October 2008

No blog updates until Monday, November 3. My wife and I are in Amelia Island, and I’ll be attending the Georgia-Florida game in Jacksonville on Saturday with some friends. Of course, golf is on the menu Friday morning.

For your perusing pleasure while I’m gone, check out some of Game Under Repair’s greatest hits. These are some of my favorite posts in this blog’s short history, not necessarily the most visited posts.

So there you have it.

Have a great weekend, and Go Dawgs!


Seriously? Tiger’s hurt, golf course development sucks because of the economy, stocks are crumbling, and this is what we’ve come to: cheesy boy band singers endorsing golf clubs.


Callaway hopes Justin will bring sexy back to golf. (Image:Eball19/Flickr)

Justin’s a six handicap. And he recently bought a golf course. I believe he finished second, shooting a 99, behind Tony Romo in that celebrity golf foursome at Torrey Pines right before the U.S. Open. So he’s a legitimate celebrity golfer. Don’t let the 99 fool you. I’m sure most of us single digit handicappers would struggle at Torrey. I would like to think I could hang with Romo’s 84, though, not Timberlake’s 99.

Anyway, I don’t have much to say about this other than I find it odd that a celebrity singer signed a deal with a golf company. But I guess it’s no different than an athlete endorsing a non-sports product. (e.g, Tiger Woods endorsing Buick, or is it Cadillac?, or Peyton Manning endorsing every product in the history of America.)

I think it is a sign of the times, though. I think golf companies are looking for that next surge of new players, similar to what happened following Tiger’s emergence on the scene in 90s.

They’re reaching out to brand-name celebrities, like Timberlake, who have mass appeal outside of the golf world. And let’s be honest, very few golfers have mass appeal. Tiger is the exception.

Yeah, I think Timberlake is cheesy and will forever be synonymous with a boy band. But he’s a decent golfer, apparently. More power to him. As long as Callaway doesn’t put his face on a golf ball or something, we’re fine.

Welcome to the sixth edition of Chip Shots–a column which attempts to bring together the once separate worlds of golf and grammar. Changing the world one column at a time.

Marking Your Ball

This is another basic rule, but it’s worth covering. We’ll cover the more complicated stuff once we get through all the basics.

This week’s rule: When you mark your ball, place a coin or ball marker behind the ball–not in front, and not to the side. Behind the ball.

If you’re playing with your buddies in a weekend game, feel free to fudge on this…as long as they don’t care, of course. But if you’re in a tournament or any type of money game then make sure you place that ball exactly where you picked it up. Exactly.

And one important note: If you have to move the marker because it is in the line of a competitor’s putt, be sure to move it a clubhead–not a clublength–and pick out a spot to line the clubhead up with–something like a distant tree or the corner of a bunker.

Don’t just arbitrarily throw the coin down without lining the putter head up with something. You could end up moving yourself closer to the hole when you replace the ball. That’s a two shot penalty. And if you forget to replace the ball after moving it a clubhead length, that’s a two shot penalty, too.

How ’bout that? Exciting stuff, huh? Absolutely.  But I’ll bet you think coordinating conjunctions are even more exciting. As Will Ferrell would say, this will blow your mind.

Starting a Sentence with a Coordinating Conjunction

I’m not sure if sixth grade grammar teachers still teach this rule today. But back when I was a kid, my teacher drilled this rule into us like it was as certain as the alphabet. Not true.

You can start a sentence with a coordinating conjunction. Go ahead and do it. Coordinating conjunctions are those short little transitional words: but, so, and, yet, etc. They join independent clauses, and commas usually precede them.

For instance: I hit my drive down the left side of the fairway, but a gust of wind blew the ball into the trees.

The independent clauses are the two phrases on both sides of the but. They are independent because they could stand alone as sentences.

Now another, perfectly normal, way to phrase the above sentence would be: I hit my drive down the left side of the fairway. But a gust of wind blew the ball into the trees.

This isn’t something you want to get carried away with. And it’s not necessarily something you want incorporate into formal writing, or business writing, such as a cover letter. But there’s nothing wrong with starting a sentence with but. I just did.

Go pick up any book at Barnes and Noble…any book, both fiction and non-fiction. You’ll see dozens of sentences that start with but or and.

