Saturday, July 31

Wild Dunes’ Links Course: Fazio’s First Solo Design Turns 30

THERE ARE A FEW golf courses in South Carolina. Just a few. (Over 360.) At least one of them, the Tom Fazio-designed Links Course at Wild Dunes Resort, is celebrating its 30th anniversary. It was the first solo project for the famed architect who also designed two Pinehurst courses and has overseen renovations at Augusta National.

The Links Course continues to be ranked among the top courses in the United States. Fazio’s first design features rolling fairways, undulating greens, rustling palms, massive dunes and oceanside finishing holes. Practice facilities include a driving range, chipping area and putting green. Last year the 18th hole was restored to its original par-5 configuration along the Atlantic.

To mark the 30th anniversary, Wild Dunes Resort has put together a 1980s-inspired golf package. Priced at $225 per person per night, it includes a round of golf on the Links Course or Harbor Course, resort accommodations, a flashback 80s music CD and a signature 1980s-style anniversary golf hat. The offer is available for stays from September 7 through December 29.

On the northern tip of Isle of Palms, a barrier island off South Carolina’s coast, the Links Course is less than 30 minutes from Charleston and an easy hop from (or to) Myrtle Beach or Kiawah. Wild Dunes Resort is a 1,600-acre oceanfront property and offers a variety of accommodations and amenities.

−The Armchair Golfer

(Brought to you by

Friday, July 30

Name the Old-Time Players

OK, NAME-THE-PLAYER experts: How about some old-timers? Do any of the players in this grainy black-and-white photograph look familiar? Can you name one, two, or more?

No hints. You’re on your own. Who are any of these old-time players?

−The Armchair Golfer

Other “Name the Players”:
Name the Player Practicing in the Bunker
Name the Player Along on the Range
Name the Player at the LPGA Championship
Name the Player Signing the Deal in 1971
Name the Player at TPC Sawgrass
Name the Player Based on the Shoes and Footwork

Thursday, July 29

Sam Snead: ‘No Man Scared Me on the Golf Course’

IT SEEMS ONLY RIGHT to mention Samuel Jackson Snead during the inaugural Greenbrier Classic because The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, was Snead’s golfing playground. I half expected Sam to return to Earth to fill out the 156-man field after Steve Marino’s last-minute withdrawal on Thursday with back spasms.

There will never be another year in golf like 1912. That was the year Snead was born. And Byron Nelson. And Ben Hogan. Three of the greatest ever came along in the span of six months and between them won 197 times on the PGA Tour. Snead was the most productive winner but won two fewer majors than Hogan. Sam’s greatest disappointment in golf was never winning the U.S. Open. He came in second on four occasions.

The following Snead comments are from his 2002 My Shot feature in Golf Digest:
People always said I had a natural swing. They thought I wasn’t a hard worker. But when I was young, I’d play and practice all day, then practice more at night by my car’s headlights.

Could I have whipped Tiger Woods? Hell, yes. In my prime I could do anything with a golf ball I wanted. No man scared me on the golf course.

I detest the fact that I endorsed cigarettes years ago; I didn’t even smoke. Lucky Strikes, Viceroys, Chesterfields, Granger Pipe tobacco—I endorsed them all. At The Greenbrier they had those ads on the walls as decoration. I made them take them all down.

I have a reputation for being tight with money, and I guess it’s accurate. But I can’t help it. The biggest Christmas I had as a kid was when I found 15 cents and a pair of socks under my breakfast plate. Poverty will make you respect money.

When Ben Hogan died, I said it felt like I’d lost a brother. Some people didn’t understand that, because Ben and I never socialized and rarely talked. But we were like brothers, because we both made the other guy better.
Snead’s longevity was legendary. Sam won his first of 82 PGA Tour events in 1937 and his last in 1965. He was also pretty efficient on his home turf, winning the West Virginia Open 17 times, his first in 1936 and 17th in 1973, a span of 37 years. Wow.

Sam Snead at The Greenbrier: A historical photo gallery

−The Armchair Golfer

Wednesday, July 28

2010 Women’s British Open TV Schedule and Tournament Notes

THE 2010 WOMEN’S BRITISH OPEN begins on Thursday at Royal Birkdale Golf Club in Southport, England.

Purse: $2.5 million
Defending champion: Catriona Matthew

Tournament preview
Final field
Royal Birkdale course info
Tournament website
Tournament history

Women’s British Open Leaderboard

Golfweek Staff Picks

Beth Ann Baldry: Winner: Na Yeon Choi. After missing the cut in her first LPGA event at the Wegmans LPGA Championship last month, Choi has gone 1-2-2 in her last three events. Sleeper: Azahara Munoz. Spanish rookie has impressed thus far, finishing T-11 and T-19 in her two major starts.

Alistair Tait: Winner: Jeong Jang. She won around this course five years ago and hasn’t won since. She’s due. Sleeper: Melissa Reid. The 22-year-old English player is Britain’s next big hope.


Twelve hours of TV coverage are scheduled for the 2010 Women’s British Open.

Thurs, Jul 29
ESPN 9:00-11:59 AM ET

Fri, Jul 30
ESPN 9:00-11:59 AM ET

Sat, Jul 31
ESPN 10:00-1:00 PM ET

Sun, Aug 01
ESPN 10:00-1:00 PM ET

−The Armchair Golfer

(Image: Richard Carter/Flickr)

Tuesday, July 27

Old Tom Morris Descendant Decries Modern Game

Editor’s note: Melvyn Morrow wants the game of golf back, and he wrote me a month ago to share a few of his views. “What right do I have to hold these views?” he wrote. “Just the same rights as all others, but also based upon over 250 years of my family playing golf at St. Andrews and the blood of Old Tom in my veins.”

By Melvyn Morrow

WE ARE IN THE MIDDLE of a war for the heart and soul of the game of golf, yet very few are aware of, or for that matter care about, the game’s core values.

The game of golf is a walking, thinking game that requires the players to have “a good eye, lasting power as a walker, nicety of calculation, and, above all, good temper.” The quote was printed in The Scotsman under the heading of “The Spread of Golf” from 1890.

(Photo: The Road Hole at St. Andrews / courtesy of Melvyn Morrow)

Just how much has been sacrificed at the altar of laziness? Golfers talk openly of non-walking courses, using carts instead of walking, and using outside aids to replace brains and eye coordination, both of which in times past have contributed to the challenge and pleasure of playing the game of golf.

