Monday, August 30, 2010

That Better Be Grape Juice!

Michelle Wie won the Canadian Women's Open on Sunday, her second victory in less than a year. I wrote over at Devil Ball about how this isn't anything more than a great golfer finally learning how to close out tournaments, and it will probably lead to more victories by the 20-year-old over the course of the next year.

But ... wait .... she's 20, and that is champagne?!!? Oh no!!!!!!!!!!

Just kidding ... I hope Michelle and company had a few drinks on Sunday night. She deserved it after that final round. She turns 21 on October 11, so she's basically already there anyway.

Congrats to Michelle and her team.

Getty Images

Matt Kuchar, Your 2010 Player of the Year

It is going to be a strange year for the Player of the Year race, mainly because nobody has come forward as the odds-on favorite. Well, until Sunday, when Matt Kuchar got handed a spot in the Barclays playoff after Martin Laird three-putted from 25 feet, and hit one of the best shots, if not the best shot, of the year to about two feet for birdie and the win.

It was Kuchar's first win of 2010, but it was good enough for me; Kuchar should be the 2010 Player of the Year, as long as none of the major championship winners bag another win for the rest of the season.

Why should a guy with only one win be named the Player of the Year on the PGA Tour? Well, because since the opening event in Hawaii, Kuchar has been the most consistent golfer on tour.

Here are some of his impressive stats:

-- One win, one second place, two thirds
-- Five top-fives
-- Ten top-10s
-- 16 top-25 finishes in just 22 events
-- A top-10 in two of the four majors, with a top-27 finish in all four big ones
-- His 69.62 is the lowest scoring average on tour
-- He's the leading money winner and leader of the FedEx Cup to date

So, give me someone else that, for the full year, has been as good as Kuchar? I don't hate your arguments for Jim Furyk, Steve Stricker, Justin Rose or Ernie Els for multiple winners, but they still haven't had the type of complete year that Kuchar has strung together.

Also, could you pick a worse person to be named Player of the Year during a season that has seemed to focus on all the bad in the golf world? I sure don't hate the idea, and I hope the voters give him their full attention when penciling in Kuchar's name.

Associated Press

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Get Ready to See A Lot of This in October

Yep, that's Sergio Garcia, the fourth and final vice captain for the European team, driving a golf cart at the 2008 Ryder Cup.

Back then, he had his clubs somewhere. This time, he will be traveling sans sticks. I sure hope he doesn't spit on anyone.

Getty Images

Friday, August 27, 2010

Struggles for The Golf Channel

This week, The Golf Channel had a lot of golf to televise. They, as always, have the Thursday and Friday rounds of the PGA Tour event, plus the U.S. Amateur match play.

Now, before I get into my point here, I'd like to ask you this question; if you had both the U.S. Amateur and the Barclays, wouldn't you do everything in your power to show as much live golf as possible? Of course you would, your job as The Golf Channel is, above everything else, to show. us. golf.

On Thursday, The Golf Channel dropped the ball. They had live U.S. Amateur golf on in the afternoon, and as some of the matches were heating up, towards the closing holes, they "ran out of alloted time," pointing viewers to to view the remaining matches. What was so important that they needed to switch over to? A replay of The Barclays, that had wrapped up hours before.

Yes, I'll wait for you to stop shaking your head.

Friday is another dropped ball for The Golf Channel. They showed the quarterfinal matches from 1-3 PM Eastern, but switched away to the Barclays (live this time, thank goodness) as most of the matches were completing. Now, understand this; watching guys play match play without watching how it ends is arguably the biggest sports tease imaginable. It would be like watching two heavyweights play a great fifth set in tennis, and when it went to a tiebreaker, leaving to water your yard.

Okay, so the dilemma on Friday is how do you show both things live? Well, the Amateur is in Washington, so why not just have the quarterfinal matches a little later, and show them live? Trust me, people would much rather watch the butt-end of these matches than the start of them. It is pointless to spend hours watching the U.S. Amateur if you don't get to see what happens over the final three holes. On top of that, they are switching to the Barclays where Phil Mickelson has already completed his round and Tiger Woods only has about six holes left.

If you've visited this site, you know I'm not a huge Golf Channel fan, more because I know it has the potential to be great and continues to disappoint. This week showed just how bad the network continues to be.

Figure it out, Golf Channel. We don't have an alternative golf network to switch over to when you guys disappoint.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Strange Year in Golf

I know we still have a couple of months left in the golf season, but after Jim Furyk got disqualified from the Barclays for failing to wake up for his pro-am tee time, I figured it would be worth recapping a few of the insane events that made up this 2010 golf season.

First, the year began with everything Tiger Woods. His life, his affairs, his golf game, his future ... it was all under the microscope, and was the top story up until the Masters, when Woods opened with his first sub-70 round ever at Augusta National, only to finish tied for fourth. The tournament was a complete bust, and even included a holed iron shot for eagle on Sunday for Tiger.

Along with that, we had Phil Mickelson, who stopped by for a brief moment at Augusta to claim the green jacket, and then disappear for most of the year after. The only thing he's done of significance this year is buy donuts in his green jacket and claim to the world that he's now a vegetarian.