I’m not really sure why this ever became a rule. But that’s usually how grammar works; it’s a system of sacred cows with no meaning or purpose, yet it stays the same because of tradition.

Your sixth grade English teacher may think it’s heresy, but throw caution to the wind and do it. I even verified my facts with the Grammar Girl, and I’m absolutely right.

Now go change the world one but at a time.

Forgive me. I know this is a golf blog. I love golf, and I stay on subject about 90 percent of the time. But anyone who knows me knows I LOVE college football, specifically the University of Georgia.

At the risk of ticking off any of my loyal golf visitors, I’m posting this incredible video that was featured on College Gameday yesterday. Mark Richt is an incredible coach, but an even better person. This guy truly lives out the faith. Even if you don’t like Georgia, or you don’t like football at all, you’ve got to appreciate this.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Vodpod Firefox Extension for WordPress“, posted with vodpod


This post is continued from Friday. Game Under Repair’s look at First Stage of 2008 PGA Q- School.

– Brian Unk, from Lewis Center, Ohio, shot a final round 61 at Florence Country Club to qualify by one shot. Holy Crap. That’s clutch golf in a video game, much less Q-School. Yeah, imagine standing on the first tee and realizing you have to go low, like 62 low. Unk did that and one better. Impressive.

-Former PGA Tour player Jess Daley finished T10 at the St. Augustine site. He mixed a first round 65 with a third round 78, throwing in a 68 and 70 to finish inside the number comfortably.

-Bobby Collins, who played in the 2008 U.S. Open, finished with Crandon Park medalist honors at 5 under, four shots better than his nearest competitor.  

Closing Thoughts on First Stage

First stage is where the true players begin to separate themselves. Even after the PGA Tour instituted the pre-qualifying stage–which helps weed out the hackers with inflated handicaps who have a few thousand bucks to blow on the application fee–you’re still going to find some guys at first stage who are good golfers, who have decent resumes, but who can’t play consistently well on this stage over a four-day period.

But the guys who advance on to second stage are quality golfers. Based on physical talent alone, most are probably as good as many Nationwide players, or even some lower-tier PGA Tour players. Many might even have Nationwide or PGA Tour experience.  So the men have just separated themselves from the boys. Second stage will carry that a step further.

Keep coming back to Game Under Repair for more insight into all three stages of PGA Tour Qualifying School.

Six of the twelve first-stage Q-School sites wrapped up play today. In all, a total of 138 players (top 23 at each site), plus ties, have qualified for second stage. Six more first-stage sites crank up in the next week or so, followed by second stage in mid-November.

A few of the players and stories, both positive and negative, that grabbed my attention during first stage.

Bryant Odom: Bryant (we call him “Boogie”) Odom is a good friend. We grew up playing golf on a goat track in Cartersville, Georgia, otherwise known as Green Valley Greens. But he’s doing well these days.

He lit up Florence C.C. to the tune of a 66-67-66-67 (-14) to tie for medalist honors with John Elliot and Stephen Poole. Qualifying never seemed in doubt for Bryant this week, as he was never out of the top six. But his stellar play isn’t a surprise. He won the Georgia Open this summer and has several top 10s this season on the Hooters and Tarheel Tours. The boy can play. Game Under Repair plans to do a Q&A with Bryant before he leaves for second stage.  

Erik Compton: A former teammate of Odom at the University of Georgia, Compton is one of the major stories this week– a story I posted about on Wednesday. After a second heart transplant five months ago, it’s amazing Compton is even playing right now. Things looked bleak after three rounds (76-75-77), but he fired a 68 today–the low round of the day–to gain seven shots and qualify on the number (+8) at the Crandon Park site.

In miserable conditions–gusty wind and rain–Compton finished early and sat back and watched while the rest of the field dropped shots. If this guy somehow manages to qualify for the PGA Tour, even if it’s not in 2008, this is Hollywood material. What a story. Read more about Compton’s day here.

Ty Tryon: He used to be a teen prodigy after blitzing through Q School and qualifying for the PGA Tour at age 18. Sponsorship money and a feature in the Tiger Woods video game followed, but Tryon never did anything on Tour, and he’s struggled since losing his card.

