Saturday, December 29, 2012

Cheyenne Woods Opening 2013 Down Under

How big is the Woods name in golf? So big that it can lead news accounts about golfers committing to play a tournament - even when the Woods in question isn't Tiger. Like this, from GoldCoast.com.au:

We may never get to see Tiger Woods strutting his stuff on the Gold Coast, but the city has secured the next best thing in terms of golfing royalty -- his niece Cheyenne.

Cheyenne Woods will play the Australian Ladies Masters Feb. 1-3, and this article refers to her as a "headline act" even though she failed to secure exempt status on any tour for 2013. (Woods has conditional status on the Ladies European Tour.)

Having the Woods name will always mean that Cheyenne will have opportunities other golfers at her level don't have; that she'll receive more attention than she (probably) deserves. But that cuts both way - she'll receive more criticism and scrutiny than she deserves, too. It's not her "fault" that she is Tiger Woods' niece, and she'd be foolish not to take advantage of all the opportunities having that name presents.

If there's one thing we can say about Cheyenne already, its that she's no fool. She is a smart, poised, classy young woman. And she's talented at golf. Right now, her playing level is probably somewhere around that of a good but not great player on the Futures Tour. But those golfers sometimes turn into stars on the LPGA Tour, and Cheyenne might have the drive and work ethic to reach that level, too. Time will tell.

Meantime, Woods is playing three tournaments in a row in Australia and New Zealand in February:

  • Feb. 1-3: Australian Ladies Masters
  • Feb. 8-10: New Zealand Women's Open
  • Feb. 14-17: Women's Australian Open

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Pro Golfer Shows Off Vibrator She Got for Christmas

Hey, Kristie Smith, did you have a good Christmas? "Yes ... Yes! ... YES!!!"

So just what are the Christmas gifts that have young Kristie Smith - an Australian pro with wins on the ALPG, Futures Tour, and Ladies European Tour - feeling so spoiled by her family? She gathered them into a group and shared the photo with her Twitter and Instagram followers:

Hey, is that a ... vibrator? It sure is! And yet, Kristie shared this photo with the public - showed it off even - while noting that her Christmas haul made her feeled "spoilt."

Good for her! May she and her new little friend achieve thousands of orgasms together!Not like it's something we don't all do ourselves. As that great poet Cyndi Lauper once put it:

She bop, he bop, a-we bop,
I bop, you bop, a-they bop

What strikes me about this is the difference in attitudes about sex between Americans and most of the rest of the Westernized, industrial world. Australians clearly don't have the hang-ups about sex that Americans have - not exactly news to anyone who's ever met an Aussie.

Truth is, Americans are some of the most prudish people on the planet about sex and sexuality. Yet, there is Kristie, sharing her new toy with the world, not only unashamedly, but completely without embarrassment.

Americans, by contrast, are so completely hung up about sex, but not hung up nearly enough about violence. Blood, guts, gore, killing, mayhem? Celebrated in American popular culture! Glorified! Sex and nudity? Ewwww, have some decency! (It's not that American pop culture doesn't also celebrate and glorify sex, but the difference in the reaction of cultural, moral and especially religious scolds that I'm commenting on.)

Your mileage may vary, but I think we (Americans) have it backwards.

Kristie Smith's vibrator is buzzing with a lesson for us all. Ask not for whom Kristie Smith's vibrator buzzes, America, it buzzes for thee!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Golf Swing Worse Than Charles Barkley's?

Somewhere, Charles Barkley is saying, "thank you, Tyreke!"

As in Tyreke Evans of the NBA, who might now have the worst celebrity golf swing:

I'm suspicious. How can someone so athletic look so pathetic? Is this just a put-on? Surely he - or anyone - could do better than that. Right? Yes? No?

For another contender for "worst celebrity golf swing," see our previous post, Yao Ming Can't Play Golf.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

More Views of Rory McIlroy's New $9.5M Florida Home

Here are some more photos of Rory McIlroy's new house, which he recently purchased for $9.5 million in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. The house is in a small, gated community named Old Gate, and it backs up to the Intracoastal Waterway. Presumably, Rory - and his love, Caroline Wozniacki - will have a nice, big boat of some sort, probably a yacht, sitting soon in the water out back.

