Friday, June 29, 2007

Wie Kills 3 Spectators, "Happy With Results"

Despite finishing with a score of 107 and killing three people with wayward shots, Michelle Wie finished her second round at the U.S. Women's Open "excited" about how she played. "It's really coming together," she told reporters Friday afternoon. "I hit a few crooked ones out there, but overall this is the best my swing has felt in a long time."

Wie's path of destruction began on the first hole, where she bladed a 3-iron into marshall Jim Goodman's side, rupturing the man's spleen. She went on to bogey the hole, only seeming distracted when her par putt was interrupted by the medi-vac helicopter landing in the fairway behind her. Later, on the par-3 5th hole, Wie pulled her tee shot forty yards left and into one of the TV towers, killing ESPN golf analyst Dottie Pepper. When asked if it was difficult to keep playing after the second death, Wie's father B.J. said that it was easier because after that "she realized what she was doing wrong and was psyched to turn things around."

She managed to play the next eight holes ten over par and without any fatalities, but tragedy struck again on the par-4 14th when Wie pushed her drive fifty yards right and into the clubhouse, slicing a gas line and igniting a fire that sent four more people to the hospital and claimed the life of a short order omelet chef. USGA President Walter Driver noted Wie's optimism but said the only silver lining he could find was that Wie missed the cut by over thirty strokes and would not be playing Saturday or Sunday.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Golfer Loses Ball and Finds Alligator

A couple different fans wanted to make sure I mentioned the story from two days ago about a golfer in Florida who was attacked by an 11-foot, one-eyed alligator while retrieving a golf ball from a pond. The reporter incredulously points out that the pond had a "Beware of Alligator" sign next to it, which only made me realize this reporter is clearly not a golfer.

If there's one thing all golfers can agree on, it's that personal safety is of little concern to us, especially when compared to the possibility of salvaging a crappy golf ball covered in reclaimed water and swamp sludge. Some golfers have made this an art. One of my best friends sees a bad shot as an opportunity to disappear into the woods or wade through weeds, routinely emerging ten minutes later with pockets and hands full of cracked Pinnacles and discolored Pro V1's. His greatest finds are the balls no one's ever heard of before ("What the heck is a Volvik Crystal?") or companies that haven't been in business since the 80's. Sure, that guy in Florida may have been risking his life, but in his mind I bet it was all worth it for the chance to hold up that muddy ball and say with a smile, "Anybody playing a Molitor?"

Whatever happened to... Eldrick Woods?

Talk about a young phenom that just completely dropped off the map ten years ago. He’s on the Mike Douglas Show with Bob Hope at age two, by high school he's winning every junior tournament he enters and then… gone. Sad, really. Just hope he didn't get into drugs or something. But it just underscores that no matter how well you do as an amateur, making it big as a professional is a whole different deal. Eldrick, wherever you are, Fore Right would love to see you try a comeback.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Women’s Open Preview: Kim Takes First Round Lead

Okay, no one actually tees off in the Women’s Open for six hours, but a check of the field reveals there are (no joke) ten different players with the last name of Kim playing in the biggest major of the year. With the increasing dominance of South Koreans in the sport, this isn't a huge surprise. But what is amazing is that there’s only one player with the first name of Kim. That would make 11 possible “Kim’s” who could take the first round lead and make this headline true -- if it wasn’t for the fact that the player whose first name is Kim… also has the last name of Kim.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Mahan Win Leads to Ban on Victory Sportscoats

PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem finally spoke out late Monday on the growing problem of "ridiculous-looking" victory jackets at Tour events, banning them altogether for the remainder of the 2007 season. Finchem called the blazer/hat/sunglasses look of this week's winner Hunter Mahan "the last straw" in a season-long battle against bad fashion. According to reports, the Tour first became concerned in April when Zach Johnson wore his bright blue windbreaker underneath his green jacket at Augusta, but that it came to a head a week later with the plaid sportscoat given to winner Boo Weekley (pictured, below) at the Verizon Heritage.

"Don't get me wrong," Finchem explained, "I like jackets. I own quite a few of them. In fact I'm wearing one now. But at some point we have to start asking ourselves if we're doing more harm than good."

