Saturday, April 07, 2007

It's freezing

I've just come in from watching the third round of the Masters. Here's a snapshot. No kidding.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Lunch at Augusta National

One of the best things about covering the Masters is that sportswriters have the run of the clubhouse. We can hang around, gawk, act like we belong, even eat lunch in the grill room or out on the balcony overlooking the first tee. It doesn't get much cooler.

In either dining spot, you look around and see big name players, sizzling hot player wives dripping in diamonds, agents, TV guys. Jim Nantz from CBS was at the table next to me yesterday, eating with executive producer Lance Barrow. In the grill room, one wall is devoted to a display case with clubs that were used to win past Masters.

The shame of it is, if not for the whole scene, I'd prefer to be chowing down at Friendly's. We're talking about some seriously so-so fare. And the service is definitely better at Friendly's.

Take my lunch yesterday, for example. I had the seafood chowder ($5), which was okay if you don't mind it lukewarm. And my half club sandwich ($8) was only slightly better than stuff I've gotten out of vending machines.

Three golf writer buddies were at the same table. One of them was served stone cold french fries. When he pointed it out, the waiter brought him another order of fries but later billed him for two orders.

When the bill came for the two other guys at the table, it was so screwed up it took five mintues to straighten it all out. No, I had this, he had that, neither of us had that other thing you charged us for. You know the drill.

Could be worse, of course. I read it snowed at the Phillies game last night.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Paddy Harrington to Exelon

This just in from the Exelon Invy...

Organizers of the Exelon Invitational hosted by Jim Furyk are pleased to announce that Republic of Ireland native and top ten PGA Tour star, Padraig Harrington, will join Jim Furyk and Charles Howell III at the Exelon Invitational on June 4 at The ACE Club in Lafayette Hill, PA.

Harrington, 35, has enjoyed a solid start on the PGA Tour in 2007, propelling him to No.10 in the latest PGA Tour Official World Rankings. Harrington has placed in the top 20 in each of the last four PGA Tour events including a 7th place finish at the Nissan Open in February after firing an opening round 63.

The appearance of Harrington on June 4 marks his first trip to Philadelphia for the Exelon Invitational hosted by Jim Furyk. “Several of the top international PGA Tour players have competed in this event over the past few years,” commented Bryan Furey, director of sports marketing for EFK Group. “It’s our goal to put on a world-class golf event, and it’s a testament to Jim’s (Furyk) reputation on and off the course that the Exelon Invitational attracts top-ranked players such as Padraig.”

Harrington and Exelon Invitational host Jim Furyk have crossed paths several times since both turned pro in the late 1990s. As the pride of the Ireland golf community, and winner of the 2006 European Order of Merit, Harrington was the local favorite at the 2006 Ryder Cup held in Kildare, Ireland. Harrington and fellow PGA Tour star Colin Montgomerie fell to the American duo of Jim Furyk and world-ranked No. 1 Tiger Woods by one hole in the opening round. “Padraig and I have competed on the PGA Tour and in Ryder Cups for some time now. I’m looking forward to having him on my home turf this year, said Furyk. “Both he and Charles Howell III represent one of the finest fields that has ever appeared at this event… golf fans are in for a treat.”

Now in its second year at The ACE Club in Lafayette Hill, The Exelon Invitational hosted by Jim Furyk is anticipating another crowd of nearly 10,000 spectators at this year’s event in June. International players have traditionally drawn well at past Exelon Invitational events.

The Exelon Invitational last year signed a new four-year deal with The ACE Club to host the annual Philadelphia golf tournament. The 2007 Exelon Invitational golf match at The ACE Club will take place on June 4. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster by calling 215-336-2000. For more information or to learn about how your company can partner with the Exelon Invitational hosted by Jim Furyk visit or contact Bryan Furey at 609.393.5838 or

The Exelon Invitational hosted by Jim Furyk, is the only annual professional golf tournament in the Delaware Valley featuring PGA Tour players. A skins match where PGA Tour pros compete for a purse of $300,000, the event attracts an average crowd of 10,000.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Ah, Augusta

I have just come from an hour-long stroll around Augusta National. The weather is 80ish, the course is as green and manicured as always and the azaleas are in full bloom.

The photo above is the old oak tree out back of the clubhouse. In the late afternoon on Monday, the action under the tree is kind of slow. But in the coming days, everybody who is anybody in golf will make their way to hang there for at least a few minutes.

Players pause there for interviews on their walk to the locker room. Swing gurus, agents, club designers, manufacturing titans, famous golf course architects, famous media types and all manner of celebrities and wannabes who can get access inside those ropes grativate to "the tree" to see and be seen, to schmooze and to reassure themselves that they are part of golf's happenin' crowd.