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The Raptor  

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The Weekend Update Page - 2013 Created 07/23/13 Modified 05/06/2016

 

 

Weekend Update - 12/03/13 

First Shot Across The Bow....

The Raptor was surprised recently to learn that there is a "culture" in the NFL.  Who knew? It seems that a player named Ritchie Incognito had called up teammate Jon Martin and made a series of observations about Martin while using some offensive (to some) language.  According to Incognito and other members of the Miami Dolphins team, it is common practice to call out certain members of the team that are not tough enough.  Gawd! Incognito and Martin are huge.  How much tougher do they have to be?

The Raptor went back in time to a locker room long, long ago.  In 1964, The NFL Championship was won by The Cleveland Browns who dusted the Baltimore Colts 27 - 0.  The Browns were lead by Frank Ryan at QB and Gary Collins at WR.  The backfield included Jimmy Brown and Ernie Green and the great Paul Warfield was over yonder at the other WR slot while John Wooten and Monte Clark shored up the offensive line.  Ryan earned notoriety as a Math Major from Rice University who later became a PHD.  The defense featured Galen Fiss at OLB and Dick Modzelewski at DT.  Bernie Parrish and  Ross Fichtner ran the defensive backfield, while Lou "The Toe" Groza handled the kicking duties.  The heavily favorored Colts were lead by the incomparable Johhny Unitas and the ultra cool Lenny Moore.

No doubt the Browns players, egged on by coach Blanton Collier, who had a tendency to wear BCG Glasses and a "war feather" in his fedora. talked a lot of smack to each other to get up for each game.  Perhaps even going so far to use the "N-word" when necessary.  Is The Raptor being facetious here?  Well...OK you got me...home boy!

Second Shot....

It was just a couple of weeks ago that a large TV audience sat transfixed as The Auburn Tigers executed the "Immaculate Deflection" which turned total defeat at the hands of the Georgia Bullfdogs into the thrill of victory.  QB Nick Marshall and WR Ricardio Lewis teaming up for a late game passing touchdown which deflected from the hands of a Georgia defender into the unsuspecting hands of Lewis who walked into the end zone with a win for the ages and an appointment with the Alabama Crimson Tide.

 
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After wards first year Auburn coach Gus Malzahn and Lewis explained the details of the play to a token side line game analyst.

Fast Forward to this past Saturday when Auburn gave Alabama a comfortable lead only to put together some 4th quarter magic to win yet another thriller.  This time, Chris Davis ran back a 100 yard missed field goal whilst the entire Bama team watched him prance down the sideline.  As a result of Auburn's pure luck in two games, the team is being touted as worthy of a bid to the BCS National Championship Game over the two remaining undefeated teams, Florida State and Ohio State.  Ohio State has now won 24 straight football games and coach Urban Meyer was suitably humble during his post game interview with an unnamed token sideline reporter (apparently Armand Kuttean is retired and Tom Rinaldi was interviewing The Dalai Llama) and seemed to have one of his children along for the interview

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Ask any knowledgeable Sports Reporter....Colin Cowheard, Tony Kornheiser, Michael Whilbon, Mike Lupica...al of them agree that Ohio State is unworthy to get the bid.  That the "game" is meant to be staged by teams from the SEC.  The bad ole' Big 10 is an aging anachronism with no redeeming entertainment values.  All The Raptor can say is tuck (sic) on it Cowheard...As a Penn State Alum and Big 10 advocate The Raptor is looking forward to watching a BCS game for a change.  The SEC can SMA

Third Shot....

The golf world was treated to another thrilling tournament down under which featured a rejuvenated Adam Scott matching up against a refreshed Rory McIlroy in the Australian Open. 

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Scot had already won two times in his homeland this season and was gunning for a triple play. As the fourth round began he held a 4 shot lead over McIlroy. 

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Unfortunately, a balky putter kept Scott from sealing the deal before a huge, unruly, supportive crowd of perhaps 15,000 patrons....

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Holding on to a slim lead, Scott missed short birdie putts on holes 16 and 17 and then caught a flyer on his wedge approach at 18 which ended up in deadsville.  McIlroy hit a superb tee shot on 18 with approval from the Emirates Poster Chicks and drained a 15 foot birdie putt to avoid a playoff after Scott made bogey.

 

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McIlroys win ended a 12 month victory drought and sets up a big matchup this week at TIger Wood's World Challenge.  What is most amazing to The Raptor is that McIlroy's win earned him no mention on any of yesterday's and today's sports reports.  This is sad.  It leads me to believe that fans would rather watch "culture" and controlled violence than the foibles of a struggling shotmaker. Oh well....

The Raptor www.theraptor.com

Weekend Update - 11/12/13 

Good Evening,

There is a lot to cover so lets get started.  First, The Raptor was shocked and saddened as well as disappointed that last week's WE didn't work so well.  It seems that Tech is not The Raptor's forte and somehow the pics attached never saw the light of day.  So, if you are interested in seeing the pics...stop over at www.theraptor.com.  The Raptor has reconstructed the WE.  Enjoy!

Speaking of websites by now everyone knows that the Affordable Care (ACA) site is a mess...and according to "people" The Obama Administration should immediately shut down the site, defund the ACA and President Obama should resign from office.  The Raptor can sympathize here.  The design and maintenance of my own site (www.theraptor.com) is a CHORE! 

Consider this...The Raptor site was originally produced 6 or 7 years ago using the Microsoft Frontpage Program.  Frontpage was dumped from The Office Suite about the same time and the company that hosts my site will no longer support FP.  So, The Raptor bought into Dreamweavewr and it is needless to say like trying to learn a whole new language  As a result, The Raptor keeps fingers crossed when ever I post something to the site.  So, if the WE The Raptor posted is messed up...

Anyhow, The Raptor would like to introduce a new thread tonight.  Pundits like MSNBC's Joe Scarborough are giddy as little school girls over this ACA website catastrophe.  The Raptor would like to point out that an unknown number of diligent and dedicated people have been trying to make the ACA work and they have been fought every step of the way by a GOP controlled Congress and even had the to wait for The Supreme Court to pass judgement.  The ACA team could never have been comfortable making a concerted effort to pull all the pieces together during 2012 if a candidate like Mitt Romney vowed to disband the ACA on day one!  If there is blame to be cast....well...

On the golf scene, little known French Pro Victor Dubusson played solid golf for four rounds at the Turkish Open Event shooting 67 - 65 - 63 and 69 and held off charges by seasoned players such as Jamie Donaldson, Tiger Woods, Justin Rose and Ian Poulter to move up to 38 in the Wold Rank. Messier Dubusson has a bright future...

 
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By creeping into the World Top 50 he will get a berth in the WGC events, The Masters and the big invitational's such as The Memorial and The Arnold Palmer.  Plus, the guy is sexy!  Chicks are probably swarming him even as we speak!

The highlight of The Turkish Event had to be Donaldsons hole-in-one on hole #16 in round 4. 

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Donaldson parlayed  the Ace into a tie for the lead but Dubusson responded by making birdies on 3 of the last 4 holes to win by two.  Rose and Woods finished in a distant tie for third place.  Tiger looked like a zombie out there.  Shooting rounds of 70 - 63 - 68 and 67 he was never a factor.  Justin was equally bad with rounds of 70 - 66 - 67 and 65.  New European Tour Phenom Kiradech Aphibarnrat finished tied for 54th. Its now on to Dubai for the season ending event where The Raptor fully expects Rory McIlroy to successfully defend, while Henrik Stenson will become the first player to win a Fed Ex Cup and The Race To Dubai in the same year...kind of like a mini slam...

 

Meanwhile closer to home The American PGA Tour met at lovely Sea Island, Georgia for the McGladrey Classic and the whole week was a death watch for Briny Baird.  Baird started the event with a strong round of 63 on Thursday but faltered on Friday to an even par 70.  However, weekend rounds of 67 put Briny right back in the hunt until disaster struck on the final hole of the tournament.  This was difficult to watch...

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Baird hit a reckless tee shot and found himself with a horrid lie in a fairway bunker over 175 yards from the putting surface.   Once he cold topped his 4 iron approach into the swamp, all Chris Kirk had to do was find the green with his approach and make a two putt.  He HAD to be shaking.  Cinderella story...Masters...two year exemption...new endorsements...but, he did it!  It was inspiring...Baird, who was nearing the culmination of a medical exemption managed to get up and down for a five which provided him with enough winnings to keep his Tour Card for 2014. This was HUGE!

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Wow!  this was a tough one.  Another rambling wreck. Go Penn State!

Weekend Update - 11/07/13 

Good Afternoon,

 
First, the good news...Weekend Update is now reaching over 400 unsuspecting souls...
 
If you were to look out a window in Erie PA this afternoon, you are bound to see the shape of things to come...grey, foggy, rainy, chilly, miserable weather.  No golf today for The Raptor.  This is not to say that it hasn't been a good run as of late.  The Raptor has been visiting Whispering Woods on an almost daily basis to play the 3's.  Last night was no exception with arrival at 4PM and completion at 4:45PM.  Along the way a few good shots were hit and save for the 11th hole (first drive into the hazard) and the 2nd (3 putt), the remainder par 3's were scores of 3.  The Raptor as recently as last Tuesday October 29th had played the four holes in level 3's but, The Squire eclipsed the 3's record on Sunday November 3rd with three 3's and a 2 on 14. 
 
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Pictured here is Hole #6 at WWGC - lots of color
 
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An interesting study in contrast....Hole # 11 and Hole #14 snapped from next to hole #10.
 
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Hole #14 - long shadows and vibrant colors - tis the season!
 
While the local scene is winding down, the PGA Tour is in full swing with a series of fall events which have inserted a new paradigm into being a tour watcher.  Most recently, Dustin Johnson returned to form at the HSBC China event and bested a field that included such notable Euro players as Justin Rose, Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell and Ian Poulter.  On the final day of play, Johnson crafted a smooth 66 to win by 2 shots.  Early on, Poulter made some noise with some excellent ball striking but DJ was able to make an eagle and three birdies over the last 5 holes to run away and hide.  As is usually the case, this big win will somehow cause Johnson to collapse like a pile of broccoli over the rest of this season and we will all sit here come April and wonder what happened to him...
 