The news came as a disappointment to the remaining Tour events that were planning similar jacket ceremonies for their winners, including next month's Canadian Open (jacket pictured below) and a coat still in development for October's Frys.Com Open which was to feature a built-in Mp3 player, four additional USB ports and an extra pocket for tees.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Obscure PGA Endorsement Deals

Everyone knows Nike's got Tiger and Callaway's got Phil, but the most interesting endorsement deals on Tour tend to go to the lesser-known players. Here's a look at a few of my favorites...

Billy Mayfair
Endorsement: Johnson & Johnson
Deal: Must have a Band-Aid visible somewhere on his face during every round.

Tim Herron (pictured)
Endorsement: Little Caeser's
Deal: Every time Herron makes a putt over twenty-five feet he's contractually obligated to yell, "Pizza! Pizza!"

Bart Bryant
Endorsement: Nabisco
Deal: Bryant receives "low five-figures" by the snack foods company to mark his ball with a Chips Ahoy cookie.

Briny Baird
Endorsement: Mead School Supplies
Deal: Forced to keep his yardage book and course notes in a golf-themed Trapper Keeper.

Jeff Maggert (pictured)
Endorsement: ASPCA
Deal: Besides wearing the non-profit's logo on on his sleeve, Maggert can not leave the course unless he has caught and tagged a squirrel.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Mickelson Walks off Miniature Golf Course, Deems it Too Dangerous

A fun afternoon with his kids turned ugly for Phil Mickelson at the Golf 'n Stuff near his Rancho Santa Fe home on Friday. The world's #2 golfer played only six holes before picking up his ball and heading back to the cashier, accusing the teenage manager of turning a blind eye to a dangerous setup.

"With all due respect to Kimmy and the staff, someone's going to get hurt," Mickelson said when reached by phone late Friday night. "The first hole seems fairly benign, but if you pull your first putt way left like I did, it feeds down next to an alligator. It's not a real alligator, but it's scary nonetheless and the teeth are pretty sharp." He also claimed the par-2 3rd hole, which plays through a fake mining shaft, was "too dark" and that the bridge between the 4th green and 5th tee was "awfully creaky."

The last straw for Mickelson was the tricky 6th hole which features a volcano-shaped green. "I took a seven on that one and told my kids 'I'm not doing this anymore.'" When asked what was so dangerous about the hole, Mickelson confessed that "it wasn't that dangerous, it was just hard."

Friday, June 22, 2007

Travelers Championship: Chris DiMarco In Position to Not Win Again

After firing an opening-round 64 and putting himself within one shot of leader Hunter Mahan, Chris DiMarco is excited about his chances of not winning again at this week's Travelers Championship in Connecticut. "My swing feels the best it's felt in a long time. I'm confident that if I take it one shot at a time, I might be in position Sunday to make a run at the leader before falling back of out of contention."

Despite playing on the previous two Ryder Cup and America's Cup teams, DiMarco's last win was over five years ago at the 2002 Phoenix Open. But according to Chris, he wouldn't want it any other way. "Those trophies they give you when you win are heavy. I've had some shoulder problems and being forced to lift one of those things for a picture could end my career."

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Tiger's New Baby: Live From the Delivery Room

Fore Right has landed the exclusive audio rights to the Baby Woods birth video. Below is the transcript:

Various instruments beep and ping.
Doctor: Alright, Mrs. Woods. Just keep pushing. We are very close here.
Tiger: You're doing great, babe. Just great.
Elin: I don't know if I can do this.
Tiger: Of course you can.
Doctor: Alright, one more good push and I think you'll have your baby...
Elin pushes.
Tiger: I see it. I see it!
Doctor: Here comes the head... almost there... little more... you did it!
A new baby cries. Suddenly:
Verne Lundquist: In your LIFE have you ever seen anything like that!
Jim Nantz: Hello friends. And welcome to storied Mount Sinai Medical Center, where ever since Elin's cervix reached 10 centimeters and 100% effacement, we've been watching this magic event unfold. David Feherty's been following the mother and father-to-be since Elin's water broke at half past 5 this morning. David, can you tell us, is it a boy or a girl?
David Feherty:
Hard to tell at this point, Jim. Right now it looks like it's covered in the old yogurt I keep forgetting to throw out of my refrigerator.
Doctor: It's a girl!
David Feherty: A girl it is. And now it appears the doctor is asking Tiger to cut the umbilical cord. Let's listen in...
Tiger: Stevie, get over here.
Tiger's caddy approaches.
Tiger: What do we got?
Stevie: I think a simple cut is the play. It's only an inch thick. No more.
Tiger: Just the standard surgical scissors?
Stevie: I like that.
Tiger takes takes a pair of scissors and cuts the cord.
David Feherty: Oh, and he caught it clean. Should be perfect. Yep, the nurse is clamping it off, she seems happy with it. A good finish from a true champion.
Jim Nantz: So a beautiful baby girl for Tiger and Elin Woods. A new cub in the den. A pup with some awfully big paws to fill. But in time maybe even this tigress will earn some stripes of her--
Tiger's caddy smashes the camera. End of tape.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Singh To Play in Two Events at Same Time, Refuses to Admit He Has Problem

