Monday, March 31, 2008

This Average Golfer Scooped By 6 Year Old.

The young man in the photo is Ian, my six year old nephew . I know, good looks run in the family. I'm his proud uncle with the golf blog that rants and raves ad nauseam. Ian's not much of a ranter or raver, but more of a doer. You see, Ian lives in southeast Florida, a wonderful location with lots of professional golf tournaments. His uncle lives near the Arctic Circle, where the golf season is measured in days. It so happens that the WGC-CA Championship came to Ian's general locale. My brother in law James, himself a certified golf nut, brought Ian to one of the early rounds. Fun, yes. Crowded, yes. Then a fortunate twist of weather fate provided the opportunity, a Monday finish. So, Ian and his dad returned to Doral to find that most of the spectators had gone home. They had the run of the place. An added bonus was the free admission. I've only had one free thing in my life. I won a puppy in eighth grade. Parents wouldn't let me keep it. It was raffled off again and won by my best friend. Back on track.....Ian, dressed in a red shirt and black shorts followed Tiger Woods as he completed his round. Thrill of a young lifetime.

Ian's had golf lessons. I had one golf lesson. The pro said he never had to say it before, but he couldn't help me. That might work to my advantage. If I ever get back down there, I wonder how many strokes Ian will have to give me. We could play for Legos.

A lifetime thrill for a wonderful young man. He's fortunate, as we all are, to live in the Tiger era and witness a rare talent. I wonder if he'll pass the story of that day down to his grandchildren.

Til' next,

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Romero Wins Zurich Classic of New Orleans, Cink Screwed

Andres Romero posted an early score at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans and no one could catch him . The Argentine shot a 68 today for a 275 total to best Australian Peter Lonard by a stroke. Tim Wilkinson of New Zealand was the show horse, a stroke behind Lonard. Romero penciled his score almost two hours before the rest of the field. He reportedly watched a movie, had a lesson from his teacher, and slept while awaiting the verdict. Woody Austin "choked" on the 18th to blow any shot at a win or playoff. Woody carded a seven on the par four having gotten stuck in the rough. Choke was Woody's word, not mine. Romero gained a spot in the Masters for his effort.

Stewart Cink's tournament was over long before he realized it. While speaking with Zach Johnson about bizarre golf rules, Cink related how the day before he'd taken a stance in a bunker to hit a ball outside the bunker. The result was he hit into another bunker. He then raked the sand in bunker #1. That was his downfall. Golf's rules say he was testing the conditions in a hazard by doing so. After consulting with a rules official he DQ'd himself. Yes, nice move in keeping with golf's traditions, honor and all. Average golfer says he was a victim of one of the myriad stupid, inane, bullcrap rules that golf holds so precious. There's too many of them. If a professional golfer doesn't know if he broke a rule on the same day it occurred, how would we know? Golf's rules are written in Martian. They even have a book of rulings to explain the rules! Golf is difficult enough without dragging that chain around. Simplify the rules, everyone wins.

Bubba Watson apologized for his on course tantrum. Evidently, it was done in the scorer's tent immediately after his round. Bubba had gone off on Steve Elkington over movement during his set up and swing. Shegeki Maruyama witnessed. You see Bubba out drives his playing partners by so much that when he's setting up to his second shot they're walking to their third. Nice move on Bubba's part. Right thing to do.

The Masters is coming, The Masters is coming.

Til' next,

Friday, March 28, 2008

Baird Leads Zurich Classic, Stanford Leads at Safeway International


Angela Stanford barely maintained her first round lead by a single, solitary stroke over Lorena Ochoa at the Safeway International. Stanford's spectacular opening round 62 pushed her ahead of the pack after yesterday's first round. Today the pack crept back. Ochoa's breathing down her neck after 65-67. Jee Young Lee is two back with a 134 total. Linked at 136 are Annika and Michele Redman. Again held at Superstition Mountain Golf & Country Club in Superstition Mountain, AZ, this tournament is shaping up to be the most watchable of the weekend. After carding a 62 and still only be leading by a stroke over Ochoa, Stanford must be scanning her rear view mirror. Being the defending champion here doesn't hurt Ochoa's chances either. Tune in to this one tomorrow. I've a feeling it will be won or lost in the 3rd round.


Briny Baird leads the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. (2 weeks til' the Masters) Baird holds a single shot lead over Peter Lonard and Jay Williamson. (2 weeks til' the Masters) Tommy Armour III, IV, and V, defending champ Nick Watney, and Shigeki Maruyama were knotted in a tie, two strokes off the lead. (2 weeks til' the Masters) First round leader Dean Wilson stepped on his d&*# with a second round 73, but is only three strokes out. (2 weeks til' the Masters) Notables who missed the cut include Steve Stricker, Chad Campbell, Mike Weir, Jim Furyk, and Davis Love III. If they were using this as a Masters tune up, it didn't work. (2 weeks til' the Masters)

I'll check in on the L.P.G.A. this weekend, but the men may lose me to Beverly Hillbillies reruns.

