New PGA Tour Initiative – The PAL Program

On Friday, I had the opportunity to go and see the epic U.S. Open in person.  As I watched the “These guys are good” guys get worked by the golf course, I couldn’t help but wonder what I would shoot if given the opportunity to play Merion.  On one hand, the course was playing hard, the greens were fast, and the rough was thick and muddy.  On the other, I have a lot more experience playing from shitty lies than the PGA tour players have.

One way for the USGA and the PGA Tour to handle such questions is to launch a new initiative.  I call it the PGA Average Lad Program (the P.A.L. Program).  The basic gist of the PAL Program goes like this:  Think you could shoot an 80 at Merion?  Let’s see it PAL.  In other words, in every PGA tournament, one average lad would join the elite players when they tee it up on Thursday.  The PGA PAL would play the same set of tees and would serve as the proverbial pace car for the tour.

Because the PGA PAL is not a professional golfer, the PGA should follow the following guidelines when implementing the program:

  • The PAL can’t have a handicap lower than 7.
  • The PAL can’t miss the cut.  What would be the point if we couldn’t compare the PAL to Phil Mickelson on the weekends?  However, if the PAL hits 3 or more spectators with errant shots, he will be disqualified from the event and will have to stand up against a wall like in Butt’s up while Tiger and Bubba Watson fire punch shots at him.
  • The PAL has a maximum score of double par on every hole.  Once he reaches double par, he picks up his ball and places it on the green next to his PGA Tour playing companion.  If the PAL putts his ball closer than the PGA Professional, the USGA donates $7 to charity.
  • I will be the first PAL, and the program will be launched at the 2014 Masters.

PAL

  • One PGA Tour player will be paired with the PAL.  To determine this player, the competitor who finished in the worst position the previous week will be paired with the PAL.
  • The PAL can wear shorts.
  • If the PAL finishes in the top 10 of a tournament, he receives 1,000,000 from a corporate sponsor.

That’s basically the proposal.  It makes complete sense to me and I think it could really take the game to a whole new level.  USGA – Let’s make this happen.  Thanks, Pal!

 

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The Culmination of My Spiritual Journey

For the past 18 months or so, I have been on a spiritual journey that I didn’t quite understand.  First, it was yoga.  I told myself it was for the physical benefits and tough core workouts.  Then, I tried meditating.  I told myself it would make for a funny blog post (it did).     And that was just the beginning.  Before you’d know it, I was knee-deep in self-help books, psychiatry, and even open to attending a hypnobirthing class, where they tested every boundary I’d ever considered myself to have.

A quick digression to list some quick notes about hypnobirthing:

  1. I’ve learned that inducing labor should be avoided if at all possible.  To have a natural progression into labor, hypnobirthing recommends a) Eggplant Parmigiano, b) an enema, c) sex (not in that order).
  2. When the teacher says to practice birth breathing by “bearing down and pretending like you’re pooping out an elephant,” that is not a joke and not a time to give a knowing “I’ve been there before, yo” laugh.
  3. Eggplant parm’s ruined for me.  Ruined.

Through this spiritual journey, I have become a calmer and gentler version of me.  But I didn’t understand why.  At least until now.  Last week, I discovered a book called Golf is not a Game of Perfect, by Dr. Bob Rotella, or Guru Rotella as I call him.  This book essentially describes all the ways one can be a head case on the golf course.  I don’t recall how I discovered this book.  Sometimes you seek out Guru Rotella, sometimes he just appears.  For me, he just appeared when I downloaded his book from audible and listened to it on the car ride to one of my appointments.

Who wouldn’t listen to this man?

A week later, I am on a nightly regimen of using an app called Refresh, which leads me through positive affirmations about all facets of my golf game like these:

  • My short game has all the shots.
  • I am a wizard from the bunkers.
  • I hit bombs.
  • I am a great golfer.
  • I check the course conditions when I get to the course.
  • I drink enough water.
  • I swing my irons with a smooth tempo.

photo (21)

Junk like that.  It’s funny, but as I’m writing this, I went to link up to the app and I couldn’t find it on Google.  It probably only existed for a brief period of time.  Like the machine in the movie Big that granted the kid’s wish.  Maybe I shouldn’t tell you about it?

Guru Bob advocates that golfers stay in the present, focusing only on the shot in front of them and choosing the smallest possible target.  I’ve been trying to do this for the last week and my game has improved to epic proportions.  I legitimately think I could play on the senior PGA tour if a) Anne lets me, b) I practice nonstop for the next 15 years, c) the kid we have likes golf as much as I plan to make him/her, and d) Anne lets me.

The fascinating part of this spiritual journey is that without the yoga and meditation, I honestly don’t think I’d be able to come close to any of the things Dr. Bob suggests.  After years of being a complete head case, these activities have taught me how many of the things that we think are predetermined are actually in our control.  Like just because I started with pars on the first seven holes, doesn’t mean that I need to make a quadruple bogey on the eighth hole to even things out.  Even though that happens a lot and still happens, Bikram Bob has taught me how to bring my focus back to the task in front of me.

All of this is just a long-winded way of saying that the weather has improved and now the time I was spending at the yoga studio or meditating is now spent on the golf course.  I just want to justify that to my loyal readers.