The Blue Monster…and Other Double Entendres

Doral Blue Monster

Doral Blue Monster

So I’m in the grocery store the other day. I pick up some vital vittles and make my way to the checkout counter to let the paying pain begin.

While she’s running stuff past the scanner, I’m having a nice chat with the 60+ lady running the checkout. Suddenly, she stops me in mid-sentence and says, “Oh wow…you have such a beautiful voice!” Without trying to come off like an egomaniac, this happens to me from time to time…and I gave her my standard ‘thank you, that’s very nice of you to say” response.

She then follows up with, “you know, you sound just like THAT guy!”

Not sure who “that guy’ is…but positive that she would never be able to come up with the name of any of the hundreds of very successful, but equally anonymous voiceover stars out there, I merely nodded and said “thanks” again. Still though, it’s kind of nice to daydream for a minute and think that maybe she means movie trailer legend Don LaFontaine or maybe Nick Tate, Mark Elliot, Al Chalk, Hal Douglas, my friend David Kaye…or dozens of other voices you know and love, by names you’ve never heard.

But, now that she’s gotten into it, she’s like a Rottweiler on a case of steak and absolutely determined to figure it out. “You know…THAT guy on TV!” she almost yells, as if that would clear it up right away.

I shrug and offer her a smile…as if to say, “that’s okay, don’t worry about it…I appreciate the compliment anyway.”

Then, as if struck between the eyes by Thor’s hammer, she has the “light bulb moment” she’s tried so hard to achieve…and literally yells out for all within 8 aisles to hear, “YOU SOUND JUST LIKE THAT HOMELESS GUY!”

And then she delivers the coup de grace…”you know, that’s such a nice story, but I’m sure he’ll just screw his life up all over again anyway.”

And I paid my bill and slunk out of the store, groceries in hand…an effort made all the more difficult because I had suddenly come down with an unexpected case of anaemia and even lower self-esteem. I’m not positive, but I think I might have been suffering from severe shrinkage too.

A little slice of what it’s like to be me folks…just to make you feel better about how your week is going (as if you weren’t already positive that you’re way better off than me). Think of it as a public service or some kind of self-help, pick-me-up (for you, of course).

Sadly, the grocery store episode was one of the better things that happened to me this week. The rest is too pathetic to write about…and we have golf to discuss anyway.

Surprisingly, things actually weren’t all that bad on the golf front. It was a real challenge to match last week’s first place Luke Donald pick, but I came pretty close with Y.E. Yang, who ended up in 2nd place at the Honda this weekend. Let’s run down all the picks and take a look at how we did:

The Honda Classic
Derek’s Picks D&D (Daughter & Dartboard)
Y.E. Yang 2 $ 615,600 Michael Bradley cut
Camilo Villegas Cut Jeff Maggert T67 $ 11,685
Vijay Singh Cut Fred Funk cut
Matt Kuchar T17 $ 82,650 Heath Slocum cut
This Week’s Total $ 698,250 This Week’s Total $ 11,685
Season Total $ 4,577,513 Season Total $ 2,122,266

Okay, the rest of my “chosen” ones weren’t nearly as impressive as Yang. Kuchar did play quite respectably, but still posted his 2nd finish outside the top ten for the year, which is kind of disappointing. As far as the other two guys? Well, the less said about them, the better. Blame those picks on the medication.

As far as my daughter’s selections go, it’s hard for me not to feel badly for her…really badly. I had VERY low expectations for her squad when we yanked the darts out of the board…and they basically lived down to those expectations. Fortunately, the random-chance picking of players to go up against the old man is just a weekly lark for her and the outcome is of much less interest to her than the father-daughter bonding fun…and getting to throw sharp things. In other words, I feel way worse for her than she does every time her players crap out…which has been far too frequently lately.

So, with the weekly rear-view mirror obligations now wrapped up, let’s shift our attention forward, to the next “big” event on Tour…the WGC Cadillac Championship at Doral.

You have to love a tournament that lets you use ‘the blue monster’ four or five times in a conversation and not risk getting yourself dragged off to a rubber room, or having your face slapped. Try dropping that one at a club or dinner party this weekend and I’m sure you’ll get a much less favourable reaction.