Top-ranked golfer Vijay Singh is scheduled to play in both the British Open and the U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee next month. The only issue? They're happening at the same time. "I can do it," Singh said defensively when asked about the potential conflict. "There's enough of a time difference between England and Wisconsin that if I can play an early round at Carnoustie and jump on a plane, I could probably make an afternoon start in the States." When asked what he'd do if he was in contention in both tournaments come the weekend, the 44-year-old Fijian became visibily angry and was asked to be left alone, but was later overheard asking his pro-am partner if he knew how much rockets cost.

For years fellow Tour players have felt that Singh plays too much golf. In 2002, Singh returned to his hotel room after a 5-hour putting session to find a half-dozen players staging an intervention to deal with his addiction. According to an anonymous player who was there, "I told (Vijay) we were doing this because we loved him and were concerned about his well-being. He said we were dead to him, picked up his Speed Stik and left." Singh is currently third in the FedExCup point standings, but a win at both the British and U.S. Bank Championships would easily move him past Tiger Woods into first.

The Worst Golf Shots in History...

I'm still thinking about that poor guy in Reno who stared the fire and it got me pondering some of the worst golf shots I can think of. Some of these are famously bad shots from the world of golf while others are shots I have personally hit or witnessed. Got any other good ones? I mean bad ones? Let me know.

Phil Mickelson, 2006 -- So many to choose from in the 2006 U.S. Open, but I prefer his tee shot on the 17th which airmails the gallery and lands in a trash can.

Michelle Wie, 2007 -- Just 3 weeks ago in the midst of Michelle Wie's disastrous round at the Ginn Tribute, she pushes her drive on the 3rd hole so badly, it hits a parked car, rolls down a drain and eventually leads to a 10.

Me, 2007 -- Sure, Michelle Wie can hit one car, but can she hit two? I did just that earlier this year playing a 3-par course in Austin. Struggling with the shanks, I hosel a shot across not one, but two fairways, into the street where it hits the tail of one parked car, then ricochets off and nails another one before disappearing altogether. My friend kindly tells me, "Uh, you might be taking the club too far inside."

James M., 1994 -- I was playing with my good buddy and standing off to the side of the tee box when his practice swing nips his teed up ball. The ball pops straight up in the air, comes down and hits me in the head.

Scott Hoch, 1989 -- Maybe the most painful putt ever. Misses a 2-foot putt on the first playoff hole that would have won him the Masters. He loses the tournament to Nick Faldo the next hole and never wins a major in his career.

Bill M., 1996 -- The father of the friend mentioned above, he pulls his approach down a hill and has a blind pitch to the pin. James stands inbetween Bill and the hole to kindly give his dad a line of where to aim. Bill then blades his wedge into his own son's back.

Ty Webb, 1980 -- In my opinion the best worst shot in Caddyshack. Ty Webb's fairway wood down the stretch in his match against Judge Smails impales itself on a bird's beak. When Al Czervik tries to comfort him by saying "That's good luck," Webb replies glumly "In Haiti."

Matt A., 2007 -- This was a bad shot that was made worse by the fact that play was slow and so there were three groups waiting with us on the tee when my buddy hit this one. He hosels a 7-iron across a lake toward a foursome on another tee box. Everyone (and by "everyone" I mean all 12 of us) yell "Fore!" as the ball slices through the air. The guys don't move and the ball nails one of them in the foot.

T.C. Chen, 1985 -- As far as I know, the only professional who has a terrible golf shot named after them. T.C. has a four-shot lead in the final round of the '85 U.S. Open when he "double-hits" a shot from the rough at the 5th hole, leading to an 8. He never recovers from it and loses the Open to Andy North.

