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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.

March 31, 2005

Rain, Rain, Go Away...

Well, another week on the PGA Tour, another rain delay. This week’s stop won’t begin until Friday (hopefully) at the TPC of Sugarloaf outside Atlanta. Know what? I’m kind of glad. I don’t really care much for this tournament. No particular reason, other then it does not look aesthetically appealing on television. The bits of the course I have seen in person look like there is some personality to the course, but for some reason The Bellsouth Classic just does not get my juices flowing.

Still, you have to feel bad for this tournament. Not only is it tough time slot (a week after The Players and a week before the Masters) making it hard to draw the big names, but now they have a rain delay, and the possibility of a Monday finish.

If there is a delay again tomorrow basically assuring a Monday finish look for some drop-outs as guys will want to make sure they get as much time at Augusta National as possible.

March 30, 2005

I Always Thought I Leaned To The Right

Went to the chiropractor today to see my x-rays and start treatment. Boy, years of football, rugby, and golf (plus many bad drunken escapades I ean can't or choose not to remember) can really do a number on a guy's back. One thing that the x-rays showed was that my next leans to the left. I got a chuckle, because while I am a registered independent my political beliefs tend to lean towards the right (let the mental turmoil begin!)

Speaking of politics, I noticed something while working on my state tax return this evening. They ask if I want to donate a dollar to a political party, and the only options were Democrat & Republican. I found this weird because it omitted the option to select a various party. Anyone smarter them me out there know the reasoning behind this? I don't see it as a big deal, just found it interesting.

Finally, congratulations go out to Rob C. for his hole-in-one on the 16th hole of Twin Oaks Par-3. This was the first of the year during our Tuesday night league, and while I hate having to pay others for their success, congratulations go out none the less.

March 29, 2005

We Want The Funk

The Funkster, Funkadelic, Funky Brewster, Funkalicious. However you want to say it, it turned out to be Fred Funk’s week as he wins the rain delayed Player’s Championship. One of the problems with having to hold down a full-time job is that I was unable to watch the final round, but the reviews made it look like a not-to-fun day on the golf course. Let’s see, we have a saturated course, the rough is long and thick, most players are going to have to play at least 27 holes in one day, and oh yeah, let’s have the wind blow about 35MPH. Not exactly the pristine scoring conditions that players hope for.

Anyway, congratulations to the Funk Man for this victory, the $1.44mil, and most importantly, the 5-year exemption to the PGA Tour which will assure him a place to play until he is 53. With the bad weather that was experienced there at the TPC, it is really not too surprising that Funk won. He is an extremely accurate driver of the golf ball, and with the knarly rough, and increased importance of controlling the ball’s spin hitting from the fairway was of the utmost importance.

I enjoyed the fact that the big hitters struggled this week. I find it to be much more impressive to see a golfer who can control his golf ball around a course then to watch a guy who hits it as hard as he can, goes to find it, and hits it again. I just don’t find that as impressive as most do. Still, I think I am in the minority.

As for my pick of the week, Sergio Garcia, let’s just put it this way. If you wagered on him based on my advice, then you are a fool. After his strong start he struggled the rest of the week shooting a final round 78 to tie for 32. At least he made the cut.

March 28, 2005

Living It Up In SC

While The Players Championship winner still to be determined, I wanted to take a couple of minutes to bring you all up to speed on some of my experiences on my most recent trip to Aiken, SC.

It was my original plan to play a round of golf at Cedar Creek, but when I got out there I was told there was no space, and no chance of being paired up with a twosome or threesome. While I was disappointed, I did take a few moments to look around the course. From what I saw, this was a beautiful Arthur Hills design, and I look forward to playing it on my next trip. However, I still had to get my golfing fix (after all, my wife went shopping with my sister and I figured that I deserved some fun as well) so I went to a course I had played before, Aiken Golf Club.

This is the second time I have played the course, and both times have been great experiences. I went out by myself, and within 15 minutes the pro had three others who were looking for games and we had a foursome headed to the first tee. The course is not long (6,100 yards), but there is no such thing as a flat lie or a straight putt so it makes up for its lack of length by requiring accurate placement off the tee and into the greens.

At only $36.00 including cart (weekend rate), it is a great deal, and the condition of the course is impeccable. The fairways were dormant, but the greens were in excellent shape and rolling fast.

The signature hole of AGC has got to be the 16th hole. A par-3 measuring 198 yards with a 30-yard elevation change from tee to green. It is just a great feeling to hit a shot and have it hang in the air fur such a long time.

