Monday, January 31, 2011

Bubba Watson; Impossible to Hate

Before last season's Travelers Championship, Bubba Watson was a fun character on the PGA Tour to follow. He was left-handed, hit the ball a mile, and kinda plodded around the course with his goofy walk and his pink-shafted driver. He seemed like the type of guy you could root for, and his continuous YouTube videos sure helped.

But he wasn't a winner. He could never break through, and it was started to pose the question, "Is Bubba good enough to be a winner on the PGA Tour?"

He answered that at the Travelers with a win over Corey Pavin and Scott Verplank in a playoff, not exactly the most intimidating names in golf, but good enough to land in the winner's circle. Then came the PGA Championship, where Bubba nearly added "major championship winner" to his resume, eventually losing to Martin Kaymer in a playoff. In just a matter of months, Bubba had completely changed the thoughts on him.

A year ago, Bubba asked me to play 18 holes with him in a charity golf scramble, and I remember not being that impressed with his length or drives (I've seen guys hit the ball far before), but more with his touch around the greens and how every putt he hit seemed to be headed for the cup, even if it didn't go in (I distinctly remember Bubba drawing a line on his ball to help his alignment, and how with every putt, the line was rolling right down the line, picture-perfect for a putting stroke).

Sunday, at Torrey Pines, Bubba moved to another level. He won over names, and he made two clutch putts on 17 and 18 that secured his win over one of the most popular names in golf history.

He did it not with a goofy look on his face but with determination; Watson wasn't that slouched guy anymore, he was a golfer that is now a two-time winner, a Ryder Cupper, and a near major champion. He knew who was chasing him on Sunday, but he held his composure, hit a great bunker shot on the final hole, and then sank the birdie putt dead center. This was a day after Bubba made eagle on the same hole to get himself in the conversation, and then eventually win.

He's just a fun guy to root for. My uncle sent me a text on Monday that basically sums it up - "If you don't like Bubba you're just not trying."

You know what's even scarier? Bubba hits it long, he hits a cut, and the first major of the year calls for just that. Augusta National might be right up his alley.

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Your Comprehensive Waste Management Open Guide

It's Waste Management Open week, and for a guy that lives in Scottsdale, and has for the past few years, it is my one chance to "host" the golfing world. Here are a few pointers on the week; what to do, see, eat, play and some inside notes on the tournament. Read on ...

Where Should You Stay?

This question comes with a few answers, but most of that depends on what you like and how old you are. If you're between the ages of 21-28 and enjoy nightlife, the place to be is in the Old Town Scottsdale area. That is where the nightlife will be exciting for the entire week, and where the young people will be having a good time.

You can always get a room at the Phoenician, but if you're looking to be a bit more thrifty, there is a great Courtyard Marriott just south of Old Town, and a Holiday Inn Express right next to it. Both are great locations where you can walk to bars and restaurants, and both leave you only about 15 minutes from the golf tournament.

If you're a little older, and want a more quiet experience that is closer to the tournament, you can crash up by TPC. Kierland is a nice spot, with a ton to do in their shopping district next door called Kierland Commons, and the crowd is a bit more mature and established.

Where Should You Eat?

For Sports Bars, I'll give you the following options:

Blue 32 -- A new spot on Indian Bend and Scottsdale Rd. (about 10 minutes from golf), this sports bar has good food and incredible televisions. It is one of the few sports bars I've been to where you can see a good TV from any seat in the house.

Zipps -- A few locations in Phoenix, the one near Kierland isn't far from the golf course and offers a great menu highlight by the Monaco Focaccia, one of the best things you'll ever eat in you entire life.

Arcadia Tavern -- A little further from the golf (in Arcadia, maybe 20 minutes from TPC), this place is one of my favorite sports bars in Phoenix. It has a neighborhood feel, and a game area for the kids, plus solid food and a great TV setup.

For Dinner Spots:

Sapporo Sushi: If you're in the mood for sushi, this is about the best in the city, and close to the golf tournament. Also, the waitresses are known to be decently attractive, so there's that.

The Mission: A high-end Mexican food spot in Old Town Scottsdale, the atmosphere and food are fantastic. Don't forget to get the guacamole that they make at your table, because it'll be the best decision you make all week.

Roaring Fork: A staple of my diet, this restaurant never disappoints. Sit in the bar and take advantage of a fantastic happy hour, and chow down on the Green Chili Pork at a reasonable price. It also has a hamburger there that was ranked in the top-10 two years ago by Mens Fitness. A place where everything on the menu seems to be awesome.

Where Should We Go Out?

Blue Martini: A spot up north that will be busy all weekend, Blue Martini is a spot infamous for their massive feline contingent (that is you, reading between the lines).

The Lodge: A spot in Old Town that is always busy, but not too obnoxious, and has a solid late night dinner menu in case your stomach is a-rumblin'. Get the pretzel. Just do it.

The Vig: A cool, more chill spot in the Arcadia area that has great drinks, a fun crowd, and a Vig Rig that will drive you back to your place for free, as long as you tip the man.

Where Should We Play?

The Phoenician: A resort-style golf course that is always in good shape and gives you the best views of any golf course in the valley. It isn't too hard, so you might be able to drop in a birdie or two, but it is fun, and has a few challenging holes. Also, if you're lucky, a celebrity might be playing in the group in front of you.

Southern Dunes Golf Club: Formerly a private club named Royal Dunes, Southern Dunes is now open to the public, and you won't regret the 40 minutes drive to Maricopa to play it. The course can be challenging if you tip it out, but it has some really awesome holes and is the best new design in Arizona.

Troon North, Pinnacle: You've heard of this course, but there is no way I could leave it off the list. It's the, getreadyforit, Pinnacle of desert golf, and one everyone should play once before they die. Just a suggestion: toss a bunch of water balls in your bag before you go out there. You're probably going to need them.

Okay, Now Golf Tournament Tips

Friday is the new Saturday: Maybe it's because I'm getting older, and the thought of 150,000 people all in the same place pushes me into panic attack mode, but Saturday has gotten too crazy at the Waste Management Open for my liking. If you can, go on Friday instead, because nobody works that day anyway, it's super fun, and it isn't nearly as packed as it is over the weekend.

The 16th: If you're going to hit up the 16th, let me make it a lot easier on you; go early, and don't leave. The stadium-style golf hole fills up FAST, and the line can stretch all the way to the 11th tee if you're not careful, so get there early, snag a couple of seats, and enjoy the action.

If you can't get to the 16th early, go before the final groups roll through. Normally the non-golf fans have left by then, and you'll get to see the big boys playing with a lot of the guys in the stands extra-lubricated. A win-win, really.

What other hole should we be watching?: It used to be the 17th, but the new stands closed off the viewing area there, so my suggestion is the green at the par-5 3rd hole and the tee box at the 4th. It's a good spot where you can see second shots flying in and tee balls on the short par-3. It's a fun place to see some cool action, and won't be nearly as packed.

Anything Else?

Just a friendly reminder not to drink and drive while you're visiting. While it is stupid to do anyway, Arizona is the worst state in the world to be landing behind the wheel with a few drinks in you. Trust me, if you do it, you're going to get caught, especially this week.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Phil Mickelson's Lay-Up Was the Right Call

The debate in the golf world over the next two days will be about a left-hander at Torrey Pines, but it won't be the guy that won. Nope, everyone will be focusing on Phil Mickelson's lay-up on the 72nd hole.

