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.  

 

Help me resolve a fight I had with my dad

SPOILER ALERT —  In keeping with the spirit of this post, details of the final round of the British Open Golf Championship may be revealed below.  If you plan to watch the final round on DVR and have been avoiding contact with all people, news sources, and internet feeds other than my blog, be warned that you should stop reading now.  Thank you for considering my blog irresistible despite those attempts.

Yesterday, my dad and I had a major fight.  As is advised in all domestic disputes, I’m turning to the Internet for a speedy and just resolution.  My goal is to receive a completely fair and impartial decision, so I will present the story as neutrally as possible.  

Background:

This dispute involves two individuals: “Person A” and his father, “Person B.”  For ease of reference, I’ve selected random names for the two people.  I’ll call Person A “SONNY” and Person B “POPS.”  On July 22, 2012, Sonny and Pops were playing a round of golf.  At the outset of the round, Pops referenced the final round of the British Open Golf Championship.  Sonny immediately said, “I’m DVR’ing the final round.  I don’t want to know anything about it.  I’m really looking forward to watching it when I get home.  It would mean a lot to me if you didn’t say anything at all about the tournament.  I love golf, and other than playing golf with you, Dad, watching the British Open is my favorite thing in the world.”  

The Incident:

After the fifteenth hole, Sonny and Pops were reflecting on their enjoyable round.  Sonny said, “Pops, it’s so great to be out here with you on such a beautiful day.  We sure are living the good life.”  Pops grunted some form of agreement or disagreement.  His intent was not clear because while Sonny was thanking his father profusely for the round of golf, Pops was reading the internet on his smartphone, which the country club explicitly bans from use during the round.  Sonny then said, “I love you, Pops.”  But Pops was too distracted by some fascinating detail on his phone, and he did not respond.

When they reached the sixteenth tee box a short while later, Sonny placed his peg in the ground and began his pre-shot routine.  Just as Sonny was about to address his ball and hit an incredibly difficult tee shot, Pops shouted an interruption.  ”WAIT!”  he screamed out, sending a resounding echo through the hollows of historic Silvermine Golf Club.

Sonny backed off of the ball, already slightly annoyed to be torn from his pre-shot routine.  Pops said to the group, “I know you guys don’t want to know anything about the British Open….But….”  At this point, Sonny and another member of the foursome protested.  ”No, Pops.  Don’t tell us anything.”  Pops insisted that he was not providing any information that was going to ruin the DVR’ed viewing experience.  Sonny, however, was furious about knowing even this small piece of information.  In his (most likely correct and supported by the internet) view, Sonny interpreted Pops to mean one of the following things:

  1. Adam Scott did not win in resounding fashion.
  2. It was going to get exciting and close at the end of the round.
  3. Tiger Woods either did something special or something atrocious.  (Not in that way, pervs)
  4. There was a playoff.

Sonny surmised that Pops was going to say, “I know you don’t want to know anything but you’re in for a good show.”  He also has known Pops long enough to know that Pops is incapable of having a piece of information he wants to share with you and not sharing it.  The second he opened his mouth, I felt like this:

 

The Outcome:

Sonny returned from a great day on the golf links feeling grateful that he got to spend a beautiful day out in nature with his dad.  For the next 6-9 hours, he did not move from his position on the couch, except to eat ice cream, which if you have read his blog before you know he struggles with.   With just four holes to play, Adam Scott had a commanding lead and was a 98% favorite to win the British Open.  But Sonny had an uneasy feeling about Scott’s chances.  

Sure enough, Scott went on to bogey the last four holes, and Ernie Els hoisted the trophy. Unfortunately, Pops didn’t even provide the information early enough for Sonny to win $32,000, like this guy did.

The Resolution:

So what do you say, Internet?  Should Pops have respected the rules of his golf club, not checked his phone, avoided any details about the British Open and not even started to say anything to Sonny?  Or should he have waited just a short few hours and allowed Sonny to have a wonderful, spoiler free afternoon of European Golf and then discussed the tournament then?