Back And Loaded With Hot Takes

Four Posts In 3 Months Isn’t Bad For A Dead Guy

Okay, okay, okay……I’ve been a little detached from this place for most of the summer. Vacations, kids, work, and most importantly my own golf game have taken priority over talking about golf on the interwebs. That’s just the way it is. I warned you. But tonight the wife has the kids out of town and I’ve got some time to babble on about what’s happened in golf for a few months. While the dog stares at me and wonders if I murdered the rest of the family I’ll press on and hope the beer fairy shows up with better shit than I’ve got in the man cave fridge right now. Here we go.

The Players

All I’ve written since the Players is a post about people who blocked me on Twitter and various course reviews. Forgive me while I go back to May for my 1st hot take out of the barrel. On Mother’s Day the Players reminded us again while it will never be a major we give a fuck about. First, having it on Mother’s Day doesn’t help. That’s the one day you’re supposed to do something with your mom, for your wife, etc. The 1% of ladies who want to watch 4.5 hours of golf on NBC on the 1st nice day of the year doesn’t actually exist. Second, do you remember who won? I just had to Google it. Si Woo Kim beat Louis Oosthuizen and Ian Poulter by three shots. Rafa Cabrera Bello and Kyle Fucking Stanley rounded out the top 5.

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Besides Louis, those names scream “major” don’t they? Poulter treated 2nd like he won. Fuck that shankapotomus loser. And then the defending champ shows up to give the winner the trophy in a Swoosh t-shirt….like he was in the gym getting swolll and took a break to get the crystal out of his locker and bring it to Kim? Major indeed. Pray they move it back to March. Next.

The U.S. Open 

Cool course. Shitty luck with the weather. Deserving champion. Saturday fireworks. Sunday dud. That’s about it, right? I really would have enjoyed a Justin Thomas or Rickie Fowler victory. Both those lads played splendidly for 54 to 63 holes and didn’t get it done on Sunday. Thomas’ 3 wood nearly put itself in the hall of fame with the three shots he hit in the 3rd round with it. I’m still in awe.

In the end it was Koepka who finally broke through. He deserved it. He was even more impressive than Thomas but was also more steady and consistent throughout the championship. I’m not sure he would have won had the course been firm and fast as it is intended, but if my aunt had a dick she’d be my uncle. Koepka’s only problem was having Joe Buck call his current girlfriend by his ex’s name. Oops for Buck, but that probably got Brooksie double laid for a week. You did see Miss Jenna Sims, right?

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Messing that up should prove Buck isn’t interested in women. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Koepka took the girl and the trophy to Vegas to party for a long weekend after his 1st major victory. What a life.

The Golden Boy

The Summer of Spieth began a week after the U.S. Open when homie got super angry after holing out in a playoff to win and threw his wedge at his caddie (yes, that’s sarcasm).

All joking aside, that’s Eldrick-like shit right there. Cool to see as a fan, but that’s about right when I started to not root for Jordan Spieth. He’s too good. He always says the right thing. He gets breaks and takes advantage of them in route to victories. I find it maddening. I’m not rooting against him, but a Daniel Berger victory would have been more interesting to me. I know I’m in the minority.

Fast forward to the British Open. I was rooting for Kuchar. Spieth was phenomenal in how he went around Royal Birkdale. But the reality is on any other day and with any other player that 5 on 13 is a double bogey 6. That’s a 2 shot margin for Kuchar and a lot bigger of a hill to climb. Spieth took advantage of the rules and had the level head to keep all options open when seeking a drop on the practice range. Good for him, but holy fuck. Read that again. He got a free drop to play from the fucking driving range. Why isn’t the range out of bounds? The 10th fairway at Royal Birkdale was out of bounds from the 9th tee but the practice range is playable from anywhere? That’s a bunch of monkey shit. Without that break I’m not sure you see the birdie barrage that ended with a Mack truck running over Kuchar.

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Poor Matty.

What’s Up With Tigah?

Oh you know, just free diving for lobsters, taking pictures without his shirt, tweeting about his Raiders pool table, and walking around with busty nannies. Same old shit.

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That one, with the large crustacean, from last week……..come on. How are you doing that with a bad back but can’t hit a golf ball? This guy is full of horse shit. Either that or his doctor has some very strange rehab methods.

Then that one of the current nanny. Some say they were walking hand in hand right before the click of the camera. I doubt it because she isn’t blonde, doesn’t work at Perkins, doesn’t moo or downhill ski…..you get the idea. Of course he’s fucking her. He’s Tiger Woods. Yeah, this guy…..

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Well, I can’t have a TW take without discussing his Memorial Day DUI arrest, right? What’s with this dude and holiday weekends? Recall that his 2009 disaster began with his car hitting a fire hydrant on Thanksgiving. His bullshit about being hopped up on pain killers seems to be true but how does he not have enough people around him at all times to monitor what he’s high on and where he’s going in a car. Can’t he get an autonomous Tesla or simply order an Uber? He should have served 10 days in jail simply for being stupid.

