Friday, December 28, 2007

Stenson Goes A Slummin'...

The story might not be new to some, but Henrik Stenson booked a tee time and played Torrey Pines two weeks ago before heading north for the Target World Challenge. There's some funny stuff in the article about him being forced to warm-up with crummy range balls, but to me the most interesting part is when Stenson said Torrey Pines was "one of the most gorgeous places I've ever been." Really? That's a far cry from a friend of mine who played Torrey Pines in '05 and pronounced it "a dump." Slightly nicer was Jason Sobel at ESPN, who played it a few years back and "wasn't all that impressed."

From this I can surmise five possible explanations:
1) My friends are liars.
2) The people in San Diego have finally pulled the course together for June's Open.
3) The beer cart made too many stops at Stenson's foursome.
4) His sunglasses were so dark he didn't notice the bald patches in the fairways and cracked 150-yard markers.
5) He just really likes hang gliders.

Of course, Stenson is the player who had to withdraw from the Deutsche Bank Players' Championship in July because he couldn't remember his score. For now I can have peace with the thought that the #16 golfer in the world has been to more beautiful spots... but just forgot.

Monday, December 24, 2007

$100 At Golfsmith

It was a glorious moment. At first. I opened up an envelope from my father this weekend and found a $100 gift certificate to Golfsmith. But after going there today and leaving without buying anything, I'd now argue that this dollar amount is the perfect amount to give a golfer whom you're just trying to torture.


See, if some uber-rich friend (or reader?) sends you a $1,000 gift certificate, it's a no brainer -- you get a new set of irons and a driver.


For $50, it's a dozen ProV1's or a nice shirt to start 2008.


But at $100, things get tricky.


Here's what I've narrowed it down to:

Option #1: A new 60-degree wedge. My old wedge is a few years old and the grooves are wearing down, making it impossible to spin the ball. But before I could reach the check-out line today I started to wonder that maybe it's not the grooves -- maybe I just stink.


Option #2: Four dozen medium-end balls, all of which will be distant memories by 2009.


Option #3: Two dozen high-end balls and a glove, all of which will be distant memories by June, with the exception of the glove which will decompose in my golf bag for years until I find its shriveled remains, mistake it for beef jerky and try to eat it.


Option #4: Money toward a new putter. $100 doesn't buy a putter anymore. Not really sure why since it has the same amount of metal as a wedge. But I've been using a 1st generation Odyssey Two-Ball for 3 years or so and the magic is fading. Again, clearly the putter's fault, not mine.

I need help. Since I'm obviously not mature enough to make this decision on my own, I figured I'd open it up to you guys for some wisdom on what to buy and why. And don't feel constrained by my four options -- heck, maybe what I need is 10,000 tees. If nothing else that would keep me from being that guy who's down to 1 tee by #12 and spends the rest of the round chipping away at it until he has no choice but to hit driver off the deck on the 18th.


Best idea wins and I'll publish the picture of me with my (and in this case, our) big purchase.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Shhh...

So some readers have rightly wondered what ever happened to my date to play Los Angeles Country Club ( currently ranked the 34th best course in America and #4 in California -- behind a few you might have heard of -- Cypress Point, Pebble Beach and the Olympic Club).

"So what did you shoot?"
"Did you even make it through the gate?"
"Do the water fountains run with Cristal?"

