Listen ... the rumor mill on this Tiger Woods thing has gone, can we say, off the chain, so leave it to one comedian to actually go after this and make it fairly entertaining.
Wanda Sykes, who I usually laugh at about as much as sick babies, took the opportunity to bash Tiger's window out (Get it?!) on her talk show, and I'll even admit, the first 3:08 of this is downright LOL-worthy.
Hey, someone had to do it.
Monday, November 30, 2009
When my sister got married a few years back, and I was just coming off a freshman year at the University of Arizona that allowed me the opportunity to think I knew way more than I really did, my dad approached me before the ceremony. He simply told me, "Shane, this is your sister's day. Let her have it."
It was basically a warning against doing anything that might take away from her glory, and it was well received. I knew when to shut the hell up.
This Tiger Woods situation is the complete opposite. There is zero reason to be quiet. There isn't anything good coming from Tiger pushing mute on his camp, and it has started to become as strange a decision as if Woods came clean to doing juice just because he felt guilty about it. That wouldn't add up, and this doesn't either.
I'm joining the ranks of people that are crying (begging!) for Tiger to just let us in a little on what the hell went on with this. He's our idol. He's our pilot. He's the closest thing to a god sports has ever seen, and yet when something bad happens, silence is his go to.
Trust me, from a writer/blogger standpoint, hearing Tiger answer questions about golf with that "here is my answer, with absolutely no meat and potatoes involved," gets old, but we've come to expect it. It's what Tiger does. This is different. The public cares. I don't really know why we care, but we do. It's the reason reason why I, sadly enough, enjoy reading gossip websites. For some reason, dirt on celebrities is interesting. It's newsworthy. It's the cross the rich, beautiful, famous have to bear.
Of all people, Tiger should understand this. He's Mensa-smart. He understands what is acceptable and what isn't. We don't care if something bad happened, but we do care that everyone is trying to hide it from us.
Like I said on Sunday, we all make mistakes. People close to me have made them. I've made them. Ohhh, have I made them. It doesn't make me a terrible person, and it doesn't make my friends bad either. We are humans. Life is supposed to work that way. What the human culture doesn't like is the refusal to admit fault. "No, I swear to God I didn't do that." Well, yes you did, so come clean and we will be quicker to forgive.
(I'm sure this story will become more and more weird, so I'm sure more posts are to come, but if someone has anything (ANYTHING) non-Tiger related I can post, please send me the link. I'm dying to write something else.)
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Like Tiger Woods, I've sat back these last few days and waited. I waited for something to come up and make sense of all this nearly unbelievable happenings with our near-perfect superstar and face of the golf generation today. But nothing did. Nobody said anything, his camp stayed quiet (like they've always been instructed to) and our minds began to wonder.
We came up with crazy conspiracies. We added TMZ to our Google Readers. We wanted to know exactly how one of the most gifted athletes in the history of the world couldn't keep his car on the road when he was barely moving.
The first thing that popped in our head when we heard about the 2:30 AM wreck was simple ... he was drunk, hammered, and sloshed. No way someone gets in an accident, in their own neighborhood if they weren't downright shitfaced. That doesn't add up. But the cops told us he wasn't and we believed them. Kinda.
That was fishy. Then the story went downright Nemo on us. Elin knocked out the back window with a golf club instead of just opening his car door? They were fighting? Who the hell is this Rachel Uchitel lady? How does any of this make sense?
With more details sure to come, the story will either go in favor of Tiger or absolutely not, and if that is the case the once polished golfer will forever be tainted as a cheater or a liar or something negative we never wanted with Woods. Tiger was the one guy we loved to love because he was so goddamn perfect. Perfect smile, perfect swing, perfect speech, perfect family ... he cried in his father's arms after his first Masters victory in 1997 and cried after his father passed. He always had that bombshell of a wife near the 18th green to hug and kiss and pose with. Geez, even his kids are adorable.
But it's true we don't know a lot about Tiger. Nobody really does. He hangs out on "Privacy" and gambles with Michael Jordan and is buddies with Charles Barkley and Peyton Manning. But what do we really know about the guy? That he doesn't reveal much about his personal life? That he knows how to win in just about every walk of life? That he married a twin? These things aren't personal facts. This is stuff you can find on a Wikipedia page.
