Saturday, January 31, 2009

Kenny Perry + Scott Piercy = Me Running Errands on Saturday

My memory can't recall a weekend in golf where so many big names missed the cut. At the FBR, it was arguably the 3 biggest favorites: Phil Mickelson, Anthony Kim and J.B. Holmes. On the other side of the planet, three-time Dubai Desert Classic winner Ernie Els missed the cut by one.

So what is one to do on a Saturday when the Dubai coverage has been over for six hours and you can't quite get excited by a Kenny Perry/Scott Piercy duel? You collect your bottles, your cans and your three-year old son and make an overdue trip to the local recycling center.

First lesson -- Saturday afternoon is apparently peak recycling time in Los Angeles, the window of time when all the city's most terrifying vagrants decide to cash in on a week's worth of pilfering. The line is ten-deep already. Right as we get there a woman arrives pushing her own wheelchair, the entire thing obscured by six giant white plastic bags filled with bottles of all shapes and sizes. At the bottom of each bag I see a mix of all the various liquids pooling, no doubt the creepiest swill ever concocted. A bus pulls up and a man hops off with a couple sacks over his shoulder and jumps in line behind her.

These guys are all pros obviously -- their cans, plastics and glass pre-sorted. And there's a buzz in the air. This is what it's all about, of course. Like cowboys bringing home the herd. People pass the time talking about (what else?) other recycling centers:
"You been to the one over on National?"
"No. Any good?"
"The best."
"What do you get for glass over there?"
"10 cents."
"10 cents -- that's nothing. I once saw a machine that was giving 15!"
And so it goes. For thirty minutes we wait, during which I have plenty of time to examine the contents of my bags. Our family's stash goes back to early November, and exists only because my wife can't sleep with the thought that if we just let the garbage man take them away with the rest of the recycling each week, that we're essentially throwing away money. So instead they congeal in the corner of my office.

Ninety percent are Dr. Pepper cans, my drink of choice. Then there's a smattering of Hansens Mandarin Lime soda, some random two liters from kids' birthday parties and, of course, some plastic Tigerade containers. The guy in front of me hands me a glass orange juice bottle that he doesn't want: "I don't have much glass," he explains. "Thank you!" I say sincerely, and place it on top of my three empty bottles of wine. As a sign of how little beer I drink, I notice my one empty Corona bottle at the bottom of a bag literally has mold growing inside it.

I know we're getting close to the front of the line when I feel my shoes start sticking to the stained pavement. Finally we arrive at the front. My son excitedly helps me pour our loot into three big plastic trash cans and we push them toward the almighty scale. The worker punches the various weights into a handheld calculator, then turns to the register where he tallies it all up. "Here we go..." I say. It's like cashing out at a Vegas casino except for the overwhelming smell of garbage. The worker tears off the receipt and hands me the thin yellow piece of paper, with our total at the bottom.

$3.74.

Three dollars and seventy-four frickin' cents? Are you kidding me?! I really thought we were looking at $20. $15 easy. Maybe on some larger scale, this is what Phil, Ernie, Anthony and J.B. are feeling. Disappointment, confusion, a tinge of anger. Oh well. Thursday's a new tournament. And today's the Super Bowl. Time to pop open my bi-annual Corona and hope to find that place that pays fifteen cents for glass.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Who Says Golf Writers Aren't Hip?

Here's a real exchange pulled from Thursday's post-round interview with James Nitties, first round leader of the FBR Open:

REPORTER: The book lists one of your hobbies as "clubbing," and some of us old guys think we know what that means, but could you confirm that?

JAMES NITTIES: Well, it equates to going out to a club per se, or a bar, or a social area and having a couple drinks and sort of catching up with friends and listening to some good music.

There are so many great things about this. First, that someone really needed confirmation of what that could mean. Second, that Nitties' answer to the question sounds like what he'd say to his grandparents if they asked why he got in so late the night before.

How I wish he had thrown them a curveball and just gone in a completely different direction with his answer:

JAMES NITTIES: Clubbing? Sure, I'd love to explain. Clubbing is when you take a blunt object, like a baseball bat, a 2 x4, even an old sink, and just bludgeon strangers on the street for no reason.

Vacation Golf

Got a chance to play some vacation golf earlier this month. And I've discovered the secret to golf yet again -- tennis shoes and rental clubs. Just compare the perfect relaxed finish of the above vacation swing with the off-kilter-don't-fall-over finish of the 2nd one, from a round back at my dad's home course.

The TRUE Loudest Holes in Golf...

Yeah yeah, #16 at TPC Scottsdale is billed as golf's loudest hole, but that's only during the four tournament days of this week's FBR Open. What are golf's loudest holes for non-pros like us? I thought of a few dandies -- feel free to chime in with any of your own. Just speak up, I can't quite hear you.


16th hole -- The Links at Victoria -- Located just south of L.A., the par-3 16th flanks the launch pad for the Goodyear Blimp. When that thing is coming or going, it's like trying to play golf inside your wife's hairdryer.



12th hole -- Colonial Country Club -- I've never been to Colonial, so maybe someone else can back me up on this. But considering the biggest train depot I've ever seen in my life (pictured to the right) is just across the water, I've got to imagine that even Hogan's buttery tempo was upended a time or two.
16th hole -- Doral's Blue Monster -- There's two factors at play here. One, the teebox sits within 100 feet of a bustling police shooting range. And two, the course is directly in the flightpath of Miami International Airport. Chances are someone in your group will be backing off a shot.

