Friday, June 26, 2009

This Seems Safe...

You've got to love the above story tease from Golf.com, which suggests that Sergio Garcia and Anthony Kim have decided to keep playing Round 2 of the Travelers Championship despite the risk of death. Then again, maybe this is a way for the Tour to inject a little more excitement and drama into a non-Tiger tourney stop.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

"In 17 Years of Driving a Bus, I've Never Had an Experience Like This."

Sometimes I don't have to make up John Daly news...

Click to read all about J.D.'s latest mishap, which took place while driving his daughter to get Lap-Band surgery in Florida. It's a shame Norman Rockwell isn't alive to capture these moments.

Monday, June 22, 2009

READER POLL: What Makes Lucas Glover Happier...

A: Winning the United States Open.


Or

B: Catching a Fish.


Cast your votes in the comments section below.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

U.S. OPEN: Tireless Barnes Volunteers for Overnight Course Maintenance

Co-leader Ricky Barnes prepares for Monday's final round of the 109th U.S. Open.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

U.S. OPEN: Bethpage Black Updates Sign

Occasionally I'll vent about something to my wife and she'll lovingly ask what she can do to help, at which point I respond with, "Nothing, just let me feel miserable for a while." So allow me a few moments to fume about why the 2009 U.S. Open is currently a disaster, even though there's nothing anyone can or should do about it.

It's a disaster because 20 of the 23 players on the 36-hole leaderboard were from the late-Thursday/early Friday draw.

It's a disaster because the AP article on Saturday's action literally says that after two-putting his last hole of the day, Lucas Glover "settled for a 64."

One of the things that makes golf so great is that you are not just battling yourself and your opponents, you're also battling the elements. One moment the wind might be blowing left to-right, the next... right-to-left. Players on the good side of the draw will say they've been hurt by the draw plenty of times in their careers, but I've never seen anything this lopsided.

The way things stand now, there are two golf tournaments going on at Bethpage, and the bulk of Saturday's coverage was the B-flight -- Tiger, Ogilvy, Furyk, battling it out for... 25th place. On one occasion NBC cut to Miguel Angel Jimenez by saying, "Moments ago up at 17!..." and I watched in dismay as Jimenez rolled in a birdie putt... to climb to 4-over.

I'm hoping this all rectifies itself by 10am EST on Sunday. But now that the field is lumped back together again and going off on #1 and #10 to get this finished in 4 days, the advantage of the good Thursday draw is effectively locked into place.

That's golf, of course. The rub of the green is a large part of what makes the sport unique. But right now it's just bumming me out.

Friday, June 19, 2009

U.S. OPEN: Heavy Rains Lead to Disappointing End For Open's First Ever Mogwai Player

Gizmo, a 25-year-old amateur qualifier originally from Chinatown, was forced to withdraw Friday with the threat of continued wet conditions at Bethpage Black. "I'm disappointed, obviously," Gizmo explained to reporters. "Playing in our national championship has always been a dream of mine." According to friends, the Mogwai suffers from a very rare condition in which water has the tendency to transform him into a violent reptilian creature capable of attacking large numbers of innocent people.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

U.S. OPEN: Floating Roger Maltbie Expected to Reach Montauk By Nightfall

After disappearing late Thursday morning near the seventh green, NBC's Roger Maltbie was spotted early Friday off the Long Island Expressway in Medford, happily floating belly up and munching on a pair of White Castle burgers. Maltbie described the burger to Johnny Miller as "good, not great, definitely eatable." When asked, he could not tell Johnny for sure how far away he was from Bethpage.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

U.S. OPEN: Round 1 Headlines


Camilo Villegas's Yardage Book Numbers Obscured By Loose Women's Numbers



NY Parks Dept. Admits Bethpage Green is Indeed Love Child of Bethpage Yellow and Bethpage Blue



Unknown Qualifyer Looks Forward to Briefly Holding Thursday Lead Before Missing Friday Cut

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

U.S. OPEN: Golfsmith Goes For Broke with Sergio Promotion

Buoyed by a spike in driver sales during April's Masters, Golfsmith lawyers appear to have let one slip through the cracks with their U.S. Open follow-up. Sources inside the company fear the promotion has the potential to bankrupt most if not all of the company's 70-plus stores.

