Thursday, September 11, 2008

So long



This is it, folks, my final post on golf.inq. After 26 years -- the last 13 as the golf writer -- today is my final day at The Philadelphia Inquirer.

It has been an honor and a pleasure. Covering golf has been a dream job. The places I've been, the people I've met, the golf courses I've played -- well, what can I say? During one 12-month stretch a few years ago, I played Merion, Pine Valley, Pebble Beach, Augusta National and the Old Course in St. Andrews. Yeah, it was that good.

In a newspaper career spanning 30 years, I have covered just about everything under the sun, from murder and mayhem, to national politics and movie stars. Never did I enjoy such devoted, discerning and appreciative readers as I did writing about golf. I lost count of the times I was swamped with more intelligent emails than I could ever respond to? And even if a reader wanted to argue a point with me, or take me to task, it was almost always done with civility, leaving me to wonder if the game builds character or simply reveals it.

I am leaving The Inquirer but that doesn't mean you have seen the last of me. As we speak, I am hatching a plot.

In the meantime, my new email is joelogan629@gmail.com.

I thank you. See you on the fairway,

Joe Logan




Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Van Sickle wins Pennsylvania Am


Mike Van Sickle, son of Sports Illistrated senior writer Gary Van Sickle, won the Pennsylvania Am on Wednesday. Here's the story.

Pennsylvania Amateur, Day 2


More than a dozen Philadelphia-area players were among 44 who made it to today's final round of the Pennsylvania Amateur at Saucon Valley in Bethlehem.


Read the whole story.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Pennsylvania Amateur


Adam Cohan from Talamore Country Club shares the lead in the Pennsylvania Amateur, after shooting 69 on Monday.

Read the whole story.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

R.I.P. George Haines


Golf in Philadelphia has lost a friend.

I was saddened to read of the death last week of George E. Haines Jr. at the age of 64. His obituary in The Inquirer tells most of the story: his accomplishments as an amateur golfer and squash player, his years as a coach of both sports and four others at The Haverford School, where he was also a teacher. George was also the husband of Liz Haines, from Merion Golf Club, who has long been one of the top women players in this city.

George had been in declining health and I hadn't spoken to him for a while. But for years there, we spoke often -- or I should say mostly he spoke. I don't think I've ever had a more ardent and discerning reader than George.

For years before I actually met him, I would get long, detailed phone messages from him. Ever the coach and teacher, he would read every golf story I wrote and critique it in ways that none of my editors did, or could. Instead of As, Bs, or Cs, George would give me birdies, bogeys and pars, sprinkling in the occasional double-bogey or, if I was lucky, an eagle. Sometimes, even within a single story, I'd get a tap-in birdie and a double-bogey. Because the office voice mail system cuts off callers after one minute or so, George would occasionally leave a series of three, four, even five messages in a row to get everything off his chest. Believe me, I took those critiques to heart because I knew that George knew his golf and because I knew he was speaking from his heart.

Perhaps because his wife Liz is such a good player, George took particular interest in women's golf. When he felt The Inquirer hadn't given sufficient coverage to a women's tournament, be it a national women's amateur or a local girls' junior, I would get an earful.

There came a point when I didn't see George at local tournaments any more. Then his phone messages stopped. I knew he had health issues. When I bumped into Liz Haines at a tournament and inquired about George's health, her look of concern told me all I needed to know.

Golf in Philadelphia has lost a dear friend in George Haines and I have lost one of the most valued readers I've ever had.

Monday, July 21, 2008

S-l-o-w play


My On Golf column in Sunday's Inquirer railing against slow play prompted quite a few emails. Most supported my position but one reader did accuse me of being a Type-A personality who needs to learn how to slow down and enjoy the round.

If you missed the column, it started like this

It happened again, just the other day, when I was playing golf on vacation in North Carolina.
For nine holes or more, I zipped around the course with my son, my niece's husband and a young friend, the fastest foursome on wheels. Ready, golf. Find it. Hit it. Go find it again. Heck, at the rate we were playing, we figured we'd be back at the beach cottage in time for dinner - before that ominous cloud in the distance could spoil the fun. But suddenly, not long into the back nine, the round ground to a halt.

For the rest, click here.

Here's a sampling of the emails that continue to come in:

Joe

Your article on Slow Play struck a chord with me. I play 2 or 3 times a week, mostly not on weekends. I agree with you that the course can do a great deal in controlling the pace of play. In addition to those you mentioned:1) Mark those hazards! We "know" that area of unmown weeds and stuff is a hazard, but its not marked and we search it to avoid a "lost ball".2) Drop those mowers 1/2 inch. Its not the Open. It'll still be a challenge to hit a good shot from the rough and we'll find the ball quickly. Don't forget to vacuum those leaves!3) Put out lotsa yardage markers. A GPS system on the cart doesn't help when I walk! Its also not much good if its "cart path only". If the tee box on a 3 par is 30 yards long, from where is the yardage measured? How far to carry that right bunker?4) Get those Marshalls/Course Ambassadors out there. Give them some people skills training.
*

Joe,
Amen… your article was presented to my wife as more documentation to justify my monthly club dues. (no names, please) golf club just made my ever growing “Will not pay to play” list after they eagerly accepted $430 in greens fees from my foursome last week and then subjected us to a 4 hour and 45 minute death march. We sat behind a foursome that was easily a hole and a half behind for 7 holes. At one point, I watched some idiot on a short par 3 take 4 shots to get out of a greenside bunker and then mark his ball so he could go to the other side of the hole and attempt to read his putt! He saved 7 with a 2 putt and then proceeded to the 9th tee leaving half of the bunker unraked…Makes me want to take up tennis.
*

Joe –I suspect the words that follow will fall on deaf ears and I doubt thatyou'll really read them, yet I write them anyway in an attempt topresent the other side. “Fastest foursome on wheels”, “yahoos in frontof us”, “Those knuckleheads…”?Permit me to be an arm chair psychologist for a moment. Might you be aType “A”? Perhaps even a tailgater? Run the occasional red lightbecause your time is precious? Eye roll and huff when the person infront of you at the grocery store pulls out the checkbook?I’m not on the tour, don’t belong to a private club but enjoy hittingthe links a few times a year with good friends. I love the earlymorning mist rising off the pond, the gentle curve of the dogleg, theimmaculately manicured fairways – the sights, sounds and feel of around with friends. Hell, we don’t even keep score any more. We chooseup and play best ball, laughing the whole time.“Find it, hit it, go find it again.” This is your round? Where’s thelaughter and the enjoyment? The taking advantage of this pristineenvironment to discuss life with your son or kick back with buds?Yes, I am guilty of a 4 ½ hour round. Where’s the rush? If pressed frombehind we have no problem letting the speedsters play through, but I refuse to give in, to be intimidated when yahoos like you start huffing and catcalling about ready golf. Relax, Joe. Take a breath and enjoy your surroundings with your son. Around of golf is a wonderful opportunity to connect, yet I fear if yourson sees you snorting about the knuckleheads in front of you, you maybe sending a terrible message. You want fast play? Join a club. And let those of us who just want to escape for a few hours with good friends enjoy ourselves without having to deal with folks who are trying to setsome kind of record by becoming the Fastest Foursome on Four Wheels. Where’s the fun in that?Why do you play golf, Joe?

*

Joe, I have been a ranger at (no names, please) fro the last 5 years, although I'm retired and this job is not a career move it provides me with some insights as to the working's of a golf course of which I'm sure you already know. First the pros are of little or no help their antics on TV only go to slow the game down. Second the finances of running a course are tremondous as you pointed out and every foursome that you lose can represent 500.00. But slow play can also lose a course many foursomes, so its a double edge sword. Third as a ranger we have to tread lightly with our customers,being to strong an d arrogant does't work. At (no names) we have 10 minute tee times and the starter instucts each group not to tee off un til the group in front of them reaches the first green. Antother problem is the way our course and many others are built, in order to play properly with our large undulating greens takes a lot of time, we also have 186 sand traps some of which only serve to slow the game down. We have a very high slope rating for each of our 5 tees, which presents a challange. Getting the players to play from the right tees is almost impossible, they look at them as sex or age related, instead of as we like to tell them that they are handicap related. And lastly alas, the customers who most respond quite nicely and say that they will try to pickup the pace, but others although a few become insulting. We at (no names) try to address this problem and are quite aware of PACE OF PLAY. An instruction we give slow groups is to stay with the group in front of them, not look behind them,because you don't see anyone doesn't mean they are not there. Joe thanks for your good article in the sunday Inquirer.

*


Joe, read your article in Sundays paper. Good thoughts but it did not hit the bulls eye....

The reason play is slow is that no one is educated and no one TEACHES etiquette or speed.

