Ace. By definition according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary is defined as

“a person who excels at a particular sport or other activity.”

When it comes to the game of golf there is no doubt in my mind (or any golf fan or observer for that matter) that Eldrick Tiger Woods is an ace. But the term ace has another reference. An ace is also the term that dates back to World War I for a fighter pilot that collects five confirmed kills (shoots down 5 enemy aircraft during aerial combat). By this definition, Tiger Woods is also an ace as with his victory on Masters Sunday became an Ace of Augusta National Golf Course and The Masters Tournament. Only Mr. Jack Nicklaus has more with 6 victories at Magnolia Lane.

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One Day!!

Before I continue I just wanted to reiterate a few things. These are things that some of my regular readers already know about me but some newcomers may not. Admittedly, I have never been much of a Tiger Woods fans as I readily admit in this Tweet from today.

However, what you also need to know is that I’ve never disputed that he’s been the greatest of this generation. I’ve always admired Tiger’s command of the game, his dominance over his competition of this generation (and at times golf course architects) and the fact that he brought golfers to the game of golf who in all likelihood would have never picked up a golf club in the first place. The reality is that nobody has ever nor will anyone move the needle like Tiger has. It’s because of Tiger that his peers play for millions of dollars. One other thing that I wanted to point out is that I never wrote off Tiger like so many of my contemporaries have… I said well in advance of his showings in 2018 that it was inevitable that he’d be back.

It’s been often said that you have to sink to the very depths of rock-bottom before you can truly rise again. While I’m not going to beat the living daylights out of this subject let’s just quickly summarize some of the events that have transpired with Tiger that led to today’s comeback.

  • The passing of his father (Earl)
  • The issues at home with ex-wife Elin and the infamous 9-iron incident (not discounting other family issues that we didn’t know about that occurred behind closed doors)
  • His driving while impaired (which I was very unaccepting and critical of. There’s never a good excuse for this)
  • Multiple back surgeries
  • Hater’s hating and writing him off (I’m sure that didn’t bug him… but I don’t know him)
  • The short game yips (which ties in to above)

And I’m certain that there are points that I’m leaving out. Basically, Tiger Woods ran a gauntlet to get him to this particular point in time… and history.

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Frustration at the 2018 Open Championship at Carnoustie

Golf and Tiger fans alike saw the signs of great things to come over several events in recent history. Sure there was his recovery from injury following the most recent procedures on his back. The world was buzzing over social media every time Tiger picked up a wedge, or a driver and showed us a video of him swinging it. There were signs of competitive progress when he finished 9th in an abbreviated field at the 2017 Hero World Challenge. That single event would springboard Tiger to several top finishes in 2018. Events like his 12th place finish at the Honda Classic. Later that month his T-2 at the Valspar Championship and then a T-5 at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill. The month of May saw a Top-10 at The Player’s Championship. July saw even more progress and more encouraging signs of Tiger returning to form with top finishes at the Quicken Loans National and The Open Championship at Carnoustie. The PGA Championship at Bellerive in August fans were witness to another top finish in a Major Championship which led us into the Fed Ex Cup Playoffs. It was at the Tour Championship when he won his 80th title and everyone was saying that he was back. As far as I’m concerned at the time his form was back but he wasn’t.

That changed on April 14th, 2019 on Masters Sunday. Overall, the 2019 Masters Tournament was as exciting as it gets. The number of player’s that were in contention every day of the tournament was staggering and names like Fleetwood (my pick… didn’t turn out), Langer, Corey Conners, DeChambeau, Koepka, and Woods that were there after the first round. After Round 2 we saw DeChambeau slide out and making moves were Adam Scott, Jason Day and Francesco Molinari. When the dust settled after Round 3 we saw a lurking Tiger waiting to pounce on the field, Tony Finau, Brooks Koepka, and Ian Poulter very in contention which further set up the exciting finish on Sunday.

