Thursday, July 30, 2009


Actual conversation between Stephanie Wei, of Wei Under Par, and myself during the first rond of the Buick Open.

Shane: The real question is, what ISN'T john daly wearing
Stephanie: Yeah, he looks like a lime with fungus
Shane: Or what happens when stars collide

Daly is currently 4-over after a double-bogey on the par-5 13th hole. To be fair to John, it's hard to play well when your retinas are on fire.

Chris Graythen, Getty Images

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Kevin Costner Gets Cooler By the Minute

I'll look past the soul patch. I will turn my eyes to the non-Roy McAvoy golf swing we came to love. I won't even remark on the fact that Kevin Costner said "Tin Cup" ruined his life.

Costner is the man. He always has been and he always will be in the golf world. He might hate having to live with the "Tin Cup" persona on a golf course, but he brought to life one of the best sports characters ever, a man we golfers can all relate to on a number of levels. We golfers live with demons daily, from personal to physical to spiritual to four-footual. It's the cross golfers bear. We're a select group of idiots that play this game because we don't know any better. John Daly is our leader. We just try to wear more muted pants.

Costner was approached at the RBC Canadian Open after a tee shot by some lady that looks like she should be living in Scottsdale (Blue Martini, 8 PM!), and asks Kevin if he had ever tried any Mike Weir wine. His response couldn't be any better. Watch this, courtesy of Mr. Busbee at Devil Ball Golf.

Follow Greg Harmon at the Senior U.S. Open

One of my good golfing buddies and heck of a stick, Greg Harmon, will be in the field at the Senior U.S. Open this week.

Harmon is one of those players that has always been able to hit the hell out of the ball, and he can heat up the putter, it is red-figures city. A great guy and one of my favorite people to compete against, Harmon will be going off at 9:35 on Thursday.

Follow him, and hope he can do some good at Crooked Stick. Hell, if John Daly can come in as an alternate to win at this course, who is to say Harmon can't do the same?

Has John Daly Really Changed?

John Daly is to golf commitment what Brett Favre is to retirement. One minute, you think the guy is finally done with all the shenanigans that have landed him in divorce, jail and, even worse, the European Tour (kidding).

For some reason, like my buddy Ryan Wilson pointed out at FanHouse, this is the first time I can actually believe Daly. Unlike the past, when his "re-commitment" was only drinking beer instead of Whiskey, Daly has decided to lose weight, get a stable (we're assuming) girlfriend, and grind it out with his golf game. At 43, it must be setting in that Daly won't have his abilities for much longer, so he might as well harness it while he still can.

Daly commented this week that his short game has been giving him fits, and that he is currently working on the putting so he can be more consistent in his upcoming tournaments. Quick, tell me the last time a story about Daly concentrating solely on his golf game? It sure seems like its been a while.

"I love the way I am hitting the ball, I just didn't think my putter would be this bad," said Daly, who is 196th in putting. "It's tough when you hit it so good and don't score. Rick has got his work cut out for him with my putting." ...

"He's aiming poorly, which makes you compensate in your stroke," Smith said. "We have to get his aim right and then put the forward press in his stroke like it used to be years ago, and that creates better rhythm. It's a little different feeling but it's a good one, and if the putts start going in, he's really going to do something because he's hitting the ball great."

We all know what Daly can do when he focuses on his golf game. The question is, will we be fooled into thinking another wolf is headed our way, or will this finally be the year that Daly decides to stop being ridiculous, and start being real?

I, for one, hope he has changed. Having Daly around is one of the best things that could happen to golf.

GLYN KIRK, AFP/Getty Images

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

An Extensive Look at the State of Tiger Woods

Over at FanHouse, I put together a lengthy piece about Tiger Woods' game, and asked a few questions about what exactly we should take from the previous few weeks and what we should expect from his upcoming three-in-a-row that concludes at the PGA Championship.

If you have a minute, go check it out, and let me know what you think. Throwing tomatoes is totally acceptable.

David Cannon, Getty Images

Monday, July 27, 2009

Revisiting the "Tiger Tandrum" Connundrum for a Moment

I'd like to thank One-Eyed for directing me to this incredible article from Golf Digest in 2004, when Earl Woods talked about Tiger's behavior on the golf course.

His exact quote goes as follows ...

Yes, Tiger is known to swear on the course. You can't have it both ways. You can't have the fire, intensity, competitiveness and aggressiveness if you don't blow off steam. Profanity is the language of youth. I don't say it's right, I just say that's the way it is.

Tiger is 33. Far from a youthful excuse anymore, if you ask me. That being said, I yelled the f-word yesterday loudly when I hit a bad drive on 17, so who am I to criticize?

Leif Olsen Shows Proper Way to Make an Ace

You've probably seen this by now, but it still doesn't get old to watch over and over. At the Canadian Open, a golfer by the name of Leif Olsen hit a pretty decent tee shot on the par-3 15th hole. It wasn't anything special off his club face, as you see by his playing partners starting to make their way up to the green.

Everything changed with Olsen's ball started to suck back. Yanking back, Olsen's ball hammered into his playing partners, went directly to the right and in the cup for an ace.

I watched the highlight right after it happened, and called some buddies to make sure to keep it on their radar. Saturday night, we were at a bar and basically the entire bar turned around when this came on "Sportscenter." None golf fans were amazed, so that must tell you something about it.

Here is the video, via Golf FanHouse via With Leather ...

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Why You Never Leave Your Twitter On In Your Purse

The above screengrab is from the one and only Christina Kim's Twitter page tonight.