7th through 10th holes -- Brickyard Crossing Golf Course -- These four holes (left) actually sit inside the ear-bleeding confines of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. And yet despite the gimmick, Brickyard Crossing has often been ranked one of the top public courses by Golf Digest.

Friday, January 23, 2009

"The only way I won't get mad is if I win every tournament."

If you're playing catch up on Pat Perez' career, you've got to read this hysterical article from way back in July of 2004 by Cameron Morfit at Golf.com.

To be fair, Perez isn't quite the hot head he was back when that was written. That said, he did get in trouble a few years ago for giving the finger to his own golf ball after it failed to go in the hole. And I did catch him swearing all over his opening nine at Silver Rock today. Still, a 5-under 67 keeps him in front at the Hope by two. If he's still in contention come Sunday afternoon, look for worried Golf Channel producers to just pixilate his entire body until his winning scorecard is signed.

124.

Not a bad two-day total from Pat Perez at the Bob Hope so far. Here's a few scary stats about his 61-63 start.

*Through 36 holes, Pat has hit 32 greens. 88.9%. Even scarier, that was only good enough for 4th place in greens hit.

*In 36 holes, he has recorded 19 birdies and 1 eagle. My numbers-loving friend James raised a depressing question -- did I even have that many birdies in all of 2008?

So I went back through my scorecards. The answer? No.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

How Do You Shoot Even Par at the Bob Hope Classic?

Easy! Just ask Tour rookie Gary Woodland and 2007 champion Charley Hoffman, both of whom managed a 72 in Round 1 today. Course they had different ways to get there...

Hoffman's breakdown:


16 pars
1 birdie
1 bogey

Woodland's breakdown:



5 pars
8 birdies
3 bogeys
1 double bogey
1 triple bogey

Let me put this another way -- he played 13 holes 8-under par and finds himself resting in 114th place. Woodland might become the first golfer ordered by Tour officials to hand out dramamine to spectators before he tees off.

Monday, January 19, 2009

WEEKEND CONTROVERSY: Sony Open/Abu Dhabi Golf Championship

Despite evidence to the contrary, executives at the Sony Open and tournament officials for the Abu Dhabi Golf Champinoship both held fast to their position on Monday that neither event was adversely affected by the global economic meltdown.

Sony CEO Howard Stringer claimed that it was always their intention to present the tournament winner with a 1970's era Sony Trinitron television set in lieu of a first place check for $972,000. "Those sets are actually collector's items," Stringer explained. "We almost couldn't find one for Zach [Johnson], but thankfully the feds uncovered a motel room in Santa Fe that was doubling as a giant meth lab and, well, it was a win-win."


On the other side of the globe, Abu Dhabi officials would not say what happened to the ostentatious Falcon Trophy that its winner has received in previous years. Instead, England's Paul Casey was presented with what appeared to be a chrome-painted figurine of a woman golfer on a acrylic base. Ed Cifelli, owner of Future Stars Trophy Company in Syracuse, estimated the value of Casey's award at "five bucks tops," and noted that it did not even appear to be engraved.


Friday, January 16, 2009

GOLF WORLD: FTR Review...

Golf World -- the sport's #1 weekly golf mag -- reviewed Follow the Roar in its December 26th issue. If you have good eyes, you can read it below. Otherwise click on the article for a closer look.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

How Much the Tour Misses Tiger, Part II

A few months ago I posted a wire service photo of Davis Love III with Mickey Mouse that incorrectly listed the caption as "Tiger Woods."

Fast forward to today when I'm perusing the pgatour.com leaderboard for the Mercedes-Benz Championship to see who finished last and had to settle for a an all-expense paid free trip to Maui, a free room at the Ritz-Carlton and $54,000 paycheck. (Answer: Marc Turnesa). But wait... he's not the last name listed on the leaderboard. Check out this screen capture -- I promise this is not doctored:Apparently just because Tiger isn't in the field (and hasn't played at Kapalua since 2005) hasn't stopped anyone from including him anyway.

Friday, January 2, 2009

2009 Predictions...

Fore Right is back in action after a 10-day court-ordered layoff. With the Mercedes Championship less than a week away, time for some predictions on the 2009 season...

8% -- The amount of blood flow that will be restricted to Camilo Villegas's hands due to the tightness of his shirtsleeves.

Tiger Woods -- The winner of the 2009 Comeback Player of the Year Award. (How bizarre is this annual prize? Well, in 2006 and 2007 the award was given to the same player -- Steve Stricker.) The only way Tiger doesn't get it is if Bobby Jones comes back to life and wins the professional Grand Slam.

5.8399% -- The percentage of feel that Dave Pelz will erase from the golf game of Phil Mickelson in 2009.

39 -- The number of times a Tour pro will talk somberly about the troubled economy before boarding a private jet and flying home.

579 -- The number of times you'll fast forward through a commercial for The Villages this year.

17 -- The number of stitches one unfortunate fan will require after managing to take a photo in the backswing of both John Daly and Tiger Woods at the same time.

100% -- The chances that a tournament official will pair Anthony Kim with Tiger Woods together for the first two rounds at some point this year.

0.04% -- The amount of negative press President-Elect Obama will receive for using time away from the Oval Office to play golf.

7 -- The number of times you'll come home from the driving range and announce to your wife that you've figured out what you were doing wrong with your swing.

0 -- The number of times you actually have.

Happy 2009! Hope your career round is one large range bucket away...