Friday, September 18, 2009

Generation Gap: Youth stalking Tiger

In case you missed it, the PGA Tour now has a generation gap. It runs from the ages of 33 (Tiger Woods) to later this year when Phil Mickelson turns 39. The guys who fall in between will earn fortunes that most of us can only dream about, but they’ll never have the acclaim merited by their bank accounts.

Today, Tiger can look around him and smile. He has the knowledge that he can beat everyone of his peers (age wise). He can look ahead at those who are tumbling into their 40s and know that he has already beat them and fully understand that they have entered the land of diminishing returns.

What Tiger has to worry about is the absolute law of the jungle. As Jack Nicklaus stalked Arnold Palmer and Gary Player and as Tom Watson stalked Nicklaus and as Woods has stalked them, or at least their records, there are those who have him in their crosshairs. In the past, youth has always been served and there’s no reason to think it isn’t going to happen again.

Since Tiger started winning majors, we’ve been looking for a challenger for his crown and all we found were pretenders. In the name of Dumb and Dumber, we were looking in the absolutely wrong place. We looked first at Phil, then Ernie, then Retief and then Vijay. In retrospect we have to wonder why. If you were given those four names for Final Jeopardy, the question would be, “Name five professional golfers Tiger Woods dusts with regularity.”

The threat to Tiger’s crown is creeping up on him. The collision should come within the next three to five years. That will be about the time Tiger is recovering from his fifth knee surgery, will step back and take a look at his situation and figure out that he has a fortune he and those who will follow in clan Woods will never want for a mansion or a yacht. There will probably be three or four children tugging at his heartstrings when he leaves for another tournament. He’d climbed the highest mountains. He became the most recognized person in the world. There will be few if any mountains to climb. Don’t be surprised if he decides that enough is enough. Why risk having his legacy clouded even the slightest?

Then the fun starts. Last September, on a visit to Ireland, I spoke with Christy O’Connor, Jr. a longtime friend. Being one of the best golfers Ireland ever produced (he almost holed a 2-iron on the last hole of Ryder Cup match against Fred Couples at the Belfry to secure Europe’s first Ryder Cup in forever), I asked if the acclaim Padraig Harrington received in the Old Sod was as raucous as I imagined. “Sure it’s been great,” said Christy, “but nothing like it’s going to be Rory McIlroy.”

Trust me. This 19-year old shaggy-haired long hitter with a deft touch around the greens lacks only one facet that will make him a super star and that’s experience. It won’t take much when you consider that Tiger’s buddy, Mark O’Meara opined that Rory’s development is ahead of Tiger’s at a similar stage of their respective careers. That’s good enough for me. If it wasn’t, after McIlroy won at Dubai this year, Ernie Els averred that the kid will certainly be the number one golfer in the world in the near future.

Before the crown is given to Rory, players such as Camillo Villegas, Anthony Kim and Nick Watney may have something to say about it.

Today, we may have a generation gap that has not produced a serious contender for the crown. Today, Tiger knows he’d better not have another hiccup. The best thought he can have right now is that because there are four real contenders, they knock each other off in a chase for his records.

Earlier in Tiger’s career, a popular theory was that Tiger’s real competition had yet to play. You can’t say that anymore.
A heartwarming story was written at the Puerto Rico Open a PGA Tour event that ran opposite the WGC CA Championship. Michael Bradley an affable 42-year old pro from Florida won for the first time in 11 years.

The gap wasn’t because of a loss of game, or a lack of dedication. A seriously injured back made four rounds in four days a living hell. Most times when he tried, he was in such a state that making the cut was not unlike his chances of climbing Mount Everest. He did qualify for the Tour for the 2007 season and in one of his first tournaments, he broke his ankle and was out for the season. Thus his victory in Puerto Rico was truly a feel good story.

Bradley was automatically in the field for the Transitions Championship in Tarpon Springs, Fla. Sad news came across the wire on Wednesday afternoon. Bradley had withdrawn because of an undisclosed injury. Golf and life share one thing in common. Both are unfair.

