Wednesday, February 28

Global Outsourcing Rocks American Golf

A golf club locker room somewhere in America.

“I'm worried about the stock market. Did you see what happened to the Dow?”

“Yeah, not good. I'm worried, too.”

“About your portfolio?”

“No, about American golf. Those foreigners are taking all our spots in the World Golf Ranking. First, it was manufacturing. Then customer support. Now this. America is in a pot belly bunker.”

“It's not that bad, is it?”

“Are you kidding me? International players hold 11 of the top 14 spots in the World Golf Ranking! That Aussie Ogilvy steals the U.S. Open -- our championship -- from Mickelson. Europe eats our lunch in the Ryder Cup. This Stenson kid beats Tiger in Dubai and then wins the World Match Play event in Tucson. I mean, c'mon.”

“I guess they're just benefitting from the free enterprise system. Competition is great. It's what this country is all about.”

“Yeah, great when we win. But spots in the World Golf Ranking are going overseas faster than a holiday call center.”

“Well, we still have Tiger. And he can single handedly whip the rest of the world any day of the week."”

“I hope so. Because right now I think America needs Tiger almost as much as Nike does.”

The Armchair Golfer

Tuesday, February 27

Other Wadkins Enjoys New Winning Ways

Lanny's older brother, Bobby Wadkins turned pro in 1973 after graduating from East Tennessee State University. Over the next three decades Wadkins played in hundreds of PGA Tour events.

And he never won.

Wadkins came in second six times. He lost twice in playoffs. Winning on the PGA Tour eluded Bobby -- sometimes in strange, inexplicable ways -- although he did win events in Europe and Japan.

Meanwhile, brother Lanny was a PGA Tour star who won 21 times, including the 1977 PGA Championship.

Bobby Wadkins epitomized the term "journeyman," an experienced and competent but undistinguished worker (The Free Dictionary). After toiling nearly 30 years at his craft, journeyman Wadkins got the golf equivalent of his AARP card when he joined the Champions Tour in 2001.

Today he is a champion.

On Sunday Wadkins won the ACE Group Classic when he rolled in a 13-foot birdie putt on the final hole. It was his fourth win on the Champions Tour. Last year Bobby won twice, including his first major, the Senior Players Championship.

"I've been lucky," Wadkins was quoted as saying. "I've made some nice putts on the last hole to win some tournaments and I did it again today, so it's pretty sweet."

And he would know after all those years of grinding without a victory on Tour. Hats off to the other Wadkins.

The Armchair Golfer

Monday, February 26

Help a Reader Going to the Masters

Ric and his pals are going to the Masters and need some advice. In an email I received this past weekend, he writes:

"My buddies and I are going to the Masters Practice Rounds this April and have no idea what to expect in terms of having a full experience. Can you direct me to any Web sites or blogs (or anything else) that can serve as a travel guide? All I can offer is information about golf in Vermont."

Please provide any suggestions by commenting to this post or email me and I'll get the info to Ric.

Thanks in advance for helping a fellow golf fan. (Oops, I mean golf patron.)

The Armchair Golfer

Sunday, February 25

Match Play Notebook: How Swede It Is – Stenson Wins

Henrik Stenson beat Geoff Ogilvy 2 and 1 in a 36-hole final to win the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in Tucson. It was the second big recent win for the Swede, who also captured the Dubai Desert Classic three weeks ago.

In a tight match, Stenson turned a 2-down deficit into a 2-up lead on the 34th hole when Ogilvy missed a 6-foot birdie putt to halve the hole. The match ended on the following hole when Stenson reached the long par-5 in two and two-putted for birdie.

Both players said they struggled with their concentration. Sharp all week, Ogilvy was off with his irons and didn’t make enough putts to beat the steady Swede.

The Armchair Golfer

Saturday, February 24

Match Play Notebook: Tiger Gets 'Nicked' Again

Nick O'Hearn thought he was toast when Tiger Woods stood over a match-winning 4-foot putt on the first hole of a playoff at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. Tiger had trailed by four holes but made a furious comeback despite a day of substandard ball striking.

"I wasn't watching, to be honest with you," O'Hern told the Associated Press. "I was just waiting for the sound of the ball going into the hole."

Tiger missed. The world of golf recoiled in horror.

On the following hole Tiger pulled a 4-iron approach and made bogey. After being bunkered, O'Hern rolled in a 12-foot par putt to win the match.

Did Tiger choke?

