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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.

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.

January 13, 2006

Sony Open - Round 1 Recap

After round 1 of the Sony Open, my team is in pretty good shape

T2 – David Toms (-4)
T49 – Vijay Singh (+1)
T49 – Joe Ogilvie (+1)
T49 – Aaron Baddeley (+1)
T114 – Ryan Moore (+5)

If the cut was after round one, I would have 4 players in the field as Singh, Ogilvie, and Baddeley would all have finished on the cut number (+1). Given that there are currently 24 players tied at (+1), I don’t expect the cut number to drop tomorrow. In fact, I predict it will stay at (+1) and maybe go to (+2) if the wind keeps gusting.

January 12, 2006

Salary Cap Cup - Sony Open

With the first full-field event of 2006 getting ready to get underway in Hawaii today, it is time to bring back one of my favorite sections from last year. This year it is known as the Salary Cap Cup, and basically, it is an opportunity for me to pick 5 golfers per week and see how my prognostication stands up against at least 25,000 other people.

To say 2005 was a success would be a bold-faced lie, so I won’t. I will however say that I got better as the season went on, so maybe I learned a little something through trial and error. Anyway, the rules are simple. Each week I have $1,000,000 to spend on golfers in the field for that week. A golfers ranking is based on his salary for the year, world rankings, and almost surely popularity. The best player in the field is valued at $300,000, and players drop in value to a minimum of $75,000. Results are based on money earned in the event ($1 = 1pt). Additionally, bonus points are awarded for leading after the first, second, and third round.

Player loyalty plays a factor as well because if you have a low-earning player and he has a good week, his value will go up for those who wish to sign him to their roster, but you have them for the original signing price. For instance, if you had Jason Gore when he first got his battlefield promotion from the Nationwide Tour, you most likely signed him for $75,000. After his win at the 84 Lumber Classic, his value would go up substantially (I think it was $145,000), so in essence you had and extra $70,000 you could spend on your roster over your competition.

Now that you know the rules, here is who I signed for this week:

Vijay Singh ($300,000) – Singh won here last week, and has always played well in the Aloha state. No reason to think that this will not continue.

David Toms ($287,000) – If the wind blows, you want someone who hits the ball consistently, and there is no better ball-striker on a regular basis then Toms.

Joe Ogilvie ($209,000) – It doesn’t help him any that he is a Duke alum, but Joe had a breakout year last year and there is no reason to think this will not continue.

Ryan Moore ($118,000) – The question with this rising star is not if he will win on tour, but when. Let’s hope it is this week.

Aaron Baddeley ($85,500) – Remember when “Bads” turned pro few years back, and everyone thought he would be the next great golfer? Well, it would not be surprising if you did forget him as he has taken some time to mature into his game. That being said, my sources tell me he is hitting the ball better then ever and has dedicated himself to his craft this year.

So, if you add it all up, I got $999,500 in players teeing it up this week. Let’s see what kind of dividends they pay out.

January 10, 2006

Rule of the Week - Doh! A Deer

As 2006 gets started, the Grunkle Guru harkens back to his days of youth for the latest installment of The Rule of the Week.

It was a beautiful day for golf. September in New England usually is. The round was going well for all involved. This was a friendly game where the winner was more concerned about bragging rights and a drink at the end of the round then he was with collecting money.

Standing on the 17th green you truly felt like you were communing with nature. The green was elevated, so you had a view over the valley below. There was a light breeze that moved the colorful leaves in a way that made it look like fire was all around you, but the crispness in the air provided a feeling of safety. Nothing could ruin this day.

As I stood over a long par putt I contemplated all the factors that would influence the putt. “Downhill, left to right at the end, about 65 feet” I thought to myself going through my routine. “Don’t forget that this green is exposed more then the others so it should roll a little faster then the others.”

Three practice strokes later I was standing over the ball, and settling my nerves for a confident stroke. As I struck the putt, I got what can only be described as that “Old Time Feeling”. The minute you hit a shot or a putt you know it is going to be good. Nothing can stop it from going to its intended location in this case, the hole.

As I watch the putt track I hear a rustle in the woods behind me. As I turn to look, a blur shoots from the woods and across the green. It is a deer, and a beautiful one at that. The majesty with which he carries himself is truly awe-inspiring. I am comforted by the moment until I realize that this freakin’ animal has hit my putt with his hoof.

“Son of a bitch!” I scream, “That putt was dead center! I can’t believe this!”

As my friends get over their fits of laughter, one of them says, “Don’t worry, you get to replay the shot with no penalty.”

“Oh yeah,” I said, “I forgot about rule 19-1b.”