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Jubilation

I’m not going to give a recap of the final round because we all know what happened but let’s just say that Sunday was a day that was very different on so many levels. With severe weather threatening Augusta, Georgia the tee times were moved up in an effort to avoid the dreaded Monday finish. It was a fantastic decision made by The Masters Tournament Committee and it was a day like we have never seen before. We had previous major champions in contention (Molinari and Koepka both of whom outlasted Woods in major’s in 2018) at the top of the leaderboard. According to reports, after bogeying the 4th and 5th hole it was his caddie (Joe LaCava) that woke him up.

“Never lose the tenseness, but be loose out there. Don’t carry the weight of the world on your shoulders.” – Caddie Joe LaCava to Tiger Woods

On the 15th hole, Woods catapult into the lead and the rest is history. Then came the magical walk up the 18th, the final putt and the roars that shook the fabrics of the Earth. Making it even better was that his mother, daughter, and son were there to be in his arms after that final putt. The way that life intended it to be. Exultation. Redemption. Accomplishment.

Like I said in my Tweet. “If you don’t truly appreciate this for what it truly is. You have no soul”. Many of us have been through our own trials and tribulations. I have and continue to do so after my stroke in September. Recently, I played my first round of golf since that stroke. While it wasn’t the same thing from an accomplishment level as what Tiger just did I understand what it means to fight, grind, scratch, and claw your way back.  It’s because of his fighting and grinding why I appreciate this win more than any of Tiger’s previous 80. Congratulations Tiger! Now you’re back.

Tiger’s Winning WITB

M5 Fairway | 13°

M3 Fairway| 19°

Milled Grind Wedges | 56° & 60°

Golf Ball – Bridgestone Golf TOUR B XS

 

 

Until The Next Tee!!

#fightandgrind #seeuonthenexttee

 

 

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With the first Major Championship for the men being played this week in Augusta, Georgia renowned golf apparel manufacturer Galvin Green has released a limited edition version of their SHAKEDRY™ jacket.

In honor of The Masters Galvin Green is releasing a groundbreaking jacket two months before its official launch. The jacket which will be known as the “Ashton” is a jacket that features out-of-this-world technology and weighs in at a feather-like 174 grams (6 ounces). The limited edition jacket features a full-length green zipper.

With the projected weather forecast for this week in Augusta, a jacket like the Ashton could serve a potential champion very well. For more details on what the”Ashton” jacket will offer please see the press release as shared by Natalie Collard who is the Director of marketing firm Sports Impact.

Until The Next Tee!!

#seeuonthenexttee #fightandgrind

 

-Limited Edition available with full-length green zipper –

 

Galvin Green, the pioneering brand in hi-tech golf waterproofs, is introducing a limited edition of its new streamlined GORE-TEX® SHAKEDRY™ rain jacket ahead of the first Major tournament of the year and two months before its official launch.

The first super-lightweight waterproof garment of its kind, the jacket features a green full-length zipper and will be available from today at selected stockists and online retailers around the world (S-XL sizes).

The extraordinary SHAKEDRY™ technology is integrated into the lightest GORE-TEX® rain jacket ever made by Galvin Green – weighing just 174 grams (6 ounces), or at least half the weight of a conventional lined waterproof jacket.

The revolutionary construction of the SHAKEDRY™ jacket has been in various stages of development over the past 15 years and sees the unrivaled GORE-TEX® membrane placed on the outside without a face fabric for the first time – improving breathability significantly. The smooth surface enables water to bead up persistently and simply roll off the garment. As a result, there is minimal chilling effect and a much faster dry-off time.

ashton

Inside the extremely breathable, totally windproof jacket is a functional backer textile for greater comfort next to the skin, while the quiet GORE-TEX® membrane on the outside eliminates all friction in the golf swing. Ergonomically designed for maximum comfort and the perfect fit during set-up and throughout the swing, it also takes up little space in the bag.

“Interest in SHAKEDRY™ has been so fantastic that we decided to offer it as a limited edition ahead of its official launch,” said Steve Hendren, President of Galvin Green US. “It will never wet-out, leak or cling onto the skin. It’s the perfect jacket for serious golfers who want to perform in the rain. In playtests, a pro golfer said it was like playing in a shirt.”

