Becoming a Pro: A TV Slacker’s Guide to Learning to Watch Golf

The ability to play professional sports isn’t for everyone.  I get that.  However, everyone has enough talent to watch and understand sports on TV.  But you can’t just run in all willy nilly and watch while expecting to know exactly what’s going on.  Try that and you’re liable to pull an eye-muscle.  Even worse, you could embarrass yourself in front of your friends/cats by demonstrating an abhorrent lack of sports knowledge.  To combat the risk of injury and/or public shaming, I’ve decided to create a series of guides for learning to watching sports on TV like a pro.  You may be asking why I would do such a thing.  To that I say, “Shut up.  This is the internet and I can do whatever the damn I want.”  Besides, if you live in real ‘Murica, you need to know how to talk sports.  Sports are what you talk about to someone you really don’t know but still don’t mind talking to.  And ladies, you want to demonstrate value to a guy you just met?  Know what you’re talking about when it comes to sports.  Swear to God, being able to explain the infield fly rule is the equivalent of telling a guy that you want to invite one of your lady friends into the bedroom.  And guys, know your sports.  I shouldn’t have to explain this shit to you.  First sport?  The greatest game ever played.  Golf.

Truly this is the sport of kings.

Let me start by saying that most people I know don’t like watching golf…ever.  They claim it’s slow and not entertaining enough.  Well I say that they’re wrong.  And you’re wrong for agreeing with them.  Golf is great.  And watching golf is great.  And you’re still wrong.  So very, very wrong.  And I’m going to show you how to like it.  Or at least how to feign interest long enough to get through a conversation at a bar.  Golf is mos def a talking sport now.  Thanks to Tiger Woods and Nike, golf is growing into one of the biggest sports in the world and it’s not slowing down.  The common people understand it now and so should you.  Let’s get to the basics of playing so you kinda know what the hell is going on.

Soon we will buy you as well.

The Mission: Your objective is to use various clubs to hit a ball into a small hole located a few hundred yards away in as few strokes (hits) as possible.  You normally do this 18 times and add up your total at the end.  The lower the total, the better you did.  Still with me?  Didn’t think so.  Let’s move on and maybe you’ll pick up more as we go.

 

The Equipment: You get a set of sticks that are usually made of metal.  For our purposes, we’ll refer to these sticks as “golf clubs”.  Additionally, you get a little ball made of rubber that’s wrapped in a magical shell of plastic.  We’ll call that a “golf ball”.  That’s all you need.  There rest is fluff. 

The Fluff:  There are hundreds of things that fall in this category.  Some of them are vital to the enjoyment of golf.  Some aren’t.  However, all experts agree that the most important addition to any round of golf is booze.  Yes my friend.  Drinking is not only allowed while playing golf, it’s encouraged.  In fact, hot girls will drive around in carts and bring you booze while you’re playing and pretend to like you so you’ll pay them more money like it’s a damn mobile Hooters.  Some would say that those girls have an easy profession.  Others would say they have the oldest profession.  But if you’re a guy and what I just said didn’t make you want to start playing golf right the damn now, I’m sure we can find you a cart guy too. Either way, start drinking.

I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t done the same thing once.

 The basics of golf sound easy enough right?  It’s really easy to learn.  Of course it’s very hard to be good at playing golf. But we’re not worried about being good.  We’re worried about watching people that are good on TV.  Let’s keep this party train movin.

If you don’t already have an appreciation for golf, it can be hard to start watching it right away.  The common man may find it boring.  And that’s why golf has spiced that shit up.  If you’re going to start watching golf on television, you absolutely must start with the Ryder Cup.  What is the Ryder cup you say?  It’s only the most entertaining sporting event this side of the Super Bowl.  The Ryder cup pits American and European golfers against each other in a scene of xenophobic glory.  Every two years, the best golfers in the world put aside there differences and unite to hate everyone that lives on the other side of the ocean.  It’s beautiful really.  And the networks know it.  Every time the Ryder Cup nears its return, NBC stirs up enough patriotic hate to reignite the Revolutionary War.  It’s that awesome.  The crowds are into it.  The announcers are into it.  You’ll be into it….two years from now…when the next one is held.  This post is nothing if not timely.  But if you’re going to talk golf with someone, always bring up the Ryder Cup.  And tell them you cheered for the U.S.  Or be a dick and say that you rooted for the Euros.  I don’t really care.

