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Opinion & Analysis

10 Great Tweets from the 10 Best Golfers on Twitter: 2012 Edition

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In the grand tradition of Golf Digest’s “Tweets of the Year,” I present the best tweet of 2012 from each of the 10 best men’s golfers on Twitter.

Unfortunately, the Nos. 5, 7 and 10 in the Official World Golf Ranking— Misters Oosthuizen, Scott, and Snedeker — aren’t active in the Twitterverse. However, the 13th ranked golfer in the world, Ian Poulter, more than makes up for their absence with the volume of his tweets.

Rory McIlroy: OWGR No. 1


In response to an ill-informed tweet by former professional hockey player, Jeff O’Neill, Rory McIlroy pointed to his multiple major championship victories. In doing so, the golfer effectively dropped his gloves and beat down the former Hartford Whaler.

It’s not clear why the often venomous O’Neill was taking issue McIlroy, or which “chirps” he objected to, but as O’Neill is both a sports fan and a golfer, one would think he’d be more aware of Rory’s record. Apparently not.

Luke Donald: OWGR No. 2


No. Luke Donald was not laughing at Gil Hanse preparing food…

During the Deutsche Bank Championship, Donald took to Twitter to disparage the architect who re-designed portions of TPC Boston. His tweet was meant to be a DM. Unfortunately for Donald, though, it wasn’t and his assessment of Hanse was broadcast to all of his followers. More immediately inconvenient for the golfer was the tweeting of his cell phone number, which he also meant to DM.

Donald quickly deleted the tweet and issued an apology, but the entry lives on in an abundance of screen captures and blog posts.

Tiger Woods: OWRG No. 3


I assume that Tiger Woods’ presence on Twitter is primarily the result of the prodding of the marketing arm of Team Tiger. Even so, amongst the bland, contrived and largely formulaic tweets coming from the @TigerWoods handle, there are a few chirps which seem like they come from Woods himself and are representative of the contents of the mind of the Tiger at a particular moment.

Such a moment came after Roger Federer’s epic battle with Andy Murray. Woods is a friend of Federer and often attends the U.S. Open, so it’s likely he actually watched the match and that the tweet represents his true sentiments, which is rare in any Woodsian public utterance.

Justin Rose: OWGR No. 4


Justin Rose’s response to Adam Scott’s slow burn at the Open Championship is notable both for the English spelling of “colors” and for his honest and opportune response to the event. In less than 140 characters, Rose expressed his feelings about his friend’s pitiable surrender of the Claret Jug. In doing so, he voiced publicly what so many golf fans were feeling in a uniquely personal way.

Lee Westwood: OWGR No. 6


Westwood hasn’t been tweeting much over the past few months. This is a shame, as we’re being deprived of utterances nearly incomprehensible to the average American, like the one above. I think Westwood was talking about a couple of soccer games, although he may have been referencing deviant bedroom practices…I’m not entirely sure.

Bubba Watson: OWGR No. 8

Bubba Watson’s tweet following his Masters victory conveyed the surreal nature of one’s first major championship victory and what it’s like to have recently arrived at the pinnacle of success, rather unexpectedly.

“Crazy day,” doesn’t really begin to sum up Bubba’s experience. But really, what can he say, at the end of the day, returning home, unheralded winner of the Masters? Not surprising he’d doubt reality for a minute, or think he’s living a dream. It’s similar to the moment when an Oscar winner returns home with his award…reflecting in the silence, what else is there to say? #awesome

Jason Dufner: OWGR No. 9


Dufner’s tweet is great, because, well, a dip-packing, adoptive Alabama good ole’ boy quoting Kanye West is fantastic. Such are the wonders of the Duf.

Webb Simpson: OWGR No. 11


Easily my favorite golf-related tweet of 2012, Webb Simpson took an absurd attempt to ruin his moment in the sun and shrugged it off in a way Bob Costas couldn’t as it happened—You’ll recall Costas awkward indignation and grumpy declaration “…always something to spice matters up.”

The newly-crowned U.S. Open champion then took to Twitter to make light of the situation, tweeting a screen capture of himself and the renegade Junglebird. The traditional approaches to such a situation would have been to

  1. ignore it, or
  2. decry the infiltration of the sanctum of the USGA: the U.S. Open.

Simpson went off-script and handled the situation perfectly, reclaiming his special moment in an unexpected way.

Keegan Bradley: OWGR No. 12


In the midst of the presidential debate when harsh partisan views permeated Twitter, Keegan Bradley emerged as the lone voice of rational discourse. Bradley pointed out the elephant on the debate stage: the belly putter question.

Ian Poulter: OWGR No. 13

Ian Poulter tweets a lot about a variety of topics. His most recent tweets, at this writing, are about his iPhone, his clothing company, the Orlando Magic game, his equipment and his Christmas haircut. Lost in the torrent of tweets, the pink, and the plaid is the fact that Poulter is an incredibly passionate and dedicated golfer with a real will to win.

