September 09, 2005
Volume IV, Issue 14
How do you spell A-D-D-I-C-T-E-D...
Every manufacturer would be flush with money if there were more Tom Cotters in the world. Cotter is an avid golfer who loves new clubs. Don't we all? But Cotter really loves new clubs. He loves them so much that he admits to buying about 20 sets of brand new irons a year. He told a South Florida newspaper that he spent more than $42,000 on golf equipment in 2004 alone. "I get bored and playing with a new set keeps it exciting,'' said Cotter, 60. "I told myself this had to stop, I had to quit doing this, but I can't help myself.'' Good think he's not a smoker, or this could be deadly. A visit to Cotter's home in Plantation, Fla., revealed 16 sets of irons, 30 drivers, 30 fairway woods, 50 putters, 100 wedges and 10 staff bags. There were so many clubs in his garage he had room to park just one car. Cotter did say he sells a good deal of the used equipment to recoup some of his original investment. My guess is that he's single.
I'm not greedy, give me $20 and I'll name 10...
Steve Elkington was trying to make the point that coming close in a major championship is no consolation, that winning is all that matters. "There's no major victory for coming in second,'' said Elkington, who won the 1995 PGA Championship, lost in a playoff at the 2002 British Open and recently tied for second at the PGA Championship. "If anyone can tell me who was runner-up in any major, I'll give you a hundred dollars. Nobody remembers you but family and friends.'' Well, some of us could have taken 'ol Elk to the cleaners. His Aussie counterpart Greg Norman had eight second-place finishes in majors and is known more for his near-misses than his victories. How about Jean Van de Velde? Everybody knows he blew the 1999 British Open. And then there's a guy named Jack Nicklaus, who finished second a record 19 times in majors. Pay up, Elk.
An elite group and a great guy, why does that not seem to be enough...
When Phil Mickelson won the PGA Championship, he joined some pretty elite company. Since 1989-90, when Nick Faldo won the Masters in consecutive years (and also a British Open) no player other than Tiger Woods has been able to win major championships in back-to-back seasons. Woods did it a remarkable four straight years from 1999-02 -- then was universally panned for being unable to win one in 2003 or 2004. Mickelson won the 2004 Masters before this year's PGA win.
They don't get much more historic, at least not in American golf...
Perhaps Edoardo Molinari will join the ranks of famous golfers some day. He took a step in that direction by winning the U.S. Amateur. And it doesn't hurt that it occurred at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa. Merion is about as historic as it gets. It is where Bobby Jones won his fourth and final major of the 1930 season at the U.S. Amateur. It is where Ben Hogan hit his famous 1-iron shot to the 18th green during the final round of the 1950 U.S. Open, winning the tournament following a serious auto accident. It is where Lee Trevino defeated Jack Nicklaus in an 18-hole playoff to win the 1971 U.S. Open. And it is where David Graham hit all 18 greens in regulation to win the 1981 U.S. Open. Although deemed too short for a U.S. Open now, there has been talk of bringing a future Open back to Merion. Molinari, of Italy, adds to the lore. He became the first European since Harold Hilton in 1911 to win the U.S. Amateur.
Here's to you, Mr. Wipe 'Em Down and Stuff 'Em in the Cart Guy
No, this is not a rambunctious attempt at equal rights on the golf course. I am certainly not lobbying to have men driving the beer cart on the golf course. I am simply writing about the guys who take your bags at the bag drop area! And yes you are correct in your recollection that I have encouraged tipping these guys on several occasions to keep your day going smoothly.
Now that we have covered that which I am not going to pontificate about, let me state emphatically and permanently, I think that with out cart guys, the very infrastructure of golf would fall apart. Note: editor is no engineer and has no capability to determine infrastructure integrity.
"Why is the cart guy so important," is obviously what you have always wanted to know. I'm not sure now, but I was one once so I am just supporting my roots.
The problem they have? PERFORMANCE.
With the exception of the old retired codger who is busting his hump to supplement his retirement income, the staff of cart guys at most courses are made up entirely of young guys trying to break into the business of golf or wanting a job that has free golf as a perk.
