Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Daylight Savings Ending

I hate the end of daylight savings time. For golfers, the prospect of gaining an extra hour of sleep for one night is totally negated by the loss of extra sunlight every single day until next spring.

I hate losing an hour of daylight, especially during the fall when it’s great to play afternoon golf. I like wearing long pants and a sleeveless windbreaker or a sweater to ward off the cool, crisp air. The red and yellow leaves on the trees sparkle in the sun and by the end of the day the long dark shadows envelop the course, making the bunkers look deeper and more foreboding.

The mythic leaf rule comes into play. Actually, the USGA does allow courses to invoke a local rule making leaf piles or areas covered with leaves temporary ground under repair thus negating the penalty for a lost ball.

But once daylight savings ends, I have to change my whole schedule. Even if I’m lucky enough to play in four hours, I have to tee off no later than 1:30 p.m. to finish in the light. In the coming weeks, darkness creeps across the golf course earlier and earlier.

What is the point of going off daylight savings time anyway? (The grammatical term is daylight saving time without the “s” but daylight savings sounds better.) Yes, I know all about the kids leaving for school in the daylight. But isn’t that offset by the fact that it is likely to be pitch dark when they come home? One of the original theories of daylight savings was that it reduced energy costs. I’m not sure about that except that I have less energy when it gets dark at 5 p.m., or worse yet, 4:30 p.m. in January.

I suppose it could be worse. Arizona, Hawaii and the portion of Indiana in the Eastern time zone never goes on daylight savings time in the first place so they don’t experience the glory of finishing 18 holes of golf about 9 p.m. in the middle of summer.

Former Philadelphia golf pro Benjamin Franklin first conceived daylight savings time in the early 1700s as a means to allow the Founding Fathers time to squeeze in a few more holes after a long day of drafting the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. But it wasn’t until World War I that the concept was formerly adopted in the United States. Alas, in a country with more farmers than golfers, daylight savings was not popular and Congress overrode President Woodrow Wilson’s veto (5-handicap) to repeal the law.

It took a second world war to revive daylight savings and President Richard Nixon (18-handicap) signed the law making it standard across the country from the first Sunday in April to the last Sunday in October. Today, more than 70 nations (almost all of which have golf courses) observe daylight savings time. Jordan is always on daylight savings time.

By the way, I know some of you are still confused on which way to set your clocks. When I was a cub reporter in Texas covering shooting and car wrecks, a woman called the newspaper and asked me how she should set her clock. I repeated the maxim: spring forward, fall back. “Do I have to set my alarm back, too?” she asked. “Uh, only if you want to get up an hour earlier.” “Do I have to stay up until 2 a.m. to set the clock back?” “Well, I wouldn’t risk it if I were you. Space aliens have been known to snatch up people who try to get a head start!”

Farmers, I’m told, hate daylight savings time because they have to get up at daybreak to do their chores regardless of what the clock says. I think it’s time to organize all those farmers who play golf and all golfers to push our political candidates to support all daylight savings time all the time. I have the perfect slogan: “Golfers Unite For More Daylight!” I could get elected on that platform.

Hitting range balls while wondering whatever happened to David Frost.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Rich Get Richer and Other Notes

Catching up on news from the world of golf.

As if he needs more money, Tiger Woods signed an endorsement deal with Gatorade worth a reported $100 million. Woods makes an estimated $1 billion in endorsements.

Like a rat leaving a sinking ship, Michelle Wie’s agent Greg Nared announced that he has left the teen prodigy. Nared’s announcement comes on the heels of Wie’s next-to-last finish at the Samsung World Championship with rounds of 79-79-77-71. Could she possibly do us all a favor and just disappear?

It’s hard to get excited about the PGA Tour now that the Presidents Cup is over. Dallas native Justin Leonard won the Valero Texas Open and somebody named George McNeill won a tournament called the Frys.Com Open in Las Vegas. This week, the tour plays the Fry’s Electronic Open in Scottsdale, Arizona. What is Fry’s anyway?

Is anyone watching the PGA Grand Slam of Golf being played in Bermuda? I saw three minutes of it on TNT while looking for the baseball game. Hardly a compelling event with Padrig Harrington, Zach Johnson, Angel Cabrera, and Jim Furyk, who is filling in for Tiger Woods.

Hitting range balls while wondering whatever happened to Bruce Crampton.