Sunday, May 16, 2010

Check Out Caddie Book

Mr. Fairway announces that a new golf book to which he is a contributor was published this spring and is available in book stores and online. “Think Like A Caddie, Play Like A Pro,” is a compendium of tips and pointers from members of the Professional Caddies Association. Mr. Fairway a.k.a. Mark Nelson got involved in the project after seeing a post on the Golf Writers Association of America web site looking for authors. Dennis Cone, who founded the Professional Caddies Association, came up with the idea last year. Six of us, including lead author Jim Bartlett, worked on the project. Mr. Fairway’s his favorite subject was Carl Jackson, who served as Ben Crenshaw’s caddie at The Masters. Carl Jackson gets a lot of credit for Crenshaw winning the 1995 Masters and it was fun to hear him recount how he helped him fix his swing. Mr. Fairway wrote the opening section of the book about Jackson and Crenshaw as well as a sidebar article about Jackson, who is a member of the PCA Hall of Fame. Crenshaw wrote the preface and Arnold Palmer wrote the forward to the book. The book includes a wealth of information that golfers can use to improve their game and lower their scores. It include sections warming up, how to play in bad weather, how to make a yardage book and other useful information. The book, which lists for $24.95, also includes a section on the PCA Hall of Fame and lots of color photos of pros and caddies. The book is available in local bookstores as well as from online sellers including Barnes & Noble and

Hitting range balls while wondering whatever happened to Steve Pate.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Nike's Tiger Ad

I don’t know if saw Nike’s new commercial welcoming Tiger Woods back to competitive golf, but it’s kind of creepy, not to mention inappropriate. The commercial shows a somber Tiger listening the voice of his late father, Earl, asking him “I want to find out what you’re thinking was, I want to find out what your feelings are, and did you learn anything,” statements that originally must have been related to an experience on the golf course. But in the context of Tiger’s admitted infidelity, they take on a much different meaning. Equally troubling is that Nike would use the old man whose had left his wife and children to marry Tiger’s mother. At least Nike didn’t close the commercial with their famous tag line, “Just Do It.”

Hitting range balls while wondering whatever happened to Bobby Wadkins.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Tiger Speaks, Sort Of

I hope Tom Rinaldi and ESPN don’t break their arms patting themselves on their backs for the exclusive “interview” with Tiger Woods tonight. That wasn’t much of an interview – five minutes – and you almost could hear the clock ticking. The “interview” was so brief that the participants did it standing up. It was nicely staged by Tiger’s public relations consultant Ari Fleischer who was President George W. Bush’s spinmeister in the White House. (Woods later said he not long employs Fleischer.) Rinaldi’s questions were lame but not as lame as Tiger’s answers. He was nicely rehearsed, falling back on family privilege, getting treatment, losing his core values, blah, blah, blah. The only good line was when he noted that “everything came to a head.” Gee, that really was the heart of the problem. Who knew the world’s best golfer was a sex addict? So Tiger will stroll among the friendly confines of Augusta National in a couple weeks, but he’s kidding himself if he thinks the questions will stop. Golf fans can move on from the sordid details of his extramarital affairs. Now it’s time to judge his conduct, which has been unbecoming, on the golf course.

Woods also gave a brief interview to Kelly Tilghman of the Golf Channel, who was suspended when she suggested that other players might want to lynch Woods because he was winning too many tournaments. Let bygones be bygones, I guess, at least when it comes to manipulating the media. Woods came off a bit more human in Golf Channel interview saying his actions were "horrific" and that he was disgusted with himself.

Hitting range balls while wondering whatever happened to Tom Wargo.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Tiger Apologizes

So Tiger Woods finally appeared and public and apologized for his behavior that may cost him his marriage and caused several sponsors to rethink their use of him as pitchman for his products. "I was unfaithful. I had affairs. I cheated," Woods said in a carefully controlled appearance at the PGA Tour’s clubhouse in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.. PGA Tour Commission Tim Finchem was in the audience along with several dozen friends and supporters. Elin Nordegren, Tiger’s wife, was not at the event. "What I did was not acceptable." Woods said he plans to return to golf. "I just don't know when that day will be,” he said. “I don't rule out that it will be this year. When I do return, I need to make my behavior more respectful of the game." Woods allowed only a handful of reporters to attend and did not take questions. Kudos to my brethren in the Golf Writers Association of America for boycotting the non-news news conference. They understood that their presence would be to serve as props for Woods. He reportedly returned to an unnamed clinic where he is being treated for an addiction to sex. Forget about the sex and the bimbos. The real test to see if Tiger has learned anything and changed as a result of all this will be how he behaves when he does return to golf. Will he be humbled? Will he be kinder to the fans? Will the swearing and club throwing stop? Will he rein in his renegade caddie Stevie Williams? That’s the change I will be looking for.

Hitting range balls while wondering whatever happened to Tommy Tolles.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Goydos Gags at Pebble Beach

Tour pros hate the word “choke” because it conveys weakness. But if the word fits, use it. I’m talking about Paul Goydos who threw away a chance to win the AT&T National Pebble Beach Pro-Am on Sunday. (Perhaps it's time to undo the top button on your golf shirt, Paul.) Goydos had a one shot lead over eventual winner Dustin Johnson as they stood in the 14th fairway and watched Bryce Molder make a quadruple bogey nine up on the green. Goydos told Johnson that Molder had put his third shot in the worst place to be on the hole, short and left of the green. Guess where Goydos his ball? Bingo. His fourth shot wedge rolled off the back of the green. Just like Molder before him, his next shot failed to make it on and rolled back to his feet. He hit the next one and three-putted for his nine. He finished with a 78, four shots behind Johnson and a T-5 finish. Just last week, Ryder Cup captain Cory Pavin selected Goydos to one of his assistants for the matches this fall. Wonder if he will be giving mental advice.

