Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Moving my blog

I've been using Blogger for a couple of years now, but I've grown very tired of the editing tools that are available.  It adds blank lines at random after I've added a picture to my blog.

Consequently, I'm moving on to Wordpress.  Please find me there, at

Keep'em in the short stuff.

Give Tiger A Break

Boy, golf media is one fickle group. The drastic turnaround in their attitude towards Tiger Woods is entertaining to watch, but leaves them with very little integrity left. In addition, their analysis is in my mind generally incorrect.

(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

The big question is usually phrased along the lines of "When will Tiger win again?" or "Is Tiger playing well enough to win?". Most of the answers I hear are "Don't know" and a resounding "No". I think this is a result of the commentators being blinded by Tiger's history of incredible excellence rather than an objective look at statistics, and I personally disagree strongly to both answers.

My answers would be "It could be any given week" and "Yes, definitely".

If you look at Tiger's recent performance, and ignore the fact that the stats are for him, you'll find the following:

  • Five top ten finishes in his last nine tournaments, going back to the end of last year.
  • Finishes of T4, T10, T24, and T33 in his last four tournaments prior to his premature withdrawal from The Players.
Just looking at those numbers, not knowing the player, you would definitely say that he's playing well enough to win. Players with much poorer track records win touraments all the time.

To further dissect his game we can look at his stats for the year.
  • He ranks 13:th in GIRs, in spite of being 186:th in total driving. This tells me his ballstriking is better than people give him credit for.
  • This is confirmed by him being 1:st in approaches from 125-150 yards (when it comes to distance from the pin), and 4:th in approaches from 150-175 yards.
  • He's 25:th in scoring average.
  • I found this particularly interesting: He's 17:th in scoring average before the cut, and 19:th in scoring average on Sunday. This is offset by a third round scoring ranking of 174:th.
So, his iron play and scrambling is solid. Even with his poor driving and putting he's been scoring reasonably. All he needs is for one of those two elements to improve just a little bit and he'll be competing every week as we're used to.

Having said that, if you look at the OWGR ( you will see that his drop in ranking will continue even more rapidly going forward if he doesn't start winning. Nine of the next thirteen events that are going to drop off the formula are either first or second place finishes.

At the beginning of the season I predicted that Tiger will win this year, and that he will win the PGA Championship. I'm sticking with this prediction.

Keep'em in the short stuff.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Quality Byron Coverage

I highly recommend everyone checks out my buddy Tony's coverage of the HP Byron Nelson Championship this weekend. He's live and on the ground, and gives great insight and perspective both as an amateur golfer and a fan. It's all at
Keep'em in the short stuff.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Bridgestone Ball Chat

I decided to go about finding a lower price ball to be my standard ball rather than the tour-level V1 and 330 permutations I've been abusing over the last year or two. I decided to give Bridgestone's online ball fitting a try. Big surprise, it came up with the most expensive ball they make. So I poked around to see if there was any further information about which of their e-series balls, (at the lower price point) might be a good fit for me, but there was none. Then I noticed their site offering to chat real time with a representative. Having used these types of services before, I was sceptical but I gave it a shot. Lo and behold, I got a very prompt response, and got to have a very in-depth conversation with a staffer who clearly knows quite a bit about what makes golf balls behave a certain way and about their products specifically. "Seamless Jim" was friendly and funny (meaning he got my obscure references), and he got me exactly the information I wanted. He even answered my generic questions about ball terminology.
(No, you won't get to chat with Adrienne Ferreira on the Bridgestone site. I just know I won't find a better excuse to include a picture of the letter-reading hottie from their commercials in my blog)
At the end of the conversation the site offered to send me a transcript of the chat to my email box for my records, which is a nice service.
I highly recommend you give this service a shot if you'd like to have a candid conversation about ball technology. It's like having a product specialst at your beck and call.
Keep'em in the short stuff.
P.S. Do NOT Google "Ball" and "Chat". There's really no telling what kind of a site you'll land on.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Major Props to Salina Municipal

