John Daly, our favorite drinker with a golfing problem (hey-ohhhh!), was partying like it was 1999 ... or maybe 1993 ... this weekend. After missing the cut at the PODS at Innisbrook, the former two-time major-winner resumed his sideshow at the Hooters Owls Nest tent off of the 17th hole -- getting schnockered, while signing autographs on womens posteriors. Later, JD was found at the Phillies spring training facility where he hurled B.P. to big-league bombers like his pal Pat Burrell. Clad in a P-stitched ball-cap and a tent-sized red No. 3 jersey -- looking eerily like a vintage '93 John Kruk, Long John Slinger kept his circus-act hits coming while giving up a few hits to Ryan Howard with his 85 mph fastball. With only three cuts made this year -- his highest finish registering at T69 -- Daly was actually the one whiffing. Instead of getting the most out of yet another sponsors exemption, the man with a grand gift for the game was once again allowing his affinity for self-destructive behavior take priority over his career -- and his health. I couldn't help but dwell on all that enormous talent being carelessly wasted. Butch Harmon, JDs swing instructor, apparently cut him off Tuesday, no longer wishing to be associated with the, well, the Busch leaguer ' there were just too many strikeouts to even count now.
Coming off his MC (a free weekend!) at the PODS, I was disheartened to see Ernie withdraw from the Arnold Palmer Invitational citing fatigue. I sympathize in what must have been an emotional week for his family with the disclosure of his sons autism, and the subsequent exhausting media attention surrounding it. However, I was eagerly (and selfishly, really) anticipating the affable South African back in the same field as Tiger again. Of all the tracks Tiger hasnt been able to tame in the last few years, Bay Hill was the one which might have posed the best opportunity for the Big Easy to take him down, erase the dreadful Dubai memories, and raise his confidence back up to 2002-Big Easy-playing levels. Now, hell (and well) have to wait a few more weeks until The Masters ' where, certainly, a pressure-packed major environment will really fatigue the guy.
There are really only three situations in which Ill guzzle Gatorade: after running a race, if besieged by the flu, or when I'm doling out orange slices at my nephews soccer game. Though already having sufficient daily-potassium levels (I heart bananas!), I went ahead and took the Tiger-juice plunge in all three flavors anyway. The beverage bearing Gatorade Tiger accompanied by a fierce familiar fist-pump on the label, turned out to be the tastier than I thought! After playing Goldie Locks with the milk of El Tigre, I decided that Quiet Storm (the purple one) was juuuuust right for me. (I think I once had a Quiet Storm love-song compilation CD with the soothing sounds of Lionel Richie, DAngelo and even Barry White.) The unique grape-ish flavor was irresistible and instantly brought back childhood memories of holiday dinners at the card table on the farm. Grandma Davis used to mix up a similarly-flavored brackish and watered-down kool-aid which was always served to us kids with a plate of turkey and stuffing. So, in summary: R&B love songs and Grandma = Tiger Gatorade.
*Any personal product endorsement by Ms. Davis is wholly unaffiliated with the GOLF CHANNEL.
Did Colt Knost Best?
With a bad-ass name like Colt, youre pretty much destined to become a swash-buckling, uber-talented, hot-shot athlete (with lots of cool hyphenated adjectives preceding your name). However, as smooth as this young gun out of Southern Methodist University is (see: his impressive, heralded amateur career akin to that of Tiger Woods and Ryan Moore), Im reminded this week of his perhaps not-so-smooth decision to go pro last fall and forfeit his U.S. Pub Links Amateur Champion spot at Augusta National next month. (In September, Knost picked payday over a few months of patience -- and pimento sammiches at the most coveted invite in golf.) Well, this week, we find our Colt hero in the Bay Hill field on a sponsor's exemption. Since going pro, he's earned only a small cache of money and has not seen much success ' making just two cuts in four starts (two on the Nationwide, two on the PGA TOUR). In fact, Tom Scherrer has had a more productive and lucrative past six months. But here is Colt (hoping to not become the next Scherrer) looking to get his game in professional gear in front of the man with one of the coolest monikers of all time, The King. Heres hoping the talented Mustang can buck my opinion of his decision and really live up to his name this week.
(Going) Out of Africa
Perhaps it's ethnocentricy (thanks, 10th grade history class!) or just plain ignorance, but I'm always amazed learning of golf's global far-reaching roots and impact, even in some of the most unlikely locations. The latest involves my cluelessnes that the country of Uganda has a long and proud history of the game we love. When I was google-ing golf yesterday -- as I do every morning upon rolling out of bed -- I came across a story on Africas friendliest country (yep. didnt know that one either). Apparently, the fine people of this landlocked country, whose sporting fandom is actually more cricket-centered, are celebrating 100 years of golf this week, at the countrys leading club, the Uganda Golf Club. That's right. One hundred years. As part of the festivities, they opened the Ugandan Golf Hall of Fame, recognizing all their 'golfing greats', so that finally, household names such as Deo Akope, Sadi Onito, Charles Yokwe and Dedan Kagonyera will be honored in an appropriate manner. Do these guys get invited to WGC events?
Instant (Coffee) Karma
So, the merciful java gods smiled upon me at work this weekend. I did not have to fetch (nor spend not one red cent on) coffee for two days. Completely unsolicited, our insider Tim Rosaforte generously bought me a towering frothy latte from that colossal caffeine conglomerate (rhymes with sharmucks) on Saturday afternoon. And on Sunday, one of our producers spotted me a free freshly-brewed cup from a local gas station (hey, its better than the office stuff). I thought to myself, if my run of good luck continues like this, the UCLA basketball team may want to recruit me for their run in the Big Dance.
So, in honor of the regular-season Pac-10 champs and this NCAA Hoops Championship Week! (and the Beach Boys' best album), I leave you with my straight-up picks for this weekend. Im taking:
Speaking of Rosie, the Senior Golfworld writer will help break down the Bay Hill action this weekend with Kraig Kann and Brandel Chamblee (fyi, the production staff on the show is already looking into a recipe for 'Brandel-ade'; drink it and your hair will grow fluffy bangs?) in our live 'Sprint Post-Game' shows from our networks global headquarters in Orlando.
Paint it again, Graeme
As a dabbler in oil painting myself, I have tremendous respect and admiration for this incredibly talented gentleman. I have a limited print (framed poster) of his painting of La Costa in 2003, when the Carlsbad course played host to the WGC-Accenture Match Play. Graeme W. Baxter is one of the world's most highly acclaimed painters of golfing landscapes. Some of his original paintings hang in famous clubhouses from Muirfield, Scotland to Augusta National. Last fall, he was commissioned to paint the landscape at the 18th hole of Bay Hill. Adam Barr followed him from the day he conducted the site survey many months ago, all the way through to the finished masterpiece. Tune into 'Golf Central' this Saturday, March 15th, to meet the artist, as well as the collector who bought his work.
All the King's Men
Additionally, the 'Golf Central' spotlight on Saturday and Sunday will feature a unique look at Arnold Palmer. Rich Lerner will explore what it's like for Arnie's friends to play regularly with the legend on his own course -- and at the Bay Hill Shootout.
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