Kim, as you well know, is a LPGA golfer with a great personality and even better game. That game, it appears, does not include the locking of her cell phone. She apologized later, admitting, "OMG I've been purse tweeting for the last long while I'm so sorry!!! Stupid purse! Bad purse bas bad bad," but it was entertaining as it occurred.

Have a good Sunday everyone, and GO GREG NORMAN!

Umm, Rory Sabbatini? They Have Toilets For This Sort of Thing

If you didn't get a chance to check out Rory Sabbatini at this year's British Open, you sure missed out, because he fired rounds of 74-73 to miss the cut. You might be wondering, "What is the best way to personify those bad scores" and good luck for those asking that question, because Sabbatini is doing so just above us, in that picture.

Hey, sometimes you just have to go.

Harry How, Getty Images
Golf Digest came out with their best municipal courses for each state. While I love the Arizona pick (Dobson Ranch is a great track, that I tend to play money games at on random Fridays), I thought it was funny that Torrey Pines (a U.S. Open facility) got the same amount of stars at City Park in Colorado, one of the least fun municipal courses you will ever play. Anyone out there played any of these on the list? If so, comment about them below. [Golf Digest]

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Family Golf Obsession Will Continue!

It is Friday, and on Friday you normally look forward to the weekend. Not I. After I received this e-mail from my sister, containing the picture above, I am now looking forward to the next 20 or so years.

See, my sister has two sons, and the oldest one, Jack, has never seemed to find golf all that interesting (to be fair, he's way too smart for this silly game). Now, the youngest one, Sam, comes off as the sports kid in the family, and the picture above has made it all come together.

I actually replied, "YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS" when I got the picture, and will probably be purchasing some overly expensive kids golf clubs the next few weeks for Sam (also, shameless plug, but if you like these kiddos, my sister has a blog that is entertaining as hell. Check it out).

I hope the picture of my cute nephew make you smile and I hope you have a fantastic weekend. The Bacon family golf reign continues! Do not fear!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

My Open Invitation for a Spot on "The Big Break: Disney"

That's right. I'm putting myself out there. Like Bill Simmons did with the Milwaukee Bucks and Spencer Pratt did with that "I'm a Celebrity So Hear Me Yell Really Loud" television show, I'm ready.

What spawned this? Well, Andrew Giuliani is on it, and I am not a huge fan of Mr. Giuliani because he seems like a word that rhymes with frouche. If he wins "The Big Break" he will get a spot in a PGA Tour tournament, which makes me a little frustrated.

How else to stop the man from obtaining his goal than to compete against him on this very television show?

I have to admit -- I've watched about 11 seconds of "The Big Break" in my life, and most of that was to see how attractive Blair O'Neil was. That doesn't matter. I once nearly found myself on a reality television show where they tape random strangers getting drunk, so I think I'm qualified. If that isn't enough, here are some other highlights.

-- Once won a Texas Junior Golf Tour tournament by shooting a 78 (And, for some unknown reason, still have the winning scoreboard on the back of my door at my parent's home in Texas)

-- Won straightest driver at the Purdue Golf Camp in 2000 (I fear the gay jokes are coming)

-- I once shot a 62

-- I have a pig headcover for my driver

-- I am the golf editor at FanHouse, so that makes me fairly golf qualified

-- I'm really good at driving golf carts while talking and drinking beer

-- I used to caddie at the Old Course in St. Andrews

-- I did not sue a top-tier university because they kicked me off the golf team

So, there you have it, Golf Channel. I'm ready for the call, so if you need someone to help boost your ratings AND not let Giuliani win, you've got your man.

Gauntlet, meet the ground.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Stewart Cink on David Letterman

I actually laughed the hardest at No. 8, which hardly ever happens.

Which one was your favorite?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

An Expanded Look at Tiger's Temper

If you didn't get a chance to check out my Winners-Losers column at FanHouse on Monday, I'll give you a quick dabble into what I said about Tiger Woods -- "It really took me a couple of re-watches of Tiger's second round to fully grasp what the commenters around these parts had pointed out -- Woods looked like a baby this week at Turnberry. You never hear me bash Tiger because, frankly, he is the best in the world at what he does, but his conduct at Turnberry was pretty self-involved."

Now, a day later, I wanted to expand a little on my take. First, and what I find the most important, is Tiger is as frustrated as he may have ever been with his golf swing. Sure, at times (see AT&T National) the things have clicked and everything is peaches and cream, but for the most part, the 2009 season has seemed like one big club slam from Woods. All of that escalated to the British Open, where Woods missed his first real cut in a major in his professional career (not counting the postmortem U.S. Open at Winged Foot).

I'm not a holier than thou writer and I've never said I was. I get pissed on the golf course. I used to break golf clubs and act like an ass and yell at myself and pout around the course like a 4-year-old. At times these days, I still get frustrated (I'm pretty sure an f-bomb or two spewed out yesterday when I made triple-bogey on an easy par-3). Yes, getting mad is part of golf. For me, it is almost more of my attempt to prove to other people that I'm not happy with a certain golf shot, in hopes that for some sophomoric reason, they know I'm better than that shot. For Tiger, it seems like pure frustration. Whatever it is, it needs to stop.

Unlike myself, Tiger has billions of people that follow his every move, including a lot of kiddos that would love to be the next Tiger. While Woods isn't exactly the one showing them the proper way to helicopter a wedge down the fairway, he is acting like, for lack of a better term, a baby on the course. What is crazy about the whole thing, is Tiger is Mr. Proper when he isn't struggling with his sticks. Commenters all week on my British Open posts were complaining about his etiquette, and I finally took my of blinders to see exactly what was obvious -- Tiger needs to shape up.

