Vousden’s odds ‘n ends

Thought for the Day
If you have a choice between two evils, go for the one you haven’t tried before

Over the course of a golf season a lot of ‘Really?’ moments happen that don’t justify a whole column being written about them, but do, perhaps, warrant a mention. Here’s a few.

You cannot be serious
Every year the magazine and website Golf conducts an anonymous survey among PGA Tour pros (it has to be anonymous because few would have the nerve to say what they really think in public) and it often throws up some surprises. For example, 49% of the lunatics polled this year say they will vote for Donald Trump to be re-elected in 2020 and only 12% said they wouldn’t (25% are ineligible to vote, presumably because of nationality, and 14% remain undecided). So that’s only 12% of supposedly rational, educated and intelligent people who choose not to put an ill-mannered moron with the emotional age of an eight-year-old back in the White House.

The only positive from that survey result, and I’m clutching at the thinnest of straws here, is that last year, 56% of tour pros admitted to having voted for candy-floss head first time around, so at least 7% have now seen the light.

Going with bad grace
In October CBS sacked three of its long-serving golf presenters, Gary McCord, Peter Kostis and Bill Macatee – sorry, CBS said it would not be renewing their contracts (but that’s sacked, to you and me). McCord and Kostis both immediately criticised not the decision itself but the way it was done; as if there’s a procedure for letting people go that would see them wave a cheerful goodbye as they disappear from sight whistling a happy tune. There isn’t. Getting sacked is rotten but it happens so don’t go bleating to journalists and social media about the brutal way you perceive it to have been done.

CBS said the decision was made because its coverage was a bit stale, which immediately caused McCord to miss the point entirely by suggesting he was anything but stale – the comment referred to the coverage generally not you individually, Gary. But on a personal note, I found his huge waxed moustache (that positively screams: ‘Look at me!’) and his whole wacky, zany, larger-than-life persona lost whatever attraction it might have had some time ago. He always seemed to be trying way too hard to be colourful and many of his supposedly witty little bon mots sounded over-rehearsed.

Both he and Kostis say they resented not being given the opportunity to say goodbye to their colleagues yet both turned down the chance to do exactly that by covering the first two events of 2020. Finally, in circumstances like these we always hear a lot about loyalty but in the corporate world it doesn’t exist. The worker gives their labour, for which they are rewarded. If that worker decides to sell their labour elsewhere, the employer doesn’t whine about being betrayed after many years of loyalty, and it shouldn’t happen in reverse.

Eye-catching facts and stats
Phil Mickelson’s 26-year tenure among the 50 top-ranked golfers in the world ended on November 4. He had a run of 1,353 consecutive weeks in the top-50 stretching back to 1993, an astonishing record of consistency and longevity that will surely never be bettered.

Dustin Johnson has finished in the top-10 in majors a remarkable 18 times but has only won once, at the 2016 US Open. Some time ago I wrote that if he didn’t win at least six majors it would be an awful waste of talent and I hope that doesn’t prove to be more prescient than I would want it to be.

Rory McIlroy has always been, it seems, a mercurial golfer who, when he’s hot can win by a bucketful, irrespective of who else is in the field but too often blows cold. Not this year. In 23 tournaments around the world but mostly in the States, he finished in the top-10 an astonishing 18 times. But one of only two missed cuts came at The Open at Royal Portrush where he was favourite so perhaps he still demands too much of himself in majors.

Whatever happened to?
Every now and then a name pops up and you wonder. People like Bubba Watson, Jordan Spieth, Graeme McDowell, Jason Dufner, Charl Schwartzel, Luke Donald and Martin Kaymer – all but one are major winners but apparently unable to regain whatever it was that had them at the top of the world. The name that always surprises me is Geoff Ogilvy. When he won the US Open in 2006 I thought he had everything needed to kick on and dominate but he’s now ranked 1,542 in the world, down from 883 at the end of last year.

Easy Prediction
America will win the Presidents Cup next month. I’m not sticking my neck too far out when you consider that it has been played on 12 occasions, USA have won in it 10 times, with one tie and one victory for the International team – and that came in 1998. The only glimmer of hope for non-American supporters is that that lone victory came at Royal Melbourne GC, which is host venue this year, and that American golfers don’t always travel too well – largely because they don’t do it too often. I think they’re scared of them durned furriners.

Women golfers are allowed to wear shorts in competition, men aren’t – although the PGA Tour in the States recently made the concession for pro-ams and practice days. Tours follow the sun and it makes sense to wear shorts on warm, sunny days. Is anyone really likely to have a fit of the vapours at the sight of a golfer’s legs? And if a player on any of the men’s pro tours sued their tour for sex discrimination, wouldn’t they have a pretty cast-iron case?

Quote of the Week
Someone once told me that there is more to life than golf. I think it was my ex-wife.
Bruce Lansky

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