Friday, June 12, 2009

U.S. OPEN: One Equipment Change We're Not Likely To See This Week

According to the bottom of this not-so-accurate advertisement from Nike golf, Tiger will have Nike's Victory Red FULL CAVITY irons in his bag this week at Bethpage. I'd love to see the look on Mickelson's face if Tiger showed up at the U.S. Open with sticks designed for mid-to-high handicappers. That's almost as crazy as playing Torrey Pines without a driver. Or this.

ST. JUDE: Daly Misses 2-Footer To Flirt With Cut Line

Daly was about to close out a solid second-round 68 until he came to the 457-yard par-4 9th. A ball in the water, a missed 2-footer, and now big JD must wait to learn his weekend fate. Either way, the Memphis Hooters has already announced a 3nd quarter profit for the fiscal year.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Daly Hires Stanford To Boost Profits, Empty Septic Tank

Memphis, TN -- Fresh off a six-month PGA Tour suspension, John Daly has hired former St. Jude Tour sponsor and accused ponzi schemer R. Allen Stanford to help run his sidewalk merchandise business. "I don't care what the media says, Allen is a straight-up guy," Daly told the media. Citing Stanford's innovative business sense, Daly said Stanford convinced him to forgo paying him an hourly rate in exchange for giving him a simple 5% commission of all items sold. According to Daly, Stanford sold over $8 million in merchandise on Wednesday. "I didn't know I had that many beer cozies to sell, but you can't argue with this glossy sales report," Daly said, holding it up proudly.

Monday, June 8, 2009

PHOTO EXCLUSIVE: Tiger Preps For Bethpage Black

Tiger Woods waits for a tee time early Monday morning at Bethpage Black, site of next week's U.S. Open.

Quite Memoriable

Last month, the Players proved painful to watch, and not so much because of Tiger's poor play, but because there wasn't a single memorable shot played on Sunday. Henrik Stenson played superb, but what makes the gift shop highlight reel? A good lag for par at #17? Snore.

Sunday at Muirfield provided a dozen moments, both the good (Byrd's eagle from 82 yards on #7, Davis Love III's back to back bombs on 13 and 14, Tiger's flop shot on 11, every shot he played on 17 and 18...) and the bad (Bettencourt's steam shovel chunkeroo on #9, Byrd's misplayed chip on 14, DL III spiraling out of control on the last). Players were rising and falling like whack-a-mole, ending with a flourish when Tiger stuck it to a foot on the 18th, his 67th PGA Tour win.

A few quick thoughts to pass along:

1) I'm wondering if Gary Van Sickle at SI will be recanting this statement he made about Tiger following last month's Players Championship:

"Anyone who thinks his swing is fine or even close should check out this round. Tiger is in need of more than fine tuning."


2) Stewart Cink's two cents on Tiger thanks to Twitter:

"Don't know what to say about TW after today. It wasn't easy out there. I've run out of superlatives with which to describe his play."

3) It may be back to the lab for Tiger and his protective-eyewear wearing clones. Despite the recent Nike commercial where multiple TWs wander around a testing facility, chat with engineers and inspect the new Nike Victory Red blades, Tiger's VR irons were MIA this week, having been replaced with those inferior forged blades with which he only won 5 of 7 events last year.


4) What happened to Luke Donald? The Englishman opened with an 8-under 64 on Thursday and the feeling among many was that Luke's time had come for a big victory. He never broke par again and finished in a tie for 14th. It's a great example of Tiger's dominance in the sport. Luke Donald is considered one of the game's best, but only has two PGA Tour victories in his career, or as many as Tiger has had since March.


5) It's a stat that's been repeated everywhere, but it's so amazing I'm repeating it too. Tiger hit 49 of 56 fairways. Tiger Woods. He could barely find Florida off the tee last month. The last time he racked up such a high number over four days was on a course with some of the Tour's widest fairways -- Augusta National -- back in 1998.