To answer those questions: 83, yes and Cristal Lite. In truth I've been so worried that writing about it would get me blacklisted from any more invites to private clubs that I haven't mentioned it since. But the people have spoken -- and this is America, damn it! What's the worst they can do? Not make me a member? Somehow I'm sure they'd have plenty of reasons before even getting to this piece, the first being, "Um, how do you actually expect to pay for this?"
Here's a quick summary with some pictures, sparing you most of my bad shots in between.
**The three of us (my old boss Alan who generously paid for my round, his friend Steve and I arrive at the course at exactly 8:30am, the agreed upon time. I had spent the previous 35 minutes sitting in a nearby Walgreen's parking lot watching the clock on my car. Alan had been driving through the hills of Bel Air, watching the clock on his car.)
Steve is nearly hyperventilating he's so excited, and wearing an Augusta National sweater to give the illusion that any of us actually belong at this place.
We walk into the locker room -- it's gigantic. And empty. The fact that not one member wants to play on a Wednesday morning is amazing.
**We drive out to the first tee after meeting our host, who for anonymity's sake I'll call "O Most Gracious One." The first things I notice is there are no cart paths. Most hackers like us would get so confused by this that they'd spend the first 30 minutes driving around trying to figure out how the heck to get out to the teebox.
**The course starts out with 2 par 5's. Weird. I play the first 2 shots on each of them perfectly, then, push block a pitching wedge on the first and hook the same pitching wedge on the 2nd. Yes, I'm nervous.
**#5: Nothing but a long, uphill, hard par-4. Nicklaus apparently once called it the longest par-4 in America. I hit a pretty good drive and the best 3-wood of my life and was 5 feet short of the green. Steve had a 6 footer to save par but admitted he was literally so nervous he couldn't putt. Yes, literally. I told him to do something I read in Golf Digest (why can't I ever remember tips that would help MY game) and to tense up every muscle in his body, then release it and stroke the putt. He makes it for a 4.

**#8 (above): A great par-5 that demands you fade your tee shot. The angle of this photo should tell you that I failed. Your second shot must carry the ravine, ideally with a draw, setting up a beautiful 3rd shot in. I actually hit 2 good after this and nearly made a bird.



**#9 (above): An uphill par-3 playing about 195 back to the pin. I hit a low screamer that hits on the front of the green and starts rolling. According to our caddy Aurelio, whose name was pronounced so many different ways that I'll just spell it differently every time I mention him, my shot missed going in by a ball or so. Have no fear, I missed the 6-footer for birdie, and made the turn in 41.

**#11 (The main photo at the top of the post): A truly gorgeous and hard par-3. Maybe the most famous on the course. The card said it was 240. Areeleho said it was playing 240. I for some reason decided both were wrong and it was clearly only about 210. I clobbered my 3-iron and came up 30 yards short.





**#12 (above): O Most Gracious One is really struggling. He's even asking Oreallyo for help with his swing. It's uncomfortable because you know that what our host thinks about us is directly proportional to how well or badly he plays.


**#13: A beautiful par-4 whose green butts up to the Playboy Mansion. Yes, I meant to say butts up. I told my old boss Alan that I hope Jesus doesn't return right now because even though I believe He's the Son of God (Jesus, not Alan), the blast circle from God destroying that place would still probably get me.


**#14: Another fantasitic par-5. All the fog hides the beauty of it. I wish the fog could hide the fact I go double-bogey/double-bogey on 13 and 14 to kill any chance of breaking 80.


**#16: I find my game just in when a good round is no longer salvageable.
**#18: The sun finally comes out. A simple and elegant (that's right, I said elegant) par-4 heading back to the clubhouse. I manage to have another good look at birdie, but can't get it to drop. More importantly O Gracious One also has a birdie putt, and makes it -- and in doing so forgets about the pain of the previous 17 holes and tells Alan, "Let's do this again sometime."

**Alan, Steve and I shake hands, thank O Gracious One as well as Areleheho, change our shoes in the still empty locker room and drive away before any of us says something we might regret.




In all LA Country Club is a classic, old TOUGH track. Did it have the same hole-for-hole character that its famous neighbor Riviera C.C. does? Probably not. Is it worthy of all the praise? No doubt.

So there it is. What was I so afraid of? Now excuse while I go look check for plastic explosives under my car.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Fine, I'm Not Going to Kapalua Either!

So after winning the Target World Challenge, Tiger informed reporters that he will not be attending the season-opening Mercedes-Benz Championship in Maui next month, missing it for the 7th straight year.

He said he really enjoys having that stretch of time off. And why not? After all, he did just have to work for four straight days. But it got me thinking about the things it would take to keep me from going to Kapalua (assuming I was ever actually invited):

1) The Second Coming.

