The Raptor  

Your Bridge To The Greatest Generation

The Golf Daily Thought Page - 2010_2011 Created 02/21/2010 Modified 01/16/2012

 

 

On Club Championships - Originally Posted 08/16/11 

It's championship season here in Erie and a number of clubs have already had their club championships and the local governing body has conducted the "major" tournaments which were won by Dave Hewett (Match Play) and Ellery Tarbell (Medal Play).

Next on the agenda is the EDGA Senior Tournament which will be held at the Lake Shore Country Club on Thursday, August 18th, 2011.  The Raptor is playing in this event and has been fortunate to hook up with two past Champions...Rick Carlotti and Ron Coleman as members of the group along with longtime golf associate, Lou Natalie.  This should be an excellent match.

There are almost 90 entrants in this years event and some of the top senior golfers in the Erie area are teeing it up...

Time Player Club
10:30 Capotis, Mike LV
11:10 Kowalewski, Dave D
11:10 Seus, Rick D
11:50 Hewett, David O WW
11:50 Wedzik, Tom K
11:50 Paris, Bob LP
12:00 Fugate, Doug K
12:00 Tarbell, Ellery LV
12:10 Coleman, Ron LV
12:10 Natalie, Lou WW
12:10 Carlotti, Rick LV

 

The other 80 players (including The Raptor) will go out onto the golf course...make some poor swings and bad choices, produce some awful three putts and generally have a rotten time - but we do it - if only to see our pals and enjoy the tournament scene.  Here is the rest of the field - sorted by club affiliation.

Time Player Club
10:10 Bailey, Ron CCC
10:40 Catalano, Joe CH
12:50 Webb, Tony CNH
11:30 Slupski, Mike D
9:20 DeCoursey, Mel D
9:30 Sekula, Steve D
11:00 Robinson, Tom D
11:10 Reichard, David D
12:30 Wallen, Leonard D
11:30 Gashgarian, Louis E
11:30 Lehner, David E
9:00 Zbrzeznj, Thad E
9:00 Domian, Ronald A. E
11:20 Grubbs, Matt E
10:50 Chase, Bruce EV
11:10 Keller, Jim EV
11:20 Byler, Bruce EV
11:20 Evans, George EV
11:20 Page, Mike EV
12:40 Fischer, Gary EV
12:40 Ball, Jack EV
9:20 Baker, Jack GH
9:20 Baker, Keith GH
9:20 Arrigo, Matt GH
9:30 Dillen, Dan GH
9:00 McGuigan, John GM
10:00 Kastner, Wayne HR
10:00 Leighton, Patrick HR
10:00 Nelson, David HR
10:00 Schaaf, Tom HR
12:40 Lupp, Gary HR
10:50 Spoden, Jim K
11:00 Kirk, Jim K
11:00 McKibben, James K
9:10 Clover, Jerry LP
9:10 DuShole, Charles LP
10:10 Shamburg, Chip LP
10:10 McNamara, Gene LP
10:10 Downey, Chris LP
12:50 Saccamozzone, David R LP
12:50 Schneider, David R LP
1:00 McCormick, Phil LP
1:00 Martin, Greg LP
12:20 Chido, Tom LS
12:20 Jordano, Pete LS
12:20 Vomaro, Ron LS
12:20 Simmons, Tom LS
1:00 Jarvey, Jack LS
1:00 Barrett, Steve LS
12:00 Cipriani, Dario LV
9:50 Koster, Ed LV
9:50 Hurlburt, Vern LV
9:50 Lux, Jack LV
9:50 Wingerter, Jack LV
10:30 Maleno, John LV
10:30 Adiutori, John LV
10:30 Wagner, Bill LV
10:50 Johnson, Bob LV
12:00 DiSantis, Ron LV
12:30 Goldstein, Sid LV
12:30 Steger, Bill LV
12:30 Kern, Fred LV
11:30 Glover, Mike NA
11:00 Kempinski, Chet NA
9:30 Valentine, Larry R
9:30 Orr, Ed R
10:40 Costa, John UC
10:40 Cole, Kevin UC
11:50 Delsandro, James H WW
9:10 McClain, Lewis Sr. WW
9:40 Komora, Chris WW
9:40 Szymanski, Al WW
9:40 Timpano, Vincent WW
9:40 Wildauer, Dennis WW
10:40 Devine, David R. WW
10:50 Santone, Guy WW
12:10 Carneval, John Jr WW
12:40 Duffin, Ed WW
12:50 Zenewicz, Pete WW

 

There is an obvious disconnect here...yes The Raptor knows there is a "Net" Division too but the "Gross" Division is what counts and there appears to be a short list of potential winners and a long list of definite losers.  Back and forth we go on this debate.  What debate you might ask? Well...it's the whole discourse on Gross and Net Tournaments, Competitions etc...

This past season has been a troubling one for The Raptor and it's primarily due to certain individuals who like to "compete" but only at their own level.  So let's do the math...The Raptor has identified 11 players who would appear to have the best chance of winning the gross division.  the cost to enter this event was about $50.00.  so the "prize pool" is potentially about $300.00 to $400.00.  The "winner" could hope to claim about half that pool or about $150.00 (merchandise).  However, the eventual winner will actually receive a winner's share of perhaps $300.00 to $350.00.  This money comes from the other part of the group (That is - Chops like The Raptor)...

So, when these exceptional players whine and complain about weekly club "skin" games which are conduced on a gross and net platform they should think carefully about the selfish personal choice of "opting" out of the game since they "can't win"...

How bout this little tidbit...recently WWGC conducted a Senior Club Championship and as usual the event was controversial.  The format was as follows:  individuals who were 50 to 59 years old played from the white tee boxes and individuals 60 years and older played from the gold tee boxes.

It just so happened that an individual who was 62 years old and could have played from the gold's elected to play from the whites.  His rationale was that as a single digit handicap player who traditionally played from the whites and the blue tees, it would be insulting to migrate to a forward tee to compete against less capable players.  On the other hand there existed a player who traditionally played from the blue and black tees at WWGC, who on this occasion played from the gold tees...he therefore had no reservations about competing against less capable players.  At the end of the day, Mr. White and Mr. Gold won their respective divisions but it would appear that Mr. White competed with honor...on the other hand Mr. Gold?...who can make that determination...not The Raptor...

How to fix this obvious problem...The Raptor has said it before and I will say it again.  The club should designate a set of tees for the event as "championship" tees and then designate a forward tee as Net Division.  In the case of the senior Championship, the players who desire to be the official champion would play the white tees - at scratch...the players in the net division would play the gold's and handicaps would be adjusted by 4 handicap strokes from the blue tee handicap to determine the net score.

I know the club won't do this because they are afraid on one sad sack who plays to a 16 handicap from the whites but can shoot 75 from the gold's.  How awful is that?

