Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Monday, June 18, 2007

Golfchick sighting on Shakesville

Admittedly, I don't read too many non-golf blogs. It's a time issue, mostly. One I do like to read is Shakesville. While its success and readership dwarfs that of this humble blog, I only discovered it recently, thanks to the addition of contributor William K. Wolfrum, the strapping golf blogger I also read over at Worldgolf and on his own site.

Wolfrum recently posted a brief Q&A on Shakesville featuring yours truly. In it, I talk about how I started golfing, blogging and attempt to make my own little contribution toward promoting women's golf. The Golfchick on Shakesville. I'm honored.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Apparently there's some big golf tournament going on

Sports writers and golf bloggers are covering the U.S. Open and Oakmont Country Club with the same fervor of CNN covering Paris Hilton. No detail left unreported.

Of course the difference is sports writers and golf bloggers are supposed to write about golf. It's right there in their titles. The Cable News Network is supposed to cover the news. Even if they could somehow win an argument that Paris Hilton is news, that doesn't excuse them from failing to report on all the real news going on while they spend 24 hours on Shawskank Redemption (thanks, Jon Stewart).

But since this isn't the Shmaily Shmow, I'll get back to golf.

There is so much being said about this tournament and the golf course that I really don't feel I have much to add. Just like I do, you can get all the latest from the fine bloggers in my links list as well as the journalists on the commercial sites. I'll just watch and root on my favorites like the fan I am. And I'll be checking in with Brandon Tucker for live bloggerage from the event. Congrats to Worldgolf for getting media credentials for their bloggers at recent events!

Speaking of Worldgolf, they're conducting a survey and if you complete it, you're entered into a drawing to win a set of Ping clubs and bag.

Next post

Another one bites the dust

Well, here is a case of a golf blogger popping up and then quickly disappearing. Usually, I like to wait until a new golf blogger has been around for a little while and looks like they're going to stay and keep posting before I link to them.

In the case of Elizabeth Jones, I guess I just got so excited to see such a skilled female player joining the fray that I jumped on it right away. That was three weeks ago. Two weeks later, her site was gone... vanished! Email communication ended abruptly.

Was it too good to be true? Could there have been a Liz Jones? A woman with a plus three handicap who was so perfectly adorable that she photographed like a pro right down to the detail of a subtle nipple poking at her cute, pink golf shirt? Perhaps we'll never know.

Maybe she will pop up again somewhere and we'll be able to hear more from her.

Until then... bye bye, "Liz Jones." Good luck selling your instructional golf books.

Next post.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Gotta weigh in on Wie

Exactly what does it mean to be non-competitive? Well, the LPGA has put a number on it: 88.

If a non-member shoots an 88 or higher in an LPGA tournament, she is banned from LPGA events for the rest of the year. Golf writers have been typing until they're blue in the hands about Michelle Wie's withdrawal from last week's Ginn Tribute.

In case you've somehow managed to miss the coverage, the gist is that she withdrew from the event after playing 16 holes including five bogeys, a double, a triple and even a quintuple-bogey (!) leaving her just two bogeys short of reaching that dreaded 88. However, she claims she withdrew because her previously injured wrist was bothering her. (Like, I tweaked it, you know?)

Would they have allowed her to withdraw if the reason was avoiding the 88 rule? No? So if that was the reason, she had to lie. What? Dishonesty is frowned upon in golf? It shows a lack of respect for the game, its rules, and your fellow players? Like, whatever. I guess it's the truth, then.

There have been implications of a conspiracy involving LPGA officials and agents that warned Wie to drop out despite the rules on giving and receiving advice except from a caddie. Speaking of advice, there was a questionable situation in that same round in which she might have received those dreaded two strokes in the form of a penalty because her father gave her advice on that triple-bogey hole (they didn't assess the penalty because she didn't ask for the advice - though I agree with Beth Ann Baldry that perhaps the "didn't ask" clause isn't meant to include parents or coaches).

Yet another rule she gets away with not breaking - this time because she's a non-member and it doesn't apply - is that she played the golf course the week before the tournament, something members are barred from doing.

Learning how to avoid these types of mistakes (and learning that they are mistakes) can be done by players as they work their way up the ranks, playing in events in which they can compete and getting accustomed to the rules, etiquette and decorum expected of a professional golfer. This isn't to say that Wie can't be competitive in LPGA events. Of course she can, but her camp of marketers has launched her into a spotlight where every misstep is highlighted and must be defended.