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As seen from this awards ceremony pic, Dustin Johnson is know by his peers as "Mr. Personality"
 
Even as we write this, there is compelling golf news coming from the nation of Turkey (of all places).  The European PGA Tour is winding down their season with the Race To Dubai.  The Turkey event features 78 of Europe's finest Including (Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Thonchai Jaidee) as well as token geezer, Colin Montgomery in a contest to become one of the final 60 contestants who will play at the season ending event in Dubai.  It should be noted that one of USA's finest, Tiger Woods, is competing this weekend courtesy of a massive appearance fee.  Woods is fresh off his humiliating treatment by Golf Channel analyist Brandel Chamblee, who basically used a bunch of circular logic to brand Woods a cheater. 
 
These types of fightin words never get much traction and Chamblee was forced (is that a good characterization?) to retract his venom.  But as usual Tiger Haters (they have a club ya know) rallied around Chamblee's discourse and made some blatantly hilarious statements.  One individual, calling into Matt Adams' progeramme, hypothesized that Tiger was feigning back injury during the last couple of holes at the President's Cup in the event that he would have lost to Richard Sterne  Another Hater stated that since Tiger cheated on his wife, he more than likely cheated in golf.....hmmmmmmmm....a third caller noted that the ACA is Tiger's fault...President Obama was a patsy all along.  Regardles of the situation, European player Simon Dyson actually did perform some sort of "move" while making his ball.  Dyson, didn't realize he was being watched and used his ball to steady himself on a putting green and tamp down a spike mark.  Pretty crafty, The Raptor can think of a few local players who may insert that move into their repertoir next season..
 
The other day whilst playing the 3's, The Raptor thought this all through and could not come up with a come back. I am sad. That's all.  I hope that some day we will all be able to look back on an era when this player performed above and beyond the call and provided countless hours of entertainment.  In the meantime, golfers from around the planet will be fed the kind of trap (sic) that limp sicks (sic) like Chamblee spew and we are are all worse for it.
 
Go Penn State!
 
The Raptor

October 14th, 2013  - Weekend Update...

Good Evening,

It was another great week, weather wise last week in Erie PA.  Temps stuck in the 70's with glorious sunshine.  For a change the annual WWGC Chili Cook Off was going to be contested in decent weather.  A total of 35 three person teams gathered for the Sat 9:00 shotgun start and the players were in good spirits.  Robb Masterson earned The Raptor's highest recommendation for stand up Member Of The Year for his selfless contribution of a sunrise breakfast for 50 from McDonalds. Included in the buffet were Egg Mc Muffins, Pancakes, Hash Browns and some yogurts. - Nice!

 
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Robb (powder blue vest) is shown here with Barry Masterson (legendary Prep QB), Brian Masterson and Dave Spitzer discussing Spitzer's recent victory in the WWGC Club Championship.  The Raptor has heard rumors that Spitz will be heading to Lake Shore next season to hook up with other former WW expatriates such as Kallner, Mucha and Wallace. 

Also in attendance were members from other venues such as Rick Federicci of Lawrence Park, Mark Noce, Denny Wildauer and Dave Hewett from Lake View and Dan Achille from the Erie Golf Club...

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Pictured here are Jim Piekanski and Dave Hewett preparing for the shotgun start.

The Raptor partnered up with John (The Hawk) Torok and Tom (The Squire) Tomechko and it's safe to say that we had a great time in a group that included Rick Burgess, Pat Harvey and Bob Dexter.

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Pictured here are Pat Harvey, Bob Dexter and Rick Burgess while The Hawk observes The Squire searching for golf balls in The  Raptor's Ravine.

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Pictured here are The Squire, The Raptor and The Hawk preparing to miss a short putt on hole 15.  There were a few highlights though...on hole 17, the committee set up a challenging approach...

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the 17th green can be seen off in the distance about 175 yards from the "teeing box" which was next to The Raptor's Ravine on hole 15...the shot traveled trough some trees, the "Two Lane Bridge" and a narrow opening to the putting surface. The Squire and The Raptor both found trouble, but The Hawk was able to get his approach through the wringer, next to the green.  The Squire then chipped in for a rare deuce. Job Done!  THe Raptor group played to a consistent 53 and 1/2...pretty much in last plane or close to it.

The winning score was a 6 under par 48, four teams making the grade.  To break the tie, a chip off was organized by PGA Golf Professional, Richard Rocky on the 9th hole which is 70 yard pitch from a driving range mat, next to the clubhouse.

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The spectators gathered up yonder on the hump overlooking the putting surface to watch Barry Masterson, Brian Masterson, Dave Lehner and an unknown player from The Rich Layden Group battlle it out.  Barry Masterson, hitting first made the best pass and ended up being the closest player at about 30 feet from a very tricky pin position

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Pictured here is Dave Lehner (Captain of The Raptor's College Golf Team at Penn State Behrend), preparing to make his approach.

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The Raptor would like to send out special thanks to Rich and his staff including Diane, Tony Pep, and Scott, Leah and Kaitlyn who operated the food court...

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Can't wait for next years event....Quickly, The Raptor would like to send out props to Jimmy Walker who scored a final round 66 to win his first ever PGA Tour event at the Frys.com Classic held in California Wine Country

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Jimmy was able to score while others in the field such as 50 year old Vijay Singh and 20 year old Brooks Koepka choked.  THe Raptor thinks Koepka could have a season similar to last years phenom, Jordan Speith...watch Brooks played well at next weeks Las Vegas event

Cheers....The Raptor (www.theraptor.com)

October 7th, 2013  - Weekend Update...

It Was The Best Of Times...

As the season winds down up yonder at WWGC, The Raptor has been a tad sad lately.  What with medical issues...work responsibilities and assorted other conflicts it became impossible to perform a good job on the organization of The Weekend Roster.  As a result, a decision was made to allow the chips to fall where they may.  Perhaps a plan to start up again next season can be developed.  Rather than drag out the particulars, The Raptor will monitor the component parts of this process and come up with a brand new...Roster 2.0.

The Raptor was suiably impressed with the weekend President's Cup. The International Team, lead by Nick Price, played well but couldn't seem to match the firepower of PGA Tour horses like Bill Haas, Zach Johnson and Jason Duffner.  Veteran players such as Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Steve Srtricker seemed comfortable with foils like Kutcher, Bradley and Speith.  Weather always seems to be an issue and this event was no exception.  Each session had some type of delay due to torrential downpours...speaking of downpours check out this recent pic from WWGC....

 
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Pictured here is a river where the first fairway and putting surface normally are.  This particular rain event was the club sponsored Pink Ball Tournament...Wow!  2 inches of rain in about and hour....now The Raptor can sympathize with what the Presidents Cup players went through.

Interesting story...today while The Raptor was tuned into Fairways Of Life, a caller from Connecticut spoke with Matt Adams about Tiger Woods.  An obvious "hater", the called opined that ever since 2008, Tiger has been "faking" injuries to mitigate his diminished skills (The could be referred to as The Kosar Gambit).  The caller seemed to feel that Tiger's sudden sore back yesterday was a dodge to hang out there in the event he potentially lost to Richard Sterne.  All The Raptor can say is Gosh! 

To the haters....here is a thread to digest.  Each generation since the 1850's has had a player who has risen above the rest to stand on top of the mountain...Old Tom Morris...Young Tom Morris...Harry Vardon....Walter Hagen...Bob Jones...Ben Hogan,,,Arnold Palmer...Jack Nicklaus....Tom Watson...Greg Norman...Tiger Woods....???? (insert your name here). 

Maybe it will be McIlroy or Speith or some kid who is just practicing with a beginner set.  The common theme is that each of these players are great.  Perhaps it was a tactical error for Tiger Woods to state that to make his career creditable he set a goal to win more majors than Jack Nicklaus.  Woods may never get there.  But he has had a pretty good career.  It's to silly try to rationalize that Nicklaus is greater than Hogan or Jones or Woods.  They are all great and if guys like the hater from Connecticut could get past that the world would be a better place. 

Stay cool and we will see you soon...BTW The Raptor can usually be found on Wednesday nights over at Buffalo Wild Wings starting around 7.

 

September 23rd, 2013  - Weekend Update...

Good Evening,

The PGA Tour Playoffs have officially ended and Henric Stenson stands on top of the mountain.
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Stenson has played solid golf since July and has won twice while finishing in the top 5 in several other events.  While Stenson can lay claim to the 10 Million Dollar Fed Ex prize, Several other players also finished the season in top form.  Steve Stricker played in 13 events and almost grabbed the Fed Ex Cup on Sunday.  Jordan Spieth continues to impress and has created the kind of buzz seen rarely on The Tour (go back one year...Rory was the Great White Hope).  Spieth had a solid finish on Sunday and parlayed a final round 64 in to a 2nd place tie in the Tour Championship.

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Big name players such as Tiger Woods, Adam Scott and Phil Mickelson failed to deliver AGAIN...leaving fans wondering if they will ever win again.  Woods played poorly during the first round on Thursday and once again made no putts.  He came out strong on Friday and managed to get to 5 under for the day and 2 under for the event till disaster struck on the final 4 holes where he stumbled to double and triple bogey en route to a horrid 1 over par 71...most Tiger Haters still do not see the value of a 5 win season and would instead give PGA Player of The Year to Scott or Mickelson since they won "major" tournaments.  Pay no attention to Justin Rose and Duffner though....nothing to see there.  Tiger won a Players (which has a very weak field) along with two WGC events (on courses he does "well" at).  Mickelson's win in The British Open came only three weeks after a total collapse in the US Open.  Definately POY material.  On the other hand, Scott is the first Aussie to win a Masters, so he obviously had a better year than anyone else.

The Raptor would prefer to see the POY go to Mickelson,  he deserves something for finishing 2nd every year.

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On the local scene, props are going out to Matt Modica and Gary Paparelli who won the 12th Annual Streeter Cup over at Lawrence Park back on September 12th.  THe Raptor first met Modica in the fall of 2011 and he is known as a top operator.  Here is Matt posing with The Raptor on hole 15 at WW.

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For those not in the know, this event is a two man better ball for players 50 and older.  The Raptor has played in about 8 of these and this year partnerned with Tony Pepicello to a 4th place finish in the net division out of 50 teams.  Our foursome included the duo of Lou Natalie and Rick Carlotti.  Rick and Lou finally clicked and came oh so close to donning the coveted jackets emblematic of the winning score.  The winners get to attend the annual champions dinner sponsored by Jim Streeter and held at the Kahkwa Club.