What this has proven is no matter who you are, the skeletons will be tossed out of the closet at some point. If you're a random guy like myself, Facebook and MySpace and Twitter are places that your secrets can be brought up. If you are a public figure like Tiger, it's incidents like this. One little accident has made everything we knew about Woods completely and utterly changed.
We like to assume the worst in people these days, and for Tiger that is no different. People think he juiced because he works out hard and got bigger. People think he's a jerk because he doesn't reveal a lot in interviews. People think he's cold because he wants to win and that's it. We don't really know any of these things, but we assume them and are happy to chat about it.
Maybe it was a domestic dispute over some personal stuff, and Elin flipped out at Tiger and they got in a fight. Trust me, I've been there. Relationships cause riffs. People argue and get pissed and sometimes do stuff they wish they hadn't. Tiger might have been taking the high road by leaving, and Elin couldn't handle it. The thing is, nobody knows, and we probably will never know. The Woods camp has been guarded about simple things for far too long to let something this serious leak.
The thing is, our superstar finally revealed he is human. We just don't really know why yet.
ADRIAN DENNIS, AFP
Thursday, November 26, 2009
First, it's already Thanksgiving? What the hell happened to 2009? Thanks a lot, '09. This is what it feels like to be older.
Anyway, a Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. Just a few thoughts from the golf world on things I'm thankful for ...
I'm thankful for drives that never leave your line, good lies in the rough and putts that lip in. I'm thankful for sandys, hot cart girls at cheap golf courses and free range balls ... having your favorite yardage (mine is 103) when the green is surrounded by trouble, hitting par-5s in two and finishing the eagle putt. Thanks for crisp 4-irons, bunker saves and post-round beers with buddies. I'm thankful for the opportunity to play 18 holes with my dad and my uncle in the same foursome, and I'm thankful for anytime my buddies and I get to hit the links in the afternoon to pack in as many holes as Mother Nature will allot us. Gracias for brand new Pro V1 X's, tacky grips and mishitting a shot that turns out alright. I couldn't be more thankful for the opportunity to live in a place where I can golf year-round, for how pristine the fairways at Troon North are and par saves when you short-side yourself. I'm thankful when my mom comes out and watches me play, and no matter what I finish with, she says I played well. I'm thankful for the photo that lead this article, and the opportunity to hopefully teach my nephews how to play this crazy game that we love.
Also, I'm thankful for this site. I'm thankful I get a chance to write about golf and for some reason, people read it. So, thanks.
I hope everyone has a Happy Turkey Day. Eat a lot (oh, and thankful for Danielle Ate the Sandwich ... awesome).
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Unlike most any sports, nobody can ever figure out ones ability to play this game by looking at a person. It's impossible, just think if you saw Duffy Waldorf or Craig Parry walking up to shake your hand on the first tee. The words "simpleton" would probably stroll out of your mouth as you said your name and rolled your eyes at having been paired with another hack.
But that is the crazy thing. Nobody can judge ability. It isn't like basketball, where you can see a guy 6-foot-7 walk in the gym and imagine he is going to be good at some level (Hell, Shawn Bradley played in the NBA and had the hand-eye coordination of Helen Keller). If a 6-foot-3, completely cut up guy steps foot on the gridiron, he is probably going to be better than you. Golf ... all cover judging is out the window.
This is why you should never gamble against a guy in golf that you don't know (or have never heard of). It is a bad idea. A very, very bad idea for a number of reasons.
First, the person that suggests the wager is usually confident enough in his own game to toss out such an idea. He isn't bringing this up because he thinks he's going to lose. Nobody likes to lose to strangers. It's like when people crash a college party and insist they're next on beer pong, and you're the host. "Who the f--- are these guys," you wonder, and your only goal of the night has just become making them look foolish before you kick them out.
Second, it takes the fun out of the round. If you're out recreationally, you probably aren't used to gambling on the course. So, when Johnny Stranger is asking you to clean up that three-footer, you probably are going to be as nervous as you've ever been on the course, and the fun level just went down (especially when you miss the short putt).
