Saturday, December 5, 2009

Tiger Who?

So much has been written about the events surrounding Tiger Woods' transgressions with other women that it is impossible not to comment.  Does the family deserve their privacy, yes absolutely.  However, it is impossible to offer them the privacy they deserve when their lives have become so public.

First, I have to agree with those that have written that the public does not know Tiger Woods, the man.  Reminds me of the title of one of my favorite songs, "You Don't Know Me," sung by Jann Arden.  We don't know this man.  The public at large knows "Tiger Woods, Inc." The public personna and brand that has been developed, molded, marketed and televised for our viewing pleasure.  This "package" if you will (of even if you won't) has been in the making since he was but a wee boy.  When has Tiger Woods ever been able to be just a normal person?  Imagine what that does to one's psyche, one's ego, one's sense of power and entitlement?

Who knows what he is like behind closed doors.  Who are we to judge?  There are probably very few people who actually know what kind of person he truly is inside.  What does the public really know about the true personality and psyche of this incredible athlete who has spent his entire life preparing for the spotlight, who is a master at remaining in control, who has been taught never to allow himself to falter.  I can't imagine how that might have affected these types of choices he's made.  To just feel free enough to do something so uncharacteristic that no one would have ever expected of him.  Hmmm.

If one is to believe the press reports, it would appear that Mr. Woods (I dare not take the familiar tone for I do not know him) had an entire secret life filled with other women.  That said, one might wonder where he found the time to have relationships with four different women in addition to having a family life, not to mention the amount of time he spends practicing his craft.  It's not like he's at the bottom of the golf heap!  Whether he did or didn't, in my opinion, these women should not profit from the moment - and the more that pop out - the more I think their intent is to do just that.

If he stepped outside his marriage, he was wrong.  Men in power (okay yes women, too) seem to find this an irresistable temptation. Yes, he may be a golf-God, but he is in fact, just a man.  A human being with all of the frailties that go along with that.  We don't know him.  We don't know what his life is like when he steps off the 18th green and goes home.  We don't know what goes on inside his head.  We only see what Tiger Woods, Inc. the brand wants us to see: a manufactured personna for sponsors, the PGA and your television and in person viewing pleasure: one of the greatest golfers in history (if not THE greatest).

Somehow I believe that fans' memories are short.  As long as Tiger continues to play great golf, the world will move on.  Sadly, it is Elin who will have to decide if she can face the world with her head held high and live with her husband's transgressions on and off camera in the years to come.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Ah Golf

I played a new course recently.  Centennial in Carmel, NY.  It's been in my back yard for several years, but I've never ventured onto the course.  I had won a round there in a tourny a few years back, but couldn't take advantage of it because it was for weekday play only so I gave it away to a friend.

On this particular Saturday in November, the sun was shining and the air was crisp.  So was my drive.  This was a good thing on this long course.  I can't say as much for my short game, which left me disappointed much of the time; but it was not unexpected given the amount of time I've spent on the course the past two months.

The course is beautiful, the layout very nice and it offers women a nice advantage from the red tees; something I'm not used to at my own course where the women's markers are often right next to the men's.  It's also what I like to call "mountain goat golf" - in other words, it's not a course I'd want to walk with lots of ups and downs and a somewhat confusing layout.  I had no idea where we were most of the time.

It was a great day on a beautiful track with gorgeous views.  I didn't score well, but it didn't matter.  Can't change my handicap at this stage of the year anyway so who cares, right?  

Friday, October 30, 2009

Living Vicariously Through Others


I haven’t played golf in weeks.  Please bear with me while I whine just for a few sentences.  My handicap inched up back up from its low of 16.0 to 16.3 in its latest incarnation thanks to my honest posting of some rounds at the peak of my horridness late this season.  From a low of 88 - yes there are a lot of combined scores in there - to a high of 101, I started going downhill fast in August and lost a lot of time to play as I was building my new real estate business.  A higher handicap does equal more strokes in competition, so I’m just going to suck it up.  After playing in the handicap competition this August and giving 32 strokes to an earnest fellow competitor (to whom I lost), it’s all good.  That's the point of handicaps, right?