I cheer for Merica, cause I’m Mercan.

The other key part of learning to watch golf on TV is to pick a favorite golfer.  Golf isn’t just a sport full of stuffy white guys that all look the same anymore.  That’s only like 60% of them now.  A really important part of looking like you know what you’re talking about is to pick a favorite golfer and learn some cool details about them.  “Did you hear about golfer’s – rape/drunk driving/hate crime acquittal?  Man that was crazy!  I wonder if he’ll play this weekend.”  To save you some time, here’s a list of some of the more popular golfers and the type of person that might like them.  Feel free to mix and match your favorites based on the person you’re speaking to/ethnic makeup of the room.

Tiger Woods – The Easy Pick – Liking Tiger Woods is really the same as liking the New York Yankees.  Nobody will argue that you shouldn’t like them.  It’s a generic pick sure.  But it’s a solid pick too.  Without Tiger, most people are going to tune out on Sundays.  He’s probably the single biggest reason golf is where it is today and he’ll stay the big draw until he retires.  Tiger is the choice for front runners everywhere.  If Tiger is your pick, your other favorite teams likely include the 90’s Cowboys, Lakers, Yankees, Heat, and Red Wings.  Sure they’re good, but unless you liked them before they were huge, most people think that you’re probably a poser.  But now Tiger has developed a bit of an edge.  A massively publicized affair followed by a messy divorce can do that.  Tiger is now the comeback kid for the PGA and is in the middle of his redemption phase.  Hop on the bandwagon before it’s too late. 

Bitch you already get half my stuff

 Rory McIlroy – The Up & Comer – Rory is quickly becoming the heir apparent to the golf throne.  This young Irish upstart has been picking up wins left and right this year and is the proud owner of the highest paid endorsement contract in Nike’s history.  Sports networks are hard at work creating a massive rivalry for him with Tiger Woods.  Don’t expect Rory to fade from the scene any time soon.  By taking McIlroy as your fav, you’re telling the world that you refuse to conform and go with the big crowd.  You’re going with the slightly smaller crowd instead in the hopes that it eventually turns into the big crowd.  Fans of Rory will probably also like the Red Sox, Knicks, or Patriots.  He’s not the most popular player in the sport, but you’re not exactly taking a risk by picking him as your #1.  Caution:  Being an Irishman, some “America only” fans may get bitter when you side with Rory.  Girls have been known to swoon over his accent.

Why yes, I was in Billy Elliot

Phil Mickelson – The Wild Card – Phil Mickelson is never a bad choice for your top golfer.  He’s kind of a member of the old guard of golf.  Pick him and people will nod their head like they understand exactly why he’s your fav.  You don’t even have to give a reason.  Just say that you’ve always been a Phil fan.  Mickelson has always been kind of a dick.  However, growing a bit older seems to have mellowed him out some.  Now he’s a really likeable dick.  Now he’s a fan favorite known for his risk taking and fearless play.  But it’s still golf, so it can’t be all that fearless.  He’s a high risk/reward type of player that you can almost always count on to melt down at some point.  White people love him because he’s not so threatening like that dark skinned fellow but still an American.  Fans of Phil tend to like to root for the underdog.  They also probably really like the Cubs.  I’m telling you, this is their year!

Awww fuck! At least I still have millions of dollars.

John Daly – The Drinkin Buddy – John Daly is a bit of an outlier these days.  He’s still around, but never really a threat to win it big.  If you’re new to golf, chances are you’ve never heard of him.  But in his day, Daly was the car wreck that you slowly drove past while hoping to see a head laying on the ground  A fat alcoholic cokehead with a batshit crazy wife and all the talent in the world, this Arkansas Razorback took ‘Murica by storm in the 90’s.  Not many guys could go on a coke binge, get in a fight with his wife, call the cops, and then make it to your tour event the next day with deep scratches all over his face.  Daly could.  If you play golf and have a problem with substance abuse, you have probably liked Daly at some point as well.  Die hard fans of John Daly like football and NASCAR…in that order…no exceptions.

