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.