Tag: Tiger Woods

Good Things Come In Threes (or more)

Torrey Pines (South) 3rd hole.  Nothing is needed here except you.

Torrey Pines (South) 3rd hole. Nothing is needed here except you.

Despite the fact that the 2017 season has all but ended here in the DMV, your faithful scribe is still chugging along.  This blog came from inspiration from two of the people I follow on Twitter who deserve a generous concession; Mike at 36 a day and Beltway Golfer; two fine folks whose work is always worth a read (and if the Beltway Golfer (BG) is reading this and needs a partner to play at Congressional my DM’s are open, and I’m only begging a little bit).

It was Mike who posed the question about best 3-hole stretches for courses in Canada (I’ve not played outside Ontario so as much as I’d like to write 5,000 words about Cabot and Highlands Links I can’t do so with any level of knowledge) that got me thinking, and BG for pointing out (correctly) that Arthur Hills has done some fantastic projects in the area.  I’ll admit I’m not a subject matter expert on golf architecture, although if asked I’d lean in favor of people who don’t try to fit courses in areas they don’t work and letting the land dictate how the course will look (so I suppose I’m a minimalist).

But Mike’s question got me thinking; what are the toughest (my extrapolation) 3-hole stretches in the area among public courses here in the DMV?  As always, I took some time to ponder this by looking at reviews I’ve written, made a few overtures, and did some research (research is what I call “drink two double scotches”, if you’re curious), and put together a list.  I haven’t played every course in the DMV so take that with a grain of salt, but from courses I’ve played these are the toughest stretches I’ve encountered.

  • Blue Mash (Holes 1-3): As tough of a opening stretch as any course in the area.
  • Bulle Rock (Holes 16-18): A tight par 4, a par 3 over a hazard, and a par 4 with water left the whole way.
  • Fairway Hills (Holes 16-18): A tight and long par 4 1/2, a par 3 over water and a par 5 straight uphill.
  • Rum Pointe (Holes 16-18): Three tough holes with water in play, and a closer with a well-protected green.
  • Lighthouse Sound (Holes 5-7): Two toughies and the signature hole along the bay.
  • Potomac Shores (Holes 7-9): Looks easy on the card.  It’s not.  The 9th alone can wreck a card.
  • PB Dye (Holes 14-16): A not-easy par 3 and two sneaky-brutal par 4’s.
  • UMD Golf Course (Holes 11-13): A long par 3 over a hazard, a tight par 4, and a sneaky-hard par 5 (holes 1-3 are no slouches either).
  • Waverly Woods (holes 12-14): Par 4 with a carry over a ravine to an uphill green, a long par 3 to a well protected green and a long par 4.
  • Worthington Manor (holes 1-3): two forced carries off the tee to well protected greens and a long par 4 with a second shot over a hazard.  No easy start here.

TIGER, TIGER, TIGER

I believe I’m legally required by the Golf Blogger Regulations Handbook (2017 version) to write about Tiger Woods’ latest comeback (this weekend at the not-at-all ironically named Hero Challenge).

How many of these comebacks has he had (looks at old results)?  Haven’t we been down this road before?  Oh, wait, this time is different.  Oh, the same dirge was being uttered last year (remember that 2nd round 65 he fired last year at this event?) before it went off the rails.  And the time before that, and the times before that.  So you’ll excuse me if I don’t turn into a mouth-breathing goober over this.

Except this time, he’s coming out of legal trouble (he plead guilty to reckless driving in late October) and drug rehab, which his enablers and fanboys (of which there are far too many) would very much like to sweep under the rug and pretend it never happened.  Except that it did.  Part of being an adult is making choices.  Choosing to hoover up a bunch of pills and go for a drive at some ungodly hour is a choice (it’s not like he had no way to get home; he could have called any number of his enablers and they’d have driven him home).

Was he taking painkillers last year during this event or at the start of the year?  I’ve no idea, and without proof you’d have to give him the benefit of the doubt (nobody has asked him if he’s taking anything now, which seems a fair and reasonable question).  Or, everyone just kind of puts their head in the sand and pretends everything’s peachy keen jelly bean.

Having said all of that, he’s the greatest talent of generations and has a record of on-course accomplishments that may never be touched (at one point he held all 4 major championships and the Players Championship at the same time).  Winning the US Open and the Open Championship at two of the most well-known courses in the world (Pebble Beach, Old Course) in the dominating fashion he won them in is unlike anything we may ever see again.

I suppose it is possible that this time will somehow be different, but I’m still skeptical.  If he can, it’ll be a great story and would certainly ‘move the needle’ as the marketing people like to say.  But even as he’s playing a practice round, I’m waiting to see how he holds up over multiple tournaments.  Just because it would be a great story doesn’t mean it’s going to happen.  So I’ll hold my powder for now.

SONG OF THE DAY

Something to get you going when you need a pick-me-up.  Ready to go run through that wall now.

The USGA and the Fourth Estate

With our golf season largely done now that we’ve had a freeze (some courses are still open but with limited daylight hours it’s hard to find time), I have to say that I managed to play my best golf of the year in September/October. I kept expecting my game to regress, but somehow I kept posting scores of 80 and lower. I’d like to say that I took lessons or had some mental breakthrough, but it came down to putting better and not taking a handful of 3-putts every round (again- no lessons or “oh wait- so I should putt the ball toward the hole” level stuff).

On that note, I have to say that the more I read about the “new” USGA, the less I like. Their inability to adapt bifurication with regard to belly putters is, I suppose, the starting point. As someone who plays other sports, it’s ridiculous to have the NHL govern beer leagues or the NBA try to govern recreational basketball (or at the very least give amateurs a different rulebook). But yet, the USGA waddles about trying to tell double-digit handicappers that they can’t use a belly putter. The “While We’re Young!” campaign was pure folly given that the pace of play at the US Open was glacial (and that’s with every hole having marshals and spotters helping players out). Lastly was the manner in which they handled their new TV contract. It’s “their” contract and they’re free to go to another body (and certainly they’re free to go to the highest bidder). But to make that announcement during the USPGA Championship is, at best, tacky and at worst a move on a par with not repairing divots and ballmarks (making matters worse were Glen Nager’s derogatory comments about NBC). I’ve been a member but I cannot and will not be renewing. To give the USGA another dollar is literally making a deal with the devil. The sooner Glen Nager buggers off the better for the sport.

The other imbroglio involved…wait for it…Tiger Woods who didn’t like Brandel Chamblee’s column about the year in review, and specifically, his comments about Woods’ frequent rules violations. That Woods’ handlers threatened legal action is almost comical. Woods had four rules violations in 2013. This from someone who has stated that he considers himself an expert on the rules. That the 4th estate is still afraid to be critical of His Tigerness is beyond silly (and if Woods can’t handle being criticized he should quit). Unfortunately, the path we’re going down is to where you’re going to have to have rules officials on every hole or with every group and the policing at tournaments will have to be done for the players and not by them. I do think the Tours (PGA and European) have to work out some form of rules change that prevents people calling in rules violations and players being DQ’d the day after. It’s unfortunate that this is where we’re at, but you cannot have players be unaware of a violation, sign for a score, and then be DQ’d because someone called in a violation that the player and his playing partners missed. Woods was bang-on wrong to be critical of Chamblee but you’re going to have to have a better form of policing the game.