If he were a race horse, then up-to-now the smart play would have been to bet him to show. On six occasions, Jason Day had finished among the top five in the big golf tournaments known as the "majors." But never first. He seemed to lack that urge to run out ahead of the pack, where the view is clear and the going is good. Unfortunate things just seemed to happen to Day in those big golf tournaments that you need to win for membership in the elite. Most of these things were, of course, self-inflicted. Long drives in to deep rough. Missed putts. The usual woes. And in one case, he was even finished by a bout of vertigo. Yesterday, though, at a peculiar golf course called “Whistling Straights,” Day went out ahead and stayed there. He finished with the lowest 72-hole score in the history of the majors. The record he broke belonged to the Secretariat of golf, Tiger Woods.
Okay, enough with the horse racing stuff. Simply said, Jason Day arrived, yesterday, where people who follow golf had been expecting him. At the top of the game. It was great fun to watch, especially since he is such an appealing figure. A poor kid from the wrong side of the tracks in Queensland, Australia, with a big game and a big smile and a three-year-old son who has taken over first in the cute kid competition among PGA golfers. The kid’s name is Dash. As in Dash Day and have you ever. “Adorable” doesn’t really do him justice.
As for Dad … well, yesterday, he was a killer. He was plainly concentrating hard to shut out the demons that had distracted him in previous efforts and caused him to come up agonizingly short. His moment may have come on the 9th hole where he launched one of his signature earth-orbit drives. Three eighty, or something, and landing in perfect shape. Easy lob wedge to the hole. Birdie puts him another stroke up on the field, including Jordan Spieth, his playing partner, the phenom and favorite who had won two of three majors this year and barely missed making it three.
Day chunked the shot like some ten-handicapper or worse and left the ball short of the green.
Everyone watching no doubt wondered if this was the beginning of the fold. Another bad shot, forcing a two-putt or worse, would open the door for Spieth. After studying for what seemed like a very long time, Day dropped it on the green just soft enough and in just the right place leaving himself 6 feet for the par save and Spieth still looking at his back.
He never faltered again and brought it on home with a strong, unfailing stretch run (okay, one more of those horse racing metaphors).
The Professional Golfers' Association of America will move its annual Grand Slam of Golf tournament from a Los Angeles-area golf course owned by New York businessman and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. The tournament, which features the winners of the four major championships, was scheduled to be held at the Trump National Golf Club in Rancho Palos Verdes this October.
Well, Tiger Woods answered yesterday’s question – can he find the magic again? – and did so emphatically. In a field of 156 golfers, one of them 15 years old, only two finished behind Tiger who shot an 80. There was no one thing wrong with his game. It was a total wreck and it left the broadcasters feeling embarrassed and borderline speechless.
When he steps onto the first tee today, Tiger Woods will be coming off some of the worst rounds of his career and a last place finish in a tournament that he was accustomed to winning. In golf, as in all sport, anyone can have a bad day. But for Tiger Woods, this was something different. You wonder if he even bothered to pick up the check for his winnings of $12,276.
Hillary Clinton will announce today that she is running for president. The tension is … well, bearable. Evidently she will be making this announcement on social media and that’s fine just so long as it doesn’t get in the way of those of us who will be following Dan Jenkins, tweeting from the Masters.
Today, at 1:48 EST, Tiger Woods will be teeing it up at the Masters. It has been a long time since he has played in a tournament. Longer still since he has won. His round today will be closely scrutinized by fans of golf and millions of others whose interest in the game pretty much begins and ends with Woods and how he is doing.
President Obama and his family will head this evening to Hawaii, where he's expected to vacation until the new year.
"On Friday, December 19, President Obama and the First Family will travel to Honolulu, Hawai’i. The arrival of Air Force One is open to pre-credentialed media and closed to the public," the White House said in a statement.
A new report from NBC claims that President Obama couldn't get a tee time during a recent visit to New York. So he packed up and went home (before returning to New York the next night for a private wedding).
This morning in an interview with NBC's Meet the Press, President Obama defended his decision to golf immediately after making a statement on the beheading of American journalist James Foley. "[T]here's always going to be some tough news somewhere," he said.
But the president did have some regret. He should have, he admits, better "anticipated the optics."
During President Obama’s second term, about the only thing more common than seeing him out on the golf course has been seeing polls highlighting the striking unpopularity of his signature legislation. Obama has golfed a reported 79 times so far in his sec