Tiger Woods used to dominate the Masters, in his first nine attempts at Augusta he won four times. A win percentage like that in golf is almost unprecedented, let alone in a major as storied as the Masters. Tiger was as dominating a figure as the sport has ever seen. In the seven attempts since those first nine though, Tiger has won just twice.
So what changed? Well quite a bit’s changed for Tiger, but the reason many believe he’s not as dominant as before can be traced back to two major course alterations that occurred in 2002 and 2006. Those alterations were aimed at making the par 5’s Tiger was so accustom to reaching in 2 shots outside of even his range. Lengthening those holes would force him to play 3 shots to reach the green just like everyone else. These changes came to be known as “Tiger Proofing” the course.
Right about now you might be saying, “that’s a tremendous story, thank you, but what’s all this have to do with the upcoming Leesville Gap road race?”. Good question and I’m glad you asked actually, it means you’re smart and paying attention.
As everyone that reads the Colusa Sun Herald knows, in 2013 Data Driven Athlete won Leesville Gap (e3). Actually we did a little more than that, we took 1st and 3rd. We dominated Leesville. We dominated Leesville just like Tiger Woods used to dominate the Masters. The parallels are uncanny actually, especially if you saw the after-party.
People won’t register for races they don’t think they have some shot at winning. For example, how many fat guys at the Diablo Hill Climb this weekend? I wasn’t there (you can assume I’m fat), but I’m guessing not many.
If Data Driven Athlete dominated the race last year, had a great winter and brought everyone back, how does Velopromo (VP) convince people they still have a chance this year? VP isn’t in the business of being broke, and there’s no way they work countless hours running races all just to take a loss in an elaborate scheme to protect chicken farm profits. The IRS would have none of that, right? right. So how do you get people to register for a race when they know that can’t win? The problem’s clear but the solution less so.
“Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it” -Winston Churchill
Well apparently Robert Leibold read Hootie Johnson’s bio (Augusta National Chairmen | 1998-2006) or maybe Big Rick spent a weekend at Butler Cabin – because the changes they’ve made to prevent DDA’s Leesville domination took a page right from Augusta National’s book, except in typical cycling fashion, the changes are on steroids.
No they didn’t just change the course, they f’n retired it! At first I wasn’t sure if we should be offended or flattered, but that only lasted like a minute and I can tell you now that we’re definitely flattered…we are half-wondering if women will be allowed to race though.
In any event, it’s no stretch to say that just like Wilt’s 100 point game or 20,000 women claim, Leesville Gap’s retirement is proof Data Driven Athlete changed the game. Pat yourself on the back guys, our results are pretty thin this year so it’s nice to reflect.
– stay tuned for more stories of past lower category glory w/ minor embellishment’s for entertainment purposes