Dog Day August Mornings

Finally playing decent enough to use this bag. It took long enough.

Played each of the last 2 Saturday mornings.  Let’s go to the tape:

From 8/10 at Falls Road. It was actually cool- glad I grabbed a wind-shirt. The guy with the Patriots bag was great to play with. No comment about his lifestyle choices.

Played 8/10 at Falls Road.  On a rare Saturday morning that was crisp, cool and felt like a taste of fall, I had my lowest score in over 3 years, posting a 77 that could and should have been lower.  Falls Road is a course that still holds up as a decent challenge despite lacking length.  I remember playing a golf league there through a former employer and having many happy 9-hole rounds during summer evenings.

My gallery approving of saving par from the bunker on 14.

The course, like pretty much everyone, has taken a beating from our two-month long heat wave with several holes having burned out spots that were spongy with rain from storms.  Greens were in decent shape for the most part.  I played with a couple solid citizens who were Pushcart Mafia members.  Great guys.  My knee, ankle and hip problems have made walking a non-starter, but I’ve got all day for Pushcart Mafia members.  You’re always aces in my book.  Falls Road is not a crusher walk-wise.  The only change of note is that the tennis club that was near the 10th-11th-12th holes is gone.  Looks like home construction but couldn’t confirm anything.  10 and 12 were cart path only (luckily my tee shot on 12 was pretty close to the path so I didn’t have to repel down to the fairway.

Played 8/17 at Poolesville.

Just teed off on #1. Two members of the Pushcart Mafia are ahead of me while I stop to tie my shoes.

If you discount that Google Maps can’t seem to find the goddamn place much less get me back home coupled with having to run to the first tee to make my time (I hit my tee shot on #1 with my shoes untied), getting lost on the way home because Google Maps seemed to think I wanted to go home by taking my car through Virginia (talk about going around your elbow to get to your asshole), it wasn’t bad, I guess.

 

Unlike the previous Saturday it was hot, humid and buggy.  Very humid.  I finished the round a quart low, if you will.  So if you play Poolesville, bring bug spray.  They have water stations but the water wasn’t exactly ice cold and refreshing.  More like tap water, which is frankly a million miles better than nothing, but still.  Honestly the Outbreak hazmat suit might not be a bad option.  I used bug spray and still got a few bites so be warned.  The greens were in good shape (not exactly lightning fast, but they rolled true).  Some of the tee boxes were pretty beat up, which I’d attribute to the weather.  You water to keep the grass from dying, and naturally you get thunderstorms which turns the burnt-out turf into swampy marsh.

3rd shot into the 12th hole after I chopped out of the junk. Nothing like draining a 20 foot putt to save bogey.

The layout is, with one exception (#11) all out in front of you.  No blind shots.  Fairways were a bit furry which I’d attribute to not wanting them to burn out.  They tend to be narrow; most holes are tree-lined with fairly wide roughs before hitting the tree line.

16th hole at Poolesville. Wanna hit one straight? Aim right and try to play a draw. I ended up dry but difficult. I am a stupid sometimes.

Work commitments will keep me away next weekend so Labor Day weekend will be the next time I tee it up.  Hopefully we will get a long-term break from the heat and have an early start to fall.  Please.

I will probably miss most of the final rounds of the Tour Championship, which is fine given that the format is asinine.  As I noted previously, I’m looking forward to the team with the best record in the Super Bowl getting a 2-touchdown lead, and the team with the best record in the World Series getting five outs in the first three innings.

Hit ’em straight.

Oak Creek Review and 2nd Swing Review

Oak Creek 1st hole. Pretty straightforward.

As I head into the Senior Tour age group, I played one final round as a 40-something on Saturday at Oak Creek in Upper Marlboro.  I hadn’t been there before and have heard some promising things.  Overall, it’s an interesting layout that is definitely NOT walkable under any circumstances.  The course is built into a gated housing development (they’re pretty serious about it; the course is considered to be semi-private which I took to mean that residents had some kind of privileges which makes sense), and the distances between the 1st and 2nd holes combined with the 9th and 10th holes are exhaustive  (and involve crossing a busy street).  It’s pretty tree-lined on most holes so being accurate off the tee is important.  The vast majority of holes are straightforward.  A few dogleg holes here and there but nothing particularly crazy.

8th hole at Oak Creek. Avoid right, bit of a bail-out left and short.

What I liked:

  • Most holes have bail-out areas short and have chipping areas around the green.
  • The first hole is a true handshake hole; short par 4 that requires accuracy but otherwise not a brute.
  • Greens were straightforward; no multi-tier greens with severe breaks.
  • Pro shop seemed to be well-stocked and has a grab and go area for beverages and snacks.
  • Bermuda tee boxes and fairways were in decent shape.
  • Six sets of tees with distances ranging from 6,980 (tips) to 4,443 (orange).
  • Scorecard had tee box my handicap index recommendations.  I’d suggest posting this on the 1st tee in plain view.
  • Saw a few water stations that seemed to be fresh (on a warm and humid morning ice water is really, really good).

4th hole at Oak Creek, waiting for the first group. Like putting JB Holmes and Patrick Cantlay out first. You drive through the barn on the right, and if you’re Brian Burke, you can have a barn fight!

What I didn’t like:

  • Greens were in less than ideal shape.  The biggest issue was the large number of un-repaired ball marks.  If I were the superintendent I’d be livid.  Not sure why.  I know that outings are notorious for ignoring them (not an excuse on any level).  I’d strongly suggest making this an issue, and go over how to repair a ball-mark.  I made a point of fixing mine plus at least 1 on every hole.  I’d suggest mentioning this to groups.  I can see how the greens could be really good with this happening.
  • Roughs had several dead areas.  I’m inclined to give the course a break on this one given how hot and humid July has been (the Bermuda fairways were, for the most part, in decent shape).  Tee boxes were hit and miss.  Being tree lined you also had some shady areas that may not be getting much sunlight.
  • The first group out (we were 2nd) was a foursome whose pace of play was glacial (very much got the vibe that they were members or something).  We passed them after the 5th hole after getting tired of waiting on them on every shot.  The marshal we ran into between 12 and 13 admitted as much.  Again, if you don’t tell them to pick up the pace they never will.  Your first groups should be fast players.  You don’t put slowpokes out first.
  • No half-way house (the routing kind of meanders through the development), no beverage cart.  Their email said that they would send out a beverage cart based on demand so at least they explained their policy.  Even an ice machine/water station would be nice.

13th hole from the tee box. Visually intimidating but some bail-out areas abound.

