December 2009


I’m on a brief posting hiatus during the holidays. Golfing frivolity will return next week, with more pet peeves and other scatter-brained meaningless posts about this maddening sport!

Happy New Year!

This is the last post I’ll make about the Tiger Woods situation.

Image: victor.lund/Flickr

I stumbled upon this post today while visiting Pete Wilson’s (my pastor) blog, who linked to it.

A guy named Mike Foster from People of the Second Chance posted about Tiger’s scandal, and the media’s never-ending insatiable desire to tear down those it builds up.

I’ve written about my disgust with the nature of this coverage both here and here.

Anyway, I thought I’d re-post Mike’s thoughts here. Christmas is just a few days away, and this season always reminds me of the importance of grace. I like his fifth point the best.

Mike Foster writes:

1. You have so many words that you can share in a day. Decide whether they will be about blessing or cursing someone.

2. When someone is caught in a scandal, I visualize two buckets that I can fill. I can add to the “Shame Bucket” or the “Second Chance Bucket.” Sometimes my first/easy/fun/human nature response is to fill the “Shame Bucket” so I have to work harder not to do that.

3. For all you online peeps…write your articles, blogs, tweets, and comments as if the person in crisis (and their family) were reading it. Why? Because they do! And the jokes, snarky comments, sloppy facts and flippant remarks hurt people. Instead, devote your computer keyboard to the restoration of people.

4. Refuse to participate in the gossip session around the water cooler. Or better yet, jump in and turn the conversation towards grace and second chances. Btw, just plan on being called a “buzz kill” and not invited back to any more social functions.

5. Realize we are either part of the judgment problem or the grace solution. But we can’t be both. So choose wisely.

To read Mike’s entire post, visit his blog.

This does not look fun to me. (Image: BPPhotography/Flickr)

I’m not a fan of cold weather golf. Does anyone really enjoy it?

I was reminded of this fact on Saturday. The plan was to play nine holes with my father-in-law and two family friends on Saturday morning. After my morning run, in 24 degrees no less, I started figuring that golf might be unlikely. The high was supposed to be around 40 degrees.

Sure enough, when we got out to the course, the greens were still frozen and the wind was still whipping. The course was closed. Even if the course was open, who wants to play in that?

Other than the ocassional family outing, I pretty much avoid playing golf this time of year. Between November and March, I probably play twice. I find it painfully unpleasant. My shots travels shorter distances, my hands sting after every shot, and my scores generally suck.

Besides all of that, there’s just plenty of football to watch.

Image: Keith Allison/Flickr

So Tiger’s gone.

He’s taking an indefinite leave from the game to hopefully repair his family and a smidgen of his public image.  As much as I’ve been disgusted with the media coverage of Tiger’s downfall, the story itself is pretty disgusting as well.

I really don’t know many of the details. And I’m not lying about that. I honestly don’t care. All I know is that Tiger apparently had a lot of women on the side. Whether it’s one woman or a dozen women, Tiger has some serious infidelity issues.

One sponsor (Accenture) has already bailed. Woods is nowhere to be found. And the sport of golf is finding itself in a nightmare situation. Just a few months ago, I wrote a post for Armchair Golf about how the PGA Tour needed to develop a plan for the post-Tiger era. They’ve found themselves in this situation much earlier than I imagined.

While I hardly believe Woods will be gone for long (in fact, I still think he’ll play at Augusta), Tim Finchem and the Tour is going to get another small sample of what life without Tiger will be like. I think it’s going to be ugly. Ratings will suck. He’s a nice guy, but Phil Mickelson can’t carry the PGA Tour.

Regardless, the game goes on. And it is a great game. Golf existed before Tiger, and it will carry on when he’s gone. Granted, on a smaller scale. Tiger Woods is one of the world’s most recognizable figures. And, his personal life aside, what he has brought to the game of golf is immeasurable. He’s changed the game forever.

And, if you don’t mind, I’m going to take a brief spiritual turn here. As the media, the public, and pretty much the entire world throws stones at Tiger, I will just say that the whole situation makes me quite sad for his wife, his kids, his mother–and, yes, even Tiger.

At the foundation of my faith, Christianity, is grace and forgiveness. And while I can’t put myself in the shoes of anyone close to him–none of us can–I will say that I’m not going to sit back and lob bombs at the man while he is down. I’m sure his wife has unleashed hell on him–and deservedly so. More sponsors may drop him–and deservedly so–because image equals money in their world. And the media hasn’t had a field day like this since O.J. Simpson.

A cute little blog post making fun of Tiger would only add to the white noise. I’ll leave that to the tabloids. I think he deserves a second chance at some point, assuming that he actually recognizes the extent of the mistakes he’s made. And I think he does.

Let’s hope Tiger gets his tattered personal life back together and returns to the game soon…for his own sake. In the meantime, let’s hope he receives a little grace and forgiveness along the way.

