by Jeff Skinner
While Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy were playing their two man exhibition in China they were wearing microphones and we got to hear Tiger and Rory talk to each other just like we do with our buddies as we play our round. No one should be shocked that there were a few F-bombs dropped between the two. This is how jocks talk, this is how men talk and plenty of women too. Anyone with an issue …get over it.
by Jeff Skinner
What do you do when a hurricane is approaching and everyone one around you is preparing for 60 mph winds, ten inches of rain and everything else associated with a hurricane? If you’re a normal person you hunker down with a few days of supplies, cross your fingers and hope that the worst doesn’t hit you.
But if you’re a golf addict with a bad jones for a round of golf you head out to the course. If you are really sick you head to a tough course. But if you are terminally ill with the golf obsession you head out to Bethpage Black. That’s what I did on Sunday with three other mentally disturbed golfers.
I had been trying to get back on The Black for a few months but between our schedules, work, weather, aeration, early sundown and a half dozen other variables the best we could do was Sunday at 12:50. As Hurricane Sandy headed up to New York the four of us were confident we could play but we were certain to be soaked to the bone and we prepared accordingly.
Luckily, there were some less confident golfers who cancelled their tee times so before we left Sunday for the ride to Long Island I was able to trade up to a 12:05 time. After we showed up at Bethpage and checked in we were told to head right out to the first tee and we would probably go right off. Now that’s about as rare as making a birdie on the 15th at The Black. Nobody ever birdies the 15th and no one ever “tees right off” at The Black.
Amazingly, that’s just what happened. With a chance to get on the course earlier and therefore have no worries about the setting sun ending our round early, we passed on our warm up and headed to the starter’s shack. And yes, due to a bunch of cancellations all we had to do was wait for one group on the tee to clear and we were off.
So we got our wish: playing The Black in cool, wet, windy conditions as Sandy approached. Playing The Black is no easy task. It is long and difficult and a chore even in the best of conditions but with a three club wind howling at us and no roll on a rain softened course we needed to have our head examined for taking on such a foolish challenge.
The four of us proceeded to hack our way around The Black and after a few holes we were warmed up enough to start making some pars. The weather was surprisingly accommodating as there was little rain and all we needed to battle was the wind and of course Mr. Tillinghast’s creation.
Two of my group were playing The Black for the first time and they wouldn’t have missed the chance for anything. If the course is open, we are playing was their rallying cry and a little rain or a hurricane wasn’t going to deter them.
The four off us took the weather as a challenge and tried to appreciate the fact that we were playing one of the toughest courses in the nation and doing it under the toughest of conditions. We were golfers and real golfers don’t care about the elements. Our scores reflected the challenge but all of us were glad we made the choice to test The Black on the toughest of days. And a tip of the cap to all those golfers that braved Sandy’s winds to walk The Black: we weren’t the only fools out there.
This was my second excursion on The Black and on the first trip we were treated to a tornado that left the area without power for a week. So maybe the golf gods are trying to tell me something; first a tornado, then a hurricane. What’s next a tsunami?
But I know even if there was a forecast for a tsunami or an earthquake or whatever I would probably be right there again, alongside all those other addicts, walking The Black. After all, this addiction is incurable and The Black is…well, The Black.
Click here for a link to The Bethpage Pro Shop. It is full of the history of Bethpage and plenty of great info on The Black and all things Bethpage.
by Jeff Skinner
It was a big weekend for many golfers as all the tour’s had some kind of tournament going on. Suzann Pettersen won for the second consecutive week on the LPGA Tour and Nick Watney earned his second win of 2012 at the CIMB Classic. Peter Hanson edged Rory McIlroy at the European Tour’s BMW Masters and David Frost topped Bernhard Langer at the Champions Tour’s AT&T Championship.
All were deserving champions but none of those tournaments will have the long range effect on their champions as the 25 winners on the Web.com Tour this past weekend.
Yes, I said 25 winners because the Web.com Tour Championship is home to one of the best Sundays of the golf season. After toiling all season trying to pile up that hard earned cash the top 25 money winners on the Web.com Tour qualify for tour cards to the PGA Tour for the 2013 season.
The top 25 on the web.com Tour are handed their PGA Tour Cards in a ceremony after the Tour Championship and it has to be one of the best moments of the golf season. There are some familiar faces coming back to the big leagues and a new crop of twenty-somethings making their tour debut.