Riding when golfers can walk changes the game. No longer will their bodies and minds be tested under the pressure of exertion. There are also yardage books and electronic aids to help poor limited-minded golfers decide which club to use.

Why do golfers put themselves through these hoops every hole, every round, and every time they play their type of golf? Why bother at all, as clearly they are not in control when deciding which club to use? Their toys are doing it while they remain cool and shaded on their cart.

Ladies and gentlemen, that’s not golf.

Golf is a walking and thinking game. But once golfers step foot off the fairway they are no longer involved in the game, and when they let outside aids assist in club choice, just where is the pleasure of self-achievement? Because they did not do it by themselves.

The war is not yet lost. Look around and you will find many golfers walking, some regrettably using distance aids, but still willing to use their limbs. So perhaps in time they may realise they need to use the old grey cells before they too decide to fade for lack of use. The choice is, of course, down to each individual as our governing bodies are already crippled with indecision, perhaps the result of a total lack of use over the last 100 years or so.

In closing, those who are walking and thinking—not using any form of outside aid—are playing a game called golf.

Melvyn Morrow is the great, great grandson of four-time Open champion Old Tom Morris. Read more about him in The Scotsman.

Monday, July 26

Fitness Ruined Carl Pettersson’s Golf Game

CARL PETTERSSON CHASED DOWN Dean Wilson on the back nine Sunday to win the RBC Canadian Open, his fourth PGA Tour title and a nice comeback for a good player who struggled in 2009. Pettersson made the cut on the number and then posted a 60 in the third round. Not much was happening on Sunday until the North Carolina resident got to the 8th and then bang, a birdie, followed by five more birdies on the next six holes.

Pettersson said he was a consistent top-30 money winner on the PGA Tour until he decided to try to take things up a notch. He looked in the mirror and saw Mr. Pudgy. Maybe getting in better shape would help him improve his game, he reasoned.

“I thought, well, I’ll get fit,” Carl said. “So I actually lost 30 pounds, and my game completely left me.”

Don’t head off to the fridge just yet. There’s more.

“I guess the timing of the swing and everything was thrown out,” he added, “and I really struggled in ’09.”

That makes sense to me. It’s happened to other players. David Duval comes to mind.

Whether the swing, equipment, putting, mental game, or, in Pettersson’s case, fitness, there’s not a one-size-fits-all answer for this crazy game. Look for Carl in the buffet line rather than the fitness trailer.

“I’m not your typical Swede, as you know. I don’t have a 28-inch waist, and I don’t eat bananas at the turn, stuff like that.”

The workouts didn’t work out. But that’s OK, because now his game is coming back and he’s the Canadian Open champion.

“You know, I’d love to be fitter,” Carl said, “but I’m not going to go down that road again.”

−The Armchair Golfer

(Quotes via ASAP Sports at RBC Canadian Open)

Sunday, July 25

Golf’s Would-Be King

I WAS GLANCING AT SI’s Fortunate 50 List, the 50 highest-earning American athletes. As you surely know, Tiger Woods still holds down the top spot despite his troubles off the course. Tiger rakes in a little over $90 million in on- and off-course income. The runner-up, or No. 2 man, is Phil Mickelson at nearly $62 million.

Poor Phil. No. 2 in the world golf rankings. No. 2 in earnings. Always second best, it seems. The misfortune of playing in the Tiger Woods era. I remember once reading a quote from Nick Faldo that went something like, “Thank God my prime ended about the time Tiger came along.”

(Photo: Phil and Bones / Julie Campbell, Flickr)

For all the grief Phil has gotten for not winning more—some of it earned—his career has been very good and would have been head and shoulders above most everyone in some past eras. For example, when players like Fred Couples, Greg Norman and Nick Price were considered to be the cream of golf. (I have to put Faldo ahead of Phil based on majors, although Lefty still has time to win a couple of more.)

Phil is no Tiger. From things I’ve heard him say over the years, I think he has made peace with that. It’s the Tiger era, but if Phil would have come along a little earlier golf would have been his oyster.

Here’s how Phil’s $61,660,757 breaks down: $9,660,757 from salary/winnings and $52,000,000 from endorsements. Callaway Golf, KPMG, Barclays, Grayhawk Golf Club and Rolex are his major sponsors.

−The Armchair Golfer

LPGA Getaway on the Greens Sweepstakes

I DON'T KNOW WHERE you live, but California is much nicer in March than a lot of places so I thought I should alert you to a sweepstakes opportunity that landed in my email inbox. The LPGA Getaway on the Greens Sweepstakes is made possible by Mirassou Winery, the LPGA and Callaway. Following are a few details about the prizes.

One (1) Grand Prize Winner and a guest will receive roundtrip airfare to California and Clubhouse passes to the KIA Classic Presented by J Golf in March, 2011. The Grand Prize winner and a guest will also enjoy:

• VIP accommodations and spa treatments
• VIP LPGA experiences at the tournament, including event access and meeting LPGA Tour members
• A Calloway VIP Custom Fitting Experience, with both winner and guest to receive a set of custom fitted clubs
• Dinner with 6th Generation of America’s Oldest Winemaking Family, David Mirassou

There will also be Three (3) First Prize Winners who will be flown to the event and Ten (10) Second Prize Winners who will receive autographed LPGA merchandise.

More info and how to enter

−The Armchair Golfer

Saturday, July 24

Name the Player Practicing in the Bunker

BECAUSE MANY OF YOU have aced “Name the Player” time and time again, there was only one thing to do: try to make it harder. It hasn’t worked so far. Take a look at the above tour pro thumping shots out of the bunker. Does he look familiar?

Maybe this one is slightly more difficult. No hints. You’re on your own. Who do you think it is?

−The Armchair Golfer

Other “Name the Players”:
Name the Player Along on the Range
Name the Player at the LPGA Championship
Name the Player Signing the Deal in 1971
Name the Player at TPC Sawgrass
Name the Player Based on the Shoes and Footwork

(Image: Jeff Wallen/Flickr)

Thursday, July 22

Anybody Seen a Missing Olympic Gold Medal for Golf?

GOLF WILL BECOME AN Olympic sport in 2016 for the first time in more than a century. In the meantime, folks are looking for the gold medal from the 1904 Olympic Games in St. Louis, the AP reported.

A Canadian named George Lyon won the gold in that Olympics, the only time golf was contested in the international games. That was 106 years ago, so I’m thinking the trail might be a tad cold. The Canadian Golf Hall of Fame is making a documentary about Lyon’s victory, hoping the exposure might aid the search for the long-lost medal.