Known as the ASHTON, the new SHAKEDRY™ full-zip jacket comes with shaped sleeves for easy movement, elastic binding on the cuffs, drawstring at the hem, water-repellent zippers and a chest pocket. It goes on general sale with a silver zipper in more size options this summer. RRP of $400. For more information visit http://www.galvingreen.com.

What a crazy, wacky and sometimes wild year it was in golf during 2018. From Major accomplishments to historic moments. We take a look at the top golf news stories of 2018 or at least the way that I see it.

#10 – Farewell Abbey??

Don’t mind me waving the maple leaf for a few moments to get started. This story may not be big news anywhere else in the world. However, this is a story that’s significant for the Canadian golf fanbase. The “House That Jack Built”. Mr. Nicklaus’ first solo design Glen Abbey is a course in nearby Oakville, Ontario. A course that’s historic in many ways. The most poignant detail is the fact that it’s hosted the Canadian Open a record 30 times. When Dustin Johnson closed out the victory on that Sunday it might have been the last time that the venue will be used. There’s been a massive fight between a real estate developer that wants to turn the property into high-priced GTA (Greater Toronto Area) condos and those that want to turn Glen Abbey into a heritage site. The latter would save the iconic Canadian course. I’m trying to refrain from singing “Sound of Silence” but it makes me sad.

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#9 – Bradley Back

In a way this story sort of ties in with the previous one. I was watching Keegan Bradley during the Tuesday practice round for the 2018 Canadian Open. He was looking real good out there and he had a decent finish. Bradley would finish 4th in the tournament (four strokes back of DJ). Earlier in the year, there were glimpses of his former brilliance. It was a lifetime ago it seems when he won his Major. Then during the FedEx Cup Playoffs… it finally happened. After an exciting playoff with Justin Rose the Cleveland/Srixon Golf staffer won and snapped a 6-year winless drought. Who doesn’t love a good comeback story?

#8 – Revolving Door At The Top

Parity. It’s all over professional sports. On any given day any team can win. In golf it’s individuals. While some people think golf is lacking some “hoospah” these days I think it’s an exciting time for the game. Look at all of the young gun’s they’re all fearless. Look no further than the Official World Golf Rankings. This year seemed like there was always constant movement at the top. A proberbial “revolving door”. Currently, Brooks Koepka (who got the ESPN snub) is the World #1 on the men’s side. In no particular order Justin Rose and Dustin Johnson both were #1 at certain points in 2018. Say… wasn’t Justin Thomas there as well?

#7 Reed Wins The Masters

Love him or hate him (the majority hates him) Patrick Reed won the 2018 Masters Tournament. In what will go down in golf history as the most disliked champion of all time the reality is that Reed has his place in the rich history of Augusta National. Reed has long been known for a strong opinion and I sort of like him because he isn’t… you know… “finished”. It’s never a dull moment when he’s in front of some sort of media. By the way… he’s going to be placing the Green Jacket on Tommy Fleetwood in 2019 at the Butler Cabin.

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#6 – Lexi Wins CME

The final event on the LPGA Tour is the CME Group TOUR Championship held annually at Tiburon Golf Club in lovely Naples, Florida. Lexi Thompson had a tough 2018 season. The personable 23 year-old withdrew earlier in the year from the Ricoh Women’s British Open. Following that withdrawal she would take some time off to “recharge” her “mental batteries” as she described it on Instagram. Later on, it came out that she was struggling with “body image” as well. Taking the time off from professional golf to focus on herself was a sign of poise and maturity. The time off paid dividends as Lexi won the final event of the year. Welcome back Lexi. #FightAndGrind

 

#5 – DeChambeau Breaks Out Big Time

He’s a genius. Literally! If anyone truly had a breakout season in 2018 it was DeChambeau. As nice as social media can be it can also be a place of misery. You see, I’ve watched the idiots on his Instagram feed berate and downright bully the 25 year-old DeChambeau. whether it’s ever bothered him I don’t know. Isn’t it amazing how brave people are from behind a laptop or similar? His naysayers over social media said that he was “shit” and so on (actually much worse things were said). 2018 was a year in which DeChambeau silenced his critics and gave them all a collective “middle finger salute”. He didn’t win once or twice this year. No, instead he won 3 times. As it stands right now… DeChambeau is #5 in the OWGR.