And let us not forget Rory McIlroy, and his year of scores. At Quail Hollow, McIlroy closed with 62 to win his first PGA Tour event. A little over two months later, McIlroy opened at the British with a 63, that was nearly a 62 if he hadn't missed a sneaky three-footer on the 17th hole for birdie on Thursday. That was followed up with 80 in the second round, dashing his hopes of a first major championship. A month later, McIlroy would miss out on a playoff at the PGA Championship by just a shot.

Oh, and 59 much? Two players, Paul Goydos and Stuart Appleby, shot 59 this year, marking the first time on the PGA Tour that it has happened twice in one season.

Oh, and poor Dustin Johnson. The guy had a three-shot lead at the U.S. Open on Sunday, but came in with 82 at Pebble Beach. His chances of taking home a major looked great at the PGA, when he had an eight-footer for par on the 72nd hole to win at Whistling Straits, but missed it to make a playoff. That, of course, never happened, because Johnson grounded his club in the famous "bunker that isn't a bunker." A two-stroke penalty left him two shots out of the playoff, that ended when Bubba Watson hit his second shot into the third playoff hole some 30 yards short of target, and made a double-bogey so Martin Kaymer could take home the crown.

Also, we were introduced to a guy named Louis Oosthuizen, who took down St. Andrews like some guy in a red Nike shirt.

Finally, more rules problems. LPGA's Julie Inkster was disqualified from the Safeway Classic because she pulled out a swing weight during a round and a viewer caught it and called her on it. And then Jim Furyk, during the first round of FedEx Cup playoffs, overslept for a pro-am and was disqualified.

So, yes, a strange year all around. Am I forgetting anything?

Elin Nordegren does People Magazine

That beautiful lady you see above you is in fact Elin Nordgren, formerly Elin Woods, who despite rumors that Tiger Woods would pay her to keep quiet, did an exclusive interview with People Magazine and will be on the cover this week.

Some of the "highlights" from the interview, via Devil Ball.

-- She didn't hit Tiger with any golf club, calling those rumors on Thanksgiving night "ridiculous."

-- She said that the news of Tiger cheating was completely surprising to her.

-- She said her marriage to TIger wasn't anymore more than a girl and a guy in love, and she was totally in it from start to finish.

This whole thing is sad, so I don't want to dwell on it for much longer, but I thought I'd toss up the cover to show people that even with a failed marriage and the embarrassment that comes with all this news that Elin had to deal with, she is still a very attractive lady, that seems nice and will eventually be okay with all of this.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Tough News Day

I might as well be honest about something before I dig through all the emotions that come with the news on Tuesday that Erica Blasberg's death was ruled a suicide.

When I first got the text message in May to call a friend that needed to tell me something, a knot tied in my stomach. We really only communicated about Erica, so to get a disconcerting text like this from a friend like her couldn't have been good. As you probably guessed, it wasn't.

Lucky for me, I've never dealt with death before. My grandmother and two grandfathers that have passed away in my lifetime both did so when I was too young to really understand what went on, and even though I still wish I could have had a moment with my one of my granddads watching me play in a junior golf tournament because it would have made them proud, I was never on much of a personal level with either of them.

People have come to me about death, sure. My ex-girlfriend had a close grandparent pass when we dated, and I consoled her as best I could. I wasn't sure exactly what to do, similar to a single man giving marriage advice, but I tried my best with what I knew of it or read about it. I was there, more or less, to just listen.

I remember reading that text message and then calling to hear the inevitable. Erica wasn't alive anymore. My mind raced like it does when you get shitty news like this, especially about someone so young. Of course the verdict that came out on Monday crossed my mind at least once. I had a two hour drive ahead of me, without a passenger to keep my mind at bay.

I never wanted to believe it was the case, but it is, and it sucks. Erica was an incredible girl who you've heard me mention numerous times over the last three months. You might be sick of reading about what I'm thinking, and I apologize for wasting your time with my thoughts, but I figured it was better to get them out there than to hold them in.

What does this verdict change in my mind about Erica? Not a thing. Not a goddamn thing. She was a beautiful person and will continue to be a beautiful person that I was lucky to be friends with. She struggled with personal problems like we all do, and made a decision that, unfortunately for us all, you can't take back.

I can speak for us all, friends, family, whomever, when I say that in five years or 10 years or whatever, we won't be thinking of what she did to herself that horrible May night, but about the memories we had with her throughout the years. The laughs and smiles and birdies and cocktails. The moments we all got to hang with her were the best times we could have with a gal, and she will forever be with us in some way or another.

It's tough to hear, that's for sure, but it doesn't change who Erica Blasberg was to me. I hope it doesn't change who she was for you, either.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren Officially Divorce

Well, this was inevitable. News finally hit the presser on Monday that Elin Nordegren and Tiger Woods are divorced. For anyone that has followed this story since Thanksgiving, it seemed the only possible scenario for both parties, and as much as divorce sucks, gives both a chance to go on with their lives without all this baggage.