Overall it’s not bad.  If you’re playing on a weekend note that it’s near Six Flags America so take that into account for driving.  The exit that they tell you to take on the Beltway is closed (15A); I took 15B and made liberal use of my u-turn skills.  It’s also easy to get to off of 301.  If you have a tee time on a Sunday when the Redskins have a home game (the stadium is 1-2 exits away) be warned.  In the end, I had fun.  It’s a 45-60 minute hike for me so I may not be in a massive rush to play it again, but unfortunately this seems to becoming the new normal for golf.

1ST VISIT TO 2ND SWING

So having been curious since they opened, I went to the new 2nd Swing in Columbia this afternoon not knowing what to expect.  I was…impressed.

When the pushcart mafia rolls up on you they mean business.

  • Clubs were sorted by brand and style (woods, irons, wedges) in a very straight-forward and easy to find fashion.  Prices were sorted by condition.
  • Ton of kids and beginner sets.
  • Nearly a dozen hitting bays that were huge.  I mean YUUUUGE.
  • Large area for putters with plenty of space and a separate fitting station that was getting used.   I was really impressed; if I was in the market for a new flat stick I’d definitely visit.
  • Decent selection of bags (mostly cart bags with some carry bags).
  • Solid selection of soft goods (balls, hats, etc.).
  • They also had a station doing new/replacement grips.

Near a long row of hitting bays and an aisle of clubs. Not pictured- they have a few stations with Trackman.

I walked out with two new hats (my preferred brand/style) and a new towel (my preferred brand) for far less than I’d pay otherwise.  It’s a fantastic addition to the area and a welcome option (I love Golf Galaxy but getting over there on a weekend while fighting Costco traffic is at best difficult).

Play well, stay cool, and here’s to plenty of pars, birdies and eagles.

 

 

 

Northwest Park News and Notes

Northwest Park 1st Hole. Which used to be the 10th hole. It’s not. Until they re-re-re-change things up.

Outing (Ow-teeng): A group of individuals having an activity.  Occasionally golf.

Shotgun (shawt-gun): A weapon often with a long neck. Often used for hunting.  A method of starting a golf tournament.

Scramble (skram-bull): A method of egg cooking.  Also a style of play in a golf tournament.

Played at Northwest Park yesterday for the first time since spring 2017.  Rather than a long soliloquy, let’s skip to the main points:

The good:

  • They changed up the nines so what used to be the 10th hole is now the first.  The short uphill par 4 is now the 9th hole; the new 18th is the old 9th with the elevated tee to a valley and a slightly uphill green.
  • Service is still good.  One of the bigger grill areas for muni courses and a great practice facility.
  • Bunkers were in great shape.
  • Roughs were mowed and manageable while maintaining a challenge.

The not so good:

  • Conditions weren’t great.  Not terrible by any means, but definitely off a notch since the last time I was there.  Some of the tee boxes were pretty beat up, and they have aerated many of the areas in front of the greens which will hopefully improve things towards late summer and into fall.
  • Have to think some of the conditioning issues were because of last week’s heat wave (they did have a sign up about warning people that they’d be watering).  Last year it never stopped raining; this year has been more than a bit drier.  Never mind that July has been hot as hell pretty much the entire month.
  • Greens weren’t bad but found several holes with un-repaired ball marks (this isn’t on the course, this is on people that are too lazy/stupid/guilty of being assholes who either don’t think or care about repairing ball marks).
  • Went out early and ran smack into an outing of septuagenarian foursomes playing at a pace of play that could be charitably called glacial.  In case you wondered what it would be like to play behind JB Holmes, Patrick Cantlay and their even-slower grandfathers.

It’s still a fantastic layout and the inside nine is a great option for novice players.  But rethink the outings to later in the day and not on a Saturday morning.  Go play it.  Seriously.

I’m Still Here!

Sunrise at Rattlewood from the 3rd hole. It’s moments like this that make getting up at 4am worth it.

I know it’s been forever since my last blog, but work has kept me very busy (which I’ll happily take over the alternative) as I feel like I’m having to learn things I should have learned a long time ago but was too busy working to actually learn this foundation-level knowledge.  In a lot of ways, I stumbled into my profession because an opportunity came available and I took it.  It’s not like I have a degree in this field.

Anyway, April was a bit of a blur.  The dog we adopted back in February attacked and bit one of our friends (doing considerable damage) so we surrendered the dog to the group we adopted it from.  Last we heard the dog was working with a trainer on his behavioral issues.  Suffice to say, it was a bad time all around.  Greyhounds aren’t known for aggressive behavior so it came as a real shock.

Plus, I started having pain issues.  In the back of my mind, decades of playing collision sports were eventually going to catch up with me and they have.  After two months of tests, x-rays, therapy and appointments I found out I have arthritis in my left knee, which is where all of the force goes on my downswing.  So now it’s about managing it.  On the bright side, the years of heavy drinking, smoking, dalliances with controlled substances and other stupid decisions I’m none the worse for wear, but it was definitely a scared-straight moment.

May was equally hectic.  She Who Is Really in Charge and I celebrated 16 years together and there was all kinds of other goings-on…all of which meant no golf.  On June 1st we brought home a new greyhound (after much debate we kept his foster name of Linus).   Linus is the kind of lovable goofball that we were hoping for.  Super sweet, loves people, and is seemingly always happy.

Linus coming home with us. My shoulder is on the left side of the photo. He wanted to sit in the front seat the entire drive back (2 hours).

So it wasn’t until early June that I finally got back on the horse, as it were.  Some short recaps:

Played Sunday the 9th at Compass Pointe on the South/West routing.  The course is in significantly better shape than it was in early 2017.  The bermuda tees and fairways look great and the greens were in good shape as well.  I’ll be honest- I thought this course was on its last legs 2 years ago but it’s pulled a 180.

1st hole, South/West Course. In the fairway off the tee.

Played Fathers Day at Hampshire Greens.  Got paired up with some kid in his 20’s who didn’t say five words, spent the entire round on his phone, walked on my line on three occasions and didn’t understand how shadows work.  Course was in decent shape.  Pace of play was abysmal due to our 20-something and his Kevin Na-Patrick Cantlay swing routine.  Is there a nice way to say “HIT THE FUCKING THING”?  Reminder that playing on Fathers Day is, at best, a lottery for all the wrong reasons.

Played at UMD Golf Course on 7/6.  Please let this course be around in ten years.  Course was in pretty good shape with one or two minor exceptions.   Can’t say enough about the staff friendliness.  Had a great time; hope to return.

UMD golf course at sunrise. 1st hole. This will do quite nicely.

