Blog Entry

Miller, Chamblee, Faldo take off the gloves

Posted on: February 25, 2012 8:22 am
Edited on: February 25, 2012 11:08 pm

By Steve Elling

MARANA, Ariz. -- They are perhaps the three most pointedly honest guys manning the television towers these days, and for the second straight year, they were placed in a semi-circle and the leashes were removed.

When Johnny Miller, Brandel Chamblee and Nick Faldo get a whiff of blood in their nostrils, it makes for a darned good fireside chat, and that's exactly what transpired at times during the Golf Channel's occasional State of the Game program, staged on the network's Accenture Match Play set on Friday night.

As was the case last year, Tiger Woods was a huge talking point, beginning with Miller's recent magazine proclamation that he thought Woods would win 30-40 more events in his career and make it to 18 major victories, which would tie the record held by Jack Nicklaus.

Boy, did Miller back down quickly from that rosy proclamation. Woods was eliminated in the second round at the Accenture ths week as his putting woes continue to mount.

“That was a best-case scenario," Miller said. "I thought after watching him in Australia at the Presidents Cup, and also seeing him perform the way he did at Sherwood and watching him putt pretty good in both places -– and he hit it unbelievably good, very graceful.  I was thinking, wow, this second career could be really good. He could win 30 or 40 tournaments, and he could win two, three or four majors. 

“The bottom line is, I don’t think he’s going even tie his record, a best-case scenario. So it’s a tough road to hoe.  And like you say, he’s lost his mojo or psyche or power. He had power over everybody and he’s lost that.”

As promised before the session was staged, the trio weighed in on long putters, perhaps the most contentious debate in the game over the past two seasons.

“It’s called a golf swing, not a golf anchor," Faldo said. "The amateurs, for the enjoyment of the game, let them do whatever they like. But for professionals, I think we should start looking at all our rules, or quite a few on the equipment, like the size of the driver face.”

Wow, so Sir Nick wants to back down the horsepower and go for bifurcation -- two sets of rules -- too? Interesting. Suicidal for the game, but interesting.

“I am all for two sets of rules for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is eliminating the long putter in the professional ranks and allows –- to Nick’s point -– to provide a forum which allows you to actually control the motion of the putter without nerves or feel or touch actually affecting the motion," Chamblee said. "So they could make the game simultaneously more interesting at the professional level, more interesting for us to call it and more fun for the recreational golfer if they would do this.”

Chamblee threw caution to the desert wind. If not into a cholla.

"So they could make the game simultaneously more interesting at the professional level, more interesting for us to call it and more fun for the recreational golfer if they would do this," he said. "The average golfer hits the ball 195 yards; they need bigger heads; they need spring effect; they need long putters. You want to grow the game? Let them have fun and do it."

The group was hardly singing praises for the new PGA Tour proposal, seemingly a done deal to be green-lighted next month by the tour Policy Board, to blow up Q-school in its current form, have a wraparound season starting in the fall, and meld the Nationwide Tour and Q-school into a joint qualifying process.

"Frankly I think it's quite sad," Chamblee said. "Every year there's one or two examples of a guy coming out of school or making it through Q-school and having a huge effect. Case in point, Y.E. Yang was the last guy to get his tour card in 2008 and won a PGA Championship in 2009."

Frankly, while the proposal has some merits, the move is being made mostly for financial reasons. Which makes everybody shudder to a degree. It could slow the number of international players coming to the States, because no established player will want to spend a year as a veritable intern/apprentice on the Nationwide Tour first.
"Another case in point, Sang-moon Bae, he's here, he's playing," Chamblee said. "Now, tip your cap to him, he came over and went to Q-school [last fall]. But would he have come over and gone to Q-school if he knew that it would necessitate a year in the minor leagues [Nationwide] before he could get out and play the PGA Tour?

"He won the Japanese money list last year, that's millions of dollars last year and won his national championship in Korea. Is he going to forego all that to come over here and play the Nationwide Tour? He is a big part of golf, now; and a big part of this tournament, now. You're talking about eliminating an opportunity for players that don't even have a vote on the issue. 

"I understand what the PGA Tour is trying to do, acquiesce to the demands of a sponsor, but personally I think it's short-sighted."

Amen and hallelujah, brother Brandel.

They also tossed a few observations around about the LPGA, including some less-than-flattering aspersions about the work ethic of the American players, who have definitely lost their grip on the top rung of the LPGA ladder. At last season's Solheim Cup, the players on the U.S. team had amassed, what, three victories between them over 2011?

South Florida's Lexi Thompson, the latest teen prodigy, might help in that regard. She already has a couple of wins.

"The last United States lady to be player of the year was Beth Daniel, 1994," Chamblee said. "They are getting out-worked by Lorena Ochoa, Annika Sorenstam, Karrie Webb, they are getting out-worked."

We tend to agree, but I'm not on the panel. So, continue ... 

"If Lexi Thompson can avoid pitfalls, she has all of the talent to be just as good, if not better, than Beth Daniel was, which is saying a lot because that’s a talented woman,” Chamblee said.


