Friday, March 30

Houston Open Notebook: For Leonard, Golf Is a Humble Experience

After losing his game, hiring a caddie and firing a coach, it's fitting Justin Leonard would begin to compete again in a place called Humble, Texas.

Leonard opened with a 67 and shot 73 Friday, leaving him two shots off the pace at the midway point of the Shell Houston Open. Six share the lead at 138, including Bob Estes, Jason Gore and Bubba Watson.

"I don't feel like I'm over any hump," Leonard was quoted as saying on Thursday. "But I got a whole lot closer."

The former British Open champion hopes to be closer still on Saturday and Sunday.

The Armchair Golfer

(Photo: JustinLeonard.com)

Thursday, March 29

Masters Coverage at Armchair Golf

Next week is the 2007 edition of the Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. Phil Mickelson is the defending champion. Tiger Woods (any time he tees it up) is the favorite.

Here's what I have planned:

*A Masters spectator guide by Jason Kalin of The Golf Membership Spot
*An interview with John Derr, among this year's inaugural recipients of the Masters Major Achievement Award
*The Masters by 10s
*Masters Tournament coverage and observations

So make yourself a pimento cheese sandwich, grab your favorite beverage and drop by. You're always welcome here. You know that.

(Don't look at the pimento cheese too long or you'll lose your appetite.)

The Armchair Golfer

Wednesday, March 28

No Strokes for Jack Fleck

That’s what legendary golf writer Herbert Warren Wind nicknamed Jack Fleck after he stunned Ben Hogan in the 1955 U.S. Open at the Olympic Club in San Francisco. Jack won the 18-hole playoff, 69-72.

We had an enjoyable conversation. Jack told me he will soon visit Walker Inman Jr., a longtime golf pro and friend, in Memphis. It so happens that Inman played the first 36 holes with Jack at the ’55 Open.

“Hey Jack,” I said. “You’ll be glad to know I got out and hit some balls this past weekend. All short irons, plus I practiced putting.”

Jack said, “You know as you get older you lose about a half shot a year. You’ll have to give me strokes.”

(Jack is 85 and still plays tournaments.)

I laughed. “I’m not the smartest guy, but I’m not dumb enough to give shots to a U.S. Open champion.”

I heard a soft chuckle on the other end.

The Armchair Golfer

More here:
Golf Digest profile
Jack Fleck Golf

(Photo: Golf Digest)

Masters Tickets Still Available

I just checked with Ticket City, a sponsor of this blog, and they still have Masters tickets.

Here's the complete rundown:

Masters Monday Practice Round Tickets (32 tickets available)
Masters Tuesday Practice Round Tickets (30 tickets available)
Masters Wednesday Practice Round Tickets (16 tickets available)
Masters 4-Day Badge Tickets (28 tickets available)
Masters 2-Day Badge Tickets: Thurs., Fri. (6 tickets available)
Masters Thursday Badge Tickets (34 tickets available)
Masters Friday Badge Tickets (44 tickets available)
Masters Saturday Badge Tickets (44 tickets available)
Masters Sunday Badge Tickets (52 tickets available)
Masters Hospitality Tickets (99 tickets available)

There's still time. (But not much.) And if you go, I want to hear all about it.

The Armchair Golfer

Tuesday, March 27

Oops! Armchair Golf Misquotes Patrick Henry



“Give me golf or give me death.”
(not said by) Patrick Henry

Historical note:
Patrick Henry was an American patriot. Had golf been popular during Revolutionary times, Samuel Adams, Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson might have rounded out his foursome.

This misquote brought to you by The Armchair Golfer.
Getting it wrong for the love of the game.

Monday, March 26

Masters Field Is Set

Hello, friends. This is Jim Nantz. Um, I mean the Armchair Golfer.

Gee, I must have the Masters on my mind. Nothing against the Shell Houston Open. OK, the truth -- I’m looking ahead to Augusta.

Let’s check the field, which was finalized today. There will be 107 participants, including 18 first-time players and five amateurs.

Four who got into the field by being among the top ten money winners are Aaron Baddeley, Mark Calcavecchia, Charles Howell III and John Rollins.

Check out the complete field here.

So I hope you’re as ready for the Masters as I am. It’s a tradition unlike any other. (Oops, sorry.)

