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Archive for January, 2009

The Case for Televisions…Multiple Televisions

January 31st, 2009 1 comment

The time has come for a revolution in America.The explosion of media in the last decade has been incredible.Sixty inch LCD TV’s and Blackberries and IPods pervade our society.Each day brings a new development that makes our TV’s larger and our computers smaller.All of us are addicted to some new technology.It may be video games, texting, web surfing, television, cell phones, Blackberries or IPods, but all of us have some type of techno affliction.

I can understand it. Having the ability to search the web for information on any subject from the comfort of my couch is fantastic.I can watch a movie on my IPod while sitting in the waiting room of my doctor.Who can remember when we did not have a computer in the house? The ability to have instant access to information and answers to questions in a second’s time has become ingrained in this generation.

While I have acknowledged the need for and utilized my home computer for years, it is only recently that I have succumbed to the hand held obsession.This IPod contraption is great, and someday I’ll figure out all the options. I am content for now with non-stop music and a few movies. I may be a novice when it concerns hand held devices but if the topic is home television, I am on the cutting edge.

First, I need to dispel the idea that watching television is a not a productive activity.Some would say that TV watching is a waste of time that could be used doing something more useful.That may well be the case.There are many mindless and unintelligent programs on television and some how they seem to get the highest ratings.At the same time, there are many intelligent, well written and informative programs that entertain and inform us.We need to be selective with our viewing.

Now here is where I am ahead of the curve.In my home I do not have a television in my living room.I have two televisions, two televisions that are watched simultaneously.If watching one TV can be rewarding and constructive, then two must be even more so.

Watching television in my home is a family activity.When we are all home plenty of time is spent watching TV together.It is not TV watching in the normal sense, where you sit there and can’t talk or make a sound.We all can talk and joke and have fun while watching TV.It’s great fun and if we miss something that was said we have a DVR, so we replay it.

Multiple televisions allow us to view multiple shows at the same time.It is invaluable when watching sporting events.If you are a fan of different sports you are able watch all the games live, and not later on a recording.Super Bowl Sunday is a good day to try the MTV (multiple televisions) experiment.The pre-game could be viewed on one TV while basketball, golf, hockey or even a movie could be seen on the other.Sure,many people use more then one television on Super Bowl Sunday, but be bold, try different programs and expand your horizons.

There are some technical limitations which you’ll have to work through.You may need additional receivers and cables.You may need to rearrange some furniture but it is worth it.You’ll be increasing your TV viewing pleasure and saving yourself sometime by not watching recorded programs.Soon you will be addicted to multiple TV’s.

Depending on the sports season and the programming, you may need to expand beyond two televisions.During the time when baseball season is getting primed for the postseason and the football season is starting up, multiple TV’s is a must for any real sports fan.Here is my typical setup during the early fall:one TV tuned to my local NFL team, one TV tuned to the NFL Sunday Ticket and another TV on baseball or golf.My personal record was four televisions in my living room.Each TV had a special program:N.Y. Jets on one, Yankees versus Red Sox, NFL Sunday Ticket and the Ryder Cup.It was a glorious viewing afternoon.

I am no longer hesitant to say I am a TV watcher.For years many people in our society have looked down upon television as the pastime of the less cultured.That is not the case.The wide variety of programming on television today enables us to view anything we wish.From news, business, sports, literature, music and so on, TV has become a medium for all kinds of subject matter.No matter how cultured or how base, there is always something of interest to watch.

The MTV movement is growing.Recently, I was talking to some friends about my Sunday afternoon TV setup and was pleased to find out that there are plenty of guys out there doing the same thing.One household boasts four TV’s on NFL football Sundays all with different games on.Technology is great!There are no limits to our viewing options.

Super Bowl Sunday may be a good day to try the MTV experiment.Once you give it a try, you’ll be hooked.Your days of one television viewing will be over forever.The television is a wonderful invention that has entertained and informed us for years.Now, with the MTV system it will finally reach its full potential and keep us entertained for a long time. The Multiple Television Revolution is upon us, watch and enjoy.

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Mickelson, Garcia, Harrington…Who’s #2?

January 30th, 2009 3 comments

We all know who the best golfer in the world is, Tiger Woods. Since Tiger is still rehabbing and not winning tournaments with his usual dramatic flair right now, let’s see who the real number two golfer in the world is. The world rankings are, in order; Woods, Garcia, Harrington, Mickelson.

