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The Season Spent on the Sidelines

Sometimes you just have to spend time away. And sometimes you don’t always miss it.

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I usually play somewhere between 50-75 rounds per year, but I have a confession. I have only golfed 8 times this entire year. The bigger shocker is the fact that I am perfectly okay with it. In fact, I think it might even be good for me. It is okay to not go golfing at every opportunity. The game will always be there. The repetition and routine can sometimes become just that. Let’s start at the beginning.

Sometimes life can get in the way of passion. Or, more correctly, a new passion takes the lead for a while.

When I found out that the Federal Aviation Adminstration was hiring Air Traffic Controllers ‘off the street’ (not having attended one of a few selected colleges or being in the military) I was ecstatic. This was a major opportunity for my family and I to start moving from ‘jobs’ to a career path. There was just one problem that came with the job. We would have to move from just outside of Ann Arbor, MI to Sioux City, IA. Part of the deal was that I was also going to spend May through August in Oklahoma City. 

Originally, I thought it would be great. I get to play all sorts of courses that I have never seen, and it should be sunny more there than in MI. I was right about one of two. It was definitely sunny. In fact, there was a streak of two weeks where the daytime high was never lower than 105. It was literally too hot to golf. I had to wait for it to cool off (95 degrees) before I could ever get out. On top of that, the local course had a limited number of carts. You have to be there before 10am or you are walking.

Fast forward three months and four rounds added to the pre-OKC subtotal for a grand total of 7. We moved to IA, and here we are and there is just one more round played since August. I should only count this as half because there were cows literally 5 feet from me while I was teeing off.

Now that you know the circumstances, we can get to the psychology behind it all. Due to the intense training, I was unable to write all summer about golf as well. I severed ties with everything that had to do with the game. I think my total time spent on WRX was less than an hour for the summer.

Living in a cold climate, we are forced to bag it up in November and wait until April. Many players think that this is good because it reinvigorates the passion. I think it is absolutely true. In fact, this is what happened this summer to me. I was able to step back and completely wash my hands of everything. There was no time spent reflecting on rounds, or why I played a cut for the first half and suddenly developed a draw.

We as golfers can sometimes let this little game begin to consume us and even start missing out on other activities. There were so many things that I got to do this summer that I haven’t ever done. I got a tan like I was a little kid. Gone was the "golf  tan" of white and tan arms, dark from the neck up, and between the knees and ankles. The only tanlines I got were right where my bathing suit spent the summer by the pool. A hot sunny day is much more relaxing with a beer and a floating mattress in the water than chasing shanks and elusive birdies.

I found that going drinking and dancing on Friday night was way more enjoyable knowing that I didn’t have to get up in the morning and make a 9am tee time. There is nothing quite as terrible as walking a hungover 18 Saturday morning. I also had lots more money to spend on other fun activites. We all know golf is a very expensive habit, and that extra $50 per week in the wallet didn’t go unnoticed.

Even my wife has enjoyed the layoff. There are no more glasses of coke with a wedge sticking out overnight. Our house doesn’t smell like mineral spirits (her favorite!) as I habitually regrip clubs that secretly don’t need new grips, I just like doing it. My stockpile of golf balls hasn’t added its 9th dozen since that January clearance at Target.

Having spent the summer watching instead of doing has had a couple of effects on my swing, but it won’t take more than a couple of hours at the range to work those out. For the people that live in warm climates, I think you should give a hiatus serious consideration. It will make you appreciate those lovely days when you finally do hit the links. It no longer becomes about beating that last score or playing because that is what you do on Saturday. You will get out there and do what we all love. Golf. Just golf. Enjoy the simplicity of the game. Select club. Hit ball. Repeat. Every once in a while, we need life to intervene to show us what we are missing both on the course and off.

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  1. Buddy6713

    Oct 14, 2008 at 9:03 pm

    Well done! It is a consuming game and can take up time that you don’t even realize could be better or at least equally well spent doing something else.

    I admire your career change and hope you’re the one watching the plane I’m in when it’s heading for a landing. Anyone with your
    sense of dedication is someone I want watching over me…

  2. ian

    Oct 11, 2008 at 11:16 pm

    nice try…but i know you missed that Alister McKensie U of M course more then you want to admit. And you would have traded your swim tan any day for a round there or Barton Hills or Radrick Farms or trip to Boyne or a round at Crstal Downs or even Leslie Park!!!!! hahaha

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Club Junkie

Club Junkie Review: Samsung’s Galaxy Watch5 Pro Golf Edition

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Technology has been playing a larger part in golf for years and you can now integrate it like never before. I don’t need to tell you, but Samsung is a world leader in electronics and has been making smart watches for years. The Watch5 Pro Golf Edition is the latest Samsung wearable running Google’s Wear OS operating system and it is more than just a golf watch.