The controversy surrounding her, plus her lack of experience leading to many of the blunders (like needing advice from a parent in the first place), plus her entire camp's superstar attitude as if golf should be a laissez-faire system (but only for her) just eats away at my brain like the buzz of a casino when I get back to my hotel room. I think it leaves a bad taste in the mouths of anyone who cares about the rules of golf.

So what do we have here...

  • Possible dishonest withdrawal
  • Receiving advice
  • Pre-playing the course
All this in one tournament - no, one ROUND - on an LPGA Tour event. Funny thing is, sponsors are going to be chomping at the bit to give her more and more exemptions to LPGA and PGA Tour events because of all this. Just look at all the attention it generates.

So what about PGA Tour Events?

After conducting exhaustive research a quick google, I was unable to find any specific score associated with non-competitiveness on the PGA Tour. I guess that rule is a little more subjective over there. And Michelle Wie, Inc. excels at exploiting subjective rules.

I'm currently reading John Feinstein's book Tales from Q School, from which I learned that in that tournament (the qualifying tournament for the PGA Tour and Nationwide Tour), players will be deemed non-competitive if they don't "come close to breaking 80" in four rounds. The PGA doesn't just ban these players for a year, they maintain a list of non-competitive players and make them prove that they can compete, essentially qualifying to qualify. The idea is that it's not fair for players to be distracted by non-competitive players in a tournament that can make or break their careers. Q-School is grueling and a rite of passage that most players on the PGA Tour have had to endure, many of them several times. To go through all that just to be distracted from a PGA Tour event by a non-competitive player (or even sideshow) when they know they'll have to go back to Q-School if they don't produce... well, that certainly can't be fair.

Remember Casey Martin, the golfer with the degenerative disease in his leg that took the PGA Tour all the way to the Supreme Court for the right to play in a cart and won? All the attention from that case made him into something of a sideshow as well, but he had the respect for the game not to exploit the system with his star power. Martin went back to Q-School year after year and played on the developmental tours in between, trying to work his way up to the PGA Tour. He did not use his stardom to apply for exemptions and try to make some cuts and maybe win enough money to stay. According to Tales from Q School, Martin "thought it pointless to take a spot in the field from someone else when he was likely to miss the cut." I guess that's because he knows how hard it is for those guys to earn their way there. No matter where you stand on the cart/no cart issue, you have to respect him for that.

Some people may blame the sponsors for giving Wie exemptions in the first place. I'm sure she doesn't even have to apply for them, they're just thrown in her lap. But that doesn't mean she has to accept them. Some poor schmuck is going to have to go back to Q-School because some non-competitive player took up a coveted spot in the field in one too many tournaments. Of course, there is no way for a female player to earn her way to the PGA Tour. Not officially, at least. But maybe the next time she plays on an exemption and doesn't "come close to breaking 80"(the standard for Q-School), maybe she should get a letter of non-competitiveness and be kept on file. Would they let her attempt Q-School? Even if she qualified to qualify? I doubt she'd dare if they did.

Oh, and... pssst.... Ms. Bivens... over here. How about a golf blogger's exemption? I've been known to break 88 and who knows, I could string together a couple of miracle rounds and possibly make a cut. Okay, probably not, but think of the publicity we could generate!

Next post.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Ron Mon's playing 100 for charity

Golf may not be reserved for the elite like it once was but let's face it - it can still be an expensive hobby and we're privileged enough if we have the luxury to play. That's why I love it when people use golf to give back.

Long time travelgolf blogger, Ron Montesano (wasn't he killed off in the Sopranos?) is playing 100 holes of golf on June 18 and seeking sponsors to benefit the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation and its fight against cancer on behalf of "Carly's Club."

Please visit this site and contribute what you can for this great cause.

Next post.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Women's golf week June 2 - June 9

I wrote about Women's Golf Week in my Worldgolf column this month. Also, check out the Play Golf America site for more information.

I suppose that's a better name than Golf chick's week, but either way, let's get out there and play.

Honorable mention: it seems the photo Worldgolf used for my column was taken by "Christ" Baldwin. Has Baldy's ego reached new heights or does it just mean I've been blessed?

Update: The photo credit has been edited to read "Chris" instead of "Christ." Just to prove I'm not insane, here is a snapshot of it before the adjustment. I may still be insane, but this won't be the proof. Unless I'm crazy to prolong this but that's another story.