By Tom Brassell

TBT – Augusta Memories with Jack Nicklaus – GolfBetter Podcast #72

Five years ago next week was the release of our GolfBetter Podcast with Jack Nicklaus.  Kenny Nicholson, then our technical specialist on the podcast team, and I were fortunate enough to spend some quality time with the Golden Bear, courtesy of Nicklaus Golf, back in April of 2010.

We took our audio podcast, incorporated some photos and video clips and turned into this video piece.  It was certainly one of the highlights of the over 180 podcast episodes that we’ve done.  We hope you enjoy it on this “Throwback Thursday.”

According to the Augusta Chronicle, Tiger Woods' Gulfstream G5 Jet was spotted at the Augusta Regional Airport on Tuesday

The new “Blues” Station – 104.0

The 104 spot on the FM dial is home to a number of great radio stations.

  • KISS 104.1 in Atlanta plays some of the south’s best R&B.
  • 104.3 THE FAN in Denver is one of the top sports talk stations in the mid-west.
  • K104 in Dallas, 104.5 in Seattle and 104.7 in Charlotte have hip hop, classic hits and today’s music all covered.

But the latest at 104 is one we never expected.  A real hit from yesterday, a blast from the past that’s taken a huge fall in the charts.

A blues station down in Jupiter, Florida.

TW104.

The Sony Official World Golf Rankings are out, and Tiger Woods has dropped out of the top 100 for the first time ever.

“Leapin’ Lizards and Golly Wow!”

In less than 90 days ago he’s dropped from 32nd in the world (which was unthinkable) to 104th.  WITH A BULLET!

Say it isn’t so, someone!

Not this guy!  Wasn’t it just yesterday the question was not “if” but rather “when” (he’d surpass Jack’s 18 professional majors)?

Others that came before him tried but weren’t up to it.

Tom Watson took Nicklaus down at Turnberry in 1977.  But never passed him in majors.

Ben Crenshaw?  Johnny Miller?  Each had their time.

Jerry Pate?  C’mon, man!

Even another young cub appeared and was the called “Bear Apparent” after winning the PGA in 1983 (Hal Sutton), but not has been heard him much since other than the, “Be the right club TODAY” line on the highlight clip shown by NBC around this time each year.

They all challenged Jack, but challenged to pass him?  No way.

But, Tiger was different.  We waited for him to arrive.

A guy who’s dad said that he would “do more than any other man in history to change the course of humanity.”

You bet we’ll wait for this guy.

I remember sitting in “Aw Shucks Oyster House” outside of TPC Sawgrass in 1992 with Ruffin Beckwith.  He said they (the TOUR) couldn’t wait for this kid from Stanford to turn pro.

We waited.  We watched.

And when he finally arrived, what we saw was nothing short of magic.

The majors rolled in faster than football national championships in the SEC.  Sponsors lined up for the “chance” to sign him.

Even after all of the “Tiger-proofing” of courses and the endless scrutiny, the man still won majors.  14 of them.

The US Open in 2008 was maybe his finest.

It was also his last.

The question now is not “if” or “when” with regard to majors.

People are wondering will he ever win a golf tournament again.

ANY golf tournament.

“It’s all in his head.”  “He has the chipping yips.”  “His body can’t take it anymore.”

Seriously?

According to the Augusta Chronicle, Tiger Woods' Gulfstream G5 Jet was spotted at the Augusta Regional Airport on Tuesday

According to the Augusta Chronicle, Tiger Woods’ Gulfstream G5 Jet was spotted at the Augusta Regional Airport on Tuesday

Just 15 months ago he was the tour’s leading money winner, the Player of the Year and the Vardon Trophy winner.  WHEN Tiger wins again, this new “question” will be erased and we’ll be back to the next ones, in the order of “major” accomplishments:

  • “When will he win his next major?”
  • “When will he tie the record?”
  • “When will he break the record?”

And if he does somehow manage to do all the above, something tells me that we just might get a comment from him to all of the doubters similar to his remark to Jimmy Roberts after winning 2001 Players Championship.

“Nice slump, huh Jimmy?”

But then again, maybe we won’t.

Even the blues mellows over time.

“Better than most…..Better than most.”

 

 

dustin with trophy

Dustin’s Baaaack! And he joins us on GolfBetter Podcast #182

Fresh off of his win at the WGC-Cadillac Championship on the Blue Monster at Trump National Doral, Dustin Johnson spent some time with us recently on our GolfBetter Podcast courtesy of TaylorMade/Adidas Golf.iTunes_Logo

Dustin shares with us how he got started in the game as a youngster, discusses with us his relationship with TaylorMade/Adidas, walks us through what’s in his bag, and more.

You can listen to the interview by clicking below, on our website’s GolfBetter Podcast page, or subscribing for a free subscription at iTunes.

Lee Trevino returns 40 years later for another cover shot on Golfweek

Happy Birthdays to “The Sound of”…”Golfweek”?

I heard recently that The Sound of Music turned 50 years old this month.

“Von Trapp” time really flies.

Looking back in the time machine, I remember my grandmother and me getting on a city bus and heading to the Saenger Theater in downtown Mobile, Alabama to watch that movie when it came out.

I was 7 years old at the time, I’m 57 now.  57 minus 7 equals…

Tom Stine (left) and his father Charley, who founded Golfweek in 1975 (photo courtesy Golfweek)

Tom Stine (left) and his father Charley, who founded Golfweek in 1975 (photo courtesy Golfweek)

Yea, I guess it has been 50 years.

