On Being Bamboozled and Deported… and Torrey Pines Reported

If you’re one of the people who has read this column for any amount of time (and I know who both of you are!), you’ll be aware that I run a golf pool.   Even if you don’t, it’s over there on the right…no farther over to the right, underneath the picture of my next door neighbour I use, because I’m too hideous looking to have my image published. 

Even here on the Interweb, where a figurative crap-load of people apparently participate in the popular “rate my poo” website…some things should just not be seen.

Okay, so anyway I run this golf pool…and have for more years than I can remember.  And, somehow along the way, it grew from a modest dozen or so golf buddies…to the cast of Ben Hur.  At least it seems like the cast of Ben Hur when I’m entering all those teams into the spreadsheet between Xmas and the start of the golf season!

“Jesus, will you look at all the losers that Quintas Arrias took this year!  And what the hell was Masala thinking of, taking THAT guy???”

In the past, we’ve all used real names to identify ourselves…always have.  But this year, one of my wisenheimer friends from the original crew decided to “spice things up a little bit” (or hide his shame) by using pseudonyms for the three teams he bought.  I figured he just was pulling some inside joke I wasn’t in on…like calling himself “Abby Normal” or “Arthur Writis” or the ever-popular “Michael Hunt.”

But no, instead he apparently borrowed the names of 3 Toronto Maple Leafs to identify his squads (teams that were all identical, with the exception of the three picks allowed in the first two boxes).

And naturally, as these things usually seem to unravel, those teams have started off the season in a three-way tie for first…and apparently stick out at the top of the page like a strangulated hernia for everyone in the golf pool.  Everyone except me, that is.

 And ever since our last update, my e-mail account has been inundated with Poolsters asking variations on the question, “Hey Derek…are those three guys on top of the leaderboard, REALLY the guys I think they are?  Very cool!!!”

It was at this point that I decided to investigate the names…and discovered that Lupus, Kestrel and Bozo, or whatever the hell the names are, are actually professional hockey players.  In my own defence, it takes a LOT of work to enter all those teams…and my curiosity at the time was overwhelmed by being overwhelmed with getting all the entries entered.

How’s that for a strangulated sentence?

And so, faced with the prospect of replying to dozens of e-mails individually, and dozens more over the weeks to come, I decided to take the lazy way out…and fired off a mass e-mail to everyone in the pool to clear things up.

No big deal, right?  Except for the whole explaining thing. 

And so, at great personal risk of having my Canadian citizenship revoked, being declared persona non grata in my native land and being ignominiously deported to Iraq or North Korea, I had to freely admit to my golf pool peeps that i don’t follow hockey…not even a little bit.

Queue the inevitable replies from the masses…calling me a variety of colourful, some might even say “flamboyant” names…and taking every opportunity to question my virility and qualifications as a “real” Canadian male.  Most of them were pretty funny…but I thought the scathing note from Bryan Orser was a bit over the top!

Alright then, so I don’t watch hockey.  And in the interest of full disclosure, I don’t watch any other sport either…except for golf and football (soccer). 

Just to be clear, I will PLAY almost any sport under the sun and have an absolute blast doing it.  But watching them puts me to sleep…and talking about all those other sports in my presence puts me into a coma so deep that it would take something on the order of Yvonne Strahovski writhing naked on top of me, to snap me out of.

Pardon my dangling participle.  Hmmm…you know, for some reason it doesn’t seem to be dangling anymore???

I just really couldn’t care about hockey and the other sports.  And if that makes me less of a man than some guy sitting at a baseball game for 14 hours, with his twin-can beer helmet, watching the steroid-packed athletes scratch their shrivelled units and hoark up dinner plate-sized loogies, then so be it…I’m a big girl.

But I DO watch golf…and I do make predictions on the goings on, on the PGA Tour every week…and I guess that’s why we’re all here.  You are still there aren’t you?  Hello?  Is this thing on?

So before I dig myself any further into this abyss, let’s see how my daughter and I did with our prognostications for the Human challenge last week, shall we:

Results – The Humana Challenge

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


 $                 11,816 Brian Harman


 $                     12,488
Matt Kuchar


 $                 56,000 Tim Herron


 $                             –
Brian Gay


 $                 18,512 JJ Killeen


 $                             –
Charles Howell III


 $                 13,821 Brandt Snedeker


This Week’s Total  $               100,149 This Week’s Total  $                     169,288
Season Total  $            1,920,161 Season Total  $                   1,153,508

So much for my sure-fire picks last week.  I’m blaming it on the unceremonious turfing of the legendary Bob Hope brand…and the tournament’s subsequent name change.  That and all the young guys I chose, spending more time trying to ask Bill Clinton for advice on how to pick up chicks, rather than concentrating on their golf games!

How else could you explain the group I chose, with their wonderful track records at this event, tanking so badly?  It boggles the mind and smacks the gob.

Derek’s Picks – The Farmer’s Insurance Open

This week the Tour rolls on to breathtaking Torrey Pines, for the Farmer’s Insurance open.  For some reason that mystifies me though, they don’t throw the apostrophe into the word “Farmer’s.”  I guess it’s one of those American things…like misspelling colour or honour.

Bubba Watson – With only one tournament under his belt this season…the Tournament of Champions, where he finished T18 in a 28-man field…you might think that Bubba isn’t exactly road-worthy at this point.

 Maybe, maybe not.

