Monday, June 16, 2008

Let's Chat.

I'm guessing a few of you were surprised yesterday when I started gushing about the U.S. Open. I never hit a golf ball (other than Putt-Putt) until I was about 30 years old. I was hooked immediately. Hooked? Yes. Any good? Nah!

The fact is, I really really suck. I've never broken 100, which is the milestone of improvement at my level. On the other hand, at least my golf scores would qualify as crappy bowling scores. Truth be told, my friends and I have decided that I can stop counting shots when I get up to whatever twice-par is on a hole.

Anyway, I was totally rapt by the playoff today. The first 18 holes were absolutely amazing. The lead went back and forth a couple of times and neither Rocco or Tiger was ever out of it. Unfortunately, I had to leave when it went to Sudden Death. I'm not upset that Tiger won the thing, but I am upset that Rocco ran out of gas after pacing Tiger for so long. It was a pretty anti-climactic ending.

But here's the thing that came to mind. I've decided that Tiger Woods is the only professional athlete in any sport who, without reservation, believes that he can win against anyone in any situation. He understands that he can blow it and lose to you, but unless he does something wrong, you can't beat him. Every other athlete in sports understands that they can be beaten. Tiger can't. Only Tiger can beat Tiger.

And I don't see this as some indictment of over-reaching ego. He's that fucking good. He's that fucking confident. It's confidence based on reality, so you can't really fault him on it. I don't think there's any other athlete in sports who just doesn't understand the concept of being nervous because they have to make a clutch play. Tiger has based his career on the clutch play.

I'll shut up about all of this because I know I can't do justice to how amazed I am at the guy.

And Rocco gets humongous props for an amazing playoff. The world thought he'd be blown out of the water and he only lost the tournament because of one bad hole. Otherwise, a magnificent performance.
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Also, I've noticed a fairly large (by my standards), uptick in the number of lurkers showing up here. I'm seeing the same folks showing up with regularity in the last few weeks who don't comment. Consider this your invitation to say hello. We (in the Royal model), really like having new readers and you may have noticed the rest of the circus doesn't bite.

C'mon, join the gang. DeLurk and say hello!

20 comments:

Ilya said...

I always argue that golf is the hardest individual sport to be a winner at, given that in any tournament one has to consistently outperform a hundred of others over the course of several days. (Compare to, say, tennis, which is certainly infinitely more demanding athletically, but only requires you to be better than 7 other people one at a time to win a tourney). That makes Tiger's success even more amazing...

By the way, I am looking for things that you and I have in common, Nathan. I call it a success if I don't exceed double-par...

Nathan said...

Ilya, it's really easy to prevent scoring more than double-par if you just stop counting the shots. If there's a foursome waiting for us to finish, I just pick up my ball, but if there's no one rushing us, I like to putt because it's the only thing I do consistently well.

As for having anything in common, we're both clearly very opinionated while not wishing to needlessly piss off those who disagree with us. ("Needlessly" being the key word...some folks just deserve all the grief you can toss their way.) That's a pretty good place to start.

And, as I just told Neurondoc on another thread, you need to get to work making your quadrant of Janiece's UCF chart look a little less barren. (I know you've got an ocean in the way, but there's a bunch of options open.)

John the Scientist said...

I must protest. as the great George Carlin says, tennis and golf are "games" not "sports".

Chris said...

I've been convinced for years now that Tiger is not human. He is either a robot made by the PGA in order to recycle cash prizes and endorsement deals back into the assocation, or an alien posing as one of us because he enjoys the game so damn much. Remember that episode of the X Files when Jesse Martin was an alien pretending to he human so he could play baseball? Something along those lines...

Ilya said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ilya said...

Nathan, I can only think of a good old postcard (which was a subject of your recent post) and a lot of pimping as obvious possibilities to increase my linkage with others. I am not much into the latter, although I long planned to add a couple of blogs to my Links page (which is not the same as the Blogroll, and therefore may not count as "pimping").