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#4 – “The Match”

There was no way that I would leave this story out. “The Match” featuring Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods. You know? The PPV event that cost viewers $20 to purchase. The only thing was that there were so many technical issues that refunds were doled out like samples at Costco. You could almost hear Oprah saying “You get a refund… you get a refund… you get a refund… EVERYBODY gets a refund”. I hated everything about it. First, it was 15 years late in the making. Then there was the obvious. Two rich guys betting away other people’s money in sidebets. Although, some money found its way to charity. Oh yeah… then there was the “reverse crescent-kicking” Mickelson trying to look all “gangsta” behind the pile of money. Nauseating! It was so horribly done that they’ve now planned two re-boots of ‘The Match”. I laugh because it’s an attempt to recuperate the money lost. They won’t say it.. .I will. I’ll watch zero of these as well.

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#3 – Tiger Wins #80

It’s no secret. I’m not a Tiger fan but it isn’t like I dislike him for personal reasons. Believe it or not the media or shall say the Golf Channel has a lot to do with it. Always stuffing him down our throats… even when he misses a cut or isn’t playing at all. I appreciate the fact that Tiger Woods is the best player of this generation. Some will contend that he’s the best of all-time but the era’s in golf are so different through the ages. But that’s a debate for another time. Granted, it’s unlikely that I’ll “beat that dead horse”. Fact… Nobody moves the needle like Eldrick “Tiger” Woods. He’s had his issues with injuries, a 9-iron wielding wife (well ex-wife) and a run-in with the police (DUI). Everybody said he was done. Well maybe not everyone but there were more pundits and golf analysts that made the remarks than who didn’t. Believe it or not.. I was not one of them. You could see the progress (2017 Hero World Challenge notwithstanding) and the results were starting to come all year long. Then finally it happened. Tiger came all the way back from golf’s “Bowels of Despair”. The same day Keegan Bradley found his way back so to did Tiger Woods. He won the TOUR Championship at East Lake his 80th career victory.

#2 – Koepka Captures Two Majors

Brooks Koepka just might be the “Rodney Dangerfield” of professional sports. No respect! Or maybe at least according to golf juggernaut ESPN. You see, they don’t see him as a dominant athlete. Are you kidding me? Have you seen the guy in person? Not only is he a tank but the last time that something looked that formidable on the golf course it was… Tiger Woods. Koepka is freakishly long, has the finesse to go with that power and he can putt. As a matter of fact, if I were playing “Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2004” I would make my character like him. Dude’s a video game character. Actually, I think that I created a player just like him in retrospect. Anyways, not only is he #1 in the world but all he did was win two measly Major Championships in 2018 (U.S. Open and PGA Championship). But he’s not dominant? ESPN… stick to The Espy’s and 30 For 30.

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#1 – 2018 Ryder Cup

The 2018 Ryder Cup. It was amazing… For Team Europe! After Day One the American side was in pretty good shape and then ever so slowly the wheels fell off of the “Stars and Stripes”. The Euro’s decimated their competitors at Le Golf National (Paris, France) and as much as that was a story… it was the fallout afterwards. If you recall, there was fallout a few Ryder Cup’s ago in which the American team was embarrassed so badly at the hands of the Europeans that a special task force was developed (by the USGA as I recall). Just to ensure that it never happened again but… It did…in 2018. Between a reported dispute between DJ and Koepka in which they had to be separated at an after-party (incident denied) and the “affable” Patrick Reed doing what he does best… err or worst (open his mouth… his wife chimed in too). Heck, Tiger and Phil went winless in their matches too (almost like “The Match” itself). The 2018 Ryder Cup unfortunately will not be remembered for good golf or for that matter the margin of victory for Team Europe. Instead, it will be remembered for the dysfunctional drama that was Team USA.

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There you have it… the Top 10 Golf Stories of 2018. I bet 2019 will be even better yet. Let me know what you think.

Until The Next Tee!!

#FightAndGrind #SeeUOnTheNextTee