Pro-Ams are a cool way for hackers to tee it up with the best golfers in the world. Being able to play with the pros is one reason why golf is so special. While pro-ams can be a bore to watch, it must be a tremendous thrill for those amateurs lucky enough to participate.
I would die to play in a PGA pro-am. Having the opportunity to compare my game directly to a real PGA tour pro would be just mind-blowing. The amount that I would learn from such an experience would be priceless. Just having a gallery to keep my ball in play would be great!
From what I’ve read, most pro-ams have a "pairings party" with a drawing to determine the pros that the amateurs get to spend 5+ hours of quality time together. So, if you are especially fortunate enough to play in a pro-am that Tiger Woods is also playing, there's a possibility of playing a round with him! To anyone who considers himself a golfer, scoring a tee time with Tiger is like winning the lottery.
In that case, Skipper Beck must feel like he just won the Powerball. You see, not only is Skipper playing with Tiger in today's Wachovia Pro-Am, but the third person of their threesome is Michael "Air" Jordan! Yeah, you read that right: the Michael Jordan of golf and the Tiger Woods of basketball. Can you imagine spending most of your day playing golf with arguably the two greatest athletes of our generation? To say that this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity is an understatement.
Just who is this Skipper Beck? From what I can gather, he's a high-roller who inherited a Benzo dealership, married a blond bombshell, and hobnobs with Charlotte's upper crust. In short, this guy's life doesn't suck. The fact that he is playing in every sports fan's dream threesome on top of all this makes me wonder whether he sold his soul to the devil. One thing is clear: just like it was in the Sixties, it's much better to be the Skipper than Gilligan.
This seems to be the consensus opinion on the 2007 Masters:
“Tiger-proofing” has made Augusta National too difficult
As a result, birdies and eagles were rare, taking the excitement out of the event
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 NBC "HD-lite" treatment.
Technology moves at a quick pace. Video games has been a major beneficiary with the introduction this year of the "next-gen" gaming consoles the Nintendo Wii and the Sony PS3 to do battle with Microsoft's Xbox 360. Probably the coolest innovation is the Wii's motion-controlled controller, the Wii Remote. Instead of simply moving a joystick and mashing buttons, you control the action by motioning the controller itself.
This technology greatly expands the possibilities for video gaming. Take golf games, for example. Now it's possible to play a golf video game by actually "swinging" the controller. Can you say, "a golf simulator in your living room for around $300?
Check out this video of EA Sports' Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2007 in action on the Wii in the hands of the great Tiger Woods himself. It's well worth a couple of viewings:
If anyone has played this game, please let us know your thoughts.
As with any high-priced items, there are scumbags out there that make cheap knock-offs to scam unsuspecting consumers. One such scoundrel had the nerve to link his fake Tiger Woods' putter eBay listing to this site as some sort of mark of legitimacy! I tried to foil his plot by telling people who visited that link to have any rare Cameron authenticated prior to purchase. Unfortunately, some poor bastard still shelled out over $300 for this POS. Oh well, buyer beware.
Recently a reader emailed me about another eBay auction for a Tiger Woods' Scotty Cameron putter. With such auctions, it is better to assume guilty (fake) until proven innocent rather than vice versa. But upon closer inspection, it appears that this auction may indeed be legit. First, there is a photo of the putter in front of a Certificate of Authenticity. Second, I ran the registry number from the certificate at the Scotty Cameron Registry and it shows up as registered. The only thing that looks suspicious is the "Letter of Authenticity" signed by Scotty Cameron. You would expect such a letter to be written on more official looking company letterhead and written in the first-person. However, the signature looks like Scotty's.
I decided to do a little more research. I emailed the Scotty Cameron Shop and they replied, "If the putter has a COA then its authentic. As for being made for Tiger that is not stated on the COA nor the number made. Thanks." I checked the forums at the Cameron Collector and found a thread dedicated to this auction. The experts there seemed to think that the auction was legit.
Regardless, bidders of this auction clearly think that it's legit. There's still 4 days remaining in this auction and the bid price has already exceeded $30K. That's a lot of moolah for a single golf club. For the winning bidder's sake, I hope that the putter is real...
Golf has been an interest of mine since childhood. My grandfather was a golf nut and he passed the bug onto me. However, I wasn't completely bitten. I enjoyed whacking balls at the range once in a while, but that was about the extent of my golf passion. The simple truth was that chicks dug guys who played other sports, so golf naturally took a back seat.
