Grouchy Golf Blog

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 9:04 AM

Han Faldo: May the Farce Be with You

Last week, George Lucas released the final Star Wars movie. But for me, it just doesn't come close to any of the movies from the original Star Wars trilogy. Why? I simply don't find any of the characters from the latest trilogy remotely interesting.

One character from the original trilogy that I sorely miss is Han Solo, the charismatic space scoundrel who possessed a wry, sarcastic wit. Han was easily the most entertaining, if not always the most likeable, member of the Rebel Alliance. But he was also the cocky guy who always generated a healthy amount of uneasiness amongst his allies. Having been dumped by Lucas, Han brought his colorful personality and edginess to the ABC Golf broadcast booth.

When you see Han now, you'll notice that not much has changed. While he has altered his name to Han "Faldo", he still looks as he did in Return of the Jedi, albeit with a few more pounds and wrinkles. But interestingly, he now speaks with a British accent. In fact, the more I hear Han on ABC, the more I wonder if he may also be a long lost member of the legendary metal band, Spinal Tap. Nonetheless, I find that it only adds to his witty charm.

His allies were once Luke and Chewie. Now it's Mike and Zinger. But the tensions have not changed. Much of it now lies between Han and Zinger and it can all be traced years ago to the 1987 British Open at Muirfield. Zinger led the tournament through much of the second, third and fourth rounds and he was well poised to win his second major title. But just as the engraver prepared to etch "Paul Azinger" on the Claret Jug, Zinger's wheels fell off. He bogeyed the final two holes to lose the Open by a stroke to Han. After the final putt had been holed, Han quipped to Zinger, "Tough luck, old boy."

Already steamed at practically giving the Open away, Zinger's blood must have really shot past the boiling point with those snide remarks. Talk about adding insult to injury! The whole thing must have scarred Zinger for life and I believe that he has been plotting his revenge ever since. Don't be fooled to think that it was just dumb luck that brought Zinger and his arch nemesis together in the ABC broadcast booth. It's clearly phase one of Zinger's master plan. It will be interesting to see just how Zinger will exact his sweet revenge. Will Zinger find payback through numerous sharp verbal barbs directed at Han over the course of their tenure, or will Zinger just one day try to stuff a sleeve of his Nike One Platinums down Han's throat? The possibilities are endless.

With Han, ABC's golf broadcast team is almost as entertaining as that found at CBS. But that may not last long if Zinger has his way. The real blockbuster this summer will air on ABC starting June 11 at the Booz Allen Classic, Golf Wars: Episode II - Revenge of the Zinger.


Tuesday, May 17, 2005 at 10:17 AM

O'Hair, A Real "Iron-Asshole Bastard"

That's how Marc O'Hair describes himself, according to an article in Golf Digest. And from what I have gathered, he couldn't be more correct.

Marc O'Hair is the father of Sean O'Hair, the 22 year-old PGA Tour rookie who's been playing some great golf on the Tour this year. Last week, Sean made his best appearance ever, capturing sole 2nd place at the EDS Byron Nelson Championship. For that Avis-like finish, Sean breaks into the top-100 of the Official World Golf Ranking at No. 96 and takes home a $669,600 check. Unfortunately, he is contractually bound to give his father $66,960 of those winnings.

Sound bizarre? It's just one of the many terrible things that Marc has imposed on his talented son. I remember first hearing about Marc and Sean a couple of years ago in a "60 Minutes II" segment entitled "The Tiger Formula." The elder O'Hair takes the term "overbearing parent" to a whole new level. He forced a military-like totalitarian regimen upon his poor son in an effort to manufacture a golf superstar. Daddy O'Hair kicked his son out of bed every morning at 5 a.m. to run, practice and lift weights. On top of publicly berating his son in public, Marc devised a system of punishment where Sean was forced to run a mile for making bogeys or finishing over par at tournaments.