Rory's house, by the way, is the one with the dark gray roof; the sort of rusty tan-colored roof next door is the neighbor's house. On the other side of Rory's new Florida house is, currently, an empty lot.

If I was Rory, I'd buy that empty lot myself to prevent anyone moving in next door. Because, looking at these photos makes it clear: This home doesn't really come with much in the way of seclusion or privacy. Privacy from riff-raff like you and me, sure; privacy from rich riff-raff? Not so much.

I'm sure the home is absolutely lovely indoors; it has six bedrooms and nine bathrooms. It's less than a mile from The Bear's Club. It has "a center glass core and window views everywhere throughout the house. It's really an updated Frank Lloyd Wright turned modern. Multiple party patios on multiple levels and on opposite sides ... a putting green is already in place."

So, you know, I'm not saying I would turn it down. But ...

... I'm really not that impressed, either. Look at all those houses crammed together, all those people crammed together. Rory really doesn't even have his own private driveway. That roundabout that is directly in front of Rory's home? It's actually the entryway for four different houses, including Rory's.

Or maybe my tastes or just more hifalutin' that Rory McIlroy's tastes! Probably a good thing that I don't have enough money to live "up" to my tastes.

Photo Credits: Jeff Lichtenstein specializes in marketing real estate from Juno Beach oceanfront condos to http://www.jeffrealty.com/boca-raton. His Father, Cary Lichtenstein, a resident of Admirals Cove, has rated golf courses for GolfWeek magazine and has played all Top-100 courses in the US. He enjoys helping high net-worth buyers and sellers with their real estate needs.

Update: Watch a video showing the interior of Rory's house. It's gorgeous on the inside. Lesson learned: Don't just a house by its roof.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Samuel L. Jackson's Kangol Is the One that Says 'Bad Mother-------'

Get that mother******* visor off your mother******* head!

That's the message contained in Kangol's new Samuel L. Jackson collection of golf hats and caps. And Samuel L. Jackson is the coolest golfer on the planet, so are you going to argue? Jackson "worked closely with Kangol's design team to personally select each of the heritage shapes and fabrics within the collection," the company states. And continues:

"While the Kangol Golf by Samuel L. Jackson collection offers nods to Kangol's history, it also incorporates ultra-modern performance treatments. The refined Heritage styles feature P2i's revolutionary, liquid-repellent ion-mask technology, which provides an undetectable coating, causing liquids to bead up and roll off the hats.

"The range of hats incorporates Samuel L. Jackson's personal touches through use of his favorite colors, purple and yellow. The SLJ Jacquard print on the P2i Golf Spitfire was inspired by a vintage hat from Samuel's personal Kangol hat collection to create his own unique print. All hats in the range contain an interior 'Kangol Golf by Samuel L. Jackson' woven label."

You ever notice how most golf company press release sound the same? You know who doesn't sound like everyone else? Samuel L. Jackson, mother******!

Like that time, in that movie, he said, "Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the golfers through the Valley of Sin. For he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost golf balls."

Or "I'll just walk the earth. ... meet people... get into adventures. Like John Daly searching for a lost ball."

Or "You refer to the prophecy of The One, who will bring balance to the Force. You believe it's Rory McIlroy?"

I'm partial to the golf-themed remakes of his movies that Sam has done. Such as:

  • Decisions on the Rules of Engagement
  • Graphite Shaft
  • Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Callaway Clones
  • Coach Harmon
  • Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of Horton Smith
  • Snakes on a Swing Plane
  • Bethpage Black Snake Moan

You know what else I'm partial to? Kangols! Because if they're good enough for Samuel L. Jackson, they're good enough for me.

But whether you love Kangol caps or not, just remember ... Get that mother******* visor off your mother******* head!

See the Kangol website for more.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Greatest Invention in Golf History! (Don't Use It If You Have a Pacemaker)

Hey, that's what its makers claim about the MagneCaddy! They wouldn't just make up a statement like that, right? So let's check out this invention so stupendously awesome that it "may be" better than the guttie, the Haskell ball, dimples, steel shafts, graphite shafts, metal woods, perimeter weighting, cast irons, the sand wedge and all the rest:

MagneCaddy may be the greatest invention in golf history!

