Apr
15
2009
By Stephanie Wei under General

Brandon Tucker wrote this post arguing that women should pay cheaper green fees than men on the golf course. He makes some fair points. But, only if his audience is directed at Stepford Wives, and if he’s assuming that all “serious” female golfers are lesbians. Guess what? Not all of us are. So, here’s my take:

  • I play from the men’s tees (or a mix depending on the yardage), so I “see” about the same amount of the golf course.
  • I’ve seen men spend way more than women in the pro shop. Men want to look just as “pretty.” And, golf clubs for men and women are the same price. Should women’s clubs be discounted as well?
  • I’ve hit plenty of houses and other fairways in my day, and watched many of my female peers do the same.
  • Women definitely don’t play faster. I would say it’s even. Beginners (both men and women) take much longer to play because they’re taking more shots and their usually not up to speed on pace of play.
  • We do take practice swings and have “pre-shot” routines. Duh! What? We’re not taking it seriously or somehow our husband’s (or male playing partners, what have you) patience is more important than playing good golf? And, only men have blackberries? False. Albeit, we shouldn’t be on our blackberries on the golf course. I’ll admit that I sneak a peak now and again, but still…
  • It’s super cute and all, but please don’t call us “babes.” That’s the only part I found sexist.

Perhaps women should pay more – It evens out the price after the men lose a ton of money to us because they can’t admit how high their handicaps really are. Just sayin’.

Apr
15
2009

I certainly think so (for both men and women).

Most importantly, Tiger Woods thinks so. And if he does, it’s golf’s best bet that it will actually happen. He’s one of 18 top golfers in the world to back the International Golf Federation’s effort to have the sport included in the 2016 Olympic Games.

Tiger has even personally written and sent a 32-page prospectus outlining the bid to the International Olympic Committee (IOC). If he can’t get the IOC’s attention, then…well, it’ll be a much longer wait than 2016 until we see golf in the Olympics. Last golf saw competition in the Olympics was in 1904, and only the U.S. and Canada competed. I think it’s safe to say that the sport has come a long way since then.

Other players have also written to their respective IOC representatives in favor of reestablishing golf as an Olympic discipline, including Ireland’s Padraig Harrington, winner of two majors last year, Fiji’s Vijay Singh, Europe’s 2010 Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie and Spain’s Sergio Garcia. (OK, Serg, this wins you back some points after the Augusta debacle.)

On the ladies’ side, Sweden’s Annika Sorenstam, 2003 World Golf Hall of Fame Inductee, is the leading global ambassador for the campaign and has sent the same documents to dozens of countries. Mexico’s Lorena Ochoa, the world’s best women’s golfer, Japan’s Ai Miyazato, Australia’s Karrie Webb, Norway’s Suzann Pettersen, and Taipei’s Yani Tseng are also sending materials to their country’s representatives.

This issue is finally getting the attention it deserves. While I was watching the Olympics last summer, I wondered why golf wasn’t included. I did a little research and all I can remember were some unconvincing silly excuses arguments about why it wouldn’t work. I believe that It mostly had to do with the format, the scheduling and the number of countries that would participate.

Let’s think outside of the box for a moment. OK. Format and scheduling are easy issues to address and amend. And, guess what? Golf is an international sport. Take a look at this year’s Masters field: there were 55 international players compared to 41 American players. For that matter, the 2009 Champion, Angel Cabrera, is Argentinian. The sport has expanded its global reach, not only in the United States, but all over the world. By including golf in the Olympics, it will only increase golf’s popularity internationally, which will also generate better players and more competition.

I don’t want to discredit other sports/disciplines that partake in the Olympics. I empathize with those activities that don’t have a worldwide platform to compete, but I mean…handball and synchronized swimming. Really?! And yes, golf does have major championships and organizations that hold international tournaments, but so do basketball and soccer.

I’m glad…no, I’m ecstatic that Tiger is leading the pack as the ambassador for this cause. People will listen to what he has to say. He is one of the most respected and well known athletes in the WORLD!

Who wouldn’t want to watch Tiger fist-pumping while he proudly carries the American flag at the Opening Ceremony? Imagine if they even let him pipe a drive into the Olympic Torch. Awesome.

Let the games begin!