Played 7/13 at Rattlewood.  As always, I had a great time.  It’s a fun course that has enough challenge to keep you awake but isn’t an absolute brute.  It’ll (pardon the pun) bite you but at 6,500 yards from the tips you don’t have to crush it off the tee and for the most part, the fairways are pretty generous.

Looking forward (as always) to the Open Championship.  It remains (in my opinion) the best of the four.  They don’t overthink course setup, they don’t try to protect par, and you know going in that weather is going to be a factor.  Hopefully Portrush will provide a worthy test.

 

 

Back On Course, Local Golf News

Ready to go. Let’s do this.

I’ve managed a practice session and 3 rounds in the last four weeks, which is huge improvement from 2018 which was bad on a host of levels.

Played at Waverly Woods on 3/24.  Course was, in parts, still looking in winter mode which is understandable given how cold it was in early/mid March.  Greens were in decent shape all things considered (they’ve since aerated fairways, I’m not sure about greens).  It remains the best public track in the county.  Pace of play was great; we were the first group out (as a threesome) but let a twosome play through and never saw them again (note- letting a faster group through is the right thing to do).  Glad I did it, and I’d do it again.

Played at Timbers at Troy on 3/30.  Timbers was, at one point, the best in the county but Waverly has passed them.  Still the case.  When I played it didn’t appear that fairways/tee boxes or greens had been aerated, and I haven’t seen any news from them about aeration.  The course was in better shape than the last time I was there.  Pace of play was a real issue.  My opinion may not be universal but a 4 1/2 hour round on an early Saturday morning when we waited on literally every shot isn’t acceptable.  At one point you had 4 groups on the 13th hole (the short downhill par 4).

Played at Rattlewood on 4/6.  Rattlewood is never going to be on anyone’s “best of” tracks, and it doesn’t need to be.  It’s a solid, playable public track.  Greens had been punched a week ago and were rolling pretty good.  The fairways were, for the most part, in good shape.  The roughs haven’t grown in, which is either a blessing or a curse depending on your perspective.  I’ve said this before, but from the tips it’s 6,500 yards and a very approachable 6,100 from the white tees.

So three rounds in, and all things considered, not a bad start.  The next few weeks are going to be a no-go period for me for a few reasons, but I’ll hopefully find a way to sneak one out.

POURING ONE OUT

A bit late on this, but Redgate Golf Course in Rockville is closed.  It’s unfortunate because it served a need and was a solid layout that, at one time, had outstanding greens save for 1 or 2 holes.  The article says they’d need around $2.5 million to do needed repair and refurbishment.  I played a ton of rounds there and always had a soft spot for it.

Cross Creek Golf Club is closed and not coming back.  I can remember when it opened back in 2003 and was, at the time, a big deal when you had a lot of upscale daily fee courses opening.  It was part of a housing development, and hosted an LPGA Symetra Tour event in 2003 and 2004.  Unfortunately, the place has been in a death spiral for some time and it’s gone.  The link is to the Cross Creek HOA.  I feel bad for the homeowners who are seeing their course not be maintained which doesn’t help anyone.

Both courses being gone knocks 36 holes of public golf out of the area, which isn’t good for anyone.  It also means that Montgomery County Golf now controls every public course in the county (in a perfect world they’d have taken it over and turned it around).  It’s not that Montgomery County Golf is bad (they’re not), but reducing inventory doesn’t help anyone.  I’d still argue that Cross Creek and Redgate (being properly maintained) help the area.  The more options that exist for young, aspiring and mid-high handicap players, the better.

Doing Some Spring Cleaning

Say hi to Bear, the newest member of the team here at Single Golfer in Cart. Bear is currently an administrative trainee and living room rug supporter.

Note from your faithful scribe: you may or may not have noticed that I haven’t been writing much.  I started a new job in early January and it’s kept me busy (which is a nice situation to have; I’m happy so far and if we ever get some decent weather I hope to get my butt back on the course where it belongs).  I’ll still write but the frequency of posts may not be as much as you may have come to expect.  I’ll be happy to refund your money.  No, seriously.

Kona was more than a dog. He kept me going during some pretty dark days in 2018.

Additionally, back in December I had to say goodbye to Kona, who appeared here (and in the above photo that was not staged-I found him this way).  Devastated would be a fairly accurate way to describe my mood at the time.  Kona was that rare dog who got along with anyone and everyone.  We brought him home in 2011 and he pretty much had the place down pat within 30 minutes.  As we learned, in early December he had a series of several strokes that effectively left him unable to stand, walk or function.  My only regret is that he went so quickly that we couldn’t have Kona’s Best Day Ever (he deserved it for sure).

2019 & LOOKING AHEAD:

Since we last spoke, things have been happening.  The new rules of golf went into effect in January and so far, calling it a goat rodeo might be the nicest thing written about it.  Look, I’m not one to be critical but every week has been a fiasco to one degree or another.  Slow play is still a problem, nobody seems to have clue one about where to drop a ball, backstopping is still happening, you have touring professionals purposely damaging a course and CBS/NBC/Golf Channel can’t seem to provide decent TV coverage.  Other than that, it’s going great.

That’s why I’m here, to help spruce up the place a bit.  I’m going to make a few slight changes for the betterment of everyone involved.  You can trust me; this won’t hurt much.

RULES CHANGES:

Ball drop: Stand and let your arms hang naturally.  That’s where you drop the ball from.  Simple enough?  Take more than 20 seconds to drop a ball and it’s a stroke penalty.  Drop the damn thing and make your play.  Let’s go!  While we still have daylight!

Rules: Players and their caddies will be required to attend a rules seminar conducted by Tour rules officials prior to being able to play in an event (officials will hold seminars during every fall series and West Coast event as will Web.com events for the first two months of their season).  Failure to attend renders the player ineligible to play in events.  Players who are new to the Tour must attend said seminar and pass a test on the rules as a condition of receiving their Tour card.  You’re busy?  Good.  You’re ineligible to participate in any event until you attend the seminar.

Pace of play: Borrowing from Peter Kessler (at some point I’m going to have to apologize for the snarky comments about the Perfect Club Infomercial, but not now), you get 60 seconds to hit a shot.  You get one warning, then it’s two strokes, then another two strokes, then a DQ (Kessler’s version goes right to a 2-stroke penalty; I’m giving you ONE warning).  I’m going to add some soccer-style accumulation penalties; after 5 bad times, you’re suspended for 30 days (No  tournaments, majors, nothing- oh, you were qualified for a major?  Too bad.  Should have thought of that before).  After 8 bad times, it’s 60 days.  After 10, it’s six months and ineligibility for FedEx Cup points/bonuses.  Oh, and going over two minutes doubles the penalty.  Looking at you, slowpokes.

