Archive for December, 2009

End of the Year Recap

December 31st, 2009 No comments

by Jeff Skinner

Over the past year I’ve had a chance to write and rant on plenty of subjects. Looking back, I have had a real ball this year. So here’s a recap of some of my favorite spots from October, November and December 2009. Yes, December is a Tiger heavy month but just like the golf course, he dominated the tabloids to.

Probably my most embarrassing piece was “Thank God it’s Tiger” where I explained how lucky we were that Tiger wasn’t a knucklehead. I was wrong like everyone else.

Arnie gave us his rules of golf and the times were-a-changing at The Road Hole.

It’s time for a truly International LPGA Tour and believe it or not, sleeping can help your golf game.

I nominated Michelle Wie for Comeback Player of the Year, named my Players of the Year and profiled a golf course run by volunteers for veterans only.

We watched Phil beat Tiger in the wee hours of the morning and Phil started his 2010 season a little early.

Then came Thanksgiving and the fire hydrant that brought down a Tiger. We all know nothing good happens at 2 o’clock in the morning. Before the stuff really hit the fan I came up with a Top Ten List for Tiger and even John Daly was giving him advice. Tiger’s apology seemed like he was sorry he got caught. Tiger-Gate dominated the headlines through December and we all realized that Tiger had Duped Us All.


2009 Recap…August & September

December 30th, 2009 No comments

by Jeff Skinner

Over the past year I’ve had a chance to write and rant on plenty of subjects. Looking back, I have had a real ball this year. So here’s a recap of some of my favorite spots from August and September 2009, some were spot on and some were way out there…but they all were fun.

Right in the middle of another one of John Daly’s comebacks he lost it again and was ready to quit golf, but I was still rooting for him.

YE Yang made history as the first Korean man to win a major when he stopped Tiger from claiming his fifteenth at the PGA. Yang actually “out-Tigered” Tiger, as he stole his identity for the final round of the PGA. With Tiger going 0-4 in the majors, I called his season a failure. Little did we know what a failure 2009 would turn out to be for Woods.

A star was re-born as Michelle Wie paced the US to a Solheim Cup victory.

At the Deutsche Bank Championship I got to walk inside the ropes with Tiger Woods and Lucas Glover. It’s totally different being on the inside.

Did you ever get a call from the golf course? I did and was I shocked.


2009 Recap…June and July

December 29th, 2009 No comments

by Jeff Skinner

Over the past year I’ve had a chance to write and rant on plenty of subjects. Looking back, I have had a real ball this year. So here’s a recap of some of my favorite spots from June and July 2009, some were spot on and some were way out there…but they all were fun.

June and July are wonderful months for golf, The Memorial, The US Open and The Open Championship highlight the most exciting period of the golf season. I called The Memorial the “Living Masters.” It’s Jack’s tribute to his hero, Bobby Jones and his favorite tournament, The Masters. Tiger was busy making Jack’s Memorial a part of his 2009 comeback and he proved why we call him “Tiger Freaking Woods”.

I spent a few wet, mud soaked days at The US Open and watched Bethpage Black morph into Bathpage Black. Bethpage was great and the play was even better. I watched Phil Mickelson in his role as “The Hero of New York” and David Duval play the comeback kid. Winner Lucas Glover played great down the stretch and was playing on fumes the next week at The Travelers.

I appreciate playing golf with experienced golfers and “playing with the old dudes” always makes me smile. Father’s Day brought a surprising tribute to my family’s golf mentor.

There was a much needed mutiny at The LPGA during the US Women’s Open.

At the Open Championship Tom Watson stole the show from golfers half his age. He played like it was 1977 all over again and felt the true spirit of Turnberry all week. Stewart Cink was the eventual winner but Watson’s week captivated anyone who saw any part of The Open. He was the best story of the year.


2009 Recap…Continued

December 28th, 2009 No comments

by Jeff Skinner

Over the past year I’ve had a chance to write and rant on plenty of subjects. Looking back, I have had a real ball this year. So here’s a recap of some of my favorite spots from April and May 2009, some were spot on and some were way out there…but they all were fun.