I don't know. He said he forgot to fix a ball mark. He admitted he didn't have control of his golf ball, hitting it left, right, left. Whatever you call it, Tiger had a bad day on the golf course.

Meanwhile, the short-hitting Aussie southpaw is the only professional to ever beat Tiger twice in match play. O'Hern has never even trailed Woods.

Hmm ... twice in match play ... never trailed ...

Maybe Paul Azinger could tweak the rules once more to allow Nick O'Hern to play on the U.S. Ryder Cup team. Just a crazy thought.

The Armchair Golfer

(Photo: PGATour.com/au)

Friday, February 23

Last Year's Most Popular Golf Topics

The Golf Writers Association of America (GWAA) recently announced its annual winners for golf writing. Here were the most-popular topics from a record 521 entries:

1. Phil Mickelson's collapse at Winged Foot
2. The Ryder Cup
3. Tiger Woods' first decade as a pro


The winners will be honored at the GWAA Annual Awards Dinner on April 4 in Augusta, Ga. For the full rundown of winners, go here.

The Armchair Golfer

(Photo: PGA.com)

Thursday, February 22

Autographed Bobby Jones and Clifford Roberts Photo


Doug Sandell wrote me recently about John Derr, the golf journalist whose stories about golf legends such as Sam Snead have appeared here.

Doug recently purchased this autographed photo of Bob Jones and Clifford Roberts at an auction that was selling the John Derr Collection.


I'm sure there's no need to introduce you to Bobby Jones. If you're not familiar with Clifford Roberts, he co-founded Augusta National Golf Club with Bobby Jones and served as the chairman of Augusta National and the Masters Tournament for more than 40 years.

I asked Doug about his collection. Here's what he told me in an email:

"I have been collecting for 25 years or so and have focused my collection in the following areas in order of importance to me:

1. Caddies
2. Bob Jones
3. Clifford Roberts
4. Augusta National
5. Chicago area golf

"I have a pretty extensive caddie collection, including badges, books and other memorabilia. I have a few special signed Jones pieces and one other Roberts signed letter.

"I love collecting and talking about it but find I have little time to devote to it at this point in my life."

Many thanks to Doug for the "show and tell."

The Armchair Golfer

Wednesday, February 21

Oops! Armchair Golf Misquotes Elvis

"Don't you step on my blue suede golf shoes."
(not said by) Elvis Presley


Historical note:
Based upon an idea from Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins recorded "Blue Suede Shoes" in 1955. It was the first song to top country, rhythm and blues and pop music charts. Elvis Presley recorded his version in 1956.


Unsubstantiated:
Elvis didn't pick up the game of golf until after his death in 1977 and is currently an 18 handicap.

This misquote brought to you by The Armchair Golfer.
Getting it wrong for the love of the game.

Tuesday, February 20

Match Play Madness: The World’s 64 Best Golfers Go Mano-a-Mano

“Eighteen holes of match play will teach you more about your foe than 18 years of dealing with him across a desk.”
- Grantland Rice, legendary 20th century sportswriter

The WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship tees off Wednesday at The Gallery Golf Club in Tucson. Geoff Ogilvy (pictured) defends. The purse is $8 million. And anything can happen because, well, it’s match play.

John Rollins, who is pitted against Vijah Singh in his opening match, said this about the match play format in an article at PGATour.com:

"You have to keep it in play and stay patient. Match play is a funny game. You have to try to play your game and keep the pressure on him. You want to make him have to do something to beat you rather than beat yourself."

For those of you who missed my December series, “Matchplay Secrets of Tour Pros,” or would like to revisit it, here are the links:

Peter Alliss
Sandy Lyle
Gary Player
Jim Gallagher Jr.

The Armchair Golfer

(Note: Thanks to reader Bob Wright for sending me the Grantland Rice quote, along with many others.)

Sunday, February 18

Nissan Notebook: One Howell of a Finish

On the way to his second title in as many weeks, Phil Mickelson took an all-too-familiar left-hand turn on the 72nd hole of the Nissan Open, pushing his drive into the left rough.

Riviera’s kikuya grass can kikillyou, and Lefty’s approach shot from a sidehill lie came up well short. The resulting bogey led to a playoff with Charles Howell III who made several clutch putts down the stretch to card a splendid 65.

Howell won on the third extra hole when Lefty failed to save par after his putt from the front fringe stopped six feet short.

The story line will be how Phil let another one slip away. Fair enough. I think Lefty will shrug it off and look ahead to the next tournament. No need for excessive hand wringing.

