John-Deere-Classic

Runs like a Deere…..and then some!

ZachCongratulations to Zach Johnson for winning The Open Championship. Zach, with his Titleist clubs and SeeMore putter, now has 2 majors under his belt and has been a consistent winner on tour for a while.

But, the big winner this week may just be the John Deere Classic. There was a lot of talk about Jordan Spieth playing in the Deere the week before The Open Championship. Many said that it would not give him enough time to prepare for the tournament or get used to the time change.

Photo courtesy http://sports.ndtv.com

Photo courtesy http://sports.ndtv.com

Spieth countered that he wanted the competition and if he contended the pressure of being in the hunt for the title. He believed if he played well at the Deere, he won in a playoff, that the momentum of his good play would carry over to St Andrews.

And he was right. He was in the hunt to the end and ended 1 shot out of the playoff. By the way, another very good player contended at the Deere this year. He missed the playoff by 1 shot.

His name, Zach Johnson. Don’t be surprised if the Deere folks have to charter an extra plane for players to get to The Open next year. The company says “Nothing Rides like a Deere”.

Maybe they have to add “Nothing Prepares you like a Deere”.

John-Deere-Classic

Are the stars aligning for Jordan Spieth?

Two majors down with 2 to go.

Jordan Spieth heads to the Open Championship next week with the chance to win his 3rd straight major. He won the Masters in convincing style and got a little assist from Dustin Johnson in the U.S. Open.

Now it seems Rory McIlroy, the world’s #1 and betting favorite in the Open  Championship, will also assist Jordan’s in his quest for the next major. Rory’s ankle injury, injured while playing soccer, will keep him out of the tournament and quite likely the PGA Championship.

With Tiger’s game not ready for prime time yet Jordan’s quest for 3 majors in a row at St Andrews is starting to look plausible. And if that happens the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits becomes “the tournament of the century” as Jordan attempts to win the calendar Grand Slam.

As we all know in sports, luck, timing, circumstances and fate often determine the outcome. Just recently the conjunction of Venus and Jupiter in the skies has created what is called a super-star.

This bright phenomenon may have been what was known as the “Star of Bethlehem” in 3-2 B.C. That’s 2,000 years ago!

Sometimes things just align perfectly.

Bob Vokey works on a wedge (photo courtesy PGA.com)

The Dual Wedge is Back

When I started playing golf back in the dark ages there were dual wedges available.

Robert Streb putts with his 56 degree wedge at the Greenbrier

Robert Streb putts with his 56 degree wedge at the Greenbrier

This cross between a pitching wedge and sand wedge was often seen in partial sets and also sold separately.

As club making became more sophisticated and wedge gurus like Bob Vokey and Roger Cleveland came on

the scene this club was replaced with gap wedges and many other types of specialty wedges.

Roger Cleveland (photo courtesy Callaway Golf)

Roger Cleveland (photo courtesy Callaway Golf)

Now, players carry at least 3 wedges and some carry 4. The idea of having just 1 wedge seems crazy.

But, after watching Robert Streb at The Greenbrier yesterday putting with his 56 degree wedge, maybe the term dual wedge has a new meaning. Players practice putting with their wedges, called bellying, but that’s for the purpose of using it when their ball is up against a green collar or perhaps a horrible lie near the green.

Using it on the green as a putter is not often seen unless your putter breaks during a round like happen to Streb. Ironically, he putted  pretty well with his wedge and even ended up tied for first in the tournament.

He eventually lost in a playoff but he makes one wonder. If I’m having an off day with my putter do I pull out a
wedge and try it on the greens?

Bob Vokey works on a wedge (photo courtesy PGA.com)

Bob Vokey works on a wedge (photo courtesy PGA.com)

I’m headed to the putting green today with my 56 degree wedge to see if it can be my new dual wedge.

I bet Scotty Cameron never thought Bob Vokey would be a competitor.

barnrat

Bring on the Barn Rat

You’ve heard of the “Alpha-Dog.”

And the “Alpha-Male.”

But how about the “Alpha-Barn Rat?”Kiradech_Aphibarnrat

Meet Kiradech Aphibarnrat, also known as Anujit Hirunratanakorn.

John Wayne was born as Marion Morrison.  All the greats must need to have 2 names.

Without question, this is the one international golfer that is most needed on the PGA Tour.  Hands down. Bar none.

Ok, ok, technically his name’s not “Alpha-Barn-Rat,” it’s Aphibarnrat, but it’s so close, it’s scary.

20130918_Kiradech-CROPFirst, a little bio on my big man, the Barn Rat.  He’s 25 years old, is from Bangkok, Thailand, and makes his living on the Asian, European and Japanese Tours.  With 4 wins worldwide, plus 4 junior world titles, the guy’s no hack.