Bartender, four bottles of water for the four contenders and a glass of well-aged wine for Tiger so that his body may follow in like kind. For me? It’s too late for the well-aged wine. Water is best served in its solid form, so just draw me a young, cold draft beer. That always brings a smile to a curmudgeon.

See you on the first tee,


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A chink in Tiger's armor?

I’ve got to admit that my curmudgeonly side got the best of me during final round coverage of The Barclays. When Tiger Woods hit his second shot into 18 a mere six feet – 10 inches from the hole, the entire CBS broadcast team went into rapture. I was waiting for David Feherty to tell Woods his putt was conceded and let’s go to the sudden death playoff, which of course Woods would win. Then they could fall all over each other trying to bore viewers with hyperbole over hyperbole.

Woods then proceeded to do the unthinkable. He missed. He didn’t even scare the cup. Then to add insult to injury, Heath Slocum won the event on the 72nd green by holing a 20-foot putt for the biggest win of his modest career. Then all they could talk about was how Slocum vaulted from 124th to third place in the FedEx Cup point standings.

Hey guys! No one and I mean no one cares. All the FedEx Cup has managed to do is extend interest in the Tour past the PGA Championship.

Heaven forbid, the CBS clan would hint at what has become one of the biggest, if not the biggest story of the year. Tiger Woods has become beatable. Where once conceding that putt would have been on everyone’s mind. It’s no longer the case. Missing the cut at Turnberry, putting like a rag doll in the final round of the PGA Championship and the Barclay’s debacle have become commonplace occurrences. He just doesn’t lose his touch for a hole or two; it’s now for a tournament at a time.

One could surmise that Tiger isn’t crazy about it either. His visible and I would imagine vocal emanations would reflect it.

In a way, this syndrome is reminiscent of what Tom Watson went through. Always a fearless putter, Watson would either make his birdie putt, or knock it seven feet past the hole. That was okay, because he knew he’d make the comebacker. Tiger has always been the same way.

The day came when Watson didn’t make the par putt. Then there was another and another and another. Although there were extenuating circumstances at the time which have since been remedied, it gave credence to my belief that there are just so many putts in a pair of hands and Watson had run through his supply. This may be the start of a similar syndrome for Tiger.

He may go on to win the last three playoff tournaments and people will forget his shortcomings, but he won’t. He’s the one person who knows, make that feels the seepage of the confidence that is the trademark of his putting stroke.

No doubt, he is licking his chops at the prospect of having Pebble Beach and St. Andrews on tap for the US and British Opens in 2010, but now there is a crack in his wall of invincibility.

His goal of 19 professional majors, once considered a tap in, is getting longer and the last thing Tiger needs is a tougher putt.

Bartender, I think we’ll pass this week. You do dispense fabulous swing oil, but that stuff can make a putting stroke, shall we say a tad jittery. Thanks anyway.

See you on the first tee,


Friday, August 14, 2009

A kinder, softer Tiger?

It’s beginning to appear that there is an answer to the question, will having children change Tiger Woods? Now, don’t think this is a definitive answer, but a couple of things that he’s said recently lead one to believe that this is just may be a kinder, softer version of El Tigre.

EXHIBIT #1. Following the final round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, Tiger was incensed that he and playing competitor Padraig Harrington had been put on the clock for being out of place. He reasoned that it caused Harrington to exercise less than crystal clear judgment when confronted with a wayward drive on the 16th hole that called for a precise recovery. Harrington’s eventual recovery came to rest in an awkward lie next to a fairway bunker.

From there, his third shot buried in the grass to the right of the green. Rather than pitch onto the middle of the green and perhaps make a bogey, his brain cramped and he shot at the pin. With water lurking tightly behind the hole, his chances for recovery were slim and none and Slim had just left town.

