Shop a wide variety of Callaway Golf accessories at Callaway's official online store! Eyewear, bags, gloves, and much more. Click Here!

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Prediction: Lehman Will Be a Playing Captain in Ryder Cup

Though I realize I'm not going out on a limb with this prediction, I think it's worth stating and worth analyzing. Tom Lehman will qualify through points to play on the Ryder Cup.

No one has captained the American side of the Ryder Cup since Arnold Palmer did way back when. So why will Lehman do it?

a) He's determined to accomplish it.
b) He's in great physical shape after losing more than 20 pounds.
c) He's already nudged his way into the top 10 in Ryder Cup points.
d) The guys behind him in the standings (and some in front of him) have not proven they have the game or staying power to beat him in points.

That he's determined to accomplish it has been talked about enough in the press. He's been on a quest to play in this Ryder Cup ever since he was named Captain. Since then, he put his money where his mouth is and got into terrific shape, saying that he feels at least 10 years younger than his nearly 47 years.

With his stellar performance at the Accenture Match Play, he's now ranked 10th in the Ryder Cup standings. He's on the bubble, and there is a long way to go, but he has the momentum going for him and could easily get into the top 6 or 7 with some more good tournaments. A win would probably lock it up.

Finally, I'm quite skeptical of some of the players surrounding him in the rankings. They're either plain-vanilla, or they're inexperienced. The guys I'm thinking of include Arron Oberholser, Scott Verplank, J.B. Holmes, Ryan Palmer, Vaughn Taylor, Lucas Glover, and John Rollins. These guys are all solid, but I don't think they scare Lehman one bit.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Guest Rater: Bryan Nourse

Bryan Nourse is a former high school standout and friend of pro Charlie Wi. He is our first-ever guest rater. After trashing my selection of Saucon Valley's Weyhill course as #9 in my personal top 10, Noursey-Boy has submitted his own list, which I appreciate very much. If any other readers of this esteemed blog wish to have their own top 10 list posted, I'm happy to oblige.

Noursey-Nourse's Top 10
1) Saucon Valley Country Club (Weyhill) - Bethlehem, PA
2) Cypress Point Club - Pebble Beach, CA
3) Oak Tree Country Club - Edmond, OK
4) Saucon Valley Country Club (Old) - Bethlehem, PA
5) Riviera Country Club - Pacific Palisades, CA
6) Congressional Country Club (Blue) - Potomac, MD
7) Cabo del Sol (Ocean) - Los Cabos, Mexico
8) Makena Golf Club (North) - Makena, Maui, HI
9) Cog Hill #4 (Dubsdread) - Lemont, IL
10) Caledonia Golf & Fish Club - Pawleys Island, SC

Bryan has obviously played some studly courses. I hope to see him soon so he can give me at least four shots per side. Thanks BC!

Lots of Controversy at Networked Golfer

Veteran bloggers say that the way to get traffic to your blog is to be controversial. Though it's sort of difficult to be very controversial on a golf blog, my recent posts on my top 10 favorite courses and my march to 1,000 have created a stir.

I've had several complaints about "my" Top 10 list. Unless you've played the exact same courses as me, don't you think it's a little crazy to question my list? However, I can see where there would be disagreements about a course's placement within the Top 10. I actually welcome the reparte.

One complaint charged was that I left several good courses off the Top 10 which my friend knew I had played and couldn't believe weren't in the Top 10. I told him I'd add 15 more for all to see. I hope this makes him feel better:

11) Kapalua (Plantation) - Kapalua, Maui, HI
12) Chateau Whistler Golf Club - Whistler, BC, Canada
13) Los Angeles Country Club (North) - Los Angeles, CA
14) Cabo del Sol (Desert) - Los Cabos, Mexico
15) Hidden Creek Golf Club - Egg Harbor Township, NJ
16) Cog Hill No. 4 (Dubsdread) - Lemont, IL
17) Beechtree Golf Club - Aberdeen, MD
18) Reykjavik Golf Club (Grafarholt) - Reykjavik, Iceland
19) Tobacco Road - Sanford, NC
20) Cabo Real - Los Cabos, Mexico
21) Royal New Kent - Providence Forge, VA
22) Firestone Country Club (North) - Akron, OH
23) Saucon Valley Country Club (Grace) - Bethlehem, PA
24) Atlantic City Country Club - Linwood, NJ
25) P.B. Dye Golf Club - Ijamsville, MD