Stay classy John

Bubba Watson – The Psycho – Bubba Watson is the new Kentucky Fried Golfer.  This Georgia native made it big this year by winning the Masters.  He’s so hot right now.  Bubba is currently the longest driver on the tour. (he can hit the ball real far)  He’s also a risk taker that loves to act lest his brain get in the way.  When Watson melts down, this fan favorite melts down big.  And really, when was the last time you met a Bubba that wasn’t changing your tire or raping kayakers that accidentally rowed into his neck o’ the woods.  Bubba is probably my favorite golfer on the tour.  Fans of Watson probably don’t mind a little crazy in their sports heroes.  Did I mention he’s crazy?  Yeah he’s crazy.  And he bought the General Lee from The Dukes of Hazard at an auction.

Bought this bitch straight cash!

There’s your golf watching starter kit.  If you like sports, go in with an open mind and I’m sure you’ll get hooked.  You gotta trust me on this one.  It’s worth it.  And since this is the internets, here’s your obligatory cat pic.

 

– Josh

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The Walking Dead Giveth and The Internet Taketh

The Walking Dead is an odd duck.  I mean, thank God America finally got its act together and provided the world with a zombie TV show.  Instead of trying to watch the world fall apart, establish the survivors’ personalities, throw in some sex and conflict, and have all of your survival plans go to shit all in two hours or less, we get to follow these people weekly.  It gives it time to breathe, time for character development, blah, blah.  Also, MORE CARNAGE.

But seeing these people weekly also exposes just how underdeveloped, annoying, hollow, etc all of these characters can be.  It reveals the inconsistency in the writing of these people, and stretches the believability of the world when someone like CAROL OF ALL PEOPLE is somehow still alive in Season 3.  Although, to be fair, at least she’s no longer the meek wife who gets beat, or the grieving mother.  Now, she’s just a dirty old sexpot.

And oh my God, did The Walking Dead experience some growing pains.  Sure, when it first came out in 2010, the comic world rejoiced.  Finally, this incredible tomb of zombiedom would be realized in a more visual media.  Michonne!  The Governor!  Live and in color.  It was all I could do not to masturbate in a crowded living room on that fateful Halloween night.

They hated to see me like that. And they hated how I always wanted to cuddle after…

I think the fact that this show existed at all allowed most fans to overlook a few of the stinker moments in Season 1, including the infuriatingly ludicrous “Vatos”.   We wanted it to be good SOOO bad we fought through the filler, and the T-Bags of the show.  Because I mean, come on, there’s no way that son of a bitch is making it to Season 2.

The problem was that of all the networks to give the show a chance, the beloved AMC ended up being the home for TWD.  So while they would throw an occasional bone to us gore fans, they also spent an awful lot of time talking, trying to develop some sort of existential crisis or something like that.  Trying to be a prestige show really started to rub some uber fans the wrong way.  Also, this whole thing

Where’s Rick? I wanna whisper a secret to him…

And then Season Two happened…

 

To be fair, I recently rewatched Season Two marathon style, and it seems a lot less meandering when you just power through it in a few days.  It’s ALMOST good television (or maybe I’m just defending it again).  Also, DARYL MOTHERFUCKING DIXON, THE MOST BADASS DUDE EVER PEOPLE:

Oh, right. Sorry, I’ll keep my voice down and get back to the article.

But when they were released, the internet exploded.  It provided great laughs, for sure, including these…

http://videogum.com/393602/the-walking-dead-s02e01-one-child-left-behind/tv/recaps/

http://videogum.com/408171/the-walking-dead-s02e04-this-show-is-a-discrete-feminine-product-what/tv/recaps/

http://videogum.com/413492/the-walking-dead-s02e05-ever-done-in-it-a-hayloft/tv/recaps/

AND THIS

http://www.facebook.com/TheWalkingDeadSeasonTwoIsBAD

AND THESE

http://www.collegehumor.com/article/6743808/10-reasons-why-the-walking-dead-should-just-kill-carl

http://www.cracked.com/blog/5-reasons-the-walking-dead-has-to-get-better/

In other words, the greatest thing to ever happen to my work day.  I lived a double life, simultaneously despising the show during the day, reading all of this hilarious stuff cutting the show off at the knees.  And then, sadly… Every sunday night I would huddle up on the couch alone, trying to will the show to be good through the television.

The Shocker: UR DOIN IT WRONG

What’s funny is with all of this hate pouring out from the triple dub, TWD was pulling in massive ratings.  It was the highest rated cable show in the history of boob tub age.  Actually, it wasn’t funny at all.  It made me feel like I was watching the cable equivalent of Two and a Half Men.  Oh, God… What have I become…

I can smell the sex puns from this picture. It smells like America

It depressed me.  The last few episodes of the season picked up steam, and built some momentum.  I held out hope that maybe, just maybe this ship could be righted.  There was a glimpse of the prison, and look!  There’s Michonne with her two “pets”!  It’s all happening now…  But would the internet forgive the atrocities TWD had committed?  I waited with baited breath, or something similarly poetic and awkward.

