Grouchy Golf Blog

Sunday, April 22, 2007 at 11:42 AM

Butch Harmon is Phil Mickelson's Coach. Oh, Sweet Revenge!

"Oldboy," a movie directed by Chan-wook Park, is one of my favorite movies of all-time. The second movie of a revenge-themed trilogy, "Oldboy" is a brilliant tale of the tragic consequences from revenge breeding upon itself. In other words, revenge begets revenge which begets even more revenge, so on and so forth.

If Mr. Park decides to make another revenge flick, he can simply base it on the recent pairing of Butch Harmon with Phil Mickelson. According to the Kojak of Golf, Tim Rosaforte, "...sources have told Golf World the Mickelson-Harmon alliance will be made official before the EDS Byron Nelson Championship in Irving, Texas." While the coaching change is meant to fix Mickelson's wayward driver, it also satisfies the thirst for revenge.

Here is a short summary of the vengeance undertones found in golf's newest coaching relationship:
But the story may not stop here. Of all the coaches that Mickelson could have chosen, he couldn't have picked one that would have irked Rick Smith more than Butch Harmon. They like each other about as much as Kobe and Shaq. Interestingly, Rick Smith could exact revenge against both his former pupil and his coaching arch-nemesis by teaming up with Tiger. Such a scenario would also enable Tiger to exact revenge on his former coach and his top rival. It sounds almost too good to be true, but with rumors circulating that Tiger may now be unhappy with his swing under Haney's tutelage, don't count it out!

It will be interesting to see how all of this plays out. But one thing is clear, the proverb "revenge is a dish best served cold" still holds true.


Tuesday, April 17, 2007 at 12:04 PM

Tiger Woods Juggling Act, Part Deux?

Remember that cool Nike golf commercial where Tiger is bouncing a Platinum One up and down with his wedge without any of that special effects mumbo jumbo?

Well, EA Sports has an interesting take on that concept with Nintendo's virtual reality machine called the Wii. Check out the video:

It's clever, but I enjoy watching a little bit more. Kudos to EA Sports!

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Monday, April 09, 2007 at 11:42 PM

The Tiger-Proofed Masters

This seems to be the consensus opinion on the 2007 Masters:
  1. ” has made Augusta National too difficult
  2. As a result, birdies and eagles were rare, taking the excitement out of the event
  3. Bottom Line: It was a borefest
I must be in the minority, but I thoroughly enjoyed the 71st Masters. Maybe the setup was too difficult for a traditional Masters, but when it comes to tournament golf, I prefer attrition warfare over shootouts. Don’t get me wrong, I do believe that a course can be too difficult. The 2004 U.S. Open at Shinnecock was a prime example of the silliness that can arise from a sadist greenskeeper gone wild. But as long as a golf course is fair, I think that it’s fine. After all, everyone plays on the same course.

The difficult conditions left a wide-open Masters for the final round. On Sunday, Stuart Appleby, Rory Sabbatini, Retief Goosen, Zach Johnson and Tiger Woods all owned a piece of the lead at some point. Call me crazy, but I find such a “neck and neck” competition much more interesting than someone trouncing the field by 5 strokes the entire day.

Unfortunately, there was one key ingredient missing from this year’s Masters that would have made it magical: a classic Tiger charge. We all expected it, but it never came. Uncharacteristically, Tiger lost a final-round lead! However, don’t blame the course for that, Tiger clearly didn’t have his A, B or even C game. But take nothing away from Zach Johnson. He did not fold under the pressure and instead played brilliant golf. Unlike many winners this year, Zach won this tournament.

But imagine if Tiger was his usual self and forced Zach Johnson into a playoff ala Bob May in the PGA Championship circa 2000. Wouldn’t that have been exciting? All of a sudden, this Masters goes down in the history books as one of the best ever. Oh well, I guess Tiger is indeed human. It's either that or the Masters has truly been "Tiger-Proofed." Regardless, I'm just glad that I watched it all unfold on CBS in 100% high def, unlike that treatment.

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Sunday, April 01, 2007 at 4:08 PM

A Golden Tee for Distance?

I recently had the opportunity to chat with Jack Mehoffer, VP of marketing at Hanso Golf, regarding their latest product introduction. It's called "Golden Tees", and they represent the latest in golf tee technology.

Golf Grouch: What are they?

Jack Mehoffer:
In short, Golden Tees provide the lowest Static Coefficient of Friction between a golf ball and a tee. In layman's terms, these tees are scientifically proven to provide the least resistance between the golf ball and tee. As a result, the ball will travel farther.

What does this mean for golfers?

Research conducted by our Head of R&D, Rod Stiffington, indicates that Golden Tees can increase driving distance 10% or more. So a golfer with an average driving distance of 250 yards can expect a 25 yard increase by simply switching to the Golden Tee.

How do they work?

The wooden golf tee has been used universally since its commercial introduction in the 1920s. Unfortunately, the coefficient of friction from wood is very high, especially against the new urethane-covered golf balls. Metals offer much lower coefficients of friction, but you can't make 100% metal golf tees because they damage clubs and lawn mower blades. Golden Tees offer the benefit of metal contact with the golf ball, but without the drawbacks of 100% metal golf tees. In addition, we are utilizing the metal with the lowest coefficient of friction against urethane, gold."

Are you using real gold?

Yes, we only utilize 24K gold. We try to minimize the cost by only coating the contact areas with gold. In addition, we've developed a patent-pending electroplating technology to apply a layer of gold onto the contact area about 100 microns thick. That's about the thickness of a human hair.

What is the availability and retail price?

Golden Tees can be found soon at specialty golf retailers for $10 a tee or a package of 50 for $450. We think that this is a small price to pay for a 10% increase in driving distance.

Who's using them?

The best players in the world will be teeing up with Golden Tees at this week's Masters. Look for them on TV! Interestingly, Golden Tees are also becoming a favorite among major Hip Hop artists such as Snoop Dogg, Kanye West and P. Diddy. Apparently, they love the "bling".

What's next?

Well, we're constantly looking for ways to minimize the friction between the golf ball and tee. We have already developed prototypes of tees utilizing the material with the lowest coefficient of friction. Care to guess what that might be?

I have no idea.

It's ice. We are tentatively calling the product "Iced Tee". They are currently undergoing hot weather testing in the Mojave desert. Unfortunately, it appears that there are still some snags that we must overcome before we bring it to market.