Related: Tiger Woods: The Blurred Line Between News And Gossip

This ghastly photo of a shirtless John Daly has Game Under Repair's traffic through the roof.

So I logged on to my blog on Tuesday and noticed a tremendous spike in blog visits.

Tuesday’s traffic was more than six times the normal amount, much of it directed to a one-year-old blog post about John Daly. I investigated the situation and found out Daly has lost 115 pounds since last year. He’s shockingly thin. When you do an image search for John Daly, my blog comes up quickly. There lies the reason for the high traffic.

While working as a writer for Dave Ramsey’s website, I’ve learned a little about search engine optimization (SEO), which is basically the practice of using key words and terms to bring people to your site via search engines like Google.

I’ve used some of those tricks on my blog, but this John Daly post is quite interesting. It’s amazing how a short 200 word post I wrote in about 10 minutes over a year ago turns into the most popular all-time post on my blog.

So…thank you, John Daly. Your story about extreme weight loss has brought thousands of new visitors to my blog.

Carry on Big John.

In case you care about golf, not Tiger Woods gossip, here’s a bit of golf news for you.

The PGA Tour’s 2009 version of Q School just wrapped up.

Grizzled Tour vet Jeff Maggert told Q School to make him a sandwich. (Image: fortsonre/Flickr)

Troy Merritt led the way at -22 to take medalist honors and finish ahead of Tour veteran Jeff Maggert. Interesting that Merritt has never played in a Tour event and Maggert is the proverbial grizzled veteran with a Ryder Cup appearance on his resume.

Q School always has its share of heartbreaks and meltdowns. Just ask Joe Daley. Or read John Feinstein’s Tales from Q School.

This year’s story comes from James Hahn. Hahn needed a two putt from 65 feet (now that’s difficult) to earn his card. He left the long putt 10 feet short, missed the clinching putt by 2 feet, then proceeded to lip out his third putt.

Maggert, Neal Lancaster, J.P. Hayes, Joe Ogilvie, and Chris Riley were the former Tour players who re-earned their Tour cards. David Duval, Todd Hamilton, and Shaun Micheel were three former major champs who failed to qualify.

Click here for a list of 2009 Q School graduates.

The frustrations of playing with Pre-Shot Routine Guy can be summarized in one sentence: Will you just hit the freaking shot?

It’s not that Pre-Shot Routine Guy has a pre-shot routine. Most decent golfers have one. The problem with Pre-Shot Routine Guy is that he worships the pre-shot routine—so much so that the pre-shot routine takes precedent over the shot itself. And his scores will testify to this fact.

Sergio Garcia, the king of the pre-shot routine, has earned six waggles. Read the pre-shot routine guidelines below. (Image: almadenmike/Flickr)

Pre-Shot Routine Guy, much like Golf Channel Guy, is worried about his image. He’s watched Tiger, Phil, and Sergio stand behind their golf ball and intently gaze down the fairway with a focused squint.

He’s watched them slowly walk up to the ball, eyes still focused on a tree 300 yards away. He’s watched them plant the left foot, then the right foot, before tilting their head downwards, eyes back on the ball. He’s watched them waggle the club confidently while they continue to alternate their focus between target, ball, target, ball. Pre-Shot Routine Guy knows the drill.

When he swings, though, it all goes south. But that doesn’t stop him from consistently taking 60 seconds to hit every single shot, making his playing partners scorn the pro shop for ever pairing them with this golfing nightmare.

In an effort to help out Pre-Shot Routine Guys, and to speed up pace of play on courses across the world, I developed these pre-shot routine guidelines about 10 minutes ago. You see, here at Game Under Repair, we’re not just about identifying problems. We offer solutions.

Basically, the lower your handicap, the more waggles you earn during your pre-shot routine. The guidelines are as follows:

No handicap: One waggle. Use it wisely.

Over 30: Two fast-paced waggles.

20-30: Three fast-paced waggles.

10-20: Four medium-paced waggles. Don’t get cocky.

5-10: Five waggles. Only use them all if you must.

0-5: Five waggles. Do you really need more?

Scratch: Six waggles. With six waggles, you better hit it like Sergio.

Bottom line: You’ve got to earn your waggle. If you consistently shoot in the mid-80s, then feel free to get your waggle on—four waggles per shot. But a 135? One waggle, my friend. One waggle.

Welcome to the pre-shot routine hierarchy. You’ve got to earn your keep here.

Previous Golf Pet Peeves:

#9: Cell Phone Guy

#8: The Intrusive Golf Course Maintenance Worker

#7: The Drunken Wedding Party

#6: The Distance Exaggerator

#5: The Golf Channel Guy

#4: Stewart Cink’s Green Shirt

#3: The Mulligan Golfer

#2: The Shot Jinxer

#1: The Shot-By-Shot Recap Golfer