Sunday, June 27, 2010

Summertime Golf Excursions

Spanning the globe to find great golf is a never ending pursuit. In the next couple of months I’m traveling to a diverse group of destinations to play some great courses and write about them.

First up is Venice, Italy. Yes, you read that correctly. Not Venice, Florida.  A group named Amazing Venice Golf, a marketing coop, says there are about a dozen courses in close proximity to the canal-only city.  I’ll play and tour courses like the Golf Club of Venezia and Golf Club Montecchia in nearby Padova. I’ve been to many unique golf destinations in my career—Kenya, The Canary Islands, Morocco and China to name a few—but this one should be very special.

Later this month I’ll go to Panama City, Florida, which has exceptional courses like the Greg Norman designed Shark’s Tooth and Tom Fazio designed Camp Creek Golf Club. What saddens me is the anxiety the NW Florida Gulf Coast tourist area is undergoing about the massive oil spill and what the eventual effect it will have on the beaches. Right now, they’ve discovered a few isolated oil balls, but who knows what the future holds especially in the next few months, which is also hurricane season.

In early August, I’ll venture to Sun Valley Resort in Idaho. Everybody knows the area as a great snow skiing destination, but I’ve been told there’s some pretty good golf up there as well. I’m anxious to play the Robert Trent Jones Jr. designed Trail Creek Course, which is a Golf Digest “Top 75 Resort Course in North America” and the 18-hole Sawtooth Putting Course, a 52,000 square-foot nirvana for the flat stick. There’s also a new 9-hole layout called White Clouds, which I’m told, has stunning views of surrounding mountains. I can’t wait. It’ll be a nice reprieve from the sweltering Florida heat.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Tiger Woods 2.0 a Big Dud

So far, Tiger Woods’ return to tournament golf has been about as exciting as the movie Caddyshack II and Michael Vick 2.0.

Instead of the swashbuckling Woods that stalked the fairways before his “Cocktail Waitresses Across America Tour”, we’re getting the somber, somewhat bewildered Woods who misses cuts and bails out because of a sore neck.

It seems so long ago that CBS's Jim Nance would wax poetically about “Tiger being on the prowl”. Nance always seemed to notice “the look in Tiger’s eyes”.  Now, the only thing Nance can drone on about is whether Tiger will make the cut. Hey, that super slow mo of Tiger's errant swings off the tee is interesting, too.

On the course, instead of magical shots to win tournaments, Tiger gives a weekly lesson in military golf-left, right, left, right… That seems to be where most of his drives end up.  If I want to see crappy driving like that I can go to my local muni and camp out at the first tee.

Why does Tiger continue to wear his red shirts on Sunday? The intimidation he once exuded is long gone. Heck, it seems like every twentysomething on the PGA Tour, from Rory Mcllroy and Jason Day to Rickie Fowler and Ricky Barnes has shown Woods up lately. Even 16-year old amateur phenom Jordan Speith has grabbed the spotlight from Woods. Tiger might want to switch Sunday colors, perhaps a lavender or chartreuse?

Off-the-course, Woods actually seems to be grateful and accommodating to interviewers like CBS’s Peter Kostis. The grumpy, suspicious Woods after a round is a distant memory.

You gotta wonder, too. What happens if Woods gets his act together and actually wins a tournament?  Most likely his estranged wife and kids won’t rush out to greet him. Sadly, he might be surrounded by his agent Steinie (Mark Steinberg) and perhaps a Las Vegas showgirl.

It’s so sad. Truth is, I’d rather watch Caddyshack II than watch Tiger Woods play golf these days. No, it's not that bad, but I certainly don’t enjoy watching Tiger Woods 2.0.