So, if you are ever in the Aiken area I highly recommend this course. You will not be disappointed.

On Saturday we took in the Aiken Steeplechase, and this is definitely going to become an annual event for this guy. We had great weather (sunny and about 80), an excellent tailgating spot on the rail, and my parents are good at making friends so we had plenty of other tents to visit and partake in their hospitality.

One thing that amazed me was the grandeur that many people took towards this event. Some of the prime tailgating spots are passed down from generation to generation, and people dress to the nines and serve food and drink in fine china and in Waterford crystal, all this while acting in a way that is more reminiscent of a Jimmy Buffet concert as opposed to the equestrian high society.

Luckily, no horses had to be put down on the track (apparently this is not as infrequent as one would hope), but we did see a couple of horses come through sans jockey, and that brought about chuckles and quick changes of wagers.

For those who might be interested in attending one of these steeplechase parties the fall event will be held October 29th this year. The fall race is not a popular as the spring one, so it might be a great way to see if this is something you want to do in the future.

I can’t say enough about Aiken as a whole. I realize that I do not live there, so I am sure that they are dealing with many of the same political and societal challenges that we here in Greensboro are (maybe with different names or ramifications, but still similar), but I have never met an unfriendly face there, and it is becoming easier and easier to find excuses to go see my folks.

Ask & Ye Shall Receive....

Another Edition of...

THE BIG LINK!

March 24, 2005

Leaving Town

Don't worry, it is just for the Easter weekend. We are headed down to Aiken, SC to spend the holiday with my parents. Also, my sister is coming in and she is excited to see her neice.

Should be a good weekend. Tommorow, I am going to play golf here (I'll let you all know what I think of the course).

Then, on Saturday we are going to the Aiken Steeplechase which is supposedly a very big deal. From what I am told it is quite a party, and with the weather looking good, I hope this is as fun as it is made out to be. We'll see.

Anyway, don't know if I will get the opportunity to post, but just in case Happy Easter everyone!

March 23, 2005

That Tricky Little Spaniard

Well, the PGA Tour’s fifth major gets underway tomorrow with The Player’s Championship being contested at the TPC of Sawgrass. Look for some exciting golf, and possibly some very low scores. From what I have heard the rough is down, the greens are receptive and rolling great. If the weather holds up we could be in for a shoot out.

Last year Adam Scott took a major step towards becoming a household name amongst golf fans with his dramatic victory. So what it going to happen this year? Here is my attempt at prognostication. If I am right then I might have to consider a new career as a professional gambler (or at least starting my own book-making operation).

It order to predict the future, we must look at the past, most notably what has been happening this year leading into The Players. The best way to describe this year to date is that of the grand champion. With players such as Singh, Woods, & Mickelson wrapping up titles, there has not been much for those who have never won on tour before, so it is safe to say that anyone without a victory on the PGA Tour can be ruled out.

Additionally, the older crowd has not performed very well this year, so while some might be in contention, you can rule out anyone older then 42.

So all that being said, whom do I like? I like the young Spaniard Sergio Garcia. He has won on tour, is a young and energetic player, and is due for a breakout victory. So there you have it. If you have some spare funds to lay down, put it on Sergio. Of course I could be wrong.

March 22, 2005

I Can't Believe That She Keeps Me Around

Time to take a break from the world of golf, and congratulate my wife, Jacynthia (password protected- username: guest / password: shop) on her new endeavor. Not only is she a great wife, and tremendous mother, but she is now also a model.

In fact, she just landed a promotional piece that will be going out nationwide.

I know that I can never come close to telling her how much I love her and respect her for taking this step, but all I can do is keep on trying.

So congratulations babe and keep up the good work! After all, you need to land some more of these if you are going to keep me in the lifestyle that I know I can become accustomed to.

Meanwhile, On The Women's Front

While I have focused much of my commentary on the PGA Tour since the inception of this blog, there are events happening on the LPGA Tour that warrant mentioning. Annika Sorrenstam has won her first two events of the year, and she has won four of her last six.

I had the opportunity to work with Annika during her early years on tour when I was interning for International Management Group (IMG), and I can tell you that the poise and determination she displayed at that point made it easy to see why she is dominating in a way that nobody has on any golf tour.

The swing is unorthodox, but the results speak for themselves.