Since: Jan 3, 2007
Posted on: February 26, 2012 1:56 pm

Miller, Chamblee, Faldo take off the gloves

 they realy do need to tone the clubs and ball down so the real ball strikers and players can rise to the top again.

If you noticed, the switch back to v-grooves was already a big step in this direction. At least in some cases, rough is now penal to hit out of again. Of course it depends on the specific length and nature of the rough, but the guys that were hitting it as far as they could and not worrying about rough are not dominating now they way they once did. Early in his career, Tiger had some problems with distance control. Then he largely solved that for years. I don't think it is coincidence that his struggles with distance control on his irons re-emerged with the change back to V-grooves, nor the fact that his "miracle" recovery shots are now also virtually a thing of the past. That was a big step in the right direction.

However, there is still a big difference between how far pros drive the ball. There are still a lot of pros who don't quite drive 300 yards, although surely they all can when they need to take the chance on it, or the landing area is wide open. But on tight courses, the big hitters are now at risk again, which is how it should be. Nickalus wrote that when he was learning the game, his father encouraged him to first hit it as far as he could, telling him, "We'll straighten it out later". And so they did. Nicklaus dominated because he had both a power game AND a complete game. He could hit it long with accuracy as often as the shorter guys could hit it short with accuracy. Tiger could and did spray it everywhere and lean on the grooves to get spin from the bad places. So has Mickelson for much of his career. Phil has arguably made the adjustment to V-grooves better than Tiger has. If you look at the top 50, you'll notice there has been a big shake-up in its members in the last couple of years. ;-) Yes, a lot of the guys with solid mechanics and pure talent survived the switch, but there are quite a few who are still struggling with it and may never regain those spots.

I'm interested to see what you thought the great reasoning for not having pro and amateur standards are. You state that early, but then the last part of your post seems to support sensible limits on equipment used by pros ... which is exactly what the consensus on the show was. They just went a step further to say they didn't see any good reason to place those same restrictions on the casual golfer.  


Since: Jan 13, 2008
Posted on: February 26, 2012 12:56 pm

Miller, Chamblee, Faldo take off the gloves

the writer obviously didn't back up this statement but there is great reasoning for this.  btw, you do realize that it's miller, faldo and chamblee thinking this is a good idea, right?  the reasoning is that there is no difference between how far most of these players can hit the ball now.  i understand that the level of fitness and strength as well as technology are different than 20 + years ago but if you go back to the stats from then, you'd see that the leading driving distance back then was 280 or so.  it is a complete joke now, which is why they have to play courses that are 7700 yards long.  just about everyone on tour hits the ball 310+ now.  FYI, i am a very good player who at one point was playing in college and the mini tours so i kind of know what i am talking about.  it used to actually mean something for a golfer to hit the ball 300 yards, now it means nothing.  they realy do need to tone the clubs and ball down so the real ball strikers and players can rise to the top again.

Since: Jan 3, 2007
Posted on: February 26, 2012 12:30 pm

Miller, Chamblee, Faldo take off the gloves

Wow, when you're so desperate for material to write in a gold column that you have to rehash a TV panel show, that is S-A-D. At least he did get the quotes right.

But then what is this? 
"Wow, so Sir Nick wants to back down the horsepower and go for bifurcation -- two sets of rules -- too? Interesting. Suicidal for the game, but interesting."
If you're going to make a statement like that, you need to back it up. "Suicidal for the game"? ROFLMAO Let me tell you, amateurs and pros play by different standards NOW, and ALWAYS have. Most players don't use the back tees. They damn sure don't use the same golf ball. Pros don't get mulligans. Pros seldom drink beer on the course. Pros get the best equipment handed to them if they'll play it. Pros don't play on crap courses where it is at times difficult to tell the line of demarcation between the fringe and the green, not to mention hard-pan fairways. Pros don't use golf carts. Most amateurs don't have top caddies walking the course before a round and then telling them the yardage and what club to pull.

So the pros recently went back to V-grooves. How many twice a month amateur golfers do you think threw their square groove irons in the trash and sprung several hundred bucks for new irons because of that? I can tell you. Z-E-R-O casual golfers bought new irons for that reason. And you know what? No one cares,

No wonder you didn't want to back up your moronic statement. There is no valid chain of thought which will do so. Jack Nicklaus made good noises about going to an 8 inch hole for amateurs. I sort of doubt you'd be seeing those on tour. Don't try to be smarter than Nicklaus. You can't swim as well as a fish, you can't fly like a bird, and you damn sure can't "think golf" as well as Nicklaus. LOL  (Or Miller, or Faldo, or even Chamblee).   

Since: Sep 13, 2009
Posted on: February 26, 2012 7:27 am

Miller, Chamblee, Faldo take off the gloves

I'm a huge fan of the lpga. It's true that the invasion of foreign players has developed over the last few years. I hate to admit it but they are def outworking the Americans. It does seem like the US girls are luxuory laden while the rest of the field is hungry.

Have to hand it to the US girls for really helping to develope the tour when they started adverizements and tv commercials etc. perhaps it's time to set aside more money and take the tour back. I've been told when they go to the practise range the Koreans are already there and when they leave the Koreans are still there.