Granted, Woods, who had also driven into the woods, but played to the middle of the fairway before knocking his third shot to six-inches from the hole, may have altered Harrington’s thinking as well. After holing out for a triple-bogey eight, Harrington appeared to be in shock and the tournament was over.

After receiving the trophy, Tiger publicly lashed out at rules official John Paramor for putting the twosome on the clock. “I told Padraig that he (Paramor) ruined a great battle that we had going,” said Woods.


Tiger sticking up for an opponent and not just an opponent, but the guy who was giving him all he could handle was confusing at best. He’s always been the ultimate step on the throat of the opponent when he is down type of guy. This left Harrington to defend Paramor by saying, “the players make the rules and we have to obey them. As a rules official, he was doing his job. When you’re out of position and on the clock, the quickest way to get off the clock is to put the ball in play and I didn’t do it.”

Was “Tiger the Intimidator” on hiatus? Why did he leave “Tiger the Compassionate” in charge? Sam and Charlie are getting to him.

EXHIBIT #2. We all know that Tiger lives for the Majors and the Majors alone. Not only have they been the focal points of his golf schedule, they’ve been the focal points of his life. A year without winning a Major has been like a year without sunshine for Tiger and those around him. Let’s just say he gets poor grades in “Plays Well With Others” until he returns to the winner’s circle.

When he arrived at the PGA Championship pitching a 0-for-2009 in the Majors, he followed up his defense of Harrington just a couple of days before with this gem.

“Even if I don’t win a major, this has been a great year,” he said. “Winning five times coming back from my knee problems is pretty good. Not many players get to do that.”

If his father, Earl, had been alive, you can make book that once he was revived; he would have chased his son down and washed his mouth out with soap. Someone has turned the ultimate competitor and intimidator into a wuss.

Having typed all this I am compelled to mention that Tiger has won two weeks in a row and has fired a five-under par 67 in the opening round of the PGA Championship. More than his score in that round, I noticed one appearance of Woods ablaze in that round. After a rare wayward drive, he did let loose with a string of off-color words and invective that have unfortunately been accepted as part of his lore. This begs that a question be asked.

If his kids can soften Tiger’s heart, why can’t they do something about the really classless language he spews? We kind of like the competitive stuff, but not so much the garbage mouth.

Bartender, please pour a tall tumbler of ice water for Mr. Woods. Better yet, inject it directly into his veins. While you’re at it, please remove the cup of human kindness. Thanks.

See you on the first tee.


Thursday, July 9, 2009

U.S. LPGA merging with Asian LPGA?

As we head towards the British Open, which the Brits arrogantly refer to as The Open Championship (like we refer to baseball’s World Series), let’s take a look at what is going on in the golf world.

After his surprise win in the U.S. Open Lucas Glover is becoming “the guy who won’t go away.” I was willing to bet you that by the time Father’s Day 2010 rolled around, the most wrongly answered golf trivia question would be, “Who won the 2009 U.S. Open?” By the way, did I tell you that I might not be perfect?

There are some things that are definitely might be happening and it’s not all good.

There is definitely growing unrest among the LPGA rank and file. Word has it that there was a “special” dinner held during the recent Jamie Farr Classic. Evidently, the restaurant’s special of the night was “Roast Bivens au jus.” The girls aren’t thrilled with Commissioner Carolyn Bivens’ strategy.

While it would have been difficult to forecast the economic debacle now gripping the country from very far out, the LPGA has been hard hit. Unfortunately, under Bivens’ direction, most of the tournament contracts run out this year. The climate calls for conciliatory communication between the LPGA and their tournament sponsors. Instead, Bivens has maintained a hard line in sponsor negotiations.

The results haven’t been good. It could be that the Tour will lose three tournaments in Hawaii (they’ve lost Kapalua for certain). They may also have none in Florida or Arizona. This is a major disaster waiting to happen.

