GOLF CHRONICLES
Range balls 
 
 
My golf season began today
Saturday, March 20, 2010
By Joe Logan

My golf season officially began today.  I hit my first bucket of balls.

 

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 I

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 aaannnhhh aannnnhhh aaannnnhhh, but it won’t start.

 

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 it.  Key words:  There 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, it’s enough.

 

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.

 


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Joe Logan[3/25/2010 7:39:21 AM]
Are you trash talking, Cole? All I can say is, bring your A-game and your checkbook to our annual vacation showdown.
C. Williams[3/24/2010 3:52:42 PM]
Maybe it means this year you will par #18 at The North River Club
Kelly Logan[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?
Eleanor Thompson[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.
Thomas[3/21/2010 11:33:07 AM]
Reminds me of me.
Bob[3/20/2010 8:03:59 PM]
Good blog. I can identify.

Ari Fleischer 
Tigerís PR strategy: Next question
Thursday, March 18, 2010
By Joe Logan

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.


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Jake[3/20/2010 8:08:27 PM]
This toadie worked for Bush. Who cares what advice he gives Tiger?
Steve[3/20/2010 8:07:15 PM]
Tiger doesnít have to answer questions if he doesnít want to. But I am never going to look at him the same way.

Tiger Woods 
Tiger favored to win Masters
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
By Joe Logan

Less than four hours after Tiger Woods announced he is returning to golf at the Masters, he is the runaway favorite to win his fifth green jacket at the UK’s premier sports book, Ladbroke’s.

 

As of Tuesday afternoon, Tiger is the 3-1 favorite, ahead of Phil Mickelson (7-1), Ernie Els (14-1) and Padraig Harrington and Steve Stricker (both 16-1).


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Steve[3/16/2010 4:33:15 PM]
Heíll probably miss the cut.

Magnolia Lane, Augusta National GC 
The Masters and Tigerís ticking media bomb
Sunday, March 14, 2010
By Joe Logan

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 Steinberg.  And nobody 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 Invitational or 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.

 

 


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Eddie V.[3/20/2010 8:11:20 PM]
I went to the Masters a couple of years ago. Did you know they wonít let you walk down Magnolia Lane?
Eddie V.[3/20/2010 8:11:20 PM]
I went to the Masters a couple of years ago. Did you know they wonít let you walk down Magnolia Lane?

Talk of Tiger returning at Masters is surprising
Friday, March 12, 2010
By Joe Logan

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.


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Steve[3/13/2010 6:38:20 AM]
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.

John Daly before loud pants 
John Daly is a jackass
Thursday, March 4, 2010
By Joe Logan

It’s official as far as I’m concerned: John 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 tournaments 21 times and fined nearly $100,000.

 

Outraged, Daly’s 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 newsworthy.
 

PGA Tour dossiers are normally kept quite secret; in fact, the Tour 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 will take.

 

Fact is, Daly who has had had a Tour card since 2006,  surviving on sponsor’s exemptions.

 

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. 

 

 


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Bill[3/5/2010 4:42:11 AM]
I agree. JD used to be a good guy. Now heís a dick.

John Daly being John Daly 
Please stop Being John Daly
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
By Joe Logan

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 Tour.

 

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 Impossible.

 

Produced by the Golf Channel, Being John Daly  is 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.


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