Wednesday, December 31

John Daly Suspended for Six Months

WHAT A WAY TO END the year. The PGA Tour has suspended John Daly for six months “for conduct that brought unwelcome publicity.” His most recent problems were a drunken episode in North Carolina and a camera-smashing incident with a golf fan in Australia.

“Is it fair that I got suspended? It’s not fair in reality, but it’s probably fair in perception,” JD told The Associated Press on New Year’s Eve.

Daly also reportedly called it the lowest point in his 18-year career. And that’s saying something. The PGA Tour declined comment.

−The Armchair Golfer

Tuesday, December 30

North Carolina’s Rich Golf History


(Photo courtesy of Beth)

TODAY I WAS REMINDED of North Carolina’s contribution to the game of golf. My wife, two daughters and I were in Raleigh for two days to see the Dead Sea Scrolls at the Museum of Natural Sciences. While there, we also visited the Museum of History, which included the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame.

The golf section is prominent, and as you can see from the above banners there were several well-known professionals and amateurs who hailed from, or played collegiate golf in, the Tar Heel State.

Arnold Palmer, Raymond Floyd and Charlie Sifford

The King, Arnold Palmer, played at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem. And how about Raymond Floyd? I had forgotten he was a North Carolina product, born at Fort Bragg.

Charlie Sifford, from Charlotte, was the Jackie Robinson of the PGA Tour. Billy Joe Patton was a fine amateur who nearly won The Masters in 1954. Perhaps you have never heard of him, but Clayton Heafner won seven times on tour and posted a 3-0-1 record on two Ryder Cup teams. Heafner was also instrumental in helping fellow North Carolinian Sifford break the color barrier.

Harvie Ward


Also a Tar Heel, Harvie Ward was a phenomenal amateur who twice won the U.S. Amateur. With Ken Venturi as his partner, Ward nearly beat Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson in the famous match played at Cypress Point in 1956, the subject of Mark Frost’s The Match.

Donald Ross and John Derr

Two others deserve mentioning: Donald Ross, the famous architect of Pinehurst and about 400 other courses, and North Carolina native John Derr, the legendary broadcaster and journalist. Derr covered 62 Masters, walked every step with Ben Hogan at Carnoustie in 1953, and anchored coverage by CBS in the early years of televised golf.

I'm still pleasantly surprised by occasional emails from John, 90, and hope to meet him someday. He lives in Pinehurst and still plays a good game of golf.

−The Armchair Golfer

Monday, December 29

Barack Obama: 'I'm Not That Good'

(Wright/Flickr)




WHILE PLAYING GOLF ON VACATION in Hawaii, President-elect Barack Obama reportedly said, “I'm not that good.”

Obama played 18 holes at the Olomana Golf Links on the island of Oahu. He told reporters to put a few beers on his tab, but no one took him up on the offer.

We've all said it. I certainly have. You know how it goes. Someone asks, “What's your handicap? How many strokes will you give me?”

Then you say, “I'm not that good.” And, “I haven't been playing.” Or, “My back went out. I have no idea how I'll get around today, much less score.”

We'll soon find out how good Mr. Obama is when the Presidents Golf Championship (PGC) gets underway. I don't want to tip my hand, but I'm going to tip my hand − a little. Obama is the No. 8 seed and his first-round match is against the No. 9 seed, Ronald Reagan.

This won't be a vacation round. It will be president against president, mano a mano.

Win an Autographed Copy of First Off the Tee

Through the end of the tournament (around Inauguration Day), ARMCHAIR GOLF will accept entries for a free autographed copy of Don Van Natta’s First Off the Tee: Presidential Hackers, Duffers, and Cheaters from Taft to Bush. Sign up at top right under the brown box.

−The Armchair Golfer

Related:
Ulysses S. Grant Earns Final Spot in PGC Field
Presidents Golf Championship Adds Golf Analyst
America’s Golfing Presidents

Sunday, December 28

Carpet Putting with My Voodoo Daddy

DO YOU ROLL PUTTS across your carpet in the wintertime? Or are you one of the lucky ones who live in Florida, Arizona, or California where you can experience the real thing year round?