The PGA

That’s about 1000 words to catch us all up for the summer. The PGA is of course next on the docket for majors. Glory’s Last Shot comes to Quail Hollow in Charlotte, North Carolina…..in August. Brilliant idea. It’ll be 90 degrees with 110% humidity this week. There’s a reason the normal tour event at this course comes to Charlotte in May. Move the PGA you say? Well, that’s what the AP broke today. The Players will move back to March and the PGA to May. That’s dumb too. They’ll be fine playing on Long Island, in Jersey, Ohio, and anywhere south of there but you can say goodbye to past PGA sites like Medinah, Oakland Hills, Hazeltine, and Whistling Straits. They’re all out of play for a May date. You can’t risk playing in 54 degree weather with no leaves on the trees and the ground still frozen. I don’t like the move. Texas, Florida, and other southern states have enough professional golf events. The first PGA in May comes in 2019. Let’s hope this is a 2 or 3 year experiment.

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As for the tourney itself, I’ll take Rickie Fowler. He’s due. He finished strong in Akron. And he won his first PGA Tour event at Quail Hollow. That story line seems like something Jimmy “No Pants” Nantz will be telling us about all weekend long. Enjoy it. Perhaps I’ll post about the victor before Christmas.

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Its John Deere Week, You Know What That Means…

It Means I’m Re-Blogging My TPC John Deere Course Review

An oldie but a goodie, here’s my 2013 post reviewing my trip to TPC Deere Run in 2009. Enjoy.

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Course Review: The Loop at Forest Dunes

Forest Dunes (The Loop, Red Routing) – Roscommon, MI (Architect: Tom Doak)

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Background

Forest Dunes’ 3rd owner finally figured out how to make money at his gem of a facility and decided to invest some of it back into a 2nd golf course. He turned the design over to world famous architect Tom Doak because TD sold him on his idea for the first reversible golf course in the United States. After Doak waived his magic wand, pushed some sand with a dozer, and sprinkled in some fescue seed, the Loop at Forest Dunes opened for play in June of 2016. The original course at Forest Dunes set the bar very high for for me so needless to say I was a bit excited to get on the Loop for the first time in May. In 2016 the course was only open to preview play, meaning guests staying at the Forest Dunes resort. In 2017 the public can make tee times a week in advance. The Loop is a walking only course that plays clockwise one day and counter clockwise the next. The different paths of play are known as Red and Black.

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You read that right. On a Monday you could play the Red course, which would start you off the first tee and play to the first green for that routing. On Tuesday you would play the Black course, which tees off in the other direction, down a different fairway, where your first green was your 17th the day before. I’ll go out on a limb and guess you’ve never played anything like that in your life.

From what I understand, Doak has always wanted to create a course like the Loop because he’s intimately aware that St. Andrews used to be played that way. What Doak set out to do at the Loop was accomplished and now gives the original Forest Dunes course a sibling across the street worthy of being in the same family. The vibe of the Loop smacks you right in the face as soon as you drop a ball on the fescue putting green. It sounds like someone just kicked a coffin. The greens are rock hard and meant to play that way. They’re top dressed regularly and watered only enough to keep them from dying. What lays ahead of you for the day from the first tee on feels a bit like a game of croquet being played in a neighbor’s yard.

Layout/Scenery

As you make your way across the parking lot and main drive way from the Forest Dunes clubhouse you find yourself at the caddie shack of the Loop. If you’re taking a jock, pro jock, you’ll meet your looper there and be told the routing in play for the day. On the day I visited Loop players were working with the counter clockwise routing of the Red course. If you’re looking at the 18th green, that would be to the right, nearest tee to the caddie shack. The holes are framed with fescue and some trees and brush outside of the mowed area, however, they don’t have the traditional shape you see on most courses. At the Loop most holes are laid out in a rectangular shape, like a back yard. I’ve only seen this before on certain Seth Raynor designs and Onwentsia in the Chicago area. This feature was most prominent on the Red’s 13th hole (not pictured below).

I later recalled that Doak was involved in late 1990s renovation to Onwentsia and think he might have brought some of those visuals to the Loop. That look also works well when you need to be able to play the holes in opposite directions every other day. The bunkers and fairway ribbons that traverse the square look still leave plenty for the eye to take in regarding how the hole is framed.

 

There’s nothing boring about the layout. Both routings take you in different directions so you’ll rarely play the same shot with the same wind. The mix of holes is fantastic. You’ll play a little bit of everything in long par 4s, short par 3s, long par 5s, short par 4s, long par 3s, and short par 5s. They’re all a treat. The shot above of my father-in-law playing the short par 3 sixth hole on the Red. From the back tee it might measure 125 yards, but it is no picnic. The green has different sections to play to and you’d be wise to use the natural contours of the green complex to snuggle the ball in close. We both did but walked away only with pars. You can also get a better look at the most recent top dressing that occurred 5 days earlier in that image.

What you see above is the typical look of a hole at the Loop. We played it about a month into the short northern Michigan golf season so the longer natural grass wasn’t all the way up yet and there were still trees with minimal leaves. I’m sure the property looks better in the fall when the longer grass is bronzed on the top and the trees are at peak fall foliage. There’s not water in play and no dramatic views so if I have a knock on any part of the layout it is the lack of scenery. The golf itself is a purists dream.

