GOLF CHRONICLES
 
 
Hello, Wie; So long, Inkster
Monday, August 24, 2009
By Joe Logan

Hello, Michelle Wie; so long, Juli Inkster.

 

While the big news out of the Solheim Cup was a third straight victory for the Americans, two other compelling story lines were definitely grabbing headlines.

 

At 49, Inkster was playing in her eighth and final Solheim Cup at Rich Harvest Farms outside Chicago.  As she eclipsed Meg Mallon over the weekend to become the U.S. team’s all-time points leader, Inkster vowed that this outing brought down the curtain on her long and storied Solheim Cup career.

 

"I’m not doing a Brett Favre," vowed Inkster.

 

Meanwhile, the U.S.’s 16-12 win over the Europeans also marked the impressive arrival, more or less, of rookie Michelle Wie as a future star on the LPGA Tour and a future staple on the U.S. Solheim Cup team.

 

Wie, the former wunderkind, was a captain’s pick by Beth Daniel, along with Inkster. She responded by going 3-0-1 – the best record among Americans – highlighted by her victory on Sunday in singles over European veteran Helen Alfredsson.

 

It was the kind of performance golf fans have been waiting to see from Wie, whose career has already been so up-and-down it’s easy to forget she is still only 19 years old.  Inkster, among others, believes it was just the kind of confidence-booster the young Hawaiian needs to rejuvenate her career.

 

"I would bet you a large amount of money that Michelle will before the year is out, said Inkster.

 

For anyone who has followed Wie’s see-saw career, it was also good to see her smiling once again.  


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Why Tigerís loss is good for golf
Sunday, August 16, 2009
By Joe Logan

This is good for golf.

 

Maybe it doesn’t seem like it right now. Maybe our image of Tiger Woods as invincible and super human is shattered for the moment, but this is good for golf.

 

Who among us didn’t watch in utter disbelief -- jaws on the floor-- as some guy we’d never head of named Y.E. Yang faced down the mighty Tiger?

 

Who among us hadn’t figured that Tiger’s 15th major championship was already in the bag, in the record books, a foregone conclusion?  Tiger blow a two-shot lead in the final round?  Yeah, right.  No way?  Fat chance. Not gonna happen.

 

It’s tempting to say that Tiger didn’t blow the PGA, that Y.E. Yang came and got it.  But the fact is, Yang shot 70 in the final round, not 63 or 64, and Tiger shot 75.  That’s blowing it.   We just can’t believe it was Tiger who did the blowing.

 

If you watched the post-game press conferences, Tiger was in a place I’ve never seen him before.  He looked stunned, beaten, humbled, like a hit-and-run victim who hadn’t quite gotten the license plate of the car that just hit him.  He had no excuses because, well, he had no excuses.  For once, the opposition refused to fold in the face of his intimidation and he flat-out got out-played.

 

Tiger said he hit the ball great on Sunday, and it looked like he did.  But he missed a half-dozen putts that he usually makes.  Come to think of it, for all the awesome length and majesty of Tiger’s tee shots, never lose sight of the fact that it is his short game – specifically his putter – that has always separated him from the rest of the golfing pack.

 

We are left to wonder what this means?  Is Tiger now broken, or brought down a notch?  Or is it a freakish occurrence, a minor mishap?  Remember, even if he didn’t win a major this year, he has still won four times so far, including state-of-the-art, back-to-back wins at the Buick and the WGC-Bridgestone just before this.

 

I started by saying I think this is good for golf.  I do, because I think this makes Tiger seem human, not some mythic figure.   Everybody saw this, everybody.

 

The next time Tiger strides onto the practice tee at a tournament, with that air he has of a man who cannot be beat, who owns golf, every single guy on the range will look up and notice.  They won’t say a word, they wouldn’t dare, but they will think, "It turns out you can be beat, Tiger Woods.  Next time, maybe it’ll be me."  It gives them hope, a reason to work harder.

 

Imagine what Phil Mickelson must be thinking tonight.