The Watch5 Golf Edition is a full function smartwatch that you can wear every day and use for everything from golf to checking your text messages. For more details on the Golf Edition made sure to check out the Club Junkie podcast below, or on any podcast platform. Just search GolfWRX Radio.

Samsung’s Watch5 Pro Golf Edition has a pretty large 45mm case that is made from titanium for reduced weight without sacrificing any durability. The titanium case is finished in a matte black and has two pushers on the right side to help with navigating the pretty extensive menu options. The case measures about 52mm from lug to lug and stands about 14mm tall, so the fit on smaller wrists could be an issue. I did notice that when wearing a few layers on colder days the extra height did have me adjusting my sleeves to ensure I could swing freely.

The sapphire crystal display is 1.4 inches in diameter, so it should be very scratch resistant, and is protected by a raised titanium bezel. The Super AMOLED display has a 450 x 450 resolution with 321ppi density for clear, crisp graphics. Inside the watch is a dual-core 1.18Ghz Cortex-A55 CPU, 16GB + 1.5GB RAM, and a Mali-G68 GPU to ensure your apps run quickly and efficiently.

I do like that the Watch5 Pro Golf Edition’s white and black rubber strap has a quick release system so you can change it out to match or contrast an outfit. The Golf Edition strap is very supple and conforms to your wrist well, holding it in place during multiple swings.

Out on the course the Watch5 Pro golf Edition is comfortable on the wrist and light enough, ~46g, where it isn’t very noticeable. I don’t usually wear a watch on the course, and it only took a few holes to get used to having it on my left wrist. Wearing a glove on the same hand as the watch doesn’t really change much, depending on the glove. If you have a model that goes a little higher on the wrist you could feel the watch and leather bunch a little bit. Some of my Kirkland Signature gloves would run into the watch case while I didn’t have an issue with my Titleist or Callaway models.

The screen is great in direct sunlight and is just as easy to read in overcast or twilight rounds. The images of holes and text for distances is crisp and has a bright contrast agains the black background. The Watch5 Pro Golf Edition comes with a lifetime membership to Smart Caddie for your use on the course. Smart Caddie was developed by Golfbuddy, who has been making rangefinders and GPS units for years. I didn’t sign up for the Smart Caddie app as I did not buy the watch and have logins for multiple GPS and tracking apps. Smart Caddie looks to be extremely extensive, offering a ton of options beyond just GPS and it is one that works seamlessly with the Galaxy watches.

I ended up using The Grint as it was an app I have used in the past and was already signed up for. Getting to the app to start a round was very simple, needing one swipe up and one tap to start The Grint app. The screen is very smooth and records each swipe and tap with zero issues. I never felt like I was tapping or swiping without the Watch5 Pro acknowledging those movements and navigating the menu as I desired. The GPS worked flawlessly and the distances were accurate and consistent. With The Grint’s app you did have to keep the phone in your pocket or in the cart close enough for the Bluetooth connection. For most that is’t a big deal and the only time I noticed it was when I used my electric cart and drove it well in front of me down the fairway.

Overall the Samsung Watch5 Pro Golf Edition is a great option for golfers who want one device for everyday wear and use on the course. The Watch5 Pro Golf Edition still has all the fitness and health options as well as being able to  connect to your email, text messages, and social media apps. With the Watch5 Pro Golf Edition you won’t have to worry about buying a device just for golf or forgetting to bring your GPS to the course.

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Morning 9: Captain Weir | Homa’s LIV trolling | Norman-Tiger: History of the feud

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By Ben Alberstadt with Gianni Magliocco and Matthew Vincenzi.

For comments: [email protected]. On Twitter: @benalberstadt

December 1, 2022

Good Thursday morning, golf fans, as day one of the Hero gets underway at Albany and December is upon us.

1. Captain Weir, officially

Golfweek’s Adam Schupak…“To no surprise, Canadian Mike Weir was officially named captain of the International Team on Tuesday for the 2024 Presidents Cup, which will return to Royal Montreal Golf Club in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, for the first time since 2007.”

  • “Presidents Cup has become such a big part of my career, so to be here in this moment announced as captain of the 2024 International Team is surreal,” said Weir.”
Full piece.

2. Homa’s LIV troll

Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard…“Homa was asked Wednesday at the Hero World Challenge if he was offended by the lack of rumors that have linked him to LIV Golf.”