2) Nine rolls of duct tape

3) A heart attack. And not one of this wimpy minor ones. One of the big ones where you're completely gone in like two minutes and the paramedics just show up, look at each other and shrug.

Am I forgetting any other good ones?

Course you have Tiger, then you have the opposite extreme in Rory Sabbatini, a guy who was so anxious to get to Maui that he most likely forever destroyed what little relationship he still had with Woods by dropping out of the TWC. If he expects to get a win and be invited back to Kapalua in 2009, he best save his good tournaments in 2008 for the ones in which Tiger never plays.


And on a personal note, thanks, Rory, for choosing "shin splints" as your excuse for withdrawing. I had almost convinced my wife that as a golfer I am a real athlete.

Monday, December 17, 2007

BREAKING NEWS: Sabbatini Wins Maui Surfing Contest

Lahaina, Maui -- Less than 24 hours after dropping out of the Target World Challenge with "shin splints," Rory Sabbatini has captured the Cheeseburger in Paradise Invitational on the island of Maui. In winning the event, Sabbatini took home a $4,500 gift certificate to Crazy Shirts. Add that to the $170,000 he took for finishing in last place at Tiger's off-season invitational and it's been a good week for the South African. As for his legs, "It's a miracle, actually," Rory told reporters. "Who knew the one thing they needed to heal was a six-hour plane flight followed by 9 straight hours on a surfboard." When asked whether he'd given any thought to donating the $170,000 back to the Tiger Woods Foundation, he said he hadn't, but that he and his wife have talked about donating part of his Crazy Shirts prize. "After all," he said, "How many t-shirts can one family need, right?"

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Where's Bob?

I spent Friday at the Target World Challenge following Tiger and Tiger ONLY for a piece to run on ESPN.com on Monday about life inside the herd. But before it comes out, feel free to try to track me down in this photo from #16 yesterday. Course it would help to know what I look like to begin with, right?

I'm in the sunglasses and black hat.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

TARGET World Challenge: Preview...

Stick around this week for udpates from Sherwood C.C. as Tiger plays competitively for the first time since the Presidents Cup.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Tiger and Lorena's 2007: The Director's Cut WITH WRITER'S COMMENTARY

My latest piece is up on ESPN.com in case you missed it. I made a joke in the piece where I said in honor of all the obligatory special features on DVD's these days that I would email out the "writer's commentary" on my piece for anyone who dropped me a line. I'm blaming the low number of requests on the ice storms in the Midwest.

When the power comes back on in Iowa, I'll be ready for them, but until then, here is the piece along with the exclusive writer's commentary included for all you hardcore fans.

---------
Dear Golf Fan -- Thanks for being so obsessed with golf that you’d want to read an article about an article. And not even a particularly intelligent article. God bless you. My comments about my comments, boy does that sound stupid, will be in green to help you differentiate between the two. Happy Holidays… Bob

Tiger and Lorena’s 2007: The Director’s Cut (With WRITER’S COMMENTARY)
copyright ESPN

These days a studio can’t release a DVD without including bonus footage, deleted scenes, even alternate endings. (I‘d wanted to come up with an example of some award-winning movie that has a famously bad alternate ending on the DVD, but didn’t have time. Yep, cutting corners from the first paragraph…) For those hardcore Woods/Ochoa fans (It would have been funnier if I’d said “Woochoa” fans, wouldn’t it? Dang it.) who expect the same extras in their golf coverage, it’s your lucky day. After scrounging around the cutting room floor I’ve compiled some never-before-read bonus highlights from Tiger and Lorena’s awesome 2007, further proof that from Day One this was indeed a special year.


Heck, a few of these are even true. (Which ones? Well the football ones obviously, and the guest house on Tiger’s new compound did burn down, but the real story is Woods was planning on tearing it down anyway.)



Still not enough for you? First off, wow you’re hard to please. Second, drop me an email – I’ll send you the exclusive writer’s commentary on this column. It makes the perfect inbox stuffer this holiday season. (I may have been overselling this a bit.) And don’t worry, in the end the good guys still win.