On the flip side, I’ve been living vicariously through fellow blogger, Heather - http://realwomengolf.blogspot.com/ - who regularly cracks me up, and who, last I checked, was on the cusp of succeeding in her quest to reduce her handicap to single digits before the 2009 “regular” season ends.  Go Heather!  (for all I know she might have done it by now and I might have missed it...)  Her blogs are always entertaining and interesting and she always has interesting products mentioned on her site.  I should be so persistently interesting and regularly posting.  Note to self – get on here more often and do what you do well: which is write.  I encourage all to check out her site.

In the Northeast, the weather hasn’t much cooperated this season with way too much rain and an early Fall onset that impeded much of our golf season.  The club had to cancel several of the largest revenue producers – the Sunday Scramble events – which are couples events that involve golf and dinner and are usually sell-out events – due to rain.  Interestingly this year, the Men’s member guest tourney had almost half as many participants as in the prior year.  The question is was it money or lack of interest.  Remains to be seen – surveys are out and expected in later in the fall with the newly elected officers.

Unfortunately, our golf club – I believe like many other in the Northeast, cancelled more events than it actually held. due to weather.  Revenue was down, cart usage was down and attendance at events was down – predominantly due to weather, although I’m sure the financial health management of the overall membership was also a factor in many members’ minds.

In fact, it played a role in how we ran our “closing” club event.  This event has traditionally – for 30 years – been a black tie dinner dance.  For the first time that I know of, we held a casual cocktail party event with just hors d’ouvres and open bar.  No band, no dancing, no dinner, no black tie.  The times, they are a changing.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Our Own Ryder Cup - The Women’s Quaker Hill Cup – New York vs. Connecticut




In an intense, yet fun day, Connecticut bested New York by two points to snare the first annual Women’s Quaker Hill Cup.  The women showed up in their team colors: New York in royal blue and Connecticut in blazing red, albeit most with layers underneath to fight the 2 club wind.  Team captains Kelly Monaco and Cindy Rosa rallied the teams for battle and off we went in sequence from the first tee.

The day started out with a brisk wind, making those “on the ridge” holes ever more challenging for the contestants who were trying to land a shot on the green from mid fairway on the first and tenth holes. That ol’ ridge wind again came into play impacting the women’s drive on the eighth and seventeenth.

The format was fourball for six holes – with the best ball of each twosome from NY and CT scoring the hole; alternate shot for six holes, with teams of twosomes from NY and CT competing; and finally singles match play for the final six holes of the round.

Although there was much good-hearted bragging and lots of “we’ll get you next years” in the bar at the end of the day, a great time was had by everyone who participated.  The Quaker Hill New York men haven’t lost to Connecticut yet, so the women have some catching up to do.  As one New York, Mary Utter, put so aptly put it, “Hey, why should we lose to Connecticut?  After all, we’re New York!”  (A die hard New Yorker if I ever heard one!)

Here are the results:

Competition
New York
Connecticut

Points Won
Points Won
Fourball-Best Ball
1.5
2.5
Alternate Shot
1.5
2.5
Singles Match Play
4.0
4.0
TOTAL POINTS SCORED
7.0
9.0

Cindy Rosa said, “As captain of team Connecticut, I am very proud of our team and how well they played.  Our philosophy was to stay loose and have fun.  New York, led by Kelly Monaco, played great and were terrific sports.  It was a fantastic day.  Let's hope there are many more years of competition to come.”

Kelly Monaco, New York’s team captain added, “Congratulations to Team Connecticut for winning the first Annual Quaker Hill Cup yesterday. Everyone had a great time and the competition was fun. Thank you to everyone who participated. I hope next year more women will be able to participate as well.”

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Sailors Sink Pirates

Women's Field Day was a huge success and it was clear that the last "official" Tuesday women's golf day was enjoyed by all.

We began Tuesday at 8 am all decked out in pirate and sailor regalia. It was a chilly 58 degrees on The Hill. Many of the ladies downed mimosas on the patio and everyone filled up on warm apple blossoms, quiche, fruit and yogurt parfait and hot coffee.


Pirates donned red, black and white, and sailors blue and white. I arrived sporting a black and white striped shirt and shorts and skull socks and my black and white striped Footjoys (they look like referee shoes and feel like slippers). I had tatooed my forearms and calves with temporary Pirate tatoos (thanks Michael's craft store!).