***average golfer little known golf fact alert***
The L.P.G.A.'s Birdie Kim changed her name to differentiate herself from all of the other Kims on the tour. Her name previously was Bogey Kim.

Til' next,

(2 weeks til' the Masters)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Shhh...... P.G.A. Tour Players at Work.

Find me a word that means more ridiculous than ridiculous. That's the word to describe the crime committed when any sort of noise is created within 500 ft. of a Tour player executing a shot. These guys can hear a fruit fly wearing bunny slippers land on an apple tree three fairways over. Obviously this topic is in the forefront after Tiger Wood's expletive laden rant last weekend because a camera clicked during his "transition". In Woods' defense, he has the largest galleries and therefore a greater chance of an incident like this happening. Still, I think it would bother my swing more knowing that as soon as the ball left my club face some moron in jeans shorts was going to yell "You Da Man !!!". Or my personal favorite from the tee box, "Get In the Hole !!!". I'd like to think that these highly skilled athletes, (weenies), who have hit millions of golf balls, would be immune to a little distraction. Furthermore, I don't recall any of these audio enhanced titans complain about noise after a great shot.

Let's add a little balance to the concept of a highly skilled individual's performance when subject to outside influences. I've thought of a few comparisons.......

1. World-class gymnasts. Through ferocious crowd and music noise, as well as camera flashes, they mange, for the most part, to not fall from 25 ft., land on their noggins and break their necks.

2. Jet fighter pilots. In spite of engine noise, wind, and a constant blabber on their headphones, they protect us from evil operating one of the most complex pieces of machinery known to man.

3. Surgeons. Some prefer music in the operating room. Chatter from the rest of the team, equipment, and monitor squeaks and hums don't prevent them from performing the most delicate of duties.

4. Policemen. Sirens, constant radio squawks, and gunfire are just some of their daily distractions.

5. Construction crews. Jackhammers. Enough said for this dangerous, yet precise profession.

6. Basketball players. Screaming, waving fans behind the backstop better not affect your free throw percentage.

7. Figure skaters. Can't have to be any more precise. All that with booming music, crowd noise and flash bulbs a poppin'.

I can cure any Tour player of their noise tolerance affliction. All they have to do is play with my regular group of average golfers a couple of times. If noise bothers Tiger and his buddies that much, my group would be in his wallet before we made the turn.

Til' next,

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

White Pants Must Go !

It appears the new fashion trend on the PGA Tour is white trousers. Here's the short list of golfers wearing white slacks during the WGC-CA Championship last week at Doral. Geoff Ogilvy, Adam Scott, (albeit with some kind of checkerboard deal), Louis Oosthuzen, yes that Louis Oosthuzen, Sergio, Rory Sabbatini, Lee Westwood, Paul Casy, Ian Poulter, Luke Donald, and Camilo Villegas, to name a few. White pants get dirty. White pants don't represent any kind of power. But mostly, we know what happens to white pants when they get wet. White pants have to go on the golf course. They're just too weird. White pants serve a purpose in society however, just not in golf. Men's golf. White pants are perfectly OK in ladies golf, when they're wet. To address the travesty I've started G.A.W.P., Golfer's Against White Pants. Send donations in care of the author.

Here's average golfer's definitive list of who can wear white slacks......

1. Nurses
2. Doctors
3. The person that made my doughnut.
4. Lab Techs
5. Veterinarians
6. EMTs
7. Ship Captains, thinkin' Love Boat here.
8. Painters
9. Midshipmen
10. First communion recipients.

Got any to add? Lay 'em on me. *(Photo depicts unacceptable use of white pants) Photo by Malingering.

Til' next,

Monday, March 24, 2008

Geoff Ogilvy - Last Man Standing at WGC-CA Championship

Australian Geoff Ogilvy survived the marathon and captured the 2008 WGC-CA Championship today. This after numerous rain and disappearing sun delays forced the Monday finish. A one under par 71 for Ogilvy was just enough for the victory, but a slim cushion between him and three players that finished a stroke back. They were Retief Goosen, Jim Furyk, and Vijay Singh. They all closed strongly with identical 68s, but fell a shot short. Perhaps the save of Ogilvy's round was a chip in for par on the 13th hole. He pulled a 2-iron badly left. His first chip from the inundated rough didn't reach the green. His second chip was semi -skulled, took a couple of bounces, hit the pin and dropped in. I think he bent the flag stick. Nifty par salvaged from almost certain bogey. This average golfer has that shot in his bag. I play it intentionally, but it's usually for double bogey.

Tiger Woods' streak of five consecutive PGA victories was ended. It could begin anew this afternoon though as the boys jetted back to Orlando for the Tavistock Cup, a neighborhood two day outing between the residents of Lake Nona and Isleworth. Don't ask me for any other details. Both those places sound too rich for my beer wallet. It should be noted though that a large amount of money ends up in charitable hands after this event. The Golf Channel has full coverage, which is better than infomercials. Next up this week is The Zurich Classic of New Orleans with Nick Watney defending. Yes, that Nick Watney. Will the players have to stay in trailers?

