Tuesday, April 29, 2008

BREAKING: Protest At the Players?

A handful of high school SAT Prep coaches from around North Florida are expected to descend on Ponte Vedra next week in a protest that has Commissioner Tim Finchem and other high-ranking Tour officials on edge.

According to FORE RIGHT'S anonymous source, the SAT coaches are sick and tired of the Tour's continued use of the term "island green" to describe the 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass when it's "obviously" a peninsula green. Said the source: "An island is completely surrounded by water, while a peninsula is a piece of land that projects into a body of water and is connected with the mainland by an isthmus. The 17th is clearly the latter, not the former," then added, "Latter meaning the last thing mentioned and former meaning the first thing."

The SAT coaches are blaming the PGA Tour's actions for a dip in English test scores in their region, specifically citing an analogy question from last June's SAT that read, "ISLAND : NOTHING :: PENINSULA : _____. "The answer was obviously 'land,' but most of our students picked 'sneaker.' 'Sneaker.' That's just stupid."

The coaches plan to bring awareness to their cause by staging a sit-in on the island green during Thursday's round, a sit-in they point out will be easy to pull off since they won't need a boat to get there.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Bob on Golf Central: TUESDAY 8:30 EST

I PROMISE, I PROMISE, I PROMISE.

My interview with the Golf Channel is set to air on Golf Central during their Tuesday night show which airs at 8:30 and 11:30 Eastern. It should also re-air Wednesday morning at 7 and 7:30AM EST. Enjoy! And if you don't enjoy, don't tell me. Tiger's injury still has me feeling a little fragile.

John Daly's Back...and Front.... and Feet.

Thanks to reader Andy who was the first person to pass this video my way from a local Missouri news station that (unfortunately) caught up with John Daly out on the course at the Daly-designed Murder Rock Golf Club near Branson. Daly's never been accused of being classy, but this is fantastic. I can't upload the video here (yet), so follow this link for now.

I can take two positive things from this:
1) If Daly can rehab from stomach surgery this fast, I like Tiger's chances to be back before the U.S. Open.
2) For as sycophantic as this reporter is, at least he resisted the urge to ask to see his scar.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Tiger Says Watching 12 Hours of TV "Easily Within Reason"

Rehabbing at his Orlando home, world number one Tiger Woods came under fire from wife Elin this weekend for refusing to get off the couch, saying that the possibility of him watching twelve straight hours of television was "easily withing reason." Tiger explained the claim on his website, saying that between the NBA Playoffs, Final round of the Byron Nelson, Dodgers/Rockies game and the complete 10th season of South Park, "it's not the craziest thing to suggest." Tiger went on to say, "I've watched 12 hours of TV before, now I just have to watch them all in a row." Wife Elin had been hoping that Tiger and she might finally be able to talk about when they'd be going to Sweden to visit her family.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Hey Look, It's Trevor-- Wait, Where'd He Go?

Well, Trevor Immelman might still win the Grand Slam, but his hopes of besting Byron Nelson's streak of 11 straight didn't last so long. The Masters champ followed up his first round 78 in Dallas yesterday with a 75 today to miss the cut. By TEN SHOTS. Out of the 154 players who completed the two rounds of the EDS Byron Nelson Championship, Immelman finished 153rd. I haven't seen any clips, but what the heck, was the guy actually wearing his Green Jacket while playing or something?

As reported in the San Diego Union Tribune, Immelman said after the first round, "I felt like I was playing in another man's body." Course before the Masters, Immelman's other stroke play finishes going backwards were T40th, T48th, T65th, MC, MC, MC. I think he just forgot what his actual body feels like.

And for the record, if he doesn't come close to another victory this year, it will totally add weight to the theory I made to my friend Mark during the Masters that Gary Player clearly gave Immelman some secret South African youth potion during their Tuesday practice round.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Rory and The Kangaroo...

A couple of people who read my recent ESPN piece didn't realize the joke about Tiger watching the video of Rory Sabbatini being harassed by a kangaroo is a real thing, so here it is. If it wasn't a real thing, that would have been the strangest joke I'd ever written. Anyway, it's worth a view. Or two.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Phil's Phunny...

If you haven't seen any or all of the new Crowne Plaza commercials featuring Phil, check them out. They're legitimately funny.