People get frustrated with this game, and when Tiger, the best in the world, isn't as solid as he wants, it has to be frustrating. The problem with it is, he gives off a terrible example to anyone that isn't a freak golf fan and makes people disgusted at his actions. We live in a society where anything can trigger people's distaste, and for a guy as clean-cut as Woods, getting pissed on the course might end up being his downfall. Rumors are swirling that Tiger is about to cut ties with Hank Haney, and maybe that's the answer, but for now, he needs to just calm his emotions on the course.

A few years back, Tiger realized that his excitement over certain shots (the 3:11 mark in this video, for instance) actually was bad for him, because his heart rate would get too high and he'd usually struggle to calm himself before his next tee shot. I feel like this theory has to work on the other end of the spectrum. If Tiger is slamming clubs and hitting his bag and being frustrated, it can't be good for him on his next shot.

All in all, I just wish Tiger could find a way to settle his negative emotions. It would make him look a lot better and I feel it would improve his game. That's all for now ... I have to get get my broken 3-wood fixed.


Why Having Stewart Cink as Our British Open Champion Might Be Fun After All

The above photo is from Stewart Cink's Twitter page. As you probably know, Cink won the 2009 British Open on Sunday, dashing everyone's hopes that Tom Watson would become the oldest (And as some of my girl friend's have said, "old man cutest") major champion.

Yep, Watson's story would have been incredible, but Cink's might turn out to be just as fun. The above photo came with the following Tweet -- "Having trouble deciding which cup to pour my OJ in this morning."

Yep, I'd say this could be pretty entertaining over the following few weeks.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Stewart Cink Wins British Open, Forces Everyone to Hate Him

Obviously the headline is tongue-and-cheek, but you could tell the crowds were rooting for Tom Watson. Hell, I think everyone but Cink's wife and passport-less kids were rooting for Watson.

It wasn't going to happen, and Cink won the British, his first major. Here is my recap over at FanHouse. I hope you enjoy it.

Richard Heathcote, Getty Images

CBS Already Thinks Stewart Cink Won

This is one step further than already writing your post. CBS Sports has Stewart Cink as the winner and they're only on the second playoff hole. Nice work, guys!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Tom Watson Still Leads the F-ing British Open

If blogs were around in the 1970s (I bet Lee Trevino's blog would have been a MUST), this headline would have probably been somewhere out there.

Tom Watson, at 59, is still leading the British Open. He has played the final three holes 5-under this week, and played 16-18 2-under today to take the lead at 4-under. If he wins, my little apartment might get a little dusty on Sunday.

I wrote my full recap (which I felt came off fairly well) at FanHouse, so go check it out.


Get Your Twitter On

Folks! It's Saturday morning on the west coast, and it's the only golf tournament where you can lay in bed, watch the golf, and not feel lazy. I'll be updating the Twitter page all day today, so check in on it when you can.

Also, I love Retief Goosen in this thing over the weekend. You heard it here first.

Friday, July 17, 2009

No Point in Bashing Tiger

Sure, he missed the cut. And yes, he played like an absolute dog for long stretches at Turnberry this week. These are facts, and hard to hide from.

After a birdie on the 7th hole on Friday, Tiger Woods looked like he had found what he needed to find to get his golf game going. So many times in these majors where he didn't exactly "have it," Tiger would muster a few birdies up, keep the bogeys to a minimum and get through rounds without his best stuff, like the way college kids take pointless exams just a touch hungover.

The problem was, that birdie there was about it. Bogeys on the 8th and 9th holes, followed by two double-bogeys on the way in forced Tiger to fly home two days earlier than expected (And, as my dad said, I'm sure he is already in the air as I type this).

Here are some truths we must live with when evaluating the performance of Woods:

-- Truth. Tiger created the expectations we live with. He won all the time and was always in the hunt at majors and won four in a row and created the Tiger Slam and all that. Because of what he has done in the past, it is easy to hold him at a different standard.

-- Truth. Tiger seems to still be fighting a golf swing that can't always produce the result he wants. When Tiger's swing is clicking, it is a beautiful day in paradise. The difference in Tiger '09 and Tiger '01 is that you never know what day it will be clicking. This week it wasn't, and when you're swinging a club with little loft (driver or long irons) those flaws are exposed.

-- Truth. Tiger can't always be the man we want him to be. No matter your take on Woods, you still want him to be around on the weekend. This tournament, like the British and PGA of last year, will be lacking something (especially since Phil Mickelson is also not around).

I just hope we can get over this without continually questioning what has become of Tiger Woods. He is still a great golfer that does things nobody else on tour can do and he hasn't won three majors in a row and that isn't the end of the world. In his last four majors he has played, he's 25 percent. I'm pretty sure crying wolf at this point is a little premature and unwarranted on a ton of levels (not to mention, makes you look far from a golfer).


Trunk Slamming at the British

The weather has freshened at the British Open on Friday, and a few of the top golfers in the world are feeling it.

Namely, Ian Poulter, Geoff Ogilvy and Hunter Mahan ... on and Lucas Glover, the 2009 U.S. Open champion.

Poulter is currently dead last in the entire field at 15-over with three holes to go. An interesting stat for Poulter -- he hasn't made a birdie yet at Turnberry. Yikes.

Ogilvy isn't far behind Poulter at 12-over, with Mahan probably already on a flight back to the States after rounds of 72-78. When the weather gets like it is at Turnberry right now and your train starts to derail, it's very, very hard to right the ship.

Good news for the only Sir in the field, however. Sir Nick Faldo will not finish dead last in the field ... he is done for the week after rounds of 78-73. No word on what Sir Elton John would shoot right now, but I heard the guy has incredible touch around the greens.