This is obviously much ado about nothing and for confirmation about that go ask those individuals who were crushed by a falling stage at the Indiana State Fair...oh they are dead so you can't ask them...but if you could, The Raptor is guessing that they would have no interest in our handicapping/championship peccadilloes...

EDGA City Tournament Update "The Raptor Bump" Continues- Originally Posted 08/01/2011 

If the term "conditions were ideal for scoring" could be used to describe a golf tournament in Erie Pennsylvania, perhaps Sunday's final round of the EDGA Amateur Championship is appropriate.  The Saturday moving day produced a interesting leader board which featured many of Erie's best veteran players challenged by the current crop of youngsters.

When the smoke had settled, the winner of the event turned out to be one Ellery Tarbell. By winning this event Tarbell became the first player in Erie history to do so on four separate occasions.  There could be many reasons for his success but it is apparent that the Raptor Bump is alive and well and providing the kind of incentive to go out and play great golf.

EDGA 2011 Amateur Champ Ellery Tarbell (left) Flanked By Doug Fugate In This Undated File Photo

 

The Raptor and Ellery hooked up recently for a match at LVCC which included past Raptor Bump recipient Rick Carlotti and long time Raptor friend, Tom Bean.  There are many players in the region who have been Raptor Bump recipients including: Ron Coleman, Ted Grassi III, Dave Hewett as well as the previously mentioned Tarbell and Carlotti.  In 2009, Carlotti went pillar to post in winning the EDGA Senior Tournament held at LVCC while the Raptor played along. Then, Coleman did the same at LPGC in 2010.  Tarbell received his prior bump preceding his 2009 victory in the EDGA Senior Better Ball which was held at LPGC.

One aspect of the scoring for this years event was the trio of 67's which were registered by Don Fessler, Jr., Mike Newcomer and Ryan Diemel on the third day.  Fessler, winner of two EDGA Match Play crowns in 1995 and 1996 has been patiently working on his game in 2011 and the results paid off.  Donnie, as he is known by family and friends, has long been dreaming of shooting a 69 and never in his wildest dreams did he realize that all along it was a 67 he was gunning for.

It was just two weeks ago that Fess played with The Raptor in a friendly match up yonder at WWGC and played exceptionally well only to see The Raptor throw a smooth 78 at him...so it's probable that The Raptor Bump may have propelled Fessler to second place in the same way it brought Tarbell the top prize...

 

No. Player Club Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Total
1 Tarbell, Ellery LV 72 69 71 212
2 Romeo, Austin K 72 70 71 213
2 Newcomer, Michael E. LP 72 74 67 213
2 Fessler, Jr., Donald WW 73 73 67 213
5 Podufal, Greg LS 71 74 71 216
5 Deimel, Drew K 74 71 71 216
5 Deimel, Ryan K 77 72 67 216
8 Paris, Bob LP 73 74 71 218
8 Noce, Mark LV 74 73 71 218
10 Garcia, Michael LP 75 75 70 220
11 Spitzer, David LP 75 75 71 221
12 Hewett, David O WW 73 72 77 222
13 Watkins, Evan A LP 75 74 76 225
13 Grassi, Ted III LP 75 77 73 225
15 Simonsen, Scott LV 72 77 77 226
15 Rodgers, Garrett LS 79 74 73 226
17 Carlotti, Rick LV 73 76 78 227
17 Nicotra, Rob K 73 77 77 227
17 Pepicello, Tony WW 79 74 74 227
20 Irwin, David LP 76 75 77 228
21 Coleman, Ron LV 77 74 78 229
21 Simonsen, Marty E 79 73 77 229
21 Wedzik, Tom K 78 75 76 229
24 Trigilio, Mark LP 77 75 80 232
25 Tidball, Terry MCC 75 72 86 233
25 Taylor, Sean K 76 75 82 233
27 Zbrzeznj, Cameron E 73 80 82 235
28 Gornall, Jack K 78 75 84 237

 

Top Finishers In 2011 EDGA Amateur - Held At The Kahkwa Club, July 29 - 31, 2011

 

Unfortunately, Not everything came up roses for this event.  During the registration process about 90 to 95 applicants submitted the required registration, but the tournament field only had room for 80 spots.  This information was provided at a late date so a filtering process was initiated to evaluate applicants based on three criteria.  The first was support of other EDGA events such as the Match Play or The Junior Tournaments.  The rationale being that certain players were attempting to play at this years Amateur only because it was at Kahkwa and they would skip the event if it was at say...Elk Valley...

The second criteria was timing as in first come, first served etc. while the third criteria was the capability quotient.  This criteria is designed to eliminate as a player any applicant who has an index higher than a certain ceiling - which is 6.5....this translates into a handicap of about 8.  It should be noted that The Raptor carries an average index of about 9.0 so my ability to play in this event is zero.zero.

So...what transpired on day 1 of the tournament proved interesting to The Raptor...apparently, one participant who was properly signed up, elected to withdraw for reasons unknown.  In order to balance the pairings another individual was brought in who was capable in all other categories.  He was within the index guidelines and happened to be a close associate of the EDGA.  The new players name was displayed at the bottom of the scoreboard and he put on a decent game, shooting 84 to miss the cut by 5 strokes.

The Raptor would certainly like to know if the "marker" was an applicant who had processed an application in the proper time frame with due date of July 19th, 2011 along with payment of $80.00 or was he given a complimentary spot in the field?...could this spot have been occupied by one of the other applicants who were kicked off The Roster?...naturally this is another "small potato" issue and really...The Raptor should let it go....yeah right...

It should also be noted that on Saturday evening around 9:00 PM The Raptor fielded a phone call from a tournament participant who was scheduled to play Sunday but upon checking the EDGA website, discovered that he was "ooooouuuuuuttttt" of the tournament....having missed the cut.  One half hour of phone calls, voice mails and text messages finally resulted in getting this issue resolved but The Raptor would like to ask a simple question...WHY WON'T ANYONE ANSWER THEIR TRUCKIN (sic) PHONE ANYMORE!

The Pace Of Play - Originally Posted 07/11/11 

The Raptor has been cognizant of the pace of play as it pertains to a round of golf as of late...it's seems to be on a lot of minds.  Consider an incident which occurred on Monday, July 4th, 2011 as an example...on that day, WWGC was the scene of a "toonament" sponsored by The Raptor and there was a LARGE field of almost 50 players.

Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond anyone's control, the management of WWGC place a "public" tee time into the middle of the toonament tee times and this created two waves of play.  The first wave involved about six of the 12 groups involved and teeing off between 6:40 and 7:30 these groups played relatively quickly and finished 18 holes in around four hours.  Unfortunatly due to the public foursome...the second wave groups needed five hours to complete 18 holes.  As the day wore on, tempers flared and some players left the golf course and this is never a good sign.