It isn’t winning a major championship and actually some of the top 25 haven’t even won on the Web.com Tour but earning a spot on the PGA Tour is a life changing event for all the 25 be they new members or older veterans returning to the tour. It’s simply one of the best Sundays on any tour.
by Jeff Skinner
The calendar may say November but to look at all the golf being played this week you would think it’s the middle of July. Asia is the hot spot this week as three different tours try to reap some riches from golf crazy Asia.
The PGA Tour is in Malaysia as Tiger Woods and 47 other golfers tee it up in Kuala Lumpur at the CIMB Classic. Click here for scores.
The European Tour continues its Race to Dubai with a detour through China. Rory McIlroy and ten of his Ryder Cup teammates are among the field in Shanghai at the BMW Masters. Only Sergio Garcia took a pass. Click here for scores.
The Asian party continues on the LPGA Tour as Yani Tseng defends in her homeland of Taiwan at the Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship. Click here for scores.
Back on U.S. soil, The Champions Tour is down in Texas at the AT&T Championship. Click for scores.
And maybe the most important tournament of the week is being played in another part of Texas at The Web.com Tour Championship where on Sunday evening 25 players will be handed PGA Tour playing cards for the 2013 season. Click for scores.
And let’s not forget all the Q-School action going on. The first stage is being played this week and The Golf Channel is tracking all fourteen sites. Click here.
But if that isn’t enough golf for you, or maybe it’s too much, just check out the video below as Ian Poulter gets some tips on a few trick shots from golf trick shot artist Geoff Swain. (Tip of the visor to Shane bacon and his Eye on Golf Blog.)
by Jeff Skinner
Have you ever wondered what professional golfers do when they’re not playing or jetting around the world? Well, it looks like Jesper Parnevik likes to dance, and not just any style of dance but he does it Gangnam Style. Now for those poor souls that have no idea what “Gangnam Style” is, according to Wikipedia it “refers to a lifestyle associated with the Gangman district of Seoul, South Korea.”
Now, I have it on good authority the key to doing it Gangnam Style is to “dress classy, dance cheesy.” So here’s Jesper and his crew, which includes Dustin Johnson, Richard Johnson, Will MacKenzie, Fredik Jacobson, Marc Turnesa and some friends doing it Gangnam Style. This video was a birthday gift to his friend Brenda. It’s a riot.
by Jeff Skinner
With Tommy Two Gloves Gainey showcasing his homemade swing as he hacked his way to victory at The McGladrey Classic the boys over at The Golf Channel got to thinking “Who has the most unorthodox swing in the game?”
Ryan Lavner posed that question to a few of his colleagues at The Golf Channel and as expected there wasn’t a consensus but rather four different candidates possessing their own unique way of getting the ball in the hole.
With Tommy Two Gloves’ sizzling 60 still fresh in his mind, Jason Sobel stuck with the latest winner on the PGA Tour. “Whatever your descriptive terminology preference, it’s clear to see that Gainey is unconventional in the best way. He uses a true baseball grip, bends more at the waist than any instructor would recommend and dips his head like an 18-handicap. He lists his brother as his lone swing coach, perhaps because no one else could teach that move, let alone help him maintain it.”
Rex Hoggard cast his ballot for Bubba Watson’s swing that gives him the long driving title and at the same time has more curves than Beyonce. No golfer works the ball like Bubba who plays a twenty to thirty yard draw or fade depending on what shot he feels like at the moment. “Watson’s swing is long and loose and virtually uncoachable. In the wake of his Masters victory in April numerous swing coaches said they wouldn’t take on Watson as a student because, as one coach said, “there is no way to teach that.”
Ryan Lavner’s pick is old reliable Jim Furyk. David Feherty once said Furyk’s swing looked like an octopus falling out of a tree and he wasn’t far off. But like all our candidates it’s repeatable, for him at least, and it has served him well. “Furyk’s hands are so low, it looks like he’s trying to receive a snap under center. His downswing looks like he’s trying to slap a hockey puck. His lower-body action looks like he’s trying to hula-hoop.” Whatever it looks like it has earned him over $52 million on tour and there are plenty of classic swings who can’t come close to Furyk.
Randell Mell went off the reservation for his pick and chose the Web.com Tour player Josh Broadaway. If you’re looking for unique, here it is. Want unorthodox, you got it. I thought Tommy Gainey was a shoe-in for this honor but after seeing Broadaway I have to agree with Mell. Josh Broadaway has one very different golf swing. He’s a natural left handed player that still uses his left hand grip on a set of right handed clubs. He hits it cross handed and I don’t know how he doesn’t break his wrist. “A left-handed batter in youth baseball, Broadaway couldn’t find left-handed clubs growing up, and so as a young boy he put his left-hander’s grip on the right-handed clubs. He tried to change for a time to a conventional grip, but it never felt comfortable, so he went back. Broadaway, 34, was good enough cross-handed to Monday qualify for The Honda Classic last year and make the cut. He barely missed graduating to the PGA Tour last year, finishing 28th in money winnings on the now Web.com Tour, three spots short of a PGA Tour card. He’s 75th in money this year but still determined to someday become the first player to win a major cross-handed.”