Ralph Lake, 1992 -- A guy from my high school golf team. Teeing off on the 1st hole at our home course, Ralph nails a drive that somehow is only 2 inches off the ground. The ball hits the tee marker on the ladies' tee box and comes straight back at us. We jump out of the way as the ball bounds back over the tee box, across the putting green and out of bounds into the parking lot.

Jean Van de Velde, 1999 -- I would be remiss to not mention Jean as the British Open returns to the site of his famous 18th hole meltdown at Carnoustie in '99. The only difficult question is which of his 7 shots on the last hole was the worst? I'll go with his 3rd shot from the deep rough after he bounced the previous shot off the bleachers that landed him in the burn. Of course if he'd actually attempted to hit his 4th from the burn as pictured above, the worst shot ever wouldn't even be up for debate.

You Think You've Hit Bad Shots?

Thanks to a friend for forwarding me this fantastic story about what must be the worst golf shot ever played. The anonymous golfer (no surprise there) in Reno started a brushfire the other day when his shot out of some long dry grass made a spark and set off a 20-acre blaze. The article doesn't say what kind of club he used, but for comedy's sake I'm hoping it was one of Taylor Made's old Burner irons.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Tiger's New Baby Beats Michelle Wie in Exhibition Match

A day after being born, Tiger Woods' new daughter Sam beat teenage golfer Michelle Wie in a heads-up match at Tiger's home course in Florida. Wie's father B.J. was quick to defend his daugther, saying the match was merely an "exhibition" and that Michelle is still not 100% after suffering a wrist injury a few months ago.

Things looked good for Wie early on when the newborn Woods refused to wake up from a late-morning nap and had to concede the first two holes. But the infant came alive on the par 5 3rd hole and rattled off three straight pars, impressive considering she's only been breathing on her own for a little over twenty-four hours. Wie on the other hand went from bad to worse, unable to find the fairway off the tee and then accusing Woods of slow play when the baby stopped between the eighth and ninth holes to breastfeed and have her diaper changed.

Woods closed out the match on the 14th hole by knocking it in from a greenside bunker to beat Wie 5 and 4, and then immediately fell back asleep.

I don't Want to Start any Trouble, But...

For those who missed the news, Tiger Woods and wife Elin gave birth Monday morning to a daughter, Sam Alexis Woods. I want to believe this just happened to be the natural day ordained on high for their child to be born, but the conspiracy theorist in me can't help but look at the timing of it all and wonder if this was a predecided date by the new parents.

Sam arrives the day after the U.S. Open, maximizing Tiger's time off before his next scheduled appearance, the Buick Open. Should he elect to skip that event, it still gives him about two weeks to be back for the inaugural AT&T Classic, of which he is the host, starting July 7th. And most importantly to Tiger, there's little doubt that he'll be at Carnoustie for the British Open at the end of July.

So it all seems a little fishy to me. But then again, if there's one thing we could expect out of Tiger Wood's baby, it's perfect timing.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Clark Alive and Well After Oakmont Scare

According to Oakmont officials, Tim Clark (pictured) was found alive and well early Monday morning in the rough near the 17th green after going missing at the tail end of his 4th round. According to his caddie, Clark was trying to help playing partner Michael Putnam find his drive when all of a sudden he was gone. "We knew you could lose a ball pretty easily in that stuff, but we never thought we could lose one of the players," said the USGA's Mike Davis. At 5 foot 7, Clark is one of the shorter players on the tour.

U.S. Open Recap: Tiger Honors Sopranos Finale By Doing Nothing

The last two Sundays have been disappointing ones in America. Last week it was the Sopranos that ended not with a bang, but a whimper. Yesterday it was the world's number one golfer who had sports fans across the country hitting the sides of their TV sets and saying, "Something's not right."

For two straight majors, Tiger Woods failed to pull off the impossible. But it was no failure -- just the natural result of a decade-long attempt by the USGA to temper the prowess of today's top golfers. While it's entertaining to watch the world's best make triple-bogeys and four-putt, such a demanding setup will more often than not lead to the disappointing finish we saw Sunday -- a collection of almosts, coulda wouldas and nice tries where the ultimate winner is not so much the guy who played the best, but the one who screwed up the least. In the words of Frank Drebin in Naked Gun 2 1/2, "It's like having sex. It's a painstaking and arduous task that seems to go on and on forever, and just when you think things are going your way, nothing happens."