Phil has been making me laugh a lot lately, my favorite being after Friday's round at the Masters when he was asked why he thought so many left-handed players were doing so well (Phil, Steve Flesch, Mike Weir...). Phil's answer was (best I remember): "I can tell you why. Bobby Jones actually wanted to play golf left-handed but just couldn't find the equipment..." As everyone, myself included, thought, "Wow, really?" Phil broke and said, "I'm just kidding, I have no idea why left-handers do well here."

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Golfers Not Golfing...

This has been a big couple of days for golfers being spotted off the course. At best, these photos will humanize your heroes. At worst (oh Monty...) it will give the Americans more ammo for this summer's Ryder Cup. Trevor Immelman on top of the Empire State Building, looking more tour guide-ish than Masters champ.

Tiger Woods with David Lee Roth in Las Vegas. Here's what I'd like to think they're saying:
David: "'Easily within reason'? You realize I lost $200 on the Masters!"
Tiger: "I bought your last 3 solo albums. Let's call it even."

Colin Montgomerie walks down the aisle after his wedding on Saturday in Scotland. Probably didn't need to mention it was in Scotland.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Verizon Heritage Replaces Real Trees with Cell Phone Trees

Officials behind the Verizon Heritage are under fire this week after players noticed that many of the giant Douglas firs around famous Harbour Town Golf Links have been replaced by synthetic cell phone trees.

The change was first noticed by Stewart Cink early Tuesday morning when his 2nd shot to the par-5 15th hit the top of a tree, clanged against it, and ricocheted 70 yards left and out of bounds.

Verizon, the event's sponsor and one of the nation's leading telecommunication companies, lauded the move, saying their tournament may not have the strongest field of the year, but it does have the best cell phone reception. "We dare a fan to show us a spot on this course where he can't make or receive a phone call."

While Verizon was busy selling fans on the move, tournament director Steve Wilmot was working on the players: "Every golfer has heard the expression that trees are ninety-percent air. Well these fake trees are actually ninety-TWO percent air. Which means at least two-percent more birdies."

That of course doesn't count actual birds, seeing as the radiation given off by the towers is not hospitable for nests.

As for the original trees, some of which were over a hundred years old, Wilmot had an answer for that too: "We didn't destroy the firs, we just chopped them down." He says they plan on "sticking them back in the ground" after the tournament.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

EXCLUSIVE: Tiger's New Knee

Fore Right has obtained the first photo of Tiger's post-op knee, an x-ray that shows not only how much work Tiger has had done on his knee over the years, but also how thorough a job Nike's lawyers did in negotiating Woods' latest contract. A spokesman for JWT, a major advertising agency, said this appears to be the first time a company has successfully been able to brand themselves on both the outside AND inside of an athlete.

Tiger's Surgery: Some Thoughts...

So obviously Tiger Wood's surgery has been all I've been thinking about since I read the news last night. And here's what's interesting to me in no particular order:

1) According to the AP Story, Tiger's coach Hank Haney was not aware of the surgery till Tiger called him to tell him. Wow, really? Can you imagine any other sport (or any other athlete) where that could happen? "Hey, Francona, it's Big Papi. Hey, fyi, just had surgery on my knee." "You WHAT?!" "No big deal. It was just kind of bugging me. I'll be back before the All Star break."

2) I wonder if he would have done this if he'd won the Masters last week. I mean obviously from his last surgery back in December 2002, he indeed returned within that 4-6 week window and then proceeded to win his first event back, but would he risk something going wrong during rehab if it would have jeopardized a Grand Slam year?

3) Amazing how easily this news completely made the golf world forget about Masters champ Trevor Immelman. Immelman should find some reason to have surgery later this week -- something that makes his triumph at Augusta even more impressive. I'd go with a double eye transplant, mentioning casually on his website that he played the final round 80% blind. Then again, check out trevorimmelman.com -- he should really just post the news on Tiger's site.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

REALLY: Tiger Has Knee Surgery, Out 4-6 Weeks

Check out the story here. Reaction to follow...