Here’s something you may want to think about. The big announcement out of the LPGA Daytona, Fla. headquarters has been about a new tournament to be held in Korea in 2010. Given the heavy Korean population already on the LPGA rolls, it’s not a stretch to think that the LPGA is heading towards being part of a hybrid that will fold the Asian LPGA and the US LPGA tours into one.

This won’t be a victory, but it will be a solution. However the odds are that Bivens won’t be a part of it. The players view her more as a major part of the problem and definitely not the solution.

As a contrast, the PGA Tour will have the bulk of their sponsorship contracts expire at the end of the 2010 season. Don’t be surprised if purses drop in the new contracts for part if not the entire term. Players will still make a great living because they won’t lose many sponsors. However, I can see a major restructuring of the FedEx Cup.

What may suffer if the economy doesn’t come around in short order are the Nationwide and Champions Tours. The only thing they have going for them are the relatively inexpensive purses. Their Golf Channel TV exposure isn’t all that attractive and the schedule breaks don’t allow a build up of continual interest. They should survive, but who knows in what form.

Yet again, out thoughts and prayers are with the Mickelson family as word has come out that Phil’s mother has also been diagnosed with breast cancer. Two of the most important women in Phil’s life have been diagnosed with this terrible disease. NO family deserves this.

Bartender, sorry but this bearer of bad news has again lost his thirst. It has to get better. By the way, allow me to be the first to prematurely congratulate Tiger on his latest addition to the Major trophy case. Maybe next time, he can favor us with a goblet of claret.

See you on the first tee,


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

My heart and mind not on U.S. Open...