The Armchair Golfer

(Photo: PGA.com)

Sunday, March 25

Doral Notebook: It's a Breeze for Tiger

On a windy day at Doral, Tiger Woods (73) breezed to a two-shot victory on the Blue Monster at the WGC-CA Championship. It was Tiger's third straight win in the event. Brett Wetterich (71) finished second.

Tiger's lead was as large as six shots, which prompted NBC commentator Johnny Miller to wonder why no one can ever seem to mount a final-round charge against the world's best player. Can't anyone come out of the pack to post a low number on Sunday?

Apparently not.

Wetterich's mini move over the closing holes made it slightly more interesting. Still, Tiger was able to wedge his way up the 18th hole and win without breaking much of a sweat.

This is what makes the Tiger era different than any other in the history of golf. So far no one really pushes Tiger -- except Tiger. And those record books.

The Armchair Golfer

Friday, March 23

Test: Are You Golf Obsessed?

Mastercard is running an online promotion that features a golf obsession test. It's an interactive quiz that includes David Feherty, Arnold Palmer, Ben Crenshaw, Laura Diaz and John Barmon Jr. (Spaulding Smails from Caddyshack).

One of the teasers reads: “Some people play golf, others live it. Which are you?”

Look, I already know the answer. If you're reading this, you're golf obsessed in my book. But head over anyway and take the test. It's good for a few laughs.

(You might even download and use Ben Crenshaw's voice mail message like I did.)

How did I do on the test? 98th percentile. Nothing to brag about. I'm not satisfied with anything less than 100 percent.

The (Obsessed) Armchair Golfer

Thursday, March 22

Live Course Cams at Pebble Beach and St. Andrews

I ran across live course cams at Pebble Beach and St. Andrews, two of the world's greatest (if not the greatest) championship golf courses.

At Pebble it was early morning. (Was that Bill Clinton on the practice putting green?) At St. Andrews late afternoon. Check them out here:

Pebble Beach Golf Links
St. Andrews Old Course

And as an added bonus, here is the live cam link for another challenging course:

Super Putt Golf Course

(My apologies, but Super Putt is closed for the season. Try again after Memorial Day.)

The Armchair Golfer

P.S. I've also added these links to the sidebar at right.

Wednesday, March 21

Tiger Woods and Roger Federer Hope to Regain Form in Miami

The world's greatest golfer and the world's greatest tennis player will attempt to resume their winning ways in Miami this week. And they may slip away to watch each other in action.

Roger Federer saw his 41-game win streak snapped in Indian Wells on March 11. Tiger is coming off a disappointing 22nd place finish at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, breaking a streak of 13 consecutive top-ten finishes in worldwide events.

In a Golf.com article, both said they enjoy watching each other compete. Although Federer admits it's hard to be a Tiger spectator. Mostly what you see is peoples' backs.

Tiger also has a competitive advantage, according to Federer.

“He (Tiger) has it easier,” Federer was quoted as saying (with a smile). “He's playing on grass all the time, whereas I have to go to different surfaces.”

Roger that.

Of course, Federer plays the same-sized tennis court each week. The lines are uniform. The net is always the same height. And the player on the other side of the net almost always loses.

The Armchair Golfer

Oops! Armchair Golf Misquotes Andy Warhol

“Every golfer will be famous for 15 minutes.”
(not said by) Andy Warhol

Historical note:
Andy Warhol was a painter, filmmaker, commercial illustrator and writer.

This misquote brought to you by The Armchair Golfer.
Getting it wrong for the love of the game.

Tuesday, March 20

Exclusive Live Doral Coverage at PGATOUR.com

Beginning Thursday at 12:30 p.m. ET, golf fans can go online to watch Tiger Woods, Ernie Els, Phil Mickelson and more of the world's best golfers as they compete for the World Golf Championships-CA title at the Doral Golf Resort & Spa in Miami.

PGATOUR.com will provide more than 20 hours of exclusive online coverage from the par-4 16th hole of the famed Blue Monster course on Thursday through Sunday.

The Armchair Golfer

(Source: PGA Tour media release)

Monday, March 19

When a U.S. Open Champion Calls, I Answer

I have to admit that I often don't answer my phone at the office. I'm usually working on a project and don't want to be disturbed. So I don't pick up -- unless it's my wife, of course.

But a week or so ago I made an exception when I heard this on my office speaker phone:

“Hello. This is Jack Fleck.”

An unheralded pro from Iowa, Jack Fleck pulled off what is widely regarded as the greatest upset in golf history when he defeated Ben Hogan in an 18-hole playoff at the Olympic Club to win the 1955 U.S. Open. Hogan was denied a record fifth U.S. Open title and never won another major.

Jack Fleck and I were introduced by a mutual golf contact. (Thanks, George.) Jack wants to talk and I'm listening.

Mr. Fleck is like a great uncle who has amazing golf stories, the kind that might cause you to roll your eyes. Only they're true.

Imagine talking to the ultimate underdog who went head-to-head with the mighty Ben Hogan on golf's biggest stage -- and won. The circumstances and subplots of his U.S. Open victory could not be hatched in Hollywood. (I won't go into them now.)

Jack Fleck is 85. He still plays golf. (He will be playing in the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf Tournament in Savannah next month.) He volunteers and raises money for the First Tee Program in Fort Smith, Ark. And he speaks affectionately of the game to which he has devoted 68 years as a professional.

Jack tells me he still has a lot to do. I believe him. I'll share more later.

The Armchair Golfer

Sunday, March 18

Palmer Invitational Notebook: Vijay Is A-OK

(Photo: Delores Knowles/Flickr)

After three near misses at Bay Hill, Vijay Singh finally won the Arnold Palmer Invitational, closing with a 67 for an 8-under par total of 272. Rocco Mediate (67) finished second two strokes back. Third-round leader Vaughn Taylor (73) was alone in third.

“Having won Jack’s tournament and now Arnie’s, it’s a great one to get,” Singh said.

Vijay now has 31 career victories and is tied with Harry “Lighthouse” Cooper for most wins by a foreign-born player.

Tiger Woods pulled within two shots of the lead but then faltered in uncharacteristic fashion with a string of double and triple bogeys. Woods shot a 76, including 43 strokes over the final nine, and finished in a tie for 22nd.

The Armchair Golfer

Friday, March 16

My Personal Memories of Arnold Palmer

(Photo: Delores Knowles/Flickr)



The first time I saw the “King” in person was in the mid 1980s at the Tournament of Champions at La Costa in the San Diego area. They used to have the senior champions play the same week on the same course as the regular Tour winners.


It was great, like two tournaments in one. And it was a huge thrill to see Arnold in person. He had a way of making everyone in the gallery feel good about being a part of the event and his round.

(Whether in person or on TV, I've never detected any pretension in the man, which is one of the main reasons Arnold was and is so beloved. That, and the fact that he was one heck of a golf champion.)

Back to La Costa.

I also remember something about the course setup. They had the seniors hitting from forward tees. That is, the course played shorter for the seniors than the regular Tour players. Arnold didn't like this at all, and had some quotes in the local newspaper to the effect that he might don a skirt.

My next brush with Arnold wasn't so much an encounter with the golf legend as it was with his hometown of Latrobe, PA. (My wife reminded me of this the other night.)

We were on a cross-country trip when we passed through Latrobe and camped in nearby Keystone State Park. Just for kicks we checked the local phone book for Arnold's home phone number. (This was before cell phones.) There it was! We ripped the page out of the phone book.

No, I didn't call. Gutless.

What would I say? “Hey, Arnie. Want to meet me for a Rolling Rock?” (I mention Rolling Rock beer because it's also an original product of Latrobe.)

The last time I saw Arnold in person was at the 1995 GTE Northwest Classic, a Champions Tour event, in Seattle. It was not long after Arnold had been diagnosed with prostrate cancer. Arnold shot his age in the final round, a 66, and the news reverberated around the golf world.

It's been 12 years since I last saw Arnold. I would like to see him again.

So Arnold, if you ever do want to meet and crack open a Rolling Rock, let me know. I'm only 665 miles from Orlando and 364 miles from Latrobe.

The Armchair Golfer

Thursday, March 15

Palmer Invitational Notebook: Tiger Pounces on Bay Hill

(Photo: Delores Knowles/Flickr)

Tiger Woods is tied for the first round lead after a six-under 64 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Woods shares the top spot with Vaughn Taylor and Paul Casey.