Til' next,

Sunday, March 23, 2008

2008 WGC-CA Championship - The Tournament That Wouldn't End.

I'm trying really hard to stay interested in this WGC event at Doral. For me it's become longer than 9th grade math. Rain, rain, rain, dark. What's next, locusts? The last tournament to be canceled by locusts was the 1976 Biblical Open in Tel Aviv. As I recall, the water hazards posed little difficulty, but the bunkers were bastards.

Geoff Ogilvy leads this thing at -17 through 9 holes. Two back are The Big Fijian and always spunky Jim Furyk. There's seven other players within 5 shots of the lead including Eldrick T. Woods. They plan on unraveling this baby starting at 8:30 AM tomorrow morning. Hopefully the weather cooperates and I can write about something else. I'm thinking dessert recipes would be a nice change of pace. Or doilies.

We Have A Winner!

Greg Kraft finished at 14 under par to win the PGA Tour's inaugural Puerto Rico Open held at Coco Beach Golf & Country Club. He edged Jerry Kelly and Bo Van Pelt by a single stroke in an event not marred by weather or darkness. It's a Fedex Cup event and gained Kraft a two year tour exemption. Kraft earned $630,000.00 for his efforts. Van Pelt had led after each of the first three rounds. Congratulations Greg.

I'll be working when they finish with the Blue Monster. Will someone else please step up and update this thing?

Til' next,

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Rain K.O.s WGC-CA Championship - Ogilvy Leads

Mother nature took down the Blue Monster today mid- way through the 3rd round of the 2008 WGC-CA Championship. Geoff Ogilvy leads at -14. Fellow Aussie Adam Scott trails by a single shot. At -11 stands Vijay , -8 on the round so far, Tim Clark, -7 on the day, and Tiger Woods, whose even par on the day has him moving in reverse. I imagine Woods is some kind of hoppin' mad at not being in red numbers when everyone else is playing this like a local muni. Others playing their way back into the tournament include Jim Furyk, -6 for the round, -10 overall, and Graeme Storm, -7 today, and -10 total as well. The Blue Light Monster was once again ready to be had. Minimal winds and ideal course conditions exposed the beast.

The third round will resume Sunday morning with the last group on the 11th hole. Tomorrow's forecast calls for likely showers and thunderstorms with a high of 76 degrees. I'd gladly trade that for the tundra here.

Average golfer's bizarre golf comment of the week. Courtesy of Johnny Miller, commenting on Sergio Garcia's new Stan Utley aided putting stroke. After observing a Garcia practice stroke, Johnny said, "I like the way the toe comes alive." Garcia proceeded to leave the six footer short. I suppose the toe needed to be a little more alive.

I wish NBC Sports would juggle their line up to show the tournament at the resumption of play. Today's round started early due to the impending weather. NBC chose to air on tape delay, which in my opinion is useless. That's like betting on highlights of the 2007 World Series. I'll take the Sox!

Til' next,

Friday, March 21, 2008

Ogilvy and Scott Sandwich Tiger for the WGC-CA Championship Lead.

Geoff Ogilvy and Adam Scott surrounded Tiger Woods after the second round of the 2008 WGC-CA Championship contested on the Blue Monster at Doral Golf Resort & Spa. Ogilvy's 67 left him at -12, a one shot lead over Woods. His last Tour win was the 2006 US Open at Winged Foot. Woods' 66 was one shot better than his round yesterday and featured a pair of eagles. He was remarkably 14 for 14 on putts inside of 10 feet. Scott managed a 68 despite finding water twice during his round. That left him two shots behind Woods and three off the lead at -9. There's a group of three players at -6, but this average golfer considers this to now be a three man, two day event. The rest of the contingent is so far off the pace that mentioning famous names at the bottom is the only attention getter here. So, here we go...........Els +5, Montgomerie +5.

Ogilvy and Scott are best friends as well as Aussie brethren. What are the chances they'll hatch a plan to flip a coin, with the winner continuing on, and the loser charged with Tiger distraction for the next two days?

The Blue Monster has been anything but so far. Light winds, compared to what they could have been, and cork board greens are what have the top players threatening to end up at 15-20 under par. Perhaps a name change is in order. Light Blue Monster? Periwinkle Monster? C'mon, help me here.....

Til' next,

Thursday, March 20, 2008

WGC-CA Championship, 1st Round - Doral Humbled.

The venerable Blue Monster was brought to it's knees today due to a birdie barrage from the world's best. Super receptive greens and relatively benign conditions made for the scoring fest. The lead is shared by Miguel, (Wily Spaniard), Angel Jimenez and Geoff Ogilvy at -7. Stewart Cink holds solo 2nd at -6 and five players, including Tiger Woods share 3rd at -5. Ten players are at locked at -4. I said yesterday that tournaments aren't won on Thursday, but can be lost. Notables among the lost are Colin Montgomerie, +3, Angel Cabrera, +3, Ernie Els, +2, and D.J. Trahan, +2. Making the cut is a lofty goal for anyone over par. All tallied there's 44 players under par, 11 at even par, and 25 over par at the end of Round #1. Go low or go home .

