Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Monday Wrapup

In an interesting coincidence, none of the major U.S. based golf tour held tournaments in the U.S. this weekend.

Jim Furyk repeats as Canadian Open champion, beating Vijay Singh by one shot

A final round 64, including a hole-in-one on the 209 yard Par 4th, propelled Furyk from three strokes back at the start of the round to the victory. Singh has a chance to force a sudden death playoff but could not get a birdie attempt to go in on the 18th green. It is the first win of the year for Furyk, and in my opinion the least interesting golf story of the weekend.

A two under in the final round put her in the playoff with Jang Jeong of South Korea, where she reached the Par 5 18th green in 2.

A lot of men in the world (and possibly ten percent of women) would like to be that troph


Hi, this is Natalie. You may be wondering why, after making such a prestigish tournament my first win I'm commendeering the blog. Well, I wanted to say something to the golf world, and this is as a good a place as any:

Anna Kournikova of the golf world my ass.
By the way, my 2008 calendar will be in stores this fall. Thank you.
Not a bad seven days; lead the British Open on the back nine last Sunday and finish third, then win the next week.

With his agressive style, Romero may be the heir apparent to Seve Ballesteros. He may not have the short game wizardry of the Spainard, and he wouldn't be able to grab the hearts of European fans with Ryder Cup exploits, but he doesn't seem to fear any shot.

The win moves him to fifth in the European Order of Merit and will move him up enough in the World Golf Rankings to ensure his playing in the WGC - Bridgestone Invitational and the PGA Championship.

There is no word on where he falls in the 'bedding comely female golf fans' standings; South American Division' where Camilo Villegas currently leads in the clubhouse.

Watson washes the bad taste of failing to win the U.S. Senior Open out of his mouth with his eighth British Open victory (5 original recipie, three senior).
I can't think of any American athlete that has had more success in Britian in a sport people actually care about there. And next year the tournament will take place at Troon, a course he won on of his British Open titles.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Throwing Vijay Under The Bus

A thought came to me while watching the Canadian Open:

The CBS television crew were praising Vijay Singh, who is leading the tournament after three rounds, for his record breaking success on the PGA Tour at his relatively advanced age (he has won 19 tournaments since turning 40, breaking Sam Snead record of 17). They (and in the past Singh himself) credited his work ethic and a focused workout regiment as part of the reason Singh was able to have such success ‘late’, temporarily surpassing Tiger Woods as the number one golfer in the world in 2004.

A look at his bio shows he went from winning one or two tournaments a year from 1997 to 2002 to winning 4 tournaments in 2003 (the year he turned 40), 9 in 2004 and 4 in 2005. The amount of events played from year to year didn’t change appreciably; he ranged from 26 to 30 events played each year.

Does this sound familiar? An athlete near the top of his profession gets better at an age where most other players start to fade? Aren’t there athletes in other sports under heavy scrutiny that follow a similar career trajectory?

Recently another athlete was lauded for his worth ethic and strenuous workout regiment. Sean Sherk is the current lightweight champion in the UFC. The week before the most recent pay-per-view (where Sherk held on to his title with a commanding decision victory), the UFC aired UFC All Access on Spike TV to promote the event. Part of that program focused on the ridiculously difficult training Sherk puts himself through before a fight. During the fight, the commentators referred to Sherk’s training as a reason he was able to fight at a high rate.

Sean Sherk later tested positive for steroids.


I have no idea if Vijay Singh is using anything stronger than Advil to be the best golfer he can be. I do know every second the major golf tours delay implementing drug testing, questions like this can’t be easily swept under the rug.

Especially when Singh has been accused of cheating before.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Monday Wrapup

Padraig Harrington wins the British Open in a four hole playoff over Sergio Garcia

I don't know where to start, so I'll just dive in:

There is no way around it; Sergio choked. He was three shots ahead at the beginning of the day and shot two over par on the front nine, giving other players hope. His putter betrayed him once again. If the weakness of his game wasn't known before (and it was; you don't go to a belly putter because it matches your shoes) it was laid bare for the world to see Sunday afternoon in Scotland. Garcia was able to putt well for the first 45 holes, but he returned to form on the remaining 27.