I realize that my mind should be at Bethpage Black and I should be telling you who is going to win this week’s U.S. Open and why. Sorry, but I can’t get there. My mind is divided right now and one place it isn’t is Bethpage Black.
You see my mind is in a hospital room in Jackson, Miss., and a home in San Diego and my heart is split between the two.
You’ve probably read, or heard about the tragic car accident that befell golfer Ken Green. His RV plunged off the side of a highway in Mississippi following a front tire blowout and plunged 20-something feet before crashing into a tree. The crash killed Green’s brother and his girlfriend as well as Ken’s German shepherd, Nip. It also left Green with a right leg so mangled that it had to be amputated. His right orbital bone is so smashed that extensive surgery is required to reconstruct it and there’s a deep gash on the side of his head that is described as “troublesome.”
His medical charts alone are enough to sicken you. It’s what is not written that is the real tragedy.
You see, Ken Green isn’t your typical 50-year old professional golfer who glided with seamless effort from the PGA Tour to the Champions Tour. Ken Green’s trip to the Champions Tour was through a mine field where demons grabbed for a piece of his very being every step of the way. He was in the abyss of living hell.
After a painful divorce which left him almost penniless, Green had his first bout with the demon that threatened at times to end his life, clinical depression. When you type it or say it, the phrase seems harmless enough. In truth, it’s a cover up for a demon telling you that “I’m going to make you hate yourself so much that you’ll take your own life.”
There was a day when that demon would usually win. Even with all the tremendous steps that have been made in treating this disease, it’s not a case where if you take a pill it will clear up in a day, or two. Quite often it’s two steps ahead and one step or even more back. It takes determination and it takes love from others.
For years, Green lingered in the morass. He lost his golf game that had earned him five PGA Tour victories. He lost his money and he lost friends. Most of all, he lost his mind. Only through sheer guts and determination coupled from love and assistance from his family and friends like his buddy Mark Calcavecchia did he get through.
His game started to come back as did control of his life. Through a lot of help from Calcavecchia, he was able to gain sponsors exemptions into Champions Tour events. When his RV left the road in Mississippi he had won $123,906 in limited action. He had more sponsor exemptions in his pocket and he was on his way to gaining some playing status for the 2010 season. Some think it was more money than he’d made in the entire last decade. Life was getting better and now this.
He’s said through a spokesperson that he’s going to fight back and play again on the Champions Tour with help of a prosthesis. This is a good sign. He’s going to need that spirit to face what lies ahead for him. He’d better walk the straight white line when he’s back on his feet. The demons have his scent and they’ll be after him. I pray they lose again.
Ironically, back in the mid-80s when Green was at his peak, he was asked what would be a mark of success that would tell him that he’d made it?
“If when I die, at the end of the national news broadcast, they flashed my picture and said, ‘Pro golfer Ken Green died today.’ I think that would be great,” he answered.
You’ve made a lot of national broadcasts, Kenny, and you’re still alive. Let’s keep it that way.
Meanwhile, on the west coast sits, by all accounts, just a great lady. If she wasn’t so humble and down to earth, she might be the target of every catty remark made around golf. She has it all. She’s bright, beautiful, wealthy, has great healthy children and a husband who truly loves her. Yes, one would think, she has everything.
A few weeks ago she received news that she has even more. Amy Mickelson has breast cancer. I don’t know where the shock came from. Unfortunately, I know people and families who have been devastated by this despicable disease, but it wasn’t supposed to happen to her.
To his credit, Phil immediately cut short his playing schedule, taking an “indefinite leave of absence” from the PGA Tour. This came as no surprise because in the 1999 U.S. Open at Pinehurst, he left his cell phone on during play because Amy was due to have a baby at anytime. Phil swore he’d walk off the course immediately if the call came that Amy was in labor. Looking out for her man, Amy didn’t go into labor until the following day, so Phil finished second in a battle with Payne Stewart at Pinehurst.
Phil returned to the Tour last week at Amy’s insistence and he’s in the field at Bethpage some 3,000 miles away. He says the four to five hours he spends between the ropes gives him an opportunity to think about something other than his wife’s disease.
I’m sure that playing is cathartic for Phil, but I wonder what it will be like for him starting Thursday on his first tee. Back in 2002 at Bethpage, the vaunted, tough New York fans adopted him as their hero. It was a different time back then. New York was still recovering from the shock of 9/11. They needed their own hero. Tiger belonged to the world. Phil belonged to New York.
I hope Phil understands that all the pink shirts, hats, visors and pants being worn in what is predicted to be a huge gallery following him isn’t just New York having a bad clothes day. It will be a transference of energy through him to Amy telling them both that New York and the world for that matter is praying for her and to a lesser degree him as well to help see them through what could be difficult days to come.
Some have offered in print that it would be great if Phil could win this week. I have to believe that Phil would gladly give up all wins past and future if Amy could win her battle with cancer.
Bartender, take the rest of the day off. I’m just not in the mood if you know what I mean.

See you on the first tee,


Friday, May 15, 2009

What we missed at The Players...

Sorry for the delay this week good people. The final round of the Players Championship left me comatose. Henrik Stenson put the pedal to the medal and the rest of the field emulated a bad NASCAR driver and turned right and piled up on the wall.

I will, however, give NBC immense credit for not bowing to temptation and putting Tiger Woods on the screen every time. It’s just a shame that they didn’t have anything better to replace him.

Sunday’s viewing reminded me of golf last year post—U.S. Open. We got to see some interesting players and learn more about them than we would if Tiger had been able to keep his ball on planet Earth.

There were a couple of things that we missed over the weekend that could have been interesting to see.

On Saturday, the cameras could have caught the utter disgust Masters champion Angel Cabrera showed towards playing partner Kevin Na. It seems Cabrera took exception towards Na’s pace of play. Granted, you might not want Na as a pace car, but he’s certainly gets the ball in the air quicker than noted lava flows Ben Crane and Sean O’Hair.

Reports from someone who was there said the atmosphere turned nasty. Although not able to convey his message in English, Cabrera got his point across via body language. At times it appeared that the pair might come to blows. Unless Na is proficient in Korean martial arts disciplines, the odds favor the Argentinean in less than one round.