Every now and then in life we come across a diamond in the rough. In Swedish we call this a "Smultron-ställe", so named after the very tasty miniature strawberries that grow wild. To a golfer, a place like this may be a course who's inner and outer qualities belie the expectation based on it's appearance and location.
I came across a place like this last week, when I stole away from a set of very elaborate High School graduation events to play a quick 18 holes in Salina, KS. I didn't know anything about either of the local courses, so I decided to give the Muni a shot. I couldn't have been more pleased. First, the course itself: 18 holes at par 70, with the Blue tees measuring 6,500 yards and the Whites 6,212 yards. The two nines are fundamentally different in character. The front nine is pretty flat and open; while the back nine don't have a flat hole in the bunch. The rough is open, and it's easy to locate your ball even if you miss the fairway. There is no water, and the biggest risk is where OB cuts fairly sharply into the playable areas on three holes of the back nine (two of which I found with my own ball). The holes are close together, making it a great course to walk, and I did note several walkers when I was out. I would caution you to make sure you mark your own ball, as there's a good chance it'll wind up on a different hole if you're not accurate. For as early in the spring as it was when I was there (temperatures in the upper 40s), both the greens and fairways were in VERY good shape. The greens rolled true and consistently, and the fairway was dense. Secondly, the people were great. Very friendly staff in the shop, and the groups I came across on the course were very prompt and courteous about letting me play through. Thirdly, the practice facilities were very accomodating. A large putting green that appeared to be very consistently prepared as compared to the course. They also had a well manicured pitching and sand green, as well as a large range. The course also has a close connection with the First Tee program. Salina is located where I-70 and I-135 intersect in East-Central Kansas. You may or may not have much reason to be in that neck of the woods, but if you do I highly recommend this course for a casual round. Their website is Keep'em in the short stuff.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Seve is taking a turn for the worse

According to the official website of Severiano Ballesteros, his "neurological condition has suffered a severe deterioration." While no details are available, it appears it's getting to be very dire straits for one of the true legends in professional golf.The European Open is in Spain this week, appropriately enough, but it's turning out to be a double edged sword. Players like Olazabal and Jimenez are not talking to reporters, and there is public mourning going on. "This had to be the saddest competition in terms of ambiance today. I've never seen anything like it."said Spanish Open spokesperson Maria Acacia Lopez-Bachiller in an AP interview. If you're not familiar with Seve, I recommend re-reading Jaime Diaz' piece from Golf Digest last year ( My own tribute, for all it's worth, is in the form of a cocktail ( All in all, it's a bit of a bummer day.

Golf Writing Snobbery

I was just informed by an unnamed golf tournament that they don't have enough space to allow web writers and bloggers to receive credentials to their tournament. This, of course, after the fact that The Colonial opened their doors to me last year, and I had a great time at their event ( And I know that organizations such as Golf Writers of America still stick to their old-fashioned standards of writers having to have been published in print in order for them to even be considered for membership. And as much as I dislike it and disagree with it I guess I can sort of understand this mind set, if it's applied consistently. But then Golf Digest, one of the biggest Golf publications in the world, publish an article that's made up almost exclusively of tweets by one of their writers. I like the tactile sensation of reading a paper, but why would I bother if most of their golf and sports pieces are from newswires that I read 12 hours ago? If you're going to put yourself up on a pedestal, you need to provide the kind of content that justifies it. If you just print electronic content that some generic news service published, how in the world can you look down at other writers of electronic media?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A Four Dollar Ball Cost Me Four Weeks

So I was out playing golf with a good friend from The Golf Space about a month ago. We were having a great day, when we got to the tenth hole. I faded my drive into someone's yard at the side of the course. The ball was almost close enough to reach with my driver, but not quite. I'm on my tippy toes and full finger reach, leaning over the steel fence between their yard and the course. STILL can't quite reach the ball. So I sort of thrust myself forward and up, and finally that buys me the extra fraction of an inch I needed to knock the ball in the right direction. My chest smarts a bit, but I give it a rub and go on, and don't think much of it. I don't, that is, until the next time I try to swing the club. It is VERY painful, both on the backswing and on the downswing. I grin and bear it for about another four holes, but in the end I had to walk off the course. I get home and put a lot of ice on it and take a handful of Nuprin. By now I realize it's not my stomach muscles that's hurt, it's my lower right side rib. Three days go by, and it doesn't get any better, so I decide to go to the doctor. It's fractured. It's friggin' fractured. Four to six weeks of recovery. I'm now at about four and a half weeks, and I finally was able to swing a golf club a few days ago. It's not pain free, but at least I was able to hit a few balls without grimacing in pain. I'm SO getting a ball retriever.