What if you, the Pro Shops, Rangers and especially Tournament directors stressed READY GOLF (not just lip service) What if everyone lined up their putts while the other guys was lining up his. What if only the last guy strolled up to the hole and got all the balls out. What if you parked the cart on a line from the hole to the next tee. What if you actually came to the course with the idea of playing golf and not spending time telling war stories or jokes about the last time you were on a course with a few hits thrown in. What if Golf was the reason you came to the course. Can you imagine how a pick up game of basketball would be played if as you dribbled the ball up court you had to stop and listen to someone's rendition of how you used to do it or what if......you then listened to his story on how he hit a foul shot......or a sandlot game of baseball where the pitcher took time between pitches to regal you with his other moments of glory........

It is the culture of what golf has become that is ruining the game.....Are you there to play golf and exchange some pleasantries??? or are you there to socialize and hit a few, drink beer and smoke cigars...... Unless we are taught that it is a game "to be played", not just a gathering of guys to BS......it will never change.......and I firmly believe if that message was out there from guys like you, Pro Shops, Rangers, Tournament Directors, on the wall in the pro shops, on the score cards of the charity tournaments nothing will change........golfers would love it and more would be willing to play a 4 hour (max) round. If it is all about money, think how many golfers or guys are turned off by the 5 plus hour round and just don’t go...

Thanks Joe.........

*

Joe,
One of the most agonizing things in the world is the slow play and the absolute refusal of the noodniks to let you play through.
But here are some things that drives me crazy: The incessant searching for lost balls. If you suck, buy cheap balls. Two minutes is plenty of time to search for a lost ball. People that hit the ball 150 yard straight and then another 100 yards to the right should just own up that they suck and even if they do find the ball, it will take another 2 shots to recover. Then they hit it into the water. Instead of walking up to the hazard, they want to take the shot over and hit it into the water again. These are usually the same people who hit into a trap and take 3 shots to get out and then "forget" to rake or walk all the way around to the other side of trap, pick up the rake and walk all the way back around to the other side again.
My helpful hints:
1. Two minutes maximum to look for lost balls. I'll even offer the person a free drop on the edge of the fairway to get things moving.
2. Take the (expletive) rake with you into the trap! This defies common sense not to do it.
3. Maximum strokes: If you stink, pick up after Triple Bogey, unless there is a good amount of money being bet, you really want to record that 117 into your USGA handicap, or proudly brag about the day you shot 152 at Pine Valley.
4. Pleeeeaaassee have sense enough to let faster groups play through!
5. I'll allow you one Mulligan per 9. Period.
I have many more.

*
Joe,

Without a doubt one of the best articles I've read about the slow play on public courses. Aa copy of this should be given to everyone who pays to go on a public course. The one guy your forgot is the person who takes three practice swings, hits the ball a good forty yards and then start the practic swing routine all over again.

The only public coursse I knew of is (no names, please) where the twelve minute rule was strictly adhered to. Unfortunately, the family children who took over the course, took the money and ran, and now is housing.

A ready golfer,


Friday, June 06, 2008

U.S. Open pairings


Thursday (June 12), hole #1; Friday (June 13), hole #10

7:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. - D.A. Points, Ocoee, Fla.; Patrick Sheehan, Warwick, R.I.; David Hearn, Canada
7:11 a.m. - 12:41 p.m. - A-Kyle Stanley, Gig Harbor, Wash.; Casey Wittenberg, Memphis, Tenn.; Hunter Haas, Fort Worth, Texas
7:22 a.m. - 12:52 p.m. - A-Kevin Tway, Edmond, Okla.; Jason Bohn, Acworth, Ga.; Dean Wilson, Las Vegas, Nev.
7:33 a.m. - 1:03 p.m. - A-Jeff Wilson, Fairfield, Calif.; Fredrik Jacobson, Sweden; Brett Quigley, Jupiter, Fla.
7:44 a.m. - 1:14 p.m. - A-Rickie Fowler, Murrieta, Calif.; Chris Kirk, Sea Island, Ga.; Dustin Johnson, N Myrtle Beach, S.C.
7:55 a.m. – 1:25 p.m. - Mark Calcavecchia, Phoenix, Ariz.; Oliver Wilson, England; Joe Ogilvie, Austin, Texas
8:06 a.m. - 1:36 p.m. - Adam Scott, Australia; Phil Mickelson, Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.; Tiger Woods, Windermere, Fla.
8:17 a.m. - 1:47 p.m. - Lee Janzen, Orlando, Fla.; Steve Flesch, Union, Ky.; Rich Beem, Austin, Texas
8:28 a.m. - 1:58 p.m. - Michael Campbell, New Zealand; Jesper Parnevik, Sweden; Todd Hamilton, Westlake, Texas
8:39 a.m. - 2:09 p.m. - Miguel Angel Jimenez, Spain; Boo Weekley, East Milton, Fla.; Shingo Katayama, Japan
8:50 a.m. - 2:20 p.m. - Anthony Kim, Dallas, Texas; Andres Romero, Argentina; Ryuji Imada, Japan
9:01 a.m. - 2:31 p.m. - Mike Gilmore, Locust Valley, N.Y.; A-Jordan Cox, Redwood City, Calif.; Brian Kortan, Albuquerque, N.M.
9:12 a.m. - 2:42 p.m. - Jeffrey Bors, Chardon, Ohio; Sean English, Cincinnati, Ohio; Travis Bertoni, Paso Robles, Calif.


Thursday (June 12), hole #10; Friday (June 13), hole #1

7:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. - Robert Garrigus, Gilbert, Ariz.; Peter Tomasulo, Long Beach, Calif.; Craig Barlow, Henderson, Nev.
7:11 a.m. - 12:41 p.m. - A-Derek Fathauer, Jensen Beach, Fla.; Scott Piercy, Las Vegas, Nev.; Justin Hicks, Royal Palm Beach, Fla.
7:22 a.m. - 12:52 p.m. – K.J. Choi, Korea; Jim Furyk, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.; Steve Stricker, Madison, Wis.
7:33 a.m. - 1:03 p.m. - A-Michael Thompson, Tucson, Ariz.; Rocco Mediate, Naples, Fla.; Brad Bryant, Lakeland, Fla.
7:44 a.m. - 1:14 p.m. - Craig Parry, Australia; Robert Karlsson, Sweden; Tim Clark, South Africa
7:55 a.m. -1:25 p.m. - Stuart Appleby, Australia; Jerry Kelly, Madison, Wis.; Lee Westwood, England
8:06 a.m. - 1:36 p.m. - Woody Austin, Derby, Kan.; Pat Perez, Scottsdale, Ariz.; Thomas Levet, France
8:17 a.m. - 1:47 p.m. - Matt Kuchar, Atlanta, Ga.; Mathew Goggin, Australia; Nick Watney, Las Vegas, Nev.
8:28 a.m. - 1:58 p.m. - Rod Pampling, Australia; Heath Slocum, Alpharetta, Ga.; Niclas Fasth, Sweden
8:39 a.m. - 2:09 p.m. - Carl Pettersson, Sweden; Soren Hansen, Denmark; Daniel Chopra, Sweden
8:50 a.m. - 2:20 p.m. - Johan Edfors, Sweden; Eric Axley, Knoxville, Tenn.; Ben Crane, Beaverton, Ore.
9:01 a.m. - 2:31 p.m. - Joey Lamielle, Sarasota, Fla.; A-Michael Quagliano, White Plains, N.Y.; Fernando Figueroa, El Salvador
9:12 a.m. - 2:42 p.m. - Chris Devlin, Northern Ireland; Yohann Benson, Canada; Brian Bergstol, Mount Bethel, Pa.


Thursday (June 12), hole #1; Friday (June 13), hole #10

12:30 p.m. - 7:00 a.m. - D.J. Brigman, Albquerque, N.M.; Jonathan Mills, Canada; Jarrod Lyle, Australia
12:41 p.m. - 7:11 a.m. - A-Nick Taylor, Canada; Charlie Beljan, Mesa, Ariz.; Rob Rashell, Scottsdale, Ariz.
12:52 p.m. - 7:22 a.m. - Stewart Cink, Duluth, Ga.; Sergio Garcia, Spain; Vijay Singh, Fiji
1:03 p.m. - 7:33 a.m. - Trevor Immelman, South Africa; Zach Johnson, Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Mike Weir, Canada
1:14 p.m. - 7:44 a.m. - Retief Goosen, South Africa; Scott Verplank, Edmond, Okla.; Aaron Baddeley, Australia
1:25 p.m. - 7:55 a.m. - Stephen Ames, Canada; Robert Allenby, Australia; Ben Curtis, Stow, Ohio
1:36 p.m. - 8:06 a.m. - Angel Cabrera, Argentina; Padraig Harrington, Ireland; Davis Love III, Sea Island, Ga.
1:47 p.m. - 8:17 a.m. - Bubba Watson, Bagdad, Fla.; J.B. Holmes, Orlando, Fla.; Brett Wetterich, Jupiter, Fla.
1:58 p.m. - 8:28 a.m. - Brandt Snedeker, Nashville, Tenn.; Nick Dougherty, England; Jonathan Byrd, Sea Island, Ga.
2:09 p.m. - 8:39 a.m. - Michael Letzig, Richmond, Mo.; Ross Fisher, England; Steve Marino, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
2:20 p.m. - 8:50 a.m. - Brandt Jobe, Westlake, Texas; Phillip Archer, England; Jason Gore, Valencia, Calif.
2:31 p.m. - 9:01 a.m. - Kevin Silva, New Bedford, Mass.; Bobby Collins, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.; Jay Choi, Korea
2:42 p.m. - 9:12 a.m. - Bob Gaus, St. Louis, Mo.; Philippe Gasnier, Brazil; Garrett Chaussard, Millbrae, Calif.