Third, who knows the character of your playing companion. He might drag you along for a few holes, giving you hope and a chance before he actually starts playing. He might sandbag. He might let you win. He might be baiting you the entire time. No matter if he carries a 1-iron and has squinty eyes, the stranger could have game for days and just be finding other ways to convince you to give him money. Remember, when smart men step on golf courses, the 'ol IQ drops about 70 points, and this is no different. You could think a lot of things, including, "Man, I could really beat this guy," before he asks to up the bet on the back side and puts together a nice little 33.
My suggestions for gambling with a stranger, if you must.
-- Make the cheddar under $20 total (like a $5 Nassau), or drinks after. Those are simple enough and if the drinks are included, at least gives you the chance to chum up to the guy in hopes that he enjoyable enough for a post-round brewski.
-- If you don't feel comfortable doing it, declining the bet is far from demoralizing. Nobody is going to dog your manhood if you don't want to bet, and if this guy gets his rocks off by taking money from inferior talent, he'll have to wait another day.
-- If you know you are going to fold under pressure, avoid the handshake. Just don't do it. You're there to have some fun.
-- Fudge your handicap. He is. You should too.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
It’s a stupid f-ing game, this one we continually play. Hit a white ball, chase it, hope to find it in a good lie on grass that is groomed, but groomed with human error.
We stand over putts thinking we know what is going on, but not really knowing anything. It looks like it should go left but something in the cosmos takes it right. It appears to be slow but a river 11 miles away keeps it rolling fast. It’s a game of guesses, not misses, yet we continually think this iron or that infomercial has fixed our problems.
This week, at the LPGA Tour Championship, I got to see first hand the highs and lows of professional golf. See, a friend of mine happens to be a tour player, and called me to caddie for the second time this year, apparently in desperate need of a caddie that talks too much at the wrong times and isn’t that great at reading greens.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
First, a mini-Bacon rant. How do hotels, especially sufficient hotels that cost three digits a night, not have quick wireless Internet at this day and age. It is almost 2010. Our phones get Internet. Our iPods get Internet. Actually, Steve Jobs called me and wants to put a Safari browser in my right shoe. If you are a property, that, say, rhymes with Farriott, get it together. You have 800 people in your hotel. We need to use our computers. Don't give me a signal that makes me feel like I'm trying to connect in the middle of the Afghan mountains.
So, yeah, I don't really have much of a signal here in Houston, which is awesome, but Starbucks has coffee and a respectable connection so here I am, reporting while some guy across from me is using one of those Bluetooth thingys that you have to hold up the wire to talk into. Technology!
Thursday is the first day of the LPGA Tour Championship and I'll be carrying for the bag for Erica Blasberg for the second time this season. We've had some good practice rounds and the course seems to suit her game, so hopefully come Sunday, we can walk away with one of those big checks.
A couple of observations ...
-- Players and caddies alike have been super gracious to the Wie camp after the win. I've seen congratulatory handshakes and hugs to everyone, including David Ledbetter, this week. I think everyone knows what a big deal it is for the tour to have Wie finally win the game. (and on the same note, Michelle has been super appreciative of all the love. Say what you want about her, but she, from all accounts, seems to be one of the nicer girls out on tour. Not all the girls out here would have been so friendly after all that has been tossed her way.)
-- Length will matter this week. The course is damn near 6,700 yards, and the course will be windy most of the week. If you can't get it out there off the tee, you could struggle with Mother Nature starts a-blowin'.
-- Is being a professional golfer a good deal? Standing by the putting green on Tuesday, the Yes! putter guy was there with a bag full of putters for players to test out if they wanted. I asked the guy what was protocol with his ability to give them away and he responded, "One player could come up and take every single one and I couldn't say anything about it." So, yes, add that to the 355,329 reasons why being a pro golfer is a great deal.
-- Smart Water on every hole. 355,330 reasons, I guess.
I'll be attempting to post tonight at some point after the round, but you can always follow me on Twitter as updating is way easier (and funnnnnnier!). Also, at some point Thursday, Jay Busbee will post the podcast we recorded on Wednesday night. Check it out
and let me know what you think.
