Thursday, December 29

2006 Golf Resolutions

Day 68 without playing golf

Do you have any New Year’s resolutions? Do any involve golf?

It seems like resolutions are made to be broken. They’re easy to make but hard to fulfill.

Nonetheless, I'll make a few modest golf resolutions for 2006.

1. Play more golf.
Considering I only played twice this year -- once in May and once in October -- this one should be easy. But they don’t call me The Armchair Golfer for nothing. I don’t get out on the golf course much.

2. Update this golf blog nearly every day.
This is my outlet for golf. This is where I hang out with you golf enthusiasts, our 19th hole. Whether you’re a regular reader or new to this blog, I want to give you a reason to come back. So in 2006 I’ll be providing fresh golf stuff on a daily (or nearly daily) basis. Keep stopping by.

3. Attend the Masters.
OK, this one isn’t going to happen unless I win the practice round lottery. It’s more a wish than a resolution. But I’m ready. Now that I live on the East Coast, I can get to Augusta National by car in about five hours. I’ll be watching my mail box.

The Armchair Golfer

Wednesday, December 28

Note to Sean O'Hair and Other First-timers: Don't Throw Away Your Masters Invitation!

Day 67 without playing golf

Ninety-nine invitations to compete in the 70th Masters were recently placed in the mail. The field will be finalized on March 27 after completion of the Players Championship.

First-time invitees beware -- the Masters invitation is decidedly low profile. It's not trimmed in green or gold. Rather, it's a plain white envelope with no return address.

"When I got my first invitation in the mail, I almost threw it away because I didn't know what it was," Charles Howell III told the Associated Press. "It doesn't stand out at all. It's a plain, normal white envelope. Doesn't say Augusta National, no return address. And once I opened it, well, now it's in a frame in my office. My first invitation to the Masters."

Along with Sean O'Hair, other players who will make their first trip to Augusta National include Tour Championship winner Bart Bryant and Augusta native Vaughn Taylor.

Two notable former champions who won't compete in the 2006 Masters are Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus.

The Armchair Golfer

Tuesday, December 27

Woods and Nicklaus Share Golf Spotlight

Day 66 without playing golf

Everybody, it seems, is doing their year in review, including those in the golf realm. I mentioned recently this year's top moment in golf -- at least according to GolfDigest.com. It was Tiger's chip-in on the 16th hole in the final round of The Masters.

That's a good call.

But let's also give Jack Nicklaus his due. In true Nicklaus fashion, he closed out his illustrious major championship career by curling in a birdie putt on the final hole of the British Open at St. Andrews. Also great stuff.

It's fitting that Tiger and the Golden Bear -- the young challenger and the major championship record holder -- would produce two of the year's most dramatic moments in golf.

By the way, if you haven't voted in my Tiger Woods/Jack Nicklaus mini poll at right, please take the opportunity on this visit.

The Armchair Golfer

Friday, December 23

'I'm Headed for the Chopping Mall'

Day 62 without playing golf

That's right, chopping mall not shopping mall.

I picked that term up from the glossary of The WORST-CASE SCENARIO Survival Handbook: GOLF. The glossary lists some golf sayings and their translations. Here are three of my favorites:

"I'm headed for the chopping mall." (Translation: I am playing a terrible round.)

"Well, that's an elephant's ass." (Translation: That shot is high but not very long -- and it stinks.)

"You're in throw-up range." (Translation: Your putt is close enough to make, but long enough that you will probably miss it.)

The Armchair Golfer

Thursday, December 22

Longest Drive Sure, But What About Longest Carry?

Day 61 without playing golf

Recently I reported on the longest drive ever hit in a professional golf tournament. It was 515 yards by 64-year-old Mike Austin, who struck the bad boy with a persimmon driver in Las Vegas way, way back in 1974.

But apparently the recently deceased Austin can't claim longest carry. No, that would be Jack Hamm, who launched a drive that carried 458 yards (or 419 meters) at Highlands Ranch, Colorado, in 1993.

