Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Gator Bait

The Associated Press reports that a golfer in Venice, Fla., was pulled into a pond by a one-eyed, 11-foot alligator. The golfer was reaching into the pond to retrieve a golf ball when the gator grabbed his right arm and jerked him into the water. The golfer managed to use his left arm to strike the reptile until it let him loose. Florida wildlife officers later trapped and killed the alligator. Want proof this guy is an idiot? The pond has a sign that says “Beware of Alligator.” Serves him right for trying to fish out a $3 golf ball.

Hitting range balls while wonder whatever happened to Steve Melnyk.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Heavenly Win for Angel Cabrera

Tiger’s record of never winning a major championship when he trails the 54-hole leader continued Sunday when he failed to overcome Angel Cabrera at the U.S. Open. Tiger’s undoing probably came when he tried to drive the short 17th hole and hit his ball into the deep rough left of the green. He made par and then needed to birdie the difficult 18th hole to force a playoff. One again, he failed to hit the fairway, gouged a short iron to the back of the green and missed the birdie putt. Unlike his round Saturday when he his 17 greens, Tiger only hit 11 greens on Sunday.

Other U.S. Open notes:

Sadly, Aaron Baddeley succumbed to the pressure of trying to win his first major by opening with a triple bogey 7 and shot 80 for the final round.
My major complaint with NBC’s coverage was the lack of leader boards and overall field scores throughout the telecast. It’s OK to show the abbreviated leader board but they should run at least the first two full pages before they break for commercial. Also, they should run the crawl with updated scores for everyone in the field at least once per hour.
The USGA needs to invest in some new ads. The kid making the hole in one is cute, but it’s old. Likewise, let’s ditch the stupid ad about the guys waiting out the rainstorm to play and the one with foursome that shows up at dawn, one of whom is wearing pajamas. How many more years must we endure those things?
Bubba Watson, you win the worst visor award for that sea green number with the red lettering. What’s with the pink shaft on your driver? Very un-Bubba like, I think.
The short par fours and the long par three – all around 300 yards – were quite entertaining, albeit a tad on the ridiculous side, especially the par three.
I guess NBC was so confident that Tiger would win – the best story – that they forget to do some research on Cabrera. Viewers learned very little information about him during the telecast.
Jim Furyk might have won his second U.S. Open had he made a better decision on the 17th hole and not tried to drive the green. He left the ball in the deep rough and could only manage a par.

Hitting range balls while wondering whatever happened to Bob Rosburg.

Friday, June 15, 2007

U.S. Open Notes

Random thoughts on the U.S. Open:

  • Chris Berman is unbearable on golf telecasts. Watching the early rounds on ESPN is painful as "Boomer" extends his overbearing style, which is OK for football, to golf. For example, his penchant for catchy nicknames falls flat. Nobody calls Jeff Sluman "Seattle Sluman" and nobody with any sense calls NBC commentator Roger "Choclate" Maltbie. Blessedly, he will be off the air this weekend.
  • It is getting painful to watch Jim Furyk. How many times can he back away from a putt or shot in the fairway? It's getting worse than watching Sergio Garcia milk the club. By the way, who told Furyk that those new golf shirts are attractive? I don't care how much they are paying me, I'm not wearing those shirts.
  • How goofy is it to have the putting green an extension of the 9th green? Steve Elkington's shot ran through the regular green onto the putting green leaving him with a 100-foot birdie putt. Curt Byrum actually had a ball roll into a cup on the putting green in the first round. He was given a free drop from ground under repair and made his par.
  • Phil Mickelson's wrist looks more severely injured than he is letting on. He was letting go of the club on some shots in an effort to protect the wrist. He is one swing away in deep rough from endagnering his chance to compete in the British Open. But he may not make the cut, which would give me two extra days of rest.
  • I hope there is no more rain for the duration of the tournament. I can't wait to watch all the train wrecks on those greens this week.

Hitting range balls while wondering whatever happaned to Jack Fleck.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Miller Time

The U.S. Open returns to Oakmont in Pittsburgh this week, scene of what might be the most incredible 18 holes ever played in a major championship. That would be Johnny Miller’s final round 63 in 1973 that propelled him to victory. Golf magazines, newspapers and television are full of stories about Miller’s round, especially because he returns to Oakmont as the lead analyst for NBC-TV, which will broadcast the tournament. So how good was Miller’s round? First, it remains the lowest final round score in a U.S. Open. Miller started his Sunday round six shots behind the leaders. Second, Miller, who was 26, unbelievably hit all 18 greens in regulation and his average distance from the hole was nine feet. Third, his round could have been even lower as he lipped out two putts and had one three-putt. Miller had a reputation of going low and making birdies in bunches. At Oakmont, he birdied the first four holes from distances of five feet, six inches, 18 feet and two inches. Pretty good start. He shot 32 on the front side and then birdied Nos. 11, 12 and 13. His last birdie came on No. 15. One interesting anecdote was that the USGA prevented players from using their tour caddies so Miller and others paced off their own yardages. On Sunday, Miller arrived at the course only to find that he left his yardage book back at the house he was renting for a week. His wife went back to retrieve it and didn’t get it to him until the back nine. The USGA extracted its revenge for Miller’s low round the following year at Winged Foot where Hale Irwin won with a score of +7.