 Found myself watching the tourney looking for a new most fav player and it wasn't American. There is still some awesome golf being played by the ladies but I'm going to have to get used to not seeing what was my favorites.    

Since: Dec 1, 2009
Posted on: February 25, 2012 6:17 pm

Miller, Chamblee, Faldo take off the gloves

Chairman99, your solution to slow play is certainly a humane one. I prefer rangers with scoped rifles. (No smiles.)

Since: Dec 1, 2009
Posted on: February 25, 2012 6:09 pm

Miller, Chamblee, Faldo take off the gloves

Teres Minor, exactly so. I'm minded of what Jim Ryun repeatedly said decades ago about the seeming inability of other American milers to get back to the level that he'd established in the 1960s. He basically called them and their coaches out on their lazy training schedules. Jim typically ran as many as three times the miles and worked his sprints into his longer runs--because nobody gets to take a blow before it's time to kick it home.

I'm tempted to think that the nattering of boobs like these has penetrated Tigers' head to the extent that he's unconsciously viewing his game through their eyes. He at least is aware that his sustained inability to practice for long hours held him back until recent months. He seems unaware, however, that his approach on course is lacking. What I mean is best explained by reference to what it was that gave Jack HIS edge and how it differs from Tiger's. Jack walled out the world when he was at his best, a very Western approach. Tiger has said before that his mental game is more reflective of his mother than of his father and I agree. It's quite Eastern, in that he often seemed to draw all of the turbulence around him into himself, in a way that reminded me of the tales of Shiva, fittingly called the Night Tiger, Destroyer of Worlds.

I've had people look at me as if I'm nuts when I've said that, but the very first time that I saw Tiger on TV since his appearance with Bob Hope was during his 2nd Amateur victory. It was one of the Saturday rounds, I believe the semifinal, and he was on the 14th fairway, as memory has it. (The hole with the two vertically separate fairways, actually.) He was in an extended delay waiting for the group ahead to clear the green so that he could hit his second shot. The announcers seemed a bit put out, thinking his head too big for the moment. Nonetheless, they kept the camera on him for fully five minutes. I got chills watching the kid's body language, a line from Ayn Rand coming to mind. She wrote that if you ever see an adult concentrating at anything as intently as any two-year-old child, then you will be in the presence of a great man. That quote had rolled around the back of my mind for years, but in that instant I knew not only what she had meant, but that she was right. I knew it so clearly that I actually called both my brother and my father to let them know and have them turn on the tube so that they wouldn't miss what was about to happen. Needless to say, he tattoed the ball, stunning the booth.

Over the years, many people saw what I saw, but most, I think, discounted the evidence of their own eyes. Alas, Tiger himself seems not to know what he is no longer doing. Personally, I think he's still in his own way. The best athlete will always be the one whose human mind is in sync with a body as in touch with its surroundings and capabilities as is any animal's. May he rediscover himself.

Since: May 14, 2007
Posted on: February 25, 2012 6:06 pm

Miller, Chamblee, Faldo take off the gloves

So this is what Elling the "journalist" does ... watch the golf channel and regugitate what the commentators are saying.

Steve you should be writing for TV Guide not CBSsports what a joke!!!

C'mon CBS is this the best you can do?!

Keep shopping for a Diagnosis for Tiger, when he pulls out a win you'll be tripping over your lower jaw. But then at least you can watch your next transcription of what Tiger said on TV.!!! 

Since: Feb 25, 2012
Posted on: February 25, 2012 3:38 pm

Miller, Chamblee, Faldo take off the gloves Chair

One change that was brought up a decade or two and should be implemented is: make the hole 5 inches in diameter  for all amateurs and leave it the same for the PGA! Rounds would be cut to about 3 1/2 hours max for all courses!

Since: Aug 29, 2011
Posted on: February 25, 2012 2:40 pm

Miller, Chamblee, Faldo take off the gloves

There should two sets of rules one for weekend golfers and one for pros,  Practical rules and Professional rules.  Forget stroke and distance for weekenders you can't go back to the tee once you learn your ball is OB. Pros  have some tremendous advantages like caddies calculating every inch of the course and crowds finding every errant ball hit and flawless equipment.

Since: Jun 5, 2011
Posted on: February 25, 2012 9:40 am

Miller, Chamblee, Faldo take off the gloves

I detest watching "international" players dominate the LPGA Tour as much as anyone, and I can see how PGA sponsors are deathly afraid of another "invasion" killing the PGA Tour ratings, but the new PGA proposals smell a lot like "if you can't beat 'em, don't let 'em play."  

As for work ethic I have harped about it a lot here, and totally agree with the general tone: the "Korean Invasion" is simply a matter of one country or region outworking the US.  In other words, don't whine about the Koreans: work as hard as they do instead.  Our golfers are country club golfers who feel more comfortable at cocktail hour than they do at the practice range.  International golfers are working class people who would chew and swallow a shot glass if they thought it would help them win.  

Until our players "want it" as bad as international players do, we are going to keep getting our bleeps handed to us by them.  No amount of jury-rigging the tour qualifying criteria or whining about foreigners is going to change that.   

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or