Thin air aside, that's one mammoth poke.

The Armchair Golfer

(Source: Guinness World Records)

Wednesday, December 21

First Day of Winter, No Golf in Sight

Day 60 without playing golf

Throw another log on the fire, set up your golf net in the garage, clear a path to putt on the carpet -- it's going to be a long winter.

My golf prospects are dismal, as usual. There's been snow and ice on the crest of the Blue Ridge for going on two weeks. Daytime temps have barely crawled above freezing. Time to hunker down and wait it out.

Even my buddy Dave who checks in regularly at the Armchair Golf Blog reported bad golf weather -- in Florida, of all places!

"This past Sunday was the first round of golf we have had to cancel for over a year," wrote Dave. "It was raining all day and the temperature was even cool, actually cold for here, 55 degrees for the high."

You know things are bad when you can't tee it up in the Sunshine State.

The Armchair Golfer

Tuesday, December 20

Get Your FREE GolfRound Towel at Golf Dash

Day 59 without playing golf

My friends at Golf Dash are offering a FREE GolfRound Towel for new members of Golf Dash (The Intelligent Golf Directory). Keep it for yourself or make it a gift.

Membership to Golf Dash is free, so it's a no-brainer. (I will tell you more about Golf Dash in a future post, but you can check out their directory here.)

Here are some details on the FREE GolfRound Towel from the Golf Dash folks:

"The GolfRound Towel is made with a water repellent material on the outside and an absorbent terry cloth on the inside. Lightly moisten the towel and carry it in your pocket. When you get to the green you have a damp towel to clean your ball with. It's that easy!"

This promotion is for December only and the GolfRound towels are going fast. So hustle on over and register at Golf Dash today.

The Armchair Golfer

Monday, December 19

How CBS Captured the Top Moment in Golf

Day 58 without playing golf

This year's top moment in golf? Tiger Wood's chip-in on the 16th hole in the final round of The Masters, according to GolfDigest.com.

Hard to argue.

Here's a GolfDigest.com excerpt, including how CBS captured the moment:

"Tiger Woods won the 2005 Masters, but Nike may have benefited even more than its most famous endorsee.

"Woods' chip-in at the 16th hole Sunday would have been an incredible shot even if CBS had not captured it perfectly, zooming in closer and closer as the ball made its way down the slope, hesitated on the edge of the hole -- with the Nike 'Swoosh' logo perfectly centered -- before tumbling in. It was the top moment of the year in televised golf.

"Verne Lundquist, who called the shot for CBS, explained that getting the memorable sequence was more than just dumb luck.

"Earlier in the week, longtime cameraman Bob Wishnie was in the tower with Lundquist watching a practice round. 'Look,' said Wishnie, 'I've got a new toy.' A player had marked his ball about 100 feet away with a coin and Wishnie was showing off his new camera with a 100:1 zoom lens. 'I looked in the viewfinder,' said Lundquist, 'and I could see In God We Trust 2002 [on the coin].' "

What were your top moments of the year in golf?

The Armchair Golfer

Friday, December 16

78 Millionaires on the PGA Tour This Year

Day 55 without playing golf

Yep, 78 PGA Tour players made a cool million in the 2005 season.

Tiger Woods headed the list with $10,628,024. Rounding out the millionaire list was Aaron Baddeley. Thirty Tour players banked $2 million or more.

On the LPGA Tour, there were five millionaires, led by Annika Sorenstam with winnings of $2,373,240.

The Champions Tour produced 14 millionaires with Dana Quigley holding down the top spot with $2,170,258.

The Armchair Golfer

(Source: USA Today)

Thursday, December 15

More Family Time for Mickelson

Day 54 without playing golf

Phil Mickelson will join Tiger Woods in skipping the season-opening Mercedes Championships at Kapalua in Maui, Hawaii. It will be Lefty's second straight absence from the event. Phil was last eligible to play in the winners-only tournament in 2003.

