Saturday, May 30, 2009

"Pink Out" Saturday

Don't forget that today is the official "Pink Out" Saturday for breast cancer and Amy Mickelson. Most of the PGA Tour will be sporting pink on the course to help raise awareness for the terrible disease.

I pulled my pink shirt out of the dirty clothes because I wore it out last night found this pink shirt from back in the day and will be sporting it all day, so I hope you do the same.

Also, here is the link to the donation page on the Susan G. Komen website. If you have a couple of extra bucks laying around, shoot it their way. Maybe one day we can find a cure and life will be millions better.

(One more thing ... you can post pics of your pink'd out self on PGA, but I'm redirecting you to The Golf Girl's page because she is awesome.)

(One, one more thing ... that is me hitting my tee shot on the road hole at St. Andrews. I hit 3-wood, and thought I yanked it about 20 yards right of everything, and went up to find it sitting in the middle of the fairway. Bonus. Also, this is me gloating. Like it? Huh?! Huh?!?!)

Friday, May 29, 2009

The Final Putt: TWEET!

Since there isn't really any semblance or order to Dogs That Chase Cars, why not have some sort of Friday feature that wraps up all you've missed in the week of golf? Here it is, The Final Putt ...

-- A pretty slow weekend since I was golfing it up to start the week.

-- Hey, at least my swing doesn't look like this one.

-- Should the LPGA allow their players to tweet during the round? I think not, but I also think roller coasters are scary, so take my advice with grains of salt ...

That is it for this week. With Steve Stricker playing really well this week so far at the Colonial and the Pink Out planned for Saturday, you should keep golf on the radar among all this great playoff basketball. Have a great weekend, and hit 'em straight.

John Daly's Twittering is Awesome

This was from John Daly's Twitter page today, about his 4-over 76 on Friday to miss the cut at The European Open.

balls bounced on the greens at the London Club so much you would think you were at a harlem globetrotters match

How can you not love this guy?

The Real Question is Why Wouldn't You Tweet On the Golf Course

On the golf course, there is really nothing more annoying than playing with a guy that has his cell phone stuck to his ear all round. First, if you're going to golf, put the damn thing on vibrate and second, if you're going to communicate with someone, please do it through text or e-mail or smoke signals.

LPGA commissioner Carolyn Bivens, who was the same lady that wanted everyone to speak English because obviously women's golf is a dictatorship and if you don't speak the language Bivens speaks you will have your lips cut off, has decided that she wants players to Tweet during their rounds. Like, when they're playing. (Shakes head) I know ...

"I'd love it if players Twittered during the middle of a round," Bivens said in an interview, according to Bloomberg News. "The new media is very important to the growth of golf and we view it as a positive, and a tool to be used."

I had this idea during my U.S. Open qualifier because of a couple of reasons, mainly being that nobody could see how my round went until after the results were posted. The LPGA has live scoring and stuff, so what exactly are the players going to say?

"Just scrambled for par on 11. Also, my skirt blew up! ROTFLMAO!!!"

I mean, seriously. I understand that the LPGA is doing anything and everything to embrace new technology and try and have more fans interested in different ways, but I don't really think players are going to be that excited to send out messages while they're focused on their golf game.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Golf Weekend Unlike Any Other

This past Memorial Day weekend I went back to ol' East Texas for a little family time, some golf and a little bit more golf. It wasn't exactly the golf trip to Scotland or anything, but I did get in damn near six rounds of golf with one of my best buddies from Texas, my roommate from Scottsdale and my dad.

Here are a picture from the experience. If you don't care about these photos, here is one of an Easter bunny riding a motorcycle.

A "Pink Out" Planned For Saturday at Colonial

It wasn't just John Daly's pants or Rory Sabbatini's shirt that were tributes to Amy Mickelson and her fight against breast cancer ... tour wives have got involved and have urged players and wives to wear pink on Saturday in an all-out "Pink Out" at the Colonial.

In a memo being circulated at Colonial, the group is asking all players and wives to take part in a "Pink Out" on Saturday by wearing pink to show support for Amy Mickelson.

The association is working with title sponsor Crowne Plaza and the Susan G. Komen Foundation to raise awareness of breast cancer.

So, in an effort to do a small part for the Mickelsons, I urge anyone and everyone heading to the Colonial on Saturday to wear something pink so that this really does make an impact.

If you don't own a pink shirt to sport on Saturday, I can only say that between the years 2002-04, you probably weren't very cool.

Warren Little, Getty Images

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Did You Know Rory Sabbatini Won Last Week?

Wraparound sunglasses everywhere rejoiced this past Sunday when Rory Sabbatini shot weekend scores of ...

