Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Are You Planning a Tournament?

I attended a tournament planning seminar yesterday at Crow Canyon Country Club in San Ramon, California. Phil Immordino, a tournament planner and founder of Golf Tournament Association of America, presented a three-hour information-filled seminar on how to put on a successful and memorable tournament. Phil had some innovative ideas on how to obtain sponsors, different contests to have, recruit productive volunteers, and more.

If you're planning a tournament, you can join GTAA. There is no membership fee and you can get plenty of ideas and products on the site.

Also at the seminar was Legends-Capture Action Photography. We've all received the flimsy cardboard photos of our foursome. Kyle Harvey has tournament photography products that your players will keep and use. He gave a sample of the mouse pads he produces. The pad includes the name and date of your tournament, the golf course logo, photo of your foursome, and then a sequence shot of your swing. He takes the photos and can get the product to your players by the end of the tournament. It's very cool and the pad is on my desk now.

Kyle has other products like a travel mug and business card holder book...all with reminders of your tournament. Forget the 4" x 6" photos, get Kyle's products at Legends-Capture Action Photgraphy.

According to Phil, it takes six months to plan a successful tournament, start now by learning more about Phil and Kyle today.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Watch and Learn

Over the weekend, I was watching a European Tour tournament on the Golf Channel. The announcers talked about a player who was disqualified because his ball moved (I didn't hear whether due to slope or wind) after he placed the ball on the green in front of his marker. With his marker still on the green, the player thought he could pick up the ball and replace the ball.

His competitor complained to the Committee that the player should not have replaced the ball. The Committee agreed and disqualified the player because the competitor didn't say anything until after the player had signed and turned in a later discovered incorrect scorecard, i.e. without the two-stroke penalty for touching his ball in play. (It would have been nice if his competitor told the player and got the ruling before the player turned in his scorecard. As it was, the player was disqualified for turning in an incorrect scorecard.)

I went to the USGA Decisions on the Rules of Golf and found Decision 20-4/1, which states that a ball is in play when it is replaced, whether or not the marker has been removed. Thus, the ball must be played from the new position.

I have to admit that I might have done the same thing as the player. I would have thought since my marker is still on the green, that I could replace the ball after it moved inadvertently.

Besides seeing great golf, I enjoy watching tournaments because I often learn swing tips or rules I otherwise might not have known.

Friday, November 16, 2007

My Memorable Round in Atlanta with The Bus and Kordell

When I went to Chicago, IL last year to give a business golf presentation to Harris Bank, I was able to play Course No. 3 at Medinah Country Club with the then-GM. He has since moved to Cherokee Town & Country Club in Roswell, GA, just outside of Atlanta. So, I arranged to play Cherokee the day before my presentation to Deloitte.

I was supposed to play with two female members, but they didn't play, perhaps because it was a bit colder than usual in Atlanta. So, I asked the Pro Shop to find me a game and I'd go practice at the driving range. When I left the Pro Shop, I held the door open for the people behind me, and turned around to see Jerome "The Bus" Bettis and Kordell Stewart, former running back and quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

What was so coincidental about meeting these two is they were in the group in front of me when I played Pebble Beach this year. I mentioned to them that I had played Pebble in June and they were in front of me. Then, I told them about a young kid, wearing a Steelers cap, who ran up to them on the first tee, and they kindly autographed his cap and took pictures with him. They remembered, we chatted briefly, and I asked for their autographs.

I then went to hit balls at the range and Kordell walked up to the stall next to me and Jerome took the stall next to him. Kordell and I talked about local Bay Area golf courses, like Pebble, San Francisco, and Olympic, and said, "You'll find a game with that swing." I thanked him and wished them both a fun round, as I left to see if I had a game yet.

Well, the pro shop couldn't find me a game, so I asked if I could go off as a single. They gave me a tee time off the South Course and I drove up to find Kordell, Jerome, and the member-host of their threesome. After watching them walk off the tips, I got up the courage and asked Kordell if I could join his group, since I would be a single behind him. He asked the member and I mentioned that I'm a 13.1 index and would be about a 15 handicap. The member jokingly said I'd probably beat him and said I could join them.

I'm usually not nervous hitting off the first tee, but I have to admit with two football stars and a member of this beautiful country club, I was a bit nervous. I was also playing with a rental set of clubs and had no idea how I'd play. I was thrilled when my drive went down the middle of the fairway and then relaxed as the round went on.

We laughed and just had a great time talking football and golf. As you'd expect they were big hitters. It was no surprise that Kordell, as a former quarterback, is a better golfer than Jerome, but he's also played longer than Jerome. I first called them Mr. Stewart and Mr. Bettis, and Kordell corrected me immediately and said, "It's just Kordell and Jerome. Let's have a relaxed and easy-going round."

The funniest moment is when I was about to putt out when my ball was inside of Jerome's ball. Kordell said, "Suzanne, stop! Don't putt, please! I'll give you that putt!" I knew immediately that they had a bet on the round and Kordell didn't want me to show Jerome the line. I picked up and the member and I just laughed. Jerome wasn't too happy with Kordell, but he let it go and joked about it as the day went on.

