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From the Gallery - Weblog

John Abendroth - Pin High

Tour Tales

Posted by John K. Abendroth

Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 9:44 PM

Every year I get to visit with my old friend Mark Russell, PGA Tour V.P of officials and tournament operations The punch line to my relationship with Mark is, "...had I been a success...he may have been a failure..."

Now the rest of the story...

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Mitch Juricich - Off the Hosel

What Did You Expect?

Posted by Mitch Juricich

Thursday, June 21, 2012 at 9:38 AM

If I was challenged, as a native San Franciscan (19th & Noe), to pick one word that best describes my home city I would probably consider; beautiful, charming, alluring or even mystical. In the end I think the word would be tolerant.

You see, our little corner of the marble can put up with just about anything. We are culturally diverse and politically scattered. Even though we have mild summers and winters and no big bugs flying around, we also know that the very ground we trod will rock and roll once in a while, and we have no problem with that. We accept it. And as the #1 tourist city in the world, heck, we really don’t mind if you do wear a flower in your hair when you visit. We put up with just about anything

But this past week the word I would choose would have to be, ‘perfect’. Humbly I submit that my fair City is pretty damn good most of the time, but this week with the shroud of the US Open, it was off the charts.

The weather was perfect. The course set-up was perfect. The greens were perfect. The blimp shots (oh the blimp shots!) were straight from heaven. And the burgers on a hot dog bun….please.

But perhaps above all else, The Olympic Club was dead solid perfect. And why wouldn’t it be?

The Olympic Club is unlike any private club I have ever encountered, largely, in my opinion, because their membership shares the very diversity of the city in which it resides. My insurance agent is a member and so is the guy who painted my house The guy who did some electrical work for me belongs there as well as the guy who performed knee replacement on me. The Olympic Club Foundation has raised millions of dollars over the years for local youth sports, largely targeted at inner city and underprivileged areas. This is a great club that gives back and does great things, including putting on a US Open for all of us to enjoy while their members are shut out of playing their own course. Even the media chairman wasn’t half bad.

Yeah, this week was perfect; perfect city, club, course conditions, weather, even the winner. Webb Simpson fits right in with the other winners at Olympic since he wasn’t the guy who was supposed to win, was he? 

“Bird Man” notwithstanding (only in San Francisco -but he was kind of cute, by the way) the whole thing was Matt Cain-like, wasn’t it? Yeah, flawed and goofy as we may seem to some, we can even handle perfection....

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Tom Spencer of CBS Sports

Fred Couples Enters World Golf Hall of Fame

Posted by Tom Spencer

Monday, October 1, 2012 at 10:56 AM

“The bluest skies you’ve ever seen are in Seattle.” (Perry Como - 1969)

Bing Crosby once said, “Perry Como invented casual.”  Como, the noted singer/entertainer, loved golf and featured golfers on his television show He was self-effacing and known to discount his legacy.

Fred Couples, who honed his game on the public courses under blue and cloudy skies in Seattle, has exuded those same Como-like traits throughout his Hall of Fame career.  A character in the golf world since taking up the game, Couples has always honed his craft in his own unique way.

Due to the cost of buying golf gloves, as a kid he decided would play without one; that hasn’t changed.  As an amateur, he captured the Washington State Open wearing tennis shoes – have you noticed a recent trend he helped start in footwear?  His swing, while always powerful and fluid, was completely home made.  In fact, Couples didn’t take his first formal golf lesson until teachers Paul Marchand and Dick Harmon got a hold of him in the late 1980s.

The slow stride, the twitches and stretches, the nickname (“Boom Boom”), the smile and the on-course attitude…all are unique to Fred.  Who didn’t buy Ashworth clothing after seeing Couples wear the comfy threads? Things he’s never totally embraced: driving, books, phone calls and a steadfast commitment to his job (He first used the word “retirement” in his mid-20s). 

Yes, 15 career wins with one major (’92 Masters) and two Players Championships may not match the total output of other recent inductees.  However, greatness is measured in other ways—some subtle and others much more relevant—if you dig beneath the surface of the numbers.

As a teenager, Couples watched the great Lee Trevino, another self-taught player, put on a clinic.  At that moment, he decided to become a professional golfer.  Little did he know that four years later, he would be paired with the Merry Mex in the 1979 U.S Open at Inverness CC where Fred emerged as low amateur.  At age 52, Couples shared the 36-hole lead in the 2012 Masters—his fifth decade competing in major championships—and captured the Senior British Open at Turnberry.  If he stays healthy, retirement is still a ways off.