Derek’s picks – WGC Cadillac Championship

Martin Kaymer – the World’s new #1 is back in the spotlight this week…and he has a little unfinished business to take care of.

Coming off a fantastic performance at the WGC World Match Play Championship, that saw him finish second to Luke Donald, Kaymer will be coming into this tournament pretty motivated to seal the deal and walk away with the trophy this time.

He definitely has the game to do it…and his cool demeanour on the course is perfectly suited for the stern test that the Blue Monster can present. In addition to his recent “hotness,” Kaymer has some pretty positive mental mojo to draw on at this tourney. He made a big splash at Doral last year, finishing in a tie for 3rd place and introducing himself, in style, to a lot of North American golf fans.

Herr Kaymer is definitely a pick worth considering for this event.

Luke Donald – I hate being predictable (or even a little repetitive) with these picks, but there are some players who just scream out to be chosen…and right now Donald is definitely one of them. I’d rather repeat myself, than intentionally ignore a player who absolutely should be chosen, just for the sake of tossing in some variety.

Donald absolutely obliterated the field two weeks ago at the WGC World Match Play Championship. Other than a few hiccups in the final match against Kaymer, it wasn’t even close for him all week. He never trailed in any match. He never went to the 18th hole. He beat the new world #1. He pocketed a cool $1.4 million.

Right now, he’s ten feet tall and bulletproof. Can you think of anyone else in the field who should be on a bigger high, or more confident of his game right now? Neither can I.

Even though he’s only posted two 19th place finishes in the past three years at Doral, I’m going with Donald this week to dominate once again. My only concern is whether he can navigate the challenge of the Blue Monster with his occasionally wonky driver. Once he gets an iron or the putter in his hand, he’s rock solid.

Graeme McDowell – Here’s a guy who has been quietly going about his business and building a pretty impressive record so far this year…all without drawing a whole lot of attention to himself.

Stealth golf 101. Like Retief Goosen several years ago, McDowell seems to be another one of those players who seem to escape the pundit’s and prognosticator’s notice…right up until he wins. Then his name is on everyone’s lips again.

Consider Graeme’s record so far this year: three events, three top-ten finishes, including a top 3 at the Tournament of Champions in January and a T-6 last weekend at the Honda. And yet, how many times have you heard him mentioned by the “experts?” I can’t recall anything significant.

Last year, Graeme finished in a tie for 6th place at the event. Like Kaymer, I think McDowell has the game, plus the cool and calm to take on Doral and make it his playground for 4 days. Look for him to do just that this week.

Bubba Watson – When he and a few other fellows first arrived on the scene, seemingly at the same time, I created a rule for myself in the little golf pool we run; never pick a golfer named Bubba or Boo or Bo or Billy Jim Joe Bob or Efrem.

With the exception of Efrem, they just didn’t strike me as respectable golfing names…much better suited toward Nascar and pie-eating contests than gracing the links. And with the exception of Efrem, it’s a rule I’ve come to regret many times over the past several years. Being a stick-in-the-mud traditionalist with strong, irrational opinions does have its drawbacks folks.

I’ve seen the error of my ways and I’m now revoking that rule. Watson put on his own special tour de force two weeks ago at the WGC World Match Play and gave me a whole new appreciation for his game. The way he magically conjured up a dizzying array of different swings planes and worked his ball around Dove Mountain was something remarkable to watch. And I became a believer in the process.

In addition to a wonderful imagination and the ability to thread his golf ball through the eye of a needle from almost any angle, Watson has incredible length…an asset that really can’t be underestimated at a course they call the Blue Monster.

Bolstered by his really solid top-4 finish against the world’s best two weeks ago, look for good old Bubba to put on a really good show at Doral this week.

And now that my ramble is done, let’s turn things over to the action in the basement and see if my daughter can get her random picks back on track:

D&D’s picks (Daughter & Dartboard)

* Ben Crane
* Jim Furyk
* Louis Oosthuizen
* Alvaro Quiros

Hmmm…there’s probably a good lesson to be taken away from that list; be careful what you wish for Derek. Those are some good picks!

And that’s all for now folks. Have a great week…and enjoy the tourney!



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