I'll lay out exactly what happened quickly, and then explain why it was the right move, not the wrong one as most are saying. Phil hit his drive in the rough on the par-5 18th hole after making a great birdie on 17. Bubba Watson, up ahead and a shot up on Phil, was in the greenside bunker, and hit a solid shot to about 12 feet for birdie to give him a two-shot cushion over Mickelson. Before Bubba rolled in his birdie putt, Mickelson elected to lay-up. Bubba made birdie, Phil needed to hole out for eagle, and he didn't, settling for a final birdie that left him a shot back of a playoff.

Now, the debate is this; people are up in arms because Phil hit his lay-up before Bubba had putted. The idea behind this argument is that Mickelson should have waited to see if Watson made a four, because if he did, he had to make eagle.

Here is my main point about all this debate - if Phil Mickelson, a guy that allows his longtime caddie ONE swing veto a year, is laying up, he's doing it for a reason. He had 220-yards to the pin, over water, from a nasty lie in the rough. Either he A.) Didn't think he'd be able to get the ball up in the air out of that lie B.) Didn't think he'd be able to stop it on the front of the green from the rough or C.) Knew he had no shot of winning if his ball was waist deep in a lake.

We all know how Phil plays golf. He is the Brett Favre of golf. He takes chances all the time, sometimes pulls them off and sometimes doesn't, but is never scared to hit a certain shot. There is a reason he didn't go for it on 18, and it isn't because he didn't have any nerve. Nope, the lie was that bad, and Phil made a decision that he probably hated, but it was the right one.

Sometimes you try golf shots you aren't sure you can pull off, and most of the time, they end poorly. Phil figured if Bubba made the birdie he was probably out of it anyway, and for a guy with the touch that Phil does, he could still hole a wedge to win.

I thought it was the right decision. He knows his golf game better than we do.

Update: Phil answered the lay-up question, courtesy of ASAP Sports.

"On 18, the grain to the grass was in. I had 227 to carry. If I hit a hybrid, the ball would have come out dead and there was hurt, so I couldn't have made it over the water. But the way my 3-wood is, the ball would have come out hot and it would have went screaming over. So I didn't really have a shot to get it on the green. I felt like I had a better chance to make a three from the fairway trying to use that bank and bringing the ball back or flying it in."


Friday, January 28, 2011

And Also, Tiger Woods Played Some Good Golf

I'm not sure if you've seen this yet, but The Daily, one of my favorite sites on the web, found this headline amusing from Reuters, pointing out they were the same site to have the headline, "Tired Gay succumbs to Dix in 200 meters" a while back.

I will say this ... an encouraging 69 is way better than a messy 69. Nobody likes a messy 69.

Hope in Failure

It's strange to think that golf, one of the few things in this world I'm actually decent at, is the one thing that I've always questioned. I have always struggled to believe in myself on the golf course. I always looked at the competition and didn't think I could hang with them. Sure, I've played good rounds before, and been clutch when I needed to be clutch, but I never felt that I totally belonged with the other sticks in events.

Then came Thursday. I wasn't going to announce it here or on Twitter that I was attempting to qualify for the Waste Management Open, because I didn't want to make it a big deal. It's just another attempt to catch lightening in a bottle, as my old pal Greg Hansen once said, but this year is a bit different. I'm trying new things. I'm working with a swing coach. I've been fit, thanks to the great people at TaylorMade, for golf clubs that are perfect for me.

I've been working at it, because at 27, I'm not getting any younger and if I could just trust myself (swing, stroke, etc.) on the golf course, good things could happen. So Thursday, I went out to play in the pre-qualifier for the Waste Management against 101 other players for nine measly spots into the Monday event that could get you into a PGA Tour event.

Just so we don't get any hopes up, I shot a 73, missing out on the Monday by three shots. I made exactly one birdie all day, on the first hole no doubt, and missed two short putts that would have had me bogey-free for the entire day.

Most of the time, you leave this disappointed. You didn't obtain your goal, and in life, we're taught that if you don't win, you lose. But that wasn't the case here. I felt good when I left. I went out, I played fine golf, and the putts didn't drop. It could have been 69 or 70 if a putt drops here or there that looked good for most of the way, but that's every round of golf.

What I did leave with is hope. I have been trying to convince myself that I'm good at this goddamn game, and on Thursday, I left thinking that I am. I beat some good names. I played better than a collegiate player that spent four years at a top university. I didn't embarrass myself. I gave myself a shot.

For anyone that has played tournament golf at this level, they know that it takes time to get comfortable. I haven't played in a serious event since June, and you can't do that. Nobody runs marathons without training, and tournament golf is a type of training. You have to get comfortable in the situation. You have to feel good about where you're at. You have to know that you can play here. After 18 holes, I accomplished some of those, I just need to play more.

So, that's my goal for 2011. I'm going to play more golf like this. I'm going to try and be the type of golfer that others have hoped I would. I'll attempt to take things I've learned from the range to the golf course, and maybe it'll turn into something. Or maybe it won't. But now I got something a lot of those other guys out there don't have; confidence. It's a scary thing.

John Daly is Mad, But Why?

You know that old saying about "crying wolf"? How if you do it so many times, people stop listening, and move on to other things. To me, that's a little of John Daly's career. Sure, he has a ton of talent, and sure, I'd have a beer or two with him if he ever wanted (which I'm sure won't happen since he blocked me on Twitter, another example of the insecurity level we're dealing with here), but would I give him an invite in my PGA Tour tournament? Probably not. Too many wolfs.

But that isn't how Daly sees it. After posting a 5-under 67 in the first round of the Farmers Insurance Open, Daly took to the microphone and screamed about the way he had been treated by the Bob Hope and the Waste Management Open. He's mad because they didn't extend him an invitation to play there this year, something they are totally allowed to do since it is their tournament and their sponsors exemptions.

Here are Daly's words ...

"I'll tell you this: I'll never go back to the Hope and I'll never go back to Phoenix, no matter what happens. I won't even send letters anymore. I'm not saying that to ditch the tournaments. I'm just saying that if you look at my past, everything the Thunderbirds have ever wanted me to do for 20 -- well, 17, 16 years I'm sure I did it for them. I helped get celebrities go to the Hope. I helped them out. I went to their parties and did everything for them. That is the kind of stuff that we all want our young players to do out here to help the tournaments, and I felt like I did my part. It hurt me for those two tournaments not to give me spots. So I'll go to Europe on those weeks."

Listen, is Daly a draw to go the game even at 44? Yes, people still care about him. Is he the top name that comes up when these tournaments are looking at people to invite? No, not anymore. It's called the changing of the guard, and to be honest, I don't blame the Hope or the WaMo. It's their decision who to invite, and if they see a young player itching to get in the event instead of a veteran known for his antics, I'd probably go younger as well.

It's just something Daly is always going to forced to live with as younger names become more popular. These kids have flawless resumes. Daly's is bruised and battered. It just seems the one guy asking for the invites can't really see why they wouldn't want him there.

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Phil Mickelson Thinks Tiger Is Back, Sadly Enough

On Sunday night, every golf writer on the planet had a conference call at 10:13 PM. It was a pretty large event, but the main focus was this; which writers are going to focus on Tiger Woods' return and which aren't? Sadly, only one man, Dan Jenkins, said he wasn't going to focus on a Tiger return, and that's because he was taking a nap. So, as you've probably read a few times over the last four days, TIGER WOODS IS BACK DAMMIT AND HE'S GOING TO WIN A MILLION TOURNAMENTS AND HE'S GREAT AND IF YOU DON'T THINK SO YOU SUCK AND SHOULD BE EXILED YOU HORRIBLE AMERICAN YOU!

Whew, that was tough. Anyway, it seems us writers aren't the only ones thinking Woods could be back this week. Phil Mickelson the meat eater thinks he's back as well.

These were his exact words during his press conference at the Farmers Insurance Open.

