Category: Golf

Tiger Woods Drops at Augusta National Golf Club

I’m sure you’ve heard by now that Tiger has been handed a two-shot penalty for an improper drop during yesterday’s round at the Masters Tournament on the 15th hole at Augusta National Golf Club. It was bad luck the drop had to take place at all because his approach hit the pin and ricochet into the pond that fronts the green. What’s even more bad luck is that whatever the outcome, Tiger’s first major of the year will be tarnished. There are two schools of thought in regards to how he should proceed. The first, led by Brandel Chamblee, is that he should be disqualified for signing an incorrect scorecard following the second round. The second, most notably argued by Fred Couples, is that he should play the weekend without any sort of penalty since the drop was reviewed by the powers that be at Augusta National and no shots were given while Tiger played the 18th. The guys in the green jackets split the difference and assessed Tiger a two-shot penalty, so he now stands at -1 through 36 holes heading into the weekend.

There are a lot of folks out there who believe Tiger should withdraw after this incident since, whatever the outcome, it shows a lack of character or conscience on Tiger’s part. It’s hard to argue that if Tiger does in fact win this weekend, that there wouldn’t be an asterisk next to the W*. If that happens and Tiger surpassed Jack Nicklaus’ eighteen major victories by one, what would that mean? Would there be an asterisk next to that record as well? It’s a tough position for Tiger and I would not want to be in the position he currently finds himself in this weekend at the Masters. On the plus side, it will make for great TV drama this weekend! Go Boom Boom!!!

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Ashworth Golf – Pants Petition

It’s starting to get hot here in the Valley. The temperature will soon be reaching triple digits, and won’t let up until September. But that’s OK, I can throw on a golf shirt and some shorts and go play. I need to remember to stay hydrated, but I can play in shorts. Why? I am not on the PGA TOUR. Guys on the TOUR have to wear pants when they play. Granted, they aren’t playing 4 rounds in the middle of the summer in the Arizona heat, but they still have to wear pants.

Ashworth Golf seems to think it’s time for a change. According to Ashworth, the time is now. They recently released an ad campaign for The Pants Petition. Follow along on Twitter using the hashtag #pantspetition.

Ashworth Golf Pants Petition

In the video Retief Goosen speaks up about shorts saying, “I think shorts are a great idea.” Justin Rose, Sean O’Hair, Johnson Wagner, and Justin Leonard read from the player handbook on this supposed rule of golf. They mention things like personal grooming and golf fashion all the while making mention that they fit these criteria. Then, a few minutes into the video, they start to almost mock this rule. This is an interesting technique, but one that I fear will offend a lot of people in the golf industry.

Toward the end of the video Johnson Wager says, “I like the way the wind tickles my leg hair. It makes me happy.” How can I take this petition serious? I will be curious to see if they get anywhere with this. I would also like to hear some more opinions on TOUR. What do YOU think? Should guys on TOUR be allowed to wear shorts?

If you are a fan of shorts, and think the guys on TOUR should be allowed to wear them during tournament play, you can sign the petition at

What’s In My Bag: Tiger Woods

Tiger isn’t playing this week, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t making news. There is still a lot of talk about his “illegal” drops at the 2013 Masters Tournament and at the 2013 THE PLAYERS Championship last week. He didn’t win the Masters this year, but he DID win THE PLAYERS. Tiger now has 78 PGA TOUR wins, just four shy of Sam Snead’s record. The way Tiger is playing this year, he might break that record this year! Tiger is at home this week resting, but what was he playing during THE PLAYERS? Check out what was in his bag last week.

