May 15, 2003
Volume II, Issue 10
Another reason to root!
Annika Sorenstam recently announced that she would be donating half of what she earns at the PGA Tour's Colonial tournament (May 22-25) to the charities of the LPGA Tour event held the same week. The LPGA Tournament that weekend is the Corning Classic, which will be celebrating its 25th anniversary as an official LPGA Tour event.
We were just leaving
Todd Murphy and Raymond Benjamin managed to sneak onto the hallowed grounds at Augusta National this past May 4. According to the incident report filed in Augusta-Richmond County the two men were intoxicated and ran into a security guard as they were trying to leave the property. There was no official word on whether or not Murphy or Bejamin managed to par their first playoff hole.
Euro Mafia, in Italy, come on...
Seve Ballesteros refused to accept a one-stroke penalty (slow play) recently in the Italian Open and blamed the assessment on European Tour Director Ken Schofield. Seve accused Schofield and the European Tour of maintaining a "mafia-like" dictatorship over the tour. Ballesteros was part of a contingent of four golfers (Ballesteros, Bernhard Langer, Jose Maria Olazabal and Nick Faldo) who demanded an independent audit of the Tour's books 18 months ago. Schofield and the tour dismissed all the accusations as unthinkable.
The Hogan Duece
Reigning U.S. Amateur Champion, Ricky Barnes and runner up, Hunter Mahan were named co-winners of the Ben Hogan award. The honor is given to the best college player in the NCAA or NAIA divisions. Barnes most recently finished tied for 21st at The Masters and Mahan tied for 28th.
My kid not a prodigy? Hey bub, watch what you say...
Parents around the world, lend me your reading orbs. In furtherance of the evolution of mankind, perhaps you can open up your mind to some insight previously thought unattainable. If you have children, are considering having children, ever come into contact with children, or merely have heard of these short-legged creatures, then this article is particularly important for you to read. The angelic little cherubs that you've seen clinging tightly to a sawed-off Patty Berg Blade are the future of our sport and they must be taught the game properly. More importantly, they must understand its greatest premise: never bet money you don't have. Er ... it's just a game and is meant to be enjoyed. Yeah, that's the one I meant!
Let us take this premise and build upon it with a few quick tips to help keep kids in the game for a lifetime.
- Rule of 15: Kids are by-and-large afflicted with short attention spans. (Not ADD, just short attention spans). It is not for lack of interest but rather a need to satisfy new stimuli. Therefore, to thwart the boredom bug when getting kids involved in playing golf, keep the game short so that they will want to come back. Don't keep them any longer than 15 minutes (Unless of course his name is Eldrick). Invariably, after about 15 minutes your child will want to leave or want to hit more. Use your best judgment from here, but if you force them to stay longer it will become a chore. Golf can certainly be as enjoyable at times as taking out the trash, but it should never become such a task.
- Play Games: Give the child ten balls to hit and challenge him or her to hit to a target that is both challenging and realistic, like the "range picker" cart when it makes it's way close enough to hit. Or in the interest of maintaining civility, perhaps you could just aim at a thicket of grass or the 25-yard marker. Be sure it can be done first so that the child is not too discouraged if total failure ensues. Also, don't point fingers and laugh unless, of course, it's somebody else's kid and he's dressed like Jesper Parnevik.
- Be sure they play with other short pants: Almost every course and practice range has a kids' program where the fundamentals of the golf swing are taught, and often times etiquette is instructed as well. Kids can better identify with the game when surrounded by other children of similar age and size that are learning the game as well. Golf is social for most and as such should be presented in a fashion that reflects the social virtues that can be experienced.
In an age where television shows like America's Most Talented Kid
"pimp" the greatness of our youth, it is my hope that readers of this work will realize that children should make the choice to play or not play. Certainly there is something to be said for a little healthy encouragement, but never force this game or any other on a child. They will play and improve at a pace that is consistent with their personality. Recently I was fortunate enough to run across an amazing book about children and golf. I was none too surprised to discover that a 13-year-old boy wrote it. CaddyWhack
is a compilation written by Drew Murray. The book should be required reading for children (or adults with a lot of kid in them) that want to learn more about the game. The definitions and illustrations throughout the book had me choking on my milk and Oreos as I read. It is a short read and kids can identify with the lingo and analogies that are made within the pages.
I suppose an indication of David Toms' golf acumen was demonstrated on the final hole of the Wachovia Championship last week, which can best be characterized as "how bad you can be and still win running away from the field." Tom's manages a quadruple bogey 8 on the 18th hole and still takes first place and a $900,000 paycheck. There really should be a rule that penalizes a guy for teasing the rest of the field in such a manner. It's the equivalent of being up 3-0 in a ball game, a shutout in the making. Last inning, two out, and you walk three consecutive runners to load the bases. To tease them, you walk two more runners, brining home two runs. And then three straight strikes to end the tease. An 8 Dave? One of the best putters on tour four putts the final green? Geezum.
If I have to play with her, I'll take my balls and go home
If revenge is a dish best served chilly, then perhaps Annika Sorenstam is keeping a meal waiting for Vijay Singh in her icebox. Just before Vijay left the clubhouse this past weekend at Quail Hollow Country Club in Charlotte, North Carolina, he was asked what he thought about golf's number one chica. Keep in mind, faithful — at least this one time — these aren't my words! Vijay said, "What is she going to prove by playing? It's ridiculous. She's the best woman golfer in the world, and I want to emphasize 'woman.' We have our tour for men, and they have their tour. She's taking a spot from someone in the field." He also let it be known that should he end up being paired with Sorenstam he would withdraw from the tournament. I am not even sure that his comments warrant a retort from Annika herself, but at deadline for me she was still unavailable for comment.
However, I myself (go figure) feel compelled to bust off a little something-something in defense of the best woman golfer in the world.
Hey, Vijay. What if Jackie Robinson would have agreed that he did not belong in the white league? What if George Washington would have remained steadfastly loyal to the King? What if Rosa Parks would have just walked to the back of the bus? The rhetorical questions could go on as we both know, but the answer to all of them when directed at you sir, is plainly obvious. You would not be the proud owner of two major championships and a card-carrying member of the PGA Tour. Note it bears no distinctive moniker like, M(en's)PGA or G(uy's)PGA.
Not to mention that she is playing on a sponsor's exemption. The same thing that has been made available to the likes of countless other players (John Daly, Tom Watson, etc.) in the past who were perhaps less worthy at the time but more marketable than many qualifiers. So is she really stealing a spot from someone as you suggest? Or is she contributing to the almighty bottom line? Which, if I am not mistaken, has been pretty healthy for you these past few years.
Your comments stink of chauvinism and stand only to decrease the integrity of a game already mired in gender-biased controversy.
Thanks, Vijay. Wasn't sure who I could count on to make themselves look like a jerk on this one, but you took the bait and rose to the top.
Incidentally, I hope she makes the cut. I don't think she will, but I hope she does. And in the unlikely event that she does make it to the weekend, I really will be hoping that you are paired with her Saturday or Sunday. Will your true colors shine? Will you really withdraw? Will you really disgrace yourself that way?