The best part was remembering that in the bottom of the stuffed animal bin that was in the back of my almost 18 year old son's closet was a Parrot beanie baby. Every pirate needs a parrot, right? Having him sit on my shoulder would surely impede my swing, so I fastened him onto the brim of my red Titleist ball cap with clear packing tape. This worked well until about the 6th hole when the weight of the little bugger finally got to me and he had to "fly" to adorn the front of the golf cart instead. [Photo: Liz, Mary, Melissa, Me, and my partner Alice]

Our format was match play, one point per hole won, no points for ties. We played 9 holes, with each 18-holer being paired with a 9-holer for the round. Some of our 9-holers and their families have been members of Quaker Hill CC since the days when the club's founder, Lowell Thomas, radio broadcast journalist who also founded Capital Cities Broadcasting Company, was still doing his broadcasts from the club house, once a simple cow barn. You get the idea.

The 4th hole par 3 offered an opportunity to hit your ball into the "Bermuda Triangle" on the green - one of the toughest greens to stick. This was one hole where you could earn raffle tickets for skill. Two tickets for landing in the triangle in one shot, one ticket for landing in the triangle in two shots. Fortunately, the pin was situated on the only truly flat spot on the green - right up front. Still tough. If you failed in your mission, you could down a rum and fruit juice shot to earn a ticket instead...in fact, you could drown your sorrows in as many shots as you liked...earning many tickets and perhaps a more relaxed swing on the next hole for those that chose to imbibe. I had only one - it was 9:30 in the morning, and this was a little too much frat party golf for me.

We had a closest to the line skill prize on a par 5, and closest to the pin prizes on two par 3's.

My delightful partner, Alice, had crackerjack wit, was dressed to prod someone off the plank, and still proudly plays with her original clubs - including gorgeous, "real wood" woods. She sank two fabulous long putts for us while we all cheered. Unfortunately, between us, we didn't score a point, try as we might, but Alice and I had a blast.

The sailors sorely trounced the pirates all around, by a huge margin, too. But it didn't seem to matter. Everyone had fun and everyone was a winner in some fashion.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Championship Golf

Sometimes things work out exactly as you expect them to. In the final outcome of our club championship, we finished in the exact order of our handicaps. I finished fourth and had a great time. Fortunately, I played far better, by six strokes, on day two than I had on day one. I still scored higher than I had on recent rounds by myself, but it was a gorgeous day and we all had a great time.

Kudos to Club Champ - the "other" Cindy - who won both the handicap and medal play events this year.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Club Championship Medal Play

This weekend I will compete in our club championship in medal play. I believe I am there as much to round out the foursome as to compete. I am the highest handicapper of the bunch, although I am still among the four lowest handicappers at the club. In medal play, it doesn't matter, I get no strokes, so it's everything I've got and I have to be at my best for 36 holes over two days.

On the upside, I have been known to shoot some pretty good golf. I've won the handicap championship twice at our club. When I'm on, I'm on. When I'm not, I can be horrid. On the downside, I've spent the last month plagued by a bizarre left shoulder pain that has kept me off the course more than on. Mostly, these gals score in the 80's. Mostly, I score in the low 90's. I need to break 90 for the first time in my career to even have a chance to win. One shot at a time.

My strategy will be to prepare for the championship rounds practicing my putting and chipping leading up to the event and saving my shoulder for the big day. Especially on the crazy seventh green, a hole pictured here that is tiny, drives golfers crazy and is very difficult to par. I need to get there in 3 and 1 putt this green.

These girls can all hit a long ball - as can I - but as we all know, it's drive for show and putt for dough. When my putter is hot, I've been known to sink a lot of putts; long and short. Now that's what I'm talking about.

Wish me luck.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Dedication


First day out at the 91st PGA Championship at Hazeltine National paired Tiger Woods and Padraig Harrington together again. They had just left each other last Sunday at Firestone where Tiger took the crown, after rallying from behind to win the tournament for the seventh time. The two prior years’ winners were teamed up with Rich Beem, who won at Hazeltine in 2002.

Woods, posted a 67 for the day. He hit 12 of 14 fairways and knocked in 4 birdie putts. Woods was clearly pleased with his performance according to the PGA website and his interview with Helen Ross, PGATOUR.com Chief of Correspondents. "It's always nice to get off quick," Woods acknowledged. He also knows it’s a long way from Thursday to Sunday. “But the first round, you can play yourself out of a golf tournament. Certainly cannot win the golf tournament on the first day. And it's something that I've always believed in, is just keep yourself around. You don't have to be eight ahead after the first round. That's not it.

