Sunday, August 28, 2011

Z.L.P. (Zafig Lady Parade) on LPGA

Lingering in last post’s vein of acronyms + pro golf observations, your humble scribe has detected an unexpectedly delicious dual polarity firming-up on U.S. ladies professional golf circuit. Specifically I refer to discernible fault line gaping between non-Y chromo golfers’ opposing physiques & ethnicity: female gymnast-size Asians vs. Rubens-sculpted non-Orientals. This is battle of proportions not seen since Adm. Nimitz & Yamato slugged it out over a jut of Pacific terra firma called Midway!

Yes, the female pro tour is still known for trying to hawk the Barbie-like body images of Paula Creamer, Natalie Gulbis, Morgan Pressel, etc. as their main PR image. Michelle Wie - this week’s non-winner yet again - is hybrid (pardon golf pun) case in that she straddles Asian & surfer-girl ‘bod’ boundary. There are even European entrants as part of LPGA effort, for example, as likeness of Sandra Gal (right) can attest. The fact LPGA today is fully-stocked (especially vis-à-vis So. Koreans) by diminutive ( ... + hyper-smiling) gals with surname permutations usually including Choi, Lee, Kim and/or Park, is not an argument one needs to illuminate and/or enunciate except for most severely quasi-Helen Keller amongst today's golf fans.

There’s heifer-size shift, however, happening right by stack of clean plates at head of LPGA's buffet line which Sizzler Steak House masses are not yet appreciating – big gals are taking over, baby!

This is a ‘girl thing’ too, by the way. Though previously known as home to many landed sea mammals – including most notably Masters’ winner Craig Stadler (trying to don green jacket), whose girth + ‘70’s ‘stache literally got him permanent nickname of ‘The Walrus’ – men’s pro tour has gotten progressively ‘buff-er’ since Tiger’s advent. There are a few holdover chubs + upcoming odd ball on occasion, but lion’s share of stiff (golf) shaft wielders are junior Jack LaLanne’s.

Before I plunge down neck line of this weighty issue, let me first state I have been a certified ‘Size 8 (or more) Female’ fan club member for many a moon now. This sea change does nothing but float my LPGA-enjoyment boat that much higher. Mea culpa as to my rhetorical motives aside, I thought best to make the case for this delectable development by spotlighting some of these curvy up-and-comers from undetected, till now, Peter Paul Rubens’ subsection of ladies’ Daytona, FL qualifying school.

Brittany Lincicome: Star of plus size show right now, Brittany is longest hitter on LPGA, ranked #11 as of last week in 2011 money won, but … added Canadian Open – her 2nd win this year - to resume just today. No doubt average fan most often spies her shapely profile only to think ‘Bam’ – her nickname - is really fellow player of Nordic appearance, Suzanne Pettersen, after packing away more than few extra pounds. In reality, the 5’ 10” behemoth is completely different: home-schooled American who turned pro after high school & stylistically unable to find any shirts which stay tucked-in during her powerful follow-thru. Latter heavy cross to bear, but gal swings solidly nonetheless as photo left documents.

Amanda Blumenherst: Not yet fulfilling promise of her convincing 2008 U.S. Amateur win, the 24 year old is 5’ 9” Duke graduate & clocks-in presently @ #110 in world rankings. Her physical sturdiness has been evident since her NCAA days, but she is not nearly as long as fellow blonde bomber above, Ms. Lincicome. Instead a very deft short game has been this gal’s calling card thus far. Researching her briefly on internet, apparently Amanda B. is somewhat fond of minor league baseball or, more specifically, at least 1st baseman playing for Indianapolis affiliate. That this particular fact is amongst easiest found, one cannot help think, partial testament to lesbianism-phobia LPGA fights. It's bit of oddity though – from LPGA perspective – that none of zaftig club-swingers thus far has been identified as possible non-hetero.

Caroline Hedwall: Personal fav, 2010 NCAA Div. I champion while @ OK State (Rickie Fowler’s alma mater) & 2x 2011 Euro tour winner, Ms. Hedwall is on-course antithesis, in demeanor, of her underwear’s namesake (see left) & fellow Swede, Bjorn Borg. If the contest between these lovely lasses was on basis of ‘chunk-i-tude’, Caroline H. would be easy prize-winner. Watching her during just past Evian Masters in France, this buxom putter of suryln-based balls was aggressive in her play, animated when reacting to few wayward shots & very comfortable, it appeared, with her girlish girth. That she probably equals 2 Ai Miyazato’s on butcher’s scale, is all more ironic considering her unabashed + semi-flashy style. All anyone can say to such is succinct, “You go, big golf girl!”.