Museum director Karen Howison said the gold medal was “one of the most important golf artifacts in the world.” The documentary is scheduled to be complete by 2014, two years in advance of the Rio de Janeiro Games.

By the way, Lyon beat American Chandler Eagen in a 12-round competition over six days. Eagen was awarded the silver, and guess what? It’s lost, too.

Note to 2016 Olympic medal winners in golf: safety deposit box.

−The Armchair Golfer

Wednesday, July 21

Doug Sanders and the Freight Train Shot

I WAS READING SHANE’S piece on Doug Sanders over at Dogs That Chase Cars and it got me thinking about the man who missed a 30-inch putt on the final green at the Old Course and went on to lose the 1971 British Open to Jack Nicklaus in an 18-hole playoff. I’ve seen Sanders on the Grand Champions circuit on several occasions over the last few years and let’s just say he’s as colorful as ever.

(Note: Sanders was ranked No. 4 in’s Top 10 Best Dressed Golfers. The shoes always matched.)

The following anecdote from a Golf Digest feature on Sanders reminded me of Miguel Angel Jimenez’s now famous carom shot off the rock wall at the Road Hole.
In a money game at Cedartown one day, a guy named Dallas Weaver found his ball behind a tree. A lot of money was riding. We thought he was dead. There were train tracks running by our course, and just then a freight train came through. Dallas Weaver turned sideways, took some kind of low iron and banked a ball off the side of a freight car and almost onto the green. That was 50 years ago, and I’ve never seen anyone top that shot.
Sanders is a piece of work. Read more of the Golf Digest story on Sanders and stock up on a month’s worth of golf anecdotes.

−The Armchair Golfer

(Image: Scott Butner/Flickr)

Tuesday, July 20

Rory’s New Wave Band

Editor’s note: Brian Keogh is a golf correspondent for The Irish Sun and a regular contributor to The Irish Times, Golf Digest Ireland and other golf publications. The following piece is excerpted from his blog, Irish Golf Desk. 

By Brian Keogh

RORY MCILROY WILL LEAD a hungry new generation of European young guns to Wisconsin in search of US PGA glory next month. The Holywood star, 21, bounced back brilliantly from his nightmare 80 in The Open to share third place behind stablemate Louis Oosthuizen.

And McIlroy’s manager Chubby Chandler reckons his young superstar is at the vanguard of a new wave of European talent set to sweep all before them in the same way that Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo, Sandy Lyle, Bernhard Langer and Ian Woosnam dominated golf in the 80s and early 90s.

Chandler said: “After major wins by Graeme McDowell and Louis Oosthuizen, there will be a whole bunch of European Tour players going to Whistling Straits for the US PGA believing they can win.

“The days when Europeans looked uncomfortable leading majors seem to have gone. And it’s not just four or five players any more like it was in the 80s and 90s—there are 25 of them now who are going to the US PGA to win.

“Rory did great to finish third in the Open with an 80 in the second round. It was a really great comeback and I don’t think what happened on Friday will make any difference to him. He knows exactly where he is going in the game and this is just a step along the way.”

McIlroy must believe he is heading for greatness and his rivals can only pray that he doesn’t address the weaknesses in his game. At St. Andrews, as the American writer Dan Jenkins pointed out over a cigarette on Saturday, McIlroy was too young to realise that a 75 was a good score on Friday afternoon.

“He learned something every day at St Andrews,” Chandler said as his ISM stable celebrated its first major win on Monday. “Day one—he led a major by two. Day two he takes 80 after getting knocked out of his rhythm by the weather delay. He won’t do that very often when he’s leading majors.

“He came back unbelievably well on the last two days to finish third so there are more positives than negatives for Rory. He now knows that you don’t go out and win a major first time, like Louis has done. Normally you have to earn it—just look at what Lee [Westwood] is going through.”

Brian Keogh covers golf for The Irish Sun and contributes to a variety of golf publications. Pay him a visit at Irish Golf Desk.

Monday, July 19

Oosthuizen Joins Venerable South African Open Champions

IT MUST BE SINKING in for Louis Oosthuizen. Not only is his name engraved on the Claret Jug along with golf’s greatest players, Louis has added himself to the esteemed list of Open champions from the Republic of South Africa.

They include Bobby Locke, Gary Player, Ernie Els and now the low-key, machine-like Oosthuizen.

(Photo: The great Bobby Locke.)

Between 1949 and 1957, Locke won four Open titles. Some of the old-time pros have told me that Locke was the greatest putter they ever saw. After playing exhibition matches with Locke, Sam Snead told the South African he ought to come to America. Sam said his peers ended up mad at him because Locke took Sam’s advice and not long after took home a lot of money from the States.

A nine-time major winner, Player won three Open Championships over a 15-year span. Gary could keep the ball low and was a short-game magician, including one of the greatest bunker players of all time.

Els won his Claret Jug in 2002 at Muirfield and couldn’t be prouder of Oosthuizen. Louis got a jump start in golf through Els’ foundation. Today Ernie wrote about the newest South African champion in his weekly diary:
I take great pleasure in congratulating Louis Oosthuizen on his fantastic victory. Honestly, it could not have happened to a better person. I played a practice round with him last Sunday and, typically for him, he didn’t give himself a chance. He is a quiet and unassuming guy, but he has shown everyone what a great champion he is.
In closing, Ernie added:
I’m so pleased for Louis and, as I said before, it couldn’t have happened to a better person. As Open Champion his life will change, but he won’t. He’s simply a wonderful kid and what he’s done will inspire so many young kids back home in South Africa.
As Mike of Ruthless Golf has been saying since springtime, here come the South Africans.

−The Armchair Golfer

Sunday, July 18

Shrek V Plods Along But Has Happy Ending

CONGRATULATIONS, LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN. You amazed me. If Tiger, or Phil, or Lee, or Ernie, or Rory, or (fill in the blank) shot 16 under on the Old Course and won The Open Championship by seven strokes, the world would be at his feet.

I have to ask: Did you really know it was The Open Championship? I heard you mention it several times, but I still can’t help but wonder. Few untested players drop in on golf’s oldest major and make it look like they won their fourth consecutive men’s club championship.

They call you “Shrek,” so I’m going to run with the Shrek angle because I still can’t make sense of what I saw. I just can’t. I mean you no disrespect, but it seemed like pure fantasy. 200-1 odds and all that stuff about your name. My apologies in advance.

