Sizing up the TV coverage from the Travelers Championship ... and away we go.
Rory McIlroy is turning into the new Tiger Woods. Even when he isn't in the field, he's still getting mentioned at least once or twice during a telecast. His dominating performance at the U.S. Open has been talked in the ground, so much so that CBS's Jim Nantz decided to point out something else besides McIlroy's demeanor and swing that kids should take note of.
"One thing I really enjoyed last week while watching Rory McIlroy's incredible performance at the U.S. Open was how fast a player he is," Nantz said. "Here's a guy that's going to be a superstar and a lot of people are going to try and model things after him ... especially kids watching him play. It's just what I think the game really needs right now, someone that's going to set an example that says you can play fast and win at the highest level."
Ah, Mr. Nantz taking a slight dig at the slow play -- or players -- on the PGA Tour. I guess Rory has more to offer the game of golf than a great swing and incredible upside.
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Cupcake course conditions
TPC at River Highlands isn't a difficult tour track by any means, but with soft course conditions, the tournament turned into a birdie binge for most of the players in the field. After Patrick Cantlay's 10-under 60 in the second round, and Kevin Streelman's front nine 29 on Saturday, Ian Baker-Finch tried to make sense of a track that clearly lost its teeth.
"As we're seeing with these approach shots, you can really control what you're doing on the greens. They're not fast by any means -- rolling at about 10, 10.5 which really is ideal holing speed if you're an aggressive putter and like to bang it in."
Grip it and rip it
During Thursday's rain-delayed first round, Golf Channel cameras caught Padraig Harrington on the range doing his best Happy Gilmore impression. But as Frank Nobilo noted, he wasn't trying to crank it out there for fun.
"It's all foot work here," Nobilo said, as the camera did a split-screen shot of Harrington hitting the ball. "Your left side is something you're meant to hit against. Watch that last step with the left foot right there; he plants it down, so now he knows where his left side is. He's trying to hit against the left side, and you can see there on the right how much his head turns out of the way. I'd imagine he's been feeling over the last few years like he's hanging back too much."
Cantlay's incredible week
UCLA sophomore-to-be Patrick Cantlay didn't become the first amateur since Phil Mickelson to win a PGA Tour title while still in college, but he certainly wowed fans and television viewers with his incredible second-round 60 that saw him take a four-shot lead into the weekend.
For an event that seemed to be short on dramatic moments, Cantlay's presence turned the weekend into must-see TV. If tournaments needed another reason to offer a sponsor's exemption to the top amateurs in the game, they got their answer at the Travelers.
Most of the golfers on the PGA Tour are jet-setters. They take off on a plane one week for a tournament and may spend four or five on the road before they come back home. It's a grueling schedule that can take a toll on a golfer's game; but after listening to Bubba Watson talk about his upcoming schedule during Friday's second round telecast, he's bringing a whole new meaning to the jet-setter label.
"Next week is the French Open, and I'll fly from [Connecticut] on Sunday night and will be there for a week," Watson said. "Then I'll fly back home for a week before turning around to head back for the British Open. Then I go to the Scandinavian Masters; vacation in Denmark for a week; and then I fly straight from Akron. Well, actually, I go to Denmark to Germany to see Schuco for two days. And then I fly to Akron, the PGA Championship, and then the playoffs start. After that, it's Australia, hopefully for the Presidents Cup. I'll be there for three weeks."
Your head has to hurt after listening to that ridiculous schedule.
Thursday's opening round of the Travelers Championship was nearly washed out due to rain, which meant golf fans were stuck watching early round coverage, highlights, and listening to mindless commentary for most of the afternoon.