Extras  Members  Newsletter 
March 01, 2004
Volume III, Issue 1
Fringe Clippings
We need to kibosh the Wie
Michelle Wie is now being rumored to be a participant in a most unlikely event. The Champions Tour may extend an invitation to the Hawaiian teen for The First Tee Open at Pebble Beach. The format is a Pro-Am, and of course Wie would be the amateur in her group. Insert commentary at will, Fringe Faithful.
Swoosh to the negative power
One of golf's largest management companies, American Golf, Inc., has closed down the operation of 35 Nike Golf Learning Centers nationwide. The company will continue to operate the remaining 23 learning facilities.
Shark meat for the Tiger
Tiger Woods has now been ranked number one in the world for 237 consecutive weeks. In addition to his consecutive week record he has been ranked number one for the 308th week overall in his career. He is just 23 weeks short of Greg Norman's all-time record of being number one ranked in 331 weeks.
And that's why it's better to be King
Former presidents of the USGA have historically controlled the process for nominating members of the USGA Executive Committee. Much of their influence has been lost due to a decision made earlier this month. From now on, a past president will no longer be allowed to chair the nominating committee, and the past presidents no longer will decide who should be dismissed from the committee. Furthermore, they have also lost the privilege of who should be retained. In the immortal words of Al Pacino, Hoowa!
Paralysis by Analysis
The State of your game...
Last month we tuned in – or were watching Welcome Back Kotter re-reruns – to the State of the Union address. The President of our United States addressed what we as a nation have done, what we are doing now and what we will be doing in the coming year. Whether or not you are a Bush advocate bears no relevance in this particular article. What does apply for us as golfers at the beginning of a new season is assessing what we have done, what we are doing now and what we plan to do about our golf game. Of course the, “Our” is representative of the mighty Fringe Brethren and our collective 26 handicap, but be assured that the following information is not categorically being spoken of in simple first, second or third person format. Pay attention now and perhaps the achiever within you will take something from the following information.

First, how did you play last year? What part of your game is rock solid and what part of your game is more inconsistent than predicting the outcome of the College Bowl Championship series? To assess your status from the ghost of “Double Bogey’s” past, slide those dog-eared score cards out from the zipped pouches which serve no purpose other than to collect empty sun-block containers and half finished scorecards, add ’em up and find a median score. Additionally, if you were fortunate enough to have teed it up more or less on a regular basis, pay particular notice to these scores, for they are a true reflection of the luck (talent) bestowed upon by you by the golf gods – incidentally he/she may, in fact, be the same deity that created Fox Network’s golf reporter, Lisa Dergen, but that’s another article. At any rate the primary idea is to better understand what kind of golfer you have been for the last year. If it was not so good, then the preceding information should serve great purpose for your new golf season goals. If you’re perfect every time out or you simply don’t care to get better then simply stuff last season’s score cards back in to the golf bag pocket and think of them as insulation for the beer of summer. Voila! You have created a handsome carrying case for your favorite beverages!

Second, what is your handicap? Don’t be a wisenheimer (does wisenheimer work in Scrabble?). The handicap system is almost – if not more than – complicated than the aforementioned College Bowl Championship Series to calculate. Luckily, the USGA offers an online handicapping system (as do other variegated web sites) for those of you who do not belong to a private club. Learn what your handicap is and how the system works in layman’s terms. This will help you match up against other golfers and give you a better clue than the hologram solutions offered up in most Scooby Doo episodes. Not to mention that you can better legitimize your team in the company scramble. If you don’t know your handicap, than you will not know where your game truly stands and subject yourself to “sand-bagging” criticism from your bitter opponents and team “stacking” in group tournaments.

Lastly, you must identify what it is that you want to accomplish this year insofar as your game’s improvement is concerned. Identify what your weaknesses truly are, and attack them in baby steps. Ergo…if you have trouble staying in bounds off the tee with a driver, then perhaps it is time to back down from the black tees and step up a bit to the whites. Striping a three-wood or another long iron that will stay in play will help limit the number of single, double and snowman bogeys that those white stakes tend to render. If putting is your Achilles Heel than perhaps it is time to learn the art of lagging a putt. Lag putting is an art form that must be practiced and teaches a golfer how to putt close to the hole instead of trying to make every putt. Everyone wants a birdie putt, but the avoidance of a comeback-ten-footer-down-hill will make even Tiger’s proposal to the ultra-sexy Elin Nordegren seem easy.

  1. Assess how you played last year and be honest about shots you can hit well and those you don’t.
  2. Know your handicap. It’s not just for your personal use, but also for those around you who are seeking to fill up that foursome.
  3. Set goals for the year. Be sure they are attainable and rubber cement your practice routine to your bag tag or some other highly visible venue that you will be assured to see time and again as a reminder.
Reading the Line
Same story, different dateline
The PGA Tour and LPGA Tour are now in business full time, and it could not have come sooner! The official "ringing in" of the respective season's has nothing to do with the actual start date but rather with the most compelling figures on either tour creating a story worth commenting about! Tiger and Annika both won this past weekend, and each of their stories is over-spoken by this point in time. What is not over-spoken, however, is their impact on television ratings and general golf interest amongst the public. There are Tiger and Annika detractors out there, and they know who they are. Let us all pray that the Golf Gods do not hear these malcontents and that we will continue to be graced with the phenomenon that is these two spectacular athletes!
Sometimes you're just supposed smile
David Duval held an interesting distinction last year. Although he made less than 10 cuts on the year, he was one of the most well compensated golfers in the world. His endorsement deals plus his earnings put him well over $6 million in income. Hey, Vijay, just in case you weren't paying attention to that stat, David just happens to be the last guy to challenge Tiger the way that you are currently attempting to now. Perhaps it would be a good idea to warm up to the media a bit more, Mr. Vader ... er ... uh ... I mean, Mr. Singh.
Casting a large shadow
Comcast Cable is the conglomerate currently being rumored to buy out the Disney Corporation. Why might this be of interest to golfers, you query? Comcast owns The Golf Channel, and Disney owns ESPN. The merging of said networks might actually lead to some programming worth tuning in to watch on TGC. I will not get ahead of myself; of course, the firing of Peter Kessler has not led to more quality content as I predicted. But an acquisition of this magnitude could very well create some compelling programming on The Golf Channel. The bad news for those who have been enjoying the warm milk at midnight effect of TGC's lineup is that we will have to turn elsewhere when insomnia begins to kick in.

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