You were an ogre. You ogre-handled the field. You made the Old Course your swamp. It looked like Prince Charming (Paul Casey) would try to steal the day but it just wasn’t going to happen. Shrek rules! Donkey (your caddie) never left your side and kept you in great spirits. You were smiling and laughing from the outset of the quest. I liked Tiger, Phil and JD cast as the Three Blind Mice because they couldn’t buy a putt.

It was a super plot. Only DreamWorks could come up with something like that. No one was expecting it, a total surprise. If I have a criticism, it’s that the show dragged in the middle. I started wondering when it would end. Here was the problem: You never looked like you were in danger. To be honest, it didn’t seem like Prince Charming (or anyone else) had a chance. It was way too easy. Someone should talk to the writers.

The animation was not up to its usual standards (except for the ball tracer on the Road Hole). Nor was it the funniest Shrek movie I’ve ever seen. Sorry. However, on the plus side, I liked the ending a lot. That closing scene where you kiss Princess Fiona (Nel-Mare) with the baby in her arms was terrific.

I give you a thumbs up, Louis “Shrek” Oosthuizen. I hope there’s a sequel for you.

−The Armchair Golfer

Saturday, July 17

The Unbridled Emotion of Seve Ballesteros

SEVE BALLESTEROS COULDN’T MAKE the trip to St. Andrews for the reunion with 20 some odd other British Open champions. His doctors wouldn’t allow it. His health is too fragile. Nonetheless, there have been many Seve tributes this week, some that could bring a statue to tears. Rightly so.

Anyone who saw Seve play in his prime would no doubt remember his charisma, fieriness, imagination and unbridled emotion. Whether or not he was among someone’s favorites, there was no denying that Seve was a singular player who left his mark on the sport.

The above short clip is Exhibit A. Seve holed out on the final green of the 1984 British Open at the Old Course. He was the year’s champion golfer, his second of three Open crowns, and his reaction was pure joy. It’s a good way to remember him.

−The Armchair Golfer

Friday, July 16

A First Edition of ‘Only at the British Open …’

I WAS DOING OTHER things today and unable to pay much attention to the British Open. Now I’ve been reading up on what I missed and had this thought: The Open Championship is the most unpredictable golf tournament in the world, just downright nutty. Anything can happen, thanks mostly to the Jekyll and Hyde weather.

So how about a quick edition of “Only at the British Open …”? It’s the first and may not be the last. Ready? Here we go …

(Photo: Old Tom’s shop in St. Andrews / Son of Groucho, Flickr)

Only at the British Open
would a 21-year-old phenom who shot a record 63 in the first round back it up with an 80.

Only at the British Open
would John Daly take a swing at a potted plant after signing for a 76. (On second thought, that could happen anywhere.)

Only at the British Open
would the wind go from 0 to 50 mph in nothing flat and completely switch directions in the middle of rounds.

Only at the British Open would a South African nicknamed “Shrek” set a 36-hole scoring record and lead by five.

Only at the British Open would old-guy champions Mark Calcavecchia and Tom Lehman sneak into contention, a la Tom Watson. “The old guys can hang with the young guys,” Calc said.

Only at the British Open
do they talk ad nauseam about the “draw.”

Only at the British Open are greens slower than LA freeways one day and have balls blowing off them the next.

And finally, only at the British Open
would Tigers Woods wave Tom Watson (who has been very critical of Woods) up on the 18th hole so the five-time Open champion could have his final moment in front of adoring fans before darkness fell. (Nicely done, Tiger.)

I’ll be watching on Saturday and Sunday because, well, anything can happen and I don’t want to miss it when it does.

−The Armchair Golfer

Exclusive Q&A: The Weather Talks Open Championship

Thursday, July 15

Marshall Faulk Scores Ace at American Century Championship

MARSHALL FAULK AND I have two things in common: We’re both San Diego State grads and we’ve both made a hole-in-one. (Although Marshall made his ace on TV. Showoff.)

If celebrity golf is your thing, the American Century Championship begins tomorrow in the Lake Tahoe area. Hank Haney students Charles Barkley and Ray Romano are playing, as are Tony Romo, Don Cheadle, Michael Jordan, Ray Allen and many others. More info

Play with the stars in 2011: Enter the 2011 Celeb-Am Golf Sweepstakes for a chance to win two player spots for the July 12, 2011 round, as well as a two-night stay in South Lake Tahoe and two player gift bags. There also will be other prizes awarded. To enter the sweepstakes, visit

American Century Championship TV Schedule:
Friday, July 16 - ESPN 2, 7-9 p.m. ET (tape delay)
Saturday, July 17 - NBC, 3-6 p.m. ET (live)
Sunday, July 18 - NBC, 3-6 p.m. ET (live)

−The Armchair Golfer

Wednesday, July 14

Exclusive Q&A: The Weather Talks Open Championship

IN AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW, the Weather spoke to ARMCHAIR GOLF about Open Championship week, including some hints on what to expect the next four days at the Old Course.

Q: Thanks for doing this.


Q: Everybody was talking about you today.

WEATHER: I’m used to it (chuckling). It’s raining sideways. I’ve heard that one since Old Tom was knocking wine-bottle corks through the streets of St. Andrews. The American press is particularly amusing. All that rot about this is what summer is like in Scotland.

Q. Does the talk bother you?

WEATHER: Not at all. I actually look forward to it. Mid July is always highlighted on my calendar, a very special week for me.

Q: Can you tell us which players are most flustered by you?

WEATHER: No, I’d rather not. It’s not sporting. Sorry.

Q: But you know who they are.

WEATHER: Oh, sure. I can always tell. Watch closely and you’ll see. The body language, the crazy shots, the slammed clubs. I really get into some players’ heads.

Q: This field is made up of 156 of the world’s top players. Wouldn’t you agree that most have played championship golf in all kinds of conditions?

WEATHER: Many of the players talk a great game. They talk about Open experience, their preparation, how they love links golf in a stiff breeze, playing the ball on the ground, the bounces, good and bad. It’s total rubbish. The truth is, I scare the FootJoys off them. They’re little boys who want their mums.

Q: I don’t know how to ask this.

WEATHER: Just go ahead.

Q: Do you have a strategy?

WEATHER: Not exactly. I show up and things develop from there. Some wind. Some rain. Nothing too complicated. I usually restrain myself somewhat. Most years, it could be a lot worse. At Carnoustie a few years back things got completely out of kilter. I admit it.

