December 2008

PGA recaps the 2008 Tour awards.

Paddy Harrington won player of the year yesterday. He deserved it. Though Tiger 4 of the 6 events in which he played, including the U.S. Open, Paddy won two majors. Even if he missed the cut in every other tournament, winning two majors should always be enough to win POY honors.

Congrats to Harrington. Though he sucked at the Ryder Cup, he had one heck of a summer.

Welcome to the 11th edition of Chip Shots—your friendly golf and grammar column. To read past versions, or to try and make sense of this nonsensical column, click here.

Today, I’d like to write a special Christmas edition of Chip Shots. But let’s be honest—do you really need your golf and grammar to be Christmasized (not a word, by the way)?

Of course not. So let’s get on with it.

Michelle Wie’s Rule Mishap

Michelle Wie recently earned her 2009 LPGA tour card. After a tumultuous 2008, congrats to Wie for bouncing back and having a stellar Q School.

Playing on such a grand stage at such a young age, Wie has often found herself mired in controversy—whether it’s about injuries, commitment, meddling parents, or rules violations.


Image: Cory.Lum/Flickr

One such rules situation occurred at the 2005 LPGA Samsung World Championship. Wie, then 16, illegally dropped after taking an unplayable lie on the 7th hole of the tournament’s third round.

Rule 20-7 outlines the proper procedure for taking an unplayable lie. The key point being—don’t drop the ball closer to the hole. Unfortunately for Wie, a Sports Illustrated writer, Michael Bamberger, witnessed Wie drop the ball about one pace closer to the hole.

Bamberger faced an unusual situation. He could act like it never happened, which I’m sure he contemplated overnight. Or he could be the reporter who influenced the outcome of a golf tournament. Neither appeared too desirable. But Bamberger was confident in what he witnessed.

Honest mistake by Wie, I’m sure. But, nonetheless, Wie later signed for a one under 71 and was later disqualified. She cried. She accepted blame. But, still, a tough situation for a 16 year old to go through so early in her career.

This situation received a lot of press several years ago. But, though it’s an old story, it deserves discussion here because it illustrates the importance of the drop.

If you’re in a tournament, remember Michelle Wie! No closer to the hole!

Affect Versus Effect

I think most people understand this one. But it’s a subject worth mentioning.

When do you use affect and effect? The quick answer is affect is a verb, and effect is a noun.

Affect means “to influence” something. An example: Cold, wet weather always negatively affects my golf game. Or Tiger Woods’ presence at a tournament affects television ratings.

Effect basically means “result.” Think of “cause and effect.” An example: What kind of effect do you think Tiger Woods comeback will have on the 2009 Tour season?

Simple enough. There are exceptions—aren’t there always exceptions? But that should cover the basics of affect and effect.

So there you have it. As always, send hate mail to

Until next time…


That's not John Oates; that's Corey Pavin, your 2010 Ryder Cup Captain. (Image: Ted Van Pelt/Flickr)

It’s a big day at Game Under Repair.

Sure, the weather sucks here in Nashville–rainy, cold, windy. No time for golf. But, today, Corey Pavin was introduced as the 2010 Ryder Cup captain. That’s good news.

Pavin is a golfing gold in the halls of Game Under Repair. Like Pavin, I never hit the ball very far, maybe 250 yards average. Like Pavin, I was about 5’7″ and 150 pounds. Subtract about 30 pounds for my playing weight in college.

Since I didn’t hit the ball far, I was always left with long irons and fairway woods into greens. Generally, I missed a lot of greens and would have to make up shots with my chipping and putting.

For about six or seven years after Pavin’s U.S. Open victory at Shinnecock, I carried a 5 wood in my bag–that’s the closest thing I could get to Corey’s epic 4 wood, the club that won that U.S. Open for him on the 18th hole.

So congrats to Corey Pavin for another highlight in a hall-of-fame career. Let’s hope Pavin does just as well a job as Zinger did a few months ago. Zinger laid the template for the U.S. win. Now, all Corey needs to do is follow that strategy.

This is a special quotes edition of Chip Shots.

My coworkers and I recently selected some quotes about writing to display on the walls in our department.

The purpose is threefold: to decorate, to inspire, and to entertain. We selected three quotes, all of which, I believe, are darn good. They both inspire us and remind us of what we’re paid to do.

Anybody can write words on a page. But it’s the job of the writer, and the editor, to make the reader comfortable. The better the writing, the less work for the reader.

This week, I thought I’d simply list the three quotes we selected–consider this the grammar or writing section of this Chip Shots column–as well as some great quotes about golf.

I’m not a big quotes kind of guy. Too often, quotes tend to become cliches because they are so often overused. But I think these are unique and worth listing here.