  • “Yeah, yeah, huge insult,” he joked. “No, I guess it would have been cool to be a part of that so I could live the life of, you know, it felt like a reality TV series for a bit.”
  • “Homa went on to explain that, as a joke, he tried to have his name linked to LIV Golf, which has wooed some of the game’s top players away from the PGA Tour with guaranteed contracts and a limited schedule, by tinkering with his Twitter profile.”
  • “Brooks [Koepka] changed his bio and everyone figured out he was going [to LIV],” Homa laughed. “I was like, oh, I’m going to get in on this and see if people catch on, but didn’t realize that my Twitter bio doesn’t get a ton of traction.
Full piece.

3. New LIV location details

Mark Schlabach for ESPN…”The LIV Golf League will play tournaments in Australia, Mexico, Singapore and Spain as part of its 14-event schedule in 2023.”

  • “LIV Golf announced Wednesday that it will stage events at Mayakoba’s El Camaleon Golf Course (Feb. 24-26), Sentosa Golf Club in Singapore (April 28-30) and Real Club Valderrama in Spain (June 30-July 2). LIV Golf had previously announced it would play at The Grange Golf Club in Australia (April 21-23).”
  • “LIV Golf is also expected to return to The Centurion Club outside London, which was the site of its inaugural event in June.”
Full piece.

4. History of Norman-Woods

Golf Channel’s Brentley Romine…”In many senses, a friendship of sorts had formed between the two players, who are 21 years apart. But whatever bond there was, it was broken by the latter half of 1996.”

  • “That September, Woods listed Norman’s Shark Shootout on the remainder of his playing schedule, but tournament reps quickly responded, saying that Woods had yet to be invited. When a formal invitation did come, Woods declined it, opting instead to compete the following week in the Australian Open, which Norman also played.”
  • “Woods shot 79 to open that first start Down Under and ended up tied for fifth. Norman then told reporters, “We play very difficult courses here. He got a shock when he shot 79. Perhaps he will appreciate why Australians play so well when they leave home.”
  • “Two years later, at the 1998 Presidents Cup, Woods requested to play Norman in singles.”
Full piece.

5. How is Tiger playing?

Our Jason Daniels…”Although likely to appear in the remaining two events on his 2022 schedule, it’s of massive interest to discover how Tiger was playing before the breaking news of his latest injury?”

  • In an interview with Golf Channel’s Todd Lewis, the five-time Masters champion revealed the answer to be ‘pretty well, thank you!’
  • “I was playing at home quite a bit, playing 18 holes shooting 65s and 64s, and walked one nine holes and shot 5-under, I was playing well,”
  • However, as many have feared, the pressure and toil of a four-day competition might be too much:
  • “But it’s the added load, the back-to-back days, in a tournament situation of four days in a row. My planner just didn’t like it. The only thing I can do for it is to rest it. Obviously scrape it, ice it, stretch it, it just takes time.”
Full piece.

6. Cam fumes at opening Australian Open round

Damien Ractliffe for the Sydney Morning Herald…“Cameron Smith went straight from his post-round press conference to the practise range after a “pretty shitty” first round at the Australian Open, where he finished with a one-over 71.

  • Smith described his round at Victoria was “as bad as I’ve played in a long time”, but said he simply needed to get back to work after a whirlwind two weeks which left him under-prepared for the feature event.
  • “I don’t think it was a mixed bag, I think it was all rubbish to be honest,” Smith said post-round.
  • “That is as bad as I’ve played in a long time. It was pretty shitty. I think the course was pretty difficult, the conditions were pretty difficult, but I need to be better than that.
  • “Maybe some delayed tiredness, maybe. I did feel a little bit foggy out there at times, but it’s not really an excuse, it’s my job to do all that stuff.”
Full piece.

7. Rahm on Tiger: He can’t walk any faster

Rex Hoggard for Golf Channel…”Tiger Woods has delicately made his way around Albany this week with a focus on hosting the Hero World Challenge after a bout with plantar fasciitis in his right foot led him to withdraw from the competition. The late WD put the 46-year-old’s season in perspective.

  • “Following multiple procedures on his right leg as he continues to recover from a 2021 car crash, Woods returned to competition this year with mixed results. He managed to play just three events – the Masters, PGA Championship and Open Championship – with the highwater mark coming in his 47th-place finish at Augusta National.”
  • “Woods was paired with Jon Rahm during the final round at this year’s Masters, but it wasn’t the 15-time major champion’s play that stood out for the Spaniard.”
  • “I think the fact that we got put on the clock on [hole No.] 7 and he was somehow trying to speed up, we all looked at the official, like, he can’t walk any faster, let’s be honest. Like he was already doing an amazing job trying to move up and down those hills,” Rahm said Wednesday at the Hero. “We all joked around with the official and then when he turned around, Tiger takes off and I’m looking at my caddie, like, well, this is incredible.”
Full piece.