Ball: Tournaments now have the option of stipulating a tournament ball for all competitors as a local rule, condition of competition.  Kessler wants the original ProV1 series, which is a good idea.  I like this, and will grant tournaments to mandate the use of a tournament ball as they see fit.  Pro tennis players can’t use their own brand of balls when they serve (each tournament committee decides this).  Just saying.

USGA: Peter Kessler is picking up what I’ve been putting down for years.  You’re done, USGA.  The door is to the right.  Don’t let it hit you on the way out.  Going forward, the local superintendent will now set up the course for USGA events.  I trust someone who knows every inch of that course over some part-time wannabe operating under the fantasy that par must be protected against the forces of evil.  Grow the rough up enough to produce the odd flier lie (and more importantly, make the players actually have to think).  The rough ‘should’ be a penalty of some kind.  Don’t turn the greens into cement.  I wouldn’t let Mike Davis within a mile of a golf course.  He’s done more damage to golf courses than vandals.

Purposeful Damage Of Any Part of a Course: Automatic DQ, forfeiture of FedEx Cup points (counter resets to zero).  Looking at you, Sergio and Bryson.  Second offense?  12-month suspension.  Third offense?   You’re done.  Gone.  Buh bye.  Lifetime suspension.

Backstopping: Any shot played from inside 30 yards that strikes a ball that hasn’t been marked will be two strokes for BOTH players.  Start carrying a ball marker coin or a couple dimes.

TV: It’s 2019.  How is it that the paste-eating stepchild of golf coverage (FOX) is the only network that manages a leader board on the screen at all times?  I guess I can see not having one on early round coverage, but on weekend coverage?  GET A DAMN LEADER-BOARD.  It won’t clutter things up.   You’ll inform the viewer, which seems like something you might want to do.  Oh, and Pro Tracer should be a requirement on par with HD broadcasts.   It’s 2019.  Multiple sports have mobile cameras that referees are wearing DURING PLAY.

  1. CBS: A total tear-down and rebuild is needed.  Nantz is becoming a caricature, Faldo doesn’t seem to understand how to inform and educate the viewer, McCord is trapped in some mid 1990’s time warp, and the rest of the lot brings very little to the table.  I’d keep Dottie Pepper, but the rest of the lot can go.  They need an anchor.  I’d gladly let Shane Bacon have the chair to see what he can do.  Analyst-wise, I’d start running some people; give them a few weeks and eventually find your lead analyst.   Let Nantz be the host for events at Pebble, Augusta and the PGA Championship (and yes- let him be in Butler Cabin for the green jacket ceremony) but let someone else be in the tower (think the Bob Costas role at NBC’s golf coverage when they had the US Open).
  2. FOX: Put Joe Buck in a baseball stadium.  Keep him far, far away from golf.  It hasn’t worked.  I told you.  I can’t surf, and Joe Buck can’t call golf.  I’m sure he’s a nice guy and a great dad, but he’s not good at calling golf.  Maybe just borrow Dan Hicks and Azinger from NBC for the week.
  3. NBC: Please, stop with the onslaught of commercials.  Seriously.  Playing Through helps, but still…it’s getting to the point where the coverage is becoming unwatchable.  And figure out what exactly it is that Feherty does.  He’s a former pro who played in the Ryder Cup.  I’m all for funny, but remind me what exactly it is that he brings to the telecast.  I’ve been beating this drum for a decade; if you’re doing tournaments and are a former touring professional, use that knowledge!  TELL ME SOMETHING I DON’T KNOW OR WON’T KNOW.

FINES/SUSPENSIONS: Effective immediately, all fines and suspensions are to be announced publicly.  The NHL puts out videos reviewing what happens to cause a player to be suspended for an on-ice incident.  You’re telling me the PGA Tour can’t follow suit?  Show the video!  Or at least put something out along the lines of “During the third round of the Viagra Invitational Presented by Barca-lounger, Chandler Miller swore audibly after hitting his fifth shot on the 8th hole into a water hazard.  He then broke two clubs and threw them at his caddie.  The Player Disciplinary Tribunal has reviewed the footage, and assessed Mr. Miller a $45,000 fine and suspended him for next week’s Spirit Airlines Shootout Presented By Carling Black Label.”

You’re welcome, everyone.  Now let’s pray for some spring weather.

The First Annual SGIC Airing of the Grievances

It’s December 23rd, which is the official (sort of) day of Festivus.  A made-up holiday from a TV show (Seinfeld) about nothing.  Which somehow, seems perfect given where we are.  Don’t understand?  Fine, here’s an explanation:

For me, this started shortly after, when I was working for a large company who calls this area home.  This was my first exposure to the cube farm, and everyone in the group I was in decided to go all-in on decorating their cubes to celebrate Christmas (for the record, I don’t have an issue with Christmas but I do mind how one holiday has become a 10-week orgy of crass consumerism and people get into fistfights over buying things, and get worked into a blind rage over coffee cups, and saying ‘Happy Holidays’ as opposed to ‘Merry Christmas’).  For those of you who don’t know me, know that my default setting is that of a provocateur.  A shit-disturber.  Anyway, with everyone seemingly not doing their actual jobs and spending hours upon hours channeling their Martha Stewart-Sandra Lee “best” selves, I went the other way, and asked about why we weren’t honouring Festivus.  I brought in a Festivus pole, wrote a poem, challenged my coworkers to feats of strength, began airing my grievances, and generally caused a grand-canyon sized divide in the office.  You’re welcome.

In previous years, I’ve done the Santa thing and I may well come back to that in 2019.  But given what 2018 has been, I had a change of heart.  It started yesterday while I innocently sought something to eat and was subject to a mass of humanity surrounding me while I attempted to eat my lunch in relative peace.  Today, I had to go to Costco and I’d politely describe the crowd as being slightly more violent than the crowd at your average punk concert circa 1984.  I was not pleased.  The fuse was lit.

So on that note, allow me to pour myself a vat of bourbon, stand by the shiniest of Festivus poles, and air my grievances.  I’ve got a lot of problems with you people.

Patrick Reed: I’m not even sure where to begin.  You won a Masters and then turned into a full-blown diva.  Sorry those FREE Red Sox tickets weren’t good enough (there’s 200,000 kids in Boston who’d happily take them).  You showed your ass at the Ryder Cup and “allegedly” got into a fight with Dustin Johnson and had a spat with Tiger.  And seemingly everyone else.  Keep blaming everyone else.  I hope your game goes full Ian-Baker Finch, and you show up at Augusta in 2032 as your only event of the year where you post 88-84 and people have to wear helmets to see you play.