Lizette Salas: Bursting into national notice merely two months ago due to three solid (albeit not 4) rounds @ U.S. Women’s Open, Ms. Salas is inheritor of Nancy Lopez mantle for full-figured Latinas in sport of golf. Product of USC Trojans & possessor of solid collegiate career, Lizette now is toiling on LPGA Futures tour – equivalent of PGA’s Nationwide circuit. Her story is quite heart-warming; no facetiousness intended. Lizette's upbringing was extremely modest according to news stories, so much so that her Dad had to cobble together a 1st set for his daughter from cast-offs @ course where he worked in Maintenance Dept. Though lacking in certain material comforts, it appears thankfully that – in the words of a great philosopher, Sir Mix-A-Lot – “red beans & rice didn’t miss her” however. Sorry, couldn't resist. [I’ll be here all week; please try the veal.]

As soon-to-die Lt. in ‘Full Metal Jacket’ concludes to his platoon during No. Vietnamese soldier’s ‘birthday party’ scene, “These are great days, bro’s!”. Indeed, my fellow boon rat buddy, indeed.

In all seriousness, it’s a veritable pleasure to see – if I may say so in my semi-full maleness – normal size women excelling in sport, not having to hide behind their clothes & also puttin’-out a lil’ somethin’ somethin’ for all my brothers to admire! That overt chauvinism aside, these large lasses are markedly different than their counterparts of non-metal woods days gone by, e.g. 'Big Momma' JoAnne Carner or Laura Davies. Today's Z.L.P.-ers appear not to care a wit that they aren't size whatever. Form-fittin' duds? Bring it on! These birdie-hunters just want to kick some ass on the short grass, baby! :)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

S.T.N.C. - Substitute Tiger Nike Curse

As 2011 ‘regular’ season of men’s pro golf concluded today @ Greensboro tourney [previously best known for being last event won by ‘Slammin’’ Sammy Snead (see left) before shuckin’ his stylin’ straw chapeau for PGA posterity], a vexsome hexing has become apparent now related to all Tiger surrogates whom Nike vainly promoted when their marquee idol’s smutty Ambien exploits originally were exposed.

Specifically to be cited are collectively + positively dreadful 2011 performances by that Nike Golf-sponsored quartet of graphite shaft charisma: S. Cink, Anthony Kim, Justin Leonard & P. Casey.

At least former most duo of group actually made 1st (but not necessarily 2nd) round of ‘playoffs’ by finishing in Top 125 for year. Cink wags-in as multi-finger winner amongst this Leper colony squadron, by coming to rest @ #82 in rankings. ‘AK’ - as countless Vegas croupiers reputedly call Mr. Kim when he rolls large in their little desert town - clearly is pacing himself with #92 slot as of year-end.

The other – besides ‘Lil' Stewey’ Cink - ex-British Open winner of group, Lone Star state's own Justin Leonard, found way not to harness his admittedly best skill – putting – on today’s final green by blowing a nice 13 footer to finish just outside Top 125. If he were a horse, laggard of group – Mr. Casey – still would have fans spying back stretch with binoculars … and waiting crock-pot cook times … for any sight of strong 2011 finish. Casey seemed to get 2x helping of toxic g. ball karma due to his excessive product enthusiasm in a couple of TV spots.

What ties together these 2011 PGA mediocrities is all were propped-up by Nike to primetime ad status once Tiger’s negatives started approximating 5 year job approval ratings of Col. Gaddafi. You remember the ads. Casey opined, on camera, re new Method putter that he “could put this into play tomorrow”. Unfortunately he meant on Hooters Tour. Justin Leonard, in contrast, calmed a wind storm just by removing head cover from new Nike Driver. Bad move by Justin L., however, as helping breeze would have given him extra 25 yards off tee so that Texan now would only be 35 yards behind average PGA tee ball.

Case of 2 'curse' survivors – Cink & Kim – is a bit confused. As to chrome-dome Stewart, Mr. C. 2x-jinxed himself prev. year by besting Tom Watson in last round of British Open, thereby denying Grim Reaper his own perverted joke. That uber-bad mojo though might have acted like 2 negatives multiplied with one another to yield positive. Regardless, Nike hawked Stewart relentlessly during drought of Tiger to burnish appeal of their new clubs, shirts’ moisture-wicking properties + “it’s resin, not rubber” balls. Dude drips manliness, so move understandable.

Regarding case of ‘Marine cut-to-Woodstock shag’ Mr. Kim, he was sidelined early in year by bad dice-throwin’ injury to right hand and, therefore, full impact of curse couldn’t seep into his golf DNA. Mostly, however, A.K. was used as background pretty boy in most of Nike’s non-Tiger focus TV ads, no doubt partially because some of his most recent casino antics allegedly not quite Rev. Billy Graham family hour material.

Said marginal behavior, however, might have been Mr. Kim's 2011 PGA performance’s salvation. Word to wise: Remember such when chance to double-down on some poor ‘schlub’ tossing snake-eyes ever presents itself!

