Thursday, January 31, 2008

Golf Conundrums

There's not a lot percolating in the golf world for the average golfer on a Thursday morning in the East. The FBR hasn't started yet. The Golf Channel told me that Tiger has a two stroke lead in Dubai. It's 21 degrees here, so I won't be teeing it up. Here's a list of what happens in my puny brain when left with too much time.......

1. Do you consider the European Tour to be Triple A compared to the PGA Tour?

2. Do you realize that when the average golfer is asked how far they drive the golf ball they over estimate by 30-40 yards?

3. Do you think Annika will be the Annika of before and give Lorena, et al, a run for their money this year?

4. If you can win $500,000+ for second place, would that help ease the pain of not winning?

5. Aren't the European Tour announcers just better? They say things like "brave little chip" and "whilst". Would you dare to say whilst at work?

6. Am I the only average golfer that gets the full swing yips?

7. Wouldn't watching the FBR be better if they only broadcast the 16th hole and we got to see everyone play it?

8. Does Ernie Els look like he needs some coffee? No offense, but he appears, and I stress, only appears to be partaking of combustibles on the course.

9. Is this the only 2008 Rory quote regarding Tiger? "_________________ ."

10. If Tiger passes his PGA Tour drug test, should they bother to test anyone else?

I'm out of original thoughts. My hair hurts.

Til' next,

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Dubai Desert Classic - Study In Contrast

If one were to handicap the world's latest mover and shaker countries, you couldn't overlook Dubai. One of the seven Emirates in the United Arab Emirates, it's rising like a rocket in the leisure, entertainment, and rich person shopping worlds. Now home to the Burj Al Arab, seen in the photo, the world's largest freestanding hotel, pristine Persian Gulf beaches, and huge upscale shopping malls that make ours look like Wal-Mart also- rans. In 2002 the Emirate decided to recreate the skyline of Dubai City. Recreate they did. Oil money has been flowing since 1966, but not in the volumes of the Saudis or other Arab neighbors. So, it seems like a little diversification was in order. Holding the Dubai Desert Classic is but one gem in the crown. This year's field includes Tiger Woods and Ernie Els as the main drawing cards. Woods seems to be making this tournament a regular on his schedule, no doubt in part to the fact that he's designing his first golf course here. Curiously, the winner this week receives $416,000 USD. Last week at the Buick Invitational, Ryuji Imada pocketed $561,000 for second place. Fewer travel expenses I would assume, though I'm certain the top players in Dubai are lavishly comped.

Luxury aside, keep in mind that Dubai is a Muslim country. To be fair I would describe it as "Muslim lite" in comparison to some of their neighbors. Alcohol can be consumed by visitors. Beaches and the requisite bathing suits for tourists are all the rage. Night clubs abound and spending copious amounts of cash in palatial malls is encouraged. Other religions seem to be well tolerated. With Islam being the official state religion, preaching in public, distribution of literature regarding other religions is strictly prohibited and subject to criminal prosecution, imprisonment, or deportation. Though in effect, these penalties aren't really a common occurrence.

All this progress in such a short time means massive amounts of human labor are required. Upwards of 250,000 foreign workers, most from India, have been living in conditions that Human Rights Watch describes as "less than human". They typically live eight to a room. Changing jobs or leaving the country means almost no chance of recouping lost wages. The BBC has reported that many aren't paid for months at a time amid the squalor. I suppose that's one way to increases the bottom line. Reduce labor costs.

In a stunning story recounted by The International Herald Tribune, a 15 year old French national boy named Alexandre Robert was brutally sodomized by three Emirati men, two of which were ex cons. Dubai doesn't recognize "the rape of men", only the vague term of "forced homosexuality". If convicted, the prison terms are a few months to two years. The boy fled to Switzerland, rightly or wrongly fearing prosecution. Dubai officials withheld the fact that one of the men had tested HIV positive while in prison four years earlier. Apparently they didn't deem this information as important to the young victim.

Here's a little something I picked up from the Dubai City website;

Women in many Arab countries wear a black cloak and may also be veiled ( in purdah ). In other Arab countries however, women dress in the European fashion. In any case, women are viewed in a special way in Arabia. One might for example, enquire after the health of the family of an Arab but not specifically of his wife.

Gee, sure sounds "special" to me. I hope Tiger and Ernie's wives are healthy through the weekend, or at least brought their own emergency rooms.

