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Look for up to the minute opinions on the tours and other golf related stories. Plus, interviews with some of golf’s most will-known and respected personalities.
  • Golf and Basketball… And Away We Go!!!

    Hope Spring Break is going great for each of you!  And now ladies and gentlemen… welcome to my favorite time of the year… golf and basketball… and away we go!!!

    Golf – To Watch
    What is more fun than watching both sides of Tiger Woods?  We got the competitive side all weekend at the WGC-CA at Doral.  For those who are wondering if the man is back, just take a look at his position during the four days.  Each day the 33 year old moved up in the standings; each day his scoring got better.  Most important, each day his putting improved.  And that, my friends, is the secret… will Tiger make the putts?  On Monday and Tuesday, we got the fun side of Tiger.  Wait, I have a better word, the relaxed side. If you missed the Tavistock Cup you missed Tiger at his best.  These two days convinced me that Tiger Woods will win The Masters in 2009.  We saw drive after drive hit the fairway and long… oh my gosh!  The relaxed Tiger was accurate and magnificent around the greens.  The relaxed Tiger looked nothing like a guy that had taken 8 months off from competitive golf.  Again, about the only thing missing was putt after putt falling into the cup.  That is my only concern, but not a big one.

    I have seen a difference in Tiger’s putting since his return.  I have always felt the best part of Tiger’s putting was his speed.  Since returning, I have seen Tiger continually send putts past the hole 3 to 4 feet.  His reads have been perfect; the speed is driving the putt through the break.  I like to watch Tiger’s ball fall into the hole.  This concept of driving the ball into the back of the cup is something new from him.  It will be interesting to see if this continues.

    The other great part of watching golf on TV is, without a doubt, Phil Mickelson.  The man is like watching someone on speed.  You never know what you will get from Phil.  And I mean from hole to hole.  The guy is so much fun to watch.  When he is on, well, you just never know what will happen… When he is missing, well, you never know what will happen.  How great a golf season is this quickly becoming?

    Golf – To Play
    Are you kidding me?  The one day we scheduled to have an outing is the only frickin’ day it pours.  What a great February and March we are having, if you are a golfer.  For the farmers it’s not so good.  Anyway, we have rescheduled the Four Seasons for next Wednesday, March 25th.  We are going to tee off at 2p to give you a little extra time at work.  As before, we have room for 100 players only, so register immediately.  There have been some concerns with the registration process so if need be, call me at the office.  972 891-3080 and we will get you in… but do it today.

    We also have more great outings coming up.  Las Colinas Country Club is next.  Some people get Las Colinas confused with eh Four Season, they are different buy both are great.  After that we have Sky Creek Ranch and are working on the Honors Club and a number of others that should keep you coming back for more.

    Speaking of playing golf...  Golfweek Magazine just came out with their Top 100 for 2009.  I think the Golfweek Raters are on smack or giving them the benefit of the doubt, maybe they just don’t get to Texas enough.  Looking at their Top 15, Public access and resort in Texas is, to say the least, confusing.  I have no problem with 1 and 2, Crown Colony and Pine Dunes but the rest of the list leaves plenty to be desired.  How can anyone make Cowboys #15?  How can anyone leave The Tribute and Sky Creek Ranch off of a top 15?  Can it be that these courses were not seen?  Amazing.

    Basketball – To Watch
    Is there anything better than March Madness?  I know, yes there is, but this is a family newsletter.  This might be the strangest March of all time.  With most good players leaving after their freshman year, thanks NBA, the 2009 NCAA Tournament might be the widest open ever.  I have done 4 brackets and each is completely different.  For the first time we might find a low seed winning the tournament.  One thing is certain; it will be fun to watch.  And just think… with each day of March Madness that passes, we get closer to Augusta…. Alright….

    See you next week at the Four Seasons.




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  • 5 Topics That Will Keep You Actively Involved in the Golf Scene

    In the nine years I’ve hosted a golf radio show, these 3 weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas are the hardest.  I talk with my golf buddies and none seem interested in discussing anything remotely involved with the golf world.  So with that in mind, as a public service I will give you 5 topics that will keep you actively involved in the golf scene.

    5. Q-School – Ok, I know this is boring, at least for most of you.  I actually love seeing hardened golf professionals shaking in their boots.  You can take all the majors; the Ryder Cup and every PGA tournament and none match the pressure of a putt at Q-School, a putt to determine if you are going home; playing on the Nationwide Tour or playing in the show.  While I don’t think the Golf Channel can deliver the levels of nerves, it will be worth your while to watch.

    4. Your golf swing – As honestly as I can say this, “there is no better time to work on your swing.”  There is a three step, 30 minute process to making this work:

    • Buy a Hank Haney Instruction video – Don’t watch it all at once.  Take a little piece each night.  This will keep you motivated to take baby steps.
    • Use the mirror - I know how tough it is for most of us to find time to play.  Between putting up the lights and carrying the bags for our better half… an hour of practice time, let alone 4 hours can be an issue.  Every night, after watching your video, grab your 7-iron and practice your swing in front of a mirror.  Ten years ago, after my last back surgery, I did this drill for three months and more than anything, it helped improve my swing.
    • The in-house putting green – Keeping your practice fun is very important.  Make up a putting course in your home.  Figure par and see if you can break it.  This will improve your putting dramatically.

    3. It’s clothing time – I think my favorite thing to do this time of year is decide what I will wear when it gets warm.  “Gay or not Gay,” as the boys on The Ticket might ask.  Spending time on line at NikeGolf.com, any of the golf retailers or a number of other sites, keeps me excited about Spring Golf.  All the Spring lines are out, including most of the larger company shoe lines.  Do this on your computer.  It will save you lots of money.  Once you get a feel for your desired look, head to the stores and straight to the sale racks.  I know it sounds weird, but Spring sales are almost over.

    2. Review the year – In order to review the year, you must have done a decent job keeping track of the year.  If you have, December is the perfect month to understand your year in golf.  What were your strengths, your weaknesses; what do you need to improve? 

    Most likely, we have not done the job of being able to do this review.  To be a better golfer- to have more fun playing the game, you need to constantly improve.  Improving is easier when you know your past.  If I could grant each of you one GOLF holiday gift, it would be a recording book.  Want to improve your game by 3 to 5 strokes a round?  Take 5 to 7 minutes after each round you play and make notes of your play:

    • Fairways hit, were your misses left or right off the tee.
    • Green in regulation, how was your iron play.
    • Number of putts, how many three putts did you have.
    • Penalty shots, how many extra strokes
    • Finally, a couple of notes about the round.

    Do this and I guarantee improved scores.

    1. Keep it funny – My most favorite thing to do during the “off” season is find great golf jokes and stories.  See how many you can come across.  Send them to your buddies; it will keep you in the mood. Better yet, send them to me.  I am always on the search for the best.  How about this: starting this Sunday, we will read two or three of the jokes you send. 

    Here are a couple for you…

    Golf can best be defined as an endless series of tragedies obscured by the occasional miracle, followed by a good bottle of beer.

    Golf! You hit down to make the ball go up. You swing left and the ball goes right.

    The lowest score wins. And on top of that, the winner buys the drinks  

    Golf is harder than baseball. In golf, you have to play your foul balls.

    Can’t wait for you to send me some.  TPC Craig Ranch on Monday…. Don’t miss it.