Tiger's website sent out this statement:

We are sad that our marriage is over and we wish each other the very best for the future. While we are no longer married, we are the parents of two wonderful children and their happiness has been, and will always be, of paramount importance to both of us. Once we came to the decision that our marriage was at an end, the primary focus of our amicable discussions has been to ensure their future well-being. The weeks and months ahead will not be easy for them as we adjust to a new family situation, which is why our privacy must be a principal concern.

I'll take this thing on from both a personal standpoint and a golf standpoint.

First, the personal. Tiger screwed up, as a lot of men do when they get married too young or too immature, and this is the cost that comes with doing so. He cheated, he hurt his wife, and he should be punished, and he will as it seems, financially. While Elin has probably been struggling with this every night for the past nine months, being able to finally sign the papers and get on with life couldn't be better for her. She's pretty, she's rich and now she's single again, with two kids that for all we know seem awesome. In this whole thing, Elin comes out the winner, because she stuck it out and didn't make a huge public deal about it, and as rumors go, will never make a big deal about it. Tiger will forever be known as the famous golfer that cheated on his wife with porn stars and waitresses and basically any female with three holes and a heartbeat. As legacy goes, Tiger will be the amazing golfer that revolutionized the sport, and the husband that was an asshole to his wife.

Now, for golf. Amen. Thank goodness. This is great. Honestly, Tiger needed this to happen for his game, and hopefully he will now be able to leave all this behind on the golf course and actually get back to, you know, winning golf tournaments. It has been a weird year for the sport with Tiger at 70 percent, so having him back to that will be nice.

Okay, hopefully this is the last post I ever have to write about this shit. As far as golf journalism goes, this year seems to have way too much focus on Escalades, fire hydrants and mistresses, and way less focus on people like Matt Kuchar, Amy Mickelson and Kenny Perry. I raise my glass to all that had to spend so much time on this issue, and pray we don't have to revisit it ever again. Oh, and maybe now Rachel Nichols will get some of her vacation time.

Getty Images

A Week on the Bag of Irene Cho

As you can see by the lack of posts over this way, I've been quite busy the last few days, as I had the privilege of caddying for Irene Cho at the Safeway Classic. Irene played great, finishing t-12, after weekend rounds of 68-69, and it was all that I could have asked for.

I wrote three recaps (here, here and here) over the three days over at Yahoo!, and these photos are thanks to Jonathan Ferrey of Getty Images, who I now owe a six-pack or more to.

Read along, and I hope you enjoy the recaps as much as I enjoyed caddying. More to come the rest of the week, as I get back to the life of the keyboard.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Site News

Hey Everyone. So, I had about four posts going up today, and then my computer crashed and started making this noise similar to what you'd imagine if a typewriter had an orgasm (Read: not good), so, yeah, nothing doing. It sucks. I'm annoyed. I want to slap Steve Jobs but then hug him right after.

Anyway. Trying to get it all straightened out. I'm going to be bringing some updates from my caddie experiences in Portland all week, so follow me on Twitter if nothing else.

Also, if you want to send me a few free computers that, you know, work, that would be fantastic.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Smoking Pot is Not Good

You know drugs are illegal, right? You can't do it or you might get in trouble. I know this because I went through the D.A.R.E. program when I was younger and still sport my shirt from time to time around the house with my Umbro shorts and slap bracelet.

But, enough about me, why don't we talk about Matt Every. He smokes pot, as it seems, and is now going to be missing three months of PGA Tour fame because he enjoys the green. Sucks, right?

Matt Every has been suspended by the PGA Tour for three months for “conduct unbecoming a professional“ after his arrest last month on a misdemeanor charge of marijuana possession, Golfweek has learned.

Every, 26, was one of three men arrested July 6 and charged with possession of a controlled substance at the Isle Casino Hotel in Bettendorf, Iowa, during the John Deere Classic.

I think it is hilarious when people take marijuana so seriously. Listen, I know it is illegal, blah blah blah, but seriously, three f-ing months? For having pot on him? Seems a little harsh, even for old white people.

But, rules are rules, right?

/drops pot in sand bunker ... grounds bong

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Rules Are Rules, Right?

If you're a person that watches a lot of golf, or grew up with a father that taught you golf, you probably heard about the way Jack Nicklaus hit golf shots. No, not his majestic iron shots or powerful drives, but the way he actually set up to hit them. Jack never grounded his club ... ever. He did that because he realized early on in his golfing life that if he put his club down behind the ball, there might be an instance where it moved. Sure, it might NEVER, EVER happen, but it could, and Jack was meticulous. No reason to put yourself in a fuzzy situation if you don't have to, right?

That is what happened to poor Dustin Johnson on Sunday. In a "bunker that wasn't a bunker," Johnson set his club down for just an instance. A second, or millisecond, or however long it was, but it was long enough. Those are the rules of golf. Do something wrong, and no matter how it helps or hurts you, you're going to be penalized.