Friday, April 8, 2011

The 1,000 Yard Group

Day 1 of the Masters is in the books, and the lasting impression that's going to stay with me is watching the group of Quiros, Woodland, and Vegas play the back nine Thursday afternoon. Their distance is legendary, and I'm sure there were more than one hole where their combined drives measured 1,000 yards, but all of these mad bombers have a lot more depth to themselves and to their game. Firstly, all three of them have won tournaments this year, so clearly their golf games are more complete than you may think. Vegas hit a tricky curling putt for eagle on 15, and then almost made another rainbow on 16. Woodland absolutely stuck iron shots on both 16 and 18 to where he just had a tap-in for birdie. My buddy John made the comment that Quiros' tree-shot on 14 looked like something we would do, but it's very unlikely that we would have gotten away with just a bogey like Alvaro did, sinking a key 20-footer to limit the damage. Then there's the way they played; talking the whole time, joking and laughing and taking their Body English and Body Spanish to new heights with every shot. The crowd really seemed to connect with them. Of course, it's easy to have fun on the golf course when you're playing well, and they were definitely doing that. The three of them played the last six holes a combined twelve shots under par. Woodland alone was six under for his last six holes, and Quiros is obviously in the lead. Credit also needs to go to the course. This is part of what's magical about the Masters tournament, and about Augusta: While it's extremely challenging, a player who gets hot has the opportunity to make up a LOT of ground at the very end of the tournament. This is going to be fun. Keep'em in the short stuff.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

My 2011 Masters Picks

I know the tournament is already underway, but here are my picks for the Masters this year. As usual I make four picks, and I force myself to be a little more creative than just picking four out of the top six players in the world. I pick one player from the top ten in the world, one from the next ten (11-20), one from the next ten (21-30) and one player ranked above 30 in the world. GREAME MCDOWELL (#5) – Won the US Open, ruled the Ryder Cup, and swashbuckled with Tiger at the Chevron. Had a run of eight tournaments at the end of 2010 and beginning of 2011 where his worst finish was T13, so his game appears to be in very good shape. He has already shown he won’t be intimidated by any venue, any situation, or any other player. HUNTER MAHAN (#18) – Five top tens already this year, and a winner twice last year. T10 and T8 in the last two Masters. LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN (#22) – Already a winner this year, and two wins last year, including The Open. T18 and T16 in his last two tournaments here in the US shows that his game is in good shape. If he can get the driver dialed in the way he did at St. Andrews last year he’ll have a distinct advantage in approaching the greens. ANTHONY KIM (#40) – I picked him to win the Masters at the beginning of the year, and I’ll stick with it. Played lights out last year until his injury, then never really recovered. Started out 2011 playing well with T19, T13, and 6:th place finishes, then hit a rough spell, but played well last week. I’d love to see him with a big Augusta logo on his belt buckle on Sunday. Keep’em in the short stuff.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Interesting Masters pairings

With all due respect to the Shell Houston Open, the end of their tournament marks the beginning of one of the truly great periods in all of sports: Masters Week. This morning the pairings are out, and here are the groups I'll be paying close attention to (all times are ET): 8:40 AM - Watney, Scott, and DJ. All young big hitters who have won recently. Other than Phil and Tiger, Dustin is probably getting as much press as just about anyone this week. 9:13 AM - VanPelt, Wilson, and Laird. Bo is a great ball striker who I've been a fan of for some time, and Wilson and Laird are winners this year. 9:24 AM - Day, McIlroy, and Fowler. For not having won yet, there sure is a lot of talk about Rickie. Rory's game fits Augusta like a hand in glove. 10:19 AM - Kuchar, Kaymer, and Westwood. If you had to pick one group to bet money on to win, this might be it. 10:41 AM - Woods, McDowell, Allenby. There are a lot of questions about whether Tiger can win this event this year, with the way he's been playing. In my mind he most definitely can! Having said that, McDowell is probably my favorite to win it all. He's playing well, and he thrives under pressure. 12:53 PM - Stricker, Donald, Couples. Many are picking Luke to win, and Freddie is always going to be dangerous. If anyone's going to "Pull a Jack" this year, he's it. 1:59 PM - Woodland, Quiros, Vegas. Between the three of them they may average a combined 1,000 yards in driving distance. Keep'em in the short stuff.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