The Masters always dominates spring golf and this year was no different. We recapped “The Greatest Masters Ever”, Jack’s 1986 win and Gary’s 1978 comeback. We even hoped for a little Miracle at the Masters on April Fool’s Day. Angel Cabrera may have won The Masters, but Kenny Perry was the Masters Hero.

After The Masters, I suggested that Tiger should lighten up a little but I guess we all realize now that he had an awful lot on his mind back then. About the same time we did a piece on his niece, Cheyenne Woods which was picked up on the front page of Yahoo.

David Feherty showed us how much he loves the troops.

I researched how much playing the Golf Digest Top Ten Courses would cost us everyday golfers. We suggested two sure fire ways to help your score: Play from the right tees and there is no thinking allowed on the golf course.


Great Stuff From 2009

December 27th, 2009 No comments

by Jeff Skinner

Over the past year I’ve had a chance to write and rant on plenty of subjects. Looking back, I have had a real ball this year. So here’s a recap of some of my favorite spots from February and March 2009, some were spot on and some were way out there…but they all were fun.

Links Life Golf profiled two 2009 rookies, Stacy Lewis and Webb Simpson. We followed their success all season. Stacy Lewis is the Best Story in Golf and Webb Simpson, Hot Rookie on Tour.

In a pair of articles about Jack and Tiger we compared their results on the course and we suggested that Tiger could learn much from the way Jack handled his family life on tour. It was long before Thanksgiving Day accidents and mistresses on TMZ. Tiger vs. Jack and  Tiger Should Copy Jack One More Time.

Even back then we knew Tiger wasn’t the coolest guy in golf and that all professional golfers needed more friends.  Tiger Woods is Not the Coolest Guy in Golf and Pro Golfers need More Friends.

We first saw double heart transplant recipient, Erik Compton play on The PGA Tour. There wasn’t a more emotional story on tour all year. Erik Compton Shows Real Heart.


Happy Holidays and Some Old Stuff

December 26th, 2009 No comments

by Jeff Skinner

Happy Holidays

Over the past year I’ve had a chance to write and rant on plenty of subjects. Looking back, I have had a real ball this year. So here’s a recap of some of my favorite spots from 2009, some were spot on and some were way out there…but they all were fun.

I asked President Obama to Pass the Golfer’s Bill of Rights.

If you’re a real sports fan, you have to appreciate the beauty of Multiple Televisions.

Here are two of my favorite courses: Turtle Bay in Hawaii and Garrison Golf Course, my very first post to Links Life Golf.


Merry Christmas

December 25th, 2009 No comments

Merry Christmas to All

Have a Great Holiday from All of Us at Links Life Golf


Tiger Takes a Few More Blows

December 24th, 2009 No comments

by Jeff Skinner

There is more news to digest in the Tiger-Gate mess and it just keeps getting deeper. It seems that Tiger has been dealt another blow in his public relations meltdown. Golf Digest has announced that it will be suspending its Tiger Woods column while he is on his hiatus from golf. It can be understood that while Woods is away from golf his column will be silent, but couple that with Accenture and Gillette’s pull back from Woods and the fact that AT&T has said it’s reevaluating its relationship with Tiger and it can be construed that the previously solid Woods image machine is breaking down. How long can Tiger’s image continue to take unanswered attacks?

Another professional golfer has broken ranks and taken Tiger to task for his behavior. As reported by The Daily News, LPGA golfer, Helen Alfredsson has said that she had heard of Tiger’s affairs last summer during the British Open. Alfredsson is Swedish, like Tiger’s wife Elin and fellow golfer Jesper Parnevik who has also spoken out about Tiger’s philandering. It seems that the Swedes stick together and protect their own. Alfredsson is a confident and outspoken player. At the Sybase Classic this year I got to see her up close and could see that she is comfortable with herself and is a very plain spoken and straight forward person. Alfredsson thinks Tiger is cold and crude and there is something odd about him: “In the quietest water swims the ugliest fish,” she said. Alfredsson, 44, called Woods “cold” and said there is “something odd about him. If he just paid for the escorts, I would understand it a bit more,” she said. “Then no one needed to know. But now he did everything and a girlfriend and everything.”