/checks Byron Nelson scoreboard
//rechecks scoreboard

... holy hell, is that accurate? Sabbatini shot a 65 on Saturday and was a bogey away on the 18th for a 63 on Sunday? I go away for one weekend of golf vacation and Mr. Puke Wardrobe himself wins his first PGA Tour tournament in two years?

Why does the golf world hate me? All I ask is a little Sabbitini action to ridicule and it's hard to do it when the guy plays the weekend 11-under par.

While there isn't a ton to dog Mr. Sabbatini about with the Byron, I do love the belt buckle. Some things never change.

Marc Feldman, Getty Images

The Best Golf Swing You've Ever Seen

Reader Jon sent an e-mail during my extended vacation (pictures and golf stories to come) and after watching the video of his friend's golf swing, I had to post it.

Here is Jon's friend Gary, who is said to be able to hit the mid-80s at times. Jim Furyk and Charles Barkley just called this guy to see if he could join their threesome.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

CaddyHawk Will Give Yardage To Your Blackberry

I was wondering when this would come out, and here it is. The CaddyHawk is a Blackberry app that allows you to get yardage directly to the 'ol mOObile phone. Check it.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Amy Mickelson, Phil Mickelson's Wife, Diagnosed With Breast Cancer

Some really bad news hit the wire a few minutes ago, and I'm not sure if it makes me more sad for Phil Mickelson and his family or more mad at this goddamn disease and what it does to our country.

Amy Mickelson, the trophy wife of Lefty who seems to be all you could ask for in a person, was diagnosed with breast cancer and Phil is taking an indefinite leave of absence from the tour to be with his family.

I just want to say that even when we joke about Phil around these parts, we still respect the guy and what he does, and just hope that everything works out for the best.

Thoughts and prayers your way, Phil and Amy. We will be thinking of you around these parts. I figured this was as good a time as any to give you a quick link to donate any and all cash to Susan G. Komen, The Race for the Cure to Breast Cancer.

What? The Taste of Fertilizer Isn't Good Enough For You?

The Golf Girl posted on this today and I couldn't help but laugh when I saw it.

Apparently there is a company that has been around for a while that makes flavored tees. Yep, they come in Cherry and Mint, with Strawberry, Grape and Cinnamon.

I'm not exactly sure how I feel about this, but isn't chewing on a golf tee somewhat similar to licking the spikes on your golf shoe? They both are stuck in the ground and if you hang out with my friends ever, you sure don't want to be touching the ground they play golf on (Yummy, dip spit!).

But, hey, if Patricia endorses something, by god, I will too. Go get some Tasty Tees. Next up ... flavored lawnmower blades!

Scott Verplank Is a Man of Few (But Awesome) Words

I came across this incredible quote by Scott Verplank this morning that I thought was pretty perfect when describing how PGA Tour players must feel during a golf tournament. When I had my chance to play for money, it was basically the only thing that ran through my head (How will I pay rent? Should I sell my spot this week to get back $1,000? Jeez, Taco Bell again?), but it's interesting to see what the big boys must think when their prizes are obviously way more inflated than anything I played for.

So, here is the Verplank quote.

"When you're trying to win a tournament, you're not playing for money. The only time you're playing for money is when you're not going to win the tournament." -- Scott Verplank

I guess that is why you see certain people that have no chance of winning fist-pumping after their birdie on 18. "Hey, another $30,000 ain't so bad." Being a PGA Tour player must be awesome.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Why Do People Play Blades?

I was a junior in college when I decided that I'd become that guy you see at the range. Decent golfer, nothing special, but sports a set of blade irons as he's working on controlling that 7-iron.

Recently, I ordered my first set of irons since the college days, partly because I wanted to get something new and partly because my pitching wedge grooves were so worn down you could see your reflection in it.

I settled on the Titleist AP2 irons with 6.5 Project X shafts in them. So far, I'm loving the new clubs, and noticed something while teeing it up recently with some buddies. The mishits still fly. The fly far and fairly straight and if you catch one a little thin, your hands don't hurt so bad you wish you were an extra in the opening scene of "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves."

So, my question is this ... why do people still play blades? I know that only a few guys on tour still go with the old school irons, but isn't using blades similar to pulling out a Big Bertha driver or playing 18 holes with a Tour Balata? That technology is history and using something like that makes little to no sense. Also, if your argument is "you can work the ball better," I don't want to hear it. Working the golf ball with the AP2's is just as easy as with my 690 MBs, so that is moot.

Have you ever used blades? If so, how long did they stay in the bag?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Christina Kim Talks Golf, Interesting Comments

The below video is over at Wei Under Par, which basically killed it at the LPGA tournament this past weekend. Christina Kim talks about her round, including an interesting 9th hole experience. Check it out, and check out the rest of what she did this weekend.