Andrew Redington, Getty Images

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Ian Poulter Adds To His (Clothed) Legacy

It might not be exactly what he wants (or maybe it is, I don't know) but when someone mentions Ian Poulter, his outfits might be the first thing to come to mind.

Poulter didn't let us down today, wearing the above plaid pants/sweater combo for the opening round at the British Open. While it is incredible, it still doesn't overtake the Claret Jug pants he wore below or that shirt he wore once. I'm not always truthful about things, but I do know this -- Poulter took that bottom shirt from the "Night at the Roxbury" set.

Bad News for Anthony Kim Fans

If you aren't watching the British Open right now, you might be wondering how the young guns are playing.

Camilo Villegas shot a 4-under 66. Rory McIlroy is currently 1-under early in his round. Oh, and Anthony Kim made a par on the first hole and then made a Gordie Howe on the second hole. Yep, a 9 on two.

Now, Kim is asking for a trainer to come work out a sore neck, which sometimes occurs after you make a quintuple bogey. Double Ouch!

Richard Heathcote, Getty Images

Tom Watson Leads the British, Shocks Anyone and Everyone That Isn't Tom Watson

People use this as an excuse for golf not being a sport, but I hate those people -- golf is the best because of things like Tom Watson at the British Open on Thursday. At 59, Watson has no reason to be anywhere close to the top of the leaderboard. This was supposed to be a hand-waving exhibition for what Watson did at Turnberry in 1977 and no more.

Instead, Watson went out and shot a 5-under 65 to take the lead and possibly become the oldest leader of a major championship EVER. Watson didn't make a bogey, said he missed one green and even told TNT after his round that "he'd like another one of those" when asked about the Claret Jug.

Watson, along with Mark O'Meara and Mark Calcavecchia, are doing what links golf allows you to do ... hit good shots and score. The five-time winner of the Open mentioned after his round that this is the only major he can contend at, because the others have become so long it is impossible for him to have a chance.

Turnberry can measure 7,204 yards, but none of that matters. Watson is one of the better ball-strikers to ever play the game, and he showed that again on Thursday.

Will he win this week? Nobody knows. Can he win? I think Thursday gave us a good idea of the possibilities of that.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Get Ready for Turnberry

This is me at Turnberry. I'm pumped about Thursday, are you? Coverage kicks off tomorrow morning, and I'll be up early as hell (4 AM!!) getting set for it. Hope everyone has a good afternoon and is ready for the only major that is acceptable to watch while in your pajamas.

Just In Case You Thought Ian Poulter Was Only Slightly Obsessed With His Twitter Page ...

This is a Getty Images photo of Ian Poulter using his Blackberry Bold (Bold Brothers!) to take a photo at Turnberry.

Honestly, subscribing to his Twitter page is like being there, except for the whole "pounds and pints" part of the experience. If Twitter pages could get subscriptions, I feel RIM should jump on Ian right away.

Andrew Redington, Getty Images

The Bloggers British Open 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 is what we thought of the Players. Here is who we liked at Bethpage Black. This is our take on the British ...

Vince, at One-Eyed Golfer -- Young Zach Johnson. Same skill set as 90 percent of the under 35 year-old guns but has a better head. Also, has the BTDT tee-shirt. Keep an eye out for Sergio. I'm getting vibes similar to those I used to get in the late 1960's before I started using for medicinal purposes only.

Ryan, at Waggle Room -- I'm thinking Sergio. Turnberry is set up for a ball striker to win - accurate off of the tee and avoid the very deep, thick rough. Sergio can do that better than anyone if he can block out Morgan Leigh Norman for four days. Though that British weather may put him in an emo mood.

Michael, at Aussie Golfer -- We all know the obvious choice but here's a couple of dark horses:

Lee Westwood is going to be right there and of the Aussies, Rod Pampling has been thereabouts lately.

Neil, at Armchair Golf Blog -- Tiger Woods. (Bylaws.)

Patricia, at Golf Girl's Diary -- I know he'll be playing against "more than the field" but I still think Sergio Garcia can do it.

Scott, at Bushwood Country Club -- 2009 has been a year of surprises in the Majors thus far, and my pick is (somewhat of) a surprise. As obvious as picking Tiger seems, I'm just not the kind of guy to cave in to what seems an easy I am going with someone who has played well in pressure situations, is familiar with the courses in Europe, and is damn stylish to boot. I hear that my man has even had Oakley make him (another) set of cool shades to match his outfits (man crush fodder,for sure). That's right, I am picking Ian Poulter to hoist the claret jug in if I can just find some of those Union Jack shorts at Loudmouth golf...

Jason Woodmansee, of Twitter Fame -- My wife has informed me that would be completely lame for me to pick Tiger Woods again. I explained to her that I had a really funny bit where I would heap praise on Sergio and say that this is where he finally wins one - and then pick Tiger anyway. Nope, she said - still lame. But basic odds means you should ALWAYS pick Tiger, I say - and I want to look smart in front of all these people on the Internet. Then she sighs, and tells me that I shouldn't look for validation from strangers, especially ones that probably live in their parents' basement. Oh, well done, I say - THAT joke hasn't been used before. Besides, I don't think they have basements in most Arizona houses. Whatever, she says - I'd pick Jim Furyk if I were you. Jim Furyk? I say - is he even still on the tour? Fine, Mr. Smarty Pants, she replies - are you actually going have the cojones to pick someone other than Tiger? Ok, I say, I'm going with Kenny Perry. He's playing well & got close at the Masters - this is his best shot. Wow, she says, picking a guy who never plays links courses and is 900 years old - I bet your online "friends" will be impressed by that. Oh, they will, I sniff. They will...