I’ve been rolling putts on the carpet in my small upstairs den, or my man cave as my wife and daughters like to call it. I stroke a Titleist Pro V1 given to me by Jack Fleck toward an empty refried beans can.

I hit putts to take a break from work or a chore, or when I’m thinking about something. It’s a form of therapy. I like to hear the click of the ball on the putter face.

Lately I’ve been carpet putting with a Never Compromise Voodoo Daddy Putter. My cousin gave it to me when I saw him in Indiana at Thanksgiving, and I’m surprised at how much I like it (at least on the carpet). It’s not the kind of putter I would have picked up on my own. (My regular putter is a 36-inch Ping Anser 4.)

Carpet putting is fun and a good way to practice your stroke. I wonder how many putts are hit by the tour pros in hotel rooms during the season?

−The Armchair Golfer

Saturday, December 27

Aussies Cash in on John Daly

(James Marvin Phelps/Flickr)

A READER POINTED ME to this Christmas Eve story posted at FOX Sports Down Under.

“John Daly may play like the world's 734th best golfer, but in the popularity stakes the Wild Thing is still on a par with Tiger Woods,” wrote Iain Payten.

Can that really be true? I know Daly is popular, but I don’t see him as Tiger’s equal. Yet JD was worth at least $3 mil during his recent golf jaunt to the Southern Hemisphere, according to the article.

“Figures obtained by The Daily Telegraph show Daly's month-long trip delivered publicity and media exposure for Australian golf to the value of $3 million, and quite possibly in excess of that.”

For Daly, having a PGA Tour card appears to be irrelevant.

−The Armchair Golfer

New:
Visit the ARMCHAIR GOLF STORE

Friday, December 26

Ulysses S. Grant Earns Final Spot in PGC Field

ULYSSES S. GRANT WILL ROUND OUT the field of 16 in the first annual Presidents Golf Championship (PGC) that will be played at Augusta National Golf Club beginning in early January.

The other 15 competitors are all golfing presidents who were recently ranked in a Golf Digest article.

Grant’s at-large selection was based on the recommendation of guest PGC golf analyst Don Van Natta.

“As I write in First Off the Tee, Grant was the first president to actually hold a golf club in his hands,” Don said in an email. “He took a few practice swings, never made contact with the ball and declared the game a folly not worthy of his time.”

That shouldn't be a problem since Grant, the No. 16 seed, faces top seed John F. Kennedy in the first round. (Special thanks to those who suggested other presidents for the 16th spot, including Andrew Jackson.)

Next week ARMCHAIR GOLF will profile the field and first-round matches.

Win an Autographed Copy of First Off the Tee

Through the end of the tournament (around Inauguration Day), ARMCHAIR GOLF will accept entries for a free autographed copy of Don Van Natta’s First Off the Tee: Presidential Hackers, Duffers, and Cheaters from Taft to Bush. Sign up at top right under the brown box.

−The Armchair Golfer

Related:
Presidents Golf Championship Adds Golf Analyst
America’s Golfing Presidents

New:
Visit the ARMCHAIR GOLF STORE

Wednesday, December 24

Merry Christmas from ARMCHAIR GOLF


I'VE BEEN TALKING to my dad in California and now it's time to start preparing Christmas dinner. So I'm skipping out early. Hey, it's Christmas Eve.

Of course, feel free to hang out here. Just make yourself at home. (Also, be sure to replace your divots and fix any ball marks.)

I'll be back soon to talk more golf. Best holiday wishes to you and yours from ARMCHAIR GOLF.

−The Armchair Golfer

Tuesday, December 23

Top 100 Players to Watch in 2009

PGATOUR.COM HAS POSTED their top 100 players to watch in 2009 here. I’m going to need your help because I can’t possibly watch all these guys.

If you stare at the headshot collage long enough, the room begins to spin. Maybe we can all take three to keep track of. Plus Tiger. We’ll all be watching him (when he gets back).

