POTW: Flushing It

April 27, 2017

I’m not exactly sure how to write this kind of post, but it’s a good problem to have. This week’s (year’s?) POTW goes to me. Why would someone give himself an honor? Because I’m the king, and on Monday of this week, I earned my own throne.

On Monday I played in a 4-man scramble benefiting a local elementary school. Like most scrambles, the tournament featured close-to-the-pin contests and a long-drive competition.

However, the long-drive competition was unlike any I’d ever entered before. Not to brag, but I’ve won more than my fair share of long drive prizes, including one combo long + straight drive. But I had never won–or even entered–a challenge like the one presented on Monday. A donation to the school from a contractor prompted a special type of long drive competition, likely chosen by the donor. The challenge? See how far you can hit a ball–and here’s the important part–while sitting on a throne, and you win….

a throne.

A porcelain throne.

In other words… a toilet.

Yes, you read that right.

With installation.

In a scramble golf event, my long drive won me a toilet. On the par 4 tenth hole at Shadowridge Golf Club in Vista, California, I hit–from a partial squat position with my posterior resting on a plastic toilet seat–a *flushed* (see what I did there) driver of almost 250 yards up the middle of the fairway. As I took the long drive card from its prior position and moved it to my ball, I only wished that someone had gotten it on video, because if you weren’t there, you wouldn’t have believed it.

And now, I’m curious from our readership–what weird stuff have you won at a golf tournament? Feel free to comment below. I bet it’s not as crappy as my prize =).

30 wins internationally (10 on TOUR), Players Champion, Ryder Cup legend, and now for the first time, Major winner.  These are not alternative facts, people.

It was 10 years ago, TEN YEARS, that we all watched Sergio’s par putt to win his first major title at the Open Championship at Carnoustie slide by the hole and force a playoff that no one believed for a second would be competitive.  Not this year.  This year, coming down the 18th during the playoff, Sergio stripes his drive a solid 330+, and puts his 8 iron to 10 feet for a winning birdie.  Justin Rose, we salute you for your effort, but it was just not meant to be your day.

To you, Sergio:
This entire tournament, in particular your final round, was a perfect microcosm of your career.  Ups and downs, terrible breaks, awful lies, insane recoveries, missed putts, and some of the best ball-striking anyone has seen or will see anywhere forever.

You did it.  You finally did it.  And we loved every minute of it.

Congratulations from the PowerFade Team.

While this year marks the return of golf to the summer Olympics in Rio, this event has been met with, at best, a lukewarm response from the golf community.

The professional ranks have given little attention to this event, with notables such as Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Phil Mickelson, Jason Day, Adam Scott, Dustin Johnson, and Graeme McDowell refusing to compete for their respective countries.  Indeed, Rory has gone so far as to say that:

“I didn’t get into golf to try and grow the game. I got into golf to win championships and win major championships. I’ll probably watch the Olympics, but I’m not sure golf will be one of the events I watch.’’

While I appreciate Rory’s candor, part of me feels as though this attitude marks a departure with the beautiful amateur tradition of golf.  The days of Bobby Jones and Francis Ouimet appear to be well behind us.  I find it hard to believe that if Bobby Jones were around today with an opportunity to compete for love of country and the pure love of golf that he would shy away because of the overblown threat of Zika.  Yes, golf in the Olympics does not have the history or tradition of a U.S. Amateur or British Amateur, but don’t we have to start somewhere?  Even if we hold the IOC in such low regard as to think that they would add the Olympics to get a few more viewers, shouldn’t golf be happy to take advantage of the opportunity to grow the game to countries that have no significant exposure?

In any event, I think the IOC (or whoever oversaw the competition) did the game a disservice by sticking with a monumentally boring 72-hole medal play format and not including a team component and/or a component where men and women compete in the same event.  How great would it be to have a mixed best ball event?  an alternate shot event?  I understand that the committee is just dipping a toe in the water, but come on!  Let’s make this something people want to watch!  To the format’s credit, there will be playoffs in the event of any ties, so there will not be 4-5 bronze medals given out for T-3s.

At minimum, we get some really great stories like Ben An, who’s parents were Olympians in their own right in table tennis.  When they met during the Olympics, Ben’s South Korean father told a young lady on the Chinese team that he loved her at first site.  Despite the diplomatic disaster that relationship could have caused, the two were married and had Ben.  While the parents were able to collectively capture a silver and a pair of bronze medals, neither was able to obtain the gold.  Because golf is now back in the Olympics, Ben has a chance to add to the family collection.

I understand the wider golf community’s immediate lack of interest in golf’s return to the Olympics, but I find it slightly disheartening.  I personally doubt it will ever hold the same weight as a major, but I would hope it takes on significance comparable to the Ryder cup.  I find any event where nations compete for the love the game exciting, and hope that golf can assign the same gravity to the Olympics as most other sports have in time.