Nothing happened for Tiger on Sunday. America's disappointed. David Chase would be proud.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Baddeley Victory Likely Means Woods Conversion

A victory tomorrow for Aaron Baddeley, an outspoken Christian, would likely be followed by Tiger Woods' conversion, the world's #1 told reporters late Saturday afternoon. "At this point in my career, I'm confident I have the best coach in the world and the best caddie in the world. But I'm definitely open to the possibility I might not have the best God." Should Tiger lose tomorrow to Baddeley, it would mark the 2nd straight major that Tiger has lost to a born-again Christian.

Embarrassing End to Round 3

The wife of 3rd round leader Aaron Baddeley got confused Saturday afternoon and ran onto the 18th green a full 24 hours too early after her husband birdied the last hole to take a two-shot lead into Sunday.


In case anyone has forgotten, I officially picked Aaron Baddeley to win the Open Wednesday night. I know, I also picked Rhys Davies to be run over on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, but I'll settle for 1 out of 2 if Badds hangs tough tomorrow.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Round 2 Recap

The Good -- Paul Casey dared to steal some of Johnny Miller's thunder with a masterful 66.

The Bad -- Sam Walker shoots a tournament-high 89, and in doing so will be banned from playing in any LPGA events for the rest of the season.

The Ugly -- Stephen Ames. He actually played really well, I just kinda think he's ugly.

Exclusive: Johnny Miller Interview

I was fortunate enough to get announcer Johnny Miller on the phone earlier today and wanted to post our interview...

Bob: Hey, Johnny, thanks for taking a few minutes to share your thoughts...
Johnny Miller: You're welcome. 63.
Bob: What was that?
Johnny Miller: Nothing, go ahead.
Bob: Okay, so we're halfway through Round 2 and--
Johnny Miller: I shot 63.
Bob: Uh, yes. Yes, you sure did. Congrats on that.
Johnny Miller: Thank you.
Bob: So outside of Tiger, who do you think stands the best chance right now of winning it all?
Johnny Miller: I think what you're trying to ask is whether I might talk about the 63 I shot back in '73.
Bob: Actually, I think that's been pretty well covered.
Johnny Miller: It was a steamy day in June, only the slightest cloud cover...
Bob: We don't have a lot of time here, so let's--
Johnny Miller: I didn't know I'd shoot 63 when I teed off, of course, though other people said later they could feel something special in the air...
Bob: Let's try to focus on--
Johnny Miller: ...I birdied the first, a feat in itself...
Bob: Please stop.
Johnny Miller: But then I birdied #2, and then #3. I even birdied the 4th.
Bob: I'm hanging up.
Johnny Miller: It could have been a lower than 63, really. To this day I still think of the five-footer I missed on number--
Bob: Thanks for your time.

Emergency Ruling After Goosen Loses Ball in Dougherty's Hair...

Despite the USGA insisting Nick Dougherty's hair is "penal but fair," 2-time U.S. Open champ Reteif Goosen lost his ball in his fellow competitor's locks Friday afternoon. The search was called off after five minutes with Goosen going on to make a triple-bogey 7 as a result. No word on whether grounds crews will mow Dougherty's hair overnight.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Oakmont's Last Remaining Tree Tells Club: "Bring It On."

The only tree that has not been cut down since 1994 was overheard late Thursday telling the head of Oakmont's Tournament Commitee to "bring it on." The 75-year-old oak, situated between the 4th and 5th holes, went on to say he's been hoarding old golf balls and acorns for years and "is not afraid to use them." The tree had avoided the chainsaw during the decade-long program by repeatedly promising not to affect a player's shotmaking options while continuing to turn carbon dioxide into oxygen.

Finally A Guy With My Kind of Luck...

My favorite shot so far today was Tom Byrum's approach to the 477 yard par-4 9th. He not only hit the green, it went in the hole! Well, it went into A hole. Unfortunately it was on the puting green that shares a green with the 9th. If Oakmont continues to play a little easier than expected this week, don't rule it out that the USGA might put some matching flagsticks in those practice cups just to maximize confusion.

Buried in the Round One Coverage: Woody Austin's Shirt

The biggest disappointment for me so far in Round 1 is that Woody Austin has faded before enough people got the chance to see the shirt he chose. Without a real picture to post, it looked kind of like this (minus the wolves). Good to know that even in 2007 there's still work to be had for a talented airbrush painter.

My Official Pre-Tourney Predictions...

It's late Wednesday night, just enough time for me to make some last-minute calls for the week.