−The Armchair Golfer

Monday, December 22

Presidents Golf Championship Adds Golf Analyst

THE FIRST ANNUAL Presidents Golf Championship (PGC) at the ARMCHAIR GOLF BLOG will include the commentary and analysis of Don Van Natta, Jr., author of First Off the Tee: Presidential Hackers, Duffers, and Cheaters from Taft to Bush, a New York Times bestseller and Sports Illustrated book of the year.

The PGC was introduced last week at ARMCHAIR GOLF in response to a January Golf Digest article that ranked the 15 presidential golfers. The PGC will take presidential golfing abilities a step further by placing the 15 (plus one to be named) in a match-play tournament at Augusta National.

I didn’t know what to expect when I interrupted Don’s Saturday morning with a phone call. But he accepted the analyst role without hesitation and is already providing sage input. ARMCHAIR GOLF is fortunate to have him on board for the first PGC.

Don is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter for the New York Times and co-author of Her Way: The Hopes and Ambitions of Hillary Rodham Clinton. His feature article on the next First Golfer, President-elect Barack Obama, will appear in the February issue of Golf Digest.

Win an Autographed Book!

Beginning today through the end of the tournament (around Inauguration Day), ARMCHAIR GOLF will accept entries for a free drawing for an autographed copy of First Off the Tee. Sign up at right under the brown box.

−The Armchair Golfer


Related:
America’s Golfing Presidents

Sunday, December 21

Tiger’s Most Important Contribution

AFTER I TUNED INTO the Chevron World Challenge on Sunday afternoon, one thing was obvious. I’m rusty. I haven’t watched golf in weeks. Except for the enjoyment of seeing sunshine and people in shirt sleeves, I had a hard time getting into it.

The players were rusty, too. I saw a lot of funny-looking shots. Vijay Singh won with a birdie on the final hole.

Perhaps my golf-viewing rustiness allowed me to take greater notice of what Tiger Woods said in a clip about his state-of-the-art learning center in Anaheim, California. “This is more important than anything I’ll ever do in golf.” (Or something pretty close to that.)

When you think about all that Tiger Woods has accomplished in golf, that’s quite a statement. Is it just PR, the right thing to say? I think Tiger means every word of it.

Later I clicked over to the Tiger Woods Foundation. On the home page, there are five youth who tell about themselves and what they want to do in life. If you look around the site, you’ll find free resources for teachers and youth, including Tiger’s Action Plan. (That’s so Tiger.)

The foundation has helped millions of kids. It will help millions more. So Tiger is right. It is more important. Whether or not Tiger’s your favorite golfer, he’s an exceptional person who is helping young people reach their potential. That beats anything he can do on a golf course.

Another cool thing. None of us can play golf like Tiger, but we can emulate him off the course. Do something − anything − to help youth. You absolutely cannot go wrong with that investment, in any economy.

−The Armchair Golfer

Saturday, December 20

Oops! ARMCHAIR GOLF Misquotes Clarence (Holiday Edition)

“Remember, no man is a failure who has golf friends.”
(not said by) Clarence, guardian angel

Biographical note: Portrayed by James Stewart in It's a Wonderful Life, George Bailey considers his life a failure until his guardian angel Clarence shows how life would have turned out in Bedford Falls without George.

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

Friday, December 19

Bob Thomas: Golf Saved His Life

(As a service to readers, following are golf events, products, services and more. Endorsement is not implied.)

Earlier this week a man who represents Bob Thomas, the author of Ben Hogan’s Secret and other books, wrote me. Thomas, I learned, battled his publisher over rights issues, and today he offers the Hogan book and other self-published titles through Bob Thomas Books.

In telling me about Thomas, the representative wrote:

“A true story only known amongst Bob’s loyal fan base is that golf actually saved his life. He came from an abusive family with parents too caught up in misery to know anything but torment, and survived because of this great game.

“The abuse in his family eventually killed his sister, but fortunately for all of us, Bob became a caddy at the age of 12. Golf not only gave him something positive to focus on, but it also offered him the upbringing he would have otherwise missed.”

(Thomas’ experiences resulted in the book, Golf Gave Me Something To Love.)