PGA Tour: The DC area has supported its tour stop through every possible form of weather known to man.  We’ve had a derecho, a Tuesday finish, flooded out courses, and more.  So thanks for bailing on us for other places.  Karma’s a bitch, as you’ll find out.  Eat it.

The “The US Ryder Cup Team Is Unbeatable” Think Pieces: Stop it.  The US is tough to beat on home soil.  Not so much when they’re playing in Europe.  Accept, breathe, move on.

Backstoppers: Just stop it already.  Mark your god damn ball, and not with a poker chip.  Just use a dime.  Simple.

CA Courses: Join the 21st century.  Every other course allows on-line bookings, but not you guys.  It would be one thing if Hobbits Glen and Fairway Hills were the Pine Valley of the area.  They’re not.  Both tracks are having some real problems right now.  Maybe, and I’m just spit-balling here but maybe don’t make us regular folks have to go through a rigmarole to make a damn tee time.  Every other course in the area literally makes it EASY to do business.  But not you guys.

The USGA: Shinnecock and Oakmont were supposedly incapable of being screwed up, and yet, you manage.  Do they have Paint Chip day for lunch on Tuesdays?  Maybe quit getting a collective boner over protecting par and let the course play.  Sure- grow the rough up but don’t turn the greens into parking lots.  Did you watch the Open Championship?  Notice how green the greens were?   Bingo.  Really looking forward to see how bad you can manage to screw up Pebble Beach next June.

People Who Yell Crap During Tournaments: The second time someone yelled Baba Booey it stopped being funny.  Just stop.  I hope these people get thrown into an active volcano.

Guys Who Dress In Full PGA Tour Pro Scripting:  Were you not loved as a child?  Black pants and a red shirt when it’s 95 degrees and swamp-like doesn’t make you cool.  All-orange?  Who hurt you?

People Who Don’t Fix Divots and Ballmarks:  While you’re standing there picking your nose waiting for your partner to plumb-bob a 4-footer to save triple bogey, fix that mini-crater you made.  Divot repair tools are cheap.  Hell, I’ll GIVE YOU ONE.  You’re in the fairway.  After you take a snowboard-sized divot laying over your 7-iron, replace it.  Divot gone?  Great- take some of that mixture that’s in your cart and pour it in the hole.  Smooth over.  Done.

Guys Who Flirt With the Beverage Cart Girl: She’s old enough to be your daughter.  So stop it.  Plus, there’s probably several groups being held up while you pull this crap.  So don’t.  Seriously.  How would you like it if you were trying to get something done and people were bothering you?  Buy your stuff, tip well, and move along.  If you really had game she’d flirt with you.  And ask for your number.

People Who Don’t Rake Bunkers:  Unless the course treats bunkers as waste areas, rake it.  No, it’s not going to slow you down.  Have one of your playing partners mark your ball while you rake, and they can finish out.  Simple.

Courses Who Don’t Notify About Aeration:  You lying and crooked bastards.  Note that “if” you aerate and post it, I’ll be MORE inclined to play at your course.  Because you’re being honest, and that works for me.  It happens in the spring and again in the late summer/fall.  We understand.  So tell the truth and you shall be rewarded.

The People Trying to Put an End to UMD Golf Course:  God forbid we have a public course inside the beltway AND a home for the men’s and women’s golf teams.  Seriously- get bent all of you.  It’s not some swanky private club.  It’s open to the public.  AND, it’s a fantastic layout that gets pretty regular use by the public.  How many damn football fields does the football team need?  It’s not like they’re any good.  Sure glad they spent all that money adding seats at the stadium that sit empty.

High Handicappers Who Play From the Tips:  Oh, you want to see all of it…great.  Turn what should be a 4-hour round into a 5+hour slog and grind the course to a halt.  Check your ego, and play from a set of tees more in line with your game.  You’ll have fun and you’ll finish sooner.

People Who Use Poker Chips as Ball Markers: You sort of destroy the point of a ballmarker.  Use a dime.  Save the chips for the casino or your poker night.

The Golf Ball Picker-Upper: Take a minute or two to find your ball.  If not, drop and take a penalty stroke.  Stopping to pick up balls…seriously?  Balls aren’t that expensive.  No, I don’t want one.  By all means, sneak back once it’s dark and help yourself.

The Caddyshack Guy:  Look, when I played beer league hockey you’d have Slap Shot guy.  And once or twice a game it’s funny.  Same goes for Caddyshack guy.  When we’re at the turn and you’ve made a dozen references nobody’s laughing.  We’re all hoping a grizzly bear comes along and eats you.

May your Festivus pole be bright and shiny!  And remember- when you tell someone how they’ve disappointed you in the last year, it’s because you care.

 

 

 

 

SGIC’s Rage-Fueled Guide to the Golf Digest Holiday Gift Guide

Screw it. You’re all bad. Eat a bag of dirt.

**Thanks to the far more talented Drew Magary for the inspiration. I know it’s a cheap lift, but I’m giving credit where it’s surely due.  So buy his new book ‘The Hike’ on Amazon or at a bookstore.  

Thanksgiving is now past us, and the annual running of the absurd that is Black Friday is also in our collective rear view mirror, which means it’s 4 weeks until Christmas.  So everyone’s in the holiday spirit.  Except your humble scribe.  Before I became your humble scribe, I worked holidays and for a while dated someone who was a retail store manager, so the December of my younger years wasn’t a joyous occasion (if you’re at a drinking establishment the night of Christmas Eve and see a group of people drinking, odds are they’re retail workers blowing off steam; buy them a round).  I didn’t have time to argue with people about Happy Holidays v. Merry Christmas v. Happy Festivus v. Go Screw Yourself.  Frankly, I don’t care.  People turn into raging assholes this time of year for some reason (I’ll never forget some old woman getting out of her car to attempt to slap me because I dared honk to let her know the light was green and maybe she could drive more and put makeup on less), so my deft move is to give people a wide berth.  Seriously, if you start a fight in a mall over something, rethink your priorities in life.  If someone wishes you well, don’t get offended.

Luckily, Golf Digest has provided us with their annual Holiday Gift Guide, but for some odd reason did not provide the impetus as to how they selected these items.  Let’s go through a few of the more…unique items.