Players I mentioned in yesterday's post include Phil, -5, Adam Scott, -5, Sergio, -3, K.J Choi, -2, Justin Rose, -2, Steve Stricker, -1, Lee Westwood, -1, and Vijay, +1. Look for more siege mentality scoring tomorrow if the wind and rain hold off. These guys are too good when throwing darts at greens.

I offer no answer, but must I admit feeling bad for the last few groups that had to finish in a torrential downpour. I realize that lightning or flooded fairways and greens are the determiner for stopping play. Still, the way this rain hit was so fast that it altered playing conditions severely in a short period of time. A small portion of the field played their last few holes on a course much different from their competition. Also, being a limited field, perhaps some accommodation could have been considered.

It's a good start. I'm hoping for some wind to spice this baby up a bit. Tomorrow should be an interesting set up for the weekend.

Til' next,

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

WGC-CA Championship - 6 in a Row for Tiger at Doral?

I'm the first to jump on a bandwagon and the last to get off. I'm not big on uncertainty. This should be an ideal week for me then. Mr. Eldrick "Tiger" Woods has won the last three of these things and six of the total eight. Those are some odds. Five consecutive PGA wins to boot and it makes you wonder why they're even going through the motions. I guess the fact that 2nd place money is still a king's ransom is reason enough. Truth is, it's stellar field that I'll highlight in a moment. Let's just hope that some of the field are relegated to more than ankle biters.

Here's average golfer's best of the rest.......

Lee Westwood- Up to 11th in the world. Really salvaged a spiraling career. He can play.

Justin Rose- I was on the Rose bandwagon. I've got one foot out, but last chancing him.

Sergio- One name golfers are usually good. As one of his many putters go.....

Phil- Probably the best shot at Woods. Check the new physique.

Ernie- With the psycho entourage in tow, maybe. Expect him near the top on Sunday, then ???

Steve Stricker- Ranking is no fluke. Putter the key once again.

K.J. Choi- Great ball striker. Very consistent. Lotsa frequent flier miles lately though.

Rory- Truly playing well. Has the nads to stay in it. If he keeps it in front of him, perhaps.

Adam Scott- No reason not to. Tremendously skilled. If practice time equals grooming time in the run up, he wins.

Vijay- 9 lousy holes cost Vijay the win last week. One more week with the new swing changes will help. He can win this thing.

Tomorrow at this time will be interesting. Primarily because you can't win a golf tournament in the first two days, but you can lose one. Expect the wind to be a factor all four days at Doral. The rough is a reported 3" long and the greens should be an 11.5 on the Stimpmeter. Again thanks Mr. Stimpson. First name Homer I believe.

This week is another of the continuing World Golf Championships events. Or should I say Woods Golf Championships, since he's won 15 out of the 26 held. The only other players other than Woods to win this tournament are Mike Weir, (2000), and Ernie Els, (2004). Of no small consolation is that if this tournament lays an egg, March Madness is upon us!

Til' next,

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Funniest "Golf Guy" on the Web.

Let me start by saying I know funny. I know Letterman's funnier than Leno. I know Chris Rock is the funniest guy on stage since Richard Pryor. I know that Ron White is funnier than Larry the Cable Guy. Any arguments? Didn't think so. So believe me when I tell you, after exhaustive research, untold numbers of websites visited, that the funniest golf guy in cyberspace is Bob Smiley. That's the list.

Bob has many personalities. He's regular contributor to's golf coverage. He's appeared on The Golf Channel. He's writing a book due out in early 2009. Bob has the enviable distinction of having served as the late William F. Buckley's assistant in 2001, 2002. Yes Einstein, that William F. Buckley. A true Renaissance man is Bob. So, without further ado, I highly recommend you visit FORE RIGHT, A Golf Site For The Everyman. When I came across this site my first thought was to steal the title. As you can see, I took Bob's title, fed it some Slim-Fast and arrived at Average Golfer. I figured I best come clean in the event someone other than my family reads this. There's a conveniently placed link to your left should you end up here in the future.

Don't take my word for anything. Visit Bob's site and I dare you to tell me he's not laugh-out-loud funny and an insightful golf journalist.

Til' next,

Monday, March 17, 2008

Volviks, The Forgotten Balls.

Lost in a sea of Pro V1s and Nike Ones lies a ball with much less notoriety, but more panache than the big boys. I give you the Volvik Crystal. Soft feel, 70 compression, and the niftiest semi-transparent cover this side of Paris Hilton. Speaking of her tartness, some people will go to great lengths just to get in Wikipedia. Back to balls. I currently own two Volviks, one traditional white, one pink. I've never played a better ball. The unique shell makes it easy to find. Unlike premium balls, if anyone else finds it they give it back. I buy them for those reasons alone.

