Bunker Mulligan "Let us endeavor so to live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry." ~Mark Twain

May 3, 2005

Round One

Filed under: Golf — Bunker @ 5:14 pm

Where did that slice come from?

I hit it early and often today. I usually play a fade, with an occasional draw (although I don’t have good control of that), but from the first tee shot through fifteen holes today, the banana ball ruled. Even when I gave up and tried to compensate, it slapped me in the face and said, “I can’t be controlled!”

Finally, on the sixteenth hole, I regained control and hit the driver long and straight. Well, almost. I still wasn’t convinced and lined up a little left just in case. Fortunately, this is a scramble and my partners kept us in play. We birdied all the par fives and one par four.

Tomorrow–new teammates and a different course. Chance of rain has diminished.

Who cares? It’s golf!

April 30, 2005

Breezy Golf

Filed under: Golf — Bunker @ 4:59 pm

Today was brutal. I hoped for a nice round in preparation for this week’s Military Retiree Golf Tournament at Barksdale AFB. A norther’ blew through. And blew. About 35 knots steady with gusts. We were all beat up by the end of the round. The best score in our group of ten was 89. I won’t mention any of the others. I hit a pitching wedge into the wind from 75 yards–barely enough. I hit a sand wedge that started coming back at me. Downwind I nearly drove the temporary green on one of our 5-pars. My chip over a bunker flew the green, and I managed to only card a par.

And the forecast for the tournament this week is rain the first two days. I can deal with wet conditions, but one of the courses we play (on the second day, no less) collects water. It is very flat, and doesn’t drain well.

It will still be fun. Time with my folks, my aunt and uncle–my other parents–and a bunch of old GIs playing golf.

Let it rain.

April 26, 2005

A Special Message to My Fellow Golf Bloggers

Filed under: Golf — Bunker @ 6:22 am

I’ve taken a big first step for all of us, I hope. It isn’t an original thought on my part. Others have suggested doing this. I simply took it up a notch.

I mailed a letter to the Chairman of the Augusta National Golf Club suggesting that they credential a golf blogger for the Masters each year. I also decided I could make the sacrifice and be first. In fairness, I explained that the blogger attending should be someone different each year to keep the experience fresh. My goal, as I explained to the Chairman, is to present the tournament to readers as a vicarious visit to the grounds, with all the wide-eyed wonder of a first-time patron rather than as a typical sportswriter who knows all the players and has walked the course many times in the past.

A wonderful touch to your already-impressive web site would be real-time coverage on the internet. We already have coverage, with minimal commercial interruption, on television. But while the networks cover the leaders and extraordinary shots repetitively, it becomes like a vapor and diminishes with time. The written word does not. And someone coming late to the telecast misses something. Newspapers and magazines bring us the story–after it is done. I would like to be the first to change that by live-blogging the 2006 Masters Tournament.

I don’t know that I’ll even get a response, but I mentioned it to Jay Flemma, and he believes it can’t do anything but improve our opportunities in the future.

So, that becomes something of a challenge to you all. If there is a tour event in your neck of the woods, see if the organizers are willing to give you press credentials and allow you to wander to course with a notebook computer and wireless access. Maybe we can turn this into a regular feature of the Tour. Contact me via email, and I’ll provide you the text of my letter to Augusta as a template for your own request. If we build a network of golf bloggers and share experiences in both writing for permission and how we cover and blog a tournament we can enjoy up-close access and provide our readers with an experience unique in sports.

And we’d compete each year for the Majors!

April 23, 2005

CBS Coverage

Filed under: Golf — Bunker @ 4:12 pm

Of all the networks, CBS has to be the worst at covering golf. I tuned in to watch John Daly, but he has dropped back from the top of the leaderboard, so they won’t show him at all.

Oh, excuse me. Daly makes two birdies in a row and they decide to show one of his putts.

On top of that, they were discussing Vijay Singh’s election into the Golf Hall of Fame. What other sport allows someone to get into their HoF while still playing? Then, one of the announcers made the comment that the vote system is obviously flawed because Singh only got 56% of the votes. “It’s a travesty that someone with Vijay’s record gets only 56% of the votes.” Normally, at least 65% is required. But when nobody gets that amount, the top vote-getter gets in as long as he received at least 50%.

