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August 15, 2003
Volume II, Issue 14
 
Fringe Clippings
 
Pelt's the competition!
 
Bo Van Pelt claimed his first victory of the 2003 season on the NationWide Tour by recording a 62 in the final round of the Omaha Classic. With a sick 8-month-old son (104 degree temperature Saturday night) and a fourth wedding anniversary on Sunday, Van Pelt's victory was not without human interest distraction drama. Van Pelt is also leading the tour in consecutive cuts made with 13.
 
Mulligan habits bite ya!
 
Stephen Scott Lowber, the former CFO for Cutter and Buck pleaded guilty to a felony charge of accessory after the fact to wire fraud. Lowber, 52, could face up to two and a half years in prison and as much as a $125,000 fine. The Securities and Exchange Commission did not penalize Cutter and Buck.
 
Paging Mr. Howell...
 
Charles Howell III finally cracked the top ten in point standings, a requirement to make the President's Cup Team. Howell had stated at the beginning of the year that making the team, which visits South Africa later this year, was one of his biggest goals for the year. The Augusta, Georgia, native finished ninth at the International this past weekend and displaced Bob Estes in the President's Cup standings. This weeks's PGA Championship is the final tournament of the year in which a player can earn points toward the Cup.
 
Uninspired by a dollar?
 
The "powers that be" for Augusta National have decided to forgo commercial sponsorship for next year's Masters Tournament. Chairman Hootie Johnson feels that the response from TV viewers spoke well of the strictly golf format presented by CBS this past year. Sunday ratings for the tournament ranked as the third highest in coverage history.
 
Club sales are down, blame it on the simulator!
 
Lori Christopher is the sister of Futures Tour player Juli Hilton. Lori recently quit her job with a prominent talent agency in Hollywood, California, to film a documentary about Futures Tour players and life on the road. The filming will cover over a full year on tour and Christopher hopes a cable network will purchase the finished product.
 
 
Paralysis by Analysis
 
Has anyone seen my Par?
 
There is no greater penalty in golf (outside of disqualification) than to go OB, Out of Bounds. Especially from off the tee because it's usually your longest shot. The penalty, of course, is stroke and distance.

For instance let's say you stripe one right off the toe and that sucker is screaming through the air and turning, much to your chagrin, left, left, left. Although its total distance traveled is the equivalent of two and a half football fields, the last half was sideways! If the ball should be found on the wrong side of the white stake — used to mark the out of bounds area — you will hit again from the tee box after charging yourself an extra stroke. In other words, you're teeing off with your third shot, and your position is plus or minus 150 - 250 yards behind where you most likely should be! Dang, doesn't that suck?

Let's try, as they say in nautical terms, to keep it between the navigational beacons.

First we must determine our skill level. If every club in our bag goes the same distance and really has no flight orders other than gravity eventually pulling it back to earth, then please, please, please meet us at the 19th hole. However if you can determine common distances that you hit each club, then select your most accurate club for your tee shots, relative to the distance you need it to travel and factoring in the width of the fairway. Note to reader: I said need, not want! Quite often this will mean taking a three wood instead of driver or a five iron instead of a three iron. Hit it only as far as you need to get to make your next shot a playable one. Just because it does not go as far as you are capable of hitting a ball on your best day, does not mean it was not a great shot. It's called golf course management! If you are a little further back on your second shot, what does it really matter? At least you are in play for a change.

Secondly, swing easy for gosh sakes! By swinging easy, the tension that is built up in your body is released and allows your arms, hands and hips to turn away from and then back toward the target without resistance. Ty Webb would call it "being the ball," but we just like to refer to it as not being a tight wad.

Lastly, if you do go OB, don't be the guy who kicks the ball out of the forbidden territory and back in play. There are too many of us ... um, I mean, those guys out there already. Take your Castor Oil as it is served to you! Stroke and distance for each time you go OB.

The Out of Bounds area is designated as such for many different reasons, but I won't go into that here. Just know that you can't change it! That's right, I said you can't change the rules. You can change your socks, though. Try going out with some of those little 80's style shorties with the pom-poms on the back. Those were cool, weren't they?

One last thought: if the guy standing next to your ball is barbecuing, you are almost guaranteed to be out of bounds.
 
 
Reading the Line
 
First off ...
 
Let's clear one thing up right now. Davis Love III is a man of great class and dignity. His character is unimpeachable and the nonsensical minutiae that was being spewed about his possible marital strife completely fly in the face of everything that he has meant to the game of golf! Let me explain quickly. Love addressed the media last Wednesday before the start of the International concerning rumors about his wife. Apparently the whispers about marital discord had made their way into the locker room at Castle Pines last week (site of the International) and this prompted Davis to rebuke and quash the unfounded rumors during a press conference. DL III has had a career year on the course and currently leads the PGA Tour money list. Off the course, his family suffered a great tragedy with the loss of his wife's brother-in-law to suicide. The manner in which Davis has conducted himself and the level of golf that he has shown demonstrate a man of great character and will.
 
Scraping the bottom
 
Could any more be made about Tiger switching from the Nike driver back to his old Titleist? Well I am writing about it, so I guess so. Tiger is a man who possesses a serious amount of physical golf sensitivity in addition to incredible intellect. He made a decision that fits him and his game. The Nike driver did not feel right to him so he is playing his old 975D until Nike can make him a club he is happy with. None of this has anything to do with his feeling of inferiority in relation to distance. The other guys are out-driving him with 46-inch graphite shafts. Tiger still uses a 43 and a half inch steel shaft! Do not call in the slump police yet, and for gosh sakes don't start buying stock in Acushnet in anticipation of a Tiger signing (I already got it all anyway). He will be staying with Nike for a long time to come, and he will win the PGA Championship this week.
 
Player of the Year honors go to...
 
Let's not kid ourselves. The reason everyone is talking about Player of the Year this early in the season is because it's worth talking about for a change! Not only is Tiger not a lock to win the award, he's not even the front-runner. Davis Love III, Jim Furyk and Mike Weir all have a better chance to win it than Tiger. "Made for TV" movie nice guy Kenny Perry certainly deserves to be considered in the running as well. And let's not forget Ernie Els won four out of the gate this year and may garner some votes. It's fun to argue about this stuff over a cold one and get down and dirty about who our favorites are and why, so why not write and tell us what you think? Send your comments to editor@offthefringe.com. I might even agree with you. Oh, who am I kidding! The important thing to remember is that Brian Kontak (petitioned to play in the U.S. Women's Open) will not be winning it. Nor will he be winning Women's Player of the Year honors because once again, knock knock, John, you are not a woman!
 
Confirming the earth is still tilted on its axis...
 
John Daly's wife was indicted in a drug and gambling scandal. Big John apparently did not know about any of this. Did this guy's luck just run out after St. Andrews 1995 or what? ... Michelle Wie was a non-factor in the US Women's Amateur after losing in the first round. This proves nothing about her future, but for now it certainly proves she is mortal ... Bo Van Pelt did win in Omaha with a 62 on the final day, but how would you like to shoot 60 any day during any tournament week and lose? Just ask Craig Lile. Lile shot a 60 on Friday and still lost the handle to Van Pelt.
 
 
 

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