Then in 1996, I was channel surfing on a lazy weekend and caught the final match of the U.S. Amateur Championship at Pumpkin Ridge G.C. I had heard of this golf phenom named Tiger before, and this was my first opportunity to see what all the hoopla was about.
I was instantly mesmerized by Tiger's perfectly textbook swing. I was in awe as he routinely drove the ball over 300 yards, an amazing feat at the time. However, his opponent Steve Scott finished five up after the morning 18 holes. With another 18 to play, it didn't look good for Tiger. But Tiger came roaring back with some truly incredible putting. It was one of the most exciting sports moments that I had ever seen. I was so inspired by Tiger's masterful and passioned performance that I dusted off my hand-me-down Hogan blades and persimmon woods and headed to the range.
10 years later I'm a certified golf nut. I play golf or watch it on TV whenever I get a chance. I subscribe to Golf Digest, Golf Magazine, and Golf World. As a self-taught golfer, I study golf instruction material like a PhD student. I research and experiment with golf equipment to eek out every possible performance gain. I write a freakin' golf blog for chissake! I can trace all this mania back to that one magical day in 1996 at Pumpkin Ridge.
Not only is Tiger Woods the reason that I developed a passion for golf, he was the main catalyst for golf's resurgence over the last 10 years. However, it seems that golf has been stuck in neutral lately. Greg Norman recently voiced his opinions on the subject. Surprisingly, he hints that Tiger is to blame! Is this just another case of a bitter old fart longing for the "good old days"? As a whole, I don't think that you can argue that Tiger hasn't been anything less than a boon to golf. People always prefer tigers over sharks anyway.
Anytime someone takes the time and effort to link to this site, I'm extremely appreciative. Well, at least that's what I used to think.
Recently, I came across an eBay listing that linked to the Tiger Woods Scotty Cameron Putter post. To my astonishment, it appears that Grouchy Golf is being used to help sell a fake Tiger Woods Scotty Cameron Putter!
See it for yourself, if it's still available. It's an eBay auction entitled "Scotty Cameron Tiger Woods Red Circle Newport 2 Pro T."
From what I can tell, it's just a dinged-up Scotty Cameron Newport Two Pro Platinum not worth more than a C-note that's been doctored up to look like Tiger's Newport 2 303 GSS. The putter face and the bottom of the putter are the dead giveaways. While this technically may not be a counterfeit Scotty Cameron, it is grossly misleading at best with the seller claiming that "This club is the same club that Tiger Woods used on tour." To those in the know, it is obviously not the Cameron putter model that is in the hands of the world's #1.
It is such a blatant fake that it is laugh-out-loud, rolling-on-the-floor hilarious. It kinda reminds me of those cheesecocks who modified their Pontiac Fieros with cheap-looking fiberglass body panels to make them look like Ferrari Testarossas. Who are these people kidding?! If you're going to copy a Ferrari, at least get the color right. To my knowledge, Ferrari has never produced a car in Puke beige. Can you imagine if this guy tried to pawn this POS off as a bona fide Testarossa? I hope that no one would be fooled into buying it, just like I hope that no one would be fooled into buying that fake Tiger Woods putter.
Ever since Tiger thoroughly dominated the British this year, he has been playing some out-of-this-world golf. He has played so well that it's almost godlike. Well the Golf Gods don't like mere mortals to approach their divinity, so it was just a matter of time before they struck him down.
They did so Saturday during the 3rd round of the Bridgestone Invitational. After taking a commanding lead, Tiger turned into your average Weekend Warrior golf hack. Tiger succumbed to the God of Bogeys and recorded four consecutive bogeys, his longest such streak in nearly 10 years. All of a sudden Tiger's comfortable two-shot lead disintegrated and left him five shots behind the leader. Dave Pelz was smiling. Phil was smiling too, but when is he not?
But knocking Tiger's A-game down his C-game is still better than most PGA Pros' A-games. In the end, it was barely enough to get by a feisty Stewart Cink and chalk up career PGA Tour win number 52. Simply amazing.