Tiger carded seven birdies, four coming on holes 11 through 15. He took his only bogey at the long finishing hole guarded by water.

Two off the pace after a round of 66 are Sergio Garcia, Carl Pettersson, Rocco Mediate and Sean O’Hair.

The Armchair Golfer

Wednesday, March 14

Armchair Q&A: USGA on New Arnold Palmer Center for Golf History (Conclusion)

Following is the second and final installment of my Q&A with the USGA's Dr. Rand Jerris, Director of Museum and Archives, about the new Arnold Palmer Center for Golf History currently under construction at USGA headquarters.

Armchair Golf: What about existing displays and exhibits?

Dr. Jerris: Current displays and exhibits will also be housed at the new Palmer Center when it's completed. They include Bob Jones’ famous putter, Calamity Jane II, arguably the most famous golf club in the world; the Moon Club, the specially modified tool used by Alan Shepard to play golf on the lunar surface in 1971, quite possibly the second-most famous club in the world; Ben Hogan’s 1-iron from the 1950 U.S. Open, when he came back from a horrific automobile accident to win our national championship; and artifacts from Tiger Woods, Payne Stewart, Annika Sorenstam, and many other stars of today’s game.

Armchair Golf: What will the Center mean for golf and golf fans?

Dr. Jerris: Whether you're an avid golfer or a casual fan of the game, the Palmer Center will provide an experience that should be both entertaining and educational.

The USGA Museum and Archives has worked diligently to preserve the rich traditions and history of the game for more than 70 years. In that time, we’ve gathered hundreds of truly outstanding artifacts from many of the greatest champions in the history of the game. The new Palmer Center will allow us to showcase these artifacts properly for the first time in our history.

Armchair Golf: What else should we know?

Dr. Jerris: We'd like the golf community to know that we're here to serve you, that we have a sincere desire to share our wonderful collections with you, and that we hope we can inspire in everyone a passion for the game’s history.

If you have questions or need information of a historical nature, our staff is ready and willing to assist. Moreover, if you have ideas or suggestions on ways we can be of greater service to the golf community, we always welcome a call (908-234-2300), email (museum@usga.org), or a note (PO Box 708, Far Hills, NJ 07931). We want to hear from you, so that we know best how to serve you.

An Open Invitation from the USGA

We extend an invitation to visit the new Palmer Center when it opens next year. Please come to Far Hills next summer and help us celebrate the remarkable history of the greatest game in the world. In the meantime, visit USGA for news and updates on our progress and schedule for reopening.

The Armchair Golfer

Armchair Q&A: USGA on New Arnold Palmer Center for Golf History (Part 1)

Recently I spoke with the USGA's Dr. Rand Jerris, Director of Museum and Archives, about the new Arnold Palmer Center for Golf History currently under construction at USGA headquarters. Following is the result of our conversation and email exchange.

Armchair Golf: Please update us on the Arnold Palmer Center for Golf History. How is it proceeding?

Dr. Jerris: Work is well underway in Far Hills on the construction of our new facility. Construction crews arrived on site in late December, and have been making excellent progress since.

The project itself comprises two parts: the renovation of Golf House, the Georgian Colonial mansion original designed by John Russell Pope in 1919 that has housed the museum since 1972; and a new addition of some 16,000 square feet. Work on both parts of the job is proceeding simultaneously.

According to the current project schedule, construction should be complete by the end of the year. Then, allowing several months to install the new exhibits and thousands of artifacts, we hope to open the new museum in the early summer of 2008.

Armchair Golf: What will the new Center house?

Dr. Jerris: The Arnold Palmer Center for Golf History will serve as the new home for the USGA Museum and Archives, the nation’s oldest sports museums. Visitors to the museum will still find exhibits on the main floor of Golf House (the Ben Hogan Room, the Bob Jones Room, and a new room dedicated to the life and accomplishments of Arnold Palmer), but the main exhibit gallery comprising more than 5,000 square feet will be located in the new addition.

The new gallery space will also include our Hall of Champions, a beautiful oval rotunda lit by natural light that will showcase the original trophies of the USGA’s 13 national championships.