So I go through my routine again, but this time with limitless distractions in my head. Needless to say I three-putted.

Man, I hate deer.

January 09, 2006

Mercedes Championship Recap

Here’s a recap of the first stop of the PGA Tour season, the Mercedes Championship.

Leaderboard

1 – Stuart Appleby (-8) – won in a playoff
2 – Vijay Singh (-8)
3 – Jim Furyk (-4)

Loserboard

26 – Fred Funk (+20)
27 – Sean O’Hair (+26)
28 – Jason Gore (+28)

The event was exciting in that the course played much harder then it had in previous seasons. The rebuilt the greens last year, and it obviously made the course play much harder then it had in the past. Also, the wind never blew less then 20MPH on any day, and had steady gusts of 40MPH. If you have ever played golf, you have to hit the ball extremely well in the wind as mis-hits are greatly exaggerated due to the dynamics of physics on the golf ball in windy conditions.

Tap-ins

- This is the third consecutive win at this event for Stuart Appleby, and the second year in a row that Vijay Singh has come in second.

- Jim Furyk owns property on Kapalua and used his hometown knowledge to his advantage for a third place finish.

- Jason Gore, the man who won three Nationwide tour events in a row to earn a battlefield promotion, and then won the 84 Lumber Classic to earn his spot in the Mercedes, finally broke 80 on the last day. And for his stellar performance Gore still earned $70,000. Not bad work if you can get it.

- Lucas Glover won his wife a new Mercedes (valued at $87,000) for a hole in one on Saturday.

- My pick, Sergio Garcia started the first tournament of the year much like he did the end of 2005. He hit almost 70% of the greens in regulation, yet averaged 31 putts per round. This equaled a seventh place finish.

- This week is the first full-field event of the year, and will coincide with my first week of fantasy golf. My team for the Sony Open will be announced on Wednesday. Stay tuned for more information.

January 08, 2006

Mercedes Championship After 3 Rounds

Going into the final round the leaderboard of the Mercedes Championship looks like this:

1 - Stuart Appleby (-6)
2 - Michael Campbell (-4)
3 - Jim Furyk (-3)

On the flip side, we have the loserboard:

T26 - Sean O'Hair (+17)
T26 - Fred Funk (+17)
28 - Jason Gore (+23)

With another windy day, and slick greens facing the field, look for a winning score at 7-under par.

January 07, 2006

Mercedes Championship After 2 Rounds

Leaderboard

1 - Stuart Appleby (-3)
T2 - Michael Campbell (-2)
T2 - Jim Furyk (-2)
T2 - David Toms (-2)
T2 - Vijay Singh (-2)

Loserboard

26 - Fred Funk (+12)
T27 - Jason Gore (+14)
T27 - Brad Faxon (+14)

Windy conditions made round two a bit of a struggle for those playing this week.

January 06, 2006

PGA Tour Score Updates - New Feature

In an effort to make this site more relevant to the golfing addicts around the world, The Grunkle Guru will now offer daily updates during tournament weeks of who is in the top three.

Leaderboard for Mercedes Championship after Round 1

1 – Olin Browne (-4)
2 – Vijay Singh (-3)
T3 – Carl Pettersson (-2)
T3 – Sergio Garcia (-2)
T3 – David Toms (-2)
T3 – Stuart Appleby (-2)

And, for those of you who either dream of playing with these guys, or just want to see what the worst scores of the event are, we will also bring you the Loserboard

26 – Ben Crane (+6)
27 – Jason Gore (+7)
28 – Brad Faxon (+9)

January 05, 2006

Free Golf Club Analysis

Typically on Thursdays we have offered product reviews, but in all honesty, there have not been many posts on Thursdays. For one reason, is that there was not a bunch of new stuff to reveal. Well, that is going to change. I got my new clubmaking catalog the other day and boy, is there some cool new equipment coming out. I hope to review a fair amount of it during the year, but until then, I want to use this time to tell you about Short Game Central’s Special for the month of January.

One service that I offer is set analysis. During this process I ask the client to fill out a short questionnaire, and return that to me along with their set of clubs. I then check their clubs for the following specifications:

Loft
Lie
Bounce (wedges)
Length
Static Weight
Swingweight
Grip Size
Club Condition
Set Makeup

Then, by taking the answers provided on the questionnaire, and the information from measuring their set, I can come up with an analysis of whether their set is properly configured for their golf game, along with recommendations for improvements.

This is typically a $50.00 service, but for the month of January, I am offering this service free of charge. I want all golfers to start the season on the right foot, and this service is a great way to get started. If you have any questions, or would like to request a questionnaire, leave a comment or you can email me here.

