Saturday, January 31, 2009

FBR Open = World’s Largest Beer Garden

The editors here at IB18 are mounting their collective steed and holding sabers aloft, pointing the tips at every last un-knowledgeable poser golf fan that disgraced the TPC of Scottsdale with their presence.

That means you, dual-popped collar, backwards hat-wearing, iPod dangling from ears douchebag. It also means you, silicon-based chest, collagen lipped, cosmopolitan swilling, half-porn star/half soccer mom airhead with an identity crisis. And you too, you beer drinking, funny-man in their own head, non-SPF wearing Redneck.

Yes, we are angry. And for NO good reason, too.

For these are the people that the The Thunderbirds (organizer of the FBR) caters to with the Bird’s Nest, the 16th hole and every last corporate sponsorship tent that doles out grub and grog. And most importantly, this is why the Open has remained a fan favorite on the PGA Tour. It’s ultimately a win-win for both Promoter and Golf fans.

And for this, our negative rant against those who don’t know what ‘par’ or ‘bunker’ means, is debatable.

However, if it were up to IB18, every last ticket holder would need to take a golf quiz to enter the course grounds and then another quiz to get a bracelet for booze. The punishment for answering a question wrong on either quiz would be a ride home from the Maricopa County cops and house arrest for 5 years only during the week of the FBR Open.

Bottom line… If you don’t know s**t about golf. Stay at home and try to learn something. Don’t contaminate the game we have grown to love with your ignorance. Otherwise, you’re simply Chicago Cub fans trying out their drinking skills at a different venue.

That is nothing to be proud of.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Rise and Fall of the GMO?

For those that aren’t lucky enough, or even in some cases willing (like Kenny Perry last year) enough to travel across the pond and play in the Open Championship (aka The British Open) there is a little PGA tour stop in Milwaukee on that very same weekend.

Despite the lack of star quality, the U.S. Bank Championship, aka the Greater Milwaukee Open (GMO) has been a part of professional golf since 1940, with a notable role in PGA Tour history, as Tiger Woods made his debut as a professional at this tournament in 1996.

However, the current sponsor, U.S. Bank has decided not to re-new its sponsorship for this year’s tournament. Although no comment was given as to the reason why U.S. Bank was pulling out, Murphy’s Law suggests that the recent economic downturn would probably be the most apparent reason… and rightfully so.

The editors at IB18 are unsure as to what will happen to this tournament should a corporate sponsor not be willing to fork up purse money and as a result, get some decent face time. But we are more than happy to suggest other potential sponsors (and maybe not so corporate) that would not only be a good representative of the game of golf, but perhaps a representative of the city of Milwaukee and/or ‘America’s Dairyland’. Mars Cheese Castle gets my vote. This staple of Interstate 94 in Kenosha has been part of Wisconsin’s adoration of cheese and its by-products ever since the Land ‘o’ Lakes Indian Princess flashed Lewis and Clark on the Green Bay Trail.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Tax This, Schwarzenegger!

It’s really hard to completely lambast an elected official especially when he/she is not from your home state, or home country for that matter. This might be Ahhhhhh-nold’s best attempt at an ‘Anschluss’ since the Nazis pulled one on his home country back in 1938.

Gov. Schwarzenegger recently proposed a state-wide ‘golf tax’ which would apply to all charges involved with a round of golf: greens fees, cart rental, etc… Needless to say, we here at IB18 extend a hearty middle finger in the Governator’s direction and we run away quickly before the lasers start shooting from hizzoner’s eyeballs.

It is also the opinion of the editors at IB18 that Herr Governor of Californiendorfen has a golf handicap index that is raising over 30. Why else would he punish other golfers with a pointless and malicious tariff on a specific recreational activity unless he sucked at it? Make his USGA Hanidcap Index number of public record, harupmh, harumph!

Tax the skiers and snowboarders we say! Leave us golfers some money for a hot dog and a cold drink at the turn!

