Thursday, June 29, 2006

Played Medinah and Still on a High

On Monday night, I provided a business golf presentation to 60 executive women from the Chicago area at Medinah Country Club. It was a great event with women who've never played becoming enthusiastic to learn golf and experienced golfers ready to hit the links. I told them I felt like a kid in a candy store because I was playing Medinah's Course #3 the next morning with the General Manager and a board member.

With the two caddies and my playing partners, I took the advice that I often give to women business golfers, and decided to hit off the same tees as the gents. It meant playing off of the silver tees, which is 7009 yards and a slope of 147 for men. I have to ask for help to calculate the slope for me, but I have a pretty good idea that it's going to be high. For the ladies off the white tees, it's 6728 and a slope of 146. 149 or 150 for me wouldn't be surprising.

As I walked down the first fairway, I was in awe of the carpet-like fairways. I made the mistake of hitting my second shot in the rough and had to contend with getting out of 4 1/2" rough. Needless to say, I used the 7-iron quiet often during the day to get out of the tall stuff.

I stood by the tree where Sergio hit his famous slice onto the green in the 1999 PGA Championship. I saw the height of the collection area on 12, which is an incredible hole that Rees Jones found nothing to change. I stood at the tip of the 13th hole to take a picture of the 224-yard signature hole across water. When we reached 17, the gents suggested that I hit off of the white tee and I took their advice. I ripped my driver onto the green 8' behind the flagstick into the rough. After a weak putt through the fringe, I sank my par putt and celebrated.

I'll be honest, the course ate me up and I shot 106. My playing partners were kind and said that it was respectable considering my first time, near Major conditions, and playing a set of rental clubs. But, it's one day I didn't really care about my score. I was thrilled to be at the course where Tiger, Sergio, Retief, Ernie, and the golfers of their ilk have played.

Most importantly, my playing partners were gentlemen of the kind that I sadly don't meet often. It will be a day of golf that I'll not forget and I can't wait to watch the Championship in August!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Hindsight Not 20-20 for Mickelson's Caddie

Nicklaus, Watson, and others have all questioned Phil's poor club and shot selection on the 18th hole. Mickelson's caddie, Jim "Bones" Mackay, a single-digit golfer himself, felt compelled to defend his boss today.

He stated that there was never a question about using the driver on 18. They knew how each player ahead of them was scoring. He then says, ""So we knew that 4-over was going to win the tournament, and Phil was not playing for a tie."

And therein lies the problem. Neither Phil nor Bones thought to play for a tie when they're near the corporate tents with trees in front of them. Hence, they played for the most embarassing lost in the U.S. Open thus far.

It's just hard to feel sorry for the guy when he thinks that way.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Mickelson Muffs Again!

On the 71st hole of the U.S. Open, Mickelson with a one shot lead pulls his driver out on the 18th tee. It would be okay if Mickelson was hitting it well, but instead he had hit only 2 out of 14 fairways all day. He sprays it left onto the corporate tent and tries two miraculous shots only to double bogey the 18th and lose the U.S. Open.

I try to like Phil...he smiles all of the time, which actually can be annoying and makes him look like a dufus, he has a nice appearing family, and he even said, "Good morning!" to my Mom when he was at the AT&T two years ago.

But his course management skills can be horrendous. It feels almost too risky to cheer for him because you never know what incredibly stupid thing he's going to do. I don't mind a guy being human and making a poor shot. He, however, makes poor decisions and then loses tournaments that he should have won.

I wonder how he'd be as a CEO of a company. I fear he'd have some huge wins and huge loses that a company probably could not survive his decision-making. Even with an ever presence of brains around him from Rick Smith, Dave Pelz, his caddie, and I'm sure a sports psychologist, they've not taught him how to play smart and win the tournaments that will forever haunt him because he lost them.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

LPGA Championship & Calling a Penalty

I'm watching the sudden death playoff between Karrie Webb and Se Ri Pak. The latter just hit a beautiful second shot to inches from the hole. An awesome shot as she swung 65 feet behind Webb's drive! It's nice to see Pak's comeback after taking a break because she had started to hate the game.

I watched with anticipation Michelle Wie's attempt to win her first professional tournament. For some reason, I have a protective attitude toward her. She just failed to qualify for the Men's U.S. Open earlier in the week and then attempted to win in a major against the gals. Unlike any other professional that I watch, it's just hard to watch her disappointment. She has the opportunities, but hasn't shown the killer instinct a la Tiger yet. I anxiously await to see that develop in her.

Did you hear about Karrie Webb calling a penalty against Annika yesterday? Annika was removing a couple pieces of a divot before she hit, and Karrie called her on it. In a business golf round should you call a penalty against your client? My suggestion is that you not call a penalty against a client. Your client may be a new golfer and not know the rules yet. Or, your client is focusing on developing a business relationship with you and isn't as cognizant as the rules as he or she should be.

A caveat: If you and your client are playing in a tournament, then you need to call the penalty. You wouldn't want your foursome to win a tournament knowing one of you cheated. Handle it with finesse, so your client isn't embarrassed or humiliated. You'll keep your integrity and maintain your business relationship.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Interesting Math

Tiger Woods was in Arkansas for a children's golf clinic and he was asked about playing golf with Bill Clinton. Tiger's response, "Interesting math."

According to Woods, Clinton hits his first drive into the bushes. Then, he hits a second drive down the middle of the fairway. He then hits his wedge shot six to seven feet by the pin. And, then picks up his "gimme" putt.

Meanwhile Tiger hits a nice drive, but hits his wedge shot twelve feet past the pin. Tiger takes two putts to finish out the hole.

Back at the cart, Clinton writes down the scores: Woods -- 4, Clinton -- 3.

Golf is such an invaluable business tool because it is a true revealer of character and integrity. Tiger's encounter with Clinton on the golf course shouldn't surprise anyone.