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78 posts categorized "Golf"

December 03, 2009

Some more thoughts on Tiger

FELDY: Phersy and I addressed the Tiger Woods situation in our Faceoff print column today, but I have a lot of random thoughts about it running around in my head, so here goes:

Tiger, in his statement, put a lot of blame on the media. Thing is, the media didn't force him to go out and cheat on his wife. If he doesn't want National Enquirer and US Weekly poking into his private life, he should've kept the driver in the bag.

Just because he's a great golfer doesn't mean he has to come out and bare his soul to the public, but he could've headed this off if he'd just made some sort of initial statement after the car accident. Plus, he might be the No. 1 product spokesman in the world (certainly in sports), so he traded his right for the public to not be interested in his private life long ago. A lot of companies paid him a lot of money because of his image. You take the money, you have to live up to that image. If you don't, that becomes news.

Sure, he's human. We all make mistakes. But issuing a written statement that is one part veiled apology, three parts blame-it-on-the-media, isn't going to make this issue go away any faster.

And as for the golf media, the true insiders, it's almost sickening how far some of them have buried themselves in Tiger's rear end, specifically AP golf writer Doug Ferguson. They wouldn't touch this story until the TMZ's and National Enqurier's went after it. When Zach Johnson won The Masters in 2007, Ferguson led his artcile with three paragraphs about Johnson winning, followed by seven about Woods finishing second. It seems more important to guys like Ferguson to be Tiger's pal than to report on him in any way close to controversial, on or off the course.

August 07, 2008

Guess what: There's a major being played

PHERSY: Honestly, does anyone know that one of golf's four biggest tournaments is currently going on in Michigan? Sure doesn't seem like it.

I think part of the lack of excitement can be blamed on Brett Favre and the Packers. Also, very few people seem to care about golf when Tiger Woods isn't playing.

Well, I'm not one of those people. I'll watch the PGA Championship all day tomorrow, and then again Sunday ... Saturday I'll be at a tiny event at the Target Center, UFC 87!!!

Anyway, just a heads up ... the PGA Championship is this weekend!

July 23, 2008

Catching up with Jin Park

PHERSY: So the final weekend of my vacation was spent in Milwaukee ... when we flew back to the Twin Cities, we rented a car and drove straight to Milwaukee to watch Jin Park play in the U.S. Bank Championship at Brown Deer Golf Club.

If you remember, I caddied for Park the first year the Nationwide Tour was in Byron. Park came back the next year and stayed with us while he was trying to Monday qualify into the tournament in 2007. Jin and I have stayed in touch over the last two years, and of course I always keep track of what's going on in his career.

Park earned his PGA Tour card at the end of last season through Q school, and now he's a rookie on Tour.

It was great to see him. I wrote a story about the weekend that appeared in Tuesday's Post-Bulletin ... you can access the story here.

Before I forget, if you want to follow Park a little closer, he's writing a blog for pgatour.com. That blog can be accessed here, and the actual Web address is www.pgatour.com/citi

We met up with Park on Saturday morning near his hotel, and we followed him to the course ... after he gave me his PGA Tour player's badge, so I could flash it to the parking lot attendants and get into the Park_183 players' parking lot (shhhhh, don't tell anyone). Then Jin got my wife and I into the clubhouse, where there was a big breakfast spread waiting for us in the players lounge. Not a bad deal at all.

Jin played great that day, but he just didn't putt well. Honestly, I've watched Jin play enough golf now that I feel like I know his game pretty well. And I've never seen him hit the ball better than he did on Saturday. Everything was where he wanted it. His misses were by feet, not yards. He all but one fairway. But he missed a handful of short putts that really cost him ... he was 2 down for the day and 4 down for the tournament. If he makes his short putts, he's 8 or 9 under and right in the mix.

The next day, he didn't hit the ball nearly as well, but he putted a little better and shot 3 under. Isn't that just golf for you!!! Hit the ball worse and shoot a lower score!