Overall Gross
1. Matt Modica and Gary Paparelli (66)
T2. Rick Carlotti/Lou Natalie and Jeff Davis/Pete Smith (67)
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T4. David Hewett/Jim Mahoney and Chris Downey/John Sherman  (68)
T6. Joe Cassano/Gary Murray and Doug Fugate/Ellery Tarbell (69)

Overall Net
1. Gary and Scott Merkle (61)
T2. Don Fessler/Tom Bean and Jim Spoden/Bob Johnson (63)
T4. The Raptor/Tony Pepicello; Ed Zenewicz/Pete Zenewicz; Matt Arrigo/Terry/Cascioli (64)

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TPep and The Raptor played a solid front nine and had got to 6 under par.  Unfortunately, a heavy rain storm on hole number 11 seemed to take our momentum.  On the other hand, Carlotti and Natalie played well on the inward nine, recording 4 birdies after the rain.  Carlotti rammed home a lengthy putt on hole 18 to finish the round with authority and celebrated in fine style after the match in the LP Grill Room with Bottomless Cokes and Delicious Tossed Salads.

Now that the fall campaign is in full swing it's time to prepare for the usual frost delays and shorter days and longer nights.  Whispering Woods just completed the airifying process on the putting surfaces today.  The brush being pulled by the Cushman has made a big difference and the putting surfaces are much better as a result.

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In order to thank the turf care crew for a job done, The Raptor dropped off a complimentary cube of frosty cold Coors Light after work.  Let the case study begin.  The staff deserves a hearty handshake as the course was in pretty good shape this year (contrary to what some members would tell you).  So if your a WW Member (or a member anywhere) make sure to thank your greenskeeper!

The Raptor - www.theraptor.com

 

September 9th, 2013  - Weekend Update...

Good Evening...

The Raptor is trying to watch this US Open Tennis Finale with reservation.  It looks like it's going to last till midnight.  Anyhow maybe the Monday Night Football match up will prove worthy.....hmmmmmmm. Eagles versus Redskins. The announces will take great care to discuss the "growing controversy" regarding the Washington Nickname...Redskins.  It's so heinous that ESPN Blowhard, Peter King, will not use it in his journalistic renderings any longer.  What a dipshit!. However, if the Monday games will be starting at 7:00, The Raptor is all in!  That 9:00 start is bad!  Golf Channel?  Playing Lesson with Lexi Thompson followed by ANOTHER Playing Lesson with Beatrixe Ricari....yawn...talk about Sominex.

So how bout a little Golf Chat.  For starters, the previously mentioned Walker Cup Matches did not disappoint.  The National Golf Links was charming and a vigorous test of golf.  The fact that the American squad dusted the Great Britain & Ireland team in the singles matches was predictable. After all, that always happens.  It's that dreaded Foursomes format (aka Alternate Shot) that trips the Yanks up every time. Go ask Davis Love III.  Poor Devil....  The Raptor tried to pay particular attention to any awesome New York high and mighty socialite chickies sauntering the grounds...sniff cough!

There was some other golf on so to speak...I think Thomas Bjorn won in Europe...while Kenny Perry and Will MacKenzie lost in the USA...oops Nadal just broke a service.  Could be over soon...and RG III? Looser!

Periodically over the weekend, The Raptor saw the Tee It Forward promo starring Jack Nicklaus.  The pitch involves getting the average player to move to a forward tee in order to "enjoy" "The Game" more. Let's face it...golf can be enjoyed (some times) from any tee.  But, most of the time there is no enjoyment, just pain.  There is nothing worse than hitting a dramatic slice out of bounds or missing a simple 2 foot putt.  Then there is the chance that a random foursome will meet at the first tee for a match and the first thought by each player is "who in their right mind set up this group?  This is followed by a helpless feeling of ennui along with a wounded deer caught in the headlights stare as you watch your partner duck hook a drive out of bounds and announce laughingly "it's your hole bro!"

Speaking of tees, The Raptor was playing with Terry Irvin recently and used a bogus story about a Weekend Update to extort one of the new super bad ass Martini Tees from his stash...

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As can be seen from the pic, The Martini Tee (on the left) is evidenced by the Martini Glass shape of the "receptacle". It is super long compared to the traditional standard white tee seen on the right  The Martini Tee comes in dramatic easy to see colors like pink, and fluorescent orange and generally cost about $1.00 per tee.  This makes them extremely easy to loose, even thought they are huge, colorful and impervious to breakage.  The other tees in this montage include a next generation Big Bertha tee which is made from a brown colored wood and the totally boss "Lake View" tees which have been available for several years at that fine facility.  The Lake View tee comes in two sizes but the longer version was only available on a limited basis. 

The shorter version (3rd tee from Left) is the standard length, which The Raptor has about 100 of,,,There is a clone of the Lake View Tee floating around Whispering Woods which is handed out by Bill "Bump" Callahan.  It is generally Blue.  Regardless, these tees have a life span of about two drives as they tend to spin sideways and become lost on the sides of the many elevated tees at WW.  It is very frustrating to loose a treasured tee...almost as bad as watching helplessly as a Pro V1 ends up in one of the many ravines after a mishit...

The Raptor went through the golf bag to see if any other prized tees were in stock and found a couple to share...

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The most obvious prize is the "Naked Lady Tee" popularized by Al Czervick (Rodney Danfgerfield) in Caddyshack.  Unfortunately The Raptor has only one Naked Lady Tee.  It is second from the left directly in front of a Dave Lewis "No Brainer" tee. (Same height every time) Highly unlikely it will be used. 

So, what's next?  Well the big discussion on the Golf Air waves recently is how to deny Tiger Woods the "Player Of The Year" award for 2013.  The common fix would be to have Phil Mickelson (or Adam Scott) win The Fed Ex Cup.  The rationale is that since Scott (Masters) and Mickelson (British Open) won a "Major" that would trump Tiger  since he only won five regular season events (including The Players and two WGC's.  It is thought that The Farmers (Torrey Pines) and Bay Hill are dogtracks which do not qualify.  For some unknown reason Justin Rose (US Open) and Jason Dufner (PGA) won't be considered due to lack of charisma...even if one of them were to win the Fed Ex Cup.

What say The Raptor?  The Fed Ex Cup is such a crapshooter that anyone could win it.  Don't be surprised if last years winner Brandt Snedeker shows up in the winners circle but lets get through this weekends event, The BMW, to be held at the unknown Conway Farms out near Chicago.  This event features a cut free 70 player field.  Then it's on to the Tour Championship at East Lake and The President's Cup at Muirfield Village.  This should be good!

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September 3rd, 2013  - Weekend Update...

Good Evening....

It was a another interesting golf weekend.  Rain seemed to be a constant factor.  Consider that last week starting on Monday, heavy rain fell just about every day of the week.  The Raptor. recently making a comeback from foot surgery had elected to tee it up in the WWGC Senior Championship.  Wednesday morning dawned cloudy and by 8:00 when the scheduled tee time was to take place the course was "wet".  Never the less, PGA Golf Professional, Richard Rocky kicked myself, Bob  and Jeff to the first tee to get started.

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Rain started to fall almost immediately upon hitting the first shot and by the sixth hole it had rained sufficiently to cover the putting surface in standing water.  As can be seen, in this pic...taken from a rain shelter nearby....it's a pond...not a puddle,  So, the match was canceled

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By Saturday and Sunday, the weather had improved and The Raptor was able to get out and play 18 hole matches in anticipation of a BIG Labor Day Toonament.

So what exactly goes into the planning and execution of a Toonament?  The work started about two weeks ago when The Raptor sent out a general message to a group of about 80 contacts that a Toonament was coming.  Slowly but surely, confirmations trickled in and by a week out, there were about 30 reservations. During the week additional calls were made and by last Friday, The Raptor was planning for 40 players...not bad...

Assignments were sent out by text on Saturday and The Raptor generated a Registration Schedule, Closest To Pin Cards and Scorecards Sunday afternoon and evening, starting at about 3:00 and finishing up at about 7:30.  All told the process used up about 3 to 4 hours.  On gameday, The Raptor got up REAL early to head over to the club and take stock of the situation.  Included on the addenda were to check with the proshop to confirm that the Registration Schedule had not been eaten by a bear and a quick tour of the course to set up the CTP's on the par 3's. 

The Raptor made a special effort to check out the location of the pin placements and coordinate the tee boxes accordingly.  This is not a difficult process but it does involve some walking, which The Raptor isn't good at.  The problem? After all the work setting the tee boxes, The Raptor discovered later on while playing that all of the boxes on the par 3's were moved to closer locations to the pin placement buy an unknown 3rd party...GAWD!  The Raptor was pissed!

Fortunately, the expected rain did not materialize and all of the groups were able to finish the Toonament.  Awards were calculated by The Raptor and Kim K of the WWGC pro shop.  This process lasted from about 1:00 till 3:00 and are as follows:

 

Hole

Score

Gross Skin

Score

Net Skin

H1

4's

 

 

3's

 

 

 

H2

2's

(3)

 

2's

 

 

 

H3

4's

(4)

 

3

Joe Pugliese

70.00

H4

3's

(3)

 

2

Dave Devine

70.00

H5

3's

(4)

 

3's

 

 

 

H6

2

Ed Griebel

35.00

2

 

 

 

H7

4

Cory Smith

35.00

4's

 

 

 

H8

4's

 

 

3's

 

 

 

H9

4's

 

 

3

Bob Dexter

70.00

H10

4's

 

 

3's

 

 

 

H11

2's

(2)

 

2's

 

 

 

H12

4's

(4)

 

4's

 

 

 

H13

3

Lou Stack

35.00

3's

 

 

 

H14

2's

(3)

 

2's

 

 

 

H15

4

Matt Modica

35.00

4's

 

 

 

H16

3

Lew McClain, Sr.

35.00

3's

 

 

 

H17

3

Lew McClain, Sr.

35.00

3's

 

 

 

H18

4's

 

 

3's

 

 

 

Hole

Distance

Closest To Pin

Amount

H2

2' 6"

Al Szymanski

40.00

H6

3' 6"

Mike Bauer

40.00

H11

4' 6"

Gary Ebach

40.00

H13

16' 0"

Terry Irvin

40.00

H14

6' 5"

Brian McGrath

40.00

 

As can be seen, Lew McClain, Sr. continues his good play with two BIG Skins.  Props go out to Lew who is now 75 years old and has been close to shooting his age as of late.  .Afterwards. players gathered at The WWGC Clubhouse in what is generally know as Mulligan's to share in the lore and history of WWGC and tell tall tales whilst consuming cold frosty adult beverages.