And take some golf lessons, Arnold.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Ryo, Oh-Me-Oh, Oh-My-Oh

And for that headline, I should be shot twice and have my body donated to a ritual sacrifice in French Guyana.

But Ryo ‘The Bashful Prince’ Ishikawa keeps the fortune coming with an invitation to this year’s Masters. In a statement from Augusta National President Billy Payne, "At a young age, Mr. Ishikawa has shown the skill and competitiveness to make him a deserving recipient of this invitation."

This all may seem like hype and we here at IB18 are shrewd about the excitement we dole out to certain golfers, but just to reiterate, this 17-year old kid from Japan:

- Has won 3 times on the Japanese PGA Tour (Twice in 2008)
- Is the youngest person to ever win a PGA sanctioned event (15 years, 8 months)
- Is the youngest person to ever win more than 100 million Yen (1.1 million USD) in a season
- Is currently ranked 60th in the world

All of this may not seem like much to the average schmo, or even the biggest of golf fanatics, but the interest of IB18 has been triggered. For we understand that some card-carrying professional golfers:

- Will never win a tournament
- Will never win more than $1 million in a season
- Will never break the top 100 on their tour, let alone in the World rankings

You can holler all you want about Ryo Ishikawa just being another golf wunderkind from down the pike and claim that he’s not ready to face big competition in the United States... The evidence suggests otherwise.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Ryo From Across The Sea-O

Perhaps I should be shot for that headline, but Ryo Ishikawa, a 17-year old Japanese golf wunderkind, just may be worth the hype.

He won his first professional tournament (Munsingwear Open/KSB Cup) at age 15 on the Japanese tour and is recognized as THE youngest winner of a tour event, EVER. This past season, he finished 5th on the Japan money list and is currently 60th on the World Golf Rankings.

Americans will get a first glimpse at Ryo’s golf game at the upcoming Northern Trust Open (Feb. 19-22) and again at the Arnold Palmer Invitational (Mar. 26-29).

Ishikawa may be known in Japan as the “Bashful Prince” but he is certainly not shy about his golf skills. Says Ryo, "I want to play against the world's best players. I want to be like Tiger Woods."

The editorial staff here at IB18 certainly doesn’t want to dissuade young Ryo from his endeavors. However, he may do himself more service my becoming the first Ryo Ishikawa and not the next Tiger Woods. After all, as a golf professional he’s accomplished more at a younger age than when Tiger was age 17.

Nor would it surprise us if he takes Woods the distance (perhaps even beat him) at the Arnie Invite, where Woods is defending champion.
Hype aside, Ishikawa may very well be the real deal.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Are You Lucky or Good?

Doing my usual research on happenings around the Golf world, I came across an interesting little press release.

In participation with DreamShot Golf, CrackerJax, a family fun park in Scottsdale, AZ is celebrating its 15th Anniversary (the ‘Crystal’ anniversary, as they say) by throwing a hole-in-one contest, where participants will have a chance to $10,000,000.

But whoa there, Nellie. Don’t start your golf boner just yet. Nobody just gets to ace a hole from 150-yards out and walk away with ten mil.

The contest, which will be held on January 22nd at the fun park, costs $10 to enter. Any player making an ace at CrackerJax will win $5000 and trip to Las Vegas (also valued at five grand) for a chance at the $10,000,000 jackpot. The contest for the big money will be held over the weekend of the 16th, 17th and 18th of October in Las Vegas, complete with a welcome reception, golf event (with closest to the pin contest) and dinner, with the hole-in-one contest being held on Sunday the 18th.

Let’s put it into perspective and crunch the numbers.

Odds on winning the Mega-Millions lottery: 1 in 175,711,536

Odds on an amateur golfer making a hole-in-one: 1 in 12,750 (according to a 1999 report in Golf Digest).