January 04, 2006

Let's Get It Started

The holidays have come and gone, and the Guru took advantage of the lull in the golf season to play one of his better rounds in a long time (78 with 36 putts), and rest up for what is going to be a long, but enjoyable 2006 golf campaign. Granted it did not get off to a great start as New Years Eve was spent bedridden with an evil and nasty virus that was passed on to me by my loving wife (thanks for the great Christmas present honey), but I am slowly on the road to recovery, and ready for the start of the 2006 season.

It seems like just the other week, we were watching the final event of the 2005 PGA Tour season. Oh wait; it was just the other week. Well, not exactly, the 2005 campaign ended on November 6th, and tomorrow, January 5th, the 2006 season gets underway with the Mercedes Championship. Actually, this is not a full field event, but rather a special tournament for winners from the past year. This year’s event set aside tee times for 32 golfers, including:

Stuart Appleby (1) – Mercedes Championship
Jason Bohn (1) – B.C. Open
Olin Browne (1) – Deutsche Bank Championship
Bart Bryant (2) – The Memorial Tournament, The Tour Championship
Mark Calcavecchia (1) – Bell Canadian Open
Michael Campbell (1) – U.S. Open
K.J. Choi (1) – Chrysler Classic of Greensboro
Ben Crane (1) – U.S. Bank Championship
Brad Faxon (1) – Buick Championship
Fred Funk (1) – The Players Championship
Jim Furyk (1) – Cialis Western Open
Robert Gamez (1) – Valero Texas Open
Sergio Garcia (1) – Booz Allen Classic
Lucas Glover (1) – Funai Classic
Retieff Goosen (1) – The International
Jason Gore (1) – 84 Lumber Classic
Padraig Harrington (2) – The Honda Classic, Barclays Classic
Justin Leonard (2) – Bob Hope Chrysler Classic, FedEx St. Jude Classic
Peter Lonard (1) – MCI Heritage
Phil Mickelson (4) – FBR Open, AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, BellSouth Classic, PGA Championship
Sean O’Hair (1) – John Deere Classic
Geoff Ogilvy (1) – Chrysler Classic of Tucson
Kenny Perry (2) – Bay Hill Invitational, Bank of America Colonial
Tim Petrovic (1) – Zurich Classic of New Orleans
Carl Pettersson (1) – Chrysler Championship
Ted Purdy (1) – EDS Byron Nelson Championship
Wes Short, Jr. (1) – Las Vegas Invitational
Vijay Singh (4) – Sony Open, Shell Houston Open, Wachovia Championship, Buick Open
Heath Slocum (1) – Southern Farm Bureau Classic
Vaughn Taylor (1) – Vaughn Taylor
David Toms (1) – WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship
Tiger Woods (6) – Buick Invitational, Ford Championship @ Doral, Masters Tournament, British Open, WGC – Bridgestone Invitational, WGC – American Express Championship

I know what you are thinking. What about Adam Scott? Didn’t he win the Nissan Open? The answer is yes, he did win the event, but since it was only 36 holes (due to rain) it was considered an unofficial event. In other words, he gets the money and the trophy, but that is it. No ranking points, no invitations to events, etc. Basically it is about as useless of a win as you can come up with. Not say I wouldn’t take it, but those unofficial events don’t carry that much weight.

While Scott won and did not get an invitation, four golfers (Goosen, Harrington, Mickelson, & Woods) earned the right to be at Kapalua, but have withdrawn from the tournament for various reasons. While each has their own reason for skipping, and some are more valid then the others (Hawaii is a long way away for Ireland and South Africa respectively), I still have a problem with these four not making the sacrifice necessary to play in this event.

Not only does this event serve as a way for those who had a good year to build momentum for a strong upcoming season what with the guaranteed money, no cut and limited field, but it also helps to jump start the fans interest in the tour. Since the event is in January most of the country is either buried in snow, below freezing, or just not thinking about golf. The event also takes place live in primetime so that you have a more captive audience. I don’t have any exact scientific fact to back up my thinking, but I do believe that good ratings lead to more interest in golf, which leads to more rounds being played, equipment being bought, and general support of the game. When you have four of the top ten golfers in the world, and two of the most popular (Woods & Mickelson) skip an event that really is tailor made for their games, it hurts the game of golf in general.

So, I hope the new television contract being worked out has a contingency that involves the best players in the world being required to participate in these marquee events. It does good for the entire golf industry.
As for a winner, I don’t have a strong feel for anyone, but for some reason I think Garcia is going to figure out how to putt for at least one week and get the victory.