Mark Wood teaches at Hamilton Farm Golf Club in Gladstone, N.J.
... AND ANOTHER THING
"The U.S. Open and the Snooze Allen Classic are a preview of the new-look PGA Tour, where events will be either superstar opens or snoozers."
The Pepper Mill
[ by DOTTIE PEPPER ]
FORGET HIM NOT With all the brouhaha surrounding the final-round U.S. Open collapses of Phil Mickelson, Colin Montgomerie and Jim Furyk, we risk overlooking the guy who won, Geoff Ogilvy. He may not jump to mind when you think of the great players in today's game, but he should. He has three Tour wins in the last two years, is second on the money list and is one of the really good guys on Tour. At the Accenture Match Play he took down four major champions ( Michael Campbell, Mike Weir, Tom Lehman and Davis Love III) in head-to-head battles on the way to victory. The key number for Geoff on Sunday at Winged Foot was also four, as he made clutch pars on the last four holes, a feat no other contender could accomplish at the end of that grueling week.
NO S CAPE In all of the analysis and reaction to Phil's double bogey at the 72nd hole of the Open, one quote stands out. Hale Irwin, the 1974 U.S. Open champion at Winged Foot, said, "Sometimes that S on Phil's chest stands for Superman, and sometimes it stands for stupid." I would add it also stands for sad. The atmosphere at Winged Foot on Sunday had a lot of sadness--that Phil couldn't make better decisions (starting with his use of the driver at the 1st hole, when it was playing downwind) and that he made a very bad swing on the 72nd tee. I think Phil is sometimes handicapped by his phenomenal short game, which lulls him into bad decisions because he believes he can get the ball up and down from anywhere. Not having your best stuff on the last day of a major is fine, but make good decisions, not sad ones.
OLD SCHOOL Newport Country Club, host of this week's U.S. Women's Open, doesn't have a fairway irrigation system. In other words there are no sprinkler heads with the yardage marked on them. Caddies and players will calculate distance the old-fashioned way--using bluffs, bunker edges, walking paths and low bushes, anything that even remotely stands out. If you see people walking in circles, they're doing their math! In addition, the ocean breezes and unfamiliar quirks of coastal golf could make for a wild week in Rhode Island.
Dottie Pepper, a 17-year veteran of the LPGA tour and an analyst for NBC and the Golf Channel, welcomes questions at email@example.com.