Wednesday, December 7

Fake Golf News: A Tiger Woods Love Letter

This fake golf news is from the archives and based on actual events.

November 15, 2009

Dear Tiger,

Where did the time go?

It seems like it was just yesterday that you were stepping off your Gulfstream at Essendon and were whisked away in a limo. We now realise this past week went way too fast.

Good on ya, mate. You have once again proven yourself as the world's greatest golfer. Our sincere congratulations for winning the "other" Masters. We are so honored to have you as our champion. To be perfectly candid, we were rooting for you and are thrilled you got the job done. (Relieved, actually. Ha ha!)

We love our own—Chalmers, Nitties, Scott, Appleby, Ogilvy, Parry, Pampling and all our boys—but they have had their chances over the years and will have many more. This was the year of the Tiger.

Please, please, please do not stay away so long between visits. We are accustomed to hardship. It is part of our national identity. But 11 years is a very long wait, even for us. We will do everything humanly possible to make any visit unbelievable. We think you know that.

Or just drop by whenever you are in the neighborhood. (Maybe on your way back from Asia next year.) We promise not to make such a terrible fuss. It could be a small bash. (We would not have to tell Brumby or other pollies and curtail the journos and earbash.)

Thanks again for coming. It exceeded our expectations in every way. Hugs and kisses and camera clicks! (Not when you are in mid swing, of course.)

Love always,

P.S. Do write. Even if just an occasional email from your agent.

P.P.S. If for some reason you cannot make it back to Oz, we will always have Kingston Heath.

Tuesday, December 6

Thomas Bjorn: 'This Is One of the Greatest Days in My Career'

THOMAS BJORN HAD BEEN LOOKING forward to the day when he would get his turn as European Ryder Cup captain. It finally happened on Tuesday.

Courtesy of Callaway Golf
The 45-year-old Dane will be the skipper for the European side at the 2018 Ryder Cup near Paris. He is the first Scandinavian to serve in that role.

"It's a huge honor for me to be named European captain ..." Bjorn said. "This is one of the greatest days in my career."

Bjorn has plenty of Ryder Cup experience as both a player and an assistant captain. He played on victorious teams in 1997, 2002 and 2014. He served as an assistant in 2004, 2010, 2012 and 2016. Hard to imagine how he could be more ready to take the reins.

Bjorn was picked by a committee that included Europe's last three Ryder Cup captains: Darren Clarke, Paul McGinley and Colin Montgomerie.

Bjorn added, "I studied a lot of captains as a player and as a vice captain, and always wondered what that feeling would be like to be the one leading out a team of 12 great players. Now it's my turn to do just that and it is an exciting moment for me. I have lived and breathed the European Tour for so long, and now I will do the same with the Ryder Cup for the next two years."

Monday, December 5

Win-Win: Hideki Matsuyama Wins, Tiger Woods Plays

HIDEKI MATSUYAMA WON THE HERO WORLD CHALLENGE for his fourth victory in his last five starts. Matsuyama finished at 18 under, and, except for a 73 on Sunday, he made it look easy.

"I played very, very well until today," Matsuyama told Golf Channel. "Today I struggled a little bit."

Henrik Stenson finished second at 16 under after a final-round 68.

Meanwhile, Tiger Woods started and finished his first 72-hole event in 466 days. Tiger shot 73, 65, 70 and 76 to finish 15th in the field of 17 players.

"I think it was a great week to be back," Tiger said. "Playing again and competing and playing against the best players in the world. Unfortunately I made a lot of mistakes this week. I made a lot of birdies but also made a lot of mistakes."

He added, "I made some poor decisions, missed the ball in some wrong spots and quite frankly it feels a little weird not to play in a cart. So, it is a little different and getting used to that and getting my legs back and getting my body back and focusing for a long period of time. These are all things that I missed for about a year and a half."

It's hard not to see Tiger's first event back as a big success. He went the distance, his body held up, he posted four scores. And if you need another positive, Tiger didn't finish dead last. He beat two guys in a good field. That's something, right?

I wouldn't expect much more at this point.

Friday, December 2

Things (Including Golf Things) Our Kids Will Never Experience

YOU KNOW YOU'RE AGING when you notice and read AARP articles such as "10 Things Our Kids Will Never Learn."

Nothing wrong with that, though, because I'm a boomer. Maybe you can relate.

Following is a partial list from that article on "boomer knowledge that's becoming obsolete."

From AARP, our kids will never learn ...

How to read a map.
How to send stuff in the mail.
How to write in cursive.
How to balance a check book.
How to make change in their heads.
How to drive a stick shift.

