Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Bad Choices

So, I had the choice of watching Tiger replays on the Golf channel or watching something else until the Turtle Bay coverage began. So, I chose the Grand Ole Opry on GAC. Bad choice. Wynonna was singing. And not all that well when she tried to reach the high notes. Ugh. She's singing again (and butchering one of Elvis's favorite gospel songs). Gotta go grab that remote. Hopefully Frank Nobilo is on soon.

Final Thoughts on the Invitational

CBS needs to work more on keeping the viewers informed. For about an hour and a half of the three hours of regulation play coverage, they forgot Sergio Garcia was even there. It's not like he fell back to 3 under or anything. He still had a chance all the way to the 18th, not that you would know it because CBS completely ignored him until there was no one else on the course to cover. I had to go online to get the scores because most of the time CBS would only show the first page of the leaderboard. They showed other golfers at 8 under, but not Sergio. It would be fitting if one day Dan Hicks turned to Jim Nantz and said "Sorry, Jim. I forgot you were there." These announcers need to concentrate more on reporting the news they have instead of trying to manufacture more sensational news that would bring them more advertising dollars.

Qatar Masters

Henrick Stenson won after getting second last week. Good for him. What really struck me was this guy Richard Finch. He reminds me of the blonde villain in the James Bond movie, From Russia With Love. The name of the actor is Robert Shaw.

A New Blog

I have added Royal Green to the Blogs of Note section. Check it out.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

3rd Round of the Buick Invitational

Sergio's making putts. I hope this continues. Rod Pampling also shares the lead. And Nathan Green is doing great.

A comment on the announcing - even before Sergio made it to 11 under, the announcers were already stating that Sergio, Tiger and Nathan Green would be in the final group. They were totally ignoring Rod Pampling who was still in contention. They continued to ignore him until around his second or third shot on the 18th. This blatant hyping of the event to the point of darn near lying is very unethical, I don't care how much money CBS makes by doing this. It's very hard to have respect for the announce team when they are pandering this much to the almighty dollar. If I wasn't already rooting for Sergio Garcia, I would be in Rod Pampling's corner tomorrow to show him some of the respect the announce team didn't show him today. Of course, Sergio will probably have a bad round tomorrow, so I might be rooting for Pampling anyway.

An Observation

Since the new season began, I have spent most of my time watching the Golf Channel. Last week, I didn't pay much attention to ABC's coverage of the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic because watching celebrities play golf (even when they are called the sexiest man alive) just doesn't interest me. But today, I was hit with an observation that I just have to comment on. CBS's coverage seems to be heavy on aerial shots and slow mo video of Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods and very light on actual golf. It seems as though they show other crap while they are waiting on Tiger and Phil to get in position for their next shot. Here's an idea - there are about 70 other players out there, why not show some of them while Phil and Tiger are walking around or going potty. The Golf Channel appears to be doing a better job of showing the golf. When I can't tell that Hale Irwin's playing in Hawaii, then you know they are covering golf and not extra crap. And the European Tour coverage is lightning fast. If CBS insists on showing this extraneous video, then next year when the new contracts take effect, they can start their coverage a half hour early and show all this other stuff then.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Buick Invitational

I saw a quick interview with Tim Clark tonight on Golf Central. His voice does not match his current look. That long hair is very deceptive :)

It was good to see Sergio make that long putt on 17 today. And Brandt Jobe is doing really well. And he has a pretty cool name too.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

I only got to see about an hour of golf today - part of the Buick event. I guess the big news, which was big news to me, was the John Daly thing about his wife. With all that going on in his life, he still had a better round than Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, both of whom took extra time off in the 'off season' and should be well rested and ready to go. It just goes to show you what kind of talent Daly has and how strong he is to withstand the turmoil in his personal life. I do have to wonder about the Daly Planet show though in light of what's happened this week.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

A Lot of Good Golf This Week

There are a lot of good players in the Buick Invitational field and the Qatar Masters, the Turtle Bay Championship, and the Panama Championship are also going on. There are definitely not enough hours in the day to work 8 hours and watch all this golf. This work thing is highly overrated.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

An Announcer I Like (So Far...)

Frank Nobilo. He seems knowledgeable and very happy to be there. Of course, who wouldn't be happy to be in Hawaii?