I don’t know about you, but I’m foregoing the usual weekly lottery ticket and heading to Scottsdale.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

They’re Not Just For Golf Courses Anymore

Not that a golf cart will help anyone in Chicago traverse the icy, snow-ridden, pothole-laden streets this winter, but there have been worse programs laid out by local governments.

As a ‘green’ initiative, Mayor Daley and the city of Chicago have unveiled the NEV (Neighborhood Electric Vehicle), which has been described as a ‘golf cart on steroids.’ The NEV has all of the bells & whistles one may find with their current car, but like a golf cart, runs solely on electricity. Unlike a golf cart, the NEV tops out at 35 MPH. In addition, an ordinance may pass which would allow city dwellers to own and operate an NEV, which would set someone back about $12,075 ($12,000 for the car, $75 for the city sticker).

Because of its low speed, the NEV will most likely be relegated to side street use only. And for those of us with discriminating taste… How will you pimp your NEV? Chain-link steering wheel, gold rims, dingle balls on the dash?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Thank You, Nathan J. Easler!

It isn’t flashy, full of pictures and visually appealing… and it doesn’t need to be.

Nathan Easler’s blog Golf Stats: The Numbers That Matter is satisfyingly full of statistical nuggets disseminated for your reading pleasure, combining the news of the week from the PGA Tour along with various statistical data and tidbits from tournament play.

Easler is not trying to use stats as an absolute measuring stick of a player’s success on tour. He readily admits that “any player's efforts are summarized by an absolute and final statistic: his or her score. However, as any visitor to the 19th hole knows, the story of the game cannot be told in full by the tally at the end of the round.”

Whether certain statistics are connected or mutually exclusive from the final score, Easler is able to successfully decipher the enigmatic language of Golf and brings to the table an honest, thorough, objective and concise e-read for the golf junkie.

On behalf the rest of us golf bloggers (who aren’t the best of numbers crunchers) In Between 18 gives Golf Stats a hearty golf clap and thanks Easler for his due diligence.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Approach This, Ellison!

CES 2009 starts tomorrow in Las Vegas. As the largest Consumer Electronics expo in the world, CES has debuted a plethora of technology, so its no wonder that golf has its place at the convention, namely with GPS (Global Position Satellite) devices.

Garmin’s Approach G5 (pictured at right) provides accurate distance to the pin, has a scorecard feature and conforms to R&A/USGA specifications. Up front, its a good little gadget to assist a golfer on one of the thousands of pre-loaded courses the G5 has in its hard drive.

However, PC Mag’s Craig Ellison’s and his article, ‘How Can a GPS Help Your Golf Game? Ask Garmin,’ are way off course. Not that Ellison is necessarily trying to proselytize the reader to his glowing review, but if you ‘want to slice a few strokes off your golf game,’ as Ellison suggests, this device can help.

For lack of a better comment, Ellison’s claim of the Approach G5 as a stroke saver is akin to saying that a subscription to Hustler Magazine will help you get laid.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Holy Crap, It’s Tour Season Again?

The 2009 PGA Tour will make its usual opening in Hawaii, with this week’s Mercedes-Benz Championship featuring a small field of 33 players, each of whom won a PGA event from the previous season.

Some stories do loom, aside from those that made it to Kapalua this week:

Tiger’s comeback is near and his rehabilitated knee will most certainly be put to the test, but at what venue? Anthony Kim looks prime to keep his young career going, hopefully with a Major not too far in the distance. Can Padraig Harrington keep his Irish eyes smiling with a win at Augusta?

Familiar names are back on tour after going through the Q-school grind. Harrison Frazar, John Huston and Notah Begay III have had success on the Tour before, and could certainly make their way towards the top of the money list.

Back to Kapalua…

If anything, this week’s opener is a reason for couch slumber and a hi-def signal pulsating through the pupils. For those in colder climates can live vicariously through the television, whisking us away ‘Calgon’-style to the plush Bermuda, reminding us that although it’s still January… there is still good golf to be had in all of its unblemished beauty.

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