As usual, I got a ton of good questions this week. Too many for just one part, so I’ll try to get to the rest of them by early next week. But for now, here is Part I:
@NoLayingUp Thoughts on this story. https://t.co/A9vCUw1Z9A Also rank the top 3 players who would look the worst in shorts..
— Jon Matsumoto (@Matsy11) January 20, 2016
I really don’t care either way on this one. There’s no real reason why they shouldn’t be allowed to wear shorts, other than “that’s the way it’s always been done.” This isn’t going to be coming to the PGA Tour anytime soon regardless, so in my mind it’s a bit of a non-issue. But players will continue to hit the ball further and further, rendering more and more courses obsolete, and this is still going to be the kind of stuff that we’re going to talk about.
To answer your question, the worst three players to see in shorts would be:
- Tiger Woods. We’ve seen his shorts game. It may be worse than his jeans game. He can’t be trusted.
- Patrick Reed – Remember the forehead tan? Imagine what those trunks look like. #OBstakes
- David Lingmerth – Considering his pant size is “male capris,” I don’t think they even make shorts in his size.
@NoLayingUp Thoughts on who should replace Greg Norman in the booth for the US Open? (Odds on it being Big Cat?)
— Sarah Endacott (@sendacott) January 19, 2016
I got into this a bit on Golf.com’s Tour Confidential this week, but didn’t get a chance to expand on my answer. Full disclaimer: it was 5:30 AM, and I had literally found out about the Norman news when I received this question, so I didn’t have time to give it full thought when I answered Lanny Watkins.
What I feel like Fox badly needs is experience, and Watkins has a ton of that in the booth. He also appears to be the most available to me, based on the fact that he’s covering the Champions Tour, and I’m sure he would rather be cover the big boy tour. Paul Azinger seems to be the front-runner, and honestly, he makes a lot more sense than Watkins, so if I were to actually have given this proper thought, I would also conclude that it will probably end up being Azinger.
If you ignore money, the biggest question for me is, why would this be a desirable job? Obviously money is a big factor, but we’re talking about a role where you’re literally calling one PGA Tour event every year. Granted, it is the national championship, but I’m not sure how you recruit away someone like a Brandel Chamblee, who has a full gig at the Golf Channel year round. Maybe the fact that it’s a smaller workload for a boat load of money that makes the role appealing, but I don’t know enough about the TV contracts to really understand how this would work out.
I went into more detail on Fox’s questionable model with John Swantek on Talk of the Tour this week, if you are interested.
@NoLayingUp Was Rickie's joggers and high-tops outfit a devious/genius ploy to trick the Tour into allowing pros to wear shorts?
— Jesse Larson (@JesseLarson) January 19, 2016
I was trying to come up with a joke similar to this but I couldn’t land it. I got called a curmudgeon for hating on the joggers, but it’s a terrible look. I’m 29, and Rickie is 26, so it’s not like there is a generational gap here. I’m all for new fashion trends, and guys breaking from the mold, but these are sweatpants. I don’t go to the grocery store in sweatpants, much less the golf course. It’s a sloppy look, and I don’t think it’s going to catch on at all.
I didn’t follow it closely, but I thought I saw that Rickie had already abandoned them on the weekend at Kapalua, and I didn’t see him wearing them in Abu Dhabi. I’m hoping these go straight to the Hall of Shame along with Tiger and Phil’s mock turtlenecks from the mid-2000’s and Furyk’s button down shirts. I’m telling you, there needs to be a D.A.R.E. program where these vets warn them about regrettable fashion trends. You can’t recover from this.
@NoLayingUp who's your pick not named Rory, Spieth, or Day to win a major this year
— Manuél Retweet (@RyFo18) January 19, 2016
I need to just pin my picks somewhere, as this is inevitably asked every single mailbag.
Masters – Spieth
U.S. Open – DJ
British Open – McIlroy
PGA Championship – Koepka
Gold Medal – Spieth
@NoLayingUp will Dufner or Bradley ever figure things out??
— Phillip Johnson (@PhillipJohnson7) January 19, 2016
If I’m being completely honest, I had completely forgotten about Keegan Bradley until you asked. Like, I had forgotten that he exists, and for sure forgot that he has been a part of the last two US Ryder Cup teams (speaking of which, has he unpacked those bags yet?). Aside from nearly getting carved up like a victim of Zorro’s sword by Miguel at the Match Play, you could have convinced me that he didn’t play on tour last year.
He hasn’t a non-silly season top 10 since the Memorial in June, and has fallen to 76th in the world from inside the top 30 at the season’s beginning. It’s relatively easy to make your way up into the top of the rankings (and stay there) with a few good results, due to the events you’re able to get into and get free OWGR points. It’s a lot harder to fall that far in that course of time. It means consistently not performing in line with your ranking. Not a good sign. And despite a lot of golf writers wanting to point to a hot round or two with the short putter, I don’t buy into the whole “these guys are going to be fine” assumption that’s based on a miniscule sample size. So I’m not expecting a fast turnaround from Bradley.