Score: 4.5

Conditioning

Firm, fast, and more firm. That’s what you get at the Loop. A typical 100 yard wedge shot from the fairway should be played like a 90 yard shot. 200 yards into the wind, hit your 200 yard club because the fucker is going to roll up on the green even after the wind kills it 15 yards short of the front edge. The sand based soil, fescue fairways, and bent grass greens with mucho top dressing provide you with an experience you’re probably unfamiliar with. That style of play takes a few holes to get used to but it also allows for you to be creative with your shots and play the ground game you don’t ever practice. Good luck with that.

The course is only a year old so it isn’t plush yet and to keep the rugged feel that I believe Doak wants here I don’t think you’ll ever look at the Loop as you do its perfectly manicured sibling that shares the same mailing address. That being said, the fescue fairways never left me with a bad lie.

The greens on the other hand were a bit of a conversation starter in our group. We all knew what we were getting into with how firm they are, but I think they’re pushing a very fine line. The course received almost an inch of rain the day before we played it and we still barely made ball marks. On the 8th hole I hit a pitching wedge from the fairway into the wind that released 35 feet to the back fringe. I played for 20 feet of that roll out and still only had a 12 foot putt, but yikes.

I’d like to give a score for conditioning of “incomplete” because of the newness of the track, but will forge ahead with a numeric score nonetheless. I was impressed with the fescue grasses and like the intent they’re going for on the greens. If they take the harsh edges off the greens, like dial the firmness back from 9.9 to 8, I think they’ll have it about perfect. Until then I can’t go much higher than a 4 because I did see a few trouble spots that looked out of place after a morning mow as a well as some long, healthy fescue a yard off the fairway that was nearly unfair thanks to being over watered.

Score: 4.0

Value

The original Forest Dunes course has a rack rate of $149. I think that’s a decent value considering several publications rank it as a top 100 golf course. I don’t think the Loop will ever achieve the same lofty status as its sibling, but it is a unique course and a great 2nd fiddle. Golf Digest just ranked it the 6th best course in Michigan with the first course being number 4. Not too shabby. That being said, it isn’t a great value at the $149 rate they want. Throw in a caddie fee and you’re well over $200. I liked it, but I’m not paying that freight for that course.

Now, shoulder season rates in May, early June, September and October….I’m in. Those are about $90 and if you don’t take a pro jock and carry your own bag there’s no other fee added on. Remember, no carts!

Score: 3.5

Service/Pace

Because I didn’t take a caddie I can’t say if they’re any good. The rest of the staff at FD is everything you’d expect at a 5 star course. The starter is more than helpful, but he should be as he only sees about 12 groups a day right now, and the beverage cart girls do all they can to sell you whatever you need from their parked carts along your walk. Yes, they don’t even allow the beverage carts on the course.

If I can complain about anything it is that the halfway house was closed behind the 9th green. I have no idea why other than they had so few groups scheduled to play. But at the rates you pay there someone should be working it just for 1 group on the course.

Because there’s no groups on the course to clog things up the pace is whatever you make of it. Three of us walked, two of us were in the push cart mafia, and I carried. We made it around in 4:10 with my dad taking his sweet time and me waiting out a 5 minute rain delay on the 18th green (I left rain gear in the car!).

Score: 4.5

Amenities

The facilities at Forest Dunes are 2nd to none. They have one of the best practice ranges I’ve ever used. The short game area is fantastic. A caddie program. Oh, and they’re bringing back their natural grass putting course soon! Now throw in a great restaurant, fantastic proshop, cottages, new lodges…..what more could you want?

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Hopefully nothing because there is nothing. The Forest Dunes property is in the middle of nowhere. The small town of Roscommon nearby doesn’t give you much either unless you feel like getting a bite at Fred’s and bowling if your golf is washed out. No strip clubs. No good bars. No night life. Just you and your buddies hanging out at two great golf courses among the wildlife. Enjoy it.

Score: 4.5

Difficulty

From the back tee the Loop’s rating is just over 71 on a par 70 and it plays about 6700 yards. Unless the wind is really blowing, which it can, there’s nothing a 0-15 handicapper can’t handle off the tee. Your 2nd shot is where you start to think, and overthink, or not think at all. You’re figuring yardages to the front and playing to that number. Miss a green, now you’re in a pressure cooker. The severely undulating greens that are concrete hard put a lot of stress on anyone’s short game. I usually make my money from 100 yards and in and pitching around the green. Good luck with that at the Loop, especially seeing it for the first time.

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While I noted above that there’s no tee shot that should scare you here, you’ll find plenty that don’t exactly fit your eye. Because of the lack of framing or a true target you can have trouble getting aligned properly on the tee. There’s no mowed tee boxes. There’s just 3 sets of tees in large fairway areas. They can be placed almost anywhere. Some are not exactly put in flat spots. Now picture that kind of space, getting square to a target, and trying to rip your tee shot through the wind and keep it out of the long shit. All those factors will fuck with you.