CK>MC from Stephanie Wei on Vimeo.

Some very rich kids took an airplane to a golf tournament because there was a traffic jam. No, seriously. [FanHouse]

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Pretty great story about Lance Ten Broeck, the caddie for Jesper Parnevik, getting the chance to play in the Valero Texas Open and actually doing better than his boss. I applied for a sponsors exemption into the tournament. Thanks for the heads up, guys. [FanHouse]

The Haney Project Seems to Be Working

There really aren't words for this. If Charles Barkley is hitting a golf shot, you best be face-masked.

via Mr. Wilson at FanHouse

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Final Putt: Our Frustration Winner

Since there isn't really any semblance or order to Dogs That Chase Cars, why not have some sort of Friday feature that wraps up all you've missed in the week of golf? Here it is.

-- I tried, and failed, at qualifying for the U.S. Open.

-- If you are looking to buy a rangefinder, this breakdown of the top two will help you decided which one works best for your game.

-- Alas, I had a contest to give away Carl Hiaasen's The Downhill Lie. I asked for the best story of golf frustration, and this one took the cake. Reader Tom, your copy of the great read is on the way, and his submission is below.

A few years back I was playing a round with a good buddy & a couple of friends of his, one of whom was the pro at the course we were playing in Wellington, FL. at the time. Now of course, to make things interesting, we turned a "friendly" into a skins match. It was a good round but surprisingly by the time we got to the 17th we had $1200 riding on the hole. Just as I get ready to tee it up, the pro lets me know how they have had an alligator problem in the lake on this hole. Now my buddy knew I have a "thing" with gators from when I was a kid. Long story for another time.

So I played the hole terribly, having not put two & two together at the time & of course I absolutely gave the hole away, as well as any chance at the $$ riding on it. My buddy won the hole which I thought was odd as well. I was wondering to myself why the pro was not a bit more dominating, he had only won two of the earlier holes. Well it turns out they set me up and ended up splitting the cash. However, they made the mistake of telling me right after the 18th of the whole prank & it's set up because they could not contain their laughter. Needless to say I then proceeded lose it. I have a great sense of humor but at that very moment my issues with gators had just been taken advantage of by a couple of complete strangers & they had "played" me for an entire 18 holes with no remorse.

Well, I decided retribution would be mine right then & there. I took the cart with my friend's clubs in tow and went back to the 17th where I proceeded to then throw them in the same lake where the supposed "gator problem" had been. I told him he could use the money he won by punking me so very well, & go out and buy himself some new ones. Of course I also mentioned he could simply wade out and get his clubs, just be careful of the water moccasins.

Congrats to Tom, and also, I'm not sure I ever want to play golf with your friends. I hope you don't take offense to that.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Daly Keeps It Rolling

John Daly keeps his momentum heading forward at the Irish Open this week. He opened with a 4-under 68 to be in a tie for 20th after the first day.

No word yet on how the person is that got hit with the above divot, but I'm hearing it isn't looking good.

Ross Kinnaird, Getty Images

Update: Yeah, just call it the Bacon jinx. Daly shot a 75 on Friday and it looks like will miss the cut on the number.

Which John Daly Do You Like More?

I have to say, the resurgence of John Daly has me absolutely giddy. Never has a guy had so many up and downs in his career, and if this is actually the time Daly has decided to grow up and be a man (I'm a man! I'm 40!), the golf world could be in store for more great Daly moments.

Also, I hate to mention this, but if Daly does continue to play well and avoid passing out in his hot wings, the British Open in 2010 is at St. Andrews and we all know the guy can play that golf course.

The question I want to bring up, is which Daly look do you like more? Are you a fan of the new pants Mr. Daly has been sporting around the European Tour, or the look that made him famous when he first hit the golf world in the 90s? I love the correlation between Daly's jump back to noteworthiness and the fact that the mullet-mustache look is cool again.

Bring it back, John!

Maria Verchenova Hopes To Be Russia's Golf Answer

Basically, in golf upbringing terms, Russia is the complete opposite of Australia. No funding, no help, no nothing ... you either have a lot of talent and hope that your parents can afford to fork it up, or you are s-c-r-e-w-e-d.

Maria Verchenova, the lovely lady in the picture above, is 23-years-old and hoping to make a Maria Sharapova-like breakthrough on the LPGA. That is, she is good at sports and very, very attractive (Oh, and from Russia, thus the reason for the opening sentence).

Via Devil Ball Golf ...