What is it that makes the pace of play so slow?  There is no definitive answer but The Raptor can make a few observations here for the good of the order.  It should be noted that this subject was recently broached by John Paul Newport in the June 11th, 2011 Wall Street Journal.  The premise of his analysis was a plug for "The Return To The Four Hour Round" by Peter Matteer - also you can link to www.fourundergolf.com...

Newport has all the same bugaboos that follow:

First...practice swings....this is a big waste of time as near as The Raptor can determine...The Raptor has observed this art for many years and has identified the key elements.  For starters, there is the pre-shot routine or PSR.  The Raptor tends to only adopt a PSR in the midst of a large group of observers in order to seem to be a "playah" That's right...I am awful...but if I give others the impression I am a playah, I can get away with a PSR...even if I slice it into the woods.

For those not in the know, the PSR starts when the playah stands behind the ball and fixes a knowing gaze down the fairway while imagining the ball flightimg on a preferred trajectory to a safe location...Naturally the PSR can include some extemporaneous gyrations such as grass tossing to determine wind direction or side saddle practice swings to work on tempo...the goal is to play a superb shot but the largest percentage of shots hit subsequent to the PSR end up in the woods...or a fairway bunker...In addition to the side saddle PSR, the playah can incorporate some additional waggles, circular tension reducers and practice thumps.

The practice thump is a phantom swing which is worked out next to the teed up ball.  The playah normally attempts to dig up tee turf with the practice thump...just to further damage already beat up tee boxes so that by seasons end all that remains is soft dirt rather than groomed turf.  In addition to the practice thump, the playah can incorporate the waggle into the routine.  The waggle was strongly advocated by noted "golf prick"...Ben Hogan.

Hogan published a wonderful book on swing mechanics which is titled "The Five Fundamentals"  The Raptor has read it many times and as a result I have grooved a perfect swing...I just don't adhere to the waggle stuff - waggles are for OFF's

If it's not enough to spend ample time make practice waggles, the playah can always create more wasted time by always playing from the "tiger tees"  For 99% of golfers in the world, playing from the Black or Championship tees is a priority in order to demonstrate "authority"...unfortunately it's silly.  Especially if the playah rationalizes the move on back as a method to avoid hazards.  The Raptor wholeheartedly advocates playing from forward tees....leave the tiger tees for the pros.  What can be so bad about wanting to improve you say?

Let's say you are in a foursome and there are three average players and yourself...in order to demonstrate your authority , you state that you are playing from the black tees even though the rest of the group is on a forward tee box.  So at each tee , the foursome stops first at the black tee...where you perform a significant PSR and subsequently slice your shot into the woods.  It is probable that the other players were not ON THE TEE with you so they have no clue as to where your ball went.  Then the group has to drive forward (if they are in carts), stop again and play THEIR tee shots.  HUGE waste of time!

Another time waster is the yardage device...weather it's a U Pro...a Smart Phone app or a Bushnell...if you use a "aid" to navigation...you are a tool.  Scorecards, sprinkler heads and common sense are all that an average golfer needs to get to the promised land...if you can't get out of a freakin cart and look at a 150 post or a sprinkler head to gauge your distance you are just plain stubborn and dumb. The Raptor sees it every day...playahs think they are improving their game with yardage aids when in fact they are wasting time.  If you are a 15 handicap and you are trying to determine whether to use a 8 iron or a 7 iron from 150 yards...choke down on a six and hit a controlled punch shot...sniff....cough...

The Raptor has yet to see ANYONE who utilized a yardage aid actually play a radically better game of golf.  As a matter of fact, golfers are getting worse as a result of these devices...and when they don't have them available...fish out of water since they have forgotten how to figure out their yardage.

Where time is really wasted is around the greens.  It's one thing to be a really good player and take care with chips and putts but when you are a 15 handicap who is prone to three putting, determining the line by plumb bobbing or getting down in a "spider man" crouch ala Villegas or a Nicklaus is useless...putt the damn ball and get to the next hole!

Jack Nicklaus - aka - The Trainer Of A Generation Of Slow Play Putters...Seen Here About To Putt...This Crouching Posture Which Is Now Utilized By Many Players Of The Game Of Golf Is Contributing To Slow Play...Especially At WWGC...

 

A final word of advice...move the the next tee to write down your double bogey...the group behind will appreciate it...

Congratulations Are In Order (In The Jarzo Tradition) - Originally Posted 06/27/2011 

The Raptor would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Whispering Woods Golf Club Member Dave Hewett on his thrilling victory in this year's EDGA Match Play Tournament.  By winning this event for the first time while tossing his hat in the ring for the past 35 years Dave joins a Who's Who list of Erie top Amateur Golfers.

Dave Hewett...aka "DavidO" laying down a perfect stymie against a chagrined Drew Diemel in the final match if this years EDGA Match Play Tournament

 

By taking the top prize this year, Hewett, the affable 51 year old Controller at Mercyhurst College, who also serves as the EDGA's President, has avenged his loss in the finals in last year's event.  Ironically, in order to get into the finals this year, Hewett had to first best defending champ, Ron Coleman in the semi-finals.  Hewett did so in convincing fashion with a 4 and 3 thrashing.  Dave has also won an EDGA Amateur title as well...taking the the silver platter in 2000 at Downing GC.

Year Player Club
2010 Ron Coleman WW
2009 Ron Coleman WW
2008 Ron Coleman WW
2007 Ron Coleman D
2006 Rob Nicotra K
2005 Gregor Orlando K
2004 Tom Amendola K
2003 Ron Coleman D
2002 Dave Ciacchini K
2001 Joe Cassano LP
2000 Chris Keim E
1999 Todd Grassi LP
1998 Dave Ciacchini K
1997 Ed Podufal LS
1996 Don Fessler, Jr. LV
1995 Don Fessler, Jr. LV
1994 Dave Antolik E
1993 Brett Kieffer LP
1992 Dave Ciacchini K
1991 Tom Amendola K
1990 Dave Ciacchini K
1989 Joe Cassano LP
1988 Dave Ciacchini K
1987 Tom Amendola K
1986 Tony Pepicello LP
1985 Ed Podufal LS
1984 Ed Podufal LS
1983 Dick Ambrose LS
1982 Brett Kieffer LP

 

EDGA Match Play Champions 1982 to Present

It should be noted that this year's event was plagued by a number of weather issues and the staff of Lawrence Park Golf Club including: Scott Jenkins, Jon Patterson and Sandy Murray in the ProShop and Jerry Rice and his grounds crew in the Turf Care Center should be commended on a job well done...

The Raptor visited the LPGC during last Mondays Qualifier and spoke with a number of the participants who gave high praise to the conditions of the golf course and Assistant Pro John Patterson's exquisite score board.

Scoreboard Prepared By LPGC Assistant Golf Professional, Jon Patterson aka "Floyd"

There were a number of memorable moments to come out of this years event.  Certainly Hewett's victory stands out first.  But consider this...

