Tuesday, May 31, 2005

FedEx

This weekend’s stop in Memphis looked like it was going to be a dud in the way of drama but it turns out the theme for the year is get a big third round lead and hold on for dear life. Leonard was running away with it after three rounds. He had an 8 shot lead and looked to be on cruise control. I guess it’s difficult to go into the final round with a big lead knowing that if you shot par you have it locked up. Leonard fires 3 over while Toms fires 7 under. Toms nearly caught him which would have set the record for largest lead lost heading into the final round. Granted, this is the FedEx and not the Masters in 1996 or the British Open in 1999, but it still would have been a top 10 choke. But Leonard held on and all that he will remember is this was his second win of the year and the $882,000 check that came with it.

As for checks, one of my boys DJ Brigman picked up $96,040 for a T12 finish. DJ has made a few cuts but has generally finished at the bottom of the money. This check moves him from 193 to 163 ($151,505) on the money list. He’s about a 1/4 of the way to the $630,000 he needs to get his card for next year. After the US Open, he should be able to get into every field for the rest of the year. I’ll be watching him closely. I carried for him in a few practice rounds and witnessed his infamous dance routine at a bar in Eugene, OR. The man put on one of the greatest 80s dances performances (while Scott Sterling from the Nationwide Tour sang Karaoke) I have ever seen. I remember an Oregon co-ed asking me how drunk he was and I had the pleasure of replying that he was stone cold sober. With moves like his, I can see how he won over Marisa, his wife and anchor for a local New Mexico station evening news.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Weekend Wrap-up

This past weekend was all about golf. I was able to play on Saturday morning, get in a little practice on Sunday and watch both the Colonial and the Henrico County Open. I have not been playing or practicing much this spring and it shows in my ballstriking. I was awful off the tee but was able to hold it together with my short game. I did watch most of the Colonial and Henrico. Kenny Perry was quite impressive. In the first 70 holes, he had exactly 1 bogey and exactly 1 5 on his scorecard. This tournament showed that the old expression of ‘drive for show, putt for dough’ isn’t always correct. Perry is leading the Tour in total driving (distance and accuracy) but is not that good of a putter. When his is making putts inside 10 feet, he is one of the best in the game. His playing partner on Sunday is an even greater exception to the old rule. Mayfair may be the worse putter in the history of the Tour, but he sure can hit the ball. He averaged 15 GIR a round to finish 2nd despite having all kinds of issues with the flat stick. CBS kept showing close ups of his putting stroke. The scary thing is, his short back, pull up, top, yank is better than his old looped stroke. Good thing the man hits it solid every swing. Back to Perry, I will predict that he will be in contention at the Memorial again this year. In 2003 he won the Colonial and Memorial. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him do it again.

I was quite impressed with the play on the Nationwide Tour this weekend. The Dominion Club is a course that I played every Wednesday for four years when I was in college. I never broke 70 on it. Granted I never played it in the summer when it plays a lot shorter, but these guys absolutely tore the place up. If you shot a 6 under 66 in the first round you were T18. 5 under missed the cut. Those are difficult numbers for me to come to terms with.

One last comment, Paula Creamer won the LPGA event this week. Paula is an 18 year old who qualified last year for the LPGA through their Q-School. With all the talk about Michelle Wie and other youngsters in the womens game getting sponsors exceptions, its good to see a teenager qualify for the LPGA the old fashion way. I give her lots of credit and props for getting a win at such a young age (2nd youngest ever).

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Friday the 13th

It had to happen on Friday the 13th if it was going to happen. Tiger missed the cut at last weeks Byron Nelson for the first time in 142 events or 7 years. Its hard to put this in perspective. In 1998, when Tiger last missed a cut, I was still in college and so where current PGA Tour stars such as Charles Howell, Luke Donald, Hank Kuehne, Zach Johnson and Matt Kuchar. At that time, neither Howell or Donald had won an NCAA Championship and the world had not heard the story of Hank and his battle with alcoholism (which was chronicled with his US Amateur Championship). In 1998, the Big Four had exactly 1 Masters (Tiger) and 2 US Opens (Els). Adam Scott and Sergio Garcia were both still 18. And lastly, in 1998, the budding golf rivalry was Tiger and Duval, who seemed to be winning every other week. Tiger has already done some amazing things in his career, like winning four consecutive majors, winning six straight starts, setting the scoring record in every major, but to me this is the most impressive accomplishment of his career. You have to remember that most of those 142 starts were majors, WGC and marquee events like the Players, Memorial and Pebble. Granted there were a few events without a cut, but there were very few of the lesser quality field tournaments. I can confidently say that this is a record that will never be broke, unless Tiger does it himself.