I guess that's what happens when you look at your son as a business venture, rather than a person of your own creation. "I was in business 20-plus years and I know how to make a profit," Marc told CBS. "You've got the same old thing - it's material, labor and overhead. He's pretty good labor." Sean explained, "We have never had a father-son relationship. It has always been the investor and the investment."

Marc even made his son sign a contract when he was 17, requiring him to pay Marc 10 percent of his professional earnings for life. "I told him, 'I can't blow this kind of money without a return,' " Marc says. " 'When you make it, there has to be payback someday.' " Real classy.

After a disappointing 2002 season, Sean had enough and told his father that he no longer wanted him to manage his career or his golf game. Removed from life under a dictator, Sean's game blossomed. Instead of feeling proud or even happy for his son, Marc was outraged. He revealed that he intends to send copies of the contract with his son to the media if his son ever finds success on the PGA tour. "As soon as he gets famous, I am going to lower the boom," Marc says. "I am going to show everybody what he did to me. I have no intention of suing him. I intend to crucify him in the media, because what he did to me is not right."

"I feel like a damn fool," Marc says. "I thought I would get every penny back."

Marc, not only are you a fool and an iron-asshole bastard, but you are one of the lowest life forms on this planet. I know people who treat their pet hamsters better than the way you treat your own flesh and blood. David Feherty was spot-on when he called your treatment of Sean "Just sinister. No matter what way you look at it."

Wednesday, May 11, 2005 at 10:32 AM

Golf Tips - The Proper Golf Grip

The first time someone told me to use a strong grip, I gripped the club so hard I almost ripped my glove open.

"No, you idiot," this person told me. "A strong grip means you turn your grip towards the right (for a right-handed golfer)."

"Why the hell is that called a 'strong grip'?"

"I don't know, but it is."

To this day, I still don't know why it's called a strong grip. But whatever the reason, I've learned that a strong grip allows your wrists to hinge properly and squares up the clubface at impact. This is essential to hitting the ball straight with the most distance.

The great Ben Hogan wrote in Five Lessons, The Modern Fundamentals of Golf, "Good golf begins with a good grip...The grip is the heartbeat of the golf swing." I agree with Mr. Hogan and I believe that a proper grip (strong to neutral) is probably the most important fundamental in golf. However, it is also one of the most neglected and ignored, especially over an extended period of inactivity such as the golf off-season. Now that the golf season is finally in full swing around the country, it's important for golfers to pay special attention to their grip as they start playing golf again.

Butch Harmon, the #1 instructor in the world, wrote an article in Golf Digest several months ago about an easy method to achieve the proper grip each and every time. According to Butch, "Always establish your left-hand grip with the club positioned outside your left thigh, your left arm hanging naturally from your shoulder. See how my left hand is turned inward a bit? That’s how nature intended it. All you do now is close your left hand on the club. As for the right hand, it simply joins the left as you move the club in front of your body in preparation for hitting the shot." I would also emphasize that the right hand should be placed on the grip from the side, rather than the top and that the right hand grip should be more along the fingers.

Since I have a tendency to revert to a weak grip, I found Butch's method extremely valuable. It's fast and very easy to do, and I have even integrated it into my pre-shot routine. I recommend that all golfers give Butch's grip drill a try, especially those who have problems with a slice or generating adequate distance. It's amazing how something as simple as the grip can be the solution to many golfers' swing woes.

Here's a video of the man himself showing you how it's done:


Wednesday, May 04, 2005 at 9:34 AM

Viewer Mail! Jorge writes...

The Grouchy Golf Blog welcomes your grouchy golf observations. If you have a grouchy golf observation that you would like to be posted on the Grouchy Golf Blog, please email it to the address in the sidebar. Remember, all submissions become the property of Grouchy Golf Blog. Submissions chosen for publication may be edited for length and clarity.

The following grouchy golf observation was submitted by a grouchy golfer named Jorge. I think that many golfers can relate to his story. Thanks Jorge!

