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The GrunkleGuru

Grunkle is a slang term for the thick rough on a golf course that I have been using for many years. Given my penchant for inaccurate tee balls, I have become a bit of a guru out of the thick stuff, hence the name. This is a site for my random thoughts about sports (espeically golf) and life in general. While nothing special, it will hopefully offer a break from the daily drudgery for both you and me.

July 07, 2006

Tiger KO'd By The Flat Stick

Well, after the first round of the Cialis Western Open, Tiger Woods finds himself on the wrong side of the cut line again this year. I do think he will make the cut, but people are starting to wonder if there is something wrong with Tiger, and the answer is yes.

I’m not talking about the grieving process over the loss of his dad, though I am sure it has an effect on his play. I’m not talking about his new swing either. Two wins this year and a major last year prove that it is working fine. It isn’t even his attempt to gain more distance, though it is hard to score when you are buried in the rough. No, the problem lies with his formerly trusty flat stick.

In yesterdays first round, Tiger took 32 putts during his round, and average 1.923 putts per Green In Regulation (GIR). That my friend is not how you win golf tournaments. It is at least 3 total putts higher then it should be, and by averaging nearly two putts per GIR it means he is not making many birdies.

I realize that one round does not make a season, but this is something that has been going on all year. Through the first round of the Western, Tiger is averaging 1.807 putts per GIR while the tour average is 1.785. Tiger’s salvation comes in the fact that he is hitting nearly 70% of the greens in regulation meaning he has more opportunities then most players. If we go back to 2000, you can see that Tiger has never struggled this badly on the greens.

- 2006 – 1.807 putts / GIR
- 2005 – 1.731 putts / GIR (Rank: 5)
- 2004 – 1.724 putts / GIR (Rank: 2)
- 2003 – 1.732 putts / GIR (Rank: 10)
- 2002 – 1.766 putts / GIR (Rank: 83)
- 2001 – 1.775 putts / GIR (Rank: 102)
- 2000 – 1.717 putts / GIR (Rank: 1)

With the exception of 2001 & 2002, Tiger has always been an exceptional putter, and one of his greatest assets has been his ability to make the big putt. From all the way back in the U.S. Amateur when he drained that bomb on the 17th at Sawgrass, to the putt he made to force a playoff with Bob May at Valhalla in the PGA Championship, Tiger has always had the ability to make the putt when he had to. I just don’t see that this year.

June 28, 2006

Another Round of Thoughts & Prayers

On a local note (Greensboro, NC), I would also like to ask my readers to hold Joey Stanley in their thoughts and prayers.

Joey is the owner of 2Salon hair studio in town, and my wife's employer. This weekend he suffered a heart attack, and today is having quadruple bypass surgery.

There is more to share, but now is not the time. Please say a prayer or hold Joey in your thoughts.

Thoughts & Prayers for Peter Gammons

Yesterday, one of the great baseball writers of our time suffered a brain aneurysm.

He is resting in ICU after successful surgery. More information is available here.

I grew up and Boston, and was lucky enough to be able to read Gammons on a regular basis while he was writing for the Boston Globe, and he has poven to be a great asset for ESPN as well.

Get well Peter. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

June 22, 2006

U.S. Open 2006 - The Real Phil Mickelson

Yeah, I know, I’ve been gone for a while. No particular reason why the hiatus was so long, but it just seemed like I always had something better to do with my time. However, the events of this past U.S. Open have brought me back.

There were so many stories from this recent U.S. Open, that each one could be an article unto itself. We had Tiger coming back after the loss of his father and subsequently missing the cut. We also had Duval continuing his resurgence, and if he makes just one more putt has an exemption into next years Open (via a top-13 finish). Then there was the golf course itself. Winged Foot proved once again that it is a great course on which to test the best golfers in the world. And of course, you had the unexpected champion in Geoff Ogilvy, who definitely has the game and demeanor to be around for a long time to come. But the biggest story, and the one that seems to have some long-term staying power (at least until the British Open) is the collapse of Phil Mickelson.

Even with all the stories surrounding Tiger and his return to golf, Mickelson was the story. Going for his third consecutive major, and the proverbial Mickelslam, Phil was definitely one of the favorites going into this U.S. Open, and for obvious reasons. He was playing great golf, had proven he could manage his game, and he has been embraced like no other golfer by the New York crowds. From Bethpage in ’02, to Shinnecock in ’04, and now Winged Foot in ’06, New York golf fans love Phil, and he returns the love. After all, Phil was famous, not only for his incredible skill, but also for his gambler mentality, and the fans love him for it. That being said, it was the very thing that draws people to Phil that cost him this U.S. Open.

Pundits and former players are calling it a massive choke job, but I say that this is not the case, but rather another example of the real Phil coming out to play. For 71 holes he had managed his game as best as he ever has. His driver was not reliable in the least bit, but he was doing all the right things to keep giving himself a chance to win the Open. He stood on the 18th tee Sunday afternoon needing par to win, and bogey for a playoff. I don’t even question is choice to hit driver from the tee. If he was playing for bogey and a playoff, then 4-wood would be the right choice, but he stood on that tee and by taking driver said to the entire golf world that he was going to win this event here and now. However, by not punching out to the fairway, he displayed the aggressive nature of his game. I truly think that a punch-out guarantees a bogey, but a perfectly executed recovery leads to a victory.

