Inside Tour Talk
Equipment technology has made golf more enjoyable and easier for Joe Blow. Lets cherish those advances and forget about the touring pros, who represent such a tiny percentage of the golf population. Let them work out their own equipment issues. Meanwhile well play along merrily while not rendering any courses obsolete.
If equipment needs to be limited, its the ball. And then only as it applies to the pros.
In Annika Sorenstam v. Karrie Webb, the LPGA has the best rivalry in golf and perhaps in sports. Mens golf has desired such for decades.
Players Championship winner Craig Perks returned to earth early the next morning when his two children, ages 3 and 5, woke him. Daddy, one said, wheres that trophy (defending champion) Tiger Woods gave you (at victory ceremony)?
The effect of Perks unlikely Players victory runs deep. It reminds non-winners the dream is alive.
Phil Mickelson says he wont change his aggressive, attacking style. Fine. To win big, he doesnt have to. Arnold Palmer proved that. But Mickelsons chances of winning majors would improve if he changes his success rate on 3-footers.
That said, Mickelson would be best served hiring Jack Nicklaus, who invented course management, as caddie in majors, the lefthander would fight him in the fairway over strategy or win by 10.
Tough choice: Winning a major championship or dating a 22-year-old Swedish blonde bombshell model? Well, Tiger Woods does both. His new girlfriend is Elin Nordegren, who has been one of Jesper Parneviks twin nannies. The model studied psychology in Berlin and has said her dream job is psychology or working with children. Her hobbies include working out, kick boxing and diving. And now watching the worlds No. 1 player.
Dennis Rodman a role model in Spain? Seve Ballesteros has a new tatoo on his left arm, depicting his celebrating 1984 British Open victory. That puts pro golf roughly 1,104 tatoos shy of the NBA.
Ballesteros says he plans to compete on the Major Champions Tour if it goes forward with seven events next year. Too soon to tell whether it will receive by June 1 the needed 20 commitments from major winners 37 to 55. The Major Champions Tour might actually help draw interest to the Senior PGA Tour. If it doesnt fly, the limping senior league should weave the majors concept into a few events.
The LPGA should have more meetings. Overdue fan friendly marketing is a no-brainer. That was obvious when toothy Nancy Lopez fostered the concept in the 1970s. And like the Senior Tour, it needs more party element.
Successful trends travel fast on Tour, where the search for magic never ends. And so Colin Montgomerie and Jeff Brehaut in Houston became the latest to switch to the belly putter. Lumpy Herron also used it there, following the lead of Paul Azinger, Singh, Fred Couples and Mark Calcavecchia. Expect Singhs Houston victory to attract more converts.
During a recent stay at the Pinehurst Resort, architect Tom Fazio noticed a picture of Donald Ross above his bed. I almost asked to change rooms, Fazio said. He might be mad at me because Ive changed some of his golf courses.
Before lengthening Augusta National, Fazio and crew charted every Masters shot last year. Where the golf ball goes is amazing, he said. The longest measured carry was 308 yards by Woods. Mickelson also launched one 300-plus in the air.
Brandel Chamblee might not be the biggest celeb in his family. Wife Karen won a websites poll of the best-looking Tour wife over four others on the ballot. Chamblee said he purchased America Online so he could voteMy vote is costing me about $250 for the yearand that Karen looked over his shoulder. She said I wouldve voted for Angela Hjertstedt if she hadnt been standing there, Chamblee said, smiling.
Playboy playmate Lisa Dergen, Miss July 1998, worked the Players as a Fox Sports TV reporter. You might say her Can I talk to you for a minute? was effective in getting interviews. An 18-handicapper and spokeswoman for the Playboy Golf Scramble, Dergen says no other playmate ever posed wearing golf spikes. She also says she and Wayne and Janet Gretzky felt invisible last year when playing with crowd favorite Tiger Woods. Invisible playmate? Dont think so.
The island 17th hole at the TPC at Sawgrass features the most treacherous 137 yards in golf. Annually it confounds the best players in the world, mentally and physically. That holes in the back of your mind all day, said Mark Calcavecchia. Its like having a 3 oclock appointment for a root canal. You think about it all morning and feel like (crap).
Budding star Charles Howell III, charming but one-dimensional, has an interesting and long list of nevers. He has never consumed alcohol or tobacco. He has never gambled. He has never dated or kissed a woman other than his wife, whom he met as a college junior 2 1/2 years ago. He has never hit a persimmon wood or played blade irons in competition.