Biggest Surprise: Phil Mickelson. Phil will lumber to the first tee Thursday morning a la Kirk Gibson. Then to everyone's surprise, Bones will hand him the 3rd driver he's carrying this week which is actually right-handed and proceed to stripe one 320 down the middle. After an opening-round 67, Phil will point out that among the many things Butch Harmon has taught him, the most valuable was reminding him that he's not actually left-handed.

Strangest Moment: Aaron Baddeley given a slow-play penalty on #3 after stopping for thirty minutes to pray in the Church Pews.

Winner: Trip Kuehne (A). After becoming the first famous victim of Tiger's back at the '94 Amateur, Trip will be paired with Tiger again come Sunday and psyche out the world's number one by showing up to the first tee in a pink and white striped shirt and donning a big straw hat. He'll come from six down on the back to defeat Woods, the most amazing shot being when Kuehne elects to use a putter off the 18th tee, sinks the 484 yard putt for double-eagle and asks, "How do you like me now?" (Official Prediction: Aaron Baddeley).

Runner-up: Shaun Micheel. Anytime tour pros are up against a course this hard, I naturally go with the guy taking testosterone supplements. (Official Prediction: Justin Rose).

Biggest Tragedy: Rhys Davies gets lost walking from #1 to #2 and is run over on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

2nd Biggest Tragedy: Fred Funk unable to reach the 288 yard par three 8th in not just one shot, but two.

How Hard Are Oakmont's Greens on Thursday?: Sergio Garcia tries to show his anger at #15 and takes three attempts to get his loogie in the cup.

Stay tuned for more thoughts as Round One unfolds...

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Oakmont and the Rule of 88...

It's probably a good thing the USGA doesn't have the LPGA's Rule of 88 at Oakmont this week. After the Michelle Wie controversy two weeks ago when most first learned about the LPGA's obscure rule -- the rule that states that any non-member playing in a LPGA tourney who shoots 88 or higher loses all playing privileges the rest ofthe season -- it's probably not a bold prediction to think that someone in this week's field will shoot the double-snowman or higher.
I think the only real fun is trying to guess what guy is bad enough to shoot it right now.

Here are my top 3 picks to shoot a big number:

Michael Campbell

Reason: Yes, he's the 2005 champion, but he's done nothing since and at some point running to the port-o-potties between shots to do eye exercises will stop working. Believe me, I've tried it.

Rhys Davies
Reason: 1) I've never heard of him. 2) What I do know is that he shares his name with the actor who played Gimli in Lord of the Rings. There's no worse place for a dwarf than knee-high rough.

Joey Sindelar
Reason: Too sweaty. Western Pennsylvania in June is no place for a guy who perspires as much as this guy. Come Thursday afternoon when the temp hits 85 and humidity's at 90%, the USGA may have to move in and rule that if a player hits their ball into Joey's shirt, it will be played as a lateral water hazard.

Miracle at Oakmont...

Joey Sindelar poses with Michael Hughes and son T.J. Tuesday at Oakmont after T.J. was rescued from a near-drowning after falling into Sindelar's sweat-soaked shirt.

Humble Predictions or Some Pre-Tourney Strategery...

Vijay Singh has gone on the record saying that he thinks the winning score this week will be ten or twelve OVER par. And almost everyone else who's opinion counts says it will be higher than last year's 5-over winning score at Winged Foot. The more I think about this, the more I realize what motivates these answers. First, it protects them against looking bad when they come in Thursday afternoon carding a 75. Vijay could say, "Yep, I've positioned myself perfectly" even if someone has posted a low number. But it might also work to intimidate fellow competitors into higher scores who might be edging toward red numbers early in the tourney, effectively causing a golfer with less tenacity to think, "I can't keep this going -- the wheels are gonna fall off any second..."

Course my take on this could just be a reflection of my pathetic mental game and complete lack of self-confidence on the golf course.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Wow that was lame...

Watching the final round of the Ultimate Game on Fox yesterday reminded me of two things. 1) I need a life. 2) No matter how much money you throw at something, it doesn't make it interesting. Not in a day when a million dollar prizes are thrown around for every stupid thing be it Survivor or picking the right briefcase from a chick in a low-cut dress.

The $2 million dollar prize for first place was a lot of money, but unlike the only slightly more interesting Big Break on the Golf Channel, the guy who won is no closer to competing on the PGA Tour than before he teed off. At least give him an exemption to a lame event like the Reno-Tahoe Open or something.

