Thursday, May 3, 2007

Surviving the conditions at Ginn

I know there's no such thing as a sure thing, but I sure would have bet the ranch on Laura Davies in the final round of the Ginn Open. She was tied with Lorena Ochoa entering the final round. The weather was going to be very windy (play was stopped on two occasions for a total of two and a half hours due to high winds).

It was a perfect setup for the British veteran. The weather was very British-like with the exception of the bright sun. She also had her size going for her. Before you yell sexist pig, hear me out. In high winds, a little extra ballast helps keep one's balance. Trust me on this. I know all too well from personal experience. Besides, Laura is a big time gambler. If you get your kicks out of staring down dealers, throwing down against a couple of kids like Ochoa and Brittany Lincicome had to make Davies the chalk bet in this field.

It had to be a sure thing, but it wasn't. There was another major factor that few took into consideration. The conditions couple with the comparative lack of experience under the gun of the other two players resulted in a situation that will likely be the ruination of professional and recreational golf as well --- damn were they slow.

This drove Davies crazy. She fidgeted, then stewed, she eventually boiled over. By the end of the round, she was more concerned about making her 5:25 flight to England than winning the tournament. She even managed to unprofessionally stickhandle her way around the last green to finish third behind Lincicome and Ochoa.

All three players were at the mercy of the conditions. Shots were out of control at impact. Davies was hitting her drives off the deck without a tee. That's nice for the Monday exhibitions, but a strange strategy in the hest of battle. If you wonder why no other players try that, all you had to do was watch those uggers squirt off Davies' club face, yuck.

In a strange way it was entertaining --- much the same as watching cars skid on ice. I don't think I'd like to watch this every week, but it might get me watching LPGA golf a little more often.

The windy weekend on the east coast blew off Sunday play at the PGA Tour Verizon Classic on Hilton Head, causing a Monday finish. Boo Weekley chipped in for Pars on the last two holes to beat Ernie Els by one shot. Word has it that Els will be allowed near sharp objects again in about six weeks.

While the two top Tour events of the weekend were played under duress, there was another commonality. Lincicome and Weekly are just the start. There's a changing of the guard in professional golf and we'd better be ready for it.

Sure, the PGA Tour will have Tiger and Phil out front for a while yet, but the underpinning is about to change. Weekley, Zack Johnson, Brett Wetterich, Heath Slocum, et al are the cream rising to the top. Davis Love and company have had their day. They'll come back on occasion. Hey, somewhere there's a show featuring Fabian, Dion and KC and the Sunshine Band and people will reminisce about the good old days and the next day go back to surfing the FM dial. That, I fear is the lot of Davis, Freddy and friends. We've got to get used to it.

While we're there, we'll be seeing less and less of Annika. Her bulging disc in her neck just might be the beginning of the end. At age 36, she's looking in a lot of different life directions. While we're at it, Juli Inkster has to break down sometime. Okay—maybe not.

Hey bartender, pour me another one. Make this one Ancient Age bourbon. Nah, let's drink to the future. Make it a dram of Early Times.

See you on the 1st tee,


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