Stephanie Wei, of Wei Under Par -- Ian Poulter: Let's not kid ourselves, Tiger is going to win, but I won't officially pick him out of principle. Way too boring. Le sigh. I'm basically picking for second here; though I'd really, really like to see Poults come through. I mean, I just like his tweets so much. Oh, I can't forget his cool outfits either. Aside from that, he's been having a pretty good year. He finished T2 at THE PLAYERS and T18 at the US Open. Surely he hasn't forgotten how close he came last year. He's an all around solid player - accurate, good iron player and stellar around the greens. No doubt he has the game to win Majors. It's just a matter of putting it all together for four rounds. If he's rolling in the putts, watch out.

Shane, of Dogs and FanHouse -- I said it over at FanHouse, but I'm going with Martin Kaymer. Two wins in a row heading into the British, and a game that looks like it is major championship worthy.

Who do you like this week at Turnberry? Drop your picks in the comments.

Martin Kaymer Finally Gets Snagged

He has won twice in a row on the European Tour. Is second in the Order of Merit Race to Dubai. Is young and German and pretty cool. What is the best way to get him back to earth?

Well, hell, toss a net on the guy and wrangle him up. That's what Stephan Gross, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and Alvaro Quiros did at Turnberry earlier this week. I like the approach. It's like the rubber snake, but a little more likely to cause injury. Could you imagine if Anthony Kim, David Toms and Bubba Watson did this to Tiger? I think Steve Williams would actually shoot someone.

Stuart Franklin, Getty Images

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Some Final Thoughts From Scotland

Since I wrote 8,000 words on Monday about Scotland, I was bound to forget some things.

Here are a couple of things ...

-- I took two drivers over to Scotland, one being the new Taylor Made r9, and I have to say, it is the perfect wind driver. Into the 9th hole on the last round at the Old Course, the wind was in our face a good 15 MPH or so. I hit a little stinger driver that cut over the last pot bunker, forcing Nigel, our caddie, to say "That sure was a creative shot." It ended up about 20 feet from the pin for eagle. If you can believe it, I didn't make it (Argh).

-- I have been really battling this back and forth and can't decide which would be harder -- going to Scotland and driving with all the roundabouts or coming to the States and driving with all the Interstates and loops. Also, can someone explain to me the protocol for roundabouts? If you are in the far left lane, does that mean you have to exit within the first two exits? I honestly just drove really aggressive the whole time there and hoped not to die.

-- The R&A is already starting to toughen up the Old Course, adding some different types of grass to certain parts of the rough. Our first caddie, Scott, told us that the Links Trust (in charge of the Old Course when the British isn't around) has complained to the R&A, which has fallen on deaf ears, about the rough making it too tough for everyday golfers. Honestly, in certain parts of the second and 17th holes, the rough was nearly unplayable. This also makes me extremely excited for 2010.

-- With the Castle Course making such an imprint on me, and obviously setting itself up to be one of the "must plays" in Scotland when the greens improve and the course matures, it raises the question, "What course will be dumped for the Castle in the Dunhill Cup?" The Dunhill Cup is one of the least talked about great golf tournaments in the world, which pits teams against each other in early October. The teams must play the Old Course, Kingsbarns and Carnoustie, and some thing the Castle will replace either Carnoustie (since it is quite the drive from the other two courses) or Kingsbarns, since the Links would much rather have another St. Andrews course featured.

-- I'm planning a trip to Bandon Dunes in November to try out links golf in the States. I've done Scotland, and now need to give our best example a try and see how it plays out. Anyone that has some contacts that way, send them along.

Colin Montgomerie Is a Cheater! (Or Something)

If you have ever lived or visited the United Kingdom, you know one thing -- tabloids will do anything and everything to get some controversy going.

According to The Scottish Sun (which, I'm sure had a half-naked girl on the front cover with 84-point font covering her over-inflated breasts, which I'm not necessarily complaining about, just pointing out), Sandy Lyle has accused Colin Montgomerie of cheating all the way back in 2005, when I was a junior in college and nobody even knew who Barack Obama was. Timely, Mr. Lyle.

When asked whether walking off the course after just 10 holes at Royal Birkdale during the opening round of last year's Open due to the cold conditions may have cost him the job, Lyle invoked a 2005 incident in which many players accused Monty of bending the rules after a weather delay at the Indonesia Open.

"That is far worse than someone pulling out because of sore knuckles," Lyle said on Monday at Turnberry, site of this week's Open. "You have Monty dropping the ball badly -- that's what you would call a form of cheating. If anything was going to be held against Monty, you would think, 'Yeah, well that's a case where he was breaking the rules.' And there have been other times where he has been called in to see videos."

Apparently, Monty was playing a tournament in Jakarta (Ed Note: I just Googled Jakarta) and was thought to have improved his lie in a bunker. The rules official claimed he was innocent, and the Scottish hero even donated his fourth place winnings to freaking charity because of all the questioning.

No word yet from Colin on the issue, but I'm sure he will be super reserved and just avoid the issue all together ...

/waits a second

//keeps waiting


Monday, July 13, 2009


Three flights, three security checks, two times I had to check my bags and only one lost one later (my clubs of all things), I'm back in Arizona after a fantastic trip to Scotland. I really wanted to post some stuff while I was overseas, but the wireless Internet in a few of my places was less reliable than a celebrity's punctuality.

Now, back and rested (well, "rested") I thought I'd jot down some stuff about the trip. Here goes ...

