My golf season officially
began today.I hit my first bucket
I was out in the yard, clearing
away debris that had been under the snow, when it dawned on me that I was
wasting the first perfect Saturday afternoon of the year – not to mention
the first official day of spring – on a yard project that could wait.
I took off my work gloves,
grabbed my clubs and headed directly to the driving range, passing two courses
full of golfers along the way.The
range was packed.I got a large
bucket and found an open mat at the far end.
There is no getting around
the fact that I am getting older.While
was pretty good about
hitting the exercise bike the over the winter, I did almost no stretching.I paid the price this afternoon.
My muscles felt like old,
dry rubber bands.Trying to get
loose, I did that exercise where you hold a club straight out with both arms,
then twist back and forth like Chubby Checker. My body didn’t want to
twist.I tried to touch my toes
but I’m not sure if I cleared my knees.I did a couple of squats to stretch my legs and both knees popped like another
kind of large bucket with butter.Everything hurt.
After a few minutes, I
realized it wasn’t going to get any better and that I might as well hit a few
balls and see what happened.I
started with a few half-swing wedges.
The good news was, I didn’t
whiff, shank or top a single ball.The bad news was, my body felt like an old jalopy, where the guy is
turning the key and the car is going aaannnhhhaannnnhhhaaannnnhhh, but it won’t
As I worked my way through
the bag, from PW to 8-iron, to 6-iron, it felt a little better.But the first shot with 4-iron was thin
enough to send vibrations and a shooting pain up the shaft and up my arms.
Finally, the big dog had to
hunt. I unsheathed the
driver.There was a time in my
golf career when I could hit tee shots 285 yards or longer, when I caught
was a time...
Now, I tend to rejoice when tee
shots are airborne and reasonably straight.If they go semi-far, that’s a bonus.
As the bucket of balls
dwindled to the last few, I was quite pleased; but I’ve learned not to get too
optimistic about these false-positives.Over the years, I have discerned a pattern:My first few buckets, and my first few rounds, go very well,
causing me to foolishly raise my expectations. I begin to wonder: Could
this be my year?
No, it couldn’t.Without fail, several rounds into
the season, some swing flaw rears its ugly head. Sometimes it’s minor,
sometimes it’s major.Either way,
That’s okay.For all the bad things advancing age
may be doing to my body, it does wonders for my perspective about what truly
matters in life.
Are you trash talking, Cole? All I can say is, bring your A-game and your checkbook to our annual vacation showdown.
[3/24/2010 3:52:42 PM]
Maybe it means this year you will par #18 at The North River Club
[3/22/2010 7:47:19 PM]
Dad, Iíll go golfing with you only if I can drive the cart and make snow angels in the sand trap. Sound like a plan?
[3/22/2010 8:22:09 AM]
Brother dear, I only hope that you continue to play and enjoy the game into your mid 80ís as our dad did. How he played wasnít as important as being outside on the course with friends.
The Muni Golfer
[3/21/2010 8:25:52 PM]
I hit my first bucket of balls last Thursday evening. I too felt really tight from the winter, so I took it easy and didnít feel as bad as I thought I would. Never hit the Driver though. Think Iíll go to the range a few more times before I even think about stepping onto the course.
If you expect to see Tiger Woods turn up on Larry King or Oprah’s couch or even say much more about --well, you know – at the Masters, don’t count on it.
Judging from comments in Sports Illustrated this week from his
newly-hired PR crisis management advisor Ari Fleischer, former press secretary
for President George W. Bush, Tiger won’t be spilling his guts for a
"public cleansing" any time soon, maybe ever.
"Obviously what Tiger did was horrendous in his
personal life," Fleischer told Jon Wertheim for an item on Scorecard.
"But he's under no obligation to tell anyone the details about it. I
believe he should draw a line in the sand between his golf and private matters.
Being in public life doesn't mean you have to succumb to the overwhelming
curiosity factor that permeates everything in our society."
Can’t wait to see how this all
plays out at the Masters.