What all of the successful athletes in these sports have shared is a natural flair for sport, a determination to make the most of their talent, a passion for competition and a beguiling nature that has captured the imagination of the world.

And where the likes of Svetlana Khorkina, Yelena Isinbayeva and Maria Sharapova have already travelled, golf's Maria Verchenova hopes to follow.

Can I be the first to say I hope she follows as well? I'm not trying to get all T&A on you, but I sure could watch her hit a ball, err, I mean, she's the kind of girl I'd like to play in a threesome with! Ah, forget it. I need a coffee.

David Cannon, Getty Images

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Yardage Debate: Bushnell vs. SkyCaddie

The days of stepping off yardages are over. They're over. If you're doing that in your local game, you are behind the times. In the 90s it was titanium. In the early years of this decade it was the Pro V1 and the Project X and now we've come to a time where golf technology has headed away from the clubs.

Recently, I got my hands on two rangefinders, the Bushnell Tour V2, Slope Edition, and the SkyCaddie SG5, and my goal was simple. Which one of these works best for what player?

Here is what I came up with.

Why It's Important to Own One

People might think owning a $300 or $400 device that just gives yardages is a little expensive and unnecessary. Up until a month ago, I never owned a device, I'd just borrow them if I was playing in a tournament that allowed them. I was always excited, however, to be playing in a group where someone pulled a rangefinder out of their bag.

"156 to the pin," they'd say and I'd be comfortable knowing that the yardage was spot on, so my shot needed to be just as exact. It's a different style of confidence that you can't find by using the yardages on a course.

The problem with stepping yardages off is it isn't an exact science. People take different strides, so the "yards" aren't always yards, and even the plates can be a bit off if the hole has change or the green has been altered. Using these devices, I had instances where my "step" yardage was nearly 10 yards off (almost a full club) than what I was getting from my rangefinder. That isn't just a shot that comes up short or long, it's probably a dropped shot. If that happens twice a round, and you place four times a month, you're talking eight shots you lose a month because of inferior equipment.

Which One Suits My Game?

Messing around with both devices, it was easy for me to understand what people of different handicaps should buy.

The SkyCaddie is a more popular device for higher handicappers, as it should be. When your goal is to get it on the green, not necessarily near the pin, you want a device that will give you yardages to the front, center and back of the green. Using the SkyCaddie was beneficial in this regard. Playing on a golf course with large, firm greens, the SkyCaddie is helpful because you might not know how far it is to the pin, but you'll be able to hone in on how far to hit a certain shot to a certain distance. "I don't want to go over, so if it's 196 to the back, I need to hit the club that, at best, will only fly 190."

For someone that enjoys golf but isn't necessarily breaking course records, I would suggest the SkyCaddie. When you buy the device, you have software you must download on a computer. Setting all this up was easy and didn't take too long, and after you purchase the plans for the SkyCaddie, you are off and running. Also, who doesn't love another icon on their desktop?

One of the other things I loved about carrying this around was with errant tee shots. Many times, you're going to miss fairways and in the rough and in the trees, it isn't always easy to find a yardage marker. This will give you exact yardage, so even if you have to punch out, you know how far to hit it so that you're at a comfortable yardage for your next shot. Bonus all around.

For lower handicappers, I have to suggest going with the Bushnell. I will say, older people I know have struggled with shooting yardages with this thing, and I don't blame them. It took me four or five rounds to get comfortable enough with the V2 to shoot the pin and get a consistent yardage, but once you get the hang of it, it's pretty darn easy (Easy tip -- don't shoot at the flag, shoot just above it at the top of the pin).

While front and back yardages are helpful, being able to sit in a fairway and shoot the pin, knowing exactly how far you have, is as good as it gets. Along with that, I used the Bushnell during my U.S. Open qualifier practice round to fire at trees off tees that I wanted to stay short of, and bunkers near greens that I wanted to keep back of (Not to dismiss the SkyCaddie in this regard -- they also have a feature where you can see how far it is to certain bunkers and how far you just hit a tee shot. That helps if you just muscled a drive and want to brag to your buddies that you're the next Tiger Woods. If they roll their eyes, that's your bad.)

If you are able to hit a shot to a yardage fairly consistently, I'd have to say the Bushnell device is the best around. While the "slope" feature isn't allowed in tournament play, clicking it off is an option that you can use so that you don't have to ditch the device.

Also, during the practice rounds that I caddied for Erica Blasberg in, we used the Bushnell device's slope feature to understand how far up and down certain greens were, noting that in the yardage book so we could remember it in tournament play.

Where Can I Buy One?

If you want the Bushnell V2 ($431.99), click right here and you can get it sent to your house. I'm not sure about this, but they might include a picture of me in the box.