Could this be the start of golfers speaking out about Tiger? I doubt it. Alfredsson’s career and earnings are not as tied to Tiger as the boys on the PGA tour. The fellows on the PGA Tour have seen their earnings double since Woods came on tour and Tiger has made many of them millionaires over and over again. There won’t be many PGA pros that knock Woods. Leave it to Helen Alfredsson, she’s not afraid to speak her mind.


A New List for Tiger

December 23rd, 2009 No comments

Holiday Cheer to All!

As Andy Williams sings, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” and we here at Links Life Golf are full of joy and maybe a little too full of holiday spirits. After consulting with our holiday advisers, Jose Cuervo and Captain Morgan, we present to you a compilation of potential “Tiger Girls.” Who knows what the final number of conquests will be when it all plays out and Tiger has sent his last hush money payout. Here is a list of candidates for Tiger, so he could broaden (literally) his collection beyond waitresses, porn stars and hookers. We’ve also come up with a few that are guaranteed locks never to appear on any “I Did Tiger” list.

Warning: If you can’t handle any more laughs at Tiger’s expense skip it and move on to TMZ so you can see the latest pictures of Rachel Uchitel strolling on the beach looking for Tiger’s yacht.

Chics we’d like to see on Tiger’s list (or at least give them a chance Tiger):

Madonna: How did Tiger ever miss her? She had more jocks than the locker room attendant at Giants Stadium. With her workout regimen the two would be a perfect match.

Kathy Griffin: She has some qualities Tiger likes: plastic surgeons have spent plenty of time on her and she already has her own reality TV show. Forget those cell phone pictures and phone messages, Kathy would have the whole deal on tape and cued up for her next show.

Mimi: You remember her, she’s that hefty, heavy made up secretary on the old “Drew Carey Show.” Tiger likes buxom women and she fits the bill, plus she’s got a little more meat on her bones. Time to try some all natural meat Tiger and get off that surgically enhanced stuff.

Tyra Banks: Come on Tiger; give a woman of color a chance. Tyra has curves in all the right places and knows the pressures of celebrity well. She thinks she’s the biggest one out there! Tiger has got to expand his palate and get off a diet of all white meat.

Sarah Palin: It’s time to get active in politics. Sarah likes to think she is the future of the Republican Party (God help us) and is crisscrossing the country promoting her book. It could be an easy hook up in Vegas: no one ever rats Tiger out there and Palin would never be recognized in Vegas.

Martha Stewart: If Tiger continues to stay secluded, he’ll have to have his needs fulfilled at some point. Martha could whip up a few special meals for Woods; we know he has a healthy appetite. At the same time Martha could satisfy his other appetite, after all, Tiger likes a little Cougar every now and then.

Amy Winehouse: Tiger has shown his preference for skanks and who is the queen of skanks? It has to be Winehouse. Picture it: the two of them passed out, hammered, after a night or two of fun together. Yeech!

Chics guaranteed not to be on Tiger’s list:

Mother Teresa: She’s dead.

Ellen DeGeneres: She plays for the other team.

Mrs. Claus: Tiger has never been to the North Pole.

Mrs. Butterworth: Her sugar content is too high.

Aunt Jemima: She’s too hefty and until Tiger gives Tyra Banks a try, Auntie has no chance.


Tiger: “What Happened?”

December 22nd, 2009 No comments

by Jeff Skinner

There are only a few golf writers that have had access to Tiger Woods like Jaime Diaz has. Through their mutual association with Golf Digest, Diaz has interviewed Woods at season’s end for the past eight years. This year there is no interview, only a piece by Diaz that asks the question we all are wondering, “What Happened?”

Diaz offers his experienced insights into how Tiger finds himself in his current dilemma and is sure he’ll come out of it a changed man, but still the dominant golfer he was previously. Even as an accomplished junior golfer he was wary of the media and asked Diaz, “Why do they have to know everything?”