6) And finally, Tiger had to have a bit of a boost coming into today after watching his friend Roger Federer complete the career grand slam with a victory at the French Open. Federer now has 14 titles to his name, tying Pete Sampras... and Tiger.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Memorial: Inside Tiger's Press Conference...

More Tiger thoughts to follow, but until now, wanted to share the gutsiest question to come out of Sunday's post-round press conference:

QUESTION: Tiger, congratulations for winning the Memorial. I'm a normal person that snuck in here with a patron badge. I was just wondering if I could get an autograph.

Sitting with Tiger at the time was the Golden Bear, who jumped in:

JACK NICKLAUS: If he's got that much guts, he can get it, right?

I'm hoping this isn't my fault. At least when I snuck into the press tent at last year's U.S. Open, I had the good sense not to out myself. As for whether or not the trespasser landed his big prize, I'm still waiting to hear. My guess is that all the question earned him was a personal escort out Muirfield's front gate.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Coming This August...

Here's a sneak peek at the cover for Follow the Roar in paperback, which features:

1) Fewer typos
2) Smaller print
2) And a new epilogue, chronicling my adventure following Tiger Woods at the 2009 Accenture Match Play.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Hey, Where's My Pulitzer?

CNN is patting itself on the back today for "exclusively" learning that Al Ruwaya, Tiger Woods' golf course in Dubai, will not open in September as scheduled.

Ahem...

While I've never claimed or pretended that Follow the Roar was a work of investigative journalism, I think it's fair to say that my book was the first to point out that Tiger's course was already well behind schedule in early 2008 and, like the rest of Dubai, was being supported by PR hype that was simply unsustainable.

CNN also overlooks one very important fact in all this -- Al Ruwaya was never scheduled to open in September 2009. September 2009 was the date given by which the entire development would be completed. The entire community, not so creatively dubbed The Tiger Woods, was to include a 137,000 square foot clubhouse (not a typo), hundreds of "palaces" and a boutique hotel. But the golf course was the crown jewel, and scheduled to be completed before everything else, in early 2009. Abdulla Al Gurg, the Project Director, promised that they would be working "around the clock" to hit that deadline.

What is amazing is that as recently as last August, both Al Gurg and even Tiger Woods were still pretending that was realistic. But by February of this year, almost two years since the course's groundbreaking, all that had been accomplished was the shaping of 10 holes and the "rough shaping" of 8 more.

In March, a surprisingly honest article about the course's problems finally appeared, and by a UAE publication no less. Said the once cheery Al Gurg: "We have not been immune to economic problems and it has forced us to take a pragmatic approach. We have tailored all projects to meet the present conditions and have decided to prioritize work on the golf course and clubhouse."

The reality is that even that is a major problem. Al Ruwaya sits 18km from the city center, and until the course can finish constructing its own water pumps, it remains forced to pump irrigation all the way from the coast, costing them over $100,000 a month to keep its Atlanta-imported sod and thousands of trees from dying. And this figure was before the peak of summer when only three holes had been grassed.

Al Gurg even used that March article to assign some blame to Tiger Woods himself. "We knew the key to the development of the course would be the water supply. But it has proved a greater challenge than we had expected, mostly because of the undulation and contours of the course that Tiger has designed." Whoa, whoa, whoa... if you give Tiger Woods a blank slate in a city that creates islands in the shape of palm trees, don't complain when you're expected to move dirt and water hillsides.

If CNN were truly impressive, they would have the answer as to when Al Ruwaya will ever truly actually for real be finished. As for the development's residences that were supposed to be done this year? Al Gurg's most recent guess, which is all it can be at this point, is 2015. Six years behind schedule.

Monday, June 1, 2009

EXCLUSIVE: Nicklaus Unveils Tweak to Muirfield Bunkers

2008 Memorial champion Kenny Perry panics before sinking beneath one of Muirfield Village's all new quicksand traps. Tournament host and course designer Jack Nicklaus says he believes the change will help separate the best players in the field from the deceased ones.