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  • My 2008 Golf Retrospective

    I am so excited to announce our December outing for The Golfers Home Golf Outing Presented by Hooters, Monday, December 8th, a noon shotgun at The TPC at Craig Ranch.  What a way to end the year with your chance to play one of the best courses in the Metroplex.  This event will sell out quickly, so please register immediately.  We will have plenty of special prizes and a few special events that we will announce over the next week.

    I will miss so much …

    Annika – I hate that she is leaving right in the middle of the best competition possible.  With all the economic upheaval, can you imagine how cool it would have been to see Lorena, Paula and Annika going at it next year?  We might have finally seen an increase in the number of male golfers watching the LPGA.

    I will not miss – The Nick Faldo ego.  No matter how hard Nick tried to make it about the players, it was the Faldo mentality that was the only low part of the Ryder Cup. 

    I will miss so much -- Not having a Ryder Cup in 2009 – No matter how much they try, the Presidents Cup is no Ryder Cup.  The competition might actually be a higher level, but it just misses the emotional highs and lows that we get from the Ryder Cup.  And after being in Louisville for the entire week, it will be something I truly miss from the 2009 schedule.

    I will not miss – another season without Tiger Woods.  I know we don’t get all the Tiger we want, but some Tiger is better than no Tiger.  Every friend I have spoken to feels the same way.  Golf with out Tiger just is not as much fun.  I remember growing up and seeing Palmer play less and less; that wasn’t fun either.

    I will miss so much – The old Charles Barkley Golf swing.  Rumor has it that he and Hank Haney has been working together on a new reality show to fix the worst swing in the history of golf.  Hell, can you imagine life without the Charles move? I can’t.

    I will not miss – The Sergio misses.  I feel so bad for the guy.  I know how badly he wants it.  I know it eats at him each time it comes to that one putt or one shot and he does not pull it off.  I wish we did not have to watch it.  Hopefully 2009 will bring Sergio what he wants: a major championship.

    I will miss so much – Seeing Lorena Ochoa’s face as she walked off the golf course this last week at her event in Mexico.  What a dream come true for this young lady that has an entire country on her shoulders.  She and her charity event (incidentally, congrats to our own Angela Stanford for winning) are what make golf so special.  I will just have to wait until next November to see that reaction again.

    I will not miss – Boo Weekly on a horse.  Call me Mr. Conservative, but I just had a problem with the horse-ride.  I know it was in fun, but I think there is a time and place.  I also know I pretty much stand alone on my feeling about this.

    I will miss so much – The tremendous finishes we saw in 2008.  Over the next few weeks as I do my year in review articles we will go through them more specifically, but 2008 saw so many dramatic moments.  I will never forget Tiger on one-leg or Padrig winning 2 majors.  Anthony Kim beginning to reach the potential I have spoken about for three years.  The PGA Tour and the majors brought tremendous entertainment in 2008 and I can’t wait for Hawaii to start it all again.

    One last one –

    I will not miss – John Daly articles.  Can we now all let John ride off into the sunset (this is of course assuming he could actually stay on the horse long enough to ride off.)  One year without a Daly debacle, how cool would that be?

    See you at Craig Ranch.

     




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  • 8 Ways to Become a Better Golfer

    How do I become a better golfer? 

    This is a question I ask myself every time I step on the course.  So here are a few suggestions that I believe can assist in getting this done.

    1. Make the decision – We all talk about getting better, but honestly, most of us just don’t mean it.  We think we want too; we believe we want to, but we never start to pay the price.  So the first step in getting better is making the commitment.  Take a minute and write a contract with yourself.

    “I make a commitment to spend ___ hours a week working to improve my golf game.”

    Sign this and put it on your bathroom mirror.  One other very important aspect of this letter, you must add a second paragraph pertaining to your goal.  Do you want to make it to the tour; do you want to break 90 or 80?  Want do you want from your improvement?  Please be honest.  Take into consideration the amount of time you are willing to give to the process and how that will relate to your goal.  Example – lets say you currently have a tough time breaking 90 but your goal is to play scratch golf.  When considering this goal, take into account that to play scratch golf could take a couple of years of practicing 10 – 15 hours a week and that does not count the two or three rounds you will need to play.  If you are a mom or dad with two kids, a job and a life, ask yourself, “Am I willing to change my entire lifestyle to reach my goal?”

    2. Find a teacher -  I know we all think we know everything about the swing, but we know nothing.  To get better, seek professional help.  Take the time to interview three or four candidates for the position.  Just like you would for a family doctor, this person will be in charge of your golfing time; you need someone you can learn from and who understands what you want from the game. 

    3. Swallow your pride – To get better at this game you must be willing to admit you know nothing.  You must be willing to put your entire being in the hands of your PGA Professional.  This is much more than just learning a swing.  You must forget your current swing, your current stance, your current grip.  Go to the beginning.  Each time your mind floats to, “Why am I doing this?” slap yourself on the face and focus on the task at hand.  In order to get better, we must first admit we are flawed.

    4. Keep to yourself – This is extremely important.  Everyone wants to help.  It always happens.  You must…you must nicely ask these people, friend or foe, to “stay the hell out of your golf swing.”  Working to improve you game is a marathon, not a sprint.  A good teacher will move you – step by step – through the process of making you a better golfer.  Average Joe, standing in the next stall has no idea where you are in the process.  I know this is difficult, but for your own good, you must ask everyone not to give advice.

    5. Keep the Faith – This is a long process.  At times, it will get very discouraging.  This is a “glass is half-full” situation.  Enjoy the baby steps and they will be baby steps.  There will be plenty of bad shots; there will be lots of questioning, “Why am I doing this to myself?”  The end goal is all that matters.  Stick with it; I promise it’s worth it.  Playing better golf is so much fun.

    I have been going through a major swing change for 6 months.  I make myself and plenty of people around me crazy.  One week it works perfectly the next I can barely break 80… but I keep reminding myself there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

    6. Be courageous – There will be times you want to quit; there will be times you’ll want just to use the old swing.  Try to remain in the present.  Be strong; you can do this.

    7. Play with better players – As you begin to improve, search out better players than yourself.  You will be nervous, but you will begin to understand the goal.  You’ll give yourself opportunity to see how the other half lives.  And one more point, remember they went through this too.  It makes it easier on you.

    8. Most importantly, love the game.  Golf is life.  As you get better in golf… as you begin to understand the steps you have to take to improve, magically these steps will begin to become a part of your entire life.  Because getting better is contagious.  It will consume you… it will make you enjoy life more.

    Hope you have a great weekend...




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  • Golf Pet Peeves

    Hope this newsletter finds you well.  Before I get into this week’s article, I want to take a minute and send my prayers to Cindy Payne.  Cindy has worked for me 2 years.  She has done an unbelievable job on our website and on this newsletter.  She is an amazing woman that might be the best worker I have ever met.  After months of difficult times, earlier this week, Cindy’s dad passed away.  I hope you can all take a moment and say a little prayer for Cindy and her Dad.  She deserves it.

    I have decided it’s time to open our annual discussion about Pet Peeves.  While thinking about this article, I’ve decided to go public with my biggest problem, face the truth, and do something about it.  More about this in a moment.

    I define a Pet Peeve as anything on a golf course that feels like fingers on a chalk board.  They get under your skin; they can get in the way of having your great time on the course.  So here are my top Pet Peeves, let me know yours.  This will be the major topic of our show on Sunday morning so please give a listen.  And email me your pet peeves.