While we couldn’t get them all back, because some people had seriously just had enough of that shit, TWD did get back one key demographic with Season 3’s premiere:  THE INTERNET!!

http://www.avclub.com/tvclub/tvshow/the-walking-dead,139/

http://www.uproxx.com/tv/2012/11/how-the-internet-reacted-to-last-nights-shocking-episode-of-the-walking-dead/#page/1

I feel so proud, watching a Zombie show that finally realized it’s potential.  If you have a sick day, use it.  Power through the bullshit of Seasons 1 and 2, just so you know who people are and stuff, then come back to the fold.  Because it’s so fuckin on now.  My baby’s all growed up!

– Stephen

Do I only like Boardwalk Empire because it’s on HBO?

Season three of Boardwalk Empire is up and running and I’ve been trying to convince myself to jump back on the B.E. bandwagon.  The problem that I’m facing is that I’m a season behind and I can’t bring myself to get caught up.  I don’t know why.  I like this show.  I really do.  I mean, it’s a great show right?  Everybody says so.  I think I like it.  Of course I like it.  What’s not to like?  Yeah, I like it.  So why does it feel like such hard work to get through almost every episode?  I sit down at my computer or pick up the iPad and I can’t do it.  I’m logged into HBO GO and the episode list is right there.  But I can’t hit play.  Why won’t I watch it?  I tell myself that maybe I’m just tired.  Maybe that ancient episode of Tenacious D just sounds like more fun.  Could it be that facing the prospect of watching so many hour long episodes just so I can say I caught up is too daunting of a task?  That can’t be right.  I could sit through a marathon of The Wire or Game of Thrones without batting an eye.  Something occurred to me recently though.  Is Boardwalk Empire as good as those two shows?  Is it really even a good show?  Do I only like B.E. because it’s a show on HBO and I’m automatically giving it a pass?  Would I watch this show if it was exactly the same but featured on AMC instead?  How about Showtime? I dunno.  I’ve heard Homeland is a really good show, but I haven’t seen an episode yet.  Why?  Because it’s not on HBO godammit.  So now I want to break down Boardwalk Empire and see if it’s really the show that I want it to be, or just the average show that I fear it really is.

HBO. We don’t only show softcore porn anymore!

Let’s first take a look at the star power that’s featured on this show shall we?  That’s what initially roped me in when HBO first started running promos for Boardwalk.  And yes I know, liking a show should be about more than just the actors that are featured.  I get it.  But there’s a reason I still haven’t seen the Soprano’s.  And the reason is that loud-breathing ogre Tony played by James Gandolfini.  He bears a striking resemblance to a moblin from The Legend of Zelda.  Yeah it’s a good show, but I can’t watch it because I keep expecting Tony to kidnap a princess and slowly shuffle around the screen. 

Family is everything. Also burning villages *loud inhale and exhale*

Steve Buscemi is different.  He’s not a huffing ogre.  He’s one of my favorite actors in ever.  My first memory of the best Steve ever was from watching Reservoir Dogs as a kid.  How can Mr. Pink not be the best part of that movie?  He was all business and knew there was a rat in the house before anyone else.  Buscemi is nothing short of brilliant in everything else he’s worked on.  But he’s almost always been part of the supporting cast.  I guess looking like a large fleshy gecko doesn’t get you top billing very often.  When I first heard that Buscemi had been cast as Nucky Thompson, I immediately said, “Who the shit is Nucky Thompson?”  Then I got excited anyway because Steve’s finally getting a chance to be the star of the show and prove his acting brilliance on a network that makes you a headliner.  Would he be able to play a believable gangster in an early 20th century period piece?  This was Buscemi’s chance to shine and prove that he’s got what it takes to be a leading (still hideous) man.  And does he?  Of course he does!  He’s Steve Fucking Buscemi!  Second billing went to Michael Pitt.  He plays a WWI vet trying to break into the world of politics under Nucky’s tutelage.  You may remember Pitt from his role as the creepy albino guy in every movie he’s ever acted.  You may also remember that he’s the best actor in pretty much all of those movies.  Pitt does more of the same as a burgeoning gangster on Boardwalk.  The other big name actor tied to the show is Gretchen Moll.  To say I have an unhealthy attraction to her is an understatement.  It’s not a wear-your-skin type of attraction, but I’ve had a crush on her for a long time.  When I saw that she’d be playing Jimmy’s mom, I was a bit thrown since she’s really not that old.  Then I started watching the show and understood.  And yes I know what happens at the end of season two so….gross.  The two big breakout performances come from Stephen Graham as a young Al Capone and Michael Stuhlbarg as Arnold Rothstein.  Both of these guys steal every scene.  And if you’d seen Snatch, you’d already know that Tommy was the best character in the history of film.