But don’t miss the other story line -- a breakout win for Charles Howell III, a guy oozing with talent. He didn’t back off on Sunday and executed under intense pressure. And that’s good for golf.

The Armchair Golfer

Saturday, February 17

Nissan Notebook: Kikuya Grass

If you’ve been watching the Nissan Open telecast, you may have heard the commentators talk about the “kikuya” grass. Personally, I think they just like to say “kikuya.” It has a nice ring to it.

What is it? Following is an explanation from Riviera’s head pro in an interview with PGA.com.

PGA.com: For us East Coast folks, exactly what is kikuya grass, and why is your course known for it?

Riviera Head Pro Todd Yoshitake: Kikuya is a special kind of grass that was originally imported from Africa. Riviera used to have polo fields and the grass was brought in for them. But soon the grass spread all over the course and actually is now predominant in the greater Los Angeles area. It's a very thick, wiry grass. In terms of golf, the grass is thick and strong, and so any ball in the fairway will sit on top of it very well. It's like having a perfect lie for every shot. Now if you end up in the rough, it's just as penal there as it is helpful in the fairway. The grass just wraps around the ball. It's real hard to control your shot and make solid contact out of it in the rough.

Phil Mickelson leads by one going into the final round. But he’ll have to watch out for that kikuya grass because there are many worthy adversaries in close pursuit.

The Armchair Golfer

Friday, February 16

Nissan Notebook: Paddy and Lefty Lead

While Padraig Harrington and Phil Mickelson lead at the halfway point, there are several name players in the hunt at Riviera. Here's how things stand:

-11
Paddy
Lefty

-8
CH III

-7
Double P
Sergio
Howell
Allenby
Rocco

And just two more back at five under are Badds, Jim Furyk, Rich Beem and Ernie.

Harrington’s first two trips around Riviera (ever) produced 63 and 68. And Phil is still hitting fairways (71% in second round). Are we watching a repeat?

The Armchair Golfer

Thursday, February 15

Will Tiger Woods Break the Riviera Jinx?

Riviera Country Club often appears near the top of everybody's list of best golf courses. Essentially unaltered, the 1926 George Thomas design and routing make Riviera a classic course that is still a great test of golf for the modern player.

Riviera is called "Hogan's Alley" because Ben Hogan won there three times in 1947 and 1948, collecting two L.A. Open titles and notching a U.S. Open victory.


Many other golf greats also won at Riviera, including Byron Nelson, Sam Snead, Tom Watson, Johnny Miller and Hale Irwin. And, more recently, Ben Crenshaw, Nick Faldo, Fred Couples, Corey Pavin, Davis Love and Ernie Els.

Surprisingly, two players who have never won at Riviera are Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods. Both have finished second, including Jack's runner-up finish to Hal Sutton in the 1983 PGA Championship.

Woods played his first professional event at Riviera at the tender age of 16. This year he isn't competing in the Nissan Open, but you can bet he'll be back to Riviera.

Will Tiger break the jinx and one-up Jack by winning at "Hogan's Alley"?

The Armchair Golfer

(Photo: PGA.com)

Wednesday, February 14

Where I Sit: The Golf Course Hot Dog

The hot dog is under attack. And the adversary is within its own food group.

Here are some excerpts from a recent press release:

“Move over hot dog, there’s a new favorite at the snack shack. PG Professional Golf, the world’s largest recycled golf ball company and leading green grass supplier, announced the introduction of its new line of Jack Link’s Beef Jerky meat snacks.

“Our Jack Link’s Beef Jerky meat snacks not only provide a healthy alternative, they taste great too! And you don’t have to worry about dripping mustard on your favorite golf shirt.”

Fellas, fellas. Let’s not be jerky about this. This is an easy one.

Hot dog or beef jerky?

Both.

We like hot dogs. We like beef jerky. Why deny ourselves? If we want to eat healthy, we can pack our lunch or grab an energy bar.

And is anyone really worried about getting mustard on his (or her) golf shirt? Is there someone who has been wolfing down hot dogs at the turn all these years saying, “I’m glad someone finally came up with an alternative to that messy hot dog. Those mustard stains were affecting my concentration.

“Ever since I switched to beef jerky I’m hitting more fairways and my putting stroke is golden.”

I don’t think so.

The hot dog isn't moving over for anything in the snack shack. That’s where I sit.

Where I Sit is an occasional commentary by The Armchair Golfer.

Tuesday, February 13

USGA Acquires Ouimet Irons Used in 1913 U.S. Open Victory

In 1913, a 20-year-old amateur with a 10-year-old caddie stunned the legendary Harry Vardon and Ted Ray to win the U.S. Open in an 18-hole playoff at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass.

