November 2008


Image: paul79uf/Flickr

Have a great Thanksgiving!

I’ll be frying a turkey today, so let’s hope I keep all of my key golfing parts in tact. My brother-in-law, Larry, will be mentoring me tomorrow on the art of turkey frying, then I’ll be flying taking the show over to my in-law’s house on Saturday.

Wish me luck. There’s a lot of crazy turkey frying videos out there that can make a man nervous. Have a rockin’ holiday.


Will the Tour Championship actually provide drama at East Lake in 2009? (Image: Vocalpro/Flickr)

The Tour’s version of the crappy BCS just got its latest tweak.

I’ve said many times that the Tour Championship should be a match play format, but looks like that’s not going to happen…at least next year.

In a move to make the Tour Championship more dramatic–a nice idea considering it has been a complete bore the last two years–the PGA Tour has decided to wait until the final tournament (the Tour Championship at East Lake CC) to reset FedEx Cup points. The last two years, points were reset before the final four tournaments.

The idea is that the top performers over the course of the season will have the best chance to win the Cup, but no one in the East Lake field–i.e., the top 30–would be mathematically eliminated.

Let’s hope this spices things up a bit. The Tour needs to find something that works.

Even with Tiger in the field, golf in September loses its luster to the masses because of college football and the NFL. In addition to match play, I think the Tour would do good to drop a few tournaments and end the FedEx Cup portion of the season in late August. But we know that will never happen. Too many sponsors; too much money involved.

Sick again.

Since moving to Nashville eight months ago, I’ve been sick like a zillion times. This is the same cough, sinus, sore throat crap I had about six weeks ago.

Needless to say, the blog might suffer the next few days. Although, with Turkey Day coming up, why will you be reading a blog anyway?

The good news: the Doc gave me some cough syrup with codeine…so I maybe I will come up with some creative, trippy posts.

Chip Shots postponed until later this week, or next Tuesday. Hope you all are healthier than me.

Notice the banner ad at the top of the ESPN homepage.

Notice the banner ad at the top of the ESPN homepage.

If you visit at the time of this posting, you will notice a huge not-so-tongue-in-cheek advertisement for Callaway golf balls.

What does it say? “The #1 Ball in Golf Was Built on Callaway Technology.” In the ad’s photo, a Callaway balls sits in the foreground with a Titleist ball off-center in the background.

Last week, a federal judge ordered Titleist to stop making its current line of Pro V1 balls because they infringe on a Callaway patent. After January 1, the balls will be completely out of production.

Callaway also took out a full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal:

“It’s no secret that the Titleist ProV1 is the most popular golf ball ever. What is not widely known is that after Titleist admitted its ProV1 golf balls infringed various Callaway patents, a jury found those patents valid, and a federal court has now ordered Titleist to stop making and selling infringing ProV1 and ProV1x golf balls after January 1, 2009.”

So how will this affect Titleist? The Pro V1s will continue, just under a different patent. Joe Nauman–a corporate executive with Acushnet, who makes Titleist balls–said, “It’s important to recognize that this ruling will not have any impact on our ability to supply our customers with Pro V1 golf balls.”

Another chapter in the ongoing battle between Callaway and Titleist. Looks like Titleist got caught red-handed on this one.

When we reached the eighth hole at Barnsley Gardens—a downhill 210 yard par 3—the wind began blowing the rain sideways, the drops pelting my face like frozen pebbles. The temperature hovered somewhere in the mid 40s.

My confidence, already shaken from playing the first seven holes at three over, sunk as the trees swayed back and forth in the gusts.

The hole played dead into the wind. Trying to factor in the heavy breeze, the cold, and the downhill slope, I decided to play a 3 iron—a punch 3 iron that I hoped would cut through the wind.

Placing the ball in the back of my stance, I attempted to clip the back of the ball and send it darting on a low trajectory toward the green. Didn’t happen.

Let’s just say it was one of the worst shots I’ve made since returning to golf. I’ve been known to catch a shot heavy once or twice in my day, but this shot was horrid. Mud splattered on my face and clumped on the clubface. After traveling about 40 yards, the ball settled some 165 yards away, leaving me a downhill 8 iron into the par 3.

Wind whipping, rain blowing sideways, I proceeded to double bogey the 8th after a nice little 3 iron, 8 iron, chip shot, and two putt. Miserable hole.

You see, I’m not a bad weather golfer. I have massive amounts of respect for the guys that go out to The Open and shoot below par. Amazing.

It’s not that I won’t play in the elements; it’s just that I don’t play well in the elements. Cold, rain, wind. I pretty much suck at bad weather golf.

I played with my in-laws at “The General” course at Barnsley Gardens this past Saturday. When we teed off at 9 a.m., the temperature was probably in the low 40s. But the wind…oh, the wind.

In golf, we don’t judge wind in MPH, we judge it in clubs. The wind at Barnsley was probably a two or three club wind, depending on the hole. Maybe not terrible on a summer day, but when the temperature is in the low 40s, you feel it.