Jin tied for 44th and earned 12k. Not a bad payday, but he needs some big paydays in a hurry. Jin needs to move up the money list about 40 spots to keep his Tour card. He's also scrambling to make the FedEx Cup playoffs, which are just around the corner.

His game is so close right now ... he's bound to get that first top 10 soon! Hopefully this week up in Canada. If he wins this week it would amazing. He would be the second player I've caddied for to win the Canada PGA Tour event ... that was Joel Edwards' only PGA Tour victory, and I caddied for Edwards last summer at Somerby! Hopefully Jin can win up there, too.

Anyway, like I said, it was great to see Park. He's still the same guy. Funny as heck to my wife and I and other people he's comfortable with, but respectful and usually quiet around other people.

My wife, Park and I all went to a restaurant/bar to watch the Anderson Silva-James Irvin fight on Saturday night, and that was a good time, too. Great food at Bar Louie! After Sunday's round, we all went out to Copp's, which had maybe the best burgers I've ever tasted (it's like a much better version of Culver's). Then we were off to Minnesota and Park was on a plane headed for Canada.

So keep cheering for Jin ... he's one of the good guys on that Tour!

June 18, 2008

Tiger's leg to be amputated

PHERSY: So it has come out today that Tiger Woods will require season-ending knee surgery to repair a torn ligament.Tiger also says he has two stress fractures in the same leg.

Unless doctors are forced to amputate his leg, I still say the announcers at last week's US Open blew Tiger's knee injury way out of proportion. Yes, he was hurt. We got that ... they didn't have to repeat it at the beginning and end of every single sentence, all day, every day for four consecutive days. Honestly, by Sunday, I had to hit the mute button. I couldn't take it any longer. TIGER'S KNEE WAS INJURED ... WE GOT IT!!! STOP TALKING ABOUT IT!!!

I don't dislike Tiger, I just can't stand the "journalists" covering Tiger. The AP's Doug Ferguson is the worst. He can't get one sentence into a story without mentioning Tiger. If someone else wins a tournament, it's Tiger lost, not so-and-so won. But Ferguson is not the only one ... most of the people covering the sport eat up everything Tiger.

Tiger's knee injury appears to be serious. From back when Tiger first burst onto the scene, I said his body would be the only thing that held him back. His swing puts so much torque on the body, something had to give. I'm a little surprised it was his knee, but it's kind of Step 1 of Tiger becoming golf's version of Ken Griffey Jr. If Tiger could stay healthy for the next 10 years, there's no question he would be the greatest golfer of all time. But will that happen? It doesn't look like it.

April 15, 2008

Wrapping up the Masters experience

FELDY: So it took me a while after Brandt's collapse to recover, but it's all OK now. Actually, Snedeker's emotion was sort of refreshing. So many pro golfers are like machines, on and off the course, which probably comes from the nature of the sport. Golfers love routine, routine and more routine. Snedeker left Augusta National with a big, big paycheck and a third-place finish in the Masters, yet he wasn't satisfied because he so badly wanted to win. I'd rather see a guy like him cry than watch a guy like Tiger Woods pout his way around the course.

This year's Masters is getting criticized for being a snoozer, and I imagine it was a snoozer watching on TV. No big names put up a serious challenge to Trevor Immelman, and no one else put up a challenge for the final 14 holes on Sunday.

I guess the final outcome wasn't what I'll remember about this Masters, though. What will I remember? The beautiful weather for most of the week; watching Justin Leonard's daughter putt for him at the par 3 contest on Wednesday; watching the threesome of Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player play nine holes together at the par 3 contest; and the strange layout of the streets and roads in Augusta (as I told Mike, the friend I traveled with, it looks like someone used an Etch-A-Sketch to design Augusta's streets, and they all parallel each other).

This was my second Masters, and hopefully I'll get a chance to return some day. Getting to see the actual tournament rounds is a special opportunity. You just can't buy badges for those four days; the waiting list for full-tourney badges is closed; it's the toughest ticket in sports, even tougher than getting a ticket to Lambeau Field.