“I told Bob once that I’d sell his books door-to-door if I had to in order to help him,” he added, “and in a sense, I have. The reason I’m so willing to do this is because I care about this game, and his books capture something about it that very few golf books ever will.”

Briefly
SafeOnPar.com offers deals on golf products … SeeMore has launched SeeMorePuttersBlog.com … A Different Way to (Much) Better Golf is a new book available at GolfDifferently.com … GolfLasVegasNow.com has daily golf news and deals from Las Vegas … ThadAwayGolf.com offers an instructional DVD that features a new swing move … Viveros Resorts has teamed with Jack Nicklaus to develop a Signature Course in the Pearl Islands off the coast of Panama … BogeyPro.com has over 100 new products and free shipping through the holidays with any $50 purchase.

−The Armchair Golfer

Harrington Gets Tiger’s Player of the Year Vote

THIS FROM WEDNESDAY’S media conference at the Chevron World Challenge:

Q. Did you vote for Paddy?


TIGER WOODS: I did actually.

Q. Why?

TIGER WOODS: He won two (majors).

Q. Is that all it comes down to?


TIGER WOODS: Yeah.

−The Armchair Golfer


Related:
Padraig Harrington Wins Tiger Woods Award

Thursday, December 18

America’s Golfing Presidents

(Scott Adams/Flickr)









OF THE 44 AMERICAN PRESIDENTS (I’m counting President-elect Barack Obama), 15, or about one in three, are/were golfers. In the January issue of Golf Digest, the magazine ranks the 15:

1. John F. Kennedy
2. Dwight D. Eisenhower
3. Gerald R. Ford
4. Franklin D. Roosevelt
5. George H. W. Bush
6. George W. Bush
7. Bill Clinton
8. Barack Obama
9. Ronald Reagan
10. Warren G. Harding
11. William Howard Taft
12. Woodrow Wilson
13. Richard M. Nixon
14. Lyndon B. Johnson
15. Calvin Coolidge

Barack Obama is No. 8, but look at the top of the list. From everything I’ve read, John Kennedy is clearly No. 1. And then “Ike” and Gerald Ford are two and three. TWO AND THREE! Wow. Is it just me, or are Ike and Ford a scary golf thought? (No disrespect intended.)

Golf Digest said they based the rankings on their research and available public information. I’ve come up with another way to settle this. I invite you to join me for the first annual Presidents Golf Championship at the ARMCHAIR GOLF BLOG.

We’ll put the 15 (and another one, to be named) in brackets for a match-play tournament. All matches will be played at Augusta National under tight security. We’ll find out how the presidents deal with real pressure. And in a few weeks we’ll crown a champion.

Next time I’ll profile the golfing presidents, and then the tournament will get underway.

Please submit any suggestions on whom you would like added to the field. He’ll be the 16th seed and have to go up against JFK in the opening match. That one is already looking like a rout.

−The Armchair Golfer

Wednesday, December 17

Sticks, Stones and Bones


Bones and Lefty get a read. (GrrLash/Flickr)

I WAS REMINDED OF THAT SCHOOLYARD saying the last couple of days:

“Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me.”

Phil Mickelson has sticks and “Bones” (caddie Jim Mackay), who he calls a class act. It’s Tiger’s sticks that hurt far more golfers than anything his caddie could say.

NOTE/UPDATE:
For those who missed the story earlier in the week, Tiger's caddie, Steve Williams, said of Phil Mickelson, “I think he's a prick.” Woods addressed the situation a second time, commenting in his Wednesday press conference, "Yeah, what ended up happening is I communicated with Phil, and we have discussed it. I talked to Stevie about it, and he feels bad, what happened. It's something that none of us really wanted to have happen, but it's over and done with and we put it to bed."

−The Armchair Golfer

Tuesday, December 16

Padraig Harrington Wins Tiger Woods Award


You'd smile, too, if you won two majors in a row.
(Richard Walker/Flickr)


PADRAIG HARRINGTON WAS VOTED TIGER WOODS (PGA Tour player of the year) by his peers. He beat out Tiger Woods.

