Farewell, little buddy.  We all miss you.

Farewell, little buddy. We all miss you.

This week I had to make the decision that nobody ever wants to make; to have a longtime friend put to sleep.  I know that people will say “he’s only a dog” but if you ever met my oldest greyhound, you’d know he wasn’t just a dog.  He was never “just” a dog.  He was loyal, loving, kind, friendly, honest, charming and above all, sweet to every living creature he ever met.  If you met him, you’d know what I mean.  The dog practically adopted us (seriously- he found us at an open house among dozens of other groups of willing adopters…he knew- dogs know (what complete suckers we would be)).

He was the dog who’d get up in the middle of the night to check on you if you weren’t feeling well.  He couldn’t wait for me to get home to tell me all about his day.  Untold numbers of children who were otherwise afraid of dogs found they weren’t so scary when they met him.  He would stand patiently (and probably enjoying the attention) while kids would pet him.  People who didn’t like dogs (or animals) liked him.  Charming?  In a word…yes.  He knew how to work a room better than most humans.

When the sweetest dog in the world ponders a nap or playing with a toy.

When the sweetest dog in the world ponders a nap or playing with a toy.

He had been in declining health over the last several months, and the day I hoped would never come came this past Wednesday, when it became clear that we would have to let him go, and “cross over the rainbow” and many greyhound owners have called it.  He was no longer able to stand up, and unfortunately having tried every possible option, it was clear that he was not long for this earth.  Having been forced to make the decision in short order, I felt deprived of being able to give him one last celebration, but deep down, I know he’s not in pain anymore, and I like to think he’s in place where he’s reuniting with former buddies.

Switching gears and onto more golf-related things, two things piqued my interest while doing some reading:

Joe Buck did an interview with For The Win (excerpted in Golf Digest) where he says that announcing golf is difficult and that it’s not slower, but faster than other sports (his words, not mine).

What complete and utter bulls***.  First off, Jim Nantz does NFL football, NCAA basketball and golf, and handles both quite well.  Dan Hicks of NBC/Golf Channel does golf, Olympic sports, AND does NCAA football for their Notre Dame broadcasts.  Hicks isn’t the domineering force that Nantz is, but to me it’s fine, because NBC/Golf Channel have a huge amount of talent (Johnny Miller along with Feherty and fellow SJSU alum Roger Maltbie).  He knows how to use the people around him, which is what an anchor should do!

FOX’s coverage of the USGA events was, to be polite, terrible.  Other than the US Open, it seemed like they didn’t give a damn.  And at the US Open, they had way too many people doing a poor job of covering the tournament.  It was the televised golf equivalent of the “Too Many Cooks” video on You Tube.  The only time they did any good was at the end when they managed to not get in the way of what was a thrilling finish at the end of the US Open.

I predicted that this was going to be a challenge…a network with no history of covering golf with an anchor and a lead analyst with ZERO experience, and with very few chances to get it right.  For Buck to be surprised at this is at best, laughably tone deaf and at worst, a searing indictment of FOX and the USGA signing a 12-year deal.  I refuse to give the USGA any money because of this decision (if you’re expecting them to do any good with it, I wouldn’t hold my breath).  Instead of hiring a bunch of stuffed shirts who have spent their entire lives living the country club lifestyle, hire some people who understand the average golfer (the guy who plays at public courses, who changes his shoes in the parking lot).  Just saying.

At least ESPN had the decency to get out of the golf business completely; they have agreed to let NBC/Golf Channel take over the Open next year (or British Open if you prefer).  I’d politely suggest that FOX go to the USGA, and ask to let  NBC/Golf Channel/CBS personnel cover the event and let it air on FOX.  As a hockey fan who is still scarred by their horribly bad NHL coverage from the mid 1990’s (starting with the glow-pucks), the sports they’ve done best with are ones where they haven’t tried to overthink coverage.

Lastly, a tip of the cap to James Achenbach of Golfweek, who penned a fantastic piece in a recent print edition of Golfweek about some slow play tips (they don’t have it online) that are so brilliant that they should be posted in every clubhouse.  Simple stuff- park the cart in back of the hole, play ready golf, continuous putting, etc.

Let’s hope for another few weeks of the golf season!