Q: Some like you, though. There are those who really thrive on you during Open week.

WEATHER: I do have my share of friends in the R&A. They are always glad to see me and tend to fret if I’m too calm. Most of the others who are fond of me don’t have to play.

Q: The forecast is calling for rain on Thursday, rain and wind on Friday, showers on Saturday, and showers on Sunday.

WEATHER: Weather forecasters. Now there’s a bunch.

Q: Are they wrong?

WEATHER: You’ll have to watch.

Q: Thanks for taking the time.

WEATHER: My pleasure. Enjoy the Open.

−The Armchair Golfer

(This is an ARMCHAIR GOLF spoof.)

Tuesday, July 13

From Tom Kidd to Tiger Woods: The Open at St. Andrews

The following is an excerpt from THE OPEN: Golf’s Oldest Major, a pictorial history of the championship that includes overview texts. To enter a free drawing for a copy of the hardcover book, email your name and address to

By Donald Steel

© 2009 R&A Championships Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

MOST GOLFERS’ IDEA OF HEAVEN is an Open at St. Andrews. For the players, there is certainly nothing to compare with victory over the Old Course—Jack Nicklaus maintains that “if you want to be remembered, you have to win at St. Andrews.”

There have been suggestions that every Open Championship should be held there so it is no surprise that it has housed more than any other venue. It is no surprise either that, of the three original courses used for The Open, it is the sole survivor. Recently, it has played host ever fifth year.

No course is more public than the Old in the sense that so much is visible of the start and finish from adjacent streets and buildings. The 18th green gives the feeling of being part of the town and, at the climax of an Open, is overlooked by thousands who have paid and a good few hundred who haven’t. Necks are strained from many a window. In the playing sense, it is the course of double fairways, double greens, pot bunkers, and the Road Hole—the most infamous in the world, a combination that golf course architects regard as the blueprint of their art for all students to follow and revere. Not that everyone has stood in awe.

Harry Vardon claimed that the Old is “a good course, but its bunkers are badly placed,” which may explain why none of his six Open victories took place there. George Duncan, on the other hand, remarked, “What I like about the Old Course, is that you play a very good shot and find yourself in a very bad place.” Tiger Woods’s reaction in 2000 was to avoid the bunkers altogether in all four rounds, a forerunner to victory by eight strokes that equaled St. Andrews’ biggest winning margin by J.H. Taylor exactly a hundred years earlier.

Taylor and Woods share with Jack Nicklaus, James Braid and Bob Martin the honour of winning two Opens over the Old Course but two other memories stand out. St. Andrews marked the first and last appearances of Arnold Palmer and the victory in 1964 of Tony Lema, with Palmer’s caddie on loan—one of the most remarkable of all.

Open Championships played at St. Andrews:
1873 / 1876 / 1879 / 1882 / 1885 / 1888 / 1891 / 1895 / 1900 / 1905 / 1910 / 1921 / 1927 / 1933 / 1939 / 1946 / 1955 / 1957 / 1960 / 1964 / 1970 / 1978 / 1984 / 1990 / 1995 / 2000 / 2005 / 2010

Monday, July 12

2010 British Open TV Schedule and Tournament Notes

THE 2010 BRITISH OPEN, the 139th edition of golf’s oldest major, gets underway on Thursday at the St. Andrews Links (Old Course) in Fife, Scotland. Stewart Cink defends in an international field of 156 players.

Purse: $7 million
Winner’s share: $1.22 million (approx)
Defending champion: Stewart Cink

Inside the field
Player interviews
Player bios
Old Course scorecard and hole-by-hole profile
Open Championship news
Open Championship on Twitter
Q&A: Steve Williams on the Open prospects of Tiger Woods
Past champions
Open Championship history

2010 British Open Leaderboard


There will be lots of live TV coverage during the 2010 British Open.

United States

Thu, July 15

Fri, July 16

Sat, July 17
ESPN 7 AM-2:30 PM ET

Sun, July 18
ESPN 6 AM-1:30 PM ET

United Kingdom

BBC Two/HD: Thu 15 July, 0900-2000 BST - live first round action
BBC Two/HD: Fri 16 July, 0900-2000 BST - live second round action
BBC One/HD: Sat 17 July, 1000-1200 BST - live third round action
BBC One/HD: Sat 17 July, 1210-1715 BST - live third round action
BBC Two/HD: Sat 17 July, 1715-1930 BST - live third round action
BBC Two/HD: Sun 18 July, 1100-1245 BST - live final round action
BBC Two/HD: Sun 18 July, 1245-2000 BST - live final round action

Red Button coverage:
Thu 15 July: 0900-1900 - live coverage, leaderboard and holes 9-11
Fri 16 July: 0900-1900 - live coverage, leaderboard and holes 9-11
Sat 17 July: 1000-1930 - live coverage, leaderboard and holes 9-11
Sun 18 July: 1100-2000 - live coverage, leaderboard and holes 9-11


Thu, July 15

Fri, July 16

Sat, July 17

Sun, July 18


(Australian TV times via Aussie Golfer.)

Thu, July 15
Fox Sports 6 PM-5 AM

Fri, July 16
Fox Sports 6 PM-5 AM

Sat, July 17
Fox Sports 10 PM-4:30 AM

Sun, July 18
Fox Sports 7 PM-4:30 AM

−The Armchair Golfer

(Images: Keith Allison/Flickr)

Sunday, July 11

Creamer Rises to the Top

2010 U.S. Women’s Open Recap
Winner: Paula Creamer
Score: 3 under, 281 (72, 70, 70, 69)
Quote: “I believed I could do this.”
Fact: She didn’t watch leaderboards.
Thought: Mental toughness wins majors.

PAULA CREAMER IS A major champion. What so many have long expected since the talented California native turned professional five years ago finally came to pass today under blue skies at Oakmont Country Club in western Pennsylvania. She is only 23, but doesn’t it seem that Paula has been grinding for that first major victory for quite a while?

Count me among those who were thoroughly impressed by Creamer’s performance. I know Oakmont was playing soft after the heavy rain on Friday. It’s still Oakmont, though. Playing through pain in the aftermath of surgery to her left thumb, Paula was the only player in red numbers for 72 holes, shooting 3-under par to win by four strokes over Na Yeon Choi and Suzanne Pettersen. She saved her best round for last, a 2-under 69.