*This opinion, in no way, shape, or form, is shared by JK.

I want to start this post off by apologizing…first, for the wall of text, but also for the unreasonable delay in posting the wall of text. Hopefully the ramblings that follow this apology make sense, hit home, and lead into something.

A little over five years ago, LG and I were sitting around watching golf, predicting what the commentators would say (rather accurately, if I might so brag)–lo and behold, the PF was born. We came up with interesting ideas for content, subject areas to dedicate to our readers, unbiased reviews, etc. etc. We were ready to take on the world. Then some funny things happened. Like…life.

In the time since the blog started, LG went from being a happy student to an overworked overachiever twice, to a business owner in a field having nothing to do with his training. I became a father a few times over, moved across the country, and became addicted to finance the way I was once addicted to golf. What’s more–and without giving up too much–my job got in the way of my contributions to this blog. It simply wasn’t possible to do both tasks at the same time. So…we let it slip.

In the mean time, a few more things happened. LG grew into a new experience and relationship with the game that is, in some ways, far different from what we started doing, and, in other ways, a much deeper version of the same thing. In contrast, after 20 years of being an avid player, enthusiast, and equipment junkie, I grew jaded and cynical about the game. Things that were once fun and interesting to me grew to be a drag. It was as if I had seen behind the smoke and mirrors, to realize that what we know as golf was no more a magical experience than the Wizard of Oz. I still played, but the shine with which I once enjoyed the game grew apart from me.

This past weekend–prompted by a friend of the community–I traveled back to the east coast and played TPC Sawgrass. It was a long, painful flight. Although I had always dreamed of the moment I would step out onto that special layout, the course itself proved to be somewhat lackluster, and the greens were simply nothing special. I tweaked my back. I shot 14 shots above my handicap. And in that round and the few that followed, I lost over a dozen golf balls.

But I gained something in that trip. Meeting with two tremendous friends (one being LG), the spark lit for me yet again. The fire started. And it began to help me realize why we do this. Sure, playing for that record score is an exciting thing. Getting into competition is enjoyable. But that’s not why we do this. We do this to have something with which we can find common ground with our friends, relatives, and anyone else who feels the same way about the game that we do (or, in my case, did). We do this to have stories to pass on. We do this to get perspective on life through a game that exemplifies all of the faults of life. We do this to find those few truly special moments when we can say we did something different from the rest.

It matters little to me anymore that the veil of honor has been lifted from the world of golf, for me. I can enjoy this game for what I want it to be to me, despite the crooked politics, the dishonesty, and the douchery that pervades it. This game is personal. It’s mine alone to enjoy. Those things will not affect me unless I let them. Regardless of anything around me, I am going to continue to play and to love this game.

I’m hopeful that LG and I will have more time and energy to commit to sharing our lives in this game with all of you. Kids, jobs, life, and other commitments make it difficult. However, even if not, know that we’re still out there doing what we love. Because this game is it.

Frys.com Open
LG: “Meet the newest first time winner on tour” I have a soft spot for this tournament because it was the first TOUR event I ever attended outside of the Presidents Cup.  However, since it moved from CordeValle, not sure I care that much.
JK: “Rocco Mediate, 4 hole-out eagles in one tournament (one of them an ace), and he wins by one. That should tell you all you need to know.”

PGA Grand Slam of Golf
LG: “hardest tournament to get into, but even if you do, no one’s watching”
JK: “Seriously? We’re talking about this?”

Shriners Hospitals for Children Open (TPC Summerlin)
LG: “the PGA TOUR teaches you how to play hungover”
JK: “It’s like I’m a mirror; I’m bringing sexy back. But I need to get iN SYNC with what goes around. Catch my drift?”

The McGladrey Classic (Sea Island)
LG: “Unreal course, but I’m still not watching”
JK: “The McNoName FTW.”

CIMB Classic (Kuala Lumpur)
LG: “I thought this was a European tour event”
JK: “aka no television coverage during the hours we watch golf.”

Sanderson Farms Championship (Jackson, MS)
LG: LG’s Dad: “that course looks like crap on TV”
JK: “The White Supremacist Tour stop”

WGC – HSBC Champions (Shanghai)
LG: “Rory’s playing? I’ll watch”
JK: “Look, Rory is going to win if it’s in Dubai or Shanghai. Just give him the trophy and let’s move on.”

OHL Classic at Mayakoba
LG: “I think they played the big break there once?”
JK: “WTF is OHL? I thought this was an LPGA major?”

Hero World Challenge
LG: “18 man field? Hard to call this a TOUR event, but worth watching”
JK: “TIGER’S TOURNAMENT (that Zach Johnson wins most of the time).”