We arrived in Cruden Bay on the first night after snagging a rental car in Edinburgh and roundabouting it for three hours north. Driving through Aberdeen was a little hectic, but Cruden Bay is an incredibly quaint town, similar to something you'd see in a Jude Law romantic comedy. As we pull into the town, our first stop is at the golf course to grab our first grub of the trip. My choice? Fish and chips. My dad's choice? Fish and chips. The clubhouse at the 27-hole links facility was empty when we arrived, but a waitress right out of the cookie-cutter Scottish mold took care of us perfectly. As I was staring out at the course, around 7:30 PM, I couldn't shake the fact that I wanted to play ... I wanted to play RIGHT then.

Our bed and breakfast was down the road, so after dropping off my tuckered father, it was back to the course for a quick nine holes. Cruden Bay has their 18-hole championship facility and a nine-hole St. Olaf Course, that the locals have coined, political correctness aside, the "ladies course." It begins with a 365-yard par-4, and includes five par-4s and four par-3s. I get around in a couple over par, making my first birdie of the trip on the 166-yard par-3 5th hole. After concluding my round, I headed up to a much busier Cruden Bay clubhouse. I take a seat with a pint of Tennents after a 15 minute chat with an older gentleman on the putting green, and eventually find my way over to a seat with Bill and George, two older Scottish gentlemen enjoying a pint and some good, Scottish chatter (synonym -- tall tales).

George turns out to be a caddie at Cruden Bay, who bags for my dad the next day on our second 18 holes. They give me some insight on the course and the castle down the street, which apparently was the basis of Bram Stoker's "Dracula." The two men tell me that at one point, you had to pay a "roof tax" for anything built in the area, so the owner of the Dracula castle took off all the roofs. The castle is beautiful in the night sky, and would give you shivers if the haar (or fog) was wrapping itself around the outstretched building.

After a pint at Cruden Bay and a finishing pint at the Kilmarnock Arms, our host facility for the night, it was bedtime for what would be an early tee time at Royal Aberdeen.

The next morning we wake up and enjoy a traditional Scottish breakfast, which included black pudding and Haggis for me (my dad, surprisingly, declined the Scottish flavor). A couple of driving instructions from the owner of the Kilmarnock got us directly to Royal Aberdeen, the fifth oldest golf course in the world (which, of course, rested on "Links Street"). We pulled into a parking lot that looked about as busy as an Applebees in the middle of Hollywood. Our rental car joined three other cars, and we were just hoping someone was in to let us tee off.

A young lad had our yardage books and scorecards ready, sending us out without a caddie because none were around at 8 AM (Interesting side note: I guess caddying at St. Andrews had me spoiled, because 6:30 AM was normally our call time. If you showed up at 8 AM, you were considered a lazy caddie). I asked the young man in the pro shop if there was anything tricky we should know about the golf course, since the night before, Bill and George had told me a story about Aberdeen, when a group of Americans went out on the front nine, and ended up finishing their back nine on another golf course that runs adjacent to Aberdeen. The legend goes that the men ended on the 18th hole, looked up at the clubhouse and said, "Why is this building a different color?"

I was told to make sure when we finished the ninth hole, we headed back in, as a lot of links golf course are basically nine holes out, nine holes in (thus the reason the front is always referred to as "out"). Both our initial tee shots found the first fairway, and both found the green, but that was about the highlight of our front nine. The wind blew so hard at Aberdeen, a tough test without any wind, that we were struggling just to keep our lost ball count under double digits. The front nine was all into about a 25-30 MPH wind, with the back nine playing all downwind. How downwind? On the par-5 12th hole, that measures 530-yards, I hit 3-iron off the tee and a chip 7-iron over the green. Looking back, I'm not sure a 9-iron would have held the green with as much wind as was behind us.

Royal Aberdeen was in as pristine condition as any course I have ever played in Scotland. The greens rolled true, and the fairways weren't browned out like most you find. My dad continued to tell anyone and everyone that would listen that Royal Aberdeen might have been the finest course he had ever played, and looking back, I don't think he was too far off (balls in your court, Augusta. Just send us a tee time and we'll be there).

A couple of meat pies in the charming Aberdeen clubhouse and a few purchases in the pro shop, and we were off to Cruden Bay for the afternoon time. As we were driving, the wind was freshening, and at Cruden Bay, there is nothing to stop the wind whipping off the water.

George took the reigns of my dad's golf bag, and we were set on the second 18 of the day. Bay, apparently, hosts an annual golf tournament the week of the British Open, where it cost 50 pounds and all you need is a handicap. You get four rounds at the exquisite links course and an atmosphere I could only imagine would match anything we've seen here in the States. If changing your flight was a simple process, I think I would have stayed for the match. It is two stroke play events that qualify you for match play, but even if you don't qualify you get to play the last two days.

Unlike Aberdeen, Cruden Bay was browned out like what you'd see on television. The fairways rolled out and my dad experienced that on the second hole. Told to aim down the left side, Monte smashed a drive perfect, or so it seemed. Like Tom Watson once noted on his first ever tee shot at a links golf course, you can hit it in a certain spot and end up somewhere completely different. My dad looked and looked and looked and eventually found himself in a pot bunker on the complete opposite side of the fairway.

The wind was now at 40-45 MPH. On certain holes it was nearly impossible to take enough club. Downwind, I drove the 311-yard par-4 12th hole with a 3-iron (my dad was over the green with his drive, explaining "I don't hit drives over 300-yard par-4s"). Into the wind, I hit a 6-iron 100 yards and the hardest 4-iron I've ever swung 150 yards. Our caddie George admitted at one point, "This is some strong wind," which from a Scottish person is like Jenna Jameson coming up to you and saying about your new girlfriend, "I think she's a little too slutty for my taste." If Jenna is saying that, there must be something very, very wrong.

