Thursday, May 31, 2007

Mickelson, Wie on DL

Two of the brightest stars in professional golf are on the disabled list, at least temporatily. Phil Mickelson and Michelle Wie withdrew from their respective tournaments mid-round on Thursday because of wrist injuries. Mickelson, playing the Memorial, quit after 11 holes, plus-2 at the time. Wie, playing the Ginn Tribute, pulled her WD after 16 holes, plus-14 at the time, including a quintuple bogey on a par five.

Mickelson told reporters he didn’t think the injury was serious, but he has to be concerned about his ability to prepare for the U.S. Open in two weeks. He said he may have aggravated his left wrist hitting balls out of the deep rough at Oakmont.

Wie, who had not played a tournament since January, suffered wrist injuries early this year. She played with bandages on both wrists.

Hitting range balls while wondering whatever happened to Bill Glasson.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Tiger Talks

Mr. Fairway attended the AT&T National media day at Congressional Country Club on May 29. Tiger Woods, recovering from a bout with strep throat, held a news conference. Here are some random highlights:

Tiger was unequivocal in his desire that his tournament continue to be played at Congressional after its inaugural two-year run. However, the club is committed to hosting the U.S. Amateur in 2009 and the U.S. Open in 2011 so his event will certainly have to be played elsewhere those two years. Asked if he would consider having the tournament at the soon-to-be remodeled TPC Avenel course down the road, Tiger said he would but quickly added that Congressional is the most desirable venue because of its history and because it is a classic course that the pros love. The betting here is that it will not be back at Congressional.

Tiger will play in the AT&T National if possible. His expectant wife will be home in Florida. He drew laughs when asked what he would do if he got the word on the 18th hole of the final round. “Well, I’ll have to play real quick won’t I?” he said. “Real quick. A three will win.”

Tiger acknowledged that many top players, including Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els, will not play in the tournament. He said his is recruiting other players including Jim Furyk, Darren Clarke, Charles Howell III, but added that many players already have set schedules in place that they can’t change. Adam Scott, Davis Love, Steve Stricker, Fred Funk and Stuart Appleby also will play. Vijay Singh has not decided yet, Woods said.

He is receiving suggestions for baby names and people have not been shy about sharing their experiences with childbirth. “Everyone has stories,” he said, “sometimes a little more grotesque than I prefer.”

He has no political ambitions. Someone asked if he was interested in running for president, he replied, “Hell no. No. No. No. No. No. Next.”

Tiger believes that three-four hours of sleep a night are plenty.

Is it fair to win your own tournament? “Yes. Always.”

Hitting range balls while wondering whatever happened to Ken Venturi.

Friday, May 25, 2007

10 Aces? Yeah, Right

Have you read about the 46-year-old woman from California who claims to have made 10 holes-in-one this year? Jacqueline Gagne, an 8-handicapper, says she has recorded 10 aces between Jan. 23 and May 2, most of them at her home courses at Mission Hills Country Club. That happens to be one less than Tiger Woods career total. She also claims to have legitimate witnesses to her astounding feats. Pardon me if I’m a bit suspicious. Making a hole-in-one is one part skill and five parts luck. Are you telling me that she has been that lucky 10 times in the span of four months? Hmmm. I say hook her and her witnesses up to a lie detector.

Hitting range balls while wondering whatever happened to Barry Jaekel.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Golfer's Tan

It’s not even June 1 and my golfer tan is already in full bloom. Admit it, you have one, too. Your legs are tan from just above the knees and all the way down to your ankles, where there is a distinct line marked by your anklets. What, you don’t wear anklets with your golf shoes? Are you kidding me? Any sock longer than an anklet is so out. Get with the program. At least my legs don’t look like out of bounds stakes any more. Anyway, your arms are nice and tan but there is one minor problem – the hand on which you wear your golf glove is not tan. Even if you take the glove off to putt, that hand will always be several shades lighter than the opposite hand. That is the telltale sign of a golfer. The back of your neck is tan as is the front of your neck, forming a nice V that matches the opening of your golf shirt. I’m sorry, but I cannot get into buttoning the top button on my golf shirt. Looks too nerdy for me. So this is the look from now until Mr. Fairway goes to the beach at the end of July. Then he suffers the indignity of being un-tan – and sunburned – over the parts of the body. But the golf tan is a sure sign that the summer season is upon us.

Hitting range balls while wondering whatever happened to Kel Nagle.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Bully For Phil

Phil Mickelson gets it. As my senior managing editor suggested after Mickelson’s victory at The Players, Phil is becoming one of the more likable pros on the tour. Why? Because unlike many of the drones who follow the sun and chase the millions of dollars each week, Phil actually engages with the fans. Did you see him trading high fives and smiles during the Saturday and Sunday rounds? Did you see him handing golf balls to little kids in the gallery? Do you recall any other pros doing the same? I don’t. Most of the time, the tour pros look like they just visited the proctologist. Forget about acknowledging the fans save for a rudimentary tip of the cap here or a little wave there. Mickelson is accused in some circles of being a phony, putting on a fake smile. But the reality is that Phil comes from the Arnold Palmer school – he interacts with the galleries, hands out balls and gloves, and, gasp! Signs autographs. It’s refreshing and Phil’s fellow pros would do well to follow his lead.

Hitting range balls while wondering whatever happened to Bobby Cole.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Shut Up Already

Could golf fans be more unoriginal? Here’s my latest pet peeve: the idiots at PGA Tour golf tournaments who yell, “IN THE HOLE!” the moment a player hits any shot short of a putt. What are these morons thinking? That if a shot miraculously does go in that they claim credit for calling the shot? Get real. The nitwits used to holler, “You da man,” but apparently that became passé. Now it’s “in the hole.” Well, that saying can’t become passé fast enough as far as I’m concerned. Please, if you go to a tournament, shut up already.

Hitting range balls while wondering whatever happened to Steve Bull.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Wie Not Entered in U.S. Open

Here’s a headline for you: Michelle Wie is not entered in this year’s U.S. Open at Oakmont. To which, I say, "Halleluiah!" It’s unclear whether she chose not to enter the men’s tournament because she has not sufficiently recovered from the wrist injury that has prevented her from playing much golf this season or because she finally wised up and has decided to devote her efforts to women’s events. In any case, at least golf fans and the media won’t be consumed by her trials and tribulations. You will recall last year that she made it through local qualifying and then received tons of coverage at the sectional qualifying event at Canoe Brook in New Jersey. People forget that she never really was a threat to make the final field as she finished five shots short. Meanwhile, her fellow Hawaiian, Tad Fujikawa, did make it into the tournament by winning the sectional stage in, of all places, Hawaii. Wie is exempt for qualifying for the U.S. Women’s Open, which will be held at Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club in Southern Pines, N.C. starting June 28. Wie is exempt by virtue of her high finish in the tournament last year.

Hitting range balls while wondering whatever happened to Jane Blalock.