Kia Classic – Sunday

March 25, 2012

While Yani was winning by six and Tiger giving renewed hope for the PGA Tour after a full recovery from that nine iron upside his head, I was looping in the Fresh & Easy Pro-Am on the Dinah course at Mission Hills. Three amateurs teamed with an LPGA Legends player in a two net best ball format with a shotgun start.

Two caddies were assigned per per group. My pro was Liselotte Neumann with my buddy Mark on the bag. One guy didn’t show so he was replaced with Fiona Mason, the significant other of Tim Mason, Chairman of Fresh & Easy. Needless to say, she was extremely nervous and apologized for her performance from the get-go. "I’m just a beginner" was her mantra so expectations of helping the team were subdued but what was to come, surprised us all.

I started working on Fiona early. First, it was just to remind her of the triumvirate of tips from her instructor but it was obvious that much more was required. I eventually corrected her alignment and ball position along with constant reminders to slow down the backswing. The transformation was incredible. Enough so that Lotta dubbed me "teacher of the year" and she meant it. Could have been my finest caddie/instructor performance ever. The coup de grâce came on our final hole, the par three seventeenth. Playing downwind with a front pin, it was a tweener. Fiona was anxious to hit and it was up to me to pick the stick. With the six in one hand and seven in the other, I faced a dilemma. Six would land on the front and surely go up the ridge and maybe over the green. Seven would land short and would need to climb the upslope that guards the front of the green. When in doubt, listen to your gut feeling I say and it was whispering seven. Sure enough, it landed short, climbed the hill and finished ten feet beyond the hole. Fiona capped it off by making the putt for a natural bird and her scores were used seven times during the round. The metamorphosis of a nervous, self-conscience substitute into a confident team contributor wasn’t akin to Moses parting the Red Sea but pretty darn close.

Afterward, we all sat down for some good eats and the presentation ceremony. Rosie Jones was low pro with a 73 with Big Mamma runner-up, one shot shy. It was great to see all the Legends players. I came out on Tour in their heyday, the golden age of the LPGA, and the familiar faces rekindled many fond memories.

The teams that placed  third or higher received decorative trophy glass created by former LPGA pro Muffin Spencer-Devlin.

Then there was this:

Nokia’s New Innovation: Vibrating Tattoos – The possibilities are endless.


Kia Classic – Saturday

March 24, 2012

Drove to Rancho Mirage yesterday and will be the guest of super-fan Dave for the first Major. The LPGA finally acknowledged his devotion to the tour and many years of tireless volunteerism, which has spanned the country, with a special access pass. Bravo to Mike Whan and staff. This week Dave is the Scoring Chairman at the Kia Classic.

Someone needs a timeout. At the end of play yesterday, two caddies were involved in a shouting match, apparently over something that happened on the course, which caused quite a stir. Enough so, that an official was called to douse them with cold water. No harm, no foul I think.

Had lunch with Mark Scott today and it was great to catch up. We’ll be together in a pro-am at Mission Hills tomorrow.

Thanks to Sherrie for posting the following on Facebook.

opportunist note


Then there was this:

Giving it back: Golf’s ‘Pink Panther’ invests in future stars

Founders Cup falls shy of attendance goal

Lindsey blasts back

Pat Bradley Joins LPGA Legends Event In Falmouth, Maine

Police: Thief hid $400 golf club in his pants – No, he was not happy to see you. Open-mouthed smile

Kia Classic – Wednesday

March 21, 2012

Worked the pro-am though the "unconnected" Caddie Connection like last week. I’ll explain shortly.

It was a carbon copy of Phoenix with the pros only playing nine. We switch at the turn which gives the amateurs a chance to meet a different player and also gets more pros get to participate. We were first off with Michele Wie as our front nine partner and Sandra Gal the back. Also in the group was the President of Kia so I was on my best behavior. It was smooth sailing all day and our group was leading when the final pin was replaced.

Now, an accounting of today’s fiasco. FUBAR is the only way I can describe a very awkward situation regarding how the caddies were supposed to be paid. Through an email to all the regular Caddie Connection loopers, it was clear the amateurs were responsible for the caddie’s gratuity, which is their only form of remuneration, but the participants were originally told it was all part of the pro-am package. So upon finishing, we all stood around trying to determine what was what. A guy who seemed to be in charge got on the horn and after a few calls, got the word that ‘the LPGA had it covered’. HA! I knew you’d find a snowball in Hades before that happened. So more calls were made but nothing definitive seemed on the horizon. One of my guys was already in the clubhouse but the other wished to make sure I was taken care of. When there was still no answer, he paid me for both of them. It was truly classless the way that was handled.