Based on his play last season, Sergio Garcia has climbed to second. This is the highest he has ever been. He has a win this year at the HSBC Champions and has not finished lower then eighth this season. Padraig Harrington has won three of the last six majors. This season he has a fifth and eleventh place finish on the European tour. Phil Mickelson has slipped from world number two to fourth. He did win The Players Championship last year, but his last major was the 2006 Masters. Could that meltdown at the 2006 US Open be haunting Phil? Yes, Phil has great game. Lee Trevino says he has more shots than Tiger and we have seen many unbelievable shots, but I wonder if Phil can get back to his 2005 form.

Forget the official world rankings. Here is the “LINKS LIFE GOLF RANKINGS”

1. Tiger Woods. He’s the best, period.
2. Padraig Harrington. Three of the last six…come on!
3. Sergio Garcia. This is the year he wins a major.
4. Phil Mickelson. Sinking fast…needs to work out problems, fast!
5. Geoff Ogilvy and Vijay Singh…Ogilvy moving up…Vijay injured.
Rising superstars on tour….Anthony Kim and Camilo Villegas.
Rookie on the fast track… Webb Simpson…two top tens already!

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Monty Meets The Press; Butch Speaks; Tiger’s Ace

January 28th, 2009 No comments

“Hooks and Slices” will bring you our view on whats happening in the golf world.

Monty’s First Press Conference Is A Riot

Yesterday the European PGA named Colin Montgomerie the Captain for the 2010 Ryder Cup in Wales. They ignored Sandy Lyle and forgot that Ian Woodsman is from Wales. Monty’s prickly attitude and sensitivity is well known. See how the British Press envisions his first Ryder Cup press conference. It’s a riot.

Butch Harmon Speaks

Butch Harmon is as well connected in golf as anyone on the planet. He is coaching or has coached all the top players in the world. The players flock to him. He has been around long enough to see it all. Take a minute to read what he has to say. You won’t be disappointed.

Tiger’s Ace

The FBR Open starts today! Check out Tiger’s Ace. It’s still one of the best shots ever!

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The Most Outrageous Hole in Golf

January 28th, 2009 No comments

There is a big party in Tampa this week with the Cards and Steelers going at it. But the 16th hole at the TPC Scottsdale will be doing a good imitation of the Super Bowl. For one week per year the PGA Tour puts on blinders and holds its breath while the fans turn the par three into the loudest party on tour. Brian Hewitt goes Inside the Ropes to give us the story on The FBR Open.

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European PGA Picks Monty Too Soon

January 28th, 2009 No comments

The European PGA picked Colin Montgomerie to be the Ryder Cup captain in 2010. The selection has come too early. Monty’s Ryder Cup qualifications are certainly impressive. He is tied for first in singles with six wins, third in total points and winning percentage with 65 percent. He competed in eight Cups and thirty six matches. He won the European Order of Merit eight times.

All of that should have earned him the captaincy, but it didn’t. His politicking for the job won it for him. The PGA once again shunned Sandy Lyle, who deserved consideration, but has not opening campaigned for the job.

All of the candidates had impressive resumes and any of them would be a fine captain. Lyle, Ian Woosnam, Montgomerie, and Jose Maria Olazabal all have had tremendously successful playing careers and are icons of European Tour. So, the pick should have been an easy one for the PGA but of course when you add the bureaucracy of the PGA and the personality of some of the player’s things get a wee bit sticky.

I’ll start with Sandy Lyle since he is the oldest, 51, and age seems to be a factor. It seems that Lyle has not received the respect he deserves. Lyle played on five Ryder Cup teams, two as a winner. He has won two Order of Merit titles (European Tour Money Leader). He has an Open Championship and a Masters title. He has become a respected sage of the players but gets no respect from the PGA. Can they think he is too old? That can’t be the reason. Nick Faldo captained the 20008 team and he is 51. Maybe because Faldo lost in 2008, the PGA wants to go younger. That does not make any sense either. Woosnam is only seven months younger than Lyle. Montgomerie is 45 and Olazabal is 43. None of them are twenty-somethings that have Coldplay and The Killers on their IPod.

The players of the Ryder Cup Team have to respect and understand their captain and want to play for him. This concept of the captain “being current” with the players is absurd. Faldo was essentially off the tour for five years and he spent most of his time in the booth in America and he was he was named captain. Is the PGA trying to say that there is a significant different in a person that is 45 versus 51? Let’s be serious, there is none. It’s not like the captain has to run sprints, arm wrestle or bench press 400 pounds.

