February 27, 2005
Volume IV, Issue 3
Too much Goose for the Goosen...
Retief Goosen admitted he wasn't much of a vodka guy. But there he was at an appearance for Grey Goose and partaking in the beverage, quite liberally. Seems he had a bit too much of the good stuff and admitted as much to his colleagues. Had enough that he didn't react to his alarm — which cost him a place in the Nissan Open. Goosen, the reigning U.S. Open champion who is from South Africa, overslept and missed his tee time in the pro-am. That's a no-no on the PGA Tour. No pro-am, no playing in the tournament. Goosen was disqualified, giving him plenty of time to nurse the hangover.
One thing you can say about Presidents, their golfing...
Greg Norman is putting on a charity golf tournament to aid the tsunami victims, and this is not your run-of-the-mill golf charity event. It will feature former presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush and will be held on March 9 at Norman's Medalist Golf Club in Hobe Sound, Fla. Called "Three Friends: One Goal," the private event will feature 72 participants, each of whom will donate $30,000 to play, with a goal of raising $2-million. Norman said all of the tournament proceeds will be distributed to two charities: AmeriCares and the U.S. Fund for UNICEF: Water and Sanitation Fund. Norman noted the irony of former political adversaries participating.
Remember boys and girls, he asked permission first...
Chris Berman had a good excuse for missing his ESPN football duties at the Pro Bowl in Hawaii. He was playing golf at Pebble Beach. Berman had planned all along to be in Hawaii in time for the game, but a funny thing happened: he and pro partner Jeff Sluman made the 54-hole cut in the pro-am division of the Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Only 25 teams advance to Sunday's final round — out of the 180 that began the tournament — and Berman obviously wasn't expecting to be among them. But after he and Sluman combined for scores of 67-63-64 in the best-ball (amateurs use their handicap) format, the bombastic Berman put in a call to his bosses and requested the day off. For the first three rounds, Sluman and Berman were paired with Scott Simpson and Bill Murray. They eventually tied for 12th.
Cheese guys, he musta ordered a double cheese lovers pizza...
England's Mark James headed back home after a victory at the Champions Tour's ACE Group Classic in Naples, Fla. James had a family vacation planned in the French Alps. James admitted he doesn't like to spend too much time in the United States. One reason is his family, of course. And another ... well, he isn't all that enamored with the food over here. "When you go out in this country, you're lucky to find anything without a half pound of cheese on it," said James, an 18-time winner on the European Tour who also was the 1999 European Ryder Cup captain. "I haven't seen so much cheese in all my life. You go into the supermarket, there is a whole aisle of cheese. And if you want to buy anything, anything simple, it comes in 4,000 flavors." James did say, however, that he doesn't mind the cold beer served here. Now, Mark, about that haggis and fish-n-chips?
Balancing the footwork
Ask any pro these days what is the weakest part of an amateur's game and I guarantee that at least one out of 100 will say it is footwork! (Probably more than that, but I have to leave some room for CYA, ya know.) The footwork involved in the golf swing is critical to ensure proper balance, weight shifting and release.
Because each person's golf swing is different it would be foolish for me to give a strict edict on what your feet should be doing. But I can offer some helpful nuggets of wisdom that should begin to make you the Ali of the fairway.
Footwork may not be the glamor topic of a golf lesson, but well... uh... it sure is important! So change your spikes regularly and don't wear too much Tiger Balm (it's not Tiger's secret stuff anyway). Good luck this week on the fairways across our great globe and remember, if none of this works it's because you didn't do it right!
- Stretch for at least five minutes before each round. Your legs - which are held up by your feet - must be limber enough to support the strain you are about to place on them. By stretching your hamstrings, quadriceps and calf muscles before each round you are effectively lengthening the amount of extension you will get from each muscle.
- Fan your feet. Instead of squaring up your feet to your shoulders, try fanning your feet out 5 to 10 degrees (opposite of pigeon toe). This will give you greater extension in your back swing and also help to get the club face back to square at impact. This is done by the left hip being given permission from the feet to clear before impact is made.
- Do not slide or tiptoe. The slide or dreaded tiptoe usually occurs during the back swing. It is generally a result of physical restriction in the hip area from older golfers looking for more distance - or from lazy editors who simply don't follow their own advice. They attempt to get too far in their back swing and inadvertently begin to slide or tiptoe their left (right handed golfers) side. If this is happening to you, don't panic. Just reference the first tip and accept that it might be time to move up one set of tee boxes.
- When in doubt, always play the ball toward the back of your stance. Doing this promotes a subconscious message to shorten the back swing and hit down on the ball. Much less emphasis is put on the lower body from this position, and footwork becomes much less complicated.
Tiger streaks, Vijay doesn't...
Tiger Woods made his 136th consecutive cut at the rain-shortened Nissan Open. But if he had missed, it would have been front-page news. Woods has gone nearly seven years without missing a cut on the PGA Tour and has just two official missed cuts in his pro career. Meanwhile, when the top-ranked player, Vijay Singh, missed the cut at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am, it hardly caused a stir.
That again points to the different standards to which Woods plays. Singh had the second-longest cut streak on the PGA Tour — 28. Now second is Ernie Els with 16 in a row. There are many who point out that Woods' record streak is padded by the number of no-cut events on the PGA Tour that still count toward the total. The Mercedes Championship, all the World Golf events and the Tour Championship are tournaments that do not have a cut yet still count in his streak. And yet Singh, Els and the rest all have the same opportunity to count those tournaments, too. No matter how you look at it, Woods' streak is mighty impressive.
A good walk, not spoiled...
Americans love their golf cart. But as Bobby Jones once said, there is golf, and there is tournament golf. And in tournament golf, players should walk.
That leads to one of the hottest topics on the Champions Tour this year. A no-cart policy went into effect at the beginning of the season. No longer can players on the tour, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary, ride during competition. This was a tough call for a tour that had allowed carts throughout its history and offered the game's legends a break from the rigors of walking every day. But as difficult as the decision was, it was the right one.
There is nothing worse for spectators than to watch their favorite player speed away in a golf cart. They make for a nuisance when there are big crowds. And as the tour itself argued several years ago in its case against Casey Martin, who suffers from a disability covered by the Americans With Disabilities Act, walking is an integral part of the competition. This has not gone over well with several players who believe they should be able to ride. Various injuries make it difficult for them to play without a cart. But nobody ever said the Champions Tour was a guaranteed annuity. Making the game look cleaner is an important step.
Who's Brian Payne?
Well to begin with, this week he is ranked #1542 in the Golfweek/Sagarin World Ranking. Additionally he is Ebay Item # 7136755930. Well, not actually him, but the ability to put your corporate logo on him while he plays golf during the 2005 season. He is on the Canadian Tour. I like his marketing style and hustle. No opinion yet on his game playing abilities against the big boys. Opening bid starts at $10,000. If you are seriously considering bidding, send me an email first. Unless Brian gets real hot, Off the Fringe has a much better sponsorship opportunity for you!