As for the former, the essential condition here is knowing a recipient's postal address. If you care to send me yours via email, I'll be sure to post a nice view - or five - of London to you, or anyone who'd like that.

By the way, many thanks for suggesting my name as part of the chart. Janiece suggested that I owe you some chocolates for that... Hah, a gift exchange!

Ilya said...

John, is this particular Carlin's joke available on YouTube somewhere? I base my definitions on what dictionary.com tells me, but I'd like to seek a second opinion...

Jeri said...

I love Robin Williams' - and Richard Jeni's - riffs on the sport of golf. They're probably available on YouTube.

I totally suck at golf, but it's a pretty fun way to spend a sunny morning with a group of friends. My score has never seen the south side of 100 - or probably even 120. I stop counting at triple bogey. Do scores. Shoot, I often pick up my ball at triple bogey. Or when it's in the woods.

My friends and I consider a good shot to be where 1 - you can find your ball, 2 - it moves perceptibly forward, and 3 - nobody got injured. I sometimes have a challenge with #1.

I'm way too Type A to be good at golf. The more I work at it the worse I get.

My sons quote from Happy Gilmore. Shoot, my oldest did a scene from Happy Gilmore in his college method acting class final this quarter - and his instructor loved it. ;)

And yes, Tiger is either a robot or a minor deity. Either way, he's way too perfect at golf to be human. I was actually surprised the other day to see some greying hair and receding hairline - because I didn't think that deities had to suffer through that stuff.

John the Scientist said...

Ilya: here here is his routine on baseball vs. football, and here is his routine on sports.

My own definition is that it is not a sport unless it is legal to hit the opponent. Therefore soccer, baseball and basketball are not sports. Unlike Carlin, I don't require a ball, so boxing is in (well, it would be if they allowed kicking, grappling and hits below the belt...)

Shee-hit, in baseball the players walk around with a wad of chaw. If they were playing a real sport, the play or the opponents would have made them swallow enough tobacco juice to puke on the field.

Ilya said...

I guess one can use the term "Olympic Games" in support your view, John. Athough they let hockey in, muddying the picture...

vince said...

I don't understand golf. Why would you walk around whacking at a harmless little ball trying to see how quickly you can put it in a gohper hole? What exactly does that accomplish?

Having said that, I agree that Tiger always believes he can win. I think Tiger Woods may be the most mentally prepared athlete today, and I think that has a lot to do whith why he wins.

Let's just hope he didn't do too much dmage to his knee by ignoring his doctor's recommendations about not playing.

Jeri said...

Ewww. I don't like boxing much. John, by your definition track and swimming are NOT sports - but Nascar driving is.

I think sports 1) require training, skill and physical exertion, 2) require a qualitative measure of who wins.

I don't think figure skating or synchronized swimming are sports. I'm not sure that competitive shooting or pro bowling are sports but I'm open to debate.

Jeri said...

What was I thinking! Require a quantitative measure! Not qualitative. Bad worsdmithing day.

John the Scientist said...

Jeri - no, in NASCAR you can hit the opponent deliberately, but it's not advisable or necessary. So, not a sport

However, by my definition, demolition derby is a sport. And yes it is, the quintessential American sport: loud, violent and wastes fossil fuels.

Nathan said...

Vince,

Who said anything about walking around? I drive the golf cart as close to my ball as I can get and still have room to swing the club.

In fact, one day I may play from the cart...kinda like polo.

Jeri said...

Actually, when I play golf, we women usually hit the mens cart with our cart. On purpose. After a couple coffees with Baileys. So it is SO a sport.

Neener neener neener.

kimby said...

i never would have pegged you as a golfer.
Not sure why...just never entered my mind.

Anne C. said...

I'm so glad to hear I'm not the only one who considers double par a good score.

Nathan said...

I didn't say I consider it a good score...just the highest I'm willing to write down.

Nathan said...

John,

Just out of curiosity, how would you feel about a version of Bi-athalon where the competitors shoot at each other?