Abu Dhabi

What did I find most interesting? The remarks the announcers made about Sergio Garcia's wardrobe. One of them commented that his outfit the other day made him look like a jockey and that because of this comment, Sergio may not wear the outfit again. I would just like to say that I felt the shirt in particular highlighted his athletic physique and I would be happy to see him wear it again :)

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Abu Dhabi

I watched the third round this morning and was surprised to see Chris DiMarco right up there at the top of the leaderboard. I really didn't think he'd do that well. I didn't think he'd do poorly either. But it's good to see him up there.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Abu Dhabi and Bob Hope

I haven't gotten to see much of the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic. I don't know why USA is sucking up to Phil Mickelson so much, but then it's their last year of covering golf so they probably don't care. Someone, either USA or the Golf Channel, kept saying that Chris DiMarco was playing in the Chrysler Classic. He must be really good to be in California AND Abu Dhabi. And one more comment about Phil. He said in an interview yesterday that he had to really fight with himself to keep himself off the course these last few weeks of his break. Too bad he fought so hard to NOT play in the Mercedes Championships.

Abu Dhabi - I taped the first round coverage and I'm watching it now. For me, I find that I really have to watch the European tour coverage closely because the announcers will say something important in their soft, polite voices and I miss it. And that yellow tour logo that sweeps across the screen - it reminds me of a banana. I look forward to seeing more of the tournament and hopefully, they will show some of the sights of the area. So, a lot of players are doing well in this tournament so far. It looks to be a good one. Vijay Singh should get special world ranking points to be that close to the lead after traveling all the way from Hawaii to play this week. And Sergio's hair looks pretty well groomed as compared to his Mercedes Championships look. Makes me wonder what the status of the hair bet is.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Sony Open

I think I counted about 15 or more players who scored worse that Michelle Wie this week. So, I'm glad she didn't miss the cut with the highest score. Playing the men's events will teach her in ways that playing the women's events won't. Michelle has to be 10 times better to play with the men because of the media exposure. So, she is learning very quickly about pressure and how to deal with it. I just don't see her doing well in any event while her time is divided up between so many different activities - school, press conferences, practice, training, playing and generally being a teenager. I think when summer comes, she'll improve.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Well, I'm Glad I Now Have the Golf Channel

Hopefully, I will be able to keep it next year when I will need it.

PGA Tour for 2007 goes to two networks

Associated Press

The PGA Tour will be found on only two of the three major networks starting in 2007 under six-year deals announced Wednesday with CBS Sports and NBC Sports, with the first two rounds of every tournament and selected other events relegated to The Golf Channel.

The deal culminates a massive shake-up on the PGA Tour, which began last year when commissioner Tim Finchem unveiled a new schedule that will include a season-long points race that leads to a playoff system of three blockbluster events and the Tour Championship.

......................................... click here for the rest of the article ......................................

A Pretty Good Article

/noticias.info/ By Dave Shedloski
PGATOUR.com Senior Correspondent

HONOLULU -- Think of the PGA TOUR as a movable feast for its members. They have 48 tournaments to choose from, a veritable smorgasbord of golf played in a variety of beautiful or exciting locales and on storied or enthralling golf courses. And the kicker is that $255 million will be disseminated along their journey.

Of course, no one can play every week, though some have tried -- and on the Champions Tour, Dana Quigley was renowned for his unyielding consistency. As independent contractors, players have the right to select where they play and how much, though a minimum of 15 starts is required to retain their cards.

How they fashion their schedules is a crucial component in their careers. Many players, including perennial contenders like Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els, build their slates around the four major championships: the Masters, U.S. Open, British Open and PGA Championship. Others adhere to segments of the calendar or juggle dual memberships on the PGA TOUR and an international entity like the European Tour. Some favor particular areas of the country or even particular strains of grass. Some just listen to their internal clocks.

.......................... click here for the rest of the article ..............................

Monday, January 09, 2006

Sony Open

More Hawaii! I don't know if that's a good thing or if they are just torturing me.

Vijay is defending champion but Michelle Wie is grabbing all the headlines. And David Duval is supposed to play this week. I really hope he does well. It's a shame for me to come back to golf after all that time away to find him gone. Adam Scott will be playing so we can see how far along he is with the hair bet. I think Sergio should keep his new look. It's quite fetching.

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday Sergio Garcia.

Final thoughts on the Mercedes Championships

1) Carl on ESPN is annoying. I can't stand announcers who don't get things right. Along the same lines, that interviewer during the Appleby interview will never live down getting the "56 holes without a bogey" question wrong. Obviously, that interviewer had not been watching the tournament, or he knows very little about golf.

