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Thursday, March 31, 2011


Golf Tournament



Recently I was asked to play in a golf tournament.


At first I said, 'Naaahhh!'


Then they said to me 'Come on, it's for handicapped and blind Kids.'


Then I thought...




Damn - I could win this!




For all you golfers take warning.
Playing one of those desert courses in the upper Scottsdale area near Cave Creek.

Tries to play his second shot while off balance on a steep incline.
Naturally, he swings too hard and falls backwards into the cactus.
It took paramedics over 3 hours to pull the spines out before he could go in an ambulance to the hospital. He should have taken a “drop”!!!!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


RR Donnelly Founders Cup, Day 3

Mr Science Reports:


I kept score today for

Morgan Pressel http://www.lpga.com/player_results.aspx?id=5431

Kyeong Bae http://www.lpga.com/player_results.aspx?id=5405 . 

Both started the day at -3, and Morgan shot 68 to finish T7 and win some money for her Foundation.  KB had 71 and was T13.  KB had some sort of iPad or something built into her golf bag.  Check it out on the link above.
It was an exciting finish. 

Angela Stanford http://www.lpga.com/player_results.aspx?id=107 started the day at -12 with a 3 shot lead, after two 66's, but stumbled to a 75. 

Paula Creamer http://www.lpga.com/player_results.aspx?id=3438 birdied 8 of her last 14 holes, shot 31 on the back nine, and finished at 66 and -11, taking the lead in the clubhouse (which Morgan had held). 

Karrie Webb http://www.lpga.com/player_results.aspx?id=200 shot 66 and finished at -12. 

Brittany Lincicome http://www.lpga.com/player_results.aspx?id=3465 was in the last group and came to 18 needing a par to force a playoff with Karrie.  She's not a scoreboard-watcher, and had no idea where she stood until she got to the green.  She hit her approach short and her chip long, and made bogey.  She had one other bogey in the tournament, on the 6th hole Friday.
Cristie Kerr http://www.lpga.com/player_results.aspx?id=127 was also among the leaders, and ended up 4th.  She had received the Muhammed Ali Award for Sports Achievement on Saturday night, presented by The Greatest himself.  http://thegolfgirl.blogspot.com/2011/03/cristie-kerr-honored-at-celebrity-fight.html
Morgan was there, and during the round was explaining to KB who Muhammed Ali is.  Lee Greenwood was there, and Morgan was talking about how she got chills listening to him sing "God Bless the USA".
Morgan is fun to be with.  She's not a long hitter by tour standards, 2nd longest in her twosome today, but on the 15th hole (one of two where they measure the drives) she hit it past KB, 258 yards, about 15 past her normal shot.  The 15th is a par 5, and when Cactus Dave and I played it from the back tees it was 607 yards, but for the tournament they played from 485.  As we walked up to their balls, both in the fairway, I said loudly enough for the gallery to hear "Nice shot, long-ball", and Morgan smiled and made a muscle for the crowd.
Then she hit one of her best shots of the day, onto the green.  She was quite pleased with herself, and said that didn't happen very often.
On 14, a par 3, Morgan had hit her tee shot about 2 inches from where the previous day's cup had been cut.  She pointed it out to her caddy.  The 15th green is about 40 yards deep, and the pin was in the back.  Morgan's ball was on the front, about 10 feet from where Saturday's pin had been.  As we walked up, I told her she was going to be close to yesterday's pin placement again, and she said "Thanks for reminding me.  That's about the 4th time today."
On every tee there is water, gatorade, and soda for the pros, if they want something to drink.  So when we crossed the street between holes, where some neighborhood kids had set up a lemonade stand, Morgan went over to buy a cup of lemonade.  A few holes later, as we were waiting to tee off, she signed three gloves and gave them to 3 kids in the gallery.  I have had very pleasant times with other players, and there are many who, like Morgan, realize that they have the best job in the world, and they do things to express their appreciation to their fans and volunteers.  Maybe some of them bought lemonade from those kids.  Surely some of them tossed a ball to a fan from time to time, and some may have even signed a glove for a fan (Phil did it once on TV, but only after he had hit the guy with a golf ball).  I've never seen or heard of three at a time, but it could have happened.  I know one thing for sure, though, at the volunteer party after the tournament, only one player came by to say thanks to us, and sign autographs, and pose for pictures. 