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Per usual, this rating isn’t based on a 5 being “way too hard”. I’m rating a course a 5 when I’d say it’s playable and enjoyable, but not easy, for players of all levels. There are no forced carries and I don’t think anyone in my group had a penalty stroke. My dad who plays to about a 12 scored well from the middle tees. My FIL and myself were a little bit above our averages. The Loop gives players of all levels a chance to score, but it will make a good player earn a good score too. The only reason I didn’t give it a 5 here is for the concrete greens. Firm is good, but too firm is dangerous, and too difficult for the average player.

Score: 4.5

Composite

My expectations of the Loop were pretty high thanks to my trips around the original Forest Dunes course. The Loop mostly met my expectations and the composite score came out to the very same rating as its sibling. That being said, I’d probably play the original course 7 out of 10 times now that I’ve seen them both. I plan on coming back for another look at the Loop and the Black routing sometime in 2017. Perhaps that return trip will give me a different opinion and I’ll revise some ratings.

Score:  4.25 (out of 5)

That final score is nothing to sneeze at. I’ve given lower scores to higher ranked tracks. Anytime you have a chance to play either FD course you should do it, but I’d recommend playing the Loop 2nd to the original course only because the first course gives you the true Forest Dunes experience. Shit, just stay there for a long weekend and play them both twice. You can’t go wrong.

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Course Review: Erin Hills

Seems like the right time to reboot this.

Erin Hills – Erin, WI (Architects: Michael Hurdzan, Dana Fry, & Ron Whitten)

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Bob Lang made millions selling greeting cards and then turned his passion to golf later in life. More specifically, he wanted to build a golf course that would host a major tournament in central Wisconsin. Lang sought out experts like Ron Whitten and executives at the USGA to get opinions on his dream. After showing his consultants the Kettle Moraine land he planed to build on, they were sold, and the USGA had a new project that could be the newest belle of the U.S. Open ball.

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Construction on Lang’s new love began in 2004 and the course officially opened in 2006 in Erin, Wisconsin. Erin is roughly 40 minutes west of downtown Milwaukee, but nowhere near a major highway. The course was originally built with quirks that were meant to mimic famous design characteristics of Scottish…

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Nit Twits – Who Blocked Me And Why

Cock Blockers

I haven’t sat down and written a post in some time, nearly a month. Life happens. And I warned you that I’d have to dial it down this year because of the whole life balance thing. But in the midst of my down time I decided to write this post which details my 4+ years on Twitter interacting with the golf media, Tour pros, and bloggers who want to be something more than that, who have blocked me from following them and the why behind it (if I know why). I’ve got nothing to hide. I’d love for any of them to unblock me so that I can follow along again. I’ve never blocked anyone on Twitter without first being blocked by them. An eye for an eye, so to speak. So here we go on a roll coaster ride of Twitter blockers – and try to remember that as always this site is for entertainment purposes only. I questioned why I’d even write this but you guys asked for in a Twitter poll and I refuse to disappoint you.

Brandel Chamblee, Golf Channel analyst – Brandel estimated in a recent Golf.com piece that he’s blocked 20,000+ people on Twitter. I’m just a number to him. Now I know how Wilt Chamberlin’s lovers felt. Why do I think he blocked me? I have no idea. I disagree with him plenty so it could have been anything. Or maybe I said he had a tiny prick and his Golf Channel anchor fiance is a dog face. Honestly, I don’t remember. I really don’t give a shit about ever reading a tweet he wrote again but if he unblocked me I’d go right back to giving him shit for being a dope again. Next.

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Geoff Shackleford, Golf Digest and Golf Channel contributor – Geoff is a bit of a golf traditionalist, which is a nice way to say he’s an uptight weenie. That being said, he’s a talented guy, I like his takes, and I probably agree with him more than I’d like to admit. Why did he block me? Because I posted a link to my site in the comments of his. How about just advising me not to do that? I was new to all of this crap. What do you gain by blocking someone who enjoys your work who didn’t say shit to you on Twitter? Thanks, Captain Douche Canoe.

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Ian James Poulter, Ferrari Enthusiast – Shank-o-potamus has to have blocked as many or more people than Chamblee and he also takes joy in doing it. How a guy who plays a professional sport for a living can pay attention to what any schmuck says about him on Twitter is beyond me. Ian brings it all upon himself. Somehow I  made it a few years without being blocked even though I told him he had sand in his vagina while he complained about the wind at Kapalua over four years ago. What’s more surprising is that he was even playing in the Tournament of Champions, meaning he actually won something. Who knew? What did he block me for? It may have been because I said his wife was a beard and he was really in love with a clone of himself that he keeps locked up in his Lake Nona home. Or it may have been several other insults I hurled his way. He’s annoying, he sucks. Good riddance.

Stephanie Wei, Golf Blogger – I guess she’s a blogger, I really don’t know because I have not read a post of hers in over 2 years. When she first started writing she had promise and was telling her readers interesting nuggets about tournaments and players. Then she became TMZ and her site started reading more like a teen pop magazine than it did a golf blog. I had the audacity to call Wei out once or twice for making the story about her more often than not so she blocked me. Yawn.