If you are interesting in purchasing the SkyCaddie SG5 ($399.95), you can get one right here. Picture of me doing a handstand, not included.

Should I Buy One?

If you want to improve your golf game, and not waste time stepping yardages like you're a caveman, yes, yes you should.
Tony Romo tried to qualify for the Byron Nelson, but failed, shooting a 79. For all those people that say, "Why is Romo golfing, he should be practicing for the upcoming NFL season," I'd like to point out that you're at your desk job, reading a blog. Kettle, meet Mr. Black. [FanHouse]

Win a Copy of The Downhill Lie

If you're a golfer, and you haven't read The Downhill Lie, shame on you. The book is made for golfers, and Carl Hiaasen portrays the struggles of the regular golfer so perfectly it will almost make you quit the game yourself!

Basically, the book is about a man that picks up the game after years of being away. It's a great read, with funny one-liners throughout like this one -- "As I grew taller (my dad) generously bought me a set of Ben Hogans, which were so gorgeous that at first I was reluctant to throw them." Been there, done that.

So, I'm going to have a little contest to see who gets a free copy of the book. Here are the guidelines, in typical Hiassen fashion.

E-mail me (at shanebacon at gmail dot com) your funniest golf club breaking-throwing-tossing experience. I want the best thing that has ever happened during your biggest meltdown on the golf course. I have two I'll share to get the ball rolling.

First one comes from a guy that will remain nameless. The kid was a year older than me when I started high school but he could flat out play. I mean, play. The problem was, the guy had as much sense as a bag of M&Ms and was so psychotic he once hit a stinger 2-iron at my from about 20 yards away, missing my head by mere inches and was laughing about it. Oh yeah, death is hilllarious. Anyway, one time we were playing a match with one of my friends and he got pissed on the 11th tee at my local country club and tossed his club in the air. The club got stuck in one of the gorgeous East Texas pine trees, and wouldn't come down. This kid, wanting his club back, drives up to his house on the golf course, brings a set of irons back that he doesn't use anymore, and begins tossing club after club in the air hoping to knock his down, getting nearly the entire set stuck in this tree. There are still some irons stuck up there to this day.

My second story is a bit more embarrassing. I was playing at a course in Tucson during college with some of my buddies and my uncle. I was playing pretty decent on the back, a couple under par, and came to the par-5 18th. I hit a great tee shot and had a second shot over a wash to the green. I came out of it, missing the green left and was hot. I went to slam my iron against the cart (remember, I was a stupid college kid) and stopped a little as I slammed it down, noticing my buddies hand there. "F-it," I thought, and went after the cooler, missing it wide left and hitting my friend's finger. To this day, you can still see a little damage to the finger, and it was that moment I vowed to never get so mad on the golf course again. Oh, and the best part of the story is that my friend, who wasn't even that mad, just in pain, went on to finish the hole and almost made par one-handed. He reads this blog, so again, sorry for being such an idiot.

Okay, e-mail me your ideas. The best one I get will be published and you'll receive a free copy of the book (or you can just buy the book right here). Fire away.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

My U.S. Open Experience

If you hadn't heard, I tried to qualify for the U.S. Open on Monday. I didn't qualify. I didn't even come close. To be honest, I think I missed the number by ten shots. It's hard as hell when you only hit five greens.

Anyway, I wrote a lengthy piece (Bill Simmons, watch out!) about the experience over at FanHouse and I'd love for you to take some time to read it. If so, comment over there, or here, or wherever. Let me know if you think I'm a hack. I'm sure you do.

Guess That Tush

If you can guess this tush, I'll send you a copy of Carl Hiaasen's "The Downhill Lie." Start your guessing. First response gets a copy of the awesome new book. Let me know.

Stuart Franklin, Getty Images

Saturday, May 9, 2009

If appears that if David Feherty didn't get in trouble last week for calling Tiger Woods a loser on air, he might for this. [Wei Under Par]

The Final Putt: Blogger Picks and Open Qualifying

Since there isn't really any semblance or order to Dogs That Chase Cars, why not have some sort of Friday feature that wraps up all you've missed in the week of golf? Here it is, and before you say it's Saturday, understand it is still Friday in Guadalajara.

-- John Daly made the cut last week in Spain, and also made the cut last week for the opening trailer of "Bruno."

-- You know what Tiger Woods really loves? Being called a loser. It's his fav, right in front of losing to Phil Mickelson and having dinner with Fuzzy Zoeller.

-- A group of golf bloggers picked who would win the Players. I can't believe nobody had Alex Cejka on the list!

-- Nothing like disappointing an entire readership. I put my name in for U.S. Open qualifying, which takes place on Monday.