My job hunting tips

BE POSITIVE This is alpha and omega, both for the purpose of having a successful job search and for your own personal health. Nobody wants to hire someone who's down, and if you don't think your attitude shines through in an interview you're fooling yourself. Being positive on a daily basis isn't always easy, but it's a hell of a lot easier than trying to dig yourself out of the kind of a hole you might auger yourself into if you let your negative feelings dominate. Fake it if you have to. Science has proved that if you display the outward signs of a positive outlook for long enough you will eventually genuinely get that attitude back, even though your feelings were not authentic at the outset. SMILE ON THE PHONE People can hear the difference even if they can't see your face or your posture. EXERCISE To me this goes hand in hand with a positive outlook. Be strong. Be confident. APPLY, APPLY, APPLY A couple of years ago I applied to over two hundred postings on line and only got two automated receipts in return. These days it's been my experience that more companies are doing a better job of monitoring who's applying to positions, and some are quite prompt in getting back to the candidate. This includes large companies like Chase Paymentech. POST, POST, POST Put your resume out there in as many places as possible. Another recent trend I've noticed is that rather than posting a job a recruiter just goes out to try to find a good resource from online resumes. This is actually how I got the position I'm in now. FEED YOUR EGO While money is obviously a factor when you're out of work, there are still small things you can do to make you feel good about yourself when you're heading into an interview. Get a haircut. Get your nails done. Buy a new tie. Get your shoes polished. Dye your hair. You should know yourself what makes you feel better about yourself. BE PREPARED TO ANSWER THE "SO TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELF" QUESTION Early on I would just more or less reiterate what was on my resume; my job experience in reverse chronological order. I found that the conversation went a lot better after I decided to not stick to this "script" as much. I grouped my experience into three areas (IT Compliance, Technical work, and IT Generalist work), and summarized it that way. Then I went on to outline three personal traits that I would bring to the new position (problem solving, customer service, writing). I found that this flowed a lot better and gave me a much greater sense of energy than just starting "Well, in my last job I ...". SHORTEN YOUR RESUME. THEN SHORTEN IT EVEN MORE. Managers just don't read them. Make sure the right keywords are there. I had a recruiter complain that I hadn't highlighted my certifications enough in my resume. They were a standalone bullet in the second paragraph. MAKE YOURSELF BETTER Job-related training is obviously ideal, but there are significant benefits to your attitude even in non-job efforts. Watch the Spanish channel an hour a day and see how much more you can pick up this week compared to last. Sit down at your kids keyboard and see if you can pick out a song from the dusty stacks of sheet music. Work on your golf game. WRITE THANK-YOU NOTES Common courtesies aren't all that common any more. It's another way to make yourself stand out. One of the job offers I got was a direct reply to the thank you note I had written several weeks earlier, after my interview. It may or may not have made a difference, but at a minimum it made it very easy for the hiring manager to contact me. KEEP A JOURNAL I kept a blog on blogspot where I journaled every job I applied for, every email I received or sent, every call I made or received, every time I updated my resume online and every interview. I found this to be very helpful for a number of reasons:
  • At the end of the day I could look at the list and feel like I accomplished something.
  • I sent the link to my wife, and it served as additional motivation to know she may be looking at it any time.
  • It made it very easy to truthfully answer TWC's questions about the number of job search activities I had in a week.
  • It served as a reminder by allowing me to go back in time to see who I hadn't heard from in a while, so fewer opportunities slipped through the cracks.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Be aware, be very aware