But, despite what all the other Fantasy Golf prognosticators may or may not say this week, there’s one key stat that you absolutely, positively have to keep in mind; when there’s an insurance tie-in, Bubba seems to come to crush the field!

In his relatively short six years on Tour, Bubba has racked up a grand total of three victories; The Traveler’s (2010), The Farmer’s (2011) and The Zurich Classic (2011).  All three of his wins were sponsored by an insurance company…and if that isn’t a stat to give serious consideration to this week, then I’ll definitely be glued to the 43 hour Super Bowl pre-game show (see above rant if you’re confused on that one).

Bubba, sporting his new, flaming pink driver, is the defending champ here.  Since 2007 he also has two other top 10 finishes at the event (T7 in 2009 and T4 in 2007).  As such, he should be in his “happy place” stepping onto the course this week.

One final note on Bubba and his wins; after hearing that he bought the Dukes of Hazzard car this week, I think it must be kismet that he has such a strong affinity for insurance companies.  The mental pictures that spring to mind, subconsciously, of him behind the wheel of that thing just scream out “I HOPE YOU HAVE COVERAGE!”

Nick Watney – This pick is a natural…and comes straight out of the “horses for courses” play book, chapter 1, verse 1.

Over the past 5 or 6 years, Watney has racked up a resume at Torrey Pines that outshines pretty much any other player in the field.  T6 last year, T9 in 2010.  He won the whole enchilada here back in 2009; the final year the tournament carried the Buick Invitational brand.  And he had another T9 showing here two years before that.

Other than Woods’ amazing string of consecutive wins on this course (4 in a row and 5 of 6 from 2003-2008), very few players can match Watney’s record at Torrey Pines.  Considering his very impressive 2011 campaign and his past performances here, I think that definitely makes him worth a flutter this week.

Phil Mickelson – My head and my heart are engaged in mortal combat over this one.  My heart says “don’t take him,” but my head has been screaming that he’s absolutely a must-pick this week.

In the end, I’m going to go with my head (which, in my experience, is rarely a good idea).  I’m taking Phil this week for all the same reasons I chose Watney, above…because of how he excels on this course.  And excel he does!

The “Phil at Torrey” story is long and impressive…and sounds vaguely like a reality TV show about some over-privileged, under-talented brat.  Torrey Pines is where he played most of his high school golf…and kicked some major teen butt in the process.  It is also the site of his first victory as a pro, back in 1993 (after winning in Tucson as an amateur). 

Over the years, the results that Mickelson has amassed here have been formidable.  Two more wins, back-to-back, in 2000-2001…T4 in 2003, T4 in 2004, T8 in 2006, T6 in 2008, 19 in 2010 and solo second here last year.

With numbers like that, I simply had to go with my head this week.  My heart is already practising its’ “I told you so” speech.

Brandt Snedeker – There were soooo many possible choices for the final spot on the roster this week! 

Rickie Fowler has to break through with a win soon, doesn’t he?  (No, seriously…he does, doesn’t he?) Dustin Johnson was strong here last year…but pulled out last week with a back problem. Marc Leishman has consecutive top 10’s here.  Hunter Mahan’s recent work on this track makes him worth a look.

And former champ Ben Crane should not be overlooked lightly, given his results over the past 4 years and his T8 finish last week.  (I must admit that seeing him running around like an idiot and slamming into a variety of gymnastics equipment on some video that was playing in the background this morning, made the decision to not take him a little easier.  It was a LOT like watching Martin Short in his lifejacket, do the Olympic synchronized swimming parody with Harry Shearer on SNL so many years ago).

So in the end, I chose to go with Snedeker.

Brandt’s record at this event, like all of my choices above, has been something noteworthy.  He finished T9 here last year, T2 in 2010 (to Crane) and solo 3rd in 2007. Close but no cigar, so far.

Given his T8 performance last week at The Humana (he’s running pretty hot right now), plus his string of top 10 finishes at Torrey Pines in recent years, Snedeker is definitely a guy to watch this week.

And now that I’ve vented everything that needed venting, here’s what happened downstairs on the dartboard:

D&D’s Picks (Daughter & Dartboard):

  • ·         Brandt Jobe
  • ·         Kevin Kisner
  • ·         Chris Riley
  • ·         Rocco Mediate

And that’s all for this week folks.  As always, thanks VERY much for reading…and enjoy the tourney!



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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  • I don’t care if your whatsits are dangling or strangulated, you’re still crazy funny Fearless Leader !!!

    • And it’s official…with 50% of my readership chiming in, the verdict is “crazy funny.” Or maybe that’s “crazy…comma…funny,” like Christopher Lloyd or Danny Devito from “Cuckoo’s Nest???” Now, if my other reader comes out of his coma long enough to write, I’ll be batting 1000.

      (Thanks for the props Natasha!)

  • Did Brant Snedeker go amatuer or did you deprive your own daughter of $156,800 in winnings?

    And as for the “Leafs” in your pool, if they are anything like the actual team, they’ll start strong, fade early and be done before the playoffs start.

    • Thanks very much for catching the oversight on daughter’s tally Gimme. I can now sleep with both eyes closed again.

      As far as the phoney Leaf teams in the pool go, he put all of his eggs in one basket; selecting three teams that were all identical, except for the first 3 picks. Could be a stroke of genius…or foolhardy…but he’s off to a great start and kicking my butt so far.

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