"Roughing the Passer - A PK Frazier Novel"

My new book, "Offsetting Penalties - A PK Frazier Novel" is the follow-up to "Illegal Procedure" and "Roughing the Passer" and is now available in print and in e-formats at amazon.com, smashwords.com and iBooks. Follow me on twitter @kevinkrest.

Friday, May 20, 2016

PGA TOUR FRIDAY: NO WOMEN MEMBERS AT MUIRFIELD, NO TIGER ANYWHERE, NO MERCY FOR PHIL

Welcome to the 19th Century: Much of the appeal of watching the Open Championship, otherwise known as the British Open to most Americans, is the sense of history we feel whenever the tournament is contested at one of the older links courses. Whether it be St. Andrews, Royal Troon, Turnberry and until today, Muirfield, it's fascinating to think that the game of golf started at some of these venues in the 1800's. This week, Muirfield took that historical perspective a little too seriously as the membership voted to keep itself an all male institution. This notion that in the year 2016 it makes sense on any level to exclude women from high profile clubs like Muirfield, St. Andrews, Augusta National and others is absurd. The others have made changes, but not Muirfield. Sure, it's their club and they have the right to be exclusionary, but having the right to do something doesn't necessarily make it the right thing to do. The R&A, the ruling body of golf  (along with the USGA) of most of the world, had no choice but to remove the club from the Open Championship rota, the most prestigious honor a course can have in the United Kingdom. It's unfortunate, but necessary. I'm a golfer, as is my wife, and we converse frequently about the discrimination women suffer in the game, from inadequate facilities to tees that are seemingly placed as an afterthought, despite women paying the exact same greens fees as men. For a sport that is desperately in need of an influx of new players, you would think it would be reaching out with open arms to make the game more accessible and enjoyable for a group that is ripe to provide additional participants. This antiquated notion that women slow down the game, can't play as well or are a nuisance haven't played much golf with them. While most macho guys are trying to hit drivers from tees that are too far back for their ability, many women are waiting in the fairway while the men are searching in vain in the trees for their errant shots. I guess it's okay for the U.K. to have had a woman to lead their country, and I'm not talking about Princess Di, but unfortunately Margaret Thatcher would have been denied membership at Muirfield. Really?

Tiger's Comeback Might Be All Wet: When Tiger Woods dumped three consecutive shots into the water on a par 3 that is barely over 100 yards, it appeared that any serious talk about him returning to competitive golf was premature at best. There are probably some good reasons for his inability to get over a water hazard at Congressional Country Club, but the best one is most likely that he just isn't ready to come back to the tour. There was hope and speculation that he might play a tune up event prior to teeing it up at the U.S. Open at Oakmont in June. I'll be attending the tournament, and I have absolutely no expectation of seeing Woods anywhere close to northwestern Pennsylvania that weekend, unless he decides to visit Arnold Palmer in Latrobe. It's interesting that Tiger gets more coverage in recovering from injury than Jason Day gets by winning one of the biggest tournaments on the planet. That just substantiates how difficult it is to supplant the legends of the game. Jack Nicklaus shot a 72 at Augusta National this week, and you would think he won his 19th major. Don't get me wrong, there's not a bigger Tiger Woods fan than me. But let's face it, he's 40 years old, injured and worn out, with a lot less years ahead than he has behind him. Can he win again? That's not even the question right now. Will he ever play again? That still remains to be seen.

Phil Mickelson Out Over $1 Million: After vehemently denying for the last couple of years having any involvement in an insider trading scheme, Phil Mickelson ended up making restitution in the amount $931,000. That's a pretty big check to stroke if you're not guilty of something. It turns out that Mickelson, while benefiting from the transaction, wasn't charged with insider trading because he received the stock tip second hand, rather than directly from the insider, in this case the CEO of Dean foods at the time. Phil's information came instead from a guy to whom he owed gambling debts, probably a bigger hit to Mickelson's reputation than the stock transaction itself. Of course, Mickelson has never trie to hide his gambling, a perfectly legal activity if it's done in Las Vegas or other casino locations. But if he was placing bets through Billy Waters, the guy who gave him the stock tip that allowed Mickelson to pay him back, then that's illegal, no matter how widespread the practice. I'm not sure that PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem will be too happy with Phil's connection to not only sports gambling, but the type that isn't technically allowed under the law. According to Yahoo! Sports, there is a clause in the PGA Tour bylaws that mentions "behavior unbecoming" to the Tour. I'm thinking that having to pay back a million bucks that you got by taking an illegal stock tip from your bookie to repay gambling debts might just fall into that category. My guess is that Phil will have a rather interesting phone conversation, if not a face-to-face appearance with Finchem to discuss the matter. Mickelson makes around $40 million a year from endorsement deals, which haven't been affected to this point, but public backlash could change all of that. If anything, I would think the entire episode might just dampen the five time major winner's enthusiasm for placing a few debts, unless of course he has a much bigger problem with gambling than is healthy. That would be something his sponsors probably would have to take notice of.

Don't forget to check out my new book, "Offsetting Penalties - A PK Frazier Novel" and my first two, "Illegal Procedure - A PK Frazier Novel" and "Roughing the Passer - A PK Frazier Novel", available in print and e-formats at Amazon.com, iBooks and SmashwordsTune into www.WPFLRADIO.com at 8:40 am EST every Friday for my Beyond the Commentary segment on "Lou in the Morning" with Lou Vickery and Jonathan McMath.