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August 07, 2004
Volume III, Issue 10
 
Fringe Clippings
 
What, no Title IX in the UK?
 
They say golf was invented in Scotland, but you'd never know it by the play of British women. When Karen Stupples won last week's Women's British Open, she became just the third Brit to win a major championship on the LPGA Tour. All three wins have occurred since 1987. That's got to have those Brits bloody annoyed. Then again, maybe they're not all that enamored of women filling up their golf courses. Ah, a topic for another time. Laura Davies won the U.S. Women's Open in 1987 and went on to win three more majors. Alison Nicholas won the 1997 U.S. Women's Open, edging Nancy Lopez.
 
Loosy Goosy falls on his buttocks...
 
Retief Goosen, the U.S. Open champion who typically shows about as much emotion as the Beefeaters at the Tower of London, had to withdraw from the International because of a bruised hip suffered, apparently, when he fell off a jet ski. His status for the PGA Championship is in doubt because of the injury. Hey, we're glad it's not serious, but at least it proves the man gets out and tries to enjoy himself once in a while.
 
See, sometimes nice guys finish first....
 
Todd Hamilton has spent a dizzying few week weeks since winning the British Open. He appeared with David Letterman and has thrown out the first pitch at a major league game. He visited a number of courses in the Dallas area, where he lives, and let everybody mug with the Claret Jug. And he's seen his mailbox stuffed full. One letter came with a West Palm Beach, Fla., postmark and no return address. Inside was a hand-written note from Jack Nicklaus, congratulating Hamilton on his victory. Nothing quite like getting a hand written letter from one of your heroes.
 
Ryder cup: nice ... babies: priceless ... and he knows it...
 
Needing only a 9th place finish at the Championship to qualify him for a Ryder Cup position was not really a serious consideration for Jeff Maggert. Despite loving Ryder cup competition, and twice previously finishing third at the PGA Championship to make Ryder Cup teams, he withdrew this week from the PGA Championship. The reason: his wife Michelle is close to delivering twins. Jeff, you just demonstrated the nicest sense of understanding priorities. Best wishes to the Maggert family.
 
 
Paralysis by Analysis
 
The Greenside Bunker
 
Why do pros call this the easiest shot in all of golf? Cause they're pro's! Duh!

How many times have you heard a pro say, " Get in the bunker!" as his approach shot nears a greenside bunker? All the time! So why is it such a difficult concept for the amateur to grasp?

Here is the reason: these guys are good and you're not. Not only do they know where the club should make contact, but they can also make contact with the spot they have picked out!

We already know they are world-class ball strikers. So it would stand to reason that they would be good ground strikers as well. There is a little more room for error with the bunker shot as you can hit as far as six inches behind the ball and as close as an inch behind the ball.

Here are a few simple rules to keep in mind when playing out of a greenside bunker:
  1. Visualize where you would like the ball to land when it comes out of the bunker and begins rolling on the green/fringe, whatever you decide.
  2. Imagine a line behind the ball, and a spot at least two inches behind the ball where you want the club to strike the ground.
  3. Set-up with an open stance to your target line.
  4. Open the face of the club to offset your aim and de-loft the club.
  5. Swing the club on its normal path. Do NOT take the club outside its normal path; your open stance will take care of that.
  6. Be sure to finish the swing!
This is an oversimplification. However, for those of you too stubborn to go out and take lessons, keeping these ideas in mind when you play this weekend might just get you out of the bunker in three less strokes than what it currently takes.
 
 
Reading the Line
 
He'd make a "Hal" of a choice......
 
There are plenty of contradictions with John Daly, starting with the fact that he has endorsements with Dunkin Donuts and TrimSpa. Another is that he is third on the PGA Tour in driving distance and third in putting. That kind of disparity usually doesn't match up in golf, and it is a tribute to Daly's underrated ability in other areas of the game besides hitting the ball a mile. That's why U.S. Ryder Cup team captain Hal Sutton should seriously consider picking him when the team is finalized following the PGA Championship. Daly is intimidating enough the way he hits the ball. Imagine him among the beer-drinking faithful in suburban Detroit. No golf event elicits the kind of cheering that occurs at a Ryder Cup, and Daly, the fan favorite of all fan favorites, might be worth a couple of points for his popularity alone.
 
When I woke up, it was over, and I smiled...
 
Can we now say goodbye to the Monday night golf affairs involving Tiger Woods? It was a great idea in the beginning, but like anything, after awhile, it begins to go sour. The latest "Battle of the Bridges'' was more like a battle not to be bored. Unless you tape it and show just the best shots, four golfers playing one hole at a time leaves too much time to fill. And it took forever. At one point, John Daly appeared on the verge of falling asleep. Woods and Hank Kuehne eventually prevailed in their match against Daly and Phil Mickelson. All four added hefty sums to their bank accounts, and a nice Southern California course got some exposure. But the ratings were dismal. Give us the real golf and save the silly stuff for the off-season. And after all, Monday night is for football.
 
Records are made to be broken...
 
When the world rankings come out Monday, Tiger Woods will tie Greg Norman's record with his 331st week at No. 1. The Shark had 11 separate stints at No. 1 over 12 years, with the longest being 96 weeks. Woods has been ranked in the No. 1 spot for a total of 330 weeks, and incredibly, he has held that position for 260 consecutive weeks!

Introduced in 1986, the ranking system has been tweaked several times. The last tweak ended the blanket rolling two-year period and broke it into eight weighted quarterly (13-week) segments. Points are doubled in the most recent period, multiplied by 1.75 in the one before that, on down to a 0.25 multiplier in the earliest period.

The plan was designed to put emphasis on more recent play, but with Woods remaining ahead of Ernie Els and Vijay Singh, perhaps the system is not working. Both Els and Singh have nine official worldwide victories in the current two-year period, one more than Woods. And over the last 12 months, Woods has just two victories to four for Els and six for Singh. On the surface, sure looks like the "weighted" system is not working. Woods would come in behind Els, Singh and Mickelson if most recent 12 month victories was the sole criteria. However, consistency over the past two years also counts.

Over the past 24 months, Woods has no missed cuts and only five finishes outside the top 20 in 41 tournaments. Els has nine finishes below 20th, one missed cut and one withdrawal in 50 starts. Singh has nine finishes below 20th and two missed cuts in 59 starts.

Els will get another shot at the top ranking in the PGA Championship next week. Heck, that would stop Tiger with a total of 331 weeks as the No. 1 ranked golfer. That would mean that a tie would exist with the Shark. But then, even if Tiger drops from the No.1 position, he has plenty of time and talent to again achieve that title. After all, records are made to be broken.
 
 
 

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