With all of Tiger's success after two major swing overhauls, I'm beginning to think that Tiger could win if he adopted Charles Barkley's swing:
However, I still think that Tiger's swing under Butch Harmon's watch was still the best. Fortunately, we can still see what it looked like by watching Adam Scott, the White Tiger (updated with video).
An amazing thing happened to me several months ago, but I was hesitant to write about it due to the sensitive nature of the topic. However, after realizing the low-profile nature of this site, I now feel comfortable telling my story...
As a member of Shady Canyon Country Club in Irvine, CA, I try to work out in their 1st-class gym at least once a week. On one such morning, I was working out when none other than Tiger walked in!
Since it was very early in the morning and it was during the holidays, there was only Tiger and myself in the free weight section. He initiated a conversation with me when he sat down at a weight bench and said, "Morning." I reciprocated and then he asked me, "Hey Bud (that's not my name, but he could call me Alice if he wanted), you mind spotting for me here?"
Although my nerves disabled most of my motor functions, I managed to say, "Sure thing T." In knee-jerk reaction, I cringed at myself for being such a jackass to call him "T". What right did I have to call him anything else but "your royal golf highness"? I thought to myself, just act normal you imbecile. Once I composed myself, I dropped my 10 pound barbells and came to his aid.
We actually spent quite a bit of time working out together and talking. It turns out that we actually have a lot in common. The key icebreaker was the revelation that we attended rival colleges. He attended Stanford while I attended Cal. As we engaged in some playful trash talking, I realized that Tiger is a really cool and down-to-earth guy. He has a dry, sarcastic sense of humor that had me in stitches.
After he was done working out he asked me, "Hey Bud, I have a tee time here at 10:30am, you wanna join me?" I felt like I had won the lottery. I looked around for cameras to check whether I was about to be Punk'd by Ashton Kutcher. When Mr. MILF didn't show up, I knew that it was legit. Unfortunately, I had to be at work by 9:30am to deliver a big presentation. There was no question what I had to do...I had to make that tee time.
After calling in sick and effectively tossing my career down the drain, I met up with Tiger at the cart loading bay. Noticing my bag full of Nike Blades glistening in the sun he quipped, "Nice irons."
"Well, I saw Michelle Wie playing with a set and I just had to have a set of my own."
He flashed that world-famous Cheshire Cat smile and acknowledged, "That was a good one." He paused and then continued, "So you wanna make it interesting?"
"Are you kidding me? You better give me at least 30 strokes a side!"
He laughed and asked about my handicap. I gave him a well-sandbagged figure and he said, "OK, how about I give you 10 strokes a side Bud?" Only 10 strokes! I usually shoot in the mid-90s on this course from the tips whereas Tiger would break 70 easily. Therefore, I needed at least 14 stokes a side. I couldn't believe it, but Tiger was trying to screw me!
After some negotiating, I managed to extract 16 strokes a side. Satisfied, I said, "Well, what are we playing for?"
"You name it. I think I can cover it." I laughed as I pondered his offer. Considering that I was getting 32 strokes, I knew that I had a good shot at beating Tiger if I just played smart.
"If I win, how about I get to hang out with you for the next couple of days as your 'personal assistant'?"
He chuckled and remarked, "Don't you have a job to get back to?"
"Actually, I probably don't."
After some thought he said, "Well, I already have a couple of assistants, but I could always use another. What do I get if I win?" I thought about it for a while before he said, "Oh, don't worry about it, let's just play!"
I have always considered Tiger to be the primary member of my "dream foursome." So to actually play with Tiger is truly a dream come true. And the experience didn't disappoint. He is the most amazing golfer, period. To describe every incredible feat that I witnessed during our round would fill a book. Let me just say that I was in awe all day.
On the final hole I needed a double-bogey to win by a stroke. I was nervous beyond belief, and the constant ribbing by the best golfer of all-time didn't help. But I managed to hack it around good enough for a bogey and a win! Ecstatic over my victory, I gladly offered to void our silly little wager. He would have none of it. He insisted, "A bet's a bet Bud. You won fair and square. Now let's go get some grub."
We cleaned up and then headed to the clubhouse for lunch. The hostess led us to a table that was occupied by two stunning blondes. Not just blondes, but identical blondes! I was shocked. Tiger could only laugh at my bewilderment and then introduced me to his wife, Elin and her twin sister, Josie. Could this be for real?