"Just gotta just keep plodding along, and major championships are set up so they're difficult. They beat you into making mistakes. And the whole idea is not to make that many mistakes. All the majors that I've won, made very few mistakes for the week, and I think all of the other guys can say the same as well for the championships they've won."

Defending champ, Harrington finished the day one stroke behind Woods and is certainly not to be counted out. In fact, I believe he may just be the one to watch this weekend. Tiger better be on his game. Tiger may have one the day, but as he said, it’s only the first day and Paddy looked sharp. Aside from his first hole bogie – the 10th hole they played on the day, he carded 5 birdies overall - just like the Tiger man.

People talk a lot about Paddy’s swing. Yeah, critics claim he’s probably changed his swing more often than Jack Nicholson changes girlfriends, but whatever he’s doing, it appears to be working for him. From tuning up his mental game with Bob Rotella to working on his swing in the with “Swing Whisperer” Bob Torrance in an eight stall practice range in Inverclyde in southwest Scotland, Harrington is focused.

According to Harrington in an interview in Golf Magazine, he goes there for one reason: "Bob Torrance," he says. "If Bob wasn't there, I wouldn't be there." http://bit.ly/akamA

Woods is a golf machine, but me, I’ll be rooting for the man who is willing to stand in the gale force wind in the driving, cold rain off the Firth of Clyde to work on his swing. That's my kind of dedicated golfer.

Go Padraig!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Third Time, No Charm

This week I lost my match in the first round of the Handicap Club Championship. I deserved the loss. I did not play well; in fact I carded what was my highest score of the summer - 10 strokes above my average. My opponent proved superior in match play and I lost on the 15th hole. She was an absolutely adorable, long-hitting, sweet, twenty-something young woman with great future potential in the low handicap range. Now I'll be cheering her on with gusto.

I couldn't find the sweet spot on my driver and I hit too many chip shots short of target, leaving myself with long putts that I had to make to save the hole. Five of those long, putts lipped out while I groaned in agony. I just never found my game for more than fleeting moments during the entire 18-hole round and made a few costly mistakes. That's golf.

I was a late entrant this year, and decided at the last minute to join in the fun. I haven't competed for the past few years because of other life priorities. Competition golf requires diligence and drive. Perhaps I've lost that edge. I didn't feel the same energy to compete that I was conjured up when I won this tournament back to back a few years ago.  Back then I used to hit the course at 5 am 3 days a week to practice during the competition season. Perhaps I was more daunted by the 17 strokes I had to give up than I thought I would be. Who knows.

In the end, I was bested by a better player on that day, but I had enormous fun playing with someone new. I thoroughly enjoyed watching my young opponent hit long drives, scramble from trouble and play some pretty darn great golf to win.

Cheers to my spectacular opponent. I'm going to enjoy the rest of my summer golf without the worry of my next match.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Wet Weather Women’s Whackers

As a light rain began teeming down on the 21st, I called the club to find out the status for Tuesday morning women’s golf. It was just before 8 am. Bobby informed me that Kelly, the head of our golf league, said we were on. I dressed for the weather and drove on up to the club.

It was raining lightly, but it was playable. When I arrived, it was clear the rest of the Tuesday women’s league had an aversion to playing in the rain. The parking lot looked like a ghost town.

Only one other woman, Cindy with a “y”, was getting out of her car and going into the club, but she had no interest in golf. Kelly was dressed for the weather. “Well?” she said. “Are you game?” “Why not,” I responded. “I’ve played some of my best golf in a light rain. What’s a little rain?”

Don got our cart ready and we took a few extra towels and off we went. We both blistered our drives down the center of the first fairway to about the 200-yard mark on the par 4 first hole, with Kelly outdriving me by about 15 yards or so. We were off.

We had the course to ourselves. How often does that happen?

Distance Envy

The first four holes went along fairly well and we were both playing at about our normal game. My friend Kelly can hit the snot out of the ball. She can easily hit her drive 210-220 yards and her fairway clubs almost as far. I hit the ball far, but not that far. I have distance envy every time we play.

