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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.

August 19, 2005

On Vacation

Out of town on vacation. Will return with our regularly scheduled programming next week.

August 17, 2005

Fantasy Re-Cap / Preview

Before we get into the fantasy picks this week, and the results from last week, I want to take a moment to mention something about this past weekend’s final major.

Apparently, Tiger Woods took the weather delay on Sunday afternoon as the end of his tournament. He was the leader in the clubhouse when the storms hit on Sunday evening, and with the inconsistent play the leaders were demonstrating, there was an outside shot that he could have been in a playoff.

Instead of spending one more night at Baltusrol, Tiger instead headed out of town while leading the golf tournament (he had posted the best 72 hole score to date, so according to golf terms, he was the leader in the clubhouse). This really bothers me. I don’t doubt that he was confident that he would not have shot at a playoff, but come on. This is the final major of the year, you have already won two of them, and let’s face it; the game of golf is a strange one. Who knows what would have happen.

I just wish that everyone else out on the course agreed to finish at 2-under and decide it in a playoff, and Tiger had to deal with the bad publicity. Just not good form as far as I am concerned.

Anyway, the team of Woods, Clark, Perry, Petrovic, and Purdy did not do great for me, but they did not do terrible either. Four of them made the cut (Tim Petrovic was the score we threw out) and earned me a total of $556,700 which was good for 17,670th place. Not a strong showing, but one that we can hopefully build upon.

This week is unique in that there are actually two tournaments taking place. The no-cut NEC Championship (part of the World Golf Championships), and the Reno-Tahoe open (a regular tour event where the top 70 make the weekend). Given that I do not want to risk not having 5 players make a check this week, I will focus my attention on the NEC at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio. This week’s roster includes:

Tiger Woods ($300,000) – I know I ripped him, but he is still playing well, and has had success at this course.

Tim Clark ($245,500) – Solid performance last year, and really throughout the entire season makes this a no brainer pick.

John Daly ($163,500) – Not a great track record here, but this is a long course that favors aggressive play. Usually a good combination for Long John.

Jose Maria Olazabal (157,000) – Before the major technology revolution that golf is currently enduring, Jose dominated this event. He has seen a bit of a resurgence this year in his game, and he is a great value pick.

Ted Purdy (118,000) – Ted’s excellent adventure continues after a strong showing at the PGA Championship. Gotta play the hot hand.

I know I will have five players who will earn me money this week, now let’s hope that they earn me enough to crack the top 15,000.

August 16, 2005

Rule of the Week - Just Hit The Damn Ball

Today is not really a rule, but rather a point of contention. The pace of play for the typical round of golf has gotten rediculous.

Let's all try to do a better job of playing 'Ready Golf'. If your playing companion is not ready to hit and you are, go ahead. We aren't playing for major championships, and it is usually a round amongst friends.

A round of golf should take 4 hours (4:30 at the max). If you are ready, go ahead. Everyone will have a better time.

Weekend Omission

Since the PGA Championship did not end till Monday it really screwed up my weekend re-cap because I did not get to see how the tournament ended.

Apparently Phil won.

Don't know if it was dramatic or not.

August 12, 2005

Tip of the Week - Get The Ball To The Hole

One of the biggest problems that most golfers have is leaving putts short of the hole. Here is a drill that will help you work on being more aggressive on the putting greens. It is also a great game to play with friends.

Drawbacks-

Start 10’ from the hole and roll a putt. If you miss it on the high side or long simply putt out from where the ball lies. However, if you miss low or short, then draw the ball back the length of your putter. The goal when practicing by yourself is to play nine ‘holes’ is 18 shots or less (2 putts per hole), but when you are playing an opponent the goal is to have a lower score over a set number of holes.

Keep practicing this drill until you manage to meet your set goal or beat your buddies.

This drill will help reinforce a more aggressive stroke because you want to make sure you hit the ball past the hole. This will at least give you a chance to make the putt.
Remember, never up, never in.

August 11, 2005

Product Review - Get Your Mojo On

As we get started on this product review journey, I should probably give you a little background on my golf game. I have been playing the game for almost twenty years to various degrees of success. I am a long hitter, but as of late have been working on harnessing that power to gain more control over my distance and direction.

These reviews are my own personal opinion about the equipment, and while some of it might not be right for me I will always try to offer suggestions as to whom the product might benefit.

At this time I am coming out of my own pocket for the products that I evaluate here, and even if manufacturers start giving me equipment to test I will remain as impartial as possible.

