Jay's Golf Awards for 2013 - Part 1
It's time for the annual Jay's Golf Awards, known as the Jazzys to its friends. Let's set the Wayback Machine and look at the game's best and worst in 2013.
An Open Letter to Trey Anastasio: Golfers Frequently Win Majors 'Shooting Par' or Worse!
Congratulations to you Page, Mike and Fish on another stellar fall tour and, in particular, another excellent Halloween show. You guys totally killed it! It was both fun and interesting to see you perform so many new songs on such a special occasion. Here's my best wishes to the four of you that the new album is a tremendous success, and I look forward to seeing you over the New Year's run, where I know you'll once again send MSG into orbit. And, hey! - how great would it be to one day see Phish supplant either Elton John or Billy Joel with a banner in the rafters for most MSG shows?!
As you remember, besides being an Entertainment/IP/Sports lawyer here in the City, I'm also a sports writer who has covered nine U.S. Opens, eight PGAs and the Masters. So I couldn't help but take note of the lyric in your song "Wingsuit" that, "You'll never win a major only shooting par." With great respect to someone whose music has been an enormous part my life for the last 27 years (yes, I go back that far!), and from one sports fan to another, please allow me to share some fascinating sports history with you: Golfers frequently win majors shooting par . . . or worse!
Before I begin, please don't mistake this for "correcting you" - I wouldn't presume. I know your lyric is a metaphor, I get that. Still, I love telling sports stories and I know how much of a sports fan you are. Look at this more as me sharing some great sports stories with my friend who has told me so many great musical stories over the years.
I know what a great sports fan you are (and even a former athlete - some of my closest friends played lacrosse with you at Taft at the same time I was at Deerfield . . .). After all, you once praised "Cam Neely! Kicking the Penguins ass!" in 1991 (although that didn't turn out too well), and your devilish little "Duke 72…Arkansas 76!" from the Flynn Theatre show brought the house down. You even referenced the U.S. Open back in 2009 when you were on Long Island, and of course the golf gag last New Year's was off the charts. So as a sports fan, enjoy this little walk through history for the journey.
It's quite common for golfers to win the U.S. Open with scores of even-par or higher. The Open brands itself as "Golf's Toughest Test," and the USGA likes to call it a "final examination" in golf. They actually try to make the winning score approach even-par, though they deny that to their graves in public. They sometimes even "trick up" the golf course with ankle-high rough, supermodel-thin fairways, and gargantuan length in order to suppress scoring. For decades the mantra has been that 280 wins the Open - meaning an aggregate of 280 strokes over the four days, even-par on a par-70 golf course. Sometime courses that are normally a par 72 or 71 are actually lowered to a par of 70 so that the "score to par" will be closer to even.