Oh, and follow Erica's round right here. Look, making things easier!
Friday, November 13, 2009
Just a short announcement before I head off to Oxford, Mississippi for the Tennessee-Ole Miss football game this weekend ... next week, at the LPGA Championship in Houston, I'll be caddying once more for LPGA golfer Erica Blasberg.
Earlier this season, I got the opportunity to loop for Blasberg at the J Golf Phoenix LPGA International, and for some asinine reason, she asked me to do it again.
I get into Houston on Monday, and will be there to bug the LPGA all week. If you're around the event, or come out to see it, don't hesitate to swing by and say hello. I'll be the one caddie with the bum shoulder and the confused look, trying to read greens for a girl that can read greens way better than myself.
Also, I'll be posting some stuff around here all next week, and will be chatting it up with the always entertaining Jay Busbee on his podcast. I'm trying to convince Erica to join the podcast and tell Jay just how bad of an idea it was to invite me to caddie again, so if that happens, well, you can all send me two dollars. Thanks for the cash!
Final announcement ... if you want to give a fun prank-y gift to your golf friend that has everything, I just got this Div Pro thing in the mail, and it's pretty awesome. Basically the divot tool to kill all divot tools, and you can shotgun beers with it. I'm taking it to Oxford with me. I'll let you know how things end up (Read: Not good).
Have a great weekend, and now, go Pomplamoose yourself.
If there ever was a good example of just how much better Tiger Woods is at golf than the rest of the world, it's this week at the Australian Masters. Sure, we get to see him smoke PGA Tour fields six or seven times a year, but somethings different about this one.
Maybe it has to deal with him playing in such a different time zone, so waking up each morning to catch up on the score is another "how many strokes is Tiger winning by now" game that we're playing with each other. Maybe it has to do with a weaker field, something Tiger never plays in. Whatever it is, Tiger's three shot lead after a Friday 68 means that he will win and the only hanging question is by how many.
The new Tiger game deals with fairways and putts. So far at Kingston Heath Golf Club, El Tigre has hit 25 of 30 fairways (advantage, Woods) and made just one bogey through 36 holes.
He's going to card his seventh victory of the season. It's happening, and don't look at me with those eyes. I'm not playing the screaming heads card, I just believe when Tiger is up three shots on guys named Greg Chalmers, Jason Dufner and James Nitties, lets just say he probably isn't losing sleep.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
The kid is good. He's good. Are you hearing me? This is me, dropping my doubts. Tossing all the questioning and the "it's all happening so fast"s and letting Rickie Fowler just be a damn good golfer and that's it.
Thursday, at the Children's Miracle Network Classic, Fowler shot a 6-under 66 to land a shot back of Justin "adidas now just spray paints my clothes on my body" Rose who is leading, making it the third straight PGA Tour tournament that Fowler has shot 67 or better on Thursday.
Fowler is now, ready for this, 40-under in nine rounds of golf as a professional. 40-under! He hasn't shot a round over 69 since turning pro. He has five rounds of 66 or better. He is an absolute animal.
I was a tad nervous about Fowler at first, but it just goes to show that I am not smart and he is that good. A couple more rounds like this, and Fowler can enjoy his offseason before the 2010 season kicks.
David Duval is the ultimate Valentines Day candy box (or as Jim Gaffigan poetically calls it, "the mystery candy."). One day you're reaching for a solid piece of chocolate and the next you have the weird thing in your mouth that tastes like toothpaste just got a facial.
Duval, as you know, is 125th on the 2009 money list, meaning that if things ended RIGHT NOW, he'd be the last person to earn a 2010 card and have another year of trying to find that game we used to love.
This week, at the Children's Miracle Network Classic, Duval needs to make some dough, or risk being inevitably leapfrogged by someone behind him that showed up to play. Problem is, he opened with a 76 on Thursday, and is two shots off of dead last in the field, meaning you and I have as good a shot to be landing that precious card as Duval does at this point.
Duval seemed like things might turn around this season, but if you take out that U.S. Open at Bethpage, the guy would have only banked $63,994, or the equivalent of working a weekend shift at a popular Manhattan bar and walking out with four bucks in tips.