Huh. I think they're overselling it. What do you think?

I can see something like this coming in handy for some golfers - older golfers, golfers with back pain. You screw a powerful magnet into the butt end of the grip of one of your clubs - putter, I'll guess - and then you can pick up other clubs on the ground.

How many clubs do you leave laying on the ground during a round of golf? Enough to pay $24.99 for the MagneCaddy? As I said, I can see it being useful for some golfers - but is it more useful than other grip-end attachments you can buy that let you grab the golf ball out of the hole without bending over?

Then there's the warning disclaimer that appears on the MagneCaddy website:

WARNING: This product contains a very powerful earth magnet. If you currently have a pacemaker, ICD, or metal components in your body do not use this product prior to consulting a physician. Keep unit away from all electronics and children under 3 years of age.

Yowzah! That's a powerful magnet. If you've tried one, or you buy one, let us know how it goes.

Colin Montgomerie's Cheating Controversy

Did Colin Montgomerie cheat at the 2005 Indonesian Open? Some say yes. The European Tour and Monty say no - although Monty did admit to making a mistake, and apologized for it.

That wasn't enough for some of his peers, however. Some - most notably, Sandy Lyle - in later years outright called Montgomerie a cheater because of the incident. In the wake of Montgomerie's election to the World Golf Hall of Fame (announced on Dec. 18, 2012), the irascible Scottish golf journalist John Huggan made his thoughts about Monty perfectly clear on Twitter:

The cheating allegations, Monty's general sour disposition, the fact that he's been a royal jackass to many over his career - those are the things that kept his vote total so low. Montgomerie got into the Hall of Fame with just 51-percent of the vote, barely above the necessary threshold. Roughly half of voters thought Monty undeserving of the Hall of Fame, but, regardless, he's now a member.

So what happened in Jakarta, at the 2005 Indonesian Open, that causes some people to refer to Monty as a cheater?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Paula Creamer In a Bikini



(Photo via @NicoleHage)

Yes, yes, I'm trolling for page views by posting a Paula Creamer swimsuit photo. You got me. I freely admit it. (The photo, which also features the lovely LPGA golfer Nicole Hage, was posted by Nicole on Instagram and Twitter, and then retweeted by Paula (@ThePCreamer). So Creamer is obviously OK with the pic going public.)

But I do have a point to this post, beyond the gratuitous Paula bikini pic (although that really is enough to justify a post!). We really need to campaign for Paula to be in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition.

Is there any doubt that Creamer is one of the hottest female athletes on the planet? No. The answer is no. There is no doubt.

And, good news: Paula has already said she would consider it if asked. I recall her responding to a question from one of her Twitter followers about it, with something along the lines of, "Yes, of course I'd consider it."

So here's what we need to do. MJ Day is the editor of the SI swimsuit issue. She's on Twitter at MJ_Day. So if you are on Twitter, send MJ a polite request to put Paula Creamer in the swimsuit issue.

More Paula Creamer bikini pics: This is where we started archiving bikini pics that Paula shares on social media. You'll find many more here.

P.S.: If you like looking at Paula, here are a couple more things you'll enjoy:
Paula Creamer on Golf Babes
Paula Creamer glamour shots

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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Ray and Debra Go Golfing

What I don't like about this Everybody Loves Raymond scene is that ridiculous phony golf set.

But there are several things I do love about this scene:

  • Patricia Heaton is hot anyway (if you're into MILFs). But this scene accurately shows just how hot a cute girl is when she puts on a golf outfit. And how smokin' hot she becomes once she plays golf in that outfit. Watch Ray after Debra tees off: He is suddenly consumed by lust for his wife. We've all been there, right?

  • Ah, but couples and golf don't always mix, do they? And this scene shows us that side of the equation, too. Golf can create stress, and stress can cause curtness on the course - especially when one golfer is good and the other isn't. We've all been there, right?

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Oversecretive About Overseeding

There's nothing secretive, of course, about the need for many golf courses in places with warm summers by cool winters to overseed during winter months, in order to switch to a winter grass as their bermudagrass goes dormant. (If you don't understand why overseeding takes place, here's a good primer from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America).

