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By: Pro From Dover
We know what you’re thinking today.
You’re looking out the window at what may become a historic blizzard. You are envisioning your favorite local course covered with deep, heavy, grass smothering snow. You’re despairing that summer will never come. The Governor has just announced driving is banned so you can’t even seek solace at your local indoor range. Golf is so far away. Misery.
On the other hand:
March 21 is only 41 days away. We’re over the mid winter hump.
We now have more than ten hours of daylight. The days are getting longer. And, according to health experts, once we get to February 10, at this global latitude, the sun on your skin creates vitamin D. That’s a big deal.
Around Boston last year, we had almost 20% less rain than normal. January this year had very little. That’s not good. But this water laden storm will be a great step toward bringing the water tables up to normal, if not higher. We need the water. Really. And heavy snow is the best way to ensure that it seeps deep. Short term pain :: long term gain.
The Pebble Beach Pro Am is on, now! Golf Channel…now. One of the most beautiful courses in the world. Jack Nicklaus said if he had only one more round to play, it would be on Pebble Beach…and he didn’t even design it. For your amusement, some of the vainest, most narcissistic, ego centric people on the planet display their golf ineptitude. The best part is most of them actually think they’re pretty good. It makes us feel better about our games.
Belichick is playing. No hoody. Certainly not headed for the Golf Hall of Fame.
Tomorrow the storm will be over and you’ll be able to hit balls somewhere; begin getting your golf muscles toned up. What are the chances of two historic storms coming in one winter? It’s all downhill from here. Ya gotta have faith.
Your next door neighbor has been teasing you that he is flying to Florida tonight for a few days of golf. Uh, uh. Schadenfreude.
The Cape is getting some snow but within a week or so some of those courses will be open again. Promise.
We got a break last year. Your pro played all winter long on his home course and you probably did too. Consider this nature evening things out.
My father used to consider March 21 the real New Year and I adopted that view of life from him. All kinds of good things begin around then the most important being the golf season in New England.
41 days. Hang in there.
By: Pro From Dover
It has probably happened in the past but your scribe can’t find it with a quick check PGA Tour records. So many leads lost by so many talented players. Eleven times this season, almost a third of tournaments played, the 54 hole leader has failed to win.
The final hole at the Bridgestone in Akron, OH added to this year’s carnage. Jim Furyk lead the tournament for 71 holes. He was one shot up on a red hot Keegan Bradley on the par four 18th hole. What happened?
Furyk hooked his tee shot but through what seemed to be divine intervention the ball hit a tree and rebounded back toward the fairway. A mid iron in hand, he proceeded to push his approach just to the right of a green side bunker. With one foot in the sand and the other in the rough, he flubbed his pitch but he got another break when it cleared the sand and came to rest in rough beside the green.
Meanwhile, Bradley from the middle of the fairway pushed a short iron into a fried egg lie in the same bunker. He splashed it out and left a 15 foot putt for par.
So, they’re both lying three.
Furyk almost double hit another muffed chip and had about six feet for bogie.
Bradley sank his putt so now Furyk, about as experienced as one can be, needed his for bogie and a play-off. It was an embarrassing effort. He missed the putt two inches right of the hole and knocked it four feet beyond.
And there goes another tournament! Wow.
On the bright side, as we noted in our last post, for us hackers this is a form of redemption. Those guys that “can really play,” can’t all the time. Last week we gave up a one hole lead with three to play because we couldn’t make a par down the stretch, like Adam Scott at The Open. Somehow, we don’t feel so bad.
Outspoken, grizzled, veteran player, Lanny Watkins, weighed in and said today’s players just aren’t mentally tough like the guys of yesteryear (read: 60’s, 70’s) who knew how to close it out when they had a lead. The money was shorter, the competition and conditions tougher and they had to earn it the hard way. The inference is that there is so much money to win that simply making cuts and occasionally posting a top ten will make for a very nice living.
Can’t say we disagree with Lanny. Something surely is amiss when so many are blowing so much so often.
By: Pro From Dover
There’s something in the air around professional golf tournaments this season. We touched on it in our last post. Tournaments lost or given away by established and not so established players at an astonishing rate.
And now appears The Open played at Royal Lytham and St. Anne’s. Coughed up by a veteran Aussie, Adam Scott, who bogied the last four holes on the final day.
It was a bitter sweet ending because the beneficiary was one of the wonderful people in the game, Ernie Els, who shot one of the handful of sub par rounds Sunday, capping it with a 12 foot birdie putt on the 18th. Then he watched or rather listened (since he declined the offer to watch the finish in the clubhouse and opted to remain on the practice green) as Scott let it slip away.
Among other flubs, Scott missed a three foot putt on 16 and then, inexplicably to some, hit a three wood on the 413 yard 18th that found a deep bunker. As it was, the bunker was only 156 yards from the green so he could have hit a long iron off the tee and then maybe a five iron to the green. Sounds as if some bad thinking came into play. Jean Van de Velde, deux?
Schadenfreude: a German word meaning glee at another’s misfortune. Who? Moi? Mais non.
Amateurs like us often choke under the pressure of a two dollar nassau. Not long ago, a pal of mine who is a five handicap, was two under par in the middle of the 17th fairway 140 yards out. With nothing at stake other than his pride, he ended the round double, double.
Which reminds us of the old joke about the player who had such a dismal round he sat in front of his locker and slashed his wrists. As he watched his life pour from his arteries a buddy rounded the corner and said, “We need a fourth for tomorrow.” The player pressed his wrists against one another to stop the blood flow and said, “I’m in; what time?”
We’ve written often about the attraction of this maddening game. At its core, it’s a game against ones self. A battle to summon the calm and presence of the moment to do what we know we can do with a golf ball. We fail often. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons we are so engaged watching the professionals because we can relate to the calamities they confront. Even the very best fail from time to time.
Els, in his acceptance speech, showed great empathy for his good friend, Scott. Els commented that just about everything bad that can happen in a tournament has happened to him and he knew exactly what Scott was feeling.
There’s an old sports locker room adage:
“Pain, agony, grief and sorrow; here today, gone tomorrow.”