Golf Balls in the Danger Zone

By Adam BarrSeptember 16, 2006, 4:00 pm
Im all about helping you. Im a Solution Guy.
So heres the solution next time you get perturbed at a perfectly struck 9-iron shot that still fails to clear that satanic pit of bunker in front of the green, the next time you pull a four-footer and have to chew on bogey, the next time you find your ball two inches to the bad side of those crucial white stakes.
Imagine someone with real problems. Such as being 7,000 miles from home and family ' and no miles from possible harm.
David and Todd in Fallujah
Capt. David Sifferd, an Army chaplain (left), and one of his soldiers in Iraq, where used golf balls could help ease combat stress.
And as if that werent enough, there arent enough golf balls.
I just asked [my wife] Paula to send me more white socks, so I should be good there, said Capt. David W. Sifferd, Chaplain, U.S. Army, in response to my recent query as to whether he needs anything at his posting in Iraq. I can really get most everything I need here, David said, except for golf balls. If you run across any groups that might want to donate old used golf balls, could you send me the address. I have a few clubs in my office that I let soldiers use to hit balls into the field behind our headquarters. Problem is that they are usually irretrievable. Great stress relief, though!
From the time nearly 30 years ago when I used to pick him up at 7:30 a.m. to walk to school, David Sifferd has been all about stress relief ' or whatever else his fellow man needed. The oldest of four children, Dave got a lot of responsibility in the Sifferd family, as close and faithful a group as youre ever likely to find. Dave and I were of different faiths, but he and his family always made me feel welcome. And on those cold mornings, when I walked down from 661 Ridgefield to 624 Ridgefield, there David would be, obviously having just finished helping to get the younger kids ready for school, with a bacon-and-egg sandwich on white toast wrapped in a paper towel, ready to head off with me to Mt. Lebanon High.
We sang together in choir and small ensembles. We hung out together. Circumstances and preference kept Dave from seeking coolness in the conventional high school way. Some who didnt know him sized up his quiet manner, his last-years coat, his decidedly not-up-to-clique-standard dress and decided he wasnt worth their notice. Dave knew it, too. But if he had a complaint, none of us ever heard it. I never saw him pass a petulant remark or succumb to gossip. I never saw a moment when he lost his sense of humor. Most important, I never saw a second when he was self-centered.
It surprised none of Daves friends when he attended Eastern Nazarene College and pursued the ministry. We were even less surprised when he married a wonderful girl and built a loving family with her. And it was right in character when Dave, an Army reservist, answered his countrys call without a cry. He shipped out to Iraq earlier this year.
So do I know any groups who have golf balls? You bet I do. Its you. You have them, in the garage, in onion bags, in shag bags, golf bags and garbage bags. Want to help a guy whos always helping others? Put those balls in a box and send them to this address:
CH (CPT) David Sifferd
APO AE 09342

And for those of you looking to make a bigger splash in the sand, consider another item on Capt. Sifferds wish list for his troops.
I'm trying to set up a putting green and a couple of tee boxes to drive from at our headquarters, Dave e-mailed me. We'll probably pour a cement slab and then put some artificial surface over it. Have you run across any golf products like portable putting greens that I should look into? Because of the climate here I'll probably need to buy something that is easy to install.
Its true, there are a number of companies that have been sending golf equipment to our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. And thats great. But this is a chance for individual golfers to kick in, and perhaps to get rid of those practice balls you never seem to have time for anyway. Believe me, theyll be put to good use.
This isnt about your position pro or con on the war in Iraq. Its about helping out fellow golfers who understand probably better than they ever did before, that banging a few balls can take the edge off a tough day. And these guys and girls are out on a sharp edge, where every day can be tough.
So now you can be Solution Guy or Girl. Thanks very much.
Email your thoughts to Adam Barr
Getty Images

What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

Getty Images

Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

Getty Images

Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

Getty Images

Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.