Welcome to the Pull My Finger Open

As both of you who read this column on a regular basis know, we moved to the Ottawa area back in November.  For the sake of convenience, I usually just say “Ottawa” to people who aren’t from the immediate area, because very few have actually heard of the little town where we live.  This generally cuts down on the unimportant conversational content by about 70% (the part where I say the name of the place, then repeat it, then describe where it is in relationship to Ottawa and various other towns and local landmarks…and then watch their eyes glaze over in disinterest, followed by a shrug of the shoulders and the inevitable “never heard of it.”)

So, this past weekend we did the small-town Ontario Canada Day thing. 

First, we went down to Riverside Park (which is really nowhere near the river), for the weekend Farmer’s Market…special Canada Day version.

Like most weekends, the Farmer’s Market consists of a group of locals selling their wares at a temporary space set up in the open air in the baseball park’s parking lot…and is usually composed of about 15-20 “booths.”  Typically, there are 3 or 4 specialty food stands, a chip wagon, 7 or 8 places selling farm-grown vegetables, a couple of bakeries hawking pastries and desserts, a fresh-squeezed lemonade stand and two different tents selling gourmet dog treats. 

I’m not sure of the reason for the disproportionately high representation of gourmet dog treats in this mix…but it’s certainly a point of curiosity and one that is worth looking into.  I suspect it is a clever cover for some kind of terrorist activity. 

In addition to the Farmer’s Market, Riverside Park was also ground zero for all Canada Day activities…which basically included the launching pad for a pretty impressive fireworks display, the addition of a face-painting/temporary tattoo booth (Canadian flag on your forehead anyone?) and a small stage for some local musicians to saw on their instruments of choice. 

Music aficionados will really appreciate the variety of entertainment offered here…as they play both Country and Western music!

And since we got off to a late-ish start to our pilgrimage, we were lucky enough to be hemmed into the downtown area when they closed off the streets for the Canada Day parade.

The parade was actually about ten times larger than I thought it would be, which was a very pleasant surprise.  As near as I can figure it, about half the population of the town was in the parade…while the other half lined the sidewalks to watch.  

I can only assume that next year, in typically inclusive Canadian style, everyone will swap places, so that the entire citizenry can enjoy the benefits of both watching and starring in the festivities, on a 2-year cycle.

This is just a guess on my part, but I don’t plan on wasting a moment of the next 362 days, in planning my costume for next year’s shindig.  The first thing that pops into my mind is “beaver,” but that’s hardly a unique thought (for me).

Meanwhile, as we were celebrating the birth of our country this weekend, south of the border huge volumes of our American neighbours were apparently making plans to join us…on a permanent basis.

In reaction to the Supreme Court legitimizing “ObamaCare” last week, hundreds of thousands of denizens from the far right of the political spectrum literally swamped news-based websites covering the story with a dizzying array of negative messages.  And the majority of those messages can be boiled down to one simple sentiment;

They legalized ObamaCare???  That’s it…I’m moving to Canada right now!!!”

Honest to god folks.  I like to think I’m pretty creative…but even in my own delusional mind I’m not good enough, or twisted enough, to make that one up! 

Google it if you want some fun(ny) reading.

Yes, faced with the notion of being “oppressed” by socialized health care for all, these politically attuned rocket scientists have decided to make their escape to Canada…where an abomination like universal health care could never happen. 

This is akin to moving to Russia to escape the lure of vodka…schlepping off to Baghdad to escape the summer heat…or perhaps relocating to Rio to escape the temptation of beautiful women with asses you could crack an egg on, wearing thongs.

Apparently, in their books, we have a Darwinian, “everyone for themselves” approach to medical treatment.  Interesting.

If pressed for more information, this lunatic fringe of wanna-be future citizens would probably also tell you that we have; mandatory gun ownership for everyone over 12, no immigrants (too cold), enforced bible readings every day (what else is there to do in the cold?), no homosexuals (again, too cold, especially when you’re wearing all those sequins), no pre-marital sex (apparently it’s not that cold!), very little post-marital sex (that’s what Hockey Night in Canada is for), only one government-approved position on those rare occasions when we actually do have sex (doggy style of course, so we can both watch the hockey game) and naturally, no taxes.

Of course, their “books” require very little in the way of actual reading…and there’s certainly no thinking that goes on.  But, they are very heavy on colouring. 

As long as you stay within the lines (they’re all straight) and only use shades of white and off-white crayons you’ll be accepted with open arms. 

Results – The AT&T National

Derek’s Picks D&D (Daughter & Dartboard)
Hunter Mahan


 $           195,000 Matt Every
Jim Furyk


 $             31,444 Beau Hossler


 $                12,350
Dustin Johnson


 $             20,202 William McGirt


 $                15,528
K.J. Choi


Chris Stroud


This Week’s Total  $             246,646 This Week’s Total  $                 27,878
Season Total  $        28,394,944 Season Total  $             5,881,795

Ho hum…another fairly craptacular week here at entrail reading world headquarters.

The Greenbrier

In historical terms, the PGA Tour stop at the Greenbrier is still in its infancy.   In fact, if it were featured on the cover of Newsweek, it would still be breastfeeding for 6 or 7 more years. 

The Greenbrier event was only founded back in 2010, so there’s very little “horses for courses” info available to help pick this week’s winner.  The horses haven’t lapped this course enough times to establish a really good pattern.

What I can tell you about the host course, though, makes for some pretty interesting reading.

The Greenbrier Hotel was founded way back in 1858…just three years before the Civil war started.  They filed for bankruptcy in 2009, were purchased by the Justice Group, who promised to cover all of their debts and return “tasteful” gambling to the area…so they made plans to immediately launch a lavish casino resort and then promptly scooped a PGA Tour stop the following year.