It turns out that they are both sweet and almost too friendly. Surprisingly, I really hit it off with Josie. Unlike most hotties, she laughed at all my jokes and took a genuine interest in my stories.
After lunch, Tiger had to take care of some business at the GM PR office in Thousand Oaks. However, he called for a car to take us up to Beverly Hills for an extravagant shopping spree. He simply instructed us to call the number on the back of his Amex Black card when we were about 15 mins. away from our destination. Upon our arrival, two personal shoppers greeted us and escorted us to Rodeo Drive. I felt like a rock star shopping at the hippest boutiques accompanied by twin blonde bombshells!
After our shop-a-thon, we met up with Tiger at LAX. Straight out of a Puff Daddy video, our car pulled right up to a Gulfstream 550 private jet! Only then did I learn that we were to fly us back to his Isleworth home. Things were moving so fast that I didn't begin to question what was going on. It was only on the plane that I started to think about my life back home. What would I do about my job, my car, my clothes, etc? I explained my concerns to Tiger and he said, "Don't worry about that stuff, Bud. Just hang out with us and everything will take care of itself. You can stay at my guesthouses as long as you want." I couldn't believe my ears as the stewardess was filling my glass with bubbly.
The rest is history. In a million years, I never would have imagined that my life could change so dramatically in such a short time from a chance encounter. I now have a new job as Tiger's personal financial manager. In short, I monitor Tiger's expenses on the road. As a result, I've become a full-fledged member of his entourage and I get to travel with him all over the world. The only bad part of my job is that I've also been designated the "dog-sitter". Tiger likes to take that damn border collie of his wherever he goes and I'm the one who has to take care of it. There's nothing more in the world that I'm allergic to than pet dander and I think that Tiger assigned me this responsibility on purpose to drive me nuts. But hey, we all have to make some sacrifices, right?
It's been quite a whirlwind adventure and I am rapidly becoming close friends with the World's #1. In fact, there's a realistic chance that I may become his future brother in-law. Yes, things are going fabulously with Josie and me. We're even discussing moving in together into one of Tiger's newly planned guest homes! My life has never been better. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to pack my bags for my first trip to Augusta!
P.S. With all my travel and other obligations, I'll likely be completely offline for at least a week. So please don't be upset if I can't respond to your emails in a timely manner.
The PGA Tour recently announced the completion of new television agreements for the 2007 through 2012 seasons. The big surprise was the omission of Disney-owned ABC and ESPN. While I think that it's a big blow to the PGA Tour and to golf viewers, it's an even bigger blow to Nike.
Why Nike? Well, it appears that Nike has been using Disney to trumpet Nike Golf. Visit the golf section at ESPN.com and you'll see instructional videos featuring Hank Haney, Tiger's coach and a member of Team Nike. Watch a major televised golf event on either ESPN or ABC and receive commentary from Nike pitchmen Nick Faldo and Paul Azinger. After watching Tiger "suck it back" with a wedge during a recent telecast, Azinger remarked:
Look at that, how do you back that up? It's amazing to watch. But you know, like I've said it plenty of times – he's got a golf ball that will spin like that, but it also goes a mile…it does everything he needs it to do and he's thrilled with it…
You would have thought that Nike made some kind of magic golf ball. Zinger, have you ever heard of the Titleist Pro V1?
Interestingly, the Nike-Disney relationship may have come as a result of one Mr. Tiger Woods.
Both Nike and Disney were among Tiger's initial corporate sponsors. Under the Disney deal, Tiger is required to make appearances in televised events on ABC and ESPN. Apparently, Disney wanted a much bigger deal, but was deterred by Nike. According to Ross Nethery:
Early on, Tiger was considering a deal to promote DisneyÂ’s theme parks, as well as help boost ratings at Disney-owned ABC and ESPN by playing in special made-for-TV events. Nike reportedly didnÂ’t want the Disney name to outclass its association with Tiger, so the package ended up being all about the exhibition appearances, with no pitching of theme parks involved.
The possible conflicts of interest arising from such associations are problematic to say the least. How can we be assured that a media company will remain fair and objective when they maintain strategic relationships with companies and individuals? Does Disney-owned media give favorable treatment to Tiger Woods? Conversely, does Tiger Woods give favorable treatment to Disney? Remember Tiger's boycott of CBS commentator Peter Kostis? How much of that incident was due to Peter's association with a Disney competitor?