The qualifying round was lead by EDGA veterans Rick Carlotti, and John Sherman, who shot a fine round of 72 which was equaled by the eventual runner-ups brother Ryan Diemel.  The qualifiers included a number of EDGA veterans such as Bob Paris, Tony Pepicello and Doug "Curly" Fugate as well as young players such as Austin Romeo, Kevin McDonald and Evan Watkins.  Carlotti, winner of the 2009 EDGA Senior Crown, parlayed a Raptor Bump which was earned in a recent match at Lake View Country Club to claim a portion of medalist honors.  For those not aware, it is common fact that playing a match with The Raptor can lead to subsequent success in tournaments as Carlotti, Ellery Tarbell, Hewett and Ted Grassi can attest.

During the first round of match play, Lawrence Park's Sherman rode a fly in eagle on LPGC's 8th hole to victory over an obviously stunned Romeo.  In addition, past two time Champion Don Fessler, Jr. played a superb match against Allegheny grad Mike Wolfe and lost a close 1-up decision to Wolfe who shot a 68 on his own ball.  Fessler, who had his daughter Emily taking care of caddy responsibilities was gracious as ever in defeat and took time to stand with Wolfe for this post match file pic...

Mike Wolfe and Don Fessler Exchanging A Handshake Following Wolfe's 1-Up Victory In 2011 EDGA Match Play Opening Round

 

John Sherman...Veteran EDGA Combatant Following His Dramatic Victory Over Austin Romeo

If one word could be used to sum up this years event it would be "stamina".  With the heavy rains of Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, the players had to have patience as their guide and in the end it was Dave Hewett who was the last man standing...congratulations Dave!

This About Sums It Up - Originally Posted 12/13/2010 

The Raptor was reviewing email this morning and came across this post which caused me to laugh out loud...enjoy...

 

Her  Diary:

Tonight,  I thought my husband was acting weird.  We had made plans to meet at a nice restaurant for dinner.  I was shopping with my friends all day long, so I thought he was upset at the fact that I was a bit late, but he made no comment on it.  Conversation wasn't flowing, so I suggested that we go somewhere quiet so we could talk. He agreed, but he didn't say much.  I asked him what was wrong; he said, ’Nothing.'  I asked him if it was my fault that he was upset.  He said he wasn't upset, that it had nothing to do with me, and not to worry about it. 

 

On the way home, I told him that I loved him.  He smiled slightly, and kept driving.  I can't explain his behavior. I don't know why he didn't say, 'I love you, too.'  When we got home, I felt as if I had lost him completely, as if he wanted nothing to do with me anymore.  He just sat there quietly and watched TV.  He continued to seem distant and absent.  

 

Finally, with silence all around us, I decided to go to bed.  About 15 minutes later, he came to bed.  To my surprise, he responded to my caress, and we made love.   But I still felt that he was distracted, and his thoughts were somewhere else. He fell asleep - I cried.  I don't know what to do.  I'm almost sure that his thoughts are with someone else.  My life is a disaster. 


His  Diary:

Couldn't drive the ball straight today, can't figure it out, at least I  got laid.
 

 

 

The Eagle Has Landed - Originally Posted 11/16/2010 

The Raptor is looking back on a long and successful golf season and is taking two separate events which occurred only recently as the subject of today's post...anyone who has played at Whispering Woods Golf Club knows how the course is laid out and it is The Raptor's goal to "make hay" on the front nine and more specifically on holes 2 through 5.  

The second hole is a short par 3, that has a generous putting surface. The 3rd hole is a reachable par 5 while the 4th and 5th holes measure less than 300 yards and are "easy" par 4's.

Hole #2 - Viewed From Near #1 Green

 

Hole #3 - Viewed From Tee Box

 

Hole #4 - Viewed From Fairway

 

Hole #5 - Viewed From Fairway

On Saturday October October 23rd while playing with my regular gang, including Tony Pepicello, Brian McGrath and Al James, The Raptor was playing decent but found myself 3 over par after the first 4 holes, I played a tee ball on hole #5 towards the left side of the fairway roughly 80 yards from the putting surface.

The flagstick was positioned in the back right quadrant of the putting surface and it was fully visible from my position in the fairway.  The Raptor elected to use a pitching wedge as there was a slight breeze in the face.  When The Raptor struck the approach, I actually said "Be The Ball"...that's how good I hit the shot which was tracking directly at the hole!.

The ball hit the putting surface roughly mid green and rolled straight at the hole and dropped in for a deuce or eagle...hence "the eagle had landed".  After a brief celebration, The Raptor moved on to the remainder of the match and played reasonably well...shooting an 81 from the blue tees which is a good score.

Now fast forward to Sunday November, 7th when The Raptor played with Lou Natalie, Tom Tomechko and Ray Kallner.  The weather was a lot colder on that day and The Raptor was playing awful and after 4 holes was already 5 over par!...not exactly making hay, eh...well The Raptor hit a mediocre tee ball on hole #5 and had no positive whatsoever.  As a matter of fact two of the players in the group were looking or tee balls in the left woods and Ray was attempting to size up a tough bunker shot.

So as I prepared to hit my approach, I briefly though about "getting close" to try to turn around an obvious terrible round and actually rolled my pitching wedge shot from 90 yards away.  However, the ball trundled along the ground and got closer to the putting surface as the seconds ticked by.  The ball got to the putting surface eventually and rolled up to the hole and dropped in for another eagle...wow!... how cool was that?

It is safe to say that the first eagle was as a result of one of the finest golf shots The Raptor has ever struck, while the second was perhaps one of the worst shots The Raptor has ever struck..however, they both were a dandy two on the scorecard as The Eagle Had Landed...twice...

Originally Posted 09/02/2010 

Laws of Golf

"They say golf is like life, but don't believe them. Golf is more complicated than that." Gardner Dickinson
 
LAW 1:
No matter how bad your last shot was, you should have Inner peace knowing that a shittier one is yet to come. (This law does not expire on the 18th hole, since it has the supernatural tendency to extend over the course of a tournament, a summer and, eventually, a lifetime.)
 

LAW 2:
Your best round of golf will be followed almost immediately by your worst round ever. The probability of the latter increases with the number of people you tell about the former.

LAW 3:
Brand new golf balls are water-magnetic. (Though this cannot be proven in the lab, it is a known fact that the more expensive the golf ball, the greater its attraction to water. Expensive clubs have been known to be partly made with this most unusual natural alloy.)
 

LAW 4:
Golf balls never bounce off of trees back into play.  If one does, the tree is breaking a law of the universe and should be cut down.

LAW 5:
No matter what causes a golfer to muff a shot, all His playing partners must solemnly chant "You looked up," or invoke the wrath of the universe.
 

