Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Major props to The Big Easy

The British Open, golf's oldest major championship was held on Sunday.  Now to be honest, I actually don't know if it is golf's oldest major championship but I know that it sounds really cool to say so I'm just going to go with it.  Chances are, you didn't see it because A) The time difference between here and there made it difficult to catch all of the action or B) You just didn't give a shit.  Either way, you missed a pretty exciting golf tournament. (Okay, exciting may be a bit strong.  But it certainly held my attention.)

One of the big story lines in this tournament was that Australia's Adam Scott (not that his nationality matters) held a huge lead going into the final four holes.  Then things went a tad bit awry and he ended up losing the tournament.  (Bummer, right?)

Now normally, in true masochistic golfer fashion, I would have expressed how much I empathized with this guy.  I would have said that I know how it feels to have a good thing going on the golf course and then just have it all fall apart on you.  I would have offered words of encouragement and all that type of crap.

But this time is different.  This time, I choose to celebrate the victory of Ernie Els a.k.a "The Big Easy."  This time I would like praise the 42 year-old South African for his amazing accomplishment. Not only did he overcome the obstacles of being 42 years old and South African, but he also had to overcome a 6 shot deficit.  The result: his second British Open Championship.

Just to give you a little background, Ernie Els has been notorious for his superhuman calmness and cool demeanor when he's on the course.  I mean, he's a freak of nature.  He doesn't show emotion.  Ever.  And if he does it's extremely rare.  At the same time, he is also known for having a smooth, easy-flowing swing. Plus, he's about 6'3" tall.  Add it all together and you get the nickname The Big Easy. (Or Le Facile Grande for you Francophiles.)

He has always been a fierce competitor but he has always kept his cool.  If you just saw a brief clip of him playing in a tournament, you wouldn't know if he was winning by 5 strokes or down by 10.  He's just that cool.  I guess what I'm really saying is, "Sasquatch takes picture of him."

In the end, I guess the life lesson here is never count yourself out, keep fighting the good fight, don't stop believing, and most importantly, never let 'em see you sweat.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Autopsy

"I specifically asked for him to be put on suicide watch.  Apparently here at Riker's that means they watch you commit suicide."
-Det. Lennie Brisco - Law & Order

So one of the beauties of this golf app that I have on my phone is that it allows me to relive the horrors of the terrible round I played.  Over and over and over and over and over and over again.  Every misstep.  Every bad swing.  Every stupid idea.  I get the pleasure of replaying them in my mind because I have the saved scorecards right at my fingertips.

Isn't technology wonderful?

But believe it or not, the benefit to keeping track of all this information is that you get the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth when you revisit that disappointing round you played.  For you see, the masochist in me will only dwell on the bad stuff when I just replay it in my mind.  The good stuff seems to be conveniently forgotten.  (And that's not cool.)

So when I broke down my last round of golf I learned a few things.  On my miracle, happy, fun-time round from the week before, I made 6 pars and 6 bogeys.  On my disastrous, lame, poo-poo round last week, I made 3 pars and 5 bogeys.  So by comparison, it wasn't that much different.

The next logical question becomes, if there wasn't that much of a difference, why did the last round feel so God-awful?

The answer is 6, 10, 12, 13, and 16.

No, it's not the Da Vinci code.  Those were the holes where I hit my ball to the wrong place at the wrong time.  For you see, sometimes in golf, it's not the mistakes that cost you but when you make them that really screws you over.  On each of those holes, I managed to very skillfully put the ball into a hazard or out of bounds.  And when you put a ball into a hazard or out of bounds, you basically lose 2 strokes: The penalty stroke and the stroke that you have to hit again to make up for the crappy shot you just hit.

So really, had it not been for those penalties, and you subtract 2 strokes from each of the 5 holes, I would have shot an 89.  Which is actually a wonderful improvement on the previous week.

But, "If ifs and buts were candy and nuts we'd all have a merry Christmas."  (Unless you're Jewish...Or Muslim...Or a Scientologist)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Perhaps I spoke a bit prematurely

"They told me they fixed it...It's not my fault!"
-Lando Calvrisian


Remember that last post where I was thumbing my nose at the golf gods in a blatant  show of disrespect?

Remember how I proclaimed victory and how I was absolutely SURE that I had figured this game out?

Well...It turns out I was horribly wrong.  (You look shocked.)

I was just itching to get back out on the course.  I wanted to build on my progress from the last round.  Surely, if I could shoot a 93 the last time then I was definitely going to score lower this time.  I mean, it makes perfect sense.  I had a breakthrough.  The only direction I could go was up.  I was even pondering a career change.  Maybe not the PGA (that would be ridiculous).  But certainly the developmental Nationwide tour was within reach.

When I got out there, I actually started out fairly well.  And I will take the time to mention that my short game remained strong throughout the day.  (So there were some positives to take away from my round).  But somewhere along the line, things got a little whackadoodle.

On the 6th hole, there's a forced carry of about 75 yards.  A pretty simple shot that I've made dozens of times.  I promptly dumped my ball into the tiny lake that shouldn't even have been in play.  I made a similar mistakes on the 12th & 13th holes.

But the main issue was that, for some reason, the ball just kept going left.  (Maybe by golf swing is a socialist.  It's definitely a progressive.)  No matter how hard I tried to adjust, I could not make the correction.  Oh, except for the times when I over-corrected and blocked the ball to the right.

Final score: 99.

Now you may think, "Damon, you still broke 100.  You should be happy."

But you should know by now that no one is actually happy when they play golf.

And if they seem happy, there probably just drunk.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


"Look at what's happened to me.
I can't believe it myself
Suddenly I'm up on top of the world
Should've been somebody else.
Believe it or not, I'm walking on air
I never thought I could feel so free
Flying away on a wing and a prayer
Who could it be?
Believe it or not, it's just me."
-Theme song from Greatest American Hero

So, I'll just cut to the chase on this one.  My last round of golf I shot a freaking 93!

A 93!


Why aren't you excited?!

I'll explain further.

For those of you who don't know, for the past 10 years or so, I haven't been able to shoot lower than 100.  And in golf, lower = good.

Yes my friends, the planets aligned and I was finally able to put together a round of golf that even the golf gods couldn't deny was praiseworthy.  A round of golf that allowed me to walk with my head held high.  Only this time, it was with actual pride in my performance as opposed to the, "Holding my head up high despite the fact that I'm incredibly ashamed of yet another failure."

Yeah...I like the first one better.

So how did I do it?  How did I conquer this beast that is the triple digit score?

Well, I can tell you the most recent adjustment I made:  The night before, I logged on to ye olde You Tube to look at some videos of golf swings.  I realized that I was standing a little too close to the ball and that I was holding my hands a little too high.  As a result, my swing plane was way too steep which caused inconsistencies in my...(HEY!! WAKE UP!!)

But here's the reality of it.  At the end of the day, it wasn't just one adjustment that made the difference.  It was hundreds of tiny little adjustments over the years.  It's the hundreds more than I will continue to make to get better.  It's the result of the hard work and dedication that I put into it.  It's about the fact that I never gave up on it.

Yay me!

The good news for you dear readers is that after I took my victory lap, I promptly examined my scorecard in order to deconstruct the round I played and found the spots where I could have scored even lower.  So yes, there will still be plenty of things for me to be comically frustrated about.

It never ends.