Monday, January 28, 2008

Durant's Wife Still Doesn't Believe He Played With Tiger on Sunday

As of late Monday night, Joe Durant was still trying to convince his wife that he was in fact in the final group with Tiger Woods on Sunday at the Buick Invitational. According to neighbors, Durant could be heard yelling "I'm not lying!" and "Why would I make this up?" ever since he arrived back at his Florida home earlier this afternoon. A housekeeper leaving the property said Durant even went so far as to show her an AP photo (seen above), but that his wife said they'd cut off too much of the face to really know for sure who that was. Durant started the day 9 strokes back, shot a 75, and finished 13 shots out of the lead.

Friday, January 25, 2008

FORE RIGHT BIG NEWS... Couch Wanted

Friends, Romans, high-handicappers, lend me your... couch.


I wanted to let you know of some GREAT NEWS -- well, great news if you enjoy any of the junk I write. This week I somehow managed to convince a publisher to let me write a book centered around golf. As a result, I'll be spending the year doing a lot of traveling. (More details about the project when someone gives the okay.) I'm currently in San Diego for the Buick Invitational and next week I'll be in Dubai. I know it's sometimes hard to tell, but no, this isn't a joke.


The thing is, along the way I'm going to need some places to stay since they want me to do this as cheaply as possible. "They" being the publisher and my wife. So if you live in or around the following cities and promise you're not too creepy, drop me a line -- I'd love to borrow a flat surface for a few nights...

-Orlando, FL
-Miami, FL
-Augusta, GA
-Charolotte, NC
-Ponte Vedra, FL
-Dublin, OH
-Detroit, MI
-Washington D.C.
-Lancashire, England
-Cleveland, OH
-Battle Creek, MI
-Jersey City, NJ
-Boston, MA
-St. Louis, MO
-Louisville, KY
-Atlanta, GA

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Daly WD's From Event, Citing Length of Tournament Name

A sign of just how out of shape he's become, troubled golfer John Daly announced late Sunday that he is withdrawing from the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic Hosted By George Lopez after getting winded just trying to say the event's name. "A fan asked where I was playing next, I told him, and then I had to sit down for ten minutes," Daly explained during a strange Sunday news conference. He urged the Tour to consider shorter titles for their events or at least abbreviations, saying that unless they do something immediately, the only events he'll be able to play in are the FBR Open and Honda Classic.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

UPDATE: $100 At Golfsmith

Yes, here's a picture of me, about which you've probably already had one of the following thoughts:

1) Wow, he's kind of a goober.


2) Finally a guy who I'm pretty sure I could take in a streetfight.


3) He's NOT Malaysian? (For some reason I get a lot of hits from Kuala Lumpur).


Independent of how you've now judged me, thanks to everyone who weighed in about what I should purchase with the $100 gift certificate I received for Christmas from Golfsmith. As you can see, I ended up going with a new 56 degree Tour wedge from Ping. Before you ask, no, I'm not really good enough to play a club like this.



My reason for this purchase was because so many of you were passionate that I SHOULDN'T get it, saying that using a club one gets for free is inviting bad karma. Since I've never heard this theory before, and with all due respect to my friends at My Name is Earl, I've decided to put it to the test and say "bring it on." Should I shoot a career round with it in the near future, I'll keep you posted. On the other hand, should the club lead to emotional distress, financial ruin or even my own premature death, I will make sure that I (or my next of kin) admits to being wrong on this one.

Monday, January 7, 2008

RAGE: Mild-Mannered Stricker Throws Putter at Chopra After Loss

In what was one of the stranger finishes to a PGA event in history, nice guy Steve Stricker snapped after losing a four-hole playoff at the Mercedes-Benz Championship on Sunday and threw his putter at winner Daniel Chopra. The blow knocked Chopra to the ground and set off a Benny Hill-type chase through the pineapple fields separating the 3rd and 4th holes. The chase came to a close back at Stricker's villa when Chopra hit Stricker with his daughter's boogie board. A PGA spokesman said the Tour has not officially decided how to punish Stricker for his actions, but said they are considering making Stricker play the rest of his events this year with Rory Sabbatini.

Friday, January 4, 2008

7:22 Weir Outta Here

With his 67 and vault up the leaderboard, expect a revival of the Stack 'n Tilt debate that had died down during the offseason. Weir looked unflappable today. And reports are he's hitting the ball 10 yards longer than he did last season. He won't be giving up this lead easily. But really, after beating Tiger heads up in last year's Presidents Cup, it didn't take a Canadian golf fan to predict that Weir might have a big year.