 Ms. Pressel is a very special person.

Monday, March 21, 2011


The Art of Scoring vis a vis Mr Science

Mr Science Reviews:


I finished the book.  Didn't get to start on it seriously until I finished another one, about some kid who went camping in the Alaska wilderness, alone, and starved to death.

I can understand why this one wouldn't appeal to you.  The passage that struck me was one in which he describes how to hit a 40-yard pitch:

"With your hands in front of you, use your left hand to push the handle of the club toward the ground.  That will lift the clubhead into the air, and set your wrists in a great hinge.  Now, just let the club fall back to the ground...Add some shoulder turn and a lower-body pivot, let your right elbow slide back along your side in the backswing, turn through impact, and you've got it. 
It's really that simple."

I can relate to that, in ways that Cactus Dave cannot, just as I can relate to JC Anderson when he says "You can divide the golf swing into 24 basic components, each having between 12 and 15 variations..."     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KyIxooIeUkk

But, in fairness to Stan, a lot of the book is not about technique, it is about strategy.  Not so much how to hit a shot, but what shot to hit, and when.  The editing needs work, though, as some of the stories seem to have gotten garbled, or are just unclear.  "Scotty hit his tee shot onto the green, but to the wrong tier, leaving himself with a putt that was harder than a basic chip from around the correct tier would have been.  He had to read the difference in slope and the strong grain that was coming toward him, and he left the chip way short and on the wrong tier, then three-putted".  Let's see, now, tee shot on the green, [first putt goes off the green?], chips back on, 3 putts ... or is it 3 more putts ?  5? 6?  OK, maybe it's possible to understand the point of the story anyway, but it's very distracting trying to figure out what poor Scotty did, never mind what he did wrong.   

Utley does explain how he hits the basic short game shots (pitch, chip, and putt) in detail, and how to adjust the basic shots in order to play trouble shots.  The techniques are basic and sound, some a little different from what most of us were taught, and yet even the Tour players he teaches have had to make adjustments to improve their games.  I used one of his tips to hit a shot from deep grass about 8 feet below the level of the green to a downhill, tight pin.  I used my sand wedge, and hit it like a bunker shot, going through the grass under the ball.  It came out high and soft, landed on the fringe, checked up a little, and rolled down the hill to about 3 feet.

He also spends a lot of time on what shot to hit.  From a tight lie around the green, for instance, it's almost always better for a non-scratch golfer to putt rather than chip, because your worst putt is likely to end up closer than a slightly-below-average chip shot.  The player should always know where
not to miss a shot  (another Cactus Dave bugaboo -- he hates it when I point out the OB stakes, or a water hazard, just before he's ready to tee off), and adjust his aim and shot shape accordingly.  I think it's probably true that a 20 handicapper could shave 5 shots off his game in less than a week, without changing his swing, by following the advice in this book.  And if he's willing to practice a little, and try some of Utley's short game swing techniques, maybe a few more. 

Sunday, March 20, 2011


RR Donnelly Founder's Cup - Day 2


Mr Science Reports, again . . .

I kept score today for

Karen Stupples http://www.lpga.com/player_results.aspx?id=559 

Wee-Won Han http://www.lpga.com/player_results.aspx?id=161 

Song Yi Choi     http://www.lpga.com/player_results.aspx?id=18533 

All of them were over par yesterday.  Hee-Won started out with birdies on the first two holes, but followed with bogies on the next two, and shot 73.  Karen had 74, with a 3-putt par and a lot of makeable birdie putts that she didn't make.  Song Yi had a very hard day, 79, missing a lot of very short putts.  Karen got her name on TV today, first on the list of "notables missing the cut".  Otherwise, it was another day of no TV for me or my group. 

