.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

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.

February 25, 2005

Am I Smart Or What...Definitely What

I hate to say I told you so, but I did. The Lumpster had a tough time of it losing to Chris DiMarco 1-up. With my favorite heavyweight out of contention it is time to hitch my bandwagon to someone else.

Instead of going with the top seeds (or another heavyweight), I am going to pick a guy out of the middle of the pack. Look for Luke Donald to have a good showing this weekend. In fact, I’ll go out on a limb and pick him to win it all. He has the game to hang with anyone, and a steady demeanor to survive match play as evidenced by his solid showing as a Ryder Cup rookie last year.

If I ever get the time, I want to do some research between the similarities between The Match Play Championships, and another event that is near and dear to most everyone here in ACC Country, March Madness. Every year the 5 – 12 match up produces upsets in both events. That can’t be just a fluke can it? This year’s match up produced two upsets in victories by Daly and Hensby. Think there will be two 12 seeds that pull the upset in the first round of the NCAA?

Anyway, even if you don’t like golf I suggest you give this weekend’s action a view. It is exciting and dynamic entertainment that just might get you hooked.

February 24, 2005

There Might Be A Need For Floating Golf Balls

Well, the Accenture Match Play is under way after being delayed for a day (due to more rain then I care to imagine). The weather report looks good, so they should get this thing done by Sunday. I’ll tell you though, physical conditioning is going to play a major factor as to win the whole thing, a player will have to win one 18-hole match Thursday, two 18-hole matches Friday, two 18-hole matches Saturday, and a 36-hole match of Sunday. In other words if each match goes to the end, someone will have played 126 holes of golf in a 4 day period.

While we could start a lively debate about the physical strain that golf puts on the human body, the fact remains that match play is mentally challenging, and La Costa is sopping wet, which makes for a very long day. In other words, one of my favorite golfers, Lumpy, is at a disadvantage before he even tees off.

February 23, 2005

Big-Head Barry Offers Media Tea & Crumpets

Barry Bonds faced the media yesterday, and I hope nobody was surprised by what transpired. Barry lives in his own little world, and has never had a good relationship with the media, but the animosity he came to the press conference with yesterday was at an all time high. I just don’t get it.

While it was startling how aggressive he was towards the media, he did make one truthful point. He says, "I don't believe steroids can help your eye-hand coordination, technically hit a baseball. I just don't believe it. That's my opinion." I agree with this. I don’t have any scientific or empirical evidence, nor do I want to research this topic. It is another topic that people much smarter then me will be more capable of covering and analyzing. However, while I agree that someone needs to have some innate ability to hit a baseball (or perform any athletic activity), steroids will allow the user to hit the ball further, increase bat speed, and recover from injuries at a more rapid pace. So for Bonds to continue to say that this should not even be a topic of discussion is comical. It gves people an unfair advantage and should be construed as cheating.

One thing that everyone has to keep in mind is that he will have to be a witness in the upcoming BALCO trial. As Jayson Stark says, “Those BALCO prosecutors have some questions waiting for him, too. In an open courtroom.” When that happens we might finally get some truth out of everyone involved in this scandal.

There is more to say about steroids, and whether Bonds is on them. But if you look here and here you can judge for yourself if he is doing something. I don’t know how someone gets his or her head to grow that much in an 18-year span (my hat size changes based on the time between haircuts), but something is going on here IMHO. As my friend Bluecarp says, his head is big enough to have its own moons.

February 22, 2005

Practice Tip Of The Day

Given the nice weather we have here in G-Boro today, it is time for another practice session.

I want to offer some words of wisdom to those who will be hitting balls soon to get ready for the season. Take your time!!

All too often when I am at the range I see people going through a large bucket (100 balls) as quickly as possible. While this might help some people work up a sweat (especailly those of us who might be a little rotund), it does not help your game.

Instead, set up each ball and then go through your pre-shot routine. Pick out your target. Line up your body. Visualize the shot. Then make a swing.

Work on trying to feel the club throughout the swing. If you are just rushing all you will accomplish is developing further bad habits (and yes, I speak from experience)

If you are pressed for time you are better off hitting fewer shots then trying to get through them as quickly as possible. I think you will be impressed with the difference when you take it to the course.

What other practice tips do you, my loyal two readers have? Love to hear them. Post them in the comments or send me an email to shortgamecentral@gmail.com.

Let's face it, golf is a game of continuous improvement and the greatest part of this game is that there is always something you could do better.

February 21, 2005

Sunny California My Butt!

Well, while it is always supposed to be sunny in Los Angeles, but that was not the case this week as the Nissan Open finished up this Monday morning after just 36 holes. Actually, it was 37 as Adam Scott defeated Chad Campbell in a one-hole playoff.

Not much to report on the action as the weekend was washed out, but Scott has won a few big tournaments here in the states including last year’s Players Championship, so we are not talking about some fluke player who go lucky due to the weather. In fact, Scott birdied the last hole of his second round just so he could get into the playoff.

