Monday, April 20, 2009

Stay Dry, Score Low?

The editors of IB18, intelligent as they are, learned something something from 'all the news that's fit to print', even though we gave them the third degree a few days ago over their lackluster golf coverage. We're not sorry for bad mouthing the New York Times, but we just wanted to vent.

Conventional wisdom dictates that inclement weather (wind, rain, cold, etc...) during a golf round will lead to a higher score on the card, but it doesn't have to. Just ask Jerry Mowlds of Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club in Oregon, who has some good advice for golfing in the rain.

It got us thinking about some other good ways to keep dry, warm and potentially shoot a lower score:

1) Keep warm, but not bundled up. More clothing on the chest and legs will cause your swing to be hindered.

2) Have a spare dry towel to wipe down your grips. Slippery grips lead to errant shots

3) Waterproof shoes are a must and keep an extra pair of socks in your bag, just in case.

4) On wet days, go for the hole on your approach shot. The ball won't be rolling much at all.

5) Have some spare Gore-tex rain pants in your bag ready to go.

6) If you're having trouble making bogey, don't be afraid to call it a day after the 3rd hole. It probably won't get much better.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Golf's Perception=Racist Reality?

Between the AP and ESPN's Outside The Lines (Part I, Part II, Part III) reports on golf's 'mostly white' image, IB18 editors needed to comment. Our take:

If a racist perception is the problem for the PGA then it wouldn't hurt them to provide perhaps at least 3 exemptions to african-american players (amateur and/or professional) at each of its events, in the same fashion that the Northern Trust Open had the Charlie Sifford exemption at its tournament this year. In addition, more PGA players (of all races) should be taken to task on this and use their popularity to address this issue (ie: hold clinics for minorities, community outreach, etc...)

Golf manufacturers and retailers also have a responsibility to attract African-Americans and this can be addressed through EEOPs (Equal Employment Opportunity Programs) at their respective stores and companies. If the face of golf needs to change on tour then it would make sense that it should change at the point-of-sale as well.


African-Americans need to realize that being a Professional Tour golfer, albeit possible, is a time-consuming, high cost proposition that is blind when it comes to matters of race. However, clubfitters, clubmakers, clothiers and teaching pros are still a part of golf's fabric and it would perhaps create more inroads to various careers in golf.

It would perhaps also increase the comfort level of alienated African-Americans wishing to take up the sport.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Tiger and Phil Almost Win!!!

Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson were paired together on Sunday at Augusta with a green jacket hanging in the balance. After bogeying his final 2 holes, Woods almost had his 5th jacket and a double bogey at the par-3 12th allowed Mickelson to almost capture his 3rd. There was something truly glorious in watching two players lose the tournament, harkening back to the 1968 Masters where Roberto DiVicenzo almost won the Masters, when he fudged his scorecard.


It was right up there with Bill Buckner, the Buffalo Bills and Peter McNeely almost being victorious.

Even the press got hard-ons over how Woods and Mickelson successfully shat the bed.

There was something so magical about it all even Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Tribune had to concede that this year's tournament was, "Tiger and Phil aided."

Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times conceded, "They nearly stole the jacket. They did steal the Masters."
Mark Hermann of Newsday probably said it best, "Maybe next time they face each other, they will both do so well that one of them will win."

Heck, who needs a sudden death playoff between 3 players? If 'almost' is good enough in horseshoes and hand-grenades, then it's good enough for Morrissey, Plaschke and Hermann and the rest of the knowledgeable, unbiased golf writers of the world.

Almost winning the Masters, or in this case, losing the Masters by 3 or 4 strokes has never been so exciting. Congratulations to near champions Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Masters Profile: Gary Player

Until Trevor Immelman won the Masters last year, Gary Player was the only South African to ever win at Augusta and had done so on three different occasions (1961, 1974, 1978). At 5 feet 7 inches tall, Player (aka The Black Knight for being clad in black shirt and black pants at tournaments) was never very long off the tee. However, his superior sand play and trust in his putter allowed Player to win 24 events on the PGA tour, including 9 Majors.

When Player won the Masters in 1961, he was the first foreign-born professional to win the Tournament. He will tee off at Augusta for the 52nd time in his career, a record amongst all Masters invitees (Arnold Palmer is 2nd with 50). He made the cut 23 straight times between 1959 and 1982, a record which until last season, was threatened to be tied by 1992 Masters champion Fred Couples.

He courted controversy in his career when he invited fellow golf professional Lee Elder and tennis professional Arthur Ashe to visit and play in South Africa at a time when apartheid (South African government-sponsored discrimination against blacks) will still a law in his home country. As a result, he was branded a 'traitor' by his own government. His comments at the 2007 Open Championship (aka British Open) regarding the use of performance-enhancing substances led the PGA Tour to adopt a policy for its professionals.

Well-spoken, classy, business-savvy and a great ambassador to the game of Golf, Gary Player is timeless.

Vital Masters Stats For Gary Player

# of Masters Appearances (52)
Best Finish (1st - 1961, 1974, 1978)
Top-10 finishes (15) 1959-1965, 1967-1968, 1970-1972, 1974, 1978, 1980

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