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October 29, 2003
Volume II, Issue 17
Fringe Clippings
Well sure, but if I had a lucky roll...
Twenty-five-year-old Clayton Burger is the new longest man in golf. Burger recently took first prize in the ReMax World Long Drive Contest in Las Vegas, Nevada. It was Burger's first appearance in the contest, and it is the second year in a row that a first-timer has won the event. Incidentally, the club Burger used was a Cobra SS 427 with a 52-inch Penley shaft, and he took home $80,000.00 plus some ancillary prizes. Oh yeah, for the record, the drive went 402 yards!
Words from the throne
Edwin Watts himself has refuted the rumors that have been circulating concerning his retail juggernaut being sold off or partnering with other golf giants. Most recently it was being rumored that Watts might be selling an interest to Golf Galaxy or Golfsmith. Edwin has been meeting with Venture Capitalists. Advisory: stay tuned!
Golden Cub Caged
Christopher Curbello, a former executive with Paragon Construction International, Inc., was recently sentenced to 3½ years in prison. Paragon, which is now defunct, was owned by Golden Bear Golf, Inc. Curbello and co-defendant John Boyd falsified records to mask losses by up to 85%! Both men pleaded guilty, and Boyd is to be sentenced on November 7. Golden Bear shareholders lost an estimated $49 million.
Putt, putt, putt
At the Las Vegas Invitational, Kent Jones hit 83 of 90 greens in regulation. That's the most greens recorded in regulation in a 90-hole PGA Tour event. Alas, Stuart Appleby won at Las Vegas and Kent Jones tied for 26th. That happens when you place first in GIR and you average 32 putts per round!
Paralysis by Analysis
Here's to you, Mr. Wipe 'Em Down and Stuff 'Em in the Cart Guy
No this is not a rambunctious attempt at equal rights on the golf course. I am certainly not lobbying to have men driving the beer cart on the golf course. I am simply writing about the guys who take your bags at the bag drop area! And yes you are correct in your recollection that I have encouraged tipping these guys on several occasions to keep your day going smoothly.

Now that we have covered that which I am not going to pontificate about, let me state emphatically and permanently, I think that with out cart guys, the very infrastructure of golf would fall apart. Note: editor is no engineer and has no capability to determine infrastructure integrity.

"Why is the cart guy so important," is obviously what you have always wanted to know. I'm not sure now, but I was one once so I am just supporting my roots.

The problem they have? PERFORMANCE.

With the exception of the old retired codger who is busting his hump to supplement his retirement income, the staff of cart guys at most courses are made up entirely of young guys trying to break into the business of golf or wanting a job that has free golf as a perk.

Neither of these impetuses is wrong in their nature. What is wrong is that 99.5% of these yahoos could care less that you have paid to be on the course. They are simply occupying space.

When I pay $45-$110 to play a round of golf I believe I am entitled to a little white glove treatment. I want my bags taken from my trunk (with out my assistance). I want them wiped down before I play and loaded on my cart. I want my cart pulled up conveniently to my parking space or at least the most accessible space available, and I want a few tees on the house meticulously lined in the tee holders built into dash area. And at the end of my round I would like those services in reverse — minus the tees in my dash of course!

In exchange for this service it is not uncommon to tip two dollars per bag, per foursome. That's eight bucks for five minutes of work. Multiplied out it works out to 48 dollars an hour! Not bad. Now I know that is unreasonable, as no one can work an eight-hour shift straight through maintaining such a pace, but most of you get the idea. This job can pay pretty well for being what is considered a "low on the totem pole position."

Instead, we more often times must carry our own clubs from our trunks to some carts that are lined up in "Carmine's Used Car Depot" fashion and strap them in as well. By the time the cart guy gets around to helping you, it is too late and you don't want to tip him. Of course this leads to dirty looks and him telling the "Marshall" about you and your uncouth playing partners, which inevitably leads us all to feeling stalked by said Marshall and most assuredly a bad case of the shanks.

