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Fearless Forecast and Father's Day Felicitations

Welcome to another awe-uninspiring edition of Poolside my friends.

After last week’s predictions, I’ve decided to change my pen name for this column.  Henceforth I’ll be using the nom de plume Hugh…Hugh Briss.

Ah yes, hubris.  That overweening self-pride that brings us back down to reality with such a harsh crash.  Add to that, the dancing and singing and general mirth-making from the daughter at father’s expense and it was a week to eat, not just one, but an entire murder of crows (isn’t that a fantastic name for a flock of crows…a “murder?”  I love it!)

I don’t know about you, but I think it’s hardly appropriate behaviour to exhibit toward one’s dad, the week before Father’s Day…or anytime, for that matter.

Before I get into my predictions for the US Open at Pebble Beach, let’s re-cap the results from last week’s crystal ball-gazing exercise for the St. Jude Classic.

(Completely candid mode: on) First you’ll notice the complete lack of performance by one of my key picks…Bryce Molder.  Why?  Because he wasn’t in the field, that’s why (se above: hubris).  Somehow, in my haste to get this article posted, I must have opened up the previous week’s field listings…or mentally morphed Mulroy into Molder…or had an X-Files moment or something…but any way you slice it, I sacrificed one of my critical picks and chose a player who wasn’t even going to play.  Truly brilliant.  Talk about playing with a handicap! 

Week 3 Picks – The St. Jude Classic

Derek’s Picks                                                   Daughter & Dartboard

Padraig Harrington  T56   $12,656             Stuart Appleby         CUT

Rory McIlroy             T29   $34,090            Tom Pernice Jr.         T72   $10,920

Zach Johnson             T12 $117,600            D.J. Trahan                     T8  $156,800

Bryce Molder             DNP – DOH!                   Heath Slocum            6 $201,600        

This week’s total     $164,363                  This week’s total      $369,320

Season total                $649,315                  Season total                $1,661,214

And so, after a mere 3 weeks of sweating virtual blood every week to put out this web page, my daughter and her cursed darts have managed to out-perform me by a margin of 2 ½ to one.  Somewhere in her celebrations, she managed to pause for a few seconds and ponder whether she should start being paid for her picks.  

Waiter…a little more salt for this gaping head wound please!

Right then, having firmly established my spot on the lowest branch of this family tree, the mission is to press on fearlessly and get back into the game.  With the big bucks on the line this weekend at the US Open, a couple of shrewd picks could get me right back into this thing.  So, let’s take a crack at it.

US Open – Derek’s Picks

Ernie ElsWith two wins under his belt (The WGC CA Championship and hoisting the sword at the Arnold Palmer Invitational), plus a handful of top ten finishes, it’s been a fantastic start to Ernie’s 2010 campaign!

Add to that the fact that he’s been there and done that and won it…in no less than three majors (two US Opens and the Open Championship) and The Big Easy has the experience, the grace under pressure and the mettle to own this tourney.  

The fact that Ernie is so likeable, such a soft-spoken, hell of a nice guy…and has weathered his way through some extremely tough family health issues while staying in top form, make him a really easy pick to make.

Retief Goosen – Maybe I’ve been watching too much of the action from the World Cup (okay, not “maybe,” I definitely have)…and my mind is finally starting to succumb to the effects of those damned Vuvuzela horns blowing incessantly for 2 hours at a stretch…but I’m feeling in a South African kind of mood this week.  And so, I’m going to add another to my roster.

With two US Open victories on his resume…and a really solid start to the 2010 season in his rear view mirror, I think Retief is a genuine threat this week to add a third US Open title to his long list of accomplishments.

And, maybe it’s just that I’ve been really busy, but I can’t say that I’ve heard a lot of media hype about Retief this week from the golf wags. 

For some reason, this superstar somehow manages to be overlooked when the “pros” are making their fearless forecasts…and it almost seems like there’s a direct correlation between being ignored by the media and doing well in Retief’s major experiences.  It’s almost like there’s a deep, deep place buried in his subconscious saying, “not even going to mention me huh?  Well take THIS!”  Of course, Retief is such a nice, humble guy that he would never say that out loud…he simply lets his clubs do the talking for him.

Tim Clark – Oh, what the hell….why not.  Let’s keep the South African theme going loud and proud and toss in another one!  It’s those Vuvuzela horns I tell you!!!

And frankly, at this point, I don’t really have that much to lose, do I?

Clark is another South African who has had a great year…and with several clutch performances in VERY big tourneys, it seems to me like he’s destined to finally shed the not-so-coveted mantle of “one of the best players not to win a major” and take home some hardware this weekend.

He’s long, he’s straight, he’s cool under pressure and he’s not afraid to stare down the big guys heads-up and win.  This could easily be his weekend.

Phil Mickelson – I bet you didn’t know that Phil was born in South Africa did you?  Yup…they tried to hide it by cleverly re-writing history on his PGA profile page, but Phil was actually born is the remote community of Teyateyaneng and was smuggled to San Diego as soon as he was old enough to lunge at hyenas with a club.

In fact, in the language of the veld, the word “Phil” means “screw playing safe…go big or go home Bwana!”

Okay, maybe not…but I’m desperately trying to keep the theme going here and I’m not clever enough to figure out a way to do that and still toss a Yank into the mix.

Hmmm…that sounds vaguely dirty somehow.

Mickelson loves Pebble.  Pebble loves Mickelson, when he’s thinking his way around the course.  I think enough time has lapsed for him to get over the “I can finally take over World #1” thing and re-focus on simply playing one good shot after another.  If he can do that and not think of the results at the end of the road, I give him a good chance to pull off a victory.

And now, let’s see what evil took place in the basement, when my spawn assaulted the horsehair with the hammerheads:

D&D’s Picks (Daughter and Dartboard)

  • Lee Westwood (how does she DO that???)
  • Dustin Johnson
  • J.J. Henry
  • Francesco Molinari

Following last week’s guffaws…and the resulting humiliation suffered by the offending guffawer, there will be no comments on those selections, no matter how much I’d like to.  

Must…not…stick…foot…in…mouth…again…stupid!!!

One more thing before I go.  I’d like to take this opportunity to wish all the dad’s reading a VERY happy Father’s Day.

I lost my dear old dad just over a year ago and not a day has passed since when I haven’t thought of him and missed him terribly.  If you’re lucky enough to still have your dad around, cherish every moment you can, while you still can.  

If it’s possible, take him out for a round this weekend.  Despite all of the great courses I’ve had the opportunity to play and all the fun I’ve had with my assorted collection of golfing friends, my all-time favourite memories on the golf course are the rounds I played with my dad…and later, with my dad and my own son.  Nothing will ever come close to beating those golfing memories.

Whether it’s a round of golf, or a family meal, or even just a phone call over long distance… no matter what you do this weekend, make sure your dad knows how much he means to you.  And, dare I say it, tell him how much you love him and appreciate everything he’s done for you! 

‘til next week.

Cheers, 

Derek

p.s.  you don’t suppose anyone will bring a Vuvuzela horn to Pebble do you?

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