No, Bamberger hasn't joined Twitter. But we got him tweeting anyway. Sort of.
By Michael Bamberger
Monday, May 07, 2018

Ed. note: You won’t catch our analog-minded senior writer Michael Bamberger on Twitter anytime soon. But that doesn’t mean his mind’s not full of tweet-ready material. In the first installment of our new series Stuff I Might Have Tweeted, our scribe reflects on Tiger and Phil’s head-to-head battles, why you shouldn’t root for your opponents, and why he’s nervous about the Shinnecock Open. (We did not — and will not — limit him to 280 characters.) 

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1. Did you see Phil’s whole sequence on 18 on Sunday? The up-and-down off the rocks, the horizontal drop of the putter into his brother’s hands like he was Method Man on Tour, the gifting of his game ball to his playing partner, Johnson Wagner. He’s the Tour’s last showman.

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2. I’m stealing this from a friend: If you can’t see your ball in the rough from 20 yards away, your rough is too long.​

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3. There are some guys for whom Ryder Cup golf brings out their best. Davis Love, Patrick Reed, Sergio Garcia and Ian Poulter, come readily to mind. Tournament golf is a game of solitaire, really. Those four like being on a team, wearing a uniform, playing for something bigger than their own selves. I do the same when running (jogging) half-marathons (among other distances). Let’s say my mile pace ends in :56. I’ll say to myself, “If you can get the next mile pace down to Tom Seaver, he gets another year in baseball.” That is 41, Seaver’s longtime jersey number, or lower. You’re doing it for somebody else. Yes, this is crazy talk. I realize that.

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4. I did some looking around at Shinnecock Hills recently. It was a construction site. The USGA, going for U.S. Open perfection, has done all manner of work to the Shinnecock Hills rough, some of it through sodding. I’m nervous. Shinnecock Hills is about as good as a course can get. Just because you can do things to it doesn’t mean you should. The Brits have it right. Let ‘em play. Merion in 2013 was almost unrecognizable. I bought the hype of all the changes, and one over won. I’d rather have seen 10 under win and Merion play like Merion.

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5. I was at a manly meat-and-potatoes golf dinner the other night. Hundreds of people there. Ten percent had fish, up from zero, just a few years back.

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6. If Tiger Woods had never hit a shot before turning 19, he’d be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. At 15, in the USGA juniors, he went 6-0 and won. At 16, he went 6-0 again and won his second national junior title. At 17, he again went 6-0 and won his third national junior title. At 18, now playing in the U.S. Amateur, he went 6-0 and won the first of his three amateur titles. Six, 12, 18, 24, 30, 36: 36-0 over six years! What I’m saying is 24-0 — the three junior title and first U.S. Am, would have been enough to get him into St. Augustine.
 
Ten years ago, at Torrey Pines, when Woods made that crazy, bobbling putt to get into a Monday 18-hole playoff against Rocco Mediate, he celebrated as if he had won. You know why. Rocco was 45, with a balky back. Woods had to know his chances of running it up to 37-0 were (as Larry David would say) pretty, pretty good.

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6. When playing a match, regardless of the stakes, do not root openly for your opponent’s ball to do some miraculous and good thing. It cannot be genuine. A better plan is to expect a miracle. That was Tiger Woods’s approach to match-play golf.

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8. In my typing life, I sometimes find myself mocking the PGA Tour’s marketeers. They sell so hard, this week in particular, with the Players in their backyard. But it has nothing to do with the many fine people devoted to helping reporters and running the Tour’s weekly press tents. I’m leaving out many here but I’m thinking of Doug Milne, John Bush, Jim McCabe, Nick Parker. A young man — the Communications Department has a group of most helpful women as well — named Morgan Johnson came up with this for me recently: Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, who are playing together this week (with Rickie Fowler), have been in the same group only 35 times in their PGA Tour careers. Phil has shot the lower score 15 times, Tiger 16 and four times they have tied.
 
Thanks, Morgan.

Good luck, Rickie.

Michael Bamberger may be reached the old-fashioned way, at mbamberger0224@aol.com.

 

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