The 2015 Grainy Awards

Posted on: December 8th, 2015 by Tim Moraghan No Comments

grainys-1The Fourth Annual

It’s that time of year again, when I gleefully recount the season just ended by bestowing the Grainy Awards. They are the Oscars of the outdoors, the Grammies of the greens, and my heartfelt attempt to recognize the up and downs of golf.

Humanitarian Award: Dr. Patricia J. Vittum

The well-deserved recipient of the USGA’s Green Section Award has worked tirelessly and under the radar for years, known by few outside the northeast. This long overdue recognition of one of this country’s foremost entomologists speaks volumes about her contributions and dedication.

Best Director: Kerry Haigh, PGA of America

Not only was the Whistling Straits course set-up for the PGA Championship dramatic, it perfectly showcased the skills of the best golfers in the world. And how nice that Kerry stayed behind the camera and didn’t try to steal the spotlight from the real stars.

Best Cinematography: Fox Sports Network

Give the new kids on the block an A for effort. Their innovative graphics, unusual camera angles, and special effects were both entertaining and educational. Pretty impressive for their first performance, and a good indicator that just like when playing golf, the more they do it, the better they’ll get. However, it is worth noting that they deserve a giant raspberry for Sound Direction: Some of the stars talked too much, some not enough, some you couldn’t tell if it was Juli Inkster or Brad Faxon. (At least Greg Norman has an accent, although we sometimes still didn’t understand him!) At times, the Fox crew made us wish the U.S. Open had been a silent movie.

Best Visual Effects: Michael Lee, Manager of Golf Course Maintenance, Kohler Company

Along with Kerry Haigh’s direction, one reason the PGA Championship was such a joy to watch was that Michael and his staff had Whistling Straits in perfect shape. (No one wanted a sequel to Chambers Bay.) The course looked good, played hard, and let the actors steal the scenes. The Clint Eastwood of golf course maintenance, Michael remained cool, calm, and collected. He made my day.

Best Fantasy Film: Donald Trump’s Top 10

The Donald was quoted as telling someone in the best-course-list business that all 13 of his courses should be in the Top 10. Delusional or just bad mathematics? Or maybe just Trump being Trump. Every movie needs a good cartoon. (By the way, Mr. Trump, if America should put up that wall you want, who’s going to take care of your golf courses?)

Best Actor: Jordan Spieth

His major performances, off-course demeanor, professionalism, politeness, and compassion are awe-inspiring. This leading man is the real deal, someone the golf world—make that the whole word—can look up to and young people should emulate.

Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Rickie Fowler

When his fellow players voted him (anonymously) most over-rated on the PGA Tour, it lit a fire under the Titan of Technicolor. Rickie cleaned up his look and cleaned house at Sawgrass, over-acting during Sunday’s final round and in the playoff (watch the birdie—three times) to capture the Players’ Championship. We also like the cameo appearance by his swimsuit-model girlfriend. Encore.

Best Child Actor: Billy Horschel

His attempt to rebuild the greens at Chambers Bay with his putter put the not-yet-30-year-old’s childish side on screen for all to see. Not that we blame him—those greens could bring the brat out in anybody—but save the tantrums for after school, please.

Best Original Screenplay: Presidents Cup Captain’s Pick

Could Captain Jay Haas scripted it any better? Using his captain’s prerogative, he picked his son, Bill, who went on to score the winning point on the last hole of the final match of The President’s Cup, securing the trophy for Team USA. It was a good, old-fashioned tearjerker and we loved it.

Best Short (Long) Subject: The Anchoring Ban

When anchoring of the long putter to your body becomes illegal on January 1, the growth of the game will be impeded once again. Eliminating this method of putting purely due to aesthetics shows just how out of touch the governing bodies are. They’ve taken golf, which should be a Field of Dreams, and turned it into The Big Chill for thousands who just want to enjoy playing without worrying about putting like Slap Shot. If anchoring were so effective (and detrimental), wouldn’t everyone be doing it?

Best Foreign Film: 2015 Solheim Cup

Sportsmanship took a back seat to gamesmanship, which fired up the lackadaisical American team and spurred them on to victory over the Europeans. When Suzann Pettersen went Blind Side, walking off the green without clearly indicating whether her opponents’ putt was conceded, U.S. golfer Alison Lee and partner, Brittany Lincicome assumed (incorrectly) that the putt was good. Their error, as it’s the players’ responsibility to know and understand the Rules. Still, I could have done without all the tears and drama: Save it for the Grainys telecast.

Best Engineering Effects: Robotic Mowing Devices (RMD’s)

When RMDs become the norm and put people out of work, do golfers benefit? Do we really want to lose the human touch and feel so important to our profession? While I support technological advances, what happens when the manufacturers go out of business or the robots unionize?

Best Production Design: The Superintendent’s Dog Calendar

Better than a Christmas card is the arrival of the annual dog calendar, as festive and fun as any holiday blockbuster. It’s guaranteed to put a smile on your face—and a wag in your tail.

Worst Comeback: Rory McIlroy

After receiving the 2014 Grainy for Best Comeback, young Rory must have spent too much time reading his reviews. Then he goes out and tries to star in Bend It Like Beckham. More like The Jerk!

Best Animated Film: Waste Management Phoenix Open

Dubbed the greatest show on grass, the Waste Management Phoenix Open is the year’s best-attended event, a fan’s fantasy, one big party. Too bad the PGA Tour trying to drain it of color and action by stifling the spontaneity of the players. Hey, Mr. Finchem: Leave it alone. That’s Entertainment.

Best Make-up and Hair Styling: Fox Broadcast Crew

Their hair was fine, but their faces had more wrinkles than Brangelina’s sheets. The new poster children for promoting the use of sunscreen are Juli Inkster, Greg Norman, and Brad Faxon. The dinosaurs in Jurassic Park take better care of their hides.

Worst Movie/Worst Director of the Year: U.S Open at Chambers Bay and Mike Davis

We didn’t need Price Waterhouse to double-check the votes. This year’s U.S. Open was Titanic, Towering Inferno, and Armageddon rolled into one. Course architect Robert Trent Jones, Jr., gave them a fine stage, but (Executive) Director Davis bungled things by over-thinking course set-up and forcing players to ad lib. The result was a tragi-comedy. And when Mother Nature chose to deviate from the script by playing things sunny, warm and windy, Davis was too concerned with his own time on the silver screen, doing interviews, tending to his ego instead of agronomy. Luckily, young hero Jordan Spieth rode into town to save the day and this potential bomb. By the way, the USGA is trying to raise money for its newest charity, the Home for Underused Irrigation, selling a celluloid bracelet that reads “WWMDD” for “What Would Mike Davis Do?” It’s coming soon to a U.S. Open near you.

Your Turn

Did I miss any star turns or flops in 2015? Who, or what, else should get a Grainy this year. Tweet your submission to @TimMoraghan.

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