"I'm probably going to catch some heat for that," Mickelson told USA Today. But not from Amy and the kids.

Don't be surprised if Phil waits until the Bob Hope Desert Classic in February to begin his 2006 campaign.

The Armchair Golfer

Tuesday, December 13

The Kindness of Golf Strangers

Day 52 without playing golf

The father of an ex-girl friend once told me (a la Will Rogers) that he never met a golfer he didn't like. He noted that, as a group, they're a good bunch of people -- usually kind and respectful and appreciative of a game that is often a window to one's character.

I tend to agree.

In what other walk of life do you join up with total strangers for four or five hours and consistently enjoy the experience and fellowship?

I mention this because I was touched by the kindness of a golf stranger who replied to my recent post about Florida and California being exceptional winter playgrounds for golf.

Anonymous wrote:

"I have an uncle who lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains. If you're anything like he is, you can come stay with me in my house anytime you want for as long as you want. I live in Southern California with a golf course not more than five minutes from my house."

Thanks, whoever you are! Very kind and very cool.

And thanks to all of you who read this blog.

It's great to hang out with golfers, even if it's only in the golf blogosphere and not on the golf course.

The Armchair Golfer

Friday, December 9

John Daly, Golf Ball Driving Man

(Based on an early folk song version of John Henry, Steel Driving Man)

John Daly was a golfer
He gripped and ripped and let fly,
"Tee 'em up and swing from the heels,
I'll out drive you or I'll die."

John Daly's caddy came to him
With a driver in his hand,
He laid his hand on John's shoulder and said:
"This belongs to a golf ball driving man."

John Daly's caddy said to him:
"I believe a storm's coming in!"
John Daly said to his caddy: "Oh, Lord!
That's my golf ball you hear in the wind."

John Daly said to his caddy:
"I play for the common man,
When this old life beats me down,
I'll die with a driver in my hand."

Copyright 2005 Armchair Golf Blog. All rights reserved.

Thursday, December 8

Breaking 80

Day 47 without playing golf

Have you ever broken 80? Do you remember the first time? It's a huge and very satisfying milestone for many golfers.

I was reminded of this milestone when I stumbled upon a Web site promising to help golfers break 80. The headline reads, "Discover the simple and easy secrets to drop 7 to 10 strokes from your next round of golf instantly ... legally ... and without even trying!"

Yeah, right.

Anyway, if you have broken 80, you probably remember the first time and some of the details of your round.

I first broke 80 when I was 12 at a nine-hole course named Desert Aire in Palmdale, California. After several near misses, I had a big breakthrough -- a round of 75.

Those were the carefree days of youth when I played golf all summer long. Now I'd be happy to tee it up more than a couple times a year.

The Armchair Golfer

Wednesday, December 7

'USGA Year in Review' Airs This Sunday

Day 46 without playing golf

NBC will air a one-hour special on the USGA's 13 national championships on Sunday, December 11, at 2 p.m.

There will be special emphasis on the winners of the U.S. Open, U.S. Women's Open, U.S. Senior Open and U.S. Amateur. Jimmy Roberts will host the program from Winged Foot Golf Club, the site of this year's U.S.Open won by Michael Campbell.

A lot of the program might not be that interesting to golf fans who don't follow amateur golf very closely.

At least it's a good opportunity for the USGA to highlight its events and run its commercials, some of which I really enjoy.

Like the guy who is waiting at the rain shelter in a downpour to resume his round.

"I think it's letting up!"

The Armchair Golfer

Monday, December 5

John Daly’s Mysterious Broken Right Hand

Day 44 without playing golf

How do you break your right hand playing in an exhibition?

That’s what some are wondering after John Daly pulled out of the Bard Capital Challenge last week.

