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BYRON NELSON Observations.....


Sam-Tee-Time
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from this year's event....
Every year, I generally attend the Byron Nelson, and the Colonial every day I can. Here are my observations for this year........

PLAYERS
- Adam Scott's swing is the most solid and on-plane swing I've seen at this year's event. It was awesome to watch him bomb drivers.
- Ernie Els. Ernie has the demeanor and aura of kind of "golf god" when he's on the teebox. Quiet confidence, and he projects a real aura of power and sophistication. Bashes his driver also - very impressive to watch the Big Easy.
- VJ. Another imressive player, and very robotic on the range. It's odd to see someone bang out drivers for 30 minutes (at least) at a time. He was fiddling with some kind of odd putting contraption on the green, and I was very disappointed to watch him deny a kid by saying "I don't sign Balls", and walking away. Couldn't he have just said: "Do you want me to sign your T-shirt or hat instead?" to let a kid have an autograph?
- JB Holmes is also incredible. How he gets the distance he does with only a 3/4 backswing is phenomenal.
- Tag Ridings. Another guy who SLAMS the ball off the teebox. Very impressive driver with a super-quick tempo.
- DA Points. What a grouch. He seems so nice and friendly on TV interviews, but he comes across as a real grouch in person, and always seems sullen and upset at every swing. He NEVER seems happy with the result of any of his shots. I watched him take a drink from a water bottle, and then throw the bottle straight on the ground, when a trash can was about 4' away. Go figure.
- Bo Van Pelt. I always root for this guy. He's a great player, and has some friendly interchanges with the fans. Bo is one of the "good guys" in my book. I'm rooting for him to win soon.
- Charley Hoffman. My first thought was the "Ooompa Loompas" from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. wild hair, dude.
- Ben Crane. Actually was NOT playing slow when I saw him.
- Sean O'Hair. Nice looking player. This guy's going to be on tour for a LONG time.
- Scott McCarron. Life must be good for Scott. He always seems to be having a good time and looking "cool" on the course. Playa.
- Charles Howell III - His swing looked very good this week. Very powerful off the teebox, and he looked pretty sharp from tee to green.
- Tom Lehman's wife Melissa. Wow. Tall, brunette, lean, and legs up to "here". Must be nice to be a PGA Pro! As always, there were lots of player wives out there, beautifully bronzed, and generally very attractive.
- LONG HAIR. What's up with the long hair on tour? It seems most every player is growing their hair out long and shaggy. Others do the "Trevor Immelman" look, with their hair sticking up thru the top of their visor. Isn't that hot and unmanageable on a golf course? Just curious.

CADDIES
- The caddy interactions are always funny. The one that strikes me the funniest was Carl Petterson's caddy (on a short par4) step up to the teebox, and say:
Caddy: "Easy 4-iron in the fairway"
<long pause>
Carl P: "Do you like Driver?"
Caddy: "I just SAID '4-iron', so NO, I DO NOT like DRIVER"
<silence>
Carl P: hits a 4-iron right in the fairway and makes an easy par.
- Tony Navarro (Adam Scott's Caddy, who used to caddy for Greg Norman) is VERY VERY serious. This guy strikes me as a true professional.
- Other caddies are either disinterested and don't interact much, or else are VERY demanding and precise with their instructions to the player. I found it unusual that many of them pace off the distances on the teebox on Par4's or Par5's. Does 5-10 yards really matter that much off the teebox? Guess so!

EQUIPMENT
- Drivers. The TaylorMade R7 425 and R7 460 are THE hot drivers. All the TaylorMade staffers, and MANY non-TaylorMade players were using this driver. I've said it before.........these are hot drivers, and PGA Tour usage seems to reflect this.
- Cleveland Hi-Bore was nowhere to be seen. I've read about how sensitive this club is to your swing characteristics, and shafts, but I never saw one the entire weekend. Dud!
- Shafts. UST V2 shaft is still everywhere. Obviously, Tour usage is still positive on this shaft. GD YS-6, YS-7 was also still a popular shaft. Diamanas everywhere. Fujikura Speeders are still popular. Some Grafalloys. Others which I didn't recognize.
- Irons. Blades are NOT dead. There were many, many players with full blades. Some mixed sets.
- Hybrids. I did not see as many hybrids as years past, but they were still out there.
- Putters. Newport/Anser putters are back! I didn't see NEARLY as many Mallet putters out there as in years past. The vast majority of players were using Cameron Newports.
- TrionZ Bracelets. Many players, and even some caddies were wearing the TrionZ bracelets. I even saw quite a few young golfers (fans) wearing them. Are your wrists arthritic at 15 years of age? I don't understand how this thing can make a difference, but it's obvious many people think so.