Bob's Photos From The Masters

Usually people can't stand looking at my vacation photos. The Masters might be a little different... Enjoy!

http://picasaweb.google.com/bobsmiley77

Monday, April 14, 2008

MASTERS: Odds on Tiger Winning Grand Slam Climb to 8-1

Within hours of losing the Masters by three strokes to South African Trevor Immelman, Vegas bookies have increased the odds on Tiger winning all 4 majors in 2008 to 8-1. "Obviously, losing the first major is going to make it harder for Tiger to win all four, but anything's possible," said Rich Cifelli, oddsmaker for the Luxor. Despite already being awarded the Green Jacket, Immelman wouldn't rule it out either: "That's the thing about Tiger, he always finds a way to win." After the Accenture Match Play, odds on Tiger winning the Grand Slam was 11-2.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

MASTERS: Photograph Reveals How Immelman's Ball Stayed Up

So how the heck did Immelman's 3rd shot on the 15th (Firethorn) stay on that slope, you wonder? Take a zoomed in look at the picture of Trevor with his ball: Augusta officialssay they believe the gum was spit out of Rory Sabbatini's mouth during Round 2. Rory could be reached for comment but no one wanted to talk to him.


Tiger:
Tiger started the 3rd round of The Masters 7 shots behind leader Trevor Immelman. After Woods' 68, he now stands just 6 back, a move up the leaderboard that will find Tiger in the lead by next Saturday's 10th Round.

Seriously speaking, I think -12 wins this golf tournament. For Immelman, that means a 71. For Tiger, it's 65. His ball striking remains great and his putting was better, but to have a chance tomorrow he must summon the putting powers that saw him pick apart Augusta in 1997. By my count, Tiger had 8 putts on the front nine for birdie and 1 for eagle. He made none of them.

The good news is that after his round, Tiger went to the putting green and worked with coach Hank Haney till he was confident they'd pinpointed the problem in his stroke. Look for a low number tomorrow.

Underneath Augusta: After the twenty-minute downpour that delayed play today, patrons stopped next to the first tee to look at two strange square vents that were blowing air out from under the course like a subway grate. Since I'm not a scientist, I could only say, "that's weird." But Lane, one of the guys I'm staying with in Augusta, guesses that the force of all the water being forced down the drains on the course was in turn forcing the air down below out. Sounds good to me.

Augusta's Worst Job: Behind #16, a worker named Jessie spends his day sitting in front of a port-o-potty marked "Players Only," making sure no one else goes in. Guessing he's not experiencing the sights, sounds and smells of Augusta that people usually connect with the Masters.

Wed. Question Update: On Wednesday I said I didn't understand why Paul Azinger and Ian Baker-Finch were allowed to play in the Par-3 Contest. They are considered "Honorary, Non-Competing Invitees," which includes past winners of the other Majors as well as the U.S. and British Amateur. But it doesn't include all of them. And just because you're an honorary non-competing invitee doesn't mean you're actually invited. Still confused? Me too.

Friday, April 11, 2008

MASTERS: Friday -- The Banana Incident

Here's a story that I'll guarantee no one else will mention about today's 2nd round of The Masters. A buddy and I were sitting behind #11 tee today when David Toms comes up. He opens up a wooden container next to the tee and pulls out a fresh banana. He peels it, looks at it, then throws it away in the trash without taking a bite. He then went into another box and grabbed an orange juice.

My friend thought maybe it was just a bad banana. The way I see it there are two problems to this theory. 1) If it was a bad banana, he would have gotten a second banana. He didn't. 2) There are no bad bananas at Augusta National.

The only conclusion I could reach is that he knew some of the good players behind him really like the potassium-rich fruit and by putting one out of play, he was in turn increasing his own chances of playing well.

Any other theories out there?


Tiger's Round: Putting, putting, putting. He hasn't really been hot with his Scotty Cameron blade since the Match Play (putt on #18 at Bay Hill aside). If/when he figures it out, hold on.

Stevie's Jumpsuit: For all those ladies out there, I'm pretty sure Stevie was not wearing a shirt underneath his white Augusta jumpsuit today. And for most of the day it was not zipped up very high, giving him a Tom Selleck-y kind of look going. But by the time he reached 18, it was back up again. See, where else are you going to get this sort of attention to detail!

Prediction Recap: I don't really know why I picked Sergio Garcia to finish 2nd in my Wednesday night post. I apologize to everyone who naively thought I really knew something about golf.

Favorite Overheard Quote: (while crossing #5 fairway) "You know, even a goat couldn't get anything off this grass."