Ian Woosnam has won the Order of Merit twice, a Masters and captained the winning Ryder Cup team at the K Club. He is from Wales and the Cup will be taking place there in 2010. Jose Maria Olazabal is as passionate about the Ryder Cup as any player has ever been and has two Masters titles.

There is one huge difference between Lyle and the rest. He has never campaigned for the captaincy. Montgomerie and Olazabal have, and there is nothing wrong with that. Unfortunately, sometimes the squeaky wheel gets the grease. If that is the case here, then Lyle is a victim of his own humility and I feel for him.

Here is my solution for the PGA; I know they are waiting for my advice. The Ryder Cup was originally started as a friendly competition of golfing professionals. Afterward both teams would have a drink or two and reflect on the competition and their sportsmanship. Let’s bring that back.

The PGA should have named Ian Woosnam captain for 2010. To be a Ryder Cup captain in your home country is extra special. He’ll be 52.

Sandy Lyle should have been named captain for 2012. He finally gets the respect he deserves as an icon of European golf. He’ll be 54.

Let Colin Montgomerie be captain in 2014 in Scotland. His campaigning will be rewarded with a Team in his homeland, where he is a national hero. Good luck with him being captain though. He is so thin skinned that he could not take the pressure of a Cup in the US. He’ll be 51.

That leaves Jose Maria Olazabal to be captain in 2016 at Hazeltine. He will be able to handle the pressure of a cup on foreign soil. He’ll be 50.

The European PGA should stop concerning themselves with the politics of naming the captain and be more concerned with reviving the original spirit of the Ryder Cup. The spirit of friendly competition and sportsmanship should be the focus of both the European PGA and the United States PGA. Bring the true spirit of the Ryder Cup back.

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Super Bowl…Super Golf

January 26th, 2009 No comments

By Jeff Skinner

Since the Super Bowl is taking place in Tampa this week we offer this alternative to all the pre-game festivities. After all, how much partying can a golfer take while they are in Tampa for the week? If you need a break from the non-stop parties, promotions and late night festivities, try a nice relaxing round of golf at one of the best courses in the area.

The TPC Tampa Bay has everything you need to get away from the insanity that goes with Super Bowl week. TPC Tampa is a wonderful facility that fulfills all your golf expectations. It is always a thrill to play on a course that the pros use as a regular tour stop. The TPC is home to the Outback Steakhouse Pro Am on the Champions Tour. Past champions include Tom Watson who won the past two years, Hale Irwin and some guy named Nicklaus. One of the unique aspects of the TPC is the elaborate locker room. The management at TPC puts brass plaques on the lockers with the names of all the past champions. I was changing my clothes right at Watson’s locker. Well, being a big fan of Watson, that made my day before I even went on the course.

The course was designed my Bobby Weed in 1991 along with Chi Chi Rodriguez as a PGA consultant. This is a true stadium style layout with many mounds and banks to allow for spectator viewing. Fortunately there are tees that vary from a slope of 119 to 135. This course has received many accolades from all the “Best Lists”. Golf Digest gives it four and a half stars and Golf World lists it as number eighteen on their “Best Public Courses” list. Number nineteen is Bethpage Black home of this year’s U.S. Open. That tells you how good this course is.

You can sense that you are on a quality course right away. The first fairway resembles a jigsaw puzzle piece that doglegs right and needs an accurate drive to the left side. The greens here are rather large and can give you many different hole locations. If this is Florida it must mean water. There is water on many of the holes and that makes shot placement very important.

Weed uses mounds and bunkers throughout the fairways to encourage a round that rewards target golf. Many greens are guarded by collection areas that funnel missed shots away from the green. This places a premium on your chipping game. Such is the case at number nine. Nine is a long dogleg left that needs a long drive to carry a series of mounds in the fairway. There are no greenside bunkers. Collection areas protect the green and keep balls from rolling up to the green.

The par five fifteenth tests your accuracy on your tee shot, your approach and yes, even your lay up. With not one, but two water hazards protecting the entire right side, straight is must on this one. Slicers beware on this one, you’re tempting the Gods if you half any slice on this hole.

The green complexes here disguise their level of difficulty. You’ll stand in the fairway and look to see a green with few or even no bunkers and think there is no danger. Think again. The subtle, rolling terrain surrounding the greens is as unforgiving as any bunker.

