Friday, March 28, 2008

USGA's US Open Challenge Finalists Set

I'm against the idea, in principle, of pimping out the US Open for a synergistic reality TV show to promote the Open. But, in reality, I think it would be great to play the Open setup as it was intended for the field and see how I would do. Larry Dorman at the NY Times has the skinny on the finalists (not so interested in them) and the celebrity threesome that will accompany the winner. The threesome is Tony Romo, Justin Timberlake, and Matt Lauer - so...kinda cool?

If you want to vote for your fave finalist, go to the hilariously labeled website: Really? Someone did not try hard enough at GoDaddy.

Anyway, the larger point of the post is that I found the confidence of some of the contestants hilarious.

“I believe I would shoot between 88 and 92,” wrote Philip Dembure, a former soccer player. John Atkinson, 38, a lifelong nonsmoker found to have inoperable lung cancer last March, wrote, “If I can beat America’s deadliest cancer, then I can definitely break 100 at its Open.” Matt Rice, the police officer , was nominated by his wife, who wrote: “Break 100? Bet my husband shoots his personal best on TV.”

Ross Troike, the former Navy Pilot, said, “Pressure is staring at the back of an aircraft carrier on a pitch-black night after flying for two hours over Iraq knowing there is only enough fuel for one attempt to land or you’re swimming in the Persian Gulf.” He is thinking 82. Erik Norton, the hedge fund trader and former captain of the M.I.T. golf team, promises he “can offer the celebs a lot of color commentary on many of the subjects with which they are fascinated” and “a full supply of self-deprecating angles on me!”

I was speaking with Clay Long, the head club designer over at Nicklaus Golf, in an interview for The 19th Hole last month and he said that he thought there was no way someone would break 100 with that kind of handicap on the Open set up. I will put money down that none of them could.

What got this started in the first place anyway?

The golf reality show was born from an idea first expressed by Tiger Woods at last year’s Open at Oakmont — that a 10-handicapper had no chance to break 100 on an Open setup.

For as much as I have ragged the USGA under Walter Driver, I do find it cool that the USGA can make fun of itself a little bit and indulge the #1 player in the world.

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