Neither of these impetuses is wrong in their nature. What is wrong is that 99.5% of these yahoos could care less that you have paid to be on the course. They are simply occupying space.
When I pay $45-$110 to play a round of golf I believe I am entitled to a little white glove treatment. I want my bags taken from my trunk (with out my assistance). I want them wiped down before I play and loaded on my cart. I want my cart pulled up conveniently to my parking space or at least the most accessible space available and I want a few tees on the house meticulously lined in the tee holders built into dash area. And at the end of my round I would like those services in reverse — minus the tees in my dash of course!
In exchange for this service it is not uncommon to tip two dollars per bag, per foursome. That's eight bucks for five minutes of work. Multiplied out it works out to 48 dollars an hour! Not bad. Now I know that is unreasonable, as no one can work an eight-hour shift straight through maintaining such a pace, but most of you get the idea. This job can pay pretty well for being what is considered a "low on the totem pole position."
Instead, we more often times must carry our own clubs from our trunks to some carts that are lined up in "Carmine's Used Car Depot" fashion and strap them in as well. By the time the cart guy gets around to helping you, it is too late and you don't want to tip him. Of course this leads to dirty looks and him telling the "Marshall" about you and your uncouth playing partners, which inevitably leads us all to feeling stalked by said Marshall and most assuredly a bad case of the shanks.
Obviously you all have gotten my drift here. It's not that I have the shanks; it's the cart kids' fault. Oh sorry, got off on a tangent there.
To avoid the messy mishaps in the future, just drive straight to the bag drop area, pop your trunk and sit in your car stoically. If no one should arrive to valet your goods, act like you're getting something important out of the back seat and "accidentally" honk the horn!
They will get the picture. Oh, and if for some reason you can't shake the Marshall later, just tell him you hit five brand new Pro V1s off the last tee into the shoreline of the last water hazard but did not retrieve them because you did not want to slow up play!
What was he thinking...
Tiger Woods created quite a firestorm by leaving the PGA Championship early. Just two shots out of the lead when play was halted and the clubhouse leader, Woods elected to fly home to Florida rather than wait around until the next morning to see if Phil Mickelson, Thomas Bjorn and Steve Elkington would fall back to him. He reasoned that among all those players, and with two par-5 finishing holes at Baltusrol, it was unlikely. And he turned out to be right. So while Woods does not deserve to be lambasted for the situation, it certainly is fair to question it. More than a few players in history have squandered away a major on the final hole. Jean Van de Velde comes to mind. Stuff happens. Here is what is truly amazing: Woods was in Florida, watching on TV, and actually having to root against himself because it would have been far worse for him to get into a playoff and not be there than to simply finish second. And Tiger never wants to finish second. But in this case, it was his best option. Strange.
One cup too many...
Predictably, the buzz surrounding this month's Presidents Cup is barely above a whisper. The event just does not generate the same excitement as the Ryder Cup, which the Americans participate in each year. Perhaps that is part of the problem. Each year, the top American players are expected to play for the good ol' USA in a team competition. The Ryder Cup has grown to a level of popularity and intensity that makes it must-see every two years. You can bet there will be some fired-up players when the U.S. travels to Ireland next September to take on the Europeans, who thrashed them a year ago.
But the Presidents Cup ... well, it just doesn't evoke the same kind of fire. For one thing, most of the players on the International team are PGA Tour members. As Lanny Wadkins once famously said, "We're playing a bunch of guys who live in Orlando.'' It has been suggested that the winner of the Ryder Cup take on the International team every other year, giving the Americans a break if they were to lose. That might be good, although it could also be a tough sell for television. Better yet, maybe it's time to acknowledge that the Presidents Cup is one Cup too many.
Let's hear it for the girls...
The boys didn't seem to take the Ryder Cup very seriously. Methinks the girls have a different perspective and will kick some international butt and win the Solheim Cup. Seems like when it comes to golf, it's the boys who do the cat fighting.