GENERAL OBSERVATIONS
- The Women at the Nelson are some of the finest, best looking, and incredibly gorgeous women I've seen in any one place in my life!! It is simply unbelievable to watch this scene near the "Pavilion" drinking tent near the 2nd/3rd hole of the TPC course. Incredible. However......I felt like such an outsider, it was not comfortable for me to even approach any of these hotties, and I felt very out of place even in their vicinity. I felt like the old man with the bucket hat and lawn chair, with the white calf-length socks. So sad. So old.

PS: My buddy Ed thinks that he needs to wheel me thru the Pavilion all locked up like Hannibal Lector from the "Silence of the Lambs" movie. Not a bad idea!

- Drunk Idiots. The flip side of the hoochies are the drunken fools that accompany them. Perhaps I'm getting old, but I was NOT that stupid when I was that age - listening to some of the dialogue of these young men gives me reason to worry about our future. Are all guys this stupid when they're drunk? What a bunch of MORONS. I look forward to the day that "U Da Man" and "Get in Da Hole"! are banished from golf.
- Sunscreen. I found it comical that many people were commenting how sticky and icky the (free) sunscreen was at the tournament. Hey, I didn't like it either, but I also don't want skin Cancer or Melanoma. Use sunscreen!!
- Cell Phones. Don't people ever learn? I won't rant too much here, but I thought it was interesting that at the check-in stand to leave your phones and checked items - they NEVER have anybody forget their cellular phones at the end of the day. People will leave behind any valuable - but heavens forbid they lose their cell phones.
- Cottonwood Valley course. On Thu/Fri, the pros play Cottonwood. This is SO much better than the TPC course, with much less people, more open spaces, and far less drunks and idiots out there. While there are not as many pretty women on the Cottonwood side, this makes for better golf watching without the crowds. The only drawback is there are not enough concession stands or water on this course.

CADILLAC
Whats' going on with Cadillac marketing? In the recent few years, I've collected at least the following SWAG from this company. They must really be spending some big advertising dollars to lure golfers.....
* At least 4-5 tickets for test drives
* 3-5 sleeves of ProV1's for walking through demonstrations
* A customized "Ryder Cup" box of 6 custom logoed ProV1's
* 3 small "ditty" bags for your valuables
* 2 Very nice shoe bags
* A $50 AMEX gift certificate for taking a test drive
* Another $75 AMEX gift certificate for another test drive
* Hats, small gifts, and more carry bags for attending a clinic with Tom Watson
* Various other SWAG.

ATTN: Dallas area golfers! Canal Lofts in Irving was giving free shuttle rides to the Nelson, from their covered parking garage. It was GREAT! Free water, and the shuttle ran all day, while your car stays protected in a very empty, covered parking garage, unlike the uncovered, hot parking lot at Texas Stadium.

http://www.canalsidelofts.com/

FAN STORIES
- I was listening to a couple of morons and their son, who were commenting on the driving range(very loudly) about how Camilo Villegas is very overrated. He glanced over a couple of times, but they proceeded to make idiots of themselves again. I fear for what this guy's son is going to grow up like, by watching his father behave like that.
- There were a LOT of young kids (teenagers and younger) with full-bore Golfing setups. They all had expensive Sunglasses, Johan Lindeburg or other expensive clothing, and Shirts or caps with logos such as "Regional Texas Amateur Championship", or something of that nature. Most of them had their collars turned up, and a BIG ATTITUDE. I thought was incredibly cocky how these kids critique everyone's swing with some kind of comment like "He thinned that", or "that was a crappy shot", or "this guy's lucky to be on tour", or something of that nature. Man, the attitudes on these kids will choke a horse!
- I watched a young kid with a broken arm and his father near a teebox. This young boy (4-7 years old) was a VERY nice kid, and the father was enthusiastic about all the golfers coming through. In about 20-30 minutes, I watched THREE professionals (Troy Matteson, Roger Tambellini, and another) walk over, give the kid a ball, and chat a little bit. That kid looked very very humbled, thankful and happy. It was the best story of the weekend!

