Galley Friend Dean Barnett has a very sweet and moving ode to Tom Watson, calling him the best player to come along between Tiger and Jack. He means in golf.
I kid! Watson may be something, I wouldn't know. My experience with golf pretty much ended after my second summer working as a caddy at the local country club. (A club, I might add, that was all Judge Smails and no Ty Webb.) But I was struck that the occasion for Dean's paean was Watson nearly winning the U.S. Senior Open, which Dean calls a significant tournament. I'm sure Dean's right, and that it is. Which is one more reason why I hate--and I don't use the word lightly--hate golf.
Golfers have the longest athletic life of any professional athletes. (NB: I will not include race car drivers. Period.) They can play in something near top form for 20 years, easily. Nicklaus is Nicklaus, but he won a major at age 46. This isn't like Nolan Ryan pitching in the Bigs or Jimmy Connors making a long-shot run at the U.S. Open around the ages of 40. This is being closer to 50 and actually being capable of being an individual champion.
So it's a little strange that we would invent an old-timers tour for a bunch of guys who have already gotten to play their sports professionally longer than any other athletes. Particularly when no other serious sport has a has-been league.
Steve Czaban insists that golfers are the most coddled athletes in pro sports. It sure seems like it to me, if for no other reason than this: These guys can compete for forever and even when they eventually "retire," they never have to go away. There's still a league willing to throw money at them and even concoct pretend "majors."
The PGA's senior tour began in 1980, I think, and in a way, it's a perfect symbol of Boomer self-entitlement. Any sport that has room for that kind of nonsense is perilously close to not being much of a sport at all.
1 hour ago