The Long Putter is in the News Again!

Updated on 07/16/2012.

Yesterday, Tom Kite did something that no other golfer has ever done. He shot a 28 for 9 holes. He did it in the first round of the U.S. Senior Open at Indianwood Country Club in Lake Orion, Michigan. Like many, many golfers on the Senior Tour, Tom uses a long putter. Once again, the use of the long putter has come under fire.

One of the most outspoken people against the long putter is NBC’s lead analyst, Johnny Miller. Miller said in a phone interview that “They need to stop the guys from anchoring the top of the putter.” He goes on to say that “a fixed fulcrum is just too much of an advantage.”

This is the same Johnny Miller who in 1987 was the first player to win a PGA tour using a long putter. But Miller said he only braced the shaft of the putter against his arm and did not anchor it to his body.”

Now, just who is he trying to kid. I do believe that the arm is part of the body and if he really believed in what he said, he would not have used the long putter in the first place. A PGA player will do anything to gain an advantage and if Johnny Miller were active on the PGA tour today you can bet he would be using a long putter if it helped his putting.

What I cannot understand for the life of me is who exactly has the advantage when using the long putter? If it is legal for everyone then no one golfer has an advantage over another. If there really is an advantage to using a long putter(I don’t believe statistics prove that there is), it is because certain professional golfers refuse to use them. Therefore, they claim that those that do have the advantage. How insecure!!!

I don’t know about you, but I am sick and tired of the Royal and Ancient and the USGA making up rules on equipment and it’s use based on someone or another having an advantage over someone else. If a piece of equipment is legal then obviously no one that uses that piece of equipment has any advantage over anyone else. Also, if that piece of equipment is legal then there should be no controversy over how it is used. Remember when they outlawed the way Sam Snead was using his putter. Although his putter was perfectly legal, he could not use it like a croqet mallet. Remember the square groove controversy. How ridiculous!

The bottom line here is that none of these equipment issues have anything to do with the integrity of the game. What it does do is showcase the pettiness of some professional golfers and the ruling bodies.

Update: After leading the U.S. Senior Open on the first day by shooting a 65 Tom Kite ended up tied for 12th place when the tournament was over. On the way he missed putt after putt with the same long putter that supposedly and magically put him in the lead on the first day. I don’t suppose this will quiet down the controversy about using the long putter, but I would hope the good and the bad are considered equally.

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My Friend and Golf Partner (update)

I wrote about my friend Bob on February 27 discussing his long term battle with prostate cancer. Since then he has completed 7 weeks of radiation for a tumor on his tail bone. Providing that he had no more tumors, he would be eligible for a new treatment that promises to cure the disease.

I received the following email from him a few days ago:

Hi Ron,

I know you wanted to know how the Dr. visit went so I am sending you this email and you can share this with whoever you would like. I had radiation for 7 weeks ending March 19. My PSA was 33 when radiation started (one of my highest readings). The next Dr. visit one week later showed it was 45. My next Dr visit 2 weeks later showed my PSA was 65 so I had another other bone CAT scan with the CAT scan including my chest area. April 19 was the appointment to talk about what they found. I have another growth this one on my spine. I will be starting chemotherapy with a drug called Taxotere on Thursday, April 26. The good news is that my major organs are clear. The chemo will be a 2hr. session, 1 day a week, every 3 weeks until 6 treatments have been completed around August 9.

Weather permitting I will see you at the course on Wednesday.

Bob

I have played golf and talked to him since the email. He is in high spirits and just looks at this latest setback as a way to aggressively attack and wipe out the disease once and for all. I hope he succeeds.

Visa Denies PayPal Claims

Visa replied to a letter sent by Ms. Madeleine Morris (BannedWriters.com) denying that they were pressuring PayPal to limit the sale of certain erotica content. Read their response and comments here.

To be fair PayPal never mentioned credit card companies or banks by name. I believe they said that their “financial partners” were requiring them to limit sales. The other credit card companies have not responded yet.

This kind of blows my theory out of the water, but I still wonder what was really behind PayPal’s decision. Ebay, who owns PayPal, offers thousands of items of “objectionable” material. A study of the Ebay site can be found here. All this must be catching up to PayPal because they will soon announce revised content policies that I expect will please the indie publishing community.

When is the news not the news?

When it is commentary, of course! The following definitions were acquired from a Google search:

News
1. recent information: information about recent events or developments
2. current events: information about current events printed in newspapers or broadcast by the media
3. program: a radio or television broadcast presenting the important events or developments that have taken place

Commentary
1. a series of explanatory notes or annotations, often forming a treatise on a text
2. a series of remarks or observations, usually connected in a loose narrative
3. something having the force of a comment, remark, or illustration
4. a historical narrative based on personal experience

It would be nice to assume that the distinction between the two is that “news” is unbiased and “Commentary” is biased, but you won’t find those words in either definition. One would assume when reading the definition of commentary that it is biased opinion. You don’t get that same sense when reading the definition of news. Unfortunately when it comes to reporting these days, bias has a way of infiltrating the news blurring the lines between news and commentary. So, “Why is this an issue,” you say.

Everything is simple when you are reading or watching commentary. If the commentator goes too far there are usually consequences to pay. For instance, Rush Limbaugh’s off-color remarks about Georgetown University law student, Sandra Fluke, has resulted in the loss of many sponsors and he could end up being prosecuted for slander. The transcript has since been edited (you can read whats left of it here). In this case, I think that most people would know what and who they are dealing with. They know that the person is a commentator and they can choose to listen or not, agree or disagree.

The following was extracted from the eastwikkers website (a group blog on technology, communications, and the place where they meet). “By the time we read any news article or watch any news segment, even the most “objective” news has been run through a series of bias filters. Each news department selects which stories to cover and which reporters to cover it. Each reporter selects which aspects of a story to focus on and which details of all possible details to include in the story. And editors make selective changes to fit a variety of criteria.”

The difference between commentating and biased news is that most people who read or listen to biased news cannot distinguish between the reporting and the commentary (including me).

Eastwikkers further states, “With the blurring of the distinction between reporting and commentary, to trust the news, we must place more trust in the news organization (with all its corporate influences), which can then lead to an abuse of that trust in the form of completely subjective reporting that serves only the bias. If we can’t trust the organizations, then we’re left only with individuals – whether reporters, commentators, or bloggers – and many of these have little credibility beyond zeal.”

With a growing censorship movement in this country many are saying that Rush Limbaugh should be censored. Why is this dangerous? I will give you a couple of reasons. First, it allows supposedly respected commentators like Rochelle Riley of the Detroit Free Press to make similar off-color remarks without any consequence. She called Rush Limbaugh a “bigot” and “terrorist” for his remarks. The transcript is here. Terrorist is a strong word to use against anybody these days and if you ever read Rochelle Riley then you know she has very strong liberal views. Should she be censored for her remarks? Second, if we censor all the undesirable commentators and leave the Rochelle Riley’s and reporting that contains commentary untouched what have we done? What we will have done is take a backward step in the fight for free speech and equality for all Americans. If anything needs to be done, it would be to stop calling reporting as news and call it for what it is really is …….commentator reporting.

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