LAW 6:
The higher a golfer's handicap, the more qualified he deems himself as an instructor.
 

LAW 7:
Every par-three hole in the world has a secret desire to humiliate golfers. The shorter the hole, the greater its desire.

LAW 8:
Palm trees eat golf balls.

LAW 9:
Sand is alive. It will swallow your balls.
 

LAW 10:
A golfer hitting into your group will always be bigger than anyone in your group. Likewise, a group you accidentally hit into will consist of a football player, a professional wrestler, a convicted murderer and an IRS agent -- or some similar combination.

LAW 11:
All 3-woods are demon-possessed .

LAW 12:
Golf balls from the same "sleeve" tend to follow one another, particularly out of bounds or into the water (See LAW 3).

LAW 13:
A severe slice is a thing of awesome power and beauty.

LAW 14:
The person you would most hate to lose to will always be the one who beats you.

LAW 15 :
The last three holes of a round will automatically adjust your score to what it really should be.

LAW 16:
Golf should be given up at least twice per month.

LAW 17:
All vows taken on a golf course shall be valid only until the sunset.
 

LAW 18:
Since bad shots come in groups of three, your fourth consecutive bad shot is really the beginning of the next group of three.

LAW 19:
When you look up and cause an awful shot, you will always look down again at exactly the moment when you should have continued watching the ball if you ever want to see it again.

LAW 20:
The less skilled the player, the more likely he is to share his ideas about your swing.

LAW 21:
If it isn't broke, try changing your grip.
 

LAW 22:
Golfers who claim they don't cheat, also lie.

LAW 23:
A golf match is a test of your skill against your opponent's luck.

LAW 24:
It's surprisingly easy to hole a 50-foot putt when you lie 8.

LAW 25:
Counting on your opponent to inform you when he breaks a rule is like expecting him to make fun of his own haircut.

LAW 26:
Nonchalant putts count the same as chalant putts.

LAW 27:
It's not a gimme if you're still away.

LAW 28:
The shortest distance between any two points on a golf course is a straight line that passes directly through the center of a very large tree.

LAW 29:
You can hit a 2-acre fairway 10% of the time, and a 2-inch branch 90% of the time.

LAW 30:
Every Time a golfer makes a birdie, he must subsequently make two triple bogeys to restore the fundamental equilibrium of the Universe.

LAW 31:
If you want to hit a 7-iron as far as Tiger Woods does, simply try to lay up just short of a water hazard...or fire hydrant!

LAW 32:
There are two things you can learn by stopping your backswing at the top and checking the position of your hands: how many hands you have, and which one is wearing the glove.

LAW 33:
Hazards attract; fairways repel.

LAW 34:
You can put "draw" on the ball, you can put "fade" on the ball, but no golfer can put "straight" on the ball.

LAW 35:
A ball you can see in the rough from 50 yards away is not yours.

LAW 36:
Don't buy a putter until you've had a chance to throw it.

Originally Posted 08/11/2010 

As many of you know, The Raptor is a learned man.  Unfortunately, the educational advancements have never been able to take The Raptor to higher levels of consciousness.  The Raptor prefers simple mindless things like NASCAR, a USA Network “Monk” Marathon or perhaps a visit to Wal-Mart to obtain visionary enlightenment.

There are moments when a sense of “ennui” erupts.  For those not in the know…ennui is a term associated with boredom or listlessness.  It can also mean a dissatisfaction resulting from lack of interest or motivation.  This same term can also be used to typecast a broad spectrum of golf’s best players.

From Tiger Woods to V J Singh to Sean O’Hair all the way back to Ben Hogan, it has been a golfer’s right to be a detached automaton focused on precision shot making.  This sense of detachment is practiced here in NW Pennsylvania as well.  Consider the famed and fabled Kahkwa Club as an example…when one of The Raptor’s pals joined there several years ago, I jokingly stated that he would have to abandon his cheerful disposition in favor of a look of detachment and boredom.

Obviously, reaching a pinnacle such as membership in an exclusive club merits that sense of ennui.  While maintaining a sense of contentment on the inside is important, it is absolutely necessary to exhibit no emotion on the outside. Practice may be required to develop the correct look and posture.  Smiling is out of the question and the furtive glance will become the trait of the entitled.  A quick look with a blank expression coupled with a “Heisman” type wave with a quick turn of the head in an opposite direction.  The key here is to avoid prolonged eye contact and try to keep conversation to a minimum.  It is also necessary to implement a sniff and/or cough to fortify the detachment.

When speaking to others it is acceptable to talk in the third person.  So, if The Raptor were to ask a player named Jim where his membership was the response could be…sniff…cough…”Jimmie is a member of Kahkwa”…turn head away…glass over…

The manner of dress is also important.  The shirt collar should be pulled up.  This is in an attempt to keep the sun off the neck but more importantly it serves notice that you have permission to look like a tool in the midst of the remaining 99% of the golf population.  After golf, it is imperative to remove inappropriate outerwear such as golf spikes in favor of dress loafers.  Socks are out of the question.  It should be noted that ugly tan lines can be an embarrassment so it is important to use no sock which extends past the crest of the top of the golf shoe.  For this purpose, feminine type PEDS are permissible.  However, make sure to cut of the little balls with your Swiss army knife.  Also, a must accessory is a sharp pair of sun glasses and a cardigan sweater which should be tied loosely around the neck.  The sunglasses should not shield the eyes but be placed on the top of the head, even indoors…just in case Jennifer Anniston or Sharon Stone show up. One final warning…cargo pants/shorts are out of the question! 

Even at my own club, the semi-public Whispering Woods GC, the sense of detached ennui is prevalent.  It’s not necessarily in the manner of dress or the absence of emotion.  It’s more closely tied to which tee one plays their round from.  In previous posts The Raptor has mentioned that there are perhaps 75 members who use the club frequently.  Of that number there are less than 10 who can play from the black tees with any degree of competency.  This intrepid bunch of golf pioneers are living proof that being different is in itself a satisfying personality.

At the crux of this matter is why the “blackies” joined the club in the first place.  After all, it would be silly to resign from a challenging club where playing from the black tees was the norm and then follow it up by playing at the new club from the tee boxes used by a large percentage of the membership.  Therefore, a sense of detachment is prevalent amongst the dark group as they survey the landscape from the tiger tees knowing full well that they are Masters…of their domain.

 
Whispering Woods GC - First Hole - 205 Yards Of Carry From Black Tees...Sniff...Cough

 

Is there a sense of accomplishment by going to the club and shooting 78, 80 or even 83?...absolutely...if I could I would...If the blackies decided to move on up, there would be a sense of deflation and humiliation and that makes it difficult for the dark group to associate with members of the blue or white group.  Plus, attempting to match up with the coloreds is proving difficult for the blackies since no common denominator is being propagated.

