This is for all you loyal readers out there who say it's not really the holiday season until you've read my annual Thanksgiving column.
So here it is: giving "thanks" and "no-thanks" to all who deserve it in the world of golf.
- Thanks for the FedEx Cup. Who won, again?
Oh yeah, that guy who would have won even if he had never shown up at the FedEx grand finale, the Tour Championship. The drama was almost unbearable.
Hint: His first name is that of a large, feline predator.
- No thanks for the Fall Series. It isn't like it's not enjoyable to watch, but it's marketed like it's a big deal. It isn't. It's PGA Tour-lite.
- Thanks for Lorena Ochoa, winner of this past weekend's ADT Championship at Donald Trump's course in West Palm Beach, Fla. There's something extraordinarily likeable about this Mexican champ. She's unpretentious for one thing. At least she is for now.
No pinup posters for Lorena, or unwarranted sponsor exemptions. Just a great golfer beating the rest of the world, and modest to boot. Not to mention the fact she's using her new fame to help the underprivileged in her home country.
- No thanks to Natalie Gulbis, who wants to cleanse her pin-up girl image now that she's won a golf tournament.
From tease to prude in a matter of days. Sounds familiar.
- No thanks for Greg Nared resigning after less than a year as Michelle Wie's agent. It shows his true colors. I love these corporate weasels who abandon sinking ships when the profit margin thins. Nice of him to stick around through the tough times, not to mention real professional.
I hope his next client is David Duval.
- Thanks for the Ryder Cup captains, Paul Azinger for the U.S. and Nick Faldo for the Euros. It may be just as intense as in past years, but at least there should be a good deal of humor, too. Humour, for you Brits.
- Thanks for Woody Austin. He's one of the few guys who at least says he isn't scared of Tiger Woods. El Tigre has the rest of the competition so cowed they all practically bow down and sing hosannas when they're asked a question with the words "Tiger Woods" in it.
True, Austin is a little screwy - remember, he said he played better than Tiger when El Supremo shot 63 at Southern Hills in the PGA Championship. This was after Austin shot a 70. But who's keeping score?
- No thanks to Stephen Ames, who gets a little bitchy when asked about his Tiger Woods comments. Dude, stand by your words.
- Thanks for Allen Doyle, whose swing gives hope to the physically challenged and gruesomely uncoordinated across the world. Doyle looks like he came straight out of a Happy Gilmore movie. His swing makes Charles Barkley look like Ben Hogan.
- Thanks for "Playing Lessons from the Pros" on The Golf Channel.
- No thanks for pretty much everything else on The Golf Channel. Wait, that's not fair. I like Faldo.
- No thanks for PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem finally coming up with a drug testing plan. I wanted to see what Bubba Watson could do on steroids.
- No thanks for Tim Finchem having to be coerced into it by pressure from the media, Tiger Woods and practically everyone else who thought he had his head in the sand when he initially said golf didn't need a drug-testing program.
- Thanks for Chris Baldwin's man-crush on Justin Timberlake. It's nice to see a man - well, in this case, Baldwin - reveal his more, shall we say, intimate side.
- No thanks for Justin Timberlake himself, whose actual golf swing is as bad as his music.
- Thanks to Phil Mickelson for playing in Asia. Maybe more American pros will leave the cozy confines of the U.S. for those awkward, uncomfortable and dangerous foreign shores.
- No thanks for golf marketers, who will soon stick advertising slogans on golfers' foreheads at the first tee.
- Thanks for Boo Weekley, the Gomer Pyle of the PGA Tour. What a breath of fresh air, compared to all the other tour drones.
- Thanks for Rory Sabbatini. Hey, all he said was that Woods looked "beatable." Well, he did look "beatable" this year, even though he won seven tournaments.
People don't like Sabbatini just because he looks like an English bulldog. Hell, I don't like him for that very reason. Not to mention the fact he's rude.
- Thanks for those golf courses who warn you about sub-par green conditions before you pay your green fees. More thanks for those that give you discounts.
- No thanks for those golf courses that don't, which is about 99.9 percent.
- No thanks to Donald Trump, who's trying to re-make the lovely Scottish countryside in his own craven image.
- Thanks for those Scots who want to kick his arse out of the country. I'll make a donation to the cause.
- Thanks for course marshals who manage to speed up pace of play politely.
- No thanks for course marshals who enjoy their retirement by riding around in a cart all day, enjoying the scenery and tying up groups by telling boring yarns of their youth.
- Thanks to courses who let you walk and not feel like a foreigner. Same goes for walker-friendly layouts.
- No thanks to mandatory carts, unnecessary cart-path-only days (no, the two are not necessarily mutually exclusive) and aggressive club-cleaning cart guys.
- Thanks for all those 300 yard-plus drives I hit this year, to the exact spot in the fairway where I was aiming.
- No thanks to this medication I'm taking that induces hallucinations.
November 19, 2007
Simply select where you want to play, find a tee time deal, and golf now!