Now four of the irons used by Francis Ouimet in his surprising victory -- a mid-iron, mashie, mashie niblick and jigger -- have been acquired by the USGA and will be placed on display at the new Arnold Palmer Center for Golf History.

The USGA calls it the most significant acquisition in its 70-year history.

The mashie, the equivalent of a modern day five iron, was especially instrumental in Ouimet’s victory. On the 71st hole of the championship, Ouimet struck his mashie to within 15 feet and sunk the birdie to tie his formidable competitors and force the playoff. The next day, Ouimet again hit his approach shot with the mashie on the 17th hole, making birdie from 20 feet.

The young Ouimet carded an impressive 72 in a driving rain to win the playoff by five.

Over the nearly 85 years since the 1913 U.S. Open, the irons passed from Ouimet to Eddie Lowery (his boy caddie) to a friend of Lowery’s to a Connecticut couple who gave them to the USGA.

Ouimet's irons were made by Tom Stewart, a clubmaker in St. Andrews, Scotland, who also made clubs for golf legends Old Tom Morris, Harry Vardon and Bobby Jones.

As shown in the photograph, the USGA also possesses the ball and scorecard from the historic playoff.

The Armchair Golfer

(Source and photo: USGA)

Monday, February 12

Oops! Armchair Golf Misquotes Einstein

"Golf: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."
(not said by) Albert Einstein

Historical note:
A Nobel Prize winner, Albert Einstein is widely considered one of the greatest physicists of all time and is best known for his theory of relativity. Time magazine named Einstein “Man of the Century.” All impressive achievements, but not as difficult as golf.

This misquote brought to you by The Armchair Golfer.
Getting it wrong for the love of the game.

New York Times on Mickelson: 'A Weakness Corrected'

New York Times golf writer Damon Hack has written a nice piece on the off-season soul searching, regrouping and retooling of Phil Mickelson. It certainly paid off at Pebble Beach, a masterful performance by Lefty.

Read the article here.

Whether you're a Phil fan or not, it's exciting to see him play well. After all, don't we all yearn to see someone -- anyone -- who can challenge The Man?

The Armchair Golfer

Sunday, February 11

Pebble Beach Notebook: ‘New’ New Phil Wins Easily

It’s the “new” new Phil. A slimmed-down, rejuvenated Phil who went about his work on a calm Sunday afternoon at the Pebble Beach Golf Links with the precision of a brain surgeon.

The result was a tidy 66 and record-tying 20 under total for Mickelson’s third career victory at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Kevin Sutherland finished second five strokes back.

If you didn’t see it, the numbers tell the story:

Mickelson Stats
Driving distance: 4
Driving accuracy: T4
Greens in regulation (GIR): T1
Putts per GIR: 1

Nice playing by older guys Davis Love, Corey Pavin and Tom Watson.

This week: Nissan Open at Riviera in Los Angeles.

The Armchair Golfer

Saturday, February 10

Pebble Beach Notebook: How to Recover from a Horrid Golf Shot

On Friday Kevin Sutherland was cruising along and thinking about the course record at Spyglass Hill (62) until he reached the par-5 seventh hole. Sutherland swung his three wood and watched in horror as the snap hook headed into the trees and came to rest out of bounds.

Sutherland teed another ball, reached the green in two, and managed to walk away with a bogey, the only blemish on a card with 10 birdies. He finished with 63, the low round of the day.

Pebble Beach Notebook: While Tiger’s Away, Phil and Jim Will Play

Phil Mickelson (67) and Jim Furyk (65) moved to the top of the leaderboard at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am on a dreary Friday on the Monterey Peninsula. Mickelson and Furyk are at 12 under after two rounds, and hold a three-shot lead over rookie John Mallinger and journeyman Kevin Sutherland.

"I probably let a few shots go in the first nine or 10 holes, and I picked up some shots on the last eight or nine holes that I probably shouldn't have," Mickelson told the Associated Press. "So it was a good day."

Lefty has won twice at Pebble but faces a tough competitor in Furyk, the number two ranked player in the world. With Tiger on hiatus, you couldn’t ask for a better weekend dual.

The Armchair Golfer

Photo: PGA Tour

Friday, February 9

Pebble Beach Head Pro: 9 Years to Golf Nirvana

Chuck Dunbar didn't grow up playing golf. Dunbar's first time on a golf course wasn't until 1990 when he was in his mid 20s.

