Golf is the Great Mystery. Like some capricious goddess, it bestows its favours with what would appear an almost fat-headed lack of method and discrimination. On every side we see two-fisted he-men floundering round in three figures, stopping every few minutes to let through little shrimps with knock-knees and hollow cheeks, who are tearing off snappy seventy-fours. Giants of finance have to accept a stroke per from their junior clerks. Men capable of governing empires fail to control a small, white ball, which presents no difficulties whatever to others with one ounce more brain than a cuckoo-clock. Mysterious, but there it is. P.G. WODEHOUSE
Mickelson has found only 55% of his fairways, down slightly from 2007 and far off his 62.9% in 2004 when he won the Masters for the first time.
He's also averaging 292.3 yards in driving distance, more than eight yards shorter than in 2006 when he won the Masters for the second time.
"If it were celebrity, then that would be fine, but it's not celebrity when all you do is get mocked about it. That's not celebrity."
Jeff Duncan profiles Woody Austin in the New Orleans Times-Picayune, offering this disturbing anecdote:
He became a gallery favorite, where fans kidded him -- "Don't hit it in the water, Woody!" -- and punctuated his shots with cries of "Aquaman," the nickname bestowed upon him by Presidents Cup teammate Phil Mickelson.And they wonder why guys don't want to play pro-ams.
Even his playing partners at pro-am events got into the act, showing up at the tee box on three different occasions in swim goggles.
At least Woody's honest about it:
"What can you do?" he said Wednesday after his pro-am round at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans at TPC Louisiana. "If it were celebrity, then that would be fine, but it's not celebrity when all you do is get mocked about it. That's not celebrity. All I do is get mocked and ridiculed and chided. There's nothing great about it."
“Some people walk away thinking, ‘Geez, that course must be great because the pros can’t make any birdies on it.’ Other people walk away saying, ‘Well, that course must be boring to play because the pros can’t make any birdies on it.’ Everyone seems to be pretty split on the idea whether hard is good.”
I most enjoyed the section on Phyllis Wade's recent recognition as volunteer of the year.
Finchem Someone writes:
Phyllis first volunteered at the L.A. Open in 1948, and was a walking scorer for Ben Hogan. In recent years, she has provided clipping services for the media at several tournaments on the West Coast. During a ceremony honoring Phyllis, she received a standing ovation from the media in attendance, something I can't remember ever happening for anyone.
Well Tim doesn't know it, but there is a silent media room standing-O whenever he finishes rambling on about the corporate partners and their devotion to charity.
I did find the note about Phyllis the highlight. As far as I know, there was no ceremony, but there was an airing of a Golf Channel feature that led to the impromptu ovation (mostly standing). Easily the highlight of the week.
Now here's the fun part. I'm the only one who wrote about it. Does that mean the Commissioner is a GS.com reader? Or just his ghostwriter is? Or maybe I missed a ceremony? Either way, nice to see Phyllis getting recognition from the big guy in Ponte Vedra.
A group of residents, including a veteran of the two previous campaigns, is trying to figure out the best way to prevent the short, busy and historic course from being lost to development by the University of Texas, which owns the land. The UT System Board of Regents meets today to consider the next step as it formulates a plan for the 345 acres known as the Brackenridge tract.And...
The citizens group — which formed Thursday at the Lions clubhouse and heard an impassioned plea from pro golfer and West Austin resident Ben Crenshaw — is planning a tournament in June to raise money to advertise its cause. Other events are expected.
"It's another opportunity for people who support and love Muny to get together," said Mary Arnold, a longtime environmental activist.
Arnold was involved in successful efforts in the early 1970s and late 1980s to persuade UT to leave the 84-year-old course right where it was on 141 acres between Exposition and Lake Austin boulevards.
Since the last campaign in 1989, Lions has seen more than a million rounds of golf, Fleming said.
"That means this place has touched a lot of lives."
Paul Prudhomme was setting up his cooking tent on the practice range at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans golf event when he felt a sting in his right arm, just above his elbow.
Prudhomme shook his shirt sleeve and a .22 caliber bullet fell to the ground, a spokesman for the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office said.
Deputies believe Prudhomme was hit by a falling bullet, probably shot about 9:30 a.m. Tuesday from somewhere within a 1 1/2-mile radius of the golf course, said Col. John Fortunato. The celebrated chef didn't require medical attention.
"He thought it was a bee sting," Fortunato said. "Within five minutes, he was back to doing his thing."
Witnesses said the bullet cut Prudhomme's skin on his arm and put a hole in his white chef's coat. But Prudhomme continued cooking until he left the course about 3:30 p.m.
Prudhomme was at the course to cook for players, their caddies and guests at the annual PGA Tour event, which begins Thursday and runs through Sunday.
Prudhomme, who grew up outside Opelousas, rose to prominence after being named the first American-born executive chef of New Orleans restaurant Commander's Palace in 1975. He landed on the national stage as the chef-owner of K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen. He's also appeared several times as a guest on television network morning news shows and late-night talk shows.
If Hillary only had been so lucky.
You think John Daly has issues? Bob Smiley is writing a book about watching every hole Tiger plays this year and just had his streak ended. Let's just hope for Bob's sake, the publisher is picking up his travel expenses.
For years, the Woods-Williams discussions were off-limits. But late last year, NBC producer Tommy Roy started to notice a change. During the FedEx Cup playoffs, he had two sound men, Andre Carabajal and Frank Ricciardi, take turns working Tiger's group. Each carried a new model microphone — the Sennheiser 816, replacing the Sennheiser Mke2, for you audiophiles — that permitted them to pick up conversation from about four or five feet away, instead of three. When it comes to Tiger's personal space, every foot counts. Steve Williams wasn't moving them out.Shut up Johnny!