No conclusions from me, just observations. Observations about a country with one foot in the future and the other in the Middle Ages.

Til' next,

Sunday, January 27, 2008

All Tiger. All the Time.

I watched the foregone conclusion today. Would I have watched the inevitable at The Buick Invitational if Tiger wasn't blowing away the field and on camera constantly? Perhaps I would, but many of you wouldn't.

"When Tiger Woods enters a tournament and when he is in contention in the final round, we see a 30 to 50 percent increase over what is the 'normal' rating," said Neal Pilson, the head of a sports TV consulting company and former president of CBS Sports. -Golf Today

I have a close friend that's so tired of having to see Tiger line up every putt, take every practice swing, spit, hitch up his pants and everything else imaginable, that he's swears he won't watch any more TV golf if Tiger's in contention. He's a fairly principled guy, so I suspect he's DVRing the Champion's Tour and buying Hooter's Tour highlight VHS tapes on ebay.

The cold hard facts are Woods drives the ratings and the ensuing dollars. The casual golf fan and consumer makes up the bulk of the weekend viewing numbers and they don't give a crap what Cameron Beckman shot or what his swing looks like. The golf junkie will be there regardless, my friend the exception, but the ratings drivers want to see as much of Woods as they can. Also, don't think for a second that the rest of the field isn't appreciative of Woods as well. Thanks to him driving ratings they can finish as an also ran and still collect a six figure check for the week. Gotta make you wonder what those huge "loser" checks do to someone's competitive fire. This week I watched a number of interviews with other pros about what it's like to play with Tiger. It was a smarm fest. I thought they were on his payroll. Although a bit mistimed, you at least have to admire Rory Sabbatini's moxy by refusing to concede to Woods before the first ball was struck.

Be prepared to see a lot of Woods for the next fifteen years or so. He's just entering his prime and I think his best results are yet to come. Plus, the next Tiger contender isn't playing yet. Mickelson, Singh, Scott, and others were all supposed to have the game and character to challenge him. Oh they can occasionally, but not on a regular basis. We may be witnessing an aberration that comes along once every fifty years or so. I hope not. As much as I enjoy watching Wood's talent displayed, I'd enjoy it more with some competition.

Til' next,

Friday, January 25, 2008

Halftime at The Buick Invitational - What's to know?

What did we glean from the first tourney of the year with Woods and Mickelson? For one I rarely say glean in real speech. Second, Wood's game has less rust than Phil's. After only hitting 6 of 14 fairways Woods carved a smooth 65 for a 4 shot lead over Q-school, and this week qualifier, Kevin Streelman. Woods with a 4 shot bulge over a Tour rookie is almost cannon fodder. Watching Woods reminded me of how important the short game is, even for the world's best. Actually, 6 of 14 fairways for me would be record setting.

I gleaned that my "other" picks in the previous post were crap. Don't rely on me for fantasy picks. My fantasies generally favor other subjects. Out of my lot....Pat Perez, home for the weekend. Evidently Pat didn't take me up on the valium suggestion. K.J. Choi, still celebrating his Hawaii win I guess. Tim Herron, made the cut at even par. Maybe Lumpy will go low tomorrow and make himself some money.

Watch Kevin Streelman tomorrow. He negotiated all 3 stages of Q school, one of only three players to do that last fall. He was a last minute alternate in this week's tournament. He stands at -8, four off Wood's lead, and will be playing with Woods in tomorrow's last group. He obviously has nothing to lose and it should be fun to see how he holds up. I would advise him to not pull a Rory between tonight and tomorrow morning.

This isn't playing out to be any kind of epic duel, but I believe that would be asking too much. Despite the appearance of the top two superstars in the game, the fact of the matter is that this is very, very early in the season for anyone not worried about keeping their Tour cards. The top players pace their season around the majors. This is like baseball spring training for them. For the regular guys trying to stay on Tour, a win, or a good showing here is as important as a major. Kind of a reflection of life, haves, have-nots, the ruling class, and the rest of us! Philosophy tires me and kills brain cells.

