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