Apr
14
2009
By Stephanie Wei under General
  • Sergio, you really put your foot in your mouth this time. It’s just not fair?! No, it’s not, you pansy. You get to play in the Masters when a gagillion players would gladly take your place. Well, we’re sorry too, but an apology ain’t going to cut it. [Dogs That Chase Cars]
  • OMG! The Masters ratings were down this year. I blame Nick Faldo. [Waggle Room]
  • Who else wants to club fans that screech “Get In The Hole”? Big-ups to anyone who can cure this raging epidemic. [Real Women Golf]
  • Will Condeleeza Rice be the first member of the all-male Augusta National GC? Doubtful to very doubtful? Don’t get me wrong, I’d love for Augusta to open-up membership to women, but I don’t see it happening any time soon. Just sayin’. [U.S. News, Mary Kate Cury Blog]
  • Tiger Woods Has More Gray Matter In His Brain. Aha! That’s why he’s so good! [Live Science]
  • The economy sucks and then you’ve got pro athletes juicing up left and right; at least Golf still has one glimmer of hope. [The 20th Hole Golf Blog]

Apr
14
2009
By Stephanie Wei under General

Tracking Tiger at the 2009 Masters.

A: “I got this. Game on, suckers!”
B: “What does the “V” on Tiger’s hat stand for? Very far right.”
C: “Tiger is ready to bitch-slap that ball.”
D: “Please, wind-Gods, where is it going to this time?!?”
E: “Oops, I did it again!”
F: “Tiger looks like Augusta just killed his dog.”
G: “Game over, TIger. Get me the @#$%! out of here…Well, at least I have a hot wife.”
H: “Sorry Tiger, you’re not going to find your game in your armpit.”
I:  “Smack that!”

[photos via Getty Images]

Apr
13
2009
By Stephanie Wei under General

And we thought Phil Mickelson had big boobies!

Apr
13
2009

The excitement of the day started with a face-off, and long time rivarly, between Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods. The two best players in the world were paired together – for the first time in a major championship since ‘97. Before the day even began, we knew the duo would command our attention. Phil began the charge by carding a 6-under-par 30 on the front nine, which was good enough to tie a Masters record. It was like Phil was pulling a “Tiger Comeback.” Too good to be true? Yeah. We knew that Tiger wouldn’t let Phil steal the entire show.

Tiger started his charge with an eagle on the Par 5 8th. The roars, the cheers and the insanity only intensified on the back nine. On the 15th, he gunned for the pin. He had a 15 foot putt for eagle. I held my breath. He missed it by mere centimeters.

On the 16th, he was at 9-under-par, only two shots off the lead. He aimed right at the pin, leaving him with a 5 footer for birdie. We all knew that it was a “gimme” for Tiger. Most importantly, he knew it. He was walking to the hole to pick up the ball before it even dropped. At this point, Tiger was only one shot back of the leaders.

The 17th was the breaking point for Tiger. He knew that he had to birdie the remaining two holes at the very least.

Tiger said, “I hit a good tee shot on 17, but it was just a little off to the right and I didn’t let it come back enough. I was dead from there.”

Similar story on the 18th hole. This time, he knew he had to make eagle to potentially force a play-off. What did he do? He pulled out his Driver again. He pushed it right toward the woods yet again. When he got to his ball, it was clear that he had a tough shot. There was the bunker in front and the trees on the right both blocked a direct opening to the green. He would have to punch-out and slice it just enough to have a chance at reaching the green. What were the odds that he’d hit the green and have a shot at making birdie? Slim to very slim. But, that’s not the bottom line. Tiger knew what he had to do, which was to go for it, and he stuck to his game plan.

And what happened with Phil? Well, he played his final seven holes in typical “Phil” fashion. It was a bit reminiscent of what we saw at the 1996 U.S. Open. That’s right, he choked. I think I can speak for most fans out there that we’ve gotten pretty used to it. Or, we’re simply not sure which Phil is going to show up – It’s like a Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde fiasco.

This is why Mickelson is like the “bridesmaid” of golf. After tanking it in the water hazard and making a double-bogey on the 12th, Mickelson had an opportunity to gain it back on the 15th with an eagle, but he didn’t even hit it anywhere near the cup. It was an awful birdie. He proceeded to miss another short birdie putt on the 17th.

Phil said, “Yeah I let the opportunity on #15 slide, and I stopped making putts. I didn’t hit a very good putt on 15, and it was a tentative putt. I didn’t trust my read when i made impact.”

That’s right, Phil. You putted with your purse.

The worst of it was that Phil never gave himself a chance coming down the stretch. He missed short putts that he should have made. I know shoulda, woulda, coulda, but how much do you want to bet that Tiger would have made those putts? Yeah, thought so. They both could have; it’s not a question of ability.

For a while, it was feasible that Tiger and Phil had a shot at winning or forcing a play-off. But, it was too little, too late.

Phil hung in to finish one shot ahead of Tiger at 5-under-par, which was good enough for 5th place.

“It was fun [playing with TIger]…I’m usually on the wrong end of it,” Phil chuckled.

At the same time, Tiger played utterly terrible (for Tiger), yet he still managed to finish T-6th.

“I hit it so bad today warming up,” Woods said. “I was hitting quick hooks, blocks, you name it. I hit it all on the range, and then on the first hole I almost hit it into eight fairway. It’s one of the worst tee shots I’ve ever hit starting out.”

