Saturday, January 1, 2011

You think 2011 sounds scary?
Here's a flashback -- to 2525


That's weird.

And frankly, for those of us Duffers of a Certain Age, the whole notion of "2011" is a little weird. It has kind of a science fiction ring to it. Raise your hands if you remember when "1984" was the scary distant future. Or if you remember when "2001" was far enough in the future to allow you to almost believe that "A Space Odyssey" could happen then.

It's starting to seem that the only "distant future" cultural reference left -- for we Duffers of a Certain Age -- comes from a band that NutherDuffer always seems to remember as "Medgar and Evans." Which was, of course, Zager & Evans -- two lifetime members of The Optimists Club.

And it was this:

So don't worry, be happy, live in the day, and be glad that 2525 is farther away than any Duffer of a Certain Age is going to see.

Namaste, y'all, Happy New Year, and hit 'em straight in 2011.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Golf moment of the year: United States Edition

Back in April, down in Georgia, it looked like it was going to be Phil Mickelson's year.

Remember this shot?

Yep, that was probably the shot of the year, although it did have a lot of competition.

But it was this shot that led to what goes down in NutherDuffer's book as the golf moment of the year, which came a short while later. You'll remember this scene, too:

Photos from CBS News
It was a great, great moment all by itself. Phil, who had played sparingly while wife Amy underwent treatment for breast cancer, winning at Augusta with Amy on site.

It was a wildly ironic moment, if that's the right word, with Phil's victory and celebration with Amy coming after four days of talk about Tiger Woods and the damage he inflicted on his family -- four days after Augusta chairman Billy Payne talked about how badly Tiger had failed not just as a husband and father, but also as a hero and role model.

And it may be a moment remembered -- though I dearly hope I'm wrong about this -- as the last great moment of Phil Mickelson's career. The Masters was his only win of the year, and it was months later that Phil acknowledged that he had health problems of his own. He said simply that he had arthritis. It was later disclosed that he has psoriatic arthritis, an immune system disorder. According to The New York Times, "doctors who specialize in his condition said that Mickelson was likely to have good days and bad days in the coming months — and perhaps for the rest of his golfing career, if not the rest of his life."

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Golf moment of the year: European Edition

You know, there was no real "moment" that defined Lee Westwood's ascension to No. 1, unless there's a photo somewhere of him watching it happen on the telly.

For the Euros, and with apologies to Martin Kaymer, this year was all about Graeme McDowell. Don't get me wrong -- Kaymer had a great year, and he's probably more talented than McDowell. He had a chance to become No.1 -- but he didn't get it done. He played on the European Ryder Cup team ... I think. Does anyone remember how he performed?

But if you want to talk about sublime, think about McDowell.  Not just one key and memorable moment, but a dozen. If anyone kept records for clutch putts made, my hunch is McDowell would have broken it. People will remember Hunter Mahan's 18th hole breakdown, but they should look at some of the great McDowell putting that kept the match close to begin with. Like this, on the 16th hole:

And lest you forget: McDowell continued to hit clutch putts the rest of the season -- right up to the last playoff hole with Tiger Woods at the Chevron World Challenge, which McDowell won.

But for NutherDuffer's money the hands-down Euro moment of the year was the scene that took place immediately after Mahan conceded the match:

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Skeet shooting with golf gear

A group of European pros found a way to kill a bit of time in Dubai -- trying to hit moving clay pigeons by hitting golf balls at them. It takes a few tries, but....

Did I mention that the clay pigeons are moving?

Looking for cheap golf gear?

Looking for the mother of all golf sales?

That's what you get when a discount golf/golf clearance business does its end-of-the-year sale ... as RockBottomGolf is doing now.

A couple of highlights:

5 bucks: bulk tees, books, towels, a few clubs

10 bucks: lots of left-handed Adams Golf clubs and fairway woods

20 bucks: Nike left-handed wedges

30 bucks: Adams Golf Idea Graphite Hybrid

40 bucks: Nike Sumo Hybrids

50 bucks: Odyssey Golf White Hot XG Marxman Putter

And you don't have to drive in the snow ... just click on that banner at the top of the page. (And NutherDuffer deeply apologizes for the self-promotion.)

Best golf equipment manufacturer of 2010: Lamborghini

When NutherDuffer first saw this ad in October, it took his breath away and left him with an empty feeling in his wallet:

Yep. Callaway teamed up with Lamborghini this year to produce a whole new material to build drivers with. Referred to mysteriously and enticingly as "Forged Composite," the new material is, they say, stronger and lighter than titanium. They also say that it adds eight yards to your drives. NutherDuffer did not have the nerve to look up the price when the new driver -- the Diablo Octane ("octane" -- get it?) -- became available on Nov. 12.

But come springtime.....

Here's the original post: Callaway-Lamborghini partnership

And a follow-up: Diablo Octane arrives in stores

Monday, December 27, 2010

Top golf story of 2010 took place in 2009

Back in 1972 an office was broken into and ransacked. It wasn't the story of the year for '72, but for several years afterward -- including Richard Nixon's resignation in 1974 -- Watergate topped the list.

The golf world had a similar thing going on in 2010. The story of the year started with a fender-bender in November 2010. Among other things, The Crash led to:

>Extensive golf coverage from The National Enquirer, et al.

>The rise of Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler. The former likely doesn't win at Quail Hollow if Mr. Woods is present, the latter definitely does not elbow Mr. Woods out of a slot on the U.S. Ryder Cup team.

>The curious case of Lee Westwood. Westwood didn't fight his way to the No. 1 slot -- he rode the Barcalounger. Which is a damn shame, because he was playing the best golf in the world when he blew out his calf muscle. So it was very nice to see him come back from injury and immediately win a tournament.

>Louis Oosthuizen. If Tiger is on his game, he wins at St. Andrews. Period. No disrespect for Oosthuizen, but to check the spelling of his name, NutherDuffer had to do a Google search for "Louis British Open."

>Graeme McDowell. A physically, emotionally and spiritually sound Tiger Woods doesn't collapse on the last day of the U.S. Open, as Dustin Johnson did. Credit to McDowell: He didn't win a major and disappear (remember Trevor Immelman? Didn't think so.) -- he rode the wave all year long.

>Jim Furyk. Furyk does not get the ultimate karmic reward that he received at season's end, if it were not for Tiger racking up such an enormous karma deficit.