Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Tiger's short game at Quail Hollow

My handicap fluctuates each year between 4 and 6, and even though I am a decent ball-striker, my short game continually holds me back. I like to blame this glaring weak spot on my absolute lack of practice. The only way to improve your chipping and putting is to work at it, and my "improvement" routine is I guess I can't really expect too much. After any round of golf I play with my dad, we like to speculate about what Tiger would have shot if he stepped in for me after my approach to each hole. Usually it's around ten strokes better than my final score. My 79's and 81's (after hitting 11 GIR's) would be 69's and 71's if only Mr. Woods were driving my short game bus.

But what happened to Tiger at last weekend's Quail Hollow Championship? His usually razor-sharp short game was duller than a butter knife! Three-putting at critical moments and lackluster scrambling was very un-Tiger-like, and reminded me of my own struggles. It just goes to show you that even the best in the world is prone to flailing with the finesse shots every now and then. What's amazing to me is that even when Tiger is wasting strokes, he's still right in the thick of things. You can't say that about too many other Tour pros.

Congratulations to Bubba Watson for his runner-up finish. As I've mentioned before in this blog, I get the opportunity to hang out on the road with him and his caddie, Ted Scott. They are hilarious, a couple of really good guys. Here's a little known trivia fact: Ted Scott is a former World Champion foosball player. He used to caddie for Paul Azinger, and taught Zinger all of the finer nuances of kickin' butt in foosball. During the week of the Ryder Cup, Captain Azinger played in a random underground foosball tournament in some basement in Louisville (and nobody recognized him). Zinger is a foosball fanatic now, thanks to Bubba's caddie.

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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Here We Go Again!

I'm sorry for the extended absence. I've been thoroughly enjoying the holidays, and I hope all of my readers had a nice break and are excited for the new year.

The PGA TOUR season is just one day away, and I'm expecting some fireworks. Tiger's long-awaited return will keep everyone on the edge of their seats, and I'm predicting the guy comes back stronger than ever in 2009. I leave in a couple of weeks for the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic in Palm Springs, and I'm anxious to get back out into the TOUR mix.

Adding closure to my Webb Simpson "Watch"...the first-year pro from Wake Forest played six straight rounds under par at Q-School Finals, easily finished in the top 25, and captured a coveted TOUR card for this year. I knew that kid could do it! The medalist at Q-School was my friend Harrison Frazar, who was so down on his game a couple of years ago that he considered a new line of work. Hopefully this small victory will catapault him to great things in 2009 (Comeback Player of the Year?). If you love the game golf, you never throw in the towel...way to hang in there, Harrison.

Everyone should keep an eye on two other long shots who made it through Q-School, solely because these guys are living proof of "never in my wildest dreams"! Brian Vranesh, a 31-year old from Arizona who was waiting tables just a year ago, shot a final round 65 to make it right on the number. Matthew Borchert, also 31, was washing golf carts at a club in Orlando in early 2008 just to make ends meet. He also shot 65 on the last day. I'm going to be rooting hard for these "underdogs" this year, in hopes that they can improve their TOUR status and enjoy their new tax bracket.

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Monday, July 7, 2008

The Man with One Black Shoe

Anthony Kim is showing the world that he is for real. With two wins in his last five starts, he is the first American under 25-years old to win twice in the same year since…Tiger Woods.

One of my first impressions of AK came at last year’s
Nissan Open (now the Northern Trust Open) at Riviera Country Club in California. He showed up to start his third round on the tenth tee wearing one black shoe and one white shoe. The fans were snickering, the other pros were rolling their eyes, and I was the first to ask him what was up. “Did you get dressed in the dark, AK?"

“What…you don’t like this action?” he fired back.

“Well, I’ve seen some crazy shoes before, but I can’t say I’ve seen two completely different pairs being worn at the same time. That’s a new one.”

“Exactly. I want to be the first to make the two-shoe statement.”

I realized right there that this rookie is either extremely clueless, or he’s cocky for good reason. He then stepped up and cranked his drive onto the green, 315 yards away. Anthony shot 64 in the final round that week, finished ninth on a sponsor’s exemption, and went on to make $1.5 million for the year (60th on the 2007 money list).

Hey AK, wear any combination of shoes you want (or a huge, five-pound, diamond-encrusted belt buckle). You’re currently fifth on the money list and fifth in FedEx Cup points…by now, you’ve definitely earned it.

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