Alrighty. Have a good weekend. I also just wanted to drop this one in. I wrote something late on Friday about Tiger Woods and how the media and fans have basically made him the sport. It's over at FanHouse, so you should check it out.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Tiger and drug testing. Two things that never get old. [FanHouse]

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Orville Moody, Here I Come!

Why embarrass yourself when you can do it in front of a few thousand people? That is, I'm officially announcing that I will be participating in the U.S. Open local qualifying this Monday in Tucson.

I once heard someone say that trying to qualify for the U.S. Open was like trying to watch lightening in a bottle, so ladies, I consider my Miller Lite bottle raised high to the skies.

I did Colorado Open qualifying last year and a tough last hole had me miss it by two shots (CHOKE! HACK!). Anyway, I'm trying to discuss with the USGA if it's okay if I Tweet (Twit?) my round every three holes or so, so if people are so inclined, they can follow along.

Anyway, Orville Moody was the last player to win the U.S. Open going through both local and sectional qualifying, back in 1969, so maybe this happens every 50 years?!?!?!

So, that was my announcement. Hopefully I don't throw up on myself.

A Look Into the Validity of The 17th Water Ball Claim

If you didn't know this, TPC Sawgrass claims that they pull out nearly 120,000 golf balls out of the water surrounding the 17th hole each year. If you think that number is staggering, you're not alone. One of our readers, John, who admitted to having too much time on his hands at work, actually broke down the number (he even used Excel!) and came up with this staggering explanation of how that number cannot be possible. Here is the e-mail. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Have you seen the postcard on Waggle Room from Sawgrass (Ed. note -- story about all the balls is here)? The one that claims that 120,000 (that’s one hundred and twenty THOUSAND balls a year are lost to the water at 17?

I saw that and instantly said “there is no goddamn way that’s true.” Then I set out to PROVE that there’s no goddamn way it’s true.

To prove this, let’s do some neato-nifty Fermi math.

Now, let’s start off with some theoretical assumptions to maximize the number of balls that can possibly be whacked into the water on 17. First, we will assume that it never rains. In Florida this is admittedly extraordinarily unlikely, but that’s math for you. Secondly, we will assume that every professional golfer on earth is stricken with swine flu and thus there is no Players’ Championship in our rain-free year, so that we can thirdly assume the course is constantly in use by the maximum number of players at all possible times. Setting aside for the moment the possibility of people playing glow golf – which, while fun, I do not recommend in a state with alligators – the question of what constitutes people playing at all possible times becomes one of daylight.

So how much daylight are we talking about?

The TPC at Sawgrass is just past 30 degrees north Latitude.

The good folks at Microsoft provide us with a very useful “Hours of Daylight by latitude” table.

A little Excel magic tells us that Ponte Vedra Beach gets, at a rough estimate, approximately 4,467 hours of daylight a year.

Going off the claim from the TPC that 120,000 golf balls go into the drink per year, we can calculate that for that number of balls to go in the water, 27 people per hour need to tee off at 17 and put their shot right into the drink. That’s once every 2.23 minutes.

So, under optimal conditions, for this postcard to be accurate someone has to put a ball in the water at 17 every 133 seconds for an entire year.

Given that our optimal conditions are completely, ridiculously, hilariously impossible, my conclusion is:

Damn you and your lying-ass postcards, TPC at Sawgrass.

First, I will admit that this is the most entertaining (and probably intelligent) e-mail I have ever received in all my years of blogging. I have a rule in movies that if I laugh out loud four times or more, I will consider it a success, and this e-mail did just that.

The only thing I will say is that I've heard of people going to Sawgrass and not even being able to get to the 17th because so many people are dropping golf balls and hitting them into the drink. It is like the grass behind the "Sergio Tree" at Medinah. Everyone wants a chance to do what the pros do.

Nonetheless, I hope you were as entertained as I was with this little fact-hunting exhibition. TPC Sawgrass, we need some FACTS!

Ball hunting photo courtesy of Caryn Levy, PGA Tour/Getty Images
Twenty words you don't want to hear while watching the Players Championship -- "We're going to make a shift change here on The Golf Channel. Kelly Tilghman and Brandel Chamblee are up next."

How is Steve Williams Swing?

I've heard that Steve Williams, the caddie of Tiger Woods, is a 1-handicap, and by the picture above, he looks to have a good swing. In the caddie challenge yesterday, Stevie dumped it in the water on the 17th, but what do you think about the swing? Not bad, eh?

Richard Heathcote, Getty Images

The Players Championship Live Stream

Don't forget that the PGA Tour is live streaming the 17th hole all day long. Check it out right here.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Bloggers Players Picks

The golf blogging community is a fairly tight-knit group. We have some great websites all around the web that produce original content that makes you laugh, smile and even think (wait, bloggers making us think?!?!!!).