Few players have a four-shot cushion when they play the final hole of a U.S. Open (a dream scenario and then you wake up), but apparently Creamer didn’t know it. Paula said afterwards that she didn’t look at a leaderboard until the 18th green.

“That was a goal of mine,” she said, “to just go and play the golf course, and if somebody played awesome, then somebody did. I didn’t want to change my game plan.”

How do you explain a first major after so much adversity and such a long layoff? Paula was obviously not at anywhere near her best physically—she could only hit 40 balls in warm up, winced in pain on the course, and told the press she was about 60 percent. She had only played four events coming into the national championship, missing the cut last week at the Jamie Farr Classic.

“It just shows,” Paula said, “how much the mental side of golf can really take over.”

There’s also the experience and maturity Creamer gained from disappointments at the last two U.S. Women’s Opens at Interlachen and Saucon Valley. And there’s the putting, which this time was superb on Oakmont’s crazy fast and undulating greens.

Because of Paula’s extreme popularity—and because an American has won the U.S. Women’s Open—this is bound to be a huge lift for women’s golf and the LPGA Tour. With Annika Sorenstam and Lorena Ochoa gone, the game needs star power, and Paula has it in mega-wattage. Now she also has her first of what may be many majors.

−The Armchair Golfer

(Image: Keith Allison/Flickr)

Saturday, July 10

Common Courses: Bethpage Red

They’re not Pebble, Bandon, Kiawah, or Pinehurst. Common courses are the modest 9- and 18-hole munis and semi-private clubs that most golfers play. Although this one, contributed by A.J. Voelpel, is arguably not all that common.

By A.J. Voelpel

WELCOME TO BETHPAGE STATE PARK, home to more doglegs than Cruella De Vil’s closet.

It is here, obviously, where you’ll find the famed Black course—a two-time host of our nation’s greatest championship. What you may not be aware of is that the Black, such a prominent collection of 18 holes, hangs storm clouds over a neighboring course that’s nearly as difficult. A par-70 track that annually hosts the Long Island Open. I’m talking cold blood and broken hearts … all things colored Bethpage Red.

It’s no coincidence that the intelligence over at included the Red in their list of “America’s Most Underrated Golf Courses.” And there’s no denying the Red’s claim to fame; it dons arguably the most challenging starting hole from Queens to Montauk. The brutal opener even runs parallel to the 18th of the Black, like a pre-bout stare down. Little brother has never shied away from a fight.

The 471-yard par-4 demands a ruler-straight drive into the short grass, avoiding the gnarly fescue to the left and Jones Beach to the right. The second shot will be long, unless Bubba Watson snuck in a celebrity shot. From 100 yards out, the fairway begins to climb up a steep hill—which is generally reserved for sledding in the winter—and ends atop a vast green. Club-catching rough armors a surface that runs primarily back to front. Take a five and run, because the Red starts barking on the next tee.

Okay, deep breath: The par-4 2nd turns swiftly right to left, the 3rd and 5th (the only par-5 on the front) swiftly left to right, and then the 6th fairway nearly makes a u-turn, without signaling, to a newly tilted green. No. 9—the No. 1 handicapped hole—plays just under 466 from the tips, and also bends sharply to the left. The tendency on the tee is to go right. Do that and you’ll face another humbling approach.

Long Back Nine

Exhale. After going out in just under 3,400 yards, the (dare I say) “simple” part is over. Now quickly inhale once again! The back nine tends to make babies cry; five of the six par-4s extend over 462 yards from the back tees. The loner is the split-fairway, 400-yard par-4 13th. If the wind isn’t howling, it’s your best chance for a birdie.

Both No. 10 and 11 turn directly to the right. The 466-yard 14th cuts to the left and the 482-yard monster 15th rises uphill and turns to the right. The 560-yard par-5 16th turns 90 degrees to the right also. However, if you carry the corner (about 285 yards), you’ll chop the distance in half. The second shot is normally a layup, especially with the delicate, lumpy green.

Dizzy yet? Well the par-3 17th offers a break from length and angle and is only a buck 60ish, straightaway. Two large bunkers guard the front of a fairly accessible green. A two is absolutely within reason.

A few years back, the 18th tee box was extended some 50 yards, being mutated into a daunting finishing hole, much to the contrary of the its Black counterpart. A downhill tee shot must carry at least 260 to have a mid-iron approach in. The amphitheater setting around the giant green was mentioned as a potential replacement finisher to the Black for last year’s U.S. Open. The putting surface runs quickly back to front, left to right, so position is key for a two putt.

Tour Worthy

With the remarkable condition the park keeps the Red in, it’s only a matter of time before a PGA or LPGA tournament stops by for a visit. In the meantime, make a visit to Bethpage for yourself. Play the Black in the morning and follow it with a dance on the Red.

Then go to sleep and don’t wake up for the next six days.

A.J. Voelpel is an avid golfer and the editor of West Islip Patch. He lives in Westbury, New York.

More common courses:
Mangrove Bay Golf Course
Balboa Park Golf Course
Desert Aire Golf Course

(Image: Joe Shlabotnik/Flickr)

Friday, July 9

Name the Player Alone on the Range

BECAUSE MANY OF YOU have aced “Name the Player” time and time again, there was only one thing to do: try to make it harder. Now I wonder if I have. Take a look at the above tour pro. Does he look familiar? Do you recognize the finish?

Maybe, just maybe, this one is a bit more difficult. No hints. At least not yet. You’re on your own. Who do you think it is?

−The Armchair Golfer

Other “Name the Players”:
Name the Player at the LPGA Championship
Name the Player Signing the Deal in 1971
Name the Player at TPC Sawgrass
Name the Player Based on the Shoes and Footwork

(Image: ltbeyer/Flickr)

Thursday, July 8

Paul Goydos Video: The Approach Shot and Putt for 59

I MIGHT HAVE KNOCKED that putt into the pond. I love Paul’s reaction. He seems so nonchalant. Hey, Goydos. YOU SHOT 59!! Can you give us a fist pump like David Duval? Something?

It must be weird to know that no matter how well you play tomorrow you will shoot a higher score. Unless ... naaaah.

−The Armchair Golfer

2010 U.S. Women’s Open TV Schedule and Tournament Notes

THE 2010 U.S. Women’s Open is underway at Oakmont Country Club outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Brittany Lang is the first-round leader after shooting a 2-under 69.

