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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Changing the Rules (if for one weekend)

All of England is celebrating today now that Andy Murray has won his first tennis major championship.  Congrats Mr Murray on your fantastic summer.  A gold medal in London (satisfying the Queen!) and a US Open trophy in Queens, NY.  Now, we will forget for a moment that Murray is from Scotland.  Does that make him British??  Ever hear Sean Connery say he was from England?  He's a Scot, right?  So was Mike Myers in So I Married an Axe Murderer and as "Fat Bastard" in Austin Powers.  Scotland has its own identity, right?  They have like, their own kings and stuff, don't they?

Can we claim an Puerto Rican as American when, say, they bring home a batting title in the Major Leagues?  Can my lily white townsfolk march in the Puerto Rican parade next summer?  It's confusing.

Murray is a deserving champion and yesterday's match against Novak Djokovic was nothing short of a masterpiece.  As was the women's final Sunday afternoon which saw Serena Williams (American, right?) beat Victoria Azarenka.  All four finalists showed grit, determination and raw power.  Serves were in the hundreds of miles an hour.  Forehand winners looked as if they were shot out of a cannon.  The game has moved so fast they frequently refer to a camera to judge line calls.  We cannot expect glasses wearing folk to make correct calls when balls are traveling so fast.  Throw in some rowdy New Yorkers, dusk, heat, etc...  and you get the point.

It's a matter of time before players are serving into the 170 mph's.  Worse, someone (probably a linesperson) is gonna get seriously hurt.

And kudos to Murray, Roger Federer, Rafi Nadal et al for their commitment to weight training and overall fitness.  But those guys, and most of the men on tour, are not that much stronger than Bjorn Borg, John McEnroe, and the like, are they?

Of course not.  The equipment is stronger.  The game has been radically altered due to graphite improvements, tighter strings, and other technological help.  What would Boris Becker do with these new sticks they are using?  Or Goran Ivanesivic?  They would win majors, that is what they would do?

Which is why it might be time to hold ONE major tournament using only antiquated equipment.  Picture Federer using the wooden toothpicks his predecessors had to play with.  How's your slice backhand now Roger?  There will be more finesse and strategy during this fortnight too.  You will need to serve and volley a bit.  You will not be able to rely on a booming serve to carry you through the early matches.  Creativity will be required!

And since the players will use modern equipment during the rest of the year it will provide for some added excitement.  Maybe an American man can win something?  Think Michael Chang in baggy shorts.

Yes, they will be permitted to wear modern clothing.  Although short shorts are kinda funny.  We can get back to that.  It might be too much to ask.  They do however do throw back uniforms in other sports.  That is not a bad idea either.  Football players can wear leather helmets and no pads one week.  Baseball players have to wear those crazy Roy Hobbs mits.  No helmets for hockey players!!

What, too many injuries?  So friggin soft we are.  We want the violence and mayhem...  but don't want to see anyone get hurt.  Hypocrites!!  Anyway, where was I???

The point is unclear whether today's pros are really that much better than yesterday's.

Clearly the Australian Open is best suited for this rule implementation.  Since they are a day ahead of us playing with ancient tools might even things up a bit.  Not to mention it is the first major of the year so it will give an added unpredictability.  And it is Australia.  They do what we ask, right?  We can threaten taking the major away from them and giving it to New Zealand or something.  That should convince them.

The same rule can apply to golf too.  Golf's fourth major, The PGA, is ripe for the picking here.  Other than being golf's last major this event really has no identity.  They play at a different course each year.  No names win the thing more often than not.  Who would really know the difference?  Then we can find out if Rory McIlroy really is this good?  And he is Northern Irish.   Does that mean he is English?  Can England say he is their greatest champion?  Would Daniel Day Lewis play him in his biopic?

Was Tiger Woods 1997 that much better than Jack Nicklaus circa 1966?  And no Tiger, we cannot suspend TMZ for that weekend to accommodate you.

Let's see Tiger and Rory remove their plush club covers to reveal a 1970s Wilson 3 wood from the Sears sporting good department.  Sweet spots are in certain areas, not the entire club head.

Oh, and the winnings for this tournament should be greater than other events during the year.

If you win the PGA's Milwaukee Open we say "good for you."  But let's curb your winnings a bit shall we?  After all, -34 over the weekend is a little suspect, isn't it?  That ain't work...  that's four fun days of birdies on a less than challenging course.  Do it on a near impossible course with wooden sticks for four days.  Then your oversized novelty check will have some serious zeroes attached to it.

Of course the rules will never change.  Guess we all like scoring too much.  And we like it fast and hard.  Brainless if you will.

It is why soccer will never succeed here.  It is why baseball has lost its allure (replaced now by the NFL as our pastime.)

Put points on the board.  Break records!  Bigger. Faster.  Stronger.

Better?  Not so sure.

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