"Unfortunately, due to an injury, I am forced to withdraw from this year’s inaugural Bard Capital Challenge," Daly said in a statement. The injury, according to Daly, was a broken right hand.

Tournament officials said the injury occurred at the Duff Challenge at Casablanca Resort in Mesquite, Nevada.

How long will Long John be sidelined? No one is saying.

The Armchair Golfer

Thursday, December 1

All-time Longest Drive Answer

Day 40 without playing golf

The answer to the all-time longest drive quiz is D., 515 yards.

Mind boggling, huh?

And get this: It was struck by a 64-year-old man with a persimmon driver in the 1974 U.S. National Seniors Open Championship in Las Vegas. That’s 31 years ago, the dark ages of golf technology.

The man’s name was Mike Austin. He died last week.

"It was like God held the ball in the air," said Austin’s wife Tanya, who witnessed the drive. God and a 27-mph tail wind. But still, 515 yards. Sheeeez.

By the way, second place belongs to Davis Love with a drive of 476 yards.

The Armchair Golfer

Tuesday, November 29

All-time Longest Drive Quiz

Day 38 without playing golf

OK, golf fans. Time for a little golf trivia.

What was the longest-ever drive in a professional golf tournament?

A. 409 yards
B. 441 yards
C. 476 yards
D. 515 yards

I'll post the answer tomorrow.

The Armchair Golfer

Monday, November 28

Florida and California, Here I Come (I Wish)

Day 37 without playing golf

After lamenting the local weather last week, two readers of this blog reminded me where I could play a comfortable round of golf in late November and during the winter -- Florida and California.

Sounds good to me fellas! Can you put me up for a few days?

My fantasy is to winter in a sunny, warm place. But that won't happen for quite a while since I have two elementary school age kids. In the meantime, I'll live vicariously through you lucky sons of guns who make your homes in golf friendly climes.

The Armchair Golfer

Tuesday, November 22

Golf Prospects Look Especially Bleak

Day 31 without playing golf

I don’t know where you live, but here in the Blue Ridge Mountains we’re having snow flurries today.

I had hoped that I would get out on the course at least once more this year. (I’ve only played twice.) But with the weather turning cold and various weekend plans and obligations, another golf outing in 2005 is extremely doubtful.

Pitiful, I know. But hey, that’s what makes this the Armchair Golf Blog.

Happy Thanksgiving, y’all.

The Armchair Golfer

Friday, November 18

Still the Same David Duval

Day 27 without playing golf

I don't know how David Duval will finish this weekend, but he's placed himself on a golf leaderboard for the first time in a long time. He has good company in Jim Furyk and Tiger Woods.

The thing I love about David Duval is the way he carries himself.

David never seemed to get too full of himself when he was #1 in the late 90s. He felt uncomfortable in the media glare, something that the fans didn't always understand. And he obviously wasn't one to tie his self-worth to big-time golf, which helps explain how he's handled the slew of injuries and horrific slump so gracefully.

Obviously, it would be great for Duval (and golf) if he could win. At 729th in the world rankings, he has a long way to go to recapture his previous form. (Although Duval is ahead of a former U.S. Open champion -- Scott Simpson is ranked 730.)

I know I'm not the only one rooting for David Duval.

The Armchair Golfer

Wednesday, November 16

Be Nice -- Or Else

Day 25 without playing golf

Did you know that you can be disqualified for poor golf etiquette? It's true.

"In the case of a serious breach of etiquette, the Committee may disqualify a player under Rule 33-7," writes the USGA on its Web site.

Shhhhhhhhh.

The Armchair Golfer

Monday, November 14

Jones' Grand Slam: All-time Greatest Golf Feat?

Day 23 without playing golf

Bobby Jones, an amateur who played in an era of hickory shafts and match play events, won all four majors in 1930. Jim McCabe of the Boston Globe opines that Jones' accomplishment beats all.