January 1st -- After years of frustration, Tiger finally figures out how to see the images hidden in those Magic Eye puzzles from the early 90’s. (This came out of the fact that when they first came out, I really struggled with seeing those things. All my friends else would look at them and say, “a duck”… “a boat”… “A Christmas tree”… and I just couldn’t figure out what my problem is. I can do it but it takes me a good 20-30 seconds and I feel like I’m giving myself a headache to do it. And now that I think about it, how the heck do these things work, anyway? They’re evil, I tell you.)



January 2nd -- Lorena receives a “20 percent off” coupon from Bed, Bath & Beyond on the same day she was planning to buy a new towel for her golf bag. (Thanks to my wife who told me that BB and B only gives out 20% coupons now where last I remember they were 10%. And FYI, Linens & Things accepts BB and B’s coupons and vice-versa. This is the first and last shopping tip I’ll ever be able to give anyone.)




January 17th – After watching Tadd Fujikawa, Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg realizes Tiger’s patented one-arm fist pump should literally be patented, netting his man an extra $850 dollars every time another PGA Tour player imitates it. (I wanted ESPN to put in this picture of Tadd doing the Tiger fist pump but it didn’t happen. I have a tendency to email pictures with my pieces thinking they’ll be used even though I have no idea who owns the rights to any of them. Basically me doing this just gives Jason Sobel one extra thing of mine to delete while he’s busy working on articles that actually matter.)


February 23rd -- Lorena hooks a drive into some bushes and discovers a new species of plant while searching for her ball. The area is deemed environmentally sensitive. She’s awarded a free drop and a plaque from the Sierra Club. (I spent far too much time debating with myself whether Lorena would be more likely to hook a drive or block one right. But obviously Tiger’s historically the blocker while some of Lorena’s most famous misses off the tee go left. More importantly I’d just like to believe that Lorena is a part-time botanist and would really stop her search of a ball to ask her caddie, “Hey have you ever seen a plant like this before?”)


March 25th – One-upping Phil’s commuting to the Nissan Open from San Diego every day, Tiger buys a new private jet that travels faster than the speed of light, allowing him to win the WGC-CA Championship near Miami and then watch it again live from his couch in Windemere. (I swear I read something recently about scientists who supposedly managed to get particles to move faster than the speed of light. I was an English major but I thought this was impossible and that the universe would implode if someone did that. Guess not. Carry on, then…)


April 12th – Lorena uses a Rescue club (what else?) to coax her neighbor’s cat out of a tree.


May 3rd – Despite only flossing two times a week instead of seven as recommended by the American Dental Association, Tiger Woods’ gums refuse to bleed during his semi-annual teeth cleaning. (I saw Seinfeld live a few years ago and an audience member asked him how often he flosses and he said, “As often as the ADA recommends that I do – after every meal.” If so, that is truly impressive. If I ever meet him, I can’t wait to see what perfectly-manicured gums really look like.)


June 8th – While fiddling with her online stock portfolio, Lorena accidentally sells all her shares of Countrywide mortgage. (I remember a year or so ago I was driving between my house and my mom’s house and I noticed on both sides of the freeway were a total like 4 or 5 Countrywide mortgage buildings, all brand new. I got one of those weird feelings in my stomach and I knew they were doomed. You don’t grow that big that fast without it coming back to bite you.)


June 22nd -- General Motors announces that Tiger won’t be used in Buick commercials anymore, putting an end to Charles Howell’s “What time does your mom need her car back?” jokes every time they go to lunch. (This one’s actually true – at least the GM part of it. They said in a very p.c. way that they didn’t want to pigeonhole their usage of Tiger to Buick. Uh, duh. This guy’s the most recognizable face in sports and you don’t want to use him with your younger hotter brands? Tiger’s already started doing OnStar commercials, though in all of them he’s still driving a Buick.)


June 24th – By winning for the 3rd time in 2007, Ochoa surpasses $1.5 million in earnings for the year and more importantly, finally finishes paying off her student loans. (Outside of the $$ being about right, I’m guessing Ochoa had a full-ride to University of Arizona.)


June 28th – In one of his more clutch performances of the year, Tiger notices his wife, Elin’s, new haircut mere moments before she’s going to point it out to him.



