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Even From the 19th Hole, These are Just Bad, Bad Ideas

By Shane Sharp, Contributor

Even wearing the rose colored glasses of the 19th hole, there are some things floating around out there in the golf world that are just bad, bad ideas.

Is anyone other than the handful of 40-somethings struggling to keep up with Tiger and friends on Tour buying this twilight tour proposal floated by PGA Tour fan favorite Fred Couples? "Boom Boom" has gone belly up on the big boy circuit due in part to an ailing back, and recently announced plans to gather former major winners between the ages of 37 and 48 together to create a traveling band of middle-aged gravy trainers who feed off of their last shreds of popularity.

That's right, you too could shell out your hard-earned dollar to watch the likes of Couples, Jeff Sluman, and Lee Janzen put the screws to some softened-up resort layout in Las Vegas or Palm Springs. Do we sound a little bitter about the concept? Not as bitter as outspoken peer group member Scott Hoch, who recently told Travel and Leisure Golf Magazine columnist Mike Lupica that Couples and his bandmates "can't seem to take it that they don't have the success, the endorsements, the limelight they used to have."

Hoch should know - he's one of those guys. Well, almost. Hoch blew his best shot at winning a major in 1989 when he missed a tap-in putt on the second hole of a playoff against Nick Faldo. But as anyone who has followed his career will point out (and there aren't many of you), the tacky shirt aficionado hasn't missed a beat after missing the putt. He played on the 1997 Ryder Cup team while in his early 40's, and won twice last year at age 45. So yes, the outspoken Hoch actually has a leg to stand on in this instance.

Should Couples go down that road - and as Boom Boom fans, we hope it doesn't get to that point - he is in for a rude awakening. There are three market segments out there on the PGA Tour right now: Tiger, Phil, and the united fans of the irrepressible underdog. Fred Funk and Rich Beem are heading up the latter faction, as of late, and the first two fan clubs show no signs of fading for the next 10 years... Fred, bad, bad idea.

Uninvited Guests

It came as a bit of surprise last week when the Legends Group of Myrtle Beach, S.C., denied TravelGolf.com any further additional reviews of its golf courses.

Turns out we offended the company brass when we obtained and reported on a confidential memorandum from the Myrtle Beach Area Golf Course Owners Association documenting the seemingly unfathomable amount of money they owed local golf courses based on golf package play.

Their feelings (and our pink slip) are understandable, but a bit odd because a) we contacted the Legends Group and obtained a statement from their spokesman regarding the debt, b) they did owe that much money, and more than one golf course let us know they weren't too chipper about it, and c) we later published a report citing their financial health as based on their recent acquisition of Barefoot Resort in North Myrtle Beach.

What's more, TravelGolf.com's Myrtle Beach publication, MyrtleBeachGolf.com, had recently included Legends-owned and operated facilities in rankings for 1) best practice facilities, 2) best Links-style courses, and 3) most scenic courses. Now, 1.3 million readers a month will miss out on reading about Legends Group courses. Legends Group, bad, bad idea...

Outside the Ropes

The pride and joy of Minnesota, Tim "Lumpy" Herron, was the subject of a pre-PGA Championship party at his sister's house just outside of Hazeltine two weeks ago. The knockdown-drag-out fiesta, referred to as the "Lumpy Bus Bash," was attended by 100 of the pot-bellied, cig smoking (but lovable) Lumpy's closest friends. The alcohol tally was epic, and was as follows: six cases of brew from the Jim Page Brewery, a two-gallon cooler full of Margaritas, and three bottles of rum and Diet Coke.

The motley crew then jumped a yellow school bus to the tourney, where they proceeded to suck down a beer for each birdie Herron converted. When Lumpy started struggling, the game went to beers for birdies and bogeys. The story goes that Lumpy was on the front porch sucking down an ale when the gang arrived back at his sister's digs. Okay, so this isn't such a bad idea after all.

Could Golf Magazine's well-intentioned designs on prying open the mind of the average American golfer have been a bad, bad idea? Forty-two percent of respondents in a recent survey of more than 2,000 "avid" golfers said that David Duval would be their ideal male playing partner. What does this say about the average American golfer? That he or she would enjoy swapping silence with the human Oakley? What about Peter Jacobsen, Billy Andrade, or better yet, Lumpy? Opening up the mind of the average American golfer, peering inside, and finding it to be b-o-r-i-n-g. Golf Magazine, bad, bad idea.

How about Craig Parry, the Aussie known on Tour as Pop-Eye, winning the NEC Woods Invitational? We here at TravelGolf.com would like to bet the ranch on him to win this week's Air Canada Championship. Note to Editor: bad, bad idea.

Shane SharpShane Sharp, Contributor

Shane Sharp is vice president of Buffalo Communications, a golf and lifestyle media agency. He was a writer, senior writer and managing editor of TravelGolf.com from 1997 to 2003.

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