There are a ton of things in this crazy game that make little sense. I'm reminded of a time I was out at Arizona National, covering a women's golf tournament for the Arizona Daily Wildcat, a newspaper I wrote for all through my university years. A scoring official with wrinkles covering his face and calluses covering his hands offered me a ride around the course. A wise man that knows the game of golf like Bobby Fischer knew chess waited a couple of holes before he told me something. "You might recognize my name," Doc Graves told me, "I'm the idiot from that Rick Reilly story." Yep, Graves was the man that disqualified a man for a kids club that was found in the bottom of his golf bag at the Arizona Mid-Amateur when he had an 11-shot lead. His kid had put the club in there the night before. He never knew it was there. But, that's golf. The rule is 14 clubs. One more and you're playing illegally.

Everyone that has a whiskey shot of intelligence knows that Dustin Johnson wasn't cheating on the 72nd hole, when he yanked his second shot left of the green, eventually make a bogey that put him in a playoff for about 12 seconds. He wasn't cheating. He wasn't trying to test the conditions or get an advantage. He just didn't know. This is one of the few times that ignorance isn't bliss. Dustin thought he was in an area trampled down by fans, which was partially true.

But it was a bunker. It was a bunker. A fucking bunker that Pete Dye had put there, along with 999 of its closest buddies. A bunker is a hazard, and you can't ground your club in a bunker, just like you can't stick the end of the rake in the sand to test how deep it plays. The reason is to avoid someone getting an advantage that others wouldn't have. While this wasn't one of those instances, the rules are black and white. Set your club down in a bunker, and you are going to be penalized.

I was as heated as anyone about what happened to Johnson, who years from now might be looking back at 2010 as the year that doomed his confidence. Golfers are crazy people, and the littlest of things can rattle you for good (just look at Charles Barkley's golf swing). Hopefully he will bounce back and win a major or two. Hopefully he can take this with a grain of, gulp, sand salt and understand that it wasn't his fault. He didn't know what he was doing, but he plays a game where stuff like this happens.

Hopefully, hopefully, hopefully. For now, we have a man that was stripped of a chance to win a major championship because nobody knew. It's a sad day for golfers. If only Jack had taught a few of these guys how to hit good shots while hovering your club over the ball.

Getty Images

What Whistling Straits Might Need To Add

I'll make up more if they need me to.

The USGA's Definition of A Bunker

Just wanted to get this out there for everyone:

"A "bunker" is a hazard consisting of a prepared area of ground, often a hollow, from which turf or soil has been removed and replaced with sand or the like.

Grass-covered ground bordering or within a bunker, including a stacked turf face (whether grass-covered or earthen), is not part of the bunker. A wall or lip of the bunker not covered with grass is part of the bunker. The margin of a bunker extends vertically downwards, but not upwards.

A ball is in a bunker when it lies in or any part of it touches the bunker."

Saturday, August 14, 2010

When Is Someone Finally Going to Do This?

Not since Phil Mickelson have we waited for what could happen on Sunday to actually happen in a major championship. Young gun. 72 holes. Champion.

It's been as long a wait as there can be in golf. We've waited and waited and waited, hoping that someone, ANYONE, would come be the next Tiger Woods.

It might finally happen. Cross your damn fingers.

See, our leaderboard has something it hardly ever has at the top: youth. We have two Americans under 30 that are both very, very good players. The type of golfers that could snag multiple major championships before their career ended. Both Nick Watney and Dustin Johnson have shown that being good isn't going to be a year or two experiment. They're going to be stars on the PGA Tour for a very, very long time.

And then you have Rory McIlroy. He's only 21, a mere embryo in a sea of newborns. He might just be the face of golf, post-Tiger. A Northern Irishman with a full head of hair, a personality that makes you want to buy him a club sandwich, and a swing that makes most golfers, even other pros, stop dead in their tracks. He is the type of golfer that will be number one in the world some day. Maybe he will be the first player to end the year leading both the PGA Tour Money List and the Order of Merit, something Sergio Garcia once claimed was a goal of his. He will do all of this is he can win a big event early in his career, avoiding the nasty questions and demons that come with years of expectation resting in your loins. It's happened to a lot of the youngsters that are set to be the NBT (Next Big Thing). Rory needs to eliminate all that sooner than later.

So, a PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, with a leaderboard full of names that should excite even the lowliest of golf fans. No Tiger. No Phil. No Problem. We have some guys that can win this thing in dramatic fashion. It just depends on how they can actually handle the pressure. If you aren't excited about Sunday, I feel bad for you.

Getty Images

I Can't Stop Watching This

Seriously, this might be one of my favorite videos from any golf tournament ever. Keith Ohr, at Whistling Straits, with his heels against the boards on the 11th, Ohr does what everyone is scared they'll eventually do one day.

Here. Watch. Enjoy. Laugh.

Maybe the best part was after he went down. First, he has to find a way back up the nasty slope, and then he just pitches out as quick as possible. "Screw this cliff," I'm sure he told his caddie.

h/t Busbee

A Back Nine That Could Propel Tiger

As far as major championships go in 2010, not a lot of positive has been pulled from for Tiger Woods. Sure, he opened with a 4-under 68 at the Masters, the first time he had ever broke 70 in the opening round at Augusta National, but the rest of the week seemed like an uphill climb despite the top-five finish. At the U.S. Open, Tiger shot a third round 66 that got him right in the hunt, but it didn't help much when he couldn't find the hole on Sunday at Pebble Beach. At the British Tiger had hardly anything good to take away, but here we are at Whistling Straits.