"I saw last year when I played with him in Chicago and saw him at the Ryder Cup, I saw his game getting back to where it was. His speed was back up. He was hitting it long. His touch was coming back, and I expect that he'll be the Tiger that we've known for over a decade, unfortunately (laughing)."

It's funny because it's depressing for everyone else!

So, yeah, Tiger finally is on the golf course this Thursday. No more speculation, just golf and scores and birdies and recaps. Golf season is starting, folks. Get excited.

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Colin Montgomerie Continues With the Awkward Photos ...

Remember back in 2010, when I posted this photo of Colin Montgomerie and some lady with shovels, and the lady isn't even looking? Everything about the picture was fantastic. The expressions, the random tree, the bulldozer in the back ...

... well, Monty is back, and this time, he's got a few more characters. Call it the Fantastic Four. That's Monty, with, according to the Getty Images caption, "Shaikh Abdulla Bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, Board member of Bahrain International Golf Course Company, Kamal Ahmed, The Chief Operating Officer of The Bahrain Economic Development Board and Susan Stevenson, The General Manager of The Royal Golf Club Bahrain."

Here is one of a few questions I have about this photo; why isn't anyone looking at the camera? Are there really multiple photographers here taking snapshots? Is this a huge moment? Also, Monty totally looks photoshopped in, and with the hands on the hips and the goofy expression, he looks like he's trying to make it on Celebrity Photobombs.


Thanks to Getty Images, as always

Oh Phil, You Jokester You!

If there is one thing Phil Mickelson is, it's funny. Okay, maybe more than that, but he is funny, right? Don't we hear all the time about how many jokes he can dish out at a time, and how he's basically the Daniel Tosh of the PGA Tour? Wrong again? Oh well.

He did make a funny after Padraig Harrington got disqualified last week at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship that the Irishman said helped him get past the rules infraction. After a caller phoned in the penalty Padraig made, Mickelson consoled the three-time major winner in the locker room.

“Phil Mickelson in the locker room that afternoon came in, he said he thought it was very unfortunate and thought it was, the whole incident was a terrible thing to happen.

“And he felt really bad for bringing in the phone call.”


Phil Mickelson, just laying 'em down without any idea what these other people are feeling! See, he said that HE, Phil Mickelson, was the one that brought the call in to get the other dude, Padraig Harrington, disqualified. It's funny because it probably would have happened three years ago!

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The 25 Coolest Golfer of All-Time

GQ recently came out with an issue of the 25 coolest athletes of all-time. It brought up a good point ... what about just golfers? Normally "golfers" and "cool" aren't in the same breath, but what if for a second we focused on just the cool ones? Here goes ...

1.) Arnold Palmer -- He made the GQ list, and he's making this one as well. The King is so cool, he made a drink combining lemonade and iced tea as popular as Diet Coke to golfers. That's impressive. I also once heard a story about Palmer at Augusta National that I can't repeat, but moved him quickly up this list.

2.) Fred Couples -- The guy made tennis shoes on the golf course without socks cool. Need I say more? Also, he might be the only man alive that both a mother and a daughter want to sleep with. True story.

3.) Ben Hogan -- The guy is so cool, he nearly ended his career early because he was saving his wife during a car accident with a Greyhound bus. The wreck nearly ended his life, but didn't end his career. He went on to claim nine majors over his career, and always did it with style.

4.) Tommy Armour III -- He is infamously cool, like one of those old actors back before the Internet that spent eight nights a week drinking expensive cocktails with pretty women and seven mornings a week making birdies. He has more friends in Hollywood than most executives, and still has charm at age 51.

5.) Miguel Angel Jimenez -- I will never put a man out of the top five that smokes cigars on the golf course, during some of the biggest events in the world. Miguel drives fast cars, drinks wine after rounds, and seems to enjoy life more than 99.999 percent of all living people. Also, the haircut doesn't hurt.

6.) Walter Hagen -- He had style, he had pizzazz, and he took golf to a whole other level. Gene Sarazen once said of Hagen, "All the professionals ... should say a silent thanks to Walter Hagen each time they stretch a check between their fingers. It was Walter who made professional golf what it is."

7. ) Dustin Johnson -- The guy just walks around with swag for days, and that translates into cool. How cool is DJ? After he lost his chance at a major championship because of a weird rules violation, he took a shower, and then answered the questions like he'd just lost an auction for a new umbrella holder.

8.) Lee Trevino -- Comedy can be cool if you play it the right way, and Trevino did just that. This is a man that used to play money games without any money in his pockets, and once tossed a rubber snake at THE Jack Nicklaus before a U.S. Open playoff. Now that's a cool move.

9.) Retief Goosen -- His demeanor is so cool, he got sponsored by Grey Goose and it didn't even seem goofy. Retief missed a short putt to win his first U.S. Open, took about two seconds to put himself back together, and then went out and won the damn thing the next day in a playoff.

10.) Greg Norman -- Sure, he choked at times during major championships, but the hair, the look, the accent and the business sense made Norman one of the few golfers to transition over to celebrity status in the '90s.

11.) Darren Clarke -- A timeless character that doesn't seem to have an enemy in the golf world, Clarke seems to play the game like most of us wish we could. He doesn't get bothered, doesn't get mad, and obviously can handle any situation. Also, he smokes cigars. Bonus points.

12.) Chi Chi Rodriguez -- Not only did he have the swagger and that sword thing, but the story goes, Chi Chi could hit two balls on the range, one with a hook and one with a slice, and every thousand ballls or so they'd collide in midair. Got my vote.

13.) Will MacKenzie -- He has that surfer/skateboarder/gnarly, bro mentality that not many golfers can pull off. Seems like the type of dude that could wear some ridiculous hat to the bar with you, and would be the only person in that place that could pull it off.

14.) Jack Nicklaus -- He won 18 majors. That's pretty cool. Also, won the last of his majors with these pants on.

15.) Ernie Els -- He's The Big Easy. He's won two U.S. Opens and a British. He owns his own winery. His golf swing looks like he's trying to replace a butterfly to another branch. Seems cool enough for me.

16.) Rickie Fowler -- While I hear he can be rather boring in person, the demeanor he carries on the golf course defines cool. He has that look, he has the golf game, and he has the style.

17.) Adam Scott -- Guy exudes class, has model looks, and enjoys surfing.

18.) Seve Ballesteros -- He was one of those guys that had the flowing hair, the look, the creativity on the golf course, and the jokes after. He always seemed like the coolest guy at a golf tournament when he played, and always brought the goods, no matter the lie.

19.) Geoff Ogilvy -- Never seems to get bothered on the golf course, has a golf swing that is so smooth it hurts, and has a simple style that fits him well. Also, if you haven't noticed, Australians tend to be cooler than most people.

20.) Gary Player -- Always had an untouchableness about him that seemed unique and interesting. Player wore the black, did a million push-ups a day, and is probably still stronger than all of us and he's 75.

21.) Jimmy Demaret -- This is from his Wikipedia page, in case you were wondering why he's on the list; "Demaret was known for his flamboyant personality, which he enhanced by wearing bright-colored clothing during tournaments; he had his clothes specially made, and became a fan favorite. Demaret had a very good baritone voice and talent as a comedian; he frequently entertained at nightclubs at Tour stops." Nice.

22.) Ben Crenshaw -- He had style, he won tournaments, and he made one of the most famous, and gutsy, speeches in the history of the game at Brookline in 1999 when he told the world the Americans were about to shock people that Sunday. They did, and his confidence will forever be remembered.

23.) Alvaro Quiros -- Have you seen the guy? Exactly.

24.) Payne Stewart -- He had incredible style, was a guy people seemed to enjoy having around, and, for goodness sakes, the guy wore knickers!

