Thursday, May 18, 2006

Sean O'Hair interview...

From this week's media day interview with Sean O'Hair, winner of last year's John Deere Classic.

On struggling this year...
SEAN O'HAIR: For me right now it's learning how to deal with the expectations, not so much of everybody else but of myself. I had a good year, and I've got a certain, I guess, image or a certain thing that I see for myself for the future, and I'm trying to achieve that. I don't want to be just a good player on the PGA TOUR; I want to be one of the best players of all time. That's pretty high obviously because you've got some pretty phenomenal players.

On his father-in-law and former caddie, Steve Lucas...
SEAN O'HAIR: You know, with Steve -- Steve is my best friend, always will be.

Him and I have got a very special relationship. He's kind of like my dad and my mentor and my best friend all wrapped up in that big body of his....

Last year was supposed to be a temporary deal. He just wanted to help me get comfortable out here until I found somebody, a proper guy to carry my bag. Last year we just had a breakout year, and it was one of those things that you just didn't want to mess with.

We just decided to ride it out, and then we kind of had the same mentality going into this year, just kind of like let's do whatever until we find somebody. To be honest with you, I never really found anybody.

And then Steve came up to me the other day and said, you know, we kind of need to think this thing out because I think it's time for you to move on, and we've delayed this long enough. It never really was a long-term thing.

I actually was fortunate enough to run into a guy who carries for Gary Player on the Champions Tour, and we've kind of hit it off the last couple weeks, and hopefully we continue improving. I think it's going to be a good team.

Steve's and my separation business-wise on the golf course was a mutual thing. He's got his own business that he kind of put on hold for me, and I think it was time for him to kind of go back and do what he does. I mean, he left the bag saying, "Any time you need me to caddie, I will be there."

I talk to him every day; I live five minutes from him; I have dinner with him every day I'm home. We're as close as it gets. There was nothing there, it just was time to move on.

On his new caddie...
SEAN O'HAIR: Bobby Verwey. He's South African, so it's like a French-Dutch thing...It's actually Player's nephew, believe it or not.

On Verwey replacing Lucas as a pep-talker and butt-kicker...
SEAN O'HAIR: Not yet. Hopefully he will as time goes on. Hopefully he'll learn about me. Steve was a very good motivator, still is a very good motivator. I talk to him every night, and he still motivates me. Just sometimes he can say something that can kind of clarify things for you or he can say something that kind of just pumps you up a little bit.

No, that's what Steve was good with. He was good with kind of making it light out there, he was good with if I needed a kick in the pants, he was there. If I was getting down on myself, he was there. You know, he was more of an inspirational type of figure out there for me.

You know, Bobby kind of brings that professionalism, I guess, to the bag, the fact that with his experience, being a caddie for I don't know how many years, he's played professional golf and things like that.

Steve did an awesome job, and he could have been my caddie for my career, but I don't think him or I wanted that. I think it was a good move for us to do it when we did it, and I think we made the right move as far as Bobby is concerned. I think things will start coming around.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Tiger's Brit Open digs cost $250,000

This just in from the Mirror in the UK...


Golfer pays £140k to book an entire hotel for the Open

By Patrick Mulchrone

GOLF superstar Tiger Woods is sparing no expense in his defence of the Open - he's taking over an entire hotel.

The world's highest-earning sports star has booked the exclusive Tudorstyle Hillbark Hotel for five nights at at the cost of £140,000. (about $250,000 U.S.)

For more click here.

Best Places to Play? Yeah, but puh-leeze...

The new 2006 edition of Golf Digest's Best Places to Play ($24.95) is out and, frankly, I think we are looking at some serious grade-inflation.

Never before have so many so-so to pretty good golf courses suddenly been accorded semi-great and great status.

For example, Five Ponds, the muni in Warminster, is not a bad little course, not at all. But would you plan your next vacation around it? In Best Places to Play, Five Ponds gets four stars out of a possible five, thereby elevating it to “Outstanding: Plan your next vacation around it” status. Hmmm.

Not to pick on Five Ponds, because just in the Philadelphia area alone, four-star ratings were also awarded to Pennsauken Country Club, Turtle Creek Golf Course, Deerwood Country Club and Town and Country Club Links.

According to the legend in the front of the book, the rating system breaks down like this:

* Basic golf.

** Good, but not great.

*** Very good. Tell a friend it’s worth getting off the highway to play.

**** Outstanding. Plan your next vacation around it.

***** Superb. Golf at it’s absolute best. Pay any price to play at least once in your life.

In years past, whenever a new, updated version of Best Places to Play would come how, I’d quickly find a couple of absurd ratings for courses I knew, then I’d call the editor to give him an earful. The response was always the same: the ratings in Best Places aren’t the judgment of the editors of Golf Digest, they are based on questionnaires submitted by ordinary golfers who’ve played the courses.

If the scruffy Dog Track GC on the edge of town somehow manages to earn a loyal following among un-traveled, undemanding locals, they could stuff the ballot box sufficiently to rank Dog Track in the five-star league with Pebble Beach, Pinehurst No. 2 and Bulle Rock.

Crazy, but true.

In the latest Best Places, many of the local courses seem to get a half-star to full-star bump, if you ask me. Horsham Valley Golf Club, which is deserving of probably two stars gets, three and a half. So do Jeffersonville Golf Club, Limekiln, Paxon Hollow, Mainland, Downingtown, Centerton, Rancocas, Pitman, Three Little Bakers and RiverWinds.

On the high end, three courses -- Glen Mills, Pine Hill and Scotland Run -- all got four and half stars, a mere half star removed from “pay any price to play at least once in your life.” Now, I know and very much like all three of those courses. Excellent, all. But don’t make them out to be something they are not.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Reviews R Us

Now that the golf season is in full bloom around Philadelphia, I intend to resume a full schedule of investigative golf.

As the Inquirer's intrepid golf writer, I believe it is incumbent upon me to plunk down my company credit card at new and different golf courses across the region so that you don't have to. Why should you give up your regular tee time to play some strange new course that might turn out to be over-priced and over-hyped, or a prime example of architectural malpractice. That's my job.

So, if you know of a course that needs reviewing, or maybe just an update since my earlier review, give me a heads-up at

Wie wins local Open qualifier

Michelle Wie moved a step closer in her long-shot bid to become the first female player to qualify for the U.S. Open, shooting an even-par 72 on Monday to win a local qualifier.

U.S. Open qualifier, Part II

GLEN MILLS, Pa.–Jeff Osberg, 21, and William Mullen, 23, carded 1-under-par 70s at The Golf Course at Glen Mills (par 71, 6,602 yards) on Monday, earning co-medallist honors in a local qualifier for the U.S. Open Championship. Osberg, Mullen and three others advanced to U.S. Open Sectional Qualifiers set for June 5-6 at multiple nationwide sites.