The mental aspects of golf is something that appears to hit home and strike out equally with all levels of golfers. There are pros who consider themselves "old school" and not in need of stuff like that, and there are 30-handicappers who swear by it. My own maturity in this area has been slow, but thanks to books like "Zen Golf" I have started to improve in this department myself, and for this hacker the benefits have been significant. It's a wonderful journey to start being aware and able to manage the things that go on in your own noggin, and the non-golf implications to this maturity may be even greater than what it does for me on the course. I'm not a teacher, nor a writer in this area, but what I can share with you is a concrete example that has helped me significantly. To demonstrate, I will discuss the three phases of awareness that I migrated through in order to make progress. The problem is related to the thoughts you get popping into your head when you're partway through a better-than-average round. You start to think about what your final score might be. Maybe this will be the first time you break 90. You think about what your handicap will be after this round, or whether you have a chance to win the tournament you're playing in. Invariably, your level of play drops drastically and irrepairably. Phase 1 - Not-so-blissful Ignorance At this point, you usually don't realize these thoughts are getting into your head until it's too late and the round is over. Looking back you sort of have an idea what was going on, but at the time you were way too busy and you had way too many things going on in your head to notice these warning signs when they first pop up, much less actually do something about it. Phase 2 - "Oh, shit" Awareness As you start to read about these topics and think about what's going on in your head you eventually get to the point where you notice when your head starts drifting in the wrong direction. The problem is, you don't know what to do about it other than to go "Oh shit, here come these thoughts again." Phase 3 - Awareness and management You will notice that at no point will I discuss what to do to avoid these thoughts, or how best to get rid of them. That's because you can't. So what to do, then? You need to train yourself to recognize your thoughts and emotions without labeling, judging, or fearing them. You just observe what's going on just like you would observe a car driving in and out of your line of sight. The second part is to be able to get your mind into the right state before the next shot. Advanced methods include just clearing your mind, but most of us have not practiced enough meditation to be able to do that at will. What has worked for me is to have a pre-swing routine and a swing thought specific to the shot I'm about to play that I focus on. The bad thought doesn't go away, but by having something positive and productive to think about it's of less consequence and of less impact on my game. It may or may not be for you, but I highly recommend you at least take a look. Keep'em in the short stuff.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

February Practice Log

Well, February started out with a couple of weeks of ice and snow, but as usual in Dallas it melted off quickly and the temperatures got into the 70s in no time.

  • Fri 2/11 - 30 minutes putting indoors
  • Sat 2/12 - 30 minutes putting indoors
  • Sun 2/13 - 50 balls (9i)
  • Mon 2/14 - 50 balls (Driver)
  • Tue 2/15 - 45 minutes chipping
  • Wed 2/16 - 50 balls (8i)
  • Sat 2/19 - 45 minutes putting
  • Tue 2/22 - 50 balls (PW), 30 minutes pitching
  • Wed 2/23 - 100 balls (D, 6i, 3-ball, PW)
  • Thu 2/24 - 30 minutes chipping, 18 holes on Pitching Course.
  • Fri 2/25 - 18 holes at Oak Hollow, from the blues. Shot an 89 (42-47). Walked and carried. My game was fairly consistent, but fell apart a bit on the back nine. Got around 18 holes in two hours and 50 minutes. My handicap stayed at 12.2.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Progressive Swing Thoughts

"Be the ball" Ty famously preaches in Caddyshack. It's a good line, one repeated millions of times on golf courses around the world, but as far as actual productive golf advice it's about as useless to the average golfer as recommendations about how far you should back up your sand wedge from 80 yards. I had a bit of a revelation on the range last fall, during a time that I was hitting the ball particularly well (for a 12 handicapper, anyway): The swing thoughts of a scratch golfer should not and could not ever be the same as that of a golfer of lesser skill. NOT EVER. I think this is why I flip right past most advice columns in golf magazines. Not only do I think it would be damaging to my game to try to implement advice from someone who's never seen me hit a golf ball. In addition, I think the things a pro or advanced teacher thinks about doesn't apply to most golfers.
When you start out you have to think about a million different things. "Never keep more than 100 things in your mind during a golf swing" Dr. Parent advices in "Zen Golf", but it sure feels like that would be quite a trick. "Left arm straight", "Keep your eyes on the ball", and "Don't move your head" are just a few. And you practice and practice, and you get a little better.
Then you eventually get to the point where you have these things pretty much down pat. Now you have to start worrying about things like body turn and tempo. Maybe someting about your swing plane or your finishing position. And you practice and practice, and you get a little better still.
Now you get into the rarified air where your swing thoughts no longer have anything to do with the physical aspects of your golf swing. I've played golf for 35 years, and I've only been there once. On the range last fall I found myself with only one thought: Visualizing, in super-slow-motion, the face of the club making contact with the ball. I hit Driver and irons, and I was making beautiful contact with the ball. The shots were effortless and straight, and I was smiling from ear to ear.
It was then that I realized that if I were to tell a beginning golfer to have the same image in their head would be an absolute disaster. They'd be lucky to make contact at all without focusing on all that other crap.
It was a lot of fun being in that place, and I'm working hard to be able to get back there.
And, maybe just maybe, I will one day be able to just "Be the ball".