8. All quiet on the western front

9. Hero World Challenge photos

  • Check out our photos from Albany.
Full Piece.
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Morning 9: Tiger: Greg has to go | Smith slams OWGR | Mickelson responds to Tiger’s claim

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By Ben Alberstadt with Gianni Magliocco and Matthew Vincenzi.

For comments: [email protected]. On Twitter: @benalberstadt

November 30, 2022

Good Wednesday morning, golf fans, with Tiger Woods stealing the show on Tuesday with a fascinating press conference at the Hero covering a number of topics.

1. Tiger: Greg Norman has to go

SkySports report…“Tiger Woods has echoed Rory McIlroy’s call for Greg Norman to quit as LIV Golf CEO to allow a peace settlement to be negotiated in golf’s civil war.”

  • “Speaking on Tuesday at a press conference ahead of the Hero World Challenge, which he has pulled out of due to injury, Woods said: “I see that there’s an opportunity out there if both organisations put a stay on their litigation, but that’s the problem, they’ve got to put a stay on it.”
  • “And whether or not they do that or not, there’s no willingness to negotiate if you have a litigation against you. So if they both have a stay and then have a break and then they can meet and figure something out, then maybe there is something to be had.
  • “But I think Greg has to go, first of all, and then obviously litigation against us and then our countersuit against them, those would then have to be at a stay as well.
  • “So then we can talk, we can all talk freely.”
Full piece.

2. Woods the dealmaker?

Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard…”Woods has been content to let McIlroy stand for the Tour, and he appreciates how the Northern Irishman has been able to juggle being the frontman in a global divide and remain the game’s top-ranked player. But Woods’ relative silence on the issue, at least compared to McIlroy, shouldn’t be confused for indifference. He understands better than anyone that change is needed and that he’s the most likely conduit for that change.”

  • “I don’t know whether it’s going to be me, Rory, or the Tour, or other players being, I wouldn’t necessarily say a peacemaker, but I just think that there’s a window of opportunity for us from both tours to figure this out shortly,” Woods said. “That window’s closing just because the majors are coming up now, and they’re going to have their own criteria for the majors.”
  • “If all politics is local, then Woods proved how dedicated he was to the Tour’s cause by flying to Delaware in August for a player’s-only meeting. Along with McIlroy, Tiger laid out a future that would allow the game’s best players to remain loyal to the Tour and earn guaranteed money…”
  • “For a player who has largely stayed out of the Tour’s decision-making process, it was a crucial moment. His tone on Tuesday in Albany was just as crucial. In this case, in this moment, the status quo of saying much without saying anything at all just wouldn’t work.”
Full piece.

3. Woods on OWGR

Golf Digest’s Joel Beall…”Speaking to the media Tuesday at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas, Woods was asked his thoughts about the OWGR, which released a modernized formula for its weekly calculations this past summer. The 15-time major winner didn’t mince words when giving his opinion on the matter.”

  • “It’s a flawed system. That’s something we all here recognize,” Woods said. “The field at Dubai [the DP World Tour Championship] got less points than Sea Island [RSM Classic] and more of the top players were there in Dubai, so obviously there’s a flawed system…”
  • “How do you fix it? You know, those are meetings we’re going to have to have,” Woods continued. “We’re going to have to have it with the World Golf committee and as well as our—the main tours that are involved in it, somehow [need] to] come up with a better system than is in place now. I remember in my career, when I … I had a big lead in my career, I didn’t have to play a single tournament the next year, and I still would be ranked No. 1. We changed that system then. So it has been changed in the past and I’m sure this will be changed hopefully soon.”
Full piece.

4. Tiger’s plans

Cameron Morfit for PGATour.com…”For Woods, the winner of 82 PGA TOUR events, including 15 majors, this is the new normal.”

  • “The goal is to play just the major championships and maybe one or two more,” he said. “That’s it. I mean, physically that’s all I can do. … I don’t have much left in this leg.”
  • “When he does play, he continued, he’ll just hope to catch lightning in a bottle and remember how to close. It will be hard, he added, relegating himself to tournament hosting duties this week.”
  • “When I was at home,” he said, “I was shooting 4, 5, 6, 7 under par like it was nothing, but I was in a cart. Now you add in walking and that goes away.”
Full piece.

