If Thursday's opening round of the newly minted Greenbrier Classic was a sign of things to come, then your intrepid GolfTube writer had made the wrong decision.
Chained to his couch with beautiful weather peeking through his window, he begrudgingly watched two golf tournaments that didn't have a guy with the first name of Phil or Tiger in the field.
Please, feel sorry for him. Thankfully, the golf improved over the last couple of days, giving us a glimpse at the, dare we say it, next great hope on the LPGA Tour (Yani Tseng is the real deal).
More importantly, some valuable lessons were learned over the weekend: Never trust Nick Faldo if you have a golf-course architecture question on "Who Wants to be A Millionaire"; it's never a good idea to keep Laura Davies waiting; and always remember that tracking a golf ball is critical ... especially when you're the network televising the tournament.
Name that Redan...
Trying to show off his knowledge of golf-course architecture during Saturday's third round, Nick Faldo commented on the par-3 eighth's layout that made it a perfect example of a Redan golf hole. (A Redan hole is usually a par-3 where the green is usually wider than it is deep, slopes from front-to-back and right-to-left, and usually angles diagonally from the tee box.)
"You'll notice that's a Redan green, where it slopes hard from right-to-left and keeps feeding into the back left portion of the green," Faldo said. "The famous one is at Prestwick [Golf Club]."
"Oh yeah," Nantz said, blindly agreeing with Faldo. "I've walked it but never played it."
There was only one problem: The hole Faldo was referencing was actually located on another golf course. "You avid golf fans are probably screaming at me now that I got my history wrong ... it was North Berwick [Golf Club] that has the Redan," Faldo said.
The famed par-3 15th at North Berwick Golf Club is actually named "Redan."
¿Qué Paso, Sergio?
Rich Lerner, Nick Faldo and Arnold Palmer don't have the "Dr." title in front of their names — although Palmer and Faldo both had a surgeons' touch around the greens — but that didn't stop them from trying to get inside Sergio Garcia's head.
The trio spent a couple of minutes during Thursday's opening round dissecting Garcia's game, as well as his personal issues off the course. Lerner commented on the meeting that took place at the Open championship, where family and friends sat down with Garcia to discuss the state of his game and the need to add some joy back into it.
Palmer agreed with Lerner, stating that the one thing Garcia needed to do was enjoy the game once more: "... he needs to get some joy back into his game, and remember it is just a game and play. And he can play — it's just a question of him organizing himself just a bit and getting his mind in the right lane."
Coming from Palmer, the comments were apropos — especially when you consider there's nobody on the planet who enjoys the game of golf as much as he does.
Well? We're waiting!
Credit ESPN and its camera work for picking up on one of the more intriguing storylines during Friday's second round of the British Open — which happened to be the tug-of-war battle between Laura Davies (known as one of the faster-paced players on the LPGA) and Anna Nordqvist (a considerably slower-paced player).
ESPN's Judy Rankin noted from the outset that Davies' growing frustration with her own game was being magnified with the addition of a slower-paced player playing in front of her: "Laura is the type of player that plays her best golf when she's playing fast, so having to wait like this has to have her very agitated."
The ESPN cameras caught Davies in the center of the fairway on the inward nine, hand on hip, a look of exasperation on her face as she waited on Nordqvist to putt out. It was clear there was some underlying tension going on between the two players — even if Nordqvist didn't realize it.
You could definitely tell ESPN was working with a skeleton crew at Royal Birkdale. Multiple times during the week, cameras were continually looking around for golf balls that landed just off the fairway.
It led it a number of awkward exchanges between the booth and the on-course talent, as both tried to figure out where the ball had landed. Instead of tracking the ball, the cameras remained locked on the player, waiting for their reaction.
If there was ever a reason to have a camera tracking the golf ball off the tee at all times (a la the ball tracker on the 17th at St. Andrews) this week was a great example.
Early round snoozer
The Greenbrier was ready for its close-up on Thursday, hosting a tour event for the first time in over 20 years. It's just too bad the course buzz didn't equate to a better field.
Like most events leading up to a major championship, the Greenbrier Classic had to make do with a watered-down field with Jim Furyk as the headliner.
The Golf Channel didn't do itself any favors during Thursday's opening round. The entire first page of the leaderboard was already in the clubhouse when the network went live on the air. Instead of getting the chance to see Erik Compton's opening round — a story that was worth watching — viewers were forced to watch John Daly, Matt Bettencourt, Dick Mast (who?) and Tom Pernice Jr. struggle in their opening rounds.
The lack of big names playing in the afternoon wasn't Golf Channel's fault; however, I'm sure they would have enjoyed some better golf to keep viewers' attention.
Wie's putter problems
Michelle Wie's game has been growing with every golfer tournament she plays in. But if there's one part that's seemed to lag behind, it's been her putting.
After missing a short birdie putt on Friday, Judy Rankin gave her take on Wie's abysmal putting, and why she seems to be struggling at the moment: "You know, I've watched her closely for quite a lot of years, and I'm beginning to wonder if she has a good sense of green reading," Rankin said. "And that's maybe something that you're gifted with that's difficult to learn if you're not gifted — to see how slope and speed work together."
Notables and Quotables:
• Great find by CBS's stat crew with the nugget on Sam Snead's 59 at the Sam Snead Festival Golf Tournament. Snead's round (during the 1959 event at the Greenbrier) was the first recorded 59 by an amateur or professional in the history of the game. Sports Illustrated called it the greatest round of competitive golf ever played.
• Judy Rankin gave a glowing review of Suzann Pettersen's game and where it's headed: "She's very close to being No. 1, and when she gets there, she's going to be there for a while."
• As usual, ESPN did a wonderful job of using the three-dimensional renderings of Royal Birkdale to lay out every hole. They're making helicopter flyovers a thing of the past.
• Craig Perks made his Golf Channel debut this week at the Greenbrier, taking a spot in the tower next to Peter Oosterhuis. Perks' claim to fame? His ability to completely disappear from the tour scene after winning the Players Championship in '02.
• Credit Peter Kostis with noticing the difference in Jeff Overton's practice and actual swing. His practice swing was considerably slower and finished with his shoulder considerably lower than in his actual swing.
Quotes of the week:
"What exactly is that pattern, Peter? My mum had curtains like that forty years ago. Hang on a minute, those are my curtains!" — Nick Faldo, commenting on John Daly's choice of pants during Thursday's first round.
"Now that I'm broke, I'm going to go down [to the new casino] to see if I can win some money." — Arnold Palmer, joking with Rich Lerner and Nick Faldo about whether he was going to try out the new casino at the Greenbrier.