I jest, but it really has been the Tiger Woods Award for the last dozen years. Tiger has won player of the year (POY) nine times.

Seriously, though, if Harrington didn’t win POY in 2008, then they might as well just hand it to Tiger every year until he retires. (Which will probably happen anyway.)

I know, I know. I’ve read the arguments for Tiger. Yes, he had a great year. Yes, he won four of the six tournaments he entered. Yes, he won the U.S. Open in epic fashion. (They’ll be talking about that long after anyone remembers or cares who won POY in 2008.)

But here’s the thing. How long have the golf media and fans been harping on Tiger’s peers to step up and win majors (plural)? This year, somebody did.

Harrington was the first player in 20 years (besides Tiger) to win successive majors. And Paddy has won three of the last six grand-slam events. The players got it right.

−The Armchair Golfer

Monday, December 15

A Christmas Letter from Tiger’s Left Knee

(Pocketwiley/Flickr)

GOING THROUGH THE STACK of mail this past weekend, I spotted a large red envelope with a Florida postmark. Inside was a Christmas card with Santa Claus sipping an umbrella drink on the beach and this letter printed on holiday stationery:
Christmas 2008

It was another exciting year for the Woods-Nordegren family. As usual for us, there was golf, travel, visits with family and friends, and a lot of downtime (for Tiger and me), which was a nice change of pace.

Of course, the year’s big news is that Elin and Tiger are expecting their second child this winter! The room is about ready, but we won’t know if the baby will be a boy or girl until the big day. The excitement is building …

Now a toddler, Sam is growing faster than U.S. Open rough. She is a busy little girl and keeps Elin and Tiger (and me) going all the time. She reminds me of her dad.

Tiger’s work as a professional golfer went well, except he had to take the second half of the year off because I had surgery. (More on that in a moment.) Tiger only played in six tournaments, but he won four of them, so that was good. One was the U.S. Open. That was a pretty big deal.

As I mentioned, I had surgery (my third) with the same specialist, Dr. Rosenberg of Utah, or “Rosey,” as I call him. Everything went well and I expect to make a full recovery. I’d like to say I’m used to the surgery-rehab routine, but, to be honest, it’s never easy. I’m glad that I’m feeling better than I have in years and slowly returning to normal activities. I just have to be patient. (No golf yet.)

I need to stop here because I still have Christmas shopping to do. I have to pick up something for Luke Donald’s wrist and Adam Scott’s knee. (They’re so hard to shop for.)

All in all, we have much to be thankful for and look forward to a great 2009.

Wishing you and yours the very best this holiday season and in the new year,

Tiger’s Left Knee
(Editor’s note: ARMCHAIR GOLF interviewed Tiger’s Left Knee three times in 2008, in May, early June and late June.)

−The Armchair Golfer

Sunday, December 14

A Bad Bet for Freddie Couples


Fred Couples will captain the U.S. team in the 2009 Presidents Cup.
(Jim Doeden/Flickr)


In a just-published Q&A with Golf Digest, Fred Couples recalls his bet with Tiger Woods at last year’s Target World Challenge.

“Last year, I bet him [at the Target World Challenge]. I took two shots from him the first day and said, ‘I'll play you for $200.’

“I think he shot 67 and I probably shot 74. So he said, ‘Just keep it. What do you want tomorrow?’ I said, ‘Two shots.’ He beat me again.

“The third day, he beat me again.

“The last day, he gave me four shots and said I'll give you a break-even bet. I was so nervous. He beat me. I gave his wife $800; he snatched it out of her hands so quickly. ‘That's my money.’”

−The Armchair Golfer

Saturday, December 13

Oops! ARMCHAIR GOLF Misquotes Viktor Frankl

“For the meaning of golf differs from man to man, from day to day and from hour to hour.”
(not said by) Viktor Frankl

Biographical note: Viktor Frankl was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor.

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

Friday, December 12

One Blogger’s 2009 Golf Predictions

I ASKED MIRANDA at Even Par Round if she had any predictions for 2009. Making predictions is a risky business, especially in golf. I’m terrible. I just pick Tiger, even when he’s not playing.