    5 – The rule about Divots - I hate this rule.  “Rub of the green,” what a stupid idea.  You hit a ball down the middle (something I don’t do often), and your ball lands in a divot from another golfer.  If I were made USGA Rules Chairman, this is the one rule I would change immediately. I know God works in mysterious ways, but even He says we should not have to play out of a divot.

    4 – People that do not pick up the tee area – How difficult is it to pick up after yourselves.  We pay big money to play golf in the metroplex and I should not have to be the “Clean Police” for every Tee Box.  Before I get too crazy about this, I do throw some of the blame on any golf course that doesn’t make the small expenditure for those little cone waste baskets for their tee areas.  But still, come on guys, hit a ball, bend over and pick up the tee. 

    I have to tell you how crazy it makes me.  One day I’m playing at my home course.  We are behind a foursome where one player left his tee on every single hole.  Now I know who it was because the tees had his business logo.  With each hole I got more upset.  Beginning on the third hole I starting collecting the tees.  At our course, the 18th tee box is right next to the 16th fairway.  So walking down 16, I run over to the 18th tee box and dropped all the tees in the middle of the box.  He was not happy with me.  Probably a very bad idea on my part, but I just believe we have a responsibility to leave a course better than we found it.

    3 – Cigar smokers – Because of my job, I play plenty of golf with people I don’t know.  It’s usually very fun, unless I am put in a cart with a cigar smoker.  What is it about these guys that they assume everyone wants their smoke.  After a round with Mr. Cigar Guy, I reek for about a week.  Smoke out of the cart and please, stop dropping your ashes on the greens. 

    2 – Slow play – I admit it.  I probably get to play more golf than most of you.  I know it’s unfair but someone has to do it.  Being on the course so often usually leaves me less time in the office so I tend to play fast.  My Wednesday group can walk 18 holes in 3 ½ hours very easily.  Golf should never take more than 4 hours.  A tour player once told me the biggest problem with the average golfer is they do all their thinking over the ball.  Just a suggestion, but as you are driving or preferably walking to your next shot, begin to see the shot.  The worst place to be slow is over the ball.  The more you see and decide prior to your shot the better you will be. 

    1 – For anyone that has been around me on the golf course, they know how I feel about Sunflower Seeds, especially on the greens.  I am a pretty passive person, but anyone that leaves sunflower seeds on the greens should have their mouths wired shut.  Better yet, these guys should have to vacuum every golf course green in America.  Let’s see, I really look forward to “picking up someone’s spit” on a course.  I often wonder what these guys’ living rooms look like.  Can you tell these guys make me the most crazy?

    That’s my list, what is yours?  But I am not done.  See I know I break many people’s number one pet peeve on the golf course.  So I am going public with this.  I plan to enter into counseling and rehab immediately and from this moment forward I promise every player that I will break my worst habit.  Phone on the course.  From the first tee to the 18th green, can I do this? “Yes I can!”  From the mountain tops of Dallas National to the valleys of Stonebrair, can I do this? “Yes I Can!”  I will take to the cart paths and the rough; I will leave my phone in my bag, “Yes I Can!”  From this moment forward, change is coming to those that play golf with me, Yes I Can!”

    But you have to let me text…




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  • Greatest Golf Blunders of All Time

    You know, we all screw up… some of us just do it at better times.  Some of us are unlucky enough to make our screw-ups in front of millions of people.  “Capturing a fumble and running it 90 yards for a touchdown only to realize we ran the wrong way.”  “Going back on a routine fly ball and having it bounce off our head and over the fence for a home run.”  The only difference between those and ours… only our friends remind us; millions are constantly reminding the more famous athletic blunders.  With this being our first return to Carnoustie since the biggest blunder in the history of golf, I feel it is my duty, along with every other member of the golf media to write our “Greatest Golf Blunders of All time.”

    My list might be different from others you see.  Mine comes more from, “Gosh, I feel so sorry for this guy”, rather than “What an idiot.”  See I’ve been there, missing the 3 footer to qualify for a USGA event; missing a free throw at the end of a game.  So here we go… Heading to the tee first… My Top 6

    6. The Screwed-up putt – Doug Sanders, the greatest shoe collector of all time.  With 3 feet left on the 72 hole of the 1970 Open Championship at St. Andrews, Sanders, while standing over his putt to beat Jack Nicklaus notices a speck of sand, bends to pick it up without moving his feet.  It was a brown blade of grass.  He brushes it away but mindlessly does not back off his original set-up and misses the putt.  With 20 Tours wins, Sanders has always hated talking about this blunder.

    5. Can you count to 14 – Ian Woosnam.  I love this one.  Why, because most of my friends carry about 20 clubs.  Of course none of them ever walk.  Woosey had just missed a hole in one on number one at the 2001 Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St. Annes, so he was feeling great.  Heck, he was not suppose to be anywhere near the lead, yet there he was atop the board.  Standing on #2, his longtime caddie, Mike Byrne whispered, “We’re going to be ballistic…there are two drivers in your bag.”   So here’s this 5’4”, bulk of a man, with the veins of his neck bulging to the size of his arms.  We know the rest, the guy bogey’s the next couple of holes and adios chica….

    4. Doing what he seems to do best – Phil Michelson.  Let’s get this straight from the top.  THE SCREW-UP WAS NOT OFF THE TEE.  Phil had hit nothing but drivers all week; he had not practiced any other shot; he just missed it.  Now, we can talk blunder.  This is the point at which a caddy must tackle his player (even if he fears being fired) and say, no, hell no, “we punch out.”  (Can you picture Tin Cup at this moment)?  Phil proceeds to be Phil, makes double-bogey on the 72 hole of the 2006 US Open and losses.  One not to remember, he was leading by one at the start of the hole.  We will always remember Phil bent over and the words, “I am such an idiot.”  Just one problem… he would do it again and will someday.  

    3. The blunder forgotten – Colin Montgomerie.  If I had to pick one guy to hit a 170 yard left to right shot, Colin Montgomerie would be right near the top of my list.  I will always have this in my Top 10, mostly because other will not.  But, I want to say here and now, that this was just as big a screw-up as Mickelson.  Here’s a guy that is known for his great iron play.  Here’s a guy that had just birdied 17 at the 2006 US Open at Winged Foot to tie for the lead.  Here’s a guy that drives the ball in the middle of the fairway.  And here’s a guy that had to wait while Phil, well, why Phil did what Phil does… And Monty, he thinks…and thinks…and over thinks until he, screws up.  So while others talk Phil, I will always talk Colin.

    2. A 7 for the ages – Jean Van de Velde.  Most everyone I know makes this number one.  I have two reasons for placing this 3rd and gaining the wrath of my fellow media.  First, he hit his second shot exactly where he should have, into the stands.  He just got unlucky.  (From that point on, he did blunder after blunder.)    My second reason for placing this 3rd, .quite simply, the man was suppose to screw-up.  See, we will never know, if he had played it safe, if he would have made anything but 7.  He had nothing to prove otherwise.  The guy had never been close to great.  Even Todd Hamilton had won a number of times in Asia.  So was it a major screw-up…no question, Van de Velde stood on the 72nd hole at Carnoustie leading the Open Championship by 3 shots.  He had birdied 18 in the previous two rounds.  Seven shots later, including a very good final putt and a trip to the wash his close as they did he biblical times, Van de Velde ends his Open Championship dream with a thud of the Claret Jug breaking into a billion pieces.  But was it the biggest blunder of all time…I think not…

    1. There are blunders and then there are BLUNDERS.  Take 1968.  A forty-five year old former caddy’s assistant from Buenos Aires, Roberto de Vincenzo had just tied Bob Goalby and was headed to a play-off for the Green Jacket.   Goalby had played spectacular golf on the backside making birdies at 13 and 14 and an eagle on 16.  de Vincenzo answered back with a terrific birdie at 17.  Then the word came down… Mr. de Vincenzo, you signed an incorrect scorecard.  Tommy Aaron, Roberto’s playing partner had given him a 4 on 17 instead of a 3.  Roberto signed the card, thus giving the Argentinean the 4 and losing by one stroke.