My assistant standard bearer was Hanna Kyoto Atkins.  Her first name is pronounced hah-nah, like the Road to Hanna on Maui.  Her father traveled a lot, and named her after two of his favorite places.  She lives in Goodyear, in Estrella Mountain Ranch.  She's 13, and shoots in the 70's.  She plays a fade, but can work the ball both ways.  She won't be at the tournament tomorrow because she's playing in an inter-club match for Moon Valley CC, where the LPGA tournament used to be held before it went to Superstition Mountain, and where Annika shot her 59.  I'm telling you all this so you'll recognize her in 5 years, when she's on Tour.

Karen is a delight to be with.  She has a criss-cross of tape on her right knee, because of some cartilage problems.  Hanna asked her about it while two groups were waiting on the 5th tee (someone else in the wash, taking unplayable lies and calling for rulings), and Karen said it was rough where it was supposed to be smooth, and let Hanna touch her knee while she flexed it.  Hanna squealed, like only a 13-year-old girl can do, and said "ooh, yuch!", or something to that effect.  Karen alllowed as how Hanna probably didn't expect to get that up close and personal with the players today.

After the round, I go into the scorer's tent with the players, and I check their scores as I have recorded them while the marker reads them to the player.  Hee-Won started out reading Song Yi's scores.  In Korean.  When she finished, Song Yi indicated that she agreed, and I said "Right", indicating my agreement as well.

Saturday, March 19, 2011


RR Donnelly Founders Cup, Day 1

Mr Science Reports:

The LPGA is at the Widlfire GC at the Marriott Resort at Desert Ridge.  There are two courses there, the Palmer Course and the Faldo Course, and they're using 9 holes of each for the tournament.  Not because they chose those holes, but to have a compact location for the tournament, because the two front nines are across the road and these two start and end near the clubhouse.  The LPGA commissioner says this tournament will likely be somewhere else next year, but he promises another one for Phoenix, as there are other sponsors interested.
I kept score today for 
Nicole Hage http://www.lpga.com/player_results.aspx?id=13717

Nicole shot 78, and Louise had 77.  Both had a good time, though, and were smiling near the end, although I think Nicole might have said a bad word on #5, after her second unplayable lie on that hole.  But, they're playing all for charity this week, no prize money, so it's a bit less stressful than normal.

Nicole plays a pronounced draw on most of her full shots, and it was out of control today.  (She reminded me of Cactus Dave's game that way.)  It may be out of control most of the time, because her career earnings are just under $25,000 after two years on tour.  Sometimes the draw turned into an uncontrolled hook, and she spent a lot of time in the left rough, or the fairway bunker, or a hazard.  Other times it went straight, and so she also spent time in the right rough, or fairway bunker, or, as on #5, in a wash.  I told her caddy she needed to get control of her hook, and he said if he knew how to do that he wouldn't tell her, he'd be out here playing himself.  I really think she could benefit from a close relationship with a good teacher.  On #8, our 17th hole, she hit her drive in the left rough, in dormant bermuda grass, with a good lie.  There's a lake to the right of the green, and the pin was on the right.  She hit the shot out toward the water, and cried out in anguish, but with a little draw, and a little wind, and a good bounce, it ended up on the green, about 12 feet.  She laughed and said "I didn't mean to do that", and I said "Yeah, but it was exciting!"  She made the birdie putt, and I gave her a fist bump.  I hope she finds someone who can help with that hook.

Aree had a better game:  5 birdies, scattered around, and 13 pars.  I'd have to say it was the most boring 67 I've ever seen.    By contrast, Angela Stanford is leading the tournament with a 66, including a double bogey on 8 and an eagle 2 on 9.   Aree had 9 missed birdie putts, the most in the group.  14 GIR and 4 fringies.  I don't think she carries a wedge.  She hit 10 of 14 fairways, and her misses were all within a couple of feet, never off the overseed.

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