What I don't understand is why some golf courses are so secretive about their overseeding schedules. You know the ones: you call for a tee time, they don't say, "hey, we just overseeded"; you show up and pay, they don't say, "hey, we just overseeded"; you reach the first green before you realize, "hey, they just overseeded!"

I got an email recently from a local course that I play often, announcing that they have completed their overseeding and, boy, are the greens in great shape! Funny, I don't recall getting an email from them before they started overseeding, saying, "Hey, we're starting our overseed ..."

Golf courses would generate a lot of goodwill with their customers, especially regulars, if they were open about their overseeding schedule, announced it to everyone who called for a tee time, and offered a discount during the overseed period.

Many golf courses already do that, and massive kudos to them. But many more don't. A few years back, I helped a Texas newspaper compile a chart listing the specific overseeding periods (start dates) of area courses. I called about 40 courses to get the info. Many of them were up-front and quick to reply. Some refused to say anything. Others wouldn't talk until they'd found out if their competitors had admitted to anything.

That's silly. We all know they do it. We all know they're going to do it. So just tell us when you're doing it (or while you're doing it). (And a corollory - golfers need to be more understanding about overseeding every time a putt breaks the wrong way on bumpy or furry overseeded greens.)

Friday, December 14, 2012

Loudmouth Not the Only Crazy Clothes on Course Anymore

Loudmouth Golf Apparel burst on the scene back around 2004, 2005, with its wild, wacky, eye-hurting, vision-blurring golf apparel. Golfers had spent decades trying to overcome the lingering stigma caused by those horrible 1970s golf fashions, and here was a company making clothes even uglier than those 1970s duds.

That was the joke, of course. And a funny thing happened: Loudmouth caught on and grew, eventually signed John Daly and other tour pros, started showing up on the pro tours, and became kinda cool.

And you know what happens when something because cool: Others start copying it. Royal & Awesome is the name of another apparel company that is turning out wild, wacky, crazy golf clothes. Here are a few pieces:

See royalandawesome.com for more. Royal & Awesome makes men's and women's bottoms, plus flat caps and belts.

Tom Watson Tried to Get Gary McCord Fired

I used to like Tom Watson quite a bit. He's a legend in golf, one of the all-time greats, and he just got named USA Ryder Cup captain for 2014. Good for him!

But the older Watson gets, the more of a cranky old scold he becomes. Some people react to that by holding up Watson as some kind of moral exemplar. I don't. I just think he's become a cranky old scold.

Not that there's anything wrong with that! When I'm old, I plan to be cranky and scolding, too! It's just that we need to separate the public athlete who we admire for his accomplishments in his sport, from the actual person, whose attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors often don't match up with his sports-generated persona (or with what we'd like to believe about him).

Watson may or may not be a great moral authority, but it's pretty clear he views himself as one. He must, or he wouldn't be so willing to try to use his name to publicly scold or privately chastise others.

For example, you probably remember the story about Gary McCord being banned from Masters broadcasts after, during the 1994 telecast, McCord made a couple comments the Augusta poobahs didn't like. Jokes, they were - jokes about the golf course ("bikini wax" greens, "where the bodies are buried" mounds) that didn't go over so well with the guardians of Augusta.

What you probably don't remember - what you probably never knew - is that Tom Watson played a role in that. He wrote a letter the day after the broadcast to CBS producer Frank Chirkinian in which Watson called McCord "the Howard Stern of TV golf" and urged that McCord be fired. Specifically, Watson wrote, "Get rid of him, now."

The muckraking blog Sports By Brooks did a couple posts about Watson several years ago when Watson was inserting himself into the Tiger Woods scandal. In years past, Watson had a drinking problem, was left by his wife, estranged from his kids. He then married the ex-wife of golfer Denis Watson (no relation to Tom) after that woman left the other Watson. Was an affair involved in any of that chain of events? There were rumors to that effect, rumors Watson himself never addressed (even though he urged Tiger Woods to publicly come clean).

Look, this isn't intended a bash-Tom-Watson post. As I started out by saying, I've been a big fan of the golfer Tom Watson, and I'm happy for him that he got the Ryder Cup gig again that he so obviously wanted.

This post is really about those people who like to hold up athletes they like and admire as paragons of moral rectitude. Let's just knock that off, OK?