2) Lucas Glover wins a car! Yay for him! I think they should interview him a lot. He has a great accent.

3) Jim Furyk is going to be big this year. I think the new commercial he does for the Srixon ball is going to give him a lot of confidence that he's now one of the 'big boys' in golf. And I got tired of hearing all the announcers say that he had a home field advantage. He admitted he has maybe played 5 rounds at the Plantation course that weren't tournament rounds. I imagine if he's in Hawaii, he's got other plans than to play golf.

4) It's good that several of the players at the Mercedes championships will be playing in the Sony Open. I look forward to seeing them again. Hopefully, Jason Gore and Sean O'Hair will do better. If Brad Faxon is playing, hopefully he will improve too.

5) Vaughn Taylor was a quiet one this week. It's a shame no one spent any real time talking about him considering how well he played.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Saturday, January 07, 2006

The Mercedes Championships

The Golf Channel is ruining me. I never get on here an post anything now that I'm watching it all the time. Oh well, let's see what I think so far about the tournament.

Sergio Garcia is doing very well in this tournament. Hopefully he won't have any bad rounds today or tomorrow.

My favorites, Jason Gore and Brad Faxon, have fallen prey to my jinxing ability.

Even with all that wind, I would still rather be there than here. Here it's barely 40 degrees and we had snow flurries this morning.

So, did Tiger skip the tournament because his father isn't feeling well, or because he wanted more of an off season??? One of the announcers said Tiger's dad wasn't feeling well, but he also made excuses for the others who skipped (Retief, Phil, and Padraig) so I can't be sure if that was an excuse or if I should actually have a little feeling for Tiger this week.

Reportedly, Mark Calcavecchia text messaged Tiger and said something like "thanks for skipping this one, more money for me." At least that's what the announcers said. My question is this: How does one get Tiger's cell number to text message him? You would think with him being the most famous golfer currently out there, that would be a closely guarded secret. But players have his number? If this had been baseball, football, or basketball, every tabloid in the world would have Tiger's number by now. More proof of why golf is the best sport in the world.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

On the Eve of Round 1

Just a few thoughts on what I've seen and heard so far, thanks to the wonderful Golf Channel:

Stop talking about who's not playing this week. It's going to be a great tournament without them. I don't know why people think that golf is dead without the precious top 3 or 4 in the field. You can't beat Sean O'Hair, Jason Gore, Brad Faxon for human interest stories and excitement, and Vijay and Stuart Appleby for expected competitiveness. I think the media is deliberately doing this as a way to try to control some money issues behind the scenes - talking up the importance of the lack of a 'good' field to maybe reduce the price of tv contracts or something. And then to get someone like Phil Mickelson to make comments like he did in that Mark Rolfing interview only supports the media's position. It can be quite Machiavellian if you're in to conspiracy theories.

As for Mickelson's notion that to fix the tour they should force players to play x number of tournaments a year or lose their playing privileges - I love to repeat that I don't play golf and therefore am not knowledgeable enough to have any really good opinions on some of these things, but I do have to wonder what an idea like this would do to the international players. Those guys may not want to commit that much time to the American tour if they make their homes in other countries. If that's the case, then we could actually end up with the best international players not playing in America at all, which would totally suck. Maybe that's Mickelson's intention, to lessen the competition and make it easier for him to win tournaments out there. Who knows. But I would rather see Retief Goosen a few times a year here in America than none at all. And I liked how Mickelson told Rolfing that he thought that people should step up and run the tour like a business and if it was in the best interest of the tour he would have no problem doing what he was told and play certain tournaments. Sure, he's all for the best interest of the tour, but not until he's forced to be. Until then, he'll skip tournaments when he wants and the tour can get by on its own I guess.

As I've said in the past, I'm not a Tiger Woods fan. But, you all will be pleased to read that I've nearly come to the conclusion that if I had to choose between Mickelson or Woods, I'd almost have to pick Woods at this point. However, I think that's just because Tiger knows when to keep his mouth shut.