Watching this on Fox also served to make me realize how good a job the guys at CBS and NBC are. One of the on-course guys decided to interview the top two guys down the stretch while the tourney was still going on. The players clearly hated the interruptions and were just trying to not be distracted by the doofus who was asking them idiotic questions like, "Man, how you feeling right now?" How they were feeling was never more obvious than when eventual winner Scott Piercy tried to flee his awkward interview on the 17th tee and literally walked into a tree.

And as a follow-up to my previous post, my old high school teammate shot 73-73 to tie former Pirates pitcher Rick Rhoden for 12th (last) place.

And speaking of Rick Rhoden, he's a plus 2.5 handicap and has what may be the most God-awful swing I've ever seen in my life. He whips his hands through impact, breaking his left wrist so fast that the clubhead never gets any higher this belt buckle on follow-through. Imagine Al Czervik's finish position but with a moustache and you got Rick Rhoden. More than anything, I find the whole thing just depressing that he shoots 67 with that swing and I shot 84 today.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Old teammate's golf career alive and well...

This week I stumbled onto the news that a former high school golf teammate of mine is playing in the Ultimate Game, the Las Vegas tourney that has a $50,000 buy in with only the top 12 cashing and the rest of the money, $2 million, going to the winner.

Turns out the guy who sponsored his entry fee... Michael Jordan.

The biggest check my friend's ever cashed before this was the $27,000 he won on a Gateway tour event, so this is a big deal needless to say.

Since that article's been published, he's since made the final 12, meaning a $100,000 guarantee check.

The final 18 of the 36 hole final's on Fox this afternoon. He's middle-of-the-pack now but can famously turn his game on and go low. And high. But with winner-take-all, there's no more reason to play it safe.

Tee Times...

Well the USGA has released Thursday and Friday tee times for this week's Open , and as usual, they always try to mix in a few groupings to make you laugh.

First off, in the 7:33 tee time, we've got last year's U.S. Am runner-up Nick Dougherty playing with perhaps the most famous runner-up in U.S. Am history Trip Kuehne. Trip was the poor guy who had Tiger six down before Tiger went nuts and made every putt he saw, the most dramatic being a ridiculous birdie on the island green 17 to go one up. Rounding out the group is 2002 U.S. Amateur winner Ricky Barnes, a pro who outside of the 2003 Masters has definitely underperformed in his attempts to play pro golf. No doubt they'll be swapping stories and trying to egg one of them on to greatness, though to Dougherty's credit has been playing great on the European tour this year.

At 7:55 is the all-Spanish group: Jose Maria-Olazabal, Sergio Garcia and the newest Spanish tour pro Pablo Martin. In April Martin become the first amateur to win on the European tour. And not surprisingly, he's since dropped out of Oklahoma State and signed with Nike. Should be great match within a match to see these three guys try to best each other.

At 8:50 you have Pat Perez and Woody Austin in the same group. This is my favorite pairing no doubt. Woody is the guy who got so angry a few years ago that he broke his putter over his own head. To this day, he routinely abuses himself verbally and sometimes physically during the course of most rounds. Pat Perez of course got in trouble a few years ago for giving the finger to his golf ball when it wouldn't go in the hole. As a result, most networks became wary of even showing Perez during a tournament for fear of what he'd do. He's supposedly been working on his temper but my guess is playing alongside Woody could cause an ugly relapse.

You've got to get up early to catch the announcement of the 7:11 group on the 10th tee, but it's worth it. Bubba Watson, Boo Weekley and from Japan -- Nobuhiro Masuda. When you realize that Nobuhiro likely goes by the nickname Nobu, that's a Bubba, a Boo, and a Nobu together at last.

And at 7:55 on the 10th you'll find Ben Curtis and Thomas Bjorn. If we're lucky Curtis will give Bjorn a big hug. It was Bjorn's collapse at the 17th hole of the 2003 British Open (a double bogey 5 where he took 3 to get out of the greenside bunker) that handed Curtis his first win, first major and launched his career.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

On the First Tee...

from Ventura, California... Me.

Yes, clearly the best use of my time and energy as an out of work TV writer is to start a golf blog that will be read religiously by only my wife and mother. Then again, my mother doesn't really like golf. So I guess it's just you and me, honey. By the way, we're almost out of jelly next time you go to the store.

But in the off chance someone other than my wife is reading this, enjoy.