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It’s a takeaway just to skim through some of the news stories from the last week…

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It’s a takeaway just to skim through some of the news stories from the last week…

After the perceived snoozefest of the final round of the US Open, there was a little more excitement at the Travelers, where many of the big names were present, owing to the four year rule. For those not in the know, it’s where mandatory attendance is done for an event you haven’t played in four years. So Jordan, Rory and more were in situ. For a relative non-event stop, there was much talk surrounding it. All of it involved Rory and his choice of flat stick. Excuse me-pluralise it, CHOICES of putters. He was shown on the practice green with a wide variety of Taylormades, and while this is not overly extraordinary of itself, it is usually done behind closed doors. He then preceded to use three different putters for the four days, the best of which appeared on Sunday, as he shot a blistering seven under with many good birdie putts.

Best of the Irish for some time was Padraig Harrington, who spent much of his week not much more than a couple of shots off the lead. This after his horrific mishap at the range two weeks ago, falling foul of the swing plane of the amateur hacker that clipped him on the elbow. With a little better putting, I don’t think he would have won but he would have been well placed in the top ten. The upside is that this a great comeback, as he warms up for his busy European season, including his attempt to regain The Open Championship. Sadly, Seamus Power did not make the cut, missing by three shots. Onwards and upwards though.

Jordan Speith won in some style, beating Daniel Berger in a playoff. Level after seventy-two, they went down the first and only playoff hole, and both missed the green on the approach. With Speith in the bunker and Berger just off the green, it needed soft hands to emerge victorious. Cue Jordan in the bunker, with a splash of silica and the ball nestling on the green, trickling into the hole. In the amphitheater of River Highlands final hole, the eruption of the crowd was matched only by Speith and Greller’s chest bump, one firing a wedge away and the other throwing the rake! This brings Speith into the double digits on the PGA Tour,and gives him his second victory of the year. Though his putting has taken a bit of a back seat, his ballstriking has been exemplary and with The Open coming up, he would be a fantastic bet for Birkdale.

The long-term relationship of Phil and Bones has ended, seemingly with no acrimony. The duo began together in 1992, before Phil even turned pro. It took them a while to gain success in terms of Majors, with Phil being branded one of the best to not win one, but that all changed in 2004 with the winning of his first Masters. Five Majors later, they go their separate ways, presumably because they got a little sick of each other. In many ways, the relationship of the caddy and the golfer over a long period of time is more sacrosanct than marriage. They spend more time together than couples, and there is a lot of give and take in this relationship.

Some will ask what role the caddy really has, and what actual contribution to the cause that can be attributed to them. Fair comment, as the caddy never physically takes a shot. I would like to akin it to a manager or coach in other sports, but though they don’t actually compete by taking any shots, they do have a choice in the selection of participants. Whereas the caddy is for the most part lumped with one professional and then they figure out tactics. They can also play a part in the mental aspect of the performance too, giving a gee up when necessary.

Going further than being a soundboard, they can act as the buffer to failure, as they can take the flack for the player. Azinger recently suggested that he wanted to be considered in the singular for success, that it was all down to his abilities and didn’t sign up for the team mentality of the modern golfer. Admirable, but he never mentions what happens when the golfer doesn’t perform to scratch? So who takes the responsibility then?

The modern golfer (at the pro level) has a multitude of people behind him. He or she have coaches for different areas of their game, a personal trainer if you’re elite enough, a sports psychologist, a manager, the list can go on. All these people are combined into one person once the athlete crosses the ropes into battle. If the golfer is on the slide, they are the ones that can offer the word or two to bring them back around. They are they ones that offer the second opinion when needed. They do both the physical and mental carrying of the load. At the weekend warrior level, they serve to offer shot advice and help a person enjoy their experience. At the elite level, very rarely is the hot bed of the tour an enjoyable experience.

Next week is the build up for the Irish Open, which I will be travelling to, and the introduction of blood testing to the tour.