And all the Golf Channel analysts are predicting that Sergio Garcia will win a major this year. I sure hope they don't jinx him. I would love to see him win, but I don't know if his putting will let him. Hopefully, he's worked on it and will kick butt this year. They had one prediction that a certain golfer would reach the top 3 in the world rankings - I won't name the golfer because every time I mention him, I jinx him, but I hope he does climb up in the world rankings.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Tommy Bahama Challenge

I finally got to see this today. It was taped quite a while ago. It was thoroughly enjoyable. Until the local news woman interrupted to tell me that nothing had changed and those 13 miners were still trapped in a mine in Upshur county. It's great that they broke into the programming for no reason. That woman must have an inflated opinion of herself. Anyway, it was good to get to know the players better.

Good Story

Clark brings smile to a child
Dan Nicholl at Arabella
Sun, 27 Nov 2005

The Nelson Mandela Invitational finished on a perfect note at Arabella on Sunday, with Tim Clark's victory allowing the South African star to make good on his pledge to give his winnings to a hearing-impaired girl in Cape Town in need of a cochlear transplant.

Clark and professional partner Vincent Tshabalala won the betterball competition, a combined two-day total of 17-under-par giving them a four shot victory over Gary Player and Trevor Immelman. And with R250 000 to share between them, Clark's money will enable Siobhan, a young girl he met earlier in the week during a visit to the Carel Du Toit School For The Hearing Impaired, to get the operation she needs to enable her to hear. And with the golf serving as a vehicle for charity, Clark's gesture was an appropriate touch, as was the victory in the fourball alliance for Player's team, with the event host having celebrated his 70th birthday in November, and marking it with a birthday party on Saturday night. The real celebration came on Sunday, however, as Player, Immelman, Coca Cola South Africa Division Executive Director Alex Maditsi and former American football star Ahmad Rashad combining superbly, a 27-under-par total putting them four shots clear of Lee Westwood, Simon Hobday, singer Ronan Keating and Coca Cola Africa Division President David Lyons. Dressed in matching orange shirts and beige trousers, Player and Immelman had a large gallery following them, and the Black Knight was delighted with the outcome. "It's the first time I've won," he said afterwards, and paid tribute to his team members, who were equally enamoured with the win. "I've won a lot of trophies, but this one is going to the top of the pile, even topping the Superbowl," Rashad said after picking up a win on debut. Playing off a five handicap, the genial American struck the ball cleanly and putted well, providing perfect back-up to the professionals. Clark's victory will be a perfect warm-up for the Nedbank Golf Challenge next, where he will be joined by Retief Goosen, who looked slightly below par at Arabella, conceding that he wasn't entirely happy with his swing. No such problems for Clark, however, and while the return of Ernie Els will be the big story at Sun City, the quiet South African could be a good outside bet on his current form; if he does pull off another win, the loudest cheer will come from a little girl in Cape Town — and soon enough, she'll be able to hear those cheers, one of the many children to benefit from a weekend of golfing charity par excellence.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Preliminary Thoughts on the Mercedes Championships

First, I'd like to say that the writer of the article in the previous post had some really good points about Woods' and Mickelson's 'reasons' for not playing in certain events. Second, I can't wait to see the players who will be playing in this tournament. They are all exciting and I'm especially looking forward to seeing the first time winners play. I hope Brad Faxon does well. I think he had some surgery late in the year last year. Here's a list of everyone I'll be watching: Jason Gore, Brad Faxon, Sergio Garcia, Lucas Glover and Sean O'Hair.

Here's the complete list as PGA Tour's website had it at post time:

Stuart ApplebyJason BohnOlin Browne
Bart BryantMark CalcavecchiaMichael Campbell
K.J. ChoiBen CraneBrad Faxon
Fred FunkJim FurykRobert Gamez
Sergio GarciaLucas GloverJason Gore
Justin LeonardPeter LonardSean O'Hair
Geoff OgilvyKenny PerryTim Petrovic
Carl PetterssonTed PurdyWes Short, Jr.
Vijay SinghHeath SlocumVaughn Taylor
David Toms

With this list of top players, I doubt I'll find a second to think of Mickelson or Woods this week.

Mercedes Championship

Mercedes deserves full field
By Rob Collias, Sports Writer

Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson don’t realize what they’re missing.

The winners-only, $5.4 million Mercedes Championships will kick off the PGA Tour schedule this week at a revamped Kapalua Plantation Course without Woods, Mickelson and five other golfers ranked in the world top 10.

Organizers of the eighth Mercedes played at Kapalua certainly lament the fact that No. 2 Vijay Singh, No. 6 Sergio Garcia and No. 7 Jim Furyk will be the only members of the current top 10 in the 28-man field, but the intrigue is still there for the biggest tournament this side of The Players Championship, the Tour Championship and the majors.