Franklin Templeton Shootout
LG: “pretty sure I’ve never watched this”
JK: “hey, guys…our tournament is crap. How can be create more buzz? OH, I KNOW! Let’s call it a ‘shootout’ instead of ‘championship.'”

Hyundai Tournament of Champions (Kapalua)
LG: “one of the most fun tournaments of the year to watch”
JK: “400 yard drives and ridiculous winds make this one of the most fun events of the year, if you can manage to catch one of the rare times it’s televised.”

Sony Open in Hawaii
LG: “golf porn for midwesterners/anyone that doesn’t live in CA”
JK: “it’s like a preview of a retirement community in florida, but with PGA Tour-level golf being played. BOOOOOOOOORRRRRRRRRINNNNNG”

Humana Challenge (PGA West)
LG: “over under on -22 to win?”
JK: “I can’t believe that guy shot that number on that course. un-freaking-believable. These guys really are good”

Waste Management Phoenix Open (TPC Scottsdale)
LG: “Frat party, meet golf”
JK: “Nothing says booze like Charlie Hoffman and a frat party. Allllllll-right!”

Farmers Insurance Open (Torrey Pines)
LG: “Tiger’s first win of the year”
JK: “Hey, let’s randomly play one round on this really easy course right next to the US Open venue. That’ll be fun!”

AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am
LG: “golf porn for everyone everywhere all the time ever”
JK: “still not exactly sure how this tournament works, but a guy wins it every year.”

Northern Trust Open (Riviera)
LG: “JK, when are we going to play Riviera?? Also, Fred Couples is on TV again, and hey, there’s a video of Ben Hogan”
JK: “‘LG, can’t you get us on at Riviera?’ is stated every. single. year.”

The Honda Classic (PGA National)
LG: “first tournament of the year where you know there’s going to be a lot of big names jammed at the top”
JK: “I keep waiting for one of the NBC announcers to slip up and say ‘WELCOME, TO AMERICA’S WANG!'”

Puerto Rico Open
LG: “Hey, I thought they were playing in Florida this week?”
JK: “You’re so B-string on this TOUR that you have to go to another country to play a US event. That should tell you something. (well, I guess it is a US Territory, but still…it aint a 50 state…)”

WGC – Cadillac Championship (Doral)
LG: “fewest water balls wins”
JK: “Look, Donald Trump is going to inject his faux hair into golf at some point. Let’s just make it here, before the season gets going, and then we’ll be good.”

Valspar Championship (Innisbrook)
LG: “let’s see if we can make up another stupid name for a set of three hard holes”
JK: “How many commercials can you sit through about paint? Readddyyy….go!”

Arnold Palmer Invitational (Bay Hill)
LG: “Tiger’s second win of the year…Also, an amazing venue and fun tournament to watch”
JK: “Wish LG didn’t talk about Tiger so damn much. Oh, wait, it’s Arnold Palmer handing a trophy to Tiger Woods…that’s pretty cool.”

Valero Texas Open
LG: “uhhh… not sure who to pick for fantasy golf for this one”
JK: “Alright amateurs….here’s your chance!”

Shell Houston Open
LG: “I love that this tournament basically admits that people only care about the Masters next week”
JK: “If you missed last week, here’s your chance again!”

The Masters
LG: “Best week of the year”
JK: “I have no words for how happy I am right now.”

RBC Heritage (Harbour Town)
LG: “I’m still talking about how awesome the Masters was this year”  This tournament should be moved to attract a better field because this venue is amazing and somewhat unique for the TOUR.
JK: “Jim Furyk’s revenge. I’m with LG–this is a neat venue. I wish it was more isolated from the big tournaments.”

Zurich Classic of New Orleans
LG: “Meet the second/third first time winner of the year”
JK: “Bubba and a bunch of guys you’ve never heard of. Guess who’s gunna win?”

WGC – Match Play
LG: “One of the coolest tournaments of the year… Also, one of the best gambling opportunities of the year for golf fans”
JK: “Cool to review on ESPN. Horrible to watch in real time.”

The Players (TPC Sawgrass)
LG: “Pete Dye abuses the PGA TOUR – no one wins this tournament”
JK: “THE MOST DIFFICULT PAR 3 ON TOUR! NO, SERIOUSLY, WE’RE GOING TO TELL YOU THIS 1 MILLION TIMES UNTIL YOU BELIEVE IT. (btw, it’s not)”

Wells Fargo Championship (Quail Hollow)
LG: “I’m still reeling from the Players”
JK: “F – U Wells Fargo!”

Crown Plaza Invitational at Colonial
LG: “Cool venue, but im probably not going to watch the weekend unless Rory or Tiger are in contention”
JK: “Fun to watch how much Zach Johnson’s swing looks like Ben Hogan’s in still frame and how diametrically opposed Zach Johnson’s game is from Ben Hogan’s.”