Nine years later Dunbar became the head pro of Pebble Beach Golf Links, the greatest golf course in the world, according to Jack Nicklaus.

I have no idea how Chuck did it -- but I tip my visor to him.

The Armchair Golfer

Thursday, February 8

Snolf Tomorrow at Noon

Camden Braes Golf & Country Club in Odessa, Ontario, is holding its 29th annual Snolf Tournament tomorrow. The entry fee is $10.

Bring a five iron, potluck dish, dry clothing and some friends.

Tee off is at 12 noon. The bar opens at 11 a.m.

The Armchair Golfer

P.S. Skating and tobogganing are available for non-snolfers.

Wednesday, February 7

Darren Clarke Slips from Top 50 in World Golf Ranking

(Photo: Delores Knowles/Flickr)

After a 20th place finish at the Dubai Desert Classic, Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke has dropped from the top 50 in the World Golf Ranking for the first time in a decade.

"Although a hero of the European Ryder Cup win in September, the time he took out of golf to care for his ill wife was always going to affect his ranking," reported BBC Golf.

Clarke is a popular player on both sides of the pond who will surely receive plenty of support as he attempts to reorder his life and golf game.

The Armchair Golfer

Play Golf with a Celebrity Week at Pebble Beach

It's almost time to tee it up at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

Some lucky person who won AT&T's Caddie Call contest will be caddieing for Camilo Villegas. And the pros will be sharing the fairways (and enduring long rounds) with celebrities of all stripes.

The celebrity list is below. Who would you want to play with?

As for me, I'd like to play with Clint Eastwood. But apparently he isn't entered this year. Not sure why.

Pebble Beach Celebrity List
(as of 1/25/07)

Harris Barton • Former Professional Football Player (San Francisco)
Chris Berman • Sportscaster
Michael Bolton • Entertainer
Tom Brady • Football Player, New England Patriots
Joe Buck • Sportscaster
Glen Campbell • Entertainer
Don Cheadle • Actor
Kevin Costner • Actor/Producer/Director
Carson Daly • TV Host
Tom Dreesen • Entertainer
Glenn Frey • Musician
Kenny G • Musician
Peter Gallagher • Actor
Danny Gans • Entertainer
Andy Garcia • Actor
Thomas Gibson • Actor
Joe Gransden • Musician
Bob Griese • ABC Sports Analyst
Kevin James • Actor
Huey Lewis • Musician
Rush Limbaugh • Radio Talk Show Host
George Lopez • Entertainer
Bill Murray • Actor
Craig T. Nelson • Actor/Producer/Director
Chris O’Donnell • Actor
Stone Phillips • Journalist
Ray Romano • Actor
Darius Rucker • Musician
Kelly Slater • World Surfing Champion
Emmitt Smith • Professional Football Player
Clay Walker • Entertainer

The Armchair Golfer

Tuesday, February 6

Oops! Armchair Golf Misquotes JFK

"Ask not what golf can do for you; ask what you can do for golf."
(not said by) John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Biographical note:
JFK was the 35th president of the United States and reportedly had a single-digit handicap.

This misquote brought to you by The Armchair Golfer.
Getting it wrong for the love of the game.

Super Bowl No Match for World's Best-Attended Golf Tournament

The FBR Open set a new Sunday attendance record. The Phoenix area might just be the center of the golf universe.

More fans attended the final round of the FBR Open in Scottsdale than the Super Bowl in Miami. (There's no truth to rumors that Prince will be performing at the 16th hole next year.)

Super Bowl Paid Attendance: 74,512
FBR Open Sunday Attendance: 93,475

For the week, the FBR Open drew 507,990 golf fans, shy of last year's record of 536,767.

The Armchair Golfer

Sources: SuperBowl.com, PGATOUR.com

Monday, February 5

New Live Coverage at Pebble Beach from PGATOUR.com

(Edited from a news release I just received from Turner Sports and PGATOUR.com.)

The PGA TOUR and Turner Sports New Media announced today that PGATOUR.com will roll out an enhanced three-channel broadband player for the popular LIVE@ franchise, giving golf fans unprecedented broadband video access to spectacular signature par-3 holes from some of the most scenic golf courses and tournaments.

LIVE@ coverage will begin February 8 – 11 with approximately 35 hours of live, broadcast-quality coverage of the famous par-3 7th hole at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

The Armchair Golfer

Sunday, February 4

It’s All Good for Baddeley

Aaron Baddeley posted a pair of 64s on the weekend for a come-from-behind victory at the FBR Open in Scottsdale. Badds rallied with three birdies in the final four holes to overtake 54-hole leader Jeff Quinney.

