Takefuji Classic 2006-Las Vegas NV

My player this week is Naree Song

Week Off:  Sunday afternoon took me just a bit down the road to Blythe CA. No reason to drive any farther when I have six days to get to Atlanta. It was on to Van Horn TX on Monday and was a fairly easy jaunt except my cruise control has started acting up again. Shuts off for no reason and can’t be reset unless I turn off the motor. Bummer! Probably the clockspring under the steering wheel. Made it to Monroe Louisiana on Tuesday. Nothing exciting but the cruise is working again.

  • And the winner is; The NCAA pool goes to John Killeen, Meg’s cadero, beating out Kathy Lawrence in the final game.

  • James ‘The Ripper’; Golfweek rips Wie’s caddie. Read it here. I sent him a stinging reply.

Arrived in Atlanta without a hitch on Wednesday. Hanging at The Masters Inn in McDonough till Saturday then Ill stay at the airport before flying to Vegas. Still looking for a bag.

Had the best night’s sleep since Hawaii. A backlog of mail tracked me down and it’s nice to have a few days to catch up. The traffic here is just crazy. While attempting to merge onto I75, an impatient motorist just in front of me, decided to cut ahead of the line of cars backed up on the ramp. He didn’t notice the trailer a car was towing and missed by inches. The next vehicle was an eighteen wheeler which slammed on the brakes just in time. Could have been a beauty.

It’s Friday and I’m still running around wrapping things up. A visit to AAA, the Sheriff’s Dept., two trips to the Post Office and a stop at an auto body shop. No, I wasn’t in an accident. Just some Florida business to be taken care of. Those in the know will understand.

Will work for food or a song; Pays to have friends in high or, in this case, low places. After a little networking, I picked up Naree for Vegas. Worked for her ages ago in St. Louis. I wonder if she remembers?

Sunday: America West was my choice of travel to Las Vegas offering the the best price and times at booking. I arrived early and snagged an exit row seat but it doesn’t recline. I’ll take the extra leg room instead. A free meal has gone by the wayside with this carrier but you may purchase a sandwich with one caveat. An apology precedes the service suggesting your first, second or third choice may not be available. They did have fluids to drink and free mini pretzels.

Caught a taxi to my abode (The Somerset Motel) which turns out to be a bit of a dump but it’s cheap, close to the course and I’m picking up someone’s wireless connection. A major plus. The driver was confused and started to take me to the wrong motel. Maybe that half depleted bottle of bourbon in the center console had something to do with it.

Monday: Walked the course early and it’s in decent shape. Will play hard and fast with all the par fives reachable if the wind is right. Naree took the day off so I just hung around till early afternoon.

  • Not including tip; Most players and caddies are staying across the street at the Hilton which gave the tournament a rate of less than $80. Pretty good for Vegas but watch out for those pesky incidentals. A beer at the Sports Book bar (thee spot to be) will run $5 if you’re not gambling. Of course, the food will set you back a bit unless you stick to the sub shop next to the bar. One cadero went down for coffee this morning for himself and his two roommates and dolled out $12 for the java! At that price, Juan Valdez should deliver it himself.

  • Cha-ching; Many will leave this week’s check behind before they leave but there always are a few winners. One looper already hit for $800 playing video keno. Now if he just had the sense to walk away. Nah.

  • Get your red-hots here; Having a very disappointing meatball sandwich at the aforementioned sub shop yesterday, I headed for ‘The Strip’ for a bite to eat. Slots-A-Fun offered a 1/2 pound hotdog for $1.29 which I couldn’t pass up. Topped it with chili and cheese and was out of there for just over $2. Wonder where that stands on the food pyramid?

  • Tighten those purse strings; Atlanta has picked up a major sponsor but still had to drop the purse by $200,000. As a result, the entry date for this week was extended to last Thursday instead of the usual Tuesday just in case some plans were altered at the mast minute.

  • Crunch; Lane Kieldsen, Marisa’s caddie, was on the receiving end of some unexpected body alterations on his Lexus. Seems the valets at The Bellagio were in a bit too big of a hurry. You should have seen the other car!

Tuesday: Only played nine holes as Naree’s energy dwindled. Found out she enjoys a cup o’ joe from Starbucks so the game was afoot. I was one latté up going into the ninth, a par five guarded by agua on three sides, and gave her the best odds in Vegas. “Hit the green in two and we’re even and if you make en eagle, you’re one up” I offered. A no lose situation. She stuck it 18 inches and I conceded the putt. I’m just not very good wagering caffeinated drinks.

  • ZZZZZZZ; Even on a course as simple as this, practice rounds seem to drag on forever.

Christina Kim snoozes on the seventh tee while waiting for the green to clear.

  • Hiding hippo; Naree’s three metal has a hippo head cover concealing an astute but simple message.

Fairly mundane compared to some.

Unzip its mouth and voila.

  • Local yokel; The local favorite always gets some press as we head for round one.

It’s Stephanie Louden’s turn this week.

Wednesday: The Song sisters played an E-9 before the pro-am in the best weather we’re going to see all week., perfectly calm. Breezy conditions expected the next three days. A short practice session followed and this part of my day was done.