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Match Play picks

There may be other places to do this, but I put my picks in on I'll start from the back: I have McDowell to win it, with Casey, Hoffman, and Kaymer joining him in the final four. Here's how I predict a few other interesting matchups will go:
  • I have Molinari beating Westwood in the third round.
  • I have Monassero beating Stricker in the opening round.
  • I have Rory winning a couple of matches but losing to Jimenez.
  • I have Jimenez beating Furyk in the second round.
  • I have Van Pelt beating Phil in the third round.
  • I have Phil beating Rickie in the second round.
  • I have Tiger losing to Casey in the Quarter Finals.
  • I have Bill Haas beating a couple of bombers in Bubba and DJ, but falling to Tiger.

Keep'em in the short stuff.

Interesting pairings

Other than the majors and a few other tournaments, this week's event is one of my absolute favorites of the PGA Tour season. I play a lot of Match Play in my personal outings, and this particular format is such a big part of the game's history as well. Here are some of the pairings I will keep a particularly close eye on as things get underway:
  • Poulter (3) vs Cink (14) - Battle of the former and current Twitter champion on tour.
  • Oosthuizen (5) vs. Van Pelt (12) - A couple of talented young ballstrikers. Watch for Van Pelt to have a breakout year this year.
  • Westwood (1) vs. Stenson (16) - Henrik may be as good a #16 as there has ever been in this event. Look for this one to go down to the wire, with gin-breath edging the herring-head.
  • Watney (8) vs. Kim (9) - I hope AK is healthy. Watney regressed a bit last year, but the talent is there.
  • Woods (1) vs. Bjorn (16) - It's Tiger. Of course we have to watch.
  • Watson (5) vs. Haas (12) - Talk about contrasting styles of play. Who will win, the tortoise or the hare?
  • Ogilvy (8) vs. Harrington (9) - The only battle between former major winners. Geoff is playing better right now. The verdict is still out as to whether Paddy will recover from his tinkering.
Keep'em in the short stuff.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Top 10 Drinking Games To Play While Watching The PGA Tour

This list was inspired by the ever-excellent Shane Bacon of Yahoo Sports fame. He made a comment last weekend that a new drinking game would be to drink every time the commentators mentioned that Johnny Vegas was a rookie. His comment made me think about other things that happen ALL the time during a golf broadcast, and I came up with this list. I sort of focused on the irritating things that don't really need to be said, the stupid noise that they insist on filling the airwaves with. I've tried to make it as non-personal as possible, but I think you can figure out who I'm talking about most of the time: 10 - Drink every time they tell us about Miguel Angel Jimenez "Love for life" (He's a big ol' fat guy, he loves wine and stogies, he hits shots off the wall on the Road Hole, and he putts with his wedge. He's quite possibly the coolest guy on any tour right now. There are SO many more things to say about him than just that he "loves life".) 9- Drink every time they proclaim some young player as the next dominant player in the world. (Really, it's quite likely he won't be. I don't cheer for anyone to fail, but I know very few of the really really talented golfers have the mindset it takes to get to the top). 8 - Drink every time they mention Amy Mickelson or Bubba's Dad, or some other non-golf topic du jour (It's cold of me to list this, I know. This is what we call "reality". It's tragic and inspiring and emotional, but we really don't need to hear about it every time that player is in a shot.) 7 - Drink every time there is a comment about JD's or Smurf's clothing. (They've been wearing this stuff for years, folks, it's not exactly revolutionary.) 6 - Drink every time they mention how Tiger today is not the Tiger of yore. (He'll never be that dominant again. Get over it.) 5 - Drink every time they mention how long guys like Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson hit the ball. (We know, they're studs, you don't have to marvel about it every time.) 4 - Drink every time a commentator says something like "You could see he pulled that shot" when the ball lands left of the target. (If you could see it, why didn't you say something before the ball landed? You just sound like an idiot.) 3 - Drink every time some swing guru tries to analyze a swing, without being able to make a point in any way (It's usually in the form of a comparison to their old swing, or an explanation why a certain shot went a certain way. It's usually quite useless.) 2 - Drink every time some former great player makes it clear they were better than today's players. (You were great in your day, guys. These guys are great in their day. Your role is not to lift yourself up to put them down, but to analyze the game.) And the number 1 drinking game to play while watching professional golf on TV is: 1 - Drink every time a commentator says a player is going to make this putt/chip, with utmost confidence, and the player then misses it. (I'm not sure what they think this adds to the broadcast.) DISCLAIMER: Don't be a f*cking idiot. This is a f*cking joke. Don't even f*cking think about suing me if you play one of these games and your liver fails.

