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 Sunday when he carded a 73, the man 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.
Caddie.
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 armchairgolfer@gmail.com 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.

Wednesday, November 23

VIDEO: Revenge of the Birds on Golf Courses

As Thanksgiving turkeys are enjoyed by millions this week, take a look at instances of birds attacking players on the golf course.

WATCH HERE

Tuesday, November 22

Birdieable Interviews The Congress, a Rock Band (and Golf Fanatics)



Rob West is an avid golfer with a golf blog called Birdieable. Rob recently interviewed The Congress, a Virginia-based rock band with two members who are golf fanatics.

By Rob West

Copyright © Rob West. Used with permission.

EVERY NOW AND THEN I GET to do something a little out of the ordinary. Interviewing an uber-cool rock band is just one of those occasions, especially when two of the members are golf fanatics like me.

Jonathan Meadows (golfer), Chris Speasmaker (golfer), Scott Lane and Raphael Katchinoff make up the four-piece band who have just released a new album, The Game, which you can get here.

Here's how my interview went with the guys.

BIRDIEABLE: OK, So, Chris you are the keyboard player and Jonathan you are bass guitar. How did you get into golf and are you any good?

THE CONGRESS: We both started playing with our dads growing up. My Dad and I looked at golf more as a reason to hang out in high school and the quality of play was pretty pathetic. It wasn't until I moved to Denver seven years ago when I started playing once a week. One of the perks of being a musician is being able to get on the course during the week when it's cheap and wide open. Are we good? Hmm. Given that this is being read by mainly avid golfers, I have to say no. Amongst my friends, I'd say I'm OK. I shoot mid 80s on a good day. Jon is shooting low/mid 90s.

BIRDIEABLE: If you could organize the perfect fourball, who would be in it, and where would you be playing?

THE CONGRESS: Great question. 1. Jordan Speith 2. Dustin Johnson. I would want two pros so I can get some pointers and watch them kill it. Jordan and DJ just seem like good dudes while also being at the top of their game. Watching DJ's long ball and Jordan's short game would be pretty spectacular in person. No. 3.? Bill Murray – purely for entertainment purposes. Charles Barkley would be an alternate. Course… Pebble Beach. I would likely need 20 balls to get through the round but the views there are surreal.

BIRDIEABLE: What’s your best score, and where did you record it?

THE CONGRESS: 79. Willis Case in Denver, Colorado. Full disclosure – it's a par 70.

BIRDIEABLE: Ever signed for a five when it should have been a six?

THE CONGRESS: Any amateur that says they haven't done that is a liar.

BIRDIEABLE: You guys are from Virginia. Are there any decent tracks (and I mean golf courses not songs), in your home state?

THE CONGRESS: Virginia has tons of beautiful courses. The nicest one I've played is Farmington CC in Charlottesville. It's very well maintained with lots of elevation. I've heard that Colonial Heritage in Williamsburg takes the cake. I'd love to get out there sometime.

BIRDIEABLE: Everyone has a memorable shot. What's yours and where was it?

THE CONGRESS: I had a Bubba moment when we were playing on tour in Jackson, Mississippi. I had a terrible lie with a huge oak tree in my line 160 or so yards out. I was actually playing with Jon at the time and gave him the classic "watch this." I pulled out the 4 iron, wrapped it around the tree and rolled it 15 ft from the pin. It felt good.

BIRDIEABLE: Anyone had a hole in one?

THE CONGRESS: No hole in one yet. Closest I came was during that same round with Jon and I was six inches short. One day though.

BIRDIEABLE: Who do you admire most in the golfing world?

THE CONGRESS: I read a lot about Arnold Palmer's life following his passing. He was a true legend in the entire sports world. He has given so much to the game of golf aside from being one of the best.

BIRDIEABLE: What's your favorite golf book/magazine?

THE CONRESS: I saw a book titled Shanks For Nothing in a friend's bathroom. I found it pretty relatable. Jon and I do however live and die by GolfNow. It is the best place to find new courses for a discounted rate while we're on the road. We have found some real gems through that site.

BIRDIEABLE: What makes you angry on the golf course?

THE CONGRESS: Sucking. Also groups in front of me that neglect their rate of play gets pretty frustrating as well. Jon and I pride ourselves in being fast golfers. 

BIRDIEABLE: You are not allowed to google this and you have to answer straight away. Do you know what R&A stands for?

THE CONGRESS: No. I just googled it though. I should probably check that out.

BIRDIEABLE: Any golf inspired tunes in the making?

THE CONGRESS: Ha ha. Golf is our way to relieve stress on tour (and at home), so, in a way, golf inspires all of our songs,

BIRDIEABLE: Top five courses you want to play?

THE CONGRESS:
5. Woods Hole CC – http://www.woodsholegolfclub.com/
4. Fossil Trace CC – http://www.fossiltrace.com/
3. Pinehurst CC – http://www.pinehurst.com/
2. Augusta CC – http://www.augcc.com/
1. Pebble Beach Resorts – https://www.pebblebeach.com/

Sponsored by Birdieable.