If you want to see Augusta National, though, you can apply each year for Monday-Wednesday practice round tickets. Even though it's not the actual tournament you'd see, I highly recommend going for the practice rounds if you have a chance. The unique part of the experience isn't watching the golf, it's seeing the course and the AGNC grounds. The par 3 contest on Wednesday is a pretty cool experience, too, with many players' kids caddying for them. The golfers are far more relaxed and most of them will interact often with the crowd.

Really, if you want to see AGNC, apply now for next year's practice rounds. If you don't get 'em next year, keep applying. The hotel rooms will be costly (well over $200 a night in Augusta; $150-200 a night in Aiken, S.C., about a 20-mile drive) but if you're a passionate golf fan, it's absolutely worth it.

April 11, 2008

Friday at the Masters

FELDY: Just for Phersy: BRANDT SNEDEKER, BRANDT SNEDEKER, BRANDT SNEDEKER! He's becoming the media darling. I was talking to a reporter from the Nashville newspaper -- Snedeker's hometown -- and he said to me 'I sorta wish Brandt was doing so well because it's impossible to get a one-on-one interview with him.' I was thinking the same thing -- quiet, Phersy. I wanted to ask Snedeker more about his win at Somerby (his first win as a pro) and how that ranks for him now that he's won on Tour and played remarkably well at a major.

I've somehow resisted the urge (insert sarcasm here) to follow Tiger around. I sat at one hole for a couple hours today and you can tell when Tiger's coming because the grandstand fills up with rubes four groups before he gets there. As much as I don't like to see Tiger win, there's no doubt he's the best out there, regardless of what the scoreboard says.

I'll maybe check in before bed time tonight, or maybe tomorrow morning. We're going to a ribs joint called "Sticky Fingers" for supper. That can't be bad, can it? ... At least I hope it's a ribs joint.

Day 1 ... or 2 at the Masters

FELDY: With the fog delay and play getting backed up yesterday, it was late (or early this morning) by the time I finished all of my writing, so I figured I'd check in now as we're about ready to leave for the course.

As Phersy said in a previous post, it's pretty cool to see our former Somerby champ, Brandt Snedeker, high on the leaderboard. He teed off about 50 minutes ago, so I'll probably catch up with him at the turn and follow him throughout his back nine today. I walked almost the entire course with his group yesterday. He was playing (and is again today) with Tom Watson and John Senden. One thing that is hard to pick up by watching the Masters on TV is just how drastic the elevation changes are on the course. I'm tired after just walking 18 holes (yeah, I can here the violins crying for me), I can't imagine how a guy like Craig Stadler can hoof it around this place and play pretty good golf for a week. Or, I can't imagine how some of these guys aren't in better shape, hoofing it around courses for a week at a time.

One of the highlights for me yesterday was getting to meet Cal Ripken, Jr. I have a good friend who grew up in Massachusetts and is a die-hard Orioles fan. He also has an almost-creepy obsession with Ripken. So, I let the sports fan rube in me come out, and I happened to see Ripken in an area of the course where not many people were around, so I quickly asked for an autograph. He was very friendly, especially after I told him, "I guarantee 100 percent this will not get sold." He chuckled at that. So, my friend Mike now has a map of the Masters course autographed by his favorite ballplayer. I think I might have just bumped my way up from usher to best man in his wedding.

We're off to the course now ... don't know if I'll be able to check back in during the day or not. The wireless hasn't been working in the media building. Great time for that to go out, eh? If you're watching on TV, I'll be in a maroon Adidas polo with khaki shorts and a blue cap. I wonder if Snedeker's gallery will be a bit bigger today, especially if he stays near the top of the leaderboard?

April 09, 2008

Wednesday at the Masters

FELDY: Day two for me at the Masters included finally actually watching some golf, getting a slight sunburn and meeting Justin Leonard's family ... sort of.