The travesty is that Singh is in. He has had a very good career, but it isn’t yet over. Why is it important for him to even be considered?

Back to CBS. Terrible. Only the players in first or second place get any coverage. Then, there are plenty of non-tournament segments.

When I drink whiskey, I drink whiskey. When I drink water, I drink water. When I watch golf, I want to watch golf. I don’t want to see only the shots made by the player currently leading, and a bunch of filler and commercials.

April 22, 2005

Shell Houston Open

Filed under: Golf — Bunker @ 11:53 am

John Daly began the second round four strokes behind Vijay Singh, who tied the course record yesterday. He has now gone to nine under, one stroke ahead of Singh who tees off later.

Sentimental Favorite. The title fits well. John Daly is Everyman for most of us who follow golf. Hal Sutton overcame many mid-career problems, and I hope to see Big John do the same. He got spoiled winning majors early in his career, and fell victim to strap-hangers. For all the power he displays with a driver in his hands, he has a deft touch around the green to match.

Go get ’em, John! I’ll watch the telecast if you’re in contention.

**** UPDATE ****
Busy day tomorrow. Play golf in the morning, watch John Daly in the afternoon, and go to the baseball game at night. Must sandwich time for the granddaughter in between all that!

People vs. the Pros

Filed under: Golf — Bunker @ 7:41 am

The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America and The Golf Society promote and sponsor a special event called People vs. Pros, and this will be the third year. The final will be played at Barton Creek Resort outside Austin. Amateurs compete for the final two spots–one for seniors (over 50) and another for the younger crowd. The oldster will compete head-to-head against Ben Crenshaw, and the younger against Justin Leonard.

Needless to say, I signed up. On some days I putt as well as Ben. The rest of my games sucks on those days, which keeps me humble.

I also have added a link to the GCSAA in my sidebar. There is some terrific information there for all golfers, and some that will help those of you who maintain any kind of sports field. Much of it will help you keep your yard in top shape, as well.

April 11, 2005

Green Jacket

Filed under: Golf — Bunker @ 9:49 am

No, Tiger didn’t get his fourth green jacket. Winners get a first one, and not another unless they get old and fat and their original no longer fits. I would guess they can then buy a new one any time they want. The jacket stays at the club, stored in the Champions’ Locker Room. Except for the current champion’s, which he is allowed to take home for the year.

The green jacket is for members of Augusta National Golf Club. Its original intent was so that staff would know who to give the check to at dinner. Members buy their own, some say for about $400.

James has an interesting wrap-up of the Masters, enough that Glenn Reynolds took note.

Before the weekend began, I was trying to define for myself that Tour Pro who would now wear the monkey of “Best golfer never to have won a major” on his back. I couldn’t think of any that fit. James, after watching the Masters, has a nominee:

DiMarco, on the other hand, left this event with his reputation dramatically enhanced. He’ll probably even officially be crowned the best player to never have won a major. His wait won’t be very long – he’s got game. He also has intestinal fortitude, something the good timing Arizonan and the irritating Fijian sometimes seem to lack.

DiMarco was impressive. He has game, and didn’t quit. Had he made his birdie putt on 16 after Tiger’s chip shot went in, he would be wearing the green jacket this morning. The 15-footer just slid by. I couldn’t believe he even managed to hit the ball with all the emotional energy floating around that green. He almost pulled it out with his own chip on 18. It crossed the hole, but didn’t fall in.

I think he was just completely done in by the end of the day. His approach shots at later holes came up just short. Twice on 18. The emotional, mental, and physical stress of performing at your peak for almost twelve hours can take their toll. They got to Tiger, too. What was impressive about DiMarco was that his short game held up under that stress. It is always the first thing to fail when I’m tired or mentally out of sorts.

This final day in Augusta will long be remembered by those who follow golf.

**** UPDATE ****
As a follow-up, the official Masters web site has the transcript of An Interview with Chris DiMarco.

Q. Explain the play at 15. I think a guy on television said when you laid up, you were playing for 2nd. Would you give your thought on that, please?

CHRIS DiMARCO: Who was that?

Q. On your play.

CHRIS DiMARCO: Who was that?

Q. Lanny.

CHRIS DiMARCO: Well, yeah. That’s Lanny (laughter).

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