Couples’ path to the Tour was as unusual as his hands-on-the-shoulder finish to the swing.  Coach Dave Williams led the University of Houston’s powerhouse golf program for decades.  In the late 70s, Williams recruited Couples via phone, not after hearing about Fred’s superior ball-striking or putting touch, but because of how he could escape from troubling lies—notably in Washington state’s giant trees—as well as any youngster in the country.

Three years later, after Couples lost in the quarter-finals of the 1980 U.S...

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Susan Fornoff

In support of Project Flogton

Posted by Susan Fornoff

Tuesday, February 8, 2011 at 5:48 PM

A group of heavy hitters in the Silicon Valley has unveiled Project Flogton, the brainchild of the new Alternative Golf Association, with former Sun Microsystems chief Scott McNealy as commissioner Flogton (“notgolf” spelled backward) is a new game that anyone with a golf swing can learn to play on existing golf courses without disrupting those who continue to play the traditional game.

The AGA will establish a brand that develops both rules and equipment with the help of its online community at www.flogton.com It will uncuff inventors, engineers and scientists for the challenge of creating tools to take the average player to its goal of 25/100/200: “That’s 25 percent longer drives, 100 percent higher wedge spin and 200 percent more fun,” said founder Bob Zider.

The AGA has set aside current USGA conformance standards and seeks innovation on what might be possible, so any equipment on today’s market may be used for Flogton. For some, applying a lubricant or plastic shield on the face of the driver or fairway wood takes the spin out of the ball and makes it go straighter...

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Dede Moriarity, PGA

Simple tips for Women golfers to improve

Posted by Dee Moriarty

Monday, March 7, 2011 at 3:28 PM

It is sometimes a challenge for women , regardless of skill level , to give their best performance on the golf course Many women get hung up on perfecting their golf swings A good swing does not always make a good golf game and it is difficult to enjoy your golf when your trying to be perfect...

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Ira Miller

Golf in Ireland

Posted by Ira Miller

Sunday, June 30, 2013 at 11:58 PM

Let me be really clear about the point of this exercise If you love golf, really enjoy the game, you owe it to yourself to play links golf in the British Isles Nothing compares with it.

Yes, there are courses in the U.S...

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U.S. Open

No Chance For An Average Player

Posted by Mitch Juricich

Tuesday, June 12, 2012 at 4:04 PM

Rightfully so, there have been a ton of thoughts on the Olympic Club, the site of this year’s US Open. This marvelous course has been dissected, rated and analyzed by many in the hopes of trying to ascertain how the best players in the world will fair during US Open week. Allow me to give you the slightest peek at how you might do, based on my experience during Media Day For proper identification, your humble scribe is an average golfer who once had an index that dipped as low as 5.2, but has mostly hovered around the 8 to 12 area. In short, my game is maybe ever so slightly above average. At my best, a good drive for me is in the 240-250 range. If I really caught one, 260 would be the max. The only way I could ever hit a 300 yard drive would be if three factors were involved: 1-downhill, 2-down wind, 3-cart path. I will state that I’m and “ok” putter.

Putting my game to the test at Olympic for The US Open would lead to these givens:

1-There are four par 4’s on the course that I could absolutely not reach in two shots; #1-#5-#6 and #12. There are three other par 4’s that would take two perfect shots to reach in regulation; #2-#9 and #11.

2-There is one par 3, #3, on which I would have to hit a driver to reach the green from the back tee and I better get all of it. Another par three, #8, might also be a driver, if not the 3 metal of my life.

3-The two par fives during the Open week (#1 is played as a five par by the members), #16 and #17 would tear up the average schmoe for different reasons. 

The 16th is unreachable in 3 shots for most of us. At 670 yards it is the longest hole in Open history, and from the back most tees, it basically requires somewhat of a duck hook tee shot through a very, very narrow opening. I haven’t hooked a ball since the Johnson administration. Serious business, if I was offered a seven on the tee, I would take it and forego the torture, which I get enough of watching Giant’s baseball.

The 17th, which cants severely from left to right, is reachable in three shots. The problem here starts when you get on the green. An already difficult green to putt has been made even more difficult by the shaving of the fringe on the right side of the green. I predict we could see a scenario where a player hits the green in two, knocks his eagle putt off the green in three and has to take an unplayable lie because his ball is up against a tree to the right of the green. Now lying four with a severe uphill pitch shot to, perhaps, a short sided pin, and said player might be looking at a seven when he had thought of a three.

As for putting, I had 9 three-putts and 9 two-putts. And I had to make some 5-8 footers just to do that well.

In short, I came away thinking there is no way anyone breaks par for the Open. But, then again, these are the greatest players in the world, so who knows? One thing I do know, I’d be happy to break 90, but I ‘d have to be at my level best!

...

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