Thursday (June 12), hole #10; Friday (June 13), hole #1

12:30 p.m. - 7:00 a.m. - Michael Allen, Scottsdale, Ariz.; Jonathan Turcott, Middleton, Wis.; Scott Sterling, Baton Rouge, La.
12:41 p.m. - 7:11 a.m. - Kevin Streelman, Wheaton, Ill.; Artemio Murakami, Philippines; Robert Dinwiddie, England
12:52 p.m. - 7:22 a.m. - Bart Bryant, Windermere, Fla.; D.J. Trahan, Mt. Pleasant, S.C.; Chad Campbell, Colleyville, Texas
1:03 p.m. - 7:33 a.m. - Sean O'Hair, West Chester, Pa.; Richard Sterne, South Africa; Hunter Mahan, Plano, Texas
1:14 p.m. - 7:44 a.m. - Ian Poulter, England; Paul Casey, England; Luke Donald, England
1:25 p.m. - 7:55 a.m. - Henrik Stenson, Sweden; Toru Taniguchi, Japan; John Rollins, Las Colinas, Texas
1:36 p.m. - 8:06 a.m. - Justin Rose, England; Geoff Ogilvy, Australia; Ernie Els, South Africa
1:47 p.m. - 8:17 a.m. - Camilo Villegas, Colombia; Charles Howell, Orlando, Fla.; Martin Kaymer, Germany
1:58 p.m. - 8:28 a.m. - Jeff Quinney, Scottsdale, Ariz.; Justin Leonard, Dallas, Texas; Mark O'Meara, Windermere, Fla.
2:09 p.m. - 8:39 a.m. - Rory Sabbatini, South Africa; David Toms, Shreveport, La.; Colin Montgomerie, Scotland
2:20 p.m. - 8:50 a.m. - John Mallinger, Long Beach, Calif.; Alastair Forsyth, Scotland; John Merrick, Long Beach, Calif.
2:31 p.m. – 9:01 a.m. - Chris Stroud, Houston, Texas; Ross McGowan, England; Ian Leggatt, Canada
2:42 p.m. - 9:12 a.m. - John Ellis, San Jose, Calif.; A-Jimmy Henderson, Lebanon, Ohio; Andrew Dresser, Carrollton, Texas

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

O'Hair, 13 others earn US Open exemptions


This just in from the USGA...


Far Hills, N.J. – Fourteen more professional golfers earned full exemptions into the upcoming 2008 U.S. Open by being in the top 50 of the Official World Golf Ranking or by being among the top money leaders for the year as of May 26. A total of 72 golfers are fully exempt from qualifying for the upcoming Championship, scheduled from June 12-15 at Torrey Pines Golf Course in San Diego, Calif.

In all, three more exemption categories were closed as of May 26.

Those who earned full exemptions through the current World Ranking were Stuart Appleby, J.B. Holmes, Miguel Jimenez, Robert Karlsson, Martin Kaymer, Anthony Kim, Justin Leonard, Sean O’Hair, Rod Pampling, Ian Poulter, Jeff Quinney, Mike Weir and Oliver Wilson. The remainder of the top 50 ranked players (38) were already fully exempt through other criteria.

Ryuji Imada earned a full exemption by being among the top 10 money leaders on the PGA Tour as of May 26. Kim and Quinney also were among the PGA Tour’s top 10 money winners. The rest of the top 10 money leaders were already fully exempt.

Jimenez and Wilson were additionally fully exempt by being the top two money leaders on the PGA European Tour for 2008 as of May 26.

One more fully exempt place could be awarded following the close of this week’s Memorial Tournament on the PGA Tour, if the winner is not already fully exempt and it is his second Tour win since last April 25.

Sectional qualifying for the remaining 84 spots will take place at 13 sites on June 2. The first sectional qualifier was held May 26 in Japan with two spots for the U.S. Open field awarded.

Here is the list of the 72 golfers who are fully exempt:



Robert Allenby
Stuart Appleby
Stephen Ames
Woody Austin
Aaron Baddeley
Brad Bryant
Jonathan Byrd
Angel Cabrera
Mark Calcavecchia
Michael Campbell
Paul Casey
K.J. Choi
Daniel Chopra
Stewart Cink
Tim Clark
Ben Curtis
Luke Donald
Nick Dougherty
Ernie Els
Niclas Fasth
Jim Furyk
Sergio Garcia
Retief Goosen
Todd Hamilton
Soren Hansen
Padraig Harrington
J.B. Holmes
Charles Howell III
Ryuji Imada
Trevor Immelman
Lee Janzen
Miguel Jimenez
Zach Johnson
Robert Karlsson
Martin Kaymer
Shingo Katayama
Jerry Kelly
Anthony Kim
Justin Leonard
Hunter Mahan
Shaun Micheel
Phil Mickelson
Colin Montgomerie
Sean O’Hair
Geoff Ogilvy
Rod Pampling
Ian Poulter
Jeff Quinney
John Rollins
Andres Romero
Justin Rose
Rory Sabbatini
Adam Scott
Vijay Singh
Heath Slocum
Brandt Snedeker
Henrik Stenson
Richard Sterne
Steve Stricker
Toru Taniguchi
*Michael Thompson
David Toms
Scott Verplank
Camilo Villegas
Bubba Watson
Boo Weekley
Mike Weir
Lee Westwood
Brett Wetterich
Oliver Wilson
Tiger Woods

Monday, May 12, 2008

Goydos


Personally, I was pulling for Paul Goydos to win The Players Championship.

I’ve been a sort of closet Goydos fan for about 10 years, ever since we waited out a rain delay together at some tournament somewhere. I don’t even remember what tournament it was; I just remember the skies opened up, I was out at the far end of the golf course, and I ran for the nearest shelter, where, it turned out, Goydos, his caddie and maybe three or four others also had taken refuge.

I also remember Goydos was every bit the wry wit that day as he was on TV with Bob Costas over the weekend at TPC Sawgrass.

At the time, I barely knew who Goydos was. He hadn’t won a tournament yet or otherwise attracted much attention. In fact, he was fighting just to get into tournaments and make enough money to keep his PGA Tour card. I distinctly remember him talking about how he worked as a substitute teacher back home in Long Beach on weeks he didn’t get into tournaments.

Ever since then, I’ve had Goydos pegged as a pretty normal guy, and as someone who will stand there and talk to you and offer thoughtful, honest answers to questions on a wealth of topics. It’s also hard not respect Goydos for surviving out there among the studs and bombers.

The guy is 43, he’s a single dad with two teenage daughters, he’s got a last name that sounds like a growth on your neck and he’s built like a penguin. What's not to like?

You happen to catch his retort on Saturday, after Costas asked him why he kept his top shirt button buttoned in 90-plus heat.

“I’ve got no shoulders,” said Goydos. “It’s the only way my shirt stays on.”

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Daly vs. Butch, Part II


Good story from ESPN.com..


Golf instructor Butch Harmon spoke to John Daly last week, but said he did not offer an apology for parting ways with the troubled golfer after reports that Daly had been drinking in a hospitality tent at a March PGA Tour event.


For the rest of the story, click here.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Tiger's handicap? Try +8



Apparently having a little too much time on their hands, the good folks at the Golf Assocation of Philadelphia set out to figure out what Tiger Woods' handicap would be. They figure +8.

Says the story:
"That would mean if Tiger visits the home club of each of the Association’s player of the year he would give Michael McDermott of Merion Golf Club, the reigning William Hyndman, III Player of the Year, seven strokes, Raymond Thompson of Overbrook Golf Club, the Senior Player of the Year, six strokes and Robert Robertson of Sunnybrook Golf Club, the Junior Player of the Year, will get seven."

To read the entire story, click here.

Penn Golf Assn '08 schedule


This just in from the Pennsylvania Golf Association...


The 2008 Pennsylvania Golf Association schedule, the 99th in the organization's history, once again contains events for players of various ages and skill levels throughout the commonwealth. Beginning in April, and encompassing six months, the schedule visits all four corners of the state for its 22 tournaments and 35 days of competition.


For the rest of the schedule, click here.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Crump Cup/Compher Cup


A reader called in today, apparently confused about the difference between the Crump Cup and the Compher Cup.


The Compher Cup, the annual match between the Golf Association of Philadelphia and the New Jersey State Golf Association, was held this past Monday. (GAP won). This year, it happened to be at Pine Valley.


