Apr
5
2009
By Stephanie Wei under General

Freddie Couples pipes his drive on #17. Albeit it ended up in the left rough, there’s a reason why his nickname is “Boom-Boom.”

Apr
5
2009
By Stephanie Wei under General

Paul Casey’s tee shot on #14 at the Shell Houston Open lands in the bunker; moments after he birdies #13 to take the lead by 1 over Fred Couples.

Apr
4
2009
By Stephanie Wei under General

Look! Stewart Cink isn’t the only PGA Tour pro on Twitter!

Apr
4
2009
By Stephanie Wei under General

Play this week’s at the Shell Houston Open at Redstone Golf Club hasn’t been ideal, to say the least. It’s never fun, but you gotta play with the cards you’re dealt, right?

Suspended play. Tough weather and playing conditions. Long days. No big deal; at least not for Freddie Couples.

Freddie sure isn’t playing like a seasoned PGA Tour vet who is nearing his 50th birthday. He’s currently tied for SECOND PLACE (after 45 holes)!!! I couldn’t be more excited (especially because he’s always been a source of inspiration for me), and I’m sure my elation is shared by many other fans.

There’s been quite a bit of banter about Freddie moving on to the Champions Tour. Sure, he’s getting to that age and he struggles with back pain, but he’s showing everyone this week that he’s still got game.

However, the question now is: can he sustain it for the next 27 holes? I’m going to take a leap and say, yes, he can. Freddie is playing better than he has in quite a while. The odds might be against him, but he has the momentum and the fan support. Also, he obviously knows and likes the golf course – he finished T4 last year.

Not to mention, during Wednesday’s press conference, Couples compared the similarities between Redstone and Augusta, emphasizing how playing this week was a good tune-up for the much anticipated Master’s next week. And, we all know about Freddie’s love affair with Augusta.

How great would it be to see Freddie finish at the top of the leaderboard tomorrow? It would be mind-blowing. It would be exciting. It would be pretty damn awesome.

Apr
3
2009
By Stephanie Wei under General

The video above is Walker Manzke speaking with CNN about his venture while he hits Madoff golf balls at the Chelsea Piers Driving Range in NYC.

Wouldn’t a lot of you like to take a whack at sleazy Bernie Madoff with a golf club? Now you can! Manzke’s mother was one of the victims in Madoff’s Ponzi Scheme. To deal with his anger, he started Sleazeball LLC. That’s what I call a clever endeavor.

[Photo of Sleazeball Madoff Golf Ball]

Apr
3
2009
By Stephanie Wei under General

Geoff Ogilvy sinks his birdie putt on the 8th hole (his 17th hole because he started on the back nine) for back to back birdies.  On the back nine of his second round, Ogilvy shot 30, which included 7 birdies! He’s on fire!

Ogilvy is the current leader in the field at the ShellHouston Open after completion of play today. Because of turbulent weather conditions, play was suspended yesterday and half the field has yet to start their second round.

Apr
2
2009
By Stephanie Wei under General

There’s a new generation of superstars ready to take over the leaderboards on the PGA Tour. That comes with no surprise. It’s not going to happen overnight, but at some point, there are going to be younger players replacing their older, wiser peers, such as Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Vijay Singh, Jim Furyk, Sergio Garcia, and even Tiger Woods, who have been in the top ten world rankings for years. The vets are still forces to be reckoned with, but it also stems from years of experience playing on Tour.

I like the hype around Rory Mcilroy. He’s the 19-year-old teen phenom from Ireland  he surprised the field by reaching the quarterfinals at the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play. The pundits are calling McIlroy Golf’s Next Big Thing, a tough title to live up to, but from what I’ve seen, he’s got what it takes.

Why? He’s confident yet not cocky. He’s calm and charismatic. He’s poised under all the pressure and publicity. He’s a breath of fresh air. Not to mention, he has a regularly updated homepage and blog, which wins him extra points for interacting with his fans via Web 2.0. Now, if we can get him to start Twitter, he’s all set..

Mcilroy’s first win may not come this week or the next, but if he keeps playing his game, it won’t be long ‘til he becomes the PGA Tour’s youngest winner.

Apr
2
2009
By Stephanie Wei under General

I’ve always enjoyed coming here. To me, the Houston Open is a great tune-up for the Masters in a lot of ways. You’ve playing pine trees, and if you have allergies, you get adjusted to it. Woodlands is totally a different golf course than hat Augusta National is. At least you got the chance to play under similar conditions, clay-based grounds.

Greg Norman, 2009 Int’l Presidents Cup Captain [PGATOUR]

Apr
2
2009
By Stephanie Wei under General

Above are the PGA Tour Expert Picks for the Shell Houston Open.

My favorites:

Phil Mickelson: I’ll admit that I’m partial Phil, but he has momentum after a win at Doral and he’s been playing stellar all season. He also skipped Bay Hill last week to prepare for the Masters, which according to the experts, is a good tune-up.

Sergio Garcia:  Even though his scores haven’t been up to par, his game has been looking good, particularly his ball-striking. He’s hungry and due for a win or at least a top 5 finish.

Who is your favorite to win the Shell Houston Open this week?

Apr
1
2009
By Stephanie Wei under General

The latest buzz in golf and the PGA Tour (aside from Tiger Woods’ win last week) is miking caddies on TV. I love this idea. I’ve always wished we could hear more of what was going on during and between shots. It’s like a baseball fan wanting to know what the pitcher is saying at mound meetings, but at least you can see what the catcher is calling. Big boom mikes can get close enough to listen in on football huddles, baseball dugouts, and basketball benches, which engages the audience and enhances the viewer experience. It’s like you’re THERE!

The dialogue between players and caddies is definitely worth broadcasting. It would provide more interesting content during the telecasts and draw more fans to tune in. Here’s why:

  • Bring light to the personalities of both the players and the caddies – many of whom are engaging characters
  • Gives insight to how and what they’re thinking which will enhance viewer knowledge and offer an interactive learning experience for golfers
  • Shows the complexities of the game (there are more decisions to be considered than most would think)
  • Makes the tournaments more fun to watch

Point being, we’re interested in what the players and caddies have to say; whether it’s about which club to play, how to play a challenging/risky shot, or just their every day banter. Many of these guys have star-quality and viewers should get to see that side of them. The public generally perceives golf pros and their caddies as boring and mundane. Providing the audience with bits of their conversations will help change this image.

I’m not saying that microphones should be used to turn the players and caddies into reality show trainwrecks. There are some important questions that need to be considered. One being which caddies should wear microphones. Second being control and monitoring over what should or shouldn’t be heard. I mean, can you imagine if Tiger’s caddy, Steve Williams, was miked and the conversation was unfiltered? All I have to say is: EARMUFFS!

Joking aside, fans (and not just golf fans) would love to hear the exchange between Tiger and Stevie while they’re mulling over how to play a crucial shot. How great would it have been if we could have caught what was discussed before Tiger made his birdie putt on the 72nd hole to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational?! Enough said.