Thursday, April 10, 2008

MASTERS: Thursday Notes

Witness to (the opposite of) greatness: Usually I'm boasting of having witnessed Tiger Woods' amazing shots, but today I was right there to see what may have been his worst this year (that's me in the green hat next to the guy in yellow). After pulling his tee shot left in the pine straw on Chinese Fir (#14), Tiger considered going high over some pines before getting talked out of it by Stevie. Instead Tiger went low and tried to hook it around the pines. The result was a thin-top that came out slow and only went about a hundred yards. It was the only time this year where I felt like yes, I could have hit a better shot than that.

I'll let it slide, especially since he sunk his chip on Firethorn (#15) for eagle. That one I don't think I could have improved on.

Tiger's Round: An even par 72 was just okay. A 70 or 69 was totally within reach, but he couldn't take advantage of #2 and #3, two holes where an up-and-down from just in front of both greens would have netted him 2 birdies.

Course Conditions: Augusta National couldn't have played much easier than it did today. No wind, sunny... But when the course is 7500 yards, "easy" is sort of an unfair label no matter what the weather's like.

Fantasy Golf: Come on, everyone picked Brian Bateman in their Masters pool, right?

MASTERS: How To Get Nothing Done Friday

If you didn't spend Round 1 of the Masters reading Jason Sobel's live blog on ESPN.com, then you're clearly working too hard. Obviously I'm bias, but this is really hysterical. In today's blog, which I caught up on when I returned from the course, he and his legion of readers covered everything from stats questions, to original poetry, to what he had for breakfast at Augusta. Sobel also put in some great links including a YouTube video of Rory Sabbatini getting interrupted by a kangaroo and a guy whose groom's cake at his wedding was an Augusta green jacket.

Just don't tell your boss.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

MASTERS: Wednesday -- Thoughts From Augusta

Each day this week I hope to post a few of the random things I was able to hear or see with my very own eyes at the 2008 Masters. Which might then lead me on tangents that leave me confused, frustrated and wondering where I was. Basically the blog will read the same way I play most long par fours.

First off...

Craziest thing I saw at the Masters today: When I grabbed some napkins out of a napkin dispenser, the end of the next napkin left in the dispenser was sticking out, as I think they're designed to do. A concessions worker waited till I was done, then neatly tucked the end of the napkin back in.

Best Moment: On #9 of today's par-3 contest, Palmer knocks it inside 10 feet, which netted me a quarter from my friend Rob. Gary Player then knocks it inside him, which netted me fifty cents. Jack Nicklaus moves them both aside and sticks his shot to within a foot. I won a dollar but even better was able to witness the Nicklaus magic one more time.

Worst Moment: Immediately after knocking it close, Nicklaus turns to Player and they exchange a fist bump. What was most disturbing is that they looked completely natural doing it, as if they've been doing it for years. And for all I know, they have. I feel like I saw Jack doing it at last year's Presidents Cup, which didn't bother me as much since at least one of the fist bumpers was under 60. Either way, it's a sign that golf needs to start looking for a new celebratory hand motion. We've done the high-five, the low-five, even the occasional forearm bash. I'm going to start pushing what I'll call the "Stevie." It's what happened when Steve Williams tried to high-five Tiger after the unforgettable chip-in on 16 for birdie back in '05. It was awkward and uncoordinated, which is why I can only credit Stevie for things going so wrong.
Here's how to pull it off:
1) Make the other person think you're going for the standard high-five.
2) Right before impact, move your arm an extra two to three inches closer to the person's head.
3) Proceed to make contact with no more than one finger (preferably none) using the lead thumb of your open palm, then wrap the remainder of your hand around the back of their hand and grab onto wrist briefly before abandoning the effort altogether.


Confusion: Can someone who was watching the ESPN coverage of the par-3 contest explain to me why Ian Baker-Finch and Paul Azinger were allowed to play in it? I mean, they're both Major champs, but not Masters champs. My best guess is that they're broadcasters, but still...

Official Prediction: Tiger over Sergio.

Funniest Masters-related Link: http://augusta.craigslist.org/tix/629971771.html

Most Pathetic Masters-related Link: http://augusta.craigslist.org/tix/631006447.html

More thoughts coming Thursday... and yes, I really am sitting in a Denny's parking lot.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

MASTERS TUESDAY: Your Homework Assignment

"Holy crap."

