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August 11, 2006
Volume V, Issue 13
Fringe Clippings
Of course, blame the caddy…
Until last week, she had played in 6 LPGA Tour events this year and her worst showing was 5th place! She had tied for second at the Evian Masters in France. Hey, did you ever notice that if you spell Evian back words you get Naïve? Oh but I digress. Back to the young lady who was posting these great finishes. Of course we are talking about Michelle Wie. With that kind of consistency we were betting that she would do great things at the Women’s British Open. We were wrong! She tied for 26th and never broke par on any day at the event. Then again, she’s only 16. Her highly regarded caddy, Greg Johnson, was summarily fired on Monday following the tournament. Ouch! And the apparently unexpected dismissal was conveyed not by anyone with a Wie surname, but by Wie’s agent. Ouch again!
From the mouths of babes…
Wie was penalized two strokes for hitting a piece of moss during her backstroke from a bunker on the second day of the Women’s British Open. She acknowledged that she was unaware that such an action would result in a 2 stroke penalty. Asked if she would spend some more time reading the rules she stated, “Well, it’s actually not great reading material.”
Poker and Cialis, I see the connection…
Paul Azinger has signed an endorsement deal to wear a Pokerstars.net logo on his shirt. It’s a non-gaming site that hosts free tournaments and teaches users how to play various poker games. That sounded good to Azinger, a poker fan who was scheduled to play in the recent World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. When asked about the tour's possible problem with the affiliation, Azinger said: "Let me put it this way: If I'm watching a golf tournament Sunday afternoon with my family, I'm a lot more comfortable watching a commercial for Pokerstars.net than I would be watching a commercial for Cialis.''
Nobody mentioned WMD…
Geoff Ogilvy faced pressure coming down the stretch at the U.S. Open, but he was prepared. Several weeks earlier, he had been at the White House for a dinner in honor of Australian Prime Minister John Howard. Ogilvy, an Aussie, was never certain why he had been invited. And he was stunned when he learned that he would be seated at the same table as President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. "I was way out of my league,'' Ogilvy said. "It was amazing. The President talked all night about basketball, football, golf, cycling -- anything but Iraq and politics. It was a very political table, and with me sitting there it was a little out of left field. It was nice, then, to win the U.S. Open because you could tell everybody was looking at me and asking,'Why is he here?'" Presumably the win answered the question.
Well, at least the sun still doesn’t set on the empire…
There was great hope that a British player would break through and win the British Open. Not even close. Didn't happen. In fact, for the first time since 1991, no Briton finished in the top 10 and there were just two in the top 20. No Scots or Welshmen survived the cut. London's Anthony Wall was the best, finishing tied for 11th, two strokes better than Robert Rock and three ahead of Greg Owen, both Englishmen.
Take the high road and win the tournament, it’s just so classy…
“A complete fan and a miss,” Nick Faldo said of Tiger’s shot at the final hole of the 2005 Buick Championship while he was commentating on the ABC telecast. Faldo also questioned Woods' methods and analyzed his work with teaching pro Hank Haney. And so the stage was set, almost. As luck would have it Nick Faldo was paired with Tiger Woods for the first two rounds of the British Open Championship last month at Royal Liverpool. Faldo and Woods are not on the best of terms, in part due to the 2005 Buick Championship. Woods, never one to forget and deriving motivation from any slight, did nothing to downplay the furor heading into the tournament. "We really don't talk much,'' he said. When asked if he would do much conversing with the six-time major winner here, Woods replied: "I've only played with him two times since I've been a pro. And there wasn't a lot of talking there, either.

But as should have been expected, both players handled the situation like pros. They made a point to shake hands on the practice range the day prior and again before the first round.
Wouldn’t you really rather have a Buick?
John Cook made his first hole-in-one in a PGA Tour event during the final round of the Buick Open at the raucous 17th hole, knocking a 6-iron into the cup from 178 yards. It was his first ace in 27 years on the tour. "Out of any hole on the PGA Tour that I could choose to hit a hole-in-one, it would be 17 at Warwick Hills, except maybe 16 at Augusta on Sunday,'' he said. Cook received a loaded 2007 Buick Lucerne valued at about $35,000. Cook gave the Lucerne on display near the 17th tee box a hug after his ball went into the hole.
Paralysis by Analysis
Has anyone seen my Par?
What earns the biggest penalty in golf (outside of disqualification)?
  1. Lost Ball
  2. Out of Bounds
  3. Hit into the Lake (hazard)
There is no greater penalty in golf (outside of disqualification) than to go OB (Out of Bounds), especially from off the tee because it's usually your longest shot. The penalty, of course, is stroke and distance.

For instance let's say you stripe one right off the toe and that sucker is screaming through the air and turning, much to your chagrin, left, left, left. Although its total distance traveled is the equivalent of two and a half football fields, the last half was sideways! If the ball should be found on the wrong side of the white stake — used to mark the out of bounds area — you will hit again from the tee box after charging yourself an extra stroke. In other words, you're teeing off with your third shot, and your position is plus or minus 150 - 250 yards behind where you most likely should be! Dang, doesn't that suck?

Let's try, as they say in nautical terms, to keep it between the navigational beacons.

