game as fast, and as respectfully as possible. The bad/bad golfer spends 5 minutes looking for his ball anytime he misses a fairway (which is a lot), and never thinks of the people that he's playing with, or the people behind him. That is the biggest problem at public golf courses. People just don't know how to actually play the game with everyone else on the course in mind.
The bad news is, I don't see anything really changing in the near future unless the USGA forces every golfer to go to a DMV-like class before they go play their first 18 holes, and that doesn't seem likely at all.
One thing me and my friends do when we know the play is going to be excruciatingly slow is we bring a football and toss it around when we're sitting on a tee box for 10 minutes. If nothing else at least you're getting a little exercise in between golf shots and not just sitting there staring a hole through the back of the guy that just five-putted but marked between each putt.
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