The Pellucid Perspective - April 2012 - (Page 19)

THE LAST WORD An uncluttered mind yields Masterful performance T he 2012 Masters Tournament faced the Herculean challenge of living up to its advance billing as an instant classic, awaiting only its appropriate ceremonial kickoff by the fabled “Big 3” of Palmer, Player and Nicklaus to take its rightful place in Masters lore. With a seemingly resurgent Tiger coming off his first official Tour win since hydrant-gate, the uber-talented Rory eyeing the king’s crown, the always enigmatic Phil on his annual azalea blossom high, and a cast of Lukes, Lees, Hunters and other Calcuttaworthy contenders on hand, surely the 2012 edition would be one for the ages. Even the resurfacing of the female membership issue was quickly quashed by Augusta National Chairman Billy Payne, who brushed aside reporters’ inquiries on the subject like gnats, citing the traditional (a favorite Augusta National word) privacy (ditto) of membership deliberations – particularly, he said, when the candidate had been named, although Payne, of course, did not name IBM CEO Virginia Rometty. In its annual pre-Masters edition, Sports Illustrated’s panel of writers and one anonymous Tour pro addressed the “classic” issue, and also posed the question of whether this year’s event would still be a classic if Jonathan Byrd won it? Well, Byrd did beat both Tiger and Rory, but he didn’t win, finishing 12 strokes behind Bubba Watson, who did. An instant classic? I’m not sure what the criteria are, but from the moment the Big 3 all hit the fairway with their ceremonial tee shots, to Cougar heartthrob Fred Couples, fueled by his own annual azalea and magnolia elixir, leading after two rounds, to Louis Oosthuizen’s amazing double eagle in the final round, capped off by Bubba’s own shot for the ages from the forest on the second playoff hole, this one certainly had some talking points for its inclusion. Speaking of posing questions, Pellucid associate Harvey Silverman wondered after Bubba’s victory if the Hank Haneys, Sean Foleys and Butch Harmons of the world, as well as other PGA teaching professionals, felt like crying right along with Bubba afterward. Admittedly selftaught, with a swing and an approach to the game that no teacher would dare to envision, Bubba’s find ball-hit ball mantra undoubtedly delighted millions of amateurs with less than classic swings and the same aversion to straight shots, albeit their hooks and slices aren’t as intentional as Bubba’s. One does wonder if some Tour pros aren’t so caught up in the mechanics of their swings (see Woods, Tiger) that they can’t just turn their talent loose and let it flow. It’s instructive that Bubba’s caddie said afterward, “He always says ‘If I’ve got a swing, I’ve got a shot,’ and that’s the way we approach it.” Basically Bubba’s only thought is whether he wants/needs to hook it or slice it; he apparently doesn’t spend much time worrying about where his left elbow is on his takeaway, or his position at the top of his backswing. His joy in his nonconformity and his delight in seeing his wildly arcing shots find their way to the green is obvious. During one of the early rounds at Augusta, the tee box boom microphone picked up this reaction as he blasted a tee shot into the pine trees: “Oh, shoot!” (earning points from Nick Faldo on air for “language control”), then adding with a giggle, “Killed it, though.” It’s apparent from Bubba’s now-ritual outpourings of emotion following victories that his mind is not totally uncluttered, but it seems a safe bet that it’s not beset by worries about his shoulder turn or clearing his hips on the downswing. All in all, a classic performance, no matter how unconventional, and maybe now Bubba himself is the instant classic. Random swings Find ball, hit ball I had toyed with the idea of doing a story for this month’s issue on the effect of the absurd current gas prices on “drive market” golf courses, thinking that pain at the pump might be adding more pain at the tee sheet for resorts or other more remote courses. When I began by calling some operators along the Eastern seaboard and in the Midwest, however, their responses were that the weather has been so good, most of them were way ahead of projected budgets for this time of year, and it’s hard to say how much better yet it might have been with more reasonable gas prices. Some in the Northeast had no basis for comparison with previous years, since they’d almost never been open for play this early before. Conversely, one operator whose course is located between the heavily populated San Francisco Bay area and the ski resorts a few hours east, said that the mild winter has probably cost him some stop-over traffic due to the lack of snow on the slopes. A couple of operators, believe it or not, said their fear now is that their golfers will become bored with all the extra golf opportunities by early August or so, and may quit playing for the year earlier than usual! After laughing at the irony, we agreed that if that’s their biggest worry this year, it’s going to be a pretty good year (for a change). The fledgling Back9 Network, which is apparently scheduled to begin regularly airing in the next few months, is already online with a web site offering articles on a variety of golf-related subjects. Although I reserve the right to change my mind once the network programming begins, I can’t imagine there’s that much demand for yet another golf-oriented channel, particularly given some of the “content” that airs on The Golf Channel during the times when there’s no live golf going on. Clint Eastwood, one of the investors in the new venture, has a pretty good investment track record, but he just may be pushing his luck with this one. On the other hand, I thought adjustable drivers (and white ones) were nothing more than a marketing gimmick, so what do I —Jim Dunlap know? The Pellucid PersPecTive 19 http://WWW.PELLUCIDCORP.COM

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Pellucid Perspective - April 2012

The Pellucid Perspective - April 2012
Golf associations seeking new ways to stem membership decline
Are you the master of your domain?
Military base redevelopment puts golf in limbo
iPad + cloud = simpler, cheaper golf operating system?
March weather impact: Nature’s baffling benevolence continues!
Fore, right! Who’s to blame?
Detroit market holding its own
Course purchase opportunities abounding on Florida’s ‘First Coast’
An uncluttered mind yields Masterful performance

The Pellucid Perspective - April 2012