So ends Fore Right's Round 2 coverage. Thanks to all who passed along thoughts and comments along the way and hope to do this again for some bigger tourneys down the road... To tie up a loose end, the results are in -- almost everyone seems to think Tiger's going to end 2008 with 2 more majors while some are bold enough to go with 3. Do I hear 4? Sure, from me... and a couple other dreamers out there. If there's any year he can do it, this one sure seems right.

7:14 Byrd is the Word...

Admittedly Jonathan Byrd disappeared there after a few birds on the front nine, but he just birdied 18 (after also birdieing 15 and 17) to end up a shot AHEAD of Snedeker -- the guy that got the 90% of the TV coverage.

7:03 What am I talking about?...

Snedeker's 3 putt dropped him to -6 and out of the lead.

Mike Weir just sunk his putt on 18 for birdie and a round of 67.

With Ames making birdie on 18, that drops Sned out of the final group for Saturday.

6:57 Strange

Snedeker had a makeable birdie on #18 to finish with the outright lead, then 3-putted to put sort of a weird stink on his round. Golf Channel didn't even pause to announce his -4 score of 69. Still, barring a birdie by Weir on 18 or a big finish by Watney, he'll start Saturday with no worse than a tie for the lead.

6:47 Scoreboard update

Snedeker -7 thru 17
Weir -7 thru 17
Ames -6 thru 17
Watney -6 thru 16
Calc, Leonard, Byrd, Baddely, Cabrera -5

6:45 It's About Time...

It took me over 3 hours, but I finally have my first "I told you so" of the day. Nick Watney just reeled off a pair of birdies on #15 and #16 to pull back within one shot of the lead.

6:36

Snedeker just made a great par on 17. He hit a mediocre drive and had, no joke, 255 yards to the hole. He ripped his 3-wood to the front edge, then made the 8 footer to save 4. This kid's got guts. Course Friday's a little different than Sunday afternoon.

6:30 Forget About Watney?

This is such a dense leaderboard (13 players within 4 shots). Watney -- who has had a nothing day with one birdie and 2 bogeys -- remains just three shots behind Snedeker and Weir. Look for him to make one more move before the weekend's over.

6:17 Alright, I'll Say It...

I love this leaderboard. Earlier it was all guys in their 20's, then it switched back to the vets and right now it's an awesome mix of young and old...

Young: Snedeker, Byrd and again Baddeley
Vets: Weir, Leonard, Cabrera, Ames...

So often you get one or the other, the young guys dominating the lesser tourneys and the vets winning the high profile ones. Not right now.

6:15 Snedeker in Trouble...

Standing on a cart path, ball surruonded by long grass, should be called weeds, 104 yards... and he just hacked it out to about 10 feet. I quit. Again.

6:09 Leapfrog

I hope these veterans are at least waving at the young guys as they fly past them here in Round 2. Stephen Ames has birdied #14 and #15 to get to -6 and one shot behind Snedeker. And Cabrera just birdied #14 to pull ahead of them too. Lot of golf left...

6:00 Verplank

Scotty seems to have pulled it together, -3 through 17 after yesterday's rules nightmare. Nightmare for the poor group playing behind him. Verplank saw his ball move but remained convinced it moved b/c of the driving wind and rain and not b/c his club was behind the ball when it happened. After 15 minutes of debating with the rules official, he decided to play 2 balls and let the head rules official decide once the round was over. Verplank made a par with one ball and a double-bogey with the other. Guess which ball the head official make him take for his score?

5:52 Baddeley On The Run...

Literally, Weir just made the poor kid run up the steep slope on #14 to mark his ball before he hit his approach.

5:38

With Snedeker's bogey on #13, he falls into a tie for first with Justin Leonard. Anybody pick him for their fantasy golf league this week? Yeah, didn't think so.

At the banner a top the ESPN article I just read is a Golf Channel ad for this tournament, featuring pictures of Vijay and... Adam Scott? Someone should have pointed out that Scott's not here this week.

5:35 4-door Coupe explained...

Thanks to Randy from No. Cal for explaining that a "coupe" is a sporty 2-door version of a sedan. So then why wouldn't a 4-door coupe just be a "sporty sedan"? My mind's melting... Better focus on the golf...

5:25

Okay, all systems go again. Dave from upstate New York told me I'd find my remote in the last place I looked. Sure enough, he was right...

Scoreboard update:
Snedeker: -7
Justin Leonard: -6
Mike Weir: -6
Chopra: -6
Flesch: -5

Where'd the rest of the "Young Guns" go? Baddeley, Watney and Byrd have all cooled off and thrown a bogey into the mix, dropping them a few shots out of that top 5.