All tournaments hope for a dramatic finish on the last hole and TPC Tampa makes that very possible. It is a par four with bunkers that protect the left side and water defends the right all the way up to the green. Lose your drive right and your wet, lose it left and you may find the bunkers. This green has a bunker on the left and a spine that runs through the center of the green. The water is so close on the right side that you could putt into it. You can imagine the crowds that surround the green during the tournaments as you putt out and cherish your round on this course.

When you see the name TPC attached to any course you expect it to be a high quality course and a memorable experience. TPC Tampa is just that. The facilities are excellent. The clubhouse and locker room are great. The substantial pro shop is very well stocked with plenty of logo gear. The practice areas are what you would expect the pros to practice on. The people are courteous and helpful. The course is meticulously maintained with all the qualities of a tour layout. TPC Tampa delivers what you expect, a great day of golf.


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Aloha Champions

January 26th, 2009 No comments

Bernhard Langer picked up another Champions Tour win in Hawaii. Last years rookie of the year battled the wind and Andy Bean to grab his fifth victory. Bean missed a birdie putt on eighteen to tie, but the heartbreak of the day fell upon Brad Bryant. Bryant put two balls in the water on the fifth to lose his two shot lead. He followed his 38 on the front with a 37 on the back and finished tied for eighth. Tom Watson finished at minus seven in his first regular tournament since having hip replacement surgery. Nine-time major winner, Gary Player shot 71, to go with rounds of 70 and 71. Player is 73. He beat his age three consecutive times on a championship course. That is amazing, but so is he. What does player do after his round? He goes to the gym and works out. He is absolutely incredible.

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Perez Has Hope

January 25th, 2009 No comments

Pat Perez finally broke through and won at the Bob Hope Classic. It was his 198th start on the tour and came on a day when the wind tormented the players. Perez has a reputation as a hot head, but he kept his composure as he came from three back in the final round. He finished with an eagle to put an exclamation point on his victory.

This is a tough tournament to watch if you are a real golf fan. The majority of the television time is spent interviewing celebrities and athletes that are competing in the Pro-Am. If I want to see celebrities I’ll watch the “E Channel”. If I want to see John Elway I’ll watch the NFL channel. I want to see the players play golf. This five day format is tired and the PGA Tour should think about a change.

Thankfully the pros are the only ones on the course for the fifth round. That being said, there were still plenty of compelling stories during the final round. Poor Steve Stricker taking a seven and an eight, that’s tough. The two time Comeback player of the year was a victim of the wind. Stephen Ames shoots a 63 to jump from 45th to 5th. Second year man John Merrick battling Perez for his first win on tour. You have to love it when a rookie starts to make some waves and Webb Simpson has. Simpson, a Q-School graduate finished tied for fifth. That is two top tens in two events; he is off to a great start. Sunday at the Hope turned out better than expected.

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Spain Conquers Qatar!

January 25th, 2009 No comments

At the European Tour’s Qatar Masters on Sunday it looked like the Spanish Armada was attacking this small Persian Gulf country. Alvaro Quiros led the charge and finished at nineteen under to claim the title for Spain. In fact four of the top ten finishers hailed from Spain. Miguel Angel Jiménez was tied for fifth and his countrymen Gonzalo Fdez-Castaňo and Sergio Garcia tied for tenth.

It was the twenty-six year olds third Euro Tour victory and probably earned him his first masters invite. Quiros is a long hitter, he averaged 315 yard off the tee, but his key to victory was the way he played the closing holes. For the tournament he was eight under par over the last three holes. That helped him recover from a bogey on fifteen coming down the stretch. None of the other top ten finishers played the final holes nearly as well.

The Spanish Armada could grow to be an intimidating force in golf. At this tournament these four players had world rankings of; Quiros at 74, Jiménez at 26, Fdez-Castaňo at 80 and the world number two Sergio. Garcia is 28 years old has shown that he his ready to be the best and leads the other twenty something Spaniards. Miguel Angel Jiménez has been playing his best golf lately and at 44 is beating kids half his age.

The camaraderie among the Spanish players was obvious as they all waited at the green for Quiros finish so they could celebrate. If the younger players continue to improve and Garcia keeps his putter under control, along with Jimenez’s stellar play Spain will be making plenty of noise this season.

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Happy Mother’s Day

January 25th, 2009 1 comment

At the LPGA’s first tournament ever in Brazil, Scotland’s Catriona Matthew beat Kristy McPherson by five strokes. It is Matthews’ third victory. Matthews said she was surprised by her victory since she hadn’t played in a month. Oh yea, by the way, she is five months pregnant! Take that all you lazy cart riders. Think about that the next time you play and walk!

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