Point being, Tiger doesn’t care about finishing in any place other than first. Yeah, I’ll be the first to say he’s a sore loser with a bad attitude. But, no one can deny that he is by far the most consistent and “clutch” player in the history of golf (and perhaps all of professional sports for that matter). It’s not about Tiger losing though; it’s about how he always gives himself a chance. That’s why he’s so good – and the best in the world.

[photo credit]

Apr
13
2009

My mind exploded yesterday afternoon. Not just once, but several times. I was sitting at the edge of my seat all afternoon. I was thinking, “Wow, do [Angel] Cabrera, [Kenny] Perry and [Chad] Campbell want to give me a heart attack at the ripe age of 26?” It certainly felt like it. It was just that dramatic.

Okay, the ending of the story was anti-climatic compared to the rest of the day, but Angel Cabrera still made history. He became the first South American Masters winner and redeemed the memory of fellow Argentinian and friend, Roberto De Vicenzo, who would have won in 1968 had it not been for a scorecard error.

As for Kenny Perry’s collapse, it was unfortunate and heartwrenching to watch. All day, he was doing everything he could to just “hang-on” to his lead. Without a doubt, he played solid golf. After he attacked the pin on the 16th and tapped-in for birdie, I thought he had it in the bag. Similar to Tiger Woods, the pivotal hole was the 17th.

Perry said, “I had a shot to win..all the way ‘til the 17th.”

He sure did. Also, like Tiger, he finished out with back-to-back bogeys. The circumstances were different, but it’s the way they handled and viewed the situation that made it so telling. While Perry was playing not to lose, Tiger is always playing to win.

At the end of 72 holes, it was a three-way tie for the lead between Perry, Cabrera and Chad Campbell. So, why and how did Cabrera win? He wasn’t the “best” player in the field. He’s overweight, drinks like a fish, and loves his cigars, but he’s easy-going. I could argue that in a team effort both Perry and Campbell handed Cabrera the Green Jacket on a silver platter, but I won’t. Cabrera won it in his own right. He played 72 holes at Augusta better than the rest of the field. It wasn’t perfect, but he contained the damage.

Sure, Cabrera practically shanked an iron shot on the 8th hole. And, sure, on the first sudden death hole, he pushed his driver so far right, it was in the no-fly zone. On his punch-out, he even hit a tree, but with a bit of luck, his ball ended up in the fairway. Under pressure, he managed to get up-and-down for par to force a second play-off hole.

Cabrera said, “Yes, [I was having fun], I was happy with my game and I had confidence. I was just trying to enjoy the moment […] I was easy going. I felt good during the playoff. Obviously one bad shot, it costs you the tournament, but overall, I felt relaxed.”

Before Cabrera, Campbell, and Perry got to the tee on the first play-off hole, I had a feeling Cabrera would prevail. Campbell was clearly shaking in his shoes and Perry had lost his mojo. Meanwhile, Cabrera was just doing his thing, playing his game, hitting one shot at a time. He wasn’t thinking about the outcome.

“This is the Masters. It’s a course that you can do a lot of birdies, a lot of bogeys,” Cabrera said, “A lot of magical things happen. It’s simply the Masters.”

Meanwhile, it was Perry’s tournament to win, and he knew it. It had the makings of a perfect Cinderella story. It would have been too good to be true. He would have become the oldest player to win the Masters, which would have been an amazing feat itself – but it would have also been a record across all professional sports.

It was even tougher to watch Perry lose the play-off because he was so gracious, but it was also why he lost. He didn’t have Cabrera’s laidback mentality and doesn’t have Tiger’s killer instincts.

Afterwards, Perry said, “I fought hard out there. I was nervous. I had a lot of fun being in there. It was a blast for me to fight with them and I just didn’t get it done today. It was my tournament to win and I lost it.”

Perry has never won a major championship, and in all likelihood, he never will. He simply doesn’t have the mental resilience.

It just seems like when it gets down to those deals, I can’t seem to execute,” said Perry “Great players make it happen and your average players don’t. And that’s the way it is.”

Perry let the moment define him.  So did Campbell.  Cabrera just kept playing golf, one shot at a time.

Apr
12
2009
By Stephanie Wei under General

THE DUCK IS GREEN! Trevor Immelman, the 2008 Masters Champion, dons Angel Cabrera, the 2009 Masters Champion, with the Green Jacket after a thrilling play-off; not to mention, an action-packed day loaded with story after story.

Congrats, Angel.

My heart goes out to Kenny Perry, who fought long and hard, and was thisclose to becoming the oldest Masters Champion in history.

WOW. Now, it’s time to write-up the story. Where do I even begin?