Big Fat Golf Uniform Wearing Moron

There is this this particular guy who practices at the same range I do. The parctice area is not in a nice neighborhood, and is just as casual as it can be. However this guy won't show up to work on what I will generously refer to as his 'game' until he gets his pants ironed, shirt pressed, shoes shined, and visor aligned to perfection.

The short game area at this range is really quite small and can only handle two or three people working at once on their greenside fundamentals. Even with just three people you have to be careful not to interfere with the others there. The big fat golf uniform wearing moron likes to go to the short game area with a duffel bag of balls and stand in the most inconvenient place and chip approximately 100 balls at a time. Then he slowly fetches all 100 of them, moves 3 feet, and starts chipping them again. he likes to pretend he is the only one working in the short game area. When I go there and work on my short game I take 4 balls and move around frequently from pin to pin and to different lies. It's really hard to work with him there simply because on the rare occassion he hits one close to the pin you have to sort through all 100 of his balls in order to find the 4 you are working with.

I have grown to really dislike this guy.

Just yesterday evening I went to hit balls in the early evening. There is a gigantic staff bag set up next to where I make my hitting station. This staff bag is full of a brand new set of Titleist Blades and Vokey Wedges. Good looking clubs. really.

So I hit 8 or 9 balls and warm up. The ground is saturated with water so you have to really keep still and work hard to get good contact and not get splashed. Then out strolls the staff bag owner with a gigantic bucket of balls.

It's the big fat golf uniform wearing moron. He has apparently bought another set of clubs (titleist blades) and has a deluxe new titleist visor as well.

So I am just hitting little shots at a flag about 130 yards away. I am tired and had a hard week and have not worked real hard on golf lately. I am just hitting little 3/4 shots and enjoying the feel. So my boy next to me reaches into his gigantic coffin bag and pulls out a shiny new Titleist blade and starts taking chunks out of the earth the size of a small dog and the ball is quite literally going every bit of 22 feet. Oddly even though the ball is going only 22 feet it is going right, left, topped, shank. My boy had no ball control even at 22 feet. I am kind of happy now watching the big goon struggle. I am about to ask "Hey, you and I ought to go tear up the short game area after you are done with your bucket". But I resist.

I keep switching targets and building a new alignment station and I am hitting lots of balls off of tees because the ground is so very wet. Next door the visor king keeps switching clubs and with each switch his ball striking gets poorer. His searing 22 foot 3 irons are replaced by soft floating 12 foot wedges. His clubs and outfit look so good though. All the "playas' at the range stop in to see him and drool over his new clubs. He gives them the spiel about how workable they are and how easily customized they are due to their soft forging. How the shafts took 3 extra weeks to get installed due to his specs. He refuses to hit any balls in front of his friends, always wandering off to get a water, or to chat with someone else. Then when they depart he comes back to his station and starts again with his wombat practice routine.

Eventually his frustration seems to get the best of him and he disappears into the pro- shop (I guess I can call it that) for a much needed rest. I have about a dozen balls left and have been really pleased with how well I was swinging. I am out of things to work on and I don't want to waste these last 12 balls.....

There is a floodlight on the right side of the range about 160 yards out and 40 feet up. I decide to just hit 6 irons and see if I can hit the aluminum frame of the lighting rig. Maybe hit the actual bulb.....

So I start aiming out to the right and it would be rude if I had a neighbor on the range, but he has gone inside to align his visor and talk swing weights with a homeless guy. So I just start firing right over the wombat's station. And being arrogant and unfriendly has caught up with me because the third ball I catch fat. Like fatter than the wombat has been hitting them. The real bad part is the immense spray of grass, mud, and sand was blocked by wombat's golf bag and Titleist beach towel. Like, brown projectile vomit all over his gear.

I quickly switched targets, finished up, and headed home. I passed wombat as I returned my basket and gave him a nod. I feel awful about it, but no way was I going to use my lucky golf towel to try to clean up his equipment.

Visor wearing prick deserved it anyway.

Next time I see him I am going to hand him some little packs of M&M's and remind him to say trick or treat if he is gonna wear a costume. That moron could not play his way out of a wet paper bag.