The payoff came at Bay Hill. Carabajal, tall and lanky but unobtrusive, was assigned to the Woods — Sean O'Hair group. On the 16th fairway on Sunday, Woods and Williams were throwing grass and analyzing a make-or-break shot when Roy said into the earpieces of all his announcers, "Let's listen."
Johnny Miller stopped talking, and we heard Tiger say to Stevie, "If that flag changes, let me know." It was an insight, among other things, into how much Tiger trusts his caddie. Then on 18 Williams threw grass and told Woods to add 13 yards to a 167-yard shot. Tiger didn't say a thing. We watched him process the information and then play a low, fading five-iron from a place another golfer might have smashed a seven.
This is from the May Golf Digest:
To do our part, at the urging of some members of the American Society of Golf Course Architects, Golf Digest has redefined the Conditioning category used in our various course rankings.
The old definition asked panelists, "How would you rate the playing quality of tees, fairways and greens when you last played the course?" The new definition reads, "How fast, firm and rolling were the fairways, and how firm yet receptive were the greens on the date you played the course?"
Uh, what if the course has kikuyu fairways?
Seriously, this is a nice step. Lop off Resistance to Scoring and you might start seeing some of those dogs flopping off the list of America's Best Courses.
Clearly, the sponsor exemptions have to stop. Certainly, no one would blame the PGA Tour for imposing a suspension. Absolutely, the media should quit glorifying this behavior. Desperately, someone close to Daly needs to get him the help he needs.
After hearing all the talk about those bad greens at the Bay Hill Club, you wanted to remind the players that Arnold Palmer won all 62 of his PGA Tour tournaments — including those seven majors — on greens that were probably worse than what they were playing on that week.And...
Then again, that goes along with what Ed Dougherty once said about the fickle nature of professional golfers: “These guys would bitch about ice cream.”
Let me see if I have this right: Ten players who had to come back Monday morning to finish the $8 million CA Championship were then whisked off in limousines to the Miami airport where private jets took them to Orlando where helicopters then relayed them to Isleworth for a VIP corporate outing? Yeah, that sounds like the way Byron Nelson and Jug McSpaden made their way out of town after winning the Miami Four-ball March 11, 1945.
Thanks to reader Tuco for this reminder that (A) contemporary art is a farce (B) that the ad gurus are consistently nauseating to listen to when describing the deep, hidden context of their lame ad campaigns and (C) that at least this is an upgrade from the spots with Tiger raving about the Enclave's family-friendly safety.
Garry Smits is the first to address the inevitable questions about the PGA Tour's financial well-being in the face of an economic downturn, with quotes from Tim Finchem and Joe Ogilvie.
He reported that TV ratings are up slightly over last year, mostly because of Tiger Woods being on another hot streak and stars such as Ernie Els and Phil Mickelson winning tournaments in which Woods did not appear. That keeps advertisers happy.
Tournament pro-ams, ticket sales, corporate hospitality and other tournament-site revenue, part of which flows to the Tour's charitable concerns, also remains level with 2007 or even slightly up, when taken as a whole.
Close to home, The Players Championship is seeing corporate tents, sky boxes and other forms of hospitality at nearly the same pace as last year, with ticket sales a bit ahead of last year, said executive director Ron Cross.
But even Finchem agreed that the PGA Tour, like any other business, probably could not avoid being affected if the economy continues a downward trend.
"I don't know if we're impervious," Finchem said recently. "We have a lot of long-term stuff with fundamental building blocks at the tournament level. Ads and TV ratings are on a shorter leash, but so far we haven't seen any falloff."
Finchem said the economic outlook for the Tour is not as dire as in 1999 and 2000, during the dot.com bust. For example, the Tour had to fill nearly 10 title sponsorships within a year, including an umbrella sponsor for its developmental tour to replace Buy.com.
"Anything to do with residential development might be a problem pretty soon," Ogilvie said.
"You look at retail, like cars, which would be a problem, but we have a great relationship with Buick, and they have Tiger on their team. They're one U.S. car brand that is doing well.
The Tour season also has six months remaining, and more bad news from the economy could start having ripple effects.
"When businesses suffer, they put on the brakes," Finchem said. "They don't entertain, and advertising is easy to cut. But some are cutting back now and some remain aggressive. We might come out OK."
Okay, John Daly's drinking is a concern, but going through divorce number four and saying things like this takes it to another level. From an unbylined Irish Independent story:
"I don't need a coach," said Daly, reportedly going through his fourth divorce. "I need a woman in my life.
"Once I start playing great golf again, everything will be all right. Now I'm getting poured on, but when I'm playing great, everybody talks about how great I am. That's the way it's always worked.
"I'm hitting the ball great. I'm close now. New Orleans is going to be a great week."
Read it and weep!
One of the most sober assessments of Daly's current predicament was made by Pat Perez, probably one of his closest friends on Tour.
"It used to be cool to hang out with JD and go out and party ... but now you can't drink with him because you're really contributing to something really terrible."
From a reader whose identity will be protected because really, who wants the world to know they were watching the Tavistock Cup?
Anyway, this brave viewer passed along this mind boggling anecdote from Golf Channel announcer Gary McCord:
Tiger's index at Isleworth (Course rating 77, Slope 142, length 7,500 yards) is +13.5. Which means that he'd have to give a 5 handicap a stroke a hole.
Of course I looked on GHIN and could not find an index listing for Tiger, so take that one for what it's worth.