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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Bode Miller Hits Golf Ball Into Model Wife's Eye

Hey, Bode Miller, you could put an eye out with that thing! Bode Miller is the onetime American Olympic skiing champ, still a skiing icon in the U.S. His wife is Morgan Miller (formerly Morgan Beck), a professional volleyball player and model.

Our story begins innocently enough, with this jocular tweet by Bode:

But soon, Bode's golfing "exploits" with his lovely missus took a dark turn:

Hospital? Oh, no! What happened?

Yikes! "Worst feeling ever." Yeah, well, imagine how your wife feels!

Double yikes! Triple yikes, if you click on that Instagram link in Morgan's tweet and view the damage to her eye. We do not recommend you do that, because it is truly disgusting.

Bode added a thank you to the hospital:

Along with a thank you to the makers of the sunglasses that Morgan was wearing, which Bode credits with saving his wife's eye:

The next day Morgan tweeted a positive update:

And added her own thank you to the glasses maker:

Morgan is very, very lucky that, in fact, she did not lose the eye. This accident could have been catastrophic, and I've taken the lighthearted approach above only because her eye appears safe.

But you know the moral of the story: Whether you are the one playing a stroke, or the one watching a stroke, if you are on a golf course be very damn careful that nobody is in position to be hurt when you are hitting the ball!

And now for something compelete different: A shot of Morgan Miller in better times. Now that she's playing golf (and hopefully this incident doesn't turn her off forever), she's a golf hottie:

(Photo via morganebeck.com)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Justin Timberlake Out at Vegas Tournament

The PGA Tour, a few days ago, released the first six tournaments of its 2013-14 season schedule. One of those tournaments is the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, the tour's Las Vegas stop.

Notice anything missing? Right: Justin Timberlake! For the past four years, since 2008, the tournament was called the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. Timberlake was called the tournament host, he put on a charity concert during the week, played in the pro-am, made appearances during the broadcast, was a public and visible figure promoting the tournament. Now, no JT.

OK, OK, you got me: This is actually old news. Way back in October it was announced that Timberlake wasn't returning. His contract expired - he signed a 4-year deal to put his name on the event, that deal expired after the 2012 tournament, and that deal wasn't renewed. I apparently had my head buried in a sand trap during October and missed this.

But now that I know, the question is, why? Why dump Timberlake (assuming it was the tournament's choice, rather than the celeb's choice)? No question he brought a lot of attention to a tournament that otherwise probably would have gotten much less. That had to be good for the Shriners folks. No doubt his concert raised money for Shriners. What gives?

Back in October, the Las Vegas newspaper ran an article with some revealing comments from the tournament director.

This one, for example:

"... it seemed that when the TV cameras weren't on, (Timberlake) disappeared."

Ouch! That probably explains everything: The Shriners people were ponying up a lot of sponsorship dollars to get Timberlake's involvement. And while JT was a very visible presence, when he wasn't visible - e.g., when the cameras were off - he was invisible. Gotcha. The Shriners folks wanted more from Timberlake than he was willing to give.

Here's the fuller text from the article:

While Timberlake did fulfill his obligations to the tournament and helped raise several million dollars through a Saturday concert his first four years, the fact is the pop star and original member of N'Sync wasn't able to generate greater interest in the tournament, and his star power wasn't enough to lure bigger-name players to the event on a consistent basis.

"We're a world-class organization," Frevel said. "At the time we got involved with golf, we were told by the Tour we needed a big name, and that's how our relationship with Justin came about.

"Justin's a wonderful person. But we tried everything we could to get him more involved with our kids and the hospitals. But it seemed that when the TV cameras weren't on, he disappeared."

Sperling said despite the perception that Timberlake didn't do more to help grow the tournament, he believes Timberlake's presence did stabilize the event and allow it to take the next logical step.

"The future of pro golf here in Las Vegas wasn't very secure when Justin and the Shriners came in five years ago," Sperling said. "Justin added a level of cache and star power in a city that understands the value of that."

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

When Does Arnie + Jack + Fuzzy = John Daly?

What's the answer to the riddle posed in the headline? This: When we're talking about the John Daly drink! Get it? A John Daly cocktail combines tea and lemonade with vodka. Arizona Iced Teas markets the Arnold Palmer drink (iced tea/lemonade blend) and also markets Jack Nicklaus Lemonades. And Fuzzy Zoeller has his own vodka label, Fuzzy Vodka.