First we must determine our skill level. If every club in our bag goes the same distance and really has no flight orders other than gravity eventually pulling it back to earth, then please, please, please meet us at the 19th hole. However if you can determine common distances that you hit each club, then select your most accurate club for your tee shots, relative to the distance you need it to travel and factoring in the width of the fairway. Note to reader: I said need, not want! Quite often this will mean taking a three wood instead of driver or a five iron instead of a three iron. Hit it only as far as you need to get to make your next shot a playable one. Just because it does not go as far as you are capable of hitting a ball on your best day, does not mean it was not a great shot. It's called golf course management! If you are a little further back on your second shot, what does it really matter? At least you are in play for a change.

Secondly, swing easy for gosh sakes! By swinging easy, the tension that is built up in your body is released and allows your arms, hands and hips to turn away from and then back toward the target without resistance. Ty Webb would call it "being the ball," but we just like to refer to it as not being a tight wad.

Lastly, if you do go OB, don't be the guy who kicks the ball out of the forbidden territory and back in play. There are too many of us ... um, I mean, those guys out there already. Take your Castor Oil as it is served to you! Stroke and distance for each time you go OB.

The Out of Bounds area is designated as such for many different reasons, but I won't go into that here. Just know that you can't change it! That's right, I said you can't change the rules. You can change your socks, though. Try going out with some of those little 80's style shorties with the pom-poms on the back. Those were cool, weren't they?

One last thought: if the guy standing next to your ball is barbecuing, you are almost guaranteed to be out of bounds.

We wrote the foregoing article in our August 15, 2003 Off the Fringe. Tiger’s play at the British Open most eloquently demonstrated what we were trying to say in our article. Play smart!
Reading the Line
His mind is at home, his priorities are on target…
Anyone who has watched Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke play golf this year has wondered how he did it. He has been in contention at tournaments all over the world, but has failed to close the deal. And that is understandable. Clarke's wife, Heather, is suffering with a second bout of cancer. That is why Clarke has decided to take an extended break from the game. His wife had urged him to play, but he no longer will. "I have got to go home and try to support Heather in her battle,'' Clarke said. "It's a really a tough thing we are trying to deal with. Heather is struggling a lot at the moment, but she's a fighter.'' The long-time European star appears content to give up a spot on the Ryder Cup team, although team captain Ian Woosnam could still choose Clarke.
The apple test…
When the jerk fan last Sunday at the Buick Open lobbed an apple across the green on the 17th hole where Tiger was scoping out his putt shot, Tiger never so much as flinched. He gave the apple not even a first glance, much less a second. He once again passed the focus/intensity test. When he gets in that very deep zone, you know he is back in a big way. His Buick Open win marked 50 wins on Tour. He has a winning percentage of over 25% of the tournaments he has played. Wowzer!
For his next trick, he will use a broomstick to beat the best in the world…
Tiger Woods is known for the long ball. Fans marvel at his power, shriek at the sound the ball makes when it leaves the clubface, shake their heads at the distance the ball travels. But if Woods has proved anything in recent weeks -- other than the human side he showed in mourning his father's death after winning the British Open -- it is that he can win playing any style. Woods has won his share of tournaments on brutally tough courses where power was important (Augusta National and Bethpage Black come to mind). But he can also win at places where it is more important to position the ball, or where birdies are prevalent, such as was the case at the Buick Open. Truth be told, Woods does not much care for the type of golf he had to play at Warwick Hills in Michigan, where he won his 50th PGA Tour title. Woods much prefers a tough track, where pars are meaningful, where it is more about the shots you hit than the putts you make. But he can go low, too. Although 28 birdies in a tournament is a personal best for Woods, he has been a birdie machine to win at such places as Las Vegas and Disney. He did it at an American Express Championship in Ireland. And he's done it in major championships, such as at Augusta and St. Andrews.

At the British Open, he won by hitting mostly irons off the tee, leaving long approach shots. At the Buick Open, where the course conditions could not have been any more different, where the strategy had to be completely opposite, Woods shot four straight rounds of 66. The beauty of all this is that Woods still says he has things to work on. "Getting better,'' he said, then quickly acknowledged, "You never really get there.''
Golf Bodies
Golf Health in Golf Digest Magazine
Fitness and health are becoming so prevalent, that Golf Digest devoted 29 pages to the specific topic of Golf Health in their August issue. If you haven’t seen it, I’d recommend getting this issue and educating yourself on the importance of nutrition, injury prevention, fitness, and health.

My only beef is in the fitness section. The picture of the model (definitely not a golfer) is incorrect when doing the seated twist. The model is twisting the wrong way. I take fitness seriously, so it gets to me when I see this kind of misinformation getting out.

Even so…I’m glad more and more attention is being brought to golf health, fitness and exercise. If you are looking to improve your game, and enjoy golf for many years, you must take this topic seriously.

The older you get, the harder it will be to stop the rapid decline of aging. Your strength, flexibility and endurance will plummet unless you make a conscious effort to improve these golf health components.

About The Author: Mike Pedersen is a recognized golf fitness expert and author. He is Golf Magazine's golf performance expert. For information on his Golf Fitness System, visit www.performbettergolf.com

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