The early leaders are already 5-under. Duval will have to fire some Bob Hope-like round if he even wants to sniff the weekend, and will most likely miss his 15th cut of the year.
Duval and John Daly are pretty good examples of how similar golf is with grandparents ... one day you're all together, working the afternoon ranger shift at the Raven Golf Club, and the next, you've completely lost it.
Ever shot a picture of yourself swinging with your digi-cam, and been disgusted with the way you looked at address, at the top of your swing, and where you were when you finished?
Hey, me too! Well, now there's a camera for that. The Casio Exilim EX-FS10 is a camera that will set up posture lines and such for you if you fire pictures of your golf swing to help aid you in your attempt to reach birdie land.
You've seen this technology a ton with some of the fancy cameras the pros use, but we're poor by god and we don't get any of this fun stuff. Until now, I guess.
Price has yet to be disclosed on this bad boy, but I'm assuming, as cameras go, it'll be somewhere in the $400 range. Or I could be completely off. Nobody pays me to guess prices, jerk!
The field might not be the strongest of the year, but it sure didn't stop Tiger Woods from going out his his first start in Australia in 11 years and post a 66 to top the leaderboard.
Are you surprised? Only, does any of what I just typed surprise you? Someone commented earlier on a story that "Tiger Woods is the most consistent golfer in the game," and I think that is the biggest unappreciative compliment you could give the man. He's the most consistent golfer ever. Ever. It's insane.
On Thursday, Tiger's 6-under 66 was ho-hum. He made seven birdies and a bogey. He hit 83 percent of the greens. Needed just 28 putts. Makes a 66 look like a 71 to anyone that has played the game.
On the PGA Tour this season, Tiger played 17 events, and finished in the top-10 in 14 of them. On the European Tour, Tiger's lone non-PGA Tour start was last weeek, when he tied for 6th at the HSBC Champions in China. He will probably win this week in Australia.
That would give him 16 top-10s in 19 starts. Or, as I like to call it, beast mode. It's not even fair anymore.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
This week, it's due or die for the PGA Tour folks trying to have a high-paying job for next season. Sure, the Nationwide Tour is an option, and a damn good option, but think about it like this. Number 125 on the Nationwide Tour money list made $34,624 this season, while the No. 125 guy on the PGA Tour has banked $623,824. Just a shade of a difference I'd reckin'.
Anyway, the Bubble Boys this week are as follows ...
120 Richard S. Johnson
121 Ricky Barnes
122 Steve Flesch
123 Robert Garrigus
124 Rich Beem
125 David Duval
126 Chris Riley
127 Jeff Maggert
128 Tim Herron
129 Matt Jones
130 Jimmy Walker
131 Will MacKenzie
132 Nicholas Thompson
133 Todd Hamilton
134 Stuart Appleby
135 Joe Ogilvie
Before anything, how incredible is it that Duval is the barometer here? He's the guy that is make or break this season? Seems almost fitting for the man in defining his insane career.
But that is the list of guys that have to have a good finish this week to continue playing, unless some exemption is around otherwise. Two major winners and a U.S. Amateur winner brings me back to one of my favorite golf quotes, compliments of Craig Stadler. Stadler overheard some young kid on the driving range babbling about his accolades before an event. The Walrus waddled over to the kid and delivered this incredible truth.
"You see the guy next to you? And the guy next to him? Everyone of them, All-Americans. There's an NCAA Champion, a U.S. Amateur champion, a British Open champion -- hell, some of these caddies were All-Americans. So just so you know, nobody here gives a damn if you're an All-American, or if you even to college at all. All anybody here here wants to know ... can you play stick?"
This weekend, it's all about playing stick.
It's always a big decision if you're a foreigner. Stay overseas, where you're comfortable, and get less exposure, or head over the bright lights of the United States for the PGA Tour.
Rory McIlroy, the 20-year-old Northern Ireland freak that makes your hair go wow, has been battling with this like a kid trying to pick between colleges, and it seems has finally decided that the PGA Tour is going to be his home in 2010.
From the AP ...