The annual Par 3 Contest takes place every Wednesday of Masters week, and we spent most of the day checking out the Par3 course. It's equally as beautiful as the main course at Augusta National, it's just smaller. Sports Illustrated called it a "mini Masterpiece." That's very fitting. We saw up-close most of the big names here, including a threesome of Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player.

The Par 3 course is built into what amounts to a bowl, some sunken in land with two big ponds that shape the layout. We found a nice spot on a hillside that oversees three of the holes and one of the ponds, which makes an "S" shape to frame three greens.

As we were sitting, a little boy (about 14 months) was playing near us, came running up and give me five. Turns out it was Justin Leonard's son. He was there with Leonard's wife and her sister, watching Leonard play in the Par 3 tourney. I told him I had his dad in the P-B's Masters pool and he threw his plastic cup at me.

In tomorrow's P-B I'll have a column about the history of the Par 3 tournament, and a story on Johnson Wagner, the overnight sensation who won last week's PGA Tour event, the Shell Houston Open, which qualified him for this week's Masters, his first. Wagner played in the Scholarship America Showdown, at Somerby, in 2006.

I'm also going to try to track down Brandt Snedeker, who won the Showdown in 2006, and is playing in his second Masters.

April 08, 2008

Welcome to the Masters

FELDY: So we just pulled into our hotel in Augusta, myself and a former co-worker from Minot, N.D., Mike Linnell -- he's the sports editor at the paper up there. We flew into Atlanta, rented a car that likes to rattle when it gets going faster than about, oh, 40 miles per hour, and made our way across almost the entire state of Georgia.

We didn't make it in time to watch any of today's practice rounds, but we did get here in time to check in and check out Augusta National Golf Club. Mike and I have both been here before, but we were still in awe of ANGC when we pulled into the media parking lot. It's unlike any other course you'll see, and TV doesn't come close to doing it justice.

One of the great side-benefits of coming to Augusta is that there are so many great places to eat in the south. I'm talking about down-home barbecuse, country fried chicken, etc. On our 150-mile drive from Atlanta to Augusta we passed approixmately 719 Waffle Houses, the IHOP of the south. I think when you buy a car in Georgia, you get a free Waffle House with it.

We also stopped to eat a Cracker Barrel. I know you can find those sparingly throughout our part of the country, but it was calling our name so we stopped. I didn't realize that it's a rule at Cracker Barrel that anything you order must be covered in gravy. We weren't arguing, just never realized it's a rule.

One other thing that got us chuckling a bit is, when we pulled into our hotel parking lot, we passed cars that had license plates from Louisiana, Alabama, Texas, Minnesota and North Dakota. Being as Mike and I both are U. of North Dakota grads, we're semi-stalking the car with N.D. plates, just to find out what would make someone want to drive all this way. I know what the ultimate answer is -- to see the Masters, but why not fly? Maybe it's someone like John Madden who has a fear of flying.

I'm out for tonight; it's been a long day of travel. We need to go track down some allergy medicine, so we're going to try to find a Wal-Mart, which is just like trying to find a Waffle House around here.

March 06, 2008

A little stupid criminal action

PHERSY: Well, I haven't had any stupid criminal news lately. But here's one that definitely falls into that category.

Professional golfer Tripp Isenhour recently killed a hawk while he was videotaping a TV show. The hawk was making noise, so Isenhour was forced to do a second take for the show. He became annoyed and decided to start firing golf shots at the hawk. He eventually hit the hawk and killed it. Here's a link to the full story.

What an idiot. Isenhour played in Byron at the Showdown at Somerby. He was one of the Nationwide Tour's best players that season.

It sounds like the maximum penalty would be 14 months in jail. I'm sure he won't get that, but I'd love to see him get some serious jail time.

I'm sure the PGA Tour big-wigs aren't going to enjoy dealing with this. It was nice to know you Tripp!