Submitted for your review are some of the action shots...the first being of Thad Z telling Tom T about a certain players latest exploits...

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The next pic is of Brian M and Bob A getting a progress report from an unidentified member on the construction of a new clubhouse...

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The last pic shows some unidentified Eyetalian Americans discussing rule interpretations with the cookie monster

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The Raptor would like to make some special observations...First, the PGA tour will be taking a week off before heading to Chicago for the BMW event.  Check out the Golf Channel for coverage of The Walker Cup (if it's on).  This years version will be contested at the mysterious National Golf Links out in the Hamptons.  The facility has been in existence for over 100 years and was designed by the noted architect Charles Blair McDonald.  The Raptor has a dream that before demise he could play the National, Shinnecock Hills and Maidstone while living in The Hamptons for a whole summer...Living The Dream...

Second, if you are looking to play this weekend and your course is either plugged or hosting a tournament, let The Raptor know so we can set up a match before it snows...

The Raptor

August 25th, 2013  - Weekend Update...

Good Evening,

Well...it had to happen...Stevie Williams has just celebrated the 3rd greatest day in his life as Adam Scott parlayed a superb 66? to a 1 shot victory today in The Barclays which was held at Liberty National Golf Club in New Jersey. Justin Rose, Tiger Woods and Gary Woodland tied for second place, 1 stroke behind.  It should be noted that Rose made a dreaded 3 putt on the final hole whilst Woodland failed to convert make able birdie try's on holes 16, 17 and 18.

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Meanwhile, Tiger (seen here disrespecting The Statue Of Liberty with a carefully timed fart) kept us riveted as he winced his way around the grounds for 4 days,  His bad back was thought to have been caused by a crappy hotel mattress, but The Raptor has it on good authority that Mr. Williams hired a New Zealand Witch Doctor to jab pins into a voodoo doll every time Woods got into contention.  Even though he was out of the tournament on 17 different occasions, Tiger managed to string a few birdies on hole 16 and 17 to keep it real.  The fact that Woods didn't convert a tricky birdie putt on hole 18 allowed Scott to record his 10th PGA victory and put him at the top of the heap for Player Of The Year. (According To Golf Channel Analyst, Brandel Chamblee).

The highlight of today's event had to be the arrival on the first tee of Rickie Fowler and Jonas Blixt...there has to be a few softballs available for this photo opp....hmmmmmmm...I can tell you one thing, Fowler has owned this pattern for at least several years...Blixt was OB here.  What a tool!  You can't copy a style Jonas! What a Silly Billy!
 
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The are a number of BIG stories breaking as of late...let's see...Graeme (the voice of reason) McDowell was in the news after a ho hum appearance at the WGC-Firestone.  GMac stated he would not play there if there wasn't a 8.75 Million Dollar Purse.  Ernie Els echoed the same sentiment.  Lets perform a little WGC post mortem...The Match Pay is held at Dove Mountain (America).  The Cadillac is held at Doral (America).  Firestone is in The Raptor's backyard in Akron, Ohio while The HSBC is held in China in December...McDowell and Els are just sour cause Tiger Woods keeps winning at Firestone.  Go ahead Graeme, go back and play the European Tour...see where that gets you.  And Ernie?...your time has come and gone sir...start prepping for retirement.

The Raptor was a little (but not much) surprised by the USGA to move US Open telecasts to Fox Sports starting in 2015   After all, money is money.  The biggest disappointment will be losing Johnny Miller and Gary Koch in favor of a doofus like Greg Norman.  Can anyone even understand what he says?

Props are going out to Austin Romeo who won the EDGA Three Day Amateur held at Lake Shore last week and up yonder at Whispering Woods, congratulations are the order of the day for Dave Spitzer in The Championship Division and Brian McGrath in The Net Division as they are crowned Club Champions for 2013.  Submitted here is a pic of Brian (on left) hoisting The Raptor Cup with Bob Amendola earlier this year

McGrath_Amendola_RC_2013.jpg

It should be noted that this is the first year The Raptor can remember missing a Club Championship in many, many seasons.  No worries though...The Raptor is planning to shoot a 90 come Wed at the WW "Senior" Club Championship - L2ms

August 12th, 2013  - Weekend Update...

Good Evening...

What is in a name?  If you're in any way interested in golf you probably know by now that Jason Dufner won the 95th PGA Championship and was awarded The Wannamaker Trophy for the victory

 
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According to web sources like Ask_Dot_Com and Wikipedia...

"The silver cup that is the PGA Championship trophy is called the Wanamaker Trophy. Its namesake is Rodman Wanamaker.
Wanamaker was a businessman and entrepreneur who, through Wanamaker's department stores (which are now part of Macy's) is credited with revolutionizing the department store concept in America.
Wanamaker was also involved in newspapers, aviation, the arts and athletics. He was the founder of the Millrose Games, an indoor track-and-field meet that remains one of the most prestigious in the United States.
Wanamaker was also a driving force behind the creation of the PGA of America, and put up the money to hold the first PGA Championship in 1916, and to create the trophy. That trophy was named in his honor.
The Wanamaker Trophy is a silver cup that measures 28 inches high and 27 inches across at its widest point. It weighs 27 pounds."
Dufner used a Friday round of 63 to grab hold of one handle of the trophy and then sealed the deal with 16 holes of relentless precision on Sunday, ending up with a two stroke victory margin over perennial runner up, Jim Furyk.  Both Dufner and Furyk lurched home with a embarrassing bogey bogey finish at the sublime Oak Hill Golf Club of Rochester NY
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Considering other major tournaments and unique trophies is an interesting study...The Raptor recalls an anecdote from last season that made this whole thread possible.  Whilst watching The 2012 British Open over yonder at Whispering Woods GC The Raptor was getting increasingly distressed over Adam Scott's four hole demise when out of the blue a certain WW member stated with a straight face that The British Open Trophy was known as The Claret Jug because it originally belonged to a town drunk named Clarence who donated it to the R & A,  The Raptor was a tad stunned by this revelation and was almost 99% sure it was total BS.

But The Raptor had to be sure so a quick scan of Ask_Dot_Com lead to the following:

The British Open Trophy...
"The trophy awarded to the winner of The Open Championship is officially known as the Championship Cup, but it is much more commonly called the "Claret Jug" as homage to the dry red wine produced in the famous French winemaking region of Bordeaux. The British Open trophy was made in the style of silver jugs used to serve claret at 19th Century gatherings."  Whew!

IMAG1970.jpgSo, submitted for your edification are some other INTERESTING tidbits about golf's trophies...

The Masters Trophy
"The Masters trophy - a replica of the Augusta National Golf Club clubhouse - is the one you see in the image above. The names of the winner and runner-up at each Masters are engraved onto the trophy each year. It is made of more than 900 pieces of silver, according to Masters.com, and rests on a pedestal around which are the silver bands bearing the golfers' names.
 The trophy was introduced in 1961 and is permanently housed in the Augusta National clubhouse. Since 1993 a sterling silver replica of the original has been presented to the Masters champion.
 So here is what each Masters champion receives upon his victory:
•The Green Jacket
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A replica of the Masters trophy

big_masters_trophy.jpg

 

A 2.3-ounce, 3.4-inch gold medal that includes the words "Augusta National Golf Club" and a rendering of Founders Circle"

U.S. Open Championship
"The first U.S. Open Championship was won by Horace Rawlins at Newport Golf Club in Rhode Island in October 1895. Rawlins earned $150, a gold champion’s medal, and custody of the sterling silver championship trophy for one year. The trophy was displayed at Rawlins’ home club until presented to the next year’s champion. The rite has endured for more than a century.
US_Open_Trophy.jpg
The original two-handled trophy with its distinctive hand-chased golfing scene was destroyed by fire in September 1946 at Lloyd Mangrum’s home club, Tam O’Shanter, outside Chicago. The USGA considered replacing it with a new design, but opted instead to preserve the look of the original with a full-scale replica on April 24, 1947. This replica remained in service, passed from champion to champion, until 1986, when it was permanently retired to the USGA Museum. Today, the U.S. Open champion takes custody of a full-scale replica for one year."
U.S. Amateur Championship
"Established in 1895, the U.S. Amateur is the oldest of the USGA’s 13 national championships. The trophy was initially presented to the USGA on March 28, 1895, in honor of the Association’s first President, Theodore A. Havemeyer.
The original Havemeyer Trophy, an ornate silver cup, was first presented to Charles Blair Macdonald at Newport Golf Club following his victory in the inaugural championship on October 3, 1895. The trophy was later lost in a devastating fire at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, on November 22, 1925.
The USGA chose to design a new trophy rather than replicate the original form. The 16th-century-style steeple cup was formally presented in 1926 by USGA Treasurer Edward S. Moore. A copy produced in 1992 is passed from champion to champion."
The Ryder Cup
"Samuel Ryder, a Brit, an avid golfer, and a successful businessman, commissioned a trophy in 1926 to serve as the prize in a proposed goodwill competition pitting British professional golfers against their American counterparts.
That trophy is the Ryder Cup. The Ryder Cup trophy first appeared in public in 1927 at a send-off for the British team departing Southampton, England, and sailing for Worcester, Massachusetts, for the first Ryder Cup match.
 According to the PGA of America, the Ryder Cup trophy is:
•17 inches in height
ryder_cup_trophy.jpg
Nine inches in width (handle to handle)
Four pounds in weight
Atop the trophy is a figure of a golfer. That figure is modeled on British professional Abe Mitchell, Samuel Ryder's friend and golf instructor. Mitchell played in three Ryder Cup competitions."
The Walker Cup
"The Walker Cup is a golf trophy contested biennially in odd numbered years between teams comprising the leading amateur golfers of the United States and Great Britain and Ireland. The event, officially called the Walker Cup Match (not "Matches", unlike the professional Ryder Cup Matches),  is co-organised by the R&A and the United States Golf Association, and is named in honor of George Herbert Walker (grandfather and namesake of the George H. W. Bush, 41st President of the United States and great-grandfather of George W. Bush, 43rd President of the United States), who was president of the USGA in 1920 when the series was initiated."That's all for now - Stay tuned for some new updates as the Playoffs start up

 

August 5th, 2013  - Weekend Update...