Sandra Gal plays a little game with her pro-am group in order to get them not to leave putts short. If you do, a funny red hat she carries in her bag must be worn though the next hole. Well, the President was the first to qualify but never donned the shameful chapeau. Not sure if he even knew the ramifications when she explained the self-imposed rule. It wasn’t’ brought up again after that which was a very good decision on her part.

As I walked up to the putting green just before leaving, a skateboarding dog was giving quite an exhibition by his handlers. Back and forth he went, with one paw on the board until enough speed was attained. He then jumped on with all fours and weaved his way to the end of the run. I’m sure the highlights will be on Facebook or YouTube tonight.

For the second consecutive tournament, foul weather is expected on the weekend. Enough so that the up tee on the long par four ninth may be used.

Ever see a duck crap? It’s not a pretty sight, especially right in front of a Starbucks.

Spoof awards are presented to caddies for various reasons in the annual get-together during the HSBC event in Singapore. It’s all in good fun but can be embarrassing at times. One of the awards is the Caddie Who Suffered The Most or something to that affect. This year it was to go to Michelle’s looper but prior permission was asked so not to step on anyone’s toes. Well, that didn’t happen so Karrie Webb’s caddie took home the award once again.

Then there was this:

LPGA Tour ready to walk ‘longest mile’ in Carlsbad

Kia Classic – Qualifier

March 19, 2012

Sunday: On was on the road by 5 am on Sunday and drove through a steady rain until the western outskirts of Phoenix where it stopped. Didn’t see another drop til Beaumont CA where snow covered the ground and was being pelted with sleet.

Approaching the Arizona/California state line, I passed a lady in the breakdown lane extracting something from her trunk in a bent over position. She sported a doublewide derriere, glad in black panty hose which accentuated a butt crack that could have spanned both borders. If I was in any danger of dosing off, that would have brought me back. Quite a sight indeed.

Met Katy at the course around noon for a practice round. The wind was howling and became stronger as we progressed. So much so, that we only chipped and putted on the second nine. I figured it was a four-clubber by the finish.

Monday: Cool but very little breeze made it tolerable. Shot too many and didn’t make it.

Kick me while I’m down why don’t you. My bag for next week fell through. She dropped on the course while playing overseas and is now in hospital.

Then there was this:

Paula Creamer happy with her new golf swing

Kia Classic – Round Four

March 28, 2010

My player is Maria Hernandez

Four over for our final round and I do mean final.

Familiar faces: Played with Sherri Steinhauer and on the third hole, Maria asked if Sherri was the Junior Solheim Cup captain when they played in Minnesota. She had and it turns out, Maria was on the opposing team. They started reminiscing which led to an amusing story.

After play concluded that year, the American players all wished to go shopping so the entire team piled into a Ford Taurus with Sherri as the chauffeur. They were stacked like cord-wood with Morgan on the bottom. After getting lost, the the gripes began to surface so they stopped for directions. Everyone got out except Morgan who just laid there and told them to work it out and get back on the road.

Kia Classic – Round Three

March 27, 2010

My player is Maria Hernandez

Two over today but still gained around twenty spots.

Something new every day: As we strode down the ninth fairway, I noticed the rather used condition of Maria’s glove and mention that it might be time for a change. Not for Maria though. She doesn’t like the feel of a new glove and prefers something more broken in.

Say what? J-Ro mentioned in a recent interview that this is too difficult a course to open the year with and should be played in the middle of the season. Considering our Swiss cheese schedule, don’t ya think one should be ready at the opening bell? What was she doing all Winter?

Kia Classic – Round Two

March 26, 2010

My player is Maria Hernandez

Birdied the last to make the cut on the number.

Veteran loopers exit the final hole with a powerful thirst seeking to be quenched. So when one of our group jokingly asked a guy in the skybox if any stray brewskies were looking for a home, we didn’t reject the three that materialized. Of course, we abstained until our caddie duties were completed.

True to his word: The Commissioner told us he welcomes any comments or suggestions. Just email them along for his full consideration. I did, and received a reply the next day. He actually thought my idea was good.

Money in the bank: More caddies are moving to the Straight Talk cell service. If all you need is basic calls, text and a little web service, it can’t be beat. No, I’m not getting a cent from them. Just saving money.

Kia Classic – Round One

March 25, 2010

My player is Maria Hernandez

Ran into a few rough patches, if you know what I mean. Shot +1.

Ours was an all veteran caddie group. Louie on Jimin Kang’s bag and Dana on Na On Min’s. Dana looped in spectacular fashion. Read all of Na’s putts from twenty feet away without stepping on the green. Louie was, well, Louie. Didn’t grab a pin until our fifteenth hole.

