February 28, 2006

Why Hate on Love?: This was posted earlier today on the PGA news wire and it got me thinking: Why hate on Love? It's easy to sit back and recognize talent, but golf isn't a game that allows the most talented player to win each week so how can we expect any golfer to meet unrealistic expectations? And what were/are the expectations for a player as talented as DL3? 18 victories is pretty impressive. More majors? More victories? During the match play someone stated that Love finished second 29 times. If he wins half of those tournaments, this article probably doesn't get written, and that seems unfair.

posted by smg to golf at 11:52 AM - 22 comments

I've already said it, so I'll link to it: save the editorializing for an inside comment. As for Love, anyone with "the Third" as part of their name deserves all the hate and ridicule you can pile on them.

posted by dusted at 12:11 PM on February 28

What about Thurston Howell?

posted by yerfatma at 12:19 PM on February 28

I don't think anyone should be too surprised when it comes to golfers from the USA coming up short in match play. Love is a great golfer, but he's so vanilla. He'll never excite too many people.

posted by dyams at 01:05 PM on February 28

What about Thurston Howell? posted by yerfatma at 12:19 PM CST on February 28 He had a handicap. His caddy was Gilligan.

posted by commander cody at 01:14 PM on February 28

As for Love, anyone with "the Third" as part of their name deserves all the hate and ridicule you can pile on them. Um...okay. I don't think anyone should be too surprised when it comes to golfers from the USA coming up short in match play. Love is a great golfer, but he's so vanilla. He'll never excite too many people. I don't even know where that's coming from? In recent years the American's have fared pretty damn well in the Ryder Cup and President's Cup matches (more the President's Cup). And Davis Love is a monster in the President's Cup (admittedly mediocre at best in the Ryder Cup, but his overall match play record is still good). Sure, the Americans haven't dominated the Ryder Cup since it's been opened to all of Europe and not just England, but still the only time in recent history where they've been blown out was 2004, and that was an ugly aberration. Yes, DL3 is bland and not very exciting, but being exciting and having a great personality on the golf course doesn't win golf tournaments. So I don't know what you mean? Exciting or not, he's one of the better players to play the game over the past two decades for sure.

posted by smg at 04:58 PM on February 28

I love that you call him "DL3."

posted by dusted at 05:17 PM on February 28

I said in my post Love is a great player. I'm not disputing that. It brought into focus even more that Love, a world-class player with 18 victories and a major, has gone without a victory in six of his last eight seasons on the PGA Tour. Put that together with his 8-9-4 record in the Ryder Cup, it shows Love, while still one of the top golfers in recent history, isn't and hasn't been playing all that well. I want to see winners, guys who can finish people off when they have the chance. Love fell apart at the end of the PGA last year. He needed to win this final against Ogilvy. In recent years the American's have fared pretty damn well in the Ryder Cup I don't know where THAT is coming from. The '02 and '04 matches were blowouts, if I remember right. The Ryder Cup is where it's at, not the President's Cup.

posted by dyams at 05:21 PM on February 28

I want to see winners, guys who can finish people off when they have the chance. Love fell apart at the end of the PGA last year. He needed to win this final against Ogilvy. Do you honestly think that because Love lost to Ogilvy, or shot four over in the final round at the PGA that he's down for the count? No way. And who are these winners you're talking about? Tiger? Match play is brilliant because it levels the playing field to some degree and gives an Ogilvy a chance to beat anyone. Sean O'Hair beat Fred Couples in round one of the match play this year and I bet you've never heard of him, but on any given day, if a top player doesn't have their game, they lose. Also saying that Love fell apart "at the end" of the PGA is statistically correct because he went 68-68-68-74, but the winner that week, Phil, was four over for the weekend (67-65-72-72), and you're not saying he fell apart, only because he had the two sick rounds to start the tournament and won. You can spin it any number of ways but PGA golf is typically played over four days so a tournament, while in some circumstances can be, isn't necessarily won or lost over a stretch of a few bad holes or a few good holes on one day. So back to my original question. Are you (and everyone else for that matter) hating on Davis because he hasn't won since 2003 and because your perception is that he is losing his game and doesn't have a killer instint? That's fine. I don't agree, but that's alright. Winning on tour just isn't easy unless your name is Tiger.

