Monday, July 7, 2008

Take a trip around the golf world ...

Let’s take a little tour around the world of golf while we await the British Open Championship or The Open Championship as the Brits refer to it. I wonder if we can withstand a Tigerless major. Trust me, all is not lost. Golf will survive even if the golfer formally known as Eldrick doesn’t return until the 2009 Masters.

News item. Chris Evert and Greg Norman swap I do’s on a beach in the Bahamas. Cost of the Saturday night wedding was reportedly in the $2 million range. It was the third for the tennis great who has been known to the public as Chris Evert-Lloyd and Chris Evert-Mills and the second for the swashbuckling Norman. I’m thinking this time it’s not going to be Chris Evert-Norman. In a battle of egos, I’m always picking the Aussie.

However, in a report on the nuptials, it was reported that the two combined for 20 major titles. That was 18 for Chris and a scant pair for Greg. That’s always a boost in confidence for a guy over 50 on his wedding night. I can just imagine the pillow talk.

“Gee Greg, I remember all those final round matches at the U.S. Open and Wimbledon where I felt the pressure of the whole world of tennis on me and how great it felt to not only survive that pressure but prevail!” Chrissie might have said. “Yeah Chris, I certainly remember my Open Championships. It was great; here I was a guy from a country they regard as a prison colony winning their Claret Jug … not once but twice dear … very nice.”

Then Chris comes back with, “so Greg dear, I always heard that the Masters should have been your playground, er what happened there? Wasn’t there something about a meltdown against Nick Faldo? Then there was the 1986 PGA at Inverness when Bob Tway. That was his name wasn’t it? Oh, that Robert Gamez thing at Bay Hill, holing out for an eagle to rob you of another title, but that wasn’t a major, honey.”

I’m thinking Greg wins the battle of the names. When it comes to success on Sunday afternoon, ah not so much. I hope Saturday night was better mate. You don’t have the best track record on Sundays.


Inbee Park, at the age of 19 becomes the youngest winner in history of the Women’s U.S. Open. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? It’s a great story, a 19-year-old winning and all. It sucks for women’s golf in the U.S. Now this kid might be charming and all, but her victory is injurious to the LPGA Tour.

South Korea is developing these female golf automatons and shipping them here by the boxcar loads. They now have dominated the LPGA Tour by sheer numbers. It’s easier when your country recognizes athletic ability and has the funding to prepare it for the world stage. The Orient isn’t the only player. The Aussies are culpable as well. Then again maybe we should stop bitching and develop programs of our own.

By the way, I have two personal standards for major champions. If you putt with a long putter and win, that event is no longer considered a major. If you win a major championship and cannot utter the appropriate thank you in English … even if in broken English; you’re taken off the board like in a horse race and placed at the back of the pack. This also goes for Americans who win in other countries as well.


No Tiger, huh? I’ll visit Ladbrokes (official bookie of the European PGA Tour … isn’t that a wonderful concept?) and place a nice wager on Justin Rose. He’s ready and he’s had success here finishing T4 as an amateur. I always have liked Ernie Els and Retief Goosen in this championship. Ernie has won before and now that Woods isn’t playing may be the favorite. Goosen has had monumental struggles. I’ve never worked my way through Retief’s being struck by lightning as a junior and having Ernie, who is certainly no slouch in this department, saying that Goosen had been the party animal. It has to have had a profound effect on his life and way of thinking. Maybe we should be glad having witnessed his surgical precision in winning two U.S. Opens and be happy with that.


For all of you who favor the “plan your work, work your plan” philosophy, rejoice with Kenny Perry this month. Kenny had a plan to play the golf courses he plays best. His goal was to win a spot on the Ryder Cup team for the competition to be played this September at Valhalla in his native Kentucky.

Perry passed on the U.S. Open even though he was playing well at the time having won the Memorial, a couple of weeks prior to the major. The truth be known, there’s more than a little extra incentive to make this year’s Ryder Cup team.

In 2000, Perry appeared to have the PGA Championship won at Valhalla and after signing his scorecard, headed directly to the network TV booth at 18. He extolled the virtues of Kentucky and Kentucky golf with great largesse. When Mark Brooks birdies the 72nd hole, Kenny’s in a playoff. The only things he had prepared were his vocal chords. Mark Brooks is the 2000 PGA Champion.

Kenny, it’s time to get it back. At 48, go get ‘em. The Ryder Cup will be a fitting crown for a fine career of a true gentleman.

Bartender, pour a dram of your finest Kentucky Bourbon for the states favorite son and one for myself while you’re at it.

See you on the first tee.

No comments: