Memorial Picks and Bulging…uh…Discs

You know, there were so many ways I fantasized about starting off this article, the follow-up to my debut as a golf tourney prognosticator for

Oddly enough, as I played all the approaches in my head, they all had a common theme; victory! 

The “Humble Scribe” scenario played out very well in my tiny cranium; soft-spoken and wise, modestly reflecting on a job well done. “The Oracle” had a lot going for it; all-knowing, mysterious, prescient…a solitary man living on a mountain, sharing pearls of wisdom with his dedicated followers.  And, for a brief few seconds, but only a few, “The Conquering Hero” certainly had its moments too; standing high above the adoring crowd, a single hand spread out over the masses, acknowledging their adulation.

Welcome to my hell.

The bald truth of the matter is that I had my head handed to me this week.  I stuck my neck out, set myself up and reaped the rewards of my own cleverness.  As my kids would say, “Epic Fail.”

The very best one of my 4 picks could do was T33. 

And of course, to complete my humiliation, we come to the performance of my supposed “comic foil” in this exercise; “D&D” (my daughter and that accursed dartboard).

Four quick tosses of the darts.  Flung into a sheet loaded with names she doesn’t know…and the WORST of her throws, tied my very BEST finish!  Her other three tosses?  They all landed squarely on the names of TOP TEN finishers!  Oh the humanity!

So much for the foil being comic!

For those of you who insist on inspecting the carnage and seeing the severed head for yourselves, here’s the official tally after week 1:

Derek                                                                  D&D (Daughter & Dartboard)

Mike Weir             T33      $33,480              Ben Crane               T3        $359,600

Steve Stricker        T38      $26,040           Ricky Barnes         T7        $199,950

Jason Day             T50      $14,837              Bo Van Pelt          T10        $155,000

Tim Clark              T56      $14,012               Vijay Singh           T33          $33,480

___________________________          _________________________________

TOTAL                               $88,369              TOTAL                                $748,030

 At this point you’re probably expecting me to blurt out some inane self-help slogan like, “well it can only get better from here.” 

Hah!  Not a chance.  I know better than that.  It could definitely get worse! 

Alright then, enough wallowing.  It’s time to go into full-tilt reclamation mode and try to pull some self-respect out of this column before the powers that be decide to dump the dad and offer this column to the daughter and her ruddy darts!

The Memorial

Other than the Majors, this is one of my favourite tournaments of the year…along with the Byron Nelson and Arnie’s big tourney at Bay Hill (that sword is, hands-down, the coolest trophy in golf!).  There’s something about those three tournaments and the legends they personify that strike deeply for me.

And, for me, the best of the bunch, because he still IS the best of all-time, is Jack Nicklaus and his Memorial tournament. 

And so, without any further build-up, here are my selections for this weekend:

Mike Weir

Okay, so Mike didn’t do it for me last week, BUT he was my highest performing pick (T33) and I feel a very strong urge to go back to this particular well one more time.

Mike likes Muirfield Village.  More importantly, Muirfield Village really seems to like Mike.  In the past 2 years he’s finished T10 and T2 and it seems like this is a tournament he’s destined to win at some point in his career.  Why not now?

Geoff Ogilvy

Another guy who brings his “A” game when he plays in Ohio.  He’s racked up three top 10 finishes in the last three years at the Memorial. 

I have no idea where he’s been hiding so far this season.  And I will say that the damage I inflicted on myself by picking him in Box #1 in the golf pool I run has cost me dearly so far. 

But with the US Open just around the corner and with the prospects of spending a long weekend prowling the fairways of one of his favourite courses, I think Geoff has a decent change of racking up a great score on Jack’s track and turning his season around this weekend.

Ryan Moore

Someone else who hasn’t performed up to expectations so far this year…and I think he is really due.

Like Weir and Ogilvy, Moore has shone on this course in the past few years, finishing second and tenth in two of the first trips he’s made to Muirfield Village in his young career.  He proved last year that he can stand the pressure of grabbing the lead and holding on to it.  This weekend could be his big chance to grab his second Tour win and turn 2010 into a really spectacular year.

Jim Furyk

My close friends will be surprised by this pick, because I’m violating one of my own personal golf pool tenets by choosing him. 

I’m being perfectly candid here, I’ve never particularly liked Furyk…and one of my personal golf pool rules is to only select players I personally want to devote some emotion to and to root for. 

I fully realize that for the more cold-blooded pool players who are concerned with getting the win and nothing more, this probably seems like a stupid rule, but that’s just the way my head is wired.  

Please make no mistake; I do respect Furyk’s skills, which he has in bucket loads.  I also respect the impressive list of accomplishments he has tallied…I’m just not especially fond of him. 