5:22 Trouble at Fore Right!

I've lost my Tivo remote. I got up to answer the door and now it's gone... I'll keep you all posted...

5:19 Bounce Back? Nope...

Snedeker had a good look at birdie on 12 but couldn't convert. They always talk about a pro's "bounce back" stat -- their ability to follow a bogey with a birdie. I specialize in a term I've never heard used, the reverse bounce back, which means you follow a birdie with a bogey or double-bogey.

5:12

After his first bogey on #11, Snedeker has dropped back to -7.

Here's a non-golf question -- they just showed the Mercedes you could win for a hole-in-one on #11 and advertised it "the world's first 4-door coupe." I'm not a car person so what does that really mean?

5:07 (8:07EST/3:07Hawaii) Duly noted, Wayne!

Wayne in Georgia is justifiably confused about what time zone I'm writing in. I'm in LA so that's where I'm pulling my logging times from. It might have been less complicated to adjust everything to Hawaii time, but that would have required basic math from an English major. The important thing is I'm not going anywhere till 10:30 EST, 7:30 Pacific Time, and 5:30 Hawaii time. Mahalo, Wayne...

5:00

Snedeker makes the birdie on #10 to pull 2 shots away from... Mike Weir? Where did he come from? He just birdied #9, the first eagle of the 2008 season to get to -6.

4:56 Uh...

Watney just left a putt on #8 THIRTY FEET left of the hole, missing the giant slope that would have taken it down to the hole. Good reminder that being able to hit it 377 yards doesn't mean you don't have to worry about all the other parts of the golf game.

4:52 Snedeker On Fire...

He's birdied 5 of his last 6 holes and just stuck it on #11. It says something about a guy who cracks the face of his driver he's hit for 2 straight years yesterday on #16, plays his last two holes 3 over par and rather than lose all momentum comes right back on Friday to take the lead back from Watney.

4:44 Good point...

John D. points out that Cabrera "DOES have a nice tan." And he certainly walks around the course like a Clydesdale. Faldo may have just been coining a new nickname for the smoking Argentinian.

4:40 Angel Cabrera a "Dark Horse"?

That's what Faldo just called him for this week's event. How can the U.S. Open champ who hits the ball a mile and never appears nervous be a dark horse on one of the longest courses in golf?

4:28 First Question...

There's a little lull right now (if you consider Rich Lerner interviewing Paul Goydos a lull), so here's a question: how many majors do you think Tiger will win this year? I think this could be a MONSTER year for him... Any thoughts?

4:16 Young Guns....

I know we're a long way from Sunday afternoon, but a look at 4 of the top 5 guys in this tournament:
Snedeker
Baddeley
Watney
Jonathan Byrd

And as I'm typing this, Kelly Tilghman is beating me to the punch, but so far these under 30 guys certainly aren't bowing down at the feet of the veterans in this tourney. Not necessarily what Golf Channel execs want but great to see for the game of golf...

4:08

I don't know why but watching any left-hander with the exception of Phil always sort of weirds me out. Case in point this week is Steve Flesch. If he stays in contention this week (he's currently -3 through 7) I may need to hang a mirror adjacent to the TV to get through the rest of this tournament.

3:53 Calc update...

Calc missed the bird and then bogeys #11. Sobel always jokes in his blogs that as soon as he mentions someone making a move, they collapse. I don't belive in stuff like that. Yet.

3:40

This has nothing to do with the Mercedes, but when I played golf yesterday I found a flourescent yellow ball that had 4 red Sharpie marks around the number. If you have a bright yellow ball, is there really enough of a concern that it might get confused with someone else's that you need to add the dots on top of that?

3:34

Mark Calcavecchia's -5 through 9 and has a makeable birdie on 10. As someone who gets blown over by a fan, I've got to believe that being a bigger guy (like a Calc or Cabrera) helps you on a windy course like this. Course as Calc said last year, he's so out of shape that he "couldn't run out of a burning building."

3:32

Watney saves par on the 1st to stay in the lead after a poor first putt. Rob from Dallas points out that Nick Watney's drive on #1 was 377 yards. The commentators said he should have hit 3-wood since trouble comes into play at around 390 yards. I'm terrified that any golfer literally has to think twice when they see trouble 400 yards away.

3:22

They mentioned that though never playing Kapalua in person, 2nd placer Daniel Chopra has played it a lot on his Tiger Woods video game. Well there's no way pushing L2 is going to help get him extra spin here. His approach on #1 out of the rough comes up 40 yards short of the green.