There are a few shots in golf that I loathe more than a long iron in windy, cold, rainy conditions. I simply don’t practice this shot enough to make respectable contact. Outside of a 50 yard greenside bunker shot, I can’t think of a shot that makes me more nervous.

I don’t feel like I make any shoulder or hip rotation in cold weather, which usually results with some style of a weak fade, and only worsens with a long iron. But I would have loved a weak fade on the 8th hole. There’s nothing more humiliating than wiping mud splotches off your face after hitting a fat shot.

But, when it comes to bad weather golf, I’m used to crazy stuff. No exceptions on Saturday.

So do you have any bad weather stories?

Welcome to Chip Shots, eighth edition. After a week off, we’re as passionate as ever about the marriage of golf and grammar into one unified column (please note sarcasm). To check out past editions of Chips Shots, click here.

Now, on to the fun.

Anthony Kim Disqualified

Two weeks ago, Anthony Kim—one of the stars of the Ryder Cup—was disqualified for a rules violation at the HSBC Champions in China.


Image: tbd7182/Flickr

According to Kim, he tapped his driver on a sprinkler head while walking down the fairway.

“I wasn’t angry or anything, just walking down the fairway,” Kim said. “The toe hit the sprinkler, hit the top of the sprinkler, and I looked at it and it looked a little bit different. But I wasn’t sure and I put it in my bag.”

Kim proceeded to use the driver on the next hole, poking his tee shot out of bounds only 150 yards away. Kim struck a provisional shot poorly and carded a triple bogey 8 on the hole. Obviously, the altered club didn’t help much.

But here’s where the golf rules get strange. Kim was disqualified for playing with an altered club—rule 4-3b.

The rule states: If, during a stipulated round, a player’s club is damaged other than in the normal course of play rendering it non-conforming or changing its playing characteristics, the club must not subsequently be used or replaced during the round.

So if Kim would have bagged the club and stopped using it, he would have been fine. But since he used the driver on the following hole, he had to disqualify himself after discussing the situation with a rules official.

It’s too bad common sense can’t prevail. Sure, the rules are the rules. But it’s obvious this rule was created so a player wouldn’t get an advantage from altering a club. Kim was at an obvious disadvantage after tweaking his driver—how often does he make triple bogeys?

So there you have it. Next time you slam that driver against a tree or throw your putter against the cart, put that baby in the bag and leave it there. I’m sure you fellow Country Clubbers would love to DQ you from the Club Championship.

Who or That?

Last month, I discussed the ever-controversial which versus that issue. Don’t we all hate that one. Along the same lines, I present to you two more commonly misunderstood words: who and that.

Here’s a test. Fill in the blank:

Tiger Woods is a guy _______ never quits on the golf course.

Would you use who or that in the preceding sentence? If your answer is who, then you are correct, sir!

Remember, use who for a person and that for an object. One of the most common mistakes I see is when writers replace who with that. In other words, Tiger Woods is a guy that never quits on the golf course. Not right.

Rarely, if ever, will you see the reverse mistake. For example, Augusta National is a golf course who must be played in the spring. Huh? That one is a little more obvious.

But many people write that when they mean to say who. Use who when you are talking about a person and that when you are talking about an object.

Simple enough.

As always, send your hate mail to I’ll be glad to respond if your hate email is free from typos, comma splices, and run-on sentences. Until next time…

More accurately, four of the six second stage sites concluded over the weekend. Top 20 players, plus ties, from each site advance on to third stage next month at PGA West. A quick summary:

Brooksville, Florida: Todd Demsey and Camilo Benedetti (-13) led the way at Southern Hills Plantation Club. Seven under was the number needed to qualify for third stage. Some notables who made it through include John Huston (-11), Robert Gamez (-11), and Marco Dawson (-8). Erik Compton and Grant Waite just missed qualifying.

Kingwood, Texas: Chris Stroud (-14) cruised to low medalist honors at Deerwood Golf Club. Some of the names who shot -4 or better–the number needed to qualify–included Willie Wood (-9), former PGA Champion Mark Brooks (-6), Brad Elder (-6), and Glen Day (-5). J.L. Lewis and Omar Uresti are a couple of former Tour players who missed the number at Deerwood.

Panama City Beach, Florida: Steve Wheatcroft fired a -15 to take medalist honors at the Hombre Bad/Ugly course. Guy Boros (-8) and Harrison Frazar (-7) easily qualified for third stage, clearing the four under number by several shots.

Pine Mountain, Georgia: Robert Damron (-17) tied for medalist honors with Chris Riley and Oskar Bergmann at Callaway Gardens. Ryder Cup Assistant Captain Olin Browne finish T7 at -12 to easily get through to third stage, along with former Tour player Jay Delsing, who finished right on the qualifying number at -9. Billy Andrade finished T33 (-6) to finish outside the number.

The final two sites–Oak Valley Golf Club in Beumont, California and Lantana Golf Club in Lantana, Texas–will begin play this week.

The third and notoriously pressure-filled final stage of Q School will take place December 3-8 at PGA West in La Quinta, California.

Q School is about as interesting as it gets in the golf world during December. Game Under Repair will cover all the action.  If you’re a golf geek like me, then stay tuned.

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