So, when asked…WWGC’s best players perform a sniff, then a cough and in a hushed tone state with authority…”I play from the black tees”…”Take A Hike”…

Originally Posted 06/07/2010 

The Raptor has always been a big fan of the Star Trek Brand and has numerous episodes archived…especially the original series which was telecast between 1966 and 1969.   One of the most popular episodes included in the run was “A Piece Of The Action” which dealt with the Enterprise visit to a planet known as Sigma Iotia II.

The inhabitants of Iotia had been visited by a survey mission of The Federation 100 years earlier and at that time the crew of the mission had given some reading materials to the Iotians including a book entitled “Chicago Mobs of The Twenties”.  This book had become viewed as a Holy Relic by the Iotians and they had built an entire culture around it and referred to it as “The Book”.

The leading gangsters of this culture were Bela Oxmyx and Jojo Krako.  At one point in the episode, Oxmyx contacts the Enterprise and speaks to Mr. Spock.  The dialog goes something like this…

Oxmyx…”Hey, up there…you better come back down to the planet…Krako has your boss (Captain Kirk) in a bag…”

Spock…”Why would he put a bag on my Captain?”…

Oxmyx…”Kidnapped him…ya dope”…

Spock’s statement of naivety “Why would he put a bag on my Captain” has always been a Raptor fav.  I repeatedly use the colloquialism when I view the naïve actions of others and there are numerous situations when the phrase could pop up in my consciousness.

Here is an example…The Raptor is a member of Whispering Woods Golf Club and this Friday, June 11th, the club is sponsoring a member guest invitational.  Member Guest events are a common practice in this region as they are all over the place.  The theory goes something like this…WWGC has a Member Guest and the WWGC members “invite” guests from other golf clubs in the region in order to conduct a tournament which includes lunch, golf, dinner and awards.

The invited guest in turn reciprocates by inviting the WWGC member over to his club for some subsequent Member Guest being held there.  This happens all the time.  The clubs in this region include Lake View, Lawrence Park, Lake Shore, Kahkwa as well as Meadville CC and perhaps Corry CC.

There is a very critical pecking order here and the rotating group of “players” who participate in this process are in a select bunch.  Unfortunately, the membership roster at WWGC is smallish with only perhaps 75 who are regular players.  As a result attempting to conduct a Member Guest is tricky since the prospective WWGC member is bound to ask himself (in parody to the naïve statement uttered by Spock…”Why would I want to invite someone to WWGC?)

Well…there are a number of reasons.  First, is the reciprocal…if the WWGC member can invite someone to the home club; he has a chance to get an invite somewhere else.  Unfortunately, another aspect of this whole conundrum is that most of the members of WWGC have no friends.  In most cases the WWGC members have developed into a bunch of ball hawking trolls who prefer to spend their time searching ravines and creeks for Pro V1’s rather than promoting a harmonious golf club.

Example Of a WWGC "Hazard" - the 12th Hole - Home To many Lost Pro-v1's!

This is also known as a “zero-sum trade off”.  Work with The Raptor here.   WWGC is the ultimate golfer’s utopia.  The course is fairly well groomed.  The members can play any time they want as there are virtually no exclusionary days.  The cost per year for the member is $2,000.00 and this includes your cart.  The member can bring just about any sort of food or beverage onto the grounds with out being questioned.  I suppose a crafty member could even keep a supply of cold beer in their car and dip into it without being found out...this is also known as "The Burnside Gambit".

Another Example Of A Treasure Trove For Ball Hawkers - The "Raptor's Ravine" At the 12th Hole of WWGC

Each round played brings the WWGC member closer to “zero-sum”.  Once a member reaches about 40 - 18 hole rounds played, they have reached a “break even point” After that, the cost per round calculation brings them closer to “zero-sum”.  By factoring in the finding of Pro-V1’s and playing upwards of say 80 to 100 rounds…the cost per round dips into the rarified territory of say…$25.00 per round…are you kidding me?...Why would I want to invite a guest to my club?.  Consider this, The Raptor started playing organized rounds this year around March 15th…I have now played in excess of 30 - 18 hole rounds!  I will reach break even by the middle of June and I will still have 4 and ½ months to work towards “zero-sum”!!!

If a WWGC member took a chance on inviting a guest, first he would face the real crisis of a reversal of “zero-sum”... Obviously, there is a $120.00 out of pocket fee to pay.  This is the cost of the tournament.  Then there would be additional funds expensed for small stuff like tips or bets, and the “zero-sum member” may even be forced to actually talk to another human being and perhaps suspend ball hawking activities for the day.

This can be a problem as there could very well be some covert ball hawking going on by others which could potentially deny a prospective zero-sum member a Pro-v1 opportunity…total and utter devastation awaits!

Another reason to invite someone to WWGC is to “showcase” the facility.  After all, WWGC now has a nice driving range and there is the ultra posh “Asphalt Bar and Grill” complete with TIKI bar to provide the fluids for the “inner man”.  Unfortunately, there are virtually no members who are attempting to approach zero-sum who will also use the driving range since that would require an additional out of pocket expenditure of perhaps $100.00 to $150.00…this is bound to cause a zero-sum’s “Johnson” to “turtle”.  In addition, the driving range is somewhat provincial in that the managers periodically move the hitting zone back to the hard mat area in order to provide some healing to the turf area.  This promotes a paraphrase of the Spockism to: “Why would I want to use the driving range?”!!!

 

The "Asphalt Bar & Grill"

A third reason to participate in the Member Guest is the camaraderie theory.  This is the hardest thing to do in the world.  It requires an actual personality to interact with normal people, especially when you have developed a “zero-sum” personality.  Normal people will consider your zero-sum shenanigans to be obtuse.  Obtuseness is a colloquialism for “round at the sharp edges”…alas sharpness is not a trait of the zero-sum operative.

A fourth reason to participate in the Member-Guest is that it is a tournament and you can actually “win” something.  That promotes a feeling of accomplishment. This is the greatest feeling in golf.  For the average Joe, winning something at golf is impossible…right?  The game is difficult.  Hitting quality golf shots is rare…Ben Hogan stated that he hit few perfect shots – there was always a slight error.  And putting?...virtually no one is an excellent putter 100% of the time. So, if an approach on a par three happens to land next to the hole or maybe a few putts drop the potential exists for someone to be a “winner”

Unfortunately, zero-sum members are already winners.  They have nothing else to prove.  Nothing else to gain since they have done it all.  Plus, since the Member Guest is a handicapped event there is always the real possibility that the outcome is resolved through some sort of golfing “voodoo” which eliminates real skill in favor of some contrived calculation which benefits the unskilled.  And there is the rub. There is a large percentage of WWGC members who are “competitive”.  As a result, they abhor a handicapped competition since the benefit flows to the common “chop”.  As a consequence…“Why would I want to put a bag on my captain?”