I asked some of the best on the net who they thought might win this week, in a segment we will begin for each of the big tournaments. Here are the picks below.

Patricia Hannigan, of Golf Girl's Diary -- Sergio Garcia (she didn't give a reason, but I think it is because she loves him).

Ryan Ballengee, of Waggle Room -- I would go with Phil Mickelson this week. I like him because he has a win this year, a win in this tournament, and has shown decent form lately. I could say the same thing about Tiger, but it seems that Woods is more likely to spray it into trouble than Lefty.

Neil, of Armchair Golf Blog -- Tiger is about due to win again, even without his "A' game. Plus, I figure he's still ticked about not winning at Quail Hollow and that Sunday duel with Phil at the Masters. Despite poor driving and un-Tigerlike GIR, he is first in one key category: scoring average.

Jay Busbee, of Devil Ball Golf -- I'm going with Lefty. The Sunday 12th at Augusta aside, he's been playing some great golf so far this season. He's played some crappy golf, too, but his oscillations run higher than almost anybody else's. And so far this year, he's stared Tiger down, stats-wise. I predict he holds off a Tiger charge for the win this week. Unless he wears that friggin' white belt, of course.

Stephanie Wei, of Wei Under Par -- Nick Watney: He's been playing stellar all season. He's an excellent ball-striker who hits the long ball. He won the Buick Invitational and placed second at the WGC-CA Championship this year, establishing him as a force to be reckoned with on Tour. Watney's made the cut in 10 of 11 appearances, placed in the top-10 three times and top-25 nine times - not too shabby! Let's do some math: Consistent + Accurate + Confidence = WIN! What more to say? Oh, he's a baller.

Cash, of Bushwood Country Club -- You know I am a red blooded Patriot, and always cheer for my homies, but this week I see something different on the horizon. Actually,its something kinda spiky poking above the horizon - yep, that's my pick's hair I'm talking about. Steely eyed Ian Poulter has been playing well of late, and he's the next REAL Euro threat. Better yet, I am predicting he will rock a lime green look at least once this week!

Jason Woodmansee, of TWITTER -- Years ago for our British Open office pool, we had an intern who did hours & hours of research on the best list of players to pick to win (everyone picked 10) - but neglected cross-reference that list against the actual field. So, while he had excellent reasons to pick Billy Mayfair - backed up with a pile of statistics - the fact that he wasn't, you know, playing in the tournament crippled his chances to win (although Billy was only slightly more of a long shot than the actual winner, Ben Curtis). So, when I looked through the field for the Players (sorry, I forgot they want you to shout) THE PLAYERS and saw Billy Mayfair, I knew just who to pick as the winner -- Tiger Woods. I mean, the guy got called a "loser" on TV by David Flipping Feherty - he'll be out for blood. I also remembered that I just picked the top 10 players in the world for that British Open & won a free lunch. Sorry, Billy.

Shane, of FanHouse/Dogs That Chase Cars -- For the first time since I can remember, I have good reason not to pick Tiger. He's as shaky off the tee at Tom Hanks in "Saving Private Ryan" and he hasn't really been making a ton of clutch putts. While my heart says a big name, I think it's time Jim Furyk wins this thing in his own backyard. He's due to win something, and if he can pull it off on a course he calls home, it sure would be an incredible slump-buster.

Alright, who are you picking? Drop who you like in the comments.

The Driving Range

If you're a golfer, the driving range is your meadow. It's the place you can go and do so many things while only really doing the simplest of sorts -- swinging the club. It is where I find peace in this crazy world and where I let just about everything go.

I spend a lot of my free time on the driving range. If it isn't waking up early in the morning, it is late afternoon sessions with my uncle or random others that don't mind a little heat and a little sweat. Ben Hogan once famously said, "The secret is in the dirt" and he was right. It is the place you can figure things out one minute, and have no clue what you just learned the next.

People do the range all sorts of different ways. You have the group that sports the iPod when hitting, just to give them a little something extra as they swing away at their dreams. You have the group that chatters with buddies while they pop a few down the way, hoping to figure something out before they go tee it up. You also have the guys that have just about every golf gimmick possible, from balancing balls on their feet to alignment sticks that have become the norm for tour players.

On one of my last driving range sessions, I heard something I've never heard before. A guy screaming "Fore" as his shot sailed wide right over the fence. It is moments like that that make you realize how diverse the range really is. On one side you could have a tour player laying 8-irons right next to the 175-yard pin like he's rolling in two-footers while the guy next to him might be struggling to make contact.