John Rollins finished second after firing a 63. Quinney was third. Rollins leads the FedEx Cup points standings.

Stenson Wins at Dubai

Ernie Els beat archrival Tiger Woods but lost the tournament. Henrik Stenson closed with a 68 to nip Els (71) by a shot. Woods (69) finished two back.

The Armchair Golfer

Saturday, February 3

Super Dubai Sunday: Ernie Els-Tiger Woods Showdown

Heading into the final round, Ernie Els leads the Dubai Desert Classic by two at 17 under. Tiger is on the prowl just three back.

"I'm up for it. I'd like to win it pretty badly," Els told the Associated Press.

Wanting to win it and winning it are not the same. We'll see what the Big Easy has on Sunday.

The Armchair Golfer

Friday, February 2

Sam Snead's Triple Slam Golf Bag, Conclusion

Here's the final installment on how golf journalist John Derr ended up with the well-worn canvas golf bag of golf legend Sam Snead.

(If you're just joining the story, scroll down to read Parts I and II.)

Again, John Derr:

"That afternoon, as he practiced, Sam called in his caddie and asked him to go fetch the bag from the Wykagyl mail desk. He knew what it contained.

"In due time the caddie returned, slit open the box and out came the sparkling new leather Wilson bag, its sides emblazoned with its owner's name and his achievements.

"Sam laid it alongside the old canvas carrier, one by one he took his Wilson clubs and put them in the new bag and suggested the caddie take the ragged canvas bag back and 'get rid of it.'

"'No, I told Sam. I'd like to have it. After all that may be the only bag in the world carried to three Grand Slam victories.'

"Sam pushed it toward me, but before he did he opened every pocket, checked them carefully, took out the tees and pencils and then said, 'You can have it now.'

"And that's how I happened to own a Triple Slam bag."

The Armchair Golfer

Punxsutawney Phil Has Good News for Golfers

"The country's most famous weather prognosticating rodent failed to see his shadow when roused from his slumber this morning," reported the Globe and Mail.

That means spring will come early this year, which bodes well for golfers.

In related news, Punxsutawney Phil said he has enjoyed his winter break by spending extended time with his family.

Apparently the furry fellow is also extremely fit. In an effort to be in peak condition for spring and beyond, Punxsutawney Phil has adopted a new workout routine and martial arts program to lose weight and build stamina.

The Armchair Golfer

Thursday, February 1

Sam Snead's Triple Slam Golf Bag, Part II

Part I (yesterday) told how PGA champion Sam Snead had to wait for a new Wilson golf bag because all available materials were needed for the war effort.

John Derr continues his story:

"The war ends.

"Snead goes to St. Andrews with his buddy, Johnny Bulla, who had persuaded Sam to become an international player. Both played well but in the final round Bulla tailed off to a 79 to trail Snead's closing 75, a winner at 290, four strokes ahead. He was still playing from the well worn canvas bag.

"Three years later, bag material still being unavailable, it was the little canvas bag with the badly frayed carrying strap that had a front row seat when Snead added the third Grand Slam trophy to its history by winning the 1949 Masters at Augusta.

"It was six weeks later, during the Palm Beach Goodall Round Robin tournament at Wykagyl that a big cardboard box, addressed to Sam Snead, was delivered to the locker room during the morning play."

Tomorrow: Conclusion

The Armchair Golfer

The Career Path to College Golf Coach Just Got Tougher

While Peyton Manning of the Indianapolis Colts is preparing for his first Super Bowl, Ryan Leaf, the quarterback picked after Manning in the 1998 NFL draft, is preparing for his first year as golf coach of the West Texas A&M Buffaloes.

If you're not familiar with West Texas A&M, they play in the Lone Star Conference. Hope that helps.

After a stellar college career at Washington State, Leaf never fulfilled his promise in the NFL for reasons we don't have time to go into.

Leaf is currently the quarterbacks coach for the Buffaloes football team. He has never coached golf but, according to USA Today, "plays as often as he can."

Well, there you go.

So apparently this is the college golf coach career path:
College football star, Heisman Trophy finalist, second pick in NFL draft, four-team NFL career, college football quarterbacks coach, college golf coach.

No one ever said golf was easy.

The Armchair Golfer

P.S. If Leaf's golf team isn't very good, he might want to hang on to that helmet.

Source: USA Today
Photo: www.signonsandiego.com