But, the one that hit harder than the ice water in the ALS Bucket Challenge was learning that Golfweek turned 40 years old this month.

That can’t be right, can it?  Has it been 40 years?

A tough pill for us to swallow here in the Redneck Riviera (Florida panhandle) was when we learned that our local Sports Editor, the late great Ron Balicki, was leaving us to go write for Charlie Stine’s “Florida Golfweek.”

C’mon, Wrong RonNobody leaves a sports editor’s job for a weekly golf start-up.  I mean, even though we call it the ‘Mullet Wrapper’, you can’t be serious, can you?”

He was, as were other Florida sports writers who were initially paid a few bucks a week back then to write stories for Stine’s weekly magazine, focusing on state and regional tournaments.

Over time, his career with Golfweek took Balicki to many places.  One unexpected stop was to the College Golf Coaches Hall of Fame where “Wrong Ron” was inducted as a college golf journalist.

After having 10 or so years under its belt, “Florida” was dropped from the title, the magazine expanded into Georgia and the Carolinas and it was off to the races.  Golfweek became the cool publication, the one you’d always be looking out to find if you’d been written about in if you were a tournament golfer; professional, collegiate or junior.

Today, it’s the magazine serious golfers look forward to grabbing out of the mailbox each week or downloading as soon as the most recent digital issue is available.

But really, has it been 40 years?

I guess it has if it’s been 50 for Julie Andrews and the Von Trapps.

So next year you’ll probably be telling me it’s been 30 years since Nicklaus won the ’86 Masters.

Lee Trevino returns 40 years later for another cover shot on Golfweek

Lee Trevino returns 40 years later for another cover shot on Golfweek

 

“Royal Rory” – McIlroy Wins 3rd Major at Hoylake

Rory McIlroy wins 2014 Open Championship (Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy wins 2014 Open Championship (Getty Images)

The last time something this hot came out of Liverpool was 50 years ago when John, Paul, George and Ringo left town for the states and 3 appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show. Hmmm, 3 appearances on Ed Sullivan for the Beatles, 3 major championships for Rory.  That transitions nicely into our own “Fab Four” thoughts that can be taken away from this week at Hoylake.

Thought #1 – The professional firm of “Garcia, Fowler and McIlroy” – Who says you have to be 6’3”/220 to physically dominate a golf course? Shorter and lighter than most in stature, these three guys flat moved it out at Royal Liverpool. And although they did not win, Fowler and Garcia were most gracious in defeat. Rickie said, “to see him (Rory) win was pretty cool,” while Garcia’s best qutoes were probably non-verbal, when he blew kisses and touched his heart while pointing to the fans on #18. In just a few years, he’s gone from the major villain in the movie to one that most of us are pulling for to get the girl, that being HIS first major.

Thought #2 – No Thrill from Phil – Although a repeat wasn’t in the cards for Lefty, he battled back from an opening 74, with rounds of 70, 71 & 68. Watching Phil putt can drive you crazy. He’ll miss a few in the throw up zone and then, when you’ve written him off, drop in a bomb to make you think he’s on. A renowned expert said that going to the SuperStroke grip would help him eliminate his signature forward press, but it looks at times that he’s forward pressing past his right knee. In any case, a mighty “thank you” from Phil to Rory for taking the “Win the Next Major to Achieve a Career Grand Slam” out of his yard and placing it directly on McIlroy’s front porch.

Rickie Fowler lines up putt (Getty Images)

Rickie Fowler lines up his putt at Royal Liverpool  (Getty Images)

Thought #3 – Tiger’s Back, or is he? – After an opening round of 3 under and getting more ESPN airtime than LeBron James, Woods followed with 77-73-75 to finish 23 shots behind McIlory. Only 3 players making the cut had a worse score than el Tigre’, and with only 2 tournaments on his schedule (WGC Firestone and the PGA Championship) before Ryder Cup qualifying ends, Tiger puts some interesting decision making in the lap of Captain Tom Watson. When told during interviews that Tiger was +4 and still in the course, the Captain replied, “That’s not very good.” Watson wasn’t chosen for an encore as the U.S. Captain to just compete, but to bring the Cup home. At age 64, he closed with a final round 68 to clip Woods’ total by 5 shots; +1 for the Captain to +6 for possible Captain’s Pick who boasts a career Ryder Cup record of 13-14-2.

Thought #4 – A Club and Apparel Manufacturers’ Dream – NIKE/TaylorMade-Adidas/Cobra-Puma – These guys couldn’t be happier with the top three representing their brands going “head to toe, bag to ball” in the final 2 groups at Hoylake. Look for sales of Nike Covert 2, Cobra Bio Cell and TaylorMade SLDR drivers, along with apparel sales, to take a jump this week.

Rickie and Rory, then and now

Rickie and Rory, then and now (Twitter)

Ahhh, but back to Rory. The boy champion of Congressional and Kiawah has lost the baby fat and has morphed into a three-time major winner. He didn’t dodge the questions about pressure, and went out and took care of business on Sunday. He even handled a heckler professionally. And he’s the 3rd youngest player in history to capture 3 different majors.

The Beatles were approaching 25 years old when they left for a tour of the states in 1964 and BeatleMania got even bigger when Liverpool was in their rear view mirror.

Rory is 25 years old.

One more major win next April, and RoryMania will officially be in full swing.