The Compher Cup is not to be confused with the Crump Cup, the annual amateur invitational, held by and at Pine Valley Golf Club. The finals match of the Crump Cup, which falls on Sept. 28 this year, is the one day of the year when the club throws open the doors to outsiders.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Tell me again why we should care?


Every now and then I get a PR release that makes me scratch my head and wonder, What the ----?
Case in point...

David Leadbetter Signs Multi-Year Agreement
With Wilhelmina Artist Management

CHAMPIONSGATE, Florida — David Leadbetter,—the world’s No. 1 golf instructor and coach to countless tour professionals worldwide, including newly crowned 2008 Masters champion Trevor Immelman—announces he has signed a multi-year agreement with Wilhelmina Artist Management of New York City.

Wilhelmina Artist Management, a division of Wilhelmina International, will represent David Leadbetter as his exclusive worldwide agent relative to all appearances, endorsements and licensing businesses. Additionally, Wilhelmina will manage the business affairs and growth strategy for the David Leadbetter Golf Academies in North America, the premier brand for golf instruction throughout the world, as well as manage Leadbetter’s contractual relationship with IMG.

“I am extremely pleased and excited to be associated with such a superior agency,” says Leadbetter, whose announcement comes close on the heels of his longtime student Immelman’s wire-to-wire victory at the Masters. “We are developing a comprehensive plan for Academy development and future growth, and I’m sure Wilhelmina’s assistance and guidance with this new expansion will be very successful.”

In 1998, as an innovator in the industry, Wilhelmina Models became the first fashion company to develop a specific division to exclusively represent premier talent in the worlds of music, sports and entertainment. Today, that division called Wilhelmina Artist Management, is one of the industry’s finest, with a roster that includes Fergie, Natasha Bedingfield, Heather Graham, Amy Smart and Justin Chambers, among others.

Wilhelmina Artist Management creates, develops and manages celebrity-powered campaigns, product lines, private brand licensing, endorsements, sponsorships, talent appearances and corporate entertainment strategies.

“Wilhelmina is proud and honored to represent David Leadbetter, one of the legends in the golf world, and we are equally as honored to manage his Academies in North America,” says Dieter Esch, Chairman Wilhelmina Artist Management, which measurably extends brand relevance and increases brand loyalty to targeted audiences. “The purpose of this transaction is to further improve the Leadbetter brand worldwide and expand the Academy business.”

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Tiger radio interview


This from the folks at Fox Sports radio...

LOS ANGELES, April 22, 2008 - Tiger Woods joined The First Team on FOX with Steve Czaban this morning. Below are highlights from the interview…

On watching himself on TV:

Czaban: “Here’s an oddball question. Do you Tivo tournaments you’re in? Then go back and look at them afterwards, maybe take notes, notice something, listen to what the announcers are saying?”

Woods: “I usually have my secretary get a copy of the telecast from the PGA tour and I’ll take a look at it just from the swing standpoint, yeah.”

Czaban: “Just the swing though, you really won’t sit down and…”
Woods: “Listen to the commentators? No, never.”

On his workout routine:

Czaban: “Your body in relation to most other golfers is nothing short of phenomenal, and I’m wondering, what are you benching now, Tiger?”

Woods:
“I don’t bench. Period.”

Czaban: “Come on.”

Woods: “I don’t.”

Czaban: “What do you do for your chest?”

Woods:
“I might do some flys. Chest press or flys. But it’s more of a stretching exercise than a building exercise.”

On how long he might play:

Czaban: “You ever thought about how old you might be when you win your last major. Where that could be? Jack obviously won the Masters at 46.”

Woods: “With the way athletes are training and working out and keeping their bodies in shape, hopefully I could play past that at 46 and still be effective.”

Czaban: “So you think you could win a major in your 50s. You’re hoping?”

Woods: “I’d hope so. I hope that everything pans out that way.”

On tough scoring at the Masters:

Czaban: “Why didn’t we see scoring like we used to see at the Masters?”

Woods: “The golf course was set up too hard. They moved the tees up which was the only thing they could have done to at least give us a chance on Sunday. If they didn’t move the tees up, you would’ve seen probably the same kind of scoring we saw last year on Sunday.”

Czaban: “Would you dare ever go to anybody in a green jacket and say ‘you know maybe you ought to try this’?”

Woods: “All players have. A lot of the past champions have, who are actually playing. Augusta makes their own policy. They do what they want to do. A lot of times that’s great for the game of golf. I think they might have just made the golf course a little bit more difficult. I heard they’re making some changes for next year. So maybe that might facilitate some lower scores.

On his knee surgery:

Czaban: “Everyone wants to know. How’s the left wheel coming out of surgery?”

Woods:
“It’s a little sore right now, but it should be good in about a month.”
Czaban: “Doctor got in and said nothing serious, little clean up, should to be good to go in about a month?”

Woods: “That’s it. He said ‘you’re getting older bud.’”

Phila retains Compher Cup


This just in from the Golf Assn of Phila...


PINE VALLEY, N.J. -- The Golf Association of Philadelphia defeated the New Jersey State Golf Association, 12.5-5.5, to retain the Compher Cup on Monday at Pine Valley Golf Club.


The Compher Cup is the annual early season match between the two neighboring state associations. This was the 46th competition.


For the rest of the story, click here.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Brokaw @ Masters


Each year, Golf Digest asks a non-golfer writer of some note to come to the Masters and write a piece about the experience for the following year's tournament preview. This year, it's former NBC Nightly News anchorman Tom Brokaw.

Who even knew Brokaw was a golfer? He is, but he's hardly as avid about golf as he is about fly fishing. Brokaw, who was chatting up Dan Jenkins in the media center a couple of days ago, told the Augusta Chronicle that he took up golf about 13 years ago.

"I've been playing at it more than I've been playing it," he told the paper.

Although he has played the course once, this is his first Masters. "I'm a big sports fan and I'm a big-even fan," said Brokaw, who has been to Super Bowls, World Series and Final Fours. "This was the last on my checklist of big events I've been to. My wife said, 'I rarely see you so excited.'"


Zipped lips @ Masters


Certainly by tradition and maybe by club policy, only the chairman of the club can speak on behalf of Augusta National Golf Club.

It's almost comical to approach a green-jacketed Augusta member, who almost invariably is a captain of industry back home, and ask him the simpliest, most harmless question, only to have him respond, like a mantra, "You'll have to ask the chairman, Mr. Billy Payne, about matters pertaining to the club."

I'm not talking about questions like, "When you guys going to finally get a female member?" I'm talking about, "Is that tree new this year?" or "How are the greens running today?"

The absurdity of the policy reached a new height this week when one of the best players in the club, Jeff Knox, was drafted to play as a marker Saturday and Sunday in the Masters. After his round on Saturday with Miguel Angel Jimenez, Knox, 45, who once shot 61 from the member tees, could not comment on his round.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Ah, Augusta


It is a gorgeous morning in Augusta. Earlier, a fog delay pushed tee times back an hour, but that has passed and now it's bright, clear springtime moring at the Masters.

I've already had my annual lunch on the back balcony of the clubhouse, overlooking the first tee. A cup of seafood chowder, a junior club sandwich and peach cobbler with a scoop of vanilla ice cream came to about $12.

As in years past, the food was so-so but the ambiance and the view are unbeatable and unforgettable. Down below, there is a steady stream of players walking from the course to the locker room. There's also a Who's Who of big-time sports agents, writers, TV talent and execs, sports shrinks, golf industry titans and all manner of hangers-on who are able to get a pass for inside the clubhouse.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Mickelson hoax


If you are hearing rumors that Phil Mickelson dropped $200,000 gambling with Augusta National members last week, then tried to weasel out of paying off the bet, don't believe it. It's an April Fool's hoax that is making it's way around the blogosphere.

A blogger cooked up the story and attributed it to Golfweek's Insider column, where the magazine posts a lot of its juicy stuff.
According to the blogger's account, the furious Augusta National members even dragged Mickelson before club chairman Billy Payne, who supposedly informed him to pay up or get out -- forever.

As the story was making its way around the internet like a virus video today, the Golfweek folks, who are sitting about five rows behind me in the media center at the Masters, were doing all they could to kill it -- and especially kill any connection to them.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Tiger on the Masters


NEWSLETTER

April 2, 2008

By Tiger Woods

As you might expect, I'm gearing up for the Masters. It's the first major championship of the year and I'm excited about returning to Augusta National. They haven't made many changes to the course, so I'm not going to play an early practice round this week. I'll keep working at home with Hank Haney and try to sharpen my game.I know they removed some trees along the right side of No. 11; added 10 yards to the front of the first tee in case the wind blows; and tweaked the seventh and ninth greens.

The bottom line: It's going to be long and difficult, and you're going to have to have all aspects of your game firing. The only thing we don't know is what the wind is going to do.Overall, I feel very good about the way I'm swinging the club. Although my winning streak ended at Doral, I'm very pleased about the way I have played and hope the positive momentum carries over to Augusta.