Diaz recounts the pressure Earl Woods place on Tiger: “Earl in particular couldn’t refrain from portraying his son as perfect. The litany was long, with relatively small pronouncements, like Tiger never playing golf until he had completed his homework, to bigger ones, like Tiger being “incapable” of lying, to the supersized: Tiger would be more important than Gandhi. An oft-repeated phrase is one I heard at our first meeting: “I’m very proud that Tiger is a better person than he is a golfer.”

Tiger’s fall from grace has shown him to be much less than his father envisioned and Woods will never be thought of as the man his dad had thought he could be. As the Woods image grew, Tiger found it tougher to function: As Tiger’s life in his 30s became more tangled, he turned more inward. His inner circle got smaller and tighter, and those who overstepped or didn’t fit in were jettisoned. The best advice for those who are around Woods remains, “Don’t get too close.” Those who were the closest saw the pressures and the toll. Out of sympathy, and the fact that he is their employer, they didn’t call Woods on imperfect behavior like swearing, banging clubs and blowing by autograph lines. Within his camp, Tiger in a bad mood would be characterized in golf jargon: “Unplayable.”

We have seen it too often with gifted athletes that are meal tickets for many people: no one wants to say no to them. No one will tell them what they are doing is wrong or hurtful.

Last year was probably the most uncomfortable I’ve ever seen Woods. Coming off eight months of intense rehab for his left knee that didn’t produce full healing, he was noticeably irritable. The fact that a witness in the police report after Tiger’s accident said that Woods had been prescribed Vicodin, a strong prescription painkiller, gives pause. And it’s not unreasonable to assume that his marriage was unhappy for quite some time.

Whatever the reasons, at times he was uncharacteristically rude. One of the telling images of the year came after he bounced his driver into the crowd in Australia. After fans retrieved the club, Woods took it without so much as a glance, let alone an apology.

Diaz wonders how a man that is normally so careful could lead such a reckless life. It’s another case of a young man thinking he is “bulletproof.”

Putting aside questions of infidelity, what’s intriguing is why Woods — always so calculating, detail-oriented and careful — was so reckless. With so much to lose, how could he be heedless enough to leave an e-mail, voicemail and text-message trail to tabloid hell?

Woods and his team were very careful to build his “perfect image” but Diaz seems to be stating that Woods is just another athlete that can’t control his appetite.

It doesn’t matter that Woods has never been comfortable on the pedestal of moral superiority. Doesn’t matter that philandering has been part of pro golf since the Scots were stuffing featheries, or that it’s pervasive in other sports. Woods was supposed to be the guy with the superhuman discipline to withstand temptation, the example that millions of parents held up to their children, our vicarious thrill ride to the outer limits of human potential. We had presumed him, above all others, to be special. Betraying all that exacted a commensurate public disgrace.

I think it’s odd that Tiger talks of integrity and honesty when it comes to the game of golf but has no use for those traits in his personal life.

Diaz predicts that Woods will once again be the dominant golfer he was but will forever be a changed man.

Woods’ old mystique — that of the chilly Chosen One immune to human weakness — is gone. It might well be that his former domination or even his competitive desire goes with it. Still, he has a chance to attain something more human. When he re-emerges, Woods will have truly suffered. Not knee-injury suffering, not even loss-of-father suffering. Rather the kind of suffering that heroes who have ruined their charmed lives confront at the climax of Shakespearean tragedy.

Woods may be suffering, but it is a suffering inflicted by his own hand, not by the press or tabloids, not by the cocktail waitresses or hostesses, not by anyone other than Woods himself. He has caused more suffering than he has endured and his wife and children will have to live with the tainted life he has forced upon them. This is not the Tiger Woods that his dad had envisioned. This is the Tiger Woods created by Tiger and his team of yes men and hangers on, all too afraid to challenge their meal ticket, their golden goose, when he spun out of control.

Just as it isn’t an overstatement to see the fallen Woods in such a context, so it is difficult to understate the potential scale of his redemption. Through all his folly, Woods has made passing Nicklaus’ major record an even greater feat than it would have been without it. Because the ultimate measure of a man is not what he achieves, it’s what he overcomes.

Diaz is right; the measure of a man is in what he overcomes. However, in Tiger’s case this mess is all of his own doing. Do you get credit for overcoming something you caused yourself? Not in my book.