June 11, 2004
Volume III, Issue 6
At least he didn't kick the puck into his own net...
Grant Fuhr forged a Hall of Fame career as a goalie by stopping shots from everywhere. So it had to be incredibly frustrating to see an opportunity to play golf on the Canadian tour bounce feebly through his fingers by simply signing an incorrect scorecard. A five-time Stanley Cup goalie, Fuhr shot a final-round 77, but signed for a 76 when he didn't notice that a playing partner recorded a 3 on the par-3 17th hole at Rivershore Estates and Golf Links in Kamloops, B.C. Fuhr had made a 4, and didn't catch the mistake until after he signed. So he disqualified himself. "It was dumb on my part," said Fuhr, whose four-round total would have given him conditional status on the tour. "I got a little too excited. I checked the front nine carefully and assumed everything was right on the back side. Just when I felt good enough about my game, I found a new way to mess up." Hey, Off the Fringe comes out of Tampa, Florida, as of Monday night, the city whose team won the Stanley Cup. You just had to know we would work in a golf-hocky story if we could. Go Bolts!
He knew not to wager on Smarty Jones...
Scott Drummond was the surprise winner of the Volvo PGA Championship in England, one of the biggest events on the PGA European Tour. Coming in, Drummond was ranked 435th in the world and had made the cut in just three of 11 events. Nonetheless, Drummond decided to wager a few quid on himself. Drummond placed a bet — which is legal in the United Kingdom — that was the equivalent of $18 on himself to win four ways in the tournament. The payoff? $11,461. Of course the victory was worth much more than that. Drummond pocketed some $600,000 in prize money.
The shame of owning your own jet, no frequent flyer bonus...
Ernie Els gets around. The man who just won the Memorial has homes in London, South Africa, Orlando and the Bahamas. He has membership on both the European and PGA Tours. And he travels back and forth like he's walking across the street. Consider his recent schedule. After taking a break near his London home in April, Els returned for one week at the Byron Nelson Championship near Dallas. He then returned to Europe for the Deutsche Bank-SAP Open, then headed to England for the Volvo PGA Championship, which is played at Wentworth, where his London home is located. Then it was back to the United States for the Memorial, the Buick Classic and the U.S. Open. That's six straight weeks across seven different time zones. "Everybody thinks I'm nuts to do it," Els said. "I've done it all my life."
A Dunkin Doughnuts logo might provide a nice balance...
John Daly looks like he's straight out of NASCAR with all the endorsements that decorate his clothing. One is particularly ironic: the Trim Spa logo. Daly has an endorsement with the company that promotes weight loss despite the fact that he still appears to be one in great need of the product. At least the long-hitting Daly has a sense of humor about the situation. "I'm still the 'before' picture, but I'm doing okay."
A little faster, pretty please...
Survey says, number one golf complaint, takes too long. It's torture to either be in or behind a group that takes 5 plus hours to play 18 holes. There are steps that all players can take to complete a round in a more reasonable time.
- Even though rules state that the person with the lowest score from the prior hole tees off first, and that the person furthest from the hole goes first, "ready golf" is acceptable etiquette within safety guidelines, of course. Unless you're in a tournament, there is no reason why you can't tee off first if you're the first to the tee. It's always good to talk this over beforehand and make sure your playing partners agree.
- Write your scores down on the scorecard in the cart or at the next tee, not on the green you just finished.
- Same thing with head covers, put them on in the cart and put the club in the bag on exiting the cart prior to your next shot. The pageantry of replacing the head cover as practiced by some golfers can drive you nuts.
- If two to a cart, drop the rider off at their ball and have the driver proceed to his/her ball.
- Always take enough clubs for the shot that might be encountered. If you think it's a 7-iron into the green, take your 6, 7, and 8-iron with you.
- When near the green, drop off the person furthest from the hole first, then go park the cart on the cart path near the green.
- When near the green, take your putter, as well as your wedge.
- Always carry a second ball in your pocket just in case you lose the original ball or need to hit a provisional ball. It saves the time that would be wasted going back to your cart to dig another ball out of your bag.
- Try to remember at least approximately where you hit the ball.
- If you can't find the ball rather quickly, drop and press on.
- Golf is golf, fishing is fishing, on busy days, leave the ball retriever at home and press on. Heck a ball retriver, might as well bring scuba gear if fishing balls is your thing!
- No more than two practice swings.
- Develop a quick routine, not a quick swing.
- Don't try your pick-up lines on the cart girl, wastes time and you have a much better chance of making an eagle.
It's so great to have options at 64...
Seems like it would be a good gig. You take your private jet to various golf tournaments, acknowledge the cheering masses as you traverse the fairways, and sprinkle in a few remarkable shots to remind them of the old days. Nobody much cares what you shoot because you're Jack Nicklaus. But because you are Jack Nicklaus, you care. And that is why the talk from the Golden Bear is not considered idle, the hints that he will hang up his legendary spikes for good are more telling than ever. Nicklaus, despite making the cut and shooting a final-round 71 at his Memorial Tournament, made it clear he won't be playing much more competitive golf. "I'm interested in doing other things. I've had enough golf," Nicklaus said. "I love to play the game of golf. Absolutely love to play the game. And I like nothing better than playing competitive golf. Competitive golf has been my life, I love it. And I absolutely just died for it. It's what I want to do. But I'm not competitive any more. And I said I would play the game as long as I was competitive and as long as I could enjoy it. If you're not competitive, it's pretty hard to enjoy just going out and beating a ball around." Nicklaus did not rule out playing in future Memorials, where he is the tournament host. He would not commit to next year's Masters, however, although there is a good chance he will play a final British Open next year at St. Andrews, where he won the championship twice. Keep in mind, however, that Nicklaus has made similar threats, going all the way back to his 1986 Masters victory at age 46.
It's so great to have options at 14...
It is a bit amusing to hear the grumbling of LPGA Tour players who are miffed that Michelle Wie, 14, received a special exemption to play in the U.S. Women's Open, which begins July 1. You can debate all you want whether Wie is deserving of skipping the 36-hole qualifying. What can't be debated is the interest Wie brings. On Fourth of July weekend, with all kinds of other options to distract fans, the Women's Open needs all the help it can. Who better to bring it than Wie, the phenom who earlier this year missed making the cut in a PGA Tour event by a stroke. And yet, not everyone is happy. A poll of 30 LPGA players by GolfWorld at the Corning Classic disclosed that 23 were against Wie receiving the exemption. "I am disappointed with the USGA," said LPGA Tour player Heath Daly-Donofrio. "I just wish they would be honest about their motivations. It's about the money. This was a sponsor's exemption, not a special exemption. She is a special player, but this is wrong." In addition to helping create interest in the tournament, the USGA may also have been trying to do Wie a favor. She will be competing for the U.S. Curtis Cup team in England on June 12-13. And to qualify for the U.S. Women's Open would have made it difficult for Wie to also attempt to qualify for the U.S. Amateur Public Links, a men's event where the winner receives an invitation to the Masters.
University of Utah not Utah State...
We failed the breathalyzer test in the last issue. Yes, we blew it! Our article on Wayne Fisher's alleged drinking incident and his subsequent resignation, incorrectly identified him as the golf coach for Utah State. In reality he was the coach for the University of Utah golf team. As was correctly pointed out by numerous readers, there is a difference. A special apology to the coach at Utah State for any confusion that may have been generated. Gosh, contrition makes me thirsty.