Ever since I joined the PGA Tour in 1996, my goal has always been to win every tournament. That's just the way I think. If you don't feel that way, why enter? Although I got off to a great start his year by winning my first four events, including Dubai, I knew it was unlikely I would go undefeated. That didn't stop me from trying.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Sexy editor's note


This post has nothing to do with golf. But it is the best editor's note I've seen in a long time...

New York Times

Editor's Note"

March 30, 2008 An article on March 16 profiling three sex workers in the wake of Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s resignation after revelations that he patronized prostitutes misconstrued how two of the women, identified by the pseudonyms Faith O’Donnell and Sally Anderson, said they earned a living. The resulting misrepresentation of the two women’s work included a headline that referred to them as “high-priced call girls” and a paragraph that said they practiced “the 21st-century version of the oldest profession.”

For the rest, click here.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Billy Packer & golf


Who knew Billy Packer had any connection to golf?

Growing up in ACC country, I heard Packer doing college basketball all my life. Once upon a time I liked him. Now I find him only slightly less annoying that Dick Vitale.

Anyway, with March Madness upon us, Golfweek saw fit to profile the Mouth of the South.

Turns out he owns and sells courses but he rarely, and barely, plays at golf.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Tiger's streak over


For Tiger-philes, here's this morning's post-round interview from the WGC-CA Championship, won by Geoff Ogilvy.

Q. Would you talk a little bit about maybe the frustration of the leaderboard, never got higher than 17 and you got to 15 and can never inch a little closer?

TIGER WOODS: Well, you know, I made too many mistakes this week, you know? I was saying over there, I had four three-putts this week, I had two terrible lies in bunkers and a photographer got me on nine. With all that, to only finish two back, I think that's a great sign.

Q. Put the streak in context a little bit, how you feel that you're playing?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I think the people that truly understand are the players. I don't think you guys really understand or even the fans out there, just how small the difference is. I just explained what happened this week, how close -- if I just clean up my round this week, then obviously I'm right there with Geoff, if not just a little bit ahead of the 17 he's at right now.

Q. You begun this week talking about how the breaks have been going for you through the streak. Do you feel in a sense that you just kind of ran out of breaks?

TIGER WOODS: That's the way it goes, you know? As I said, people don't really understand you need to have something happen, a positive thing happen to you out there in order to win tournaments. I heard Geoff bladed one in the hole for par. That's what you need to have happen. Those are the things that have happened to me, and things weren't going that way this week.

Q. Talk about 16 after you tried to drive the green. (Went for the green; tee shot settled in the rough along the rim of the bunker; bad break)

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, that was a very interesting lie.

Q. You went through the bunker and were on the grass?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I was in the grass. It was sandy, it was sitting kind of funky, a shot I could easily just kind of leave either three feet in front of me, or I decided to put it 15, 20 feet and try to make a putt, and I put it a little bit further than that but had to give myself a putt at it. You can't just sit around and get cute and leave it in the bunker. Now you're hoping to make 5. No, I played conservative and then tried to make a putt.

Q. At the time you got a little birdie momentum going, looked like maybe a Hazeltine Hail Mary going down the stretch --

TIGER WOODS: Well, I didn't hit a bad shot coming in. The only shot that I really hit that would be a poor shot was 18, and that was just a poor number in my head that I was trying to play to. I should have played a little bit deeper than what I did in my head. No, I didn't hit a bad shot all day, which was nice.

Q. You changed clubs on 18, too. What did you do?

TIGER WOODS: I went from wedge to 9 because the wind kept going from down to more across and more across, and I played the 9 too soft.

Q. What's this do for you looking ahead two weeks down the road where they hand out green jackets? Still feeling pretty good about the state of the game?

TIGER WOODS: I think it's a great sign, what happened this week, to make that many mistakes and only be two back.

Q. (Question regarding 16.)

TIGER WOODS: Well, I upshot that drive. If I hit it solid, I could get it there with really no problem. But I upshot it, ended up to the right. I knew if it was in the left bunker it was an easy bunker shot uphill into the grain, and I put it over the right. It was a poor shot combined with a very interesting lie.

Q. Over the weekend, the rain --

TIGER WOODS: Well, it's been a long week, and it's just going to be a long day today. It is what it is, and we all had to play through it. I had ample chances to get myself up there on that board and win the tournament and just didn't do it.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Golfweek's Best for 2008

Golfweek is out with it's new list of America's Best courses. If you're a well-traveled golfer at all, it's great fun to scroll through the state-by-state rankings of "Best Courses You Can Play" to see which ones you've played.

Note: The asterisk next to a course denotes it new to the list. The (m) and (c) denote modern or classic courses.

Pennsylvania
1. Nemacolin Woodlands (Mystic Rock), Farmington (m)
2. GC at Glen Mills, Glen Mills (m)
3. Olde Stonewall, Ellwood City (m)
4. Bedford Springs Old Course, Bedford (c)
*5. Inniscrone, Avondale (m)
*6. Hershey CC (West), Hershey (c)
7. Lederach, Harleysville (m)
8. Hershey Links, Hummelstown (m)
9. Club at Morgan Hill, Easton (m)
10. Raven’s Claw, Limerick (m)


Personally, I think Inniscrone and Lederach are both ranked too high, although they both have ardent fans.

New Jersey
1. Atlantic City CC, Northfield (c)
2. Ballyowen, Hardyston (m)
3. Twisted Dune, Egg Harbor Township (m)
4. Sand Barrens, Swainton (m)
5. Pine Hill GC, Pine Hill (m)
6. Royce Brook (East), Somerville (m)
7. Scotland Run, Monroe Township (m)
8. Neshanic Valley, Neshanic Station (m)
9. Architects GC, Lopatcong (m)
*10. Shore Gate GC, Ocean View (m)
11. Seaview (Bay), Absecon (c)
12. Wild Turkey GC at Crystal Springs Resort, Hardyston (m)
13. Hominy Hill, Colts Neck (m)
14. RiverWinds, Thorofare (m)
*15. Vineyards at Renault Winery, Egg Harbor Township (m)

If you ask me, Jersey has a stronger list of courses than Pennsylvania. Major props to local architect Ed Shearon, who has two courses on the list, RiverWinds and Vineyards at Renault Winery.

Delaware
1. Bayside, Fenwick Island (m)
2. Deerfield Golf & Tennis Club, Newark (c)
*3. Back Creek, Middletown (m)
4. White Clay Creek, Newark (m)
*5. Baywood Greens, Long Neck (m)

For the full state-by-state list, click here.