Volvik's headquarters are in Summerfield, FL and headed by the husband and wife team of Chuck and Delphia Womer. The have a cool little website highlighting their products. It's worth a look just to see the large amount of novelty balls they produce. The Crystal is the headliner though. It's available in ten stock colors and I'd bet they'd custom color them for you! Two piece balls they are with a three piece available as well for you golf snobs. I can assure you that this average golfer will be playing the Volvik exclusively this year if I can find enough of them.

On the subject of balls, Golf Magazine, February 2008, had the most exhaustive ball test I ever deemed possible. 54 balls, 15 devoted pages to decipher the best balls for all abilities. I'm smarter than the average bear, but I must admit that wading through this pseudo-science drivel made my hair hurt. Teams of NASA researchers couldn't have figured this baby out. So average golfer here is going to give you the real deal lowdown on golf balls.....

1. If your handicap is 20+ play the best ball you can find. Literally.

2. If your handicap is 10-20 play any mid-priced ball you can find. i.e. $18-$29.

3. If you're a single digit handicap you already know which $40+ ball you prefer.

Follow this. I promise you won't notice the difference between manufacturers. I know, y'all thank me in advance.

Til' next,

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Tiger Woods Birdies the 72nd Hole to Win Palmer Invitational - Game, Set, Match.

Tiger Woods jarred a 24 ft. downhill, sliding putt on the 18th hole of The Arnold Palmer Invitational to edge Bart Bryant by a stroke. It was the only putt over 20 ft. he made all week, but truly the one that counted. Bryant was the guy from the five-way tie at the start of the day that hung with Woods. He posted -9 in the clubhouse and this thing appeared headed for a playoff. In true Woods fashion though it wasn't to be. His victory tied Woods with Ben Hogan at 64 career victories apiece. Woods also extended his PGA Tour winning streak to five and he's perfect for 2008. Up next week is The WGC-CA Championship held at Doral Golf Resort. The defending champion is Guess Who?

I know Johnny Miller won't read this, but I'm growing weary of his frequent swing analysis. He had an outdated "legsy" swing that wouldn't hold up under today's requirements. When he was on he was on, but reliability in a swing with all that movement just wasn't in the cards. Case in point, his incredible runs and streaks, but no mentions of him in the same breath as the all time best. Don't get me wrong, I love his knowledge of the game and his preparation for events is legendary. His voice is pleasing enough. I think he's one of the best there is. It's his incessant swing analysis from a booth that irks me. Also irking me is the speed of Sean O'Hair. He's a great young player and seems to be a wonderful young man. Today was the first time I had the luxury of watching him. He's annoyingly slow. Not just putts, but even from the tee box. I gotta figure this doesn't help him. Too much time to think.

I handicapped Woods yesterday to win this thing. Tough call, huh? Hard not to bet on Secretariat.

Til' next,

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Arnold Palmer Invitational ....."and Down the Stretch They Come!"

The reigning Olympic S&M queen couldn't have tied this tournament any tighter. The planets were aligned to allow a precise series of events to take place and leave us with a five man logjam at the top. Bart Bryant, Sean O'Hair, Vijay Singh, Bubba Watson, and Tiger are locked at -6.

Different routes were traveled to arrive at the same spot. Woods found his putter, missing since Thursday. He immediately installed a GPS system on it to prevent a repeat. O'Hair shot a career round 63 to climb over what seemed like sixty other players and land squarely in first. Vijay shot 73 in Sybil-like fashion. 40-33 to hang on to a piece of the lead. His card looked like an average golfer's, just twenty strokes lower. Watson shot his third round in the sixties and he and Bryant, with his 3rd consecutive 68, arrived at the lead in the most conventional manner. To add to the clutter, there's 11 other players within three strokes of the lead, including Lehman, Westwood, Furyk, and Mahan. Freddy ballooned to a 78 today and I hope it's not back related.

Sunday should be interesting if nothing else. Heavy winds today redefined risk/reward. Still, as O'Hair showed today, low scores can be had. Just not for the faint of heart. This is the first five way tie on Sunday in the 30 year history of the Bay Hill tournament. If you're searching for a betting edge, Tiger is 42-3 with at least a share of the lead after 54 holes. He'll be in the final pairing with O'Hair, who won last week's PODS Championship for his second career win.

Tomorrow's forecast for Orlando is partly cloudy, 84 degrees and 10-20 mph winds. The weather won't be a factor. Expect a fast track at post time. There's no better finisher than Woods, so I expect he'll establish rail position coming out of turn 3 and sprint to the finish holding off a hard charging Singh or Watson. Long shots are Westwood and Furyk.