But Miranda … well … she picked Angel Cabrera to win the 2007 U.S. Open. Seriously.

(Who else had Angel? Let’s see a show of hands. That’s what I thought.)

So I think you understand why I will forever idolize Miranda. Here are a few of her 2009 predictions (abbreviated):

• Sergio Garcia will fade and not do nearly as well as in 2008
• Michelle Wie won’t win
• Greg Norman will miss the cut at the Masters
• Padraig Harrington will disappoint in the majors
• Lorena Ochoa will slow down in the win department

“Most of these are negative predictions,” she wrote at her blog.

“I think it's easier to say what won't happen as opposed to what will. And besides, if I'm wrong, then it's good for golf.”

But she might also be right.

−The Armchair Golfer

Thursday, December 11

Len Mattiace Resurfaces in South Africa

REMEMBER LEN MATTIACE? The player who tragically posted a snowman on the 71st hole of the 1998 Players Championship and lost by four shots to Justin Leonard?

The guy who won twice in 2002 (Nissan Open and FedEx St. Jude Classic)? The tour pro who shot a 65 in the final round of the 2003 Masters and lost to Mike Weir in a sudden-death playoff?

That Len Mattiace, a player who virtually disappeared for the last five years, shares the first-round lead at the Alfred Dunhill Championship in Mpumalanga, South Africa. His seven-under-par 65 ties him with Michael Jonzon.

So what happened to Len and why is his best finish in the last two years a tie for 34th on the Nationwide Tour?

Skiing accident.

In December 2003 in Vail, Colorado, Mattiace tore both ACLs, requiring extensive surgery. He spent three months in a wheelchair. Then he tried to come back too soon.

Len was ranked 24th in the world at the end of the 2003 season. By 2006 he had plummeted to No. 898. He wants to come all the way back and rejoin the PGA Tour.

“I’m not done,” Mattiace has said.

There’s still a long way to go on the comeback trail. First-round leader is a good start.

−The Armchair Golfer


A year ago at ARMCHAIR GOLF:

Ernie Els Describes Dunhill Collapse

Wednesday, December 10

Tiger Woods Has Already Won 2009 FedEx Cup

IN A STUNNING DISCLOSURE, a PGA Tour official told ARMCHAIR GOLF that Tiger Woods has won the 2009 FedEx Cup, the third edition of the PGA Tour playoffs. Woods, who also won in 2007, is the first multiple winner of the cup.

“I guess it’s back to the drawing board,” said the tour official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

PGA Tour personnel had spent weeks huddling at their Ponte Vedra Beach headquarters to hammer out a new, improved FedEx Cup. The revamped format was designed to strike a balance between the regular season and the playoffs, and also guarantee that the winner would be decided at the Tour Championship, the final playoff event.

“I think we're moving in the right direction,” PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem told The Associated Press in November.

Yet Woods’ premature victory indicates something has gone terribly awry with the latest incarnation of the points race. Tiger hasn’t competed since winning the 2008 U.S. Open on an injured knee. The timing of his return to golf is uncertain. Plus, the 2009 season hasn’t even begun.

“We’re looking into it,” the tour official said with a shrug. “The good news is we have a head start on next year’s FedEx Cup fixes.”

−The Armchair Golfer


(This is an ARMCHAIR GOLF spoof.)

Tuesday, December 9

A Day With Natalie Gulbis


Taylor Anderson's mom, Natalie Gulbis and Taylor Anderson.

TAYLOR ANDERSON, A STUDENT AT GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY, won the “Who’s Behind Your Success?” essay contest sponsored by RSM McGladrey. It earned Taylor a day in Las Vegas with LPGA Tour player Natalie Gulbis.

“Born paralyzed on my right side, I am an unlikely golfer,” wrote Taylor, “but all my life my Mom encouraged me to reach for my goals.”

Yesterday was the special day, and Taylor joined Natalie for a workout, round of golf and dinner.