AT&T Byron Nelson Championship
LG: “An “important” tournament, but same answer as Colonial”
JK: “Too bad this has become what it is. They never would’ve let it be like this while Byron was alive. Makes you wonder what will happen for Arnie’s and Jack’s when they pass on.”

The Memorial
LG: “Jack’s place – also pretty much the only reason to go to Ohio ever”
JK: “Incredible golf course. Amazing field. Not worth watching until Sunday.”

FedEx St. Jude Classic
LG: “I’m running out of clever ways to say that someone new wins this tournament”
JK: “Robert. Garrigus.”

U.S. Open
LG: “Golf is hard”
JK: “I hate the USGA.”

Travelers Championship
LG: “I’m not even sure I can watch golf after the U.S. Open”
JK: “this is a tournament?”

CVS Caremark Charity Classic
LG: “I didn’t know there was a tour event in Rhode Island!!”
JK: “can we watch something else besides golf right now?”

The Greenbrier Classic
LG: “Tom Watson comes to mind for some reason”
JK: “Who can get out of West Virginia the fastest. GO!”

John Deere Classic
LG: “Steve Stricker teaches the TOUR how to putt”
JK: “-27 finishes second here.”

Barbasol Championship (RTJ Grand National)
LG: “Like the name of its sponsor, this tournament is taking a back seat to the premium product”
JK: “BARBASOL! BARBASOL! BARBASOL!”

The Open Championship
LG: “Golf isn’t fair, but damn it’s fun”
JK: “Let’s let the weather decide who’s going to win one of the four most important tournaments of the year.”

RBC Canadian Open
LG: “Tiger hit a crazy good 6 iron here once”
JK: “It’s Peter LeFleur.”

Quicken Loans National
LG: “I think there’s one more major left this year?”
JK: “TIGER’S TOURNAMENT. Wait, wasn’t that the thing at Sherwood? Why does Tiger have two tournaments?”

Barracuda Championship
LG: “Seriously, I thought there was another major??”
JK: “PGA meets Web.com Tour”

WGC – Bridgestone
LG: “Tiger’s third win of the year – I’m actually surprised when he doesn’t win this one”
JK: “Tiger emerges from the ashes of injury and self-denial to lap the field, shooting -20 to the next best score of +9”

PGA Championship
LG: “It’s a major…I’m watching.”
JK: “The most boring major in golf…except all five LPGA majors.”

Wyndham Championship
LG: “Arjun Atwal won this tournament once”
JK: “go watch football”

The Barclays
LG: “THE PLAYOFFS!”
JK: “sweet tournament. Fun field.”

Deutsche Bank Championship
LG: “I still don’t understand the point system…”
JK: “boston. the most confusing tournament of the year.”

BMW Championship
LG: “Steve Sands spends an inordinate amount of time going through various scenarios about who can win the FedEx Cup”
JK: “Look, if you finish well here, you’re awesome.”

The TOUR Championship (East Lake)
LG: “Screw it, whoever wins wins it all” (Also, classic venue and great tournament)
JK: “oh, shit. golf is almost over. Hey, I put 3 balls in that lake on the sixth hole, remember LG?”

PF Birthday

October 6, 2013

Three years ago today, LG and I embarked on a journey. As many of you know, it started with a few conversations about the game, a few moments watching golf and beating the commentary to the punch, and an experiment to figure out if we could do any better. What came out of that was a place where we collect our thoughts and–hopefully–help others thrive in this glorious game into which we put so much energy and effort. Although the PF has seen a recent decline in postings and material (thanks to outside factors greatly influencing LG’s and my ability to have a few free moments in front of a computer), the PF remains a host for our thoughts, our memories, and at least a portion of our contribution to making this game better for those who come after us. We’re thankful for your continued readership, and we’re looking forward to more greatness in the future.

-JK

PF Update

September 3, 2013

Many thanks to LG for making the trip to my new locale to visit, meet the children, and play some golf. Many of you may not realize that for years LG and I lived 2,500 miles apart. Our contributions to this endeavor were almost exclusively electronic. Although we’re now a good bit closer in proximity, it’s still a big deal if we get together.

 

And, like all big deals, we celebrate well. Our last four PF outings have included Wolf Creek (Las Vegas, Spring 2012?), East Lake (Atlanta, Fall 2012), Pebble Beach (Monterey, January 2013), Spyglass (Monterey, January 2013), and Torrey Pines (San Diego, August/September 2013). Although I can’t vouch for the level of play, it was still a tremendous experience playing Torrey, and it’s always a great time when LG and JK get a chance to chat face-to-face. Now all LG needs to do is learn how to putt!

 

Thanks again to LG, and we’ll see you soon at another big time venue.