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May 27, 2005
Volume IV, Issue 8
Fringe Clippings
Sacramento Hole-in-One Insurance rates increase dramatically...
On April 13, three members of the same foursome each aced the 100-yard 15th hole at Antelope Greens Golf Club in suburban Sacramento. The feat apparently raised enough eyebrows that all four members took a polygraph test, at their own expense ($3,950) and passed. According to the Sacramento Bee, the foursome was tested by a senior polygraph expert from the San Diego police department. Now let's be real: could anybody really lie about such a thing, even in golf?
Don't fence me in...
Tiger Woods got slapped with a two-stroke penalty at the end of his final round of the Wachovia Championship for moving a temporary immovable structure on the 10th hole. It is a good lesson for all golfers. What Woods moved was a fence, when he could have simply taken a drop. The two-stroke penalty moved him out of the top-10. It's a sad situation, but we've got to play golf by the rules, and he understands that.
Holy smokes Batman, how can this be...
The battle for No. 1 in golf is never easy to determine. Vijay Singh and Tiger Woods have gone back and forth a few times already this year, although it still remains difficult to understand why Singh was not No. 1 following a third-place finish at the Byron Nelson Classic. He has won 12 times on the PGA Tour since the start of the 2004 season. Woods has won four times in that span. Both have won a major. Despite missing the cut at the Byron Nelson Championship while Singh tied for third, Woods remained No. 1. But that changed after the Colonial. Singh took over the No. 1 spot after the Colonial -- even though neither Singh nor Tiger played. (By the way, hats off to Perry for his victory.) I forget the PGA Tour first-place formula, but trust me, the keeper of that monster equation has a vested job for as long as he wants it.
The real thing, not just a Wie bit of showmanship...
LPGA rookie Paula Creamer picked a great week to take time off from the LPGA Tour . . . in order to graduate from high school. Creamer just won the Sybase Classic, becoming the youngest player to win on tour in more than 50 years. Creamer, 18, will attend her high school graduation from The Pendleton School in Bradenton, Fla. on May 26. She finished classes last fall so she could concentrate on her first season on the LPGA Tour. "It will be fun,'' Creamer told GolfWeek, "I'll get to see all my teachers and friends and it should be a nice time.'' Creamer has played in nine events this season and is leading the rookie of the year standings. Looks like she's got a leg up on "most likely to succeed.''
Paralysis by Analysis
My kid not a prodigy? Hey Bubba, watch what you say...
Parents around the world, lend me your reading orbs. In furtherance of the evolution of mankind, perhaps you can open up your mind to some insight previously thought unattainable. If you have children, are considering having children, ever come into contact with children, or merely have heard of these short-legged creatures, then this article is particularly important for you to read. The angelic little cherubs that you've seen clinging tightly to a sawed-off Patty Berg Blade are the future of our sport and they must be taught the game properly. More importantly, they must understand its greatest premise: never bet money you don't have. Er ... it's just a game and is meant to be enjoyed. Yeah, that's the one I meant!

Let us take this premise and build upon it with a few quick tips to help keep kids in the game for a lifetime.
  1. Rule of 15: Kids are by-and-large afflicted with short attention spans. (Not ADD, just short attention spans). It is not for lack of interest but rather a need to satisfy new stimuli. Therefore, to thwart the boredom bug when getting kids involved in playing golf, keep the game short so that they will want to come back. Don't keep them any longer than 15 minutes (Unless of course his name is Eldrick). Invariably, after about 15 minutes your child will want to leave or want to hit more. Use your best judgment from here, but if you force them to stay longer it will become a chore. Golf can certainly be as enjoyable at times as taking out the trash, but it should never become such a task.

  2. Play Games: Give the child ten balls to hit and challenge him or her to hit to a target that is both challenging and realistic, like the "range picker" cart when it makes it's way close enough to hit. Or in the interest of maintaining civility, perhaps you could just aim at a thicket of grass or the 25-yard marker. Be sure it can be done first so that the child is not too discouraged if total failure ensues. Also, don't point fingers and laugh unless, of course, it's somebody else's kid and he's dressed like Jesper Parnevik.

  3. Be sure they play with other short pants: Almost every course and practice range has a kids' program where the fundamentals of the golf swing are taught, and often times etiquette is instructed as well. Kids can better identify with the game when surrounded by other children of similar age and size that are learning the game as well. Golf is social for most and as such should be presented in a fashion that reflects the social virtues that can be experienced.
In an age where television shows like America's Most Talented Kid "pimp" the greatness of our youth, it is my hope that readers of this work will realize that children should make the choice to play or not play. Certainly there is something to be said for a little healthy encouragement, but never force this game or any other on a child. They will play and improve at a pace that is consistent with their personality. Recently I was fortunate enough to run across an amazing book about children and golf. I was none too surprised to discover that a 13-year-old boy wrote it. CaddyWhack is a compilation written by Drew Murray. The book should be required reading for children (or adults with a lot of kid in them) that want to learn more about the game. The definitions and illustrations throughout the book had me choking on my milk and Oreos as I read. It is a short read and kids can identify with the lingo and analogies that are made within the pages.
Reading the Line
142 but who's counting? We were all counting...
Tiger Woods' amazing cut streak came to an end at the Byron Nelson Championship. He had made 142 in a row dating to the 1998 Pebble Beach Pro-Am. And for all Woods has done, this might go down as one of his top accomplishments. Woods, 29, has won nine major championships and 43 PGA Tour events. But only two other players in PGA Tour history ever made it to 100 straight cuts, Byron Nelson (113) and Jack Nicklaus (105). The next best after that was 86 by Hale Irwin. Of the current Big Five -- Woods, Vijay Singh, Ernie Els, Phil Mickelson and Retief Goosen -- only Singh's stretch of 53 straight comes anywhere close to Woods.

There are those who believe Woods' record is diminished by the large number of no-cut tournaments (31) that counted along the way. But the same advantage has been there for Singh, Els, Mickelson and all the rest. Singh missed a cut last year during his best season ever. Mickelson missed two. When it happened to them, however, they didn't make the front page.
She got game...
Annika Sorenstam proved again at the Chick-fil-A Charity Championship that if she is anywhere on her game, nobody on the LPGA Tour can stand up to her. A second-round 64 that included a back-nine 30 pushed her lead to six strokes after 36 holes and she was never threatened again.

It is much the same scenario as Tiger Woods on the PGA Tour from 1999-2000. A solid showing meant a victory. Nobody else could keep up. Sorenstam failed to win the week prior in Kingsmill simply because she did not have her best stuff. But in Atlanta, she made just three bogeys over 72 holes. It is amazing that she can remain motivated, having accomplished so much.

But there is motivation. Sorenstam would like to win the Grand Slam this year, and staying sharp while waiting for the majors is the biggest obstacle she faces. Then, out in the distance, is the LPGA record of 88 victories set by Kathy Whitworth. Sorenstam is 28 behind. We're thinking she'll do it this decade!

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