5. Tiger’s health

ESPN’s Mark Schlabach…”Tiger Woods on Tuesday said he had two additional surgeries this year and that the plantar fasciitis in his right foot that will prevent him from playing this week is related to his ongoing recovery from serious injuries suffered in a car wreck outside Los Angeles in February 2021.”

  • “Woods, 46, declined to disclose details about the two surgeries or the specific dates of the procedures while talking to reporters at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas.”
  • “Woods said he began to suffer from plantar fasciitis, inflammation that causes heel pain, while ramping up to play in the Hero World Challenge, a tournament that benefits his charity, TGR Foundation.”
  • “It was a tough decision just because I want to play,” Woods said. “I like playing, I like competing, but unfortunately, I can hit the golf ball and hit whatever shot you want, I just can’t walk. And so I’ve had a few setbacks during the year that I still was able to somehow play through, but this one I just can’t. Only time can heal this one, and stay off my feet and get a lot of treatment done.”
Full piece.

6. Westwood’s son to make pro debut

Mike Hall for Golf Monthly…“Lee Westwood is in Jakarta this week as he aims for his fourth Indonesian Masters title as the Asian Tour season concludes.”

  • “However, while much of the attention will be on the 49-year-old as he attempts to replicate his successes at Royale Jakarta Golf Club in 2011, 2012 and 2015, for another member of the Westwood family, it will be a memorable occasion too.”
  • “Westwood’s son, Samuel, is making his pro debut in the tournament – which is also part of the International Series – but his father explained he’s keen not to put too much expectation on his son. He said: “He started playing the game very late. He only took up the game seriously at age 16 and he is 21 now. I don’t really have any expectations for him this week. I just want him to enjoy himself.”
Full piece.

7. Smith slams OWGR

Our Matt Vincenzi…”Fresh off a victory at the Fortinet Australian PGA Championship, the current world number 3 will likely see a freefall in the rankings as time goes by. As it stands, golfers playing on the LIV Tour won’t receive OWGR points for the foreseeable future.”

  • “Smith told media at the Australian Open:”
  • “I’m still third on the list somehow, but as time goes on, I think those rankings become more and more irrelevant, especially with not getting world ranking points in those LIV events.”
Full piece.

8. Mickelson responds to Tiger’s ‘loan’ claim

Mike Hall for Golf Monthly…”Earlier in the year, Phil Mickelson suggested the PGA Tour could offer greater financial incentives to its players, and claimed the organisation has plenty of money at its disposal. Then, after LIV Golf was launched, the Tour appeared to prove his point by introducing a series of changes, including purses of at least $20m in several of its newly elevated events.”

  • However, Tiger Woods, who is in the Bahamas to host the Hero World Challenge, has refuted the notion that the PGA Tour is flush with money – which has inadvertently drawn a response from one of his great rivals.
  • When asked if the likes of Mickelson, who were criticised for joining LIV Golf, were owed an apology given the extra money their actions have ensured for PGA Tour players, he said: “No, absolutely not, no. We took out an enormous loan during the pandemic in which that, if we had another year of the pandemic, our Tour would only be sustained for another year. So we took out an enormous loan. It worked, it paid off in our benefit, hence we were able to use that money to make the increases that we’ve made.”
  • That led to CBS Sports golf writer Kyle Porter tweeting: “Phil: “They’re sitting on $800M.” Tiger: “We took out an enormous loan during the pandemic.””
  • It didn’t take long for Mickelson to respond. He wrote: “Pga tour IRS 990 form from 2018. 1.6 billion in stocks 700 million in cash 1.15 billion in non-liquid assets. This is from the non-profit section. The for-profit section hasn’t been stated since 2012 but was more than the non-profit part at that time. This can all be googled.”
Full piece.

9. Izzy Stricker chooses Wisconsin

Cameron Jourdan for Golfweek… “Last month, Izzy Stricker, the youngest daughter of Steve Stricker, came from behind to win an individual state championship for Waunakee High School, outside of Madison.

  • Now, she’s made her college decision and will be staying close to home. Stricker committed to the Wisconsin women’s golf program earlier this month, according to Wisconsin Golf, following a family tradition with the Badgers.
  • “I sort of always knew I wanted to go to Wisconsin so I didn’t have any other schools in mind,” Stricker told Wisconsin.Golf. “It’s always been a dream to follow my mom and sister’s footsteps and go to Wisconsin and I’ve always loved attending the football and basketball games as a kid. The university feels like home, and I could never imagine myself anywhere else.”
Full Piece.
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