In case you haven't heard the news, it's friggin' hot outside! With a few exceptions, this summer has been really brutal for everyone, no matter where you live. The heat index has been so high here in south Louisiana, I'm ready to catch the next plane back to California, just to enjoy the same weather I did during the U.S. Open. Unless that's a feasible option for you, you're probably suffering through the oppressive beatings the sun/high temperatures/high humidity every time you step foot on the golf course. Though I can't help you to outfit your golf cart with full blown air conditioning comparable to that of an refrigerated trailer, I may be able to give you a few tips on some equipment and apparel that might make it a little more manageable.
Does anyone want to be number one in the world? It certainly doesn't seem that way. Not the way Tiger Woods has been downing mediocre pills this season, leaving the door wide open. Not the way Phil Mickelson has been squandering one opportunity after another to take over the top spot. Lee Westwood is playing the best golf in the world, but his wins come when the rest of the field collapses.
The title of "Number One in the World" has been so elusive for so long that it would be like England declaring they're holding a contest to replace the Queen. Would anyone be prepared to step in? The same is happening right now, as Tiger has obviously abdicated his throne. Sadly, no one wants to take over.
St. Andrew's is as classic a major venue as you'll find, and provides a familiar scene for Tiger Woods. He's won here twice, and the wide open design may be perfect for his wild ways off the tee. On the other hand, he'll also have to stare down the British media, which make American tabloids look as inflammatory as the New York Times.
As for world number two, can Phil Mickelson finally solve his links blues at the birthplace of golf? And just who will emerge with the claret jug?
With the conclusion of sectional qualifying last Monday (and Tuesday in some places), the field for this week's U.S. Open is set. While 156 of the world's best and/or luckiest players in the world will converge at Pebble Beach, you can be sure that most of the world's media will be focused on just one of them.
Still the world's number one player, plagued this year by turmoil on and off the golf course, and a decade removed from arguably the most dominant tournament performance in golf history (at this very tournament and venue),Tiger Woods will be the big story throughout the championship. There is a very good chance that Tiger's presence will overshadow everything else about the Open. Before things get that bad here at the Sand Trap, here are five of the big questions that should be on any golf fan's mind heading into Pebble Beach.
It's been a long time since Tiger Woods entered anything where he's not the outright favorite to win. But with all his off-course trouble and a lack of recent success, the oddsmakers have installed Woods' chief rival, Phil Mickelson as co-favorite.
How will #1 and #2 fare this week as the U.S. Open returns to scenic Pebble Beach?
No matter how far his golf game has fallen, one thing about John Daly that's at an all-time high is his inability to recognize a PR nightmare before it happens.
The latest debacle involving Daly comes via reports in the Palm Beach Post that the two-time major champion has filed a lawsuit over a rib injury suffered during the 2007 Honda Classic. He's seeking $100 million, which is enough to get some guffaws, but in and of itself wouldn't create any uproar. Until you find out one of the parties named in the suit is the children's charity that benefits from proceeds brought in by the Honda Classic.
Recently, Golf Digest released the ball portion of their annual Hot List, and as an added bonus, the guys at Bomb and Gouge go further into the ball fitting systems (or lack thereof) at each manufacturer's website (by the way, if you go there now, you can see a little bit of info about Titleist's newest driver, the 910). Upon visiting each of these myself, everything seemed eerily familiar. Then it hit me - most shaft manufacturers' websites have the same sort of wizard driven types of fitting tools. Kind of like the Island in Lost - each answer leads you to another question. With each answer comes more confusion, and next thing you know, you're at your keyboard, pressing "Execute" every 108 minutes in pure frustration!
While I don't doubt that these online fitting systems may come close to answering the ultimate question for you (what should I be playing?), it just seems like something is missing here. Can we not get some sort of standard rating systems for each individual piece of golf equipment?
For a while, I assumed it was just my delinquent friends who needed to place a bet on just about every aspect of a round of golf. Front nine, back nine, overall, sandies, birdies, bobs, skins. As a purist, I couldn't be bothered, I was there to play my game, post my lowest score. Sometimes it was just easier to agree to the game than argue, and at the 19th hole wait for someone to hand me a few bucks or tell me what I owe.
Over time, I've learned there's so much more to a golf wager than the $2 - or $2000 - on the line.