When we teed off on the Par 5 fifth hole, Kelly blasted her drive to about 190 out, and her hit her second shot over the pond and just below the green. Although my drive came up at about 210 out, I was not willing to risk the long shot on this “always plays 20 yards longer than the yardage says” hole. I knew I couldn’t make it, and laid up in front of the pond. I stroked a sweet third shot to the green and made the tough downhill 6-foot putt for birdie four. Kelly chipped up and on, but had an impossibly long and difficult putt on this heartbreaker of a downhill sloping green. She left with bogie.

This green is a killer. In the blazing heat of late summer, you might barely tap a putt at the top of this green, only to have it roll clear off the bottom at the other end it gets so fast.

Our Par 4 seventh hole is 370 yards from the women’s tees. Easy right? Most of the women view this as the number one handicap hole – no matter what it says on the scorecard. In my eleven years as a member, par has found me here maybe half a dozen times.

The entire fairway slopes downhill to the left, so no one gets a flat lie unless you’ve made it to the fairway bunker at about 120 out. The right side rough is flanked with a nice row of trees. I don’t think I’ve ever made this green in regulation – even with two perfect shots. It simply plays long. The best approach shot comes from the left to help avoid the bowl.

The bowl? The green is small, as are most of our greens, and the tip of its oval shape faces you on approach. The front half of it is shaped like a small bowl. If the pin is up front, landing a shot and getting it close requires landing it on the top right and praying you get good roll down to the pin. The middle of the green has a giant hump on the left hand side protecting the back left – a favorite tournament pin placement. The back of green is one big downhill slope – same as the fairway. No matter where your putt is on this green, if it’s longer than two feet, it breaks; some have double breaks.

Not only did Kelly hit a monster drive on the Par 4 7th hole, but she was on the green in regulation and hit a long putt to get close, then dropped it in for par. I hit drive, rescue 4 to get close. On in three shots, but two putted for bogie on this crazy green. I was happy to leave with bogie.

Rain, Rain, Go Away

Still lightly raining and we’re about to approach the ridge again. Our golf course runs along a ridge where the first and eighth holes run parallel to each other in opposite directions, and then on either side of those two, the rest of the seven holes are tucked into little valleys. We get a lot of wind.

As we made the turn the to play the back, it started to rain a little harder. We finished the 10th hole pretty wet, despite the cart, the towels, and our rain gear.

But Enough was Enough

As we made our way down the 11th fairway after watching our drives get pushed about 20 yards West from the “driving” wind, it started raining too hard even for us. We diehards we gave up the rain and the wind in favor of a dry and warm clubhouse.
Kelly was hot all around, carding a spectacular 39 for our 9 hole round to my 45. Wet weather golf – gotta love it.

Post Mortem

In an effort to finish the round, we went out the next day in stunning sunshine and hooked up with Dana to play the back nine.

With two holes left, we all teed off on the 17th. Dana hit a picture perfect drive down the fairway. Kelly and I both hit our drives into the pine trees 17th hole. This was the Happy Gilmore moment of the day. I took out my rescue and huddled under the pine tree branches to take a whack at the ball.

I couldn’t see a thing – just smacked and prayed. “Where did it go?” I called out to Dana. Dana was doubled over laughing and hollered out to Kelly, “You’ve got to see this!”

No, I did not jam the golf ball in with my hands. It’s a two-stroke penalty for hitting your own equipment in tournament play, but the girls let me off easy.

You just can’t make this stuff up.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Who Wasn’t Supporting Tom Watson for the Win?

I don’t know anyone, that’s for sure. For two days I was glued to my television set like a fool. Laundry went undone. Business work went undone. I didn’t go outside on a beautiful day. Heck, I didn’t even play golf until the Open was done. I woke up and turned it on, made coffee and sat staring, shouting, cheering, and “awing” with the crowd. I had the TV on in every room in the house.

My teenage son said to me, “Mom, we have golf on every television! You give me a hard time for leaving my X-Box on and you have every TV in the house on the same channel!” I told him this was this was potential history in the making and I didn’t want to miss a thing. It couldn’t compare to whether or not he beat the next level in Guitar Hero.

Tom Watson mesmerized me. His humble smile, that twinkle in his eyes. That steady resolve. Sinking those amazingly long putts. I was, and remain, incredibly impressed by the strength and skill and distance that Watson delivered off the tee at 59 years old. Watson confirmed for all of us long hitters – male and female - that as we age gracefully into the later years of golf we can still bomb one down the fairway off the tee. Tom was pure inspiration for me.