KETEL ONE BOTTLE CANDLE

Price: $35

They say: The creative minds at the ReluminationsDecor on Etsy took this keepsake a step further and made a candle out of Arnie’s bottle. It’s handmade to order and you can select the scent of the soy wax. Soy wax burns longer and cleaner, so expect this one to burn for around 120 hours in total—just long enough to keep you warm during golf’s offseason.

SGIC says: You can buy an actual bottle of Ketel One for $35 and at least drink the vodka.  Oh, but it’s Arnie’s special bottle!  He’s been dead for just over 2 years.  This is his grandchildren using his name to make a few bucks on a candle.  Unless it smells like lemonade and iced tea, why even bother?  If you spend $35 on a damn candle it better keep you warm.  Oh, and vodka is boring.  It’s the Chicken Caesar Salad of alcohol.  You can buy a bottle of Tito’s for $20 and it’s better.

J LINDBERG KIMBALL STRIPED FIELD SENSOR SWEATER

Price: $180 (seriously)

They say: Your favorite golfer may have plenty of midlayers, but likely hasn’t opted for a shade like this half-zip features in its color-blocking pattern. Elastic at the cuffs and hem, along with a mock neck add warmth to the cozy jacket. The moisture wicking fabric is lightweight and perfect for golf in any temperature. There are a few color options for this piece, but the fresh green shade is eye-catching and seasonal.

SGIC says: Remember 6-8 years ago when it seemed like half the European Tour were wearing J Lindberg’s stuff?  They’re still here.  BTW, unless you have the figure of a ballpoint pen, just take a hard pass.  Their stuff has a ‘tailored’ (i.e. tiny) fit.  Damn straight they don’t make sizes for larger people.  I played with a guy who had matching J Lindberg shorts and a shirt a few years ago.  Insufferable nitwit.  He looked good but he couldn’t break 110 on a muni course to save his life.  Of course he had high-end clubs and a staff bag.  Invest in lessons instead.

STITCH DAY PACK TOTE

Price: $198

They say: This 2-in-1 tote bag and backpack is as versatile as it gets and it’s no surprise the brilliant design comes from one of the coolest new golf bag companies, Stitch. This bag has more pockets than you’ll be able to fill and a magnetized passport pocket that’s perfect for travel. Each bag comes with the option of personalization by adding initials to the front on a modern design patch.

SGIC says: $200 for a backpack/tote bag.  When the economy tanks, there’s going to be a few hundred of these things lying around as a testament to how stupid people get in times of marginal prosperity.  Unless you’re being whisked away from your job on Wall Street to to the Hamptons to play a few rounds at daddy’s club and then hang out with Millicent or Muffy, this isn’t for you.

UTHER GOLF TOWEL

Price: $28

They say: Uther makes unique golf towels that will help you cross everyone off your list this holiday season. From florals to flamingos, funny messages to patriotic ones, you’ll definitely pick up a few. They’re also super absorbent, quick drying and clip to your bag with a carabiner. The waffle pattern removes dirt without damaging golf clubs and as a bonus they’re antimicrobial with natural odor reduction to keep things extra clean.

SGIC says:  Add “towel with funny saying” next to neoprene iron covers, ball retrievers, and using poker chips for ball markers to signs nobody wants to play with you.  Even using the “s” word should be a capital offence.  Be sure to tuck it into  your pants for maximum stupidity.

FOOT JOY 1857 DOUBLE MONK STRAP DRESS SHOE

Price: $598

They say: Your favorite golfer may have a pair of FootJoy golf shoes, but they probably don’t have a pair of dress shoes from the new FJ heritage collection. They’re on the pricier side, but that’s because each shoe goes through a 150-step process to ensure high quality craftsmanship. The Double Monk Strap shoe is made with Italian calfskin uppers for an ultra-luxe look and feel. They come in a cognac or navy that will enhance any outfit.

SGIC says: If my shoes don’t undergo a 155 step process I’m not wearing them.  So just to confirm, they’re not golf shoes.  I mean, I do like the monk strap style and they do look pretty good.  But $600 bucks for shoes?  Are you people on dope?  I can buy two pair of Cole-Haan’s or Allan Edmunds for that.

MIZZEN AND MAIN DRESS SHIRT

Price: $135, and your soul

They say: With all the buzz around this shirt, golfers on your list likely haven’t thought of purchasing one of their own. This shirt is really a “see it to believe it” kind of deal—or “play a round of golf in it to believe it.” The fabric really is performance-ready with moisture-wicking capabilities, fou- way stretch and is wrinkle resistant. The shirts from the Phil Mickelson collection have the Lefty’s logo on the left cuff for an added golf-approved touch.

SGIC says: By ‘buzz’, you mean the commercial with Phil Mickelson doing the worm and wearing it at the Players Championship.  In May.  In Florida where the temperature is usually eleventy billion degrees.  Be honest- if you got paired with a twosome wearing these shirts you’re probably entering rehab the next day.  Look, you have to respect the amount of Not Caring About Anything that Phil has.  He’s had his soul ripped out in several US Opens, and the odds are that it’s never going to happen for him.  But when he’s at home in his office day-trading and spread-betting on the Winter X Games, he probably looks good in that dress shirt.  And be honest- when he rolls up to his club and plays Wolf Hammer for $25K per hole, he looks good doing it.

PETER MILLAR SHOOIE PUTTER COVER

Price: $75

They say: Traditional loafer devotees will love this putter cover modeled after the Peter Millar X GFORE Cruiser Golf Loafer. It’s not for everyone, but might just be the perfect unexpected gift for that leather-tassel-loving guy on your list to protect his favorite golf club.

SGIC says: I wear loafers to work, but keep this shit away from my putter.  Unless you’re using this to cover up your Ole Billy Baroo, what are you even doing?  If I saw someone with this thing I’d ask them if they’re having a stroke, or ‘Who hurt you?’  You make the Scotty Cameron collectors seem rational.

LULULEMON MENS ABC PANT

Price: $128

They say: These pants are something that even if they already have a pair, they’ll gladly appreciate another. They can be worn for a casual round of golf, to the office or just around the house. The 5-pocket styling gives an upscale look while the four way stretch fabric feels like loungewear. The Black Plum or Dark Olive colorways are fresh and on-trend, while the classic navy or black will always be a hit.

SGIC says: They’re sweatpants.  And no, you cannot wear these things to the office.  Did Roger Sterling wear god damn sweatpants to the office?  NO!  Did Teddy Roosevelt wear sweatpants?  NO!  I know that everyone is collectively giving up, but just don’t.  Look, I’m all for wearing shorts and I’ve argued that the pro tours should permit shorts.  I draw the line at sweatpants.  And so should you.

