Chip Shots

By Peter Aviles
Updated: August 2, 2006

NEW JERSEY — In golf, the term chip shot is defined as a low trajectory shot typically played from very close to the green that is in the air very briefly before settling to the putting surface and rolling toward the cup.

Since my last column, so many interesting things have transpired in the world of golf, but due to unforeseen circumstances, I have not had the opportunity to address them and thus feel compelled to catch up.

Rather than dwell on any one subject, I decided to chip shot my way around several topics.

For starters, we need to go back to the massacre at Winged Foot. As we all known by now, the dream storyline never materialized. Instead, a new storyline emerged with Tiger and defending champion Michael Campbell both missing the cut, a first for Tiger in a major event.

But where was Vijay?

You thought he would make a run and in fact he did, but when it came to crunch time he faded badly, shooting a three over 73 on the final day to finish in a tie for sixth place, three shots off the pace.

To Michael and Tiger’s credit, there were no excuses. Michael blamed his performance on a lack of patience. As for Tiger, he simply was not competitive.

Let’s fast forward to the British Open. Much of the focus was on the defending champion as one would expect. When all was said and done there are not enough superlatives to describe his play despite the tremendous pressures.

As for the other notables, Sergio could not handle the pressure, Phil was never a part of it, and Vijay never made it. Sadly, the focus shifted from his play, to Tiger’s emotional outburst at the end, which was understandable.

However, to question the validity of these emotions or to suggest that they were contrived and orchestrated in the name of marketability as suggested by our own is unfathomable.

Ordinarily, such a statement would not be worthy of a rejoinder, but the triviality of such exhorted a response. As he later stated, “All of these emotions just came pouring out and all the things that my father has meant to me and the game of golf, I just wish he could have seen it one more time…I guess they were locked up inside me. I was pretty bummed out after not winning the Masters, because I knew that it was the last major he was ever going to see.”

What he did not talk about was the extreme disappointment of not winning the U.S. Open which concluded on Father’s day. That would have been the ultimate tribute. You can bet that he will once again win this country’s championship, but the opportunity he so desperately relished eluded him.

However, he will continue to honor the memory, and references will be made as he continues his assault on the record books.

As for Vijay, I as well as others continue to ask “Where are you?” We are still waiting to see the Vijay whose play at one point catapulted him to the top of the rankings.

Currently, ranked number three behind Phil, one can expect a great showing as he defends at the upcoming Buick Open. The three-time winner and repeat champion of this event will once again face a formidable field led by Tiger.

You may recall that last year Vijay was sailing along when a late rush by Tiger made it interesting as he closes within two strokes before Woods faltered down the stretch.

In either case, the Buick Open is an event to watch as one can get an indication as to where each is as they embark on the pathway to Medinah and the PGA Championship.

Lastly, I want to thank Jason Frantz who pointed out a brain lock moment when I referred to the trophy for the U.S. Open as the Wanamaker trophy.

It happens.