25.) Tiger Woods -- What, I'm not going to include him? He'd be a lot higher if he didn't do the Sunday red thing, but up until a year ago, Tiger was in the top-five.

Tiger Woods Is About to Return

It's still funny to me when I get questions about Tiger Woods from sports fans across the board. Just a day ago, a good friend of mine asked me if I ever thought Tiger would win another major championship. Another friend of mine wants to put up an absurd amount of money this year on Tiger winning less than two major titles.

It seems that in terms of "What have you done for me lately," people have quickly forgot that we are speaking of a man that is used to winning golf tournaments like a politician is used to speaking with their hands. Tiger wins, even if it doesn't happen for a year.

Now, I've said in the past that I don't know if Tiger will ever get back to the level that he has been in his career, and by that I mean, Tiger isn't going to win 10 tournaments in a season again. The fields are too strong, the young guys aren't as intimidated anymore and Tiger is aging, and has, to use an old bridge term, looking down into that cliff below as he was walking across. It's deep down there and the fear starts to set in. Tiger has seen a side of golf now that he never had before, and once you've viewed that letdown part, you can't unsee it.

But trust me, it doesn't mean that Tiger just isn't going to win anymore. He is going to win, and it is probably going to happen this week. Why? Because sometimes those old feelings are just too strong to deny. Tiger loves Torrey Pines, he has fond memories of it when he was still the man, limping around with the entire world rooting him on like he was a boxing lifting himself off the mat for one last round. He has had tons of success here in the past, and like your high school reunion, when you catch eyes with an old flame, something still stirs inside of you.

I think that the Chevron said a lot about Tiger both positively and negatively, but for three rounds he was the best golfer in an elite group of golfers, and if you can pull from just that, Woods has a lot to build on heading into this week.

These days it isn't about how much Tiger is practicing or how much work he's putting it. Now, for the first time ever, it seems that most of how he will play is in between the ears. He has to believe that he can do this again, consistently, and if he can convince himself of that he will be fine once again.

He's probably going to win this week. Not because of anything more than the fact that he needs it so much. He's a rare breed, and we hardly ever get to see the top talent in a sport, maybe ever, get knocked down the way Tiger has been knocked down the last 14 months. He needed some time away, he got it, and now he will be back with a vengeance. Tiger remembers all the criticisms and the negativity from the press. He doesn't forget that most have counted him out at some point, and if there is one guy ready to prove everyone wrong, it's Woods.

So, to my two friends, I'll leave you with this ... yes, Woods is going to win more majors, and no, if I was going to bet five figures on a golfer not to win two majors this season, it wouldn't be this guy. Sure, he probably won't, but would you want to be turning your remote on to the PGA Championship this year, with Woods holding one of the majors, hoping he doesn't claim another? I wouldn't, because unlike most, my only memory about this guy didn't come from last season.

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Monday, January 24, 2011

The Masters Trophy Always Makes Me Laugh

There are a lot of cool things about winning the Masters. You get to play there for the rest of your life. You get a million bucks. You get a green jacket. You get to go play Augusta whenever you want.

But the thing that few know, is you actually get a trophy. Yep, it's the one on the left, and it still cracks me up whenever I see it. Obviously someone complained once that there isn't a trophy that goes with the win, so they decided to make one. I have a feeling this isn't the thing people ask Masters winners to show when they come the house after you take down the first major.

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The Bushnell Hybrid Rangefinder is Next Step in GPS Systems

Occasionally I'll get something in the mail from a golf company to review. No matter if it's a ballmarker or a driver or a shirt, I'll attempt to be fair when rolling out my thoughts on said product.

So, when I tell you that I absolutely am head over heels in love with the new Bushnell Hybrid know that I'm not just saying that because the package it came in was stuffed with $100 bills. Nope, I'm saying it because this is the next step in rangefinders. An exact pin yardage mixed with what the front and back of the green will be. It's like having a pin sheet on every golf course you will ever play again, and that is incredible.

I wasn't as excited as I thought I'd be when I got the device. I've used Bushnell and SkyCaddie before, and think they're both great products. I like to know the exact yardage to the pin, so I usually would go with a device I could laser to the flag, but the way SkyCaddie has transitioned lately has made their products must-owns as well.

The Hybrid is the next step. The first thing you might notice is the bulky side with the GPS part. It is different if you've used a lot of Bushnell before, but you get used to it (I found myself shooting at pins with the Hybrid sideways for the first couple of holes because of the added weight to the left side, but I eventually got past that).

The first thing I loved is that you don't have to connect it to the Internet. I arrived at the course I was playing, typed in "Dobson Ranch" after going through a question about what state I was playing, and the course came up. Boom, we're ready to go.

The green yardage might not be that beautiful, but it doesn't have to be. The GPS point is to give you the information you need, and nothing more. What is it to the front? What is it to the middle? What is it to the back? Now, let's fire at the pin.

Too many times I find myself forgetting to check the entire yardage, or see the entire picture. I will fire at a pin, see it is 156, and then yank out my 9-iron, but if the pin is in the front, and there is water guarding it, and I now know that it is 173 to the back, I might as well hit a smooth 8, and if it goes 10 yards past the pin, I'm still putting for birdie with a par under my belt. That's what the hybrid gives you.

I really enjoyed knowing both. I found myself a couple of times just looking at what the middle yardage was without even firing the laser at the pin, because I knew where I needed to hit it. It's the best of both worlds.

Does it have any flaws? Not anything that jumps out. You have to manually change between holes, which might seem like a big deal to some that are used to it just automatically doing that, but I'm sure it will be a bug that goes away with the next edition. Basically, what Bushnell did was combine two devices, like if a cell phone company came out with a iBlackberry, and made it to where you get the best of both worlds in just one piece of electronics.

Observations From This Weekend

Since the weekend had a lot of golf going on, I figured wrapping it up in one of those list thingys would be the best way to do. Sip your coffee before moving on. Okay? Okay.

1.) Martin Kaymer's win makes him the best in the world -- I expanded on this point over at Yahoo!, but figured I'd make it here as well. He has five wins since January of 2010, including a major championship, and finished in the top-10 in two other majors last season. He is only 26, but is killing folks on the golf course, and he has the type of swing that will keep him around for a loooong time.

2.) Jhonattan Vegas broke the Twitter record for "most pointless jokes about a golfer's name" in the history of the site -- Hey, even I made a few! But on this Vegas guy for a second, how impressive was that win? He had the lead for the better part of the week, and then had to secure it in a playoff against the winner from last year and another rookie. That is clutch stuff. Don't expect this guy to go away, and maybe even win again this year. It seems there are people that have "it" and people that don't, and a guy that wins his first playoff against two guys after battling for the lead over five days makes him one of those "it" dudes.

3.) Phil Mickelson is going to struggle this season -- I pointed that out before the season started, but when the biggest news about you in the last five months is the fact that you are back to eating meat again, your golf game isn't in the right place. Look for Lefty to continue to struggle with his golf game, Augusta not withstanding.

4.) Watch this YouTube video -- Go, watch it now!

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Friday, January 21, 2011

Apparently This Will Send You Home

You've probably heard by now that Padraig Harrington was disqualified on Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship after posting a first round 65 that left him just a shot back of the leader. Harrington, who has been going through some swing changes lately, finally got it all in place, but was called out by a television viewer, the second time something like this has happened in just three weeks of golf in 2011.

The video above, courtesy of Geoff Shackelford, shows Harrington moving the ball. As he removes the coin, he kind of, sort of touches the ball and it moves a little, a human error by all accounts but still something you can't do according to the rules of golf. And he was disqualified. Because he didn't know he did that. And there goes a great round for Paddy.

