Friday, October 31, 2008

David Duval Rises at Ginn sur Mer Classic - Hull Paces Hana Bank KOLON Championship

"Duval contends." How good does that sound? David Duval, former world #1, has endured years of struggles of various types to attempt to regain the form that made him a world #1 and chief Tiger Woods contender. It's very difficult not to root for a guy that has persevered and worked hard to be the golfer we remember. Certainly not the most verbose pro, Duval nevertheless has keen insights on the golf world when questioned properly. His reticence seemed to be more derived from his quiet persona rather than star dust. I, for at least one, am unabashedly pulling for a Duval win and the additional chances he'll receive. He's done it the right way.

The news. Ryan Palmer leads the Ginn sur Mer Classic after the second round. Palmer's

Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open - Round Two
standing at 143rd on the tour money list will make his weekend interesting. His -6 total is a single shot clear of Peter Lonard, Robert Allenby, Ken "of Hazard" Duke, and Michael Letzig. One more back at -4 stand the aforementioned Duval and John Huston. Play was suspended today with a sprinkling of players left on the course, none threatening the leaders.

In odd tournament news..... "sur Mer" means "by the sea" and defending champion Daniel Chopra was inexplicably alone in last place after carding 81, 79.

Hana Bank KOLON Championship

Katherine Hull's -6 lead the way in the Hana Bank KOLON Championship in Incheon, South Korea. I'll let The Constructivist at Mostly Harmless detail the action in his inimitable style. No one pens women's golf with such passion and precision.

Til' next,

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Average Golfer Detour - Why We Read/Write Blogs

I had the luxury of some free time to catch up on some reading this week. I was attending an employer seminar and found myself in a hotel room with the TV remote and some neglected reading material I'd brought for the occasion. Knowing that the risque movie rentals would show up on my travel voucher, I opted for the printed word.

In the November 2008 issue of the Atlantic magazine I tripped over an article by Andrew Sullivan titled Why I Blog. Mr. Sullivan, in addition to his assigned duties at the Atlantic, maintains a couple of blogs in his "free" time. This particular article caught my fancy since I've recently asked myself the question, why do I blog? Vanity insists that I'm still quite fascinated that anyone would choose to peruse what I offer up. The numbers, albeit minuscule, are steadily climbing, so I'm happy to continue and develop my slant on the golf world, with an occasional side track for good measure.

Please, read Mr. Sullivan's take on the blogosphere and see if it doesn't hit the same familiar chords that it did with me. My guess would be yes or you wouldn't be right here, right now to begin with.

Til' next,

Sunday, October 26, 2008

- Average Golfer Hiatus -

Yes, I know it will be tough without the witty repartee, but Average Golfer will be silent until Oct. 31, 2008. Hey, stop that clapping !! Employer business sends me away until Halloween. Between the meetings and the requisite "networking", there won't be time left to pontificate. Frankly, there ain't that much going on in the golf world. We're still weeks away from the meat of the Silly Season!

See y'all on Friday.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Sutherland Leads After 3rd Round of Open - Go Low or Go Home.

The top eight players after the third round of the Open have posted 24 rounds between them. 23 are in the 60s. Par is irrelevant at Grayhawk Golf Club as "bubble pros" and old favorites compete for their playing rights in 2009. Near perfect playing conditions and a relatively easy set up have brought on this weekend's annihilation of par.

Kevin Sutherland's scorching 63 today left him at -14 for the tournament and with a one stroke cushion over George McNeill. The trio of Steve Allan, Paul Goydos, and John Mallinger were two back at -12. Woody Austin and Cameron Beckman were an additional stroke back at -11.

Defender Mike Weir is the proud owner of three rounds in the sixties, 66, 68, 69. That and $4.50 will get him a latte at Starbucks. He's tied for 24th spot. Davis Love III is Weir's suite mate 1n room #24th spot. That should be enough though to get him off the infamous bubble, spot #125 on the money list, and give him a little breathing room in the battle for tour status. It's true Love has career achievement status, but I'm sure he'd rather play his way back after an injury wracked recent past.

Get out your red pencils! There's no reason to believe the assault on par will stop tomorrow.