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Sergio Garcia, Masters Champion Are you sensing a theme here, that perhaps every European Ryder Cup stalwart has blocked me? It’s undeniable but apparently at some point in the last 4.5 years I’ve gone after the easy targets they roll out enough to get under their skin and then promptly get blocked. I despised Sergio for nearly a decade and have made countless comments about his homo-erotic love for Jose Maria Olazabal. Was that wrong of me? I don’t think so. I only said things about Garcia when he acted like the little punk bitch he often portrayed. Things have changed with him now, largely thanks to his wife to be and his green jacket. I kind of like the way he goes about his golf these days. Perhaps we can bury the hatchet and he’ll unblock me while I never say a bad word about him again. I promise.

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Lee Westwood, Best Player To Never Win A Major – Another blocker, another Euro Ryder Cupper. Again….this could have been anything. Remember when Lee used to get drunk and tweet. Those were fun times. Moving on.

No Laying Up, Website & Twitter Persona, Blogger, etc. – This one is interesting. I always liked Soly and still do. I read his work when I have time to open an incognito browser. NLU even followed me for most of my Twitter lifetime. Then one day out of the blue the least talented member of the fan boy network trolls me on a post I made 15 months prior to him tweeting at me. I never even followed him because he adds nothing to their fine site.

So homie doesn’t see the humor in my misogynistic post about the ladies of Golf Channel’s Morning Drive (it was the M/F/K post) and tries to make an example out of me to his followers because they’re adding a chick to their crew. He goes on some rant, unfollows me and then blocks me from NLU too. Good job cool guy, hopefully Chris lets you keep riding his coat tails.

Steve Elkington; Jason Gore; and Pat Perez, Tour Players – I’ll throw a blanket over all three of these fellas because they’re all related in some way. Just like 3/4 of the NLU crew I mentioned above I like all three of these guys and Elkington followed me for a while. I think things started downhill when Perez found my post about him getting married. From that and PGA Tour wife post linked within it the worst thing I said about Pat was that he out kicked his coverage and that he had a mullet. Really bro? You’re that sensitive? Apparently he is because he quit Twitter after his Tiger comments this year.

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A few months later I called Perez’ good buddy Jason Gore chubby, basically saying Gore plays into the “golfers aren’t athletes” stereotype. Gore blocked me almost instantly and I didn’t even tag him in my tweet. Elkington unfollowed and blocked me within hours of Gore’s action. Steve fucking Elkington….dude is a not stop Twitter gaffe and he blocked me for saying PP’s wife is hot, Pat has a mullet, and Jason is portly. What am I missing?

 

HashTag Chad, Social Media guy at Callaway Golf – Of the 12 Twitter accounts I’ve noted in this post, 6 of them are people I like and wouldn’t mind being able to read their tweets again. Chad is one of them. And again, here’s another guy that blocked me for a reason I don’t know. I recall him exuberantly tweeting about his beloved Arkansas Razorbacks once and I may have insulted the hogs, their coach, or said something about hill billies. I’ve disparaged Callaway products a few times but didn’t do so by tweeting at him. So this one leaves me scratching my head again. I even offered to donate to his GoFundMe for his dog’s illness if he unblocked me but that fell on deaf ears. Sad face.

All in all, if there’s only 6 people on Twitter that I’ve blocked me that matter in 4 years then I guess I’m not the most terrible human being some of the above seem to think I am. Sure I deserved a few of those. I’ll own that. And quite frankly I expected them from guys like Chamblee, Poulter, Westwood, etc. I wear them all like a badge of honor and hope perhaps the others will some day unblock me for the greater good. Its happened before, it could happen again, but I won’t expect it.

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Forever A Bridesmaid, Sergio Garcia Is Now A Masters Champion

Let That Sink In For A Minute

I never thought I’d type that title, even if it were for a joke. But come Monday morning hell hadn’t frozen over and pigs weren’t flying, that is unless Rosie O’Donnell was on an airplane somewhere. Dadgummit nearly a week later and I still don’t believe it…..Sergio Garcia, 2017 Masters Champion. Of course he did it in a way only fitting of Sergio. Epic ball striking, struggles under pressure, a balky putter, and a slow tantalizing putt to win that curled in the side of the 1st playoff hole to give the former boy wonder his long awaited major championship.

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That’s the look of a man who either just let out a fart he’d been holding in for 4 hours or a guy who won his first major in 73 tries. Or both. The feeling is probably similar. For Garcia to be paired with Rose and watch him make consecutive birdies at 6, 7, and 8 and pass him by to only then have his worst stretch of holes for the week at 10, 11, and 13….well, the Sergio we’ve known for 18 years would have melted like a crayon in your couch cushions. What we saw at Amen Corner on Sunday at the Masters was a new man. A man who started taking the blame instead of passing it. A man who took the blame and made the best of it. A man who looked in the mirror and decided to fix what he saw. When his putt dropped his head was finally removed from under the Best Player to Never Win a Major guillotine.

ESPN’s Jason Sobel felt it too.

