Tag Archives: Golf

The Worst and Best of Times

It was the worst of times…then 7 days later, the best.

Last week, Kyle Stanley from Gig Harbor suffered a legendary meltdown. Stanley, a 24 year old PGA pro had a 5-shot lead heading into Sunday’s final round. In fact, he still had a 3-stroke lead standing on the 18th tee. A waterlogged triple-bogey later, he found himself in a tie with Brent Snedeker, who won in a playoff.

Those meltdowns can have long-lasting effects on any player, much less a young guy looking for confidence.

Stanley showed what he was made of only a week later. On Super Bowl Sunday, Stanley was 8 strokes down. Stanley made five brilliant birdies in the last 6 holes to win his first PGA Tour event. Certainly, most of the sporting world was watching the Super Bowl. Regardless, of the lack of attention, Stanley made a huge statement that may define his future success.

It takes a lot of courage to be a professional athlete. Courage most of us who never have had the opportunity can even comprehend. What Stanley did in his “bounce back” showed a tremendous amount of courage and intestinal fortitude. Maybe it’s easier to do when you’re 24 years old, than if you’re 34 or 44. Doesn’t matter. He could have let that memory linger on for years or decades. He let it last less than week.

It definitely was, for Kyle Stanley, the best of times…

© 2012 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

PGA Recap – USA Golfers Blow Another Chance at Major

I feel terrible for Dustin Johnson.

The ruling of grounding his club in a sand trap penalized him 2 strokes and cost him a chance to compete in the playoff with eventual winner Martin Kaymer and Bubba Watson. I thought it was a horrible situation. The “sand trap” in question was outside the ropes; had been trampled on by the crowds; and quite frankly didn’t even look like a sand trap! Even Sir Nick Faldo in the booth said he wouldn’t have thought it was if he was playing it. Unfortunately, the local rules which were clearly disseminated (or not so clearly for Johnson) stated that anything that even looked like sand in this unique course with over 1,200 sand traps, was to be considered sand. I’m only thankful Johnson didn’t make the 5-footer for par that would have won him his first major for about 7 seconds before even worse tragedy.

In the end though, Johnson can only blame himself. He needed a par to win and to make par on the brutal 18th hole, you need to put it in the fairway. He didn’t. Not only that, he was way right outside the ropes. This was his opportunity. He didn’t have to be long (which for him he could have gone with a 3-wood); just straight. Opportunity lost.

The other American in the fray, Bubba Watson, is a great story. Known as an erratic, long-hitter, he reminds me of the Kevin Costner character in “Tin Cup,” a little. He played a tremendous final round and found himself in a 3-hole playoff with Kaymer. After taking a 0ne-stroke lead after the first hole, he watched Kaymer make a terrific birdie on 17 to square the match. Watson held an advantage after the drives as aymer had a poor lie. All Watson has to do is work the ball up the right side (his lie wasn’t great either) and put the pressure on the German. Instead, he goes for the oin, comes up 30 yards short, and plops it in the water. Kaymer plays smart in and wins the tournament. Opportunity lost for Watson.

Martin Kaymer from Germany takes the PGA. Loius Oosthuizen from South Africa took the British Open. Graheme McDowell from Ireland is the US Open champ. Only Phil Mickelson can raise the USA banner in majors this year with his dramatic win in the Masters. Americans were all over the leader boards but made terrible gaffes when the pressure was on in most. A learning experience for many of them. This is now truly an international game with golfers from China, South Korea, and all over the globe competing as the best in the world.

Next up – the Fed Ex Cup finish (led by South African Ernie Els) and the Ryder Cup. Should be a fun end of the season. Let’s hope the American can find a way to keep their composure under pressure.

P.S. Tiger Woods was bad over the weekend again, but not as bad as the previous week. Expect hi to be named to the Ryder Cup team by captain Corey Pavin. He’s too good in match play where spectacular once in a while is rewarded more than in medal play.

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

PGA Championship – Moving Day

Saturday is “moving day” in the Majors. They are out early finishing the 2nd round due to fog delay yesterday.

  • I’m watching Ernie Els park his Mercedes and walk out with his cadie. Funny that his caddie is Dan Quinn, who is a former NHL player and a tremendous golfer who competes on the celebrity tour.
  • My picks will probably make the cut, but I’m liking how Matt Kuchar is playing. He has had a fine year – currently #7 on the Ryder Cup list. I also like Dustin Johnson. This guy has been solid at the other Major championships. He might be due. Brendon De Jonge just shot a -6 for the 2nd round catapulting him into contention.
  • Tiger has rebounded and stands at -3 for the tourney. This could e an interesting weekend if Tiger goes low today.
  • Whistling Straights appears to be just a brutal course. The 18th hole is a treacherous 500-yard Par 4. If it comes down to 4-5 players in the last 3 groups on Sunday, that hole will play huge factor.