O.G.

Now if only we could get them for more than two minutes at a time.  The rest of the cast is pretty rock solid.  We get a good assortment of character actors and Omar from The Wire.  Oh indeed.  One of the big sellers HBO used when promoting Boardwalk was throwing around Martin Scorsese’s name like that sad guy at the party that really wants you to like him based on who he knows.  But you don’t have to do that HBO. We like you for who you are.  And really, Scorcese only directed the first episode.  That’s like getting to heaven and Jesus is there to greet you but then he passes you off to Bill to show you around.  Jesus tells you that Bill’s a great guy and he’s gonna take really good care of you.  Then Jesus hops in his chariot and drives off to another appointment.  Sure Bill is nice and all, but he’s not Jesus.  Am I not good enough to get a tour from the Lord?  That’s kind of how it happened on Boardwalk.  Director situation aside, I’m really high on the cast.  They can’t possibly be the problem. 

Jesus and Bill at the Springtime Mixer

So if the cast and acting isn’t the reason I can’t sit through this show, it must be the show itself right?  That’s gotta be it.  How about the setting?  We start at the inception of prohibition and the most crooked city treasurer in ever is starting the biggest bootlegging operation in ever.  Sounds good to me.  That’s must see goddamn tv.  Or MSGDTV for short.  Atlantic City is nice and all, but doesn’t it seem like the more interesting story lines are in Chicago or New York?  (see Al Capone and Arnold Rothstein)  Rothstein fixed the World Series!  I smell spin-off!  The show is filled with gratuitous amounts of violence, sex, and substance abuse.  Like I said, it’s on HBO.  Setting and atmosphere are great.  Was I really into the Roarin 20’s and bootlegging before Boardwalk Empire?  Of course not.  But it’s still an interesting time and HBO has done a great job recreating the atmosphere.  I never thought I’d be interested in a show about Baltimore, but now I think it’s a magical land inhabited by Clay Davis. 

A true wonderland!

Maybe it’s the slow burn style plot development that really kills the mood for me.  I caught a part of season 3 a few weeks ago and Nucky sat in a basement for an hour.  Yeah that’s a pretty slow hour of television.  Then I have to deal with Nucky’s wife handing out flyers on the boardwalk….bored.  But holy shit Capone just beat a dude to death with his bare hands in front of a crowd!  Oh my god then he throws money on him!  That was awesome!  Oh, now I have watch Eli drink for a while.  Whoa, Nucky just shot that kid in head!  And now Van Alden has baby momma drama!  Oh we’re going show more flyers being handed out?  Okay I guess.  Maybe next we’ll get to see Chalky call somebody a mother fucker and go after them with some farm equipment.  No?  Oh, yeah I guess I’ll watch the Schroeder kid go to his first communion.  Ugh.  Eli just killed that dude with a wrench!  And now Jimmy’s wife is crying for no reason.  And roll credits.  I think that’s really the key to the whole thing.  There are just too many characters that I don’t give two shits about.  Their presence lessens the experience for me and really kills the flow of the show.  Who cares that Margaret Schroeder is fantasizing about the Irish guy that’s boning the average looking maid?  I don’t think Boardwalk has too many characters. (are you listening Game of Thrones?) I just think it has too many characters that aren’t doing anything interesting. 

3/4 of you are killing this show for me.

So there you have it.  We just need to kill off the right people and Boardwalk Empire will be perfect.  Or maybe I should just stop being a nitpicky bitch and enjoy the show for what is.  It has won like 20 Emmys after all.  And we all know they don’t hand those out to every crappy show on tv.

Oh. Nevermind.

  

P.S.  Today is election day so go vote!  Or don’t.  I really don’t give a shit.

– Josh