Does the same apply to any other Nike sponsored athlete? Now that Michelle Wie is on Team Nike, will she get the Tiger treatment? It wouldn't surprise me if Disney goes full-bore after LPGA television rights to support the latest Nike prodigy. Whatever happens, I sure hope that Han Faldo remains on TV somewhere...
It's the holiday season, and gift giving will soon be in full force. IMHO, finding a gift for a golfer is a relatively easy task. I can't think of another sport that has spawned such a wide array of products at virtually every price point. As a result, it's easy to find a golf gift for every budget. But what if you were Donald Trump? What regoddamndiculously expensive gift would you buy for that special golfer in your life?
Believe it or not, there are putters out there with asking prices that eclipse that of a nicely-equipped brand-spankin' new 5-Series BMW. The owner of a local golf shop here in Los Angeles is a close personal friend of Scotty Cameron, so he has a lot of "one-of-a-kind" and signed Cameron items for sale. I was at this store recently and snapped some photos of the most highly prized item, a backup to Tiger Woods' Scotty Cameron putter!
The people at this golf shop are some of the friendliest and most knowledgeable in the business. They told me that Scotty crafts only a handful of custom putters with the exact specs for the great Tiger Woods. They even have a hand-written letter from Scotty himself as confirmation. Tiger typically takes a couple of these putters and leaves the rest for Scotty. Sometimes, Scotty will allow this store to sell one of these putters.
The putter in this picture is an exact copy of the Newport 2 303 GSS Cameron gamer that has resided in Tiger's bag since 1999. Notice the single large red dot on each side of the putter. This is a standard Cameron practice to denote a Tour putter. I was told that there are only 4 of this exact model year in existence. Tiger has two (the gamer and a backup), Scotty has one, and this store has the fourth. It's truly a beautiful and rare piece of golf equipment.
But is this special putter really worth a luxury mid-size German sedan? I was told that a customer did pony up that kind of cash for a previous Tiger model. Remember, something is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it.
Keep in mind that this isn't even a putter that Tiger has played. It's not even the backup to the putter that he plays. It's really the backup to the backup. You can only imagine the value of Tiger's gamer. Are we talking six figures?
But this is just one of the 14 clubs that fill Tiger's bag. Steve Williams must be carrying sticks worth many times more than their weight in gold. I wouldn't be surprised to hear that Stevie lugs around a bag worth more than half-a-million dollars on his back. I just hope he read about my post about golf club thefts.
To anyone who may be considering giving me a Tiger Woods' club as a gift this holiday: I think that I'd rather have a bimmer...
But if you are seriously interested in buying a rare Cameron putter, make sure that it has been authenticated. Obtain the registry number and enter it at the Scotty Cameron Registry to verify its authentication!
All the top pro golfers have their fair share of fans. However, most also have a healthy number of detractors.
Take Tiger and Phil, for example. Both deserve the respect of all golf fans for their golf achievements. In addition, each has legions of fans that love them for more than just their golfing abilities. Each has very different on-course personas that resonate strongly with their respective fans. However, the very things that people find appealing about these golfers are the same things that some people find objectionable.
Phil always projects a wholesome and care-free image on the golf course that the "Phil Phanatics" just eat up. Phil has become the modern-day Ward Cleaver to many casual golf fans. However, some believe that Phil is simply putting on a show whenever he's on camera or in the public eye to maintain and maximize his endorsement dollars. In other words, Phil is smiling all the way to the bank. If you're a fan of Larry David's HBO comedy series, Curb Your Enthusiasm, you could guess what the F-bomb dropping, foul-mouthed Susie Greene might say about Mickelson: "That Phil is one phake phat phony phuck!"
On the other hand, many fans love Tiger because he is a fiery competitor who puts it all out on the golf course. Much like Michael Jordan, he is intensely focused and never, ever quits. Tiger wears his emotion on his sleeves, good and bad. However, some find some of Tiger's behavior boorish and ungentlemanly, especially for the staid game of golf.
As a serious, but unaccomplished golfer, I am much more of a fan of Tiger than Phil. I appreciate Tiger's super-human golf ability and his ultra-competitive zeal. It's refreshing to see him upset over a bad shot as much as he celebrates a miraculous one. Anyone who plays golf knows that it is the most maddening game in the world, so it's somewhat comforting to see that the best player in the world shares our pain. In short, I find Tiger to be much more genuine than Phil.