On a side note, Lorena Ochoa needs to start entering events that Annika is not in because she now has two second place finishes for very solid efforts.

Oops, He Did It Again...

Well, Vijay Singh managed to do it again. First off, congratulations go out to him for re-gaining the number one ranking in the world of professional golf. However, there seems to be a trend going on that bears watching throughout the year. Once again he gave away a title when he was in contention. To re-cap the year to date:

- Had a chance to win season-opening Mercedes until he hit his miss shot (pull hook left)
- Last week at the Honda he missed a 30 inch putt to extend a play-off
- Sunday ath the Bay Hill he made double bogey after hitting into the water fronting the green giving Kenny Perry the victory.

I don’t want to call it concerning, but you can’t help but notice a trend. Granted, it is impressive that he is consistently putting himself in position to win (and has won already this year), but the fact is that he is not coming through in the clutch as well. This lost at Bay Hill is most confusing to me.

I did not see the event as the weather led me to play golf instead of watch it (big mistake given my play) but from the highlights, one of two things happened. Either he was aiming at the middle of the green ad pushed it, or he was aiming directly at the pin.

If he was indeed aiming at the pin, then it was just a bone-head move. He was tied for the lead, and he had to figure a par would get him in a playoff. Aiming for that pin is asinine because there is no good spot to miss. Long is an extremely difficult up and down, and well, we know what happened when you miss short.

Anyway, congratulations to Kenny Perry for playing a very solid tournament and winning what I consider to be a very prestigious tournament.

This coming week is The Player’s Championship. What many consider to be the fifth major. This should be another fun and exciting tournament. I’ll have more later this week, that will hopefully include a new segment.

March 21, 2005

I Got Nothing To Say Except...

THIS IS THE BIG LINK!

March 18, 2005

Arnie's Event

Too much going on at work today so this will be a short one. The PGA Tour is at Bay Hill this week for Arnold Palmer's tournament. I have had the pleasure of meeting this man one time, and it is a moment that I will never forget. He is everything that he portrays on TV and more. Truly the king and a great ambassador for the game.

On a light note, read this article on ESPN.com. Apparently Tiger Woods nutted one off the first tee and hit it a whopping 198 yards with a 3-wood. For perspective he hit this same 3-wood thin the other week and hit it 300 yards. Oh yeah, he managed to save par.

More to come on this weekend tournaments as it could be a very good one.

March 17, 2005

Stopping To Say Thank You

Driving home after the monthly meetup here in Greensboro, I came to the conclusion that I have been lax in saying thank you to some key people in this blogosphere.

First to Billy The Blogging Poet - Your efforts to maintain the meetup group is greatly appreciated by this blogger. Thank you.

The Shu also deserves some thanks. He was the first aggregator to find me and bring me to my two readers. Thank you.

Roch also deserves some thanks as well. Greensboro101.com is gaining noteriety, and for good reasons. Additionally, his efforts to get our politicians blogging is a noble effort. In my opinion it is donquijote-esque, but what do I know.

There are many others that deserve thanks and praise for making the Greensboro blog scene what it is, but those were the three I thought of last night. Thanks for doing what you do.

March 15, 2005

Doing My Part To Keep People Happy

Tuesday, March 15th 2005 - 3:45 PM

FYI. If you travel Wendover Avenue between I-40 and Summit Avenue watch your speed!

I saw a few speed traps this morning, and was just told by someone who was just out there that they saw two cars pulled over, two police vehicles in speed traps, and two motorcycle officers out on patrol.

Since speeding tickets tend to put people in a bad mood, I just thought I would give everyone a head's up.

March 14, 2005

I Told You It Would Be A Good One

Wow, that was one heck of a final round yesterday at the Honda Classic. For that matter, the weekend was full of some great golf. With great shots abound, it looked like anyone’s game until a Fijian gave an Irishman an early St. Patrick’s Day present.

Saturday was wrought with disaster for most everyone as the golf course dried out and sped up. The way the approach shots were bouncing off these greens you would have thought it was the U.S. Open. In fact, Johnny Miller made a great point to aspiring golf course architects and developers (myself included). To paraphrase he said that if you wanted to make a golf course difficult, don’t worry about water hazards and bunkers (although they don’t detract from the difficulty), but instead elevate the greens and crown them. That way, less then perfect shots are deflected off the green and lead to many shot options for the player. With the option to chip, flop, pitch or putt there are just too many options for the golfer to fully commit to the shot a regular basis. That leads to imperfect shots, and consequently bogies.