    There is a side bar to this catastrophe.  Unlike most errors that affect a player for his entire career (we will see about Phil), de Vincenzo erased this from his memory and until this year, he was the only South American player to win one of golf’s majors, an Open Championship at Hoylake. 

    So, that rounds out my list of blunders, excuse me now, I have to go miss another 3 footer.




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  • I'm an Avid Golfer and This is My Game

    I am an avid golfer.  I try to play at least two times a week.  Having a job that causes me to work seven days a week, I do everything possible to keep Wednesday afternoons for myself.  No, I’m not a doctor, and I don’t play one on the radio, although I do play host of a new Hockey Show on Live 105.3FM with Stars great Craig Ludwig; it’s just that my friends are all doctors, so that is when we play.  It’s a great group of guys- a perfect group of personalities that everyone should be as fortunate as I to have as friends.  They are way more than golfing buddies; they are the sounding board for my life.  They understand my quirks; my little habits that would drive anyone else totally crazy.  They put up with me… maybe because they know they’re going to get lots of cool stuff from every tournament I go to; maybe because they think I am the kind of sad comic relief in their worlds of saving lives, saving eyes and keeping people well, or maybe because we are all so supportive of each other… it just works.  So let me introduce you to my group…

    1. There is Doctor E.  Everyone needs a Dr. E in their life.  Dr. E will do anything to help a friend.  Unlike that kind of MALE Doctrine in the South, E actually calls me every day, he is not afraid of his feminine side.  I actually get nervous if I have not heard from him be 6 p.m. each day.  I think there are very few guys that can say they have a friend like Doctor E.

      The doc is all of 130 lbs; when he slams a drive, he will hit it 245, yet there he is every week playing with the rest of us from the 7100 yard back tees… and never complaining.  Dr. E has the best short game I have ever seen.  Yesterday on our 16th hole, a 580 yard par 5, Dr. E slam dunked his fourth shot from a bunker.  That’s the kind of things he does to get under your skin.

      Doctor E, is also our scorekeeper.  Now this can be good, unless you want your handicap to jump a couple of shots.  Since we always play team games, Dr. E has a unique way of scoring those players that might be out of the hole.  Remember a few months back when I wrote about what are handicap would actually be if we counted everything? I give you Doctor E:  a man who has never written a triple bogey on a scorecard.

      But I love him and know he will be my best friend for the rest of my life.

    2. Dr. Dick - He is the teddy bear of our group.  Dr. Dick is 6ft and about 230 of pure muscle.  When you first meet the guy, you tend to take a step back for fear his hand shake might break your hand.  As you get to know him you realize that this guy’s love of life is totally contagious and something you always want to be around.

      A most amazing aspect of this guy is the quickness with which he plays.  Dr. Dick is a 5 handicap who has never squatted behind a putt in his life.  The man does not believe in a practice stroke before he putts, yet seems to make everything.

      Like most Doctors, Dick gets inundated with 100’s of questions from everyone at our club about the silliest of things.  Why does my nose run?  I have this little twitch…  And he never seems to mind.  I am the worst of these culprits.  Yours truly is a hypochondriac.  The stupidest thing and Dick knows there will be a call from me.  He always takes the call and answers the questions without making me feel the like horse’s butt that he knows I am.

      Every group needs a Dr. Dick.

    3. Dr. Ron – Of all the guys in our group, Dr. Ron has the quick witted sense of humor.  Or should I say, “the put that guy in his place” sense of humor.  Dr. Ron is the one that always makes sure that my ego never gets too large.  You can be sure that if I start to get any of that, “I’m on the radio” stuff, he will be more than happy to put me in my place.

      See Dr. Ron is a USC Trojan; yours truly is a UCLA Bruin.  Imagine a Longhorn and an Aggie and multiply by 10.

      (Do you know the one thing that UCLA and USC have in common when a football player transfers from UCLA to USC?   Both schools’ grade point averages go up.)  Just a quickie.

      Dr. Ron is one of the best eye surgeons on the planet.  Dr. Ron has found auto racing.  Let me say that again… This small in stature, Jewish guy (same as me and Dr. E) has found racing cars.  That’s like a Texan without a shotgun coming out of the back of his truck.  It’s so much fun to play golf with Dr. Ron.  Between the biting one liners and the updates on putting new chrome door handles on his BMW Racing vehicle, Dr. Ron brings comic relief to our Wednesday golf.

    4. The Murph – The Murph takes his golf serious; the Murph takes everything serious.  The Murph is the alter-ego of our group.  A real estate tycoon that never talks real estate, a conservative Christian that never preaches.  The Murph is an ex professional football player, but you would never know it.  The Murph is just a guy that likes to compete.  More than any other in our group, he takes our $2 and $4 bets very seriously.  It’s not the money; The Murph just wants to win.

      I love watching The Murph.  I tend not to take my golf as serious as I should.  I spend too much time on the phone and too much time having fun or screaming at myself.  If I am the guy wearing his emotions on his sleeve, The Murph is the guy who shows none.  When the Murph gets going…it is fun to watch.  A very streaky player, The Murph never seems to get down when he is going bad.  I hate that about him.

    So this is my game.  I wish each of you had friends like these.  There is nothing better than guy time on a golf course and I am lucky to share it each week with my special, totally diverse group of guys.   






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  • Pressing Questions About Tour Golf

    Everywhere I turn, I see articles about the end of the golf season.  I see discussions about “Player of the Year” honors; surveys about who did what and when; admonitions about how this player completed this task and that player missed another great opportunity.

    With that in mind, it seems a perfect opportunity to raise the questions I know are pressing through so many of our brains about Tour golf.

    1. Will Tiger come back as strong as ever?
    Having watched Tiger for 14 years, not only do I think he will come back stronger, I am prepared to guarantee my statement.  I have known only a few athletes like Woods.  Tommy John comes to mind.  It took Tommy almost two years to return from a surgery that now bears his name.  In all my years working around the players on Dodger teams, I don’t ever remember anyone more positive than Tommy John.  He always knew he would make it, that he would “raise the bar” on determination and desire.  I see Tommy John in Tiger Woods.  Give Woods something to prove and he will prove it.

    2. What will be done about the Cup? 
    A guy wins the last two events and does not win the Cup.  Not much of a crescendo going on here. I’m pretty sure we will see “minor” changes.  We’ll see a change in the distribution of points with the fist Cup event offer fewer points than the Tour Championship.  This is ok but the Tour must deal with the major issue:  Is this a play-off or not? 

    For me, there is a much larger issue.  I think the Tour has to deal with the concept of 30 guys playing for $7,000,000 and playing for their place in the FedEx Cup point standings.  How about a Tour Championship with just the FedEx Cup at stake?

    3. What to do about the Fall Series? 
    Let’s face it.  With the economy going south for the winter and a few other seasons, I have some pretty large fear about sponsorship packages for Tour events.  There is nothing good about this for any American.  There might, however, be something good about this for the Tour.  It will make them face a decision about their events after the Cup. 

