On Gizmos and Gators

Technology is a wonderful, miraculous thing.  And I’ll be the first person to admit that I’m an unashamed, gob-smacked, star-struck fan of all things magical from the worlds of science and technology.

As I post this week’s article, I’m sitting on a train, whisking my way to Toronto to do a voiceover recording session…connected to the world with a smart phone on my hip and laptop on my…well…lap.

Okay, I admit that this scenario would be a lot more magical and even sexier if I were 35,000 in the air, flying at 600 kilometres per hour…but the fact remains, that this is really pretty jaw-dropping stuff, regardless of my altitude or current speed.

And for those of you who are saying, “yeah okay, whatever Jethro…welcome to the 90’s,” I would encourage you to sit back for a second and give some serious thought to all that this scenario I just described involves…how the myriad advancements in technology developed within our lifetimes has literally changed the way we think and function on this planet.

Men on the moon, probes travelling outside our solar system, the human genome project, GPS, organ transplants, databases, video games, DVDs, microwave ovens, digital cameras, personal computers, e-readers, the Internet, e-mail, cell phones…the list of scientific and technological accomplishments goes on and on, faster and faster and more and more fantastic with each passing day. 

And most, if not all, happened just in our lifetime.  And for the few things that did come a few years before us (like computers), the advances in the technology are so huge, that the items we use today bear as much resemblance to their ancestors as we do to Australopithecus…or Rick Santorum (who doesn’t believe in Australopithecus, but has absolutely no doubts as to the existence of Satan…everywhere).

The first computer took up almost a full acre of floor space…and had less computing power than my wristwatch.  Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the Sea of Tranquility with all the technical horsepower you’d find now in a bargain bin $4 calculator.

So, the next time you find yourself bitching because the wi-fi connection on the plane is a little glitchy…or your GPS navigating system told you to take a road that is under construction today…or you lose your cell phone signal for a few minutes…take a deep breath and think about what life was like back when you were a kid.

Even if you are only in your 20s or 30s right now, by today’s standards you were essentially growing up Amish my friend.

5-pound telephones bolted to the wall and permanently connected there with electrical cord!  Four or five hours to thaw out a roast beef in a sink full of water! Going down to the library to look something up for a project!  Keeping track of your earnings and expenses in a ledger book!  Navigating around a strange city with a paper map the size of a table cloth unfurled in your lap…and on the dash…and over the steering wheel!  Writing letters to people!!!  Going down to the drugstore to get that roll of film developed! Gathering around the kitchen table for an evening of family fun, playing Kerplunk or Aggravation! 

Not even Asimov or Clarke or Roddenberry, with their big craniums bulging with fantastical ideas that we goggled at in wonder, could envision the way we would be living today.  The only thing they were probably 100% sure of, is that no matter how wondrous our lives became, we would undoubtedly take whatever marvels that filled our world for granted.

And we do.

I vividly remember when our office got its first fax machine, back in the late 17th century.  Almost overnight, two tedious days of business calls were magically reduced to just a few hours in front of the fax machine…broadcasting our latest chart, plus our music adds and drops, out to all the record labels.

A mere three weeks later, I was literally screaming at the damned infernal machine (all 14k baud of it), because it was too effing slow!!!  And just that fast; call me spoiled and colour me jade(d).

Now, if only all this technology I have at my disposal could make me a better fantasy golf pool prognosticator. 

You’d think with all the myriad resources I have available to me that that would be the case…but for the second straight week, I look at my results, heave a sigh and frown at my spreadsheet.

I guess my consolation in having a bad week is that if it were really that easy, then everyone could do it successfully all the time…and the bookmakers in Vegas and London would be out of work…and money.

My other consolation is that I’m almost 100% sure that no one; not a single fantasy golf ‘expert’ would have picked Ben Curtis to win this week.  In fact, if you tied him to an army ant hill and smeared his face with jelly, I bet Ben Curtis would admit that even he wouldn’t have taken Ben Curtis in Texas!

Results – The Texas OpenDerek’s Picks D&D (Daughter & Dartboard)
Matt Kuchar


 $            112,840 Chad Campbell


 $                 15,149
Charley Hoffman


 $            112,840 Erik Compton


Fredrik Jacobson


 $              78,120 Hank Kuehne


 $                 12,710
J.B. Holmes


Scott Langley


 $                 15,149
This Week’s Total  $            303,800 This Week’s Total  $                 43,008
Season Total  $       11,562,815 Season Total  $            2,705,467

Derek’s Picks – The New Orleans Classic

This week the PGA Tour travels back to New Orleans; home of Cajun cooking, crayfish, gators, jazz and the TPC Louisiana.

The field this week might not be back to the full calibre that we’ve become accustomed to so far in the 2012 season, but it’s much stronger than last week’s romp in Texas…which should make for a more interesting, entertaining weekend.

And, with the return of some of the game’s bona fide stars, after a brief post-Masters break, there are all kinds of interesting sub-plots and intrigue shaping up to make this a should-watch event. 

It seems that for every truly big name that’s going to show up this week there are an almost equal number of good reasons to take him…as there are not to take him; Do you go with Bubba because he’s the defending champ and he’s reed hot…or not take him because he’s probably fried?  Do you go with Luke because he’s Luke…or skip him because he’s shown some recent signs of being a mere mortal?  Do you go with Ernie because he’s long overdue…or stay off the bandwagon because he seems to be snake-bitten?  Do you go with Jason because he’s been really good here…or pass him over because he still hasn’t managed to gut out a Sunday winner?