Good Evening,

It's a typical August day in Erie with temps around 70 degrees while puffy cumulus clouds float across the sky, perfect for a little football.  Gawd, it seems like yesterday when our August temps were hovering in the 90's.  Not this year...

The Raptor was trolling the channels recently when up popped the classic flick, "Major League II".  If you ask Mike "Chico" Boorman, this is the worst baseball flick ever conceived.  The Raptor thinks it is awesome.  The Raptor used to call Boorman about once a month when he was a local radio talk show host.  He didn't know me per se but when calling, he would obviously know it was me (caller ID - probably with some pet nick name like "Trick Head" (sic).

After going through the formalities, The Raptor would say..."Mike...I think that "Major League II" is a better flick than ML I" Boorman would feign shock anger and dismay and say "Caller...there is no way that is true!  But, let's face it, there are some redeeming qualities to lay on the table...

Consider crack radio broadcaster Harry Doyle (played awesomely by Bob Eucher).  Doyle began the sequel in superb form, apparently having gone through rehab as he was drinking a non alcoholic beverage in the first few scenes while dressed in a flashy tux.

IMAG1978.jpg
 
Doyle has spent the first game attempting to extol the capabilities of the Indian players including Rick Vaughn (Charlie Sheen), Pedro Cerrano (Dennis Haysert) and Willie Mays Hays (unknown)  Unfortunately, the players really stink.  Late in the game, the Indian's catcher, Jack Parkman comes to the plate and Doyle says..."Parkman is doing that little shimmy which drives the ladies in Cleveland wild"
 
IMAG1981.jpg
 
Parkman doesn't disappoint and jacks a fastball out of the park which gets everyone in the Jake out of their seats including the loudmouth fan played by Randy Quaid...
 
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Eventually, Parkman gets traded to the Chicago White Sox and broadcaster Harry Doyle has a different take when Chicago shows up for the playoffs....When Parkman does that little shimmy it makes the ladies in Cleveland puke!"
 
This love than hate attitude is similar to what happened to caddy Steve Williams subsequent to his leaving the Tiger Woods stable and going to work looping for Adam Scott.  The Raptor became a Williams hater at the exact moment that he somehow got on national TV after Scott won the Bridgestone a couple of years ago.  The Raptor is still not sure what possessed CBS to offer Williams ANY air time, but Williams proceeded to jamb a big foot in his mouth by stating that Scott's victory was the "greatest thing that's happened to me in my whole life...
 
IMAG1522.jpg
 
Really Stevie? Your whole life?  Williams exacerbated the situation later that year during some sort of awards ceremony in his New Zealand homeland.  Williams had obviously consumed vast quantities of some alcoholic beverage (probably a gaggle of Foster's 40's).  and in effect said that he would love to shove the award up so and so's black arse...not good Steve!
 
Fast forward to this years final round of the British Open at Muirfield.  Woods and Scott were paired together in that final round and Woods managed to stumble to a mediocre 74 whilst Mickelson ravaged the course for a smooth 67 en route to a 3 shot victory over Henrik Stenson) (watch out for Henrick at Oak Hill).  Afterwards, Woods stated that he had failed to adapt to the R&A's course set up...he was unprepared for the speed of the putting surfaces.  The Raptor thinks this was totally a falsehood.  More than likely, Williams made some sort of thrusting motion on the first tee with a finger into a hand cylinder deal and scared the trap (sic) out of Tiger...as a result Phil proudly displayed the Claret Jug as "Champion Golfer Of The Year"
 
IMAG1970.jpg 
It was apparent that Woods and Williams had a protracted discussion after the match, maybe it was a make up chat but that's doubtful.  Even though Scott has won a Bridgestone and a Masters, his career is a big question mark and for all the talent exhibited from tee to green his putting game is sick.  Caddies like Williams come along infrequently.  The Raptor has observed over time how caddies have been elevated to celeb status....Bones MacKay, Fluff Cowan. Ted Scott (Bubba's Twitch (sic)). Joe LaCava. Bruce Edwards (dead). Jeff Medlin (dead). This could be Williams last good gig and The Raptor has to wonder how he got booted from Tiger's bag.  More than likely Wiliams put up a fuss over Sean Foley and complained that Woods was wrong to make a swing change.
 
Once Mickelson won The Open he was deemed to be The Greatest of All Time by golf tricks (sic) like Alex Micelli and Brandel Chamblee.  Each of theses pundits has come out as anything but Tiger.  Even this week, Tiger's win at Bridgestone has been downplayed due to reasons unknown.  Woods put on a clinic during Friday's 9 under par 61 and in effect lapped the field which included many if not most of the top 75 players in the world ranking..  Putts were rolling in...Drives were center cut...wow!  Micelli then comes on Bob Bubka's Grill Room, Sunday and says pay no attention...Firestone is boring...not a significant win...God Speed Alex...the place was packed with enthusiastic fans...
 
IMAG2022.jpg
Pundits keep saying that Woods has to get the "Major Monkey" off his back.  After all, he has ONLY won 14 professional majors.  If he never won another major his fans will be disappointed and his detractors will be ecstatic.  The Raptor is content to let the chips fall where they may. This guy has plenty of fire left in the belly...
 
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Woods could be competing on a national stage for 20 more seasons (think Tom Watson).  It will be a great week of Championship Golf at Oak Hill...c u next week for the recap
 
The Raptor

 

July 14th, 2013  - Weekend Update...

Good Afternoon and Happy Friday!

First, a quick note. As some of you may be aware, The Raptor had some surgery on the left wheel back on June 15th to remove the little toe.  Some infection had occurred and the doctor thought the amputation was the best move.  Since release from the hospital on June 19th The Raptor has been at home keeping the weight off the foot.  The Raptor hopes to have the cast removed as early as next Friday, July 19th.  Unfortunately, a round of golf is probably not in my foreseeable future. The Raptor hopes to at least play the 3's.

IMAG1820.jpg
 
It should be noted that there is no pain but the location of the insicion and stitching is fragile, hench the "no walkin" situation.
 
The golf season has been humming along and a special prop is going out to Dave Hewett (LVCC), winner on Monday of the EDGA Mid Am.  Dave earned the title after a one hole play off over Mike Garcia (LPGC).  Both players completed play up at Whispering Woods with 36 hole totals of 146.  What surprised The Raptor here, is that tournament organizers didn't put Erie's finest back on the championship tees.  Well...I guess that factor's such as soft turf conditions and a cart path rule were considered.  No harm to get all the players done in a reasonable time frame.
 
In other golf related news, Bill Haas and Jonas Blixt earned PGA Tour Titles the past few weeks at Congressional and The Greenbrier. 
 
IMAG1888.jpg
 
Interesting note here...Phil Mickelson missed the cut at Greenbrier and has done so three years in a row.  Mickelson has been having a very unusual year and has been near the top of the leader board at several events this year including a win in Phoenix and a strong showing the US Open where he finished 2nd for the 6th time.
 
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Controversy has erupted on The LPGA Tour....Inbee Park used a hot putter en route to the Women's US Open recently.  Ms. Park has now won 3 "LPGA Majors" this season and is poised to win a 4th when the Women's British Open is contested at the venerable St Andrews in Scotland later this summer.  The problem?...LPGA Commish Mike Whan elevated a ho-hum event in France called "The Evian Masters" to major status starting this year and Ms. Park will apparently need to win BOTH the British and The Evian to earn a "Grand Slam"  How silly is this?
 
IMAG1447.jpg
 
Whan probably had no choice...the LPGA is teetering on extinction.  The robust schedule of past years has been gutted in favor of a handful of events.  The Evian probably generates SOME fan interest and by classifying the event as a major adds some credibility to conducting a "Major" outside the US and Britain. Unfortunately, if if if...should Ms. Park win either/or of the next two events she is SOL  Too bad...What will no doubt occur will be some scenario involving Ms. Park winning at St Andrews and then failing to win at Evian over some fluke or Act of God.
 
The Raptor has been sitting on a new thread since The Masters and feels it is time to release it.  This years Masters had a LOT of excitement AND controversy of it's own.  We all know that the Green Jacket went to Adam Scott after a dramatic playoff win over Angel Cabreera.  A certain prominent player named Woods was in the mix until the 15th hole on Friday and then became a side story involving the Rules of Golf.  The Raptor was pleased that Tiger was granted a chance to finish the event.  For Nick Faldo...Greg Norman etc to say the stuff they said was uncalled for...
 
IMAG1540.jpg
Speaking of Rules, the awards ceremony included young Amateur Tianlang Guan, a 14 year old up and comer hailing from China.  During the course of the event, Guan was penalized on the 12th hole for slow play.  The Raptor imagines that Chairman Billy Payne was on top of this issue from start to finish...Chairman Payne has been working with the USGA, R&A and The PGA Tour to figure out on how to "Grow The Game"  Perhaps expanding to Asia is the logical choice. Fortunately, Mr. Guan was able to steady himself and play well enough to make the cut and vindicate himself. I suppose if the heads of these governing bodies want to grow the game, they need to concentrate on several key elements.
 
Speed up play, stop introducing new equipment every year which drives the cost up and figure out how to water all the golf courses already out there in addition to the ones that will continue to be built to accommodate the players who are hitting the ball over 325 yards with a driver.
 
Golf is all about the latest and the greatest in conjunction with the ancient traditions developed during the past several hundred years.  With the 24/7 Media at the forefront even the likes of Graeme McDowell can get in trouble.
 
IMAG1333.jpg
 
McDowell won last week on The European Tour in Paris France and passed on a chance to play this week at The Scottish Open which is being contested at Castle Stuart.  This facility was opened 4 short years ago and McDowell publically downplayed the site and now is "walking back" his commentary.  Since McDowell has won a US Open (2010 - Pebble Beach) and a hand full of other events he is now considered a voice of reason...really Graeme?...God Speed...The Raptor can sense an early exit next week at Muirfield.  If players like McDowell and Rory McIlroy want to impress The Raptor quit fussing with stuff like Nona Blue and Caroline Wozniacki and get out and play!
 
Cheers...The Raptor

June 29th, 2013  - Weekend Update...

