Hello. Welcome to the latest edition of Dialled In. Guess what? Another weekend of icy conditions. Another weekend of no golf. Why did I move up north? That was such a silly thing to do.
But it has got me more excited about getting home to Devon in the week between Christmas and New Year where no one knows what day it is.
Planning for my annual pilgrimage to the motherland often starts with a lengthy WhatsApp group conversation to decide which of the region’s flawless links courses we will manage to escape family gatherings to go and play.
No closed courses. No winter greens. No mats. No problem.
Ticked off the list in recent years are Dartmouth, Carlyon Bay, Trevose, Saunton East, Perranporth and Royal North Devon. This year? Hopefully St Enodoc. (If anyone from St Enodoc is reading: Hello! How are you? Call me.)
Is there a better feeling than organising a golf trip? The anticipation of a night or three away with old friends, teeing it up on a course you’ve never played and the only thing you have to worry about when you wake up is how to get rid of the taste of one too many beers from the night before.
Where is your next golf trip planned for? I’m always open to ideas. Let me know in the comments below, or you can tweet me if that’s your thing.
Jack throws shade at Tiger
The only person on the entire planet not interested in Tiger Woods’ comeback also happens to be the only person on the entire planet with more major victories than him.
In an interview with Golfweek, Nicklaus said of Woods: “I’m not interested at all. Do I wish him well? Yeah, but I’m not interested in watching him.
“I’ve watched him play golf for 20-something years, why would I want to go watch more? I don’t watch anybody play golf.”
Subtext: “PLEASE STOP ASKING ME ABOUT TIGER WOODS!”
The Tiger vs. Jack debate just went to a whole new level. (That’s why I wrote it in the headline, see?)
The father, the (grand)son and the slightly bent rules
Incidentally, Nicklaus was being interviewed at the PNC Father-Son Challenge in Orlando, where he was playing with his grandson, Gary.
Hang on. That’s not how it works. Just because you’re Jack frickin’ Nicklaus doesn’t mean you can just rock up to any old event and make up your own rules.
I’m not really annoyed – obviously – it’s just an excuse to post one of my favourite scenes from Family Guy…
You can only have one GOAT
While we’re talking Nicklaus and Woods, I found myself embroiled in that discussion over the weekend: Who is the real GOAT?
Why do allow myself to get sucked into these things? And it’s usually with people who aren’t huge golf fans.
Anyway, I put across the same point I always do: Nicklaus was other-worldly, but, in my humblest of opinions, he could only dream of changing golf in a way Woods did.
But he won more majors, I hear you bleat. (Get it?)
Well, Shaun Micheel has more major championship titles than Lee Westwood, Colin Montgomerie, Luke Donald and Rickie Fowler combined; Todd Hamilton has precisely half the amount of major championship titles as Greg Norman; Michael Campbell has… Well, you see where I’m going with this.
If you think Nicklaus is the GOAT, then of course you’re entitled to your opinion – it’s just not the same as mine, and therefore completely and utterly wrong.
Faith no more
I love-slash-hate this social media-led world we live in where everything must be worded in a way that gets us so very excited about THIS ARTICLE THAT YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST READ RIGHT NOW!
This week’s entry, from an American publication, leads on the promise that “Maverick McNealy has an epic Tiger story”.
Now, I don’t use the word “epic” lightly, and I hope they don’t either. Let’s read on…
“When I was 5, my aunt, who went to Stanford, knew Tiger,” McNealy explained, “and he came over to our house.
“We had a little chipping area in the backyard, and so Tiger came over, and my dad says, ‘I hit golf balls down into that canyon. You can’t reach anything down there.’ And Tiger says, ‘Can I try?’
“So my dad goes out, pulls out a brand new glove – because it’s Tiger – brings out an old TaylorMade bubble shaft driver, tees up a ball, and, no warm-up, no waggle, Tiger hits one. And he’s like, ‘Oh, it’s about 10 yards right.’ My dad said, ‘Yeah, 50 yards short if anything.’ And he had a little house, a little roof, way down there [in the canyon]. And Tiger was like, ‘Give me another ball.’ So he gets another ball, tees it up, hits it and says, ‘That’s right on it.’
“And it’s a dead quiet, dead still evening. And the ball’s going, going, going. Then I hear BAM! Right off the roof. And so we all run inside, giggling and laughing. The roof had to have been 400 yards out there and 50 feet, maybe more, dropped down into a canyon valley.
“Tiger says, ‘Oh, I’m going to do that again.’ So he gets out, puts another ball down, rips it. And BAM! Rips it off the roof again.”
So there you have it, the greatest golfer of all time hits a target with a golf ball.
Fun? Yes. Epic? Keep working on that.
I really enjoyed this clip from an interview with Woods’ caddie Joe LaCava.
He explains how Woods basically threw a massive strop when the bagman beat him in a game of ‘H.O.R.S.E.’ – a basketball game that involves making different kinds of shots from different parts of the court.
Who ya got in H.O.R.S.E. between @TigerWoods & his caddy Joe LaCava??? We've got some inside info from LaCava himself and we're taking Joey ? @CarlPaulsonGolf @dennispaulson62 pic.twitter.com/9l6NSoxQre
— Inside the Ropes (@SiriusXMITR) December 14, 2017
Cold-blooded. Don’t ever change, Tiger.
Elsewhere on the SiriusXM show, LaCava speaks of Woods’ nerves on the first tee during his return at the Hero World Challenge…
— SXM PGA TOUR Radio (@SiriusXMPGATOUR) December 14, 2017
See? It happens to the best of us. Them, I meant them.
Justin Rose played at the Indonesian Masters this weekend – and romped to an eight-shot victory at 29 – TWENTY-NINE – under par.
If, like me, you’re wondering why Rose is playing these events rather than kicking back with his family for the holidays, then don’t worry because my colleagues James Savage and Joe Urquhart sit on either side of the argument.
Masters of their own destiny
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – if you’re interested in golf’s world rankings then the mystical ‘Nosferatu’ is a must-follow on Twitter.
And what a weekend the Indonesian Masters turned out to be for Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Yusaku Miyazato. The pair finished well in Jakarta – including a dramatic 72nd-hole eagle from the former – to book their place in the end-of-year top 50 and, perhaps more importantly, at the 2018 Masters.
— Nosferatu (@VC606) December 17, 2017
Despite being pushed to the limit by Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson ends the year as World No. 1, but…
No.1 #OWGR, Dustin Johnson, will have 10.409 average points at the end of 2017. Only Westwood in 2010 and Donald in 2011 had lower end-of-year No.1 averages in the last two decades or so (as long as OWGR system differences allow for reasonable such comparisons to be made).
— Nosferatu (@VC606) December 17, 2017
While we’re on that – the golfer with the next best world rankings average of all time after Woods was a surprise.
Step forward, Mr Jason Day.
— Nosferatu (@VC606) December 17, 2017
All I want for Christmas is…
Another Twitter account you absolutely must follow is @ClubProGuy because, well, he’s hilarious.
He got this invite over the weekend from Kyle Thompson:
— Kyle Thompson (@KyleThompsonPGA) December 16, 2017
Dear PGA Tour,
Make this happen.
With love and best wishes,
Every golf fan ever xx
Right, that’s enough from me. Have a very merry Christmas everyone and I’ll see you on the other side.