This same friend (who shall remain nameless) complained that I've only played some of my top courses once, so how could I really rate them so high? He wants to know how of our regular haunts stack up against each other. The courses in the DC area that we play somewhat often are ranked:

1) P.B. Dye
2) Raspberry Falls
3) Augustine
4) Little Bennett
5) Blue Mash
*Whiskey Creek came in at #4, but I've only played it once, so it can't be on this list.

Satisfied, Jack? Oops, I let the cat out of the bag. Sorry, Jack. I didn't mean to diss you or your beloved Cannon Ridge. Then again, it's my blog, right?

Friday, February 24, 2006

Turning Point for Chad Campbell?

Chad Campbell has been one of the up and coming American stars on the PGA Tour during the past few years, but he's had nearly as many lows as highs. That could be about to change.

Today, Campbell put on a gritty performance to eliminate Tiger Woods from the Accenture Match play by beating Woods 1up. With a victory earlier this year (his third since joining the Tour), he's positioned himself at number two on the money list. Now, his moral victory over Woods should give him the confidence to win more often and miss fewer cuts. Though he missed only five cuts in 2004 and five in 2005, they were disappointing years because of his poor performance in the majors. He missed the cut in the first three majors of 2004 and didn't contend in any of the majors in 2005 when he seemed poised for a major breakthrough after finishing second at Oak Hill at the PGA Championship in 2003.

After today, more people will be taking notice of this terrific wind player. My bet is that he'll use the victory over Woods as a launching pad to a banner year in '06. He might even grab his first major championship.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

My Current Top 10 Courses

Golf Week has its lists of the best golf courses in the United States (Classic and Modern). Golf Digest has its list of the best courses in the U.S. and the world, and Golf Magazine has its various lists. However, as much as I like to read their lists and aspire to play as many of those courses as possible, the reality is that I still haven't played all that many courses on any of the lists. One of my brothers even gave me a pegboard for Christmas with Golf Digest's list of America's Top 100 Public Courses. Sadly, I've only played eight of them!

So, I keep my own list. My rankings are not based on anything other than that they are my favorite courses. The rankings do not correspond to any other list; it's only my opinion. The only qualification a course must have is that I've played it. Here's my current Top 10:

1) Mid Ocean Club - Tucker's Town, Bermuda
2) Merion Country Club (East) - Ardmore, PA
3) Princeville Resort (Prince) - Princeville, Kauai, HI
4) The Cascades Course - Hot Springs, VA
5) The Course at Yale - New Haven, CT
6) The Golden Horseshoe (Gold) - Williamsburg, VA
7) Galloway National Golf Club - Galloway, NJ
8) Cabo del Sol (Ocean) - Los Cabos, Mexico
9) Saucon Valley Country Club (Weyhill) - Bethlehem, PA
10) Kapalua (Village) - Kapalua, Maui, HI

For the amount I've played, it's a decent top 10. However, I'd like to jack up the quality just a tad. Hopefully 2006 will bring some changes to the list. One interesting tidbit that may or may not lend credibility to my rankings is that Yankees manager Joe Torre puts Kapalua's Plantation Course #1 in his top 10 (it's my 11th ranked course), Kapalua's Village Course #6, and Princeville at #7. So even if I haven't been to the World Series lately, at least I'm in some good company on the golf course.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Update on My March to 1,000

My personal quest to play at least 1,000 different golf courses has slowed lately due to the cold weather, but I picked up some new ones this winter while on vacation. I played my favorite course ever in November; Mid Ocean Club in Bermuda. Then, in January I played three courses in Mexico: Cabo del Sol (Desert), Cabo del Sol (Ocean), and Cabo Real.

The layouts were all exceptional, and the weather matched the scenery, so it's going to be tough to equal that stretch of courses in the months to come. I've now played 167 different courses and aspire to add 25 to the list in 2006. 1,000 seems a long way off, but as I close in on 200, it's starting to seem more reachable than ever before.