Gulbis is well known for her calendar-girl looks, but she has also proven she belongs on tour and has been a strong advocate for the game and her charity work.

Gulbis Interview

Fellow blogger Shane Bacon interviewed Gulbis earlier this week at FANHOUSE Golf. Shane also writes Dogs That Chase Cars, an entertaining and often irreverent golf blog.

−The Armchair Golfer

Monday, December 8

Newest Card-Carrying Members of LPGA Tour


An admirer alongside golf icon Michelle Wie. (Smaku/Flickr)

STACY LEWIS WAS MEDALIST at the LPGA Tour Q-School, but Michelle Wie was the story. Wie is always the story. Or so it seems.

Congratulations to Lewis, Wie and the other 18 ladies who earned their tour cards for the 2009 season.

Here’s the complete list:

Stacy Lewis (The Woodlands, Texas)
Amy Yang (Seoul, South Korea)
Anna Grzebien (Marragansett, R.I.)
Beth Bader (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.)
Sophie Giquel (Lyon, France)
Shiho Oyama (Japan)
Lisa Strom (North Wales, Pa.)
Michelle Wie (Honolulu, Hawaii)
Mollie Fankhauser (Columbus, Ohio)
Carolina Llano (Colombia)
Charlotte Mayorkas (Las Vegas, Nev.)
Jeehae Lee (Seoul, South Korea)
Anna Rawson (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Mika Miyazato (a) (Japan)
Anja Monke (Hannover, Germany)
Jeanne Cho-Hunicke (Longwood, Fla.)
Ashleigh Simon (South Africa)
Louise Stahle (Lund, Sweden)
Marcy Hart (Winston-Salem, N.C.)
Audra Burks (Altamonte Springs, Fla.)

−The Armchair Golfer

Sunday, December 7

Harrison Frazar Whips Field With 59



OK, MAYBE I’VE GOT THE WRONG HARRISON in the picture. But hear me out.

As far as I’m concerned, any dude who can put up a 59 in Q-school when his tour career is on the line could probably recover the ark, frustrate the Nazis AND get the girl.

That’s all I’m saying.

I like the way Frazar did it, too. He went out in 30. That’s pretty smoking hot. Then Harrison makes a routine par on 10 and reels off seven straight birdies. A ho-hum par on the 18th hole and there it is, a 59.

Frazar leads Q-school by five shots going into Monday’s final round. I’m going out on a limb and saying Harrison is getting his card. And maybe a fedora and whip, too.

−The Armchair Golfer

Saturday, December 6

Oops! ARMCHAIR GOLF Misquotes Plato

(Image Editor/Flickr)


“Golf is not the worst that can happen to men.”
(not said by) Plato


Biographical note: Plato was a classical Greek philosopher.

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

Friday, December 5

ARMCHAIR GOLF Briefs

(Annais/Flickr)

(As a service to readers, following are golf events, products, services and more. Endorsement is not implied.)


Briefly
14Stix.com has daily deals on golf equipment ... a new golf table game is available at Ingenewitty.com … Tomahawx (Tomahawx.com) offers an innovative new golf tee … GolfHomeConnect.com offers 1500 golf communities, one of the largest golf community databases on the Web … Owen Glen (located in Georgia) has announced that its mountain rustic clubhouse will be designed by Garland Reynolds … OutingCaddy.com has recently launched … the Transitions Championship (TransitionsChampionship.com) at Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club is offering special ticket prices … BackScratcherWorld.com offers unusual golf gifts … Golfpreserves™ (GolfPreserves.com) is exploring an industry-wide initiative for the environmental stewardship of golf … the Brad Brewer Golf Academy was named as one of the top 25 golf schools in the U.S. by GOLF Magazine.

−The Armchair Golfer

Thursday, December 4

Q-School Flashback: 17 Times a Charm for Mac O’Grady

Mac O'Grady

THE FINAL STAGES OF Q-SCHOOL are underway. Both the men and women are fighting for their cards on the PGA Tour and LPGA Tour at La Quinta, California, and Daytona Beach, Florida.