"His Grand Slam conquest -- victories in the British Amateur, British Open, U.S. Open and U.S. Amateur -- remains the greatest feat in golf history," wrote McCabe on NBCSports.com.

Do you agree?

The Armchair Golfer

Sunday, November 13

Quigley Gives Back

Day 22 without playing golf

Dana Quigley probably never dreamed he would have a year in golf like this one. Quigley has won twice, had five runner-up finishes and earned over $2 million on the Champions Tour.

Success was a long time coming for Quigley. He struggled on and off the PGA Tour -- and with the bottle. Then as he approached 50, Quigley got his life (and golf) turned around.

Dana Quigley is a truly grateful man.

And he showed it last week by donating all of his Charles Schwab Cup earnings -- $500,000 -- to several charities.

I tip my cap to him.

The Armchair Golfer

Friday, November 11

Let's Get Silly

Day 20 without playing golf

Let's hear it for the silly season. (OK, let's not.) Like it or not, the silly season is here.

Jason Gore and Fred Funk have the first-round lead in the (yawn) Franklin Templeton Shootout. Does anyone care?

In a few weeks, the funky one will tee it up in the Skins Game in sunny California. That makes two Freds who will play in the Thanksgiving weekend invitational.

Fred Couples has made a nice living during the silly season. For someone with a bad back who hardly practices and seldom plays, he gets a whole lot out of his game -- especially in the Skins Game.

Watch out Tiger and Annika, the Freds may just steal the show.

The Armchair Golfer

Thursday, November 10

How to Putt with a Driver

Day 19 without playing golf

You've been putting like John Daly. After missing your fourth putt inside of three feet, you snap your putter in two. Besides having an anger management problem, you also have seven holes to play.

According to The WORST-CASE SCENARIO Survival Handbook: Golf, here's how to putt with a driver:

1. Choke up on the grip.
2. Keep your feet close together.
3. Move your hands close to your body and slant the club forward.
4. Position your eyes over the target line.
5. Do not hit the sweet spot.
6. Hit smoothly.

The Armchair Golfer

Tuesday, November 8

Survivor: Golf Edition

Day 17 without playing golf

If there was a reality golf show, it would look a lot like Q-school. You start with hundreds of desperate-looking young (and not-so-young) men hoping to pass through three gut-wrenching stages to earn playing privileges on golf's ultimate gravy train -- the PGA Tour.

There are only 30 survivors. It doesn't take a math whiz to understand that those are very bad odds.

Sure, there are probably a few bums out there who are in way over their heads. But most of these guys can flat play and just need a hot putter at the right time to get their card.

Look who's trying to grab one of those 30 spots:

David Frost (10 Tour wins)
Bill Glasson (7 Tour wins)
Dan Forsman (5 Tour wins)
Jim Gallagher ( 5 Tour wins)

Also, Larry Mize (Masters winner) and David Edwards.

Unfortunately, their names and wins don't mean anything at Q-school. Like everyone else, they're just trying to survive.

The Armchair Golfer

Sunday, November 6

Some Guy Named Bart Wins Stare Down with Tiger and Retief

Day 15 without playing golf

On Thursday I had Bart Bryant winning the Tour Championship. Yeah, right.

Who in the name of Jack Fleck is Bart Bryant?

Talk about coming out of nowhere. Literally. This guy has been toiling away on the mini-tours and big tour for, what, 18 years? Today he wins more money ($1.17 million) than the whole rest of his career. Hey, you gotta love that.

But he didn't just win a big check. He went toe to toe with The Man, Retief and a cast of PGA Tour all-stars and ho-hummed his way to a six-shot victory. Choking on Bart's dust, Tiger managed a second-place finish.

Admit it, we all thought Bart was going to gag. Sometimes there's great pleasure in being wrong.

The Armchair Golfer

Friday, November 4

Hokies and Hurricanes

Day 13 without playing golf

Excuse me while I take a golf timeout.