I’ve always been a fan of Phil and his aggressive style of play. I still remember an article in one of the publications when I was a teen-ager when Phil told you how to play the impossible shot. From the 3-iron fade under the trees, to the shot you actually skip over the pond, to the flop shot you actually hit over your head onto the green, which was my favorite because I could execute it and take money off members of the club I worked at.

That was the Phil we all knew and loved, and it was the Phil that could never win a major. Like I said, the typical major winner on any given week manages his game the best. He typically does not win because of spectacular shots, or amazing recoveries. He wins because he keeps it in the short stuff, and doesn’t make the big number. In fact, it can be said that Phil was the first golfer to employ the now popular bomb and gouge style where you hit it as far as you can and then wedge it onto the green. It works week-in and week out at the regular events, but fails miserably at the majors.

So no, Phil did not choke, he simply got to a point where he had a chance to win the most important event in his opinion, in front of a crowd that adores him, and he simply reverted back to his old ways. Phil will have another chance to win the U.S. Open, and in fact might have many more chances (look out Torrey Pines in ’08) because of how talented he is. Whether he wins or not will entirely depend on his ability to control his ‘go for broke’ mentality for 72 holes, not 71.

February 01, 2006

Hiatus

Long time… No post. Sad thing is that it will be an even longer time without a post.

I have got to go on hiatus for a while for a couple of reasons. First, I am slammed at work. We are in the process of new product launches, and getting ramped up for a big international show where we have got to put our best foot forward. Since most of that falls into my lap, many hours will be consumed getting ready for the BIG SHOW.

Additionally, I have to move in 3 weeks. That’s right, it is finally going down. As of right now everything is on track for us to move into our new ‘old’ house on February 24th. We are still staying in Aycock and are excited and scared to death about what awaits us as we try to bring life back to a house that has had no real attention for over 10 years. Wish us luck.

Don’t worry, I’ll be back, when I don’t know for sure, but I doubt it will be this month.

In the meantime, feel free to talk amongst yourselves.

January 16, 2006

The Big Link

Do you watch TV? Do you watch the local news? Ever wonder who thoses hardworking people are that give us those great local stories and the feel-good images that drive a local newscast?

If so, then this might not be for you.

However, if you are looking for a little insight into the world of an expereices TV Photog, and a great writer then check out this week's

The Big Link

Don't say I didn't warn you.

Sony Open Re-cap - Toms is Crisp

The Sony Open wrapped up yesterday with very little drama to go with it as David Toms was as solid and steady as he usually is, and his only real challenger, Chad Campbell could not get anything going.

If you don’t remember, Toms was carted off the course on a stretcher with an oxygen mask and a rapid heartbeat that paramedics could not control. The condition was later diagnosed as supraventricular tachycardia, or in layman’s terms, “a really fast heartbeat that brings you to your knees and scares the living crap out of those who see it happen.” This victory should prove to all that Toms is back, and better than ever.

More importantly, this will be a big boost for Toms as he has shown he still has the game, and that his heart is strong enough to handle the competition.

Fantasy Focus

While results are not posted for this week, The Grunkle Guru should have a pretty strong finish (results on Tuesday)

1st – David Toms (-19)
6th – Vijay Singh (-9)
T42 – Joe Ogilvie (E)
T53 – Aaron Baddeley (+1)
MC – Ryan Moore (+4)

Tap-In's


- In a blast from the past, David Duval came out of nowhere to shoot a nifty little 63 on Sunday. The fact that he made the cut was a rather big deal as he needed a birdie on his last hole Friday to get in, but this glimpse of the Duval of old must be exciting for many golf fans.

- It looks like golf might have itself a new fan favorite on its hands, and his name is Bubba. Bubba Watson that is, and does this kid ‘ton it’. Four times on Sunday he hit drives of over 360 yards. This kid is scary long, and it looks like he has some game to go with the bombs he can hit as he finished in fourth place for the week.

- Nothing like shooting 62 on a Sunday and still getting smoked. That’s what happened to Rory Sabbatini. You start the morning in fifth place, shoot a round that is one off the course record, and you still only move up to second place (5 shots out of the lead).

- This week we have the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic starting on Wednesday, as it is a 5 round event. The scores will be low, and it would not be surprising to see the winning score at 30 under par. In other words, if you shoot a round of 3 under you will probably lose ground on the field. Buckle up for a wild ride.

January 15, 2006

Sony Open - Round 3 Re-Cap

Well, going into the final round of the Sony Open, and I am going to go out on a limb with a major prediction. Either Chad Campbell or David Toms will win this event. Now, I did not have some sort of revelation or anything, but I just took a look at the scoreboard. Both of them are tied for first at -14. Third place is at -7.

If these two play at even par, it means that someone is going to have to at least shoot 63 to tie them. Just don't see it happening, so either Toms or Campbell will start the year off with the right foot forward.

Anyway, here's how the salary cap cup is doing going into Sunday.

T1 - David Toms (-14)
T8 - Vijay Singh (-5)
T36 - Joe Ogilvie (-1)
T62 - Aaron Baddeley (+2)

Not a winning team by any stretch, but it is a solid start.

January 14, 2006

Sony Open - Round 2 Recap

After the second round of the Sony Open, my salary cap team is not the strongest by far, but I am satisfied with where they stand:

3rd - David Toms (-5)
T29 - Vijay Singh (-1)
T40 - Aaron Baddeley (+1)
T66 - Joe Ogilvie (+3)
MC - Ryan Moore

4 out of five ain't bad, and with my lowest player still only 9 shots out of the lead, there is bound to be some wild swings this weekend.