Tuesday, April 6, 2010

My Pick?

I just got back from Augusta, GA this afternoon and you want to know who is my pick for this week's Masters?

Lee Westwood, count on it.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Masters Forecast

It looks like it is going to a beautiful week in Augusta, GA for this week's Masters Tournament. Check out the forecast here.

It's great because it has been a while since we have seen good weather for the whole week. It's going to be a great Sunday afternoon!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The future of the PGA Tour? It's not Tiger

With the Masters approaching and my annual Fantasy Masters game kicking off next week (a fantasy game between friends designed to mimic a college team tournament), I have been thinking a lot about who the front-runners are for the green jacket.

After your obvious picks like Tiger Woods (who knows what we'll see from him), Phil Mickelson (who should turn it around just in time), and the resurgent Ernie Els (who is coming off back-to-back wins), I think there are a couple of lesser known (to the casual fan, at least) players who might use Augusta National to start leaving their inevitable and indelible mark on the game next weekend. But we'll get to that later...

The international contingent of the Tour has been exceptionally strong this year, and I do not see the Masters being any different. The future of the game, for better or for worse, expands far beyond the United States.

Tiger Woods is a major star and essentially carries the Tour as has done so for the last 13 years or so; his latest break from the game gives rise to the question, "How would the Tour survive without Tiger?" After all, he a perishable good - it can't last forever.

Scoop Jackson of ESPN actually wrote a column this week comparing the PGA's future predicament to that of the NBA when Michael Jordan retired. Of course, basketball was lucky after superstars like Kobe Bryant and LeBron James took the stage. But part of what makes Kobe and LeBron so good for the NBA is not that talent, which is undoubtedly considerable in both case; it is the NBA's willingness to market the players as the best players. David Stern and his team pull no punches marketing-wise when it comes to displaying the best players in the sport. A revolving door of big names and familiar faces drives the NBA, and while I am not a huge fan of the league myself, I respect the approach because it seems to work well with the organization's target demographic.

The PGA Tour should do the same. The difference in the case of golf is it is more difficult to market individuals from other parts of the world in the United States. However, there is already enough evidence of golf's international presence that the Tour must factor this in. If the PGA Tour was wise, I would definitely suggest implementing long-range plans for enhancing the images (states-side) of two young international players, who happen to also be two great picks for next week's Masters tournament:

Rory McIlroy

At only 20 years old, I cannot remember a more obvious young talent since Tiger Woods. While he may not quite yet have the same killer instinct of Woods, I think he's more naturally talented - yes, I just said that and believe it, too. He has the entire package the best part is the amount of career he has left. Investing in this young man will be paying back for MANY years to come.

Camilo Villegas
Camilo Villegas has got it all - a great game with a plethora of shots in the bag. He pulls in women (well, for obvious reasons - come on guys) which is a crucial growth point for the game as well as opens up a fairly new market to the PGA Tour - Latin America. By the time Villegas is done with his professional career, I believe he will be far and away the most accomplished South American to ever play.

Of course, either of these men winning next weekend would go a long way to improving the their marketability - something the PGA Tour should definitely keep an eye on.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

First Tiger Woods Interview

For those who know me, everyone knows that I have always been a big fan of Tiger Woods. The man brought attention and money to my favorite game and made it cool to love golf. I have always been enamored by his talent and ability, as we all have been at times.

Tonight, Tiger granted his first interview since this whole fiasco began.

The one thing that was so striking was that Tiger was no longer arrogant or confident. As a long time fan, I loved it when I saw that "worldbeater" attitude; but after these recent events, I have to say this new approach to the public is going to go over much better.

While he did duck some questions and there were other responses that were clearly canned, I give him credit for beginning the process of addressing the public's issues with him. He took ownership and became a bit of a real person today.

I am sure there will be a few more of these types of interviews in the next two weeks as we get closer to the Masters. As he begins to leak out more information in this format eventually questions will begin to be repeated. By the time he arrives in Augusta for that first press conference, it will be easier to brush aside the repeat questions and he will be closer to moving beyond this.

He mentioned tonight that he is a little nervous of the reaction that is coming from the patrons at Augusta National; he hopes there will be a few claps but is realistic that the response might not be entirely positive. While I certainly have reservations right now on pulling for the man, Tiger Woods, I will be sure to be one of those reacting positively in Augusta for the professional, Tiger Woods.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Three weeks until Augusta

Monday, April 5th is scheduled to be one of the greatest days of my life. My wife, father, and I have tickets to the first Masters Tournament practice round at Augusta National. It will be first time any of us have been there and as much as we love golf we are guaranteed to have a great day.

Pray for good weather! I will be sure to post all the details once we make it back.

March Madness

The brackets for the 2010 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament were released earlier tonight. Having watched all of the SEC Tournament here in Nashville over the last few days, I have to say I was shocked at the omission of Mississippi State. Jarvis Varnado and his team earned the right to play in the big dance this year with their performance over the last week.

Of course, one week does not a season make - but to take down two tournament teams in Florida and Vanderbilt before being one-tenth of a second away from winning the title and then not make it into the field is hard to believe. I understand there were some bad losses on the resume, but the Bulldogs should have been in. Regardless, today's championship game and against Kentucky was one of the most entertaining basketball games I have seen in a long time.

The brackets are a little weak in my opinion. All year I have been excited at the thought of huge upsets and a wide open tournament as there really have not been any dominant teams. However, after looking through everything I think it might be chalk all the way to the finals. I'm with the experts as of now; I think Kansas might be too much for the rest of the field.

Els wins at Doral

How refreshing was it to see Ernie Els (in my mind) complete his comeback? It has certainly been along time since we have seen the Big Easy shut the door the way he did today. As we move closer to Augusta, Els has definitely served notice that he is once again one to watch.

Ernie is one of the all-time greats in the game of golf and honestly, he is an even better person. Good for him and here's to continued success!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Villegas takes the Honda Classic

All I really have to say is "wow." When Camilo Villegas broke onto the scene during the FedEx Cup playoffs in 2008, I think everyone thought we were seeing the start of something very special. After what can only be called a disappointing 2009 season, Villegas has been on fire early this year.

I honestly believe, if he can continue to develop his killer instinct, that Villegas could be the next really big thing in golf. He has all the shots, the looks, the charisma, and the game that seems to rise to a new level in tough tournaments when the stakes are high. Very impressed with this win.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

First Post: What golf means to me

Twenty years ago, my father introduced me to the game of golf. While I played competitively (with limited success, I might add) from that young age and into college, it was never the actual playing of the game that gave me my greatest joy.

Golf is a unique game that truly is more about the relationships forged along the way rather than number of birdies made. The game introduced me to all of my closest friends, including the best friend of all - my wife; it has helped teach me patience, perseverance, work ethic and honesty. I believe the game has helped my life as a professional, a husband, a son and as a person in general.

Having been tremendously lucky to have been able to play many great courses and meet some fantastic people, I realize now that I have never had so much fun in my life than in those moments when I have shared a golf experience with those closest to me. I hope to continue accumulating these experiences with friends and family and share those here. As I attend golf events and test my game in new places, this blog will provide an opportunity to document everything.

Obviously, I owe many things to the game which is why I have created this blog to try to contribute in the smallest of ways. As I collect experiences related to this sport that I love, I hope to pass along my thoughts in hopes that one day others may feel compelled to give golf a try.