On the other hand, I am expecting to see a rejuvenated Dufner this year (I promise I wrote this before his 64 on Thursday). Coming back from injury and a tough year that included a divorce, he seems to be refocused and motivated. It’s easy to forget that he was the 8th ranked player in the world after he won the 2013 PGA Championship.
A funny story about Duf – by complete chance I ran into a friend of mine at the 2010 US Open. We got to catching up, and he told me to watch out for this guy, Jason Dufner, and points over to this guy with his belly hanging over his belly and a dip in his mouth (Duf was ranked in the top-100 at the time, but I didn’t follow golf nearly as closely during that time.) He hovers over the ball waggling his club back and forth, and proceeds to hit a nasty little hook with a 3 wood. I rolled my eyes at him and laughed saying I’ll be sure to look out for him. A year later he’s playing in a playoff (and should have won) in the PGA Championship.
@NoLayingUp when will the tour back a skills challenge for the players? I'm just imagining Phil challenging everyone to a flop-off…
— Troy Treanor (@troytreanor) January 19, 2016
I’ve thought of this before, and it’s one of those things that makes too much sense for it to actually work. I’m not sure how you motivate the players to partake, but I’m guessing a Rickie Fowler endorsement would encourage the younger guys to eat this up and really promote it. Why not do this the Wednesday night before the Waste Management? Booze the crowd up (won’t take much convincing). Adding this to my list of half-baked ideas for when the PGA Tour finally decides to start paying me to develop this stuff:
- A long drive contest (that isn’t in a practice round of a major championship) where they seed everyone based on their best of three drives. Then you go into a 16 person bracket, head to head, best of five series (five drives each, first to win three advances).
- A trick shot challenge with fan voting (kind of like a dunk contest). You can use props, guests, and you don’t get a million takes to make the perfect trick shot video.
- A flop shot challenge over walls and stuff. You’re telling me Phil wouldn’t be all over this?
- A H-O-R-S-E competition. Could be in the style of Top Golf or something like that.
- End it with a closest to pin competition on 16. That place would be rocking off it’s foundation.
@NoLayingUp Is Patrick Reed's ceiling to the level of Tom Watson, Curtis Strange, or Scott Hoch? Those are the games who seem most similar.
— Ben McNamara (@1867_ben) January 19, 2016
I’m am willing to answer Tom Watson. Reed has a huge ceiling, and our vision of that may be impaired by the fact that he has turned into an easy target for social media jokes (with no one being more guilty of that than me). Obviously Reed has a long, long, long ways to go before he can even begin to be compared to Tom Watson, but do I think he can win 8 majors? It sounds like a ridiculous thing to say, but that’s what we have to ask ourselves when we use the word ceiling. It’s easy to twist this into “wow, Soly just compared Patrick Reed to Tom Watson” or “Soly thinks Patrick Reed is going to be Tom Watson” when that’s not what I’m saying at all. I simply think, in the most ideal scenario, Reed could be that good. I’m for sure not saying that it’s likely, just that I think he possesses that kind of talent. Do I think he’s going to win 40 times on the PGA Tour? Of course I don’t.
That being said, I think a more realistic career trajectory is more like Curtis Strange (or if you’re looking for a more modern example, along the lines of a Jim Furyk or a Davis Love III). Predicting around 20 wins may seem kind of crazy (again), but we’re talking about a 25 year old that already has four. Would anyone really be surprised if averaged basically one win a year for the rest of his career?
Not to play semantics, but the use of the word ceiling in this question makes it much more difficult to answer confidently without seeming as if I’m bordering on hyperbole. We tend to throw the word ceiling around too liberally without really evaluating what that means. Inherently, the difference between every athlete’s ceiling and floor is huge, with Tiger perhaps being the best example.
Of course, if you asked Reed himself, he may tell you his floor is Jack Nicklaus.
Making a Murderer
@NoLayingUp Avery/Dassey… Guilty or innocent? (Haven't listened to your latest podcast yet.)
— The Sydney Golfer (@thesydneygolfer) January 20, 2016
(If you have not watched making a murderer, both this answer and the answer to the next question will have spoilers. That being said, I don’t think this show gets ruined by spoilers, as it is a true story and a documentary, but I feel like I’m obligated to warn you on this. There will be no more golf questions/answers after this one, so feel free to stop reading if you haven’t watched.)
While I’m thrilled to get a Making a Murderer question, I don’t think this is the question that should be asked. I’ll answer it, but the better question is whether or not he should have been convicted. That may be the easier question to answer, as I can’t imagine anyone watching the show actually thinking that justice was served. For me, there is more than enough reasonable doubt for me to find him not guilty.
I went through a cycle that I believe many other viewers are going through when trying to assess his guilt. You watch the documentary, assume he’s innocent. Then you read some things about “evidence left out” of the series that was critical to the prosecution’s case, and you’re questioning everything you just watched. I have been thoroughly reading the Making a Murderer subreddit, which I have actually found even more interesting and captivating than the actual documentary series.