Hitting range balls while wondering whatever happened to John Schlee.

He Said, She Said

Not only does John Daly’s wife dispute his allegation that she attacked him with a steak knife last week, she contends that he assaulted her and scratched his own face to cover up his story. In court papers filed in Memphis, Sherrie Daly said the former PGA and British Open champion who is struggling on the golf course, was drinking heavily during the St. Jude Championship in Memphis last Thursday night. She said she woke up to see him making sexually offensive gestures and remarks before sexually assaulting her, causing unspecified injuries. She took her son by their marriage and another son to a neighbor’s house after calling 911. Daly denied his fourth wife’s allegations.

Hitting range balls while wondering whatever happened to Grier Jones.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Pettersen Wins McDonalds

Congratulations to Suzann Pettersen for winning the McDonald’s LPGA Championship at Bulle Rock in Maryland. The 26-year-old from Norway won her first major by on stroke over Karrie Webb with a nifty 67 on Sunday, including a 32 on the back. It was the second win of the year and the second of her career. Earlier this year, she blew a four-stroke lead with four holes to go in losing the Kraft Nabisco Championship by two shots. On a side note, Michelle Wie finished last in the field by a whopping 10 shots with weekend rounds of 83-7.

Hitting range balls while wondering whatever happened to Hillary Lunke.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Daly Alleges Attack by Wife

The bizarre saga of John Daly continues. Daly alleged that his wife tried to stab him this morning with a steak knife. Daly, playing in his hometown of Memphis, showed up on TV with what looked like long fingernail scratches on his left cheek. Daly called police at 6 a.m. to report the incident, which occurred sometime after he and his wife argued a local restaurant last night. Daly has a home on the golf course that is the venue for the Sanford St. Jude Championship. In a statement issued by the PGA Tour, Daly said he is concerned for the well being of his children. No charges had been filed late Friday. Sherrie Miller Daly is his fourth wife, who was convicted and served time in jail as part of a conspiracy to by and sell drugs and money laundering. Daly, who lost his exempt status and is playing on sponsor exemptions, has won $106,808 this year with his best finish T-22 at the Nissan Open in February.

Hitting range balls while wondering whatever happened to Bob E. Smith.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Not at Oakmont

The USGA conducted sectional qualifying for spots in the U.S. Open yesterday. The list of pros who failed to qualify reads like a who’s who in golf. Former U.S. Open champions Steve Jones (1996), Corey Pavin (1995) and Larry Nelson (1983) won’t be teeing it up at Oakmont in two weeks. Neither will former major winners Mark Calcavecchia, Tom Lehman, Mark O’Meara, Bob Tway, John Daly, and Mark Brooks. Others who will be sitting home watching on television include: Rocco Mediate, Jesper Parnevik, John Cook, Brad Faxon, Billy Andrade, Matt Kuchar, Chip, Beck, Len Mattaice, Kevin Stadler, Steve Flesch, Robert Gamez, Skip Kendall, Troy Matteson, Charley Hoffman, Mark Wilson, Frank Lickliter, Duffy Waldorf, Bob May, Briny Baird, Dan Forsman, Jeff Maggert, Dicky Pride, Hank Kuehne, and Tommy Armour III.

Hitting range balls while wondering whatever happened to Lou Graham.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Tiger Tops Fortune List

Fortune magazine's annual list of the highest paid athletes is out. It’s no surprise that Tiger Woods repeats as the top earner with $111, 941,827. According to the magazine, Woods racked up $11,941,827 in on-course winnings and received a cool $100 million in endorsement income. Phil Mickelson is number three on the Fortune list with $4,256,505 in winnings and $47 million in endorsements for a total of $51,256,505. Mickelson slipped from number two last year. Our favorite woman golfer, Michelle Wie, is the next highest rated golfer on the list with total income of $20,235,224. Wie, who has yet to win a tournament as a professional and is quickly becoming the Anna Kournikova of golf (but not as attractive as the tennis player) racked up $19.5 million in endorsements. Vijay Singh is on the list of world athletes, but would rank 39th on the list of U.S. athletes, earned $16,411,026 in winnings and endorsements.

Hitting range balls while wondering whatever happened to Mike Souchak.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Wie Intrigue

So it turns out that perhaps there was more to Michelle Wie’s WD from the Ginn Tribute on Thursday than just an injured wrist. An obscure LPGA Tour rule bans non-tour members who shoot a score of 88 or higher from competing in sanctioned tournaments for a year. Wie, who is not a member of the LPGA tour because she is not old enough, was plus-14 when she quit her round after the 16th hole. Bogeys on 17 and 18 would have given her a score of 88 and a year-long ban. No sponsor exemptions into LPGA tournaments. Hmmm. Interestingly enough, her agent was seen on his cell phone during the course of the round and conferring with her. To make matters worse, her father came under suspicion of violating the rules that cover advice. One of her playing partners warned her father about giving advice. Did she quit because her wrist hurt or because her agent figured out that two more bad holes would jeopardize her tournament schedule for a year?

By the way, MacKinzie “Mac” Kline, the 15-year-old with a heart condition who was allowed to use a cart in the tournament, shot 86 Thursay.

Hitting range balls while wondering whatever happened to Carol Ann Creed.