As I considered the rigors of Q-school, Mac O’Grady popped into my head. O’Grady, a California native who attended Santa Monica Junior College, turned pro in 1972. He won twice on the PGA Tour in the mid 1980s and finished in a ninth-place tie at the 1987 U.S. Open.

But his Q-school adventures were legendary. Mac made a mind-numbing 17 trips to Q-school before finally securing his tour card. Whoa.

The ambidextrous O’Grady was also known for being an eccentric. A right-handed tour pro, Mac could play scratch golf as a lefty and attempted to gain amateur status as a southpaw. That’s different.

(Had Mac’s application been approved, maybe he could have been his own amateur partner in pro-ams.)

O’Grady was not a friend of PGA Tour Commissioner Deane Beman, calling him a “thief.” Back problems drove him from the tour in 1989.

Want to see his swing? Here's a recent clip (2008) of Mac hitting a two-iron:

Mac O’Grady’s swing

Nice action, huh?

Mac is 57 years old and teaches golf at the Mac O’Grady Golf Schools in Palm Springs.

−The Armchair Golfer

Wednesday, December 3

2008 PGA Tour Winners for Equipment Junkies

You Know Who putts with a Scotty Cameron. (Phelps/Flickr)


DRUM ROLL, PLEASE. Here are the winners in each equipment category on the 2008 PGA Tour:

Drivers: First - tie between TaylorMade and Nike with 11 wins each. Third - Titleist with 10 wins.

Fairway Woods: First - TaylorMade, Titleist and Nike.

Hybrids: First - Adams.

Irons:
First - tie between Titleist and Nike with 10 wins each. Third - TaylorMade with 7 wins.

Wedges: First - TItleist Vokey Design and Vokey Spin Milled. Second - Nike. Third - Cleveland. Fourth - TaylorMade.

Putters: First - Scotty Cameron by Titleist models with 23 wins. Second - Odyssey with 11 wins.

Balls: First - Titleist Pro V1 and Pro V1x with 28 wins. Second - Nike with 11 wins. Third - Callaway with 4 wins.

One observation: The Scotty Cameron putters blitzed the competition.

Have you put anything in your bag that's made you a winner (or better player) this year?

−The Armchair Golfer

(Source: The Tour Van, December 2, 2008)

Tuesday, December 2

Adam Scott Tweaks His Knee

THIS HASN'T BEEN ADAM SCOTT'S YEAR. Now a minor body surfing incident will sideline the Aussie, according to Golf.com:
Top Australian golfer Adam Scott will miss his country's PGA Championship after injuring his knee in a surfing accident. Six-time PGA Tour winner Scott was set to be one of the star attractions at Coolum in Queensland this week, but was forced to withdraw after damaging his right kneecap.
Scott is expected to play in the Australian Open next week in Sydney.

−The Armchair Golfer


Related:
Adam Scott Is Hurting

Monday, December 1

The Grinch Steals Time at Golf Course


(holidayexpress.org)

THANKS TO AN ANONYMOUS TIP, ARMCHAIR GOLF caught up to the Grinch after a recent round of golf. As it turns out, the Grinch has been playing four days a week at what is normally his busiest time of year.

“So how are things in Whoville?” we asked.

“Rotten,” the Grinch snickered.

“The Whos are really hurting. Christmas isn’t even worth stealing this year. Why do you think I'm playing golf? I had to find something else to do.”

The Grinch has been teeing it up at an undisclosed location, a well-known private club that fears bad publicity if word gets out that the Grinch is its newest member.

“These golf clubs, even the private ones, are losing members in droves,” the Grinch said.

“Membership is down 29 percent and one in five private clubs could be gone in five years. They had to take me.”

And how does the Grinch know so much about the state of golf?

“I read it in the Wall Street Journal,” he said. “Free subscription.”

Actually, the Grinch doesn’t even like golf.

“Dumb game,” he said. “But it’s great for killing time, and I’ve got plenty of it. Mainly, I like driving the cart. I even drive it on the greens.

“They’re not going to do anything about it,” the Grinch added, chuckling. “Hey, I’m one of their only players now.”

−The Armchair Golfer