The Nike MOJO is a semi-premium golf ball designed for the mid-level player. Normally, I would not play this style golf ball (I prefer one with more feel), but since I was playing slow and soft greens at Twin Oaks during the evaluation process I felt that it would be a good place to give it a shot.

The Ball – This is two-piece ball with a low compression core and durable cover. The premise is that with a softer core it will produce more spin to offset the hard cover.

Distance – This ball was long (about 5% longer then I typically gauge my distances.

Spin – Very little on short shots. Full shots were sticking nicely (mostly due to soft conditions)

Feel – This ball feels very hard on short shots making it hard for the advanced golfer to trust their swing

Durability – Very good. Resistant to scuffing.

Price – MSRP $28.99 (Can be found for as low as $19.99)

Overall – This is a decent golf ball. It is not the greatest I have ever played, but I would recommend this golf ball for mid to high handicap players and those with slower swing speeds.

August 10, 2005

Fantasy Preview - Another Shot at Glory

As we get ready for the final major of the PGA Tour, I felt it best to give you a little history of my skills at creating a five-man team that can bring me to victory:

I stink at it. I have never finished inside the top 5,000. Only once have I had all five of my guys make the cut. However, I will persevere and try yet again.

Here are the rules for the site I play on (CBS Sportsline):

They have set a dollar value on every player in the field, and with a budget of $1,000,000 you have to create a five-man team that will give you more earnings then everyone else you are playing against.

Since I forgot to post a team last week, I will go right into my picks for this week:

Tim Petrovic ($79,500) – A journeyman pro who have been playing well this year including a victory in New Orleans. He is my dark horse that I just have a feeling will play well this week. In other words, he’ll miss the cut.

Ted Purdy ($88,750) – He won this year when Tiger missed the cut. Not a spectacular player, but one who has made the cut in two of the majors this year.

Tim Clark ($257,750) – 6th last week at the International combined with making the cut in all three majors makes this guy a relative value pick. In fact, I’m real happy with this one. He actually forced Chris DiMarco from the team.

Kenny Perry ($274,000) – The PGA Championship is notorious for providing good players with their lone major (such as Davis Love III and David Toms). Perry is a very good player, and has hit his stride in the last couple of years. If he is going to win a major it may as well be this one.

Tiger Woods ($300,000) – I would be shocked if there is anyone out there who does not put Tiger in their top 5. To bypass him would be ridiculous.

So there they are, and I even have $500 to spare. These are the five who will bring me days of glory or hours of agony. I guess we’ll know on Sunday.

August 09, 2005

Rule of the Week - Get the Ball in the Hole!

Here’s the situation:

A golfer is on the 18th green with a long birdie putt that would give him his personal best score. After spending time analyzing the break of the green, the direction of the grain, and all other factors they consider he strikes a perfect putt. Two feet from the hole it hits a spike mark that kills its speed. The ball trickles to a stop on the edge of the hole.

Completely flustered by this heinous stroke of bad luck, the golfer walks up to the hole, and stands just a few inches from the hole. After realizing that the ball will not fall due to the concept of gravity, the golfer gives it just the help it needs by jumping up and down shaking the ground in such a violent manner that the ball leaps forward into the hole.

Does the golfer make his birdie and set a new benchmark for him to shoot for?

Answer:

Nope. If we assume that the ball was at rest, then the golfer was in breach of rule 18-2a. The golfer incurs a one-shot penalty and must replace the ball on the lip of the hole and putt out.

Instead of making a birdie he in fact made a bogey (one stroke penalty plus the stroke to hole out the putt).

So much for that personal best. Now go back out and try again.

Of course if he had been using a custom-built putter from Short Game Central he surely would have made the putt and set a new personal best.

August 08, 2005

Weekend Re-Cap August 6 & 7

This past week was a pretty big one in the world of golf with only the LPGA taking a break from official action.

PGA TourRetief Goosen won the International being played in the mile-high air of Denver, Colorado. The big story from this week was the Sunday conditions. The weather was perfect, but they had to play 36 holes at high elevation over a very hilly and long course. This event is typically a test of fitness to begin with (most caddies use the light stand bags in lieu of the 40 – 50 pound tour bag carried on most weeks), but it was taken to new levels with the 36-hole marathon.

Special Note: A big thank you to The Golf Channel for picking up the CBS telecast on the east coast so that us sadistic golf nuts could see how the tournament played out.

LPGA Tour – Officially they were on a break, but LPGA citizen #1 (Annika Sorrenstam) continued her worldwide dominance winning a European LPGA event over Ben Rothlisberger’s girlfriend Natalie Gulbis.