 

Best of all, this will spur Tiger on to even greater things.  Words cannot describe how he hates to lose.  The man who we thought couldn’t work any harder will work harder.  He is determined to eclipse Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 majors.  He will, eventually.  On Sunday at the PGA, he was denied in humiliating fashion.  In the long run, he will not be.

 

 

 

 


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Steve[8/20/2009 6:04:26 AM]
Itís his putting that was way off at the PGA. His best round was on Thursday when he teed off early and the poa greens were freshly cut. His last 3 rounds started late in the day when the poa grows and blossoms. On Sunday, when he missed very makable birdie putts on 1 & 2, I thought he was in for a long day. Yang stood up to the test and won the tournament. That hybrid shot of his on 18 was terrific. Iíve added a 5hybrid to my bag this year. My lowest iron is a 6. Those hybrids work for me too-just not a the same level

Golf in the Olympics? Iím yawning
Thursday, August 13, 2009
By Joe Logan

Is it just me or does the idea of a full-throated debate about whether golf should be included in the 2016 Olympics also make you want to curl up and take nap.

 

I mean, really.  I love golf.  Played it since I was 8 or 9.  I make my living writing about it.  I watch way too much golf on TV.  Still, for some reason, I couldn’t care less whether golf becomes an Olympic sport. 

 

Chances are, it’s going to happen.  On Thursday, the International Olympic brass picked golf and rugby from among a half dozen or so sports (baseball, softball, squash, karate, roller sports) for proposed inclusion in 2016.

 

I am fully aware of the arguments in favor of adding golf to the Olympics – namely, that it will give the game worldwide exposure, immediately igniting golf crazes in such potentially robust markets as Russia, China and India.

 

No question, given the current economy and the sluggish growth of the game here in America, equipment manufacturers and out-of-work golf course architects would love it.

 

The PGA Tour also supports golf’s Olympic push, along with the U.S. Golf Association and the Royal & Ancient, the governing bodies of golf, whose missions include growing the game.  Even Tiger Woods, the only golfer who really matters, said this week at the PGA Championship that he would play in 2016, if he’s not retired by then.  He said that last part with a smile.

 

I also know the arguments of the naysayers, that golf already has four major championships that are increasingly full of international players, not to mention the Ryder Cup, the Presidents Cup and the World Cup.

 

My only reason for shrugging is, well, what has happened with basketball.  I am old enough to remember when the United States, long the king pin of basketball, got beat by the Soviet Union in the 1988 Olympics, largely because of a cheap, bogus call but a ref.  Of course, that’s when it was our college players against the essentially professional national teams from around the world.

 

Our response was the original Dream Team in ’92, an array of NBA stars – Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Charles Barkley, David Robinson, Scottie Pippen – that mowed down the international competition.

 

Boy, did we show them.

 

Okay, but here’s the thing.  That first U.S. win in ’92 was sweet.  Revenge is always sweet.  But somewhere along the line, I stopped keeping track of Dream Teams.  We made our point.  Now, Olympics basketball is like a bad NBA All-Star.  Do you care?  No.  Do you watch?  Probably not.

 

My fear is that golf in Olympics would be cool in 2016.  Then it would go the Dream Team route.  By 2020, when Tiger really is retired, the Olympics would be a burden that Tour pros who reluctantly try to squeeze it into their schedules.  Another week they’d play for free.  They’d say they were playing out of national pride, but deep down, it would be because they didn’t want to be ripped in the media for not wanting to play for the US of A.

 

I ‘d prefer that didn’t happen.  And so, when the subject of golf in the Olympics comes up, my reaction is to yawn.   Sorry, I’m just being honest.

 

 

 

 


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Tiger Woods 
Tiger is roaring again
Monday, August 10, 2009
By Joe Logan

If Tiger Woods’ image is at a rock bottom, you wouldn’t know it from the reception he is getting at the AT&T National at Aronimink GC.

 

Not only did Tiger have the largest following during Wednesday’s pro-am, around the golf course he was greeted with applause and pre-scandal respect and awe.  No catcalls, no hoots or hollers, no thumbs-down, no embarrassing banners being towed overhead behind airplanes.