Lesson of this post is a powerful one – other Nike golfers simply ain’t Splenda, baby! Only the ‘Real Thing’ works for ‘Swoosh’ minions in the mythic land of Ben Hogan. The anti-suits from Oregon tried to go square (besides, that is, in Driver design) & keep their golf franchise going by using lemons to peddle some hybrid club lemonade, but spell of Tiger is more powerful than French Quarter voodoo Queen with a mess of blood-marinated chicken hearts during Mardi Gras.

Give up the ghost, Nike CEO Phil Knight, and put Tiger back front-and-center in all future, at least, TV ads – even with that silly ‘soul’ patch on his devious chin. Can't possibly be any worse than conglomerate of sand wedge under-achievers you have presently muggin' in front of lens.

All those T.W. imposters are statistical chum in water now, so Nike hasn’t done any good for the brand with this alternate strategy. Time to admit defeat & embrace your 'inner bad ass' instead. Turn this setback into opportunity by repositioning Nike as sole golf brand with any 'street cred'.

As my philosophical icon, Oliver Cromwell, wrote, “Friends, hear, truly, my words & understand, earnestly, their meaning … for your own (damn) good!”. Nike Golf, your welcome in advance.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

From the archives ... Reems Creek G.C. write-up

Occasionally your humble scribe is asked to lend rhetorical hand to another's PR effort - usually for mini amounts of filthy lucre, but some nice fringes. Such is case below for local track. Believe item included in last management team's brochure to some new/alternative rag where piece put-in as pseudo reportage (but really paid advertisement).

Crafty devils! Surprised that team-o-suits didn't make a go of place, but wound-up selling inside 12 mos. Pic (right) is from back of 15th; enjoy:

Reems Creek Golf Course ... another hidden western NC gem!

Your second on four stays in the air long enough to throw a roast in the crock pot and watch it cook” - unidentified member.

Mountain golf. Didn’t know it, really, until I moved to western NC hamlet named after a settler who got himself skinned [No kidding] by his now namesake creek - odd Appalachian custom, I suppose.

Particular 18 in consideration sits, literally, on veritable edge between worlds of high-speed internet service & white lighting makin’ happening, indubitably, no more than a front nine’s yardage from the course’s furthermost OB marker. Reems Creek, also, is the only North American course by the most current of the Hawtrees, a family who have successively sculpted Royal Birkdale, home of 2008’s (British) Open, in the same generational fashion as the rite of carving the Thanksgiving turkey is passed down from grandfather to grandson.

The links style one would presume from such architectural lineage is a muffled Celtic echo, however, due to the severe topography. If the Confederates routinely had held the same kind of high ground as the green complexes here, a good chunk of our land would still be called the cornbread nation. True, bouncing one’s pellet up to the green is feasible and forced carries are relatively few. Such is little consolation though when looking at flags perched more precariously than the slope one navigates at an SUV off-road training school.

Always in superb condition, Reems Creek affords pristine mountain views long enough to see storms coming from adjoining congressional districts. With no particular advantage to one shot shape, height – as in Abdul-Jabbar - is the only prerequisite to scoring. This is the case especially with regards to half dozen Alps-like tiered + elevated greens. Fail to carry to the proper level and you might be looking at a putt with the same stopping power as the 1939 Polish Army on horseback.

Built just towards end of Soviet Union’s existence, the clubhouse & ambiance of ‘the Reemer’, as locals dubbed it adolescently long ago, is still a bit more Cadillac Sedan DeVille/Stella Stevens than BMW M5/Kim Kardashian. Certainly most of membership harkens back to Lee Trevino as their fav tour 'foreigner' rather than Anthony Kim.

That said, they are a friendly lot and have tolerated outside play since the course’s inception. We interlopers enjoy, as well, their bar/utilitarian canteen (serving a truly lovely chicken salad with apples sandwich), a practice putting green with the best views this side of the Mississippi and a driving range tilted up plus to the right severely enough that the low ball, drawing Gary Player probably would have quit the game if he had to practice here during his prime.

If you’re planning a Blue Ridge Parkway jaunt and lucky enough to have brought your 'sticks' along, come enjoy Reems Creek. Mid-week specials available even during summer's dog days. Heavily advised to take cart for not only greater enjoyment of scenic vistas, but only 'billy goat' quotient of population usually cardiovasicularly stout enough to hack humpin' full 18 without leaving 'Patrick Ewing-at-foul-line' perspiration puddles on last several back 9 greens.

Just remember if you see ole Gov. Zebulon Vance [Handsome rascal right] log cabin on passenger's side, you need to double-back a couple of par fives before going further into land of “cricks, tobac-ee & ramps eatin’”. Not that latter journey wouldn't be 'educational', but tough to find Titleists under tree cover dense enough to hide FBI's (then) 3rd most wanted for +6 years.