In a year that seemed molded for a Tiger Woods Grand Slam, the question mark was Whistling. He didn't play that well here in 2004, and he struggles on target-style golf courses. But we all missed something that was looking is straight in the eye. Whistling is a par-72. Tiger LOVES par-72s. Ten of his 14 major championship wins have come on par-72s, and for some reason, it appears the addition of a couple of par-5s helps Tiger's game stay controlled.

On the front nine in his second round, it seemed Tiger might miss the cut (I even got an e-mail about the possibility and if I was going to write something up about it). But, something changed. The delay into Saturday helped in the sense of working out some of the kinks, but Tiger's 3-under 33 on the back nine to move him to 3-under for the tournament might be the most impressive thing he's done all year. It was the first time in 2010 that Tiger actually did something Tiger-y; posting a score when you absolutely need one.

I'm not going to say that I think Tiger has a great shot at vaulting up the leaderboard on Moving Day, but he is finally in a position that we are used to seeing. Tiger's normal attack mode kicks in on the weekends, and if he can string together a number similar to that in the third round at Pebble Beach, we may be seeing him near the last group come Sunday.

Just know that if he is near the last few, it's because of this nine holes. It was Tiger finally, finally, finally being Tiger for a change. And I like it.

Getty Images

Sergio Garcia Is Ready for Vaca

We've seen Sergio Garcia do some interesting things on the golf course (the spitting incident obviously takes the cake), but his freakout at the PGA Championship this week was incredible.

Basically, Garcia hit it in a bunker, got out, and then proceeded to let Herbert Kohler what he thought about his bunkers.

Video below. Enjoy.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

So Far, So Great at Bandon Dunes

It really is an incredible place, mainly because when you sit back and think for a second, you realize, "I'm in f-ing Oregon, and I'm standing on this golf hole!!" That, of course, isn't a knock on Oregon as much as it is a compliment to the incredible golf courses that make up this thing they call Bandon Dunes.

Pacific Dunes. Old McDonald. Bandon Trails. The Old. They're all absolutely incredible on a level that my caddied John explained to me very well on Wednesday - "If any of these courses were not at this facility compared to the others, they'd be considered one of the best courses ever created." It's true when you think about it. Super hot girls aren't nearly as hot when they're surrounded by supermodels, but toss them next to a couple of dogs and they're absolutely stunning. That's Bandon Dunes.

On Tuesday I got the pleasure, thanks to adidas and TaylorMade, to play 36 holes on these amazing links with Steve Olsen (right, with me at Old McDonald) and Chris Dukeminier, the two men competing in the Wear in the World competition that wraps up on Thursday. Basically if you don't know, this is a competition that you'd give a leg or three to compete in. They spent 50 days traveling to nine countries to play golf, handing out stories to us throughout the day that made me wish I had thought of kidnapping one of them a couple of months back and telling the world that I was Steve or Chris. Golf at midnight in Norway? Yep. Golf with two girl caddies in Thailand, where one picks mangos for you from a tree? You betcha. Golf at Kingsbarns during Open week? Yessir.

I wish I could hate them both, but I can't. They're great players and even better dudes. It has been an absolute thrill meeting them and the rest of the adidas-TaylorMade group, along with Josh from The Hacker's Paradise.

I'll have more from the trip when it wraps, but right now we have to go get some grub and chat about the only thing you can chat about while at Bandon; golf.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

PGA Championship Betting Odds

As always, here are the odds of the PGA Championship, via Bodog, and my favorite bets in bold.