So, there you have it.

On Writing

When something can be read without great effort, great effort has gone into its writing. -Enrique Jardiel Poncela

You write to communicate to the hearts and minds of others what’s burning inside you. And we edit to let the fire show through the smoke. – Arthur Polotnik

Proofread carefully to see if you any words out. -Author Unknown

On Golf

Golf, like measles, should be caught young, for, if postponed to riper years, the results may be serious. – P.G. Wodehouse

Golf is like a love affair. If you don’t take it seriously, it’s no fun; if you do take it seriously, it breaks your heart. – Arthur Daley

Golf can be defined as an endless series of tragedies obscured by the occasional miracle. – Author Unknown


This photo not representative of Frazar's round. (Image: fouadzabanah/Flickr)

Watch out for Harrison Frazar in 2009.

Dude just threw down at Q School. Over six days, Frazar fired 69-64-72-59-69-67 to finish 32 under, eight shots ahead of his nearest competitor, James Nitties, at Q School’s final and most intimidating, stress-packed stage.

If Frazar can take that kind of game into next year’s Tour season, he could be one of the players to watch. As tough Q School is from a mental standpoint, it’s still just that–a qualifier. Let’s see how Frazar does when he’s once again playing in a standard field Tour players.

Twenty eight players earned their tour card today, including Notah Begay III, Jay Williamson, John Huston, Glen Day, Ted Purdy, Chris Riley and James Oh.

Wil Collins–who made it to the last stage for the first time in seven tries–needed an 18 foot par putt on the final hole to finish -19, exactly on the number. Talk about pressure.

Check out the final leaderboard here.

Other than a couple of tricked up, golfing snooze fests made for television, this is about the last golf tournament of note until next year. The ’09 season can’t get here fast enough.

Tour player Glen Day and Australian pro James Nitties lead the way at the halfway point of the final stage of Q School. Day and Nitties are -15, with names like Bryce Molder, Jay Williamson, Mark Brooks, and Joe Durant closely trailing.


"Two Gloves" is one shot off the number after shooting a third round 65. (Image: zmaerdstyle/Flickr)

But, let’s be honest, no one really cares about who’s leading at Q School. Everyone wants to know who’s around the dreaded “number”–the top 25. After three rounds, the number is at -10. Big Breaker Tommy “Two Gloves” Gainey fired a 65 today to close within one shot of the mark.

Also, of note, first round leader Craig Kanada has ridden the proverbial roller coaster this week. After an opening 65, Kanada shot 78 yesterday and 68 today to sit two shots off the number. Other names like Guy Boros (-9 T26), Patrick Sheehan (-9 T26), and John Huston (-8 T36) are well within reach of the cutoff.

The PGA Tour website posted an interesting chart that shows how each player in the field qualified for third stage. Some guys are at third stage because they were on the Tour last year, others were exempted to second stage, while some made it through all three stages.

But, talk about a golf gauntlet, there are six guys in the field who actually started this journey at the Q School pre-qualifiers. Pre-qualifiers take place before first stage, and the Tour instituted them because they had too many golf hacks who were plopping down several thousand dollars, shooting 90, and then screwing up the rhythm of the legitimate players. There are still plenty of legitimate players at pre-qualifiers, but most are just guys who played at small college or having little, if any, professional experience.

Of the six guys who started at pre-qualifiers, Martin Piller leads the way at -9, which is T26 and one shot out of the top 25. It wears me out to think about clearing three stages of Q School, much less three stages and a pre-qualifier. Pretty amazing stuff.

The Golf Channel will be broadcasting the final three rounds of Q School: Saturday 4-7 EST; Sunday 4-7 EST; and Monday 3:30 – 7 EST.

Check back for more on Q School from Game Under Repair.

Final Stage first round play starts today at PGA West.

Examining the field, it almost looks like a second-tier Tour event. There are literally dozens of former Tour players at the final stage. But that should be expected. These are the guys who didn’t finish in the top 125, plus those who earned their way through first and/or second stage.

The first round is almost complete. And let’s just say the gauntlet has been dropped–these guys aren’t playing around. Major Manning, Craig Kanada, and Joey Lamielle lead the way with a 65 in the opening round.

If you’re not familiar with Q-School–and if you’re reading this blog you probably are–it’s basically the equivalent of PGA Tour boot camp. Six extremely intense days of golf–guys literally playing for their livelihood.

Bookmark Game Under Repair and keep coming back for updates on the action at PGA West. I covered first stage and second stage, including an interview with one of the participants, so I’ll be doing the same for this final portion of the grueling event.

For a great read about the triumphs and travesties of Q-School, check out John Feinstein’s book, Tales From Q School.

To check out final stage scores, click here.

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