Til' next,

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Mickelson In? Showdown at 2008 Buick Invitational

It's funny, I never used to pay much attention to golf until the Masters. The PGA Tour's gone almost year round on us now and I'm anticipating a tournament before filing my taxes. No doubt the presence of Micklelson and Woods in their first 2008 appearances had a hand. Woods has kissed the trophy five times in this event, Mickelson three. How could the two of them not be prohibitive favorites? Box 'em in the exacta. It's been reported that Phil's bedridden and under the weather with a respiratory ailment. Nevertheless he's been quoted as saying he'll be there for Wednesday's pro-am. Other sources report that Woods has enjoyed a good five weeks of practice while on winter hiatus. I wouldn't expect to see much ring rust from Tiger, maybe some from Phil. Regardless, I hope they're both in contention. No slight on the Tour's earlier winners this year intended. It's just better to see #1 and #2 in the field. My picks out of the rest are....K.J. Choi, hey, he's hot and he's good. Pat Perez, with valium only. Tim Herron, always my sentimental pick.

Torrey Pines will of course host this year's US Open. Unusual. Does this mean we may see an Open at Augusta some day? Torrey Pines officials have said that the course conditions this week will be relatively close to the Open set up. The differences being that this week the greens will run at 9 1/2 to 10 on the Stimpmeter vs around 13 for the Open. Crap, my bathtub's only a 12! They also said the rough around the greens will be thicker. Curiously, The USGA has been rumored to rethink the controversial rough adjoining the fairways that created the whine fest at last year's US Open at Oakmont. Lastly, being played later in the year, the course should be noticeably drier and faster.


1. Am I the only one to go from rooting for John Daly, to calling 911?

2. With his talent, is the only thing missing in Charles Howell III's game a sandwich?

3. Did the Golfweek "noose" cover buy Kelly Tilghman some breathing room or what?

4. Have any of you purchased a golf related item from an infomercial?

5. It's reported that Michele Wie will skip the spring semester to play golf. No way.

6. I played a well known golf video game online. I shot 65. The guy that beat me shot 43. Putt here, putt there.

7. Does anyone pay full price for golf shirts?

8. Does anybody hate Fred Couples?

9. I know a guy with a full size hitting net in his living room. Do you?

10.Seems like Mark Calcavecchia has it pretty good, huh? Nice mix of great career and regular guy living.

Til' next,

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The R&A, Golf's Guardian

The R&A, The Royal and Ancient, has ably accepted the responsibility for the rules and etiquette for our great game. They were spun off from The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews which is an actual functioning golf club seen in the photo. The R&A issues a free "Rules of Golf" available to download from their website. Since 1952 they've partnered with the USGA to insure the game's integrity. Reading the booklet is interesting, even to an avid golfer. All sorts of forehead slapping things are in there. For example, The R&A and USGA have agreed on a common ball size. It wasn't always this way. The ball may be no smaller than 1.680". It can however be as large as you like, as long as it doesn't exceed 1.62 ounces. For my game a larger ball would be easier to hit, but wouldn't go into the hole as easily. This is going to require some serious thought. I recommend at least a cursory glance. Truly, I suggest you have it in your bag. Win the Sunday morning wars. Another book available from The R&A is "Decisions on the Rules of Golf". It's in Q&A form with a more practical use. Worth a read as well.

The R&A, since 1920, has operated and administered The Open Championship, The Walker Cup, The Amateur Championship, and numerous other tourneys. If you notice, these events are so steeped in history and tradition that reading The Open Championship is enough to recognize it as The British Open. Nuff said I guess! Proceeds from The Open Championship, through the R&A Foundation, are distributed into maintaining junior golf programs, growing the game in emerging nations, and a host of course management efforts. Recent emphasis has been placed on ecological efforts and conservation related to golf course management.

The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, as mentioned previously, is a functioning golf club with over 2,400 members worldwide. You can reserve a tee time from their website.

The club officially dates back to May 14, 1754 when the first organized competition was held. Mentions of golf in local annals refer to golf as early as 1413. I wonder what the sheep thought when bothered by the first golfers. The club received it's "Royal" designation in 1834 by none other than King William IV. Six members of the royal family have served as Club Captain, a annual title for the Grand Poopah, for lack of a better term. A mention of the club is lacking without referencing Tom Morris, (1841-1913), aka "Old Tom". He returned to the club in 1864 as the "keeper of the green". In the middle of his job duties he also managed to be a renowned club and ball maker, and oh by the way, win 4 Open Championships. The original clubhouse was built in 1854. Many additions have made it the structure seen today. The original clubhouse however, is still part of the current building, buried inside.