I’ve hated Sergio for nearly a decade. I’ve taken joy in his mishaps and mocked him relentlessly. Then a funny thing happened during the 3rd round of the Masters. I started rooting for him because I saw the new Sergio. Gone was the punk-ass who spit in a hole at Doral, flipped the bird to fans at Bethpage, and threw his club in the pond in Ireland. Have a funeral for that guy because he’s dead and gone. Pre-2017 Sergio would have made double at the 10th after hitting it in the greenside pine straw. He would have made another double or worse having hit his tee ball at the 13th left of the hazard and into a bush. And he sure as shit couldn’t have risen to the occasion to hit one of the greatest shots in the history of the Masters:

Thank god he made the putt to back it up.

Why Garcia is different appears to have a lot to do with his future bride. Her name is Angela Atkins. They’re getting married after the Open Championship in July. We’ve talked about her a bit before while taking past shots at Garcia. There’s not a doubt in my mind he’s now a major champion because of her. She’s completely reset his mindset, his confidence, and 18 years of mental scar tissue is now gone. She could make millions if she wanted to write a book about it as a self help guide. Her family has had a lot to do with it too.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the other side of the great Masters duel we were treated to – Justin Rose. Rose was phenomenal on the course and all class in defeat off it. He obviously has a major on his resume and he appeared to be genuinely happy for his friend Sergio, but this one will sting until he gets his own green jacket. I believe him when he says he thinks he’ll get one some day. His high finishes at the Masters give him that belief. Don’t let him talk to Ernie Els about that way of thinking. After Augusta he went to the Bahamas for vacation probably felt good about where his game was and how he played, and then he sat down and had a beer and felt like shit because there wasn’t a green jacket in his closet. Shit, I’m sad knowing the Masters is 51 week away again, I can’t imagine how Rose really feels.

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Masters Week: The Oldies But Goodies

Blasts From My Past

Over the last 4 years I’ve written a few timely posts about the Masters, attending the tournament, and supposed secret goings on around the club. Because I don’t have time to keep up with all things going on in Augusta this week I’m aggregating my own shit from over the years in an effort to supply some of my newer readers with these older Masters themed posts.

Enjoy.

First off, Berckman’s Place, Augusta’s VIP experience. My buddy actually got into Berckman’s a few years ago while taking his dad to the Masters and said it is better than I could imagine. Berckman’s is far from the action but still not something you turn down if you get the chance to get in.

Image result for Berckmans place

Next, this one is for you first timers – how to go, how to get there, and how to get the most out of your trip.

Image result for Augusta's 10th hole

And finally, my musings from last year about the Disneyland style resort the club was building in secret. This probably isn’t something that is really happening. They likely just wanted more space and built that Taj Mahal media center, shown below, but a guy can dream can’t he?

Meanwhile the pairings for the first two rounds were released today. I haven’t had a good look at them yet but I did see that DJ was paired with Bubba Watson in the final pairing on Thursday. Waiting all day to peg it and the Bubba experience would test anyone’s nerve. That’s a lot to overcome. I might have to change DJ from my favorite now that I see a scenario in which he could miss the cut.

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Puff Puff Pods

Another Week Another Spot

Ugh….its Houston Open week. That’s not a shot at the SHO itself but where it falls in the schedule. I can’t get excited about it when every thought in my head is about the Masters. And last week was pretty damn tasty watching the best players in the world go head to head for 7 rounds of match play in Austin. Houston is a hangover, a stop gap, a port in the storm those desperate to watch golf this weekend I suppose. The course bores me and the field isn’t anything special even tough there are some big names there. I’m hoping to ramp things up on the site next week like we used to do for the first major of the year. We’ll see what I have in me.  Set your expectations low. In the meantime feel free to familiarize yourself with a few things…..Snoop’s Masters Party for one:

Oh my….that’s….well, I don’t know that that is. Hopefully some of our favorite golf tweeters will attend and provide some coverage of it. Maybe Snoops will be on the grounds as a guest of Billy Payne this week. Maybe the magnolias have been replaced by weed. Who knows but I’m intrigued.

My other item for you to check out? Well how about my 2nd time as a guest on the Fore! Golfers Network podcast.

The podcast can be found here. Thanks again to MGL Bill for having me on. I do feel bad that he’s booked me on 1/4 of his first 8 episodes. That can’t be good for business. Fittingly he had me on for his premiere of a “Blowing Off Steam” rant where I stayed PG (for once) and went off on John Q. Golfer playing the wrong set of tees for his weekend game. Give it a listen, support the cause, and bear down for 3 more days until we can turn our full attention to the magnolias of Augusta.

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No More Tiger, No More Bridesmaids, And Possibly The Biggest Rack To Ever Walk Augusta National

There’s No Santa And There’s No More Tiger

He’s dead to me until further notice. Why? Because Tiger came out of his hole to promote his book about the 1997 Masters on Good Morning America and then sign some copies of it at book stores in New York City. What the fuck? Bro pulls out of Dubai 2 months ago, can’t make pressers in L.A. weeks later, but now he’s well enough to put on the full court press to promote some lame book? That doesn’t add up. And then when anyone has the audacity to question if he’ll play in the Masters he and Steiny get all defensive as if those assuming he won’t are out of touch? Come on TW. Does this look like a guy ready to walk 72 holes up and down hills and shoot less than 75 all four days?