Nothing changed this week. He finished T63 out of 76 golfers at Crandon Park. His lowlight was a third round 87–which sticks out like a sore thumb compared to his three other respectable rounds of 74, 72, 74.  Will Tryon give it up or continue his pursuit to get back on Tour?

Robert Floyd: Back in February, Floyd was one shot out of the lead after two rounds of the AT&T National Pro-Am at Pebble Beach. Big time tournament. Big time stage.  But Floyd, the son of hall-of-famer Raymond Floyd, closed with a disappointing 74-76, finished T48, then missed the cut in the next two Tour events. Floyd got a sponsor’s exemption into the AT&T event. But sponsor’s exemptions don’t mean much at Q-School.

This week, he shot 81-81and promptly withdrew from first stage after two rounds at Crandon Park. I never presume why a guy withdrew, maybe Floyd was injured, but let’s hope it wasn’t just because he was pissed off about playing bad. It looks like Robert will need to go the sponsor’s exemption route to ever make it on Tour, because Q-School just doesn’t look doable for the former Florida standout these days.

Come back to Game Under Repair on Sunday morning for the second part of my recap of Q School’s first stage.

Game Under Repair is closely following the first stage of Q-School, which began at six sites on Tuesday. Not only am I drawn to the usual first-stage mix of somewhat notable names and unknowns, I also have a good friend in the mix this week. Stay posted, as I’ll be following Q School throughout the rigorous three stages.

UGA Magazine)

Erik Compton attempting to qualify for the PGA Tour just five months after a second heart transplant. (Image: UGA Magazine)

One story making the rounds this week involves the Casey Martin rule. Martin, you’ll remember, won a Supreme Court case several years ago that allowed him to use a golf cart in PGA Tour sanctioned events. A chronic leg condition kept Casey from walking the course.

Just five months ago, former University of Georgia All American Erik Compton received his second heart transplant. I repeat, his SECOND heart transplant. Based on the Martin rule, Compton will be riding a cart during his four rounds at Crandon Park Golf Course in Key Biscayne, Florida. After two days, Compton is +7 (76-75), currently five shots out of the top 23–the number to advance to second stage.

After two heart transplants–the second of which was just five months ago–it’s truly amazing that Compton is even playing golf right now. The guy really has to be an inspiration to transplant patients across the world. That’s why I’m stunned by some golfing experts out there that believe Compton shouldn’t be allowed to use the cart.

For instance, John Antonini, Senior Editor of Golf World magazine, who says:

I can’t help but think that others who just had hip replacements or knee surgeries will also request, and be allowed, carts because they can’t walk the course during their rehabilitation periods. According to Moriarty’s article, Compton requested the use of a cart upon the suggestion of his doctors. Here’s hoping he eventually is healthy enough to continue his pro golf career while playing the game the way it’s meant to be played. By walking.

Seriously? Are we really comparing a heart transplant to an ACL surgery? I’m not a doctor, and I don’t presume to know the technical details of a heart transplant. But ACL surgeries require rehab periods, maybe a year or two, max. Wouldn’t you say a heart transplant require a little more adjustment than a year or two of rehab?  A lifestyle change, perhaps?

I mean, the guy had a heart attack in March, which brought about the second transplant. A heart attack at age 26…and you’re comparing this to a knee surgery?

I don’t know. I just always find these curmudgeon writers and old fart golf pros repulsive–these guys who piss on the Casey Martins and Erik Comptons of the world because they can’t play the game “the way it’s meant to be played.” 

The golf cart doesn’t give these guys an advantage. Are you kidding me? Martin couldn’t physically walk the length of the golf course. And Compton now faces the same issue. I would call that a decided disadvantage, and a golf cart is not going to fix that.

I’m all about the PGA Tour pros walking. It’s the way golf started, and it’s the way golf should continue. But there are exceptions, and Erik Compton is one of them.  I’m sure if he could physically walk the course this week, he’d be out there doing it. Here’s hoping he makes up those five shots in the next two days and advances on to second stage. 

To read all of John Antonini’s comments, and to read some other more balanced opinions on Compton, check out this ESPN article.

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