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New Year's resolutions: Lowering the risk factor

By Tim McDonald, Contributor

The new year brings new hope and new expectations, dulled only when you go out to the practice range and find it's your same old swing. Still, I have some New Year's resolutions I firmly believe will make me a better player and a better person.

- I resolve to try some of the hybrid clubs. I know Johnny Miller will think I'm weak and have no talent, but I'll accept that, if Miller will accept the fact I think he's a blowhard who pops off before he thinks. I wish there were more like him.

- I resolve to continue my hard rule of never describing a golf course as "challenging for all levels." To those golf course employees who use that phrase to me, I resolve to step up my mocking campaign, even if it's only a pained expression.

- I resolve to pull for Ian Baker-Finch, who is considering a return to competitive golf. Few golfers have ever fallen so far and been so heart-renderingly honest about it. You have to love a pro who shot 92
in a tournament and still wants to make a comeback.

- I resolve to quit being one of the millions who claim to know what is wrong with Tiger Woods. I speculated recently that his bulked-up physique may be responsible for negatively influencing his swing. It's true, of course, so why speculate more?

- I resolve not to say I told you so when Woods doesn't dominate 2005 like many are saying he will.

- I resolve to quit bashing America-hating, British golfer Paul Casey. I'll leave that to the U.S. galleries.

- I resolve to become more worldly, one of the critiques Casey leveled at us provincial Americans. To that end, I will closely study Internet photographs of Tiger Woods' wife, Elin, who is from somewhere over there. Norway, I think. Maybe Sweden. One of those blonde countries, what's the difference? Anyway, I think it will give me a deeper insight into foreign cultures.

- I resolve to resolve my slice.

- I resolve to try some of those high-tech golf balls that cost a week's pay at pro shops check instead of buying them in bulk at Wal-Mart. I want to see if they will truly add 30 yards.

- I resolve to buy a ball retriever.

- I resolve to quit bashing the U.S. Ryder Cup team for at least two years.

- I resolve to work on the simpler things in my game, like my between-hole patter.

- I also resolve to work more on the mental aspects of golf, like not threatening to quit after another shanked shot or secretly cursing my playing partner, whose shot I just shallowly praised.

- I resolve to cheat less, to the point where my scorecard resembles my actual score.

- I resolve not to swallow that blarney when golf courses crow about how environmentally-friendly they are. In most cases, they're just being forced to follow the law. There are very few golf courses that are totally environmentally friendly, only some that are friendlier than others.

- I resolve to stay in the "I'm still not sold" crowd until Phil Michelson wins another major.

- I resolve to ignore every golf tip from magazines, television, newspapers and friends and enemies. I resolve to stay on the practice range until I hit at least 10 fairway woods 200 yards and straight.

- I resolve to keep handing out unsolicited advice, but only to those who are small and weak.

- I resolve to consume less hard liquor during friendly rounds and less beer during competitive play.

- I resolve to keep insulting those snobs who insist the British Open should be referred to as "The Open." You know, there is an "Open" on this side of the ocean, too. When a European wins a major, maybe I'll reconsider, but probably not.

- I resolve to be more imaginative with my clubs, like you see the pros do during these "silly season" events. In particular, I resolve to try 6- and 7-irons around the fringe.

- I resolve to quit going every time for the risk when I hardly ever get the reward.

Tim McDonaldTim McDonald, Contributor

Veteran golf writer Tim McDonald keeps one eye on the PGA Tour and another watching golf vacation hotspots and letting travelers in on the best place to vacation.

Reader Comments / Reviews Leave a comment
  • P. Casey

    Ron wrote on: Apr 20, 2005

    Screw the little jerk. He remembers a Ryder Cup he was not at. He wasn't there at the time, however, if it were not for the stupid Americans he would be speaking German now. I hope someone screams in the middle of every 5 footer he has.


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