Hitting range balls while wondering whatever happened to Wayne Levi.

Daly Unretires

John Daly's retirement lasted about as long as one of Mickey Rooney's marriages. But after posting rounds of 69-73-72 for a totalof 214 to miss the cut by three shots at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, perhaps Daly should retire again. He is quickly becoming the Brett Favre of professional golf.

Hitting range balls while wondering whatever happened to Carlos Franco.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Stricker New No. 2

Congrats to fellow cheesehead Steve Stricker on his victory at the Northern Trust Open. It was nice redemption from last year when he had the tournament in his grasp down the stretch but couldn’t close the deal. The win propels him to No. 2 in the World Golf Rankings and he remains the No. 1 PGA Tour Nice Guy. He’s off to another great season.

Hitting range balls while wondering whatever happened to Tom Scherrer.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Mickelson Feels Slandered

Poor Phil Mickelson. Now he’s complaining about being “publicly slandered” by fellow pros who called him a “cheater” for using an approved, but nonconforming 20-year-old Ping Eye 2 wedge with square grooves. Hello, Phil. You could have avoided the whole mess by not playing with the club. Some people thing Phil is just making a point to poke his finger in the eyes of the PGA Tour and the USGA because a newly designed Callaway wedge was ruled nonconforming. Whatever. The only thing Phil has gotten right in this whole controversy is the need for PGA Tour Commission Tim Finchem to sort it out, which he may do when he meets with players in Los Angeles next week. Let’s see if Mickelson, the face of the PGA Tour now that tiger Woods is in self-imposed exile, has the guts to sue McCarron, a member of the Tour’s Players Advisory Council. By the way, wasn’t that nice of CBS broadcasters Jim Nantz and Nick Faldo to take Phil’s side and criticize Scott McCarron for being “over the top” on his comments about Mickelson? Wonder why they might be in the tank for the PGA Tour?

Hitting range balls while wondering whatever happened to Paul Stankowski.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Phil: I'm Not Cheating

Things are heating in the PGA Tour locker rooms. Scott McCarron accused Phil Mickelson of cheating because the left-handed fan darling is using an ancient Ping Eye 2 wedge with square grooves that has been grandfathered in for use in tour events. Mickelson isn’t the first player to find a loophole in the PGA and USGA rules that ban square grooves in tournament play but he’s the most prominent. McCarron called him out at his hometown tournament. “It’s cheating, and I’m appalled Phil has put it into play,” McCarron said. “All of these guys should be ashamed of themselves for doing that.” Good for McCarron. The Ping wedges, which are no longer in production, were given a pass as the result of a lawsuit by the manufacturer against the PGA Tour and the USGA in the early 1990s. Reports indicated that as many as eight players in the field at San Diego were using the old Ping wedges, apparently scrounging them from their garages or off E-Bay. They contend that rules allow the use of the wedges and while they are technically correct, McCarron and other critics contend using the wedges violates the spirit of the game. “I understand that guys are upset about the rule,” Mickelson said. “I’m upset about this rule. I think we need to take it out on the governing bodies, the ones who are making these rules or carrying out these rules. That’s where we need to focus our discontent. To call out a player, I don’t think is correct; we’re just abiding by the rules.” C’mon Phil, do the right thing and put the wedges back in the garage. Unless he does, any victory will be tainted.

Hitting range balls while wondering whatever happened to Brad Elder.

Adios John Daly

John Daly might be thinking of that old country-western song “You’re Gonna to Miss Me When I’m Gone” when he announce he is “retiring” after missing the cut in San Diego. Message to Big John: Not so much. Daly, the PGA Tour’s perpetual train wreck, said he is done with golf after shooting rounds of 79-71 to miss the cut by eight shots. While it’s commendable that Daly underwent lap band surgery and lost a stunning 115 pounds, he started the 2010 season complaining that he didn’t receive a sponsor’s exemption from the Bop Hope Classic. This from the guy who was suspended by commissioner Tim Finchem for a variety of antics not to mention his habit of WD’ing after bad rounds. As far as I’m concerned, he can take his clown pants and go back to Arkansas and sign autographs at the local Hooters. The Golf Channel deserves blame for being a JD enabler by launching a new reality show “Being John Daly.” You can stick a fork in Daly because he’s done. He hasn’t won a tournament since 2004 and hasn’t finished higher than 188 on the official money list. His official World Golf ranking is No. 416. It’s time for the golf world to forget about John Daly.

Hitting range balls while wondering whatever happened to Bob Verwey.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Stories to Watch in 2010

Happy New Year! Here are the stories that Mr. Fairway will be watching in 2010.

1. How will Tiger’s off-course adventures affect his golf game? He’s already taken a severe personal hit and lost a number of sponsors. It will be interesting to see if he can put those distractions aside when he returns from his self-imposed hiatus from the game.

2. Players on the professional tours will be using clubs with the new USGA-mandated grooves. Most experts believe the new grooves will impart less spin, especially on wedges and especially on shots from the rough.

3. How will the LPGA fare with a new commissioner, lost sponsors and fewer tournaments? One thing the ladies have going for them is Michelle Wie’s late season victory. If she can sustain a high level of play, golf fans may actually pay attention.

4. Which of the young guns will emerge as the next threat? Irishman Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler may be poised to have big years. Will Anthony Kim and Camilo Villegas regain their 2008 form?

5. Can Phil Mickelson, who finished the 2009 season with a flurry, step into the void left by Tiger? Mickelson, who played a limited number of tournaments last year because of his wife’s breast cancer, appears to have recharged his putter and could be poised a huge year.

Hitting range balls while wondering whatever happened to Dewitt Weaver.