    Before I go on to say that tour golf should take a vacation from October to January, I want to give Justin Timberlake and the Tour major credit for chasing a new viewer group for their Las Vegas event, and doing it quite well.  The Las Vegas Tournament is doing everything possible to attract a much younger audience.  Will it work?  We will have to wait and see. 

    One thing is certain; very few golf fans seem to care about the Fall Series.  Heck, a not very large audience (trying to say this nicely) just watched the FedEx Cup, which is supposed to be the crown jewel of the Tour.

    I know there is a responsibility on the part of the Tour to create opportunity for all its members, but if the economy continues in its current cycle, some tough decisions will have to be made regarding tournament golf in October, November and December.  Those sponsorship dollars might be needed during other months of the tour calendar.

    4. Is there a group of new Sherriff’s for a PGA Tour Marketing plan? 
    Tiger is King, no doubt about it.  Tiger makes the boat run.  But did the Ryder Cup create a group of younger, non-traditional players’ types for the Tour to use to chase an entirely new audience?  NASCAR at the PGA Tour.  If there was ever a chance for the Tour and the PGA of America to begin the difficult journey of making golf a young man’s sport, it is now.  The faces have arrived.  Camilo, Anthony, Bubba, even old man Garcia.  It is time for the our governing parties to hire new advertising agencies that will target the 18-34 year old male and get him excited about this incredible sport.

    5. Just to be an equal opportunity employer… What would the LPGA Tour give to Paula Creamer continue her rise?
    With Annika hanging up her spikes, the LPGA is lighting candles daily for Paula to replace her.  Every sport needs a 1 and a 2.  With Annika leaving, everyone wondered who would chase Lorena?  I think we have found the answer and it comes wrapped with a pink bow. 

    It is a little unfortunate that 2008 is ending with Vijay being handed his Cup and a $10 million dollar check in the middle of a round.  It takes away from a pretty spectacular year of golf, one which we will discuss next week.

    So here is the question, what was your favorite moment of 2008?  Tiger and Rococo?  The Ryder Cup?  How about Paddy winning 3 majors in 13 months?  Or Norman at the Open Championship?  Send me your thoughts as we compile our list of best moments in 2008.




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  • A Few Thoughts on the 2008 Ryder Cup

    It was the most incredible week.  From arriving Tuesday morning, heading straight to Valhalla and getting the chance to walk the fairways with Anthony Kim and Ben Curtis, to standing by the green as Furyk shook the hand of Miguel Angel Jimenez and America brought the Cup back to the states.

    Led by Boo Weekley riding his driver like a horse, and Anthony Kim being so into his match that he began walking to the 15th tee box, not realizing he had beaten Sergio Garcia, the 6 rookie players on Paul Azinger’s team brought an excitement never before seen by an American in Ryder Cup play.

    It is important to note that every American team has a good time.  Are there players that would prefer not to be a part of the Ryder Cup?  I would assume so.  After a long, arduous season, it can’t be the easy thing playing an exhibition every single year.  Especially knowing that there are still more Tour events to be played.  Tour players always enjoy their chance for guy time.  I don’t know many that don’t, but past Ryder Cup teams seem to leave that camaraderie in the clubhouse.  The moment American teams hit the fairways it became serious golf- sometimes too serious; sometimes putting too much pressure on them.

    That changed in 2008- that was the genius of Azinger’s approach.  “This is an exhibition of a game,” he would say, and he is right.  For the first time, American’s made fun of the event.  It wasn’t, finally, just another Tour week.  It was their vacation.  And whether Phil, Justin, Stewart or Jim ever imagined the Cup that way, it did not matter.  Azinger put this team in the hands of the rookies, said, “Go have a good time,” and they did.  He became infectious.  Even Mickelson was smiling and pumping, and while he has now gone winless in his last four singles matches, Phil seemed to enjoy this event.

    Azinger’s plan was simple- Form three sets of four players.  The Southern Boys: Perry, Holmes, Weekley and throwing in Furyk as their leader; the aggressive group: Kim, Mickelson, Leonard and Mahan; the quiet group: Campbell, Curtis, Stricker and Cink.  He kept them together the entire week.  Giving each team ownership of their group.  Even when Campbell and Cink had a tough day Friday, Azinger stuck with them on Saturday, pairing them in afternoon four-ball.

    So did all this make a difference in the points scored by the Americans?  Did it have cause and effect on the final outcome?  The easy answer is no.  What made the difference was putting.  The Americans made more birdies than the Europeans.  The harder answer is yes.  Being more relaxed and having faith in your teammates made them looser and more open to making putts.  For the first time, the Americans had more fun than their counterparts.

    There are other reasons for the Americans win.

    1. Faldo – By not choosing Clarke or Monty, he left his team in the hands of a 28 year old young man so full of passion for the Ryder Cup that it became his most important tournament.  It was just too much.  Want to know what the Americans have felt for the last ten years? Look at Sergio Garcia because he had that look all week.  Tension, pressure, trying too hard to win.
    2. Faldo – I really think he got outfoxed by Azinger in the singles matches.  Back-loading was a mistake, but I really believe he thought Azinger would do the same with his two point lead.
    3. Harrington – if there is one I feel bad for, it is Padrig Harrington.  No matter how hard he tried, he could not find his game.  The weight of 3 majors in 13 months raised its head and said no more for this body. 
    4. Westwood – I will never understand Lee’s comments following the Cup.  This is a really nice guy.  Whether he allowed the Clarke issue into his body, whether this sickness was more of a factor than believed, Westwood was “out of sorts” for this Cup, and it showed.
    5. The course set-up – I think this was the biggest factor in the Americans win.  Knowing the lack of experience on his team, Azinger chose to make this a putting contest.  There were only two difficult holes on the course.  The vast majority of pins were in very easy spots.  Did this give the American team an advantage?  No. What it did was even the playing field to just one part of the game- putting, and that worked.  It helped immensely in keeping the Americans loose.  With Azinger’s massive drives, not worrying where they were headed, and knowing that most second shots were to easy pins, our team relaxed.

    So those are my thoughts about why we won.  All of that aside, if I could grant one sporting wish to each of you, it would be a trip to Wales in 2010.  Being at a Ryder Cup is something incredibly special; the Ryder Cup brings all facets of the sport into one ring and for three days drains all the energy from your body. From running hole to hole, to screaming for your team, the joking with the fans from the other side, watching the scoreboards because things change every five minutes, there is nothing like it.

     




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  • From the Ryder Cup...

    My biggest memory from Wednesday was Nick Faldo’s press conference.  Remembering that Faldo is now a part of the media, I can pretty much say that the guy has more distance for his counterparts than anyone I know.  Don’t get me wrong, most of the questions he had to answer were really stupid, especially an entire line about some cameraman getting a shot of a piece of paper that supposedly has his teams displayed, but you could tell Faldo has no desire to be in a press conference. 

    My absolute favorite part of the day was spending an hour on the range with Ben Curtis, his caddy-for-a-week, the great Tony Navarro (Adam Scott’s current looper), and his teacher Steve Johnson.  For those that don’t know that name, Steve has worked with Hank Haney for over 20 years.  He’s also worked with the Kuehne’s as well as many other top professionals and juniors.  Johnson started working with Ben a while back and has helped Curtis vault towards the top of the tour.  Seeing the interaction between the two and getting to be a part of it was tremendous.  Look for Curtis to play well this week.

