Like most everybody else, I have only the vaguest of notions of what Hell is like. The whole fire and brimstone thing never actually clicked with me – hey, if it’s warm it can’t be all bad. No, my vision of Hell involves mostly images of cold and dark. And reality television. I’m guessing that Keeping Up With The Kardashians is broadcast 24/7 there.
The reason I bring this up is because the end result of my recent trip to the Bob Hope Classic is a guaranteed reservation in Hades. You see, I snuck a Flip Videocam into a PGA Tour event. And used it. Here is the damning evidence…
To enjoy golf in January in the desert, you have to acquire a taste for sunshine, zero humidity and temperatures in the upper 70’s. It’s not too bad, if you like that sort of thing. As luck would have it, I do – but that was not the motivating factor in including the Classic on the “It’s Game Time Somewhere” Tour schedule. I was actually there to see a celebrity.
…Continued from the previous post.
Most casual fans of bowling know that rolling three strikes in a row is called a Turkey. It is now my pleasure to add to that body of knowledge by sharing with you that four strikes in a row is called a Hambone.
Why? I don’t know – nor did anyone sitting near me at the World Series of Bowling. But each time a bowler recorded a fourth consecutive strike, the “Hambone” signs and cheers invariably went up in the bleachers.
Your curiosity now piqued, you may ask “What is five strikes in a row called?” Simple – “Five strikes in a row.” Or in my case, “Impossible.”
My trip to Las Vegas for this event was timed to miss all of the qualifying play that had been going on for almost two weeks at the South Point Resort’s Bowling Center. In each of the five Championships that make up the WSOB, bowlers had been progressively keggling through 12 games of medal play to narrow the field to 16, and then 9 match play games to finalize seeding.
I skipped all that and went right to the dessert – the Championship Finals, which featured the five bowlers who had accumulated the most points during that 21 game grind. And I took two helpings of the good stuff, plunking down $20 each to be part of the studio audience for the taping of the Viper and the Chameleon Championships.
If you don’t believe me, try this simple experiment on your own: Enter any Vegas casino and sit down – but not in any of the 12,594 seats at which doing so requires placing a bet or ordering food and drink. See what I mean? Spooky, huh?
So it was that I recently found myself luxuriating in the comfort of a cement bench at the taxi stand outside of South Point Resort Casino, waiting for the gates to open for the PBA World Series of Bowling. It was either that or idle away the time at the slots. Since the Demon Deacon Fantasy Football League reminds me each year that I am the world’s least talented gambler, the choice was an easy one.
…Continued from the previous post.
It’s pretty easy to see how archery came into existence as a sport.
Long, long ago, in a time that predates even ESPN, people had to eat. They noticed that animals that just might fill that express need seemed to be running by with regularity. Somebody decided to take a curved tree limb, stretch some twine between its ends and use it to propel pointy sticks at these animals.
Poof. Instant supper. After which they invented beer to wash it down.
Naturally there emerged some down time between animals running by, so the enterprising among these folks began to proactively venture out after them. They decided to call it hunting. Somewhere in there green tights and pointy leather hats came into vogue, but that’s a different story.
Here’s the point. In every group of people there’s inevitably somebody who says something like “I bet I can shoot my pointy stick closer to the middle of that tree over there than you can.” In this particular case, that guy’s name was Archie.
I’m really, really sorry, but you have to admit it – that joke was just sitting there for somebody to use.
There are perfect days and then there are perfect days. And one notch ahead of that was the day that I found myself at the ARCO Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, CA to witness the USA Archery SoCal Showdown tournament.
It was amazing to consider that I had been at another Olympic training facility just two weeks prior to that, and the environment couldn’t have been any more different. At the Bethesda Center of Excellence a drizzly morning and the mist rising from steam-heated water gushing down the whitewater river course combined to provide an almost surreal backdrop to the Canoe/Kayak Nationals.
At Chula Vista, it was brilliantly sunny and warm, with literally not a cloud in the sky. A very slight cooling breeze topped off the kind of day that needed no studio retouching to go directly to a Chamber of Commerce highlight reel.