The buzz around my parts is the Virginia Tech-Miami college football matchup this Saturday. It’s being played at Virginia Tech. The Hokies are undefeated and ranked #3. The Hurricanes have lost once and are ranked #6. The game will be televised on ESPN at 7:45 EST.

I’ve never cared much for Miami’s swagger. And now that I live close to Blacksburg, I’m an unabashed Virginia Tech fan.

Who do you like in this one?

The Armchair Golfer

Wednesday, November 2

Trick or Treat? Mickelson Stays Home

Day 11 without playing golf

Lefty is sitting out the Tour Championship. According to an AP story, Phil didn't want to miss Halloween with his kids.

That's cool -- unless you're Tim Finchem, PGA Tour Commissioner. The Tour Championship is supposed to be more important than a candy run.

Can't blame Phil -- kids grow up fast. And apparently it's common knowledge that he doesn't like to play late in the year. Don't expect to see Mickelson on a golf course again until the Bob Hope Desert Classic next February.

The Armchair Golfer

Monday, October 31

Will Tiger Catch the Golden Bear?

Day 9 without playing golf

Another PGA Tour season is winding down.

Now with nine majors, Tiger is halfway to Jack Nicklaus's record 18 major championships. Will he catch or surpass the Golden Bear?

I think he can, but it won't be easy. It's eery how closely his major-winning pace matches Jack's.

Tiger has Tom Watson (who won this past weekend on the Champions Tour) and Lee Trevino to thank. Had Watson and the Merry Mex not been around, Nicklaus would have won at least a few more majors -- a couple of British Opens that I remember and the 1982 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.

Even so, Tiger has his work cut out for him.

The Armchair Golfer

Tuesday, October 25

Chalk One Up for the Golf Deprived

Day 3 without playing golf

OK, let's get to the back nine.

(For those of you who haven't been following along, I halted a golfless streak of 168 days last Saturday. To recap, I hacked my way to a 47 on the front. I had four penalty strokes and a balky putter. My new Dunlop Crazy Long driver was crazy all right. I closed with a pair of pars and headed over to the tenth tee.)

The back nine at Great Oaks Country Club is tight with a lot of doglegs and blind shots.

I knew I needed to put the ball in play if I was going to do anything. The smartest move I made was to retire that new Dunlop Crazy Long driver for the day.

My drives started splitting the fairways and I began rolling putts half way decent. I birdied 10, a par five, nearly holing out for eagle from a greenside bunker (it hit the stick).

Par-par-birdie. Now I had a little mo.

Hitting fairways and greens, I made several pars and a couple of bogeys.

The only blemish was a double on a par five after a FOUR-PUTT from about 40 feet. I left my first putt short, ran my second putt by, and then JDed a two-footer.

Dumb.

Despite that damage, I carded a 39 on the back for an 86. Nice little comeback. Chalk one up for the golf deprived.

The Armchair Golfer

Monday, October 24

Golfless Streak Ends on Day 169!

Golf Blog: Day 2 without playing golf

After 168 days of no golf, I finally teed it up last Saturday at 1 p.m EST.

The conditions were less than ideal -- chilly, drizzly, windy. But who I am to complain? I hadn’t played since May. Two buddies joined me and we had the course to ourselves.

Things started out OK. A 250-yard drive down the right center. A 9 iron on the green. A three-putt bogey. (I had a 35-foot downhill putt for birdie and ran it by a good 8 feet.) All to be expected.

The next few holes I hit some decent shots but wasn’t scoring. Again, no surprise. How sharp could I expect to be?

Then my new Dunlop Crazy Long driver started going Crazy Crooked. I ricocheted my tee ball off some trees into a creek. I took a drop and half shanked a four iron. The result: triple bogey. On the following hole, I came off a drive and hit it out of bounds right -- another triple.

I gathered myself and parred the last two holes on the front nine for a 47. Scary.

How did I do on the back nine? I’ll tell you in my next post. Come on back.