Good Evening,

24/7 Golf viewing continues here at The Raptor's House.  On now is a Web.Com event from Indiana.  After starting the day with Morning Drive and morphing into the European Tour's Irish Open, The Raptor spit time between the Senior Tour event coming from The Fox Chapel Club located in nearby Pittsburgh and the PGA Tour's "AT&T National" coming from The Congressional in Washington D.C.

Many in the know felt that without Tiger Woods and Justin Rose playing this year, the AT&T would be a hollow yawner at best.  This has been far off the mark as capable players such as Robeorto Castro, Andres Romero, Jason Kokrak and Bill Haas have played well.  The highlight of today's action may have been Haas's score of 68 which featured 5 pars, 9 birdies 3 bogeys and a triple bogey.

Castro, who electrified the golf world at this years Players Championship with a first round 63, started his round poorly and looked to be out of the hunt but managed to get the crowd jumping with a superb chip in par on hole 18.  The fact that the shot was more or less mapped out by CBS analysts Jim Nance and Nick Faldo beforehand made it all the more special.  The Raptor is beginning to expect exciting play on the final hole since last weeks chip in by Chris Stroud.

The Raptor had high hopes at the start of the day for the two American teenage phenoms, Peter Uihlien and Jordan Spieth but both players failed to deliver.  Spieth looked to be in good form at the start of today's round and was being touted for his efforts this year which have racked up close to a million dollars in earnings through sponsor exemptions. Unfortunately, a balky putter dropped him into 7th place, only 3 strokes from the lead. Uihlein started the third round with a piece of the lead and birdied the first hole but then doubled hole 3.  Meanwhile luminaries such as Joost Luiten and Pablo Larrazabal vaulted up the leaderboard with strong third round 66's.

Raptor Fav, Robert Rock, played to a cautious 71 and is poised to make a run for the Championship tomorrow.  Rock is an interesting study.  He has been on the Euro tour for several years and has always played without a cap.  This is very unusual.  The common explanation seems to be that he doesn't want to get hat hair.  Really?  This is nuts.  The Raptor doesn't like to muss up the do but in most cases, a hat comes in handy,  This is especially true in the hot sun as well as the pouring rain.  In this day and age, wearing a cap is a surefire way to gather up some valuable sponsor dollars.

Even The Raptor has jumped on the bandwagon with a handsome stipend from the Evil Empire,,,
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If there is one aspect of "The Game" that seems untouchable it appears to be in the equipment industry.  Doesn't anyone ever get ticked that the next greatest driver or hot putter is just around the corner.  The previously mentioned Jason Kokrak played hole number 18 at Congressional today with a Driver and a Wedge....it's 540 yards from tee to green and Kokrak hit a 350 yard drive with a Taylor Made R1...ho hum...
 
The Raptor happened to be tuned into Golf Channel on Wednesday night at 10PM when a "State Of The Game" segment came on.  Included in this panel were Michael Whan (LPGA Commissioner) Annika Soreenstam (LPGA Hasbeen), Brandel Chamblee (or Kelli Tillghman)  and Christi Kerr (LPGA Tour Player).  While The Raptor considered odd that Robert Rock doesn't wear a hat while playing, It also struck me as odd that Ms Kerr was wearing a hat during this interview .  I suppose that if the i nterview was being conducted with Steve Striker or Zach Johnson, they would wear their cap  But in the case of Kerr, she looked silly.  I mean how much is too much when it comes to an endorsement?  The players on the Euro Tour take product endorsement to a new level, covering their Izod wear with LOGOS galore.  The Euros also place large billboadrs out in the backgrounds of the putting surfaces...ca ching!
 
Did anyone catch the post round interview with Ken Duke after he won in Hartford?
IMAG1836.jpg
 
Mr. Duke later admitted that in a homage to NASCAR, he carries a bottle of Coke in his bag just in case he ever got in the winners circle.  Later on, Coca-Cola Corp sent out a congratulatory tweet to Ken...America is a great place!
 
On the local scene, The Raptor would like to send out special props to Ted Gassi III and Emily Fessler, who won EDGA championships this week,  Grassi bested Rick Carlotti at the EDGA Match Play held at Lake View while Ms. Fessler won her title at Kahkwa against Michela Reddinger. The Raptor had a Carlotti flashback while pondering this thread.  It happened several years ago up at Whispering Woods on the day The Woods conducted it's annual Flag Day Tournament.  As is tradition, players plant an American flag where they finish the event and on this day there were several flags planted in the 18th green when Carlotti arrived there.
 
Perhaps not understanding the nature of the event, Carlotti gathered up the flags and placed them at the side of the putting surface...Whoops...
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June 25th, 2013  - Weekend Update...

Good Morning,

While watching the US Open last week, The Raptor was  suitably impressed with the initiative of the USGA and The Golf Channel to curb this age old problem of slow play in golf.  Slow players have been around for a long time....there was no doubt a player in Old Tom Morris's circle of friends who was a snail.  Maybe it was Willie Dunn or perhaps Alan Robertson. 

The Raptor would certainly like to offer a few observations here.  It seems that every weekend, The Raptor can see a continuing trend.  The biggest dilemma faced with our small group of players (we are talking about 15 foursomes here) is that each group has a certain agenda.  The early groups absolutely race around the course and generally play in 3 hours to 3 1/2 hours. These guys are not worried too much about gaming and score may or may not be a consideration.

Once the first 5 groups get on to the course, The Raptor Group of  5 or 6 foursomes begins to tee off.  Here is where problem number one occurs.  If The Raptor assigns the time to the second group of say 7:40, it is not uncommon to see players arriving in the parking lot at 7:35.  Then instead of heading to the tee, valuable time is spent going to the restroom or signing up for the game or waiting for a fresh pot of coffee.  So, the 7:40 group eventually tees off at 7:50.  Now while on the course, this group may take pride in finishing their round in around 4 hours and they arrive in the parking lot at 12:00 noon.  Unfortunately, the occupied time was almost 4 and one half hours.

Since the first group teed off at 7:30 and played at a brisk pace, they generally finish at 11:20 and then wait over 1/2 hour for group 2 to show up.  This trickle down effect migrates from group to group so that eventually the pace equates to almost 5 hours.

Doing the math, it's probable that 4 to 5 tee times are lost each day to this slow play and this can accrue to a serious loss of revenue.

Is there a lesson here. Yes...if you have a tee time of 7:30, show up at 7:15 to work out contingencies.  Especially keeping a consistent tee off pattern.  Second, keep the group in front of you in sight.  Don't look back to gain relief that you are not getting pushed...make sure to push yourself.

While out on the course, think outside the box.  There is no shame in picking up. Take a double, Regroup and prepare for the next hole.  There is one aspect of preparing to hit a shot that never ceases to amaze me.  Lengthy pre-shot routines, multiple practice swings, waggles etc are absolutely not necessary for the average golfer. Especially if you then slice a shot OB or into the rough.

How about some putting tips.  The Raptor knows of no one who is absolutely a good putter.  It makes no sense to stroll around the putting surface stalking a 30 foot putt.  Your chances of making it are slim.  When I hook up with a player who does that, The Raptor knows the players next assignment will be with Mr. Dumas at 10:30.  Recently, while playing in the two man Better Ball at WW, The Raptor observed an obvious slow play group holding up the whole golf course while Partner #2 read Partner #1's putts for him...Cut that out!  It was especially troubling because Partner #1 kept missing!

If you are a Chatty-Kathy, put a zipper on it. Save your funny stories for the 19th hole where you can bore more than just 3 others.

Quit using expensive golf balls.  A ProV1 is not going to help you score lower.  If you suck, your just going to spend a lot of time looking for balls lost in the rough.  If you are loosing balls in the rough, it means you suck. Grass grows...there is no way to avoid it.  The staff can only cut it so often.  Quit complaining about the rough!  Get creative...invoke a leaf rule or something.  While I am at it quit complaining about too much or too little sand in the bunkers.  If you are in a bunker, you suck.  If you can't get the ball out of the bunker, pick it up and toss it on the putting surface.

If you have downloaded an APP for your smart phone to help track your shots and develop performance criteria, get rid of it...what would possess a 10 handicap to know how many GIR's he had.  In addition, if you purchased a Bushnell Yardage Scope, you have wasted your money.  You could have sent those funds to disaster relief instead.  There is no reason to hold up play while you try to determine that you have 124 yards to a back left flagstick.If you can't figure out a club by looking around, give up the game. BTW make sure to add a club if the 124 yard shot is uphill.
 
If you find yourself in a group with a high stakes Vegas game, voluntarily move your group to a later time.  Grinding out 2 foot putts for a bogey is holding up the rest of the players behind. you.  And don't insult the rest of us by blaming your slow play on the rough. That is bogus.

While it is probably that none of these suggestions to pick up the pace will be used, it was fun putting them into the mix

The Raptor

 

June 24th, 2013  - Weekend Update...

Happy Monday,

The Raptor has beeen mulling oveer yesterdays Hartford Tournament since the strange twist of events began spiraling down with Bubba Watson's astonishing triple bogey on the 16th hole.  At 4:06 PM The Raptor was crowning Watson the winner after watching Bubba drain a crucial birdie on the 10th hole.  Watson got some insurance with two more birds at hole #'s 13 and 15 and seemed to be keeping one step ahead of eventual playoff winner Ken Duke

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Whilst Duke was striding down hole #17, Watson arrived at the menacing par 3 16th tee with a one strke advantage.  At 5:24PM, Once Bubba hit his tee shot in the drink, it became aparent why he is called Bubba.  It was obvious that some confusion existed after an exchange between Watson and his caddy.  Watson was livid that HE hit the ball in the water and perhaps had been fooled by wind.  Maybe Bubba should change his name to Rube.  Maybe it has dawned on this dipshit by now that he could have scaled back to his 9 iron and gone to the back of the putting surface with his drive.  Maybe Bubba could have taken his medicine without chastizing his caddy in front of a TV audience that perhaps numbered in the hundreds,  Too late. Now Bubba will have to take his act of contrition to Congressional.  The Raptor only hopes he fares better that Paula Dean. I imagine Alex Micelli will pounce on this turd fast and furious. 
 