Practice Log - January 2011

This is a new thing I'm going to do this year: I'm going to publish my practice log for every month of the year. I figured this way I'll be more motivated to work on my game, and to work on the right things. Firstly, let me say that I firmly believe in time on the range being the key to improving my game. I know some golfers spend a lot more time on the course than on the range, but I know if I did that I would not improve significantly at all. For me, the best ratio is 3-4 trips to the range for every round I play, and at times it's a lot more. I only get out to play a couple of times a month, so I feel like I owe it to golf to have my game in as good shape as possible. There are times I go to the range a dozen times between rounds. It doesn't hurt that I LOVE going to the range. I thoroughly enjoy hitting buckets, putting, and chipping alike. It's one thing to hit one good golf shot, like you would do on the course. It's quite another to be able to hit good shot after good shot after good shot, like you might do on the range. It's VERY satisfying to me. So here goes. Living in Dallas is wonderful if you're a golfer, as we had some very nice days even in January, so I've been able to stay somewhat active:
  • 1/4 - 45 minutes, putt and chip
  • 1/13 - 100 balls
  • 1/26 - 1 hour, putt and chip
  • 1/27 - 100 balls
  • 1/28 - 30 minutes chipping, 18 holes par 3 pitching course.
  • 1/29 - 18 holes, Los Rios GC, Plano, TX.
I shot a 94 from the blues, which overall I'm OK with. I had an abysmal start to the round. My handicap remains at 12.2.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

False alarm on Lefty rules violation

When I saw Bones tend the flagstick for Phil's third shot at the San Diego Open my first thought was "He's not allowed to do that!". I distinctly recalled a recent magazine article that talked about the flag being tended and pulled for a shot from off the green, and the article was quite clear in its assertion that this was not allowed. So I looked up good ol' Rule 17 in the Rules of Gowf, dealing with "The Flagstick". Rule 17-1 deals with tending the flagstick. It states "Before making a stroke from anywhere on the course, the player may have the flagstick attended, removed or held up to indicate the position of the hole. If the flagstick is not attended, removed or held up before the player makes a stroke, it must not be attended, removed or held up during the stroke or while the player’s ball is in motion if doing so might influence the movement of the ball." So, Phil is in the right because clearly Bones was attending the flag prior to the shot. The article in question clearly deals with the situation where someone's hitting a shot that's not expected to go in, and someone runs up to jerk the flag out of the hole.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

State Of The Tour

I'd be the first to admit it; I'm an absolute 100% golf geek. I read about golf and I practice golf and I watch a hell of a lot of golf on TV. Knowing I allowed myself to drop off the radar for the past six months or so, let me throw out my thoughts about what happened at the end of the 2010 season, and what my thoughts are about the 2011 season:
  • I think the major winners of 2010 will have more impact on the future of professional golf than any set of major winners since 1994, when Els and Olazabal both won their first majors. We know how talented Phil is, and I think Martin, Louis, and Greame will be competing for top honors for a long time to come.
  • I think no golf contest has looked better than The Open at St. Andrews in 2010, in HD. With the sun setting on the course it was absolutely gorgeous.
  • I think DJ has some significant golf karma coming back his way, after the debacles at Pebble and the PGA. He'll will a lot, and he'll win big.
  • I think Tiger will come back with a vengeance, and win a major and at least a couple of tour events. His game is too good, his focus too strong for him to blank out for another year. I think he wins the PGA in Atlanta.
  • I think this is the year Lee Westwood just runs ramshod over the rest of the pro players the way we've gotten used to seeing Tiger do in the last decade. I'd say he wins a major and three to four tour victories. His game and his mindset is just too solid to fail at this point. I think he'll take The Open at St. George's.
  • I think Martin Kaymer wins the US Open this year. It's a very Prussian setup, and nobody is better prepared to play it than he is.
  • I think AK wins the Masters this year. He has the game and the mindset to make magic happen at Augusta. He has more Seve in him since, well, Seve.
  • I think this is the year that the old-school PGA pros like Furyk and Stricker start to fall behind. We saw it last year with Perry. Their generation is finally gone. The tour now belongs to the likes of DJ and Sean O'Hair and Hockey Hoffman and The Smurf and Bubba.
  • I think by the end of the year Rory's swing will still go down as the best in the business. And he will still look a LOT like Danny Noonan in Caddyshack, or Danny Boyd if you read golf related comic strips in the 70s like I did.
  • I think Bo Van Pelt is the dark horse on the PGA Tour in 2011. He's very VERY good.
That is all.