 

Originally Posted 05/16/2010 

The Raptor has now played about 25 rounds of golf at WWGC since the season began around March 15th and it's been mostly famine with no feast to speak of.  Today was a perfect spring day and the course has begun to dry up a bit after some hard rain during the week. The logistics of developing a play group have taken up a life of it's own and it's through the patience of the members of The Raptor's roster that a series of successful weekend matches have resulted.

Generally the roster is initiated the week before the actual play date when The Raptor queries the members to see who is interested in playing the following week. In some cases roster members are locked in and play every week regardless of their calendar or weather conditions. Obviously, these individuals have no life  In other cases, roster members have conflicts that preclude them from joining in the play date.

The Saturday matches were not too difficult to prepare for as WWGC had a club Scramble and no scheduling was necessary.  However, the roster for Sunday was a super challenge.  For starters, five regulars were elsewhere and the left The Raptor with very little wiggle room in order to field a roster of 12 players in three groups...that is the key...foursomes provide the best platform for conducting matches.

As of Saturday at 2:00PM The Raptor had 13 players counted with no apparent way to get to 16 bodies.  So, a decision was made to contact the last individual who had placed a reservation and cancel his appearance...this was very difficult to do. By 5:00, The Raptor had released the pairings and thought the matter was closed.  However, at 6:30 an individual who had been queried earlier in the day to play, called The Raptor, throwing his hat in the ring.  The Raptor was forced to deny him a slot in Sunday's match, even though he had gotten clearance from the tower to fly.

The Raptor woke early Sunday as he always does full of nervous energy particularly worried about who may not show etc.  Unfortunately, The Raptor noted a text message which was the worst possible news...a member could not attend due to a prior unrecalled commitment.  Now The Raptor was pissed since I had denied two potential players a slot.  However, I was able to contact one of the ousted players and he agreed to sit in and fill the group to 12 players.  As a result, a good time was had by all.

Originally Posted 04/05/10

Well...it's Masters Week at last and most folks are keen on tuning into hear Tiger Woods...at his upcoming 2:00 PM News Conference which should be...interesting but not fascinating.  The Masters Committeemen who handle media relations have promised to control the questions to a narrow range of topics which is OK with me.  The Raptor personally hates it when the golfers get brought up before the press.  Who can forget Arnold Palmer crying at the 1994 US Open at Oakmont or more recently Brandt Snedicker weeping into his golf towel when he pulled the chocker at Augusta National which handed the Green Jacket to Trevor Immelman...ouch!

It's difficult to predict who is going to win this thing...last year it was the hard charging, hard smokin, hulking Angel Cabrarra while the previously mentioned Immelman stumbled into the winners circle in 2008 with Zack Johnson (and his dopey sunglasses) taking home the top prize in 2007.

The Raptor still is conflicted over one important issue and that is...can The Masters really be considered a "major"?...ok it's a popular tournament and it has been contested since the 1930's.  The winners have traditionally been the cream of golf's top players.  The Raptor's dilemma is the restrictive invitation process and the heartbreak that can go with that process.

Consider yesterday at the Shell Houston Open...Vaughn Taylor had shot a valiant closing round of 68 which included an awesome birdie three at the difficult 18th hole...the eventual winner, Anthony Kim made a convenient bogey at 18 during regulation play to let Taylor into a playoff which ended when Taylor made bogey in the playoff at the 18th hole.

Taylor had a human interest story line here since he was not qualified to play in the tournament and a win in Houston would have gotten him through the gates at Augusta.  It should be noted that Taylor is a resident of Augusta Georgia and had "dreamed" of playing in the Masters.  The look on Taylor's face was one of massive disappointment and its too bad he couldn't have qualified some other way, but there is always next year.

The golf majors originally were the British and American Opens and Amateurs and when Bobby Jones won his bundle of 13 majors he was considered the "grand champion"...The Master's wasn't even considered a major until after World War II so the winners while certainly due respect can pad their "majors" total ala Jack Nicklaus by the sole fact that they are the only participant in the tournament who has a chance to win the event!

This should be an interesting week...

Originally Posted 03/11/10

Tiger Woods was in the news again!!!...today it's been announced that his team has hired a former Press Secretary to President George W. Bush, Ari Fleischer to act as his spokesman.  The hot flash off Google also stated that Woods is planning a comeback at the Arnold Palmer Invitational on March 25th, 2010!  This is great news!

Originally Posted 03/05/10 

Tiger Woods was in the news again...well...his caddie, Steve Williams is the newsmaker this time...Williams, who resides in New Zealand this time of year, was recently interviewed on TV and stated emphatically that he didn't pay attention to what Woods was doing once the golf was over.  Steve said that he new "nothing" about Tiger's activities and also mentioned that he was friends with Tiger's wife Elin and also knew the kids...

OK...The Raptor will give Steve the high road here.  He has had a great run as Tiger's looper.  It's usual custom to give the caddie an annual stipend plus a percentage of the players winnings...say 6% for finishing plus a 4% bonus for a win.  Just tabulating the wins which number in the 70's, Williams could very well have earned in excess of $7,000,000.00 for his ten year stint.  Tiger's winning percentage is about 30 to 35%.  So in the course of 10 years he probably has played in about 200 golf tournaments and Williams probably has earned another $2,000,000.00 from those events.

So...Williams could very well be earning $1,000,000.00 per year to caddie.  That's hot!...There is a lot to the job though...especially with Woods as your player.  The Raptor has caddied a few times and had a great time performing the tasks.  Several of these caddie jobs were in the Erie Charity Classic. It was a great way to get inside the ropes while avoiding the embarrassing shots.

It's possible that Williams is telling the truth...He could very well report for work in the morning and check out once the day is done.  He probably lives a nice life and could very well have his own stable of skanks.  It's common for the player and caddie to only associate on the course.  This makes it easier to dump the caddie when necessary.  Just ask Mike "Fluff" Cowan who was Tiger's caddie before Williams took the bag.  Fluff is a colorful character of a man and it was believed that Tiger didn't appreciate that Fluff was becoming famous as a result of the notoriety.  So Tiger dumped him and now Fluff is toting Jim Furyk's bag.  Kind of a let down from the monetary standpoint but still not bad as Furyk has won some tournaments including the 2003 US Open.

It's also interesting that Jack Niclaus and other observers feel Tiger may be poised to make a comeback...The Raptor sure hopes so...I can only take so much of Ian Poulter's shenanigans.

Originally Posted 02/21/10          

The Raptor has always been a big fan of Tiger Woods.  Woods burst on the golf scene in the early 1990's and The Raptor felt at that time as he watched Tiger win three USGA Juniors and three USGA Amateurs that he was awesome.  So much so that The Raptor registered a potential website domain name "tigersarmy" in anticipation of the Tiger barrage which was soon to come...

Tiger...in his most famous pose...yeah!

