Tuesday, February 28

Golf by the Numbers: WGC Accenture Match Play Championship Edition

Day 129 without playing golf

Number of times Stephen Ames should open mouth before going head to head with Tiger Woods

Number of times yours truly has caddied at La Costa in Carlsbad, California

Number of holes it took Tiger to close out Stephen Ames in opening match

Number of spots Geoff Ogilvy rose on the money list after winning the WGC Accenture Match Play Championship

Number of miles yours truly now lives from La Costa

The Armchair Golfer

Saturday, February 25

Tough Golf Days for Bill Clinton

Day 126 without playing golf

The former leader of the free world is apparently taking his lumps in golf.

First I read in Mulligan Stew's blog that Tiger Woods called Bill Clinton a wuss for not wanting to play the tips when the two recently got together to open Tiger's new learning center.

Now I read that Bill can't even get on a course in Melbourne, Australia, because they're too busy with the weekly men's club tournament. Sheeeeesh.

Mr. Former President, I feel your golf pain.

The Armchair Golfer

Wednesday, February 22

The Bubba Factor

Day 123 without playing golf

There's long and there's Bubba Watson long. Check out Bubba's numbers, courtesy of Ping.

Bubba's Numbers
Ball speed: 194 mph
Clubhead speed: 126 mph
Launch angle: 15.5 degrees
Spin rate: 1865 rpm
Carry distance: 360 yards
Hang time: 8.05 seconds
Smash factor: 1.54

And he putts like a fiend, too. Is anyone absolutely certain this guy is human?

The Armchair Golfer

Monday, February 20

The Joy of 50

Day 121 without playing golf

Some people join AARP when they turn 50.

Some get a colonoscopy.

Loren Roberts just wins and wins and wins.

Roberts recorded his third straight Champions Tour victory at the ACE Group Classic in Naples, Florida, this past weekend. It put him in the history books -- no one has ever opened the season on the old boys circuit with three consecutive wins.

Roberts out lasted Hale Irwin and others to grab the trophy. Now it's on to Tampa for this frisky 50-year-old rookie.

The Armchair Golfer

Saturday, February 18

Golf Rule of the Week

Day 119 without playing golf

Q: A player's ball is lying against a root. He makes a stroke and the ball pops up into the air. In disgust, he swings at it on the way down, but misses. Was the swing in disgust a stroke?

A: No. Such an instinctive swing in anger is not a stroke. Nor should the player be considered to have taken action to influence the movement of the ball in breach of Rule 1-2. However, if the player had struck the ball accidentally while it was in motion, he would have incurred a penalty of loss of hole in match play or two strokes in stroke play - Rule 19-2a and -2b.

The Armchair Golfer

(Source: USGA)

Thursday, February 16

My Unbelievable Torrey Pines Story

Day 117 without playing golf

Some of you have asked that I write about my unbelievable Torrey Pines story. At the risk of being golf's version of James Frey, here goes.

All of us at one time or another have played until dark. I was out one day after work with two or three golf buddies on Torrey's South Course when we ran out of daylight. We were in the middle of the back nine, so we just started walking in.

The sky was clear and there was a full moon. You could see your shadow in the moonlight.

When we got to the 18th -- the par five you've probably seen on TV with the pond in front -- I decided to tee it up just for yucks. I made my swing, it felt good, and we continued to walk in.

I wasn't going to look too hard for the ball -- after all, it was dark -- but there it was right in the middle of the fairway.

I pulled my three wood, aimed a bit right to avoid the pond, and took my swing. Again, it felt good, but I had no idea where it went.

Admittedly, this was a difficult shot to execute in the daylight with the pond in full view. I normally bailed out right. In this particular situation, I had no such concerns. I just kept my head down and made a smooth swing. We kept walking.

I walked on the line that I hoped my ball had traveled, but I had no expectation of finding it. There it was! It was on the fringe in two, a first for me. Now I'm definitely playing out.

I could barely make out the flag, so I walked on to the middle of the green to gauge slope and distance. I returned to my bag and pulled my 8-iron. I aimed right, knowing the chip would swing left. It was a total guess in the dark, but I hit a solid chip.

You've surely guessed by now what happened. I chipped in for eagle. I eagled #18 on Torrey South in the moonlight!

I had witnesses (or did I?). I thought about calling at least one of them who I haven't talked to in years to verify this account. After all, I don't want to end up on Oprah trying to defend this unbelievable story.

The Armchair Golfer

Tuesday, February 14

Champions Tour: Roberts Goes for Third Straight Win

Day 115 without playing golf

Loren Roberts will try to make history this week when he tees it up in the ACE Group Classic in Naples, Florida. If he wins, Roberts will be the first player to win the opening three events of the season on the Champions Tour.

Roberts won the first two events in Hawaii, the MasterCard Championship and Turtle Bay Championship. The “Boss of the Moss” has already recorded $515,000 in earnings.

A guy who can still compete on the PGA Tour, look for Loren to do some serious damage this year on the good old boys circuit.