  • Get a grip; The Future’s Tour does not afford the luxuries of ‘The Show’ as indicated by the sheen emanating from the grips on Naree’s clubs. If you need them changed out there it’s a do it yourself affair or trust the local repairman (hack). We finally got our guy Paul, who has been working out of two different trailers here in Vegas, neither one his own, to change them before teeing it up tomorrow. He dropped off the LPGA version in Atlanta before heading to ‘Sin City’ and is making do the best he can.

  • Hey, I can play; A while back I was contacted by Clay Coalson to see if I was available to work for him in the pro-am. Clay is an attorney from Corpus Christi TX, follows Life on Tour and will be a volunteer standard bearer in this week’s event. Since my day with Naree was completed early and Clay had a 12:20 tee time, things just fell into place. Our pro was Michelle Redman with ‘Coffee Joe’ on the sack or should I say trunk. Get the picture? Clay started out with a game that was dubious at best but settled down and turned out to be one of the better players in the group. A bird on his own ball on the third along with an eagle putt on number nine was just two of his contributions. Throw in a couple more birdie putts and he had a day worth crowing about.

  • Cha-ching deux; Another success story at the tables had one looper/husband pocketing a wad of cash (heard it was in the thousands) playing blackjack. An offer to do the town via a limo was reluctantly turned down by a compadre due to an early tee time the next morn. 

Thursday: Like most weather forecasters I was wrong, at least for the morning. I create more turbulence passing gas than what the wind was blowing today. Perfect conditions and Naree took advantage shooting -4.

  • From a sows ear to a silk purse, almost; We made the turn three under (started on the back) but number two almost did us in. The tee ball went right of the fairway bunkers and a Macgyver inspired shot with a choked down three metal (pulled this off earlier with fantastic results) was called for. Just a little punch cut and run it up to the front but the cut didn’t materialize and our pellet nuzzled just inches from the OB wall. The only play was back towards the fairway but that nettlesome curb bordering the cart path ricocheted our ball off another piece of the wall into an opening under the trees. One shot later and still off the green, Naree’s overly aggressive chip  hit the pin dead center and discovered the bottom of the cup. One heck of a bogey!

  • Birthday boy; Rick ‘The Nerd’ celebrated his forty-fifth yesterday without dumping a glass of water into his roommate’s pasta.

  • Motivate me; Time and time again, one of the best motivations a player may have is when a caddie dumps her for another loop. Shi Hyun Ahn’s toter jumped ship for Christie Kerr following the Nabisco event and it looks like it’s payback time, at least for now. Ahn carded a stellar -7 for today’s round but Christie is also in the hunt at -4.

  • Bye-bye Bae; Remember the debacle with Kyeong Bae’s dad at Nabisco? Well, he was in her cadero’s face after today’s round yelling something about not telling her that her stance was too wide or some garbage like that. Another one that needs to be sent packing.

  • A must see? As we approached our last hole, the ninth, Naree pointed to the new attraction prominently displayed on the Hilton’s marquee. ‘Menopause The Musical‘ was their latest offering and I heard it’s hilarious. Just seems odd it was scheduled during a lady’s golf tournament.

Friday: The LPGA’s best are an advantageous lot and the morning doldrums provided an opportunity not to be passed up. Consequently, scores dropped precipitously. We had a few holes of relative calm ourselves but the promised cyclonic winds hit with a vengeance but still managed to finish the day even, leaving us four under for the event. There was also a delay in play due to a clap of thunder too close for comfort but the field should finish before dark.

  • My caddie (the devil) made me do it; Heard Shi Hyun Ahn ripped her ex-cadero a new one in the local paper, blaming him for everything from her lack of aggressive play to global warming. Some players see only a one way street in the player/caddie relationship. They may fire you all day and twice on Sunday but how dare you quit on them. Just another ‘Princess’ in the making.

  • Sol-mate; I ran across the caddies favorite beverage from South of the boarder, Sol cerveza, at the local AM/PM convenience store and couldn’t leave without a few for the room. Brings back fond memories.

Saturday: Never could bring it all together shooting a one over par round today and finished T-35. Not a bad showing indeed.

  • A tad short; After walking off the distance on the par three seventeenth, I relayed my calculations to Naree. 130 front, plus 33 (the pin) for a total of 163. As her practice, Naree repeated the front number and I concurred. This hole boarders the huge Hilton hotel which causes the wind to swirl in an unpredictable design so just as soon you think it’s at your back it flip-flops directly into your face. This in mind, we were in between a seven or six iron. Naree reached for a club on the seven iron side of the bag so I assumed that was the selection. NOT! Somehow she apparently thought the total was 130 and not just the front. After the shot finished five yards short of the green in disbelief, I checked the club and it was a nine iron! If that tricky wind was not at our back we would have rinsed it into the seemingly out of play lake. Still made par though, then birdied the last hole for another fantastic finish.

  • Thar she blows! The rules officials finally harpooned their ‘great white whale’ yesterday, assessing a two stroke penalty for slow play to Young Kim. Notoriously pokey since joining the tour, she always escaped punishment by accelerating to warp speed when being timed. How they caught her remains a mystery. Hearing of the coup stimulated one top player to remark “Yeah, four years too late”.

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