God he looks awful, like a he survived nuclear fallout and was left for dead for 2 months. He did compete in some kind of putting contest with GMA host Michael Strahan. He won. Then he pumped his first like he won major number 15. Is this real life?

I can’t take any more of this. I’m getting off the Tiger train until he does something interesting, like starts banging porn stars again or actually plays in a tournament. I think the porn star thing is more likely.

I’m Not Sure They Have A Jumpsuit To Fit Her

If you’re on Twitter but not following young PGA Tour buck Grayson Murray you’re missing out. He’s a funny and entertaining dude who tells it like it is and interacts with his followers in all sorts of tomfoolery. I don’t know what his connection is to cyber queen Lindsey Pelas is, but last week he asked her to caddie for him at the Masters Par 3 Tournament if he could qualify by winning the Shell Houston Open.

That seems pretty innocent except for the fact that she saw it in her mentions and said she’s in. I know who I’m rooting for in Houston next week now. Why’s that you ask? Have you seen Ms. Pelas. Let me save you the search.

Like I said, they’ll have to special order a white jump suit for her. And good for Murray for swinging for the fences. Go get it, kid.

Bridesmaids Becoming Brides

In the last two weeks on the PGA Tour we’ve had two guys win that were more well known for coming up short than they were for closing the deal. Most recently Marc Leishman (1 previous win) took the Arnold Palmer Invitational thanks to this 51 foot eagle putt on the 70th hole of the tournament.

Leishman winning is something we can all get behind. He’s only 2 years removed from nearly losing his wife. She’s healthy now and he’s looking like dark horse candidate to sneak up on a green jacket in two weeks. Remember, he’s the guy who was paired with Adam Scott for the final round when Scotty won in 2013.

In Tampa two weeks ago Canadian Adam Hadwin made everything he looked at to hold off former amateur phenom Patrick Cantlay and get his first win. Then Hadwin was back in contention at Arnie’s place and nearly aced the 17th on Sunday to catch up with the leaders.

He was fucking robbed. But I don’t think he gives a shit. Hadwin’s win in Tampa got him into the WGC Match Play this week as well as a special invitation to the Masters in April. He’ll be sitting out the Match Play for activities involving his wedding. He’s rearranged his honeymoon to play in the Masters. Sounds like he’s got a good (read understanding) wife lined up.

I’ve got to be honest, when NBC first showed her after Adam won in Tampa I didn’t take a 2nd look. She had on a hat and glasses and didn’t move the needle. But if you dig a bit around the internet for a little more detail on her you’ll see that the future Mrs. Hadwin (Jessica Dawn) is hotter than you first thought.

You can see more of her at thanks to our friends at Golf News Net if you click that link you just read past.

That’s all I’ve got for now but lucky for you I’m scheduled to be on another podcast this week so I’ll get that linked here as soon as it goes live. Talk to you then.

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Random Thoughts With ShutFaceGolf

Two Weeks Is T00 Long

I’ve failed you. I’ve gone nearly two weeks without a post, an update, or any other kind of mention on this website. I’ve tweeted plenty but something tells me that just isn’t enough for you junkies. With that in mind I’ll do my best to catch up, give you my random thoughts on golf goings on, and make a few desperate attempts to again entertain you along the way. Here goes something…

Bitch Tits In Leather

On Monday night the Golf Channel aired Part I of David Feherty’s interview with Phillip Alfred Mickelson……and it was everything I dreamed it could be. His zings and zing-backs with Matty Kuchar, his pimping college ways and meeting Amy, and the description he provided (as only he can) about his 2nd shot at Augusta’s 13th in the final round of 2010…..glorious. This is why we love Mickelsauce. The dude is always at 11 while the rest of us rarely reach that level. And he did it all while wearing Fonzy’s coat.

Image result for phil mickelson leather coat image

Henry Winkler wore it better. Part II comes next week and it promises to be even more FIGJAM-ier. Don’t miss it. Set your DVR. There’s no better reality TV right now than Phil being interviewed or Phil on the golf course. Did you see his rounds at the WGC Mexico? Dude hit four fairways and 8 greens and still shot 68 on Saturday. Mortals would shoot 78 at best with those same stats. My favorite Phil moment of the weekend was when he clanked it off two trees with his drive at the first hole on Saturday and his ball ended up 70 yards over the green due to hitting the cart path. He hit a full 64 degree lob wedge over a huge tree then chipped in for birdie. Classic Phil.

Other Happenings At The WGC Mexico

Phil finished 7th thanks to shooting even on Sunday. Jon Rahm thrilled us, only to come up short. Rory teased us with a 65 on Friday and not much thereafter. Tommy Fleetwood back-doored a 2nd place finish. Justin Thomas played great once again away from the continental U.S., until he didn’t. But JT did snag a Spanish-style ace just to keep things exciting…

In the end it was another dominate win for Dustin Johnson. It wasn’t dominant in the margin of victory, but dominant in the fact that he was driving greens with an iron in the thin mountain air.