 

It almost feels like Tiger is still the host of the tournament, despite the fact that he was famously dumped by communications giant AT&T at the wake of his personal life meltdown and his name was scrubbed from the tournament.

 

On Tuesday, Tiger was ushered into the media center for his pre-tournament press conference, which felt no less official than when did them as the host of the three previous AT&T Nationals at Congressional CC in Bethesda, Md.

 

And late yesterday morning, Tiger was seated front and center at the tournament’s opening ceremonies on the back lawn behind Aronimink GC’s ornate clubhouse.  He was right there with PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem and rocker Jon Bon Jovi.

 

So confusing is his role here this week that earlier today CBS Sports, which will  broadcast the tournament Saturday and Sunday, issued a press release headlined:

 

TIGER WOODS HOSTS AND AIMS TO DEFEND TITLE IN "AT&T NATIONAL" ON

FOURTH OF JULY WEEKEND, JULY 3-4 ON CBS SPORTS

 

Minutes later the network sent out a corrective press release:

 

PLEASE NOTE PREVIOUS RELEASE ...."TIGER WOODS HOSTS AND AIMS TO DEFEND TITLE AT AT&T NATIONAL" .....

 

TIGER IS DEFENDING TITLE, NOT HOSTING

 

Of course, whether Tiger is hosting or defending doesn’t seem to much matter to golf fans.  All they seem to care about is that they’re finally getting to see the No. 1 golfer in the flesh. 


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Golf gets good pub
Friday, August 7, 2009
By Joe Logan

For reasons that never made much sense to me, golf, which often gets lumped in with polo and yachting as a frivolous pursuit of the rich, took a major public relations hit during the nation’s financial meltdown a few months ago.

 

Remember the outcry over Northern Trust, which took bailout money, having the audacity to sponsor the Northern Trust Open in Los Angeles? And don’t forget the fallout when AIG was discovered to be entertaining clients at a golf resort.

 

Suddenly, from coast to coast, companies and corporations that had long used golf to lubricate the gears of commerce were distancing themselves from the game, for fear of being portrayed as fat, rich and wasteful.

 

At the U.S. Open at Bethpage, many corporations tried to get out of their contracts for hospitality tents.  Of those who stuck it out, many opted not to display their corporate logo.

 

And nothing sums of the state of things any better than the recent departure from the game of Buick, once the sponsor of four PGA Tour tournaments, not to mention Tiger Woods.

 

So it was a pleasure, and a surprise, to pick up yesterday’s New York Times and see a positive story about golf, accompanied by photo, occupying a large chunk of page 1-A.

 

The headline was "Thirsty Golf Courses as Model for Water Thrift," and it was a much-deserved nod to the expertise of the modern day golf course superintendent.

 

In a nutshell, the story said that in areas such as the arid Southwest and drought-ridden Southeast, nobody has figured out how to stretch a gallon of water more efficiently than your average golf course super.

 

"In Georgia, golf course managers have emerged as go-to gurus on water conservation for both industries and nonprofit groups," said the Times story, which carried an Atlanta dateline.

 

The story recounted the horrific drought in the Southeast of a couple of years ago, and described some of the creative measures golf courses adopted in their misery use of water. They mowed less frequently and more selectively, found grasses and plants that needed less water to survive and, of course, reduced irrigation, to name a few examples.

 

Kathy Nguyen, president of the Georgia Water Wise Council, told the newspaper that her group had relied heavily on golf course superintendents in drafting guidelines for homeowners and industries.

 

Finally, golf gets some positive pub.

 

 


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Michelle Wie 
Michelle Wie is back!
Monday, August 3, 2009
By Joe Logan

As somebody who has hammered Michelle Wie with criticism over the past couple of years, let me be the first to say, "Welcome back, Wie."

 

Did you see that U.S. Solheim Cup captain Beth Daniel made Wie, who is still only 19, as one of her two captain’s picks for the upcoming match against Europe? (The other pick was eight-time Cup veteran Juli Inkster.)