Phil Mickelson 10/1
Tiger Woods 12/1
Rory McIlroy 16/1
Padraig Harrington 20/1
Steve Stricker 22/1
Ernie Els 28/1
Jim Furyk 33/1
Retief Goosen 33/1
Hunter Mahan 33/1
Justin Rose 40/1
Martin Kaymer 40/1
Sean O'Hair 40/1
Paul Casey 40/1
Luke Donald 50/1
Dustin Johnson 50/1
Matt Kuchar 50/1
Nick Watney 50/1
Graeme McDowell 50/1
Jeff Overton 50/1
Adam Scott 66/1
Ross Fisher 66/1
Bo Van Pelt 66/1
Louis Oosthuizen 66/1
Tim Clark 66/1
Sergio Garcia 66/1
Ben Crane 80/1
Peter Hanson 80/1
K.J. Choi 80/1
Stephen Ames 100/1
Stewart Cink 100/1
Zach Johnson 100/1
Edoardo Molinari 100/1
Geoff Ogilvy 100/1
Ian Poulter 100/1
Camilo Villegas 100/1
Angel Cabrera 100/1
J.B. Holmes 100/1
Anthony Kim 100/1
Justin Leonard 100/1
Francesco Molinari 100/1
Ryan Moore 100/1
Alvaro Quiros 100/1
Vijay Singh 100/1
Henrik Stenson 100/1
Bubba Watson 100/1
Darren Clarke 125/1
Jason Day 125/1
Brendon De Jonge 125/1
Rickie Fowler 125/1
Miguel Angel Jimenez 125/1
Robert Karlsson 125/1
Carl Pettersson 125/1
Rory Sabbatini 125/1
Charl Schwartzel 125/1
Brandt Snedeker 125/1
Stuart Appleby 125/1
Ricky Barnes 125/1
Chad Campbell 100/1
Lucas Glover 125/1
Stephen Marino 125/1
Kevin Na 125/1
Kenny Perry 125/1
Scott Verplank 125/1
Charlie Wi 125/1
Charles Howell III 150/1
Trevor Immelman 150/1
Ryan Palmer 150/1
David Toms 150/1
Boo Weekley 150/1
Y.E. Yang 150/1
Jason Bohn 150/1
Ben Curtis 150/1
Steve Elkington 150/1
Stephen Gallacher 150/1
Brian Gay 150/1
Bill Haas 150/1
Fredrik Jacobson 150/1
Jerry Kelly 150/1
Marc Leishman 150/1
Bryce Molder 150/1
John Senden 150/1
Michael Sim 150/1
Heath Slocum 150/1
Vaughn Taylor 150/1
Chris Wood 150/1
Matt Jones 150/1
Kevin Sutherland 150/1
D.J. Trahan 150/1
Tetsuji Hiratsuka 150/1
Ryo Ishikawa 150/1
Hyung-Tae Kim 150/1
Soren Kjeldsen 150/1
Tom Lehman 150/1
Davis Love III 150/1
John Merrick 150/1
Shaun Micheel 150/1
Corey Pavin 150/1
Jimmy Walker 150/1
Matt Bettencourt 200/1
Gonzalo Fernandez 200/1
Paul Goydos 200/1
Anders Hansen 200/1
Raphael Jacquelin 200/1
Wen-Chong Liang 200/1
Shane Lowry 200/1
Martin Laird 200/1
Troy Matteson 200/1
Seung-yul Noh 200/1
Tim Petrovic 200/1
Mike Weir 200/1
Danny Willett 200/1
Oliver Wilson 200/1
D-A Points 200/1
The Field ( Any Other Golfer) 10/1

Getty Images

Could This Be The Most Interesting PGA Championship Ever?

Normally this is the poor man's major. It's the one that produces names like Shaun Micheel and David Toms and Rich Beem. It's the final major for a reason, mostly because it seems to be reserved for fourth place; an event that is only a major because the PGA made us believe it was major.

While it has given us some incredible battles at times (think Sergio Garcia-Tiger Woods in 1999), it has tossed us more clunkers than teeth-clinchers. But, it's 2010, and we have a ton of drama heading into Whistling Straits, a golf course that a Senior Tour friend of mine told me on Monday was, along with Kiawah Island, the hardest place he's ever played.

But this week isn't about the golf course or the field or the chance to be a major winner. This is all about Tiger Woods, just like it always is. The only difference is, this time it's the opposite of what we're used to. This week, we are wondering (hoping?) that Tiger can show us a glimpse of his old self before the year ends, and his disappears to whatever dark corner he seems to be hiding out this year. This PGA Championship has the opportunity to be as epic as any we've ever seen.

Think storylines:

-- Tiger, the best golfer in the world, just finished up his worst performance as a professional, a week before the final major. He now hasn't finished in the top-10 in three straight events, and is close to finishing 2010 without a win, the first time he will do such a thing as a professional.

-- Phil Mickelson, the Robin to Tiger's Batman, had a chance at the Bridgestone Invitational to overtake Tiger as the top golfer in the game for the first time in his career, but failed miserably on Sunday, shooting an 8-over 78 that included just one birdie. Now, even with most of the negative focus sent Tiger's way, questions remain about the closing ability by Mr. Mickelson.

-- This week will decide if 2010 actually has a Player of the Year. It might be the most up-for-grabs award in the last 10 years, and just about anyone can win it with with a win at the PGA Championship: Mickelson, Hunter Mahan, Jim Furyk, Ernie Els, Graeme McDowell, Louis Oosthuizen, Rory McIlroy, Steve Stricker ... any have a great shot at the Player of the Year if they can master Whistling Straits.

-- A chance for a young kid to breakthrough. Sure, we talk about this all the time, but it seems the stars are aligning for this to happen. If Mahan, McIlroy, Anthony Kim, Rickie Fowler or Sean O'Hair won this week, it would be the story of the year on the PGA Tour not including Tiger Woods.

-- This PGA Championship will answer some serious questions about the Ryder Cup team. Most of the time, when it's this close to captain picking time, we have a good idea of the players they will go with. Not this year. There are between six and eight golfers that Corey Pavin could go with, and this major will help refine this list.

So, as you see, the PGA Championship will be exciting. Stay tuned, because it should be a fun ride.

Getty Images

Monday, August 9, 2010

Bandon Dunes, and the Safeway Classic

Just a quick scheduling reminder for all those sitting at the edge of their seat each day for some Dogs That Chase Cars news and updates (I'm kidding of course ... most of you are probably drunk, reading this at the local library as you steal Wireless Internet on your Sidekick).