The former assistant pro is a dominant Ryder Cup player (8-3-0) and has won 16 times around the world. In response to critical tweets regarding his anger on the course during Tiger Woods’ World Challenge event, Poulter defended himself, citing passion as an essential attribute of anyone who legitimately wants to win a golf tournament. Poulter’s logic seems to indicate that the pros who don’t show passion aren’t playing to win, which is a bold claim.

Click here for more discussion in the “Tour Talk” forum. 

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  1. Andy Ellis

    Dec 20, 2012 at 5:46 am

    Westwoods tweet was in relation to 2 of his racehorses….
    not football (or soccer for the Americans)
    Good luck and a fine list!

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Opinion & Analysis

WATCH: How To Remove a Stuck Tip Weight

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Tip weights are one of the smallest components used to assemble a golf club, and they get stuck all the time. That causes a lot of problems if you want to re-use a shaft. In this how-to video, I explain the best practices for removing tip weights, as well as the tools you should use to remove them.

 

 

 

 

 

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Opinion & Analysis

Have you got Golfzheimers?

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While it has taken more than a quarter century of teaching golf to arrive at this point, I have come to the conclusion that there is an as-yet-unnamed epidemic condition afflicting a great majority of players. This condition is so prevalent that I think it is high time it was given a name. So let me be the first to navigate those uncharted waters and give it one in hopes that, once formally recognized, it will begin to be more seriously studied in search for a cure. I will call this condition “Golfzheimers,” as it is the complete inability most golfers have to remember the vast majority of good shots they have ever hit (even those hit only moments before), while having the uncanny ability to instantly recall every chunk, shank, skull, and chili-dip they’ve hit since sometime back around when balls were still covered with balata.

Now trust me, I’m not making light of a very troubling and serious disease. My grandmother suffered from Alzheimer’s, and it is a heartbreaking condition.  n truth, I could have just as easily named this “A Golfer’s Senior Moment,” since the term is ubiquitous enough, if I really believed someone would actually take offense (and I am truly sorry if you do).  I didn’t, though, because it was after a conversation with my late grandmother one day that I was suddenly struck with how oddly similar her lack of short-term memory, combined with her ability to vividly remember things that happened 40 or 50 years ago, was in some ways to how most golfers tend to think.

As long as I have been playing and teaching, I’ve been searching for different ways to learn to accept bad shots, keep them in perspective, and move on without letting them affect the next shot, hole, or round. When it comes to swinging the golf club, I can generally teach someone how to hit pretty good shots in a fairly short period of time, but teaching them to remember them with the same level of clarity as those of the more wayward variety often seems like trying to teach a blind man to see. Despite a general awareness of this phenomenon by most players and its detrimental effect upon their golf game, little has been suggested until now as to why it exists and what if anything golfers can do about it. And while research in the field of neuroscience suggests that our brains are hard-wired from the caveman days to catalogue and assign more importance to events that are considered dangerous or threatening, what about the game can have become so dangerous (other than to our egos) that we all seem to be fighting such an uphill battle?

Numerous psychological studies have found that the majority of people can remember five bad experiences more readily than five good ones, and assuming this is true, it speaks a great deal about how we have been conditioned to think since an early age.  The concept of scarcity, a term popularized in the self-help world, essentially describes a lens through which many of us have been conditioned to look upon our world, our lives, and apparently our games, with far too much regularity. It is through the use of this concept that many of our parents kept us at the dinner table as children, far beyond our wishes and long after our dinners were cold. We were guilt-ridden, not because we might be unappreciative of the time and money that went into providing us with that dinner, but because there were millions of starving children in China or some other far-off country that would have been tripping over themselves for even the remnants of that liver and onions our mothers had beset upon us.

As a proud parent, I’m embarrassed to say I’ve used the scarcity tactic a time or two myself during moments of desperation. Being naturally an optimist, though, I try to avoid succumbing to its siren song because I prefer to teach my daughters a far better lesson. At the same time, my girls are proof positive of these same studies and our ability to recall, as evidenced by another thing we do at that very same dinner table — we play a game called high and low. I’m sure you’ve heard of it; it’s where you ask your kids what their high and low moments were during the day. With my kids, I ask them to tell me the low first, preferring to close their day’s reflection with something positive, but it’s uncanny how often recalling something positive makes them really pause and reflect, while if something negative occurred, their recall of it is nearly instant and typically very descriptive.