Not exactly the most sophisticated Masters commentary, but that was all I could muster as I stood and looked at Firethorn for the first time in my life today. Firethorn? That would be the plant name attached to #15 at Augusta National. It seems like Jim Nantz is the only person who actually has all these memorized. Until now. I challenge everyone to get these straight by Saturday so you can throw in comments like, "Man, you should have seen the shot Tiger hit on Flowering Crab Apple yesterday," or "If Mickelson doesn't birdie Nandina, it's over!" I want some reports back on how the usage impresses/annoys your friends and family.

If you need a refresher course (you do), here they are:
No. 1 - Tea Olive
No. 2 - Pink Dogwood
No. 3 - Flowering Peach
No. 4 - Flowering Crab Apple
No. 5 - Magnolia
No. 6 - Juniper
No. 7 - Pampas
No. 8 - Yellow Jasmine
No. 9 - Carolina Cherry
No. 10 - Camellia
No. 11 - White Dogwood
No. 12 - Golden Bell
No. 13 - Azalea
No. 14 - Chinese Fir
No. 15 - Firethorn
No. 16 - Redbud
No. 17 - Nandina
No. 18 - Holly

(FYI, the reason they're all named after plants is, as I learned today, because the course was built on the grounds of a former nursery. A flower nursery, not a baby nursery, for those who are still confused.)

So look at this as your Masters homework for the weekend. If nothing else, you'll feel like that much more of a hardcore golf fan. And horticulturist.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

MASTERS WEEK BEGINS: First A Warning

Sure, Masters Week doesn't officially begin till Monday, but I just can't wait, so Fore Right is going green a day early.

This week you'll undoubtedly find yourself with Masters on the brain, which your wife needs to know is completely normal for a man of your age. But it is important I warn you about other things posing as "The Masters"... here's a few to watch out for:

1) Yes, Augusta is considered a holy place, but please don't confuse it with The Master's College -- a Christian school near L.A. The apostrophe should have tipped you off.


2) Mention "The Masters" at your local muni, only one things pops into everyone's head. Mention it at your local video store, someone might hand you a copy of Dolph Lundgren's 1987 disaster, The Masters of the Universe. It looks interesting. It's not. Though to be fair, Dolph does have a Camilo Villegas kind of look going.



3) For all your Masters news, obviously the best place is www.masters.org. Just make sure you don't end up at www.themasters.org. That site got snagged by The Masters International Shooting Competition. The picture below is from their 2007 competition. I'm not sure if the guy is reloading or dying. Or both.



Be careful out there this week, everybody. And check back in throughout the next seven days for the latest real opinions and fake golf news out of Augusta.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

MASTERS PREVIEW: Jim Nantz Prepares

"The Bear has come out of hibernation!" - 1986
"A win for the ages!" - 1997

So go two of Jim Nantz's most famous calls from his years at Augusta. While many assume such legendary moments are thought of on the spot, in truth Nantz works tirelessly for months to find the perfect thing to say in the event any of the players find themselves in contention. In fact Fore Right has obtained a page from one of Nantz's working drafts for this year's Masters...

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Lamest April Fool's Joke Ever...

Make it THREE times I've told you I'm going to be on Golf Central only to find out at the last minute that my segment has been pulled for time. The good news is, there are no major golf events coming up in the next week or two that might bump the story again. Just the Shell Houston Open and then... oh... never mind.

RADIO: Podcast from Saturday...

Saturday morning I was on the "Two Guys -- One Sports Show" in Orlando. Click on the title above to hear the podcast from the show. Who cares about Tiger, they may never have me back on after I admitted I jumped off board Lost early in Season 2.

Daly's Gut Deemed Non-Conforming By USGA

More troubles for John Daly this week as random testing by the USGA revealed that his beer belly is no longer within USGA limits. "We've been watching John for the last six months," senior technical director Dick Rugge announced Tuesday. "And when our computer spit out his name for gut-testing, we knew we might have a problem."

According to the official report, the MOI [Moment of Inertia] of Daly's stomach is a startling 7350, far above the current limit of 5900. "The closest we'd seen to date came from Mark Calcavecchia," Rugge said, "but even he was just at 5400." Daly also was over the limit for TGZ [Total Gut Size]. When asked for the specific numbers, Rugge explained, "Honestly, we just eyeballed that one."

Neither Daly nor his stomach could be reached for comment.