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What Rhymes With Thongchai?

Apparently in last week’s column, my hubris over scoring 3 players in the top 6 in the Frys.com Open irked the golf gods, or the universe…or the Great Pumpkin. 

And, like the cruel sods that they are, they chose to strike back at me this week for getting too full of myself…by bringing me crashing back to reality and humbling me in front of my daughter (not to mention all the friends who live to see me humiliated…and will loudly recall this little nugget just as I’m about to stroke a critical 4-foot putt).

Not only did I fail to score any picks of true significance in the event…but my daughter and her evil darts somehow managed to pip every single one of my selections.  The best I could do?  Her worst player tied my best player…at 14th position. 

Lesson learned.

Okay, so let’s get the bloodletting completely out of the system and reveal the results, shall we?  Here’s how we stacked up at the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals Open (and yes, it still hurts to type that name):

Derek’s Picks D&D (Daughter & Dartboard)
Rickie Fowler T22  $          39,918 Ryuji Imada T8  $        124,700
George McNeill T14  $          72,250 Richard S. Johnson T11  $         98,900
Charley Hoffman Cut   Pat Perez T14  $         72,250
Hunter Mahan T50  $          10,159 Nick Watney T6  $        149,425
This Week’s Total    $        122,327 This Week’s Total    $        445,275
Season Total    $   10,265,294 Season Total    $     6,624,010

So much for my painstaking rationale in choosing “The Boy Who Lived (on the course),” “The Defending Champ,” “The B2 Stealth Golfer” and “The Guy the Golf Gods Owe One To.” 

Cutesy writing…Crapsy picking!

Now that my expectations have sunk back to reality, let’s press on and see what kind of feeble attempt I can cobble together to make some reclamations to my record.

The CIMB Asia Pacific Classic

I have to admit that I got caught with my pants down this week.  No, not in a “True Confessions, Pee Wee Herman at the Cineplex,” kind of way…but my literal pants were down around my Soft Joys because of this tournament.

A few weeks ago one of the members of my golf pool e-mailed me to inquire why I hadn’t included the CIMB in my spreadsheet…or in my tally of tourneys remaining in the season (“only 3 tourneys left…use your trades while you can…good luck to all…blah, blah, blah.”)

I’ve noticed over the years, that as our pool season winds down, those at or near the top positions seem to go to great lengths to audit every other team challenging them…and labouriously pore over every angle to gain a little traction down the home stretch. 

I’m not saying this poolster was trying to play an angle on me…far from it.  It was a legit question. And I gave a legit answer that went like this…”While the CIMB is listed on the player’s schedule on pgatour.com, you’ll notice that it appears with an asterisk (actually a pound sign), designating that it ISN’T actually an officially-sanctioned PGA Tour event.  Thanks for the sharp eyes and head-up though…good luck down the home stretch…blah, blah, blah.”

And so I moved on with my life…content that I’d done my due diligence on the matter and wouldn’t have to do any work on the golf pool spreadsheet this week…or write a new column for CanadianGolfer.

Fast-forward to last night; as I’m fighting my way toward the final table of an on-line poker tourney, while the latest instalment of Big Break provides some welcome ambience and very welcome eye-candy in the background. 

By the way, if you haven’t been following this season of the Big Break, do yourself a favour and start getting caught up, pronto.  The programming gurus at the Golf Channel struck upon a blockbuster formula this time around; 6 of the most obnoxious, hot-headed guys they could dredge up from past episodes…battling against 6 of the most talented (and 4 of the hottest) girls from past episodes. 

I won’t offer any spoilers on what’s been happening, other than to say that the action and events and trash talk and hubris and results have been hugely entertaining so far.  Plus, and a few of the girls (Sara and Christina especially) have turned sunken-putt celebrations into a compelling new erotic art form…with spikes.

So, I folded yet another pathetic set of hole cards and switched my attention briefly to the Golf Channel, hoping that Sara would sink another putt…just in time to see a new promo for the CIMB Asia Pacific Classic come on the tube.  And then, after giving the air times, the announcer delivers this line in his best dulcet tones; “now an officially-sanctioned PGA Tour event.” 

Huh?  What’s that?  Exsqueeze me Garth?

I re-checked the PGA Tour’s official website..and that pound sign, posing as an asterisk is still there, still designating this as a no-count tourney.  But now, it DOES count.

Apparently someone, somewhere, somehow decided that this would be an officially-sanctioned PGA Tour event after all.  And for some reason, I didn’t get a memo on this.  With a field of just 40 guys, ten of whom I’m willing to bet you’ve never heard of in your life, I’m really wondering what the thought process was behind this decision? 