The good news for both my daughters and the general golfing public, however, is there is a very effective way to short-circuit this type of thinking, and it comes from the field of hypnosis. From this moment forward, make a point not only to remember every good thing that happens to you, but to stop and savor it. If you are paid a compliment, don’t just brush it off. Stop to relish it for a moment and recognize the responsible person with more than just the perfunctory, “Thanks.” If you accomplish a goal, regardless of how small, reward yourself in at least some small way, all the while reminding yourself how good it feels to follow through on your intentions. And if you actually hit a golf shot well, reflect a moment, make a point to enjoy it and remember the moment vividly, and actually thank your partners when they say, “Nice shot” rather than blowing it off with some sort of, “Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn once in a while” type of comment.

Hitting the golf ball well is actually a near miraculous achievement when you consider the complexity of the swing and the incredible timing and hand-eye coordination it requires. Enjoy it (or anything else for that matter) when it actually comes off right. Do it several times a day for a month or more and there will be subtle changes in your brain chemistry, how you feel, and your outlook on life. You will notice, and so will those closest to you.  Make it a long-term habit and you might even be able to avoid ever having your playing partners ask this unfortunate question: “Have you got Golfzheimers?”

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Opinion & Analysis

The History of Course Design is Yours to Play at Oglebay

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There is a much-talked about “New Golden Age” of golf course design underway that is driven by demand for ever-more spectacular courses at the top end of the resort golf market. Destinations such as Streamsong, Bandon Dunes, Cabot Links, Sand Valley and others provide the traveling golfer a spectacular golf experience; unfortunately, it comes at a price tag that is equally spectacular. When a week playing golf in Florida can cost as much as a week in Scotland, where do you go for a golf getaway that doesn’t require a second mortgage?

Oglebay Golf Resort in Wheeling, West Virginia, doesn’t just provide an affordable golf vacation option; with its three golf courses, it provides players the chance to experience a condensed history of American golf course design through its three courses. The resort sits on land that was once owned by a wealthy industrialist and is now a part of the city park system. Located about an hour from Pittsburgh, Oglebay draws the majority of its golfers from Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia. It’s kind of cool that when you drive to Oglebay from the Washington, D.C., you hit all of those states except Ohio, which is just a few minutes away from Wheeling. The area is especially picturesque in the autumn months when the changing colors of the leaves are at their peak.

The property has a rich history in the business and sporting history of West Virginia, but the three golf courses, Crispin, are a special prize that taken together form a primer on the history of golf design in the past 90 years. The 5,670-yard Crispin course is a one-off design by local golf enthusiast Robert Biery that was completed in 1930 and is a fascinating study of design techniques of that era. The slopes and elevation are severe and extreme by today’s standards. A clue was the raised eyebrow of the assistant pro when I said that I would walk the course. Uneven lies are the order of the day, the product of a time when there was neither the money nor equipment readily available to create gentle slopes and even surfaces; the course is true to the original contours of the West Virginia hillside.  There is little relief on the greens, which run a little slower than typical greens but make up for it in size and slope. It is by far the shortest of the three courses but the par-4 8th hole and par-5 9th holes are a thousand yards of joy and pain.

Hole No. 6 at the Klieves course

The Klieves Course is a 6,800-yard, par-71 Arnold Palmer design that was completed in 2000. The design features broad fairways, mildly undulating greens and opportunities for heroics on short par-4’s, all the prototypical characteristics of modern resort golf courses. While some architects choose to torture and torment, Palmer courses put a premium on fun and this one is no exception. The par-5, 515 yard 6th is a great example of the risk/reward available without that challenges the resort golfer without the need to humiliate. The course is very well maintained tee to green, and you’ll want to keep a fully charged battery to take photos of the vistas from the elevated tee boxes.

Hole No. 13 at the Jones course

In my humble opinion, the true gem is the Robert Trent Jones course. The 7,004-yard, par-72 Course carries a healthy 75.1 rating/141 slope from the back tees. It utilizes a gorgeous piece of land that meanders across the West Virginia hills to give a mesmerizing collection of holes that are equal parts scenery and challenge. Both nines start from elevated tee boxes hitting down into valleys that offer classic risk/reward propositions. Usually I have no problem identifying a favorite hole or two, but on this course it’s difficult. Having said that, the stretch of No. 4 (par 3, 193 yards), No. 5 (par-5, 511 yards) and No. 6 (par-4, 420 yards) are among the best I have played anywhere as a show of nature’s beauty and the at of laying out a golf hole. And the four par 3’s are not the place to pic up an easy birdie. The only one less that 190 yards from the tips is the 158-yard 15th, which is protected by a small, undulating green. All in all, it’s a perfect representation of the genius of Robert Trent Jones.

The golf is good at Oglebay and the prices are better. You can get in 18 at the Oglebay courses for as little as $32…on the weekend. And when you’re not playing golf, you can take advantage of the myriad of outdoor sports activities, tour the Oglebay mansion, hit the spa or visit the Glass Museum on the property (I promise it’s a lot more interesting than it sounds). There’s a lot of great new golf resorts out there and that’s a good thing for the golf industry, but destinations like Oglebay prove that there’s a lot of life left in the old classics as well.

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