Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Monday qualifiers...Keep hope alive!

Last week I was handling the calligraphy scoreboard at the Nationwide Tour's Chattanooga Classic presented by Black Creek. Arjun Atwal from India took home the winner's check after he birdied the first playoff hole (setting the new course record with a 60 on Friday also helped). The runner-up was Webb Simpson, an All-American from Wake Forest who turned pro back in June. Keep an eye on this kid.

Simpson had a stellar collegiate career, earning All-ACC honors for four consecutive years. This summer he Monday-qualified for the Nationwide Tour event in Missouri, and finished second. Last week in Chattanooga, he Monday-qualified again, and captured another second place. Webb went from having zero status on any professional tour just a few months ago...to having his PGA TOUR card within reach.

He is currently 45th on the Nationwide Tour money list (the top 25 at the end of the season get their cards). If he can finish strong with two good tournaments, in Miami this week and at the Tour Championship finale in Texas, Webb can accomplish every aspiring pro golfer's dream: Making the giant leap from no-man's land to the bright lights and huge purses of the Big Show...without having to deal with the dreaded Q-School. Good luck to Webb in the next few weeks. I hope he gets it done!

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Thursday, October 9, 2008

Now on the Tee...

While out on the PGA TOUR, I've heard many a player's name pronounced incorrectly on the first tee. These innocent blunders by the volunteer announcers actually provide some of the more comical moments from my life on the road.

Watching 2008 rookie Dustin Johnson win his first TOUR event last week at the Turning Stone Resort Championship reminded me of a harmless goof from earlier this year. Right before Dustin started his final round at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic in Palm Springs, the first tee announcer bellowed out, "Now on the tee, from South Carolina, Dustin HOFFMAN!"

The gallery began to laugh loudly, and as I stood beside him (snickering) on the tee, Dustin asked me,"Why is that so funny? So he mixed up my name with Charley Hoffman's...no big deal."

"Haven't you heard of Dustin Hoffman?" I asked.

"Oh yeah, I think so. Sure." He didn't seem too confident. I guess I need to cut Dustin some slack...he wasn't even born when Kramer vs. Kramer and Tootsie were hits, and he was only four years old when Rain Man was released. But he has to know about the Fokkers, right?

Stay tuned for more interesting "first tee fumbles"!


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