Friday, February 20, 2009

My first two weeks out on TOUR

In the last couple of months, I've worked as a Scoring Official at a few of the West Coast Swing events.  At the Bob Hope Classic in Palm Springs, Pat Perez was able to finally rise above the TOUR's rank and file by capturing his first title (he needs to send Steve Stricker a "Thank You" card immediately). Golf legend Arnold Palmer was hosting this year's 50th Anniversary event, and as always, I was impressed with The King's charisma and politeness.  Even at 79 years old, Palmer exudes an engaging charm that shines even brighter in person.

I was exhibiting at the PGA SHOW the week of the FBR Open in Phoenix. Kenny Perry continues to amaze me...he's getting better as he approaches the Champions Tour! 

At the Buick Invitational, Nick Watney backed up his first TOUR victory in 2007 by closing with birdies on #16 and #18 to edge John Rollins by a shot.  Nick is a calm, soft-spoken guy who seemed very composed coming down the stretch. He held the lead for only one hole all week, but it was the one that mattered most...the last!  I think we'll be seeing more of Watney in the winner's circle.

I witnessed an interesting exchange at the Buick's Wednesday Pro-Am.  Phil Mickelson had just finished his round on Torrey Pines' North Course, and he was greeted by Bam Bam Bamiro, a member of the Harlem Globetrotters (who were in San Diego for the standard lop-sided game against their hapless arch-rivals, the Washington Generals).  Bam Bam presented a special Globetrotter jersey to Phil, complete with "Mickelson" and the number 1 stitched on the back. After some p.r. photos were taken, Phil asked Bam Bam to show him how to spin a basketball on his finger.  Bam Bam tried to teach him, but after a few embarrassing attempts in public, Phil said he would just practice at home.  It amused me that a skill so instinctively simple for Bam Bam proved awkward and complicated for Mickelson.  But then I wondered how long it would take Bam Bam (a non-golfer) to execute a perfect flop shot off a tight lie to a short-sided pin. Now that would be embarrassing.    

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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Musings from The FedEx Cup Finale

The race for the FedEx Cup is finally over, having culminated in an exciting sudden death finish at THE TOUR Championship at East Lake. I worked the scoring area last week in Atlanta, and as far as work goes, it doesn't get any better for me...ten minutes from my house, a small field and late tee times every day. Compared to the 60+ hours a week I'm used to working, this tournament felt like a vacation!

Congrats to Vijay for not severely injuring himself or botching his scorecard at the Finale. As a result, the Big Fijian collected the $10 million FedEx Cup bonus after cruising around East Lake at 9-over par. Whereas Veej usually doesn't spend an abundance of time scrutinizing his card, last week I made sure we were both excessively thorough in checking his scores. Singh was especially laid-back and friendly in Atlanta...I guess when the pressure's off everyone gets a taste of Vijay's lighter side.

Out of the four guys in the hunt on Sunday afternoon, three (Garcia, Kim and Mickelson) competed in the emotionally draining Ryder Cup the week before. Which player had that week off? Your winner, Camilo "Fresh Legs" Villegas. Several members of the victorious American team admitted to me that their brains were fried, and they couldn't wait to take a break from the game.

I've always known he could flat-out play, but I've become a huge Anthony Kim fan after his Ryder Cup performance and swagger. Other people are adding him to their "new friends" list...after playing together in the third round, Kim and Sergio exchanged cell phone numbers in the scoring area. "I'd better give you my Euro number as well," said Garcia. "I plan on being over there for a while."

Finally, I talked college football with Mickelson and his caddie Bones after play on Saturday afternoon. They were headed over to Athens to take in the Georgia-Alabama game. When I asked Phil what he thought about the Crimson Tide getting seven points, he rolled his eyes. "Absolute tap-in," he offered. The man knows his football.

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