posted by smg at 11:33 AM on March 01

In recent years the American's have fared pretty damn well in the Ryder Cup What Ryder Cup have you been watching? The US team has won once in the last 13 years. Cumulatively, for the last five outings, the US is 15 points behind. Davis Love seems a nice enough sort, but as a golfer, he's an underachiever. That was all the article was saying as far as I could see, and it's a fact that not even DL3 would argue with. He hasn't had as many chances in majors as he should have done, and of the chances he's had, he has choked all but one on them. I think the technology change affected him quite badly - part of his natural advantage when he was beginning to show signs of being very very good was his length. Distance technology has advanced faster than courses have lengthened, so he has lost a bit of that natural advantage. Those 29 second place finishes look more like a sign of an inability to finish the job than something to be praised. He has one of the best swings in the game. He's still long and accurate. His putting is sound, but can wobble under pressure (like everyone else's). At every level, he hasn't achieved as much in the game as his talent should have allowed him to. And people hate that - especially armchair fans and journos who are sure that if they had the talent Love has that they wouldn't bottle it, or would work harder than Love does, or would do whatever it is that they think Love does wrong, right. They're mistaken of course, they wouldn't, but that's why (some) people hate on Love.

posted by JJ at 11:54 AM on March 01

He hasn't had as many chances in majors as he should have done, and of the chances he's had, he has choked all but one on them. Actually, that's just nonsense on my part - sorry. He choked that US Open in '96 that Steve Jones won, and he should have been more of a feature in the 2003 Open Championship that Ben Curtis won (because no one else seemed to want it) at Sandwich, but other than those (and last year's PGA) he hasn't really choked in a major that I recall. I remember something about Sandwich in '03 though that struck me about him at the time and has stuck with me since - he looked almost relieved when he was no longer in contention in that final round. Maybe that's what it is that makes people not like him - he doesn't seem to like it in the thick of the action - and that's not a characteristic that's going to get people declaring you their hero.

posted by JJ at 12:11 PM on March 01

I thought the last Ryder Cup was in 99? :-) Can we just throw out my comment about the Ryder Cup? Honestly I was more focused on the President's Cup when I was writing it and even said that right after that comment. I was referring to dyams comment about American's coming up short in match play overall. It was more suggesting that they've fared well enough and not been dominated (save for 2004 when the American's didn't show up at the Ryder Cup). And people hate that - especially armchair fans and journos who are sure that if they had the talent Love has that they wouldn't bottle it, or would work harder than Love does, or would do whatever it is that they think Love does wrong, right. They're mistaken of course, they wouldn't, but that's why (some) people hate on Love. This is exactly what I've been trying to say. And I 100% agree that Davis has the talent to have won many more times on tour (especially majors) but I guess my problem is that 18 victories seems like a lot to me, so what is the number? Can the media just pick a number out of a hat that he should have attained because of his talent? I guess this is similar to what Phil went through before he won a major. Expectations are so high when you have talent. Another point I was trying to make is that winning on tour just isn't easy, especially majors. You're facing 130 or better golfers each week and just because you have more talent then the rest of the field doesn't guarantee a win. That's what makes golf so great, and I guess that's why I don't expect any one golfer to win each week. Wait, I'm pretty sure I expect Tiger to break Jack's major record. So I'm no better than the shady media types. :-)

posted by smg at 12:43 PM on March 01

Again, I'm not "hating" on Davis. My problem, overall, is how golf pays out tournaments. There are players in recent years that are making tons of money and becoming millionaires by finishing in the top 10 and NOT winning tournaments. Is there anything wrong with that? Not really. They are still great golfers. I think back to Payne Stewart, though. He was golfing just this way, making really good money, never winning titles, until his wife finally asked him, "Do you even WANT to win anymore?" This really hit a nerve with Stewart, and he re-dedicated himself to improving and going out to win, not just place high. And up until his tragic death he had enjoyed a fantastic resurgence. I'm not just talking about Tiger. I'm talking about all golfers having that killer instinct and desire to finish off events, whether it's stroke play or match play. I haven't noticed that in Love in recent years. In last years PGA, if I'm not mistaken, he imploded on the final five holes of the tournament. That's a problem. And as for the Ryder Cup, it was played in '99, when the U.S. staged it's historic comeback win, then canceled in 2001 due to terrorism concerns. It was held again in '02 and '04, which were both lopsided victories by the Euros. I love match play, but the U.S. golfers don't excel at it, and they often don't team well, either. Yes, there are always exceptions. But overall, the U.S., Love included, are generally poor when it comes to this format. But with all that said, I still like Love as a personality and think he's a great talent, but he needs to get his name on a trophy this season. I think he'd be the first to admit as much.

