Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Energy bars and balls

Last week, I played in the Operation Nineveh charity golf tournament at Northgreen Country Club.

I know, that's not news. I helped organize it, and I've been promoting it for weeks.

But what is news is what I discovered at the event: energy bars and ball that I like.

You know how you play in some charity golf tournaments, and you'll get a bag full of pencils, rulers and refrigerator magnets? Stuff that you'll either throw away or never use?

Well, thanks to my friend, Bryan Bush, I discovered a brand of golf balls - other than TaylorMade - that I like. I also discovered an energy bar that was pretty tasty.

Srixon might not be my first choice of golf balls when I ask my Mom for a Christmas present, but it's definitely my second favorite. And I believe it's a better ball than any Titleist I've played, which include the Pro V1 and Pro V1X.

SCNS Sports Foods makes an energy bar called 10th Tee Back Nine, and it comes in two flavors - chocolate peanut caramel and chocolate peanut honey. Both are good, and if you get a chance, check them out.

So next time you go to a charity golf event, look for Srixon - or TaylorMade - balls and 10th Tee Back Nine energy bars. And leave the rulers in the cart.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Operation Nineveh charity golf tournament

Well, it's over.

Helping put on a charity golf event is a lot harder than I thought. But everything came together, and I think it was a success.

We raised some money for Operation Nineveh, a planned homeless shelter and soup kitchen in Rocky Mount.

We got the word out about the organization.

We played golf at Northgreen Country Club. Here are some photos of the event.

And there were plenty of prizes, food and drinks to make the day even better.

I'd like to thank everyone who helped out with donations, as well as the players who participated. I believe Operation Nineveh's Web site will be posting a sponsors and participation list this week.

And although my team - at 8-under - didn't win, we had some good times out there. Chip read about the event in the Rocky Mount Telegram, and he showed up to help out. And Tony delayed his trip back to Alaska so he could play.

Trevor Seibert, sports writer at the Telegram, rounded out our team. And everyone contributed.

Chip was pretty steady on the tee; Trevor carried us on the front nine; Tony bombed several drives on the back nine; and I chipped in for eagle from beside the green on No. 7 and nailed a long birdie putt, as well.

But there was more than playing golf for me. Making phone calls, picking up prizes, recruiting teams, setting up and tearing down tables at the club. Afterward, I was exhausted. But it was worth it, primarily because it was for a good cause.

Well, now that it's over, I guess it's time to start planning for the Fall Classic.

Anyone want to play golf and help out the homeless?

Friday, April 9, 2010

Tiger's not the only one at the Masters - or is he?

Watching the first round of the Masters, you'd think the only guy out there was a man named Tiger.

I'm glad the players realized that wasn't true.

Oh yeah, the wall-to-wall coverage from the Golf Channel and then ESPN talked about all the old guys playing well. Tom Watson, 60, led early. Fred Couples, 50, finished the day in the lead. In all, five players over the age of 50 shot under par.

And thank goodness the players paired with Woods showed up. K.J. Choi and Matt Kuchar both played well, and thanks to their pairing with Tiger, we got to see many of their shots.

But all of that was more of an afterthought. The big news was Tiger.

We saw every step; every smile; every chat with a fellow player; every frustrated club drop. And all of it was analyzed. He seems more at ease. He seems more focused. He seems the same old Tiger. He seems like a new Tiger.

The analyses were varied and endless.

Actually, his fairway shot on No. 9 was pretty incredible. And the club drop on 14 was really the only time he overtly showed any frustration. But what did he really have to be frustrated about.

He shot an opening round 68 - his best ever first-round Masters score - and ended Thursday two strokes behind the leader, Couples. And that's what everyone was talking about - Tiger's back.

But it really didn't matter what Tiger did. If he had shot a 78, everyone would have been talking about how his scandal and layoff adversely affected his play. He's still the story.

Even in this post, I've spent most of it talking about how Tiger isn't the only player on the course at Augusta National.

Well, he might not be the only one, but he's the only one we're talking about - including me.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Tiger talks

I think I was probably like most people who watched Tiger Woods' press conference today at Augusta National - curious.

Curious about what he'd say. Curious about what reporters would ask. Curious about his demeanor.

I know there are people out there who don't like him because of what he's done, but I have to admit that he was pretty impressive today. America loves a good apology. And if his February statement wasn't enough for them, then today's continued mea culpa definitely should have been.

Regular readers of this blog know I really don't care about Tiger's personal life. But if I did, then I think I'd see someone who screwed up royally, got caught, realized his astronomical mistakes and is now trying to rectify that.

Woods really did seem like a different person today, but he did have some of the same Tigerisms that he displayed while he was living his life of lies.