Til' next,

Friday, October 24, 2008

Ballesteros' 3rd Surgery, "Better Than Expected".

In hopefully the best save of his life/career, Seve Ballesteros underwent his 3rd surgery in two weeks today to remove a cancerous brain tumor. Reports from LaPaz Hospital in Madrid, Spain said the 51 year old's procedure went "better than expected" and the rest of the tumor was removed. The hospital added that he would be "under close observation for 48 hours in the intensive care unit".

This latest move was designed to relieve pressure from Ballesteros' brain and excise the remaining bits of the cancer. This is probably the best outcome anyone expected, although the golf great is still a far cry from being out of danger.

Perhaps Crown Prince Felipe said it best. "Today we remember Seve Ballesteros with special affection and concern," As he himself said, he is playing the game of his life at the moment."

Godspeed Seve !

Til' next,

Ballesteros Having 3rd Surgery.

Reportedly, as this is being posted, golf great Seve Ballesteros will be undergoing his 3rd brain surgery after the discovery of a brain tumor. This third procedure is designed to remove the remaining parts of the malignant growth deep inside his brain. LaPaz Hospital in Madrid, the treating facility, described the surgery as being "of great complexity". The previous two surgeries were to identify the tumor and relieve pressure.

Seve was admitted to the hospital on Oct. 6 and ten days later a good size portion of the growth was removed. Before today's operation his condition was portrayed as stable, but serious.

The entire golf world is rallied around Seve in hopes of his recovery. Let's join the concerned and wish for a complete comeback for one of golf's more revered icons.

Buena suerte Seve.

Til' next,

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Oh.......That Open.

Now I'm positive I must be living in my own little corner of the world and the rest of it is passing me by. Until I Googled it I truly had no clue what was. The strange thing is that for some time I've recognized the tournament name, but couldn't have guessed their business for love or money. Especially love. For the undereducated minority like me, is an obviously rather large online retailer of everything electronic. Everything from computers to cameras to health and beauty electronics festoon their site. Wait a cotton pickin' second! Health and beauty electronics? I don't believe I want to know.

Mike Weir defends the Open at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, AZ. Oh, unless you were there today you missed the $4,500.00 pro am. There's always next year. Sign up early and often. 86 degrees at Grayhawk today as of 5:30 PM, PST. Snowed here.

Pros working hard to keep their playing privileges is the theme this week. The boys in and around the bubble were mentioned here at Average Golfer in a recent post. So, let's focus instead on some of the more notables;

  • Woody Austin - Still a crowd favorite. Go Woodman!
  • Aaron Baddeley - Home course advantage.
  • Tim Clark - World class, still swinging away this late.
  • Steve Elkington - Former world class.
  • Tommy "Two Gloves" Gainey - My favorite double Michael Jackson player.
  • J.J. Henry - Has game to reach top tier. Waiting.
  • Tim Herron - Personal favorite. Figure if he can do it, so can I.
  • Lee Janzen - Blast from the past. Prepping for Champions?
  • Tom Lehman - Must just love it. Why else?
  • Davis Love III - Comeback trail, the hard way.
  • Rocco - Only one-named golfer in the field.
  • Sean O'Hair - On the cusp. Step behind Kim, Villegas, et al.
  • Jesper Parnevik - Jesper, got any more nannies?
  • Rory Sabbatini - Been uncharacteristically quiet on and off course.
  • Kevin Streelman - Just a win would cap fantastic rookie campaign.
  • Kirk Triplett - My favorite bucket hat golfer. Saw him in person. He's really tall.
  • Bubba Watson - My 2nd favorite Watson.
  • Mike Weir - Classy, defending, Canadian. Against all odds.
  • Dean, Mark Wilson - They got special dispensation to turn in two man scramble scores.

There ya' go. From where I sit, any golf is good golf when it's snowing on my porch.

Til' next,

Monday, October 20, 2008

P.G.A. Money Bubble a Moving Target.