In addition to the exhibit galleries, the Palmer Center will house our new research center, where historians, researchers, and the general public will be invited to study and work with our world-class research collections.

This includes our library (the largest golf library in the world with more than 20,000 volumes), as well as our photographic archive (with more than half a million photographic images) and film and video archive, with several thousand hours of historic footage dating back to the early decades of the 20th century.

Armchair Golf: How important was the recent acquisition of the Francis Ouimet irons used in the 1913 U.S. Open?

Dr. Jerris: The Ouimet irons are truly one of the most significant acquisitions in the history of the museum. Ouimet’s historic victory over Harry Vardon and Ted Ray in the 1913 U.S. Open was one of the greatest moments in USGA championship history, and one of the greatest moments in American golf history. We knew these clubs existed for more than 20 years, but waited patiently for the right time in hopes we might be able to acquire them from the former owner.

Armchair Golf: Are you working on any other new acquisitions, collections, or displays?

Dr. Jerris: We’re currently working with the families of two other noteworthy USGA champions, and hope we're able to announce some exciting new acquisitions within the next month or two.

Next time: Conclusion

The Armchair Golfer

Tuesday, March 13

Arnold Palmer: Golf Hero and Ambassador

(Photo: Delores Knowles/Flickr)

Who is Arnold Palmer? And why does he have his own PGA Tour event, the Arnold Palmer Invitational?

Of course, these are ridiculous questions for anyone who can spell "golf."

Yet for the younger generation Arnold Palmer is probably best known as an aging golf ambassador. He's a pre-Tiger, pre-Jack champion of bygone years when professional golfers swung actual woods, flexed steel shafts and wore metal spikes.

Golf fans loved Arnie. He single handedly built a volunteer army. And his followers are just as loyal today.

Let's retrace Palmer's career and impact on the game.

62 Tour Wins, 7 Professional Majors

Arnold Palmer won the U.S. Amateur in 1954 and turned pro soon thereafter. Palmer's first of 62 PGA Tour wins was at the Canadian Open in 1955. His last Tour victory came 18 years later at the 1973 Bob Hope Desert Classic. Arnold's most productive years were 1960-63 when he won 29 events.

Palmer won 7 professional majors, including 4 Masters, 1 U.S. Open and 2 British Opens -- all between 1958 and 1964. Finishing second 3 times, he never won the PGA. Arnold also had 4 second-place finishes in the U.S. Open.

Palmer also played on 6 Ryder Cup teams. He was the last playing captain in 1963 and served as captain a second time in 1975.

Arnold's Impact

Palmer is credited with ushering professional golf into the modern era. Arnold's charisma and swashbuckling style of play made great television, and more money and prestige for professional golf followed.

Another factor in the rise of Palmer (and professional golf) was the advent of the sports agent. Arnold was the first client of Mark McCormack, the founder and chairman of mega sports agency IMG.

Senior Years

Arnold also claimed 10 titles on the Senior PGA (Champions) Tour. He won the PGA Tour Lifetime Achievement Award, was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame and was a founder of The Golf Channel.

Today, among his many golf interests, Arnold Palmer is national chairman of the USGA Members Program. And still the people-appointed worldwide ambassador of golf.

The Armchair Golfer

(Supplemental source: Wikipedia)

Arnold Palmer Week at Armchair Golf

In honor of Arnold Palmer and to coincide with his invitational tournament at Bay Hill this week, I'll have some extra Arnold Palmer material I hope you'll enjoy.

Coming your way:
*A look back at the career of Arnold Palmer
*An interview with the USGA about the Arnold Palmer Center for Golf History
*My personal memories of Arnold Palmer
*Updates on the Arnold Palmer Invitational

Keep coming back. You're in the army now. Arnold's, that is.

The Armchair Golfer

Monday, March 12

Suitcase Blamed for Parnevik's Slow Start

John Daly isn't the only PGA Tour player who recently sustained a freak injury. (Daly injured himself when he stopped his backswing because of a camera click from a misguided fan.)

A suitcase broke Jesper Parnevik's finger. Really. And the injury has hampered the Swede's golf game.

Parnevik broke the middle finger on his left hand when he tripped over a piece of luggage in his hotel room during the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic in January.