Til' next,

Friday, March 14, 2008

Vijay Leads Palmer Invitational - Feherty Hit By Truck

Vijay Singh hit the clubhouse today with a five under 65 and -9 after the second round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational. That left him two shots clear of Carl Pettersson. Ken Duke, Jim Furyk, and Lee Westwood were three back. Singh uncharacteristically had earlier gone four days without hitting golf balls due to a fierce stomach virus. If that works for him maybe the four months this average golfer has between sessions is ideal. First round leader Fred Couples struggled to a three over 73 that left him at -2 and tied with Tiger Woods, seven strokes off the lead. Sergio Garcia shot a nifty 66 to leave him at -4 for the tourney and 5 behind Singh. Tomorrow will show us if Singh can stretch his lead and win this tournament for the second year in a row, or if some of the other notables will wake up and give him some competition.

Feherty Hit By Truck While Cycling

CBS Sports golf announcer and laugh out loud funnyman David Feherty was hit by a truck while bicycling near his Dallas residence. He said he was pushed to the curb by the truck and struck by it's mirror. "He didn't want to hit the car on the left, so he ran over the cyclist on the right." Feherty was quoted as saying. He acquired three broken ribs and a punctured lung for his trouble, but is expected to make a full recovery. He's on hiatus until the Masters.

Now I feel terrible for Mr. Feherty, but in a fight trucks have a distinct advantage over bicycles. I know bicycles have the same rights on the road as eighteen wheelers, but from a practical standpoint, it's a mismatch. Here's an idea for cyclists. How about bicycling, uh, gee, hmm.... on a bike path? In a park, or even a parking lot? Or, how about cart paths at a golf course? I love Feherty and truly am glad he wasn't more seriously injured.

Tune in tomorrow and see how the Palmer takes shape.

Til' next,

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Couples Leads the 1st Round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational

As good as this sounds, it would be even sweeter to hear on Sunday. In case you haven't guessed, I'm an unabashed Fred Couples fan. His seemingly effortless swing has been the pinnacle for me for a long time. Throw in the fact that he appears to be a genuinely good guy and you have someone for the average golfer to follow. Showing signs of the "Boom Boom" of old, Fred fashioned a smooth 65 to finish in a tie with J.J. Henry at six under 65. Notables one stroke back include Tom Lehman, Vijay Singh, and Lee Westwood. Fred had gained notoriety of late for being named President's Cup captain in 2009. I think it's a superb choice and it's equally great to see him perform well in a tournament. Career long back problems have prevented us from seeing how great Fred could really be. Let's hope the back doesn't let him down this week.

The worm problem at Bay Hill doesn't seem to be affecting play. Most players claimed that the damage was noticeable, but nothing that couldn't be handled by making some adjustments. That explains the cans of "Worm Be Gone" I noticed most caddies carrying.

Til' next,

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Daly Dumped By Harmon, DQ'd by Palmer Invitational

This is a report I'd rather not post. The train wreck named John Daly has had a tough couple of days. He woke up yesterday to read that Butch Harmon had jettisoned him because he wasn't serious about rehabbing his game. He said that Daly was more intent on getting drunk than repairing his game. I suppose Butch's phone was broken? Then, after playing in the Monday pro-am, Daly began to experience a bizarre series of events that led to his disqualification from the 2008 Arnold Palmer Invitational for missing today's pro-am. Let's see if we can make even a modicum of sense from the madness.

Daly claims he was given the wrong information regarding his Wednesday pro-am tee time, a snafu that led to the disqualification of Nick O'Hern and Ryuji Imada as well. Daly claims he requested to play the Wednesday pro-am and called Tuesday for his tee time. He said he mistakenly was given 9:47 AM, which was his Thursday tournament, first round time. O'Hern and Imada thought they were afternoon alternates for the pro-am. When they were called to play because Daly didn't show, due to the tee time error for the pro-am, they weren't at the course and were disqualified as well. Still with me? I don't understand how Imada and O'Hern were supposed to know to be at the course as AM alternates when they were told PM. I'd be filing some sort of grievance if it were me. Perhaps a players union conversation will be resurrected. If all this escapade is true then it's a Keystone Kops situation for O'Hern and Imada fostered by the PGA Tour. Daly said he called Mr. Palmer, apologized, and things were patched up. Nobody ever accused Big John of not being gracious. I don't think O'Hern or Imada are quite ready for the apologies though.

Which leads to the question, what to do about Big John? We over idolize athletes in our country. They face the exact same problems we do. Family crises, substance abuse, depression, and the whole gamut of life's negatives. For us, average golfers, our trials aren't played out on the public stage. Added to that, it must be a difficult time to be a PGA Tour player in your forties. The Champions Tour is too far ahead and your skills have naturally deteriorated. The exception is a worker like Vijay, but he's an aberration, albeit a great one. It's too easy for me to say that Daly's lack of effort and potential substance abuse problems put him where he is today. I'm not privvy to his personal life, but an educated guess would lead in either, or both directions. It's just sad. Big John's "everyman" persona, combined with 320+ yard drives is a joy to behold. For his sake I hope he gets a handle on himself. I hope I can root for him again on a golf course. Right now he's made it impossible.

Til' next,

Monday, March 10, 2008

2008 Arnold Palmer Invitational, Let the Season Begin.

Thursday marks the start of the golf viewing season. The golf playing season, after this weekend's despicable weather, looks like a mirage. Anything with Arnie's name on it is probably worth watching. His class and lifelong contributions to the game make him the icon of all icons.

