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Happy New Year…and Book ‘em Danno!

Welcome back to another action-packed PGA Tour Fantasy Pool season folks!  I’ve missed you.

I hope, no matter how you celebrated, that you managed to have an excellent holiday with family and friends…and that 2011 is shaping up to be your best year yet, both on and off the course.

It’s a new year and a brand new start for the hopefuls entering this PGA tour season.  Slates are clean…everyone starts even, dig deep and see what magic they can conjure up out of their considerable arsenals of talent.

Lots of fresh faces will be walking on the courses for the first time…fistfuls of up-and-comers are eager to build on a promising past year…and plenty of perennial favourites return for a grab at more glory and cash. 

And there are plenty of compelling stories revolving around the players at the pinnacle of the golfing world, carrying over from 2010.  Can Westwood maintain world #1, without devoting more time playing on the Yank side of the pond? Will Phil pull out of his perma-funk and resurface as a genuine threat?  Will Mike get his body and game healthy again and re-emerge as the consistent trophy threat we’ve all been looking for? Can Tiger finally start thinking with the big head, then go on to rake his cranium out of his hinder regions and start scoring on the course, instead of the pancake house and ripper bars?

Yuppers…should be a fun ride!  Strap yourself in.

Of course, this week isn’t “officially” the start of the PGA Tour season.  We’re in foreplay mode until the first full-field event of the year; next week’s Sony Open.  Meanwhile, there is some top calibre golf action on the tube this weekend in the form of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions…a gathering of all the winners from the 2010 season, duking it out for first blood and the early “best-of-the-best” bragging rights.

As always, this special tourney is held on the spectacular vista of Hawaii’s Kapalua Golf Resort…a breathtaking, picture-perfect postcard scene no matter which way you turn your head (coughing optional).

And that, of course, takes me head-on into the first full-tilt, totally off the tracks tangent of the New Year…a little something Hawaii-related.  (Amazing…I made it 9 paragraphs before getting derailed!  Must be the new meds I’m taking).

Demographically speaking, if you’re a die-hard fan of golf in Canada and a regular reader of the great scribes here on CanadianGolfer.com (presently company not included), there’s a very good likelihood that you’re a 40+ male, carrying an upper level income, a very good education, 2.3 children and a healthy RRSP socked away. 

I’m going to go out on a tiny limb and also add, there’s a high probability you’ve enjoyed a post-round cocktail or 8 on more than one occasion and an equally great chance you were a big fan of Jack Lord, James MacArthur and the legendary Kam Fong on the original Hawaii Five-0 back in the late 60’s through the early 80’s (yup…it did  actually last that long).

Hard not to watch anything from Hawaii and not have that memorable theme song running through your head all the time isn’t it?

Since we’re venturing into a brand new decade and a fresh, new PGA season, let’s side-step into the brand new Hawaii Five-0 TV series, rather than dwell on ancient history.

So far, for my rather anemic Monday TV viewing schedule, this new series has been anything but disappointing.  More intrigue, more action, more clever, more gizmos, more sinister, more bikinis…pretty much more of everything you loved about the original and were hoping to find in this updated version.  Mission accomplished!

The series apparently got me feeling nostalgic over the holidays too…and after spending a few days cooped up sick, my twisted cranium started noodling some random ideas around and I ended up re-crafting a few old favourite TV drinking games and applying them to this very worthy new contender to the Neilson ratings.

And so, for your combined viewing and consuming pleasure, I present the sequel to those all-time popular university TV/drinking games “Star Trek” and “Bob Newhart” (“Hi Bob”)…the brand new Hawaii Five-0…Drink ’em Danno:

Warning; this game is not for the feint of heart.  Check with your doctor before playing…and then disregard him entirely…they NEVER have a sense of humour. Avoid playing while medicated. 

May cause drowsiness, rapid pulse, unconsciousness, sudden cravings for copious amounts of beer nuts and Cheetos, a desire to head to the nearest peeler bar for a few rounds of ballet and a complete loss of interest in being productive in any way whatsoever. 

There might also be some negative side effects too…but none spring immediately to mind.

Like all good drinking games, the rules are painfully simple (like me).  Let’s face it…they really HAVE to be.  Some pre-determined event happens or some catch-phrase is uttered…and you drink.  What could be easier?