Jesper is still trying to regain his form. This year Parnevik has played 8 events and made 4 cuts, with no top-25 finishes. He tied for 48th at the PODS Championship this past weekend.

The Armchair Golfer

(Source: SI.com)

Sunday, March 11

PODS Notebook: Mark Calcavecchia Escapes With Win

His putting woes well publicized, 46-year-old Mark Calcavecchia needed a 7-foot par putt on the final hole to seal his first PGA Tour victory in two years. He missed -- but so did playing partner Heath Slocum, who would have forced a playoff had he converted a 4-footer.

It was just a week ago that Boo Weekly (Slocum's high-school teammate) missed a short putt on the final hole of The Honda Classic that would have given him his first Tour win. Weekly lost in a four-way playoff.

This week it will be Slocum who needs consoling if the former teammates and Tour buddies go fishing.

It was amazing that Calc (70) and Slocum (71) were even vying for the title. Last week Slocum carded a fat 81 and 77 to miss the cut at The Honda Classic. And Calcavecchia couldn't putt a pea into the ocean.

Then a week ago Calcavecchia picked up a new putter for himself and a new skirt for his wife. He regained enough of his stroke and confidence to make some putts this weekend, and tonight he is a Tour winner once more.

The Armchair Golfer

Saturday, March 10

PODS Notebook: Calc Fires 62 for Share of Lead

Mark Calcavecchia vaulted into a tie for the 54-hole lead with a course-record round of 62 at the PODS Championship in Palm Harbor, Fla.

Tied with Calcavecchia at nine under is Heath Slocum. K.J. Choi is one back.

Slocum, by the way, was a high-school golf teammate of Boo Weekley, the countrified character who saw his first PGA Tour win slip away last week at The Honda Classic when he missed a three-foot par putt on the 72nd hole.

The Armchair Golfer

Friday, March 9

100 Yards and In

I read that 65 percent of an average golfer's score is determined within 100 yards of the hole. It's not exactly a shocking piece of information. But it does serve as a useful reminder to work diligently on the short game as spring approaches.

As little as I've played in recent years, my most feared shot in golf is the half to three-quarter wedge. Without much play or practice, there's absolutely no feel, no finesse and no confidence.

Equipment is also critical, which brings me to Mike Sigers of the Travelling Golfer who emailed me about The Wedge Guy. It's a new blog authored by Terry Koehler, president of Eidolon Golf.

I've already read many good things about Terry's wedges and encourage you to check out his blog.

The Armchair Golfer

Thursday, March 8

Scared to Play with Phil Mickelson

Mr. Nice Guy. A permanent sheepish grin. Who could possibly be afraid to play golf with Phil Mickelson?

Richie Ramsay, 23, the current U.S. Amateur champion who hails from Aberdeen, Scotland.

As is tradition, the current U.S. Amateur champion will be paired with the defending Masters champion (Lefty) for the first two trips around Augusta National at the 2007 Masters Tournament.

BBC Sport Golf reported that Ramsay said the thought of playing with Phil Mickelson is “quite a scary thing.” “If I wasn't nervous there would be something wrong with me,” Ramsay was quoted as saying.

The last time a British amateur made the cut at the Masters? Peter McEvoy in 1978. McEvoy thinks Ramsay can do it, too.

We'll know in about a month.

The Armchair Golfer

(Source and photo: BBC Sport Golf)

Wednesday, March 7

Oops! Armchair Golf Misquotes Descartes

“I golf, therefore I am.”
(not said by) Rene Descartes

Historical note:
Rene Descartes was a French philosopher, mathematician, scientist and writer. Descartes lived in the 17th century, and thereby avoided all rationalizations of the final-hole collapse of fellow countryman Jean Van de Velde at the 1999 British Open.

This misquote brought to you by The Armchair Golfer.
Getting it wrong for the love of the game.

Tuesday, March 6

Are Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts Autographs Authentic?

Recently I posted about reader Doug Sandell's acquisition of an autographed Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts photograph. Doug got the photo at an auction that was selling the John Derr Collection.

(You can read the full post here.)

Doug was curious about the authenticity of the Jones and Roberts autographs, and contacted me for help reaching John Derr. John answered Doug's query, and forwarded his response to me so I can share it with you.