June 29th -- The guest house on Tiger's new estate burns down, good news since Phil Mickelson had just been saying he wanted to come visit. (As I said above , this one actually happened. As for Tiger and Phil, there’s a great article you HAVE TO READ by Tom Callahan about Tiger and Phil's relationship and comparing it to Nicklaus and Palmer's. It was originally in last month’s Golf Digest but was put up this week on ESPN.com.


July 9th –After a long week hosting the AT&T National in Washington D.C., Tiger rolls double-6's to take control of Irkutsk and beat fellow golfer Condoleezza Rice in a three-day long game of Risk. (I’m not sure Irkutsk is in the latest edition of Risk, my knowledge is based on a late-80’s version. This article forced me to look up what the heck Irkutsk is -- one of the largest cities in Siberia -- I'm sure it's lovely this time of year…)


August 4th – Lorena goes out to dinner after the 3rd round of the British Open and has a legitimately delicious meal.



August 5th – Tiger’s baby daughter, Sam, spits up on Sergio Garcia in the scorer’s tent at the Bridgestone Invitational. (Truly obsessed golf fans will point out that Sam Woods was never at the Bridgestone Invitational, just the PGA Championship.)


August 12th – Tiger’s perfect year seems in jeopardy when he blocks a drive at Southern Hills and hits gallery member Tyler Simmons in the head, knocking him out cold. Instead Simmons turns out to be wanted in three states and Tiger’s made an honorary member of the Tulsa police force. (While I wasn't at the hot and humid PGA Championship this year, I was in Tulsa one August a few years back and it was easily as uncomfortable as I've ever been on a golf course. I literally spent the entire four hours between shots applying bug repellant and anti-itch cream to my legs.)



September 19th -- Lorena receives new drivers’ license in mail. The picture looks so good she decides to use it as her Christmas card photo.


September 28th -- At the Presidents Cup, Tiger defeats Rory Sabbatini and Phil Mickelson in ping pong after Rory says Tiger looks as beatable as ever and Phil says Woods is using an inferior paddle.


October 6th -- Tiger’s alma mater Stanford defeats #2 ranked USC, ending the Trojan’s national title chances. (And as someone with a number of unbearable USC fans in the family, I couldn’t have enjoyed this more.)


November 15th – Lorena’s alma mater Arizona defeats #2 ranked Oregon, ending the Ducks national title chances.


November 20th – Three days after winning the ADT Championship, Lorena still can’t crack open the plastic case around her million dollar prize. She gives up when she remembers she needs a new ottoman anyway. (I never heard definitively whether the money in the case was 1) real money and 2) actually a million dollars. There’s some rule about not being able to photograph actual money on television but not sure why -- maybe Ben Franklin's family were part of that religion that believes if someone takes a picture of you, you lose your soul. Or maybe another reason that makes actual sense.)


December 1st – Tiger receives an email from coach Hank Haney: “Of course playing ‘Tiger Woods 2008’ on Nintendo Wii counts as off-season practice.” (If you’ve never been, check out www.wiihaveaproblem.com . The site documents all the most famous injuries and destruction caused by people injuring themselves, their TV’s and others while playing Wii. I didn’t believe this was possible till my friend smashed his hand through his glass ceiling fan 10 minutes after playing tennis for the first time.)


December 10th – Capping off an unforgettable year in which she surpassed Annika Sorenstam to become #1, captured eight wins and took home almost $5 million dollars, Ochoa changes business managers, switches to GEICO and, yes, saves a bundle on her car insurance. (My favorite story about someone using this admittedly tired joke is an old boss was flying to Vegas on Southwest when the pilot came on and said, “Folks, got some good news and some bad news. The bad news is we're going to be delayed taking off due to some bad weather, plus there's already a few dozen planes ahead of us in line anyway... not sure when we're getting out of here. The good news is I just saved a bundle on my car insurance.” I love the fact that the pilot wold risk ticking off all of his passengers for a joke. No guts, no glory, right?)