Check out Broadaway’s swing and be you’ll be amazed at how relaxed and smooth it looks. This has to be the most unorthodox swing in the professional game.
by Jeff Skinner
It reads like a Hollywood script: an unknown golfer with a homemade swing and a catchy nickname comes from nowhere to do battle with the best golfers in the world. Only this time it wasn’t a movie and the leading man didn’t miss his chance at a life changing victory.
Unlike Roy McAvoy in Tin Cup, Tommy “Two Gloves” Gainey shot the round of his life on Sunday to win his first PGA Tour event at the McGladrey Classic.
Gainey shot a course record and a personal best 60 over the Seaside Course at Sea Island, Georgia to come from seven shots off the lead to reach the pinnacle of his professional career. Gainey had to overtake a pair of seasoned veterans as host Davis Love III and his pal Jim Furyk started the day tied for the lead at -13. With Gainey at a distant -6 any chance at winning was a very, very long shot.
But Tommy Two Gloves’ entire professional career has been a long shot. After turning pro in 1997 he spent years playing the mini tours and earning money on the golf course the old fashioned way. The South Carolina native became a mini tour legend in the south and had the good fortune to make his way onto the Golf Channel’s Big Break not once but twice. He won his last appearance on the Big Break and in doing so became a bit of a cult hero.
After joining the PGA Tour in 2008 Gainey’s contorted swing and southern charm garnered him an even bigger following and he quickly became a fan favorite. He lost his card in 2010 and spent that year on the Web.com Tour but earned his way back to the big leagues in 2011 and won an impressive $2.1 million finishing 30th on the money list.
But 2012 had been a difficult year for Gainey with injuries affecting him early on. In his first 18 tournaments this year he missed nine cuts and withdrew twice. But as he got healthier he made more cuts and on Sunday he rode his hot putter to the winner’s circle. Click here for the recap.
After going out in 31 the talk of a possible 59 started but Gainey stayed focused, “I wasn’t thinking about 59,” Gainey said. “See, all I did all day was just try to make birdies – and a lot of birdies – because when you’re seven shots back, your chances of winning a PGA tournament with the leaders, Davis Love III and Jim Furyk … it don’t bide in your favor, man. I’m in this position, and man, it feels like I’m in a dream. I’m just waiting for somebody to slap me upside the head or pinch me or something to wake me up.”
After he signed for his 60 he still had over two hours to kill while the leaders made their moves at him. But Love rinsed a ball and Furyk made a few poor swings coming down the stretch. David Toms was the real threat to Gainey as he birdied four holes late in the round and only needed a birdie on the last to tie Two Gloves. But an errant drive foiled his chances.
Gainey was on the range when Love and Furyk finished and couldn’t believe that he had held on to win. “You got future Hall of Famers chasing me – chasing ME now,” he said. “I’m Tommy Gainey. I’m `Two Gloves.’ I shot 60 today and you got Jim Furyk, Davis Love III and David Toms chasing me. I mean, I was nervous. … I was paying attention, and you know, it just worked out for me.”
“Oh, man,” Gainey said. “I tell you, you’re out here on the PGA Tour. You’re playing with the best players in the world. Ninety-nine percent of these guys have already won, and won majors, big tournaments. The only show I can say I’ve won is the `Big Break.’ Now I can sit here and say I’ve won the McGladrey Classic here at Sea Island, and I’m very proud to be in this tournament and very proud to win. And wow, it’s been a whirlwind day.
“I didn’t know having 24 putts and shooting 60 would be like this,” he said. “So I’m pretty stoked about it.”
Tommy Two Gloves Gainey and his unorthodox swing will never be confused with the likes of Phil and Tiger or Rory but there’s something special about this guy. Maybe it is his swing that looks more like ours than it does Adam Scott’s. Or maybe it’s the fact that he makes the most out of the talent that he has with hard work and determination. Or it could be his soft-spoken southern, gentlemanly way he carries himself. Maybe it’s his graciousness and his humility. Or maybe it’s the joy we get watching a “regular guy” reach heights beyond his grasp and realize his dream. Yea, that’s it…all of it. There’s a lot to like about Two Gloves and his nickname is only a small part of it.