It's valuable for the average golfer to at least peek at where this great game came from. I encourage you browse these sites and see if you find them as interesting as I'm portraying them

Til' next,

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Bob Hope Chrysler Classic - Blast from the past.

I'm not saying the PGA Tour needs more Pro/Am events, but this one's a gem. The Bob Hope Chrysler Classic offers a diversion for the serious golf fan and they've been doing it for 46 years. The five days, the celebrity format, the four different courses all add up to a unique event.

George Lopez, verified golf nut, and a pretty good stick, resurrected the event in the wake of Bob's death. He's the quintessential host, loved by all, but serious about maintaining the tournament. It's fun to watch him and his compatriots, Huey Lewis, Samuel L. Jackson, Yogi Berra, Alice Cooper, etc. hack their way around. I noticed that Kenny G. and Michael Bolton were playing. Do you think if they were paired together there would be monumental trash talking about who's the king of elevator music? Is it easy to picture Samuel L. pulling a 14th club (UZI) from his bag and vaporizing a rules violator?

All this harks back to yesteryear. Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Dean Martin, Palmer, Nicklaus, Doug "nice shoes" Sanders. The aforementioned pros all being past champions. And how do you forget David Duval's mind boggling 59 at PGA West in 1999? The top player's aren't showing up at recent events. Schedule overload is probably cited, but it would be great to see them return to an event that's like no other. Perhaps pollyanish on my part, I don't see a legitimate reason why a top 10 pro can't carve a week out of his dayplanner to keep the fires burning for the Bob Hope. It would go a long way toward humanizing some of the perceived robotrons on the tour. They don't need the money or exposure now like the old days. Fact of life, but sad. Pro golf is a machine that constantly needs feeding and it's diet is picked by accountants, marketing wizards, and agents. Enough melancholy.

In the same vein I watched Celebrity Golf with Sam Snead on the Golf Channel. This show's a hoot. Originally aired in 1960 it features Sam playing a celebrity for charity. 9 holes, match play with the celebrity handicapped. The episode I watched had Sam playing Dean Martin. Sam told Dean he'd be getting 4 shots for the match. Dean said he didn't drink during a match. Gee, did you see that coming? Still a riot considering the context.

I leave you with a Bob Hope quote. After a particularly exasperating round Bob turned to his caddy and said, "You must be the world's worst caddy." The caddy replied, "Oh no, that would be too much of a coincidence."

Til' next,

One last kudos to George Lopez for continuing a proud tradition.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


The 2008 PGA Merchandise Show is upon us. Jan. 17-19. All the latest and greatest weapons to aid the average golfer in attaining this year's goals will be on display. Then the ensuing ad blitzes will thrill our senses with tales of longer, straighter drives, more greens in regulation, radar putts, and more spin than a White House press release. Plus, how to look like Camilo Villegas despite a 42" waist and an Avodart script. Money fuels the fire and golfers are a great demographic. We'll belly up to the register more than most with a promise of shaving strokes or finally cracking the top 3 in the R flight of the club championship. Being an average golfer, who couldn't handle an extra 20 yards off the tee or second shots from the fairway? Polish the Mastercard. Taylor Made r7 SuperQuad, $399.00, Callaway Men's FT5, $429.00, (TGW). Farther and straighter and that's all it costs? While were at it, maybe some new irons, or at least a putter. They say most of my strokes are with the putter. Sounds plausible. ("Putting's not golf.", -Ben Hogan).

We've all made the plunge. I've had five drivers in five years. (Two of them I whittled myself.) It is true that a larger head, larger sweet spot, and proper launch conditions will show better results. Today's clubs, especially drivers, make the game noticeably easier, incrementally. Still, you with your clubs, Tiger with hickory shafts and balatas, for your house? You on? I would submit to you that the better bet is in another area.

The average golfer would see faster improvement with a little swing repair. How about some posture and ball position? Throw in a decent takeaway, some balance, weight transfer, and golly gee whiz, I just found out what a sweet spot does! Now that I found that infamous slot, stopped coming from so far outside I had to clear customs, I can take my chiropractor off the 5 spot on my cell phone. I can hit good shots consecutively, have my 2nd putt shorter than my first, and hold my own in the Sunday morning brag fest. All this with my old clubs. The clubs I was going retire to the garden to start tomatoes. I'm not advocating a ban on the sale of new gear. I'm merely suggesting that for the average golfer substantial, noticeable improvement can be made much faster and last much longer with lessons from a qualified PGA instructor. It's not the "quick fix" promise of new sticks, but sticks are a fleeting lover. Just ask my new favorite driver. Psst.... if you think this is all baloney, buy the driver, but wait.....a year, Taylor Made Men's r7 460, Orig. $399.99, Now $199.99.

