November 21, 2006
Volume V, Issue 18
Might as well face it, you're addicted to. . .
Musicians like to play golf, which is why Golf Digest decided to come up with its "Top 100 in Music.'' In its December issue, the magazine ranks musicians by their golf handicap. Kenny G, with a plus-0.6 handicap, leads the list. Vince Gill, who has a 0 handicap, is next. Alice Cooper tied for 11th with a 5.3 handicap. The old rocker said golf actually helped him overcome drug and alcohol addiction. "I traded one addiction for another,'' Cooper said. "But golf is the crack of sports. Once I took it seriously I loved it. It absolutely saved my life.'' Anne Murray is the top woman on the list, tied for 39th overall.
Ryder Cup victories, work ethics, could there be a connection?
After an off-season that lasted all of 11 days, the European Tour began its 2007 season on Nov. 9 in China. Yep, not even two weeks off. The European Tour schedule is actually quite remarkable. The tour will play a record 50 events that count toward the money title. Seven of those tournaments -- the four major championships and three World Golf Championship events -- also count on the PGA Tour, with six of them played in the United States. European events will be played in Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Russia, Ireland and, of course, Great Britain, which will have eight events, led by the Open Championship at Carnoustie, Scotland. China will have nearly as many, with six scheduled tournaments, including the season-opener.
Monday, Monday, I'll have to trust that day...
Those who participated in this year's recently-completed Champions Tour Qualifying Tournament were striving for a far different goal than their predecessors. Instead of attempting to earn one of seven fully exempt spots on the 2007 tour (or one of six partially exempt positions), those who made it through Q-School will only have the right to qualify for tournaments on Monday. In other words, the tour is making it more difficult for the club pros and those who had little or no previous PGA Tour success -- although it can be argued it will give more opportunity to more players to compete each week. PGA Tour and Champions Tour winners not otherwise exempt will automatically be eligible for the Monday qualifiers. The top 30 from the tournament will also get to play on Mondays. From there, seven to nine spots will be available each week. And if a player doesn't make it through Q-School? There will be pre-qualifying events for every tournament, just to get into the Monday qualifier.
Boss, some guy signed his credit card receipt Arnold Palmer, like he thinks we're going to fall for that ...
Arnold Palmer recently made his first trip to Bandon Dunes Golf Resort in Oregon, by many accounts one of the most remarkable U.S. settings for a golf course. The resort is on the Pacific Ocean. But either the pro shop attendant had brain lock or Bandon Dunes does not play favorites, because Arnie was asked how he would be taking care of payment for his round. "That's the first time I've paid to play golf since I was 17,'' Palmer quipped. (We bet he gets a bill every time he goes to Augusta National, where he is a member.)
Looks like a Republican backlash for sure...
Three woods that used to belong to President Richard Nixon were auctioned recently by Freeman's Auction House in Philadelphia. The clubs were part of a collection owned by Tom and Leo McNamara, who obtained the clubs in 1967 when the soon-to-be President had them sent to the Walter Hagen Co. to be repaired. The company offered to send Nixon a new set of clubs, and the McNamaras then got the old set. According to Freeman's, Dwight Eisenhower and John Kennedy are the only other presidents to have clubs auctioned. A full set of Eisenhower's clubs brought $88,000. Kennedy's went for $750,000. Nixon's? No bids.
Rules and more rules...
When to Post a Score
A player sets out to play 9 holes of golf after work, but only manages to play 7 holes because it was getting dark. Can he still post a score?
Correct Answer: Yes
In fact, according to the USGA the player is required to post his score. For holes 8 and 9, the player would record a score of par plus any handicap strokes they were entitled to.
For example, if the player's course handicap was a 12, the player would be entitled to take one handicap stroke on the top 12 hardest holes as ranked on the golf card. So if holes number 8 and 9 were ranked #13 and #4 holes respectively, the player would record a par on hole number 8 and a par plus one (bogey) on hole number 9. If both 8 and 9 were not on the top 12 hardest holes as ranked on the golf card, they would both be marked as pars, conversely if they were both ranked in the top 12 hardest, they would both be marked as bogeys.
Arnie says goodbye, and means it ...
Arnold Palmer waves to the crowd better than anybody in golf, but he's always had trouble saying goodbye. Whether it is the U.S. Open, the Masters, even his own Bay Hill Invitational, Palmer struggled with his own desire to please the masses and his disdain for a golf game that wasn't up to his standard. And yet, as Palmer has seen over the years, his fans' desire to see him far outweighs their disappointment over a game that last allowed Palmer to win a major championship in 1964 or guided him to his last PGA Tour title in 1973.
But Palmer's goodbye recently at the Champions Tour event in Houston seemed to leave little room for a change of mind. Palmer said it would be his last competitive event, save for the occasional team or charity competition. An aching back and a game that hurt him just as much caused him to withdraw after just four holes. In true Arnie fashion, however, he kept playing -- he didn't keep score -- so as not to disappoint the people who came to watch him.
And what does it say about Palmer that another Hall of Famer, Lee Trevino, desperately wanted Arnie to sign a golf ball for him after the round? Palmer won seven major championships, 62 PGA Tour events and 10 more on the Champions Tour. To summarize his career does not do it justice.
Same players, but perhaps a more exciting schedule...
Plenty of questions are still to be answered about next year's FedEx Cup schedule on the PGA Tour, one that will shrink the main portion of the season and conclude with a four-tournament playoff series. There are enough unknowns to cause concern, but not enough to override the decision to make such a dramatic change.
This season-ending Tour Championship was proof. When the season's final, big-money event cannot draw the game's two biggest names, something is wrong. Whether the new FedEx Cup schedule is the answer remains to be seen, but the lack of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson in the Tour Championship is a mini-validation that the new system may be needed.
Is the golf season simply too long. Woods didn't play in more than a month, but will teed it up in China and Japan, where he finished second in each event. Mickelson shut it down after the Ryder Cup. The big names in golf have made only sporadic appearances of late, some split between the PGA Tour and Europe. And then there is big, bad football in the U.S., which saps the life out of the late-season events, mostly because golf fans -- who, for the most part, also like other sports -- are watching games on the gridiron. So we got to the final event on the PGA Tour schedule almost looking to just get it over with. At least Adam Scott was happy to be there. The Aussie won the tournament and more than $1.2 million.
From Vietnam to the World Golf Hall of Fame...
He was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame, but Larry Nelson's career remains underappreciated. Imagine breaking 100 the first time you played golf. Or breaking 70 only nine months later. Or being a war veteran who returns to win the U.S. Open.
It is the stuff of fiction, and yet Nelson's triumphs were rarely celebrated. When he won the U.S. Open in 1983, there was more disappointment than joy: Tom Watson's second consecutive Open was denied. That year, despite having won more points than any U.S. player in the previous two Ryder Cups, Nelson was not chosen. (His overall record: 9-3-1.) And later in life, when he seemed a logical choice to be the U.S. captain, he was passed over. Nelson's story is one that almost surely could not be duplicated. He doesn't start playing golf until age 21, and within 10 years, he's won on the PGA Tour? Amazing.