I think my problem has roots in the way he has carried himself in the annual “Us versus Them” tourneys toward the end of the season; The Ryder Cup and The President’s Cup. 

I love the Ryder Cup. I respect fierce competitors too.  Arnie, Jack, Nick and the Shark, are some of my all-time favourites.  They were all fierce competitors, but they always conducted themselves with quiet grace and dignity on the golf course.  In contrast, Furyk’s over-the-top jingoism and on-course celebrations have always seemed very unsportsmanlike to me…and almost designed to bring out the worst elements in a crowd that, at times, needs very little encouragement to go Neanderthal and start circling the bowl. 

Maybe I’m being unfair, but that’s the way I feel about it.  If you want impartial “reporting,” then turn on the CBC.  I’m here to make some picks, share some thoughts and hopefully make you smile from time to time.  The very nature of this column means that I’m guaranteed to stir up opposing viewpoints with every prediction, so it’s pointless to try to play it safe and avoid controversy. 

Having said all of the above, I do think Furyk poses a legitimate threat almost every time he steps onto a golf course…and I really think he will be in the hunt this weekend at the Memorial. 

He’ll have his sights set on another US Open win in just a few weeks…and this tournament will be a perfect way to tune-up for it and add to an already very strong 2010 season.

And now that I’ve stuck my neck out on the block, it’s time to see what evil my daughter has managed to conjure up down in the basement.

D&D (Daughter and Dartboard)

  • Stewart Cink
  • Ernie Els
  • Aaron Baddeley
  • Ricky Barnes   (yes, she launched another one into his name!)

 Oh, that’s just great!  I detect a disturbing pattern developing here already.  Next week I’m giving her darts from 4 different sets so she can’t get the feel for the weight!

And now before we wrap up this episode, let’s take a quick side trip down to Golf Channel headquarters in Orlando and listen in on a practice session for this week’s broadcast…

We’re in the recording booth with reporter Win McMurray as she goes over the copy for one of her stand-up reports from the Memorial…

“Bulging DISC…bulging DISC…bulging DISC…bulging DISC.”

If that reference is too obscure, I promise you that 5 seconds on Google will be time very well spent.  

A few weeks ago in Texas, poor Win entered the sports broadcasting Blooper hall of fame, when she explained why a certain golfer had to pull out of the tournament.  It’s an all-time classic!

‘til next week!



p.s. Thanks VERY much to the folks who took a few minutes to make a comment about my first article.  I’m really pleased that you like the new and that you enjoyed my little contribution to the launch.  Your kind words were greatly appreciated!

Comments are always welcome.  If you haven’t done so yet, please set yourself up with a user name and password and you can chime in any time you like. 

For the next several weeks, all new members to automatically qualify to win one of our weekly draws for a dozen Titleist Pro-V1 golf balls…my favourites.

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  • I belong to a site, where some of us particpate in a just for fun wkly golf pool and I too have often skipped players i dont like, as rooting for them…even when it gets me points is painful…i would rather cheer for someone i really like as a player. Also funny that furyk is on my “dont like him, but sometimes take him” list. Although most weeks i skip him…just dont want to watch him.

  • Thanks very much for taking the time to write Craig. It sounds like we’re of the same mind in how to make pool selections.

    By mentioning my feelings on the matter, I probably “outed” myself as not being the shrewdest golf pool player on the planet. I admit that’s true, although my teams have done very well on more than one occasion….finishing way up the list in our pool of around 190 teams.

    When it’s all said and done though, I feel a strong need to want to cheer my players on without any reservations…and you can’t really do that if you don’t particularly like some of the players you’ve selected.

    Sure it holds me back sometimes, but when my players do perform well, I have the satisfaction of being able to leap off my chair and REALLY cheer for their performance!

    Thanks again for writing…and for taking the time to read my article. I hope you’re enjoying the new!

  • Hey Derek,

    Even Weir admits that his game is in the shitter right now. Stop being a homer and pick Rory Mcilroy!


    • Stevie;

      I actually chose McIlroy in our golf pool this year and DID give him some serious consideration for this week’s picks.

      Even though he’s had a pretty crappy season so far, I like Weir and lot and think it’s just a matter of time until he gets back into form. Playing a course that he loves, like Muirfield Village, might be just the thing to bring him back from the dark side.

      By the way, I really enjoyed your latest installment on the new TaylorMade driver. The new intro to your piece really cracks me up. Maybe you should consider renaming it “Indiana Waxy and the Temple of BOOM.”

      Two questions for you: exactly how many garages do you have to store all this stuff…and what’s the pin code for your door opener(s)?

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