While I originally thought the criticisms of the series were well founded, I have flipped 180 degrees after my research. In reality, the “evidence” left out is just a bunch of rhetoric from the prosecutor, Ken Kratz. And if we really want to open up the discussion on evidence left out, there is WAY more defense helping clips that were left on the cutting room floor than there is prosecution evidence. Here’s an extensive list of such material, with a few highlights below:
- Regarding the “sweat DNA” that Kratz claims was found under the hood of her car: First of all, if someone refers to anything as “sweat DNA”, just disregard anything else they have to say (including the New Yorker). To quote Jerry Buting: “There is no such thing as ‘sweat DNA.’ DNA is found in all nucleated cells, but there has never been a test to determine that a sample of DNA came specifically from perspiration.” Also, the investigator that handled the hood did not change gloves from looking in the car, and also easily could have been planted.
- Culhane testified that the amount of Avery’s DNA on Halbach’s hood latch (which could have been blood) was very small, similar to what you would get from rubbing Avery’s toothbrush on it, or from the unchanged gloves of the tech who handled blood evidence inside the car and then touched the hood.
- In between 3:30 – 4PM, A propane delivery truck driver (John Leurquin) saw a green SUV leaving the Avery property at but couldn’t identify driver or if it was a male or female. He delivers propane for Valders Co-op. Usually fuels up near Avery property at 3:30 for about half an hour. This validates the bus driver’s timeline, and completely invalidates Bobby Dassey’s, Scott Tadych, and the state’s timeline. This was not included in the documentary.
- Dean Strang stated they had a forensic anthropologist at trial who testified that an open fire wouldn’t have generated enough heat to burn a body in the way that those bones were destroyed. This was not included in the documentary.
Honestly, that is tip of the iceberg, from an evidence perspective.
There’s even been criticism out there towards the creators of the documentary regarding their lack of response to the criticism. These are mostly ridiculous, in my opinion, but there was finally a response. I don’t think they needed one. The documentary speaks for itself.
Personally, I think he is innocent. I discussed it on the podcast with @BarstoolTrent last week (around the 38 minute mark, excuse the bad audio) in great detail, and I’ll highlight some of that here.
The evidence simply doesn’t add up. He very well may have killed her, but it 100% was not in the way that the state described it. He could not have killed her in the garage and left not one spec of her DNA in there. He’s not Dexter Morgan. That bullet that was found FIVE MONTHS after the initial search (and missed in several subsequent searches after that) had to be planted. The key that was discovered in his bedroom is her spare key (and she’s been photographed with multiple keys on her key ring), and it magically contains none of her DNA, but some of Avery’s (also, her co-worker testified that she had multiple keys on her key ring). This key is somehow found on like the fifth search of a tiny bedroom. By the same guy. The same guy that was not supposed to be involved in the investigation at all. The same guy who was deposed in the civil suit brought forth by Avery himself. He claims he shook the bookcase violently, yet the book case looks nearly the same as it did in the initial search.
The state completely ignores Theresa’s blood and hair in the back of her car, because it doesn’t work with their story. If he killed her in the garage, and burned her 30 feet away in his backyard, why in the world would he put her in the back of her car? The evidence of her bones being found in the burn barrel at Bobby Dassey’s house, and (potentially) in the quarry is basically ignored. Why? Doesn’t fit their story.
There’s not a single piece of evidence in the state’s claim that can’t be very strongly questioned. On top of that, I’m nearly certain that there was evidence planted. So, for the evidence where there weren’t necessarily clues that it was planted, how can we be sure that it wasn’t? How can we put ANY faith in the investigation that was performed? How do we know they weren’t the ones that put the car on his property. (Also, Pam Sturm lied about how she found the car.) Add in the fact that there was some very questionable stuff going on within the jury pool (a juror being replaced at the last minute for suspicious reasons, the fact that the initial jury vote had seven not guilty votes, vote negotiating, and stories of fear for their own safety), and you have a mountain of stuff that just doesn’t work.
On top of the fact that evidence just 100% does not add up, the way that Avery carries himself is not that of a guilty man. All of his phone calls from the jail are recorded, and not once does he even remotely slip up and implicate himself. Remember, this is not some mastermind criminal. He talks to his girlfriend twice that afternoon (recorded calls) and there is nothing even slightly suspicious in the calls.
I’ve written about 1,000 words on this question already, and I’m confident I could write 5,000 more about the holes in the case. I’ll leave it with this: Here’s the best theory I’ve read so far.
@NoLayingUp F, marry, kill: Kratz, Kachinsky, Lenk
— Ryan Clark (@r_clark17) January 19, 2016
F Kachinsky. Marry Kratz. Kill Lenk.
Kachinsky – He needs to see what it feels like to be on the other end of this.
Kratz – He’s the one with the six figure salary and the $350,000 house! He’s the prize!
Lenk – I’m going to get framed for it if he gets killed anyway, so I might as well.