Australian golfer Paul Gow has echoed similar sentiments when he said, "What you see on television is totally different to what he (Phil Mickelson) is around the clubhouse. Tiger (Woods) is the opposite: he will talk to you, he will sit down next to you at lunch and ask about your family and stuff. Phil is the opposite…He has done some great acting classes in Hollywood and they have worked out for him."
While it is clear that many people are not fond of Tiger and Phil, there is one golfer who everybody seems to love - Ernie Els. His peers love him, golf fans love him, and even grouchy people love him. His large frame and laid-back personality and smooth-flowing golf swing has rightfully earned him the nickname, "The Big Easy." Ernie is a big asset to golf, and his recent season-ending ACL injury was a tremendous loss. This year's PGA Championship was the first major since 1993 that Ernie has not played. He could have easily been the difference-maker at this year's evenly-played President's Cup. These great golf events would have been even better had Ernie been available to play. The good news is that Golfweek is reporting that Ernie will tee it up again as soon as this December. Oh, the miracle of arthroscopic knee surgery! Get well soon Double-E!
As everyone and their moms expected, Tiger captured his 10th major championship at the grass-covered lunar landscape of the Old Course at St Andrews. I finally guessed the winner of a major correctly, even though it wasn't much of a stretch. But I'm only allowing myself to select Tiger to win a major once a year, and this was the one that I chose for 2005. As all veteran golf fans know, predicting the winner of a golf tournament is a little like predicting the next earthquake (here in CA). You can have all the expert knowledge and statistical data in the world at your disposal, but it usually doesn't mean squat. But in the case of this year's British Open, so many things pointed to Tiger's unchallenged victory that it seemed like a no-brainer to me:
Unlike other British Open venues where "unknown" champions are as abundant as pollen in the springtime, the game's greatest triumph at St Andrews including Bobby Jones, Sam Snead, Jack Nicklaus, and Tiger Woods.
Tiger has always won when Jack has pulled a Michael Jordan (announced his retirement from the game).
Tiger won by a landslide the last time he teed it up at St Andrews in 2000.
Tiger has been playing well in the majors this year with a win at the Masters and a close 2nd at the U.S. Open.
I was sold. I couldn't even think of anyone else who could upset Tiger. He was so favored that my bookie only had two bets available on who would win the British Open after Tiger held the 2nd round lead by 4 strokes - Tiger at 10-11 odds and anyone else at 14-5 odds. The "anyone else to win" bet is known in the betting world as a "sucker's bet." So, of course, I wired some cash to my bookie and took the 14-5 odds. At the time I thought, Tiger is heavily favored, but there are still 2 rounds to play. This is golf for crissakes, so anything can happen. 14-5 odds for the entire field to overtake Tiger's 36-hole lead seems like a good bet. You can just call me sucker.
Tiger is now well back on pace to eclipse Jack's previously-thought-to-be- untouchable 18 major championship record. To me, it's just a matter of time. As Tiger becomes more comfortable with his new swing, he may replicate his dominance of 2000. As long as he doesn't overhaul his swing for the 3rd time in his professional career, I think that Tiger will win at least one major per year, on average, over the next 10 years. We won't know for another 10 years whether I'm correct, but just like my British Open prediction, it's not much of a stretch.
I was flipping channels the other night to find golf blog topics when I came across a heated interview with Tom Kite. Instead of speaking about his chances at this week's Sony Open, he was expressing his great disappointment with the Bush administration and his disgust at the conservative slant of the Fox News Channel. I thought, when the heck did Tom Kite get so friggin' political. And isn't he a staunch right-winger like 99% of the american professional golfers?
Also, I found it peculiar that the interviewer kept addressing Tom Kite as "Al." Before I could check to see whether I had mistakenly taken a valium instead of my daily Vitamin C, my TV flashed the text, "Al Franken of the Al Franken Show" under Mr. Kite's mug. That explains it. Tom Kite and Al Franken are the same person! It's obvious when you see the pictures of these supposedly distinct individuals: "Which is which?" you ask? Well, it really doesn't matter since they are one and the same. Seriously, have you ever seen Tom Kite and Al Franken together? It's the same reason why you don't see Nick Faldo and Harrison Ford together. Pro golfers are masquerading around as other well-known people.
