By Jim Brighters
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
Here are some rantings from the world of professional golf. Sort of.
WHY I LOVE BEING A GOLF WRITER
I love when I come up with conceptual columns. Later I'll tell you the circumstances that brought this one on, but first, here are some reasons why I love being a golf writer.
-The initial shock on people's face when I tell them what I do for a living. For example, at a wedding a few years back, a friend's stepmom asked me what I did for a living. I replied, "I'm a golf writer." She said, "Golf? The sport?" I shot back with, "No, golf the dessert topping." People have such a hard time grasping that this is an actual profession.
-The things you can get out of it. For example, while in Detroit for the Ryder Cup, I retired to the bar Saturday night. A few Irish fellows behind me didn't know Sunday's singles draw and when I informed them, they asked how I knew. I said, "I'm a golf writer." Three hours later, one of them paid my bar tab.
-The fact that "Caddyshack" is a golf movie. Nothing brings a smile to my face quicker than someone riffing in a Ted Knight voice to me. I wonder if the key grip on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" had the same kind of problems I have. The movie's on in the background right now, by the way.
-Being creative. So many of you have e-mailed me with their thoughts about my column and golf in general. Now, imagine having a weekly space for such a forum, which is not my inbox.
-The girls. Hip-hop stars aren't the only ones with groupies. Once the ladies see the package and realize there is a brain with it, look out. Plus, we don't have east-coast/west-coast golf writer feuds that result in bullets whizzing by. If not for being a golf writer, things would not be going as well with the girl who lives in Italy.
-The era of golf we live in. Due respect to the Jack Nicklaus/Arnold Palmer/Lee Trevino/Tom Watson/Gary Player days, I'll take Tiger/Phil/Vijay/Ernie/Retief. They may not be the snazziest golfers in the world, but this is an unbelievable time for professional golf. Oh, add to that the fact that one of the greatest players in the history of women's golf is teeing it up now, and it's a good time to have my business card.
-Writing. I take great pleasure in not only writing this column every week, but I thoroughly enjoy writing recaps of good rounds. It can be grueling when you have to cover some guy nobody ever heard of winning by 11, but I take pride in trying to inform people more about that golfer. How about having the final round at Doral a few weeks back? Awesome stuff for someone who derives pleasure in writing detailed descriptions of golf.
-When people constantly want to talk golf. Here's the origin of this week's column. I'm at the dentist on Monday, and my dentist, who I hadn't seen in a while due to always getting the other guy in the office, asked what I did now. I told him and he was trying to discuss golf-related things with me. I'm all for that, but when he's reconstructing my front teeth, and I have a pack of gauze and two pieces of metal in my mouth, it's not the time. Or when people tell me which golfers they like. That would be all well and good if it weren't for two hours when I'm out with friends. Being a celebrity is taxing. I do feel for Jen and Brad. Advice. Fantasy golf. Who they should bet on at the Masters. You name it and people ask. Big stroke of the ego.
-The 'Tiger' factor. He's going to get the records. If you don't believe it, call me in 12 years. The first major I ever covered was the 2000 British Open. All he did at that one was become the fifth player ever to win the career Grand Slam. The amazing run of golf has honestly bored me at times, but the early '00s were the most outstanding years of golf in recent memory and I'm fortunate to be doing this during Tiger's prime.
-It's refreshing to do something close to what you studied in college. I was a communication major, but with a specialty in public relations. It did involve some writing, so I'm happy to have been qualified for my job.
-The presumed look of pride my dad gets. My father would be proud of me even if I were a contract killer, but I know he reads, and I think he gets a kick out of having a son who is a golf writer. I guess I owe him after a little thing we like to call "college tuition."
Those are just some of the reasons why I love being a golf writer. Also, there's not much to cover in the last two months of the year. That's always easier.
1.) Comments on the Padraig/Vijay playoff?
Harrington is a world-class player that had some trouble finishing (21 runner-ups).
Well Vijay blew it, but Harrington made a spectacular par at the first playoff hole. I thought he was dead meat when he had that awkward length pitch, but man, was his shot impressive. I think Harrington is a world-class player that had some trouble finishing (21 runner-ups). Finally breaking through on the PGA Tour was a major step since his plan was to play in the U.S. to prepare for the majors. His record in the 'Big Four' has always been great, and now Harrington is a legitimate threat in 2005. I think he's got a great game for the U.S. Open, so he goes on that short list.
2.) How about Des Smyth winning on the Champions Tour?
I picked this guy to be a sleeper on the elder circuit two and a half years ago. He's one of the few Europeans that play the Champions Tour anymore. Smyth and Mark James are about it. Sam Torrance was here, but hated it and went back to Scotland. Coming soon to a three-day event near you: Nick Faldo, Ian Woosnam and Sandy Lyle.
3.) Who is flying most under the radar right now?
How about that Ernie Els? He overcame a five-shot deficit on Sunday to win the Qatar Masters. That was his second win in a row after taking the Dubai Desert Classic. Els' game is coming on in a big way heading back to the U.S. for his Masters run. He is favorite No. 2 at Augusta. Behind Tiger, slightly ahead of Mickelson.
4.) Why are you bummed?
I looked at my column from one year ago and that was one of my favorites. It was when my friend Tom and I went golfing for the first time of the year. Snow still lays in some spots near my house and it's freezing. I hate the winter. Snow was cool when you were a kid (school's out, snowball fights), but sucks out loud as an adult.
5.) Winner at Bay Hill.
I thought I had my second win of the year with Vijay at the Honda Classic, but he couldn't make a stinking three-foot putt. Lock city this week as Tiger Woods has won four of the last five Bay Hill Invitationals. You are out of your mind if you don't like Woods, who has two wins already.
1.) Tiger Woods 2.) Ernie Els - back-to-back wins in the Middle East has to be worth something. 3.) Phil Mickelson 4.) Vijay Singh - looked like the guy above him with that missed putt. 5.) Retief Goosen 6.) Adam Scott 7.) Padraig Harrington - should make my Irish friends Christopher and J.P. unbearable. 8.) David Toms - fifth at Honda jumps him past 'El Nino.' 9.) Sergio Garcia 10.) Anyone named Ogilvie or Ogilvy - the former is Joe, the latter is Geoff. The former tied for second at the Honda, the latter tied for sixth.
1.) Hale Irwin 2.) Craig Stadler 3.) Mark McNulty - tied for second and think this guy is ready for a major this year. 4.) Tom Watson 5.) Peter Jacobsen 6.) Dana Quigley 7.) Bruce Fleisher 8.) Gil Morgan/Larry Nelson - for whatever reason, I've thought of these guys as basically the same for years. 9.) Curtis Strange - T49, T31, T53. Told you he wouldn't succeed, but how steamed do you think he is because Faldo and Azinger have gotten so much ink for the job they've done on ABC? 10.) Jerry Pate
1.) Annika Sorenstam 2.) Grace Park 3.) Lorena Ochoa 4.) Cristie Kerr 5.) Jenny Rosales 6.) Karrie Webb 7.) Meg Mallon 8.) Christina Kim 9.) Sophie Gustafson 10.) Candie Kung - Candie Kung, you are my girl. You're everything to me. That's a variation of the song "Candy Girl." It's funny. Laugh.
Seve Ballesteros is out of the Masters with a knee injury. There goes my pick.
For those of you that care, I like Illinois, Kentucky, North Carolina and Wake Forest. Give me UNC over Illinois in the final. Keep in mind that I didn't get one Final Four guy correct in the Match Play.