I almost fell off my couch in despair when Watson missed that putt on the eighteenth hole. It seemed as if he didn’t even make a proper stroke, pushing the ball with uncertainty towards the cup. That was not the Watson we saw putting for the prior four days. Perhaps that missed putt shook his mojo, as four more holes and many more miss-hits offered many opportunities for Stewart Cink to capture the win.

Jack Nicklaus, who was bested by Watson at Turnberry in 1977 in what history refers to as the famous "Duel in the Sun” has been in Watson’s shoes. He offered: "I don't think Tom was tired. But emotionally, he was spent. All his emotions were spent in those first 18 holes. When Stewart made birdie at 18, and then Tom made bogey, it just goes right through you.”










Imagine being Cink. He has the opportunity of a lifetime to capture his own first major, but to do it; he has to beat the man everybody wants to win. Is he the good guy or the bad guy? Does he play his heart out and pull the rug out from under the man about to achieve a history-making moment? Both men played their best in those last four holes. Cink played phenomenal golf and captured the win with obvious tears in his eyes. Tears of unmitigated joy at his own success, but mixed with a few bittersweet tears of sorrow for wresting this historic moment away Watson, who had enchanted the world with his skill and tenacity the prior four days.


"It's been a surreal experience for me," Cink said. "Not only playing one of my favorite courses and a wonderful tournament, but playing against Tom Watson. This stuff doesn't happen. I grew up watching him on TV, hoping to follow in his footsteps, not playing against him."

The world wanted Watson to win. Emotionally drained, he simply couldn't get it done. While he didn’t make history for picking up the sixth claret jug twenty plus years after his last win, Watson won the deep respect, admiration, joy, and love of the world this past weekend. Perhaps that's enough? Only Watson can say for sure.

“This ain’t a funeral, you know!” Watson chided at the press conference after the long and somewhat painful four-hole playoff ended all hopes of his capturing the event. Watson wanted us all to feel better. We wanted to feel better, too. We believed in Tom. It’s the tournament people will talk about for years to come. I wonder which they will talk about more? Watson’s famous Duel in the Sun where he beat Nicklaus by one shot in 1977 or the 2009 Open where at 59 years old he held an almost non-stop lead for four days, only to lose the tournament in a four hole playoff against Stewart Cink? Tough call.

When asked what his favorite memory of the event was afterwards, Watson responded, “Coming up the 18th hole again. Those memories are hard to forget. Coming up in the amphitheater of the crowd and having the crowd cheering you on like they do here for me...the feeling is mutual. And that warmth makes you feel human. It makes you feel so good." It looked like he had to pause a bit to get the words out without choking up. Tom spoke from the heart, especially to those in his adopted country, who calls him their, “Toom.”

Stewart Cink may have won the trophy and deservedly so, but Watson won the heart of the world. And mine, too.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Tom Watson is the Story of the Day. He Putts!

What an incredible day at The Open.

Tom Watson sunk a monster putt for birdie that was my favorite the shot of the day. Yes it was a fabulous putt, but the joyful expression on Watson's face as the putt rolled into the cup, giving the elder statesman of the Open a share of the lead, was priceless. The golf Gods were smiling on Watson yesterday. He wasn't a odds on favorite to win, but you can be sure he's a fan favorite now. After a blistering 65 on day one, Watson banked a 70 today, finishing at five under par with Steve Marino. Who?










Yes, Steve Marino. Twenty-nine year old Marino shot two awesome rounds of 67 and 68. Carding a 68 in today's winds was an amazing accomplishment. Marino, in his winter hat, was focused and spot on. But no one seems to know who he is. According to the Open website, Marino had never even been to England before Tuesday and had never played a links course before he came to Turnberry. We’ve got two underdogs to root for!

Not to be outdone, Mark Calcavecchia nailed a shot to the green, narrowly missing an eagle 2 on the par 4, 14th hole, clipping the hole and pin. Calcavecchia finished the day one behind the leaders and again has his dedicated wife Brenda on the bag. Now that's teamwork.






Meanwhile, the world’s greatest player, Tiger Woods, with a score of 74 and five over par bowed out knowing he'd miss the cut, shocking fans, and headed for home. Woods has only missed finishing a major one other time – when his father passed away. He had a tough day with the wind; his angst visible on his face.