The Armchair Golfer

Friday, October 21

Tiger: 'I'll Take the Wins'

Day 168 without playing golf

Tiger Woods leads the PGA Tour money list with $9.9 million, but Vijay Singh set the single season earnings record with $10.9 million last year.

Tiger has two chances left to surpass Vijay's money mark: this week's Funai Classic in Florida and the Tour Championship in a couple of weeks.

Big surprise: Tiger isn't thinking about the money.

"I like the win record," Tiger told USA TODAY. "You try to get as many wins as you possibly can for the year and have more than anybody else. If you're doing that, you're doing pretty good."

Yeah, pretty good.

The Armchair Golfer

Thursday, October 20

Golf Outing in Serious Jeopardy

Day 167 without playing golf

The weather doesn't look good for Saturday -- at least not where I live. There's a 70% chance of showers. Sheeeesh. And just when I thought I was going to halt the golfless streak.

Of course, maybe some of you are thinking, "Go ahead and play, Armchair, don't let the weather stop you."

That's a valid point. I may tee it up anyway. But there's a decent chance that half my foursome is going to bail on me. We'll see ...

The Armchair Golfer

Tuesday, October 18

Dear Michelle

Day 165 without playing golf

Dear Michelle,

So this is how it's going to be. Everyone is watching your every move. Everyone is writing and commenting -- ad nauseam.

This past weekend it was "the drop." Next week, or the week after, it will be something else.

I hope you have Tiger's cell phone number. He knows the road you're traveling. He would be a great sounding board and give you good counsel.

Here's what I would tell you.

Keep things as simple as possible on and off the golf course. Find a routine that works for you. Surround yourself with good people who give you lots of support. Learn how to ignore the ridiculous distractions. Play golf with the joy of a 16-year-old and have some fun along the way.

The Armchair Golfer

Monday, October 17

Golfless Streak to End

Day 164 without playing golf

Hallelujah! Barring an Act of God, my golfless streak will end this coming Saturday.

I have a game set for 1 p.m. after my daughter's rec league basketball game. I love October, and I'm hoping for sunny crisp weather and primo colors on the heavily wooded course.

Now excuse me while I go clean my golf clubs.

The Armchair Golfer

Wednesday, October 12

No Golf on Birthday

Day 159 without playing golf

Today is my birthday, which would have made it a perfect day for golf. Instead, I worked and we canceled birthday celebration plans due to family illnesses.

I guess my birthday celebration (and golf) will have to wait a bit longer.

The Armchair Golfer

Monday, October 10

The Frightening Three-Footer

Day 157 without playing golf

The three-foot putt when something is on the line -- is there anything scarier in golf? I mean, really. It's the great equalizer (and destroyer), whether you're a weekend hacker or John Daly going against Tiger Woods in a playoff.

JD seized defeat from the jaws of victory when he hiccupped on a short one yesterday at the American Express Championship in San Francisco. I'm glad I didn't witness it. It's too painful to watch.

Other famous misses:

*Retief Goosen from two feet on the last hole in the 2001 U.S. Open. He went on to win the next day in a playoff against Mark Brooks.

*Doug Sanders muffed a short one on the 72nd hole of the 1970 British Open. A guy named Nicklaus stole the Claret Jug from Sanders in a playoff the next day.

*Scott Hoch missed a win-clinching putt from 18 inches in a playoff at the '89 Masters. Nick Faldo prevailed.

*Sam Snead missed from inside three feet at the 1947 U.S. Open, giving the title to Lew Worsham. In an illustrious career, Snead never wins the U.S. Open.

In a few weeks, the three-footer would make a good Halloween costume. Nothing's scarier.

The Armchair Golfer

Thursday, October 6

Poll: Did Michelle Wie Make the Right Decision?

Day 153 without playing golf

Is Michelle Wie's decision to turn pro at this time the right one? Vote and check out her "approval rating" at http://msn.foxsports.com/golf/story/4934532?GT1=7127.

