Golf fans everywhere, be forewarned: I went and bought myself one of those TaylorMade Rocketballz drivers over the weekend, and everything those pro golfers say in the TV ads are true, so long as you don’t swing TOO hard.
I was on the 18th tee of one of our local courses here in Austin, Riverside (where renowned golf teacher Harvey Penick once lived and taught), and hit the ball a good 280 yards straight down the middle, and this from the back tees. Much farther than I had ever hit the ball even from the middle tees, and so straight and long that it earned some serious “Ooohs” from the 20-something flatbellies I had been joined up with.
Never mind the rest of my game’s still a muddling mess…the point is, the Rocketballz driver lets you hit it like the pros, at least once in a while, and allows you to live your Walter Mitty-ish golf fantasies out on your local public course.
Of course, the pros this weekend we were focused on were Steve Stricker, among others, whom many of us were hoping would become only the fourth golfer in history to win the same tournament four years in a row.
But Zach Johnson, another midwestern favorite who hails from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, had other ideas, taking the trophy away from Troy Matteson, who led wire to wire but lost in a playoff on the second time the two played the 18th hole.
Two shots we won’t soon forget: Matteson’s 59′ foot putt on 17 to make eagle to tie Johnson and get in the playoff, and Johnson’s brilliant sand shot from the “Stricker” sandtrap on 18, a shot that landed about two feet from the hole and pretty much cinched Johnson’s victory.
And THIS time, I remembered to add extra time to the broadcast schedule on my DVR so I could actually watch the playoff. What a concept!
To me, there’s nothing like watching a golf playoff, especially when it’s mano a mano like that.
It’s nervewracking, it’s compelling, it’s, sometimes, yes, even spellbinding.
So, major kudos to Zach Johnson, as this makes for his second win this year (he also took the honors at the Ft. Worth-held Colonial back in May) and sends him roaring back up the FedEx points list.
Now, most all golf attention turns to Royal Lythan & St. Annes in Lancashire, UK, for the third PGA major of the year, the 2012 British Open.
As PGA Tour.Com pointed out this AM, first-time major winners have won nine straight at the Open Championship, so consider the field wide open.
Tiger Woods has certainly been on a streak, but there’s lots of hungry Irish lads like Padraig Harrington, Rory McIlroy, and Graeme McDowell who’d like a sip from that Claret Jug as well.
Harrington’s won the Open twice, Woods’ three times, Els’ once…McDowell and McIlroy, uh, never.
David Duval, who last won an Open at Royal Lytham in 2001, will also be making a return visit.
The action starts early in the A.M. EST Thursday, so get those VCRs and DVRs tuned and ready to go.
I have a distinct feeling this is going to be a seriously compelling, and competitive, week of golf.