On Tuesday, I will be flying to Bend, Oregon (home of the third largest airport in the world!) on a little golf excursion with adidas/TaylorMade golf. The finals to the "Wear in the World" challenge is going to be at Bandon Dunes, and I was asked to fly up and play some golf with the guys, and possibly write up a thing or two. I'm excited about the opportunity, and will be meeting and hanging out with Josh of Hackers Paradise, which is a website you should read daily, if not hourly.

I'll be back on Friday for the PGA Championship, but will be leaving Sunday evening to caddie for Irene Cho at the Safeway Classic in Portland. Needless to say, I'm pumped about that experience. Irene and I became friends through Erica Blasberg, and she asked me to tote the bag for her, which I quickly accepted.

So, yes, that will be my plan the next two weeks. Make sure to follow me on Twitter because the reports will be more consistent, but I'll promise to post here whenever I'm around my computer.

Oh, and as for my PGA Championship pick? Umm, well .... here ya go (tosses dart at sign) ... Jim Furyk. Sure, why not?

Well, That's One Way to Improve Your Putting Stats

Yep, just have your caddie putt for you. The PGA Tour can't count those as strokes you too, and imagine how many less attempts you'll have around the golf course. I have always thought Tiger Woods was a smart guy, but this is genius!!

Getty Images

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Should We Be Mad at Tiger Woods?

It was one of the strangest weeks ever for Tiger Woods, a golfer we've known since 1996 as a top-10 machine. Sure, he'd win a ton of golf tournaments, but the most impressive thing about his game has always been his consistency near the top of leaderboards. If he wasn't winning, he was third or fourth, and if he played really bad, he'd find himself somewhere around 13th or 14th.

Not this week at the Bridgestone Invitational, or at any of his recent golf tournaments. After his round on Friday, when Tiger added a 2-over 72 to his first round 74 and we all realized he wouldn't be winning (or even competing) at Firestone, things turned mentally for Tiger. For the first time in the history of this man, he was giving up. That, of course, raises a question we should be addressing; as fans of this game, should we be mad at Tiger for not caring?

While I'd almost always sit on the side of "Yes, how could this man finally toss in the white flag when he always, always grinding out event after event," I'm not going to this week. I feel for Tiger. I understand the level of frustration he must be feeling with a game he used to play pretty well. I've been there before. Standing on the 11th or 12th hole just hoping you can make contact with the tee ball in a tournament you were hoping you'd have a chance at isn't much fun, and that is where Woods is. Tiger isn't giving up on us, or disrespecting golf, he just seems so put out with his own play that there isn't a way in the world he can figure it out.

Some people will yell at Tiger for some of the quick shots he played over the weekend, but I'm not blaming him. I'm not mad at him. If anything, I feel for the guy. All year we've been worried about his personal life and disappointed in the man he had become, but now it's just kinda pitiful.

The greatest athlete of our generation can't play the game that got him there. I don't know about you, but it isn't that exciting to see Tiger Woods, the 14-time major champion winner and chaser of all records possible, finishing a spot away from dead last. I liked it a lot better when we got to see that Sunday red for the entire telecast.

Associated Press

Friday, August 6, 2010

How is Tiger Woods Playing? You Decide

Okay, time to play a little game. It's Friday, you are ready to get out of the office, and I'm ready to see if you can focus for two more minutes! Now, without looking at the scores of the Bridgestone Invitational, I want you to guess, just from these pictures, how Tiger Woods is playing. Don't cheat!

Getty and AP Images

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Yeah, That Was a Decent Roll

Just imagine you had a putt from 50-feet to win $10,000. Now, imagine you are 77-years-old, and a female, and, as I quote the incredibly cute Norma Clark, "to get new windows."

That is what is at stake here, and well, just watch. If you don't want to hug her after that putt drops, I feel bad for your soul.

h/t With Leather

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Honestly, How the Hell is Tiger Not Winning This Week?

Unlike LeBron James, when Tiger Woods leaves Cleveland, it is normally a very good thing. Since the former NEC turned Bridgestone Invitational had begun playing at Firestone Country Club, a course that fits Tiger's eye better than anyone you'd see in the tabloids, Woods has owned the event. He's won when the conditions were easy (21-under in 2000). He's won when it played a little tougher ('05, when the winning score was five-under). He's won going away (like in '08, when he won by eight shots) and he's won when it was a fight till the finish (as in '06, when he beat Stewart Cink in a playoff). Hell, Tiger Woods has even won this tournament playing the final hole in nearly pitch dark conditions.

Augusta National, Pebble Beach, St. Andrews, Doral ... you need to all move over, because if Tiger is going to win on a golf course in 2010, this is it. It has to be.

Since 1999, when Tiger won for the first time at Firestone, the event has been hosted at this course 10 times, and Woods has won seven of them. That last one came in 2009, when it seemed that Tiger was finally finding his groove. The problem was, a man named Y.E. Yang stood in his way at the PGA Championship, and Tiger has won just once since his victory here a year ago.