The Armchair Golfer

Wednesday, October 5

What's in My Golf Bag

Day 152 without playing golf

As I've ventured out into the golf blogosphere, I've noticed that many like to talk equipment. And some even give a rundown of their personal set of golf clubs.

That's cool.

Why not me? I do have clubs, even though they see very little use. I've only played about once a year for the last three years.

So here goes. Promise me you won't laugh.

Irons (2 through SW):
1987 Spectrum "Mac the Knife" set, inch over. (I'm tall with short arms.) I'm not making this "Mac the Knife" stuff up. They're Ping knock offs that I picked up at a discount golf store in Seattle. If you or anyone you know has heard of these clubs, I'll buy you a beer.

Woods:
I can't even remember the name -- some homemade metals that my friend who used to play Division I golf built for me. A hand me down Yonex driver with a boron shaft that my Dad gave me. The newest addition: a Dunlop LoCo Crazy Long driver. (I won it in a tournament in May, the only time I've played this year.) By the way, I hit the snot out of the Crazy Long driver on a driving range in Florida and am itching to take it out on the course.

Putter:
Slotline, 36 inch.

OK, so my clubs are a joke. But when you play on average once a year, it really doesn't matter. It's not like my game will be sharp even if I have the newest sticks. When I start playing regularly again, I'll update my equipment. But that's a subject for a future post.

What's in your golf bag?

The Armchair Golfer

Monday, October 3

It's all Dunhill for Monty

Day 150 without playing golf

The golf career of Colin Montgomerie is on an upswing. Yesterday Montgomerie rolled in a four foot birdie putt on the final hole to win the Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland by a stroke. It was Monty’s first golf victory on his native soil since 1999.

The win moved Montgomerie into the top 20 in the world rankings and into second place on the European Tour money list behind U.S. Open champion Michael Campbell.

Coming on the heels of this summer’s second place finish in the British Open at St. Andrews, Monty called Dunhill the most important victory of his career.

Does this portend more good things for Mr. Montgomerie? Will he ever win on the other side of "the pond"?

The Armchair Golfer

Friday, September 30

What’s Judge John Roberts’ Stance on Golf?

To the best of my knowledge, Judge Roberts’ position on golf didn’t come up during his confirmation hearings. The committee members spent several days firing questions at the judge. You wonder how they could overlook an important topic such as golf.

Since this man was just sworn in as the 17th Chief Justice of the United States, we better address it here.

Here’s what I know. It’s based on a “Golf World” story by John Strege published last month.

Judge John Roberts is an AVID golfer and a member of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Course in Gainesville, Virginia, which was the site of the recent President’s Cup won by the U.S. team.

We can all breathe a sigh of relief.

Chris Bartolumucci, a friend quoted in the story, said, “He’s a fan of the game, and a fan of the traditions of the game.”

The article also said: “As might be expected of a judge nominated for the Supreme Court, Roberts is a stickler for the Rules of Golf, with one notable exception: The first-tee mulligan.”

For the record, it's Day 147 without playing golf.

The Armchair Golfer

Thursday, September 29

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Wednesday, September 28

First-tee Jitters


Well, here goes. I hope I don't top it.

Entering the first post at The Armchair Golfer is a little like teeing off on the first hole. You want to be confident ... but you're not sure at all where it's going. At least there's not a lot of you standing around, watching, like sometimes happens on the first tee.

When Chris DiMarco was lining up his winning putt on the 18th hole at the President's Cup on Sunday, Jack Nicklaus turned to Fred Couples who had holed a putt on a similar line to win his match against Vijay Singh.

"Freddy, what does it do?" Jack asked. "I don't know," Fred replied. "I just closed my eyes and hit it."

I think that's what I'll do here. Just close my eyes and hit it.

For the record, this is Day 145 without playing golf. How long has it been since you've played?

I am respectfully

The Armchair Golfer