After last week's Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospital for Children Open, or commonly referred to as the JTSHFCO, Davis Love III finds himself on the bubble, the 125th man on the money list for exemption on the 2009 PGA Tour. Love III has other options to play in 2009 due to his career achievements, but he's the bubble boy nonetheless. Tour rookie Marc Turnesa won the event going wire to wire for his 1st tour victory. He became the 4th rookie to win on tour this year. Let's look at what happened to last week's 11 players on and around the dubious bubble.....

120 Jeff Overton - Now at 122.
121 Brad Adamonis - Moved to 113th position.
122 Patrick Sheehan - Slipped to 124.
123 Jay Williamson - Down to 127.
124 Vaughn Taylor - Fell to ominous 126th spot.
125 Martin Laird - 128th, gave up bubble spot to Love III.
126 Matt Jones - 129th.
127 Jason Gore - Big fella dropped to 130.
128 Rich Beem - 133 for Beemer, wrong direction.
129 Tom Lehman - Not playing sent him to 134th.
130 Jason Day - Aussie down 1 to 131st.

Adamonis was the only one of the eleven to make a positive move. A couple of familiar names are now occupying the spots in and around the infamous bubble. David Toms has managed to fall to 120th and Mark Calcavecchia owns the 123rd spot.

Next up in the quest to keep their day jobs is the Open, Oct 23-26 at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, AZ. Grayhawk is golf commentator Gary McCord's home course. Why I mentioned that is not readily apparent. Mike Weir defends.

Til' next,

Friday, October 17, 2008

Why P.G.A. Tour Players Will Vote For McCain.

Simple, the money. Follow the money. The enviable income of a top PGA Tour pro serves as a great example of what will happen with Barack Obama's proposed tax plan. For an example let's look at this week's tournament, the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospital for Children Open. The winner receives $738,000.00, a good chunk of change, but by no means on the higher end of the PGA scale. Obama proposes a minimum 39% federal tax whack from that guy's wallet. The winner's best case scenario after paying Uncle Sam leaves him with $450,180.00. Still not chump change, but pay the caddie his 10% winning fee. Now it's $376,380.00 after tipping his Tonto $73,800.00. Next in line are the state and local tax collectors. We'll figure 15% to be fair and advise him to move to a state with no income tax like many have done. $110,700.00 to the locals leaves the poor bastard with a measly $265,680.00 minus his instructor, psychologist, accountant, media rep, hotels, planes, day care and golf balls. Oops, balls are gratis.

I'm not advocating that we feel too sorry for the poor pro. I'm just pointing out what paying taxes will be like in the higher echelon of earners. $738,000.00 just doesn't go as far as it used to. Additionally, don't be so sure that you'll escape the tax grab because you don't make near as much as Joe Pro. Obama said 95% of the population won't have their taxes increased. What he didn't say was that 30-40% of Americans don't pay ANY taxes at all. So, the 5% that will get hiked may just include you as a part of the now smaller tax paying pool.

I'm not endorsing any candidate. In fact, I'm still among the undecided. I haven't made $738,000.00 yet this year so my choice isn't as clear. I'm just trying to shed a little light on the stupefying numbers we see everyday and show how they relate in the real world.

Til' next,

Go Red Sox !!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Ballesteros Reported Stable After Brain Surgery

Madrid, Spain - Seve Ballesteros, Spanish golf legend, is in stable condition following a 12 hour surgery to remove a brain tumor, his Spanish doctors reported today. The 51 year old has been hospitalized since last week after suffering dizziness and loss of consciousness. "The operation, with the objective of a resection of the detected brain tumor, started at 9:00 AM and concluded without complications," a statement from LaPaz Hospital read.

A resection serves to remove as much of the tumor as possible before the next line of treatment, either radiation or chemotherapy. The results of the intended biopsy were not immediately released. The hospital added that Ballesteros was conscious, in stable condition, and had been moved to the intensive care unit.

Seve has won five major championships including three Open Championships and two Masters championships. His tremendous appeal has any fans of golf worldwide wishing and praying for his recovery.

Til' next,

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

PGA Tour "Bubble Boys" Migrate to Las Vegas

The ultimate in "pay for play" moves to Las Vegas this week for the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospital for Children Open. As I said recently, this tourney is in desperate need of an acronym. For a hilarious read on acronyms try Heather's Jones' golf blog, Real Women Golf, for her article on just that subject.