One thing to keep in mind is that while Scott gets winning money (nearly $900,000), and a cool trophy to go with it, it is not considered an official victory. While this might be a big deal for some, Scott has a big-time exemption (10 years I think) due to his Players victory last year. However, this does not get him into the Tournament of Champions to start next year, so he will still have to win a certified event to secure his Hawaiian vacation.

This upcoming week is one of the more exciting on Tour, as we get ready for the Accenture Match Play Championship. I have always been a big fan of match play as it creates excitement and the risk/reward equation is stepped up a notch or twenty. Even if your opponent makes a birdie and you make double bogey while trying to make eagle, you only lose one hole, not three shots. Momentum and gamesmanship are part of it, and it is fun to watch. I just hope that one day they bring match play into the major rotation. My suggestion…. at the PGA Championship 36 holes of qualifying which determines the top 64 that then play match play to determine the winner. Oh yeah, they used to do it this way.

A Tale of Two Cities

Back in Greensboro finally, and I could not be happier. The past few days have been a true tale of two cities. Last week I had to be in Charleston, WV for a small trade show. While the people were genuinely nice, and the staff at the Charleston Civic Center was some of the best I have ever encountered, I have no desire to go back to that city. It just had a feeling of depression to it. Nobody smiled, everyone was looking down, and if you did not have a mullet of a military buzz-cut you stood out like a sore thumb. I am a firm believer in the phrase if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all, so I will stop there.

After coming back into town to pick up my family we headed down the road to visit with my parents in Aiken, SC. This is a great town to go to if you ever have the chance. While the city is mostly known for its love of horses (and all things equestrian) it is also 20 minutes from my personal Mecca Augusta National. Now, if I can ever line up the connections to play that course I will be one happy camper.

Personally, I love going to Aiken. It is a small town that just had an article done on it by Southern Living (it is in the current issue so I could not find it online). It is low key, casual, and most of all relaxing. I still find it hard to believe that I can go visit my parents and actually have a relaxing weekend, but that is exactly what Aiken offers me. So if you ever get a chance take a trip down there (all interstate, very easy to get there) and check it out for yourself. I can gladly offer any insight that others might find helpful.

February 16, 2005

Roadtrip

Well, time to get back out on the road. While some people get to go to New York, or DC, or Vegas, I get to go to Charleston, WV.

I will leave the jokes for others to make, but I am sorry to have to miss the meetup this month.

I will try to blog from Charleston and let you know if I find out anything interesting.

Keep it in the short stuff!

February 14, 2005

Pebble Beach Wrap-Up

Well, the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am wrapped up yesterday with Phil Mickelson taking home is second victory in a row. Some observations from this weekend include:

- This tournament usually is a fun one to watch, but with Phil taking care of business on day one, we were forced to follow the antics of the amateurs. All I can say is I don’t care about watching some executive of Ford hit a low squib 50 yards, and Bill Murray really, really, really needs some new material.

- Phil’s opening round 10 under 62 at Spyglass Hill is being talked up as a better round then his recent 59 at Poipu Bay and 60 at last week’s FBR Open. The fact that he is going low on a regular basis leads to a bad omen for everyone else in the weeks to come.

- Mike Weir shot a final round 67 to finish second. While 5-under might not be considered spectacular under most circumstances, the weather conditions yesterday made this one of the best rounds of the tournament.

- David Feherty is one of the best course reporters in the business. His sly wit, and ability to recognize that the golf is what carries the telecast makes viewing even more enjoyable.

- Chris Berman is a big guy. You don’t realize it when he is sitting behind the desk, but it looks like he has gone “back, back, back” to the buffet too many times.

February 08, 2005

Catching Up

Since I have only been blogging for a month, it is hard to say I have developed a trend, but the one thing I always tried to do was post something every day during the week. I took the weekends off, but that was because I'm lazy.

Regardless, I missed a couple of days and I would like to apologize to my infrequent readers who stumble across this blather, yet find themselves unable to turn away. Kind of like a car wreck, you know you shouldn't watch, but you can't help it.

As for the weekend's re-cap

Phil Mickelson won the FBR Open over the weekend, even though he was playing more from the desert then the fairway. Unfortunately it is hard to watch golf this time of year, not because there are many other options, but because the ACC pre-empts all other programming around these parts. From what I heard this tournament was basically over when Phil shot a 11 under 60 on Friday, and never led by less then three shots on Sunday cruising to victory.

The Patriots are Dynastic! With a third Superbowl in four years, New England has become the team of the millineum (which is much better then any of those team of the decade debates). It's kind of weird feeling after this game. The first two Superbowls were won on last second field goals so to have the game end it did was kind of anti-climatic.