LULULEMON WOMENS ALIGN PANT

Price: $98

They say: The moment she realizes she’s unwrapping something from Lululemon, you’ll see (and probably hear) the excitement. These yoga pants are another item that they’ll gladly accept repeats of. The Align “Nulu” fabric is softer than butter and extra lightweight—a noticeable and appreciated difference from most bottoms. She’ll wear them to the range, to yoga and every possible moment she can, they’re that comfortable. Black is always a classic and safe option, but if you’re feeling adventurous, the Dark Sport Red colorway is timely and fun.

SGIC says: She Who Is Really In Charge is a lot of things.  A fan of Lululemon is not one of them.  ‘So, you bought me yoga pants that cost $100’ is not really a great way to start the day unless she’s had at least 2 bottles of wine for breakfast.  Plus, they don’t really cater to most women, and their company seems to be run by evil assholes.  Are they still thin to where people can see the pattern of your underpants when you bend over?

OPPOSUITS

Price: $100 and up

They say: This is a gift you can be certain they don’t have—and at shockingly affordable prices. These hilarious suits are perfect for holiday parties and family photos. Great for the golfer that loves to stand out, just be ready to see them wearing it nonstop.

SGIC says: I can endure 7 minutes every Saturday night from October-early June of Racist Grandpa on Hockey NIght in Canada yelling incoherently at whatever while Ron Maclean looks at him wondering how he got here.  At least Don Cherry goes to Fabricland to get his jackets made.  I can’t endure Trent, Aiden, and Logan hanging out looking like matching dorks.  Cherry has been dressing ridiculously for 3 decades.  Opposuits should be paying him residuals.

Unfamiliar with Don Cherry’s haberdashery?

Image result for don cherry

From the ‘American Psycho, Canadian Edition

It’s like the 1980’s never left.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you need more of this in your life then check out the Don We Now Our Gay Apparel Blog.

RLX RALPH LAUREN SHERPA FLEECE JACKET

Price: $148

They say: Tartan plaid is the pattern of winter 2018-19. What was once a staple in golf is now back in style and better than ever. While there are plenty of plaid trousers to choose from, opt for this winter-ready jacket from RLX. The fluffy fabric elevates this statement piece to work well on and off the course, while the right chest pocket add utility.

SGIC says: It’s TARTAN TIME.  Why wear ordinary patterns when you can wear TARTAN!  TARTAN EVERYTHING!  Seriously, that fleece is pretty nice (for $150 it better be).

HOOK & ALBERT WEEKENDER BAG

Price: $357

They say: Great for the style-conscious traveler, this minimal duffel transforms into a garment bag that holds up to two suits. It’s also got two shoe pockets and accessory pockets for small items. When not in use, it folds flat for easy storage. This really is the bag they didn’t know they needed but won’t be able to live without. A variety of colors and styles are available, but we like this Limited Edition Twill Gray Fabric because it’s modern looking and will keep clean through the toughest travel.

SGIC says: $350+ for a duffel bag?  Oh, you assholes like the Limited Edition Twill Grey, well I WANT TARTAN PLAID to match my fleece.  And I want TARTAN PLAID sweatpants.

TED BAKER RUNER KNITTED FOLD-OVER RUCKSACK

Price: $289

They say: Everyone needs a cool backpack, no matter how old they are. This Ted Baker fold-over bag has a laptop pocket, top handle and padded shoulder straps that are ultra comfortable. The mixed media design is modern and upscale, perfect for everyday wear.

SGIC says: What, no TARTAN PLAID?  If I’m spending $300 on a bag that doesn’t come in TARTAN PLAID then what am I even doing?  I’m sure that this bag must be great in wet weather.  Bet it soaks up lots of water.  C’mon…TED.

HOOK & GAFF KING TIDE WATCH

Price: $750 (seriously)

They say: This sport watch is nautical-inspired, but perfect for any occasion. For water watchers, you can set the tide to your precise location and it is water-tight up to 660 feet. The navy strap is elegant yet comfortable and the face is scratch-resistant for those less elegant moments.

SGIC says: When Judge Smails invites me to the yacht club, I’m wearing this thing along with my ascot.  Nautical inspired?  You god damn right.  I better get that caddie scholarship.

COMO AUDIO AMICO SPEAKER

Price: $400

They say: Even the most particular audio heads will appreciate this smart speaker. With a real teak wood veneer, this portable speaker is weather resistant for at-home or on-the-course tunes. It’s also got 8 hours of playback time and a rear bass port that doubles as a handle for easy carry.

SGIC says: This thing is gigantic.  Golf Digest are the same assholes who prattle on about how walking is this integral part of the game while hawking this crap.  First off, it’s gigantic so it’ll take some work to get it loaded into your cart.  Second, Judge Smails doesn’t like music on the golf course.  Third, people that own crap like this usually have terrible taste in music.  4 hours of Nickelback and Daughtry should be a felony.

IN CONCLUSION

I say this nearly every year, but if there’s a golfer in your life, buy them a dozen balls of their preferred make/model.  Less than $50, and wrapping them is a cinch.  If you really want to splurge, think long weekend somewhere sunny and warm this winter.

 

 

The Match, Redux

Photo rights to Turner/Getty

Your Literal Money Shot From ‘The Match’

Being old enough to remember the made-for-TV event that was The Skins Game, I was intrigued about the Tiger Woods-Phil Mickelson ‘Match’ that took place the day after Thanksgiving at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas.  In the end, it was a dud on several levels but it does answer (and pose) a few thoughts going forward.