However, he’s referred to as “Asia’s John Daly!” Yep, this is not your typical PGA Tour clone.  For instance, checking in at 5’8″ and 230 lbs, he’s already working on that “Baby Daly” frame. He’s also known to tug on the the smokes like JD, but here’s the best part.  The backswing!  Daly-esque! Almost to his left knee it goes!  Check it out in slow-mo below.barnrat

Plus (along with being a plus size), the guy’s a player.  Golfer, that is. The svelte one is currently 84th in the Official World Golf Rankings, which means he’s almost lapping that guy named “Woods” twice, you know the one we keep writing about and the TV can’t quit showing when he decides to play in at tournament here and there.

All it took was one major at Crooked Stick for Daly to become a folk hero.  Give the Barn Rat a few months on the PGA Tour and if a win happens, it’ll be like the Beatles hitting the states on their first U.S. tour in 1964.

Loudmouth Golf will be all over him.

Instead of Rap Music, the tour can have “Rat Music!”

We gotta have this guy over here!

Certainly a GolfBetter Podcast opportunity that we could add that to our list of notables.  Nicklaus, Palmer, Player, Trevino, Watson, Norman, Venturi……Barn Rat!

I like the sound of it!

Bring on the Barn Rat!

 

Kevin Streelman

What not to offer to get Tiger to your Tournament

Tournaments are doing creative things to entice top players to consider playing in their events.

The Travelers Championship is known for its "custom" red and white M&M's with the winner's name and image, along with other enticements to attract players.

The Travelers Championship is known for its “custom” red and white M&M’s with the winner’s name and image, along with other enticements to attract players.

Case in point, the Travelers Championship, seated immediately behind (and completely across the country) from this year’s U.S. Open, offered players free charter flights for them and their families from the Seattle/Tacoma to their tournament near Harftord.

They also are famous for the custom M&M’s with the likeness of their winner.

So, how do you attract the former World’s #1, and believe it or not, now the World’s #220 (wow, what a fall from Blues Station 104.0, click HERE if you didn’t catch our blog on it), Tiger Woods?

Well, not many of those tournaments have been successful yet, but we’re pretty sure we know what you DON’T want to offer as an incentive to get him to your place.  Here are our Top 5, in descending order:

  • #5Barbasol Classic – Assuming there’s a year sometime in the next 40 years when Tiger doesn’t want to play in the Open Championship, the second best place to be that week is in lovely Auburn, Alabama (although Alabama Crimson Tide fans might dispute that) for the Barbasol Classic. It might not be a good idea for the folks in Auburn to offer an “Instructors All Star Foursome” for Tiger’s pro-am partners, those being Butch Harmon, Hank Haney, Sean Foley and Chris Como.  If we were on the Barbasol committee, we’d suggest working a deal where Tiger gets to toss the first roll of toilet paper after Auburn beats Louisville on September 5.  The game’s in Atlanta so if the toss doesn’t go that great, not many will see it anyway.

    Harbour Town Marina at Sea Pines Plantation, immediately behind #18 green of Harbour Town Golf Links

    Harbour Town Marina at Sea Pines Plantation, immediately behind #18 green of Harbour Town Golf Links

  • #4RBC Heritage – Probably one of the most popular tournaments on tour, Woods has never played in this event at Harbour Town Golf Links.  Likely, because it’s the week following the Masters.  In the recruitment of Tiger, we certainly would not suggest a practice round with Rick Reilly, who wrote the book “Tiger, Meet my Sister…….and other things I possibly shouldn’t have said.” Stick with the red tartan winner’s jacket and soft shell crabs at the marina.
  • #3John Deere Classic – Rumor has it that the folks at the John Deere were thinking of offering up a secret time and place for Tiger to have a lesson with David Leadbetter, the only instructor that TW’s not tried to this point.  We suggest otherwise, perhaps offering to pair him with Bill Murray in the pro-am, or guaranteeing Tiger his 2-4 tournament rounds (depending if he makes the cut) with 3 time champion Steve Stricker, who basically owns the place.
  • Former Edwin Watts Golf employee Kenny Nicholson, along with former World's Number 1 Tiger Woods, play blackjack at a NIKE Golf sponsored event a few years back.

    Former Edwin Watts Golf employee Kenny Nicholson, along with former World’s Number 1 Tiger Woods, play blackjack at a NIKE Golf sponsored event a few years back.

    #2 - The Greenbrier – It looks like Tiger is one step ahead of us, as he’s committed to playing in the Greenbrier this week!  However, we bet they didn’t offer to let Tiger ditch their strict “coat and tie” dress code” in their 103,000 square foot casino and allow him go casual with his cap on backwards (a la Junior Griffey) as he’s been seen doing (see photo).

  • #1 – The FUTURE MASTERS – If he ever get’s tired of the real Masters, there’s always the Press Thornton Future Masters in Dothan, Alabama which has been going on for 66 plus years.  With winners such as Stewart Cink, Briney Baird, Shaun Micheel and Mark Brooks, TW would have a chance to add his name to an impressive list of past champions, although they won at 18 years of age or less.  While we do recommend showing some of the sights and attractions of Dothan, such as the Ross Clark Circle and Wiregrass Church to the esteemed tournament guest, we certainly would not recommend to the committee under any circumstances waiving the mandatory qualifying and and the $250 non-refundable entry fee.