    Also, look for Anthony Kim to be paired with Phil Mickelson.  No one has talked much about this but I’m letting you know it will happen.  Watching the young gun with Phil is very cool.  Anthony, as always, beats to his own drum, but it’s a drum that might help Phil find some needed excitement and a few very needed points. 

    While most people around the course are talking about the pairing of JB Holmes and Kenny Perry, I am more excited about local guys Justin Leonard and Hunter Mahan.  I think they blend extremely well and make for a very good pair.  It’s also cool to watch our own Randy Smith walking the fairway with both guys.  Think about it, the metroplex has 4 of the 12 Ryder Cuppers and 2 of the teachers.  Not sure there are many cities that have ever done this well.

    This being my first Cup, I am taking in everything.  Even on Tuesday, you could feel the excitement.  The crowds are much larger then I expected for practice rounds.  With the Americans on one side of the course and the Europeans on the other, there has been really no interaction among the fans.  The players aren’t talking much either.  On the range, the teams separate and pretty much keep to themselves.  About the only time that changed was Wednesday morning with everyone on the range: American, European, caddies, fans and dogs watching JB hit 400 yard drives into the stage set up at the end of the range for Thursday’s opening ceremony.  Even Faldo was in awe.  In the media room later he managed to get a little dig at Holmes when he said, “It’s good for us that there is more to the game then just hitting long drives.”

    I guess the most amazing part of the last two days for me was watching the practice rounds of the Americans.  I was, pretty much, the only media member on the course.  Now, I do not know if the same is true for those covering the Europeans, but with over 1000 media members on site, it was actually eerie being alone watching the players.  It was, however, actually very cool. It gave me a chance to watch things that no one else saw.  A perfect example was watching Kim and Mickelson reading a putt together on the first green.  After they were done, Phil’s caddy, Bones, went over to Anthony’s caddy and had a very long discussion.  While I don’t know the actual conversation, I wondered whether he was telling him that Phil would prefer to read the greens alone or whether he was explaining to Anthony how to speak in “Phil.” 

    The biggest joker on the course was none other than Jim Furyk - something I would have never thought.  Furyk is usually all business, but being one of the older players and in his 6th Ryder Cup, he is really taking a leadership role.  He was wise-cracking hard on the 3 Southerners, playing both days with Bubba, JB and Perry.  After the round, where he actually had to pull Kenny away from the crowd saying, “hey, Kenny, the election isn’t until November, come on and hit,” I asked him about playing with the “good ole boys.”  Furyk explained he has learned an entirely new language.  He also told me he would love to be the Captain of a Ryder Cup team.

    What an amazing week so far: being at one of the best professional football games ever on Monday night; walking the Ryder Cup course with the likes of Ben Curtis, Justin Leonard and Chad Campbell; setting some 43 interviews with other ESPN Radio stations over the next 4 days; and looking so forward to this evening.  There are very few people I would go out of my way to meet.  Tonight there is a special media reception at the Muhammad Ali Museum and he will be there.  I can’t wait to shake his hand.

     




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  • Making The Cup a Success

    It is with great pleasure that I announce the end of the 2008 PGA Tour FedEx Cup.  Wait, that can’t be right, we still have the TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP left to be played - 72 holes of golf to at East Lake Country Club in Atlanta, Georgia. The week after a small get together in Louisville, Kentucky.

    Let me say that I give loads of credit to the Tour for making major changes in the points system after last year’s first attempt at the Cup.  I can only hope that the same will happen over the next few months.

    See, I think it’s great what Vijay Singh accomplished in the first two events of the Cup, but it kinda makes last week and two weeks from now irrelevant.  No one could have predicted that a player would win the first two, but someone should have thought about it.  No one could have predicted that Tiger Woods would be injured, but someone should have thought about it.  Everyone thought about the Ryder Cup, which is the reason for a two week break, but did anyone think about East Lake occurring in the middle of NFL and College Football seasons?

    So all that leaves us with is an event without drama; all that leaves us with is the question, once again, “How do we make this Cup idea a success?”

    There are a number of ideas.  For those that read my newsletter religiously (and why don’t all of you?), last year I suggested the creation of a final match play system.  Others like the LPGA system that starts the last round of their Tour Championship anew.  Eighteen holes a cool million.  Still others like the idea of increasing the points awarded in each of the four events.  Whether you like any of these ideas or another, one thing rings clear: the Tour must create a system where the level of excitement continues to rise.  How do we do that?  I ask you.  Please send all ideas to Tim Finchem, and please send me a cc.

    One thing is certain - whether you agree or disagree with the commish, he will always be there… maybe that other commissioner needs to take some lessons.

    How about Camilo Villegas?  Six top 10’s in his last 11 events including the win in St. Louis.  A quick change of subject here, I want to say, without any doubt, that the Western Open or whatever you want it called belongs now and forever in the city of Chicago.  Moving this event is wrong.  Image, Chicago, one of golf’s great city’s, without a Tour event.  Even more of a shame is that a tournament of 100 years is moved from its city.  Now back to Villegas… the best part of his first tour win?  Not the smile; not the wonderful game; not the excitement from the crowd.  It was watching Camilo bounce his wedge as I have never seen before.  This bounce ranks with the Tiger camera shot.   Camilo is walking towards the green and tossing his wedge so the head hits the grounds causing the shaft to bounce back to his hand.  Not once but twice.  Not sure if you can find this on U-Tube or the Golf Channel website, but you must search for it.

    Before I forget, congrats to local Dallisites, Greg Chalmers and Colt Knost - both are heading to the 2009 PGA Tour.  Very close to getting our congrats is Matt Weibring.  After of a number of years on the Nationwide struggling to find a consistent game and a healthy body, Matt is currently sitting in the 20th spot.  Hope you make it Matt, you deserve it.

    On the rumor mill – Is Natalie Gulbis headed to The Apprentice?  Is Lee Westwood not headed to America for the Ryder Cup?  No, it’s not that his he is boycotting because Faldo did not pick his buddy, Darren Clarke; it’s because Westwood has not recovered from a bad case of tonsillitis.  After speaking with an insider in the Westwood camp, it is noted that Westwood is very weak and has lost a bunch of weight.

    Finally, for those that have had a chance to watch School of Golf, thanks for so many kind emails about my son.  For me (after seeing Doug), the coolest part of the show is seeing Hank Haney in the laid back position on his chair.  It is great to see “the man of constant motion” sitting so relaxed.

     




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  • Missing Passion

    Over the weekend, I had a wonderful idea for LPGA Commissioner Carolyn Bivens on how to resolve her issue with the 121 Foreign Players on her tour.  My idea was to hire a great American Orator and Hall of Fame Golfer to teach the players his kind of English.  His name, Thomas “Terrible Tempered Tommy” Bolt.  Unfortunately, the man with one of the smoothest swings in the history of the game and also the foulest of mouths, passed away last night at 92.  Can you just imagine any of the 45 South Koreans doing Tommy’s kind of English after winning an LPGA event?

    “I want to thank all those >>>> sponsors for >>>> this incredible tournament.  The >>>> volunteers were >>>> wonderful.  I want to also thank my >>>> teacher and Tommy >>> Bolt for helping me learn this new >>>> language.”

    What a perfect resolution to the silliest new rule in golf.