So: Arnold + Jack + Fuzzy = John Daly!

Hmm, what's that, you say? If the Arnold Palmer already combines tea and lemonade, then won't adding Jack Nicklaus lemonades throw off the recipe? Um ... shut up! Math was never my strong suit.

Anyway: Yes, John Daly (the golfer) is now marketing John Dalys (the drink). Long John put together a company that is making Original John Daly Cocktails, which are bottled vodka cocktails (30 proof). There are three of them to start with, each combining lemonade and vodka with, respectively, raspberry tea, peach tea or sweet tea.

Daly's been talking about John Daly cocktails on Twitter for a couple years now, going back to 2010, when he ranted about bars and restaurants ripping him off by using the "John Daly" name. So Daly started up a company to make money off the cocktail that was already making money off his name. Good idea!

The photos here are from the company's Facebook page.

Where can you find these bottled drinks? Not too many places right now. Daly says they are first showing up in Bevmo liquor stores in California, Nevada and Arizona, expanding (hopefully) to other areas later.

If you find them for sale, let us know what you think.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Fight! Fight! Caddies Gone Wild

In recent years, when something weird or wild happens during golf's swing through Australia, it's usually involved John Daly throwing something. Or Tiger Woods diddling something.

Not this time. This time, it involves a couple of caddies throwing punches next to the practice putting green at the Australian Open.

The caddies were Grant Buchanan (who works for James Nitties) and Matt Kelly (bagman for Marc Leishman). The incident happened before the first round on Thursday, and after an earlier "engagement" between the two at a casino:

"On Thursday a physical altercation took place between two caddies just prior to their groups taking to the golf course," tournament director Andrew Langford-Jones said in a statement.

"PGA Tour of Australasia officials met the caddies and their respective players immediately after their round to clarify details of the altercation.

"Having spoken with those involved, there is still a need to speak with a number of other individuals who may be able to provide further information on the incident."

The clash was reportedly sparked by an altercation between the men at a city casino on Tuesday night and tensions boiled over in front of other players and spectators on Thursday.

The local media is calling the incident "CaddyWhack."

Given the exploding popularity of MMA fighting, and the financial struggles in Australian tournament golf in recent years, maybe there's a solution here! Put those caddies in a cage and let 'em fight it out between approach shots as groups reach the 18th green.

The PGA Tour Career Money List Is Meaningless

Who are the all-time highest earners in PGA Tour history? Here are the Top 25 golfers on the PGA Tour career money list at the end of 2012:

1. Tiger Woods, $100,950,700
2. Phil Mickelson, $67,644,698
3. Vijay Singh, $67,277,743
4. Jim Furyk, $52,719,459
5. Ernie Els, $44,771,409
6. Davis Love III, $42,208,476
7. David Toms, $38,865,778
8. Steve Stricker, $35,079,561
9. Justin Leonard, $31,861,400
10. Kenny Perry, $31,797,536
11. Stewart Cink, $30,836,995
12. Sergio Garcia, $30,582,574
13. Luke Donald, $28,860,433
14. Adam Scott, $28,306,454
15. Retief Goosen, $27,525,642
16. Scott Verplank, $27,400,942
17. K.J. Choi, $27,373,854
18. Mike Weir, $26,821,949
19. Stuart Appleby, $26,757,857
20. Robert Allenby, $26,408,821
21. Zach Johnson, $26,277,293
22. Geoff Ogilvy, $25,738,157
23. Rory Sabbatini, $25,464,837
24. Mark Calcavecchia, $24,147,827
25. Jerry Kelly, $23,845,162

What this list (and the full list, which you can view on PGATour.com) tells us is that the career money list is meaningless. Absolutely useless as an analytical tool. Stewart Cink and his six career wins is the 11th highest-earning golfer in PGA Tour history? What good does knowing that do? Jerry Kelly is in the Top 25? Good for Mr. Kelly, who has had a fine career and now gets to use a one-time exemption for being inside the Top 25 to keep his card for the 2013 season.