Here’s how they go:

Hawaii Five-0: the Drinking Game (“Drink ’em Danno”)

  • Gratuitous pictures of island scenery – 1 shot
  • Gratuitous pictures of King Kamehameha – 1 shot
  • Gratuitous pictures of Pearl Island – 1 shot
  • Gratuitous pictures of surfing – 1 shot
  • Gratuitous underwater scenery – 1 shot
  • Gratuitous pictures of hot chicks in bikinis (not on surfboards) – 1 shot
  • Gratuitous shot of a shirtless McGarrett – 1 shot of spritzer (one for the ladies)
  • Guns drawn and/or fired (when doesn’t one follow the other?) – 1 shot
  • Car chase – 1 shot
  • Gratuitous ride in speed boat – 1 shot
  • Gratuitous helicopter adventure ride – 1 shot
  • Gratuitous use of jaw-droppingly cool Sci-Fi gizmos – 1 shot
  • Introduction of fat, jolly, too-cool-for-the-room, old Hawaiian geezer for pivotal plot development (usually while he is flogging surfing lessons, ice cream or selling t-shirts and tourist crap – 1 shot
  • Mention of Chinese or Japanese gangs – 1 shot
  • Gratuitous use of island slang, requiring obligatory translation for Danno – 1 shot
  • Smoking hot Canadian Grace Park in bikini – Triple!!! (That always deserves extra respect…damn!)

I guarantee you, by following these simple (minded and completely juvenile) rules, Monday nights will NEVER be the same again.  And, you’ll never make it past the second commercial set other than as a completely insensible, quivering heap of man flesh.

Okay then, now that we’ve taken car of your liver and higher cerebral functioning, let’s talk some golf shall we?

Derek’s Picks – The Hyundai Tournament of Champions

With such a limited field, I probably shouldn’t be feeling any great pressure to do amazing things out of the gate on this one…but then again, with such a limited field, I really do feel that the shorter odds of picking a winner this week does add a LOT of weight on my shoulders.

Plus, of course, there’s always the desire to come out of the gates smoking…and establish some dominance over my daughter and her nefarious (and all-too deadly) dart tosses.  Colon suitably clenched, here we go:

Geoff Ogilvy – How’s that for a starter?  Heading into 2010, Ogilvy was a preferred horsie for me at the start of the golf pool I’ve been running for years…and I ended up dropping him just as soon as our trade embargo lifted.  Seems like he just couldn’t lift himself off the ground last year…much to my disappointment and subsequent plummeting stats.

Still though, there are a few check marks in Ogilvy’s ledger that seem to make him a half-ways reasonable pick to kick the year off in better form in 2011.

First, he finally did manage to eke out a victory at the very tail end of the year.  Oh sure, the Australian Open at Sydney might not qualify as a blockbuster event, chalk-full of the world’s elites…but it did signal a return to the winner’s circle for Geoff and he did have to beat some very talented players (by a winning margin of no less than 4 strokes) to hop up on the podium.  Consider him blooded.

Even more importantly to this week’s tournament prognostications, Ogilvy has absolutely owned this event over the past few years. Won it in 2010, won it in 2009.  If you think those stats, combined with his recent trophy hoisting experience Down Under don’t give him happy thoughts heading into this week, you must have archived a copy of Hawaii Five-0 on your PVR and dove head-first into our new game a wee bit early, you “Howli.” (Gratuitous use of island slang: 1- shot)

Dustin Johnson – 2010 was a truly great year for the big fellow…off to a fantastic start at Pebble only to develop what looked to be a nasty, terminal case of snake-bite at the mid-way point of the season.

Couldn’t seem to seal the deal…stricken by goofy rules violations and an occasional momentary lapse of reason. Gack…so close!

Then, just when you thought it was safe to maybe forget about him and move on to someone else…when it really mattered, he finally dug deep and made it back to the top…and stayed there at the BMW Championship. 

I don’t think it’s premature to call him one of THE players to watch this year…and not for any more crumbling or freak-show stuff, but for a continuation of the great things he finally established in 2010.