Ball: Nike One Tour D
Driver: Nike VR Tour with Mitsubishi Diamana White Board 73X (9.5 degrees)
3-wood: Nike VR_S Covert (15 degrees)
5-wood: Nike VR_S Covert (19 degrees)
Irons (3-PW): Nike VR Pro Blade
Wedges: Nike VR Pro (56, 60 degrees)
Putter: Nike Method 001

Tiger is all Nike, but uses a PING grip on his putter. He always has, and he always will. Next time you see Tiger on TV, look at his grip. That is OLD school right there! According to E. Michael Johnson, earlier this year Tiger switched to Nike’s VR_S Covert 5-wood and added the 3-wood at the Masters. He used both of those off the tee all week at THE PLAYERS. He should just leave the driver in the hotel room… he hits the 3-wood like a champ. Glad to see Tiger holding the trophy on Sunday afternoon. He is hitting the ball great, has good control with his short irons and wedges, and is putting better than anyone on TOUR. Safe to say Tiger’s “back”?

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Pasatiempo: The Hidden Gem In Northern California

Before migrating to the Eastern part of the United States back in 1984, I lived in the Bay Area of Northern California for 20 years. In fact, I learned to play golf there back in the 1970’s, and the one thing I miss about living there, is the availability of quality golf courses in any direction you choose to go.

I lived in the San Jose area for the last 15 years of my tenure in California, and there were dozens of courses within 10 miles where one could walk-on in the middle of the afternoon and find a game, but for an outing to a real championship course, we used to travel down Highway 17(now Interstate 880) to Santa Cruz and the hidden gem at Pasatiempo.

For years, the great thing about Pasatiempo was, no one knew about it. Everyone would drive further down the coast to Monterey, and the great courses on the 17 mile drive, and Carmel. At one time, the “old timers”, Sam Snead, Ben Hogan and others rated it as one of the best  courses in the US that no one knew about.

Pasatiempo is ranked 12 in Golf Magazine’s “Top 100 Courses You Can Play 2006-2007” and ranked 31 in Golf Digest’s“2005 America’s Greatest Public Courses”. Golf Digest also named Pasatiempo Golf Club as one of the top 3 “Courses You Can Play in California” (along with Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill). The magazine ranked Pasatiempo 71 in the “Top 100 Courses in the U.S. (private and public)”, up 13 places over the 2003 ranking.

The golf course was established in 1929, and was designed by legendary golf-course designer Alister MacKenzie. MacKenzie developed Pasatiempo ahead of his other famous gems, Cypress Point on the Monterey Peninsula and of course Augusta National. It was restored in 1996 and 2007 by Tom Doak. Pasatiempo is famous for it’s breathtaking views and Bobby Jones was in the first group to play it.

Don’t let the 6500 yard layout fool you. It is a mountain side course, and with par at 70, it is rated at 72.4. The slope rating is at 143. The little course is going to offer all the challenge you are going to want in a round of golf.

Image Courtesy Rob Babcock

West Valley Golf: The Legend at Arrowhead

On Sunday I played the 18 hole course at The Legend at Arrowhead in Glendale for the first time.  The layout was pretty typical Arnold Palmer design with lots of bunkers both fairways and around the greens.  Another common trait was dogleg holes that encouraged one to bend the ball – especially to the left which set up well for my natural draw.  It entices those who think they can cut the corners and penalizes those who hit balls straight sometimes through the fairways.  This meant you had to pay attention to the depth of the fairway where your typical drives might go.

The traps were  better than most on Arizona courses with ample sand and were fun to hit out if you like to hit sand shots – I do.

The greens were interesting – usually two or three tiers to each green with a few elephants buried in them from time to time.  This required good speed control to go up and down and across humps.  The greens had recently been sanded and were a bit hard and fast, but I found them to be true.  My playing partner had gotten a tip from the pro to leave the ball below the hole on most of the greens and this proved to be good advice.  Only once do I remember going above the hole – but more lateral and was happy to chip to a flat spot above the hole and let it trickle over the edge of the tier – and into the cup.

While there was water on a number of holes, it was almost always to the right and not much of a challenge to someone who can draw away from them.  But they could easily swallow balls by your typical slicer flailing away.

All in all, a pleasant experience and a layout that would tempt me to go back, especially if the greens would soften up a bit.