That’s all I got. Thanks for the added interest. Now go do something meaningful with your life. I think Project Runway's on tonight….
Bob

Monday, December 3, 2007

Q-SCHOOL: Roundup -- "There's now way I'm coming back here..."

No, that's not a quote of one of the 27 guys who won their PGA card today, it's from Matthew Every, a player who failed to birdie the par-5 17th and then bogeyed the 18th to finish two shots out of the top 25.

Other stories...

**Biggest Collapse Award: Miguel Angel Carballo (pictured below). The guy had a bogey-free round going heading into #16 at -17, safely under the eventual cut line. He then goes double-bogey/bogey/bogey to miss the PGA Tour by one stroke.


Let's hope he's keeping this crystal bowl next to his bed tonight in case of emergencies.


**Tommy, Can You Hear Me?!... Yesterday I wrote that Tommy Gainey would probably struggle today but thankfully he could still shoot a 77 and make it. He shot 77 and made it. He had a great post-round interview where he was choking back tears as he proudly embraced the fact that he achieved something not many people thought he could.


**Hello world... Goodbye Masters... and the U.S. Open... and the British Open..... Colt Knost finishes 8 strokes out of qualifying and will find himself on the Nationwide Tour this year rather than making the most of his invites after winning the U.S. Amateur and Public Links. While not the biggest choker of the day, it makes him the biggest loser.


**After winning the event at -29, Frank Lickliter finally decided to talk to the press. He joked that he was disappointed with his one bogey this week (in truth he had 8 bogeys and one double). Apparently "making friends" wasn't high on his "to do" list this week.

**Duffy Waldorf finishes the week 65-66 to make it back on Tour with two shots to spare. I don't like to tell a guy how to spend his money, but maybe it's time for some new hats.

Bob May, Shades of the 2000 PGA...

Bob May just sunk a curvy 20 footer on 18 to get to -13 and give himself a fighting chance at making the top 25. There are about 3 golfers in the world who can use their memories of playing head to head against Tiger Woods as positive motivation on the golf course and May is one of them.
For those who forget, May shot a 66 in the final round of that major while paired with Tiger. The two went to a playoff where he matched Tiger hole for hole before losing to Tiger in a 3-hole playoff by just a stroke.

Q-SCHOOL: Uh-Oh...

I don't want to say I told you so, but Tommy "Two Gloves" Gainey is +3 through 9, dropping to -17 and getting uncomfortably close to having to think about that cut line, which is currently at -12 and likely to drop to at least -13.

Q-SCHOOL: Final Day Early Update

I'll try to add updates throughout the day...

A few early notes:

**I'm not really sure what Frank Lickliter's strategy was heading into this week, but intentionally or not, one thing he has successfully done is wear shirts that get uglier and uglier as the week has gone on. I don't have a picture of it yet, but today's shirt could easily be named "fake vomit plaid." It's not intimidating like Tiger's red, but on a day when guys get queasy easy, Lickliter may have chosen the perfect color.

**Early hiccups for Andrew Bonhomme who started the day inside the cut line at -13 missed a 4-footer on 1 for par and a 6 footer on 2 for par to drop under the cut line.

**Also the Golf Channel just showed a shot of Brendon De Jonge, a guy who was T2 earlier in the week, miss literally an 15" putt on his first hole to drop under the cut line....

Interesting stuff. Stay tuned...

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Early Morning Reading...

With today being the last round of Q-School and all, here's a great article written by Tour player John Maginnes about his 2002 Q-School experience at PGA West's Stadium Course in La Quinta.

Having played this course six or so times and being repeatedly embarrassed by it, I can't imagine having to tackle it under the added pressure of playing for a job. These courses they're playing in Florida this week may be long, but there's no way they're as terrifying as the water around PGA West's closing holes.

(Personal note: the first time I got to #17's island green at the Stadium Course I was so nervous I blocked my 8-iron so far right it stayed dry, coming to rest on the 2-foot wide wooden walkway to the green. From there? Yes, THEN I proceeded to dump it in the water.)

Q-SCHOOL: Day 5 -- Gentleman, Start Your Choking...