    “Today’s players owe a debt of gratitude to Tommy Bolt and his fellow pioneers,” said PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem on Wednesday.  “His golf prowess was only matched by his formidable and colorful personality and he helped launch the game’s popularity.”

    An interesting comment from the Commish in light of the seemingly enormous lack of appeal from his tour during the last couple of months...  I sat by the TV on Monday (that’s right, I didn’t play golf) and watched the final round from Boston.  Over the 4 plus hours, I kept asking myself, “Who, besides Tiger brings any excitement and passion to my screen?”  Certainly not Vijay.  Think about it, Vijay Singh is the greatest 40+ player in the history of golf.  The guy has won 22 tournaments since turning 40.  He’s better than Nicklaus; better than Palmer; better than Player - so why don’t we care?  Why can’t we get excited like my dad did when he watched those previously mentioned men?  Is it our fault?  Are we all becoming too emotionless? 

    I don’t believe that.  I spoke with too many friends after Tiger’s win in the US Open to believe we are void of passion. (You should have seen me in front of the TV, Monday night watching UCLA.)  It is, quite simply, that most players today really believe this is their JOB and they treat it that way.  Does Vijay love the game any less than Palmer or Player?  I think not.  It’s just that he comes across that way.  It’s not that we have lost our passion for the game we love so much… it’s that the players have lost their understanding that showing their love of the game is what makes it fun for us.

    We don’t want to watch men at work.  We don’t want to watch men going through the motions of their jobs.  I want my Tommy Bolt; I want to see guys throwing clubs when they miss a shot without worry of being fined.  Well, maybe not throwing clubs, but you know what I mean.  Most of the problem is the players… they have forgotten it is ok to be vulnerable.  Part of the problem is the Tour.  Fining players for this, fining players for that.  The tour has become just like my old office.  Watching great shots is not enough.  It’s not enough in any sport.  We want the high fives; we can’t wait for the fight; we want the crash; we want the player jumping into the stands.  Without the passion we have our own lives and none of us want to watch that.

    I want my passionate players.  Show us you care, guys.  I see it from Sergio, I see it from Anthony and very view others.  How cool would it be to watch Vijay running around the green slapping fives with all the fans, showing he cares?

    A couple of other thoughts… I am going way out on a limb here, so far on the limb that I can feel it breaking.  Ready? Nick Faldo’s ego got in the way of his picks.  Look at all the facts and you must conclude that Darren Clark deserved to be named to the European Ryder Cup team over Poulter and Casey.  Way, way over both.  So why wasn’t he?  Why did he leave Clark off?  Why did he leave Monty off? 

    I think Nick Faldo wants all the attention on himself.  I think by naming Clark or Montgomerie to the team if would have taken some of the media attention away from Nick.  What other possible reason could there be for not choosing one of them? Darren Clark is their soul; Colin Montgomerie is their heart.  Those of us that truly look forward to this event got “jobbed” by Faldo.

    Talk about missing the passion.  Whether you like Monty or not, he brings to the game everything that we are missing without Tiger around. 

    My final thought for the week.  WAY TO GO, DALLAS!  25% of the American team is former members of the Northern Texas PGA Junior Golf Foundation.  No other city can say that.




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  • Commissioner Carolyn Bivens

    Attention K-Mart Shoppers – broken Commissioner on Aisle 12.  If you are one of the 121 foreign players on the LPGA, please stay clear of that Aisle.  Once again, the Dictator Carolyn Bivens has gone overboard in the approach to a minor issue on the Tour.

    In case you missed it, earlier this week, the LPGA revealed its intention to insist that all players with two years seniority must have sufficient skills in speaking English. A team of evaluators will assess player’s communication skills including conversation, everyday survival phrases and “golfspeak.” Any player unable to pass a required skills test can be subject to suspension from the tour.  So I guess this means if you have a serious lisp or are a deaf and unable to speak, forget about becoming an LPGA player.

    Let me say, the reason behind the move is understandable.  The LPGA is having sponsorship problems.  They believe that the interaction between top players, many of whom are in that group of 121 foreign players, including 45 from South Korea, and the sponsors is of prime importance.  Further interaction between players and pro-am participants is just as important. 

    The way this is being handled is totally out of line.  Not only do I think it is illegal, but once again, the Commissioner, Carolyn Bivens, seems to be creating policies that are not in the best interest of the tour.  What makes me just as upset is that Ms. Bivens is no where to be found.  Every major news source was discussing this matter yesterday; sports talk shows around the country that never talk golf were spending hours on this issue as did The Golf Channel.  I kept waiting to hear from the Commish; I called the LPGA office requesting an interview and never heard back.  How can this be?  Can you imagine any other Commissioner not being front and center during this kind of debate?

    The rule should probably read all English speaking players must learn other languages.  Let me explain.  The only rights fee (monies paid by media companies to carry someone’s broadcast) paid to the LPGA is from the Asian market; in all other cases, the LPGA buys the time.  So in my mind, to keep the Asian broadcasters happy, I would think Paula Creamer and Natalie Gulbis should be learning Japanese or Korean or face suspensions. 

    Why be so dramatic?  I agree - all of us should learn other languages.  I agree that if foreign-born players want to help grow the game in America or want to try and increase their marketability, they should be able to communicate on other languages, but to tie this policy to suspension due to an inability to pass an exam reminds me a of time about 60 years ago in Mississippi.

    A good idea gone bad… seems to be a regular problem with the LPGA.  Incidentally, as someone that promotes the heck out of their tour, it bothers me greatly each time they do something this silly.  According to sources I spoke with, the LPGA never discussed instituting penalties with their players as they broached this topic.  Their heart is in the right place; their approach is like walking the plank.

    Paul Azinger announced on Monday that two of his four picks are locked in and that you’d have to search well outside the second 10 on the final Ryder Cup list to find their names.  Makes for an interesting discussion.  During a year when choosing process was changed so Captain Azinger could pick 4 instead of 2, the Americans can barely find one deserving to make the team. 

    Perhaps Azinger can call Faldo on Saturday night, the evening before Faldo goes public with his two picks, and offer a trade.  Maybe one more pick to Faldo for one extra point for the Americans?  I think that would serve our team better.

    Faldo, on the other hand, has a fistful of players vying for the remaining two spots.  As I said last week, I hope Monty gets a pick, but it looks unlikely.  Even Darren Clark, the fun-loving, cigar smoking, always smiling European may be outside looking in.  Paul Casey and Ian Poulter seem odds on to make the team.  Faldo seems to making a LPGA kind of move.  Rather than delaying his picks until September 2nd, the day after the Deutsh Bank (it concludes on Labor Day) as Azinger is doing, Faldo will make his picks Sunday at 1pm.  This could be a mistake, depending on how Soren Hansen, Oliver Wilson and Martin Kaymer play this week in the last European event.

    Anyway you look at it, Louisville in September is the place to be.




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  • A Father’s Pride

    Well, I can finally say it, “I am getting old.”  I never thought it would happen.  I am so young at heart; except for the grey hair, everyone says I look great for my age; I still walk the golf course 85% of the time; I get along great with the younger players on the tour, so why do I, unfortunately, come to this sad conclusion?  The past few days, I drove the 1104 miles from Dallas to Bluffton, South Carolina, to enroll my son, Doug, into the University of South Carolina at Bluffton.  My son in college… that must make me ancient.

