June 15, 2008

A geriatric Tin Cup?  / Tiger and Phil bet dollars to doughnuts

I am a legend, or so said Steven Banks while emceeing the Mercedes Benz Finals at the Intercontinental Hotel on Friday night.

Now, before you think this has gone to my head, the word "legend" was used by Steven about 27 billion times and was applied to a myself; Mark Khan; the magician performing in-between awards; the cleaning lady who mopped up a beer near the stage and, of course, Mercedes Benz and the MB girls.

Only Mercedes Benz deserved it, not only for their cars and the girls, but also for the event which was staged at most of the golf course in Vietnam during the previous few months of this year.

I always thought you had to be dead to receive "legend-status", otherwise youíd be a "living legend," but that might have escaped Steven because he too suffered from heat stroke like the rest of us playing in the event.

However, if you consider the way I played, "dead legend" wouldnít be too far-fetched, but you know I have my list of viable excuses handy...thank you for asking.

The heat definitely took its toll on me, but it affected everyone equally as well, so that excuse goes out the window too. I drove the ball ok, except for the last hole, so I really cannot complain about the back tees, except that was a lot of work for an old man.

If anything, Iíd have to admit that I lost focus out there. After playing golf for 44 years, I donít care much about the score anymore (unless Iím betting with friends), I play to have fun and, to be honest, I am just thankful that I can still swing a club right now.

Every round I can play is a bonus.

I was only one over on the 2nd nine until I got to the 18th hole and dumped my tee shot into the water. So, I did the natural thing....I walked up to the white tee, dropped a ball and launched it over the lake to the green.

Unfortunately, it fell short by about a metre. Jeff, Lars and Joe Millar walked off the 17th green during this and Jeff said something about "looks like "Tin Cup"".

The second one hooked and the third one made it to dry land, so unlike the movie I didnít take 14 shots to get over, but I also didnít put the ball into the hole and walked off the hole with a "9."

But I was smiling like hell afterwards so the movie was right in ONE way..."sometimes ya just gotta go for it."

Now, speaking of going for it, by the time this goes to press, the USGA-inspired two day pairing of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson will have passed and with it, probably Philís hopes of winning.

Look, Phil just doesnít hold up well with a Tiger in his face, but come to think of it, most players on the Tour donít either. Ernie Els has a mental collapse the moment he hears Tiger is in the event and even Sergio Garcia had to wait for Tiger to have knee surgery before winning a quasi-major.

When I heard about the pairing, I immediately had a horrible premonition that Mickelson will bounce around the course with that stupid "Iím playing with Tiger" grin on his face and forget heís in a fight for the championship.

This guy really needs a reality check and a few less jelly doughnuts.

I donít know what the USGA was thinking when they came up with this harebrained pairing to be honest. Were they trying to force Phil to shoot himself out of the tournament after the first two days or were they hoping he would rise to the challenge?

Were they hoping it would boost the first two days TV coverage and spectator ticket sales?

One thing is for sure, all the other players will feel invisible out there because everyone will be watching the Phil / Tiger show and that might be a very good thing.

With all the pressure and spotlights off, some of the other players can quietly make a serious impact on the tournament and go low in the first two days and hope Tiger and Phil kill each other...

Which is very good possibility.

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