This was where it all began. Well, not exactly here in San Jacinto, CA. But it did begin with this tournament. Back when it was called the Buy.com Inland Empire Classic, and it was played at Empire Lakes Golf Course in Rancho Cucamonga. And I was the Special Assistant to the Operations Director. In other words, I was a volunteer with a job description heavy on “Other Tasks As Asasigned”.
Tasks like pounding hundreds of stakes into the sun-baked desert ground, and then stringing miles of yellow nylon rope along them, so as to keep the anticipated crowds from surging onto the course and interfering with play. You know how rabid those golf fans can be.
It was my very first event in my newly chosen career in the golf business, and I went at it with gusto. A week of precious little sleep and not much to eat. Days filled with long hours in the hot sun. It was heaven. The first step on my eventual path to succeed PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem – a progression so natural they wouldn’t even have to change the monogramming on the executive suite hand towels.
…Continued from the previous post.
The very first thing I noticed about the 2010 Lawn Bowls U.S. Open was the smell. It smelled like golf – more specifically like a putting green first thing in the morning. Which was no coincidence, since the Newport Harbor Lawn Bowling Club’s entire playing area was one big painstakingly manicured putting green.
I liked the place immediately, even if it did evoke suppressed memories of 90-hour work weeks as a golf course GM. I managed to fight off the reflexive duck and cover response and find a bench from which to survey the scene.
I had been surprised to learn that the Newport Harbor Lawn Bowling Club was not a private facility. It is actually part of a larger, meticulously maintained public recreation facility in Corona del Mar, California. Open to anyone who wants to learn the game. That in a nutshell, encapsulates the vague public perception of the sport – for the small portion of the population that even holds a perception.
OK, the name is kind of quirky – I’ll give you that. Why not call it lawn bowling? That would at least give people a head start on relating to the concept. That will also cut down on the confusion created by the fact that “bowls” is the name of the game, the equipment AND the action taken. As in “One bowls with his lawn bowls in lawn bowls”. But I digress.
Let’s get one thing straight right from the start. Lawn bowls is NOT bocce. Yes, it bears a family resemblance. But lumping them together is like saying that the Soapbox Derby and NASCAR racing are the same thing because both involve something with four tires and a steering wheel.
The U.S. Women’s Open started play today in Oakmont. And while Brittany Lang ended up as the first round leader, it was the leader in the clubhouse for most of the day that received the most attention. And absolutely nobody knew who Kelli Shean was.
But I did.
In fact, while attending the NCAA Women’s Golf Western Regional in May, I had a nice conversation with the father of Kelli Shean’s University of Arkansas teammate, Kristin Ingram. While we were talking, Kelli walked by and said something to Mr. Ingram, using a combination of spoken words and sign language.
After she had passed I asked if she was hearing impaired, and was told that yes, she was – but that she hated that term and didn’t consider herself handicapped at all. In fact, she was a decorated junior golfer that had been recruited from her native South Africa — and had been Arkansas’ #1 player all year.
I thought that to be noteworthy and included it in my Mother’s Day post, “For The Golf Parents”. So as the golf media scrambled today to get some background on this unknown golfer, I recognized her immediately. And I was happy to see that dozens of people received their first introduction to her background information via my blog today.
Ahh, the advantages that come with always knowing that It’s Game Time Somewhere.
Posted in Alerts & Updates, Golf | Tagged Brittany Lang, Kelli Shean golfer, Lang golf lead, NCAA Women's Golf Western Regional, U.S. Women's Open | Leave a comment
Show of hands – How many of you think I picked the PGA Tour to wrap up my Tour de Tours because it’s the best of the four that I covered?
OK, it’s an intelligent guess…but it’s wrong.
I came to Hartford for the final round of the Travelers Championship for much the same reason that I started my mini-journey with the Futures Tour’s City of Hammond Classic. It gave me an opportunity to go home. And while the Futures Tour represented going home professionally, the Travelers Championship involved going home personally.