Those who follow professional poker already know that Tiger check-raises under the name of "Phil Ivey" while Jesper Parnevik goes all-in under the alias, "Gus Hansen": Some people think that John Daly plays as Chris Moneymaker, but I've never seen him smoke or drink at the table. No way he's Daly.
Have you seen any other of these golf dual-personas? Who knows, it could just be some Dave Pelz golf experiment gone awry...
Congrats to Tiger on winning his Target World Challenge this past weekend. His new swing finally looks like it's working as he hit some unbelievable shots. To the left is a pic of Tiger and the winning hardware.
Honestly, I don't think I've ever seen an uglier trophy in my life. It looks like it came straight out of a Liberace garage sale. It depicts a young tiger with the world in the palm of its paw. Gee, what do you think that represents? I'm just relieved that Craig Stadler doesn't host any golf tournaments. A statue of a walrus would be just too much to take for this golf blog writer.
In the November 26, 2004 issue of GolfWorld, Ron Sirak wrote an interesting article titled, "A Bad Week in Sports." In this article, one of the items that Mr. Sirak takes issue is Tiger's lack of attendance at Charlie Sifford's induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame. Charlie Sifford became the first African-American to join the World Golf Hall of Fame and so Sirak feels that Tiger should have been there to pay his respects. Sirak writes, "Tiger Woods should have been there. His videotaped message failed to make up for the fact he opted for a big-bucks appearance fee in Asia instead."
Well Ron, FYI, Tiger isn't entirely African-American. In fact, twice as much Asian blood courses through his veins than African blood. Tiger calls himself, "Cablinasian", to describe his Caucasian-Black-Indian-Asian racial composition. Does Tiger have an obligation to appear at every golf milestone achieved by a member of his racial group? That's just plain ridiculous. Last year, Hisako Higuchi was the first Asian golfer to become a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame. Funny, I don't remember Ron chastizing Tiger for not attending that ceremony.
I think that Tiger did exactly the right thing by sending a videotaped message to Mr. Sifford's induction ceremony. I figure that a videotaped message constitutes about 25% of an in-person appearance, or roughly the same percentage that Tiger is African.
An incredible thing happened to the best golfer in the world during the 3rd round of last week's NEC Invitational. As usual, Tiger was missing fairways all day. Heck, he missed it so bad on one hole he nailed a poor kid just above his right eye. Not good since Firestone is a course where you must hit the fairway to have any chance for a birdie. So, on the easy 400 yd. par-4 17th hole, Tiger decided to tee off with his ultra-reliable 2-iron to guarantee a fairway.
Well, guess what? He shanked it! In knee-jerk reaction, I yelled, "Hoseltov!" at the TV in gleeful amazement. The ball caroomed right and hit a hospitality tent, startling the poor people inside. They must have thought someone accidentally let a hack onto the course.
While Tiger's swing seems to be improving, you've got to get a chuckle out of how ultra-sensitive he has become to any analysis of his swing. He now even has his caddy block cameras designed to record swings at PGA events. Obviously, Tiger's swing problems are embarrassing to him.
Not long ago, Tiger Woods welcomed such analysis. It was no coincidence that he was also swinging the club better than Iron Byron.
Do you remember when NBC affixed miniature cameras to the bills of NFL umpires' caps to show their individual viewpoint? Well, someone had the brilliant idea to do the same thing to Tiger's Nike cap at the Williams World Challenge several years ago. Tiger jumped at the opportunity to show the world a perfect swing from a first-person perspective. Cleverly, the viewpoint was dubbed the "Eye of the Tiger."
It was one of the coolest golf broadcast innovations until SwingVision. Below are some screen shots of Tiger's setup with a 4-iron, 3-wood, and driver, respectively. Check out how the perfect setup should look:
Here's the video of Tiger hitting the 4-iron:
Here's the video of Tiger hitting the driver:
Is this what you see when you address the ball? I would love to see the current Eye of the Tiger. Only I'm sure that Tiger won't let us. It's just a bit out of focus right now.