So it’s not just me who
thinks this talk of Tiger making his
big return at the Masters is crazy.
Nice guy Steve Stricker,
who is a friend of Tiger’s, says as
much here.And now comes a column
echoing that sentiment from Scott Michaux, straight out of the hometown Augusta Chronicle.
Michaux’s angle is that Tiger’s Return
would drown out and all other stories at the Masters.He’s right,
it would, and that is absolutely the last thing Augusta National Golf Club wants.
The Masters is unlike any other tournament on the circuit.It’s like going to visit at your creepy
old great aunt’s house, where everything is pretty and nice and has a place but
where you’re afraid to sit on the furniture or make too much noise or track mud
on the carpet.You’re glad when the
visit is over, but not nearly as glad as your creepy old great aunt.
The thing is, Tiger knows this.So does his agent, Mark
knows it better than Tiger’s chief
PR guy, Glenn
Greenspan, former longtime PR guy for Augusta National and the Masters,
until he hired was hired away by Tiger’s
company about two years ago.
Knowing full well that Augusta National does not want Tiger’s PR fiasco dumped in the middle
of their annual rite of spring, I’ve got to believe that there will be some
kind of "media opportunity" before the Masters.
Given the late date, we’re
down to the Tavistock Cup, the Arnold
Palmer Invitationalor maybe
some kind of sudden appearance on Oprah’s
couch.But I’m telling you, if
he Tiger rolls down Magnolia Lane without having diffused
the media heat a little, he will be the only four-time winner in the history of
the Masters who is about as welcome
as four days of rain.
If the rumors are correct,
if Tiger Woods truly plans to make
his grand reappearance at the Masters,
we could be in for quite a drama.
If you missed it yesterday, Camp Tiger confirmed they had hired
former Bush 43 mouthpiece Ari Fleischer, now a PR crisis
management consultant, to advise him on buffing up his image and smoothing his
reentry into golf.
Frankly, I find talk of Tiger returning at Masters a little surprising.Sure, it’s the first major of the year, and CBS would kill for the incredible ratings bump.But the kind of media-frenzy spectacle
that Tiger is going to create
wherever he returns is the last thing the stodgy old Augusta National Golf Club wants – not at their precious
tournament. They prefer blooming
azaleas and that soft tinkling piano music.
Never mind the tabloid media
– National Enquirer, TMZ,
Entertainment Tonight -- because Augusta
National would never allow a single one of them set foot inside the tall
hedges of holy golfing ground.But
Tiger and Augusta National would have their hands full just handling the
mainstream media and golfing press.
The media landscape for Tiger has changed.If he thinks he can hold a press
conference-- a real press conference – and refuse
to take questions on, you know, sensitive topics, he would quickly have a media
mutiny on his hands.The Golf Writers Association of America boycotted
his recent televised apology for just that reason, and I have no doubt many of writers
would storm out at the first hint of an overly-controlled press conference.
To say nothing of the fact
that Augusta National wants no part
of that, either.Augusta National has a good
relationship with the media, which it doesn’t want to destroy, not even for Tiger.And given the average age of club members (old) and their
world view (conservative), it’s not unfair to assume they’d rather see Tiger to take his lumps somewhere else.
From what I understand, since Tiger doesnít have to commit by Friday of the week before as he would in a PGAT event, he could just show up and play in The Masters. Of course, he or his agent/spokesperson could make an announcement before then. The Masters is basically a controlled environment,isnít it?
The Tavistock Cup is also a controlled environment-limited gallery, limited press. He just might play there as a warm up.
It’s official as far as I’m
Daly is a complete jackass.
He earned that distinction
as of late Tuesday night, when he became so annoyed that the Florida
Times-Union newspaper in Jacksonville revealed
the ugly details of the PGA Tour’s 456-page dossier on Daly.