3:19pm

Aaron Baddeley making a move early to -4 and within one of Watney. Aside from the 4th round of the U.S. Open last year, he had an amazing year. His fellow pros always name him as one of the best if not the best putter on Tour. Look for him to win again in '08.

3:14 Watney?

Seriously, did anyone pick current leader Nick Watney (-5) to contend at this event? After winning early in the season last year, he was never heard from again. But it was enough to land him a nice endorsement deal and what I thought was an odd commercial where Watney carpools to the golf course with deceased golf legends Ben Hogan and Bobby Jones. Watney has game, but let's take a breath before putting him in the same sedan with two of the greatest golfers of all time.

3:05: Huh?

Kelly Tilghman just said that Vijay explained his bad round yesterday by saying he was penalized for playing this course too much? Pretty sure it wasn't because of how many times he's been to Kapalua that he hit his drive stymied behind a tree on the back nine.

3:01pm

Wow, weather looks unbelievable today. Don't think we're going to see the onslaught of rain, then sun, then rain again... too bad, there's not much I like more than seeing Rory Sabbatini getting rained on.

Five-minute call...

2:55: Sure, it's not quite 3:00 yet, but I didn't want to show up late for our virtual tee time. Hope you're getting a chance to read this AND watch it on the Golf Channel at the same time, but if not, I hope I can recreate some of the magic for you over the next four and a half hours.

Good Lord... 4 and 1/2 hours? What was I thinking? I know Jason Sobel over at ESPN did about double this much blogging time every day during the four majors last year, but I think he must have been sitting in one of those fancy ergonomic chairs they sell in back stores. Mine's from Ikea and has a wobbly screw holding the legs on, so not only am I uncomfortable, but also every time I sit back down I fear it could be for the last time.

Nevertheless, it should be a fun day in Maui. Throughout the round I'll try to talk about all the big golf news as well as yesterday's first round events and the Scott Verplank rules argument that for all I know might still be going on.

But more than anything, feel free to drop me a line at forerightblog@gmail.com with any of your questions or comments. I promise to get to answer as many as possible and print the best comments as I get them. Just keep hitting refresh throughout the round. Course if all of a sudden my comments just stop, best guess is my chair finally did me in....

Enjoy!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

In The Year 2000... + 8...


Plenty of people have written prediction pieces about this new PGA season. Hopefully come Dec. 31, 2008, the one I wrote for ESPN.com this week will have the distinction of having the least number of things come true. Check it out if you didn't catch it and see you tomorrow for the LIVE BLOG!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

EXTRA, EXTRA!... LIVE BLOG FRIDAY!

Thank you Clip Art for this hip icon. Just wanted to let you all know I'll be doing a live blog during FRIDAY'S ROUND TWO coverage of the Mercedes-Benz Championship. Be sure to refresh this page throughout Golf Channel's broadcast (6-10:30PM EST) for the latest insight, commentary, or if nothing else meaningless ramblings about the year's first tourney...

My Latest Adventure On the Driving Range...

I went and hit balls the other night at Woodley Lakes Golf Course, the one place near my house where you can hit off grass. I'm sorry, that should be typed "grass," since by 4pm the only undisturbed turf is underneath the plastic tee markers that divide each spot on the range. So I do what I always do and surreptitiously move one of the markers a foot into someone else's spot and start hitting.

Anyway, what made this particular trip to the range special was the middle-aged Asian man next to me who I noticed early on was stopping to watch me hit balls. Like many people, on the range I'm incredible. You want to see a high fade? You got it. A low three-quarter under-the-wind draw? As you wish. Just please don't make do any of those things on the course.


So after watching me off and on for five or so minutes, he finally came and stood right next to me and said: "Swing very nice... your arm... very... smooth... yes?" "Thanks," I said, fairly sure I was receiving a compliment and not being propositioned. Then the compliments turned to questions as he started making practice swings in front of me: "Where...you...impact? Impact? Hit...ball?" I showed him where my body is at impact and he reacted like I was David Leadbetter or something, "Ahhh! Yes!!! And then... follow-through... (he swings)... follow-through (swings again) VERY important.... yes?

I realized I was in deep at this point, so thus began the world's most nonsensical golf lesson. I showed him my clubface position at different points in the swing, talked about the importance of turning through the ball, how Annika even turns her head before contact, even the subtleties of weight transfer.


With every swing I was feeling more confident about my teaching abilities and the fact that I was making a real difference in a stranger's golf game. Until he said something that completely threw me: "Yes, yes, now try again."


I wasn't giving him a lesson. He was giving me one.


Oh well. I got some extra range balls out of it.