Til' next

Sunday, January 13, 2008

NFL vs PGA Tour

A number of forces have come into play this weekend. I'm temporarily between careers, it's dead mid winter here, and my cable bill is paid. The abundance of time forces me to make huge decisions, all of which include me resting on my increasingly ample butt.

I guess you're either a Patriots lover or hater. I'm a hater. They're too good and they got caught cheating and Coach Bill rubs me the wrong way. Now, if he coached the Raiders ??? Tuning in to see if the Jags could make a game of it I was greeted by the dulcet tones of Phil Simms. Who does he have pictures of that put him in the booth? Sony Open 1, NFL 0. The remedy was to turn the sound off and put Chipmunks Christmas on continual loop on my stereo. Worked just fine! During commercials I flicked to TGC's Sony Open coverage. Amazingly KJ Choi hit the exact same approach shot on the same hole I'd seen yesterday. Yes, I was unemployed yesterday as well. It hit me, reruns of golf until 7:00 EST thru next Wednesday. The Patriots rose, the Jags petered, fresh golf prevailed.

As I write the song remains the same with a character change. My home state Giants, who I try to like, and the love/hate Cowboys. Troy Aikman in the Phil Simms role. This time I've reversed. I turned the picture off, but have the sound on in the background. Chipmunk photos on the desk so I can make a valid comparison. Aikman's marginally better than Phil. He's not as prone to making incredibly dumb sounding statements, but can hold his own. The game's close and should remain that way until final round coverage of the Sony. This sedentary life has moved the Vegas odds on me having a heart attack in the next month to 7/2. Bet early, bet often. Let me know what you watched and what you thought. Again, that's why I'm here.

Two things of note. Sort of in reference to my last column. The European Golf Channel has ceased broadcasting. (Digital Spy) Hey, easy now. Also, if you're a websurfer, is an interesting take on the golf world with a European slant. It makes for good diversion reading.

Til' next,


Friday, January 11, 2008

Golf Channel at 13

On January 17th the Golf Channel will celebrate it's 13th birthday. (The Golf Channel's launch on January 17, 1995.) Smack dab in the middle of adolescence. We all know what that age brings. Movement toward adulthood and maturity with ties to our childhood still tugging at our behavior. So, how do you think they're doing?

I became an avid golfer about two years after TGC began airing. I'd admit that watching the network was a factor in continuing with the game. I had played before, but that only meant whacking a ball around a couple of times a year with some rusting Wilson Staff butter knives that had been inherited from my dad. A successful day was if I could have one ball get more than three feet off the ground. My great buddy, Dean Miller, reintroduced me to golf and graciously sold me his original Cobra Oversize irons and woods. My oldest son is a decent player and still plays those irons. They were a real groundbreaking club whose influence is in every game improvement club on the market today.

Then I focused on the instruction available on TGC. It really appeared that someone was in my living room helping my swing. Wish I had taller ceilings. Golf Channel Academy on Monday nights was "can't miss" viewing. My VCR got a real workout. Which brings us to now, 13 years later. Granted it's difficult to air 24 hour programming for a network as specific as the Golf Channel. Imagine the Stamp Collecting Channel. So, the infomercials don't bother me and I realize money has to made. TGC signed a 15 year deal to broadcast certain PGA Tour events last year. The buzz on the street is that that results have been less than favorable. ( Golf Channel (up 33%))Pundits claim that swapping TGC distribution for ESPN's has made the product less available. I'm not so sure. It's available in 90 million homes and rabid golf fans tend to able to find golf programming. In addition, the demographic offered by golfers is a lucrative one and offsets availabilty to a measurable degree.

