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May 07, 2005
Volume IV, Issue 7
 
Fringe Clippings
 
LPGA posts want ad for eunuch caddies...
 
The caddie motto usually goes something like this: show up, keep up, shut up. According to Gary Robinson, the job entailed much more. At least it did when he worked for LPGA player Jackie Gallagher-Smith. Robinson alleges in a lawsuit that Gallagher-Smith seduced him in order to get pregnant and used him as "an unwitting sperm donor.'' Gallagher-Smith, 37, who is married, gave birth in March in West Palm Beach, Florida. But Florida law stipulates that a child born into a marriage is deemed a result of that marriage. A DNA test cannot be forced. Robinson is suing for an unspecified sum, claiming fraud and intentional infliction of emotional distress. And we thought it was only Vijay that had caddie problems.
 
Rotsa Ruck, might as well call it the World Tour...
 
Ernie Els won the BMW Asian Open, the second straight tournament to be played in China following the Johnnie Walker Classic. That makes five PGA European Tour events for the year in China. Heck, they play just four tournaments in Scotland, the home of golf and where the British Open will be played this year at St. Andrews. And there are just three European Tour events in England.
 
If the ball don't fly, I won't buy...
 
The United States Golf Association appears intent on limiting the distance golf balls travel. Golf Week magazine reported that USGA technical director Dick Rugge sent a letter to golf ball manufacturers inviting them to participate in a research project on ball performance. He asked them to design and make prototype golf balls that comply with modified rules that would reduce maximum ball distance by 15 or 25 yards. The assumption is that the USGA is listening to those who believe ball distance has gotten out of hand. "We believe that it is our responsibility to be prepared to make rule changes, if future conditions demonstrate the need to do so,'' Rugge wrote. For several years, traditionalists have argued that equipment, including golf balls, are making championship courses obsolete because players are hitting the ball too far. Perhaps that is the case at the professional level, but those courses have nothing to worry about from my foursome.
 
Like I tell my wife, length ain't everything...
 
Despite the absurd lengths tour players hit the ball, it does not always pay off. The only player among the top 10 in driving distance to have won a tournament this year is Tiger Woods. He is third, averaging 301.1 yards off the tee. But five players who rank among the top 10 in greens in regulation have won: Woods, Singh, Kenny Perry, David Toms and Adam Scott.
 
 
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:
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Set-up with an open stance to your target line.
  • Open the face of the club to offset your aim and de-loft the club.
  • Swing the club on its normal path. Do NOT take the club outside its normal path; your open stance will take care of that.
  • 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
 
Hall worthy, but not Hall ready...
 
There is no denying that Vijay Singh's credentials are worthy of the Hall of Fame. But then again, so are those of Roger Clemens' and nobody is bothered that he is not in. That's because baseball has rules that stipulate a player must be retired for five years before he can go into the Hall. Golf's criteria are a bit more murky. Since golfers really don't retire, when should they enter the Hall? For PGA Tour players, the minimum is 10 years experience and 40 years of age.

So Vijay Singh qualifies on every front. He has 26 wins, including three major championships, which should have him bronzed. But when Singh was elected to the Hall recently, it raised some eyebrows. Isn't this guy still at the top of his game? It is odd to think that the No. 2-ranked player in the world, one who could still win a whole slew of tournament titles to his resume, is head to the Hall of Fame now.

The Hall needs to look at a rules change. A minimum age of 45, even 50, might be better. The chances of a players' career being complete are better. Heck, think Pete Rose, maybe we should at least leave golfers out of the Hall of fame long enough to see if they want to take the betting exit.
 
Wow, what a cool format this would be on the PGA TOUR aka, put up or shut up...
 
We all know that when a player misses a putt worth $100,000 on the PGA Tour, it doesn't sting nearly as much as it would if it were the players' own money. It got Steve Bartkowski to thinking, and led to Big Stakes Match Play Golf, an event that will pay $3-million to the winning team and no doubt will have palms sweating and knees knocking from here to Nevada. Each of 64 teams will have put up $100,000 to enter, or $50,000 per player. "There's never been a stage quite like this I don't think,'' said Bartkowski, the former NFL quarterback who with the help of partner Jim Thompson put together the event."I'm not quite sure how guys are going to react. It's going to be a unique experience to get out there and watch these guys and see how they deal with it.''

The tournament is May 11-16 at Casa Blanca Resort & Casino in Mesquite, Nev. The entry fee includes all golf, hotel accommodations and meals. The Golf Channel will show it on tape delay at the end of the month. Anyone can participate, including women, as long as they have not been a member of a major professional tour for the past three years. And they must be at least 25 years of age. But logic suggests you better be pretty good. There are no handicaps, no strokes given.

The 64 teams will compete at match play for a purse of $6.4-million, including the consolation division. The 16 teams that win their first two Big Stakes matches and the two teams that reach the final round of the consolation bracket win their entry fees back. The team that wins the final match gets $3-million.
 
 
 

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