I might not be that prevelant the rest of this week as I have my reps coming into town for a national sales meeting so I need to work hard to make sure this program is the biggest waste of time they have ever been involved with. What can I say, I'm all about setting aggressive goals.

February 03, 2005

The Players Are Boring So...

Superbowl XXXIX is still 3 days away, so there is still time for a player to pull some kind of bone-head move and give the media some fodder for the next few days, but right now that two stories brewing that do not involve players in the game.

The first revolves around Vikings quarterback Duante Culpepper and his bling-bling. According to SI.com, during the Fed-Ex Air & Ground award ceremony Culpepper was asked by a high-school player who suffered a paralyzing injury if he could have some of his ice, and he obliged by giving him his diamond crusted necklaces. The article doesn’t describe tone or any of the other stuff that usually happens (this might have been staged for all I know), but the mom started to cry and the dad talked about buying a safe.

However, when it was all said and done, it turns out the bling-bling was just a loaner and Culpepper made sure to collect his jewels before the family left. He got their information and promised to send something, but the whole story just sounds strange to me. I’ll be curious to see if this picks up steam one way or another.

Another story coming out is far more disturbing. I’m not a journalist, and I don’t play one on TV, and I most definitely did not stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night, so I can’t offer any professional viewpoint as to what happened, but it is still a strange happening. It seems that Ken Powers, a sportswriter for the Worchester Telegram & Gazette plagiarized one of the best football writers in the country, Peter King. King writes for Sports Illustrated and has a great weekly piece on SI.com called MMQB (Monday Morning Quarterback). It seems that Powers took King’s writing from his January 24th posting and used it almost verbatim in his January 30th article. Again, not knowing the whole story, or the facts I’m apprehensive to comment, but it does seem this is going to turn out bad for Powers. The Boston Herald has an article that shows snipets of the two pieces in question.

February 02, 2005

Blogs, Bush, & Bourbon - We're Talking Good Times

The baby is down, my wife is out with friends, and I finally have some time to work on a missing component of my blog.

For some time now I have been reading others work (mostly through Greensboro1o1.com), and I have been paying attention not only to what is written, but also to the blogs they link to. To date I have not done that, even though some of you have been kind enough to link to my site. So, this evening, I will be venturing into the great world of HTML. Wish me luck and let's see how it looks in the morning.

So as not to get distracted by interesting TV, I have the State of the Union address on right now. Like I said in one of my earlier posts, I will stay away from political opinions. Besides, there are too many well opinionated writers (on both sides) who will surely provide quality reviews. All I will say is this. I hope there is a change happening in the political landscape because I am getting tired of voting for the lesser of two evils.

Finally, I am enjoying a present from a friend of mine. Click here for more information. Hoggard, I must defer to your expertise (as I am more of a Scotch man myself), but did I get a good one? I know I am enjoying it as I type. And yes, that explains the bad grammer and bad speeling.

February 01, 2005

The Little Team Makes It Big

As I mentioned earlier this morning my Alma Mater, Guilford College has hit the big time. The basketball team made Sportscenter (for those who are not sports junkies such as myself, this could be considered the same as being mentioned in a State of the Union Address, or perhaps an Oscar acceptance speech).

Playing Randolph-Macon, overtime, R-M on the foul line with 0.6 seconds left. R-M player makes first and is told to miss second which is the right play. This way, it gives the opposition no time to set up a tip play or the like.

Instead Jordan Snipes got the rebound and in the same motion turned and launched a perfect shot from the under their own basket for the game-winning three pointer!

To say that Guilford has not experienced basketball success over the years would be an understatement. We won a couple of NAIA championships back in the seventies with players such as M.L. Carr and World B. Free on the squad, but men’s basketball has not exactly been a powerhouse for the Quakers.

Anyway, I’m sure that Jordan is enjoying the praise he is getting on campus and I hope Guilford is able to draw some interest out of this national attention.

Watch the video (kudos to News2) here. If you have ESPN Motion, you can see it there as well.

Take Care Mr. Dempsey...I'm Glad I Met You

While flipping through the News & Record today for information about the Guilford College Buzzer Beater (it made Sportscenter but I can’t find video on the web yet), and I got some depressing news. Larry Dempsey had passed away this past Friday. I was not a friend, nor am I a relative, but I feel lucky to have known the man.

I was working as an assistant golf pro at Starmount Forest during the mid-nineties, and during that time I had the pleasure of meeting and playing golf with Mr. Dempsey. While there was no doubt that Alzheimer’s had started to wreak its havoc on him, the clarity he possessed on the golf course was uncanny. Always had a kind word to say, and had one of the smoothest swings you could ever imagine. It was not technically perfect, but it worked for him (and worked very well).

On this cold day it warms me a little to think of the way he raised everyone’s spirit who he was around.

Take care Mr. Dempsey; I am sure you are in a better place.

Additionally, thanks to the News & Record staff writer Jim Schlosser (Email him here) for a very good article.