The stage is set for the 6th and final round of Q-School tomorrow in Florida. Some will wonder which players will rise to the challenge, shoot the round of their life, make a clutch putt and earn their way onto the 2008 Tour.

Forget that. The best part is who crumbles, who dumps three in the water on 18, who 3-putts from 5 feet, who hits pitching wedge off the last instead of driver because they're too dang nervous to do anything else. It's not schadenfreude, to use a word I had to look up to make sure I used it correctly, it's a desire to see that these guys and I aren't that different.

That said, I'd love to see wire-to-wire leader Frank Lickliter (currently at -28) open his round with a quadruple bogey and quickly get very nervous. A missed par putt here, a penalty stroke there, suddenly Frank finds himself standing on the 18th tee 11 over for the day and begging for a 4 to close with an 83 to make the top 25, get his card and most importantly, remind him how hard this game really is.

**Battle of the DUFF udpate: Not even close now. Waldorf spun off a neat little 65 to give him a fighting chance at his card if he can do something like it tomorrow while Jason DUFner is comfortably entrenched at +4, needing to shoot around a 53 tomorrow to earn full exemption. As Waldorf (the muppet) himself would say, "Ha!"
**I don't want to jinx the guy, but if there's a favorite to struggle down the stretch is it fair to mention Tommy Gainey? He's in 5th place, -20 and needs to shoot less around a 77 or so to earn his card. Then again if there's one guy who's prepared his whole life to deal with sweaty palms, it's a guy who wears gloves on both hands.

**But Gainey's still not the oddest guy in the bunch -- I learned during Round 5 coverage that Josh Broadaway plays cross-handed. Not putting. His full shots. As for his putting, well, he does that left-handed despite playing the rest of his shots right-handed. Don't laugh -- until he shot 75 on Sunday he was in 25th place. Now I've got another absurd thing to try on the driving range this week...

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Q-SCHOOL: Day 4 -- Lickliter Plays Left-Handed, Still Leads

In a move of extreme braggadocio, or as Carlos Franco said, "is no nice," Q-School leader Frank Lickliter II decided to play the 4th round left-handed. Even more dispiriting to the 166-man field is the fact that Lickliter's even par score of 72 still left him three shots clear of 2nd place with two rounds to go.

"We're out here for six days, 108 holes... honestly I was just getting a little bored," Lickliter explained. Asked what he would do tomorrow to stay interested, he mused, "Do I have to wear pants? I know wearing shorts is against the rules, but what about just no pants altogether?"

Other Notes:


**"The Big Break's" Tommy Gainey sits in 4th place overall after a 71. But Tommy's not just playing for his Tour card -- he's fighting to join that elite group of reality TV stars (currently just Elizabeth Hasselbeck and for some reason Bill Rancic) whose time on TV has led to any sort of post-show career.
**Gibby Gilbert III shot a 68 to climb into 79th place. And yes, I just wanted to write the name "Gibby Gilbert III."

Q-SCHOOL: Day 3 -- Wheels Come Off, Lickliter Only Shoots 68

Halfway through PGA Qualifying School, Frank Lickliter II's holding on to a 5-shot lead after a 3rd round 68. Word is after shooting his 2nd straight 62 on Friday, Lickliter refused to talk to the press and left in a bad mood. After this embarrassing round of just -4, I'm surprised he didn't slash a few tires on his way out of the parking lot.


**Big Break's Tommy Gainey shot a 65 to climb all the way to 3rd. As much as I'm a fan of Tommy "Two Gloves," I still remain in shock he's shown no signs that this is a fluke.


**Battle of the DUFF's: Duffy Waldorf shot a +1 73 while Jason DUFner shot his first under par round of the week with a 71, bringing the two slightly closer together heading into the weekend. But at 124th and 160th respectively, these guys need to start playing better than their names, quickly.
**Early in Day 4, Colt Knost currently sits tied with Duffy at -1 for the tournament. I feel like to make it in the top 25 you're going to have to get to -15. That means Knost has to birdie roughly 40% of his remaining holes to not be labeled as the fool who turned pro before using his invite to play in the Masters this spring.