The Armchair Golfer

Monday, February 13

Golf by the Numbers

Day 114 without playing golf

Number of missing "a's" in Arron (Oberholser)

Number of extra "r's" in Arron (Oberholser)

Inches of snow in the Blue Ridge Mountains

Weeks until the 2006 Masters

Consecutive golfless days for yours truly

Number on the Pebble Beach paycheck with the missing "a"
and extra "r"

The Armchair Golfer

Saturday, February 11

Golf Rule of the Week

Day 112 without playing golf

Q: A player finds his ball in high rough after a two-minute search, leaves the area to get a club and, when he returns, is unable to find the ball. Is he allowed three minutes or five minutes to find his ball?

A: Three minutes.

The Armchair Golfer

(Source: USGA)

Thursday, February 9

The PGA’s New Crop of Long Hitters

Day 110 without playing golf

J.B. Holmes is just one of a dozen new long hitters on the PGA Tour. More than half of the 22 players who are averaging over 300 yards are fresh out of Q school or come from the Nationwide Tour.

"It's better to have a wedge in the rough than a 7-iron in the middle of the fairway," Holmes told USA Today. "That's just the way it's going now."

It’s hard to fault Holmes’ logic, especially after he cruised to a seven-stroke victory in the FBR Open last weekend. With six for six sand saves and just 108 putts, Holmes' short game was as deft as his drives were long.

The 300 Club

The new kids on the tee block:

1. Bubba Watson / 324.9 yards / Nationwide Tour
2. J.B. Holmes / 313.5 / Q school
3. Camillo Villegas / 311.8 / Nationwide Tour
6. Robert Garrigus / 308.6 / Q school
8. Steven Bowditch / 305.9 / Nationwide Tour
10. Will MacKenzie / 303.4 / Q school
14. Rober Tambellini / 302.5 / Nationwide Tour
17. Jeff Gove / 301.5 / Nationwide Tour
19. Jon Mills / 300.8 / Nationwide Tour
20. Bubba Dickerson / 300.6 / Q school
21. Chris Couch / 300.1 / Nationwide Tour
22. Henry Bjornstad / 300.0 / Q school

Hubba Bubba! Two Bubbas in the top twenty. How about that?

The Armchair Golfer

(Source: USA Today)

Tuesday, February 7

The Case for Custom Fit Clubs

Day 108 without playing golf

A Golf World survey last year found that 68 percent of golfers use custom-fit golf clubs.

The other 32 percent who play with off-the-rack clubs may be at a disadvantage -- at least according to the world’s best golfer.

“I think the ultimate key is to have the golf clubs fit you, not you fit the club,” Tiger Woods was quoted as saying in a November issue of Golf World. “I stress that to the juniors and amateurs I give clinics to, or when they ask me in pro-ams. You got to get a club that fits.”

I have to admit that I was a little surprised by the data: more than two in three amateurs have been custom-fit for clubs. Whoa.

I wish I could say I have new custom-fit clubs, but I’m playing with ancient off-the-shelf equipment. And the truth is, it doesn’t really matter until I start playing more.

The Armchair Golfer

Friday, February 3

Golf Rule of the Week

Day 104 without playing golf

Q: A player's ball embeds in the side of a hole. All of the ball is below the level of the lip of the hole. What is the ruling?

A: The ball should be considered holed even though all of the ball is not within the circumference of the hole as required by the Definition of "Holed."

I'm OK with that. How about you?

The Armchair Golfer

(Source: USGA)

Thursday, February 2

How I Play on Those Rare Occasions When I Play

Day 103 without playing golf

"Just curious, but what kind of game do you have after laying off so long?"

Well, since you (Lancer) asked a couple of days ago, I'll answer. Maybe some of the rest of you are curious, too. If not, I'll keep it short.

For a guy who in the last three or four years has only teed it up about a half dozen times, I play OK. At least half those rounds have been in tournaments.

You see, despite now being The Armchair Golfer, I played a lot of golf growing up. That's what I did in the summertime during my teens.

I gave up baseball as a freshman in high school and played varsity golf all four years. Don't be too impressed -- those first couple of years our golf team wasn't too swift. I also played some college golf.

So when I do get out on the links, I have an idea about what I'm doing and how to play the game. I have a swing that works fairly well even when I haven't played. I can usually get the ball rolling smoothly on the greens and drop a few putts, although it might take a few holes.

But a hundred yards and in, pitching and chipping, and anything that takes some feel (other than putting), forget it. Can't do it well or consistently when I haven't played. Maybe you can relate.

The Armchair Golfer

Wednesday, February 1

Karrie Webb Comparing Herself to Annika: ‘I’ve Got More Shots in My Bag’

Day 102 without playing golf

In a pre-tournament interview posted at LPGA.com, Karrie Webb talked about her desire to reclaim the #1 spot in the ladies’ game. Here’s an excerpt:

Q. If we're talking about number one then we have to talk about Annika. How big do you perceive that gap to be from where you are now?

KARRIE WEBB: A lot of it I think for me is mental. She believes in herself 110 percent and I'm not quite there when I'm on the golf course. I've seen the work I've done and I'm hitting shots that I can't even believe I'm hitting. I've just got to take it out on the golf course. As far as physical ability, I don't think there is much difference between her and I. She hits it further than me now but I've got more shots in my bag. She's just so strong mentally and on a high wave of confidence too, so if I can get on that wave of confidence I don't see that there's that much difference between us.

The Armchair Golfer