January 2009


barkley-swing

It may be awhile before you see this awful swing on The Golf Channel. (Image: Tsar Palpatine/Flickr)

Back in August, I mentioned the upcoming Golf Channel series in which Tiger Woods’ coach, Hank Haney, will undertake the overwhelming task of fixing Charles Barkley’s horrifying golf swing.

Well, as most people have probably read by now, Sir Charles was arrested for DUI last month and, consequently, given a leave of absence from his studio job on TNT’s NBA broadcasts. T-Mobile has also dropped Barkley as spokesman, and pulled all the great ads featuring him and Dwayne Wade.

According to John Hawkins’ article in Golf Digest, five of the eight episodes of the Golf Channel show had already been filmed. But no word on when the remaining three will film, or how Barkley’s antics will affect the start date of the show.

I’m assuming it’s been temporarily suspended, since they wouldn’t start the show until all eight episodes have been filmed. And who knows when that will be, considering Barkley’s current situation.

Sad situation. Barkley’s always been known for his drinking and gambling, and it looks like his overindulgence finally caught up with him. I’m guessing he has more urgent issues to address right now than fixing his golf swing.

But let’s hope the Round Mound of Rebound gets this messed sorted out soon. He’s a refreshing presence on TV. I get the feeling most sports  “analysts” and studio talking heads say stupid crap just to get a reaction. But when Barkley says stupid crap–and he sometimes does–he genuinely believes it.

The guy is just good television. I think this Golf Channel show would be an instant hit and encouragement for all the hackers out there who think they have awful swings. Good luck to Charles getting his life straightened out.

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Beware Californians! This man wants to tax your round of golf. (Image: Cine Fanatico/Flickr)

Taxes.

We hate ‘em all: income taxes, state taxes, sales taxes, property taxes. Taxes, in my opinion, are the worst part of government. It makes me nauseous to see the chunk of money the government takes out of my paycheck every week. And when politicians create tax cuts for one group, they piss off the other group.

Taxes suck.

So imagine the joy of golfers in California when they heard that Governor Arnold has proposed to tax golf. That’s right—golf.

Oh, but that’s just part of the fun. In order to stitch a gaping $42 billion budget deficit, the Governator has also proposed taxes on auto care, veterinary care, amusement park and sporting event admissions, and furniture repair.

How much does golf already cost in California? A round of golf at Pebble is around $500. And a tax on top of that? Wow.

Everyone is waiting to see how the current economic climate is going to affect golf. Country club memberships are down and sponsors are rethinking how they allocate their money. Now, at least in California, our beloved game may get taxed.

One more reason to think taxes suck.

Source: Associated Press

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So the wife and I put some of our Christmas gift cards to good use on Monday and bought a Wii.

I had been looking for a couple of weeks, and those suckers are still tough to find. During lunch on Monday, I headed over to the Target in Cool Springs, and, lo and behold, four Wiis sat in the display case.

Right now, we have Wii Sports, Wii Play, Mario Kart, and Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess. Does anyone recommend any other games?

I’m a huge fan of the Tiger Woods series on XBox 360, but I’m wondering about it on the Wii. Anyone played it? The golf game in Wii Sports is fun. But I’m looking for a golf game that’s a little deeper.

I’ve spent most of my time Wii Bowling. Now that’s fun. 257 is my personal best. I’ll bowl that perfect game some day soon.

But back to golf. Any suggestions? Bring ’em on.

On a side note, I suggested to my supervisor that we buy a Wii for work. Google does that kind of stuff. I think it would promote healthy rest breaks. A worker could clear his or her mind for 10 or 15 minutes and play a little Wii bowling.

And the best part? We could call them “Wii Breaks.” Hah. I’m funny.

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Golf Digest ranks President Obama #8 on their list of presidential golfers. (Image: yeahboone/Flickr)

Barack Obama, president number 44, was sworn in this morning. According to ESPN, Obama shoots in the mid-90s. Not bad. A few months ago, I posted a video that showed the new president’s swing.

Another cool little article in this month’s Golf Digest about all the presidents.

Word is, JFK was quite a player, averaging 8o with a bad back. He’s listed as number one. Got to question that #7 ranking for Bill Clinton. I’ve seen that swing, and it’s not pretty.

Check out the list.  Of all the presidents, who would you most like to play a round with? I’d would’ve loved a foursome with Obama, Reagan, and JFK.  All charismatic guys.

I’m sure there would be lively discussion, most of which would probably be over my head. But at least I could beat them at golf.

Tournament number two begins this week–the Sony Open in Honolulu.

It’s January. The NFL is at its peak. The NBA is going strong. And college basketball is preparing its stretch run to March Madness.

Somewhere, lost amidst all of these other sports, is professional golf. How much air time did the Mercedes Benz Championship get on SportsCenter last week? Maybe a minute?

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PGA Tour Commish Tim Finchem likes year-round golf. TV ratings show that 99% of Americans disagree. (Image: Both coasts/Flickr)

Tim Finchem’s job is to make the Tour an attractive product. Part of that, I guess, is to get as much airtime as possible, which means to have as many tournaments as possible.