Tiger tips his cap


PGA Tour: We're here with Tiger Woods, now a five-time champion of the Arnold Palmer Invitational. You had a pretty nice putt on 18 to win for the third time this year. You've got a good streak going. Let's talk about it.
TIGER WOODS: Well, it was just a great day. I hit the ball well all day, and Bart played great on especially the back nine, forced the issue on 18 and by posting 9; all day we were trying to get to 10. I figured 10 at the worst we would be in a playoff. I 3-putted there at 10, and felt like, you know, I still had eight more holes to get to 10 but unfortunately it took me all eight holes. The great thing about the last hole, that was my best swing I made all week with the 5-iron I hit in there. The wind had totally switched. It was blowing off the left on 17, in off the left and now was in off the right on 18. So hit a 5-iron up there and held just a flat hill hold shot and felt great. I gave myself a putt at it. The putt, I was just trying to make sure I got the speed right. Now that green has a little bit more grass on it, and the grain has a little bit more effect on it, and I gave it just a little bit more. I hit the putt down there, and it took forever to start breaking and for the grain to start taking it; but once it started taking it, it went straight right and went in the hole.
Q. You talk so often about this is what you live for, these kind of moments. Can you talk about if you can even remember what generates through your body and mind when the putt goes in and if you even know how you're celebrating?
TIGER WOODS: You know, when Stevie handed me my hat, I was like, "How in the hell did he get my hat?" (Laughter). Evidently, it came off. I don't know how it came off, but it came off. (Laughter).
Q. Pretty dramatically.
TIGER WOODS: I need to see the highlights. I was so into the moment of the putt going in and winning the golf tournament. I kept telling myself, I've done this before, I did it against Phil, and this time it's a little bit deeper into the green and the putt has a little bit more break and it has a little more grain; I've done it before and I can do it again.
Q. Did you find it ironic you were 0-for-20 in putts over 18 feet and all the issues you had with the putting and you were short all week that that goes in?
TIGER WOODS: Well, just had to keep working on my speed. You know, all week I kept telling myself, don't leave yourself a second putt, obviously with the nature of these greens, they were not running too smooth. Like what happened at the 10th hole, I ran it by and that was probably the driest green of it them all and I missed a come backer and that's one of the reasons why I needed to really concentrate on my speed and make sure I didn't leave those putts. That's what I kept trying to tell myself on 18: Don't leave yourself a second putt. Make sure you get your speed right and so if it does miss, it's just a tad.
Q. When you're standing in the fairway on 18, it would be easy to be defensive there. How do you balance that with trying to hit a shot and leave yourself a putt to win; are you torn as to how to approach that?
TIGER WOODS: Well, there are times when you do play pretty conservative but there I played -- bear with me here. I played aggressive to a conservative spot. I wanted to make sure I made a very aggressive swing, and I was aiming at the tower there, which is probably 15, 20 feet left of the hole, just hit the ball on that tower. Because the wind had totally switched, it was in off the left on 17 and now it's in off the right. If I spin that 5-iron, I can't get there. And if I hit it at the flag, so make sure I keep it left of the flag, but be committed to doing it. Reason why I chose that spot instead of further left, because I just saw Sean get it riding on the wind and it ended up over the green. So I really couldn't afford to hit it either way; just make sure I got committed and hit a shot that would give myself a 20-footer. And it turned out absolutely perfect. That was the best thing I made all week.
Q. What did you find on the range this week?
TIGER WOODS: Just same thing I was working on yesterday. It felt good. It was just a continuation of it. And felt like I was able to control the ball again and hit it both ways, which was great.
Q. Can you quantify how much your swing progressed as far as improvement from Thursday, Friday to today?
TIGER WOODS: Well, Thursday and Friday especially, I feel like I had a two-way miss. Yeah, you saw I hit the ball right a lot, but if I stayed back and got committed to it, I hit it left. So I had to try and time my release and my wishy-washiness of the golf ball. My face was rotating too much. I had to get that organized, and I felt pretty good about what I did yesterday. I had a one-way miss, which was great, and today I hit it good all day.
Q. Given the timing of the circumstances, where does this putt rank with your history of great shots and great putts?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I don't know where it ranks but it got me a victory. (Smiling). The putt was nice. It was great to make the putt, but I was so excited the 5-iron I hit in there to give myself a putt at it. You have to understand, I had not hit the ball well the last three days, and then to have that shot with everything on the line, to hit a shot and give myself a putt at it; you saw Stevie and I celebrate in the fairway, I was so fired up I hit the shot the way I wanted to. Just tried to make sure I kept that positiveness going into the putt. And I felt good over the putt, and I also said, I did it in Dubai, downhill left-to-righter, there's no reason why I can't do it again, and it went in.
Q. Were you as shocked at what happened on 10 as we were? Can you explain what happened on 10?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I got too fixated on the line and I didn't do what I was supposed to do. I kept telling myself all week, you know, watch your pace. That green is more burnt out than the others and I ran it by. It wasn't all that smooth, and I blocked the next one. You know, I kept yelling at myself going to the next tee; that's the reason why you can't leave yourself a second putt on these greens. They are not smooth and you cannot afford to do that, and that's a lesson learned. Unfortunately it happened there on the 10th hole and in the last round. Just a bad mistake.
Q. After these greens, will you put more effort in your putting to get ready for next week?
TIGER WOODS: I feel like I putted good all week. I felt like my stroke was good. Whether they stayed online or not was not up to me.
Q. To the degree that it would be printable, what did Arnold say afterwards when he greeted you?
TIGER WOODS: Well, he said he was proud of me, the way I played. He just says, "It doesn't surprise me you made the putt."
Q. He was telling everybody it was going in when he was standing up on the hill.
TIGER WOODS: Somehow you just get a good feeling sometimes; and he being a player, knows better than anybody. Sometimes you can see it on a person whether they are going to make it or miss it.
Q. Totally different formats, I understand, but was this a tougher grind this week than Tucson?
TIGER WOODS: Tucson was more physically demanding. This week, swing-wise, I didn't really have it, and trying to manage my game around. Yesterday, I was very fortunate to post a good round and not have the leaders run off. Vijay could have played a really good round and separated himself or Nick could have made one more birdie, gotten to 10-under or 11-under par and separated himself. It didn't happen. I got myself back in the tournament, and I felt good about what I had done with my swing yesterday and I hit it great all day today.
Q. You once said the thing you admired about Hogan and Mo Norman is that they owned their swing. How close are you to owning yours?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I think I'm starting to understand it, and I think that's what I meant by that. Those guys were able to fix their game, and especially Hogan, because he played tournaments. Mo didn't really play a lot of tournaments. Ben was able to understand his swing probably more so than most players ever could understand theirs and how to fix it. He was one of the first guys to ever do a lot of swinging in the room at night in hotel rooms, to try to figure it out for the next day, have the game plan going out the next day when he warmed up. You know, that's the whole idea of understanding your game so you can fix it on the fly. I made some good adjustments on it yesterday when I was playing. Today I could feel something coming on and made a quick adjustment and got back to dialed in again, which felt great.
Q. Bart was in here before and said that the guys all understand the magnitude of what you're doing, maybe the public doesn't; do you understand it?
TIGER WOODS: I do, yeah. I'm playing. (Laughter). It's a lot more stressful inside the ropes, trust me.
Q. But the streak, tying Hogan now, the whole thing.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, well, tying Mr. Hogan, when I first started my career, there's no way I could ever dreamt I would be here right now. Hopefully if I had a great career and it panned out over a number of years, I might get to that number, but certainly not this quick.
Q. In the first couple of months of this season, now you've kept the streak going, what will it take four weeks from today to be in this same position after Augusta?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I have to keep working and keep progressing and keep working on my game and make sure everything is peaking toward Augusta.
Q. Are you motivated by the idea that there's such a spotlight on you that if you run that thing three or four feet past and miss it that it would become all the talk? I guess is fear a motivator for you, or is it never --
TIGER WOODS: (Shaking head no.) I don't really look at it that way. I looked at it as an opportunity to make sure I got my pace right and to end the tournament.
Q. And the putt that went in, you looked by your reaction that you knew you had enough, that it was going to tumble in and there was a point where you looked pretty sure --
TIGER WOODS: I had a good feeling probably six or seven feet in, once the grain started taking it and slinging it to the right. Once it got going to the right, it got more downgrain and once it got going downgrain, it was going to run out.
Q. Do you remember the first tournament you ever played when you stood over a putt that if you made it, you won?
TIGER WOODS: No, I don't remember to be honest with you.
Q. Is that a feeling, is that the ultimate feeling out there?
TIGER WOODS: I have to say it's knowing that you have an opportunity to end the tournament and it's in your hands, not anyone else's; it's in your hands. Whether you do it or not remains to be seen, and it's like having the ball with a few seconds to go; do you want it or not want it. I would much rather have it in my hands than anyone else's.
Q. When you're out there, you seem so focused, but to the thousands of people out there, it's like the circus came to town. Are you oblivious to the mob that follows you around?
TIGER WOODS: No, I'm not oblivious, no. You hear it and people yelling and screaming, you know, supporting you, you hear all that, yeah. But they are not going to help me hit a golf shot. That's one of the things that my father has always tried to instill in me is no matter how bad someone wants you -- like for example, how he wants me to hit a golf shot or my mom or my friends or media or family or whatever it may be, it's up to me. I have to pull off the shot. I've got to get out there and handle my own business.
Q. Knowing how important it is to have a chance to make the last putt, can you back to yesterday when you made the birdie on 16, which basically kind of got you in the final group -- can you talk about how fun it is to hit a shot like that, to play golf shots? And then secondly, what was your strategy going into it and how did you pull it off?
TIGER WOODS: Well, the shot on 16, if I didn't hit the shot on 15, I probably wouldn't have hit the shot on 16. All week I was kind of struggling with trying to get my face square and it was just rotating too much, whatever. Then I hit that shot on 15 and I could finally feel, I finally did it right. Then when I had the shot on 16, I said, well, it's the same shot, just hold it back in the wind, but just don't hold it as much. And I just kept saying, all you do, you just don't have to hold it as much as you did on 15. When I hit it, I basically hit a release fade, which felt great; and a little 6-iron that just held it against the wind and the wind kind of drifted at the very end. The shot on 15 set up 16.
Q. I know you're busy with your own game, but after the first couple of holes, what did you see in Sean where he kind of got back into it? What did you see that you liked about him today?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, Sean got off to kind of a rough start there. But he fought back and made birdies at -- what has he made birdies at, 14 and 15. He got himself right back and anything can happen on last three holes. Just had to be there. He was right there. I mean, he was right there if Bart or myself made a mistake, he would have put himself right there with a chance to win or put himself in a playoff.
Q. Outside of people like us bringing it up, do you think about this streak much, or is it a matter of win this tournament, No. 7 follows; you win next week, No. 8 naturally follows?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I think that's the way you have to play. It's nice to have positive feelings going into an event, but it starts anew. You know, one of the greatest things about our game is if you're playing poorly, the week is over, you get to go down the road and tee it up again and give yourself another opportunity to win.
Q. I don't mean to sound trite at all, but just with regard to winning, is it almost kind of becoming an addiction to some degree? I know it's what you do and you're supposed to do --
TIGER WOODS: If feels good, Mark, it really does. (Laughter). It's why you work all those tireless hours. It's why you get up at 0-dong-30 and log your miles, bust your tail in the gym, there's a reason why is to be in that position right there to fail or succeed, but to be in that position time and time again. Trust me, that's the rush, to be in that position.
Q. With all of the momentum you have right now, what could stop you from continuing the streak, if anything?
TIGER WOODS: All of the players in the event. (Laughter).