Kordell and Jerome were gentlemen throughout the round--I never heard an expletive. It was definitely a treat to play with them and the member. I'm so glad that I asked to join them.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

What Disparate LIves They Have

One Stanford attendee has suffered humiliation, criticism, and injuries this year. She has lost yet another agent -- her second in two years. She has a new caddy...her father.

The other Stanford attendee will have a drink brand named after him. Has nearly $1 billion in endorsement deals. The latest worth $100 Million from Pepsico to produce Gatorade Tiger. He no longer has a father that he misses dearly. But he gets to make his own blends of flavored sports drinks.

The tale of two Stanford attendees: I hope the former achieves even half the success of the other. Right now unfortunately the chances are pretty slim.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Can Wie Get a Wie Break?

Michelle Wie is back to playing at the Samsung World Championship. She's a student at Stanford, and you would think this is a time for new beginnings and opportunities.

Unfortunately, her parents are not only renting a home in Palo Alto, near the campus, but her Dad, BJ, is caddying for her at the Samsung tournament. How is she doing with her Dad on her bag? Or, should I say on her back?

She's dead last...19 over as she starts her final round today. At what point do you think the Wie family will say we're putting too much pressure on her...we need to back off and give her a chance to get her head together?

I don't see it happening any time soon, which is sad for Michelle. I wish her luck because she doesn't have to just conquer a golf course anymore, and win a tournament-- the bigger monkey on her back is her family.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Looking for the Ultimate Thank-You Gift for a Client

Your business golf rounds can be used to get to know someone better and deepen your business relationships. Or, you can also use it as a thank-you round for a client that just signed a large account with you.

You can take your client to your private club or a high-end local public golf course. But, if you want to give your client a thank-you that he or she will likely not forget, consider playing in a pro-am on the Wednesday of a PGA tournament.

The cost is considerable, of course, it'll be $4,000-5,000 per player, depending on the tournament, or about $10,000 for both of you. And, yes, you should be playing beside your client, so you and your client will have some shared memories. To read more about playing in a pro-am, click onto http://tinyurl.com/3ceupd.

A round with Tiger or Phil in a pro-am will make you memorable indeed.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Lightning Strikes Twice at the Same Place

Two friends in a foursome had hole-in-ones on the same hole while playing together in Newark, NJ. According to Golf Digest, the odds of two golfer in a foursome hitting an ace on the same hole is 17 million to 1. The back-to-back aces surely won't be forgotten by these two!

Nota Bene

Tiger has once again proven why he is number one in golf...victorious in the last two playoffs and the FedEx Cup. He's taking a well deserved break until his Target World Challenge in December. He's caught flak for skipping the PGA Grand Slam, but why shouldn't he take some time off? He's won 60 tournaments in his career, 7 tournaments this year alone, millions in the bank, and, most importantly, has a new baby. Glad to see he's got his priorities right!

Speaking of families, Michelle Wie has arrived at Stanford University. Of course, she won't be playing for Stanford, but she played nine holes yesterday. I was hoping that she'd live in a dorm and have a college life away from her parents. Unfortunately, that's not the case--her parents have rented a home nearby. I'm not surprised, but it sure would have been nice for her to experience college life as just a teenager without the pressures of her hovering parents.

I played Olympic Club's Lake Course on Monday, and found it to be the hardest course I've played thus far. I played Medinah #3 a month before the PGA Championship and it was tough with the 4.5 inch rough. But, at Medinah, I could at least see the green and the pin location. There were so many holes at Olympic, especially the par 3's, where all I could see was the large deep bunker in the front and the tall lip of the bunker. I couldn't tell if the green sloped left to right, or front to back. Would love to be able to play it again now that I have a little bit more course knowledge.

The PGA and other governing organizations in golf have agreed in principle to an anti-doping policy for professional golf on a global basis. It will be accomplished in two phases. The first phase was to put out the list of prohibited substances, which include the following: Anabolic Agents Hormones and Related Substances, Agents with Anti-Estrogenic Activity, Diuretics and Other Masking Agents, Stimulants, Narcotics, Cannabinoids, Beta Blockers, Enhancement of Oxygen Transfer, and Chemical and Physical Manipulation. The last one is interesting. It sounds vague enough to include chiropractic and physical therapy, but it can't.

The next phase, which is to be completed by the end of the year, is to generate "general standards for all the fundamental elements of an anti-doping program for golf organizations that become signatories to the Policy, while providing flexibility for such signatories to develop specific policies and procedures necessary or appropriate for their organizations."

Obviously tour players and their physicians and trainers need to be careful about the meds or supplements that the players take.

Finally, fall is soon upon us, and the end of the golf season is near, so get out there and play as much as possible. Sunset isn't until around 6:00, so hit a bucket or play nine, but enjoy it while you can!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Great Weekend for Professional Golf Fans

This is a busy weekend for fans of professional golf.

First, we have the final playoff of the FedEx Cup which is the Tour Championship and final event of the year for the PGA tour. Tiger is in the lead, but Steve Stricker and Phil Mickelson are close on his heels. Check out the t.v. schedule on the Golf Channel and NBC. Besides winning the Tour Championship purse of $1,260,000.00, a FedEx Cup champion will be crowned and will win $10 million bonus prize. If Tiger wins the tournament, he'll win both!