I love the majors. Looking forward to a lot of great golf…

PGA – Round Almost 1 Done

Fog made the start of the PGA a problem so the first round isn’t quite in the books. My picks – Bo Van Pelt and Jeff Overton – didn’t necessarily burn things up and both finished +1, which is 5 shots off the lead. Still in contention. Tiger and Phil were better at -1. Bubba Watson and a guy I’ve never heard from are tie for first. Watson is decent, but I don’t see it. If Tiger and/or Phil play well tomorrow, they may be the favorites going into the weekend. Should be fun…

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Odds and Ends

1 – Berhard Langer deserved the win at Sahalee over the weekend at the US Senior Open. He played brilliantly. You can’t recover from a triple-bogey on a Par 5 in a major champonship. Fred Couples gave it a valiant effort, but he was done at that point.

2 – The Mariners stink offensively. I know that this is not news to you, but being stuck in my seat after surgery, I forced myself to watch them. This is the worst offense I have ever seen. Heads need to roll. Not sure who, but they do.

3 – Felix Hernandez impressed me. He wasn’t sharp on Saturday giving up 3 quick runs in the 1st inning. After that, nothing. That’s the mark of an excellent pitcher. To gut through a bad start and then keep your tram in the game. Kudos to him and to pitching coach Rick Adair. I’m seeing a lot of that from our pitchers.

4 – Football is back! The Pete Carroll era is upon us and I must admit I am very intrigued. After a 5-11 season, this would have been the only thing intriguing me about the Hawks. From that standpoint alone, it was a brilliant move.

I’m Baaack!

OK….I took a little vacation!

On Wednesday, I decided to do something I never had before….have an unscheduled surgery. Right out of the blue! My appendix and I are now parted and I’ve been convalescing watching lots of golf, Sportcenter, and reruns of NCIS.

Let’s talk golf…

Watching the US Seniors Open at Sahalee. Would have loved to be there in person, but this appendix thing got in the way. Friday was the day that the big names moved to the top of the leaderboard. Bernhard Langer leads by 2 shots, but big names like Loren Roberts, Tom Watson, and hometwon hero Freddie Couples loom. Langer looks tough. He won last week in the British Open and was terrific yesterday. He is a formwr 2-time Masters winner and knows how to play in championships.

My rooting interest is for Fred, but he needs to pick it up today. Loren Roberts is an excellent putter and will definitely stay in contention. Also watch for Tom Kite to make a run…he plays well in the Northwest.

At this point, I give the edge to Langer. Let’s see how “moving day” at Sahalee unfolds…

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Louis Louis….

Wow…who would have thunk it?

If you would have heard that someone won the British Open by 7 strokes, the last name you would have guessed was Louis Oosthuizen. That’s because even the most ardent golf enthusiast never heard of the South African.

He took the lead on Friday on #7 ad never looked back. Unlike all the other big names, he looked like he was playing a round of golf with his pals on a cool Sunday afternoon. Instead, he was playing on the greatest course in the world on the biggest stage. At 27 years old, it’s odd that this talent hasn’t surfaced before. It will be fun to see if Louis is a one-hit wonder, or if he can parlay this into more wins and major challenges.

I three-putt on my predictions all weekend. Congratulations to King Louis on taming St. Andrews and the top golfers of the world. Last chance for a major championship for Tiger and the gang next month at the PGA at Whistling Straights…

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Moving Day at St Andrews

FORE!!!!

One of my favorite things to do on British Open week is getting up early and watching The Open on TV. It’s my World Cup. It’s still windy, but looks playable. U.S. Open champ Graeme McDowell is at -5 and in the hunt. The last two times players have won both the US and British Opens were in 2000 (Tiger Woods) and 1982 (Tom Watson). Don’t be surprised to see McDowell in contention tomorrow.

((Hey look – Phil finally makes a putt this weekend))

I love having Tom Watson and Paul Azinger in the booth with Mike Tirico on ESPN. As much as I loved watching Watson play as a leader last year, he is very goo as an analyst , and Azinger is brilliant.

As I watch this morning I can only think of one thing – I just love The Open.