While I don’t expect any public self-immolation from him, he has to either figure out how to putt better, or come to accept his limitations as a golfer and tailor his game around them. He can win all the Booz Allen Classics he wants the way he is now, but the crack in his game will continue to haunt him in the majors.The good news is he has time at 27. If you look at the most recent major championship winners, you’ll see Garcia is ahead of the curve:

US Open 2007 - Angel Cabrera – 37
Masters 200 - Zach Johnson – 31
US Open 2006 - Geoff Ogilvy – 29
US Open 2005 -Michael Campbell – 36
British Open 2004 – Todd Hamilton - 38
Masters 2004 – Phil Mickelson - 33

Padraig Harrington surely made a mess of the 18th Sunday, but by that time he was six shots under par for the day with no bogeys. He may have blinked, but he didn’t choke.

I believe on the 12th hole Andres Romero took an unplayable lie when he hit his ball into a bush Sunday. The American announcers were making a big deal about the inexperience of Romero's caddy (he left Romero's bag around the green and had to retrieve it; he also didn't pace off the yardage Romero had from his drop to the green). A better example of the caddie letting Romero down is when he didn't raise a stink on the 17th hole when Romero pulled out a 2-iron to hit out of wispy rough. Regardless of whether Romero put his second attempt on the green with a 3-wood (even I can hit good shots if given two changes at them), that was a lay up if there ever was one.

Ernie Els seems to be at least past his peak and at most done as an elite level pro. He was the only serious contender with a victory in a major championship on his resume, but he couldn't raise his game on the back nine of a tournament begging to be taken. While he didn't make the glaring mistake like Harrington or Romero, going one over on the back nine won't win you most majors.

This is Ogilvie's first PGA Tour win, and I don't think he cares if the big boys were over in Scotland.

Tim Clark, for the second week in a row, can't close for his first win. I"m not going to cry for him too much; he has earned over $640K in less than a forthnight.

Having this tournament, which with the match play format could be a pretty big deal, the same weekend as the British Open is a shame. The Open sucks all the attention from anything else regarding golf.

I will not bemoan the lack fo star power in the final. When you have match play, these things happen.

Sergio Made His Next Victory Harder

Wladimir Klitschko is the current IBF Heavyweight champion. He has the size, power, boxing ability and dedication to be considered the best heavyweight in the world today. What he doesn’t have is an iron jaw, which has caused him to lose fights by knockout to lesser fighters (Corrie Sanders, Lamon Brewster) in his career. For the remainder of his career, every boxer he faces knows if he can withstand his initial power, Klitschko can be had.

Sergio Garcia, with his failure to win the British Open, is now is the same place as Wladimir Klitschko.

The next time Sergio is in the lead in a major on Sunday (and it will happen again; he is too talented for it not to happen), the guy one or two shots won’t have the pressure to catch up that golfers have when Tiger Woods is one or two shots ahead. Even a victory in a major won’t fix this; the fact that he lost a three stroke lead on the back nine of a major will be in the front of the mind of every one of his opponents for the remainder of the career.

If and when Sergio does win a major, he will have to earn every bit of it. The odds of a player falling apart like they do when paired with Tiger in the final pairing (although Steve Stricker did a good job falling apart paired with Garcia today) are slimmer than they were 24 hours ago.

Feet Dragging on Drug Testing

Gary Player's comments regarding illegal drug use in the golf world received predictable reactions in the golf community, from the typical this couldn't happen in golf (David Howell):
I was amazed by the comments. If there was one person in the world [taking drugs] I would be amazed. I'm shocked by his comments, but maybe I am naive. It's not even on the radar. I could be absolutely wrong, but of the people I know, no chance. I don't think we have a problem."

to lets shoot the messengeer (Reteif Goosen):
I don't know what Gary was trying to prove saying what he said. I'm actually very shocked at his comments. I don't know if he is trying to damage the sport, damage golf. He mustn't come and say 'I know of 10 guys taking drugs out there' and not say what it is. He might as well not have said anything.

Someone else noticed Dick Pound, the head of the World Anti-Doping Agency, who doesn't miss an opportunity to interject himself into any issue where drugs and athletes intersect:
It comes from one of the icons of golf who has no particular ax to grind out there now, other than to try to maintain the integrity of the sport. It's a wake-up call that has not come in such stark terms to date from the golf community. I don't know how widespread it is because there is no testing.
I have said: 'Look, this is your opportunity to lead, not to be forced to follow, so get on with it. The time is now. You should do this while you still have the initiative, rather than being forced into it as the result of a scandal. Then you are going to have the whole of golf regarded with suspicion. Do it now before there's a big public problem.

I am no fan of Dick Pound. I think his dream scenario is WADA officials being allowed to burst into any athlete's home at any time and take as much blood as they can. Due process is an obstacle to his goals. In short, he is an asshole. What the golf establishment is doing with their slow dance towards any type of drug testing is allowing an asshole to be right.

Imagine if the name of J.B. Holmes (because he hits the ball really far) or Fred Funk (because he is able to compete on a high level at an age where other players are on the Championship Tour) or David Duval (once elite player who has suddenly lost his way) comes up in a Balco-type investigation. The public opinion will turn from 'these guys aren't on the juice like the baseball players' to 'the WWE has a stronger testing regiment than the PGA Tour. Then, as baseball is learning currently, it is harder to gain the public trust back.

I'm sure Gary Player is right and someone playing golf somewhere in the world is using performance enhancers. It is in the golf establishments best interest to get off their inherent arrogance of how honest and true their players are and be the organizing party that catches that person, and not a member of the Orlando Sentinel or the FBI.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

And this is only Saturday

Sergio has to be just fucking with the world:

According to, he will be in kiwi Sunday

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

British Open Prediction

Below are the current European Order of Merit rankings:

1 Henrik STENSON
2 Niclas FASTH
4 Retief GOOSEN
5 Richard STERNE
6 Justin ROSE
8 Ernie ELS
9 Grégory HAVRET
10 Paul CASEY

I believe the British Open Championship will come from this list.

Of the big Americans, Tiger is due for a clunker in a major, The Open is the least favorite of the majors for Phil and Furyk missed the cut if five of the last six Opens (coming in 4th last year, tying his best performance). As for the big international players, Singh is past the point of being best in the world, it is possible Adam Scott could win it, but I won't bet on it, and Geoff Ogilvy has been middling in non-World Golf Championship events.

As for the Order of Merit list, I'm eliminating Cabrera (still celebrating the U.S. Open win), Havret (one win at the right time does not a favorite make) and Goosen (I believe the crash at Pinehurst in 2005 destroyed Goosen for major championships).

Els has played well on both sides of the Atlantic ocean, but not great and there are whispers he isn't fully healthy. The crushing weight of expectations should cause Montgomerie to crack on Sunday, if he is in conention. Stenson peaked early in the year, he doesn't seem to be as sharp as he was when he won the Match Play Championship.

Justin Rose and Paul Casey have played well in majors recently; they should be in the mix. But they will fall short of Niclas Fasth.

The Tuesday Wrapup

I didn't watch much golf this weekend, hence the late wrapup. That and laziness.

Jonathan Byrd wins the John Deere Classic

The win qualifies Byrd for the British Open. He beat short hitting Australian Tim Clark (best known for his success at the Masters in the last few years), who was leading by two strokes on the back nine, by one stroke.

The John Deere Classic has the most entertaining tee markers on the PGA Tour. What it didn't have this year is Michelle Wie, who continues to recover from burnout an injured wrist. She played on a sponsor's exemption last year, but withdrew due to heat exhaustion.

Se Ri Pak wins the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic for the fifth time in her career

A rather appropriate five time winner, considering host Jamie Farr's most well known role as Klinger on M*A*S*H.

Pak went three under on the back nine to pass Morgan Pressel, including birdies on the last two holes Par 5 holes. Pressel played even par the last 9. That is getting caught from behind, which is nothing to be ashamed of.

As for Mickelson , when you bogey three of the last six holes as Mickelson did (admittedly he birdied the other three holes), you invite getting caught. The good news is it appears his wrist is healed enough to allow him to play. The bad news is he failed stumbled down the stretch, something he has a habit of.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Playing Golf 7/14

Course: Glenn Dale Golf Club
Score: 106 (not counting numerous mulligans off the tee)
Best Club: None
Worst Club: All clubs were equally bad
Highlights: Hitting the Par 4 4th hole in regulation with a drive over the water and a wedge to 5 feet. Parring the 4th and the 6th on the front side.
Lowlights: Three putting the Par 4 3rd after hitting the green in regulation. Hitting four straight fat shots on the Par4 13th.
Summary: Played the front nine with my brother-in-law Derek and his cousin. The back nine was just Derek and I. Once again, I play a course without warmup, leading to an 8 on the Par 4 1st. Started to get my act together in the middle of the front, only to lose it again on the back nine.