Someone give me an aspirin: Like many new LPGA players who have migrated from foreign soil, Maria plays in meters. This is my first attempt to comprehend such an arcane measuring system but I decided to jump in head first an give it my best. I would first get the yardage in yards (that’s why they call it yardage) then convert it into meters for Maria. Simple enough as she just subtracts 10% instead of using the full conversion. But silly me opted to try selecting clubs by the distance she hits them in meters. DOH! If I had a brain aneurysm it would have popped upon my repeated attempts! After a couple holes, I left it up to her until the fog in my noggin subsided. I then realized that either of us switching would be futile so, I stuck to yards and she to meters. Bingo! We now arrive at the same destination albeit using different paths.

Telling it like it is: That’s’ what I and a couple of my campadres did yesterday at the rookie orientation. I wasn’t planning to but was roped into it by being in the wrong place at the wrong time. 🙂 We met with three separate groups of rookies covering the full range of the player/caddie relationship, from pay to play.

No ticky, no lunchy: There is one sure sign that Obama recovery hasn’t reached the Kia Classic. For the first time in recent memory, the LPGA staff may not break bread in the Player’s Hospitality Area. They are regulated to the same food chit the caddies receive which may be redeemed at a concession stand. I however, am extremely grateful to be Maria’s guest. Guess that lecture during rookie orientation paid off. 🙂

The sun will come out, tomorrow… The LPGA is back in business with another weather company.

Things a man just doesn’t say to another man… and “Hey stud, let me touch you” is one of them. I know it was meant for good luck since it was aimed in Dana’s direction but please Tom, be a man!

Caddie master of the year? NOT! The guy is never there. I’ve been trying to turn in my smelly, Lilliputian towel for two days without any luck.

Kia Classic – Wednesday

March 24, 2010

My player is Maria Hernandez

A 9am shotgun nixed our plans for an E-9. A couple hours of short game practice, a three hour rookie orientation meeting and a stint on the rock pile was our day.

Meet the Commish: It was the caddies turn to have a sit-down with the new Commissioner Mike Whan. It was called “Beers and Peers” and aptly named it was. A few cold ones to soothe the savage beasts (that’s us) and a very forthright and candid spiel from Mr. Whan. I won’t reveal the content but we departed with the utmost respect for the LPGA’s new leader.

Kinfolk: Sandra Gal is Maria’s big sister on tour. She would be the “go to gal” (ha ha) for any inside info.

At it again: Mama and papa Wie are out with their stimpmeter checking the greens just like last year. When will someone corral these two and put them out to pasture. They run roughshod on every rule and no one cares.

A stitch in time: If our schedule started in January like the PGA’s, Ping would not have been able to supply clubs with the redesigned grooves but since we only play part-time, no problem.

Who dropped this ball? As in past years, flying through Houston would look like the most desirable option to travel to Morelia but with all the luggage snafus (plane too small), it is to be avoided if you need your sticks before Wednesday. They fail to tell the rookies and it turns into a nightmare.

Well kept secret: It was Maria’s birthday today. Wouldn’t have known if Marta and Tania didn’t sing to her at the practice pitching area.

Kia Classic – Tuesday

March 23, 2010

My player is Maria Hernandez

Long day. 7:30 to 5:30. Played the front by ourselves. If it wasn’t for all those players getting in practice rounds last week, it would have been an impossibility. A couple players joined at the turn.

Order me a set of these: Low round in yesterday’s qualifier was even par which may give us a harbinger of what’s ahead. Sara Jane Smith had to borrow Becky Morgan’s sticks after hers failed to arrive. Missed the playoff but one measly stroke.

Futures follies: A bump up to $200,000 by one of the sponsors, which would have doubled their current purse, was nixed by the CEO, I was told. The reason given is that they did not wish to make the Futures Tour a venue of perpetual sustenance. In other words, if you don’t have what it takes to make it to the LPGA, get off this tour and get on with your life but if that was the objective, why not put a time limit on one’s Futures career? How about five years? I disagree with that sort of logic anyway. Bump the purses and let them play for some dough. And another thing, some players need longer to mature to a level required to play on the LPGA. Why not let them make enough to live on while they do it? Sheesh!

Tiger watch: An insider at Augusta National said Tiger played there today. Shanked it on twelve was the word.

Baptism under fire: It was at the Jamie Farr in Toledo last year that Maria made her debut on the LPGA as an invitee. Pretty much a nervous wreck and missed the cut. Came back strong the next week and finished 34th at The Open.

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