Purse: $3.25 million
Defending champion: Eun-Hee Ji

Tournament preview
Final field
Oakmont course info and map
Tournament website
Tournament history

2010 U.S. Women’s Open Leaderboard senior writer Randell Mell
Mell says: “Cristie Kerr, coming off her 12-shot romp at the LPGA Championship, is the overwhelming favorite. She isn’t a true bomber, but she’s one of the longest straight hitters on tour. What sets her apart is a velvet putting touch, maybe the best on tour. If she can win this week, she solidifies her legitimacy as the No. 1 player in the women’s game and begins a run to succeed Annika Sorenstam and Lorena Ochoa as the LPGA’s next dominant player.”


Fourteen hours of TV coverage are scheduled for the 2010 U.S. Women’s Open.

Thurs, July 8
3:00-7:00 PM ET ESPN2

Fri, July 9
3:00-7:00 PM ET ESPN2

Sat, July 10
3:00-6:00 PM ET NBC

Sun, July 11
3:00-6:00 PM ET NBC

−The Armchair Golfer

Wednesday, July 7

Oakmont Is Cage Fighting in Fashionable Clothing

THE USGA’S COURSE SETUP MAN Mike Davis is “giddy” about course conditions at Oakmont Country Club heading into this week’s U.S. Women’s Open near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Giddy, I tell you.

“I am truly giddy the whole week that I’m here. It’s just so good,” Davis said at “In fact, it’s perfect [and] it’s been that way the last five days we’ve been here.”

This might not be good news for the women who must actually play Oakmont for 72 holes over four days. When the USGA man declares that Oakmont is a firm and fast test for the world’s best female golfers, you just know there’s going to be trouble—and lots of it. Some are predicting scores in the 90s and a cut at 12-over par.

Here’s what I know about Oakmont after watching the boys play it since the late 20th century: It will seriously mess you up. It will blacken your eye and bloody your nose. It will spit in your face and kick you in the groin. It will beat you up, take your lunch money and steal your identity. Oakmont is cage fighting in fashionable clothing.

If you have a bag and 14 sticks, Oakmont doesn’t like you. If you come near it, it will try to destroy you. Oakmont is Lee Van Cleef in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and Clint Eastwood in The Outlaw Josey Wales. Oakmont is Alien, The Terminator and Predator.

Oakmont does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, or political beliefs. Man, woman, child—Oakmont doesn’t care. It whips all comers.

If you complain, whine, or cry about it, Oakmont gets stronger. If you talk to yourself, toss your club in disgust, or berate your caddie, Oakmont gets stronger. When—not if—when you make bogeys, double bogeys and “others,” Oakmont gets stronger.

Oakmont is permanently in a surly mood, and has been dating back to 1973 (if not longer). That’s when golden boy Johnny Miller slipped by Oakmont without so much as a tear in his plaid slacks or a scuff on his red, white and blue patent leather golf shoes. Johnny walked away with a 63 and the U.S. Open trophy, and he’s been reminding people about it for the last 37 years. Oakmont has been taking it out on golfers just as long.

Godspeed, ladies.

−The Armchair Golfer

(Image: StonehouseGolf/Flickr)

Tuesday, July 6

The Odd and Fragile Life of the Tour Caddie

Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from Whiffling Straits, a golf blog authored by Mike Zimmerman.

By Mike Zimmerman

DURING THE FATHER’S DAY blowout at the House of Whiffle that kept me from fully engaging in the final round of the 2010 U.S. Open, I had an interesting discussion with my sister-in-law. Though she’s not a golfer, she was curious about the events unfolding on the TV in the kitchen (where I was in charge of the food preparation). In particular, she was asking about the role of the caddie.

“Do the players have their own regular caddies, or do they have different ones every week?”

Most full-time tour pros have their own caddies who travel with them, I explained. Though they sometimes change from time to time.

“Do they tell them which club to use?”

Not exactly, but they do usually provide input. And certainly the yardages. A lot of it depends on the player, and how much he expects from the caddie, and what kind of a relationship the two of them have.

“Is the caddie like a coach?”

Well, a little bit, sometimes. They won’t typically give the player advice on their swing, but they often help them read the green and make strategy decisions. More than anything—again, depending on the player—they’re like an on-course sports psychologist. At least the good ones are.

Blame and Shame at Pebble Beach

After the tournament, a couple of caddies got some extra attention in the press: Steve Williams, because of how Tiger Woods seemed to blame him, at least in part, for a couple of poor decisions made during Sunday’s disappointing final round; and Bobby Brown, Dustin Johnson’s caddie. Brown’s role was notable because he had previously spent three years as a full-time caddie at Pebble Beach—and because Johnson had won the two previous AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am titles. Certainly, it seemed their combined experience at the famous course would help Johnson carry the day on Sunday.

But, as we all now know, it was not to be. Johnson, who began the day with a three-shot lead, shot a disastrous 82 to finish in a tie for 8th.

Williams was typically mum. But Brown later spoke to the Monterey Herald about his player’s ill-fated left-handed chip on the second hole:
“I was a little bit shocked to see him go at that thing left-handed, because the first thing I thought he was going to do was take an unplayable, or chip it back into the bunker,” Brown said. “It all happened so fast. I was about ready to say something, and he kind of told me to get out of the way and said, ‘I got this.’ At that point, you kind of get out of the way. Maybe next time I won’t get out of the way. I’m not sure.”
How hard should a caddie push when he thinks his golfer is making a bad decision?

Bones Lets Phil Be Phil

If Jim “Bones” Mackay had gotten his way at Augusta earlier this year, Phil Mickelson would have laid up on that now-famous 6-iron from between the trees on 13. But Bones has been with Phil ever since he turned pro in 1992, and he knows by now just how hard to push—and when to step back and say, “OK, you’re the boss. Now give it a good rip!”

Edwards Curses Watson

In the Golf Channel documentary “Caddy for Life” (based on the book by John Feinstein), Tom Watson tells of a time when his long-time caddie Bruce Edwards cursed him out in the middle of the round.

It seems a discouraged Watson was dithering about whether to go for it or lay up on a par 5. Edwards felt strongly that Watson should do the former—and that his golfer needed a good kick in the pants, as well! So Edwards read him the riot act (including a few expletives), threw Watson’s 7-iron and 3-wood at his feet, and then stormed down the fairway with the bag, leaving Watson to make up his own dang mind.

Again, it takes a special relationship for something like this to transpire—without a subsequent termination.

