Volume Thirty-Two

I’m dropping the links like they’re hot this week.

Hittin' the LinksSo, I’ve put a lid on my golf season. I just got back from Houston and playing some golf with my dad and brother. We had a good time with great weather, but I think, unfortunately, that will be all the golf had for me in 2005. I had fun and this year has really got me energized to find a place to play in 2006. On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the highest, I’d rank my enjoyment, quality of play, and improvement as a 7. Not a great year, but certainly not a bad year either. How has everyone’s year been? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

Now, on to the links!

Glover Wins Funai

Lucas Glover holes a dramatic bunker shot at the 72nd and closes birdie, birdie to win his first PGA Tour event. Yawwwwwwwwn

Funai Classic LogoWith a final-round 65 and a small collapse by Justin Rose, who bogeyed two of his last three holes after getting to -23, Lucas Glover birdies the final two holes to win the Funai Classic and his first PGA Tour event. Last year’s winner, Ryan Palmer, finishes T3 one back of Vijay Singh’s buddy Tom Pernice, Jr., parring his last five holes.

Still, the question on everyone’s mind is rather simple: who cares? Tiger Woods (-3) and Vijay Singh (-4) missed the cut (-6) and the final round was shown on TV in what amounted to tape-delay mode as players scrambled to complete the fourth round prior to the hurricane-force winds that are sure to batter central Florida later tonight and tomorrow. Cody Thrasher talked about no-name players winning on the PGA Tour, and I’ll agree with his opinion: I don’t care about ’em, and they’re not good for the Tour.

Steven Haverson, Winged Foot Executive Chef

With the aid of Executive Chef Steven Haverson, Winged Foot maintains the highest level of quality for both members and guests.

Throwing Darts Title This interview column is dedicated to the people who grind it out daily but not necessarily out of a sand trap. Whether it is a course superintendent of a local country club or the head of a major corporation I hope to be able to delve into the lives of those who make a difference but are rarely in the public eye.

Today’s interview is with Steven Haverson, Executive Chef of Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York. Enjoy!

Natalie Gulbis Makes Waves On, Off Course

There’s more to California girl Natalie Gulbis than a hot golf swing.

Natalie Gulbis 2006 CalendarThe LPGA is taking a breather this week and so is Natalie Gulbis. In Las Vegas Natalie has a chance to visit Butch Harmon for a lesson, return phone calls and focus on her next business venture. Her 2006 swimsuit calendar has just been released and her reality show on the Golf Channel will be resuming in November. You can even play golf with “Cyber-Natalie” as part of Tiger Woods’ PGA Tour 2005!

Natalie gets alot of face time in the press. It’s understandable once you catch a glimpse of her. With her sense of style, athletic 5′ 9″ figure and bright, toothy smile, cameras click, interviewers hound her and a bevy of admirers follow her around on and off the golf course. She is both personable and mature but with an edginess only a twenty-two year old can pull off.

Natalie represents the future of the LPGA to a tee!

B3 Heavy Putter Review

The Heavy Putter is just that – a very heavy putter. Unfortunately, the extra weight will only drag down your putting game.

Heavy Putter LogoPutting instructors have long talked about the advantages of maintaining a smooth, pendulum stroke and in allowing the larger muscles of the shoulders and back to swing the putter instead of any wristy motions involving the smaller muscles in the fingers, forearms, and wrists.

Unfortunately, some would say, the traditional putter does not do all that it can to suit the proper putting stroke. Those “some” have banded together to form a company and a line of putters known as “Heavy Putter.” With putters weighing 90% more than traditional putters, Heavy Putters seek to help players eliminate the twitchiness of the smaller muscles and to smooth out strokes.

Do they work? I’ve spent a few weeks putting with the B3 mallet style Heavy Putter, and my opinion is set. Read on to see what I think.

A Fitting Experience: The Titleist Science Van

I spent a day and a half with the Titleist Science Van. Here is what I learned.

Titleist LogoYour first shot on any par four or par five sets up the rest of the hole: are you pitching back into the fairway or attacking the flag? Do you have a wedge or a 6-iron in your hands?

Pros and high-level amateurs have been repeating the mantra “high launch, low spin” for a few years now. In January, we even published a chart showing optimum launch angles and spin rates. Great, you’re thinking to yourself: “I’ll get fitted for a driver and soon I’ll be crushing the ball off the tee, long and straight.” And you may… so long as you can get fitted.

I spent a day with the guys of the East Coast Acushnet (Titleist, FootJoy, etc.) Science Van at Tam O’Shanter of Pennsylvania and watched several fittings. The next day, I underwent a fitting myself as they ventured to Kahkwa Club here in Erie, PA. This is my first-hand account of that experience.

Brandt Jobe

Brandt Jobe has taken the scenic route to the PGA Tour and seems to have enjoyed the journey as much as the destination.

ProFilesWhile nothing like the fraternity of former presidents, the PGA Tour is an exclusive club. Countless talented players ply their trade on lesser tours the world over wishing one day to make a permanent home in golf’s version of the West Wing: PGA Tour exempt status. From time to time one of them scratches their way in and get a shot at recognition and a big payday. Todd Hamilton’s 2004 British Open shows what the lesser-known player can do. Brandt Jobe is one, like Hamilton, who took the long way to play the PGA Tour.

Our Last ‘Wie’s Bad Drop’ Post

Bamberger, he of Michelle Wie ‘bad drop’ fame, submits himself to a Question and Answer session.

michelle_wie_disqualified.jpgMichael Bamberger, the Sports Illustrated reporter who questioned Michelle Wie’s “bad drop” on the 7th hole in the third round of the Samsung World Championship, was interviewed by his own magazine. I encourage you to read his Q&A and decide for yourself if you still hate the guy. On that, a comment posted to Geoff Shackelford’s blog:

Here’s the thing that bothers me about the excessive Bamberger criticism: Michelle Wie is the one who actually broke the rules, not Bamberger. In fact, it was Wie’s hastiness and immaturity on the course which forced Bamberger (a, you know, grown-up) into an ethical quandry. After the improper drop he was thrust into an extrordinary situation which, I think, he handled with honesty. He has also appeared to be very straight-forward with all questioners of his actions thus far, even readily admitting that he could have made better decisions in the whirlwind aftermath.

Michelle Wie is not a victim here. She broke the rules and nearly got away with it. While it remains true that she could have simply been penalized two strokes had her card not been turned in, she did, again, break the rules.

Photo Credit: © AP Photo/Reed Saxon.

The Newport Cup

The Newport Cup was a fun experience. This golfer came away with some good memories and a few numbers to talk about.

The Numbers GameA bit shorter version of The Numbers Game this week as we had an eventful weekend in Pinehurst. Everyone had a great time, especially the blue team… of which I was a proud member. I thought I’d talk about a few numbers associated with the tournament and add to some of the other reports my fellow staff members have given you already.