Anthony Kim and Camilo Villegas walked down the first fairway at Kapalua in lock step on Thursday, single guys in their 20s with millions banked and the Pacific spread out before them. On top of the world, they were. One or two indifferent rounds to start the season wont change that.
Saw Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler. Having grown up watching Pedro Morales pummel Crazy Luke Graham at the Little Palestra in Allentown, Pa., the film really struck a raw chord. Rourkes look and performance are startling.
Not long ago there was a sense that Camilos career might resemble Anna Kournikovas ' great looking but without great achievement. No ones thinking that now.
If Vince McMahon was recruiting golfers for Wrestlemania hed take Ernie Els as a big guy who could do damage with a forearm shiver and Anthony Kim as the acrobatic high flyer coming off the top rope.
There are a lot nice places in the world, but nice in Hawaii is nicer than nice in most spots. Make sense?
Jim Thorpe recounts a Tiger tale thats worth noting. Jim rolled into Isleworth recently for a round. Tiger was hitting 30-yard pitch shots at breakfast. Some four hours later, when Thorpe finished playing, Tiger was in the same spot working away. Thorpe says Tiger wins at Bethpage this June by double digits.
The more I talk to Trevor Immelman the more I like him long term. Pointing out that he just cant be brash, Trevor told me that golfs too hard and too humbling to be making bold public pronouncements about winning. Everyone, he said, gets knocked on their rear in this game. Everyone, he added, but Tiger.
For appearance, Camilos closer to Sergio or Ian Poulter, strutting in those clingy, bold colors. But for personality, hes closer to Padraig ' steady, quietly going about his business and completely driven.
Played hoops with Parker McLauglin, whose dad, Chris, coached President-elect Obama on the Punahou state title team of the late 70s in Honolulu. Last week when Mr. Obama was back in Hawaii Chris organized a reunion game and invited Parker. His scouting report on The Big O: likes to go to his left (no surprise); feathery touch from 15; unselfish and will find open man; and for those concerned about national security credentials, hes solid defensively.
Id be surprised if Davis Love III doesnt return to at least the top 30 by mid-year.
Els sharing travel tales remembers that on long flights across Africa in earlier model private planes, hed have to make frequent re-fueling stops in some remote outposts that did business in rather crude fashion. Often times Ernie had to trade vodka for fuel. That raises the question: Just how much white lightning was the Big Easy rolling with when he trekked from say, Los Angeles to Johannesburg? In travel terms, there are layovers and then there are hangovers!
Camilos girlfriend, Maria, threw him a surprise 27th birthday party Wednesday night and gave each guest a Spiderman mask. Someone needs to put Camilo into a commercial with basketball Superman Dwight Howard. Camilo cant dunk. But then again Dwight cant hit a tee ball 320 on a string.
If you venture to Maui, make sure you eat the Ono Burger at the Paia Fish Market ' best Ive ever had.
There are more funny Thorpe stories floating around the sport than you can imagine. Its killing me that damn near every one is unsuitable for print in this space. Ive said it before and it bears repeating because I just had the enormous pleasure of playing a charity event with Jim: If given a choice of Old Tom Morris, Arnold Palmer, Tiger Woods or Jim Thorpe for a pro-am day, with all due respect to those men I dont think you can have a better time than you have with Jim. He flattened us. I mean he literally put grown men on the ground on a couple of mind blowing, hilarious occasions.
The Plantation Course at spots looks like Jurassic Park.
There are rumblings that the Tour may be re-thinking the Hawaiian start to the season beyond 2010. I understand that well-heeled, well traveled players no longer need to schlep into the Pacific for a seven-figure payday in January. But unless they go to Florida ' an easy commute for Tiger ' you wont find better weather and certainly wont find more fabulous scenery than what you get from the islands. Would it be nice to have baseball-like Opening Day buzz in golf? Sure. But its not a necessity. Though most decisions in golf these days are made with at least one consideration in mind: What would motivate Tiger to play?
Indulge me one final thought on pro rasslin. The Hulkster couldnt carry Gorilla Monsoons wrestling tights.