This happens every year. Just when I start to get my summer revved up, August is about to begin. We have short summers in Oregon, and this year it was especially short because of the long, wet spring we had. The parade of golf tournaments helps me keep track of how the year is passing by when the weather gives me false signals.
As far I’m concerned, the pro golf season ends with the British Open and i start thinking about college football. (See http://www.presnapread.com/.) As you read in my recent preview, it’s one of my favorite tournaments of the year, though this year I was in Japan when it was being played, and didn’t get to see any of it because of the time zone difference.
The PGA Championship doesn’t really grab me. Sorry. . .
The biggest story of the year is that we’re in a transition from one era to another. The Tiger/Phil is coming to a close (no, Tiger, when he comes back will be a very good player, but no longer a great one), European golf is ascendant, and the distinction between tours is blurring. If professional golf were a free market, we would be seeing a shake-out on both the PGA and European tours and the establishment of a world tour.
But that might involve American players traveling to foreign countries, eating food other than they are used to, and speaking a language other than English, (can you just imagine Bubba Watson ordering snails en Francais?). So let’s not hold our breath on a free market.
What we will find is that the success of European players gives them the power to resist the demands the PGA Tour levies on participants in its tournaments. The absence of current stars because of parochial membership requirements will have to give way soon. That would establish a freer market, and the results would be interesting.
For the ladies, it will take an economic recovery for the LPGA to schedule more than 30 tournaments. They’re trying to hang on by having a fifth major, and by holding it outside the U.S., are taking clear steps to create a world tour. Bully for them. Fortunately we have on of their precious events in the Portland area every August. If you want to see how good the ladies really are, and how good you aren’t, try to catch an LPGA event.
As for my season, I described in an earlier post the swing change my pro gave me to work on, and I’m still working on it. It’s paying off handsomely around the green already, but with longer clubs, the results are slower coming.
Here’s a hint, though. Friday I played with my grandson and was in the rough with my drive, 193 yards from the green. I took out my 24-degree hybrid, which in spring was my 175-yard club, and launched a gentle draw all the way to the green, the ball resting about 20 feet beyond the pin. And that was all carry, folks. No bouncing off rock-hard fairways.
I haven’t played much golf, because I’m also getting in shape for a trans-canyon hike at the Grand Canyon at the end of September. The conditioning hikes don’t leave me the legs for golf. Come October, I’ll be back in force.
When I do play, I’ve been carrying only six clubs. There was a note in an old Golf Digest magazine I picked up that told of a men’s club that had a six-club tournament. Twenty-three of the twenty-five players shot their handicap or better, and one 12-handicapper shot a 74. Try cutting down on your bag. It’s more fun, and you will not lose a stroke.
One last note. I finally got to single digits this year. For all of you who are close, let me tell you. You don’t have to hit the ball great all the time, just well enough most of the time. The difference in how I’m scoring right now, when I play, is that I don’t throw away shots by not thinking clearly or by having nightmare holes. Every shot I hit is the best I can do at the moment. If you’re a 12, you’re good enough to be a 9. You just have to stop wasting shots, and that’s mental.