Among the many interesting things about this unbelievably opulent site, the one that stands out the most (for me anyway) is the formerly top-secret bunker, code-named “Project Greek Island,” installed underneath the property.  This was constructed as an emergency bomb shelter for members of the U.S Congress. 

Apparently someone figured that these guys would be worth saving in the event of a nuclear attack.  Oh yeah…U.S Congressmen were the ones who figured that and had it built!  Go figure.

The recent bankruptcy juxtaposed with a name including “Greek” is just too delicious to pass up!  In fact, it’s so good, I won’t even bother working up my cranium to create a segue to tie the U.S Congress and moral bankruptcy into the mix.  The Greek gag stands by itself quite well.

The Greenbrier is located in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.  Going back to 1778, filthy rich people traveled from all over the U.S. to “take in the waters” here, in the hopes of curing a variety of ailments. 

As the rather uncreative name would suggest, there is a huge sulphur spring on the property.

Which means that playing a 5-hour round of golf at the Greenbrier is like taking an extended walk through a thick fog of pickled egg farts.

It sounds an awful lot like a tournament that would make Craig Stadler feel at home, doesn’t it?

Derek’s Picks

The one thing about this tournament that stands out for me, other than the goofy crap I mentioned above, is how strong the field is here, in relation to the historical value and prestige of this Tour stop.

This week’s event has virtually no value in terms of prestige or historical golfing significance.  The tournament is only 2 years old…it’s just a paycheque.

So what’s the draw?  “Taking in the waters?”  I doubt it. 

Even though the PGA Tour disallows appearance fees, a golf fan/conspiracy buff might go so far as to suspect that something suspect is going on to draw all these stars here…at a time when they really should be over in the U.K. getting acclimated for The Open Championship in 2 weeks.

Maybe the players get a couple hundred grand worth of casino chips in their “welcome bags” when they show up?  That’s the only thing that would keep me away from England right now, if I were a pro golfer with aspirations to win golf’s most important Major.

Tiger Woods – Even though picking him makes me want to throw up in my mouth, how can you not take Woods this week?

He’s coming off a fantastic win at the AT&T, his tour-leading third of the season…and basically has put to rest all negative talk and lingering doubts about his return to form.  Like him or not folks, he’s back.

And, despite what I said above about the unreasonably high calibre of the field this week, given the lack of Lukes and Rorys and Bubbas and Justins and Lees, etc., Woods is definitely, head and shoulders, the Alpha golfer in the field this week at the Beer Fart Open in West Virginia.

And now that I’ve swallowed my pride and the accompanying mouth full of spew required to pick him, watch him go on to miss the cut this week…the ungrateful sod!

Jim Furyk – Even though he performed below expectations at the AT&T last week, Furyk still turned in a pretty solid performance…finishing in the top 35.

This is another player I’ve never really cared for as a fan, but I have taken him a few times over the years…not to cheer for, but because he makes sense on a particular course and in a particular field.

This week, once again, seems to be one of those cases. 

Furyk is back in form, for the most part…and has really started to reassert himself as a legitimate threat every time he tees it up in an event.  Sure, there are some AT&T-ish hiccups along the way, but he seems to have been there more often than not, so far this season.

And the Greenbrier is one place where he should be a bit more comfortable than a lot of the other guys in the field.  He showed up at the debut event back in 2010 and finished T9 here.  Not a win, but pretty good nonetheless…and certainly worth a flutter this week.

Webb SimpsonNothing but the cream of the crop in my picks this week folks.

The recently-crowned U.S. Open Champ will be gracing The Greenbrier with his presence this week…and I think I like his chances here.  There’s little or nothing at stake and really no pressure for him to perform well, other than what’s going on in his own head.

My only hesitation is whether he has anything left in the tank after winning at the Olympic Club and then having to go on the inevitable 20-hours-per-day post-Major media junket and sponsor grab-a-thon.

But hey, he’s young and full of P&V, so I’m going to throw him on the list anyway.

Brendon de Jonge – Okay, maybe that nothing but superstars thing I said above about this week’s roster isn’t true after all!

But there are a couple of REALLY good reasons to take the guy with the gentle demeanour and physics-defying massive cranium this week (that melon actually has its own gravitational field).

First, he’s coming off a very decent T11 finish at Bethesda last weekend.  Second, he’s posted two consecutive top 4 finishes at the first two Greenbriers!  He was solo 3rd in 2010 and T4 last year.

Not convincing enough for you?  Okay then, who would you pick?  To be honest, I like Brendon’s chances this week even more than Furyk’s or Simpson’s.

In fact, in the very short history of this event, no other name has shown up more prominently than the gentle, relatively unknown South African’s.  He might not be a horse for the course…but he’s at least a yak for the track!

And it seems that he thrives on the smell of sulphur.  “Hey Craig…pull my finger!”

And now that I’ve had my rant, let’s turn it over to see what daughter conjured up in the basement this week;

D&D’s Picks (Daughter & Dartboard):

Gavin Coles

Mathew Goggin

Pat Perez

Boo Weekley

As always, thanks very much for reading and for playing along with my silliness…and enjoy the tourney!



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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  • … how can you not take Woods this week?

    … Like him or not folks, he’s back.

    … Woods is definitely, head and shoulders, the Alpha golfer in the field this week at the Beer Fart Open in West Virginia.

    … watch him go on to miss the cut this week…the ungrateful sod!

    You got it right the 4th time … way to go !!!

  • I’d guess Almonte but then, that would be like both you and D & D , throwing rock-hard range balls at a basketball net! And next year will they call it The Greenbrier Pay for Play classic? And to think this thing got in the way of our open moving to a somewhat better place on the schedule.

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