State Of My Game

A precious few of you may actually be following this blog, and if you do you would know where this story is coming from. For the newcomers, allow me to summarize: Picked up the game around 13 in the old country (Sweden). Got to a 9 handicap by 17. Moved to the US. Played on HS and minor College teams, somewhat sporadically. Allowed non-golf life to get in the way and didn't play much for about 15 years. Had back surgery in the late fall of 2008. Bored, I asked someone to bring me the box of golf books I had in the attic. Started reading, and fell in love with golf all over again. Been working on my game fairly ardently throughout the 2009 and 2010 seasons. In 2009 I was having a hard time breaking into the 80s consistently. I'd shoot an 89 on a par 71 or a 91 on a par 72, but rarely would I beat the imaginary bogey man. For 2010 I set myself the goal of being at a 11 handicap by the end of the season, and being a sub-10 handicap by the end of the 2011 season. In 2010 I played much better. Clearly the work I did in 2009 carried over, and I started beating the bogey man with fair regularity. In mid summer I lost my job, which had a neutral impact on my golf game. I did have more time on my hands to practice and play, but I also had less money laying around the cost of practicing and playing. I had bought a card at my local driving range, and I continued to use that up, and I was able to get a couple of really good rounds in in the middle of the beautiful Texas fall. Here's another twist I threw at my game around this time: I started walking and carrying my bag, and I moved back to the blue tees from the front ones I had been playing in my beer rounds. Now, walking and carrying at age 45 is never going to be easy. I had several new playing partners ask just how old I was, and be shocked that I'm "still carrying". I did explain to them that I was "carrying AGAIN". It also takes a bit to get used to the different pace of walking the course when everybody around you is driving a cart. The first couple of holes are the toughest, then you settle into a routine. Even so, all these things considered, I played some of my best golf EVER in these rounds. I shot an 85 and an 82 from the back tees while dragging my own bag across the course, and my handicap plummeted down to a 12.2 mark. MOST satisfying. Not to feign superiority, but the only term I could come up with for these rounds is "real golf". You walk the course, you carry your bag, you play from the appropriate tees. I'm still out of work, so there's no telling what 2011 will be like. One of the key parameters that's allowed me to improve my game over the past couple of years is that I had a driving range just minutes from work. I could go there for lunch and pitch for 3o minutes, or hit a small bucket of balls. The importance of touching the clubs regularly can NOT be overstated. I still think I can get into the single digits this year, as my goal was at the outset of 2010. In addition I've added another long term goal for my game. Going into my 46:th year at a 12.2 I would like to get to a 7.4 handicap by the time I'm 50, so that I could enter into the US Senior Amateur Championship. I mean, really ... how cool would it be just to be able to compete for a spot? I love my golfing friends, and I love the game and it's players and fanatics. Until we meet again: Keep'em in the short stuff.

Well, Obama did his

President Obama delivered his "State Of The Union" address this week. And Tiger Woods is making his return to professional golf. And the kilted one had done what I hoped never to do, allow myself to fall completely off the radar into the ethereal ether. So I'm going to try to wrap my head around golf and life once again, focusing on the state of my game and the state of the tour. Some golf writers focus strictly on their own game, and tips and techniques to improve it as much as possible. Some write strictly about the tour, but as a reader I'm somewhat left to wonder about what kind of a golf game that writer enjoys on his own weekend. The good ones cover both.