Monday, June 27, 2005

It's Not Over Till It's Over

I finished playing yesterday just in time to see the final holes of both the LPGA and PGA tournaments. First, the finish to USGA Ladies Open matched the winner's namesake. Birdie Kim's birdie from the sand was a spectacular shot for the win. She was only trying to make par and finished with a win. It's great to see both Championship winners are relative unknowns and first-time winners.

Then, I watched the PGA tournament with hopes that Jim Furyk would have his first win after his injury. Instead, I watched Padraig Harrington's 65-foot incredible eagle putt for the win. A competitor to the end, Furyk sank his putt slightly off the green for a birdie, but alas one shot off the win.

Watching these finishes should remind us to play until the ball hits the bottom of the last hole! Play well and play often!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

The Open Was Indeed an Open

The USGA Open Championship is unlike any other PGA tour event because you don't have to be a member of the PGA or professional to play. The USGA holds qualifying rounds whereby an amateur can earn a place on Thursday.

Pinehurst No. 2 in North Carolina was the host of this year's Open. I was in awe of the course, especially those greens. I don't know anyone who has played it, but it looks demoralizing even without USGA's difficult pin positions. For regulars of No. 2, their short games must be magnificient.

Magnificient is the word to describe Michael Campbell's final round. A New Zealander who hasn't played regularly on either the European Tour or the PGA had to qualify to play the Open by winning a spot at the first-ever held qualifer in Europe. To win the Open, without winning a PGA Tour event and suffering ups and downs in his career, is what the Open is all about.

Although Tiger was in close pursuit, Campbell and Jason Gore, who also had to qualify, were the feel good stories of the Open.

Monday, June 13, 2005

No Washington, but Plenty of Maryland

I ended up sick on Friday with a fever and stomach flu, so I couldn't go to Seattle for the golf tournament as a guest of MasterCard's. As a result, I got to watch a lot of the McDonald's LPGA Championship and the Booz Allen Classic.

First, Annika is amazing and arguably the best and most consistent golfer of both tours. She won the LPGA Championship three consecutive times and is on her way to the Grand Slam. I was pleased to see how well Michelle Wie played as she finished a solid second to Annika.

As to the Booz Allen Classic, we saw an example of improper etiquette from Rory Sabbatini while playing with Ben Crane. On the 17th hole, the twosome was put on the clock for slow play. Self admonishing is Crane for his slow play, but on the Tour, if you're on the clock ten times in the season, you are fined. Sabbatini is a notoriously fast player and was annoyed with Crane's slow play and presumably being on the clock. So, on the 17th green, Sabbatini putted out of turn (i.e., he putted when Crane was further from the hole), and then walked to the 18th tee and hit his drive leaving Crane to putt out on the 17th green.

There are a couple of lessons for business golfers. First, if you're slow, you need to figure out a way to speed up without interfering with your game. Whether it's determining your distance as you walk up to your ball and knowing which club to hit, or taking one practice swing only. Slow play is annoying to faster players and the rest of the field. Although faster players need to control their emotions and behave appropriately around slower players, playing slowly will not win you golf friends.

Second, be mindful of who you invite to your foursome and pairing of your group. On the Tour, players have no control on who they're playing with during the tournament. It depends on the scores shot the day before and the pairings are determined by the standings. But, if you have some say in pairings of your group or a tournament, don' t pair a slow player with a very fast player. Players may develop not so pleasant feelings about one another and your intended goal of building business relationships may be defeated.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Practice, Practice, Practice

If you watched the third round of the Memorial, you saw camera shots of Tiger on the driving range after he finished playing 18 holes. He didn't just have one large bag of balls; he had four large bags! I don't practice as much as I should, but I did last week. Although I didn't hit four large bags, I could tell the difference in my confidence of my swing and in my new clubs. So, a mantra that I know I would certainly benefit from is practice, practice, practice.

Perhaps you subscribe to my BizGolf E-Tips <>, and saw my latest suggestion for playing business golf is to invite a client or prospect to a practice session at the driving range. You'll still have relationship-building time and both of you will get some much needed practice.

I'm off to Seattle, Washington as a guest of MasterCard's where I will be playing Washington National Golf Club. It sounds like a tough course, but I hope to enjoy the beautiful scenary of the Pacific Northwest and time with new friends.