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Daly speaks


This transcript just in from the PR Dept at the Golf Channel, which interviewed John Daly for Golf Central

On his Disqualification from the Arny Invy:

Peter was here, my caddie. We left at 8:30 to go to the golf course to play the Pro-Am. I was right almost at Gate A when (Tournament director) Mark Russell said I missed my tee time. I said, ‘No I was supposed to go off at 9:47’. He said, ‘No, you were at 8:40.’ I said, ‘That is kind of weird because we called the tournament yesterday when I was out here at Celebration practicing and that was the time the lady gave us.’

The weird thing was why Peter didn’t think we should call back was I thought I was going to go early because that is what I requested. Robert [Gamez] said the first time isn’t going to be until 8 anyway because it is going to get light at 7:30 with the time change. So we didn’t even think about calling back. So that’s cool. No big deal.

It is just unfortunate stuff like this happens. I feel bad for Arnold because he gave me the spot. Had a great hug from him in the Monday pro-am on number seven. I love him to death. First time in 17 or 18 years that I have ever missed a tee-time. I feel responsible for it but I just feel bad this had to happen with all of the other crap going on in my life. I would never miss Arnold Palmer’s Pro-Am if he wanted me to play. I would never miss that tee time. Unfortunately I just got a bad time.

I’ve always played pretty good here. I think Arnold inspires me and makes me play a little better. I don’t know. I’ve never won here. I’ve had some great finishes and some good rounds. I feel bad for all this to happen. I’ve got to take the responsibility. I should have checked my time again.

On Splitting with Butch Harmon:

You know I haven’t seen the articles. I didn’t watch the Golf Channel last night. But Butch didn’t call me to let me know. I just texted Butch to say, ‘I just wish you would have called me,’ that’s all. I said, ‘I love you like a brother. You're the greatest golf coach, anywhere. I think you are better than anybody.’ This is unfortunate. I just wish he would have called me, that’s all.

On Events during PODS Championship:

Peter has had a neck problem for about the last two months. Jimmy has popped him back in. His neck was killing him. It got cold. And I said ‘Peter, let’s get Coach to caddy the last six or seven holes because darkness was going to come. I mean, it wasn’t like, you know, Peter was hurt. So, no problem, it was great for the tournament. Everybody loved it.

Same thing Saturday at Tampa. Gerald, the tournament director, says ‘Do you want to go to the Owl’s Nest?’ I said yeah I am already going because Hooters wants me to be there. Sign hats. Talking to the fans and having a good time. This thing about flipping a camera guy off. Well, we may have done it in fun. Half the time I take pictures with guys they want me to flip the picture off because that is what they want. We were having a good time. Nobody was loud. I thought it was good for the tournament. Hooters loved it. I sat there and ate, had a few beers with Peter. Wasn’t drunk or anything. I was there for four hours signing things. It was a good thing. But now it seems like this guy who wrote this article about me flipping off the camera guy, I guess he just doesn’t like me. But it wasn’t anything mean or anything. It was fun. That is just the way my life is going right now. You think you are doing somebody a good thing and somebody just wants to bring it all down. If that is how they want to live, then so be it. I can’t live that way.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Dumb, dumb Daly


It's official now: It's time to give up on John Daly.

Yesterday, Butch Harmon, swing coach to many PGA Tour stars, dropped Daly as a client, saying the bloated blubbo was no longer worth the bother.

"My goal for him was he's got to show me golf is the most important thing in his life," said Harmon. "And the most important thing in his life is getting drunk."

This after Daly, who has lost his PGA Tour card, famously glugged his way through the Bob Hope Classic. Then, during a 2 1/2 hour weather delay at last week's PODS Championship, Daly retreated to a hospitality tent.

How did Daly respond to Harmon's rebuke?
At the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando, where he had been given a precious sponsor's exemption by one of the most respected, legendary figures in the game, Daly was a no-show for his 8:40 a.m. tee time in the pro-am. Unless he's got one heck of an excuse, that'll get him nixed from the field.

Some people never learn, and apparently Daly has his sights on the top of the list.

Say what???


An email poured in from a reader/viewer, wondering if they heard Sean O'Hair's post-victory interview at the PODS Championship correctly. When O'Hair thanked his caddie, his coach and his father-in-law, did NBC's Jimmy Robert's mis-hear or whatever and think the young golfer was thanking his actual father, from whom he is famously estranged?

Yes, that's exactly what happened.

To the tape:

O’HAIR: “I gotta thank my caddie Paul Tesori and my coach Steve Dahlby, and most of all I want to thank my father-in-law. You know he was there last week (tears in his eyes) and gave me a good pep talk.”

ROBERTS: “Really? I think a lot of people who don’t know a lot about golf might be surprised to hear that. But things are OK with you and him now?”

O’HAIR: “NO my father-IN-LAW Steve Lucas. My father-in-law used to be on the bag…”

Monday, February 11, 2008

Confused on new cut rule?



Run you finger down the list of 36-hole scores from a PGA Tour tournament these days and you’ll often get to a new and peculiar abbreviation: MDF.

It stands for “Made the Cut, Did Not Finish.”

Judging from emails and phone messages, even many serious golf fans don’t keep up with each and every rule change on the PGA Tour. But this new rule, which determines who or will not play on the weekend, is important and controversial among many players.

The intent of the cut rule is to reduce the size of the fields on the weekends, with a goal of speeding up those excruciating 5½ rounds that sometimes become unfinished rounds and slop over to the next morning.

Tour and TV executives have concluded that fields culled to 70 to 78 make for ideal pairings, fewer long waits on tees and, therefore, better viewing. Not surprisingly, the players have dubbed it “Rule 78.”

Like the previous cut rule, Rule 78 credits players who are among the low 70 scores and ties with making the cut. But, if those low 70 scores and ties make for more than 78 players – it happens about 11 times a year, says the Tour -- then the closest number of players to 70 actually advance to the weekend.

At the Sony Open in Honolulu four weeks ago, where the rule first went into effect, 86 golfers made the cut at low 70s and ties. That meant 18 players fell victim to Rule 78, as the field was trimmed to the closest number to 70, in this case the 68 players who finished two rounds at 1-under par.

Those 18 guys got credit for making the cut, they got last place but official money ($9,805), they got 46 FedEx Cup points -- and they got shown the door.

Among the 18 sent packing were Brandt Snedeker, last year’s rookie of the year on the Tour, and John Daly.

“It was all news to me,” Snedeker said of the new policy.

Daly, who has no status on the Tour this year, was not so diplomatic. “I think it’s crazy,” Daly fumed to the Golf Channel. “It’s a stupid rule, I’m sorry.”

Stupid or not, if players were caught unaware, they have nobody to blame but themselves. In the wake of the complaints at the Sony, the Tour said, in so many words, to its members: Hello, do you people read your emails on those Tour-issued laptops we gave you? Did you not read any of the four notifications of the change?

Well, no, many of them apparently don’t. They have people for that – agent, managers, handlers, wives, sycophants.

Already there is talk that Rule 78 is so unpopular among some players that it will get repealed after only one year. In the meantime, the best advice from a lot of players are hearing is to basically stop bellyaching and player better.

“Some of the top 10 players like the rule,” Ty Votaw, executive vice president of the Tour, told USA Today. “Some of the players who live on the cut line do not.”

Who could blame the top players for liking the rule. On the weekends, they are the guys with the late tee times, slogging along behind the slow-poke, check-cashers who sweat the cut line.
Another thing is, the Rule 78 was not exactly shoved down the throats of the Tour members. The idea found enough support among the Player Advisory Council, comprised of 16 Tour players, that it went up the chain to the Tour’s nine-member Policy Board, comprised of Commissioner Tim Finchem, four outside directors and four Tour players (currently Brad Faxon, Stewart Cink, David Toms and Joe Ogilvy).

There, the cut policy was unanimous approved.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Tiger to Win Slam


Okay, I’ve seen enough. Officially, this could be the year that Tiger Woods writes golf history by winning the Grand Slam.

Don’t bore me with the odds against Woods actually doing it, and don’t bother blathering on about the near-possibility of it all. I know that. But I have also seen the light and the truth and the way – and it’s Woods with a golf club in his hands.

Have you seen the way the man has started 2008?

How about an never-was-even-close eight-shot victory two weeks ago at the Buick Invitational in San Diego, his first tournament of the year? And how about his win Sunday at the Dubai Desert Classic, where he shot 65 in the final round to come from four shots back?