Woods had a news conference on Friday which has come under scrutiny by most news personages as being "incomplete"...that's how Jon Feinstien summed it up on The Golf Channel on Saturday.  So where does Feinstein feel that Tiger came up short...

First, Feinstein feels that if Tiger wants to apologize...he can't place a "but" in the apology.  This centers around his request "not to harass my wife and kids".  So what is Feinstein (and other media types) saying here...The Raptor took it to mean that Tiger can apologize and that's it - the media can go photograph his wife and kids because Tiger is a "public person" - that's awful!

Second, Woods stated that he is going to change his ways - become more people friendly etc.  So just about everyone who hates Tiger (Dan Jenkins...Tom Watson...Jon Feinstein...Mike Lupica) believes that for Tiger to be sincere about this...Tiger can't throw clubs any more...he can't swear on the golf course...he has to sign more autographs...grant more interviews...and support more charities not associated with the Tiger Woods Foundation.  In addition, Woods has to start supporting small market tournaments that supported him during his first season...

Is that it...according to Jason Whitlock of the Kansas City Newspaper, this may be a perfect time for Woods to pull a "Barry Sanders" and retire from the public spotlight.. Give up that dream of winning 19 professional majors. which would make him the "greatest golfer of all time"...just thumb his nose at the whole thing.  Well...if people like Jon Feinstein are make these demands on Woods maybe he should give it up.  After all, he can't remain a public person forever.  Eventually he will have to be concerned about the kids and his business interests and his mother etc.  Every professional athlete has to do it and Wood's will be no exception.

As a sidebar, read what Dan Jenkins wrote in Golf Digest...

"Friends have been asking me why I haven't written my take on "the Tiger Woods deal," so here it comes.

First, let me just say that I'm still having trouble getting past the video games and Fruit Loops.  That's if I'm to believe the report that Tiger was so distraught after his indoor athleticism became public---and turned into what some people call a Shakespearean tragedy---that he crawled into deep, lonely hiding and occupied his time playing video games and eating Fruit Loops.

Maybe it is true, and that's why Tiger's agent, Mark Steinberg of IMG, said to the media at one point, "Give the kid a break." Kid?

Tiger Woods was a month away from 34 years of age when his debutantes began turning up in the news. He was a grown man with a wife and two children. Well, we supposed he had a wife, but that was before we learned she was only an ornament. Kid?

Kids flew B-17s in daylight bombing raids over Germany in World War II. Kids fought in Korea and Vietnam. Kids are serving today in Iraq and Afghanistan so Tiger Woods can live in a world where he can win 14 majors and match that number, the last time I counted, with 14 casting couches, most of them reserved for blondes.

Now excuse me a moment while I try to envision Ben Hogan,  Arnold Palmer, and Jack Nicklaus playing video games and eating Fruit Loops  while they try to deal with a career problem. Of course, Hogan, Palmer, and Nicklaus never set themselves up to become future statues in Central Park. They never pretended to be the All-American Daddy-Pop Father of the Year Who Also Wins Golf Tournaments. They never sold themselves as the greatest Family Values brand ever, and conquered the marketplace with it, shamelessly scooping up hundreds of millions of dollars while saying, "My family will always come first."

They were never what Tiger allowed himself to become from the start: spoiled, pampered, hidden, guarded, orchestrated, and entitled.

I'll tell you what Hogan, Palmer, Nicklaus were at their peak. They were every bit as popular as Tiger, they endured similar demands on their time, but they handled it courteously, often with ease and enjoyment.

They were accessible, likeable, knowable, conversant, as gracious in loss as they were in victory, and, above all, amazingly helpful to those of us in the print lodge who covered them.

That was their brand. All the things Tiger never was.

As for Tiger's brand, boy, did that take a hit. For all of the Tiger idolaters out there, it must have been like finding out that ice cream sundaes give you gonorrhea.

Never in my knowledge of history has any famous personality---in sports, show biz, or politics---ever fallen so far so fast. Tiger Woods is graveyard dead, as the Southern expression goes.

Life as Tiger has known it is over. His reputation is ruined, possibly forever. His name that once meant mastery over competitive golf now invokes cringes, giggles and all the internet jokes you  want to pass along.

Sure, he can come back and even win again, if he  man's up, but if he does he will only be a hero to the "you-da-man" and  "get-in-the-hole" crowd. And I can't imagine him coming back as a "humbled man."  That wouldn't be the owner of a yacht insultingly named "Privacy," the guy that the press has slobbered over for these past 12 years.

I covered Tiger winning his 14 professional majors, but I can't say I know him. I knew the smile he put on for TV. I knew the orchestrated remarks he granted us in his press room interviews. I knew the air he punched when another outrageous putt went in the cup. That's it.

I once made an effort to get to know the old silicone collector.  Tried to arrange dinners with him for a little Q-and-A, on or off the record, his choice.

But the closest I ever got was this word from his agent: "We have nothing to gain."

Now it's too late…I'm busy."

Unlike Dan Jenkins, The Raptor feels Tiger doesn't owe him anything.  He is the best - there is no doubt in my mind.  I've lived through Palmer, Nicklaus and Watson.  Unfortunately I missed Bobby Jones, Byron Nelson and Ben Hogan.  Look at that pose again...how many times has Wood's pulled the impossible?  Hole in one on 16 at Phoenix...hole outs, chip ins, clutch putts in near darkness,  If this is it...The Raptor will miss it but he won't be sad.  Tigers Army will continue to march!

 

Originally Posted 01/03/10          

The Raptor has been feverishly attempting to nail down the major local golf stories of 2010 and at this point, there is only innuendo and hearsay to state.  It seems there has been a member transition process going on at two private clubs.  The first, Lake View CC which is located in North East, Pennsylvania has apparently lost three prominent members to the Kahkwa Club.

According to anonymous sources, the three LVCC members partnered with five Lake Shore members to obtain a special rate on the initiation fee.  At one time this initiation was in excess of $30,000.00 but was lowered to $10,000.00 per man for this "Gang of Eight".  The Gang members will put up $4,000.00 to join and then put up $3,000.00 per year in 2011 and 2012 respectively.

The member counts at the private clubs continue to lurch backwards with both Lake View and Lake Shore hovering at a head count between 180 to 200 members.  Meanwhile, the Lawrence Park Golf Club membership is hovering at about 325 members.  While the roster at Kahkwa is difficult to determine, The Raptor feels that there are about 325 to 350 members there as well.

The Whispering Woods roster will probably start 2010 with 125 to 150 members.  The member fee is scheduled to be set at $2,000.00 for a single and $2850.00 for a family.  There will be special rates in play for driving range usage which equate to about a 25% discount from the advertised price.

 

The Raptor submits for you approval some selected pictures of Whispering Woods Golf Club for the fall of 2009 - enjoy!

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