2019 Masters Revisited

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2019 Masters Revisited

I can’t believe it’s been a year. A year since I returned to the team at Golf Headquarters and wrote my first blog on golfhq.com. Tiger Woods gave me a lot to talk about that week. On Easter Sunday, Jim Nantz joined Tiger to give us another gift by offering a different narrative and commentary from the champ’s point of view as we rewatched the airing of the final round of the 2019 Masters. So many things have been said about that performance in the last 12 months that it’s difficult to find something new to say, especially something of substance. 

The biggest knock on Tiger was that he is introverted. He didn’t sign enough autographs, didn’t high-five enough people in the gallery, wasn’t overly engaging with the media (not rude either), and every word and step was calculated with the utmost thought. Ungenuine. Tiger spoiled us with his talent and probably his dad more than him thought was enough. He owed us nothing more. 

But realize he was playing golf for everyone but himself. He was playing for his father, his sponsors, his agents, his coach and for anyone that daringly laid a chip on his broad shoulders at any point in his life. To say for one single solitary second that Tiger didn’t care about golf at any moment is the most idiodic statement since the world is flat. This was proven an absurd notion perhaps in his negative angry outbursts than in his celebratory fist pump-a-thons. Tiger cared alright. But he didn’t care if we cared. He was going to spoil up and break records whether we liked it or not.

Tiger Woods is, and has been, playing golf for himself. For his family. He continues to play for us, but we embrace his good performances now more than ever because we fear it may be the last one. Tiger has a strong family circle with his two kids, current girlfriend, mom Tida, and near lifelong manager in Mark Steinberg, or Stiney. He also appears to have the best caddie relationship he has ever had in Joe LaCava. We thought Tiger and Stevie were tight but a scandal and a book ended that thought. Maybe it was the record book full of accolades and 72nd green celebrations that made it look like a wonderful friendship. But Tiger and Joey are close. They love each other. Tiger appreciates loyalty more than anything. Until 2019, 2013 was their best season together with 5 wins and a Player of the Year award. But besides that year, there was a lot wd’s and surgeries. Countless times Tiger told Joe to go loop another bag on tour, and he easily could have, being one of the best loopers out there. Joe said no every time. That meant a lot to Tiger and strengthened their bond. 

Tiger also appreciates the fans more than ever. He was always gracious, especially after a victory, but he thanks the galleries now every chance he gets. He high-fives more. He signs more and he stays longer. He’s also enjoyable in the media room. He gives colorful, in-depth responses and makes us laugh. You used to be able to count Tiger’s friends out on tour with one hand, now you may need a few hands. His current peers are the kids who grew up idolizing him and dreaming of playing against him. Tiger loves that. He enjoys mixing it up with them and showing the “kids” the old Tiger Woods when given the opportunity. The 2019 Masters was his opportunity. And they lined up outside Butler Cabin to be a part of the celebration. To them, this is the guy on their video game and the poster on their wall. He is Captain Tiger of the Presidents and Ryder cups and Tiger loves that role. We do too.

T-Dubb joining Jim Nantz as we all rewatched the final round together was a cool perspective and something we all needed to break up the monotony of pandemic week 3. Dawning the green jacket and getting choked up as he watched the emotional embraces after the winning putt dropped, showed just how much last year’s Masters meant to him. To all of us. I never in a million years thought Tiger would ever grace us with his presence on the Champions Tour. But this Tiger might. The chance is slim but there being a chance at all is a plus. So the sad thing here is that it may all end soon. There will be a week with perfect weather, on the perfect golf course with a perfect back and a perfect Tiger and another victory will come. But there will also be weeks where he caddied one too many junior events for Charlie, or kicked too many goals in the yard with Sam, or rolled out of bed like an octopus falling out of a tree and we will see that big WD next to his name on the leaderboard. We gotta take the bad with the good, just like we always have with Tiger. And hope that the good is shown over and over again, just to remind us how lucky we are to have been present during the most inhuman era in all of humanity. 

Fashion Police

Spring is here and hopefully, in another couple of weeks, COVID-19 will not be. When golf resumes at a global level and your leagues and club tournaments finally begin, why not look your best? I know gyms closed and you probably ate your share of doritos during the stay-at-home, but you can still look your best on the links by following some of my personal golf fashion do’s and don’ts. 

Heading to the club or a funeral? I don’t care what Phil Mickelson says, head-to-toe black is whack. You’re not Johnny Cash or Gary Player, and you’re going to the course, not a wake for your great-aunt Betty. Actually, solid colored outfits from head to toe of any other color are equally as bad. When Rickie Fowler used to do it with all orange, he looked like he was either filling potholes on I-95 or about to reseal your deck. Oh, but you split-up your all black outfit with a snazzy white belt? Great, now you look like a waiter at a place with juke boxes on every table. 

Billy Jean is not your lover. One guy in the history of the world was able to pull-off white socks with black shoes, and Michael Jackson barely pulled it off. Barely. Don’t even think about it. Even though in golf you do wear one glove…

One step further. While we are on the subject of black golf shoes, do not wear them with shorts. Even if you have some black low socks or no-shows, don’t do it. Even if you’re dark complected, they make your legs look dumb and it looks like you’re walking the fairways looking for pants. Black shorts? Go with white or grey shoes with some black trim or detail.

Loudmouth pants. For some reason the shorts get more of a pass than the pants do, but Loudmouth pants were cool for 11 minutes one time. And that time it was only the flag pants you wore to the gallery at the Ryder Cup or your local Presidents Cup with a rival club. You can shoot a course-record 61, but if you do it in pants that look like a 70’s couch threw up all over them, you’re not a tenth as cool as the guy who just shot 109 in the Jeff Gordon tee.

White slacks. Fine for the guys on tour or if you weigh 170 lbs, max. If you aren’t on tour, or on the heavier side, big NO. You’re channelling your inner Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. I had a nice pair of white shorts once and I had them trashed by the 6th hole just by putting my dirty tees in my pocket. 

Golf sandals. Like Flo from Progressive, somehow these things are still around. “But Seth, I live in Arizona and”…STOP! I don’t care if Moses is your favorite biblical character. 

There’s still a lot to say about khakis with a nice solid polo, and a hat and shoes to bring out the colors in the shirt. I’m on the heavier side these days (yes, I take my own advice about white pants), and am a big fan of greys, blacks, and blues paired with pastels. No, not pastels on the top and bottom. Don’t wear a yellow shirt with pink shorts. You’ll look like an Easter egg, no matter your size, and the aforementioned bags of pandemic doritos have already contributed to that. 

So let’s rid the world of golf sandals, goofy pants and coronavirus together.

Enjoy the game and each other. Stay safe.

Written by Seth Zipay – Head Golf Professional
Design and Published by Craig Walton

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