Wednesday, August 30

Like Tiger, Hallberg Hit the Roof -- But Saved Par!

You won't believe this. The following is an excerpt from a recent AP story:

"On the roof: Gary Hallberg made one of the wackiest pars on the PGA Tour, a story he relives a couple of times a year. It came up again last week when Tiger Woods hit a 9-iron that went onto and over the clubhouse roof at Firestone.

"Hallberg once hit a shot that stayed on the roof -- and he played it from there in the 1982 Bob Hope Classic.

"'I had an uphill lie on the 16th hole at Indian Wells,' Hallberg said. 'I had 150 yards to the hole, took a smooth 7-iron and got a flyer. I thought, Oh, geez, that's out of here.'

"Hallberg still hasn't seen Woods' shot, but his reaction was similar. He thought it was out-of-bounds.

"'The clubhouse wasn't out-of-bounds,' he said in a telephone interview Sunday night. 'My drop would have been in the rocks, or I could take an unplayable (lie) and go back to the fairway. The rules official said, Or you could play it. And he was chuckling.'

"Hallberg decided to check out his lie on the roof, so he found the club manager, who was working at a barbecue for guests. They got a ladder, climbed onto the roof and saw the ball in a bed of gravel and tar.

"'There were two palm trees between me and the green,' Hallberg said. 'I had 60 or 70 yards, and I hit it about 30 feet past the hole. I missed every putt that day. But I made that one.'

"Hallberg said the gallery went crazy when he climbed onto the roof. And when he made the putt?

"'It was the biggest roar I had ever heard for me,' he said."

The Armchair Golfer

Friday, August 25

Tiger Woods to Replace Pluto as Planet?

In the wake of Pluto's demotion at the General Assembly of the 2006 International Astronomical Union, a new planet may be emerging: Tiger Woods.

With planetary definitions in flux, the case for Woods is being made by some astronomers.

"Tiger Woods is one of the biggest forces in our solar system," one astronomer said. "Just look at the profound effect he has on other bodies." The astronomer also cited Tiger's 51 PGA Tour wins, including 12 majors by age 30.

Yet other astronomers argue that making Tiger Woods a planet is premature.

"Let's see how he does in the Ryder Cup," another astronomer said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Woods could not be reached for comment.

The Armchair Golfer

Thursday, August 24

Fast Round at Great Oaks

Last Friday afternoon I achieved a golfing first. I got around my home course in less than two and a half hours -- on foot.

I didn't set out to make it a speedy round, but with no one in front of me and starting on the back side, I decided to play briskly. My motivation was to get in a full round, even though I was supposed to be at a friend's house for dinner around 6.

Often when playing by myself I'll hit some extra shots, but not this time. I played the first nine in a surprising hour and five minutes. "Wow!" I thought. "I can get this in if I hustle." The second nine is longer. Still, I made it around in an hour and 15 minutes. Whew!

Oh yeah, I shot a 79. Not bad, considering I had a couple of doubles.

The Armchair Golfer

Tuesday, August 22

Overheard on Tour: Scott Verplank

"I'm so pumped. I don't know how you can have a better event than the Ryder Cup. I told Tom I was put on Earth to play in things like this."

--Scott Verplank, after being selected as one of two captain's picks for the U.S. team

Source: Associated Press

The Armchair Golfer

Thursday, August 17

Tribute to Big Ed Schaefers

I've been absent for a while, due largely to the passing of my father-in-law, Big Ed Schaefers. (We just returned from Seattle early in the week.)

Ed was an avid golfer, and a good one, too. He carried a single-digit handicap most of his life and won his men's club championship (low gross). I didn't play with Ed until he was well into his 60s, but he could still shoot in the 70s, hitting his baby fade and putting like a demon.

In 1998 when the PGA came to the Seattle area (Sahalee), Ed bought a week-long pass and let me use it for the opening round. It was my second "major" and my first in-person look at Tiger Woods.

If there are tee times in heaven, Ed certainly has one and is giving his playing partners fits.

The Armchair Golfer