    It seemed liked just yesterday that I was pushing a stroller with my kid inside.  From his first tee-ball game to lacing up his first pair of skates to learn to play hockey; from buying his first small golf club to watching him break his collar bone in PeeWee football; from all the soccer games to his making the winning basket to beat the undefeated team in the champion game of the Highland Park Youth Basketball League… I have had incredible joy watching Douglas grow from a little boy to a young adult.

    Somewhere along the way, a very interesting thing happened - as the boy became a man, he chose some very important values, values that many are unable to choose.   During the summer vacation of his 16th year, Doug, along with a half a dozen of his high school friends, spent 4 weeks studying French at the University of Biarritz.  It was during that trip that my son made the decision to not smoke or drink.  Because of that choice, he took much grief from his friends.  You remember those days, right?  “Let’s go do this… or let’s go try that.  What are you afraid of?”  Well, Doug made his choice and stood behind that decision, taking plenty of crap from his friends.  It made me realize that Sandie and I, no matter how hard it was along the way, had raised an amazing son.

    Like many men, it is hard for me to sometimes show my true emotions to my oldest son.  The pride I have felt as he decided to take on the game of golf at the very old age of 17.  The pride I have felt over the last year watching Doug go through what most boys that take up the game go through at 12 and 13.  The pride I have felt watching him go through the 94’s and 95’s to get to the 84’s and the 85’s, to winning his first tournament.  There are not many 18 year olds that could have dealt with the levels of beginner golf at such an old age but Douglas Newton Gribin is not your normal kid.  Through all the difficult times, the normal crap we all go through as parents, the constants with Doug of telling the truth and taking responsibility for his mess-ups are always there.  Doug Gribin is an amazing young man, and while other boys his age are off to the first year in college, Doug has chosen to continue his path towards playing college golf by enrolling in the Post Graduate Program at the Hank Haney International Junior Golf Academy and taking just a couple of classes at USCB, putting off his real freshman year for another 6 to 9 months.

    So you go, Doug… keep doing your 10 hour practice sessions; keep handling the good times and the difficult times with the class of a 30 year old; keep chasing your goal; keep listening to Hank and never quit trying to capture your dream.  I know I don’t say it enough, but I am really proud of you and love you very much.  And I’ll keep getting older… of course your mom never ages.

    One closing note as we head into the Fed Ex Cup.  Last year at this time I was writing what a mistake the “Race for Cup” seemed to be.  I apologized the week after Tiger won the Tour Championship, the first Cup and ten million dollars.  As we enter the 2008 Fed Ex Cup without Tiger Woods, I am, once again, wondering where and from whom we will find our excitement.  Will it finally appear from Sergio? Could Padrig Harrington take another step towards solidifying his place as “the” Tiger chaser?  Can Phil find some inner strength and turn a miserable year into a $10 million payday?  Or will some unsuspecting Tour Player create some much needed magic as we turtle our way to the Tour Championship and the Fed Ex winner.

    In the middle of all this, we will get one of sport’s greatest events, the Ryder Cup.  Even without Tiger, I am really looking forward to this year’s Cup.  I truly believe our US team enters as a big underdog.  Over the next few weeks, USA Captain, Paul Azinger, will choose the four additional members of the team.  That alone will add some excitement to the first two tournaments of the Cup.  One thing is certain, Azinger needs to find a couple of very hot players to add to his team.  Who will answer the call?  We’ll have to wait and see.




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  • PGA Oakland Hills

    Hope you are doing well...

    When it comes to Sports, God really helped the PGA last weekend.  Think about it.  Just how much time does he (or she if you ask most of my female friends) have for the major Championships?  In April, God is working really hard to get all those baseball prayers answered, his favorite sport; June rolls around and he definitely does not have time for the pro golfer because he is taking care of all the prayers of average golfers; July follows and he’s busy with parents prayers for the best summer vacations imaginable so he has little time for the professional golfer.  Finally August steps to our calendar and God usually has way too much on his plate with school starting. But this year, this year, God had time for the PGA.  Michael Phelps did not need his help; most of the baseball teams are through asking for miracles; the Redeem Team, the beach volleyball teams, the women’s softball and men’s baseball teams don’t seem to need him, so the PGA got their prayers answered over the weekend, quickly turning what might have been one of the worst PGA’s into one of the greatest.

    Everyone at the PGA, their employees, the players, the fans and the media, were all using every prayer we’d saved, asking him to bring rain.

    And he came through.  Boy did he every.  See, the PGA had spent many hours looking at the Farmer’s Almanac - you know, the book that tells you about weather over the last 100 years. It told them there would be rain all week.  They decided to set the golf course KNOWING the rain would come.  Oakland Hills, already one of the hardest designed golf courses in the world, was set up even harder.  Fast and hard and plenty of rough, added to already impossible greens made for near impossible conditions.  Without rain, Oakland Hills was quickly becoming a nervous proposition.  The players were doing more than mumbling, and the crowds were doing, well, nothing.  It was quieter than a tennis match.  In my first two days on the course, I heard a total of 5 roars.

    But He came through.  With the rain and the colder weather, Oakland Hills produced a tournament for the ages with three players, each from different levels of the game giving those in attendance and those watching on TV an amazing Sunday afternoon.

    Padrig Harrington (yes, I am gloating here, as I chose him to win in last week’s newsletter) came from 6 shots down: his win was the 3rd major in just 13 months, and we now have, without a doubt, the number 2 player in the world.  We have found the player that wants the spotlight next to Tiger.  What a comment he made after the Championship, “I can’t wait 7 months for the next major.”

    In Ben Curtis, we found a player that could deal with the next to impossible layout of Oakland Hills.  A player that loves hard courses; a player we never think about; a player, even in those NFL logoed shirts, flies totally under the radar but somehow managed to hang when all the others couldn’t handle the Oakland Hills design.

    In Sergio Garcia, we found a new man, a man who truly wants a major; a man who is now taking responsibility for his actions; a new Sergio.  What fun it was to follow him during his 41st attempt to get his first major.  Does he still miss putts? Does he still make that one silly mistake at the most inopportune time? Yes.  But for the first time, I saw him take ownership of those mistakes.  And mark my words: Sergio will win a major in 2009. 

    This was a great PGA.  It’s just too bad that without Tiger in the field, there were not more people watching on Sunday.  This is the kind of Championship that would grow the game.  It is a Championship I will not soon forget.

    Thanks, God, for taking the time to answer our prayers.

    Ok, before I start getting the feedback about the use of God in the above writing, please know I am just trying to have a little fun.  I know many of my listeners take God very seriously, but I hope you will allow me the little banter of fun.  And who knows, maybe I’m right, maybe God does have time for the prayers of golfers.  God knows, we all try to use him for that one putt to win our match. 

    I want to take a second and talk about golf at the Olympics. I am totally against golf in the Olympics.  It’s not that I don’t love golf, you all know I do, it’s just that I don’t like having any sport in the Olympics that already gives the world plenty of chance to have the best play together year round. It’s like Tennis in the Olympics, how silly is that?  We are going to see the same players playing in another event that we could have watched during any other month.  I truly believe the Olympics’ should be for sports that are not center stage.  When else do we get to see the greatest women’s softball players or the best badminton players?  Let’s leave the Olympics’ for those sports… I don’t need more tennis or golf, or even basketball for that matter.  I want Michael Phelps and archery.

    Finally, as we finish our summer vacations, I want to say how important these last three months were to me and my family.  I hate getting older (I just hate the alternative more) and with each passing year, I know that the summer vacations with my children are almost over.  So, take a few minutes to love your kids, they’re leaving the nest sooner than later.

     




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