But it doesn't tell us that Kelly is one of the 25 best golfers of all-time (an absurd notion), or even one of the 25 best of his era (highly debatable). It tells us that what it takes to make this list is to be a good (not great - just good, or, actually, just slightly above average) golfer on tour over an extended period of time, a period of time that is taking place in the current money environment.

How useless is the all-time earnings list? Consider that, as I write this, Tim Herron is No. 45. Lumpy!

If you adjust for inflation, does it matter? Not really. Golf tournament earnings have exploded far beyond the pace of inflation, for reasons mostly to do with first the arrival of television, and then the development of sports programming on television. And Tiger Woods (and to a lesser extent before Tiger, Arnold Palmer's arrival).

So the PGA Tour all-time earnings list is fun so long as you don't take it seriously.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Bobby Jones, Bubba Watson on Tiger Woods PGA Tour '14 Cover

Last month, EA Sports revealed that Arnold Palmer joins Tiger Woods on the cover of the Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14 gamebox. Now, we see the cover for Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14: The Masters Historic Edition. Who's on the cover? Bobby Jones and Bubba Watson:

What do you think Bobby Jones would think about being included in this? (Remember: Jones cashed in after his amateur competitive career ended, which, of course, doesn't mean he would approve of any given commercial endorsement.)

Of course, by publishing this cover image and asking readers what they think of it, we are merely furthering EA Sports' marketing campaign for the game. Well played, EA Sports, well played.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Rory's Price Goes Up

No secret that golf's best players receive appearance fees - openly when playing outside of the USA, under-the-table (or through some other rule-skirting arrangement) inside the USA.

And the most expensive golfer to buy for your tournament? Tiger Woods, natch. But Rory McIlroy appears to be giving Tiger a run for that money - Rory's price has gone up.

You might recall several years back when Tiger got a reported $2 million to show up at the 2009 Australian Masters (he should have asked for more - that's where Woods' relationship with a woman not his wife was noticed by a tabloid). The Victorian state government - which is to say, Australian taxpayers - even picked up part of that tab to get Woods Down Under.

Well, this year, the Australian Open thought it had bought the presence of McIlroy for $1 million. Tournament organizers believed they had a deal in place for that appearance fee - but then Rory went and won the PGA Championship, his second major.

And that's when Rory's price went up. Figuring (rightly) that he was now, with two majors, worth even more money, McIlroy said the new price is $2 million. Not good news for the Aussies, who had already been priced out by other golfers:

(McIlroy's) appearance fee was about $1 million prior to the US PGA, upon winning a second, but major McIlroy’s asking price was twice that amount.

And that put him out of reach for Australian Open promoters.

It was another slap in the face following negotiations with Ernie Els, whose bounty rose after he won this year’s British Open.

Getting the world's top golfers to compete in the Australian Open is no easy task. In the absence of McIlroy and Els, world No. 5 Justin Rose assumes the mantle as the 2012 Open’s top billing.

Hey, when you're the world No. 1 and you just doubled your count of majors, you's gots to get paid. But McIlroy only wound up pricing himself out of any appearance fee.

Not to worry - he'll make it somewhere. And all during tournament week of the Australian Open, Rory can take his mind off that missed million by focusing on the lovely flesh of the great and glorious Woz.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Plan B (and C): The Career Money Exemption

The 2012 - and final - PGA Tour Q-School wrapped up recently. And some of the veterans who failed to finish high enough on the money list also decided to skip going back to Q-School. What gives? Are they giving up on having full status? Are they too high-falutin' to go slumming in Q-School again?

Not necessarily, and not necessarily. The PGA Tour has several other ways for veteran golfers to maintain fully exempt status, even if they fall below the cut-off point on the money list, even if they decline a trip to Q-School.

Plan B is the Top 25 career money exemption, and Plan C is the Top 50 career money exemption. A golfer who is inside the Top 25 in PGA Tour career earnings can invoke an exemption to remain fully exemption. And likewise, a golfer inside the Top 50 in career earnings can do the same. Some golfers even use both, in back-to-back seasons. David Duval did that several years back, gaining two additional years of fully exempt status that he otherwise wouldn't have had.