If you enjoy watching women's golf, the Solheim Cup is also being played in Sweden. It's the American players against the European, like the Ryder Cup. Check out the action on The Golf Channel on Friday and Saturday, 2:00 p.m.-midnight ET and on Sunday, 3:00 a.m. to 10 a.m. ET.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Golfer Grunts

I watched the Ferrer-Nadal match last night at the US Open and thought two things.

First, when did male tennis players start grunting as well? I remember there was that first gal who grunted on her backhand. Now it seems they all grunt. I'd prefer not to hear the squeaks and grunts, but watching tennis without the ball sound doesn't feel right.

When will our future generations of golfers start grunting on their drives? I hope never, but I can see it one day as a marketing ploy to make that one golfer stand out from the rest.

My other thought is how glad I am that I play golf instead of tennis. I could never play with those pros. I could never see the ball to hit it back let alone make contact with it. With golf, the game has two built in levelers of the playing field--handicaps and different tee boxes. On a bad day for a pro and a great day for me, with handicaps and a shorter course, at least I might have a chance to win.

It's ironic that the game that gets so much publicity for not being equal toward different sexes has those equalizers so men can play against women and pros against amateurs.

Play on golfers, but in silence please!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

What Did Butchie Tell Phil?

In Phil's comments after the third round of the Deutsche Bank Championship, Phil said Butch Harmon told him about a couple of things that Tiger does to playing partners. According to Phil, Tiger did things to and Phil just chuckled about it recalling what Butch told him.

It hasn't been said what Butch told him, but as an attorney I'm wondering whether Phil just got Butchie in trouble with Tiger. I find it hard to believe that Tiger did not negotiate a confidentiality clause with Butch to prohibit Butch from telling anyone Tiger's secrets or whatever Phil was alluding to. (Just as there was likely a non-compete clause for certain number of years that prohibited Butch from working with certain players.)

Besides after playing ten years together, don't you think Phil should have figured some of those things on his own by now? Tiger was off in his putting yesterday, so winning by two strokes doesn't suggest Phil has gotten Tiger's number. The victor between those two will vacillate most likely, so let's hope they just both play great golf.

It won't be next week unfortunately at the BMW Championship since Phil withdrew this morning from the tournament.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Demise of Golf in San Francisco?

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors are considering the closure of the five public golf courses in the City. After Sandy Tatum's successful efforts to revive Harding Park, host of the WGC-American Express Championship, it soon may be closed. A part of Lincoln Park Golf Course may be turned into a soccer field. Why the talk of converting the courses?

The City manage and run the courses and they are losing money. It's not too surprising considering it's run by the government. So, the Board may create a task force to decide the future of golf in S.F. Having a golf course management company run the course is a possibility, but the fears of increased resident and senior green fees is a concern.

It would be a shame to lose golf in San Francisco, but it wouldn't surprise me if it occurred.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Special Major for Tiger

The golf analysts will breakdown Tiger's victory at the PGA Championship. What struck me though is how much of a man he is now. The British Open last year marked his first Major victory without his Dad. This Major victory is his first as a father.

As he walked up the 18th hole with Stevie by his side and victory his to lose, he flashed a huge grin and pointed into the gallery. It's not clear whether he saw Elin and Sam near the trailer, but it was a surprise to him that they were there.

What if Tiger hadn't won, I'm sure he would have loved having them there to console him. He appears to have a healthy perspective about the game and his family. The latter coming first.

It'll be a great reminder when I'm struggling and hacking up the course that golf is just a game for me. I don't have millions and titles riding on every shot, and instead should focus on enjoying the company of those I'm playing with. While Tiger was winning his 13th Major, I got to play with a dear friend, my niece and my nephew, who I love as much as they were my own. How cool is that!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Sergio DQ-ed for Signing an Incorrect Card

It's Saturday morning, the third round of the last major of the year, PGA Championship. Sergio Garcia just got disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard. He had a 5 on a hole, but the scorecard had a 4 for him. Thus, he's been disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard. Ouch! Not that Sergio was in contention, but that is not the way you want to finish in a tournament.

Whether a pro or an amateur, you really need to be careful and know the basic rules of golf, especially if you play in tournaments. I just finished my club championship and I had my marker read off hole by hole my score to make sure I signed a correct scorecard. I finished first low net by the way and am thrilled!

Let's watch if Tiger follows up his 63 yesterday with another beautiful round! Good luck, Tiger!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Sabbatini v. Tiger -- Round 1

Sabbatini in the spring said Tiger was more beatable than ever. Today at the Bridgestone Invitational played at Firestone Country Club in Ohio, Tiger made it clear whether he still was beatable. Tiger shot 9 strokes better than Sabbatini in the last pairing.

Tiger - 1
Sabbatini - 0

When a fan reminded Sabbatini of his comment, Sabbatini using an obscenity demanded that a police officer throw the fan out of the gallery. It's no wonder I've never liked him. Perhaps he'll learn his lesson that it's not wise to put out a challenge to the best player in the world!

Meanwhile, Lorena Ochoa won her first major of the LPGA at the Women's Open at St. Andrews. Good for her to get her first major victory out of the way!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Wealth and Class -- Don't Go Together Always

Do you read Peggy Noonan? She's a regular columnist at the Wall Street Journal. She writes with a grace about her insights in everyday life, as well as in politics.

Her latest column (http://www.opinionjournal.com/columnists/pnoonan/) talks about those who have wealth also often have poor manners. While reading her piece, I thought her observations also apply to the lack of etiquette that is too often seen on the golf course.

Some obvious examples of lack of class includes Sergio's spitting into the hole that I talked about in my last post. Or, cheating in golf as I shared in an earlier post. Another is about Tiger, which I hate to say because I like him so much, but can't he carry a handkerchief or tissue? It's not very attractive to watch him blow his nose onto the course.

As a member of a private club, I have seen a gradual increase over the years of members' not repairing ball marks and divots. It's their course, yet they don't seem to care and apparently expect someone else to clean up after them...usually me. Worst was when a former member, a psychotherapist, declared that since she paid to be a member she believed she can play as slowly as she likes. I sure pity her clients if she shares that attitude with her clients.

With wealth, it seems many have a "it's all about me" attitude and the hell with the rest of you. I hate to think we'd be better off without so much wealth in this country, but something needs to change so we can enjoy being in each other's company on and off the course.

I truly believe what you see on the course is who you'll get when doing business with a person. Simply said, a boor is a boor. So, play golf before you do business with someone to see if you really do want to do business with that person.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Garcia as Open Champion?

Sergio Garcia is playing the 13th hole of the 3rd round at The Open with a 3-shot lead. There was a time that I would have been cheering him on to win. Overcoming his poor putting with his belly putter. In contention for his first Major and finally living up to his phenom fame.

But, since he spat into the hole during a tournament earlier this year, I'm not an enthusiastic fan. If he had apologized and was sincere, I would have said he got caught up in his frustration. Instead, he brushed it off like it was no big deal and the next day was indignant when the topic was raised again.

Golf is such a game of decorum and honor. For him to win his first Major at The Open just wouldn't be right.

I am hoping for Steve Stricker to go out tomorrow and play well. He's currently 3-shots out of the lead, but if you saw his interview after the round, you'd feel for him. He became emotional when asked what it meant for him to play so well. According to Azinger, he's worked hard to come back from his blocked shots and duck hooks. Good for Stricker and hope he plays well!

Enjoy The Open and the excitement of another Major!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Winning Isn't Everything, Is It?

Something occurred during a match that I played in this weekend that makes me wonder for some people what is it worth to be called a "winner"? For some, it's clear that they (and their partners) will cheat and lie to have that hollow title.

I always tell my audience if you play with a cheater and you're doing business with that person, watch out! That person will likely cheat and lie in business as well.

Whether it's declaring a higher handicap to get extra strokes or denying something that they did worthy of a penalty, is it really worth it when they lay their heads on their pillows?

They know they cheated. Others know they cheated. Yet it's apparently that important to be able to declare themselves victors. Worse yet is when this involves those who tout political correctness, self-awareness, spirituality, and kindness to all.

Sure I could have made a claim and had the golf committee solve the issue. I chose not to do so. We would have gone through a "he did this, she did that," and so on.

Yes, I am an attorney and I am paid to fight. But I also believe if you did something wrong, you own it, and take the consequences. Perhaps, naively, I believe I shouldn't have to fight to get what is right in the first place.

Since this occurred, I've been reflecting on how this will affect my future matches if something like this occurs again. Will I fight to "win"?

I probably won't simply because it's not that important to me to be declared a winner of a golf match. I know who prevailed, and the others can put on their charade about the outcome of our match...and as to who they are as people.

I suspect they don't even know that they are doing the latter, which makes me feel even more pity for them. Besides, God, karma, or whomever or whatever is the final arbiter will likely decide who is a victor in the most important game we play, and it's not the game of golf.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Virginia Tech Victory

VA Tech student, Drew Weaver, won the British Amateur Open on Saturday and dedicated his victory to the victims of the campus massacre. On a recent post, I talked about those who play to victory after suffering the loss of a loved one. Tiger did it at the Open last year. This year, Scott Verplank won at Byron Nelson's tournament.

Weaver described hiding in the library for three hours as the lock down of the campus occurred on that horrible day in April. Think it's hard to sink a 3 footer for victory at a golf tournament? After going through what he did, I believe there is an ability to put a golf tournament in proper perspective and not let it get to one's nerves.

Congrats to Drew and hope it brings some joy to the students and their families of VA Tech!

On a lighter note, the Women's US Open starts tomorrow. Let's see if Annika can defend her title!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Wie Withdraws On Time, This Time

Michelle Wie decided to opt out of playing at the John Deere Classic. Good for her and her team! She is wanting to rest her wrist longer before she plays in the U.S. Women's Open next week.

I'm pleased to see that she has her priorities right this time, and I hope she does well at the U.S. Women's Open.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Congrats, Tiger and Elin!

Tiger won a title much more important than that as winner of US Open yesterday...Tiger is officially now a Father. Elin gave birth to their daughter, Sam Alexis Wood on early Monday morning.

Look out LPGA Tour and players at the Open! Tiger will likely be playing!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Furyk-elson and Tiger Defeated in US Open

Angel Cabrera had to wait anxiously as Jim Furyk and Tiger played a couple more holes to determine whether he'd be in a playoff.

Unfortunately, Furyk took his driver out to the par-4 17th and hit into the thick rough. Although his par putt lipped out, it seemed like Furyk took a page from Mickelson with high risk, low gain shot. Given that his cousin is a member of Oakmont and they talked about conservative lines to play, it was not necessary to take out driver when he only needed to birdie.

Tiger also needed a birdie on either 16 or 17, but he couldn't get it done. His pure shot-making of yesterday was not as evident today.

Call me patriotic, but with the US Open, I want an American to win. Although a UK-born friend said to me, "What's the difference? The Americans win the British Open?" I said to her that's Colin Montgomerie's and all the other Scottish/European golfers' problem that can't get it done at their Open.

Although Cabrera played well, a cigarette-butt throwing Argentine golfer is not who I wanted to see win.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Third Time is the Charm!

On Thursday, I shot my third hole in one! What made it more exciting was I could see the ball roll into the hole. With the past two, the green was uphill, so I knew it was a good shot, but didn't know if it went in.

I used my 7-iron at our downhill 2nd hole, and I saw the ball bounce onto the green. A friend said that could be a hole in one. I said let's just watch it and then it disappeared.

Screaming started, but I still wasn't sure it went in, and asked, "Did it go in??" They all yelled, "YES!" We screamed again! Apparently, loud enough for many on the course to hear us.

Thank goodness, I have Hole in One insurance. It was Guest Day, so there were more players than usual and everyone was thrilled to have a free drink. Of course, I was more than happy to be the reason for the pouring.

I am also happy to be playing at my club rather than at Oakmont where the US Open is being played. That course is brutal! I thought Medinah's No. 3 was bad when I played it before the PGA Championship with 4-4 1/2" rough. But, Oakmont looks even harder with its rough and those slick greens. Definitely not a day in the park for those members!

Enjoy the US Open this weekend!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Played Pebble Beach on a Beautiful Day!

I had a fabulous day of dining and golf at Pebble Beach on Sunday with Pebble's LPGA Master Professional, Sally Dodge. It was an absolute treat to play the west coast shrine of golf! We had a beautiful day with low winds and hazy sunshine! (If I can, I'll post some pics.)

Unfortunately players aren't allowed to take the carts on the path. That inconvenience cost me a couple of shots on the number 1 rated hole. I also think it slows down play. The balls on the driving range state "4:30" and I had no idea what that meant. So, I asked the staff and they said players should finish the course in four and one-half hours.

Difficult to do with walking back and forth to get your clubs, and taking the time to gawk at the stunning views and magnificent estates along the course.

The greens are small and bumpy like Tiger has always complained about, but I'm used to similar conditions at my course, Mira Vista Golf and Country Club, in El Cerrito, CA, about 2.5 hours north of Pebble. I'll take bumpy greens any day to play Pebble on such a beautiful day.

I'm sure with howling winds and fog hovering over the course, it's a difficult track, but yesterday, it was just a sparkling gem!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Annika v. Michelle (v. Bivens)

Wouldn't this be a great Sunday pairing for a major LPGA tournament? Unfortunately, it hasn't happened yet on the course, but there is a war of words going on between the two most famous female golfers of their time.

Annika, as host of last week's Ginn Tribute tournament, is miffed with Michelle's withdraw on Thursday, especially since Michelle is back at the McDonald's LPGA Championship this week, playing in Monday's pro-am. Annika referred to Michelle's early exit as "lack of respect and class." Ouch!

Michelle is also getting it from Carolyn Bivens, LPGA Commissioner, who said one of Michelle's pro-am playing partners complained about Michelle. No word yet for what Michelle supposedly did and whether the complaint is valid, but a tough few days for the 17-year old.

With controversy abuzz from the powers to be on and off the LPGA course, she's growing up quickly. Yet, it was nice to see a glimpse of a young teenager as she talked about being stressed because of needing to turning in housing applications at Stanford.

I wish her the best as she maneuvers both LPGA and Stanford systems!

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Wie Update

I just learned that Michelle may have re-injured her wrist today, which is why she withdrew. There is another reason why she might have withdrawn. If you're an LPGA member and you shoot 88 during a tournament, you are not allowed to play in another LPGA tournament for one year. Although Michelle is not a member of the LPGA yet, I wonder if that was another factor in her withdrawing today?

Watch Coverage of the 12th Hole at The Memorial Online

If you're at work and can't watch The Golf Channel's coverage of The Memorial, check it out online. It's available at www.pgatour.com. It is only of the 12th hole, but you can at least watch some of the tournament and hear what's happening.

Wie Withdraws, Too

In her first tournament, since her wrist injury, Michelle Wie played in the Ginn Tribute, an LPGA tournament. With a score of 14 over par, she quit after 16 holes. She announced to an LPGA Official, "We're not going to play anymore." After shaking hands with her playing partners, she rode off the course with her caddie and her parents.

Unless she was injured or sick, I don't understand why she had to leave after 16 holes. She should have had the grace to finish playing 18 holes and not disrupt her playing partners. I'm sure many of us has felt like leaving in the middle of the round because our game is off, but we don't. Although if she was playing that poorly, it might have helped her playing partners for her to leave.

Nonetheless, the most telling is that her parents were hovering around her during the tournament. I've always questioned Michelle's decisions to play in men's tournaments and wondered who was making those decisions. She has always said it was her, and not her parents or manager. You just have to wonder.

I hope this young lady can survive whatever is going on (mentally, emotionally, and physically) and become a champion on the LPGA Tour. It would be shame to have her end up like Britney Spears or Lindsay Lohan because of the pressures of her early financial success and notoriety.

Most of us think Hawaii is paradise, but for Michelle, Stanford may be a refuge from all of the pressure!

Mickelson Disappoints at The Memorial

The showdown between the Harmon protege and the Harmon student won't be occurring at The Memorial this weekend. Phil Mickelson had to withdraw because of a wrist injury after 11 holes. We'll have to wait until the U.S. Open to see the duel between those two.

In the meantime, Sean O'Hair is leading and I hope he continues to do well. He's a young man that you can't help but cheer on given what he has had to overcome with an abusive and clearly not legal savvy father. I'm sure Mr. O'Hair was surprised to learn he couldn't enforce a contract that demands 30% of Sean's winnings on Tour when Sean was only 15 when he entered the contract. Some laws are right on and there need to be laws against fathers like his.

Enjoy The Memorial!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Wie Starting Early

I was reading an article that Michelle Wie has accepted a sponsor exemption to play in the John Deere Classic in July. My first thought was why is she insisting to play against the men on the PGA Tour, especially since returning from her wrist injury.

Then, I read further in the article that she donated $25,000 to a foundation for a local high school student who became paralyzed after a football tackle last year. It's her second charitable act following a $500,000 donation to the U.S. Golf Hurricane Relief Fund for Hurricane Katrina victims.

I don't agree with her choosing to play against the men when she's not proven herself yet against other women, but I respect her early start in philanthropy as a professional golfer.

Tomorrow is the start of Jack Nicklaus's tournament, The Memorial. The big guns will be there...Tiger, Phil, Ernie, Vijay, Zach Johnson, and more. One notably absent player is Rory Sabbatini, who is physically exhausted after his victory at the Crowne Plaza Invitational. It's too bad, since it'll be the first time to see Rory and Tiger playing against one another after Rory's "trash talk" about Tiger, which was so uncharacteristic in the golf world.

Enjoy the Memorial and play well!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Golf Cart Dangers

By now you've heard about the California man who took a 75' plunge off a cliff while driving a golf cart. It's no surprise that he didn't survive unfortunately. We all might want to go while on a pristine green of a beautiful course, but certainly not want it his way.

But, this cart event makes me want to share some other thoughts about carts. I drive a BMW and apparently my passengers don't quite enjoy the ride when I'm driving a cart. One playing partner threatened to get out and walk if I didn't slow down. She said she'd be a cripple if she had to sit with me for 18 holes.

So, I obviously take my speed-style driving onto the course and forget the suspension and handling of a golf cart is nothing like the Ultimate Driving Machine. I probably also take out my frustration with my game and drive aggressively to my ball. Needless to say, I'm more aware of my cart driving.

Another thing to be careful of is yelling while in the cart. I've been a passenger when my cart partner decided to yell something to our playing partners who happen to be on my side of the cart. While I may be a speed demon, at least I don't deafen my cart partner for several holes.

Just some thoughts to make it an enjoyable round for you and your partner. Hope you're enjoying daylight savings time and some beautiful weather on the course!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Hooked on Golf

I'm honored to announce that I'm a columnist on
HookedonGolf.com. Hooked on Golf is a radio and television program co-hosted by Mitch Juricich and John Abendroth. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Mitch and John start their Saturday mornings between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. PST on KNBR 680/1050 AM talking about the world of golf. If you're out of signal range, you can listen to them online.

This month's article is for beginners who are confused about buying new equipment. Check out Are You in an Equipment Haze?

Hope you're enjoying your game!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Need Help Getting Out of the Rough?

When I played at Medinah last year, I hit into the PGA tournament-ready rough (4") several times and just used a 7-iron to hit out.

Since then, I've purchased a 4 iron-hybrid, that I just love to hit out of the rough and even off the fairway when I need to lay up. If you are having trouble hitting your long irons, then consider buying a hybrid. You won't be as upset when you hit into the rough if you have a hybrid.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Golf and Providence

Golfers can't deny that golf has an element of luck. It's the hole-in-one shot. Or, sadly a bounce left into the water, rather than the perfect shot.

After Scott Verplank's victory at Byron Nelson's tournament on Sunday, I thought of Tiger at the Open after his father died and Ben Crenshaw after Harvey Penick died. Each of these golfers were mourning the recent passing of a very close friend, mentor, and in Tiger's case, his best friend and father.

