Twelve Excellent Months

By Adam BarrDecember 14, 2007, 5:00 pm
My editors recently suggested that I review my year with you.
'Why?' I said. 'Is there some problem with my expense reports? Do they need to see receipts? Are any of them from the IRS?' I started looking at the door out of the corner of my eye.
'No no no,' they said, 'there's nothing to worry about,' although one of them casually wheeled his chair over to get between me and the door. 'We just want people to see where you've been, what you've done.'
'Guys, I had nothing to do with that thing about the bartender in Tacoma. She must have been drunk. I mean, look at me. I'm 46. I asked for a cab and she thought I ordered another glass of Cab. I ran out of the bar and never....
They sighed and rolled their eyes.
'Will you just write the thing already?'
Truth is, I'm always suspicious of assignments like this. As reporters in golf, we get to go to a lot of wonderful places, play fantastic golf courses, eat lavish dinners....things not everyone gets to do, but would like to. I never wanted to risk the accidental 'nyah-nyah, look-what-I-get-to-do' tone of such a piece.
But it's also a reporter's job to bring back the story ' to help you see, hear, and feel what I have been able to experience. It has been a privilege to do that for you in 2007. So let's treat it like this: I'll show you some snapshots from a great year -- many of which you were there to witness as viewers and readers. I've set out a table of cordials and snacks. If I get boring, you're welcome to pour your Rusty Nail into my lap.
Here goes:
January, and off to China right away. The enormity of Guangzhou, now Asia's busiest airport, even over Hong Kong. Our video gear getting held up in Chinese customs, despite tireless efforts by our videographer, John Feyko, and our hosts at Nickent to free it. Having to rent gear from Hong Kong in the end.
Taping at the vast foundry Nickent uses in Guangdong. Following Ohio State-Florida on the Internet during breaks and thinking it must be some sort of hoax. Bus rides along the crowded highways, watching industry spread inexorably over southeastern China, factory by factory. Rows and rows of four-story dormitories for the workers, with jeans and work shirts hanging from the windows.
Karaoke and green-tea-and-Scotch at night. The tailwind on the China Southern flight back to L.A. pushing us to 792 mph. Three hours early, dinner at Alejo's Italian in Santa Monica, then back to Florida.
PGA Merchandise Show: Riding Segways through the aisles; taking a complete tail-over-teacups spill to the delight of spectators, finally getting the hang of it. Feeling the energy of the industry, the thrill of innovation. Working with Casey Bierer and Matt Adams.
February: Shooting a 'Whats In The Bag?' at Oakmont Country Club, in brilliant sun ' and seven inches of snow. Meeting superavid golfers Ben and Adrienne Lear, Oakmont members and residents, who were subjects of our show on getting ready for the season. Being welcomed into their home like family. Meeting the girls, Abbey and Emmy, their beautiful Golden Retrievers, who win agility competitions and cheer up folks at Pittsburgh area nursing homes. Being proud that these people live in my hometown.
Shooting in Golf House, Oakmonts winter practice facility, with Dave Padgett, the able and affable assistant at Oakmont who has since earned a plum head pro position. Hitting 6-irons from the practice bay into crisp 'really crisp ' seven-degree weather. What a range pickup job that must be when the snow melts. Dinner with the Lears that night in a delicious Italian place in Monroeville.
March: Producing my first-ever half-hour show, TPC Sawgrass: A New Era, with the help of TGC camera wiz Mike McGarry, independent producer Art Durazo, and the full backing of TGC execs and the folks at the PGA TOUR, including outgoing super-superintendent Fred Klauk and super guy Fred Funk.
April: Masters, and getting to work with Jim Nantz of CBS on a special GOLF CHANNEL story ' not just at Augusta, but at the Final Four in Atlanta as well. Talk about a guy who loves what he does ' and is extremely generous with his time. A real gentleman.
Getting out of town Thursday, when it began to get really cold, after the business and equipment reporting was done. Being on a plane Sunday, on way to the next trip, when the pilot came on to announce that Zach had won. Thinking about Joy Henneberger, our News Department director, and her husband, Damon Green, who caddies for Zach, and their baby son Gunnar, and how this would help them.
May, and a 'What's In The Bag?' trip to Bandon Dunes in Oregon. A trip that lives up to its billing -- beautiful, rustic, windswept seaside golf on an enormous dune-bluff high above the Pacific.
Wind, oh my God, the ball high in that merciless gale. Low shots, bump-and-runs, wind-aided (and -hindered) putts. The firm turf, and only needing to hit it 140 to roll up to the hole, 180 yards away.
The utterly quiet and comfortable cabins; the mist that hung in the pines. Turning off my handheld. Listening to songbirds and bullfrogs. Lighting the fireplace in my room.
The cheery morning restaurant, where yesterday's 36-holers limped in, sore but happy, to fuel up and do it all over again. A salmon omelet that would see you through hours of shooting and later, playing. The ultra-welcoming Irish pub, the hot soup, just-right-temperature ales, and warm fellowship.
A drive back to Eugene on abandoned logging trails, deep among the mysterious, ageless conifers, along beach trails, by lighthouses, hoping to see a whale out on the steely gray sea -- through Florence, along the Siuslaw River, and finally back to civilization. BlackBerry back on.
June: Back home to Pittsburgh for Our National Championship, as Mr. Nicklaus likes to call it, at Oakmont, the course where he first won it. Drinks and good times with the Lears. Time with my folks. Working frantically to get through a lot of tape editing in the production trailer, back of the range, as a massive thunderstorm rolled in across the Allegheny River and pummeled our hilltop. Hail coming in the window, which was open an inch to allow power cables to come in.
October, and my first-ever trip to the magnificent island of Bermuda for the PGA Grand Slam of Golf. Tropical ease and British propriety all mixed up in a Dark 'n' Stormy (Gosling's Black Seal Rum, ginger beer, and lime). History as well: walking the island and coming upon a cemetery filled with the graves of British sailors from the HMS Duke of York, sunk in the Atlantic in World War II.
Getting to spend time with major winners Angel Cabrera, Jim Furyk, Padraig Harrington and Zach Johnson. Working with Chris Carmody and David Winner and the whole excellent TNT crew, including Billy Kratzert as my on-air partner. Billy and me being peruaded by the PGA of America's Kathey Jorden to wear Bermuda shorts and jacket and tie on the air, including the knee socks. I went cobalt blue.
Now some random snapshots. Here, have another Baileys
Fantastic barbecue at The Rendezvous and The Commissary in Memphis ' and fantastic golf. Woody Austins amazing 62 to finish in torrid heatthen seeing Woody the next day flying to Pittsburgh coach, like the rest of us.