Anyway, Sunday was a different story. Well, it wasn’t for the leaders as they struggled coming in, but those off the lead, and supposedly had nothing to lose went out and lit up the Mirasol Country Club. Those who made the playoff include:

Padrig Harrington shot a 9-under 63 (with two bogeys)
Vijay Singh shot an 8-under 64
Joe Ogilvie rode his alma mater’s basketball success on Sunday and shot a 4-under 68

Meanwhile, the leaders going into the final round struggled:

Geoff Ogilvy shot a 1-over 73 (almost won for the second start in a row)
Brett Wetterich shot a 1-over 73 including a triple bogey (I don’t see how his swing can hold up in the long run)
Pat Perez shot a 2-under 70, but nobody knew it because he was too busy throwing clubs and that is bad for TV
Lee Janzen shot a 4-over 76 and is still winless since his last U.S. Open victory

So we ended up with a playoff that went two extra holes, and ended in anti-climatic fashion when Singh missed a 2 1/2-footer to continue the drama. This gave Harrington his first PGA Tour title and with the confidence this gives him, I have to figure he is on the short list of favorites for the Masters.

March 11, 2005

Basketball....We Don't Need No Stinkin' Basketball!

While I am confident that most people around here are following the ACC Tournament (or some other conference tourney), the fact is, that there is still golf being played down in Palm Beach Gardens at the Honda Classic.

This is one of those ‘bad time slot tournaments’ that happen regularly on the PGA Tour. It is a quality course, and a competitive field, but it does not have the names that are playing in it. In other words, Tiger and Phil are doing other things this weekend. The lack of marquee names, combined with the start of March Madness oftentimes leads to this event being overlooked by the masses. However, the field is setting up for another exciting finish like last year.

In 2004 Todd Hamilton came from out of nowhere to win this event by a stroke over Davis Love III. Oh yeah, Hamilton also went on to defeat Ernie Els in a playoff to win the British Open to wrap up Rookie of the Year honors.

To re-cap last years final round, Hamilton started the day with a 4-shot lead over Love, but bad conditions and, what I can only assume were Rookie Nerves, Hamilton was tied with Love standing in the 18th fairway. So what does he do? Nothing but stick a six-iron knock-down shot to within 4 feet, make the putt, and earn himself a boatload of money and a pretty cool trophy.

So, don’t forget about the Honda Classic. Like the sponsor, it is not flashy, but you can depend on it for exciting golf.

March 09, 2005

Looking For Greener Pastures

When it comes down to it, I’m really a lucky individual. I have a great wife, and beautiful daughter, and we own a house in a great neighborhood here in Greensboro, NC. However, I have been struggling with a moral dilemma for some time now.

I need to find a new job. I work as a marketing manager for a family owned company here in town, and since I have the wrong last name, I have hit the ceiling in regards to challenges and earning potential. So I now face a conundrum. The people I work for are good people, and they have done a lot to help me out over the years. However, I also have to do what is best for my family, and at this point I feel it is best to move on.

As I start this job search I have come to a realization that this is not something that I can do on my own, so I come to you, the blogging community looking for help, advice, encouragement etc. I am looking for a new marketing position based here in Greensboro. Some key facts about my skills include:

B.S. Sport Management – Guilford College
MBA – Bryan SchoolUNCG
Former Golf Professional
Inside & Outside Sales Experience
Trade Show Coordination
Advertising
Comprehensive Marketing Plans

I would love to get into the sports industry, but do not have any solid contacts in this area. Otherwise, I intend on staying in the marketing field.

If you know of anything, or anyone that might help me in this process I would be most grateful.

You know, as I look at what I have written I realize that this is a major shift from my normal personality. I take tremendous pride in taking care of things myself, and to ask for help is not something that is easy for me to do. However, since I am getting ready to embark on a major life change, I may as well utilize all resources available to me.

Please feel free to leave a comment on the blog here, or if you want to contact me more securely please feel free to email me at shortgamecentral@gmail.com.

Thanks for taking the time to read this, and I will surely keep you all posted as I take another step in my professional life.

March 08, 2005

Life is for the Living

One of the topics that I meant to write about last week but did not was the tragic drowning death of Jack Nicklaus’ grandson Jake. Patrick Eakes post (titled Baby Lost) brought it to my attention last week. And, as he states Jack has always been exceptional in his ability to balance his golf profession and family commitments. In fact, when he went through hip replacement surgery a few years back, it was not so that he could keep playing competitive golf, but rather so that he would be able enjoy time with his family.