Signing Nick Faldo was a huge coup. He's better than I thought he'd be and my expectations were high. Nick's made a remarkable transition from golf legend/purported lout to a warm, informed, engaging host. Whatever he did, he should bottle it. I'd feed it to a few of my playing partners that think their Sunday round is a child of the US Open. I like Kelly Tilghman as Nick's foil and think she's rounding into the role nicely. Starting a PGA Tour telecast where one didn't exist is a work in progress. The BIG NETS have a national sports foundation in place and the logistics to not have to reinvent the wheel. Tournaments aside, Sprint Post Game and Golf Central are evolving in there own spaces. I don't relegate them to "must see" status, but enjoy them when I watch. They're growing in "network feel", the kind of familiarity and look that takes time to evolve.

What do you think? What's become of your TGC at 13? Where does it rank on your "must see" list. Let me know. That's why I'm here.

Til' next,


Thursday, January 10, 2008

Tilghman Silenced for Two Weeks.

Consequently, we have decided to suspend Kelly for two weeks, effective immediately.

There's your answer. Symbolic or not, Golf Channel justice has been handed down. Tiger's Woods management agency, IMG, issued a statement saying that Woods considered the matter to be "over". He and Ms Tilghman have a long history of friendship that obviously worked in her favor. Nevertheless, the echoes of her comments will last more than two weeks.

Anyone bothered by the Rev. Al Sharpton calling for her firing? Geez, if it were up to Al, nobody would have a job. Self-serving, sanctimonious drivel is now a career choice. If there were no microphones or cameras would the good Reverend exist? Something tells me though that his constant rantings are starting to erode in the public discourse. Boy who cried wolf syndrome. There's an excellent chance that our next president will be an African-American or a woman. Guess we've made some progress.

It must be uncomfortable being in Kelly Tilghman's shoes lately. I suppose that's how it should be and is a form of punishment of it's own. Is anyone other than me curious to see who's in her spot this week at the SONY?

No post yesterday. High winds and downed trees knocked the starch out of my internet connection.

Til' next,


Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Golf Channel Anchor's Comments

Golf Channel anchor Kelly Tilghman has apologized after saying during Friday's telecast of the PGA Tour's opening event that today's young players should "lynch Tiger Woods in a back alley."

As my grandmother would say, "What are we to make of this mess?" The rhetoric has started on the latest "Imus-like" remark made on air by a broadcaster. I'm sure there will be two distinct camps. The "she made a gaff, give her a break camp", and the, "fire her racist butt camp". Not a lot of middle ground.

In her defense Ms Tilghman has proven to be quite a Tiger fan over the years. Watching her coverage of Tiger could well have led one to believe she was on his payroll. Although I didn't watch all of Sunday's coverage it was reported widely that she offered an on air apology. Necessary, yes, but done all the same. I would guess also that her comment was referring to the only way to stop Tiger from winning on tour was to prevent him from playing. Devil's advocate says it's the word "lynch" and all it's connotations that makes this so egregious. Had she said "unlawfully detained" by young players we wouldn't be talking about this. Understand though, I don't mean to diminish the impact of this word to any African-American.

What to, what to do. Truth is, it's really not up to us. I suppose we'll see soon how the Golf Channel execs will react. They have a lot to consider. The words themselves and their impact on their business. The effect on their audience and the subsequent reaction. The viability of Ms Tilghman as a co-anchor for future broadcasts. It will all unfold in due time.

If it were me I'd side on giving her another chance. But it's not me and the horse is out of the barn.

Til' next,


Monday, January 7, 2008


I watched pieces of the Mercedes Benz Championship this weekend. The sun glinting from Chopra's hair was damaging my retinas. I looked outside for relief and was reminded there was 20 inches of snow on the ground. My golf season begins in perhaps April, but plugged balls in the fairway are expected until Memorial Day. If we have a dry spring. It wasn't always this way.

My friend Tom Vidulich, P.G.A. Professional, opened an indoor golf facility here a few years ago. He had a beautifully done golf center, complete with a range area, two state of the art simulators, teaching area with video, a short game section, beer, wine, and food. What else is there? In the winter with snow? Tom's place was THE hang out for my golf posse and me. You could hit a great shot on the simulator, walk three feet, open your beer and try the sandwich. It made getting in and out of a cart seem tiring. Unfortunately Tom moved to Louisville. He was back here for a visit this fall. I asked him if he missed being up north. He said no.