That's it! Any commentary is welcome! Of course - I'm more looking forward to the Colonial later this week!
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I took my eight year old Sunday morning. We had a great time before most of the other 76,000 showed up. Saw Els, Singh, Dickerson, Herron, Andrade, et al. up close. I've been a number of times before but fail to appreciate how high these guys hit all their shots (unless they are in real trouble). Trajectory is incredibly high with super soft landings. Wonder why is there so much talk on the boards about lowering trajectory?

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..............My opinion of Vijay, which was low, has just sunk to a new level. Aren't kids the future of our game?

 

You're welcome, everyone! :crazy:

 

As far as VJ, I know that a LOT of players dont' sign certain things, but I really thought he could have taken the time to say something like ..."How about I sign your Cap or Shirt?", as that would not have taken any more time whatsoever. I've read many times what a great guy VJ is off the course, but I thought his response was robotic and harsh to that little boy. The poor kid looked at his father like "Whaaa Huh???"

 

ON a refreshing note - When Mattison and Tambellini gave balls to the other kid with the broken arm, hearts were melting all OVER the teebox! ;) Just about everyone on that teebox was smiling and enjoying the moment. It was one of the sweetest and kindest things that I've ever seen at a PGA TOUR event.

 

Frankly - if I were a Pro, I'd be giving away EVERYTHING like extra balls, gloves, hats, etc. etc. to these young kids. They get all that SWAG free anyhow. Just think of the memories that kid has from now on! I'd be playing golf every day! :)

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Awesome post....great read and good comic relief too.

 

Sorry to bandwagon here but I've got to share an autograph story from this years World Match Play. I was on the ropes leading to the driving range and all the players would come by on their way to warm up. I was just wanting to see my heroes up close but there were a lot of kids getting autographs and here is my perception of some of the greatest players.

 

Tiger. He grabs a hat from the first kid on the ropes and takes his time signing it as he walks all the way down to the range and then passes it back over the rope. So basically this is his way of not having to sign autographs....he just signs one and makes sure it lasts all the way to the end of the fans...it was about 50' for one autograph.

 

Phil. Took his time to sign at least 10 autographs and even had his own pen to do it. Nice guy and smiled and patted kids on the head and stuff....seems like a great guy and really appeals to the fans.

 

Tom Lehman. Kid asked him for an a.g. but didn't have a pen...Tom said "you gotta have a pen kid" and just walked off even though there were about 10 people saying "here you can use my pen"....after a few choice words from the adults in the crowd Tom's caddy came back up with something for the kid (I couldn't see what it was but it looked like a cool divot tool or something that was out of his bag). i guess he made up for it.

 

Mike Weir. Signed a few on his way down....seems like a nice guy. There was a few Canadian guys there and they said something to Mike and he could hear their accents...of course he came straight over and signed all their hats.

 

Chad Campbell. Signed a few on the way down and liked the encouragement to beat Tiger (that was the day he played ....and beat Tiger 1up).

 

Retief didn't sign any...didn't even acknowledge the fans...just looked straight ahead and walked to the range. I guess he was in the ZONE or something???

 

Davis Love III. Signed a couple and joked around a bit....I always thought he seemed a bit stuffy on TV but he seemed very friendly in person.

 

I won't go on and on but the best one of all of them was Geoff Ogilvy. He was walking down and you could hear a few kids saying "who's that"....and then I said, "hey Geoff let's try to finish it in 18 today" (every match but 1 went into extra holes for him that week).

 

He was so excited that somebody actually knew his name he actually came over and joked around with us for about 5 minutes about the extra holes and how it's hard enough to keep it together for 18. He was signing autographs for everyone and even went back to the other side of the path to sign a few for kids he had already passed up. I never really knew him before but now he will always get a little extra "cheering" from me....what a great guy.