Woods said he needed time off after a grueling 2005 that included several stops on the unofficial silly season that starts after the Tour Championship in November.

Mickelson is skipping this event for the fifth consecutive time, seemingly because he doesn’t play well on the 7,263-yard Plantation Course. He came three weeks early in 2001 to get a feel for the course and still finished tied for 28th, 16 strokes behind Furyk’s winning effort.

No. 5 Ernie Els gets an excused absence because he was injured for most of 2005 and didn’t get the PGA win required for attendance.

Ditto for No. 8 Adam Scott, who won the Nissan Open, which did not count as an official title because rain shortened the tournament to 36 holes.

Nos. 9 and 10, Colin Montgomerie and Chris DiMarco, both came close, but did not win an event, either.

No. 4 Retief Goosen and No. 17 Padraig Harrington are both skipping the Mercedes, electing not to make the trip from South Africa and Ireland, respectively.

All of that is understandable, but Woods and Mickelson are head-scratchers.

Woods said he expects to start his season on Jan. 26 at the Buick Invitational. Is it a coincidence that Woods is sponsored by Buick and will not be driving in the Mercedes? Probably, considering he has been at six of the previous seven events on Maui, missing only the 2003 tournament due to offseason knee surgery.

Excuses are in the eye of the beholder, but Woods’ explanation that he needs time off to recover

is the bothersome part of all this. He finished in a tie for 14th in a 16-man field three weeks ago at the Target World Challenge, which he hosts annually in Thousand Oaks, Calif.

“I haven’t had an offseason,’’ Woods told The Associated Press when he announced he would not be at Kapalua. “And I need one.’’

No doubt, golfers need an offseason, but why not take it during, you know, the offseason?

Not that Woods, who turned 30 on Friday, or Mickelson need more exposure, but this event gets more coverage on The Golf Channel and ESPN than any except the “big six’’ mentioned above. TV coverage is a comment on the prestige of the event.

The absence of Tiger and Lefty will instead leave that much more attention for other players.

Bart Bryant, Jason Gore and Tim Petrovic, who all have Tin Cup stories, are in the field

For Michael Campbell – the U.S. Open winner from New Zealand – the Mercedes will be one of only two PGA events on his schedule outside of the Players, World Golf Championships and majors. Two-time defending champion Stuart Appleby of Australia will be back, too.

Next year could be a different story, even for as reluctant a tourist as Mickelson.

The Tour took a page from the Nextel Cup and will use a season-long points system next year, with a 10-tournament chase for player of the year honors to end the season. Part of the reason for the change is to avoid players skipping out on events.

Mickelson, for example, took a pass on the Tour Championship because he wanted to spend Halloween with his family.

By the way, Halloween was the Monday before the Tour Championship started. Maybe those Lear jets just don’t fly as fast as they used to.

Will a system that has done well in the down-home atmosphere of NASCAR work in the stodgy, upper-crust golf world? That definitely remains to be seen.

The Tour has always had season-long races, however – on the money list, for berths in the Tour Championship and for the scoring title.

The Mercedes shouldn’t need to offer any extra incentive.

It always offers a stacked field, and now the Plantation Course has a new look after a $1 million, four-month renovation that included the replacement of all 18 greens.

Bryant, who won two events last year – bringing his career total to three – put it best.

“You know, everybody is real excited, all the players, other than maybe two of them,’’ he said.

This event is hardly dependent on Woods and Mickelson – in 2003, Els put on a show for the ages when he finished a PGA Tour-record 31 strokes under par. The breathtaking scenery with whales breaching in the Pacific is enough for a lot of snow-bound Mainlanders to watch.

Woods and Mickelson each played in 21 official events in 2005, including an epic duel at the Ford Championship in February. Whether they are tired, or don’t like the course or the model of car sponsoring an event should not be an excuse. Barring injury, this is a tournament that should be on their docket.

Robert Collias can be reached at rcollias@mauinews.com

Tiger Week hasn't been so bad on the Golf Channel this week. I did get to see Sergio Garcia win the Omega European Masters Saturday morning. And I've been watching the Golf Academy show today. Right now Jason Gore is on there. I like Jason Gore, he's so friendly and happy all the time. I have noticed that this Golf Academy show does happen to be half infomercial when people have dvds and books to sell. One thing's for sure - I'm going to be the most knowledgeable non-golfer out there after watching all this how-to stuff.