 

And did you see and hear young Wie when they handed her the microphone at the press conference?

 

"I am so honored and so thrilled," she said. "I'm just so excited to be wearing this jacket and this hat and to be representing my country; it's such a thrill for me. I'm just so honored and so thankful that Beth picked me and I'll do my best not to let her down."

 

She was so...poised, so...grown-up, so...likeable.

 

Gone was the sullen attitude Wie had shown in recent years, replaced by a new reality-based view of herself and the world around her.  Can it be only a year or so ago that  Wie was careening from one bad decision to another?

 

Nothing she did seemed to be wise or right back then: playing injured, firing caddies or agents, making yet another ill-advised and failed attempt to play against the me in a PGA Tour event.  It was beginning to look like the erstwhile promising young phenom from Hawaii was going to implode or, more likely, simply fade into well-deserved obscurity.

 

But something happened once she got to Stanford.  Maybe it was because she was a little older, a little wiser – or maybe she discovered life not being under the thumb of her domineering parents.  Wie began to blossom, or blossom once again. You never see or hear about her parents these days.  She seems to have taken control of her own young life and, frankly, her life and career appear to be on an upward trajectory.

 

Now, having earned her way onto the LPGA tour via Q-school, Wie is a rookie in good standing.  She still hasn’t won a tournament since the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links, when she was 13, but victory will come sooner rather than later.  So far this year, she has five top 10 finishes in 13 tournaments and ranks 17th on the LPGA money list.

 

If she didn’t earn one of the 10 Solheim Cup spots on points, it was only because she ran out of time.  Wie was 13th on the points list, an impressive feat considering she did that in only one year.  Everybody ahead of her earned their points over two years; if they had gone by only this year’s points, Wie would have ranked 6th and made the team on her own for the Cup, set for Aug. 21-23 at Rich Harvest Farms outside Chicago.

 

The bottom line is that the Michelle Wie we all rooted for several years ago looks like she’s back.  Good.  Here’s hoping she does well in the Solheim Cup, gains a ton of confidence and truly sets her young career on the fast track once again.

 


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St. Andrews 
Welcome to MyPhillyGolf.com
Friday, July 3, 2009
By Joe Logan

The idea for this site has been kicking around in the back of my mind for more than a year, since before I left The Philadelphia Inquirer in September 2008.  I had hoped to launch it early in the golf season, in March or April; so much for my timing.  To do it the way I wanted – to do it right – took longer than I expected.

 

The key was finding the right business partner, who I found in Craig Ammerman, golf man, former newspaper editor, entrepreneur, CEO.  (For more on Craig, click on "About  Us" on the Home page menu bar.) Next, we had to come up with designers who could bring to life the website I saw in my head.

 

Now, we’re up and running, but I hope you’ll bear with us in the early going. I’m still learning how to fly this state-of-the-art baby.  Every time I open the back end, I’m as awed as a rookie pilot sliding into the cockpit of an F-14 Tomcat.

 

Our goal for MyPhillyGolf is simple in concept, difficult in execution.  Here, in one of the great golf cities and regions in the country, we want to become the single most dominant source of golf news, views, information, conversation, debate, course and equipment reviews and tips from pros.  We want to come as close as we can to one-stop shopping, regardless of whether you’re a daily fee golfer or a member of a private club.

 

We obviously have our own ideas about what myphillygolf.com should be, as you can see. We’re born but not yet fully developed. Some features are still to come; more on those as we implement them. No doubt there are also good ideas that haven’t occurred to us.  If you’ve got a suggestion, please let me hear it at joelogan@myphillygolf.com or Craig at craigammerman@myphillygolf.com.

 

In the meantime, we can surely use your help in spreading the word.  Please bookmark MyPhillyGolf.com, add it to your list of favorites, then check in every day to see what’s new.  And help us spread the word throughout the golf community. 

 

Thanks.  It’s good to be back.

 

                                                                                    Joe Logan

                                                                                    July 2009


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