Gee, you don’t think that the fact that Cabrera was en route to a not so smooth 77 had any bearing on his demeanor do you? The fact is, as so often happens on the PGA Tour, there was no where to go. They were in place on the course and no PGA Tour official warned them as they did Ian Poulter and Brian Davis on Sunday.

Reports from colleagues who cover the South American Tour as well as the European Tour have, “he has a great game when he’s putting good,” as the response to the question, “what type of guy is Angel Cabrera?” Reading between the lines, one can assume this is what Sergio Garcia will be like when (or if) he grows up.

Speaking of pace of play, I’ve heard some complaints about Aaron Baddely’s tour of TPC Sawgrass on Sunday. Many were shocked that it took him three hours and five minutes to shoot a 66 while playing alone.

First of all, he was playing with a marker who attested his score on every hole. Secondly, and this is perhaps the most telling reason, it’s an unspoken response to an incident that occurred a few years ago.

Mark Calcavecchia and a fellow player were to lead off the final round. They decided to see how fast they could complete their round. They walked off the 18th green one hour and 20 minutes after striking their first tee shot and almost four hours ahead of the second group, which in all fairness was a threesome.

According to reports, in an outburst of incredible hypocrisy, they were fined by the PGA Tour for making a farce out of tournament play. The result is why we now have an unwritten rule concerning the minimum amount of time to be taken to complete a round of golf under these circumstances.


Sometimes it’s nice to be old enough to have flashbacks. A great occurred yesterday when I read that Christy O’Connor was selected by the veterans committee for induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame. The flashback didn’t include any of his 24 European Tour victories or his 10 Ryder Cup appearances, including a winner in 1957.

The flashback was to a Monday in June 22-years ago. It was the week of the Irish Open at Portmarnock Golf Club just outside of Dublin. In those days, the driving range wasn’t open on Monday of a tournament week for some reason, but there at the far end of the range was Christy O’Connor hitting balls while his caddie shagged them for him. O’Connor, at the age of 64, had been given a sponsors invitation to play. Surprisingly to everyone but himself, he went on to make a serious run at making the cut. But his quest was denied by the raging winds from the Irish Sea.

A month earlier, I had read an article in which Sam Snead was quoted as saying that Christy O’Connor may have been the best ball striker ever hit a golf ball. I ambled over to where Christy was hitting balls and waited for an opportunity to introduce myself. When I did, I quickly mentioned the Snead quote and asked him what he thought constituted a great ball striker.

He stopped for a second and said, “He’s a man who can control his golf ball in any conditions.” When pressed farther, he added as he looked at his clubs, “you have to be able to hit every one of those 140-yards.” I asked if he could do it. He looked at me and looked at his clubs and waved his caddie in and had him walk 140 paces out on the range.

He started at the driver and worked his way down through the bag. The caddie never moved more than three paces. I thought he might have a problem hitting his wedges that far, but he deftly hit the equator of the ball with the leading edge of the blade and it went 140-yards.

As he reached for his putter and raked a ball into address position, he looked and said, “What do you think, Jack?” I quickly replied, “Christy, its good, pick it up.”

We headed to the bar in the clubhouse where we were joined by Christy’s pal, Harry Bradshaw, the former Ryder Cupper and Pro Emeritus and they regaled me and those around us with wonderful tales about golf before we knew which end of the club was which. It was a day I never want to forget. That day, Christy entered my Hall of Fame and I’m happy the rest of the world finally got the message.

Bartender, a tall glass of gin, one ice cube and a tonic on the side, no lemon or lime (“If I wanted a fruit salad, I’d have asked for one,” says C. O’Connor) for the man known as “Himself”, World Golf Hall of Famer Christy O’Connor. Also a glass of water to wash down the mood elevator of your choice for SeƱor Cabrera. Me? Just a chair at Mr. O’Connor’s table. I know he has more stories to tell and I don’t want to miss one.