  1. B/R Live is a disaster/gong show/goat rodeo.  It’s criminal that they have the UEFA Champions League/Europa League rights and have the vast majority of games behind their paywall (with a lot of users complaining about quality).  Their announcers and studio crews (on the games they show on TNT) are worse than the idiots on Fox (which is saying something).  Their attempt at charging $19.99 for the Tiger-Phil match was worse.   In the end, because they couldn’t process payments they opened it up for screening online with no charge which is how yours truly watched it (as of today nearly every provider has provided refunds).  My hope is that this puts an end to anyone ever trying the PPV route and that B/R Live ends up swimming with the fishes.
  2. Ernie Johnson is one of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet.  His story is incredible and I wish him improved health.  From all accounts he does a great job at the studio host of TNT’s basketball coverage.  Golf, however, isn’t his lane.  Too many times he was talking over coverage.  Not sure if this was him or the director, but it was bad.  When Tiger and Phil are wearing microphones, the second they start talking should be a cue to zip it.
  3. Shane Bacon was good in a difficult role.  He’s one of a very small list of people on Fox’s golf coverage that aren’t awful.  There’s no way they’d feed Joe Buck to the wood chipper (even though he’s terrible), but if I were Fox I’d go with Shane Bacon and Brad Faxon (Paul Azinger’s Grumpy Old Man routine has worn thin).
  4. They didn’t sell tickets to the public, and  yet, the VIP’s that got in were still yelling crap.  Heard at least one Baba Booey and something about Sizzler.  So sure glad they kept the unwashed out.
  5. The golf itself wasn’t very good.  Tiger didn’t seem remotely interested, and Phil was what you’d expect.  I mean, if you’re Tiger you’re set for life.  The only thing that has to interest him at this point are majors and racking up more Tour wins to add to his ’14 and 80′ tally.  The pace of play was horrendous.  Tempted to suggest they might want to use carts if there’s a repeat.
  6. Way too many talking heads. One lead announcer, one analyst, 1 or 2 on-course reporters and that’s really it.  Again…TELL ME SOMETHING I DON’T KNOW OR ISN’T READILY SEEN.  I didn’t mind Charles Barkley.  Maybe Bacon, Charles, Darren Clarke and Pat Perez on the course.  That’s plenty.
  7. Shadow Creek was a decent choice as a venue, but several greens appeared to have been aerated recently.  Not exactly what you’d hope for.  In a previous life I knew a guy in Vegas who thought Shadow Creek was the greatest thing in the world.  Bought some giant coffee table book and loved it (back when you had to have a personal invite from Steve Wynn to play there; now you have to be a guest at one of his resorts and willing to pay $500 to play).
  8. MGM Resorts was actively promoting hole-by-hole wagering.  Didn’t mind it.  It’s probably the wave of the future.
  9. Spare me the whining about “oh, for $9 million they could have (insert name of worthy cause).”  They didn’t.  It was never a trade-off.  Turner put up the money, they took a bath.  Welcome to Commerce 101.
  10. The 93-yard playoff hole was interesting.  Not a fan but glad they had an option in case of darkness.
  11. The HBO 24/7 wasn’t bad.  If you’ve seen one, you know what you’re getting.  If I were Mike Whan (LPGA Commissioner) I’d try to get the HBO 24/7 team to cover a tour event.

Johnny, (Occasionally) Angry Johnny (an Appreciation)

Johnny Miller and Seve Ballesteros. Probably not discussing that 63 at Oakmont.

With the NBA season tipping off last night, the NHL season entering its third week (thankfully, the Leafs are off to a hot start and yes- those of you who follow me on Twitter may see my feed become more Leaf-centric for a while), the MLB playoffs down to the last four and the NFL season doing what it does, some things get lost in the shuffle.  This week’s announcement that Johnny Miller will be leaving the broadcast booth after he does one final event (the 2019 Waste Management Open- CBS has (pro football championship game whose title shan’t be mentioned) a conflict so they’re dumping the coverage to NBC (NBC will dump a February weekend to CBS every 4 years when it conflicts with the end of the Winter Olympics).  Related, thumbs up to Golfweek’s ‘The Forecaddie’ for getting this first.

NBC’s decision to use Paul Azinger from Fox is a colossal disappointment.  In multiple years of working with Joe Buck on Fox, they still have zero chemistry and they still provide nothing of value to the viewer.  Buck has this habit of having to put his stamp on things; great moments in sports don’t need it (and he has this habit of talking over things when letting the pictures speak would be better for all involved).

From watching US Opens on Fox, Azinger’s biggest fault is that he routinely fails to use his biggest strength, which is his perspective as a former player.  Viewers don’t need narratives about tradition.  We aren’t former touring professionals; Paul is.  He’s won a major, and yet, he rarely (if ever) provides that perspective.  He’s too busy talking about the history of the game.  Put me in the head of a guy trying to win a major and spare me waxing poetic about how great you think the USGA is.  The final round of a major isn’t that time nor the place.  Four full years with Fox and other than Shane Bacon and Brad Faxon, there’s not a single reason to listen (their technology is fantastic).

Miller has been part of NBC since 1990.  By and large, he’s taken the viewer into what players are thinking on the back nine on Sunday when they’re trying to win.  He used the word ‘choke’ in context with a player.  He hasn’t shied away from being critical of players.  I know the Tiger fanboys don’t want to hear this (lest anyone speak ill of Dear Tiger), but offering criticisms of players is quite literally why many of the talking heads have jobs.  He’s been critical of the best players, which is his job.  Being critical of the top players (when warranted) is part of that.

Any budding announcers, regardless of sport, should remember that if you’re doing TV, the viewer is watching.  He/she can see.  Your words should supplement what’s being viewed.  Analysts should think similarly.  I’ve never played professional sports.  Paul Azinger has.  He’s won a major.  So help me, the viewer, know what’s going on by telling me things I can’t see.  If an on-course reporter can tell me what kind of lie that “X” has in the rough, walk me through what a player might be thinking given this information.  Don’t use 25 words if 15 are sufficient, but don’t use 25 if you need 40 or 50 to provide context.

Challenge: watch the final round of an event with the volume off for 30-40 minutes.  Notice how little most announcers contribute?  They go from shot to shot, and tell you that player X is putting for birdie/par.  Think about the maddening four minutes that JB Holmes spent trying to figure out his second shot at the Farmers Insurance Open earlier this year.  Now, think about how little (if anything) the announcers were contributing to this debacle.

Miller, at his best, provided that reason to listen.  He won majors, and knew what it was like (he also successfully managed to balance family life & fatherhood with a professional career) to be in contention.  Yes- he could go on a bit about his famous 63 at Oakmont (and yes- I may or may not have made a drinking game about Miller) but the fact is he shot a 63 and won a US Open, which, to borrow a term, means he has Scoreboard.  More significantly, he could articulate what a tour pro was going through in a final round, which often gets lost in the shuffle.

I’m not NBC/Golf Channel, but if I was, I’d have given some of their internal folks a crack at the job before going outside and sharing Azinger with Fox (where Azinger would be useful is during Ryder Cup week; having him and Colin Montgomerie together would be an absolute must-listen).  David Duval and Justin Leonard have the ‘won a major’ box ticked, and Brandel Chamblee would provide a bit of spice (and controversy) to broadcasts.  Frank Nobilo is another option I’d like to see given a crack.  Maybe, if you were bringing Mike Tirico into the booth (replacing Dan Hicks) I could get behind reuniting Tirico and Azinger, but beyond that, it’s a hard pass.

So thanks for everything, Johnny.  Hope you’re able to enjoy retirement with your family (which has always been your top priority, as it should).

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