The excitement of doing telecast interviews at John Deere and other tournaments on the PGA Tour for the first time in my career ' with the enthusiastic help of Tony Tortorici, Keith Hirshland, Jeff Gershengorn and Glenn Savadski and many others at Golf Channel, plus good welcomes from Tommy Roy and his crew at NBC, and Lance Barrow and his group at CBS. Shooting with Joe Carzoli, a real mover, for NBC at BMW, and Eric Leidel of CBS at Memphis, John Deere, and Bermuda for the PGA Grand Slam of Golf.
Speaking of torrid, how about Tiger in Tulsa? What was hotter, him or the thermometer? Kudos to Woody for chasing. Sushi three nights in a row at a cool place nearby. Nice people in Tulsa.
Zach Johnson tossing out the first pitch at Wrigley during BMWwhich allowed me to be on the field. Talk about goose bumps. Tripped over seats while carrying tripod, I was so excited. Shin swelled up likewell, a baseball. Still have the scar. My Wrigley scar.
The good people at Kingsley House and St. Michaels Special School in New Orleans, where Zurich does so much good work with the ForeKids Foundation to help that unique treasure of a city recover.
Touring St. Jude Childrens Research Hospital in Memphis.coming out realizing that bravery wears many faces, and that I have no problems in life worth mentioning. Thanking God over and over for my healthy, happy son.
Having my family with me to watch Phil Mickelson win The Players.
Rainsuits and hail at the FBR in Phoenix.Phoenix!
Watching Padraig Harringtons son run to him on the 18th green at Carnoustie (this I saw on TV, but it was no less compelling).
Stopping on a desert road to watch a stunning fall sunset at after a day of covering the U.S. Womens Mid-Am near Scottsdale.
The practice range at a public course near John Deere, which faced a hog farm. Typical Iowa. Hitting balls as the sun setthen heading down the hill to the river for dinner by the Mississippi in Leclaire, Iowa, one of the dozens of beautiful American small towns I got to visit this year.
Not just the places, but the people: Mike McGarry, Gunnar Garrity, John Feyko, John Brown, John Bender (all TGC staff cameramen and standup guys start to finish), Bridget Cugle, Jody Keller, Kelly Baker, Ashley Tomasso, David Graham (production coordination staff), Carrie Goyack (kept me going in the right direction with travel and more, and let me give stomach raspberries to her baby daughter Madison, who laughed uproariously), Rusty Billingsly, my partner Casey Bierer, Bob Swanson, Katie Fitzgerald, Martha Mae Tucker and Erin Elias (crack WITB production crew), Stephanie Dillon and Reagan Johnson (original production coordinators), Joy Henneberger, Josh McCoy, Dena Davis, Diane Hirsch (news staff), Eric Saperstein, Lee Siegel and Dave Taylor (Golf Central masterminds), John Houde, Mercer Baggs, Brian Koressel (they keep this website going), Megan West, Rich Lerner, Jerry Foltz, Kraig Kann, Vince Cellini, Steve Sands, Inga Hammond, Brandel Chamblee, Frank Nobilo ' more people than I can possibly name here, all of whom were pure joy to work with this year.
And finally, again and again, opening that door from the garage to the kitchen late at night, suitcase in hand, to be greeted by Benny the Wonder Dog, knowing that my family was safe and sound and peacefully asleep upstairs ' and recalling again where the center of the universe really is.
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    Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off

    By Associated PressJuly 20, 2018, 11:29 pm

    NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.

    Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.

    The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.

    Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.

    Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.

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    Third-round tee times for the 147th Open

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 9:05 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

    Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.

    Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.

    Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.

    4:15AM ET: Gavin Green

    4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed

    4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose

    4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton

    4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley

    5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner

    5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson

    5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)

    5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood

    5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello

    6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford

    6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma

    6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

    6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood

    6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na

    6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin

    7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim

    7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira

    7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters

    7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li

    7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker

    7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink

    8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook

    8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris

    8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim

    8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari

    8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson

    8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell

    9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka

    9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott

    9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren

    9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone

    9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett

    10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler

    10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell

    10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

    10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen

    10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele

    10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood

    11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson

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    Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

    By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.

    He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.

    “There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.

    Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.

    “I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”

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    Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?

    Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.

    Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.

    “I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.

    Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.

    “It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.

    More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.

    “I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”