The timing is important. There's been enough events for every player to shake off the rust, implement swing changes, and generally have their games in order. No excuses now. The Masters is now within "talking about" distance and some players are trying to fight their way in to that limited field. Tiger's here, Phil's here, Sergio's here, Vijay's here, and Ernie's not here. Ernie's citing fatigue. I'll take him at his word, but would love to answer if he were to ask me how fatigued I am before going to work tomorrow.

It's a 120 player invitational field highlighted by Woods, four time winner, and Vijay, defending champion. Other name players include the aforementioned Mickelson, Woody Austin, Retief Goosen, Chucky Three-Sticks, and previous winners Tim Herron and Fred Couples. Notable sponsors exemptions were granted to Colin Montgomerie and John Daly. I truly have to wonder when tournaments will stop prostituting themselves by offering Daly exemptions. His recorded 78-80 at last week's PODS Championship wouldn't get him a scramble invite at my course. He obviously doesn't care about his game, so why should they? Oh, eureka! That money thing. He's still a big draw. That fact that he's self destructing and missing more cuts than a broken lawn mower doesn't matter. Even if he plays well and makes some money, his Tour status is so low it doesn't really gain him anything. It's just a few extra dollars to blow on a past, current, or future wife, while keeping a hard working young pro from playing this week.

This is the 30th playing of the event. The Bay Hill Club is the familiar host. Unfortunately, an infestation of microscopic "nematodes", has attacked the greens at Bay Hill. The Tour released a statement to all players saying that green conditions may less than expected. Nematodes are "tiny" worms, not Dennis Rodman. Greens have been sod plugged, but that results in new grass which is noticeably harder to work with than mature grass. I just hope they're fair and playable enough to not be a factor in the tournament.

Sit back and enjoy this weekend. Between the strength of the field and Arnie it should be worthwhile. To those of you in climates where you're already golfing......."A pox on you."

Til' next,

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Putters......"Be the Right One Today"

There's only two clubs in the bag that can create any real emotion. One hits it the farthest and the other the least. All the in between clubs are necessary but bland. 1, 2, and 3 irons are finally heaped in the back of the garage for most average golfers. Pride kept them in way too long. Hybrids are like mopeds, fun to ride as long as no one's watching. Wedges are all the rage for the wrong reasons. I carry four wedges because Tom Watson does, or did, or maybe it was Tom Kite. I pack a 54, 55, 56, and a 57 degree. With four different swings and four wedges I have sixteen different ways to skull a pitch inside of 30 yards. None of my wedges have much bounce, although I've noticed they bounce better on grass than on pavement. Irons are irons. Blades or cavity or some combination thereof. Nope, it's the driver and the putter that force grown men to belly crawl back to the cart. Today we're once and for all going to identify the last putter you'll ever need. If it ain't in here, you don't need it.

1. The Taylor Made Rossa Monza Spider

Damn, sounds more like a Formula I car. The advertising says it has wings. Gee, even tampons can come with wings I think. The manufacturer lists MOI, MWT, and CG as being strong attributes. I'll wait until I can get ABS and GPS. I think my insurance company will discount my policy with ABS. It's hard to describe this beast without the photo. Go ahead, try to describe it in your head. You tried it didn't you? This monstrosity reminds me of the book "The Emperor's New Clothes".

2. The inspiration for the Rossa Monza mentioned above. Simple and elegant. Appears to be able to be used conventionally or as a belly or chin putter. Ambidextrous, lefties would be equally comfortable with such a timeless design. Not ostentatious or forbidding to your fellow golfers, it screams practicality. Even more so it screams......."Pay me!"

3. My previous putter. A classic implement in the spirit of the original Bullseye putter. No wasted motion with this baby. Genuine wood shaft rings nostalgic. Huge sweet spot makes it near impossible to miss the ball regardless of the putt you're faced with. The unique handle design allows for a firm, steady grip resulting in uncanny accuracy. The putter can perform double duty in the bunkers in case you need to move a lot of sand. One negative is the difficulty in finding a head cover. Fortunately with Teflon coating it's not a necessity.

4. My current putter. Well, I wanted a putter like Tiger's. He's a pretty good putter I've heard. Since putting requires almost no physical effort, I knew it wasn't him, but the putter. I called Scotty Cameron repeatedly since I'd heard he'd crafted Tiger's putter. The cease and desist notice didn't register with me, but when the FBI called I chose to take one off the rack. It's been a fine club. My putting stats have improved considerably. As an aside, I've tried to insure that more of my 1st "putts" are from the fringe. They don't count as putts. I'll give you that tip gratis!

One of these beauties has to be your last putter. Test drive them all. Putters are a lot of things to a lot of people. Glad I could help. From an average golfer for an average golfer.

Til' next,

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Fire Your Caddie? Makes Almost No Sense.