I had played Glenn Dale once before and the only things I remembered about it were you couldn’t hit driver on the driving range and the greens were tough. After playing it again, I want to go back. It is a shorter course than I am used to, but it isn’t easy by a long shot. If I had a decent day with the hybrid off the tee (most of the Par 4 holes are under 400 yards, I would have scored much better.

I have got to carve out some time for iron practice if I ever expect to break 100 again.

Monday, July 9, 2007

The Monday Wrapup

K.J. Choi wins Tiger’s Tournament

With the win, Choi joins Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Vijay Singh and Zack Johnson as multiple winners this season. By no coincidence, they are the top five players in the Fed Ex Cup point standings (somewhere Tim Finchem smiles with the Fed Ex mention). And Choi is the leader in the clubhouse for most impressive presenters for his victories.

There are two stories for me bigger than the Choi win. First, the Washington D.C. metropolitan area gave it up for the AT&T National like a virgin on prom night. D.C. had always been a good PGA market back to the days of the Kemper Open; add a tournament hosted by Tiger and lower than average ticket prices and you get a massive success. The only things standing in the way of similar success every year is if Tiget stops hosting or the Congressional Country Club members decide they don't want to give up their course every year (the U.S. Amateur is scheduled for the course in 2009; AT&T National will have to find somewhere else to play that year at least).

The other story is the complete collapse of Stuart Appleby in the final round, turning a two stroke lead after the third round into a tie for third, nine strokes behind Choi with a tidy six over par 76. He didn’t waste time either, double bogeying the Par 3 2nd and throwing four straight bogeys at the field starting at the 4th. Here are the possible reasons for the collapse:
  • He always chokes when paired with Nike endorsers of Asian descent on the final day of a tournament.
  • The ‘Let’s Do It Again’ like hypnosis of Appleby that made him believe he was in Hawaii wore off.
  • It is winter in his native Australia and he wasn’t prepared for the temperatures in the 90s.

Brad Bryant wins the U.S. Senior Open

Even with his low round of the day (68), one of only five rounds under par for the day, this is another example of the winner being overshadowed by the collapse of another player. Tom Watson had a three stroke lead on Bryant after nine holes. He then shot seven over par down the stretch, dropping him to fourth.

Colin Montgomerie wins the Smurfit Kappa European Open by one stroke over Niclas Fasth

This was Montgomerie’s first win on the European Tour in almost 2 years, and it makes him the third winningest player in European Tour history; one better than Nick Faldo. With a third and first place finish the last two weeks, Montgomerie is in great shape to disappoint English fans with a missed cut at the British Open in two weeks.

More entertaining to me are the pants worn by Fasth Sunday. I don't know if I think they are a totally ridiculous monstrosity, or I want a pair for myself. Wow.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Playing Golf 7/4

Course: Poolesville
Score: 109 through 17 holes (Front: 53; Back: 56 through 8 holes)
Best Club: 19 degree hybrid
Worst Club: Driver
Highlights: Par on the Par 4 15th. Hitting the 220 yard Par3 3rd green in regulation. Getting to wear my new Jim Furyk-esque red button down camp style shirt.

Lowlights: Losing two straight balls on the Par 4 10th hole with dead pulls off the tee. Forgetting how to play golf for the majority of the back 9.
Summary: Went out early today to beat the heat, ended up teeing off around 7am. The first warm up swing with the driver went straight and long, which I though was a good omen. I was wrong.

At the first tee I quickly realized I was the worst player of the foursome (a squibed drive that only tricked on the fairway due to the dry status of the course was a hint). This actually is a good thing for me; it forces me to focus on making good shots so I don't embarrass myself. While I didn't do particularly well on the front nine, I was able to keep up. The majority of my mistakes (all shots off the tee with the driver, the majority of irons) were pushes to the right. I bogeyed four of the nine front holes, which is a good score for me. I three putted three times, which isn't good for me.