I ranted about it over at Devil Ball, but it really is insane that this is still a rule. Change it, people! Nobody should be getting disqualified because of this!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Every Davis Love III Joke You'll Read Today

As you've heard, Davis Love III was named the Ryder Cup captain on Thursday, huge news if you've lived under a rock for the past few months and didn't know it was already happening.

So, nothing really more to say ... everyone enjoys him, he seems like a good guy, and he will be good at it. So, without further ado, here is a list of all the dumb Davis Love jokes you'll hear today, in no particular order.

Ryder Cup Love
Don't Love Jose - Davis Named Captain
Love-ing this Pick for Ryder Cup
Ryder Love
I Love The Way You(r) (ball) Lie(s)
Players Love Their New Captain
Illinois Love
Davis Would Love to Make This a Win for the Americans
Game of Love
Can't Get Enough of this Everyday Love
Love Can Build a Squad
Love Hopes for Pot of Gold at Medinah
Good Love is On the Way
We're All in For Love, We're Not Lost Without You
Love, Actually!
The Americans Looks So Good in Love
Yes Love
Can You Feel the Love Tonight?
I'm Lovin' It!
All You Need is Love!
Love Conquers All
All is Fair in Love on Tour

Okay, got anymore? Puns! Woohoo!

Phil Mickelson Says BRING ON THE MEAT!

I'd have to say the reason that Phil Mickelson has decided to end his run as a vegetaran the same week he is visiting the United Arab Emirates has nothing to do with the difficulty of ordering a Caesar salad over there, but you never know.

But the reign is over ... Mickelson will again be eating meat, he told reporters on Wednesday, something he decided to change when he was diagnosed psoriatic arthritis back in 2010. That didn't last long, however, and it seems that the burger-loving lefty will again be back at the drive-thru line.

I do like the fact that Phil still can chomp down on a Five Guys burger here or there. He always was the guy that wasn't scared to do that, and when he was forced to switch veggie, it just never felt the same. Now, he's back, and even though he said he's more aware of what he eats, I hope to one day be stepping on peanut shells near the major championship winner as we both eye down a delicious, meaty slab of beef.

Welcome back, Phil!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Oh, Canada! Country Takes to Twitter for Tiger

When Tiger Woods joined Twitter, I wasn't so sure the relationship would work, but I've never lived in an igloo, so what do I know?

That's what some Canadian Open organizers are trying to work out right now. The 2011 Maple Leaf Open is set for the week after the British, but our northern neighbors are basically getting on one social networking knee and begging Woods to make it to their event.

Organizers are asking fans to send Tiger tweet messages, replies and whatever else they can to beg him to make it up to the event Woods won in 2000.

Honestly, it isn't a horrible idea. Do we think Tiger really is checking his UberTwitter ten times a day like the rest of us? No, probably not, but the idea at least gets people like myself and others writing about it, and I'm sure the question will be tossed Tiger's way in an interview or two.

I'd guess that Woods already has his entire schedule made up for this season, and probably isn't going to make that long flight after the British to Canada, but it does bring on a whole other aspect of social media; begging.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Best Golf Photo You'll See All Week

Lee Westwood ... Louis Oosthuizen ... a mini bike ... a camera phone. What the hell us is there in life??!

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Somehow, Someway, Michelle Wie Helped Steve Marino

It's kind of a cute story, really. Steve Marino, a rookie on the PGA Tour, gets paired with Michelle Wie in his first ever event. You think you have nerves, trying being a teenage girl playing against men in an event where you're the main attraction.

But that's where Marino stepped in. Unlike a lot of the older guys that hated the fact that a girl was going to be playing with them, Steve joked, had fun with her, helped her out, and made her feel more comfortable.

Marino was a nobody then, but he's quickly becoming a somebody, and he attributes a lot of that success to Wie, strangely enough. The 30-year-old Marino told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that her ability to handle such a tough situation helped him feel more comfortable during a pressure-packed week.

Looking back, Marino was able to say, "In a way I think that actually helped me, my first event on the PGA Tour, getting paired with Michelle Wie. There were so many people around, I think it was good for me to experience something like that right off the bat, and it gave me some confidence to realize that I handled it well and I made the cut and I didn't get overwhelmed by the situation. So, yeah, I think it was definitely a good thing for me. That was a big confidence booster for me."

So, thank you Michelle Wie. You, again, are awesome, and even Steve Marino sees it. Now, back to class, silly.

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Monday, January 17, 2011

Steve Marino Goes All Babe Ruth in Hawaii

Sure, Steve Marino didn't win, but he did create the above golf shot, courtesy of Devil Ball, that was the shot of the week by anyone that didn't leave with a really big check (size, not quantity).

Marino is still searching for his first career PGA Tour win, but if he keeps doing stuff like this, I don't think he will be searching much longer.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Not Even the Mickelsons Are Into This Much Swing, Padraig Harrington Edition

I really wish this was a joke. I pray this is a joke. Maybe the Irish April Fools Day is actually in mid-January and we can all laugh and nudge one another while we talk about how Padraig Harrington zinged us once again. But I don't think it is. Nope, the report that Harrington has changed his golf swing again seem very true, and continue to force my palm to slap my forehead as I ponder these decisions.

According to Brian Keogh of the Irish Golf Desk, Harrington is working on a dozen or so changes. 12! Hey Paddy, just a thought ... instead of working on the number 12, for swing changes, maybe you should focus on the number three, for majors you won with your old golf swing. Or maybe we could focus on numbers like eight and nine, which are scores you made in competition after you decided on your first swing change when it wasn't necessary in the first place.

But, whatever, here are the swing changes for Paddy, via Keogh's report ...

“I changed the actual grips on my golf club. Most people would think ‘well, what’s that’. I have a reminder in my grip – I’ve taken it out. I’ve gone to round grips. That’s a big, big change.

“I’ve knocked all the clubs a degree flat – that’s a little change.

“I have weakened my grip, lowered my hands a bit and pushed them a bit further forward … small things.

“Probably the biggest one (and this is partly why I’ve changed these other things), I’ve changed my trigger to take the club away in my routine. I used take the club away from a moving position. I now take the club away from a static position.

“Part of that, I used to have a big squat to take the club away, so that’s gone. There’s a little one. I’d love to get it all gone but it’s hard to change your trigger, full stop.

“I’m taking the club away without my hips so there’s a much smaller hip turn – a much bigger coil but a smaller hip turn.
“Obviously, that changes my plane in the back swing.

“I’ve changed my chin position at the top of my backswing. I used to try and swing my shoulder under my chin, so I’d poke my head out to do it, which we think has contributed to my neck issues. So now I’m tucking my head in at the top of my backswing.
“The trigger probably is the biggest thing. Through impact I’m going back to squatting quite a bit at the start of my downswing, as I used to. So I’m going back to that.

“I’m going back to trying to get my chest more down through impact to get my hands lower through impact and reduce the lateral through impact.

“From seven feet out I probably was 150th in every putting stat so I’ve changed my putting routine as well.

“I’m not standing off the ball when I’m taking my practice putts. I’m practice putting over the ball … when you see a raw beginner, they often do that. When they take a practice putt, they lift it up and do it over the top of the ball. I’m doing that so when I put the putter back down, I’m not adjusting anything. I used to line up and get a feel for the putt, which you see a lot of guys do, then I’d take the putter inside an try a practice putt. But when I take the putter inside, I move my eye line, so the practice putts I’m getting a feel for are not the same as the putts I actually have. So I’m not changing my eye line.

Seriously, when did this guy start looking at the golf swing like it was splitting an atom? JUST SWING THE DAMN GOLF CLUB LIKE YOU USED TO SWING IT, AND STOP OVER-THINKING THIS WHOLE THING!!! YOU'RE NUTS!