Rory McIlroy has decided to join the PGA Tour next year with hopes of moving up in the world ranking.
McIlroy, a 20-year-old from Northern Ireland, said Wednesday at the Hong Kong Open that he will be competing against stronger fields in the United States, which should make him a better golfer.
While I still think playing on the European Tour would be more fun (the feel of brotherhood is way more apparent between those guys than most of the robots that play on this tour), you can't call yourself the best if you spend most of your time on that side of the pond.
This is where the game is. This is the "A" Court. Here, you get Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia (yep, just did that) and Y.E. Yang. It isn't happening week in and week out anywhere else.
McIlroy is going to have to learn how to beat some of these guys down the stretch, because it seems to be something that takes learning. Hell, Mickelson is just now learning how to take down Tiger, and has been competing against the guy on tour for 12 years.
I'm excited to see Rory knock it around for a full year on tour. He's the kind of superstar Europe needs right now, with most of their potentials flaming out. Just think ... in the next ten years, we will get to watch Tiger and Phil, plus Rory, Anthony, Ryo, and Rickie. Golf hasn't had this type of firepower since the Arnie, Jack and Gary days.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Imagine it's Spring Break, and you are heading down to a Florida beach to catch some rays, have some watered-down Pina Coladas and try to get frisky with the rest of the bums. You arrive at your destination, and see this above picture.
Pretty nice, right? Yeah, except it isn't a hotel or a resort or some sort of swim up and stay package ... that's Tiger Woods house, and it's absolutely enormous.
Page2Live.com got some pictures of the new estate, worth upwards of $40 million, and it is as dominant as Woods at St. Andrews (See how I avoided Augusta in that analogy? Too easy, and he hasn't won there lately).
Anyway, thoughts on the place? Bigger than your apartment?
This photos are of Tiger Woods, at the Australian Masters. Also, these are PRACTICE ROUND PHOTOS!
Something like 10,000 people followed Tiger around as he, again, practiced golf. It appears Australians have less to do than we Americans do! Winners again.
Monday, November 9, 2009
For golf fans, this day was probably inevitable. Phil Mickelson, the second best golfer in the world rankings and best golfer playing the game at this moment, played in the final group with Tiger Woods, number one in the rankings and number two as of today, and, to put it kindly, handed Tiger his ass.
Yep. Mickelson took down Tiger with a putter that should probably be banned from the game if others hope to compete in the next few months and some moxie that we haven't seen since his amateur playing days (back when Phil was a young lad, he was a bit of a prick on the course, if you can imagine).
With that win at the HSBC CHampions, when Phil shot a final round 69, he did one of the more important things we've seen in golf in ages. He made us all realize that no matter the luck or the opponent or the course or the conditions ... if you go out, and play some good golf, you can beat Tiger. No lucky 3-iron on the 18th green to set up a birdie. No final round 61 to come from behind the pack. Just go play golf, forget about the man in the red Nike shirt, and try to finish a stroke or two less than him.
There is no sport as mentally challenging as golf, and I think anyone would agree with that. You spend a total of about two minutes actually hitting golf shots, and the rest about all the other shit on the course. "I don't like the looks of this tee shot." "This putts gonna be fast." "Don't miss this right." "Don't yank this left."
It's a mental ping-pong game against yourself. Tiger adds another opponent. It was nice to see Mickelson finally do what most will never be able to. He forgot who he was playing with.
PHILIPPE LOPEZ, AFP/Getty Images
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Seriously. That guy. Doug Barron. He juiced and became the first PGA Tour "star" to be suspended for a year.
I'm not sure what to believe anymore. First Kevin Brown juicing, and now this guy? I'm pretty sure if when you take steroids, there is one thing they tell you not to take with it, thus offsetting the effect, he did it.
This guy looks like a steroid offender like Patton Oswalt looks like an actor, and I actually like Patton Oswalt.
(Also, I have absolutely no idea why he has his shirt off in this picture. I'm assuming he was going for a shot in the water or in mud, but it's pretty incredible that one of the five guys ever to strip when hitting a mud ball was one to be suspended for trying to increase muscle mass. Thanks for mishitting this tee shot years ago, Doug.)