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Golf at White Horse

I played golf yesterday out at White Horse in Kingston. The course was purchased recently by Port Madison Enterprises after it was basically run into the ground by the previous ownership. Think I’m harsh? Maybe. But the reality is that in my experience with the prior ownership, they were rude, unaccommodating, and aloof. The golf course was made too punitive for the average golfer and thus wasn’t as much fun to play as the other terrific courses on the peninsula. Port Madison Enterprises knows how to run a business and I anticipate we will see better results.

The course is in very good shape. It’s a beautiful track to walk or ride. They have done some work specifically around the greens to make the course fairer. I think they can still do more. I love a challenging course, however you can’t make it so difficult that the average golfer ends up not having fun or good shots are penalized. That’s why McCormick Woods is such a great course.

Overall, it was an enjoyable day. A couple of words of advise from an avid golfer who has played at many courses over the span of 32 years…

1. Change the flags on the pins. They are supposed to be red (front), white (middle), and blue (back) to indicate where on the green the hole is. They are, however the checkered pattern makes it impossible for us middle-aged guys to see which one it is. My partners and I spent the entire round trying to guess where the hole location was. Don’t be fancy, just make it clear.

2. Make the pro shop more inviting. The people were nice (I even knew one of the girls there who I coached in basketball), but the customer service needs to be better than “nice.” I hope they can move out of the trailer soon and into a more classic pro shop.

3. Great cart service. It was a holiday -Friday and the course wasn’t crowded, yet the cart gal hit us four times in the round. Kudos to her.

4 – Take out a couple of the traps on the course. Many of them are too punitive and make landing areas too tight off the tee.

5 – Create a few more “bail out areas.” All good courses give you the opportunity for risk reward situations and help the average duffer to still have fun.

Overall, White Horse is a nice course to travel to. I actually re-signed up for a membership. I’m hoping that the new ownership will help revitalize and make it better. We need a quality course in North Kitsap and this will fit the bill.

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Observations from the United States Open

Since 1965, the United States Golf Association has been holding the U.S. Open on Father’s Day weekend. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been watching the entire Sunday round with my daughters, Mindy and Kelli. If you think they dread this, you are wrong. They actually love it and look forward to watching every year. In fact, we are planning on being at the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay in University Place, WA 945 minutes away from home) in 2015 regardless of where we all live. But, I digress…

The U.S. Open always holds great drama. Here are my observations on what I witnessed from yesterday’s final round:

  1. Graeme McDowell became the first European since Tony Jacklin in 1940 to win this event. He did it by being the only player amongst the leaders to stay focused on task, even in the face of adversity. He played his game, never forced the action, and made the right decisions at the right time. The prime example came as he stood on the 18th fairway as he watched his nearest competitor, Gregory Havret from France, miss his birdie putt that would have tied them. McDowell now knew that all he had to do was par the hole. Instead of going for the Par-5 in two (a daring risk-reward play), he made the “smart” play by laying up, hitting the green in regulation, and giving himself a pretty simple two-putt to win. Had he dared to go all out, his chances to error increase and he could have thrown away the title. He knew his position and made the right call at the right time.
  2. The 54-hole leader, Dustin Johnson, gave up his 4-stroke lead within the first three holes. His round turned disastrous with a triple-bogey on #2; a double-bogey on #3; and a bogey on #4. He never recovered. This is a highly skilled and talented young man who basically cracked under immense pressure. Talent is important, but it can’t make up for having nerves of steel and confidence to bounce back when adversity strikes. Had he recovered right after his triple-bogey, he would still have had an excellent chance to win based on where his competitors finished.
  3. Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, and Ernie Els choked. These three golfers own 21 major championships between them and you would have thought that any one of them would have taken advantage of the leaders backing up. Instead, they forced the action on a brutally difficult course and paid the price. Instead of playing their game, they tried too hard and it cost them dearly. The young Frenchman, Havret, is ranked 391st in the world and only made the field because he made a 50-foot putt in England the week before to get him in a playoff. Experience doesn’t always trump youth. Sometimes, ignorance is bliss.
  4. Graciousness in adversity. There is a stark difference between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson behind a microphone after a heart-breaking loss. Tiger is surly, curt, and uninviting. Phil is gracious, speaks at length, and offers a positive demeanor regardless of the outcome. Mickelson has that quality of great leadership. He hates to lose as much as Tiger, yet he won’t carry that through to the media or fans. 

Congratulations to a deserving new champion, Graeme McDowell. I’m sure a few pints of Guiness were poured in Northern Ireland last night. Whether you are a golfer or not, I hope you can take a few lessons I observed from this great game yesterday. Golf is a microcosm of society and business. We need to learn from each other.

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved