Alan Shipnuck's Mailbag: Deutsche Bank edition

Tuesday September 8th, 2009

I'm off to Chicago this week for the BMW, so I can get a firsthand look at the new Cog Hill and hopefully pick up a new driver… unless Stevie wins the footrace. "Regarding Tiger's club-throwing incident on Friday, do you think he's tired (as he said) or tired of missing putts (as Brandel Chamblee said)? I tend to agree with Brandel -- how in the world can Tiger be tired? He's the fittest guy out there."

The fatigue isn't physical, it's mental. Tiger has to put up with so much during a tournament week -- endless media prying, swarming fans, obsequious Tour staffers. Then he grinds harder than anyone on every shot. Tiger has always played a light schedule to allow himself to recharge before every event, but Deutsche Bank was his 9th tournament in 13 weeks -– he hasn't gone that hard since he was a bachelor in his early 20's. Dude is simply a bit fried. "Let's say Tiger finishes in the top 5 the next two events and overtakes Steve in the coveted FedEx Cup points race. If he wins the Cup without winning a 'post-season' event, what does that say about the Cup, and is he POTY?" Tiger is the player of the year until he isn't. He's won the most tournaments and money, he's got the lowest scoring average. He certainly doesn't have to take the Cup to be POY. Five quality victories is all the resume  he needs. Turning your question around, if Stricker has two more good finishes (but no wins) and wins the Cup, he could very well steal the POY voting. He'd have the second-most wins on Tour and the second-best scoring average, and he would have closed the deal in the, er, playoffs. Don't forget, the players do the voting, and they bring all their jealousies and double standards to the ballot. Stricker would probably be rewarded for a career-year while Woods would lose votes for merely an average campaign by his impossible standards. "Ship! Come on, can you comment on what's going on with Vijay's game and what you see him doing in the future?" Sucking and fishing, respectively. "The only thing funnier than the LPGA caddies helping to line up their players is the fact that not a single one of them ever tells the player 'Hey, you look a big closed -- let's open up and aim a little more left ...' So are they afraid to say something (knowing a live TV camera may be watching their every move), or does every single one of these players line up perfectly? And if it's the latter, then why even do it at all? Just once I want to hear one of those caddies say 'You're 25 yards right of where you want to be -- we've been working on this for weeks and you are still making the same mistake!' " Yeah, this is part of the absurdity. I, too, have never seen a caddie call his player off for misalignment. I'm gonna ask a couple of LPGA players for some anecdotes and report back. But I really feel the USGA should ban this kind of caddie help and leave my 64-degree wedge alone. "Not sure if it was a weak attempt at humor or what, but you are way off base saying that Todd Hamilton was the worst person in his profession for a week. After all, he had to qualify for the event in the first place and then he made the cut. Someone had to finish last among the 77 that made the Barclay's cut. That does not make Todd the "worst" professional golfer (or touring pro) for the week. Your comment was either misinformed or a cheap shot or a stupid attempt at humor. Where do you rank this week among sportswriters?" —Andrew Langan About 77th. Suzann-pettersen-can_299 "What are your feelings about Suzann Pettersen? I love her -- plays with fire, looks nice, and just has a really powerful game. It seems like she should be a bigger star than she is." -- Mailbag loyalist John from Austin I'm a big Pettersen fan, too. It will be interesting to see she if she can build on last weekend's commanding victory at the Canadian Women's Open. A couple of years ago I asked her mom how Suzann had spent the off-season. "Skiing and partying," was the answer. Suzann has definitely become more dedicated to her craft. The issues with her are mostly mental, as she had blown a handful of tournaments since her last LPGA win, way back in '07. I think slamming the door in Canada will free her up, and I wouldn't be surprised if she won a couple more times this fall to grab her first money title and POY. "Shipnuck -- the Mailbag disappears for, what, 2 or 3 years, mysteriously reappears deep into the golf season and you have the audacity to bust chops because either the quantity or quality of queries doesn't meet your standards? A season for the Mailbag should have the same arc as a season on the Tour, and late-in-the-season party crashers have to take what they can get...." So true. I can assure you that next year the Mailbag will define the season from Hawaii to Atlanta. Think of this fall's entry as a little test run and a chance to earn my privileges, sort of like Tiger turning pro after taking the U.S. Amateur.Photo: Jeff McIntosh/AP

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