Friday, November 14, 2008

Golf as an Olympic sport? Daly abroad

This past week the International Golf Federation made a formal proposal to the International Olympic Committee to reinstitute golf into the Olympic Games in 2016. Why?

Correct me if I’m wrong. We already have the Ryder Cup and the Presidents Cup. Throw in the annual World Cup and I think we have our bases covered. According to the IGF the game is played in approximately 120 countries. The game is expanded to the limit. Grow the game? I don’t foresee anyone in Rwanda dreaming of Olympic gold via the golf route. I do, however, see that same person in Rwanda dreaming of solid gold via the golf route.

Golf is now truly a global game, but is it an Olympic event? Think of it. How many Olympic events are called “games?” I play golf...okay not well, but do I consider myself to be participating in an athletic endeavor? Are you kidding? It’s purely recreational and that’s where it belongs. Golf is a recreational activity and not to be placed in the same category as a decathlon. Alright, I’ll give you synchronized swimming. By the same token, if you screw up there, you could drown. That isn’t going to happen in golf...Woody Austin aside.

It’s not like golf hasn’t been part of the Olympics before. In 1904 there were 77 competitors and only 73 of them were Americans. The rest were Canadians. One of them, George Lyon took the gold medal and earned a spot in the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame.

Let’s face it; the Olympic golf is played every week. The best players from every country square off on professional tours around the world. Golf as an Olympic event would just be another tournament. The last thing we need is just another tournament.


Next week in Hong Kong, John Daly is making his season debut on the European Tour. As a former British Open champion he’s an automatic member. Seeing as how he’s pretty much worn out his welcome over here, Europe may be a viable option.

For the most part, it’s pretty difficult to get kicked out of Hooters and even more so when they’re supposed to be your sponsor. Yet, JD did just that and got locked up for the night. To date Hooters hasn’t ended his contract, but you can imagine they’d like him to go away. What better place to go than Europe?

Daly has proved that he can’t compete in the U.S. As big a draw as he still is on the PGA Tour, he’s proving to be more and more of a liability.

Maybe and it is a big maybe, he’ll find his game over there. However, that’s going to take a lot of hard work and dedication. Unfortunately, those are two things he’s seemed to have avoided over the last five years. It might do the big guy well to stencil two words on his golf bag and to look at them often. Those words are LAST CHANCE, because that’s what it is. I have a terrible feeling that the next words we read about Daly are going to deal with a tragedy.

Bartender, on that happy note please pour me a tall, cold glass of Diet Coke. That’s the other fluid JD is addicted to.

See you on the first tee,


Friday, November 7, 2008

Miracles in the Children's Miracle Network Classic

It was appropriate that the field of the Children’s Miracle Network Classic, the final event on the PGA Tour schedule would include Erik Compton. No one personifies what kind of miracles can happen better than he.

As a teenager Compton required a heart transplant. He made it through and became one of the top junior golfers in the country. After a full and successful collegiate golf career, he followed his dream of becoming a professional golfer.

Like most pros, Compton started on the mini-tour circuit playing where and when he could. He was learning his trade and eventually made it to the Nationwide Tour. During a week off this past summer, he felt something wrong in his chest. Fortunately, he lives a short drive from his hospital in Miami. He drove himself to the hospital.

By the time he arrived, he knew something was really wrong and he was right. He was suffering a heart attack. It was quickly surmised that he needed another heart transplant. There was no choice. He successfully survived the procedure yet again. It happens, but usually the recipient walks on egg shells for the rest of his/her life. Erik Compton is hardly usual.

Six months later, he was healthy enough to accept a sponsor’s exemption into the classic. It was a different Compton this time around. When he was a kid, he was reluctant to speak about having had a heart transplant. He wanted to just be thought of as another golfer. He didn’t realize that he’d never be “just another golfer.”

Today, he’s a proud spokesman for organ donations and transplants. Thanks in part to the steadfastness of Casey Martin years ago when he took the PGA Tour to court for the right to ride a golf cart in tournament play, Compton just might yet realize his dream of playing golf at the highest level.

I think the only person who cares if he realizes his dream is Compton himself. Sometimes the glory is in the journey and not the destination. His effort and persistence is inspiring.


The PGA Tour has come up with yet another format for the FedEx Cup playoffs. The new plan calls for the season-long points will be reset and the top 125 point earners will play in the first event. That number is down from 144. The next week the top 90 players will be in the field—down from 120.

The third event will feature the remaining to 60 points down from 70. In the Tour Championship finale, the field will be cut to 30 again, but the points will be reset so everyone will have a chance to win. So, in other words, the first three weeks of the playoffs the strategy will be to play to not be eliminated. This could cause some very boring, close to the vest golf.

Even if it does, this seems to make more sense than anything else they’ve tried.


If Erik Compton hadn’t been in the field of the Children’s Miracle Network Classic, the story would have been the play of Jeff Overton. Less than a month ago, Overton underwent an emergency appendectomy and a week and a half later was back on Tour. Such is the life of a PGA Tour player who is on the top 125 money list bubble.

Granted the surgical procedure is a lot less invasive that it once was, but a week and a half? Also, there was one other issue. Because of drug testing, most pain killers are on the banned list, so Overton had to go cold turkey. Finally, he applied with the Tour for a waiver so he could take Percocet. Two days later the Tour granted the waiver. Little did they know that Overton had rolled the dice and took a chance that this wasn’t his week to be tested. As it turned out, he was right.

What this points out is the silliness of drug testing parameters. It wasn’t as if Overton was faking a problem. He had the surgery and I would imagine he was in pain. It should have been an automatic waiver from day one. Kudos for granting the waiver citing that they put a player’s health needs first. Just wondering why it was an issue in the first place.


Rumors that the Sergio Garcia, Morgan – Leigh Norman romance had landed in Splitsville were premature. She accompanied the Spaniard to China for the HSBC Championship. You don’t think she’s giving him putting lessons, do you? His turnaround with the flat stick has been amazing. I wonder that if this relationship continues to develop, Morgan – Leigh’s Dad Greg will insist the Sergio start playing MacGregor equipment?
Bartender, a magnum of your finest champagne, please, Let us raise a glass to Erik and Jeff for two very gutsy performances.

See you on the first tee,