Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Lessons from Playing in a Golf Tournament

I played in a two-day tournament on Monday and Tuesday and it was an eye-opener for two reasons.

First, the Board at my club is currently holding a vote for a proposal to re-do the golf course. I can't tell you more, except new greens are included in it because the Board hasn't told us specifically what they plan to change. Members are told that the course is in poor condition and we need to take out up to a $4.5 million loan to fix it.

The first course I played on the greens and fairways were in worse condition than my course. Do you know the artist, Jackson Pollack? He was a famous painter who threw multiple colors on the canvas off of his brushes. So, his art work had lots of dots on it. Those were the greens we played on. Obviously the greens are badly diseased and were in much poorer condition than my course. The fairways were also not in better shape than my course. I'm sure the initiation fee for that course is multiple folds higher than at my course, so it was great to be able to compare what we have and what we're told we have as a course.

The second thing that I learned is to always check the ball before you hit it. My playing partner and I played with two other women from another team. On a long par-5, we each had to hit three blind shots. On the approach shot, the three other gals hit their balls and I hit the ball closest to the green. I assumed it was mine since the others hit a ball.

Unfortunately, I hit the ball of the other gal's ball. I discovered that we hit the wrong ball when I marked what I thought was my ball on the green. So, we marked our balls, and then went back to hit where each of our original balls were, and played both balls out. We both had a two-stroke penalty for hitting the wrong ball.

I learned my lesson! I have to check my ball as well, and not assume it's mine because it's the only one left.

My team didn't win anything, but it was fun and a definite learning experience!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

A Strange Day of Golf

I played with my most of my usual Sunday playing partners: my dad, who is 82 and still walks our hilly course, a dear friend, and her husband. He's not played with us as often over the years. I'm not sure why, except in the past a lot of bickering on the course occurred between them.

Today all went well until the 16th hole. My friend's husband hit several bad shots in a row, and pulled his final shot left toward the clubhouse. Yes, it was his final shot because he then walked across the 14th fairway to the edge of the fairway on the 18th.

None of us knew why he left in the middle of the hole. Was he upset that we didn't help look for his ball? His wife and my dad said the ball was in clear view. Was he not feeling well? Was he tired? We didn't know until we reached the green on the 18th. He explained that his left knee was giving out, so he didn't want to play anymore. That was understandable, but it would have been nice of him to tell us.

We then went into the clubhouse and saw the final hole of the Verizon Heritage tournament. On the playoff hole, Brian Davis hit his approach shot into the shore and his ball was on the sand with weeds and reeds around it. He took his club back and hit one of the reeds, and got the ball onto the green. Immediately though he called the rules official and explained what had happened.

Because the reed wasn't growing, it was considered a loose impediment and he was assessed a two-stroke penalty under Rule 13-4 for hitting a loose impediment during his back swing in a water hazard.

For Brian Davis to call a penalty on himself was admirable. He might not have won today's tournament, but he certainly won a lot of respect from his competitors and golf fans alike.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Lightening Strikes Twice on Same Hole, Three Years Apart

The Verizon Heritage Tournament started today and Jerry Kelly got a hole in one on the same hole that he did three years ago. Talk about feeling confident on a particular hole and swinging with mojo. Good for Kelly. I always enjoy watching his easy going demeanor on the course. He looks like he's having fun on the course. Good luck, Jerry!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Congratulations, Phil!

I watched the final round of The Masters today and had conflicting emotions. I wanted Tiger to do well, if not win, but after watching his first few shots, I figured there would be no way. I also wanted K.J. Choi and Anthony Kim to do well. Finally, I wanted Phil to win over Lee Westwood. Westwood's complaining about Boo Weekly's encouraging the home team to cheer during the Ryder Cup seemed a bit of childish whining.

My conflict was I'm not a huge fan of Phil's because of his playing style. Even today I kept wondering if we'd have Winged Foot II with his punch shots out of the woods, and hitting driver when he didn't have to. Yet, he could pull those shots off today, like the one on 13 off pine needles and between the trees.

After Phil sunk his birdie putt for his third green jacket, I watched him hug his wife, Amy, who is undergoing treatment for breast cancer. It was then I knew I was happy for him. With a tear or two running down his face, he hugged her tightly. That's when I was glad Tiger didn't win. Elin wasn't even at The Masters this year, and there certainly wouldn't have been such a touching scene.

Tiger says he felt "entitled" to cheat on his wife with up to 15 mistresses. When he first got engaged, I questioned why he was even getting married. He was so focused on breaking Nicklaus's record for Majors, was worth hundreds of millions, so why get tied down to one gal I wondered? He probably is wondering the same now, too.

I can maybe understand cheating on his wife with one or two mistresses, but 15 mistresses and who knows how many more that he paid hush money. I'm left wondering why he didn't just do the more honorable thing and get a divorce, instead of cheat on her so badly. At this point, it would have been a lot less drama for the world of golf, and for him emotionally and financially.

It's clear that Phil was the better man today... not only in terms of playing ability at The Masters, but also as a husband and father. Congratulations, Phil! Savor this victory with Amy and your family!

Friday, April 09, 2010

Masters, Tiger, and Ernie

The second round of the Masters was played today, and it's really my favorite tournament of all. The pristine beauty of Augusta National is beyond anywhere I've seen. I can only hope one day to step foot on that course, if not play a round there.

Tiger got a warm reception yesterday at the first hole. The patrons gave him a very welcome reception, which I can't say I expected. He's possibly the best golfer in our lifetime, yet his personal life has certainly been a disappointment. If he wins, I'll be impressed that he can win another Major after not playing for nearly 150 days.

Ernie Els had a problem on the 15th hole, which if it not for the patrons could have been an even bigger disaster. It was a Rules of Golf learning moment. On his approach shot on 15, he hit his ball into the water. He took a drop, and then made a second approach shot, which sailed over the green.

Ernie then pitched the ball over the green, and it rolled off the front side of the green out of Ernie's site. He heard the groans of the patrons, and in past years the ball would have run off into the lake. Ernie was about to drop another ball when patrons told him not to do it.

If he had dropped the second ball, it would have been in play. He would then suffer a two-stroke penalty, since his first ball was in play already. There is no provisional ball for a ball that is hit into a hazard.

Thanks to his new friends, Ernie shot a 7 on the par 5 instead of a 9 because of the fans.