February 2010


Corporate sponsorships and sports have a long history.

But in the last 20 years, at least over the time period that I have been a die-hard sports fan, it seems like corporate sponsorships have gone to a new level. For instance, how many bowl games in college football have ridiculous names because of corporate sponsorships?

The Waste Management Phoenix Open...brought to you buy trash. (Image: helloerica/Flickr)

How about the PapaJohns.com Bowl or the competing Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl? The sponsors take over the bowl and drop the traditional name. I still call Atlanta’s bowl game the Peach Bowl and not the Chick-Fil-A bowl.

Anyway, I say all this because this week’s tournament on the PGA Tour reminded me of this trend. The Waste Management Phoenix Open is underway. Fabulous.

It’s not like the PGA hasn’t had corporate sponsors for years: Buick, AT&T, BMW, Coke. But something about the ridiculousness of this week’s tournament name reminded me of the ridiculousness of college football bowl games. Perhaps the Waste Management Phoenix Open’s slogan is: “Welcome to the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Don’t poop on the players.”

In this down economy, the Tour needs sponsors, so even a company that is full of crappy, stinky poo is fair game. All we need now is a port-a-potty endorsement from John Daly and we are good to go. The advertisement could go something like this:

“Hi. I’m John Daly. When you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go. That’s why Big John’s Port-a-Johns are here for you. Next time you just can’t wait, take a quick sprint across the 7th fairway, hop in to one of Big John’s Port-a-Johns, and do your business in peace. You’ll be able play the rest of your round with a relaxed stomach and a relaxed swing. With Big John’s Port-a-Johns, you can drop your business while you drop your scores. That’s what we’re all about. Thanks.”

So what do you think? The beauty of corporate sponsorships is that you never really know. As crazy as it sounds, do you really think John Daly wouldn’t endorse a port-a-potty company for a couple of million?

Coming in 2011: The Michael Jordan Hanes Underwear Los Angeles Open.

Who thinks Kevin Costner looked like a better golfer? (Image: andrew .larimer/Flickr)

You can’t make this stuff up. Really. You can’t.

Spike TV, perhaps you’ve heard of it, is about to begin filming a comedy starring John Schneider (you might know him as Bo Duke). The catch? Schneider plays a washed-up U.S. Open champion attempting to make a comeback. The show will be called The Back Nine.

But since Spike TV figured that a golf comedy starring Bo Duke was unlikely to make much noise, they upped the ante. Schneider’s character will have a sex-addicted caddy named….wait for it…Tiger.

The show has supposedly been in the works long before Tiger’s world came crashing down. But I don’t believe it. It’s an easy way to get cheap publicity for what will probably be a crappy show that lasts a few episodes.

I don’t think I even get Spike TV on DirecTV. So you guys will have to tell me how bad this show sucks.

This does not look pleasant. (Image: Benjamin Edwards/Flickr)

Today, the temperature is supposed to reach 40 degrees in Nashville. If my memory serves me correctly, this will be the first time it’s reached the 40s in about 3 weeks.

It’s been quite a winter here. We’ve had a four separate snow “events”–with the largest accumulation at about 5 inches. We received another 2 inches over this past weekend. The heat wave today should melt any of the remaining snow to reveal dead, matted down grass. Fun.

Golf has been out of the question here in Nashville. Every day on my way to work, I drive by the public course I call home. Yesterday was the first time in a few weeks that I could see mostly grass. Because of all the frightful weather, I’m guessing the golf games of most Middle Tennesseans are suffering. I can’t imagine what it’s like for those in Washington D.C., Philly, and throughout the northeast.

Anyway, spring is quickly approaching. I’ve been eyeballing my clubs in the garage lately, eyeballing the 8th green as I drive by it on my way home from work. I’ve never been much of a winter golfer, though I’ve always wanted to be.

I’m currently training for a marathon, scheduled for April 24, so that–of course–will affect my playing time. After running 18 miles on a Saturday, I don’t have time to play golf–nor do I feel like playing golf–so we’ll see how I can balance the two once the weather improves.

Anyway, I’ll ramble no more. Here’s hoping the weather in your area is “golfable.” Hit ’em straight.

Things are quiet on the PGA Tour these days. For three weeks straight, the Tour will compete against the Super Bowl, and now The Winter Olympics, for viewers. A tough stretch, no doubt. But you can always think back to better days.

Things are quiet at this year's AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. (Image: ashi/Flickr)

Ten years ago, Tiger Woods made an incredible comeback at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Seven shots down with seven holes to go, holing out a wedge shot from the 15th fairway along the way. The Pebble Beach victory was Woods’ sixth straight win on Tour.

Four months later, Woods returned to Pebble Beach for the U.S. Open–also the site of this year’s Open–and casually won by 15 shots. Miguel Angel Jimenez, who tied with Ernie Els at +3, famously said, “I’m trying to win my own tournament.  He’s playing a different tournament. There’s no way you’re going to take that tournament.”

Woods went on to win NINE times in 2000. He was pretty much an automatic victory.

Ten years later, Woods is absent from this year’s Pebble Beach Pro-Am–for reasons we don’t need to rehash. Will he play in the U.S. Open? We’ll have to find out.

Right off the club, you know it’s going to be a bad shot.

The ball starts left, continues hooking left, and disappears into the thick woods 15 yards left of the fairway. You’re frustrated, maybe even a little pissed. This hook has been driving you crazy.

Wannabe Golf Instructors take headshots of themselves. (Image: unfoo/Flickr)

As you reach down to pick up your tee, you hear a voice behind you: “Know what you did wrong there, don’t you? Your stance is too narrow, and you’re not keeping your head down. And that grip of yours. Look at that grip.”

Huh? Yes, welcome to Golf Pet Peeve #12: The Wannabe Golf Instructor.

I think there’s two unwritten rules in golf instruction: First, never give unsolicited advice. Second, never EVER give unsolicited advice to a better golfer.

But the Wannabe Golf Instructor scoffs at such unwritten rules. The Wannabe Golf Instructor knows just enough about golf to make him dangerous.

His own golf swing has more flaws than Tim Tebow’s throwing motion, but he watches The Golf Channel religiously, making him the self-appointed mouthpiece of all things related to golf  swing instruction. He’s a close relative to the The Golf Channel Guy.

He has a library of Hank Haney, Butch Harmon, and David Leadbetter instructional videos. His swing is mechanical and slow. His scores suck. He putts like a bull in a china store. And, yeah, that probably doesn’t make much sense.

The Wannabe Golf Instructor has zero self-awareness. None. The Wannabe Golf Instructor offers unsolicited golf instruction at every opportunity. Even though he averages a 98, he will freely offers poor advice to a 10 handicap on the driving range. He will sit in the bar and analyze Ernie Els’ shoulder turn and Justin Leonard’s putting stroke.

You’ll nod your head and act like your listening. That is, until he tells breaks down your swing after that nasty hook on the 4th hole. Then, you might just have to tell The Wannabe Golf Instructor to shut up. Good luck with that.

Previous Golf Pet Peeves:

#11: Golf Simulators

#10: Pre-Shot Routine Guy

#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