It's the place that makes golf great. There aren't a lot of gyms that have older men running lay-up drills or trying to hone their out patterns. Even with a game like tennis, it's rare to find someone beating tennis balls against the machine in the heat of the day. With golf, the driving range is nearly as popular as the first tee.

If you ever want to totally grasp how wonderful our game is, go down to your local driving range and get a small bucket. Instead of just standing over the balls beating them, take your time with the bucket. Look around you and see the wonders of this game. A dad teaching his daughter how to keep that left elbow straight. An older gentleman still trying to figure out why the ball won't stay left. A young stud trying to add 10 yards on his already booming drives. It really is a melting pot for sports, and a wonderful place to enjoy what we don't always get to see.

Sergio Garcia Continues To Show Us He Can't Putt

It has been a known thing on tour for years. Sergio Garcia might just be a better ball-striker than Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson or anyone else on tour with their name on the bag, but the guy couldn't win USBGA putting competition if his live depended on it. Maybe the most telling moment of his putting career came at the Players Championship last year, when a beautiful tee shot on the par-3 17th in the playoff against Paul Goydos came to rest nearly three feet away. Garcia didn't need the birdie putt to win, but it would have been a nice pick-me-up. Sergio missed yet still claimed the crystal and his first Players.

Garcia will be back at TPC Sawgrass this week to defend, but not like he probably wanted. Sergio has been tinkering with putter after putter all season, and will be using another model this week to try and shake those yip-demons. It's a TaylorMade Rossa Monza Corza and it will be in the bag for the first time this week. It's a standard length putter, so at least he's got that going for him.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Quote of the Day

In case you haven't heard, the USGA has lengthened Bethpage Black to nearly 43 miles*.

The course that Tiger Woods won on in 2002 was 7,214 yards, but will play over 200 yards longer this year at the U.S. Open. So, at 7,426 yards, what do you think senior director of rules and competitions have to say about Bethpage?

"This course is going to be long," Mike Davis said.

Yeah, I'd say. There are three par-4s that will play 500 yards or longer, and to make it even tougher, they've hired sharpshooters to try and take out anyone that misses a single fairway.

Tiger shot 277 (3-under) at the Open when it was at Bethpage last time to win, so what wins it now? Even? 3-over? Just finishing?

Hey, at least the bunkers are said to be playing simple.

"I think these are the most challenging sets of bunkers we have," Davis noted.

Ummmm, well, surely the course is set up to where even a poorly hit shot will be playable, right?!?

"We want this to be the toughest test of golf the players face all year," he said to the assembled members of the media. "If you execute the proper shot, you should get the proper result. If you execute a mediocre shot, you should get a mediocre result. And if you execute a poor shot, well ... "

Asked by a media member, how Davis would finish that sentence, the senator of pain said, "Well, you'll be disqualified on the spot and have your tour card revoked. Got it? Got it?!?! Nobody will finish this tournament!!! Nobody!!!!!"*

* = two parts not entirely true

Well, That's One Way to Piss Off Tiger

I was just checking my RSS feed and noticed this beauty over at Deadspin. I guess David Feherty's main goal last week at Quail Hollow was to piss off Tiger Woods with every hair on his body. After the Sunday round, Feherty asks Tiger how it feels to be a loser.

No, seriously. Video evidence is below. I would have loved for the camera to stay on him about 30 seconds after this one. The only thing I could compare it to is that scene in "Tin Cup" where David Simms goes behind the tent and lights up a cigarette.

Just finished up a piece on Tiger Woods' struggles at Quail Hollow and how much he hates his driver right now. Also, I didn't mention this in the piece, but Tiger might be the only person in the history of golf that could win any and all tournaments with his B and C game. Insanity. [Golf FanHouse]

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Final Installment of John Daly's Pants

John Daly finished t-31 this week at the Open de Espana. His pants, on the other hand, won a whole lot of hearts.

Warren Little, Getty Images

Friday, May 1, 2009

Good To See John Daly Has Worked On His Swing Plane

John Daly made the cut at the Open de Espana this week. He shot a second round 72 to finish at 2-under through two rounds and will be around for the weekend.

A couple of things.

First, it's nice to see he has worked on keeping that club parallel. You know, you get guys like Phil Mickelson that take it way past parallel, but Daly has really worked on just keeping the swing short and compact and I commend him for that.

Also, this "what will Daly wear next" game is probably my favorite part of the day. I actually was excited this morning signing on to Getty Images to see what he sported on Friday.

His game is coming around so as long as we can convince him to continue to dress like Bruno, I'm going to be a huge Daly fan come the rest of '09.

Warren Little, Getty Images