And keep in mind, that with Johnson’s length off the tee, he could absolutely dominate Kapalua too.  If those trade winds are blowing the right way, he could easily be putting for albatross on a couple of holes…and I’m talking par 5’s!  That boy POUNDS the ball.

Definitely worth a look this week.

Ian Poulter – My good friend Svenny has been pinging me repeatedly over the past few weeks, hell-bent on getting me to come over to the dark side and take up a Twitter account.

Two of his more compelling reasons are the recent arrivals of Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter to the scene…and after reading some of their grade A material, I’m finding it harder to resist the pull.  (There are also a couple of hilarious, dark-sense-of-humour Canadian women that he follows that have really captured my attention too).

Poulter and World’s #1 Westood will wax hilarious on an endless supply of topic fodder for the benefit of friends and fans alike…without ANY regard to what the PR hacks might have to say about it.  Nowhere was that more obvious than in a recent exchange between the two on “merkins…” which has been one of my all-time favourite silly words for decades (and the winner of more than a few bar wagers requiring quick access to a dictionary).

Do yourself a favour and look it up.

Now that you’ve checked your Funk and Wagnall…AND have gone through all the hilarious mental gymnastics involved in the implications of that new word…can you honestly picture Tiger, Phil or Furyk’s spin doctors letting them get involved in anything close to that?  Nope…neither can I.

All of this has nothing to do with golf, of course…but it does give me an odd compulsion to look at Poulter in a new light…and put aside my distaste for his fashion sense (always looking like Mr. Blackwell hurled on him). 

Despite the garish outfits, he suddenly seems more like my kind of guy…the kind of guy I’d like to cheer for…then join in the pub, ’til we close it down.  Always knew he had a sharp sense of humour…just didn’t realize how much there was to really  appreciate until he wasn’t being faced with the mind-numbingly inane and obvious (and boring) questions from a “credible” TV golf “personality” with 20 seconds of camera time to kill.

I’ll happily devote one of my valued picks to Poulter this week, just based on that silliness alone.  My only fear is that he’s probably still suffering from a crippling hangover after a 2-week Christmas bender and is 50-50 to miss his tee time.  (Modern day Walter Hagan anyone?)

Jim Furyk – Not the new World’s #1…but the guy who went all the way and took the $10 million FedEx Cup last season.

And remember, he did it all despite spotting the whole field an entire event on him, by being disqualified for sleeping in for his pro-am.  Dumb rule…dumber PGA rules officials for invoking the penalty, and then promptly changing it the very next week after the horse had escaped the corral and one player had ostensibly been “crippled” by it.

With an already impressive list of fantastic career achievements and a bank account positively groaning with new wealth, Furyk has nothing to prove to anyone anymore.  Unless he gets the world’s worst investment advice, or suddenly decides to get hooked on a $150,000-a-day polyester addiction, he’s on a completely pressure-free ride to the end of days.

So, how does a guy who needs absolutely nothing motivate himself to do something…or anything?  He wants to carve his name in the history books writ large, of course.

With Woods supplanted from his perch on golf’s pedestal, I’m positive that Furyk and a handful of other eager beavers are positively champing at the bit to start taking some major runs at Westwood as soon as they possibly can.  Winning this week won’t accomplish much in that regard (as far as ranking points go), but it can never hurt your mojo to establish some early dominance and come out of the gates smoking. 

I predict Furyk is going to be on a super-charged, free-wheeling year hell-bent on finishing the 2011 campaign at the top of the World rankings…establishing a big gap back to 2nd place.  And that charge starts right NOW.

And now that I’ve had my say, let’s turn it over to my little girl and see what evil she conspired to produce with her first tosses of the New Year:

D&D’s Picks (Daughter & Dartboard) 

  • Bill Haas
  • Adam Scott
  • Jason Day
  • Francesco Molinari

Oh crap…you know, I kinda like those picks too!  Looks like dad could be in for another hard lesson in Humility 101 to start the year crime fighters.

And that’s it for this week folks.  As our exciting, shiny new season gets underway, let me take this opportunity to wish you a belated Happy New Year…and to offer my best wishes to you for a healthy, happy and prosperous 2011.

Thanks VERY much for reading…and playing along!

Cheers,

Derek

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