All things considered at Cruden Bay, I played pretty well. I made three birdies and no double-bogeys and got a ton of interesting advice from George about the course and the history behind it (on the 17th hole, for instance, there is a huge mound in the middle of the fairway that is supposedly filled with hundreds of Viking skeletons dating back to a 1012 battle).

A drive down to St. Andrews, where we checked in to the Braeside Inn, met my mom and went directly for the obligatory Dunvegan dinner was perfect. The weather had turned for the better and we had a morning tee time at the Old Course and an afternoon tee time at the Castle. It can't get much better, eh?

We wake up to pancakes from James, the owner of the Braeside. After gulping those down, my dad and I drive over to the St. Andrews range to try and loosen these aging bones. After the warm-up, it is to the first tee at the Old for one of the best scenes in all of golf. As they say, left on the way out and left on the way in at St. Andrews, and that is what we did. If you have never played the Old, there is something you must understand -- the first and 18th holes are beautiful and historic, but rather easy from simply a golf standpoint. It isn't like there is a lot to them, you just must avoid the burn on your second shot and you'll be fine. Yes, avoid the burn. Avoid the burn, Shane. Avoid the ... argh. An 8-iron second ballooned and came up short and it was a bogey. I actually started my round at the Old Course like I had never seen golf clubs before. I would have been more successful at hunting rabbits with my AP2 irons than hitting golf shots. Six-over after five holes isn't exactly the start you'd like, but I settled in and played the rest of the day even-par. My dad and I played James and his brother-in-law and after being behind the eight-ball early, we righted the ship and ended up halving the match.

Sitting in the New Course club overlooking the majestic scene that is the Old, a familiar face was being asked to take some photos in the first fairway. It was Bubba Watson, getting in a round at the Old Course before heading to Turnberry. One of the caddies told me later that Watson didn't hit a single wood all day around the Old.

Next was the Castle course, the seventh golf course built at St. Andrews that opened last summer. If the Old Course is St. Andrew's Model-T, a legend that never seems to die, the Castle is its Bugatti Veyron. A beauty that overlooks the Firth of Tay, this course is shunned by some of the locals as too modern, and not linksy enough, but it is beautiful in its own regard. Rolling hills that take you on a march up to the top spot on the 12th green, the Castle is one that will eventually be as humbling as Kingsbarns. Sure, it has some years to grow in, but you can't help but enjoy the beauty of the course. The 17th is a par-3 right out of Pebble Beach 2.0. Pictures can't truly do the hole justice (even though that is the 17th in the above photo), but imagine a short hole with ocean on the right, a cliff in front and a view of the St. Andrews backdrop behind.

The course was so beautiful that dad and I ended up driving in to snag my mom and aunt so they could come out and look out over the water.

Our final day in Scotland was another visit to the Old. We had contemplated our final day options, with names like Carnoustie, Kingsbarns and even Ladybanks making their way into the discussion, but we love the Old and when there are times on the most famous golf course in the world, you take them up on it.

I started out bogey-bogey AGAIN, with a caddie named Nigel (who you can follow on Twitter, here) on my father's bag that says he is a great golfer in his own regard. After the nasty start, my swing started clicking but my putter was left somewhere west of the Atlantic. I birdied the fourth and fifth holes, and offset a three-putt bogey on eight with a two-putt birdie on nine, but never got the speeds and lines on the greens down and eventually let what could have been a disgustingly low round go for naught. I carded 38 putts on way to a 75 that included a triple on 17 (sorry Herb Kohler, if I chipped any paint off your magnificent hotel with my tee ball).

On a trip like this, the scores hardly matter. Sure, you want to go low, but the moment takes precedent and I had to continually tell myself that.

It was one of those trips you don't soon forget. In three and a half days, I played 99 holes of Scottish golf at some of the best courses in the world. My dad had some good holes and some birdies. We met some great people and wrapped it up with a firework night in Edinburgh with a couple of English chaps I met at a bar off George Street. Say what you want about the American courses, and I love Augusta and Pine Valley and Pebble as much as the next guy, but there is something about Scottish golf that steals my heart away.

All in all, an experience I'm lucky to have gone on.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Scotland, Here I Come!

My bags are all packed (I'm bring more stuff than the pilgrims did our way), and my golf clubs are nice and shiny and the golf towel got its first wash in months, so it must mean I'm ready to head across the pond.

I leave tomorrow afternoon on my three-flight excursion, but wanted to let everyone know a couple of things.

First, I'll have a Flickr page (right here) that you can check to see updated photos. Basically, at night when I'm at the bed and breakfast after 11 Tennets, I'll be trying to make funny captions about the day. Follow me as a buddy on Flickr and you might win a high five.

Second, I'll be Tweeting like crazy over in Scotland. Follow me here, and enjoy the pics and stuff I'll be sending around while driving on the wrong side of the road, trying not to hit any sheep.

Cruden Bay, Royal Aberdeen, The Old Course, The Castle Course, Carnoustie and possibly Kingsbarns, if it's lucky. That is the lineup. I'll be reporting from the trip. Follow along and comment at will.

Have a great week everyone.

Well, That Was Awkward

Tiger Woods is normally pretty cool at everything he does, as long as that doesn't include high fives with Steve Williams or double-fist pumping after a huge putt. I can always forgive those because it is the heat of the moment and I could only imagine how dorky I would look if I ever converted a big putt like Torrey Pines to push a U.S. Open into 18 more holes of fun.

That said, Woods put together one of the more awkward moments of his impressive career after his victory on Sunday at the AT&T National. At the trophy ceremony, champion and tournament host decided he'd interview himself, because, well, why the hell not, right?

Ryan at Waggle Room luckily got some video of it, and, oh what the hell is this?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Hey Buddy, You're Looking the Wrong Way

I'm sorry for the shitty video quality here, but hey, there is only one Awful Announcing and this ain't it.