 

Most of the pros don't say anything...even when they're signing autographs they're just very straight faced....i wish more of them would loosen up and mix it up with the fans more. I know that some of them are focused or whatever but without the fans they'd be selling cars or in the Army or something....they all oughtta pay a little more respect to the fans since we're the reason they can do what they do.

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.............Most of the pros don't say anything...even when they're signing autographs they're just very straight faced....i wish more of them would loosen up and mix it up with the fans more. I know that some of them are focused or whatever but without the fans they'd be selling cars or in the Army or something....they all oughtta pay a little more respect to the fans since we're the reason they can do what they do.

 

I agree, that is weird. For a much friendlier atmostphere, attend a FUTURES TOUR event. I did earlie this year, and was very, very pleasantly surprised, here's the link to my post:

 

http://www.golfwrx.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=29387

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Good post Sam, a good read.

 

One time I went to a tour event with my son and his cousin. We were standing by the 18th green and the cousin wants an autograph. I asked her, who's auto did she want and of course she says TW. I told her, no problem, give me your hat. She did. I signed Tiger Woods on her hat, then gave it back to her. Of course she flipped, but a root beer and small conversation later, she realized what my son (who is younger than her) already did.

 

He doesn't even care if gets an autograph, so great, it's a non issue dealing with most of those *****s. He has met plenty of athletes in his young years, but never really asked for an autograph. He thought it was cool to meet them, say hi, ask a couple of questions and have a real converation for a few moments. That's a memory.

 

If people would teach their kids the real value of meeting an athlete (well, what little value there is), then maybe all this autograph nonsense would start to die off. Maybe some of the more obtuse tour players out there would realize they could set an example by just stopping to say hi and have a little conversation, make the autograph part of a fan building process, not some attitude problem that helps them avoid fines.

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Great post Sam! Thanks for sharing.

 

Any pictures from the practice rounds?

 

No prob! Sorry, no pictures, as I wasn't able to get enough vacation to attend the early rounds.

 

Sam, pictures weren't necessary for me! Your commentary an observations were very colorful and vivid in my mind! I could almost picture everything that was going on!

 

Again, as others before me have already iterated, GREAT POST!! :)

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Sam, that was an awesome post. Thanks for taking the time to put all of this together. It's sad to read about some of the obnoxious people in attendance. Armchair quarterbacks need to stick to their recliners! Sadder still was that it took me a whole day to get to this post, but it was worth it.

 

FWIW, the trionz are more about the negative ions. So by strapping one of these on your wrists, in an effort to regain equalibrium, you're body will net itself positive ionic charge. The benefits far outweight those of the magnets (which only cures arthritis :) ). I can't speak to the benefits, but I'm not one to doubt placebos. :vava:

 

Anyway, if your attendance next year will bring us another post like this, I'll sport for a pair of ankle socks for ya! :crazy: Thanks again,

 

beruo

 

btw--Camilo Villegas is very overrated. They're just giving away $1,243,345 to rookie players nowadays. ;)

:hi:
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- The Women at the Nelson are some of the finest, best looking, and incredibly gorgeous women I've seen in any one place in my life!! It is simply unbelievable to watch this scene near the "Pavilion" drinking tent near the 2nd/3rd hole of the TPC course. Incredible. However......I felt like such an outsider, it was not comfortable for me to even approach any of these hotties, and I felt very out of place even in their vicinity. I felt like the old man with the bucket hat and lawn chair, with the white calf-length socks. So sad. So old.

 

heheh..did u see any girls following adam?? o_______________o

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Tom Lehman. Kid asked him for an a.g. but didn't have a pen...Tom said "you gotta have a pen kid" and just walked off even though there were about 10 people saying "here you can use my pen"....after a few choice words from the adults in the crowd Tom's caddy came back up with something for the kid (I couldn't see what it was but it looked like a cool divot tool or something that was out of his bag). i guess he made up for it.

 

I've heard this a bunch about Lehman......funny how he professes to be this big Christian every chance he gets and then treats people that way. What a jerk.

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