And if this one counts, maybe there’s an outside hope that the tourney I play in every year down in New York might get sanctioned one day too.  Hey…it was featured in Golf Digest 2 years ago…so why not?  I’ll have to get my buddy Walk the Commish working on that one.  We’d all love a chance to tee it up with Ernie and Retief and the boys. 

I can easily see Carl Pettersson staggering up the 18th hole of our shoot-out format, buck naked, like the rest of the guys in his group.  (Gack!  Now I can actually see that!  I need some Anusol for my eyes nurse…stat!!!)

And I’m sure there’d be an over/under of .00003 seconds on how long it would take one of us knobs on day #1 to give Rickie Fowler some unsolicited advice on proper head gear.  Mrs. Svenny saw Rickie for the first time this week and immediately asked if he was wearing his mom’s hat.  Just another reason to love her; she thinks like us…and smells a LOT better.

But back to the CIMB folks.  It is what it is…and what it is, is an officially sanctioned PGA Tour event (I just chipped a tooth saying that painfully convoluted sentence out loud).  And so, my week off now completely shambalized, here are my picks for this latest debut event on the PGA Tour (hmmm…shambalized…kind of sounds like an old 3 Dog Night song, after a few too many vitamin rums):

Derek’s Picks – The CIMB Asia Pacific Classic

Ernie Els – Yup…I’m starting off waaaaaaay out on a limb with this one.  I know.

Ernie is easily the most experienced international player in this very small field.  He’s also the most successful.  In addition, he’s the one who is most used to jet-setting around the world to tee it up in golf events in vastly different time zones, serving vastly alien cuisine.

Ernie started off the year riding a huge wave; winning the WGC CA Championship and the Arnie Invitational within 3 weeks.  He then posted a top 3 finish at the US Open.  Since then though, he’s experienced a bit of a drought.  I think this week all the stars are lining up for the Big Easy to make a return to the winner’s podium.

Luke Donald – After the jaw-dropping performance he turned in at the Ryder Cup, how could I not pick this guy?

Donald was totally fearless…and spent the entire tournament demoralizing his opponents by firing a non-stop barrage of laser-guided darts at the pins. 

If momentum counts for anything in this sport (and it does) then Donald abso-tively must be a top pick for anyone handicapping the field at the CIMB Asia Pacific Classic.

Martin LairdHe was on my short list for last weekend’s tournament…and then in a fit of “karmic brilliance,” I dropped him in favour of Hunter Mahan.  Me smart like poled ox!

Naturally, after dropping him from my roster Laird promptly played out of his skin all weekend and fought his way into a 3-man playoff on Sunday night…only losing to Jonathan Byrd’s ace on the 4th extra hole.

 By the way, how was that hole-in-one for an amazing finish?  In the words of my good friend Mel (featured prominently, but not terribly seriously in the long drive contest every year at the tourney down in New York), “You can pluck my eyes out…’cause NOW I’ve seen it all!!!” 

Mel was last seen striping a drive with his mother’s 3-wood straight through the sponsor’s sign on the long drive tee.  Hard hats are now mandatory for the enthusiastic and very vocal gallery.  Clothing remains optional.

Man, I really need to focus here!  where the hell was I?

Laird is a pick this week for lots of good reasons.  He’s a great player, he’s having a fantastic year, he’s on a roll right now and he really stands out in this limited field.  For all these reasons, plus the notion that I’d like to earn myself some retroactive redemption for dumping him last week, I’m putting him on my roster for the CIMB.

Thongchai JaideeNot a very well known name in North American golfing circles…but I doubt that most of you haven’t heard or read his name at least a few times over the years. 

 Over in Asia though, this guy is a bonafide rock star.

 While it’s true that he’s not Malayasian, being from Thailand makes him geographically close enough to be considered one of the “home town heroes” in this event…and you can bet he’ll have LOTS of locals coming out to support him on the course.

 He’s also shown that he can stare down the world’s best…and keep his cool.  Jaidee has posted 4 wins on the European Tour and finished last season at 19th on their Order of Merit.  He’s also finished the season at #1 on the Asian Order of Merit three times.

Not a household name, here…but I think a lot of local support and a ton of great Asian results could easily push him to the top this weekend.

And now that I’ve had my say, let’s see how my daughter has conspired to embarrass me this week with her dastardly dart tosses.

D&D’s Picks (Daughter & Dartboard)

  • Ricky Barnes
  • Tim Petrovic
  • Mardan Marmat
  • Chih-Bing Lam

And that’s all for now folks.  Have a great week..and please save me some of those mini Snickers bars!

Cheers,

Derek

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