Without Tom in the winter I'm reduced to playing Goffle. It's played with Wiffle balls and a couple of those putrid, yellow, foam balls. The Wiffles are great off the tee and the foamies are better around the greens. Mine is a three hole layout. #1 starts in the kitchen, doglegs left into the dining room and an easy green. Good starting hole. #2 is the signature hole. Tee off up the stairs to a landing area that doglegs again left to a narrow hallway green that's trickier than it looks. The temptation is to hook your tee shot and fly both sets of stairs to set up an easy birdie opportunity. The risk is missing both stairs, have your ball roll back down, and essentially have three off the tee. The finisher is a mild dogleg right that ends in the master bedroom with one quirk. If the bathroom door is left ajar this hole can be a real beast. Reverse the order and that's six holes. Play it four times and there's your 72. I play it to Willie Nelson par though. When asked what par was on the course he owned, Willie said, "Whatever I shoot."

So, there you have it.

Til' next.... corr. Louisville for Nashville

Sunday, January 6, 2008

GOLF.....Sport or Game?

Game, sport? Guess it depends on who you are or what you think about yourself average golfer. Is riding in a cart for eighteen holes, smoking a pack of Marlboros and drinking a six pack considered a sport? No? What if while doing it you shoot 73? Now is it a sport? Forget the cigs and beer, how about this scenario? You ride in the cart and carry about 40 extra pounds and shoot 78. Your opponent virtually jogs the course covered with $500.00 worth of space age fabrics while carrying his own clubs held by an indecipherable bag strap that you couldn't get on your back for love or money. He shoots 96. Sport/sport? Game/sport? Game/game?

John Daly's won two majors. Most tour pros have to envy that accomplishment. Has the game for John ever been a sport? Doubt it. Has the sport for Woods ever been a game? Doubt it. Definitely not inside the ropes. There's a lot of wiggle room in golf. You don't have to be in fantastic, (or any kind of), shape to hit a great golf shot(s). It certainly helps to be in good condition, but it's not essential. Try tackling LaDainian Tomlinson at the goal line or dunking over LeBron without being in top shape. The beauty of golf is me, you, Tiger, Daly, and the mouthy obnoxious guy you keep getting paired with, can all stick a wedge stiff from 119, some more than others.

So, game or sport....depends and who cares?

Tune in next time average golfer for Game or Sport? Bowling, archery, pool.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Do you cheat?

Have you ever cheated average golfer? Rolled the bastard over? Kicked it? Propped it up on a tuft for a lie that's better than on a tee? OK, so have I. Why do we do it? We all know the rules of golf or can find them easily. Forget U.S.G.A. rules, the biggest cheater in your foursome is usually a rules expert. Just ask them.

At the course I belong to we play winter rules. We play winter rules in the summer when it's 85 deg. and the fairways are lush. The golfers at my course and so conditioned to winter rules that they probably wouldn't play without them. What possesses someone to cheat for a $5 Nassau and dollar skins? Seriously, I'm curious, help me out here. Cheating has kept me out of many tournaments. These are 4 person scramble tournaments with cash prizes in the thousands. You know the ones. I live in a relatively small area and know a lot of golfers. As a result I can see the pairings for these tournaments, look at the players, and can almost guarantee the top three finishers. One popular member at our club unabashedly announces in mid season that it's time to inflate his handicap and prepare to win cash. Golfers are taking numbers to have him on their team.

I'd love some feedback on how you feel about cheating. I can't get it from very many golfers I know because the subject seems to be taboo. What does that tell you? So, have you cheated, do you cheat now, and do you plan on cheating? What's the most creative way to cheat you've seen? If everyone in the foursome cheats, is that still cheating for you? Do you have a legit handicap? What's the difference between your actual handicap and what you tell people? Forget the PGA Tour. They virtually can't physically cheat, PEDs aside. I want to know if cheating at golf is as ingrained into the fabric of the average golfer as I think it is. Prove me wrong.

Til next, Bobbio

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Welcome Average Golfer, Day 1

Are you an average golfer? Be honest, nobody's listening. Of course you are. I'm an average golfer, a realization that's come slowly. The 2 or 3 "pro" shots I can hit per round had me convinced otherwise. The average golfer's handicap is 26, but if you ask the average golfer he's a 12. I'm an 8.
If I had better legs I'd be a 10.

I'd like this forum to be a gathering place for average golfers. Equipment, courses, lessons, PGA chatter, anything golf related for the average monkey like me and you. I have a ton of topics for discussion. I'm relying on you to provide even more. Tomorrow we'll start with cheating. Tonight we rest and think.

Thanks for checking out the site!

Swing hard, look up,