The Raptor was kind of was pulling for Bubba as there was no warm and fuzzy for DeLaet, Stroud or Duke.  Once Watson drowned, the Raptor was shocked to watch Duke collapse on the tee at hole 18, only to convert a handsome up and down for par, maintaining a one stroke lead. Stroud and Duke ended up in a classic playoff  for the crown after Bubbas's demise and all Stroud had to do was chip in on the 18th hole to seal the deal.  NOONE thought that shot was probable.  But Stroud pulled it off! Wow! 
 
After playing hole 18 once, the combatants went back to the tee and with Stroud checking out some dirt on his shoes, Duke hit a superb pressure wedge shot which earned him all the marbles.
 
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Did we learn anything from all this? Well The Raptor determined that Bubba Watson is a dick. The Raptor lrearned to never count your chickens till their hatched and The Raptor learned it isn't over till the fat lady sings.  The Raptor also learned taht Ian Baker Finch is awful!  The Raptor also learned that this current batch of commercial interuptions is getting tedious.  Master Card (Sneeeedecker), Audi (Ski racers morphing into Autobahn racers) and the countless Cialis and Viagara spots which showcase attractive middle age actors and actresses looking at each other....who does that?  Can you imagine that conversation?  "Honey...check out my boner!"...."Eeeeeeeeuuuuuuwwwww don't touch me pig!"
 
Whew...after a two month layoff, The Raptor is a little rusty.
 
Quick heads up...The Raptor has a heavy duty Weider Universal Gym available for immediate disposition for a interested party.  Originally purchased for about $400.00,  The Raptor would like to transition it into some elses garage for $50.00.  Let me know if you are interested.  First ping holds it
 
The Raptor

 

May 20th, 2013  - Weekend Update...

Good Afternoon,
 
For the good of the order and other important historical precedent(s), The Raptor will conduct the first of 3 planned toonaments of the 2013 golf seson at WWGC.
 
The official day will be Memorial Day, Monday May 27th. It should be noted that the Fag (sic) Tournament has been moved to July 4th.
 
Here are some preliminary salvos....
 
in an effort to Topul/Weber Proof the par 3's, The Raptor will work closely with the Pro Shop and Turf Care Staff to set up some challenging tee and pin placements....and in order to guard against softball par 5's...special care will be given to tee placements.  Let's face it...there should be no way that Tanica should be able to hit driver-wedge on 3 and 12.
 
As usual, pace of play will be a concern.  Therfore, Bill Reichert will be playing as a single at 6:30 so that he can get down to the maria to launch his boat before the rush.  Also, Cameron will be awarded a lifetime achievement stipend so that Thad will not have anyting to talk about except HIS golf game...which sucks...In addition, Lew Senior will be fitted with a special "zapper" which will wake him when he snoozes over any 125 yard approach shots.
 
A special prop is being sent out to the guys in the Erie Insuance Gang to stop by the Pro's Table in recognition of their strong support of the snack bar.  I always keep wondering why they play the 4th and 8th holes from Dave Lauer's garage...
 
All players will be issued pellet rifles at the start of play in order to eradicate the geese population in perpetuity. Prior to the toonament, a clinic will be conducted by Rob Gorring to demonstrate how to properly groom a divot uing the new golf cart sand box and scoop.
 
After play is concluded the participants will retire to the pro's table at The Asphalt Bar & Grill which will be sadly missing Denny Wildauer...which player is going to step up to fulfill Denny's mission of "zero-sum  Mich Ultra"
 
OK...OK enough with the jokes...The Raptor has been a little sad lately as a result of this years infection crisis.  So some humor is good for the constitution
 
Moving on...The Raptor is giving this years Memorial Day Toornament his special recommendation There will be tradituional gross and net skin games...the closest to the pins challenge and the two person blind draw. Hopefully turnout will be swell.  Thanks in advance!
 
BTW, if you can not take the jokes get out of the kitchen.
 
The Raptor

 

 

April 8th, 2013  - Weekend Update...

Good Afternoon and Happy Monday,
 
Another weekend has come and gone and there was some stuff happening which can't be ignored...
 
For starters, it looks like Rory McIlroy was able to resolve some demons and cruise in to Augusta National to begin his quest for the Holy Grail.  Having one hand on the Green Jacket in 2011, Mr. McIlroy could go a long way towards solidifying his rep as a potential heir to the long tradition of dominance popularized by such luminaries as Nelson, Hogan, Snead, Palmer, Nicklaus, Watson, Norman and Woods.
 
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Mr. McIlroy carded a final round 66 only to be outscored by Scotland's Martin Laird who blazed a course record 63 on his way to a win at the Texas Open which also earned him an invite to Augusta.  Rory improved from his Saturday score by 5 shots and finished a respectable 2nd in this pivotable event.  First, let us point out that Laird's win broke a 16 event chain of victories in PGA Tour events by the Americans.  Third round leader Billy Horschel played valiantly and seemed poised to stamp his ticket to Augusta but could only muster a 1 under par 71 in the final round and finished in a tie with two other Yankees...Furyk and Hoffman.  If you know Billy, let him know that the skinny pants look with the saddle shoe is a tad....
 
 
Meanwhile, Laird utilized a belly putter to drop crucial putts on the final three holes giving further credence that the offending wands should be banned...just sayin....
 
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Over yonder at the LPGA, Korea's InBee Park lapped the field with a smooth final round 69 en route to a 4 shot victory in the first "major" of the year aka the Kraft/Nabisc/Dinah Shore...it should be noted that the closest pursuer who was an American turned out to be Jennifer Johnson who finished 11 shots back..  Third round contender Lizette Salas stumbled to a final round 79 to finish in a tie for 25th...as a result of the special nature of this update, The Raptor shall "hold the prose"
 
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According to tradition, going back 25 years, the winner was forced to jump into a pond next to the 18th green along with caddies and members of the awards podium.  can you imagine gulping down some of that sludge and picking up a water borne parasite?...
 
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Up at WWGC the news was in a nutshell...interesting...PGA Professional Richard Rocky stopped by the Pro's Table on Saturday to let The Raptor know that 3 new members had just signed on.  It's been a joy to finally get the season under way and to learn that up and coming local players such as Dave Spitzer, Cory Smith, Mike Newcomer had decided to join the club was a real shot in the arm.  Adding former LSCC assistant Pro Robb Masterson to the trio gives WW a pretty strong Interclub team if you consider that two time club champ, Lucas Marsh is looking forward to the competition.
 
On a personal note, The Raptor has been testing the Taylor Made R1 driver and is giving the new weapon his highest recommendation as can be seen from this file photo, the club is awesome...
 
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Keep in mind that you are all welcome to stop by Skeeters Friday for the 2013 version of The Masters Symposium...cheers!
 
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March 27th, 2013  - Weekend Update...

So the first day of Spring has come and gone and folks in this region are wondering what happened...It appears that the Erie area will have one of those typical transitions where Winter will cease and Summer will begin in earnest.  The Raptor rolled out of work yesterday and will an air temp of 40 degrees and some blue skies the thought occurred that maybe...just maybe a visit to the WWGC would result in a quick playing of the par 3's...this was not to be...
 
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Pictured here is Hole #4 under a white blanket.  The Raptoer had to L2ms as some intrepid wanderer had aligned about 10 boulder sized snowballs on the white tee box...ya...sure this stuff will melt sooner than later and all sins will be forgiven but this is fierce!
 
On the national scene, yesterday saw Day 2 of The Tavistock Cup which is played every year in Orlando Florida.  This years venue was at Isleworth and a field of 24 Golf Professionals ranging from Adam Scott and Tiger Woods to Fred Couples and Paul McGinley played to a raucos crowd of toney synchophants who strolled the fairways wearing hooded parkas with board shorts and boat shoes.  Unfortunately, the tempatures were barely out of the 40's and will a stiff wind it probably felt like 35 degrees.  The golf was good however, and from what The Raptor could see...Rickie Fowler was playing some great golf early on, rolling in a number of lengthy putts on super fast greens.
 
Webb Simpson, representing the Primland Resort of Virgina earned the best individual score at 2 under par whilst Woods, playing for the resort in Albany Bahamas finished at 1 over.  Ian Poulter, also playing for Albany scored a 1 under and canned a crucial putt in the playoff with Lake Nona which earned Albany the Cup.  It should be noted that Nona had won the past 4 events but both Henrik Stenson and Peter Hanson played poorly. The ubiquitous Graeme McDowell played well no doubt due to the buzz he is getting from the opening of his new restaurant called Blue Nona.  The Raptor would sure like to much on a Buger there some day! L2ms...
 
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McDowell is a player to be reconed with and The Raptor has installed him as a pre-tourament favorite in the upcoming Masters. The Raptor has also noted that Adam Scott has been playing great golf as of late and is sure to be a contender. Other players to consider to don The Green Jacket include: Louis Oosthuizen, Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy from the world team whilst Matt Kuchar, Brandt Snedecker,Dustin Johnson and the previously mentioned Simpson are looking good and representing a solid contingent of players from the USA.  A quick scan of the Wolf rankings shows 22 players from the States.  South Africa has six earing top honors and Australia and England are a close third with four each.
 
Toping the Wold Rank after his thrilling victory in The Arnold Palmer Classic at Bay Hill is Tiger Woods.  Woods, who had been written off by many if not all haters, including Brandel Chamblee, Jay Coffin and John Hawkins has worked out the logistics of reboot number 4 and seems poised to have a season for the ages.
 
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Having now won three times in 2013, Tiger has installed himself as The Favorite at Augusta.  Naturally anything could happen between now and April 14th but it is safe to say that Wood's hot putter has turned the odds to his advantage.  The Raptor recalls that Martin Kaymer tried to revamp his game to compete at Augusta after his big win at Whistling Straights in 2010 and has managed to fall off the face of the planet.  Kaymer felt that he needed a right to left game to score at Augusta and has had difficulty with the change. On the other hand, Woods has eliminated the two way miss in favor of a strong left to right move and it will be interesting to see if he can manhandle holes such as 2, 5, 8, 9, 10, 13, 14 and 15 which demand a draw. 
 
Not mentioned yet, but always in our thoughts is what to expect from Phil Mickelson.  Mickelson made an early exit at Bay Hill and plans to compete in the Houson event.  This could be just what the doctor ordered and don't be surprised if Phil isn't slipping on The Jacket come Sunday.  Win number 4 puts Mickelson in some rare company (Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Tiger Woods) and one major could be all Phil Needs to grab that elusive US Open Championship Trophy at Merion this summer.
 