See you on the first tee,


Monday, May 4, 2009

Kelly wins, The Players Championship looms, Daly makes cut, and Quail Hollow

Jerry Kelly wins in New Orleans. The Players Championship is on the horizon and John Daly makes the cut in the Spanish Open. Let’s not forget that the people who run the Quail Hollow Championship (nee Wachovia Championship) get it right.

Kelly’s win at the Zurich Championship may not have been one for the ages, but you can score one for the good guys. Kelly had been on a seven year hiatus from the winner’s circle before winning last week. He had become what is known as a “field filler.” That’s the type of player who may not have the chance of a snowball in hell of winning, but in order to have a full field for the tournament, you hope he enters. His biggest plus for the tournament sponsor has always been that he gives good Pro Am. You never have a bad time in Jerry Kelly’s company and that’s a very big deal in the eyes of tournament sponsors.

In addition, he’s also immensely popular with his fellow pros and that can’t be said about everyone on any professional Tour. In fact that can’t be said about more pros than you might think.

The only downside of Kelly’s victory was that it pointed out Charles Howell’s lack of ability to finish the job. Howell should have won. He’s technically the better player, but Kelly has the heart of a hockey player (which he was in college) and he never stops grinding. You have to believe that if he had to do it, he could miss hitting all 18 greens in regulation and still post a sub par round.


It’s a wonderful thing that the PGA Tour has stopped trying to force feed the media and the public that the Players Championship is really the fifth major. Yes, they draw a tremendous field. Yes, the purse is fantastic. Yes, they’re trying to build tradition by holding the championship at the same venue. That might work, but not in our lifetime and that includes the infant in your lap to whom, as a dutiful, parent you’re reading this wonderful piece of golf writing. It just won’t work.

The Stadium Course is like an aging starlet. While it all may look great, the truth is, nothing is real. The land was a swamp before Pete Dye saw something no other human being could have seen and turned it into a quirky, unconventional golf course.

The Players Championship is what it is. It’s a wonderful tournament with three diverse, if not weird finishing holes (there’s really no flow or rhyme or reason why they’re there). Having written that, I fall in line with those who want a three-hole playoff in case of a tie at the top on Sunday. In that context these holes would work.


John Daly, Loudmouth pants and all, made the cut in the Spanish Open. Could this be the start of a comeback for Daly? It could be only if he gets through the next month without incident. Never forget that he’ll always be a train wreck in progress. He’s the next Miller Lite away from disaster and he’s two words (I do) from starting a marriage destined to be his fifth appearance in divorce court.

Much has been said about JD dropping 40-plus pounds after having the Lap Band procedure. However, according to a source who should know, there was no procedure. If this is correct, that’s the best news ever. It shows that somewhere along the road, Daly has acquired a modicum of self control. Who cares what the reason is. The fact he’s done it is a big step towards regaining his life.


May all tournament sponsors take note of the strategy employed by the tournament committee of the Quail Hollow Championship. Maybe it was the fact that until this year the event was known as the Wachovia Championship, but the committee was looking at the added pressure on the discretionary dollar.

They felt that the public would rather cheer for golfers making birdies than golfers sweating out pars. Thus, they reduced the rough from four to two inches giving players a chance to reach greens from the cabbage. In turn, however, they did quicken the pace of the greens and make the putting surfaces firmer, so a birdie still had to be earned but was attainable.

Kudos to a tournament committee that remembered that to the spectators, a golf tournament is still entertainment. By the way, combining the greens of this year and the rough of years past and there sits a U.S. Open course begging to be played. USGA, please take notice.

Bartender, back up an ice cold beer with a shot of brandy (a Cheese Head state favorite spirit) for Mr. Kelly. Please take a can of Slim Fast from the cooler for Mr. Daly. Add a magnum of champagne for the Quail Hollow Championship tournament committee. Also, if you could, reach back into your earlier hippie days and grab a tab of acid for Mr. Dye and maybe he can envision another version of the Stadium Course. Me? Make that two cans of Slim Fast.

See you on the first tee,