Okay, sorry, rant over. There ya go.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Ben Crane Continues With the Funny

I'll say this, and you can yell at me all you want; Ben Crane might be the funniest hardcore Christian ever. EVER! Most super religious people are too serious to be funny, but not Crane. The guy KILLS it with these videos. His timing is impeccable, his acting is great and I seriously think the man could host SNL one day.

So, here is his latest viral video, via PGT.

Devil Ball Golfcast with Jim Nantz

If you didn't know this, you probably should - Jay Busbee and myself do a weekly podcast together over at Yahoo!, and it is so official you can download it on iTunes. Wow!

This week, we chatted with Jim Nantz, and he gave us some great stuff, including his thoughts on Tiger Woods, which included him saying he thinks Tiger could win four or five times this year. (it's interesting he used those numbers, because it is exactly what I said in my 2011 predictions piece. You copying me, Nantz?!?)

So, swing over to Devil Ball, listen to the podcast, and maybe download the thing on iTunes. You'll enjoy it if you enjoy golf, because it's two guys that just enjoy the game shooting the shit once a week.

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Thursday, January 13, 2011

First Round of the Sony Open Rained Out

Yep, it's official, the Thursday round of the Sony Open has been rained out in Hawaii, and since there isn't really anything else to say on that except they'll pick up golf on Friday, I figured why not learn a little bit more about me.

I once got mauled by a dog when I was younger, but I still like dogs. One is currently laying on the floor next to me, and has not attacked my face today or any other day.

I like short socks.

I don't subscribe to any magazines anymore except one, and that one is Golfweek.

I once won a long drive competition at a pro-am even though my tee ball hit off a roof.

Wow, wasn't that fun!?!?

The Tavistock Cup is Expanding, Still No Whisper Rock

The Tavistock Cup is an event that blips on your radar every year around March, where two exclusive golf courses in Florida play each other for the right to see which rich people have the best rich golfers.

It's an event that allows PGA Tour stars to play competitively without really worrying about the result, and also gives PGA Tour stars a chance to show off the newest line of helicopter.

Well, good news for those Tavistock Cup enthusiasts -- two new golf clubs have been added. One, a course called Albany, is located in the Bahamas and was designed by Ernie Els. The other, Queenwood, located outside of London, was designed by David Kidd, the Bandon Dunes dude.

Now we have four golf courses, but still no Whisper Rock. That's insane. Maybe since I live in Scottsdale, I'm pulling one of those "the Pac-10 is better than you think because I'm forced to watch mostly Pac-10 football on Saturdays and I'm brainwashed," but doesn't this golf course deserve to be included here? It has some of the best players in the world at this course, and it would, and I hate to say it, wipe the floor with the rest of these members.

Don't believe me? Look at what Gary McCord said a year ago to James Achenbach of Golfweek -- "We’d kill them,” McCord bragged. “Of course, they’re afraid of us, so they won’t let us in.”

So, again, I beg; add Whisper Rock to this event if you really want a good test of pro membership versus a pro membership. The course is awesome, the weather is fantastic, and the pros are excellent. Do it, Tavistock.

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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tiger Broke Into Elin's House, According To a False Report!!!

Listen, I'm all for gossip. It's fun, it keeps us young, and it gives us something to talk about during the Sony Open. But come on people of the National Enquirer, really?

According to a report, Tiger Woods broke into his ex-wife's house and was rummaging around in her journals (?) and such.

Like Shackelford pointed out, the only thing in this entire report that is worth repeating is this legendary line -- "The potent putter, 35 got into her home by concocting a story to talk his way past her house staff, Elin told pals."

So, yeah, Tiger broke into Elin's house! And read a journal! And, he's stalking her! Tiger Justin Beiber Lady Gaga Tucson Kate Hudson pregnant Charlie Sheen porn star ... that should do it, eh?

Golf, Crack Cocaine, and Cameron Diaz

If there are two things that have always gone together, it's golf and crack. I remember first starting out on the hardcore streets of Marshall, Texas, trying to sling rock and make birdies all at the same time. It was hard out there for me, but like Jay-Z in Marcy, I got out of that place in one piece and have been able to stick solely to golf for years without that crack floating around in my head.

Ain't the same for Cameron Diaz. It ain't the same! Poor girl's addicted to this golf game, and she can't even shake the metaphor that we've all felt before. In an interview with Rough Rider Magazine, the actress said what we've all thought before, and it really hit home.

"I've been golfing for about eight years but I hadn't golfed for, like, three years until recently... because it's kind of like crack cocaine to me,” Diaz told “I'm getting my clubs fitted...and I'm very excited."

Truth, Cameron, truth. I feel that. You say it, I feel it.

The game .. the addiction, the dedication, the want to burn our golf clubs like it's set out on a spoon after most days on the course ... all this is exactly what WE feel. I'm just glad you joined us, Diaz. It's tough here, but it's life as a golfer.

Now, back to them corners.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Mexico Is Making It Harder to Play LPGA Events in Mexico

Remember when going to Mexico used to be fun? The first time I ever got drunk was in Mexico, on a trip with my sister. The first time I ever felt like I was in love was after a Mexico trip with my first serious girlfriend in college. I went to Spring Break in Mexico three times in four years. That place was awesome. It was a destination where you went to relax, drink some mexican beers, and eat sloppy street tacos at 2 AM.

Not the case anymore. The drug cartels in Mexico have made the country a no-no for basically anyone not equipped with full body gear, and the LPGA is feeling the effects. According to Randall Mell of, the Tres Marias Championship might be moved and/or canceled this year, even though the contract goes through 2012.

“We’ve been advised to probably not go to Morelia as we sit here today because of some of the security concerns,” Mike Whan said. “Unfortunately, some of the violence has made it that far, including to some of the roads that we actually take from the airport to Tres Marias and the hotel.”

The region is reported to be a stronghold for the drug cartel La Familia Michoacana. Just last month, news reports detailed how five roads into Morelia were blocked by burning cars and buses and that Mexican police have been involved in gun battles with suspected drug traffickers.

Yeah, that doesn't sound like a good idea at all. A bunch of ladies, all with money, going to a place where these people know they're going? I think i'd pass if I was Whan and the LPGA.

Gone are those lazy Corona days on the beach, I believe, and that is pretty darn sad.

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A Different Story of a Lady at Hooters

The Hooters Tour has been around for ages, but on Tuesday, for the first time, a lady teed it up in one of their events, going against basically everything you'd ever see at an actual Hooters restaurant. Yep, Brittany Lincicome, LPGA star, decided to play in one of the Bridgestone Winter Series events this week in preparation for the upcoming LPGA season.

After one round, it seems Lincicome could definitely hang with the boys. An opening 74 for the former major winner currently has her seven shots back of the leaders, and while it isn't exactly what she hoped for, it's respectable on a golf course that played over 7,000 yards. But, as Lincicome told me after her round, that is the normal distance she plays in her offseason.

"(Course was) only 7,000. That's normal for my offseason. I play Bay Hill and Innisbrook all from the back tees. It's a great challenge," she said.

Lincicome also said she didn't make any putts all day, but noted she hit the ball really well. She will most likely need to post an under-par score on Wednesday to make the cut, and when I asked her if she thought she'd be going low in the second round, she answered with a smile.

"That's a silly question. Of course I am!"

You can follow her progress and scores right here.

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Gear You Should Have: The SkyCaddie SGX

To be fair, I always considered myself a rangefinder type of guy over a GPS mechanism. Maybe it's because I think I'm better than I am (guilty) or maybe it's just because I like to know the exact yardage to the pin, but I usually opted to have something laser the distance.

