Keep Augusta Life Rolls On

By Michael FechterAugust 15, 2008, 4:00 pm
Some think that the Masters is the greatest golf event in the world. They are oh, so wrong.
 
Cmon, what's so great about $1.50 pimento cheese sandwiches on Wonder bread? I wouldn't give $1.50 for the entire known universe of pimento cheese.
 
Let me tell you about a tournament run at one of 'my' courses, the Malibu Country Club. Every July, for the past 10 years, the Malibu Country Club has hosted a tournament for Life Rolls On, a 501 c-3 charity to benefit young people with severe spinal cord injuries. Youd think that a spinal cord injury would be the end to surfing and biking and other activities that most of us take for granted. Life Rolls On is out to change that perception.
 
Allow me to paint a picture and perhaps the people in Augusta should listen for ways to improve this little April get-together.
 
Augusta has azaleas, seersucker suits, and iced tea infused with sugar. Conversely, Malibu is an event run by surfers, volunteers and the people of Malibu Country Club. And booze. Lordy, do they have the booze flowing.
 
If you want a tournament that has champagne and massages on the first tee for everyone ' Im talkin golfers, staff, volunteers and spectators ' then come to Malibu. I believe I even saw someone giving a massage to a mountain lion, which is an impressive, though ill-advised, way to commune with nature. Oh and there's a bubble gum blowing competition for every foursome, where the person that blows the biggest bubble wins an oversized bottle of champagne ' better than the crystal goblet you get for an eagle at Augusta.
 
And that's just the kickoff before you get to No. 18 with DJ 'Matter' spinning turntables of funk, electric and Latin on the cliff overlooking mountain canyons and the Pacific. I may be biased, but I believe the sunset over the Pacific is a whole lot prettier than those overflowing Port-A-Potties in the mud of Augusta National's parking lot.
 
On the 345-yard second hole, you have the option of hiring Vincent Ciurluini, a professional long driver to be your designated driver. For a mere $30 donation, you can play one of Vinnies shots off the tee. I witnessed Vinnie put tee shots within 25 feet of the hole for nearly every group. I couldn't do that from a greenside trap. If Corey Pavin knew about Vinnies services, he'd have more majors than Tiger.
 
On nearly every hole, there is an activity that could only come from the minds of Malibu Country Club and the people that run Life Rolls On.
 
From each foursome, whoever can hit a Wiffle ball the farthest wins L.A. Dodgers tickets. On another hole, whoever can hit a marshmallow the farthest with a hockey stick wins L.A. Kings tickets. On another hole, golfers hit balls from a special 'golf-adapted' wheelchair to help us understand what people with spinal cord injuries live with every day. Lets just say no able-bodied golfer hit a ball farther than they might with a lob wedge.
 
On one hole, there was a Tommy Bahama mojito bar with free mist fans for every golfer. On another hole the El Don Tequila girls used squirt guns to give away shots. Genius.
 
Malibu Country Club is a course you can play, with a cart, on any day of the year for well under $100. Man, the view during the drive to the club is worth more than that. Try getting on at Augusta. You cant even sit in the pro shop at Augusta National unless youre a member of a qualifying world domination society like Skull and Bones or the Bilderberg Group.
 
Man, what a day in Malibu. It almost made me embarrassed to be employed as the Ambassador of Fun. These people were having the most fun I have ever seen on a golf course and all I had to do was show up.
 
I'm telling you brother, you can keep Augusta, Ga., and Washington Road, with it's string of fried chicken joints. I prefer the string bikinis at Malibu.
 
Malibu C.C. looked like a casting party for 'Entourage.' There were more spokes-models running around than you would see at a Victoria's Secret New Years jam. Forget gorse and full force gales off the Firth of Death, Ill take tattered miniskirts. It's Malibu.
 
Heck, even my golf-hating girlfriend, Tia, loved it. I'm guessing it was the mojitos, champagne and Heinekens that kept her happy rather than my tee-totaling keen insights and wit. Oh who cares; it's Malibu, baby, and the worlds greatest golf tournament for a great cause.
 
Ill expect these changes at Augusta in 09.
 
To learn more about, Life Rolls On; its founder, former professional surfer Jesse Billauer; and how you might join in on next years fun at The Malibu Country Club just go to www.liferollson.org or www.malibucountryclub.net
 
Email your thoughts to Michael Fechter
 
Editor's note: Michael Fechter, orphan worker and humorist, has the best job in golf: he's paid to be the Ambassador of Fun for golf courses across America. His 'job' is to make the courses he represents across America more interesting, unique and fun. Enjoy his humorous series on getting back into the game as he struggles to get his game into the shape it was nearly 30 years ago when he won his only personal junior 'major,' the Al Esposito, on America's easiest muni with rounds of 71-71-75.
 
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    Koepka (wrist) likely out until the Masters

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 9:08 pm

    Defending U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka is expected to miss at least the next two months because of a torn tendon in his left wrist.