My man Daly is hanging in. The man famous for his long shots recorded a 72 in today’s howling wind, managing to make the cut to play for the weekend. He stands at even par at the end of day two – just five shots off the lead. Pretty incredible for the wild man of golf, that the world had dismissed as a contender. Daly in, Woods out? Who woulda thunk it. Head down, stay focused, John.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Golf Fashionista at the British Open

You've just got to hand it to John Daly and Ian Poulter. These men not only know how to hit the ball, but they add life, excitement and yes patterns and color to an otherwise BORING pageantry of golf wear on the course. John Daly's girlfriend even sported a matching skirt to show support for her man, and support him she does.

It takes a confident man to wear these clothes. You go for it, John and Ian!


Although neither man finished in the top five today, they were the top two in my book in style points.

She Putts


I had always wanted a vanity plate. In fact, I spent years thinking about what it might be, coming up with all kinds of goofy and fun ideas.

When I first got divorced, I toyed with the idea of "FNLYFREE", but with two teenagers, not to mention their father living across town, I wanted to be a little more respectful and mature about it.

I briefly considered using my last name on the plate since I had reclaimed it after my divorce, returning to the name I felt most comfortable with, but it didn't seem like it would be much fun to have "CRONK" on the license plate of my car.

So I was down to a beach theme or a golfing theme.

My close friend Linda and I share a love of the Delaware shore. She even bought a place there. We both spend at least a week there (she considerably more) every summer. Dewey Beach has become like a home away from home. Linda's place reads
2D OCEAN as it seems she is always headed to the ocean in the summertime - every weekend she can.

My answer to that was "DEWEYGRL" - as I was thinking about my favorite beach. It was available and would mean something to me, but to everyone else, it would raise an eyebrow. As a New Yorker, I suddenly realized that perhaps it would leave people thinking I was perhaps old enough to be a Thomas Dewey groupie, especially since the former Governor and one time Presidential candidate spent considerable time in my current home town of Pawling way back when. Scrap that.

My passion for golf had me thinking about all kinds of ideas. Golf ideas, however, usually include the word "ball". Not good. I tried for, "SHEGOLFS" but it was taken. "TEEITUP" was taken. "GOLFGRL" was taken. My creativity was waning and at last I thought of "SHEPUTTS." It was mine for the taking. I also happen to be a pretty good putter and enjoy it, so I was feeling like this might be the right plate for me.

My new plates arrived and I excitedly put them on the car. My teenagers thought I was a total dork. Two weeks later, I couldn't sink a putt to save my life. It was like I was jinxed. The slump lasted for a good month before it wore off, which thankfully it did.

I've gotten a lot of compliments on the plate - golfers always get a big kick out of it. Then one night a couple of weeks ago, I was waiting at a light in downtown Danbury. I hear a horn lightly, but excitedly beeping next to me. I turn to look left and there's a group of about four twenty-somethings with their windows rolled down motioning me to roll mine down too.

I roll down my window, thinking they are going to ask me for directions. Not so. One of them asks quizzically, "She puts? As in she puts out?" I almost doubled over laughing. "No," I chortled. "She putts - as in GOLF!" Out of the mouths of huh?

We all had a good laugh as we drove away.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The LPGA



Women’s golf is in trouble. The first positive step was taken, in my opinion, with Bivins stepping down after four years of turmoil and a players’ revolt. From the beginning she alienated players and then sponsors, resulting in the loss of 7 tournaments from the tour since 2007. Bivens had big ideas (better pension, health coverage and higher purses) but her style and execution ruffled too many feathers and added too many overhead costs associated with tournaments. The most visible was in requiring all players to speak English in an International world. The Tour has changed and added delightful breadth and depth to the roster, but her xenophobia was startling.

There was so much player angst about her long time actions that it almost threatened to overshadow the recent U.S. Women’s Open. A group of key players called for her resignation and got it on July 9th.

The LPGA named Real Admiral Marsha J. Evans, a retired navy officer and a member of the LPGA Board as interim commissioner while it searches for a permanent replacement. Hopefully Marsha can steady this sinking ship, create some positive media opportunities and drive viewership, and protect the brand while they search for new long-term leadership.


Marsha has had her own share of “command and control” issues as evidenced by her step down from the CEO position at the Red Cross in 2005. But right now anything is better than Bivens. Go Marsha. Even if you’re just temporary, you can have impact.