Martin Laird is the week's official bubble boy sitting right in the lucky 125th on the money list spot. Counting Martin, the five players above and behind him leaves eleven golfers precariously close to keeping their jobs. Of those eleven, ten are teeing it up in Vegas on Thursday at the TPC Summerlin. The barely in and the almost in are.....

120 - Jeff Overton
121 - Brad Adamonis
122 - Patrick Sheehan
123 - Jay Williamson
124 - Vaughn Taylor
125 - Martin Laird
126 - Matt Jones
127 - Jason Gore
128 - Rich Beem
129 - Tom Lehman, (not entered)
130 - Jason Day

Overton's played well of late. Adamonis was a contender earlier in the year. Williamson landed in the last seat to the Open Championship. Taylor's been hanging around the "number" for quite some time. Jones made a splash in the Florida swing. Beem is Beem. Jason Day was a projected wonder kid. Still could be.

Also on display will be notables Woody Austin, John Daly, Freddy Couples, last week's winner Zach Johnson, Davis Love III, Rocco, and Mike Weir. Reagarding Weir, it was just called to my attention that his full name isn't Canadian Mike Weir.

*Average Golfer reason to watch.... Any chance of a replay of the JT/Janet Jackson Superbowl wardrobe malfunction?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Seve Ballesteros Says He Has a Brain Tumor.

Seve Ballesteros, one of golf's most endearing legends, has announced he was diagnosed with a

brain tumor. A biopsy is scheduled for Tuesday to determine a course of action to attack the intruder. Ballesteros was quoted as saying on today he was in for the "hardest challenge" of his life. "Once I had been able to inform my three children personally and their mother, I can now communicate to you the illness I am suffering from," Ballesteros said. "After an in-depth check up which has been carried out on me in the La Paz Hospital they have detected a brain tumor."

Seve had been admitted to the hospital last Monday after having lost consciousness. The Tuesday procedure should give his doctors a much better idea as to the extent of the danger and a plan on how to procede. In true Seve spirit he issued this quote as well....."I have always shown my solidarity with those people who face illness, including those whose (illnesses) are much worse than mine, now my wish is to ask for respect towards my family and especially my children. We will keep you informed."

Known for inimitable panache and style, one can just picture Seve giving this illness the fight of it's life rather than his. Ballesteros imagination, passion, and emotion on the golf course will serve him well in this battle. Let's all say a prayer for his speedy and complete recovery. If you don't pray, then do whatever you do to send best wishes his way.

Zach Johnson Rustles Valero Texas Open

After a mediocre year at best by his standards, Zach Johnson, former Masters champ, captured the Valero Texas Open today and ensured himself a spot in Maui this January. His 64 today left him at -19 for the tourney, a two shot cushion. This was Johnson's 4th tour win. He survived Charlie Wi's final round phenomenal 61 that left him in a three way tie for 2nd with Marc Wilson and Tim Wilkinson at -17. Justin Leonard, four time winner of the event and defending champion, ended his weekend in a tie for 11th spot.

Kudos to Johnson, one of the tour's good guys. Next up for the tour boys is the Justin Timberlake, Shriners Hospitals For Children Open at TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas, NV. That's the 2008 winner for longest tournament name. Wish it had an acronym.

Til' next,

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Average Golfer correction. Zach Johnson was not T68 after yesterday's 2nd round of the Valero Texas Open. He was T22 and is currently leading the tournament after a stellar 62 in round 3. Must have gotten some bad sushi I guess.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Chris Stroud Leads Valero Texas Open After 2nd Round - Yup, That Chris Stroud.

Here's what I know about Chris Stroud, all of which I learned in the last twenty minutes or so. He hails from Georgia. He's on the PGA Tour. Yes he is, I can prove it. He's made 7 of 24 possible cuts this year until today. He went to Lamar University. They are the Lamar University Cardinals. Just what we need in nicknames, more Cardinals. Stroud has earned $129,845.00 on tour this year. His best finish to date is a T12 in the Mayakoba Golf Classic. Yup, I missed that one as well. His next best is a T49 in the Buick Invitational. I caught that one, but missed him. He finished 205th in FedExCup points, which only means you can't send him a COD package. He's 209th on the Tour money list which presents good symetry with his FedEx rating.

If young Mr. Stroud can get all of his butterflies to fly in formation for two more days his life stands to change considerably. Tall order, but it must be exciting for him. His -6, 64 today propelled him to the top of the leader board at the Valero Texas Open, formerly known as the Justin Leonard Invitational. The aforementioned Mr. Leonard's brilliance at this event was mitigated somewhat by a T68 finish after two rounds. Enigmatic Paul Goydos is tied with Tim Pertovic and Tim Herron for 2nd at -8, two back. There's an army of players at -7. So many in fact that I haven't the energy to type their names. Try The Golf Channel.

Good luck Mr. Stroud! That would be a story worth writing about should he hold his position on Sunday. Besides, I'm sure he's a good fellow. Kisses his Mom and all that. The unknowns are always the best stories at the end of the Tour season.

Go Red Sox !!!

Til' next,

Average Golfer Observation.....Who would have guessed that this week's Bubble Boy, #125 on the money list, would be former Masters Champion Zach Johnson?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Paula Creamer Vaults to #3 in Rolex World Rankings.

Bell Micro LPGA Classic Round Three
With her victory in the Samsung World Championship last weekend, Paula Creamer jumped from 5th place to 3rd in the Rolex Women's World Golf Rankings. World #1 Lorena Ochoa has a commanding lead, to say the least, with 18.84 points. Annika Sorenstam still holds the #2 spot with 10.10 points. Creamer just edged out Yani Tseng with 8.83 points to Tseng's 8.82. Suzann Pettersen holds Creamer's old #5 place with 8.53. Cristie Kerr is in 6th with 6.48 and Ji-Yai Shin follows in 7th at 6.18.

Ms Creamer's win at the Samsung was her fourth of the year. She has 13 top tens as well. For the year she's 2nd on the LPGA Tour with 318 total birdies, has hit 70.2% of greens in regulation, and is 3rd in putting with 1.76 putts per green in regulation. With a little more length off the tee, perhaps 10-20 yards, she could make a real go at the top spot over time. She's averaging 246 yards with her tee balls which leaves her 1 to 2 clubs more than Ochoa on her approach shots on par fours and prevents her from reaching many par fives in two shots. She either has to lengthen her back swing, a risky proposition at best, or find length with increased club speed by delaying her release longer on her downswing. At 5'9" she's capable of creating the arc and release to squeeze some more yards. Ochoa has a "Dalyesque" look at the top as if she could look to the left and see her driver head. It's a move she's perfected over a long time period and not one I'd suggest. Works great for her though with her impeccable timing and athleticism. On the other end of the scale is a player like Morgan Pressel, whose skills are the match of anyone, but her anemia off the tee prevents her from having a realistic chance on most pro courses.

Hats off to Paula. She's the bright star in the group of American players at the moment. Things have a way of turning around though as is being seen some on the men's tour. Keep your eyes peeled for the next crop of great young players. They're out there, we just haven't met them yet.

Til' next,

Sunday, October 5, 2008

P.G.A. Rookie Dustin Johnson Leaves No Stone Unturned...

The rookie turned the tables on the tour vet at the Turning Stone Resort Championship. Birdies on 17 and 18 allowed Dustin Johnson to capture his first tour win and guarantee his employment for the next two years. Johnson's -9 finish left him two ahead of Aussie Robert Allenby, who at 13th on the season's money list, was the highest ranked player in the field. Johnson economized by using just 11 putts on the back nine. Conversely Allenby, left his short stick efforts just that, short all day, including a putt on the 18th hole to force a playoff. The doomed putt on 18 looked to be center cut. All it lacked was another roll and a half. Allenby was gracious in defeat, although I'll admit I didn't recognize him in the interview without his trademark shades. They're sort of a combination between WWI, open cockpit aviator glasses and the movie "The Fly".

For his efforts, Johnson snagged a 1.08 million dollar check. He also launched himself from 128th in the money rankings to 41st. Top 30's not out of the question with remaining events. That's the doorway to major championships. A shot behind Allenby was the magnificent seven of Goggin, Steve Allan, Woody, DL III, Imada, Garrigus, owner of a 20" putter, and Chuck Howell III. Johson was 1str i driving distance and 2nd in putting. That's a winning recipe every week. Add Johson, at 24, to the list of young guns. Maybe Tiger will have some rivals yet.

Next up in the quest to keep your job is the Valero Texas Open in San Antonio, TX.

Go Red Sox!

Til' next,

Friday, October 3, 2008

Pros Deal With Weather, Tour Cards at Turning Stone.

You could tell it wasn't really a golf day. Upper 40s for temperatures, 15 mph winds, intermittent rain, and looming darkness in the 2nd round of the Turning Stone Resort Championship in Verona, NY. Average Golfer is about 300 miles away, had the same weather, and wouldn't have played today for love or money. Even The Golf Channel wasn't all that interested. Their usual read by AP golf writer Doug Ferguson wasn't anywhere to be found. Golf's a tough sell right now. Most of the big boys are on vacation, it's football weather, and Sarah Palin's the only one drawing increased ratings for any of the networks. By the way, what do pro golfers do on vacation? Work?

For the boys working hard to keep their playing privileges it was a golf day. Jeff Overton held the lead for the 2nd straight day to finish the halfway mark at -8. Overton's at 142nd in the money rankings. A win here would virtually cement his card. Tag Ridings, 152nd in the money rankings, is a single stroke back at -7. Jason Day, 129th in the money, -6 for this event. Robert Allenby, 13th in money, tied for 4th in this event with Mark Hensby, who is currently 164th in the money rankings and Chucky Three Sticks, 83rd in the rankings. Boy, do you think Hensby has some pressure on him? Also, do you think there's any resentment from players struggling to keep their livelihood when a guy like Allenby chooses to tee it up in a Fall Series event?

Still cool tomorrow, some wind, but more sun. Today's round was shortened due to darkness with just a few players still on the course. No one involved was near the lead and they'll finish up early tomorrow morning.

Go Red Sox !

Til' next,

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Bubble Boys Battle for Top 125 at Turning Stone.

The Masters - Preview Day Three
If only everyone was paid for performance. Teachers, brick layers, cops, waitresses. Oh, waitresses already are. That's why I think it's inexcusable to stiff a waitress if she's anything above Medusa. Well the boys of the PGA Tour are smack dab in the middle of pay for performance. Only the top 125 survive with the prize of having a job for another year. The 2nd installment of the Fall Series, the Turning Stone Resort Championship, is the drama bearer. The total purse of 6 million, with just over 1 million to the winner, makes this the richest event in the series.

Davis Love III, ranked 155 on the money list, has his sights set on this week. He's run out of exemptions, over his injury steak, and thinks he's got a lot of golf left. Who am I to argue? I hope we see him making Freddy proud in next year's President's Cup. Davis is the kind of guy that only makes the entire tour better, so I'm counting on a resurgence.

Take a guy like Vaughn Taylor, currently the poster/bubble boy, the 125th man on the money list. Everyone within shouting distance, ahead or behind him is coveting his spot come year end. Proof in the pudding is that the seven players right behind him are all entered this week. Jason Gore, Charles Warren, Dustin Johnson, Jason Day, Marc Turnesa, James Driscoll, and Michael Allen all have Taylor in their sights. Livelihoods are at stake here. There's more pure melodrama now than at any, millionaires only, limited field event.

An interesting side story is the higher ranked players trying to increase their ranking to get into prestigious events. The top thirty on the money list at year's end are entitled to automatic Masters and US Open invites. Sponsor's exemptions this week include Joey Sindelar, Danny Lee, US Amateur champion, Notah Begay III, whose tournament benefiting Native American youth was held here earlier this year, and Ryder Cup assistant captain Olin Browne. The Atunyote Golf Club is the host and will play to a par 72 at 7,482 yards.

The Patriots are finished, so watch some golf.

Til' next,