As I approached the 10th tee, I thought 'at least I haven't lost any balls'. I was prepared to say that out loud but stopped so I wouldn't jinx myself. Too late, as I pull the first drive out of bounds left. Okay, reload and try again. Another pull, another ball lost. That seemed to knock the wind out of my sails and I was useless for the next four holes (it is possible the increasing heat or me running out of gas walking my fat ass around the course had something to do with it). I did decide to hit hybrid on par 4 holes under 400 yards; that lead to par (which could have been a birdie if I didn't miss a 5 foot putt) and bogey on holes 14 and 15 respectively. Then back to pulling as I lose tee shots into the trees left on the par4 16th (with the hybrid) and the Par 3 17th (with a 6 iron). After pulling the tee shot on the 18th, then following it up by hitting the ground before the ball on the second tee shot, I just gave up keeping score and hit three lousy irons before getting to the green and putting my out of my misery.

After today's debacle, I've realized the following:
  • I need to practice lat least once a week. If the only time I swing clubs is when I am playing or warming up, I'll never get any kind of consistency. I don't know when I would be able to hit the range, but if I want to get better, especially with my iron play, which once was the strength of my game, I have to put some work in.
  • For now on, I will be using the hybrid for all par 4 holes under 400 yards. I get that club out at least 220 yards most of the time and I am much more consistent with it than I am with the driver. The extra yards the driver gives me on the short holes doesn't outweigh putting the ball in the fairway more with the hybrid. If I haven't said this before, I'll say it again; unless someone is paying you to put your name on your golf bag, you need a hybrid.
  • If health or vanity reasons aren't enough, I need to lose some weight to improve my stamina walking a golf course. The fact that I wrote the previous sentence after coming back from an Independence Day barbecue where beef ribs, burgers, hot dogs and soda were consumed proves man is not a logical animal.

The next time I am scheduled to play is a company nine hole outing 7/12. Hopefully, I swing the clubs at least once between now and then.

Monday, July 2, 2007

The Monday Wrapup

Cristie Kerr wins the U.S. Women’s Open

She held off Lorena Ochoa and 18 year old Angela Park for her first major. Before this win, Kerr could be considered the second best female player without…

We interrupt the Monday Wrapup for Special Commentary from Lou Dobbs:

It has been a glorious couple of days for the United States of America, as we approach our country’s birthday. First, the Amnesty bill big business tried to ram down working American’s throats failed in the Senate. Now a great American stands up against the outsourcing of our golf championships. Hopefully, Kerr, along with other major championship patriots like Morgan Pressel and Annika Sorenstam can continue the resurgence of American women’s golf…

Uh, excuse me Lou, Annika isn’t American. She is Swedish.

Annika’s Swedish?

Yes. Swedish.

…well…that’s white enough. At least she isn’t Mexican or Korean or something.

This concludes Special Commentary from Lou Dobbs

I watched Sunday’s telecast of the tournament. If Dan Hicks mentioned one more time that the U.S. Open was the most sought after major I would have cried. We are watching the tournament already; we don’t need for you to sell it any further.

Also, I was introduced to the female version of Golfer’s Tan. For those not up of it. Golfer’s Tan for men consists of just the head and arms from the elbow down. You can include upper thighs in the female version. At one point Pressel bent down from the waist to position her ball on the green. The camera angle was from behind, and the combination of her short golf skirt and her Golfer’s Tan reminded me of the scene in Pulp Fiction when the briefcase is opened.

Brian Bateman wins the Buick Open with a birdie on the final hole

The birdie broke a four way tie for the lead between Bateman, Justin Leonard, Jason Gore, and Wood Austin. The victory is his first on the PGA Tour and is the third week in a row for a first time winner (Angel Cabrera, Hunter Mahan).

Graeme Storm wins the French Open for his first European Tour win

There is something about European Tour action on the Golf Channel early Sunday morning. Eating breakfast while watching players you have never heard of with ridiculous fashions (Ian Poulter finished 9th, by the way) play golf for euros has a certain draw to it.

Colin Montgomerie was tied for the lead down the stretch, but bogeyed the 15th and 16th holes to fall into a tie for third. I don't know how he confused Versailles for America, but it appears he did.