I don't know what happens to one's mental state when they are in grief--yet trying to win in a competitive individual sport like golf. Do they become more relaxed and are able to be that hard-to-fine zone easier? Perhaps they carry the burden of sadness, while recalling fond memories of their friend that is no longer.

Or, is it like Ben Crenshaw said after his victory at Augusta in 1995, "It was like he had fifteen clubs in his bag," referring to his friend, Harvey Penick who died days before the Masters began?

Whether its being more relaxed, increased concentration, or providence, it's nice to see men (and women) who are touched by a person's loss persevere and end up victorious. I can only imagine how much sweeter that victory is!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Check Out This Month's Issue of "Golf for Women"

In this month's issue of Golf for Women magazine, look for a tear-out booklet on page 66 from yours truly. The Etiquette of Business Golf is a condensed version of my 72 Secrets for Successful Business Golf.

Don't Let the Wind Stop Your Practice Session

In the last issue of Biz-Golf E-Tips, you read about how discouraged I was about my pitch shots. I'm in South Lake Tahoe and decided I had to have a practice session in nearby Carson City, NV even though wind gusts of 20 - 35 mph were expected.

When I arrived at the course, every flag on the course was horizontal from the winds. Nevertheless, I got a large bucket of balls and, to my surprise, had the best and most fun practice session that I've ever had.

I suspect it was the case for several reasons. First, I swung slower than usual because of the strong winds. Second, I kept my head down longer than usual through the swing. There really wasn't any point in looking at my ball flight when the winds were howling left to right. I knew when I hit a good shot by how it felt on the club. Finally, I had to take more breaks between shots because the winds were so strong that I had to turn my back against it to take a breath and not let the wind affect my backswing.

I didn't let the wind stop me and went to the practice green and practiced my pitch shots to three different pin locations.

If I can incorporate all of what I learned today about my swing and pitch shots on the course, I'll be a much happier golfer! So, don't let wind stop you from a planned practice session. You may have as much fun as I did today!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Congratulations, Zach!

My favorite tournament, the Masters, is over and a first-time Major winner has been crowned. Congratulations to Zach Johnson! Although Augusta played hard the first three days, birdies were to be had today. It made it more fun to watch and see the competition tighten in the closing holes. Tiger, of course, was in contention, but the missed birdie opportunity on 16 made it difficult for Tiger to catch Zach.

As an avid golfer, I have two must-do's that I'm sure I share with many other addicted golfers. The first is to play Pebble Beach. The breath-taking views of that course beckons me. Then, of course, it is to be a patron at the Masters, even if it's for a practice round. The blooming azaleas and the pristine fairways sans rough make it a place I have to at least see once.

Speaking of beauty, one thing I love about golf is the decorum and etiquette that players hold themselves to. Unfortunately, some unpleasant incidents have occurred recently. Sergio's spitting into the hole after missing a putt was unexcusable a couple of weeks ago. And, Tiger's spitting after a shot today was disgusting anywhere and in any sport, but especially at Augusta.

Finally, Tiger, please start a new trend of black handkerchiefs. It won't clash with your Sunday outfit and would probably please your Mother if she saw what we all did today.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Want to Lower Your Score Quickly?

"Drive for show and putt for dough" is a common phrase of golfers. Unfortunately, I'm living proof of it at this time. I am driving the ball longer than I have in years, but my game from 100 yards and in has failed me recently.

I'm planning a practice session in the next few days to work on my short game, especially my pitching and my putting.

With putting nearly fifty percent of one's score, it's the place we all can improve on. So, next time you go practice, work on your short game, and you'll lower your scores!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Need New Clubs, But Want to Try Before You Buy?

Could you benefit from the new technology in golf equipment and make playing golf more enjoyable? I recently purchased a utility club, which is designed to help you hit out of the rough. I also use it instead of my 4-iron. It's made hitting that distance fun again and, more importantly, I can do so with confidence.

Golf for Women magazine has created a Try and Buy Campaign, so you can find a participating retailer and test clubs before you buy them. It's a great program to take out the uncertainty of buying new clubs. You'll be able to hit clubs at a range before you buy them.

Click onto Try and Buy Campaign, and find new clubs to improve your game and, of course, to have more fun!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Playing with Honor Pays Off

On Friday at the Honda Classic, Mark Wilson paid for his caddy's mistake. His caddy yelled out to his playing partner's caddy what club Wilson had just hit on the 5th hole. Technically, that was giving advice to the opponent, and a violation of the Rules. Wilson, who has had to go to PGA's Q-School each year for the last ten years, called a two-stroke penalty on himself.

That was on Friday before he or his caddy would know those two strokes were the difference between his first PGA victory at the end of the day on Sunday and a playoff with three other players. Fortunately, this story has a great ending and Wilson kept his putter warm over night and continued his clutch putting ways.

It's nice to see a good guy win! I wish more amateur players knew how to play like Wilson does, and I'm not talking about his swing or putting, but the way he plays the game...with honor and integrity.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Mickelson Minor Meltdown

I got to watch the last few holes of the Nissan Open today after my not-so-stellar round of golf. Phil was leading by one and then he grew the lead to two. When it narrowed to one stroke though, I had that eerie feeling...could he hold on? After leaving his drive nearly 190 yards from the pin on 18, he took an eight-iron only and left it short. Sure enough, he lost the lead and tied with Charles Howell III.

