GOLF CHRONICLES
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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