What did the dossier
show?Over the course of his
wild-ride career Daly has been suspended five times, placed on probation six times, ordered to rehab seven
times, cited for "unprofessional conduct" 11 times, cited for "not giving his best effort" in
times and fined nearly $100,000.
response was to call the reporter who wrote the story, Garry Smits, a "jerk" on Twitter.He also gave out the reporter’s cell
phone number and urged his fans to "CALL & FLOOD his line & let’s tell
him how WE feel."
In a second tweet, Daly wrote,
"To me, this isn’t journalism, it’s paparazzi-like gossip."
By Wednesday afternoon about
100 of Daly’s
fans had taken the bait and called Smits’ phone."His fans are very unhappy," Smits told the AP.
I happen to know Smits
pretty well, and I would not describe him a jerk at all.He will talk your ear off, but he is
not a jerk.What he is, is one of
the hardest-working and most prolific golf writers around.Every year, when The Players Championship comes to the
Jacksonville area, Smits almost single-handedly turns out a special section every day.
Knowing a little something
about how the newspaper business works, I also doubt that Smits wrote the about Daly out of
spite; my guess is he wrote it because his editors told him to. That, and the
fact that the dossier contains so many juicy details that it is indeed
PGA Tour dossiers are normally kept quite secret; in fact,
is the only major pro sports league that doesn’t reveal when a player has been
fined or suspended.The only way
the dossier fell into Smits is because Daly is had sued the paper for libel over a column written by a
long-gone columnist. The dossier was part of the public court record.
On Wednesday, the Golf Writers
Association of America formerly asked PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem to suspend Daly for
his attack on Smits.No word yet what, if action, Finchem
Fact is, Daly who has had had a Tour card
since 2006,surviving on sponsor’s
Daly, the once-likeable, mullet-wearing, redneck-to-riches story, can’t seem
to stop himself from writing more bad stanzas to his sad country song.
There was a time three or
four crack-ups ago when it was fun and easy to be a fan of John Daly.
The man had more demons than
a haunted house, but boy, did he have talent. Daly was the priceless original of the new-generation of
long-bombers, wrapping his driver three-quarters of the way around his
then-bloated body to clobber tee shots 340 yards shots.More remarkably, when it came to
chipping and putting, this enormous heap of a man had perhaps the softest hands
in the game.
Oh, the talent he had, the
gift, the potential.
But somewhere along the line
– was it the third trip to rehab, the on-course meltdowns, the fights in
the fast food parking lot? – rooting for Big John to get his act together became
an exercise in futility and frustration.I finally gave up on him.A
lot of people gave up on him, including the PGA
So it was with a wary eye
that I previewed the latest Golf Channel reality show, Being
John Daly, which premiers tonight at 9 p.m.Only the hardest core Daly fans will make it through this 30-minute
downer, which is scheduled to continue to document his 2010 comeback, such as
it is, in subsequent episodes in the same timeslot.
"He is on a mission, crusade,
to regain control of a life out of control," intones the narrator.
How about Mission
Produced by the Golf Channel,
Being John Dalyis a laudable effort by the network to
give us more of the kind of original programming we won’t get anywhere
else.And they make no attempt to
sugar-coat the reality that is Daly.
Yes, you get the present-day
slimmed-down, loud-pants-wearing Daly, but you also get plenty of his train
wreck years.(Remember the
particularly depressing sight of him being escorted off a golf course after
some kind of mid-round breakdown, shivering, wrapped up in a jacket that looked
more like a straight-jacket?
Who knows how long Being John Daly
will actually last.After he
embarrassed himself at the Farmers Insurance
Open in late January, shooting 79-71 to miss the cut by a mile, he told
the producers of the new show he was bagging it, quitting golf.What was the point?
Daly thought better of it, no doubt when he remembered his own personal Ex-wives Club,
and quickly returned to golf.He
missed the cut at Pebble Beach, where it’s hard to know whether he was competing as a
professional golfer or as freak-show celebrity. Daly made his first cut (T-67, $7,308) of the year at the Mayakoba Golf Championship,
when the game biggest stars were at the Accenture Match Play Championship.
Watching Being John Daly
is like watching a fight the ref ought to stop.