Tomorrow is the 1st day of the 1st major PGA tournament of the year– The 2011 Masters.
As usual, the media has begun its prognostication of who would raise the trophy on Sunday. Everyone is pointing at Phil Mickelson’s excellent performance at the Houston Open where he won in spectacular fashion – that he is the man to beat.
It seems that almost everyone has written off Tiger Woods, including our own CHANG LIM who sent out an email last year saying that “he will never be the same again; he will not win again.”
Few people remember history. Before the Houston Open, Mickelson was in a slump. Before the 1980 US Open, Jack Nicklaus was in a slump, ranking 71st on the money list in 1979. When Tiger’s father was in his dying days, Tiger went on a slump, missing the cut at the 2006 US Open.
Mickelson mesmerized last weekend. At age 40, Jack snapped out of his slump at Baltusrol winning the major as he almost broke the scoring record on the first day with a 63. (His win at this US Open brought a prize of $55,000. My, how times have changed!)
Just as Nicklaus returned in 1980 to the course at Baltusrol where he broke Ben Hogan’s 72-hole scoring record in 1967, Tiger is returning to Augusta where he has been crowned 4 times in 1997, 2001, 2002, and 2005.
Unlike the media and my friend Chang, I am not about to write off the Tiger. These three great champions have had their share of life’s tragedy and they have something in common – they have incredible skills and exceptional desire to succeed. Jack Nicklaus was called a “washed out, and through” in 1979. He would go on to establish himself as one of the greatest golfers of our times for several more years after that.
Tiger is 36. I am not ready to count him out. He will be contending this weekend.
BIRDIEHUNTERS’ 2011 SEASON
During the previous years, we had a Ryder Cup Match Play between two teams and the UPS Championship. We tabulated points based on attendance, weekly winners, birdies, eagles, and KPs.
Your suggestions are welcome as to how we can make our 2011 season more exciting. Thus, a poll will be conducted as to what, in addition to our weekly pot & KP challenges, competition to hold.
Here are some ideas:
- UPS championship – instead of being based on points earned for birdies, KPs, and winnings, it could be based on total money winnings. We will keep a record of your weekly bank roll.
- TEAM MATCH PLAY – we will organize two teams who will play against each other for FOUR (4) consecutive games in August.
- Individual Top Gross Trophy – lowest gross scoring average to September
- Individual Top Net Trophy-lowest net scoring average to September
- Sandbagger of the Year Award
The term “sandbagger” has been used pejoratively during the good old days to describe a “vermin who purposely inflates his handicap index in order to better his chances of winning tournaments or bets.” It is also defined as someone who plays below his true potential; someone with giant testicles; someone with giant saggy breast; or someone who drinks very slowly while others are getting piss drunk.
Nowadays, it is as common as a four letter word. In friendly confines, while it is used to “psyche-up” and annoy, it is actually an expression of admiration for someone’s great game. Besides, none of the definitions above would fit anyone in our group. I don’t think anyone would dare tell King Kong that he has giant testicles!
It is pretty difficult to “cheat” our handicap system. To inflate one’s score on the 17th and 18th hole “just to influence the index to rise” is just not possible with one factor – ESC or equitable score control. It allows only for a maximum score per hold based on average handicap index. (The handicap index is calculated based on the following formula: ESC score-course rating x 113/slope rating. It takes the 10 best differentials and multiply them by.96.)
However, there is a “grey area” for those with 14 to 22 handicap indices. Regardless of their “average game”, they are capable of playing in the low to mid 80’s. (Vincent shot a 79 at Riverway 2 years ago. No, we will never let you forget that!)
So, in terms of “SANDBAGGER OF THE YEAR”, this should be awarded to either one of the following:
Someone whose ending index is lower than his beginning index, or
A player with the highest index winning the most money