Obviously you all have gotten my drift here. It's not that I have the shanks; it's the cart kids' fault. Oh sorry, got off on a tangent there.

To avoid the messy mishaps in the future, just drive straight to the bag drop area, pop your trunk and sit in your car stoically. If no one should arrive to valet your goods, act like you're getting something important out of the back seat and "accidentally" honk the horn!

They will get the picture. Oh, and if for some reason you can't shake the Marshall later, just tell him you hit five brand new Pro V1s off the last tee into the shoreline of the last water hazard but did not retrieve them because you did not want to slow up play!
Reading the Line
So round, so firm, so loosly packed
Jan Stephenson must still be washing the hydrogen peroxide out of her mouth. After swallowing her golf spikes whole, how could she not be trying to prevent infection and further damage? Stephenson was recently quoted in a Golf Magazine interview as saying that "the Asians are killing our tour." She was making reference to what she called a lack of emotion and a refusal to speak English by those of Asian decent on the LPGA Tour. Her thought was much shorter than the quote supplied, and those interested can find her comments in their entirety on the nearest newsstand.

The Australian native has ceremoniously apologized for her commentary, but Stephenson has always been a woman who made a career of manipulating her audience to enhance her career. Tight fuzzy sweaters and a recent Champions Tour debacle come to mind. Arnold Palmer was recently interviewed on the Golf Channel, and although I usually leave the cable network on while I am awash with insomnia, a Palmer interview is always worthy of perking up. When asked what he would pass along to young players as the most important piece of advice Palmer replied, "Mind your manners." Guess Jan doesn't have insomnia.
And you thought I didn't love you guys
Lest you all believe that I never read your comments, there were a bevy of interesting emails from the last issue. As usual, they spanned both the opinion and vocabulary spectrum— ouch! However, there was one that captured me and I have condensed its content below followed by my response.

Reader's letter:
I am 75 years old and have been playing golf for 5 decades... I feel more golf courses should do a little something to accommodate the senior golfers. No, I don't mean to charge them less because we are at the age where money is not a big concern. Years ago they started cutting the fairways about 150 yards out. Although I am straight I just can't seem to always get to the fairway. If they just ran that mower down the middle to the tee area I could at least get my ball to bounce on "short grass." Heck, I'm straight but with the way they cut the fairways today my driver seems to act like a nine iron. As soon as it hits the high grass it stops without any roll. — Tony
Let me start by getting something off my chest. YOU ARE MY HERO! I sure hope that I am teeing it up at 75. Congratulations on your fifty years playing the world's greatest game! — The Editor
It's so easy to forget, amid all the "Club Wars" between whose driver is the longest and whose technology is the most forgiving that this game is founded upon its history. History is not rhetoric for media darlings to pander. It is what happened in the past to make golf the greatest game. Perhaps it is time to listen to the wants and needs of our wiser generation and make this game more enjoyable for everyone!
Headline of the week, take your pick...
Vijay Singh tops Tiger on the money list!
Vijay Singh's four-shot victory over Woods, Scott Verplank and Stewart Cink in the Funai Classic at Disney — his fourth win this year — displaces Tiger at the top of this year's golf earnings race. Tiger has elected to take this week off preparing for next week's Tour Championship. However, if Singh wins this week's Chrysler Championship in Tampa, he would close out any chance of Tiger regaining the #1 spot in the winnings race. Otherwise, the money title will be decided in Houston at the Tour Championship. The #1 Ranking title might also be on the line.
Tiger sets new record!
Some sport's records appear/appeared invulnerable. Ruth's 60 home runs, DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak, and Byron Nelson's 112 PGA Tour events without missing a cut are the type of epic records to which I allude. Last week's Funai Classic saw Tiger make his 113 consecutive Tour cut! To put this into perspective, the longest run by any other currently active Tour player is a string of 53 put together by Vijay Singh between 1995 and 1998 when he missed the cut at that year's Masters.

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