The events of last week were most certainly tragic, and works as an unfortunate reminder of just how quickly something like this can happen to a little child.

However, Jack was back in the public eye today fulfilling his prior commitments. While it appeared that he was having a tough time dealing with the situation, he talked about what I consider to be a very important part of moving forward after tragedy. “Life has got to go on. Life is for the living.” I think it takes more to muster the energy to deal with living after an event such as this (thankfully, I have yet to deal with a family tragedy in my adult life), but all too often you see and hear about people who seek solace in solitude.

I don’t know the official stages of grief, but I have seen others go through it and it seems that people oftentimes get bogged down in avoiding people. If you know someone like that do what you can to get him or her involved in living again. It will be tough and trying for all around, but will definitely help everyone to move on.

March 07, 2005

Mea Culpa!

I know, I know, I’m a slacker. No blog post in almost a week. Although, there were some very valid reasons for my incommunicado. First, I had the head cold from hell last week. So, it was tough enough to go to work, let alone try to put some thoughts on paper. Second, there has been some stuff going on at work that has had me dealing with issues that, while very time consuming, were not blog worthy.

I actually feel guilty about not posting because there have been some topics that I have wanted to discuss. Hopefully I will get them out later today.

Oh yeah, there was one other little time consuming activity that took place yesterday that worked against getting a blog out. My little girl turned one yesterday. I can’t believe how much she has changed my life. I never would have thought that putting on a party that revolved around something other than a sporting event would be so fulfilling. A special thanks must go out to my wife, as she was the true leader in this endeavor. I was just there to help out in whatever way I could.

So Happy Birthday Addison! My very own Little Miss Magic!

March 01, 2005

Naps Are Good, The Golf Is Even Better!

There was some impressive golf played this weekend, but if you have read JW’s blog, you would not know it. I should stat now that while I do not know her personally (at least I think I don’t), I do enjoy her musings, and in this case she brings up a valid point. Golf as a spectator sport is a rather relaxing endeavor. That is one of the reasons that I like watching on TV. It allows for the mind to wander, envy the position the players are in, and usually sneak in a nap. This is a great way to spend a weekend afternoon (especially when the weather is bad where you are), and I recommend everyone give it a try sometime.

While the Accenture Match Play Championship was boring, it provided some exciting golf, as did most tournaments this weekend. The weekend highlights include:

David Toms put on an amazing display of all around golf on Saturday and Sunday. He was splitting fairways, knocking it stiff, and hitting every putt that faced him. He won the championship on Sunday 6 and 5, and it was not that close, in fact he was nine up at one time. He just flat out dominated his opponents, and that led to the easy victories that left producers with unexpected time to fill.

Elsewhere on the PGA Tour another young gun is starting to make some waves. Kevin Na lost in a playoff to Geoff Ogilvy at the Chrysler Classic of Tuscon. Na can’t legally buy a drink yet (he is only 20), but look for him to be celebrating sooner rather then later, as this is his second full season on the PGA Tour and he already has two second places finishes in 2005.

Finally, Michelle Wie was finally lost in the shuffle. While she makes waves and draws attention while she is playing on the PGA Tour, she does not draw the TV ratings when she is playing on the LPGA Tour. Anyway, this teenager finished tied for second in an official LPGA event. While some might say she had an advantage as this event was on her home island, and the number one women’s golfer Annika was not there, they don’t hold water when you look at it. This is a young girl who withstood the added pressure of playing in front of the hometown fans, did not back down, and demonstrated yet again that she has the talent to dominate women’s golf one day (if that remains her goal).

So, while JW says that golf on TV was boring this weekend, I offer an alternative explanation. Some made it look so easy that the TV producers ended up with extra time to fill. Next time you get a crappy weekend afternoon, I strongly suggest that you take some time, relax on the sofa, and watch some golf. Who knows, you may even get better by osmosis. At least that’s how I defend it.

Just Got My Butt Kicked...

By a cold that my daughter so generously gave to me. I knew she was sick during daddy-daughter day on Saturday, but for some reason I thought I would be impervious to her immature cold demons...

Boy, was I wrong. Plenty of rest and sleep, and I am just now coming back into the world of the living.

There was some exciting golf this weekend, and I will post later today (if I'm still around). But for now, I am alive and hope to start living soon.