This has always baffled me. Then again, I'm easily baffled. What on God's green earth would be a valid reason for a professional golfer to fire their caddie other than the few obvious ones. For example, not showing up at the first tee, running out of balls, having two drivers and 15 clubs in your bag at The Open Championship, (Ian). His caddie, Miles Byrne was not fired after the "two drivers" incident. That came two weeks later at the Scandinavian Masters when he failed to show for Woosnam's tee time. Hence the caddie mantra, "Show up, keep up, shut up", and count my clubs, I only have ten digits.

For the most part here's a guy/gal that's willing to schlep your 40 lb. Tour bag for five miles. Up hills, down hills, 30 deg., or 95 deg. Sounds like a freakin' llama. That in itself is a greater athletic feat than the player is going to perform. If it rains they're going to keep you and your bodacious bag dry. Your balls will be laundered, frequently. You'll be encouraged and cajoled with the respect you expect being the prince/princess that you are. You are given precise yardages from all over the golf course property in case a camera click forces you to Captain Kirk your tee ball. (Gone where no ball's gone before). If you win, the caddie played no part. If you lose, he misclubbed you all day. And...if you lose he gets 10% of zilch.

I would suggest that if a professional golfer hires a caddie to begin with, he's probably checked him out. Is he a good caddie? Is he a decent guy? How's his breath? How shiny can he get my balls? That being said, there aren't any valid reasons, other than the aforementioned cardinal sins, for handing them pink slips. Any pro golfer that allows his caddie to choose a club or make a shot decision is a moron. If you going to do that then hand him a club and let him hit the shot. I realize there are long standing golfer/caddie relationships that prosper for many years. Tom Watson and Bruce Edwards come to mind first due to the tragedy they endured and the obvious connection they shared. On many more occasions though it seems like caddies are treated like good luck charms. "Toss that stinkin' ole' caddie and maybe I can start making some cuts."

The guys I golf with would love to have caddies. We'd treat then with the respect they deserve. Shoot, every other round we'd turn the clubs over to them so they could play and we'd caddie. The only thing we couldn't do is pay them. So, next time you watch TV golf pay a little extra attention to the caddies. Without them a professional round would take 8 hours, 2 hours longer than it seems to take now.


In one of the few instances where a caddie fired his player, Matthew Tritton pulled off his bib on the 16th tee in the 2nd round of the 2007 BMW Championship at Cog Hill. He then rifled the yardage book at Robert Allenby and proceeded to leave the course. Something he said I suppose. There must be a common denominator involved since this wasn't the first time a caddie had pink slipped Allenby.

Til' next,

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Hey Phil, I Can Help!

Let me preface that Phil Mickelson doesn't need a lot of help. If he played in a Tigerless era he'd have been the #1 player for quite some time. He has Majors under his belt and truck loads of cash. He's universally recognized as one of, if not the, most talented players in golf history. His swashbuckling style has equally caused problems and created opportunities. I for one love to watch him play and wouldn't want to see a more "conservative" Phil. That being said, I've watched enough of Phil to finally realize one simple thing that has consistently made him Tiger's bridesmaid.
It's the WATCH! Athletes don't wear watches on the field unless they're marathoners. Eli Manning didn't wear a watch in the Super Bowl. LeBron James doesn't wear a watch while dunking. Major League baseball players wear tons of nugget necklaces, but no watches. Secretariat was never spotted on the track with a watch. Jewlery has it's place. C'mon Phil. Sport the Rolex at the trophy ceremony or the Champions Dinner at the Masters. Satisfy the sponsor with a logo on your cap, shirt, pants, or sweatband. Think back to the playground. What did we do to kids that wore watches during pick up games? We buried 'em, but only after unimaginable ridicule.

This one's easy and on me Phil. No more Harmon. No sports psychologists. Not one more measly range ball. Wanna beat Tiger? Lose the watch.

Another watch wearing pro golfer.
'Til next,

Ochoa Vaporizes the Field at HSBC Women's Champions

Lorena Ochoa made mince meat of a stellar field to win the HSBC Women's Champions by an alarming 11 strokes in Singapore today. Being a four round event and including names like Sorenstam, Creamer, Webb, Pettersen, and Inkster, the tourney had a "Major feel", at least until the opening tee shot. Ochoa led the entire way and just kept increasing the distance between her and the poseurs. In her first tournament since last November and she barbequed the field by an amazing 11 strokes. She was the only one to post four rounds in the 60s, closing with a final round 68. It was her 18th L.P.G.A. victory and worth $300,000.00. Perhaps with the dollar concerns she elected to get paid in pesos.

It's really hard to picture anyone challenging Ochoa any time soon. She was routinely driving her ball 30 yards past Annika, who's no slouch off the tee. That's three club difference and a huge advantage for getting approach shots close enough to make putts. All this, and when interviewed she claimed to have spent her off time working almost exclusively on her short game. I realize it's a little early to predict the entire season, but if this performance is any indication, the real tournaments on the L.P.G.A. Tour this year will be for second place.

Til' next,