There are more, of course.

Now a golf list by yours truly. Same idea. Our kids will never ...

(NOTE: The following aren't absolutes, but true of some or many, or perhaps moving in this direction.)

Wear metal spikes.
Estimate yardage using eyesight.
Play with persimmon and other 20th-century golf clubs.
Walk the golf course.
Carry their golf clubs.
Maintain a "shag" bag and shag their own golf balls.
Learn golf etiquette and basic rules before going out on the golf course.
Read golf instruction books.
Clean clubs, shine shoes and do other golf-related chores.
Hang out at the golf course all day/all summer (including playing cards and doing other activities).

What else?

Thursday, December 1

Buy My Book, Get Arnold Palmer's Book FREE

Both THE LONGEST SHOT and DRAW IN THE DUNES were nominated
for the USGA's Herbert Warren Wind Book Award.

WITH THE HOLIDAYS APPROACHING, I'd like to offer you one of my hardcover books for sale at a reasonable price ($20) for your gift or other needs. I'll also autograph or inscribe it.

PLUS I'll give you a free book. I have four copies of ARNOLD PALMER: A Life Well Played, currently Amazon's No. 1 selling golf book. With a purchase of my book, I'll throw in Arnold's book free (while supplies last).

Email me at and we can work out the details.

Wednesday, November 30

Hero World Challenge: Golf, The Bahamas and a Generous Purse

YOU AND I WOULD BE GUARANTEED a top-20 finish and a hefty check if we teed off in the Hero World Challenge, which starts tomorrow at the Albany Resort in the Bahamas. The tournament benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation.

That's because this silly season event has an 18-player field. So dead last would be 18th place, some good bank and perhaps some world ranking points. Plus a trip to the Bahamas.

I'll just dream on.

Despite the small field, there are several marquee players showing up at Albany, including six of the top 10 and 16 of the top 30 in the world rankings. Not to mention three of the four major winners in 2016. They include Dustin Johnson (No. 3), Henrik Stenson (No. 4), Jordan Spieth (No. 5), Hideki Matsuyama (No. 6), Patrick Reed (No. 8) and Bubba Watson (No. 10).

Watson is the defending champion. Patrick Reed was the runner-up. The 2015 purse was $3.5 million with a million going to the winner.

This year, oddsmakers like Johnson (5/1) and Spieth (6/1).

Here's the 18-man field:

Tiger Woods
Dustin Johnson
Henrik Stenson
Jordan Spieth
Hideki Matsuyama
Bubba Watson
Rickie Fowler
Patrick Reed
Justin Rose
Emiliano Grillo
J.B. Holmes
Zach Johnson
Russell Knox
Brooks Koepka
Matt Kuchar
Louis Oosthuizen
Brandt Snedeker
Jimmy Walker

Tuesday, November 29

Tiger Woods Press Conference Bingo

THE TIGER WOODS MEDIA TSUNAMI has begun. Take cover.

And I apologize for my small part in it, but I saw this bingo card and could not resist sharing it with you. Sorry not sorry.

Monday, November 28

Brown Golf Courses and Tiger's Return

I'M GLAD TO BE BACK from Thanksgiving and back to this blog. I've had some technical problems here, but I'll hopefully get those resolved this week.

I was traveling through the Shenandoah Valley over the Thanksgiving holiday, including around Charlottesville, and I spotted a handful of golf courses near the highway. Some of them (or maybe most of them) were a shade of brown or beige, since their fairways are now dormant until next spring.

This made me wonder about less than pristine golf course conditions and aesthetics. Does it bother you? Or does it make no difference? Do you play on brown golf courses in the winter or at other times?

The courses I saw looked as if they had plenty of grass; it just wasn't green.

From the time I started at age 12, I've played on a lot of humble golf courses with varying conditions. I know dirt and I know hardpan. I've seen it all, played on it all. Nothing bothers me.

Tiger is itching to play.

Tiger Woods will finally scratch that itch with yet another long-awaited comeback this week at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas. I've lost track of the number of Tiger comebacks.

Some in the media are billing this comeback as highly anticipated, but I'm beyond that at this point. I view Tiger with curiosity, nothing more. That could change (for me), especially if Tiger regains his form and puts himself in contention again.

For now, I'm in wait-and-see mode. Golf has been doing pretty well without him.

P.S. The brown courses reminded me of a Rodney Dangerfield joke. Rodney told his dentist that his teeth were turning yellow. His dentist told him to wear a brown necktie.