If the cards play out as they normally do with Tiger, he will win here this week, and probably go on to win at Whistling Straits the following week, a place he finished tied for 24th back in 2004, the last time it hosted a major. The problem is, this year hasn't been anything regular for Tiger, and seems to continue that way.

But, the fact is, he is bound to win at Firestone. It only makes sense. If he is only going to have a single victory in one season for just the second time in his career, it best come here. After Akron, Tiger's record sure isn't nearly as polished.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Camilo Villegas to Join TaylorMade

Ever since Camilo Villegas has been on the PGA Tour, he has been a Cobra guy, and one of the few left that has had a lot of success at a young age.

That will change in 2011, when Villegas is jumping ship to join TaylorMade/adidas. A girl friend of mine, who to say has a crush on Camilo would be to say that the Hoover Dam can hold a couple of drops of water, asked on Monday night if that meant Villegas was going to stop wearing, and let me get this straight, "those really hot J. Lindeberg clothes." He will not, but here is what he is switching up.

Villegas, 28, will play TaylorMade® clubs, a TaylorMade ball, wear TaylorMade headwear, wear a TaylorMade glove, use a TaylorMade staff bag and wear adidas Golf footwear. More details on the relationship between Villegas and TMaG will be revealed on September 9.

This is a pretty great land for TaylorMade, who seems to be adding to their talented arsenal highlighted by Justin Rose and Dustin Johnson (along with Sean O'Hair, Sergio and Paula Creamer).

Monday, August 2, 2010

Hooray, Hooray, the CEO Will Not Play!

Last week, Ray Halbritter made news when the CEO of Nation Enterprises decided that he would be playing in the Turning Stone Resort Championship this week. It was a story because he wasn't a professional golfer (not even close) but had inserted himself in the field because of a sponsors exemption that his own company gave out.

I went on a rant about it, mostly because we see stuff like this a lot, and it takes spots away from actual professional golfers that are out trying to make a living playing the game (Some of the comments are actually pretty entertaining -- my favorite, "And, dude, the way you play, you may have been hogging a spot or two yourself in your "tried to do this as a living" stint," making me wonder if A.) a friend of mine is mad at me but wanted to stay anonymous and B.) if the person that wrote that understands that in mini tour golf, you pay your own way into each event, so "hogging a spot" is impossible because you are paying the purses and C.) "Hogging a spot or TWO" ... have I gained weight? Do I necessitate two spots?)

Well, it turns out Halbritter is a good dude, and realized that by doing this, he was making an issue that was taking away from the elite event. He has pulled out of the event, saying the following:

"My goal was to celebrate, not detract from, our wonderful tournament, its players and fans. The focus this week should be on the great game of golf and enjoying the exciting competition on the course. I do not want my participation to distract from our Championship and the talented professionals who have chosen to compete here. So, I have decided to withdraw from my place in the field and to award it to another golfer to play this week."

We all want to be pro athletes, and Halbritter had a chance to "be a pro" for a couple of days, but it is time most of us (including me, at times) realize that it is really, really hard to do this, and just sneaking your way into an event because you have the ability and are in a position to do so isn't the right call.

Who will replace Halbritter in the field? Kirk Triplett, and before you go on a rant about how Triplett is a winner on tour and is worth millions and doesn't need the money, understand that he is 179th on the money list, and could use a good showing to jump up nearer to the 125th mark he needs to be under to get full status for next season. So, yes, it is actually about his job.

57, 58, 59, Oh My!

When I was still in high school, I went out on a random Sunday to play 18 holes with the popular money game at my home golf course in East Texas. The games are usually whatever you want them to be, at whatever amount you can afford, and with just about every golfing ability known to man. That day, I was paired with two older gentlemen that would be tickled to death if they shot 76, and one younger guy that played mini tour golf and was the big enchilada around Marshall Lakeside Country Club.

I had a bet with the youngster, and he went out and shot a course record 61. Needless to say, I lost. What is important here is the number. A 61. It was the best round I'd ever witnessed. In 2010, on the PGA Tour, it might not even make the top-10.

That's because for some reason, wether it be Wile E. Coyote posting up under most of the greens with a magnet for the balls, or just luck at its best, some of the best rounds in golf history have been shot this year. On Sunday, Stuart Appleby added his name to the list of sub-60 rounds in PGA Tour history, posting an 11-under 59 to win the Greenbrier Classic by a shot. It isn't the kind of rounds you dream of (those are 65s on Sunday at Augusta, because even the best golfers in the world don't have the subconscious imagination to come up with a 59 to win an event), it's the rounds you think can't happen, but in 2010, it is just another round that makes us mortals shake our heads.

Appleby joins Paul Goydos as guys that broke 60 on the PGA Tour, and can hang with Ryo Ishikawa, who shot a 58 on Sunday in a Japan Tour event to win, and young Bobby Wyatt, who shot a 57 last week in a high school tournament.

No clue on why the 50-something gauntlet has been thrown down, but I guess it poses the question, how long until we see a 57 or 58 in a PGA Tour tournament? At this point, it sure seems likely.

Getty Images