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Welcome to Murphy’s Law, where we invite you to drape your coat and hat over your belly putter and pull up a chair.


LAW After all, that’s all the


belly putter is good for now. That, or javelin practice. If you’re not the type who needs work on javelin toss- ing, maybe your soon-to-be- illegal stick can be used to spear meat for a shish kebab. Plenty of good uses abound. Let’s set the table for


what promises to be another eventful year in golf by handing out some awards that reflect both the bygone year of 2012, and what we can expect in the next 12 months. I mean, besides a Rory-Tiger sleepover, complete with s’mores, scary movies and a pillow fight. Speaking of which. . .


MOST UNEXPECTED BROMANCE: To Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy. There were signs as 2012


wore on that Tiger desired the company of Rory on the golf course. They played practice rounds and joked with each other at press conferences. This classifies as what psychologists might call “cognitive dissonance,” since Tiger’s historical reac- tion to the rise of a rival was


66 / NCGA.ORG / WINTER 2013


to destroy that player’s will, crush his very soul, bury the rival’s heart somewhere in a distant forest, then sleep peacefully at night. See “Garcia, Sergio” in your local library for further reading. But when Tiger and


Rory sat down for a joint CNN interview in Asia at the close of 2012, they were darn near giggling and play- fully tossing paper airplanes at each other. Whether this is because a) Tiger is a different man now, in his post-Escalade-into-a-tree incarnation, less intent on obliterating other humans; b) Rory represents the first player whose talent Tiger truly respects; or c) Rory was about to sign with Nike, and there is a mutual financial interest; no one can tell. Actually, we probably


can tell. Nike’s money is among the most power- ful forces in the universe, second only to gravity. ••• STATISTIC YOU MAY OR MAY NOT BELIEVE FROM 2012: Tiger Woods failed to break 70 at a major on a weekend. In fact, Tiger only broke


72 once in eight weekend major rounds. What in the name of fallen legends is going on around here? It’s easy to see Tiger’s putter is an imposter


MURPHY’S


compared to the putter he wielded for the first decade of this century. What’s not easy to see is what’s hap- pening between Tiger’s ears. Did his public tumble from grace forever damage his inbred belief that he was placed on Earth to domi- nate? He says no, and points to his wins at Bay Hill, the Memorial and his AT&T National at Congressional from 2012. But turning 37 last month and stall- ing without a major since the 2008 U.S. Open sug- gests otherwise. With each major that passes without a Tiger win, one imagines Jack Nicklaus going “1972 Miami Dolphins” in his Man Cave, popping the bubbly and filling glasses. •••


HARDEST GOLF TRIVIA QUESTION OF THE YEAR: Can you name the FedEx Cup winner from 2012? (This question excludes the parents of Brandt Snedeker.)


Oops, now you know.


Yes, Brandt Snedeker won $10 million by winning the FedEx Cup playoffs, and few outside the Snedeker household—excepting Snedeker’s tax attorney— remember. This is no knock on Snedeker, a quick-play- ing, wavy-haired likable Tennessean whose swing calls to mind the quality hands of Tom Watson. It is, however, a knock on the convoluted FedEx Cup playoffs, which produce a point system so arcane, Ste- phen Hawking was asked to consult and let all of Tim


Finchem’s calls go straight to voice mail. •••


HAPPIEST GUY TO SEE 2012 TURN INTO 2013: Davis Love III. This is not a Ryder Cup


year, which means Love will be spared the drudging up of memories of his Ryder Cup captaincy. Under Love, the U.S. blew a 10-6 Saturday night lead and lost to Europe. This is otherwise known as a “Reverse


Brookline,” which sounds like a pro-wrestling move—if pro wrestling ever took place in a tony place like Brookline. In other words, Love


only need wait until 2014, which is a Ryder Cup year. Then we bloodthirsty scribes will drudge up the awful memories. Until then, enjoy the year, DL Three! •••


“PET ROCK” AWARD OF THE YEAR: To the belly putter. Belly putter users, don’t


despair. Fads come and go. It’s no crime. Just put your belly putter in your closet next to your Beanie Babies, your Chia Pets and your Hula Hoops.


The USGA and R&A made huge news by recom- mending the belly putter be banned by 2016. Belly putter users—including three of the last five majors win- ners, Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson and Ernie Els—are outraged, and plan to protest, not unlike Gandhi’s “Salt March” or John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s “bed-in.” Problem is, if Lennon and Gandhi were still around, even they’d probably agree to the belly putter ban.


Brian Murphy hosts the KNBR morning show “Murph and Mac” and was the San Francisco Chronicle’s golf writer from 2001 to 2004.


PHOTO: SCOTT HALLERAN, PGA TOUR/GETTY IMAGES


PHOTO: STAN BADZ, PGA TOUR


PHOTO: PGA TOUR/CHRIS CONDON


PHOTO: PGA TOUR


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