Tiger Woods only hit half of the fairways during the last round of the British. It continues a long trend and it cost him another tournament. Now I've heard countless opinions why Tiger can't seem to find the fairways. However, I've read the most ridiculous one recently in an article from that sports powerhouse, ESPN. In a nutshell, the writer places most of the blame on Tiger's equipment. That's fine, but incredulously, he manages to pen over 1,000 words explaining the reasons behind Tiger's golf woes without even mentioning Tiger's dramatic swing changes. Can you believe that? How can anyone miss something so obvious and important? Well, someone who doesn't know what they're writing about, that's who.
While I agree that equipment is a big factor in golf performance, I think that it is relatively minor in Tiger's case. Here are some reasons:
Tiger is still missing fairways with a Titleist PT 3-wood that he has used for more than 6 years.
Tiger rarely hits his 2-iron "stinger" off the tee anymore, a shot that always hit the fairway. Now, when he does hit it, a fairway isn't guaranteed.
Tiger went back to the Titleist 975D driver last year at the Battle of The Bridges, only to miss even more fairways.
Tiger has an exit clause in his Nike equipment contract that allows him to play any equipment that he wants. So why would he play with any equipment that wasn't best suited for him? Tiger was seen using drivers from other manufacturers (Taylormade, Titleist, etc.) during the "silly"-season last year, so he clearly utilizes this exit clause.
Conclusion from this golf blog: It's the swing, stupid.
My favorite channel recently confirmed Tiger's dramatic swing changes. They compared Tiger's God-like swing of 2001 vs. his current swing. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so check out the next 3,000+ words: If Tiger was missing fairways with the swing that he had before, then, maybe, his equipment would be to blame. But, as these pictures clearly illustrate, his swing is not the same.
The most dramatic change is Tiger's position at the top. What do you think?
Their swings are often described as "textbook." But it has always been that Adam's swing plays second fiddle to that of Tiger's.
However, it is clear as day that Adam is swinging the club much better than Tiger right now. I mean the dude from down under smoked a 2-iron 320 yards straight down the fairway on the par 4 12th. Yes, 320 yards. In fact, Adam is swinging it better than anyone else period. Why? Well Adam is doing many of the things that Tiger did in 2000. Namely, he's working with Butch Harmon. Butch is getting Adam in the perfect setup and they are obviously working on all the right things.
What about Tiger? To start, he's not working with Butch. Instead he's working on his own. Well it seems that he's working on getting worse. In his pro career, he's never been so wild off the tee as he is now. Mysteriously, he now seems to believe that the best ball flight is a slight draw rather than his natural controlled fade. Sound familiar? That's the same theory followed by his best golf buddy, O'Meara. O'Meara is best known as a two-time major winner. But soon he'll be known as the guy who ruined the best swing in golf. Well, him and his partner in crime, Hank Haney the Yip meister.
If it wasn't already clear that Butch is the best swing coach in the world, Adam has now confirmed it (along with Pavin's resurgence). If Tiger wants to regain his former dominance, he should swallow his ego and dial 1-800-BUTCHIE.
So the saga continues between the 2 most stubborn people in golf.
I actually saw the Sky Sports television Butch Harmon interview video during the 2004 U.S. Open where he says that he believes Tiger Woods is in "bit of denial."
However, Butch was simply responding to the host's original question of whether Tiger was in denial. Butch was asked his opinion and he gave it. In fact, he stated upfront and clearly that it was his opinion. I thought his opinions weren't harsh at all. I think they may appear harsh in text and out of context, but not when you see the interview footage.
Johnny Miller later commented on NBC that Butch's comments were rather benign and I wholeheartedly agree. Sports commentators are paid voice their opinions, and that's all Butch did. The last thing I want is a non-commenting commentator.
Surprisingly, Tiger took very strong offense to Butch's comments. Factor in that Tiger has his caddie Steve Williams obstruct slo-mo cameras intended to analyze swings during tournaments, raid the gallery for cameras and other acts of thugery, it really appears that Tiger is turning into Frankie from MTV's The Real World.
Once Tiger sports a lip ring and freaks out at the sight of large boats, I'll know the transformation is complete. I'll be sure to notify you when it happens.
Grouchy Golf does not claim credit for any images featured unless otherwise noted. All visual content is copyright to its respectful owners. In no way are we responsible for, or have control over, the content of any external web site links. Information here may contain errors or inaccuracies; proprietors do not make warranty as to the correctness or reliability of the site's content. If you own rights to any of the images, or are depicted thereof, and do not wish to appear here, please contact us for prompt removal.