He smiled when he talked about the game of golf. He seemed more relaxed when he was questioned about the game. And he appeared genuine when he said he was having fun again. But then again, this is only the first day, and he hasn't actually competed. I guess the crowd reaction and the greetings from the other players today really were positive.

There were actually several things Tiger said during the 34-minute event stood out for me.

First, he apologized to the other PGA Tour players, acknowledging that they're probably tired of answering questions about Woods. Tiger, although the No. 1 golfer, is not the only player on the Tour, and each one of them are trying to do the same thing he is - win tournaments.

Secondly, he said he was going to "try" to tone down his negative outbursts on the course. He followed that up by saying that if he did become more reserved when he hit a bad shot, he probably would be more reserved when he hit a good shot or won an event.

I'm not completely on board with that. Yes, the club throwing and cussing is bad. But fist-pumping and celebrating is not. We'll see how that goes. He said he was going to try, and maybe he won't be able to check his emotions on either end of the spectrum.

Thirdly, Tiger impressed me most when he said that what has happened put things more in perspective as far as winning championships. He was asked about his thoughts on chasing Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 Majors, and Woods said it's more about how you live your life than how many championships you win. Bingo.

And lastly, there were a few questions he danced around, which is what I meant about seeing some of his Tigerisms showing up at the press conference. One in particular stood out when he was asked about rationalizing his sense of entitlement. Perhaps, he didn't understand the question - it was a little unclear. But what he should have said was: "I thought I was entitled to have sex with any woman I wanted because I'm the best golfer on the planet."

He then could have followed that up with: "But I now realize that winning golf tournaments doesn't preclude you from playing by the rules of morality and integrity."

But that's just me. He did just fine on his own.

Now that the curiosity factor has been quenched - and I hope it has for everyone - let's see how he plays golf.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

More Tiger Woods detractors come forward

When I started writing this post about Tiger Woods' kindergarten teacher coming forward this week to accuse him of lying, my first reaction reaction was: enough is enough.

I didn't want anyone to think I was defending him or his infidelities. I just wanted people to know that I'm so tired of everyone Tiger bashing.

People who regularly read my blog know how I feel about Woods. Yes, he's a bad husband, and he made multiple mistakes by having numerous affairs over the years. But that's none of my business, and my opinion of him never changed because I never looked to him as a role model for family values.

After his Thanksgiving week revelations of the series of lies he obviously was telling, I shied away from any of the sensational stories about the women, where he did it or who allegedly knew about it. I really don't care.

Then I read about Maureen Decker stepping into media spotlight to say that an incident he's been telling for years never happened. In a couple of books and several interviews, Woods said that on his first day of kindergarten, he was attacked by 6th-graders, who tied him to a tree, spraypainted the N-word on him and threw rocks at him.

He also said the teacher didn't do much about it.

I don't think the teacher was ever named in the books or interviews, but Decker is assuming that he was talking about her. And she says he needs to come clean, apologize to her and retract the story.

So, my first reaction was: give it a rest. He hasn't told that story in years that I'm aware of; the last book in which it was published came out in 2005; and it's the media that is retelling the story because of his notoriety and upcoming Masters appearance.

But then I started thinking: what if the story isn't true? How would I feel if one of my heroes fell from grace and I discovered that he told a pack of lies?

I've always looked up to Dean Smith, arguably the greatest basketball coach of all time. Reading his books, watching him coach the Tar Heels and meeting him a few times, I've tried to take some lessons from philosophies and teachings.

He was the first to implement pointing to a teammate who passed the ball that led to a basket, in essence thanking the passer. The lesson is that you always recognize others who help you attain goals.

Smith also implemented the free throw huddle to talk strategy after the shot. The lesson is that we should make sure everyone around us is on the same page, so we can move forward to attain goals. Never assume that everyone else knows what's expected of them.

I would have a hard time if Coach Smith's reputation was tarnished. But Woods is no Coach Smith.

I understand that sports figure become role models whether they want to or not. But Woods has never been a role model for me - except when he's playing golf. I respect the way he hits the ball, and I'd love to be able to do what he does on the course. But that's where the love affair ends.

And now after Woods' integrity about topics that have occurred off the course have come under scrutiny, I realize that people have the legitimate right to question his oft-told tale about the kindergarten attack.

But now after thinking about the whole situation, I guess I go back to my original thought. Who cares?

If the story isn't true, then Woods should say so in public and apologize to Decker. Obviously, she feels slandered, and rightfully so if the incident never happened.

But if it turns out that he lied about the attack, my opinion still won't change. We already know he's a liar and a cheater. But as far as I know, he still can hit a golf ball better than anyone else. And that's the lesson I want to take away from Woods' exploits, not how many or who or where he bagged women.

If people want to focus on that stuff, that's up to them. As for me, I'll still look at what he's doing inside the ropes, not inside the sheets.