July 18, 2004
Volume III, Issue 8
You put up 95 and I'll put up 5 and...
Former NFL quarterback Steve Bartkowski has an idea that is sure to spark interest. Called the Big Stakes Match Play, the competition will pit 128 two-person teams against each other in a non-handicap, best-ball, match-play tournament that will have a $9.75-million purse. And $3-million will go to the winning team. The event is scheduled for May 9-15, 2005, at Casa Blanca Golf Club in Mesquite, Nevada. Here's the catch: the entry fee is $100,000 per team, and the 32 teams winning their first two matches will win back their entry fees. "The event is the perfect platform for golfers wanting to test their skills and their capacity to get the job done under pressure.'' To win, a team must win seven matches in seven days. Interested? You must be 25 by May 1 and cannot have been a member of any professional golf tour for the past three years. For more information, visit www.bigstakesgolf.com.
Nobody likes a show-off...
Former British Open champion Tom Lehman recently played a tournament that celebrated the opening of Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in Mission Viejo, Calif., which he co-designed with architect Casey O'Callaghan. At the 231-yard fourth hole, Lehman hit a 5-iron that was all over the flag. As luck would have it, the ball went into the hole for an ace. Great shot for a golfer, maybe not so great for the designer. "Too easy,'' Lehman said. "I need to redesign it."
Sounds like the retiree down the street, except he gets paid...
Dana Quigley loves golf so much, he plays every day, rain or shine. For seven years, Quigley has played in every event on the Champions Tour for which he has been eligible, a streak that hits 250 at this week's Ford Senior Players Championship. "They all think I'm nuts,'' Quigley said of his peers on the tour. "But they've finally figured out this is what I am. It's not something I force myself to do, or I have to do to live up to my reputation. They understand that I truly enjoy playing golf.'' During that time, Quigley has won eight tournaments and more than $9.7-million.
I still think I really like Spencer...
Spencer Levin , the 20 year old amateur who tied for 13th in the U.S. Open and had a hole in one during his first round at that event, keeps on keeping on. Following his Open performance, he flew straight to California for the State Amateur qualifying at Poppy Hills. You guessed it, he easily qualified and went on to win the championship. Having a flair for the obvious, I predict ole Spence might have a future in the sport. That was an easy call.
Gaining skill in chipping is perhaps one of golf's most important components to improve scoring for the amateur.
Why you ask?
Simple. The average amateur is not particularly adept at hitting greens in regulation and in order to make that all elusive par, the golfer must be able to chip the ball close. First we must define the term chipping. (Note this is a loose definition and may not hold up in any court!)
Chipping: A shot in golf from no more than twenty yards off the putting green requiring touch and creativity in order to make the ball stop as close to the hole as possible.
So if you can make the ball stop close to the hole your chances of one-putting the green are increased. This is good!
The chipping stroke should, in most cases, emulate a good putting stroke: mostly shoulders and very little wrist action. This motion can be seen best when watching pros like Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia play a fairway wood from off the green.
Speaking of the fairway wood off the green, this is a very creative shot not intended for the faint of heart. Most amateurs would do well to select a seven iron or eight iron when they can bump and run the ball to the hole and a pitching wedge or sand wedge when a soft landing is required.
Be sure to pick out a target landing area and have a read on which way the ball will break once it starts to roll.
Chipping well can easily reduce your strokes per round by three to five. Practice this shot for at least fifteen minutes of your practice time per hour. It will help you to understand breaks in the green and speed control involved in getting the ball close!
- Swing with shoulders
- Use putting stroke
- Be creative when chipping
Leave it to a bunch of spoiled golfers to further the belief abroad that Americans need an attitude adjustment. For the first time, the British Open decided to make it easy for those not exempt for the game's oldest championship. Instead of forcing all the Yanks to fly over to Scotland for 36-hole qualifying on the eve of the tournament, organizers put a qualifying event right in their back yard — good ol' Washington, D.C. Making it even better, Congressional Country Club was all but down the street from where most of the PGA Tour hotshots were playing in the Booz Allen Classic. All they had to do was roll out of bed and tee it up for a shot to play in a major championship that will pay a whopping $7.3-million.
So what happened? A field of 120 was reduced to 68 because 52 didn't show. Making matters worse, seven of them didn't even call to say they had withdrawn. Nice. "It's crazy not to try,'' said Robert Gamez, one of those who did show, but did not advance. "I can understand players not wanting to go over there to qualify like you used to have to. But if it's right here, and you just played here? I just hope they don't decide not to do this again. All those withdrawals are disappointing."
Adult wins LPGA event...
There's been so much talk about the youngsters in golf, it was nice to see a relative "old-timer'' beat them all back at the U.S. Women's Open. And you couldn't ask for a better ambassador than Meg Mallon. The 41-year-old freckle-faced veteran captured her fourth major championship and second U.S. Women's Open when she shot a 6-under-par 65 at the Orchards Golf Club to defeat Annika Sorenstam by two strokes. It was the lowest final-round score by a winner in the 59-year history of the tournament and gave Mallon her 16th LPGA Tour title.
Mallon joined the LPGA Tour in 1988, won her first tournament in 1991, then quickly added two major championships that same year. She put together a solid career, one that has been surpassed by the likes of Sorenstam and Karrie Webb and Juli Inkster and Se Ri Pak. But you'd be hard-pressed to find a more likable player on the LPGA Tour. Or a more popular winner.
Come back David, come back...
Can it really be, David Duval was the last man to hold the title of # 1 Golfer in the World prior to Tiger Woods stranglehold on that position. Duval's only outing this year was at the U.S. Open where he shot an 83 and 82 before being cut. He was such a pleasure to watch when he was on top of his game. Can that kind of skill dissipate so quickly. Apparently so, but let's hope the fire in the belly and determination return him once again to the glory that we can only dream of.