Champions Tour – In the 50+ circuit, Tom Purtzer closed the deal and won the 3M Championship.

USGA – Morgan Pressel, the 17 year old who came in second at the Women’s US Open won the US Women’s Amateur in dominating fashion 9 & 8. She has been critical of Michelle Wie in the past for playing in mostly professional events, and if those two had met on a Sunday with a national championship on the line it could have been quite interesting.

While all this was exciting, the tournament of the week was on what most consider to be the minor-league circuit.

Nationwide Tour – Remember Jason Gore? He was the guy who was in the final round of the U.S. Open a few months back (previous post here), who instead of taking advantage of sponsor’s exemptions for the PGA Tour, opted to return to the Nationwide Tour and continue to hone his game. He has played in four events since the Open:

Event 1 – Tenth place finish
Event 2 – Victory
Event 3 – Victory
Event 4 (This week) – Victory

Four events, three wins, and the coveted battlefield promotion. Jason Gore is now fully exempt on the PGA Tour for the remainder of this year and all of 2006. Oh yeah, he shot 59 on Friday and 63 on Sunday (including 8 birdies in a row at one point). This guy can get hot and go low. Let’s just hope he can develop some consistency to sustain a life on the PGA Tour.

I have really grown into a fan of Gore, not so much for what he did during the Open, and how he was very good at connecting with the fans, but rather for his decision to go back to the Nationwide Tour and earn his way to the big leagues.

I think second place finisher Roger Tambellini said it best, “It's good to get him off this tour and onto the tour he should be on.”

Good luck Jason, now go get it.

Back & Better Then Ever

I am ready to return from my hiatus, I think. The main reason for the hiatus was because I wanted to give some thought as to how I am utilizing my blog.

When I first got started, I did not know what was going to come of this journey, and over the course of time I have met some great people, and learned a lot. But I also think that I need this blog to be more focused. Therefore, I am gearing this blog towards a strictly business purpose.

As most of you know by now, I own a company known as Short Game Central. It has been open for almost a year now, and I am ready to start giving it the attention that it deserves. Short Game Central offers complete club repair services as well as custom-built clubs (specializing in wedges and putters). This blog is now going to become an extension of that business as I work to build my brand up.

There has been a lot of discussion, both here in Greensboro, and around the world about the business of blogging. I am of the firm belief that it is virtually impossible for a blog to be a financial windfall on its own, but I do believe that it can be an excellent accessory for other business ventures, and it is my intention to see if that is the case. Therefore, The Grunkle Guru will now have a more defined schedule of postings that will be both beneficial and enjoyable to the golfing public, not only here in beautiful Greensboro, but across the nation and around the world. The schedule of writings will be as follows:

- Monday (Weekend Round-Up) – A look back at what happened in the world of golf.

- Tuesday (Rule of the Week) – Knowledge is power, and we want you to use the rules to your benefit.

- Wednesday (Fantasy Day) – We’ll take a look at who I like for the coming week, and how my picks fared in the previous event.

- Thursday (Review Day) – A look at a product, service, or golf course.

- Friday (Tip of the Week) – We’ll get you geared up for the weekend with a quick tip to improve your game.

This will be an interesting experiment and will hopefully show the power of business blogging, but it does greatly limit my personal voice. I do not feel it is appropriate to give my opinions on worldly topics, family happenings, and other points of interest at a blog designed to promote my business.

If there is one thing that I have learned about blogging it is quite addictive. Because of my newfound desire to write my opinion about various topics, I have decided to create a new blog as an outlet for my personal views on topics not related to golf. It will take me a couple of days to launch it, but keep your eye out for The 19th Hole (what else would a golfer call it).

Thanks for your patience during my hiatus, and I hope you like the new and improved Grunkle Guru.

August 01, 2005

Time For A Break

Dear Reader(s),

For some time now I have been struggling with my voice. I have felt like I am posting for the sake of posting, posting about non-related issues, and writing posts that have been absolute pieces of crap. I’m sorry you all have had to go through this, but thanks to Ed Cone, I have figured out the problem.

I’m blogging depressed.

Therefore, I am going on hiatus to fix my problem.

Not a long one. Just a week or so to get my thoughts straight, and re-focus on why I blog.

I’ll be around lurking, possibly commenting, but not posting. Look for a grandiose return shortly.

The Guru

Rave Link Review

This week, I am proud to give you:

The Big Link

Go check out the latest in high-quality ranting.