That makes for five wins in his last five tournaments, including the PGA Championship (his 13th major) and the Tour Championship at the end of last year. He has won seven of his last eight, the lone blemish on his record being a tie for second at the Deutsche Bank Championship. Woods’ command of his game is back, bigger than ever. So is his swagger. Not to put too fine a point on it, but the man owns golf.

Which brings us to Grand Slam. For years after Woods had that amazing stretch over 2000-01, when he held all four titles at one time, we began each new season with chatter about how that year might be the year for a Grand Slam.

Most years, the talked ended early, when Woods would fail to win the first major of the year, the Masters. Remember, of his four Masters titles, only one was in the last five years, in 2005.
Some years, Woods’ game just wasn’t there, as he twice retooled his swing. Other years, the venues for the majors just weren’t right for Woods.

This year, the stars are in alignment more than ever, and not even Woods is discouraging Slam speculation.

“I think it’s easily within reason,” Woods said during the end of his most recent monthly newsletter on his Web site.

Pressed by the media at the Buick, Woods didn’t back down. “The question is, do I see it as a possibility, and I say yes,” he said.

A fifth green at the Masters in April would ratchet up the chatter. The way his is playing, who in his right mind would bet against Woods at Augusta National, a course that is virtually built for his power game and towering irons shots. He is also the best clutch putter in the game.

For that matter, who would bet against Woods to win his third U.S. Open at Torrey Pines, the same course where he just dominated at yet another Buick Invitational.

True, the U.S. Golf Association will make Torrey Pines much tougher course for the Open. Still, not only has Woods won the Buick there six times, including the last four in a row, he even won a World Junior there as a kid.

If he is two-for-two going into the British Open, the plot thickens. The last time Royal Birkdale hosted the British Open was in 1998, when Woods was in only his second full year as a pro. He finished third at Birkdale, with the Claret Jug going to his buddy Mark O’Meara. While Birkdale is not one of the great British Open sites, Woods like it enough and that’s all that matters.

If he’s three-for-three after the British, the build up for the PGA Championship at Oakland Hills Country Club near Detroit will be nothing short of insane.

Woods’ could have bad memories about Oakland Hills. The last time he was there was for a pummeling in the 2004 Ryder Cup. Of course, those bad memories have more to do with Captain Hal Sutton’s pairings than with the golf course.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Casper to run Philly city courses


For anybody who missed it in the paper a few weeks ago, here's the story I wrote about the Billy Casper Co. getting the contract to run Philadelphia's city courses...
By Joe Logan
Inquirer Staff Writer

If you're among the thousands of golfers who consider one of Philadelphia's six city-owned courses your home course, get ready for more changes.

After 2 1/2 years, the era of Liberty Golf, a local company that has managed the courses, is coming to an end. The city is in the final stages of negotiating a new contract with Billy Casper Golf, based in Vienna, Va., which manages 80 facilities in 21 states, the District of Columbia and Costa Rica.

The new management contract, however, will include only four of the city facilities: F.D.R. in South Philadelphia, John F. Byrne in the Northeast, and the crown jewel, Cobbs Creek and Karakung in West Philadelphia.

At the same time the new contract goes into effect - the target date is Jan. 1, 2008 - two of the city courses, Juniata in North Philadelphia and Walnut Lane in Roxborough, will begin being operated by two nonprofit groups.

News that the city had picked Billy Casper Golf, a proven company with a national reputation, came as an obvious blow to Liberty Golf, a smaller, younger, homegrown company that had hoped to maintain the contract.

Liberty, in fact, had been created almost overnight by Bud Connors, who had run the courses for years, first for Club Corp. of Dallas and later for Meadowbrook Golf of Florida after Meadowbrook begged out of its long-term contract in mid-2005.

"We are big fans of Liberty Golf because of the way they stepped up and helped the Fairmount Park Commission and literally made it possible for the city of Philadelphia to have golf the past two years," said Barry Bessler, chief of staff for the park commission and the city's point man on many golf-course matters. "But it was a stopgap measure. Billy Casper is a national firm and one of the leaders in municipal golf-course management. "

Although he was disappointed, Connors, president of Liberty, said that his company had gotten a fair shake from the city. But up against Billy Casper Golf, he was David against Goliath.
"We're a small mom-and-pop operation," said Connors. "I'm the president of the company, but I'm in the field every day. I wish Billy Casper good luck. "

Terms of the deal with Billy Casper - length of the contract, rent to be paid the city - are still being worked out. Neither side expects negotiations to hit a major sticking point.
Fact is, when the city put the contract out for bid, only three companies showed interest: Billy Casper, Liberty, and Kemper Sports Management, another national company whose portfolio includes Makefield Highlands in Bucks County and Heron Glen in Ringoes, N.J.

What tipped the scale in Billy Casper's favor was not grandiose promises, said Bessler, but rather straight talk and an established track record.

"They have in mind capital improvements for all the facilities," said Bessler. "Does that mean there will be enough money to turn these into Bethpage Black? No. But we believe the management company is on the same page as us in terms of what the courses need and what can benefit them most. "

Billy Casper manages a mix of private, daily-fee, resort and municipal courses across the country, including Lederach Golf Club in Harleysville, Reading Country Club in Reading and McCullough's Emerald Golf Links in Egg Harbor Township, N.J.

The company's biggest municipal contracts are in Westchester County, N.Y. (three courses); Cincinnati (seven courses); and Cook County, surrounding Chicago (12 courses).
"Check with Cook County. We're like a before-and-after informercial," said Rich Katz, senior vice president at Casper's public relations and marketing company, Buffalo Communications.

In the Chicago Tribune's seasonal golf guide this past April, writer David Murray, a self-described "hard-core urban golfer," raved about the improvements at the Cook County courses since Casper took over in 2002, especially when compared to the Chicago city courses, which are managed by Kemper.

"I went to the Billy Caldwell course for a quick nine to keep the game sharp - you don't go to a Chicago public course for a serious round - and I noticed the first tee was made of grass," wrote Murray. "Where was the charming asphalt patch with the Astroturf welcome mat? And what was that in the middle of the fairway? Was it a bright, new 150-yard marker? "

Murray went on to praise Billy Casper Golf for not only improving course conditions but also for weeding out employees who had ranged from "indifferent to surly. " On the marketing side, wrote Murray, the Casper-run courses use computers to track the golf habits of their regulars, then send out special-offer e-mails that are so targeted, it's "almost creepy. "

If Billy Casper can deliver the same kind of performance in Philadelphia, Bessler and the city will breathe a sigh of relief. Initially, at least, any new management company will likely be greeted by city-course regulars with cautious optimism if not outright skepticism. Who could blame them?

Most recently, Liberty Golf did its best in a difficult situation, but before it there were years of pie-in-the-sky promises followed by neglect, first from Club Corp., then Meadowbrook Golf. In both cases, after the honeymoon, the relationship soured. It was golfers, and the golf courses, that felt the pain of the broken relationships.

This time around, to make the contract more attractive, the city has removed the two least attractive courses from the deal - Juniata and Walnut Lane. Both courses have their loyal regulars but neither tends to draw from beyond its neighborhood. The result is they have fewer rounds and produce less revenue.

In the case of Juniata, Bob Wheeler, a retired cop who has managed the course in recent years, pulled together the 12-member Juniata Golf Foundation, which he will head as executive director.

Walnut Lane will be operated by Impact Services, headed by John McDonald, the former Temple golf coach who is also executive director of the First Tee of Philadelphia and the Greater Philadelphia Scholastic Golf Association. Both facilities will continue to be owned by the city, merely leased out for $1 a year.

While Juniata and Walnut Lane both will continue to operate as daily fee courses, Wheeler and McDonald hope to grow programs - golf and educational - for youngsters.
"We will be open just as we were before," said Wheeler. "The difference will be our hands won't be tied by the management companies or the city. "

Wheeler, who has stocked the foundation board with a cross-section of civic-minded folks involved in business, law and politics, is most excited by the promise from several trade unions to donate their services in building a much-needed clubhouse.

At Walnut Lane, McDonald is still studying the possibilities for some kind of First Tee facility, apart from the one he already runs at FDR.
"I've already had the First Tee folks from the national office in Florida up to look at it, and the USGA people, too," said McDonald.

Meanwhile, Bessler is left to keep his fingers crossed that the city has finally come up with a viable solution and a reliable management company for the future. If not, he knows he'll hear about it.

Philadelphia Public Courses
Here are the six Philadelphia public golf courses:
Cobbs Creek Olde Course and Karakung Course (West Philadelphia), 7400 Lansdowne Ave., 215-877-8707.
Juniata Golf Club (North Philadelphia), 1363 E. Cayuga St., 215-743-4060.
Walnut Lane Golf Club (Roxborough-East Falls), 700A Walnut Lane, 215-482-3370.
FDR Golf Club (South Philadelphia), 1954 Pattison Ave., 215-462-8997.
John F. Byrne Golf Club (Northeast Philadelphia), 9550 Leon St., 215-632-8666.