Sunday, December 6, 2009

Tiger's True Problem

I've been asked multiple times for additional thought and comment on the Tiger Woods fiasco. I haven't commented a lot on it because I intend to focus on golf here, not private family issues. So I'll summarize my thoughts my saying this: Tiger Woods has been immersed in the "accumulation of adulation" for his entire career.

No one says no. Every praises him, no one hold him accountable because he's Tiger. You've heard the saying that "absolute power corrupts absolutely?" So does eternal praise and being given God-like status. A similar public crumbling likely awaits another popular man who has been deified by our nation. He goes by the name Barack.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Small Stuff Makes A Big Difference

Anyone who has watched the late-season surge of Phil Mickelson knows that he appears to be on the verge of a major breakthrough and may spend a few weeks challenging Tiger for the title of "Best Golfer On The Face Of The Earth."

After an impressive win in China - where the galleries were so quiet I thought it was a church gathering - Phil now heads into the off-season riding high with confidence, all because of a simple lesson he was given. In essence, he was encouraged to return to the basics and go back where he started with his putting stroke.

Hall of Famer Dave Stockton made a minor tweak to Phil's putting stroke and that tiny little hole began to look like a bucket to Lefty. One tiny tweak. A minor change. BAM! Confidence restored.

As most of us head into our off-season (oh, if only global warming were true, we might be able to play year 'round. Alas, the hoax prevails and snow will fall), let me encourage you to spend time this winter looking for those little things in your game that could serve as the springboard to greatness in 2010.

You may be surprised to learn that it's not new equipment that you need; it's just a reminder to go back to the stroke you used when you started...before all those voices started reducing your confidence.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Amazingly Insulting Story

"Win or lose, Motor City maniacs can be relied upon to turn over and incinerate cop cars, bust shop windows and assault anyone wearing the opponent's colors."

This is how David Weiss opened his Sept. 19th Golfweek story - a story about golf in California!

One would have to search far and wide to find anything as insulting, ridiculous, and outdated as this opening paragraph.

Can someone please alert the free-lance writer Mr. Weiss that 1984 was a quarter century ago? Perhaps Golfweek would be well-advised to at least glance at the stories they purchase, if for no other reason than to verify timeliness and inanity.

To read the entire story, click here

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Collapse: Total, Ugly, Crushing

I just noticed that my previous post detailed the thrill of successfully qualifying for the GAM Net Am by bringing some stellar play onto the golf course (as opposed to just being in my mind or on the range).

How ironic that this post then details the total and utter collapse of the same golfer (yours truly) in the championship. A 36-hole event, the Net Am was shaping up to be an exciting time to put all the practice to the test.

Well, I failed the test. Miserably. Totally. Entirely.

After posting a Net 75 on day one, I was 5 shots out of the lead heading into the final round. I could easily locate those 5 shots since during round one I took an 8 and two double bogeys – all of which were simply user error (self-inflicted) – and simply the result of correctible mistakes.

So when I warmed up before the final round, it was with a great deal of confidence. Shots were crisp, putts fell, short game was on fire. But then we had to actually play.

At Oak Pointe Golf and Country Club, there is one primary rule of thumb for good scoring – stay below the hole. The sloped greens are not intended to be approached from behind or above.

So, on #1 after a perfect drive, I was a little amped up and powered and wedge right at the flag stick. And 10 yards past, atop an impossible mount. Bogey.

Ditto #2. Perfect drive. Flew green with wedge on 2nd shot. Well struck, but disaster. Bogey.

You get the picture. Except then it got really ugly. I began to unleash a string of grounders, shanks, mental mistakes, and high scores. Needing to shoot only in the mid-70s to have a chance, I went the wrong direction. 87. Lost by a cozy 14 strokes to the eventual champion, and felt as if I never wanted to play the game again.

It’s a helpless feeling isn’t it? To be good at the game one day and then appear as if you had never touched a club the next. I don’t get it, can’t cure it, and right now would just as soon resume my career as a chess player. At least there are no triple bogeys in chess.

Congratulations to the winner. Yes, for playing well…but mostly for maintaining the composure needed to keep all the pieces held together. Maybe next year…

Monday, August 24, 2009

Finally, A Breakthrough

You know what it's like - practice, practice, practice and practice some more. You expect results. You hope to be able to handle whatever level of pressure you are facing, hoping that the practice and past experiences will allow you to advance further than the previous effort.

In other words - after choking away prior opportunities, you are desperate to make progress. And today I did!

In the Qualifier for the GAM Net Amateur, yours truly shook off the bad memories of last year's horrendous performance (taking a 10 on a short par 4 tends to diminish the chances of advancing), to post a 75 gross, 69 net and advance to the finals in mid-September.

I'm not delusional enough to think the general public was waiting with baited breath for the bottom-of-the-screen ticker to proclaim the news of my round. I realize that very few care. But it doesn't really matter, does it? That's one of the things that makes golf special.

It's a showdown featuring you vs. you. When things go poorly, there's no coach to fire, no draft pick to select, and no lineman to blame for a bad penalty. It's all on your shoulders, good or bad. For anyone who has played the game over a span of years, my guess is that golf has more often kicked you in the teeth than it has patted you on the back.

So please forgive me for smiling a bit today. Sometimes it just feels good to play well, have a score to demonstrate that good play, and advance to swing again another day.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Ideal Viewing Recipe

The season's final major has come at an unfortunate time, coinciding with the arrival of summer in the Upper Peninsula. After several weeks of abnormally cold and wet conditions up north, the 90s have arrived and being outside is the ideal scenario for enjoying God's country.

One problem - the PGA Championship is taking place and a golf nut like me wants to see the final round. Having no DVR in the north, and finding out late in the game the the digital converter boxes don't work in the hinterlands, I was forced to scramble and search for a remedy to the dilemma.

To the rescue comes the PGA of America and that imaginary innovator/inventor Al Gore. As I write this, I'm sitting on the deck overlooking the lake, watching the final round in HD streaming video on my laptop.

Tiger and YE Yang (who?) are on the 3rd hole and I still can't quite shake the fact that my 11-year old son has never lived without the internet. I can still recall being on vacation on this very lake and trying to position the tinfoil just right on the rabbit ears so I could see a fuzzy black and white game between the Tigers and Yankees. Now I'm sitting here watching Tiger chase history.

So, thank you Lord for the beauty of Piatt Lake...and thank you Al Gore for pretending to invent the internet!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Sad End is Here

The Buick Open is officially gone. Done. History. Another kick in the teeth for the Michigan economy. Another example of what happens when Americans ask the government to do their thinking and decision-making for them. Big Brother doesn't like golf, so we have no more Buick Open. How sad.

For the complete story, please click here.