posted by dyams at 03:17 PM on March 01

Know what else hit a nerve with Payne Stewart? A tray table. It's irrelevant, I'm already on my way.

posted by yerfatma at 03:52 PM on March 01

I feel dirty for having read that...no seriously yerfatma, you go to your room and think about what you just said! PGA tournament purses are huge now thanks to the popularity of the sport and sponsors and anyone who consistently shows up in the top 20 will get solid pay days each week. So yeah, you don't have to win to make money and I'm sure there are a lot of guys on tour who are just looking for paydays. Love in recent years hasn't been a finisher that's for sure, but after watching him play well this weekend I definitely feel like he's got the game to be in contention on Sunday and actually finish. He hasn't done shit this year except for last week, so who knows, but I wouldn't be surprised if he ends up winning this year. All in all, after his best finish of the year, I didn't see how someone could write an article ripping him, instead of praising him. But talking about how great people are doesn't get people talking does it? :-)

posted by smg at 04:32 PM on March 01

Know what else hit a nerve with Payne Stewart? A tray table. LOL!!!! Damn I wish I'd said that! But don't worry, sooner or later I'm sure I will. ;-)

posted by commander cody at 04:38 PM on March 01

I think commander cody's praise is condemnation enough, yerfatma. Now then, where can I get some absolution for laughing so much at something so sick? We could talk all day about why Europe keep winning the Ryder Cup (or I could anyway), but let's save that for September.

posted by JJ at 04:43 AM on March 02

The European team is going to be strong no matter what, and with Woosnam as the captain, I'm not confident the Americans will right their Ryder Cup ship this year. Looking forward to the matches. Tiger today at Doral: 8 birdies + 0 bogeys = 64. Tasty.

posted by smg at 04:45 PM on March 02

Know what else hit a nerve with Payne Stewart? A tray table. Holy Sheet! If I would have said that, I would have been crucified! How do you do it, yerfatma?

posted by tselson at 10:16 PM on March 02

I think Woosnam being captain is one of the strongest things in the US team's favour! Good golfer he might have been - master tactician and calm, sober judge of a situation he is not. How do you do it, yerfatma? It's all about expectation - I expect he could have done worse, so he gets away with more.

posted by JJ at 04:26 AM on March 03

Probably true. If you shit on the floor enough times, people get to applauding when you pee in the corner.

posted by yerfatma at 07:08 AM on March 03

Not that the Europeans need any more fire or personality, but I was more thinking that Woosnam would be good because the team would "take on the personality of their captain" and play with possibly even more intensity. All this Ryder Cup talk, has me fired up and it seems so far away. And yerfatma, you can piss in my corner anyday.

posted by smg at 07:40 AM on March 03

From a European standpoint, I really hope they don't take ont he personality of their captain - even the beleaguered US team would stand a chance against twelve bitter, overweight, alcoholic Welshmen who can't count to 15 or win a Ryder Cup singles match. I saw Woosie out on the range in Dubai (after he'd missed the cut). He was drinking pints of red wine and every so often stopped to hit a ball or two. He was a wonderful player in his day, and an incredible ball striker, but I think his Ryder Cup record flatters him (due to the number of times he played with Faldo) and his individual record in tournaments was a massive underachievement. All will be forgiven of course if he leads us to victory in September. I have a couple of tickets for the Saturday, but I'm not sure it's worth the effort to be honest. I went to the Friday at the Belfry in '02 and enjoyed the day out but swore (as I did after I went to Wimbledon a few years before) that I'd never do it again unless I was in the swankiest corporate sections or with the press and inside the ropes. It's a bit of a zoo with 20,000 people trying to watch four matches.

posted by JJ at 07:59 AM on March 03

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