John Derr: “The signatures I can not verify. The Jones one looks quite true but Bob seldom signed his notes to me with other than ‘Bob’. Cliff and I played many games and he was not as bad as the press said. In fact, I found him charming and for years at Augusta we had tea in his quarters around 10 each morning. His notes were signed ‘C.R.’ as only the more formal CBS business letters to me were signed else-like. So to answer your query: Jones very well could be; Roberts I would say no.”

More John Derr Tidbits

On his golf game, a few months from age 90:
“...not shooting my age on No. 2 (Pinehurst), but do often on lesser courses and two weeks ago did No. 2 in 50-42--92, which included two unsightly SEVENS on front nine holes. Not good.”

On this year's Masters:
“I tell you I am to receive the Masters Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2007 renewal...my 66th there.”

I hope to bring you more about John Derr's Masters Lifetime Achievement Award. And I have some more of his golf stories to share. Stay tuned.

-The Armchair Golfer

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Monday, March 5

When Will Camilo Villegas Win?

After closing with a 66 on Sunday -- his best round of the year -- Camilo Villegas was part of a four-way playoff at the Honda Classic that concluded today. Mark Wilson won with a birdie on the third playoff hole.

Is Villegas closing in on his first PGA Tour victory? Looks like it.

The colorful Colombian native is No. 27 on the money list with $527,267. Villegas now has three second-place finishes over the last two years: the FBR Open, the Ford Championship at Doral and The Honda Classic. Camilo also finished third at The Player's Championship last year.

Watch out for Spiderman.

The Armchair Golfer

Friday, March 2

Roger Federer Is Greater Than Tiger Woods

He started out blogging about golf but gave up when he discovered how difficult the game is. Now the author of NOT A GOLF BLOG ANYMORE claims Roger Federer is the greatest sportsman who ever lived. There must be a correlation.

"I'm a 32-year-old English guy living in San Diego. This blog was supposed to be about me learning to play golf (harder than you might think actually), but then the World Cup started and I got distracted."

Yes, he definitely got off topic. Here is what he said about tennis star (and Tiger buddy) Roger Federer:

"I'm confident that in 15 years time we'll look back at Federer as not just the greatest tennis player who's ever lived, but simply the greatest individual sportsman ever."

Full post here.

This probably would have never happened had he stuck with golf. I think he needs an intervention.

The Armchair Golfer

John Daly Camera Injury: What I Don't Understand

A golf fan with a camera felled John Daly yesterday at the Honda Classic. Instead of grip it and rip it, it was grip it and click it on Daly's third hole of the day. Daly injured himself when he stopped mid-swing. Shortly thereafter he headed for the medical trailer.

This from the AP story:

“The fan, who was not identified by the tour, is a resident of the PGA National complex where the tournament is being held and, because she lives on-site, it wasn't clear if she went through standard security screening. She was unaware of the tournament's no-camera policy, Honda executive director Ken Kennerly said.”

What I don't get: the part about not knowing the no-camera policy. Really? That surprises me.

It's another bizarre episode in the golf life of John Daly. And a tough break since JD was playing on a sponsor's exemption. There are only so many sponsor exemptions, even for John Daly.

The Armchair Golfer

Thursday, March 1

FedUpCup

PGA Tour players are thrilled about the FedExCup. Absolutely, positively, NOT.

In an analysis piece, AP golf writer Doug Ferguson wrote:

“The only people talking about the FedExCup are employees in Memphis, Tenn., and Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. Of course, that doesn't include the shameless plugs on TV such as, ‘Oooh, that putt could cost him FedExCup points.’”

Ferguson quoted some players:

“I'm tired of listening to it, you know?”
-- Vijay Singh

“That's exciting.”
-- Geoff Ogilvy's response laced with sarcasm after being told his second-place finish in the Accenture Match Play Championship was worth 2,835 FedExCup points.

Ferguson also said the PGA Tour reached an all-time low when Tiger Woods was introduced at a press conference at last week's match play championship as No. 8 in the FedExCup standings rather than the man gunning for his eighth consecutive title.

The Armchair Golfer

(Note: For those tallying, this post is worth 1,759 FedUpCup points.)