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Nothing Runs Like a Deere…Nothing Smells Like a John

Within a few hours of the conclusion of the Travelers Championship last weekend I received an e-mail from one of our long-time golf pool members.  Over the years, this has become a pretty common occurrence in our golf pool…and quite a few members feel inspired to tell me how brilliant they’ve been with their selections or trades.

Actually, now that I think about it, most of the e-mails I get each week are from people who feel compelled to tell me how much they suck at picking a winning team or making shrewd trades…probably in an effort to make me feel better about my own dismal performance.  Misery does love company after all.

The purpose of the particular e-mail I mentioned though was to inform me of this disgusted member’s creation of a new verb to be entered into the golfing lexicon: “To Rose.”

To Rose” – verb.  To snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Pretty harsh I thought…especially since Rose had scored a win just a few weeks earlier at The Memorial.  And besides, I think most of us already have a verb in our golf dictionary to describe this phenomenon:  “To Van de Velde!

Over the years, this fellow has built up a pretty significant reputation in our group of hackers as a shrewd picker of players…and, by his reports, he has parlayed his handicapping skills into a very nice string of winning bets with the British book makers. 

There’s nothing he likes more than sending me a quick scud after a tourney to let me know whom he chose and how much money he won that week.  Perversely, he seems to take almost as much delight in telling me how close he was to cashing another big winner’s cheque, before one of his players soiled himself in that week’s final round. 

Thus the e-mail about Justin Rose at the Travelers…which cost my crusty old friend more than a little bit of his Cohiba allowance last week.

At this point I’m compelled to admit to being just twisted enough that I had some serious thoughts about making Rose one of my picks for the AT&T National…simply because of that e-mail.  My mind works that way.

But, despite the wicked tug at my gut, I ignored the instincts of my darker side, scratched Rose off my list and stuck with the picks I’d already made.

Another brilliant move on my part! 

Of course, my old friend will be more than happy to tell me, after reading this, that I “Rosed” in making this decision.

And so, with all of that said, let’s zip open the body bag on last week’s selections and see how much more damage my ego sustained in the battle against the spawn and the Swift Flytes:

Derek’s Picks                                                            D&D (Daughter & Dartboard)

Ricky Barnes T16  $      81,427 Michael Allen CUT  $               –  
Robert Allenby T41  $      22,940 Jim Furyk T33  $         31,388
Stuart Appleby T11  $    131,440 Marc Leishman T7  $       199,950
Scott Verplank T62  $      13,144 Tim Petrovic T33  $         31,388
This Week’s Total    $    248,951 This Week’s Total    $       262,726
Season Total    $ 2,055,294 Season Total    $    2,238,957

Seriously…look at my picks!  Look at her picks!  How does this keep happening, damn it???

This week, the PGA Tour stop is the John Deere Classic in Illinois…and for a good chunk of the field, it’s their last opportunity to earn a tee time at St. Andrews.  No pressure boys!

The John Deere Classic – Derek’s Picks

I won’t come right out and say that the field for this week’s event is pretty sub-standard, but the fact is that a staggeringly high percentage of the planet’s best players won’t be swinging their clubs anywhere near North America this weekend. 

The vast majority of the modern golfing gods hopped a plane for Scotland days ago and are acclimatizing themselves to the weather, the course, the weather, the food, the weather, the time zone and the weather.

That kind of leaves us with just a handful of current stars and a whole lot of other guys who are really hoping to turn their years (or careers) around this weekend at the John Deere (absolutely NO disrespect to these players intended!  Even on their most dismal day they could still kick my ass.)

Steve Stricker – I don’t feel like doing a lot of limb-crawling this week, so the majority of my picks aren’t likely to generate a lot of surprises.  To be honest, the weather is so ungodly hot, that I couldn’t bear any heavy lifting, even if it is only the mental kind.  The air is so thick here right now that this morning I went outside, took in a deep breath and chipped a tooth!

Stricker was the 2009 champion at this event, and given the relative strength of the field against which he’ll be competing this weekend, I think it would be a mistake not to have him lead off my list of selections.

He came out of the gates smoking in 2010, but has been rather quiet lately. I think this weekend will see his return to the winner’s circle with a successful title defense at the TPC Deere Run.

Zach Johnson – Other than Stricker and one or two other fellows, there aren’t any 2010 winners in the field this weekend.  Zach Johnson is one guy who has managed to hoist a gargantuan stunt cheque over his head this year.  And he did it on a tough track against an even tougher field…beating the pack at The Colonial.

Johnson finished second to Stricker in last year’s John Deere, so he’s comfortable playing on the course and should carry over a lot of positive mojo from his 2009 performance. 

Tim Clark – Another 2010 Tour winner, the diminutive South African has had his tee time at The Open Championship reserved for quite some time now…so it’s a bit of a mystery to me why he’s playing on this side of the Atlantic this weekend, rather than getting in some extra practice rounds to modify his game for Scotland. 

I’d guess that it’s a mystery to a lot of guys in the John Deere field too.  Maybe it was his second-place showing in 2007 that keeps him coming back?  Either way, seeing his name on the pairings sheet probably won’t fill a lot of his competitors with happy thoughts for their own prospects of winning.

Any time Clark is in the field, he poses a threat.  He steamrolled the competition at the much tougher Player’s Championship a few months ago, and this week I think he’ll be licking his chops at his prospects of catching a plane to St. Andrew’s with a pile of cash and some hardware in his carry-on bag.

Carl Pettersson – He’s my dark-horse pick this week.  Although I’m not really sure you could call him a real dark horse?

After a very disappointing 2009 campaign, Pettersson seems to be returning to form and has registered some very good performances so far this year…finishing in the top ten a very impressive 20% of the time he tees it up.

After last weekend’s 6th place finish at Aronimink, I think Pettersson has lots of good stuff to build on and there’s a good possibility that he might pull off a win this weekend. 

More on Pettersson in just a moment…but first, let’s see what predictions my daughter managed to cobble together with her darts this week:

D&D Picks (Daughter & Dartboard)

  • J.P. Hayes
  • Kirk Triplett
  • Skip Kendall
  • Pat Perez

 Wish me luck.  Apparently, I need it!

And now, before I go, I just have to ask this question:  Am I the only person on the planet who gets irked every time the TV announcers mention Pettersson’s name?

I distinctly remember Carl’s debut on a televised event years ago.  I also distinctly remember one of the announcers (Roger Maltby, I believe) explaining that his last name is actually pronounced PET–er-son…BUT, that the golfer accepted the reality that a lot of American announcers would probably pronounce it PETE-er-son…and, if they did, that was okay with him.

Here was an unknown Swede rookie, coming out on the tour and basically saying “I know most of you TV guys aren’t smart enough to get my rather simple name right…so it won’t bother me too much if you botch it up.”

At the time I remember that I howled with laughter!  A beautifully understated put-down, worthy of a Brit…meticulously explained, in all seriousness, by one of its unknowing victims!

And then, not realizing what had actually happened, the announcers all jumped off the cliff and decided that their way of pronouncing “Pettersson” was better, since they seemed to have Carl’s blessing…and that’s the way it was going to be!

In the immortal words of part-time Australian philosopher Eric Idle, “mind if we call you Bruce to keep it straight?”

‘Til next week

Cheers,

Derek

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