That was, until I got the SkyCaddie SGX in the mail. The screen is the first thing you notice. Much bigger than the older models, it really pops when you start her up and get her ready for the golf course. Also, something I've noticed I do a lot better when I have this model in my hand on the golf course; I think out golf shots better.

See, one of the biggest problems in my golf game is I don't think everything out enough. When I was caddying for a friend on the LPGA, we discussed certain things. Distance to the front, back and the stick. It was smart because if you fire your laser at the pin, you might be thinking "okay, pin is 156," but you forget about everything else around that pin. What it is here, or there, or to clear the bunker. With the SGX, you can zero in on certain things to see exactly what it is to carry. I love that.

I used this model at home on my small nine hole course, and again on a golf course that uses all the features, and it really works well in both circumstances. The screen resolution makes you think you're holding an advanced golf iPhone or something.

I recommend this to all types of golfers ... the recreational dad that just likes knowing exactly what is going on around the course, even if he can't exactly execute it ... the scratch that is looking for an edge over his competitors ... the beginner that might get a better feel for the course by looking out the layout of the hole.

It's a cool device, and it really shows the advance in golf equipment. I'm a fan.

A 67-Year-Old Qualified for the Sony Open

You know those stories about old men shooting their age? Well, here is a guy that could be shooting his age, and leading golf tournaments.

Dave Eichelberger, a 67-year-old former PGA Tour winner, qualified for the Sony Open by winning the Aloha Section Stroke Play Championship when he, what else, shot his age.

Eichelberger is a name you might notice, just because his name has been on starter sheets nearly as much as anyone else in the golf. According to the Honolulu Star Advertiser, Eichelberger has started the second most tour events of anyone ever, just behind Miller Barber.

Also cool, if Elichelberger somehow made the cut this week, he'd be the oldest player in PGA Tour history to make the cut, beating out Ben Hogan's record.

So, yeah, watch out for this 67-year-old star. He can still play, obviously, and won't be intimidated when he steps on the tee.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Bubba Watson Hits Craziest Shot of the Week

303 yards, driver off the deck, 40 yard slice, and an eagle. Honestly, how do you not like watching this guy play golf? He's more fun than his suspenders!!

via Devil Ball

Dustin Johnson and Natalie Gulbis Are Sitting in a Tree

The wait is over! Natalie Gulbis has a new number seven (get it, that's the number DJ made on the 72nd hole at Whistling Straits, burn!) and he is the next big thing in golf.

Yep, Gulbis and Dustin Johnson are officially dating, end all speculation (?) that they weren't.

Honestly, this is news, I guess. We haven't had this big a relationship in golf since the whole Amy-MJ rumors.

So, yes, that is your big update for this week. Natalie Gulbis ... Dustin Johnson ... adidas ... boom.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Is Viewers Calling In on Rules Fair?

I've got some questions about my take on the viewers calling in on rules violation during live golf events, so I decided to give a few sentences on my thoughts on what I think. As you know, Camilo Villegas got disqualified on Friday after moving a loose impediment during his Thursday round. He finished the round, signed his scorecard, but a viewer called in the rules infraction and after reviewing it, the PGA Tour decided he had broke the rules and needed to be disqualified.

Now, I've got two big points here that I want to make about this, and these are my biggest pushes.

First, I don't hate the fact that viewers can call in on rules. It makes golf distinctive and a little more viewer-friendly, giving people at home an actual hand in events if they see something happen that others don't. Do I feel good when it happens, deep in my stomach? No, it still feels a bit unfair, but as we all know, golf has about 36,000 rules and not one person can know them all (that's why even rules officials drive around with those big books in their carts). Did Villegas intentionally do that? No, not at all. He was doing it more out of frustration than anything. It was a playful move that got him DQ'd. I remember back when Phil Mickelson was playing the PGA Championship, and after a bunker shot that left him in the bunker once more, he was raking the sand with his feet, only to look up to an official and let him know, "I'm not testing the sand!"

So, do I like the viewers calling in? Umm, kinda. I'm like 56 percent. It works, because it makes golf completely different from any other sport, but I do feel a little dirty when someone gets canned from an event for it.

Now, what do I think is an appropriate measure we could do to make this a little more fair? Why not just access the appropriate penalty to whoever got the viewer to call in instead of just disqualifying the golfer? See, if you sign a card and didn't access a penalty, you are automatically disqualified. So why not add a rule that says if someone from an outside party (not an official, playing partner, spectator, etc.) that could have IMMEDIATE influence on a player on that exact situation calls out a rules infraction, the player can still access the penalty to that hole, given a certain amount of time after (Say, until he hits a tee shot in the next round). So, if this happened to Villeags, he is given the two-stroke penalty for moving the divot, and he can keep playing. This gives the viewers a chance to keep calling in, and the players not a death sentence if they do.

So, that's my solution. Golf is pretty crazy, and the rules are even crazier, but we should give the players a little bit of a break here if we can. If everyone in the world is watching an event, any little misstep could cost you a LOT of money.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Is Bubba Watson Quickly Becoming the Most Stylish Golfer?

On Wednesday at Kapalua, the big hitters decided to have a long drive contest against Jamie Sadlowski. Bubba Watson was there, and he was sporting the above outfit.

Now, I never thought a guy named Bubba would bring out the best in fashion, but it seems he continues to bring the goods. The overalls? I love them, and they look sharp on his very slender frame.

I've seen a few of his outfits, and always am impressed. Is Bubba the new fashion guru? That might be the case.


Nothing Like a Rules Violation To Start the New Year

Last season will be remembered as the Year of the Rules Violation, with the highlight coming at the PGA Championship when Dustin Johnson mistakingly grounded his club in a bunker on the 72nd hole to miss out on his first major championship. That event was just one of several rules violations/controversies in '10, but guess what, we're starting off '11 the same way.

Geoff Shackelford posted the above video of Camilo Villegas on the 15th hole. After going for the green in two, Villegas found himself in a very tough spot, and it took him three pitches to get the ball out of this little area. After his second attempt, a lower pitch that started to come back at him, Villegas randomly moved an old divot. It was probably more out of frustration than anything, but as Shackelford points out, that's a clear violation of rule 23-1, which states, "When a ball is in motion, a loose impediment that might influence the movement of the ball must not be removed."

I was watching this as it happened, and immediately thought something was up. With video that clear, it is most likely that Villegas will be disqualified from his first event of the year.

The saddest part? He was handeling the meltdown about as good as you can, smiling to his caddie as he tried different chip shots.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Nike Twitter Employee 'Randomly' Walks in on Tiger Working Out

Years ago it was probably pretty easy to fool people. We didn't have access like we do now. We didn't have FourSquare. We didn't have any of it.

But sometimes it's just good, ol' fashioned ignorance that us regulars can figure out.

Nike Golf's Twitter account posted this message at about 7 AM PCT on Thursday -- "You never know who you'll see at the Nike Headquarters gym...@TigerWoods working out before his product mtgs." They attached a photo to this. The photo is below.

Oh, so you just randomly ran into the guy at the gym? No idea he was going to be there? THERE ARE TWO CAMERAS AND A GUY WITH A CELL PHONE THERE! YOU CAN'T FOOL US, NIKE GOLF!

So, yeah, nice try. You guys are doing this for some spot or something. You didn't just walk in and see him working out before you spent 20 minutes on the elliptical.

h/t PGT

Geoff Ogilvy Will Be Hand-ed $70K

The tour kicks off on Thursday in Hawaii, but the more you read and watch about these players, the more you realize that it is still vacation mode. Sure, would they love to bag a win here against all the champions from 2010, and be invited back before they even leave the island? Absolutely. Are they more interested in karaoke, swimming and hiking? It sure seems it.

