The Spectacle Blog

St. Jack, St. Tom, St. Bobby, etc.

By on 4.15.06 | 9:52AM

Heavens, having two editors fight over one of my reviews. I blush.

I vastly admire Jack Nicklaus. Either my comparison of his book with Jones's was an interesting contrast, as I think it was, or it was a gratuitous aside. Considering I devoted an entire paragraph to the comparison, I don't think it's gratuitous.

The original description of Jack as a kind of stuffed shirt -- along with the "Karnack" nickname from Tom Watson -- you can find in John Feinstein's "A Good Walk Spoiled," 1996. It's an established story. Of course, the least criticism of Nicklaus will irritate some people; has for a long time.

Watson himself can stick his nose in the air, too. It was he who wrote the letter to the Masters Tournament Committee that got CBS's Gary McCord kicked off the broadcast for remarks Watson saw as unbefitting the dignity of the tournament.

It all gets to be a little bit much, and makes me remember fondly such players as Brian Barnes, who once marked a putt with a beer bottle.

And They Say We’re Nuts

By on 4.15.06 | 8:37AM

You just can't make this stuff up. Remember "angry white men" in 1994? They've got nothing on the Angry Left. The Washington Post has the goods today in a devastatingly hilarious snapshot.

The main subject of the piece has a blog with fairly strong readership. This is how she describes her evolution:

Then George W. Bush was elected. Then came 9/11, Afghanistan, Iraq, Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, the Patriot Act, secret prisons, domestic eavesdropping, the revamping of the Supreme Court, and the thought "It has come to the point where the worst people on Earth are running the Earth." And now, "I have become one of those people with all the bumper stickers on their car," she says. "I am this close to being one of those muttering people pushing a cart.

"I'm insane with rage and grief.

"But I also feel more connected than I ever have."

Howard Dean, your troops are ready. It gets better.

Re: Big Dog and the Ankle Biters

By on 4.14.06 | 7:12PM

Ned and Tony DiP: Thanks, guys. This is important. Rumsfeld is one of the people who's making a big difference - for the better - in this war. I have every desire to see him stay as long as he can stand it.

Mrs. Jackson, MLG, R. Trotter and Evelyn: Many thanks for your notes. I think - given the President's statement today and the expressions of support from people such as you - the Big Dog will be here for the rest of the Bush administration. And that's a very good thing.

Big Dog and the Ankle Biters

By on 4.14.06 | 1:55PM

I'll be on Fox with Neil Cavuto today, about 4 pm EST talking about Rumsfeld vs. the generals. Hope you can catch it.

Heritage for RomneyCare?

By on 4.14.06 | 11:49AM

Why is the Heritage Foundation's top health care researcher at Romney's bill signing ceremony (see the photo)? Has Heritage gone big-government pragmatic?

Maybe a Bad Metaphor

By on 4.14.06 | 11:40AM

This is what happens when sportsmen discuss immigration: our current policy is referred to as "catch and release." Illegals are like fish?

Affection for Jack

By on 4.14.06 | 11:36AM

Wlady -- Jack already was the subject of warm affection by the early 1970s, when I first started paying close attention. He already was admired for his sportsmanship in conceding a key putt in the Ryder Cup and for his graciousness in handling the public's abuse ("Miss it, Fat Jack!!!!") while he was supplanting Arnie. He became a real fan favorite early in the 1970s -- I believe it was the 1971 PGA, but my memory could be a bit off here -- when one of his young sons ran and jumped into his arms in the middle of the 18th green. This was shortly after Jack let his hair grow out beyond buzz-cut length, and the photo of the devoted father with little boy in his arms became iconic. By the Masters of 1975, he was clearly and unambiguously the fan favorite in the epic battle with Weiskopf and Miller.

But, to repeat, I loved the vast bulk of Larry's review. I just didn't understand the need for the asides about Nicklaus.

Re: Nicklaus Slighted

By on 4.14.06 | 11:28AM

Quin: I don't understand this need to speak about Jack Nicklaus in hushed tones. Isn't one St. Jack (Danforth) enough? In his heyday everyone respected Jack Nicklaus as not only our finest golfer but toughest competitor. As such he was always quite an intimidating presence who by design or not always kept opponents on their guard -- and the public at a distance. He probably didn't become a subject of warm affection until he stunningly won the Masters at 46 twenty years ago. I don't think Larry Henry was being nasty toward Jack -- just blunt, with a bit of friendly needle, in a way Nicklaus of all people would appreciate. Larry was above all dealing with Jack as a golf book author and contrasting the cold, impersonal corporate tone of Jack's ghosted volume with Bobby Jones's authentic voice. He also notes: "Nicklaus got much more human in his later years." That pretty much sums it up for me.

Feds Bungle New Orleans

By on 4.14.06 | 10:27AM

As I wrote here, my home city of New Orleans still has reason to complain about federal/Bush administration fumbling and bad decision-making in response to Katrina. The latest confirmation of just about everything I wrote comes in today's Washington Post.

Nicklaus Slighted

By on 4.14.06 | 9:44AM

Lawrence Henry writes a marvelous piece today in honor of the great and admirable Bobby Jones.... but why so nasty to Nicklaus? For many years before the 1974 ghost-written book that Larry pans, Nicklaus was known to be gentlemanly, a good sportsman both in victory and defeat, and very patient with the press. I certainly can say that the several times I've been around him (and, for that matter, around his saint of a wife, Barbara), as a fan or as a reporter or as an eager member (at discount rates) of a new club he was formally opening, he was gracious and approachable. Maybe his book sounded imperious, but if so, blame ghost-writer Bowden, not Jack. Not all good men are good writers, and I hate to fault Nicklaus just because he didn't live up to Jones' standards as a purveyor of fine prose.

That said, I otherwise loved Larry's review. It's always worth reminding people that sports "superstars" like Jones can be multidimensional and admirable, unlike certain steroid users, wife abusers, and druggies who litter our playing fields today.