And for the 2013 PGA Tour season? Five golfers are using career money exemptions:

  • Justin Leonard (Top 25)
  • Mike Weir (Top 25)
  • Jerry Kelly (Top 25)
  • Stuart Appleby (Top 50)
  • Scott Hoch (Top 50)

Mad for Madcapz

So, class, what do we think of Madcapz?

I like 'em. They are "colorful caps with style and personality," their maker says, and who am I to argue? It's easier and easier to find silly, crazy, wacky, offbeat, wild colors and patterns - if that's your thing - in tops, bottoms, socks, even shoes. But not so much in golf caps. Unless the cap is sporting some kind of allegedly funny or daring graphic or slogan - in which case, the "funny" or "daring" is often just dumb or offensive.

Madcapz are made for women. See more at madcapz.net.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Heckling of Bradley Deplorable (No, It's Not Cheating)

You probably heard the news: Keegan Bradley, playing in his first tournament since the USGA/R&A proposed rule change that will (if finalized) ban anchoring, was heckled during the World Golf Challenge. Specifically, he was taunted with cries of "cheater!"

How deplorable. But not entirely unpredictable. In fact, in the aftermath of the anchoring announcement, the (possible) bad treatment by fans of current anchorers was one of the issues raised as a potential point of worry.

But let's get this straight: Anchoring a belly putter or broomstick putter was specifically allowed by the USGA and R&A for all these past years; it remains permissable right now; and it will be 100-percent legal right up to until the very second it becomes illegal. Which, as of now, is expected to Jan. 1, 2016. A golfer anchoring a putter at 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 31, 2015, will not be breaking the rules, and will have every right to be anchoring.

So it was good to see the USGA coming down so hard on those moronic hecklers in a statement in response to Bradley's experience at the World Challenge:

"This is a deplorable incident, and there is no place in our game for this kind of behavior. As we noted when announcing proposed Rule 14-1b, it has been and remains entirely within the Rules of Golf for players to anchor the club while making a stroke. There should not be a shred of criticism of such players or any qualification or doubt about their achievements, and we think that it is inappropriate even to suggest anything to the contrary. Rule changes address the future and not the past. Up until now and until such time as a Rule change were to be implemented, golfers using an anchored stroke will have been playing by the Rules of Golf.

"We are sorry that Keegan had to experience this unfounded criticism from an obviously uneducated spectator. Instead, Keegan and other PGA Tour professionals should be commended for their maturity and grace in managing through a proposed change to the Rules of Golf."

If you think it's cheating for a golfer to be anchoring right now, then you also must believe that Bobby Jones was a cheater because he played with concave-faced wedges before they were ruled non-conforming; you must believe Jack Nicklaus was a USGA cheater because for years he switched to the smaller "British ball" (USGA non-conforming) when playing the British Open; you must believe every golfer on all the professional tours who used square grooves were cheaters. And so on, going back through many rules changes over the decades that caused once conforming equipment or strokes to become non-conforming.

The obligation of every golfer is to play under the rules that are in place at the time; not to play under past rules or future rules. Bradley, and all the anchorers, have done only this: abided by the rules in place.

Finding Old Tom Morris' Balls

Old Tom Morris is not rolling over in his grave. But he might be turning his head and coughing. Because someone is on the hunt to find Old Tom's balls.

His golf balls, that is.

In 1891, Old Tom - probably the most important figure in golf history - was in Ireland for an exhibition of golfing. To warm-up, he practiced next to Lough Salt in County Donegal, hitting 20 balls into what is called Donegal Lake. And those ancient gutta percha golf balls, struck by Old Tom Morris, are, presumably, still down there in the silt at the bottom of the lake.

And a team of divers is looking for them. The Independent newspaper of Ireland reports:

At the end of the 19th century, four-times Open champion Morris was in the county to design the Rosapenna golf course.

Local historians record an incident where the Scottish golfer stopped off at nearby Lough Salt to practise his swing.

Now diver Gus O'Driscoll and four members of the Delta Specialist Diving Club are hoping they can find the rare golf balls.

"There are literally thousands of balls at the bottom of Lough Salt because stopping off to hit golf balls there has been a tradition going back to Morris's time," he told the Irish Independent.

"We have recovered some golf balls from the early 1900s but we haven't located Morris's golf balls as yet."

If found, how much are Old Tom's balls worth? About €20,000 each, according to estimates.