But let’s be honest, the PGA Tour has no chance of ever really being popular in January, February, November and December. To the casual sports fan, there’s simply too many other intriguing events to watch during those months, and golf isn’t one of them.

I think golf has NASCAR syndrome. To clarify, I don’t watch NASCAR, but I do know that its season seems to never end. I swear the season ended like three weeks ago, but I just saw a promo for the Daytona 500. Golf, like NASCAR, has too many official events, too long of a season.

The Tour season should last from March through September. Cut back on some of these crap tournaments that no one watches.  Give the season a running start before the Masters in early April, and then about four to five more weeks after the PGA Championship in August. If you need to schedule into mid-October for the sake of the tedious FedEx Cup, then so be it.

But this Tour season is ridiculous. All other sports start with a bang. Opening Day in baseball and football is huge. Even hockey and basketball open with fanfare. Golf starts with whimper and then concludes with a fizzle, thanks to the drudgery of the FedEx Cup and the Tour Championship lately.

No one is watching golf right now. No one.  It’s overkill, oversaturation. Too much product, too often. Trim the season back some, Tim Finchem. Why is the NFL so popular? Partly because we only have 5 months a year to enjoy it. So we have to appreciate it while it lasts.

Golf knocks us over the head all year long. Do we really need the silly season of golf in December–all of the meaningless exhibitions broadcast on the networks? Even I need a break from it.

I’m no expert. Shocker there, I know. But I can tell you that professional golf has problems. This is more than just an issue of Tiger being hurt. The PGA Tour needs to adopt my favorite editing mantra: “Less is more.”

Less IS more. Maybe the Tour will figure that out one day.

I remember my first HDTV experience…what  a day.

Over four years ago, I was at my in-law’s house (then future in-laws), visiting Katie for a weekend. Katie’s dad and I watched the Georgia-LSU game on his 60 inch HD set.

Georgia lit up LSU on that glorious fall day. And the picture, so crisp and clear, made me feel as if David Greene’s touchdown passes were thrown to me.

panasonic

Golf, HD, Hawaii...the perfect match.

About two years later, Katie and I purchased a 42″ Panasonic plasma set, my first HD TV, just in time for the 2006 college football season. I spent about five months researching everything: LCD or plasma? 42 or 37?  To this day, I’m still amazed at the clarity of the HD picture. Since switching from Comcast to Direct TV, I’m even more pleased with the beauty of HD.

Yesterday, I had another mountaintop HD experience. You see, I’ve watched golf in HD before…many, many times. All the networks broadcast in HD these days. But there was something quite unbelievable about The Golf Channel’s broadcast at Kapalau over the weekend.

Seriously, that might be the most beautiful HD sporting event I’ve ever watched. High Definition golf in Hawaii is absolutely the next best thing to being at the tournament. Crystal clear water. Rugged mountains. Plush green grass. What a gorgeous picture.

As beautiful as Augusta is in HD, Kapalua is simply magnificent. And The Golf Channel has obviously dropped some serious cash to buy their cameras.

If you missed any of the golf over the weekend–and with all the NFL playoff games, I’m sure you missed most, if not all, of it–then you’ve got to tune in this weekend. The Tour is still in Hawaii at the Waialae Country Club in Honolulu. The Golf Channel and its fancy cameras will broadcast.

* Robert Bruce received no compensation from The Golf Channel for the preceding endorsement.

In the latest study that will make news for a day and you’ll never hear from again…

The Ping G10 will jack up your eardrums.

The Ping G10 will jack up your eardrums.

According to the British Medical Journal, as outlined in this article, that loud clank from your titanium driver may be hurting your hearing. And what club is culprit number one? The Ping G10, of course. My driver.

The study says that a golfer who played three times a week with the King Cobra LD titanium driver suffered unexplained hearing loss in his right ear.  From tests, doctors thought it was typical of noise-induced hearing loss.

Docs believe that thin faced titanium drivers can produce enough significant sound to cause temporary, or even permanent, hearing loss in “susceptible” golfers.  Their suggestion? Earplugs. Seriously.

You know how nervous you get on the first tee at a tournament? Yeah, well imagine walking up to the teebox with a couple of earplugs in your ears. Now that will really impress ’em. You’ll be like the kid in little who had to wear the extra, protective helmet. Or those guys in the NBA, like Richard Hamilton, who have to wear the dorky plastic masks to protect their noses.

Earplugs on a golf course. Ha! Wouldn’t that disrupt your feel and the feedback  you get from hitting the sweet spot–or not. Bad idea. I think I’ll just go deaf.

But, really, I find this a bit hard to believe. I think aluminum bats at college games are much more noisy than titanium drivers. So I’d say college baseball players are more prone to become deaf than avid golfers.

Honestly, I don’t find the Ping G10 that noisy. When I was demoing clubs, I found the Nike Sumo driver to be the loudest club I ever hit. So maybe you can get deaf from using that driver three times a week. It sounds like your hitting a garbage can with a baseball bat.

The G10 is much louder than my old Great Big Bertha…but enough to cause hearing loss? Although, my wife does occasionally say I can’t hear. So maybe that explains it.

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