    Koepka, who suffered a partially torn Extensor Carpi Ulnaris (ECU), is hoping to return in time for the Masters.

    In a statement released by his management company, Koepka said that doctors are unsure when the injury occurred but that he first felt discomfort at the Hero World Challenge, where he finished last in the 18-man event. Playing through pain, he also finished last at the Tournament of Champions, after which he underwent a second MRI that revealed the tear.

    Koepka is expected to miss the next eight to 12 weeks.

    “I am frustrated that I will now not be able to play my intended schedule,” Koepka said. “But I am confident in my doctors and in the treatment they have prescribed, and I look forward to teeing it up at the Masters. … I look forward to a quick and successful recovery.”

    Prior to the injury, Koepka won the Dunlop Phoenix and cracked the top 10 in the world ranking. 

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    Cut Line: Color Rory unafraid of the Ryder Cup

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 19, 2018, 7:09 pm

    In this week’s edition, Rory McIlroy gets things rolling with some early Ryder Cup banter, Dustin Johnson changes his tune on a possible golf ball roll-back, and the PGA Tour rolls ahead with integrity training.


    Made Cut

    Paris or bust. Rory McIlroy, who made his 2018 debut this week on the European Tour, can be one of the game’s most affable athletes. He can also be pointed, particularly when discussing the Ryder Cup.

    Asked this week in Abu Dhabi about the U.S. team, which won the last Ryder Cup and appears to be rejuvenated by a collection of new players, McIlroy didn’t disappoint.

    “If you look at Hazeltine and how they set the course up – big, wide fairways, no rough, pins in the middle of greens – it wasn’t set up for the way the Europeans like to play,” McIlroy said. “I think Paris will be a completely different kettle of fish, so different.”

    McIlroy has come by his confidence honestly, having won three of the four Ryder Cups he’s played, so it’s understandable if he doesn't feel like an underdog heaidng to Paris.

    “The Americans have obviously been buoyant about their chances, but it’s never as easy as that,” he said. “The Ryder Cup is always close. It always comes down to a few key moments, and it will be no different in Paris. I think we’ll have a great team and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

    September can’t get here quick enough.

    Mr. Spieth goes to Ponte Vedra Beach. The Tour announced this year’s player advisory council, the 16-member group that works with the circuit’s policy board to govern.

    There were no real surprises to the PAC, but news that Jordan Spieth had been selected to run for council chair is interesting. Spieth, who is running against Billy Hurley III and would ascend to the policy board next year if he wins the election, served on the PAC last year and would make a fine addition to the policy board, but it is somewhat out of character for a marquee player.

    In recent years, top players like Spieth have largely avoided the distractions that come with the PAC and policy board. Of course, we’ve also learned in recent years that Spieth is not your typical superstar.


    Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

    On second thought. In December at the Hero World Challenge, Dustin Johnson was asked about a possible golf ball roll-back, which has become an increasingly popular notion in recent years.

    “I don't mind seeing every other professional sport. They play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball,” he said in the Bahamas. “I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage.”

    The world No. 1 appeared to dial back that take this week in Abu Dhabi, telling BBC Sport, “It's not like we are dominating golf courses. When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy?”

    Maybe it didn’t feel that way, but DJ’s eight-stroke romp two weeks ago at the Sentry Tournament of Champions certainly looked pretty easy.

    Long odds. I had a chance to watch the Tour’s 15-minute integrity training video that players have been required view and came away with a mixture of confusion and concern.

    The majority of the video, which includes a Q&A element, focuses on how to avoid match fixing. Although the circuit has made it clear there is no indication of current match fixing, it’s obviously something to keep an eye on.

    The other element that’s worth pointing out is that although the Tour may be taking the new program seriously, some players are not.

    “My agent watched [the training video] for me,” said one Tour pro last week at the Sony Open.


    Missed Cut

    Groundhog Day. To be fair, no one expected Patton Kizzire and James Hahn to need six playoff holes to decide last week’s Sony Open, but the episode does show why variety is the spice of life.

    After finishing 72 holes tied at 17 under, Kizzire and Hahn played the 18th hole again and again and again and again. In total, the duo played the par-5 closing hole at Waialae Country Club five times (including in regulation play) on Sunday.

    It’s worth noting that the playoff finally ended with Kizzire’s par at the sixth extra hole, which was the par-3 17th. Waialae’s 18th is a fine golf hole, but in this case familiarity really did breed contempt.

    Tweet of the week:

    It was a common theme last Saturday on Oahu after an island-wide text alert was issued warning of an inbound ballistic missile and advising citizens to “seek immediate shelter.”

    The alert turned out to be a mistake, someone pushed the wrong button during a shift change, but for many, like Peterson, it was a serious lesson in perspective.

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    Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

    Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

    While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

    “I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

    Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.  

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    DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

    Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.

    “I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”

    Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).

    “Everyone was hitting good shots,” McIlroy said. “That’s all we were seeing, and it’s nice when you play in a group like that. You feed off one another.” 


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.

    Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace). 

    “It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.”