Another smart move? Appointing LPGA Hall of Famer and recently retired (say it isn’t so) player Annika Sorenstam as an Advisor to the Board of Directors. According to the LPGA, the challenging events of the last ten days prompted Annika ito reach out to Dawn Hudson, Chairman of the LPGA Board of Directors, who took her up on her offer of help and created the position of Board Advisor. Between this, her personal charities and events, and a baby girl soon on the way, Annika will have her hands full.

Interesting that one idea that was floated was for the PGA to take over managing the LPGA tour. The biggest obstacle was seen as the VAST disparity between the pension plans for the tours. Why shouldn’t the LPGA members have pension plans that are equivalent to that of the PGA members? Seems like fair and equal treatment to me. Am I missing something here?

Perhaps if the PGA were managing the tour, the resources that have figured out how to deliver all that great marketing and viewership would be on tap, too.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

One Time Only

It was the last hole of my dawn patrol golf run. As I came through the woodland path from the eighth green to the open area in front of the ninth tee box, I looked left towards the green to check the pin and towards the club house.

It was only 6:45 am, but Bob, my favorite pro shop assistant, was already standing on the practice putting green with his coffee and a smoke. He waved when he saw me. I noticed someone walking up to the men's first tee, but couldn't see his face. I was on a mission at this point with one hole to go. It was a work day and I had to finish my round.

The pin was up front about fifteen feet off the front of the green, right in the middle of this elongated green. The right side of the green is a bit of a bowl that doesn't really flatten out until you get far left, then it drops into a sand trap on the left. With this pin placement I knew I had to aim a little short and right.

I stood on the tee with my eight iron, 117 yards from the green. I took a couple of practice swings, set up behind the ball and swung for my mark. The ball left the tee sailing up in a perfect art over the pond towards the green. It landed just off the right side of the green and bounced on, making a smooth left hand turn and rolled towards the pin.

"Oh my God," I said to no one. "It's gonna go in!" And it did. I shrieked loud enough for them to hear me at my house two miles away and made a beeline for my bag. Bob was already coming towards the green to meet me with Mark Janssen in tow. Now I knew who the guy about to tee off was.



There were hugs all around after I pulled my ball from the hole. Suddenly my eyes welled up with tears with the headiness of the moment. I just couldn't help myself. The person I most wanted to share this moment with, my Mom, was gone, having died of cancer three years before. Smiling through my tears, I knew Mom must have witnessed this spectacular shot from above.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Dew Busting

Working full-time left little time for golf; not to mention, I had gotten the competitive bug. My game was in decent form and I enjoyed practicing, especially on the course. The best time to practice was early morning when I had the course to myself. My dad's words constantly echoed in my ears, "If you want to be a good golfer, go hit balls until your hands bleed." I didn't really want bloody hands, but I'd usually got a pretty good left hand callus going by June.

The depth of my passion for golf had become legendary among friends and family. Unfortunately, it had also grown in direct proportion to the decline in the passion in my marriage. Oh sure, we both played golf, but we didn't "play" at much else together. I was winning tournaments, but not hearts. I was working out a lot more on the course than my game.


Several times a week when summer provided long days, I crept out of bed before the alarm went off at 4:45 am, slipped on my golf shorts, shirt, socks and hopped in the car with my shoes and drove the two miles in semi darkness down the road to the course. In that brief time, the sky would lighten up just enough to tee off.

I can still remember standing on the first tee, still half awake with the diffused grey light all around, the Eastern sky revealing the rising sun, while the pale moon stubbornly refused to give up the night to the West. It was almost completely silent, except for a few chirping birds and the sound of the commuter train 's signal echoing in the distance.

No time to waste, I teed up my ball, stretched and took a few practice swings before letting a good full swing rip. On impact, the sound of the sweet spot of the club face hitting that ball let me know it was a good clean hit. The trajectory of the ball flight was smooth and straight down the center of the fairway, leaving me with a 185-yard shot to the green. My second shot three wood left me slightly short of the green, but I chipped on and sunk a nice long putt through the dew for par. This was a good start.

Escape? Absolutely. Peacefulness? No doubt. Some people meditate; some people run or just walk. I prefer to walk with a golf club in my hands whenever possible.

My morning sojourns on the golf course helped me work out a lot of thoughts, life issues and make plans. Those mornings also helped me win two Women's Handicap Club Championships. Busting dew is a fabulous way to start the day.