Golf Guy Grill Room: Wrapping up New Orleans

By Golf GuyMay 5, 2011, 8:26 pm
'Hey Bartender...'

The Golf Guy

Odd that the Golf Guy was in New Orleans last week for the Zurich Classic and then had to fly into Charlotte – home to this week's Wells Fargo Championship – before coming back to Orlando ... Golf Channel HQ. OK, well, not that weird. Anyway, it's time for a French Quarter epilogue. As in, do your golfing buddies a favor and plan a golf trip to the Big Easy that coincides with the Zurich Classic.

Beignets: I averaged three a day – a mere $2.95 per order of three. If you are not aware, they come covered with powdered sugar. On Day 1 in New Orleans, I tried to eat them while I was taking pictures in the French Quarter. But it was windy. Very windy. After a few minutes, I looked like a miniature polar bear.

Jazz: I was a jazz club virgin. Not anymore. And I did it in style – the hotel I stayed at was the home to the Irvin Mayfield Jazz Playhouse. What a treat – good music, good crowd, good vibe and did I mention, my interaction with the gorgeous female jazz singer and the equally gorgeous burlesque dancer?

Zurich Classic: Oh yeah, the golf tournament. I went, walked the course, saw a lot of pretty ladies in pretty dresses, took some pictures, had David Toms give me a strange look, busted into the media center, and then left.

K-Pauls Louisiana Kitchen: Yes, that's right, the Golf Guy somehow got into this very swanky, hard-to-get-into, legendary New Orleans restaurant. I had the filet and some very, very tasty sweet southern corn muffins.

Pralines: My mom brought me back a couple of pralines from New Orleans when I was about 8 years old. I was mesmerized. Thirty some-odd-years later, I still am.

Rub of the Green 

Golf Guy Grill Room

While reading over a recent article about the U.S. Open at Congressional, an old pet peeve of mine suddenly came racing back: Why are there so many damn par-4s on a course? Do the math: par-72, 18 holes = four par-3s + four par-5s + 10 par-4s. That’s twice as many par-4s as par-3s AND par-5s …. combined. This is nonsense. I dare a well-known golf course architect to mix things up a bit. My suggestion? Six, six and six. Will it ever happen? No. Why? Because golf wants to remain as traditional as the plethora of par-4s that it throws out to professionals and amateurs. Whew. There, I said it. Anyone want to argue?

Jon Levy, associate editor: Yes, I'll argue. I get your point, Golf Guy . . . sort of. But, with this rant I suppose you’d also like sunset reoccuring every hour on the hour and have spiced rum served as the daily special – every day – at every grill room across the country. Think I know the answer to the second one.

Why so many par-4s? Because it’s golf. Period. Sure, there are variations – plenty of architects use an extra par-5 or par-3 – but since the modern game was born at St. Andrews in the 18th century and its 22-hole course was combined into 18, with par-4s the main focus, everything has followed suit since.

A change to this formula would also make the game much easier. There’s a reason why the U.S. Golf Association often increases the amount of par-4s during their championships – because the par-4 is the true test of the game. It requires two good shots to hit the green, whereas a player can often get away with a bad one on a par-5 and needs just one good one on a par-3.

Golf Guy: Blah, blah, blah. When I said 'Anyone want to argue?' that was a rhetorical question. Golf holes are like girls back in college: the par-3s typically are the real hot, knock-out blondes; the par-5s are the wild party girls (as in, if you play your cards, er, clubs right, you have a good chance at birdie ... or eagle!); and then you have the par-4s ... they go to class, get good grades ... well, the teacher's pet. And in this case, the architect's pet.


'And They're Off!'

Golf Guy Grill Room

How's this for a Saturday sports day: Moving Day at Quail Hollow, followed by the 137th running of the Kentucky Derby ( picks), then bouncing into Game 3 of the Heat/Celtics NBA playoff series, and finally finishing off the evening with the Pacquiao-Mosley pay-per-view fight from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Good golly I live for days like this. ... My 2 cents on the Simpson ruling from last week's Zurich Classic? Two words: stupid rule. And an easy fix – no intent, no penalty.

Quotes ... From the Vault


'I suppose I got into the zone ... I just know I got my nose in front and I was just trying to stay there.' – Rory McIlroy, after winning last year's Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow, after closing with a course-record 62 to beat Phil Mickelson by four strokes – and notice the well-timed horse racing 'nose in front' reference.


Luke Donald

Luke has plenty reasons to smile – namely being crowned 'Player of the Half Year' by Golf Guy

As the PGA Tour makes it past the halfway point in their season, let's take a quick look at some of the stats that I, the Golf Guy, find interesting. Let's turn on the Stat Machine now:

Scoring average: Luke Donald – 69.08 [short hitter leads Tour in scoring ... interesting]

Driving distance: J.B. Holmes – 314.5 [Bubba Watson and Dustin Johnson 2-3]

Top-10 finishes: Donald and Matt Kuchar – 6 [Donald with six top-10s in just seven starts]

Best streak without a three-putt: Stewart Cink – 215 holes [my favorite stat in the world]

Total eagles: Bubba Watson – 9 [honestly, I thought it would be higher]

Birdie average: Dustin Johnson – 4.68 per round [Phil Mickelson a close second]

Woods' victories: Cheyenne – 1 [oh, I love to kid Tiger]

Mid-way Player of the Year?: – Donald [my rules]

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Watch: Moore does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba

By Grill Room TeamJuly 16, 2018, 10:36 pm
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Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

12/1: Dustin Johnson

16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

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Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.

Updated Official World Golf Ranking

There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

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Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

“I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

“I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”