That’s fucked up. But snagging another WGC two weeks after becoming number 1 is a nice way of validating your place in the pecking order.

The WGC had some fun shots, lots of hole outs, and interesting shot making in the altitude, but it wasn’t all its cracked up to be. Henrik Stenson nearly shat himself thanks to getting a stomach bug and having to withdraw. Mickelson’s caddie, Bones, had similar issues and had to leave the golf course urgently to deal with it. Phil’s brother Tim stepped in to loop as Bones’ back up. Why these dudes drank the water down there is the mystery I can’t solve. But shit happens in Mexico, literally. I’ve been in their shoes. It doesn’t take much to make you ill south of the border.

And the golf course, it was a fucking joke to say the least. Being some 7,000 feet above sea level made the course play like like your local 6400 yard muni. It looked like one too with over grown trees, burnt out turf, and chump par 4s the Tour boys drove with irons and fairway woods. Take this mother back to Doral, stat.

Modernizing Golf 25 Years Too Late

The USGA announced some fun changes to the rules of golf last week (due to go in force in 2019). You can drop a ball any way you want. You will only have 3 minutes to find your ball instead of 5. You can tap down damage on the green, including spike marks. You can putt with the flag in. And you can ground your club just about anywhere you want.

Image result for usga proposed rule changes

Shorter time to search for your ball. I’m in. The rest of these are a bit too liberal for my liking. They’re going to be a mess to deal with. We’ve been told for 100 years that the flag stick being in is an advantage on the green. Now all of a sudden it isn’t? The grounding of the club thing may work out but I’m sure some dick face will learn to take advantage of that and the repairing the green rule. This is an aggressive move by the USGA. Unintended consequences will result. Get ready.

I Almost Forgot Rick

In the most boring golf tournament of 2017 Richard Fowler cleaned up on the Honda field in route to a 4 shot victory in nasty/windy conditions in south Florida. Fowler was fantastic save for a few sloppy bogies he made on his way into the barn. His putting was the difference between a win and an average T15 type of week. It doesn’t matter how you get it done if you ask me. Johnny Miller would disagree. He criticized Fowler for not closing strong. Ummm……hey dipshit. I think Rick has about 1.2 million reasons why it doesn’t matter how you close as long as you win. Its not like he got his 4th career win on a technicality. I think it showed more fortitude to rinse one on 17 and still make bogey than anything Johnny ever did. Did he not remember Fowler’s “close out” at the Players in 2015 and the onions he hit shots with on the dreaded island green?

Ray’s tweet above makes blood flow to me in funny places. That’s a helluva start to the year for golf fans that like to see the new crop of bros taking over. And let’s not forget what Dustin Johnson has done, what Phil Mickelson has shown signs of, and Jason Day……errrrrrr, ok. Maybe not JDay. Homie called out sick again with a double ear in-fuck-tion and flu like symptoms. Huh? He did that about 5 days before he had to hit a shot. Weird. Maybe he knew about the trots in Mexico. Or….????

No, come on. I’m kidding. But seriously, put the former world number 1 in a bubble until the Masters, please.

If Tiger Were A Fast Food Chain, He’d Be In And Out

Hi ohhhhhhh!!!!! Because of the porn stars……..you know, the cheating……ahhh fuck it…. never mind. Since we last spoke via this medium Tiger Woods pulled out of everything (except Elin it seems) before he even hit a shot. I doubt he plays Bay Hill next week and I think the Masters is at best a 50/50 proposition. Is it because of his back, or because he knows he can’t beat anyone? Pat Perez says its most definitely not his back. Pat said this on PGA Tour radio a few weeks ago. Bad move PP.

Of course, it isn’t that I think Pat is actually wrong. I’ve said plenty of times on this site that Tiger’s biggest issue right now is playing the 6 inch course between his ears. He’s got to have some scar tissue due to his fall from dominance. Whether that was caused by injury or something else he clearly isn’t up to the task of getting past it……right now. With that in mind Pat’s statement is correct. Here’s the problem. I can say it. You can say it. Nick Faldo can say it. Johnny Miller can say it. Perez can’t. You know why, because he’s a peer who’s never sniffed a fucking major. If anything Perez is the anti-Tiger. Tiger did nothing but close tournaments and kick ass for 16 years on Tour. Perez has one of the worst final round scoring averages you’ll ever see from a guy with a 20 year career (hence the tweet above). You and I can say it because no one cares what we think. Faldo can say it, and so can Miller, because they’re god damn hall of fame players. Perez? Sorry. It is a polluted thought coming from him.

Plenty of the Twitterits think its cool that Pat was so honest and spoke his mind. In most cases that’s great. Not on this. What does he gain from calling out the best player of a generation? He looks like he has some kind of beef with Woods. I don’t think that’s the case, but I do think he’s taken some joy in knowing his old youth golf nemesis can’t tee it up and drub him while both guys are in their 40s now. I get that. Perez must have figured out his error too because he deleted his Twitter account within 24 hours of making his Tiger statements.

Oops. Sorry Pat. Thanks for playing.

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