And how about Steve, or Webb, or Nick, or Keegan, or, or, or…?

So many ways to go…so many ways to fall flat on my face!

Luke Donald – At the start of this season, I figured Luke was an easy pick no matter which event he was playing.  After 2011 how could you not pick him?

But, suddenly he seems like just a regular superstar doesn’t he?  In six events he’s racked up one win and a 6th…but he’s also finished in the 30s three times and in the 50s once.  What the hell?

The main reason that I’m going with Luke this week is that I think he’s motivated, but not feeling overly pressured to excel.   Unlike his last two events, the Masters and Heritage (T32 & T37), I just feel like he’s going into this event with a new frame of mind and a lot less weight on his shoulders.

As far as the motivation part of my equation goes, he’s dropped out of the world #1 position again…and you can bet he wants to correct that as soon as possible.  The last time this happened, he won the next event he entered; taking the Transitions in a dramatic 4-man playoff. 

There’s probably even more motivation in the fact that the guy who leap-frogged him for the throne wasn’t even playing golf the week he was crowned!  I know that would motivate me just a bit more.

Yup, it’s entirely possible that Luke pulls another Transitions this week…or steps on his crank and finishes in 35th place. 

Flip a coin!

Webb Simpson – If you believe in justice, then Simpson is a lock to win this week.  If you subscribe to karma, he’s a shoo-in.

One year ago, Simpson was riding the wave at this tournament.  He wasn’t out of the woods with a trophy and cheque in his hand, but he’d built up a nice lead going down the home stretch. 

And then IT happened.

Grounded the putter behind the ball…a big gust of wind comes up…the ball “oscillates,” probably so little that no one else would have seen it, but him.  But he called a penalty on himself, regardless! 

The harsh letter of the law outweighed the spirit of the game and Simpson spoked his own wheels with his honesty…eventually to lose in a playoff to Bubba.

There would be a huge amount of poetry in a Simpson win this week…and if the dramatic scripts we’ve seen played out this year are anything to go by (Kyle Stanley anyone?), I think he’s got a really good shot, despite some somewhat shaky recent form.

I know I’ll be pulling for him to get his retribution and just rewards this week.

Jason Dufner – He has to win sometime doesn’t he? 

I mean, really…the guy has been there so many times in the past few years, he’s gotta strike pay dirt eventually, right?

Dufner has some good things going for him going into this week’s event.  The biggest check mark in his favour is his past performance at TPC Louisiana.  T3 last year, T7 in 2010 and T9 in 2009.  Three top 10s in three years is nothing to sneeze at.

The other thing I like about the guy is that he seems to be completely unflappable…almost to the point where I wonder if he actually has a pulse. 

I bet you could show 40 pictures of  Dufner acknowledging the crowd after finishing holes, holes in which he’s walking off the green with 10 pars, ten birdies, ten bogies, 5 eagles and 5 double-bogeys…and you couldn’t identify which picture went with which result more than 25% of the time…TOPS. 

The guy is a cipher.

Then again, maybe that’s why he hasn’t won yet…not enough passion and raw emotion?  Maybe he needs to start wearing some stuff on his sleeve.  I don’t know, but I’m looking forward to seeing what his face looks like when he drops the winning putt in an event…and I think there’s a good chance we might find out this Sunday afternoon.

Steve Stricker – He’s played six events so far this season.  Half the time he’s finished in the top 10 (1st, 8th, 9th)…in the other half you need to go “below the fold” to find his name (36th, 38th, 47th).

The big question is; “which Steve will show up this week in New Orleans?”

I think the answer is the former…and that we can expect a really solid finish from Stricker. 

Past performances here are just good, but not spectacular; T13 last year and T7 in 2009.  You can also toss in some missed cuts in the past decade, so the way he’s “mastered” this track in years past isn’t a factor…’cause he hasn’t.

Nope, this pick is about gut feeling more than anything else…and my colon is calling out the name Stricker this week.


And now that I’ve lobbed out my list of potential pratfalls, let’s go to the basement to see how my little girl lobbed her darts at this week’s pairings sheet.

D&D’s Picks (Daughter & Dartboard):

  • ·         Miguel Angel Carballo
  • ·         Brian Davis
  • ·         Jamie Lovemark
  • ·         Bryce Molder

And that’s it for this week folks.  As always, thanks very much for reading and playing along with the goofiness…and enjoy this week’s tourney.



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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Derek – love the blog, but did you not pick JB Holmes as your last pick last week at the Valero and not Boo?? Keep it up!

    • Cal;

      Thanks VERY much for reading…and for taking the time to write. Also, great catch on the screw-up!

      For some reason I seem to have a difficult job keeping JB Holmes, Boo Weekely and Bo Van Pelt straight in my head…and it obviously caught me up again. (Probably not the shrewest admission for a golf pool guy to make, but it’s true).

      (Un)Fortunately, the correction on the “leaderboard” didn’t make any difference in my money totals. Boo withdrew and J.B. missed the cut, so they both took home bagel.

      Thanks again for taking the time to write…and for your positive comments. It’s nice to know that someone is reading…and paying attention.



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