I Almost Forgot…

It's Fat Tuesday.

I’m not going to pretend to know the religious intricacies of Fat Tuesday.  It has something to do with lent?  Load up on the Crisco before it’s banned?  I can’t be too sure.  My only tangible memory of something occurring on Fat Tuesday was the year my mom cranked out some homemade donuts.  They’re called fasnachts, and apparently this is Central PA’s answer to Fat Tuesday…Fasnacht Day.  Generally, I’d be on board with any day that has its own donut, but Fat Tuesday isn’t one of these days that resonate for me.  It’s no Cinco de Mayo.

I do find it slightly odd how people latch onto holidays.  I’m quite certain most people would like everyday to be a holiday, so the chance to throw down some margaritas at Chili’s on May 5th can’t be overlooked.  I’d assume a good portion of people don’t know the significance of Cinco de Mayo, and if they do, it’s only a cursory knowledge.  “Big in Mexico,” they might say while pronouncing the last word like a sandwich spread.  I’m guilty of most of this myself.  A few years ago you could have seen me wearing a Sombrero on the closest weekend to May 5th and eating something in the neighborhood of a fajita.  I also can’t give you many details on Mexican independence other than they have it.  Maybe I’ll wiki it later.

I guess the phenomenon is proof of diversity in the United States.  Other cultures influence the days that jump out on the calendar.  I can’t imagine the 4th of July is too big around the World.  But here, we’re more than happy to hop onto Cinco de Mayo, or St. Patrick’s Day, and maybe to a lesser extent Fat Tuesday.  It makes me wonder if there are any other good holidays out there that we are missing out on.  Surely we could use a reason to party in June?  No?  I know we have our fair share of national holidays, but perhaps we need more days like today, days I would call Happy Hour Holidays.

I’ve also always kind of wonder what the native cultures/countries think of the Americanized version of their holidays.  I’m sure plenty of Irish people aren’t 100 percent on board with the notions of people stumbling around drunk off Guinness on their national holiday.  Maybe they don’t care.  Not sure, but I might be bothered a bit.  It’s kind of like cheesesteaks.  Around the country when I see an unauthentic sandwich masquerading as a cheesesteak it annoys me.  It’s not that the sandwich exists elsewhere, it’s the fact that it might not be properly represented.  So, I guess to properly experience Fat Tuesday you should be in New Orleans.  Or else, try to keep it as authentic as possible.  And yes, I did just compare cheesesteaks to major holidays.

PGA Goes Bracketology.

Golf Doesn't Have to deal with The Bubble.

Would the PGA’s Match-Play tournament be more exciting if there were at-large bids?  If they didn’t just take the top 64 in the World Rankings?  I mean, who’s to say that these are the top 64 players in the World?  I think this event needs something to add a little controversy.  How about a selection committee?  Forty-Eight automatic bids, and then sixteen at-large spots.  Gather golf bloggers in a room to pick the last sixteen spots, ask Johnny Miller, I don’t care…as long as the spots can be debated.  Golf needs some people talking about it, match-play in itself has worn off as a gimmick.

The problem with the PGA’s version of the 64-man tournament is that you cannot predict with any certainty what is going to happen.  I guess I should rephrase, because people botch their NCAA brackets with an admirable level of fail every year.  Everyone realizes they can’t accurately predict the results of the golf tournament.  Sure, the experts will throw a bracket out there, but you’d be better off flipping a coin.  Can you imagine how much worse the NCAA tournament would be if people didn’t think it was going to be their year to win the pool?  If they weren’t sure this was going to be the year they got the Final Four teams all right?

For me, golf isn’t really a sport that lends itself to a match-play tournament format.  Match-play is great for a US Amateur, or a Sunday morning, but it can ruin a weekend of watching the pros.  Throw Martin Kaymer and Henrik Stenson in the finals and see what kind of TV ratings you get on Sunday.  There’s a chance for a blockbuster match-up, though drastically reduced without Tiger, but the brackets almost never hold to form, and what is left appeals only to the most die-hard golf fan.  Without Tiger and Phil in the field this week, I don’t know what would be the most compelling final.  Rory McIlroy vs. Anthony Kim?  Honestly, I’m at a loss.  Look at the field, let me know what you think.

Golf has no personal rivalries, and that kills this format as well.  We can’t look forward to a second round match between two players that hate each other.  There was the year that Tiger dismantled Stephen Ames, and let’s be honest, that was great television.  We need more of that.  Wouldn’t this be more interesting if Jim Furyk and Scott Verplank hated each other with a Calipari/Cheney level of intensity.  I’m the most boring/straightest hitting/best putting American player!  I’m going to kill you Verplank!  No?  I wrote a long while back that golf needed trash talk.  I say it partially in jest, but then again, maybe it wouldn’t hurt.

It’s just a shame the event has no buzz, and no one cares or is talking about it.  I think that’s why I keep coming back to my bubble idea.  Wouldn’t it be nice to see Tom Watson in the field?  He’s coming off last year’s British, he just had a top-10 on the Euro Tour, he shot 8 million under to win a Champions event in Hawaii.  You think anyone wants to play Tom Watson in match-play right now?  I don’t think so.  You don’t think Tom Watson vs. (Insert Young Stiff Here) would help ratings?  If an at-large committee existed, and I was on it, Tom Watson would be my number one pick.  How about Duval after last week?  Might have been the best player at Pebble on Sunday, should he be in the field?  Match-play could suit his up and down game well.  Guy makes birdies, guy can putt, I think he’d win a few matches, but he’s buried in the World Rankings.

Whatever, I guess.  Go back to watching the Olympics on tape delay, wake up for the Masters.