Hail to The King Baby!

Today is a sad day. Arnold Palmer has died. Those golf fans out there that watched the opening ceremonies for The Masters back in April knew something was wrong when he wasn’t well enough to participate in the ceremonial opening of the tournament with Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player.

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I have a short story to relay about him that I think you might enjoy.

Back in the 70’s and 80’s my parents used to make an annual pilgrimage to The Crosby Clambake (as the AT&T at Pebble Beach was known back then). My mother had lived in Carmel, CA where the tournament was played during some of her single years and still had some friends in the area. They’d take the weekend, attend the tournament and spend some time with old friends.

I don’t remember exactly what the year was when they came back and had a story to tell! On the last day of the tournament after a day of walking the Pebble Beach  golf course following their favorite movie stars and golfers that made the cut, they decided that they needed to relax a little.

For those of you that don’t know the course, take a look at this overhead view of the 18th hole. You’ll notice that not far off the fairway, opposite the ocean, there are several houses.

As my parents were walking along that side of the fairway, a fit of boldness overtook them and they decided to take a seat at a table on one of the outdoor patios at one of these homes! Nobody was home as far as they could tell and, since they’re good people, they knew that wouldn’t be doing any harm. They opened a bottle wine and started watching the people stroll by and enjoyed the beauty of the course and the atmosphere of the tournament.

Until…

A large, burly man, that looked like a bouncer at a rough bar opened the door from the house to the patio, stepped outside, and asked, “Mr. Palmer would like to know what you’re doing on his patio.”

Uhhhh…. right. Check please!

Well, you can imagine that my parents were a little tongue tied, and started to explain that they were tired, and of course they would leave, and they meant no harm, it was just such a beautiful day and beautiful spot… when Arnold Palmer stuck his head out and said “don’t worry about it folks. Enjoy your wine” while flashing his famous smile at them. So, they did and had a fantastic story to tell.

Rest in peace Mr. Palmer. I hope you’re filling out a foursome with Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, and Bobby Jones right now.

 

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First Round of the Year

UGH! I played my first round of golf of the year, and my swing was all over the place. I couldn’t hit the ball to save my life. Thankfully, I was playing with a great group of guys and wasn’t keeping score! It was a practice round… at least that’s what I tell myself :-). The first real round will be this saturday when I play with a group of friends at Blissful Meadows, a beautiful layout in Uxbridge, MA. Hopefully I’ll have found my swing by then.

Golf is a funny sport that way. In fact, it may be the only sport out there where day to day a person’s capability to play well is dramatically different. The only thing comparable that I can think of might be pitching in baseball. The same kind of precision is required. The difference between great and terrible is measured in fractions of inches.

 

Once Again, Golfer Shows Us The Way

From BBC.com:

BBC – Iain Carter: Davis and Davies inspire despite near misses: The sudden death shoot-out effectively ended when the Englishman alerted a rules official to the possibility that he may be liable to a two-stroke penalty for moving a loose impediment in a hazard on the backswing of his third shot on the first extra hole.

Brian Davis essentially handed the tournament to Jim Furyk by calling a penalty on himself for an infraction that nobody else saw. Can you imagine that in the NBA, NFL, or NHL? I think not. His response when asked about it?

It’s one of those things, it’s what you do, it’s what makes our sport so special… But I couldn’t live with myself if you don’t call it on yourself

Wouldn’t all sports be better if the professionals behaved like professionals instead of punks?

Phil Green, Everyone Else has Envy

FANTASTIC final day of the [[Masters]]!

Phil Mickelson shot a bogey free round to capture his 3rd green jacket.

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His name now goes along side such legends of the game as Sam Snead, Gary Player, Nick Faldo, and Jimmy Demerret as a three time winner. It couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy. He completely deserve the win, making gutsy plays and never backing down.

The Eagle has Landed for Mickelson!

OMG! What a third day!! From Phil going -5 in a 3 hole stretch, and missing -6 by about an inch, to [[Tiger]] having a very tough day, but still managing to keep pace with the leaders, and Lee Westwood holding it together to keep his lead, it was a spectacular moving day at the [[Masters]].

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Phil getting an eagle on 13, holing out for eagle on 14, and nearly holing out for eagle on 15 has to be the greatest three hole stretch in [[Masters]], if not golf history.

I hope this is a preview of what’s coming for Sunday.

Ahhh…. spring is finally here!

Couples and Tigers and Watsons Oh My!

What an awesome first day at the [[Masters]]!

Who’d have thunk it! Couples leading after the first day, and Watson just a stroke back? Is this 1990? The putt that Couples made on 12 and the approach on 18 were like the good old days. Is it possible that Watson can be in contention on Sunday like last year’s British Open?

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And how about [[Tiger]]? OK… I’m not gonna comment on his life outside golf (despicable… oops, that’s a comment!), but with all the distractions and negativity surrounding him, he still manages to post his lowest score for an opening round in the [[Masters]] ever??? The guy is absolutely amazing. The approach on 8 was amazing, but the recovery on 9 was downright unreal.

God I love the [[Masters]]!!!

The Masters is Finally Here!

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The winner of the [[Masters]] is presented with a green jacket, for those that don’t know

OK, so who’s going to be charging on Sunday afternoon around Amen Corner to claim the Green Jacket this year? What are your predictions for [[Tiger]]?

I’m thinking [[Tiger]] finishes in the top ten, probably ahead of every other big name. The winner this year is going to be someone we don’t expect at all. Phil Mickelson will miss the cut, and Ernie Els will finish middle of the pack, as will Steve Stricker.

But who knows? I only know one thing: I’ll be watching on Sunday as this year’s champion is crowned!

Tiger’s Return

Well, it’s finally here, the final week of winter. Oh, I know that the calendar says that spring started a couple of weeks ago. But it’s not really spring until Sunday afternoon at Amen Corner at the [[Masters]].

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A view of the 12th hole at Augusta, the second leg of Amen Corner

This year is a bit different at The Masters than any other year though. It’s the Year of the Tiger, and the year that [[Tiger]] tries to make amends. Will he be able to quell the rancor of the crowds and score at Augusta? I hope so.

I have to say that from the beginning I was a huge supporter of [[Tiger]]. He seemed to do it the right way both on, and off the course. Well, clearly, his antics off the course have proved me at least half wrong, and some of his behavior on the course has left a lot to be desired as of late.

Hopefully the past few months have given him a full serving of humble pie and he’s willing to come back with more respect for the game, for his fans, for women, and especially for his family.

‘Old’ Soul: Augusta National

From Golf Digest:

‘Old’ Soul: Augusta National: Golf Digest: Given Bobby Jones and Alister Mackenzie’s deep ties to St. Andrews, it comes as little surprise that the Old Course was on their minds during Augusta National’s 1931 design phase and 1932 construction. But the extent to which St. Andrews influenced the genetic code of several key holes has been understood by a select few.

I’d have to agree with this assessment. In his book The Spirit of St. Andrews, Alister Mackenzie went on and on about the genius of St. Andrews and how he tried to incorporate many of that courses features into his designs. With [The Masters](http://www.masters.com) just around the corner, I can’t wait to take another look at his masterpiece.

Woods on verge of making return

From BBC Sports:

Woods on verge of making return: Tiger Woods will make his comeback from injury at next week’s WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in Arizona.

Good news for golf fans! Having gone through the surgery(s) and recovery that he’s gone through, I know how tough it is to come back, and how sweet it feels when you do. Best of luck [[Tiger]]!!!