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Augusta National is such a wonderful place.  The Raptor recalls visiting there in 1989 catching a couple of practice rounds.  The TV does no justice to how the huge elevation changes occur and all golfers should figure out how to get there at least once.  The Raptor can imagine a number of players gathering there today...perhaps playing a practice round with a pal and enjoying a mint julep and peach cobbler under the large tree shrouded verandah.  After a day of golf on the main facility the players can wander over to the par 3 course and unwind with a wedge and a putter.  Doe you suppose anyone ever brings their whole bag?  Probably Zack Johnson and maybe Bernhard Langer.  After golf the players can retire to the clubhouse for dinner with prominent members such as Jack Welch and Condoleeza Rice and then stop over to The Butler and Jones Cabins to live the dream...soon, Billy Payne will be introducing Palmer, Player and Nicklaus and the real fun will begin
 
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The

 

 

February 20th, 2013  - Weekend Update...

Good Afternoon and Happy Wednesday.

 
If this was golf season (as opposed to wrabbitt season) many of you would be heading out for your Wed Afternoon Match...that's not the case today as the Erie Area has been dumped on to the tune of about a foot of snow...gawd! that was a fierce storm!  For the good of the order, The Raptor will set up a Pro's Table at the Golf Expo on Saturday starting at 11:30...I will probably sticvk around till 2:00ish...if you are looking to stop by that would be awesome!... now a word about this endeavor...the Expo has a $10.00 cover charge so if you are thinking about stopping you may have to break into your First Holy Communion Fund...
 
What to do at the Expo? Well The Raptor will probably do nothing but as I understand it you can visit some vendors or takl golf at one of the club tables or get a lesson from a recognized authority....nice!
 
Speaking of Matches...how bout The First Golfer scoring a match with Tiger Woods!  That must have been a cool sight! The Raptor will refrain from any further histrionics on the subject but it should be noted that Phil Mickelson did not score an invite to this gig even though he would have been a capable third...maybe Grover Nordquist could have been the fourth...perhaps Tiger is smart enough to recognize that by living in Florida he avoids state tax issues even though alligators are up to his (gas)...hey Llama...how bout a little something for the effort?
 
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L2ms - The Raptor never tires of this pic!
 
Anyhow The Raptor covered some of this ground as well as some other issues with a post to www.theraptor.com.  Ya I know the site is extremely difficult to navigate, so The Raptor placed the thread on the home page where it's is easy to locate...
 
Moving forward, The Raptor is excited to note that the Cable TV Network "Boomerang" periodically broadcasts episodes of  "Jonny Quest"...The Raptor recently found himself at home at 5PM on a Weekday and having grown weary of the jerks on Around The Horn decided to catch the Quest Wave instead...
 
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There are many epic episodes and some of them will scare the (scrap) out of you. The Raptor has purchased The Box Set to keep in my collection of Videos which I will never watch again...
 
The show intro which starts every episode is perhaps the greates action packed sequence ever produced...how can you not get pumped up watch Race Bannon...
 
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Or perhaps draw a wide smile on the introduction of Bandit?
 
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"What is it Bandit/!" "You say there are some of Dr. Zinn's minions hiding behind that rock?!" "C'mon Hadji let's tell Dad!"
 
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"No Jonny - Sim Sim Sulibim"
 
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"Race! Goonies At 3 O'Clock!"
 
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Hope To See You Saturday...

 

January 30th, 2013  - Weekend Update...

Good Evening and Happy Wednesday...

The Raptor has been mulling over the events of the past several weeks and is really unsure where to head...Should a thread be started on the shooting tragedies? Or perhaps the fiscal cliff? Maybe a sentence or two about President Obama's re-election...hmmmmm.  The fake National Anthem bt Beyonce? How about a piece on the Alabama v Notre Dame Game? Or maybe Mant Te’o and Ronai Tuiasopopo? There is always a story or two there...ole man Mushberger? Is he a creep?  Did he jack it in the booth? Maybe Herbstreet put him up to it...Or maybe the Tiger Woods Show…

But before digging in there is breaking news regarding the Super Bowl…well for starters, probably no one is going to watch this dud…and can some one please tell Ray Lewis to go away!  This new bullshit with the Deer Antler Spay is just another ridiculous sidebar.  So the clown spayed it under his tongue and it helped him recover…what The Raptor wants to know is if you spay it on your Johnson will it cause that muscle to get stronger?  Now there is news that VJ Singh uses the stuff…so now there will be a hysterical witchhunt to see if Tiger uses Deer Antler Spray coupled with some other product like Ambien…
 
Ok, lets go with the game. Two weeks ago The Raptor wrote this precursor…
 
“The Raptor made an executive decision to NOT watch it...as many of you may recall, The Raptor was wronged by a Notre Dame Fan back in 88 and The Raptor will never forget.  One compelling side story on the pre game occurred when The Raptor and Mrs. Raptor were enjoying dinner that evening.  The local affiliate, WJET was out canvassing ND fans for game predictions and one lasso said that "the man upstairs" would have a big hand in the outcome. . Well as it turned out, he doesn’t work on Mondays.
 
The Raptor has no football acumen.  Don't know the first thing about tactics but Nick Saban must have adopted The Raptor strategy which was to somehow exhaust Heisman Hopeful Manti Te’o and as a result get him out of the game. The Raptor was told that Te’o played like a stump...now all that's left is for ND fans to run Kelly out of town on a rail...ya The Raptor knows he is jockeying for a contract extension and salary increase. The Raptor would tell him to suck it till he wins the prize.”
 
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The following day all hell broke loose on the Manti story and it’s been gravy ever since. First, a word about Jack Swarbrick…several years ago, when the Big 10 was lobbying for a another program to sign on, ND was the logical choice.  Swarbrick, acting as a spokesman for ND, made a number of disparaging comments about Big 10 Programs and how impressive the nice contract ND has with NBC etc.  And as a result, ND would remain independent thank you very much….except for non-football sports such as lacrosse and wrasslin.  So, the Big 10 went with Nebraska and The Raptor thinks it was a good move.  Nebraska actually is a cool team and so far they have inserted another dynamic into Big 10 athletics.
 
On the other hand Swarbrick looked and talked like a dork over this Manti thing…crying?  Really Jack? Gawd…what a tool…

The PGA tour has now put two events into the books and they were both interesting.  In week one, The Tour conducted the "Hyundai" which used to be the TOC or The Mercedes.  So. about 30 players braved 40 mph winds and driving rain to finish the event on Tuesday.  When the smoke cleared Dustin Johnson picked up the trophy and a handsome winners check. The story of the event was veteran Steve Stricker playing to 2nd place with a tremendous painful nerve problem in his leg.  What a stud!

Then three weekends ago the weather was outstanding and Russell Henley, a tour rookie birdied the final 5 holes on Sunday to wade past Tim Clark who persisted in scoring with an anchored putter.  Let's face it; players who are using the anchor method just look plain silly. This whole mantra about their lively hood etc is a lot of bull.  A player can yip a driver as easily as a putter.  Old Tom Morris had the yips. So did Hogan.  The top 125 on the PGA Tour is a revolving door...nothing lasts forever. Ask Len Mattice or Craig Perks.

Since then, the Tour has made stops at The Humana and The Farmers with some mixed results.  This fella Scott Stallings totally collapsed at The Humana allowing Brian Gay to take the top prize and then, Tiger showed up at Torrey Pines and pretty much lapped the field.  It should be noted that Tiger looked weak at Abu Dhabi but….who cares!
 
There is no doubt that Tiger will be dissed over this win since he only won by 4 shot after building a 8 shot lead.  But, what was with Eric Compton’s group?  How bout that drive on 18 on Monday? Man did that suck!  Now we face a month of boredom whilst we watch Cameron Tringale and Jimmy Walker contest for the top prize till Tiger returns for the Florida swing…The Raptor would like to send out special props to Rickie Fowler for his strong finish after a disastrous opening round 77.  Nice Shootin!

How bout this...when Saturday January 12th dawned sunny and warm, The Raptor thought a visit to the golf course was in order.  Options were limited.  Lake Shore was obviously out and the WW was closed.  So after a brief stint at work, The Raptor drove once again to the Downing club.

The place was packed! According to Pro Shop manager, Frankie P. there were over 100 green fees processed and the parking lot was overflowing.  The Raptor did not have a playing agenda.  One hole would have been enough.  First, in order to cement some good relations, The Raptor paid for a full round with cart...$16.  The Raptor wanted to make sure there would be no objection to the upcoming cruise around the facility.

Starting to head towards the hole number 5 to "play the 3's" The Raptor spotted WW members, Puglese, Scully and Dr, V strolling up hole 7 so a contract was made to play the 8th with them.  After a well-struck Rocketbalz and two putts par was had...nice!  The Raptor hurried to hole 11 and encountered Kevin Mundy playing.  Kevin was a fixture at The Rathskeller in years past and agreed to let me join his group, which included a guy named Ryan and a kid sporting a Prep Bag.  Big hitter...this kid crushed a rescue over the green!  The Raptor's approach was weak so no attempt was made to chip.

Now cruising to hole 15, The Raptor found two classmates from High School, Vic Keuhn and Mike Grab.  After a perfect drive to within 25 feet of the hole, The Raptor had a three putt...nuts!  It should be noted that The Raptor went aggressive on the birdie and the 6-foot par putt lipped out on the right.  Now motivated to see what was brewing over at hole 5, The Raptor went Baja and came upon a group of four who were not of acquaintance. Robb Masterson and his peeps were coming up to the 4th green.  Throwing caution to the wind, a well-struck driver found the front of the green but a 80 foot birdie attempt awaited so The Raptor picked up. 

While these short visits are helpful is this all there is?  After all these years there doesn’t seem to be anyone around any more,  And many players are in the process of migration.

Consider news from the clubs...Lake Shore will be starting the 2013 season with a new Head Pro and a revamped Turf Care Crew.  Unfortunately, the member base has decreased with several long time members opting to join Kahkwa. Rumors persist that, as many as 70 new members signed up at The K Club...this is fierce!  The Raptor can imagine a lot of things coming out of this reorganization.  I just hope it isn't the start of 5 hour rounds.
 
The Raptor has a lot more to consider as the season draws near suffice it to say that it will have to wait for another day.

Well, that's enough for now.  See you