The Caddie’s Dilemma

Maybe Brown should not have been so quick to “get out of the way” on the second hole. But it’s impossible to say. If he had talked Johnson into trying something different and it hadn’t worked out, it might have rattled Johnson just as much. It’s kind of a no-win situation: Caddies are often quick to get the blame but rarely get proper credit when they contribute to a win.

Swing coach? No. Sports psychologist? Absolutely. Scapegoat? Sometimes. No doubt about it, a successful tour caddie is a special breed.

Mike Zimmerman is a writer who lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Visit his golf blog, Whiffling Straits.

(Image: nsaplayer/Flickr)

Monday, July 5

17 Long Years Between Wins for Larry Mize

2010 Montreal Championship Recap
Winner: Larry Mize
Score: 17 under, 199 (67, 68, 64)
Quote: “I’ll take a win anywhere.”
Fact: His middle name is “Hogan.”
Thought: Next win in 2027?

THE LAST TIME LARRY MIZE won on a professional tour he was 34, the same age as Tiger Woods. Mize shot 16 under at the 1993 Buick Open to beat Fuzzy Zoeller by a stroke. It was his second win of the season and his fourth PGA Tour title. One could reasonably expect more wins from Mize, a pretty good if not spectacular player who I remember as a putting and short-game specialist. But more victories didn’t materialize.

So when the 51-year-old Mize watched John Cook miss his 25-foot birdie putt yesterday on the final hole of the Montreal Championship, he was moved to tears. Seventeen years is a long time between wins. Between anything, really.

“Once it happened, it was hard to keep that emotion back,” Mize said. “You know, it’s hard to believe.”

I guess it would be.

Mize got the job done in the final round by firing an 8-under 64 that included seven birdies and an eagle to edge runner-up Cook by a shot.

The attendance at the inaugural Champions Tour event in Quebec was impressive, a total of 54,000 spectators with 22,000 on hand for the final round. Fred Couples, who finished in a five-way tie for fifth, was a definite fan favorite. U.S. Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin continued his good play, finishing in a tie for third with Dan Forsman.

−The Armchair Golfer

Sunday, July 4

Celebrate America with Golf in National Parks

HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY, fellow Americans. I hope you’re having a safe and enjoyable Independence Day weekend. Documentary filmmaker Ken Burns called the national parks America’s best idea in his PBS miniseries by the same name. Brought to my attention by Janeen Driscoll, formerly of the Pinehurst Resort, here’s another good idea: golf in national parks.

If you’re visiting a national park this summer, you might want to pack the golf clubs. Following are a handful of national parks that have one or more golf courses within their boundaries, some constructed nearly a century ago.

Anacostia National Park, District of Columbia
The Langston Golf Course is an 18-hole course that includes a driving range. More info

Yosemite National Park, California
The Yosemite Golf Course is a 9-holer that was built way back in 1918, five years before Bobby Jones won his first major. More info

Glacier National Park, Montana
Glacier Park Lodge Golf Course is also a 9-hole track that has the oldest grass greens in Montana. It was built in 1927 by the Great Northern Railway. More info

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
This is the place to play if you want to maximize yardage on your drives. The altitude at Rocky Mountain National Park ranges from 7,500 to 14,259 feet, and there are three public golf courses to choose from. One is a 9-hole executive course. More info

There are also a large number of golf courses within driving distance of America’s 392 national parks. And if there’s no room for golf clubs in the car because of too much luggage or camping equipment, you can often rent or borrow a set. I’ve been known to do that on occasion.

−The Armchair Golfer

(Image: bingpoint-uk/Flickr)

Friday, July 2

3-Year-Old Boy Hones Game for Q-School

WHEN ALEXIS THOMPSON RECENTLY turned professional to play on the LPGA Tour at the age of 15, some questioned whether she was too young for the rigors of tour life and openly wondered about the potentially damaging attention she might receive. But Thompson is a grizzled veteran compared to a 3-year-old Arizona boy who may enter the PGA Tour’s Qualifying School this fall.

The boy’s agent told ARMCHAIR GOLF in an email that his young client got an even earlier start in golf than Tiger Woods and other golf prodigies. The boy began making arm movements in his mother’s womb that simulated a golf swing and has aspired to play on the PGA Tour since he was 1. That was when he watched Woods beat Rocco Mediate in a 19-hole playoff to win the U.S. Open.

“He’s that good,” the agent said, “and he has a great attitude. Nothing keeps him down for very long.”

One large roadblock that stands in the boy’s way is the PGA Tour’s age rule. A player can enter Q-School at any age but isn’t allowed to become a PGA Tour member until his 18th birthday.

“We’re looking at it and talking to Ponte Vedra,” the agent said. “That’s all I can say right now.”

Apparently, business opportunities are also available. Golf-related companies and mega brands are always on the lookout for the game’s newest star players.

“Several potential sponsors are interested in signing him. He’s a great kid. He really is.”

For now, the boy’s parents and agent are guarding the boy’s identity should they decide to enroll him in preschool and forgo the Q-School bid until he’s 4.

−The Armchair Golfer

(This is an ARMCHAIR GOLF spoof.)

(Image: The Geary’s/Flickr)

Thursday, July 1

Joe Ogilvie and the Dreaded De-Greener

“Last week at Hartford I had two de-greeners, and that’s never a good thing.”
—Joe Ogilvie, on Thursday at the AT&T National

JOE OGILVIE IS PUTTING much better. And that, along with the Fourth of July, is cause for celebration. Because poor putting sucks, especially when you make your living by said putting.

How bad has it been for ol’ Joe? He explained it to the press after carving a 66 out of Aronimink Golf Club for a share of the first-round lead with Arjun Atwal, Jason Day and Nick Watney at the AT&T National.

“Last week at Hartford I had two de-greeners,” Joe said, “and that’s never a good thing, to have one. I usually have one maybe every three years, and to have two in the same tournament—for those of you at home, de-greeners is where you hit the green and putt it off of it.” (Laughter in the media center.)

De-greeners! That’s just perfect. I hadn’t heard that one, but it’s priceless as that credit-card empire likes to say. If Joe and his PGA Tour comrades don’t mind, I will give de-greener the acronym “DG” and file it in the ARMCHAIR GOLF acronym list with my recent addition, “SPD” (Sudden Putting Disaster). Actually, I think they’re cousins.

“So this was a lot better,” Joe said, finishing his thought. “I’m feeling more and more comfortable over my putter.”

And that makes me feel more comfortable. And probably you, too.

−The Armchair Golfer

Paul Lawrie and the Eight-Putt Green