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The WEEI Country Club
07.14.10
Holy 59 and other things

By: Pro From Dover

Just thinking about shooting a 59 for 18 holes on a PGA Tour caliber course, makes us choke.

On the other hand, we have shot 59 just about every time we’ve played eighteen holes, so what’s the big deal? Of course, it’s usually reached around the 13th hole but that’s beside the point. (Our personal best was a 70 on a par 71 course many, many years ago. Just gripping the club the last few holes was a major challenge as we realized what was possible.)

Paul Goydos accomplished the feat last week at the John Deere tour stop in Illinois when he birdied eight of his last nine holes. It was in the first round and the jaw dropping kicker is standing on the first tee the next day, he lead by only one over Steve Stricker. Stricker went on to win the event with a record low score for the tournament.

Stricker teed off after Goydos was finished on the first day and observed that it was strange to be 12 behind on the first tee before even hitting a shot. He didn’t feel so strange after shooting his 60. We don’t care if it’s the local miniature golf course or a championship routing…59 is just astonishing.

Most stories reported this extraordinary feat has been achieved by only three other touring pros: Al Geiberger was the first, followed by David Duval and Chip Beck. But most stories neglected that another touring pro, Annika Sorenstam, did it as well.

Putting it in a clearer context, none of the players generally considered the best of all time have shot 59. In fact, Jack Nicklaus’ tournament best score was a 62.

A USGA Senior Women’s Open?

A foot note to the USGA Women’s Open last week. There is no Senior Women’s Open which seems unfair. To shed light on this situation, ten ladies tried to qualify for the 2010 Senior Open with the closest, former LPGA touring pro Martha Nause, missing by seven shots. But it begs a fair question as to why the USGA doesn’t hold one.

The USGA has staged the “men’s” version since 1980. (Salem Country Club in Peabody hosted the event in 2001 and is rumored to be under consideration for the 2016 installment.)

Our guess is the USGA likes to use OPM (Other People’s Money) to stage its events. And although its treasury is bursting at the seams, it doesn’t open that vault very often.

USGA Executive Director said as much while at Oakmont last week for the U.S. Women’s Open. Quoted in the NY Times, he observed, “It’s been discussed formally most every year. I imagine there will be one a some point but there are a lot of factors to consider.”

A cynic might observe that what Mr. Fay was saying is they want a quality field at a quality course with a decent purse and people aren’t exactly beating down the door. With the detritus of a ravaged economy surrounding us, coming up with the course and the money is tough enough but then there’s the issue of how many age 50+ women have kept their games in top competitive shape.

The major challenge for former tour players is finding top events to play. There is a tour of six tournaments for the “legends” but that’s about it.

It’s time to present a Senior Women’s Open and if the USGA has to add a subsidy for the first few years, so be it. They can afford it. It’s time.

The Open Championship

Our second most favorite tournament of the year is being played at St. Andrews. Standing alone, it’s a fabulous event but this year the subplot of Tiger Woods trying to regain form on a course he has crushed in the past is fascinating.

But even more intriguing will be watching how he reacts to the pack of British journalists howling for more raw meat vis a vis one the most expensive divorces in history. The tradition of Fleet Street reporters is to go for the jugular and then let the embellishments flow. Tiger played a two day charity event in Ireland last week and got a wee taste of the treatment which he didn’t particularly savor. It takes a lot of energy to sneer.

Months ago we entered a year long pool wherein we pick the winner of each PGA event. Allowed to pick a player only once, we thought our trump would be Tiger, this week. Now, as we sit at the bottom of the results list and see Tiger missing fairways on which a 747 could land, we are not happy. My, how the landscape of golf has changed this year.

A final sign things are definitely different, Tiger has switched putters. He’s using a Nike after a career long commitment to Titleist’s Scott Cameron model.