Three playoff holes later, Howell won his first tournament after five years. He's been consistent this year with two second-place finishes already. A native Georgian, he'll likely play at Augusta in April for the first time in his career. He's playing better and certainly dressing better this year!

Another winner today is Callaway as they had their two endorsers going stroke for stroke in the sudden death playoff.

How will this lose affect Phil? With his goofy grin as he walks along, I suspect it won't phase him at all. He's already had his first win at Pebble Beach and will head to Tuscon, Arizona for the Accenture Match Play Championship next week.

Congrats, Charles!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

A Chinese New Year Gift for You!

As we start the Chinese New Year, I have a gift for you!

It's a pop-up calendar with daily tips on how to play winning business golf with clients and prospects. To get your free BizGolf Dynamics's Ponder Pearls, click on "Download" at this page. Don't worry there is no spyware or virus.

If you'd like to see today's tip on my desktop before you download, click here.

Feel free to share this with your business golf playing partners and friends!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Good for Phil!

I didn't get a chance to watch much of the AT&T, but was pleased to see Phil had won. I am not a great Phil fan because I think he makes poor decisions a la US Open last year. It's too painful to watch him play sometimes.

But, the SF Chronicle had a very nice piece about his generosity to Conrad Dobler, the former NFL player who has fallen on hard financial times. Phil gave him $100,000 so Dobler can send his daughter to college. You may think they're good friends and they've met, but they haven't. Phil heard about Dobler's plight, and sent the check.

The PGA Tour and its players are by far the most generous of the professional sports. I think it's ironic that the other professional sports, like the NBA, NFL, and MLB, are team sports, so you'd think there would be more generosity by the players because they would know how to work together more. But, maybe it's because professional golfers fight for every dollar earned in purse money, and endorsement contracts are because of their individual efforts, that they are so generous.

Congrats, Phil!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Michelle Who?

A 16-year old Hawaiian amateur has made the cut in the Sony Open in Honolulu--the youngest to make the cut in 50 years on the PGA Tour.

You would have thought today's headlines would be raving about Michelle Wie, but it's not about her. Instead the accolades belong to Todd Fujikawa. A young man born 3 1/2 months prematurely and only weighing 1 pound, 15 ounces. 16 years and 4 days later, he makes history and steals the thunder from Michelle Wie.

It didn't take much to steal her thunder though because all that is left of her is a whimper right now. She finished 14 over par and hit shots that I could make any day of the week--snap hooks, topped fairway shots, and balls into the water.

Playing with a taped wrist on both days and defying dr.'s order to rest her wrist for two months, she was out there. She and her team claim she calls the shots about her career. Hard to believe considering in the 60 Minutes interview, they listed David Leadbetter, a sports psychologist, agent, parents, and others in her entourage.

Let's say that she does though. She talks a good game, but it's not translating into her swing or her score. And, as the saying goes, action speaks louder than words. Look at the shots and her body language, and you know she doesn't believe to the core of her soul what she's saying.

I'm reminded of stories about Elvis and Michael Jackson. Don't get me wrong, I don't think Michelle is a drug addict or child molester. But, the people around those two were afraid to tell them "no, you're behavior is out of control and you need to stop it now." Perhaps, out of fear of being fired or cut off the money train, someone on Michelle's team needs to tell her "no more. Rest. And, when you're better, go to Stanford, play the LPGA and learn to win there first."

Who should be doing this immediately? Her parents. They need to step up and behave like parents who have the best interest of their daughter as their first priority, instead of mega-million dollar deals.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Next Corporate Event: Buck Shots or Balls?

In the U.K., shooting live birds is becoming increasingly a business event. Golf is still popular with company directors, but the rest are turning to hunting birds out in the fields.

One reason given for hunting's increased popularity is people can enjoy success more quickly than in golf. Another is when one hits the ball in the woods, while others are down the fairway, then conversation becomes sparse due to the distance between the players.

In the politically correct world of the U.S., I don't suggest you decide to switch from clubs to shotguns. Certainly, hunting with clients and colleagues occurs. In fact, I own a pistol and enjoy target practice every once in a while. But, I don't envision corporate advertisers throwing marketing dollars at the next Big Hunt or women inviting other women to go hunting.

Besides, you'll learn a lot more about a person while you play golf with them than you would if you went shooting. What happens if a person isn't seeing straight on your day of shooting? That same person may throw a club on the golf course, but it may be dangerous to be around that person when he or she doesn't have good aim that day.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Do You Have Your 2007 Golf Resolutions?

While you're thinking about your 2007 resolutions, add a couple for your golf game. Maybe you want to play at least a certain number of rounds of golf in 2007 for business or recreation, take a series of lessons to improve your golf game, or enroll in pilates or yoga classes to strengthen your core for a better golf swing and personal wellness.

Whatever your resolutions, be specific, write them down, and keep it where you'll see them often as a reminder.

The Golf Channel will be airing the Thursday and Friday PGA play, so click onto the Golf Channel to get their schedule for this week's PGA Opener, the Mercedes-Benz Championship.