That is where defending champion Geoff Ogilvy comes in. According to AP, the Australian was swimming when he cut his hand on a coral reef, requiring 12 stitches and a very minimal chance of playing in the Hyundai. No worries for Geoff, however, since the event doesn't have a cut, and just making it to the first tee with a golf club and a ball in hand is good enough for a last place check of $70,000.

Is there a moral issue here with Ogilvy taking to the first tee just to collect a check when he isn't competing? I don't think so. He earned his way here, and has all the right in the world to tee it up, earning his succulent five-figure check, and be on his way.

Would you do it? Battle all you want here or there, but you know you wouldn't pass up on a $70,000 piece of paper when it is basically being handed to you.

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Wow ... Just Wow

Ben Crane ... Ryan Palmer ... karaoke ... matching white shirts ... Wham ... it really is as bad as it sounds. Here, "enjoy" the video all you want, via PGT.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Golfers To Be Attached To Microphones

The Golf Channel is trying to get more microphones on the golf course this season, an idea that has been approved by the PGA Tour and, like the LPGA Tour, will most likely be a weekly feature. A golfer with a mic on him, playing a competitive round of golf while we "listen in."

Why is this both a good and bad idea?

Well, it's always fun to listen in to what is going on. Some of my favorite moments from major championships is when a network can capture what the likes of Phil Mickelson and Bones are chatting about over an important shot, because it really brings the tournament to life.

What is the problem?

When players are miked, they don't say anything ... ever.

I remember a conversation with some LPGA girls before one of them is miked up, and a very famous LPGA player mentioned that when she had been microphoned previously, she had to give one of her playing partners a look multiple times because she was asking personal questions while the mike was live. They're never going to really say anything controversial, and like we see with NBA coaches and the like, most of the stuff they pull out is boring and prepared.

So, yes, I love the idea, and maybe once a year we will get a solid "Boom, Baby!" out of it, but for the most part, it will just be golfers talking about golf.

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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Kid and the Hybrid

On Tuesday night, I did what I've done the past three nights ... dragged my set of golf clubs out the door around 8:00 PM on my way to the driving range that isn't a 6-iron away from my front door. Convenient, yes, but normally a busy destination, one hour before close is the time I've realized is perfect for my practice ... few people left except the uber-serious, with the lights still shining bright as the ball boy snaps up all the noodles from the patrons of the day.

I've been going because, for full disclosure, a lot has been on my mind lately. I've been just batting around a lot of things, and some other items have been clouding my thinking, and to me, a night at the range is as good as a month of therapy. It's soothing without the daytime traffic and sun shining down. It's harmonious with the flashes of airplanes flying over and the beauty of a golf ball skyrocketing into the sky past the reach of the ballpark lights. It's a chi I rarely feel. But it's still life, and no matter how far down your golf bag you push that BlackBerry, things still pass through the cluttered mind of a 20-something golfer (and yes, those two things are equally as confusing).

But as I was whacking my three-wood, thinking about my swing and life (and my swing ... and life), I noticed a kid no older than 12 and no lighter than myself at 27, walking past with one golf ball and one hybrid. He was heading for the end of the range to hit some shots out of what appeared to be a Dustin Johnson-like fairway bunker. He waddled out of sight, glasses tucked tightly on his puffy face, and stood over that one ball for what seemed like a round with Ben Crane. You could see the thoughts going through his head. He wasn't thinking about the economy or a job or bills or anything ... he was simply a kid thinking about what it would feel like to strike this damn ball with this damn hybrid right down the damn fairway on the final hole of the U.S. Open. He had thoughts that we all used to have when we were hopeful hackers hoping to somehow make it big. As he took a swing (and a swing that wouldn't have made a foldout in any Golf Digest that you and I would buy) he ripped the ball down the range, a good shot for any kid his age. He smiled and then piddled back towards the pro shop of the range. I tossed him a ball to hit himself, more because I enjoyed what he was doing way more than I was enjoying what I was doing. The kid, for a few instances, made me forget about everything except how much fun it can be to enjoy golf.

I hit a few of my remaining balls as he walked around the other two guys finishing up their buckets, hitting random balls he found that nobody else had wanted this Tuesday night. As I was walking over to my car, refreshed completely by my new little buddy, I noticed his last four swings ... duff, duff, duff ... and on the final ball, as he stood over it quite longer than he had the other three, I could see the wheels turning again. He was thinking about something with that ball that was far from a Scottsdale, Ariz. driving range. He took another backswing, as I hoped deep in my heart would produce a solid result as he finished his mini range session, and as the ball rocketed dead straight off the club, you could see another smile, this one bigger than the first.

The experts tell us to putt like a kid, but they hardly ever tell us to live like one. Sometimes, that advice is the best. We can take life as seriously as we want a lot of the time, but sometimes moments just wrap their arms around you and don't let go. I didn't know this kid, and I might never see him again, but we held a bond that non-golfers can't understand ... we have both hit the same shot before, a thousand times ... the one into the 18th at Augusta National, or the putt that drops for a Players Championship. We have both hit bunker shots like Jim Furyk produced last year at the Tour Championship, and putts like Graeme McDowell slammed on Tiger Woods in early December.

This kid, more than anything, let me take it all a little less serious. Kiddo, I thank you, and I hope one day, a decade or two from now, you can think back to times like these and remember, it'll be alright. And if not, there's always tomorrow's round.

Twitterville Responds to Augusta National Joining Tiger Woods 2012

... and fine, one from me ...

Does Anyone Really Want to See An Old Man's Dong?

(Just wanted you to know, I realize Brett Favre is also old, so I'm using the phrase "old" in my headline as "above 50.")

As you probably now know,, a place I used to post some golf stuff back in the day, has obtained (maybe, possibly, sorta) a picture of an ex-American Ryder Cup captain's, umm, penis. Yep, the website was sent an e-mail by someone letting them know that they had a picture of some old fogey's fornicator, and it brought up some questions.

A.J. Daulerio posed a few important questions, mainly towards the mainstream media - "Is a picture of a captain's penis as newsworthy as the Tiger Woods sex scandal?"

He then went into five more questions:

* Did anyone on this list openly criticize Tiger Woods for his extra-marital activities? (Hypocrisy!)
* Would this behavior contradict this individual's public persona? (Hypocrisy!)
* Does anyone on this list have an endorsement contract that would possibly be impacted by this behavior? (It's a business story!)
* Has this behavior had any impact on the person's golf game? (It's a sports story!)
* Would Jim Gray be happy to know this type of information? (It's a Jim Gray story!)

While all this is Deadspin-y when you initially look at it, Daulerio brings up some great points. It really is a story within a story, and that has little (no pun intended) to do with the said penis. All this really is about is the golf media, a group of older, white gentlemen that have spent most of their latter days rubbing shoulders with the potential candidates for ShrinkledPenisGate. Are they going to report on a rumor like this with the hope of jeopardizing their relationship?

It also plays into a whole other ethical battle that goes something like this; with the Tiger sex rumors, it was easy to report on them without all the information, because no journalis really had a relationship with Tiger Woods. Now, they could be spitting out (potential) lies about a man like Tom Kite or Corey Pavin who is A.) married (ruins their marriage) and B.) a "friend."

It's just interesting, and it is the one problem with the old media. They had to gain relationships with these people. It was their job. They became friends, and drank wine with them and wrote lengthy pieces about how great they were. But now, that isn't the case. None of these guys open up to journalists anymore because they, frankly, don't give a shit about any of us. They make too much money to care about good or bad stories. They are taught ad nauseum not to do or say anything stupid, even if Anthony Kim continues to try and push this line, and it just isn't the same as it used to be.

So, with all that said, a penis is going to come out, but it will be a lot bigger than just a photo.