Anyway, this is some guy on the 18th hole at the AT&T National, looking the wrong way as Anthony Kim's tee shot came flying at the gallery. Like my co-worker said, "YOU'RE LOOKING THE WRONG WAY. i love those guys, btw. Just out for a f-ing stroll."

Kim lost to Tiger Woods at the AT&T National. Tiger is not in a slump anymore, it appears. Call off the dogs, everyone.

Anthony Kim, We Love You, But Lose the Necklace

It's the day after July 4th, which most know as "the day I had 11 Advil and drank my local Starbucks out of coffee," so while you're nursing that hangover that has made you and your toilet rekindle that long, lost relationship, golf is now to help between sessions.

Currently, Hunter Mahan is tied with Tiger Woods after Mahan fired a course-record tying 62 with birdies on what seemed like the last 32 holes (I'm not much of a math guy). Also in the hunt is Anthony Kim, who I'm a big fan of but is sporting a necklace right now that looks like he is posing for a Hollister billboard.

Listen, I love Kim, and am all for the crazy belt buckles and what not, but this necklace takes it too far. Come on AK ... douche it down.

Scott Halleran, Getty Images

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Fourth, Everyone

Since it's the Fourth of July, and this is a golf site, I thought of the only thing that combined the beauty of my favorite game with our great country. So, of course, you're getting the goosebump filled 1999 Ryder Cup highlights.

The Justin Leonard putt is around the 4:18 mark, but watch the whole thing. I forgot how fired up Tiger Woods used to get.

Have a safe and happy Fourth of July, everyone. Remember, blacjacks + frogs = mean.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

We Have a Winner ...

Just wanted to post that we have a winner for the free tickets to the AT&T National.

Thanks to Alan Smith for his submission, and hope that him and his father have a great trip to the tournament. Who knows, Anthony Kim might fire another 62.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Why Jim Brown Shouldn't Care What Tiger Woods Chooses To Do

Sure, Tiger Woods is a polarizing figure. He's one of the best athletes in any sport we've ever seen, changing golf from what it was (old, white, boring, flabby) to what it now is (hip, cool, tailored and fit) in just over a decade. Woods burst on the scene and allowed everyone to know who he was, even admitting in a commercial that he wasn't allowed to play on certain golf courses because of his skin color.

The problem is, that isn't the Business Tiger as we see him today. Woods uses everything he posses, from good looks to brains and personality, and benefits from it. Sure, he isn't leading a march against racism in golf or really going out of his way to talk on social issues, but that just doesn't seem to be Tiger. Do you think he does that in the privacy of his own home? Absolutely. Do you think he, like Andy Roddick or Derek Jeter or Sidney Crosby, feel the need to blurt it out to the mass media, hoping to gain a few supporters while losing a whole slew of fans?

Tiger is black, and that is something he will never be able to change.

Last week, Jim Brown said on the HBO's Real Sports that, "You know what's so interesting about Tiger to me? He is a killer, he will run over you, he will kick your ass. But as an individual for social change? Terrible. Terrible. Because he can get away with teaching kids to play golf, and that's his contribution. In the real world, I can't teach kids to play golf and that's my contribution, if I've got that kind of power."

When did teaching kids about the game of golf, and furthering their education become a bad thing? No, he isn't hitting hot button topics, but he is making a difference, and has done so through his career. Being a public figure means you have to share your wealth (Bill Gates is a perfect example) and I think Tiger does that. His foundation has done so much, yet we can't be happy because he avoids topics that are touchy?

Teaching less fortunate kids a sport they would have otherwise never heard about is a negative? How does that make sense.

Tiger responded on Tuesday to the comments by Brown, saying, simply, "I think I do a pretty good job as it is what we're trying to do with the (Tiger Woods) Foundation. We have this event here (The AT&T National), the Chevron World Challenge, our (Tiger) Jam in Vegas and our Block Party in Orange County. What we're trying to do (is) not just here in United States, but what my mom's doing in Thailand."

I'd have to agree with Tiger. He found a niche, he pursued it and it has blown up into a large center for children. I, for one, will be the last to tell Tiger he is in the wrong for this. Is Brown the only one that disagrees?

Jaybird Endorphin Headphones ... So Awesome You'll Want to Practice

I have reviewed some products over the years, and for the most part I'm pleasantly surprised. You have a golf club, like the TaylorMade r9, that adds 15 yards just for switching. I've had Golf Pride grips that make holding the golf club a different experience.

What I didn't expect was what happened when I picked up a pair of the Jaybird Endorphin headphones ($99 dollars). See, when I go to practice, I listen to my iPod. I don't try to listen to anything intense, just some calming music that makes me think more about my tempo than anything (It also helps keep randoms at bay that would usually approach you for swing tips).

The Endorphin headphones completely changed that. See, the headphones clip around your ears, and stuff deep into your eardrums, allowing you to listen to music at a lower volume while keeping outside noise from disturbing your practice.

These headphones are typically used by runners or bikers, but the range is just as important a place for things like this, because of all the moving parts.

The iPod headphones just don't do it. The string isn't long enough, it is annoying and restraining to your golf swing, and just doesn't cut it. Trust me, I should know, I've been using them for five years.

The Jaybird headphones make it different. The cord is longer than the iPod white headphones, so it allows you a little more slack. I wrapped the headphones around my ears, and allowed the string to go down my spine area, and at times, forgot it was even there.

If you're a range rat that enjoys jamming to tunes while you fine-tune your game, I couldn't recommend the Jay bird headphones higher. They are nearly a must for anyone serious about practice (Cue Allen Iverson).