THE ROOTS OF GOLF

How and when did you start your love affair with the game of golf?

Mine was in Green Bay Wisconsin when my aunt Lorrie invited me to play my first round of golf with her at the age of 9. My awesome auntie was the only relative in the family that played golf, and for me it was love at first sight.

The courses in Green Bay are beautiful in the summer time, lush green and buzzing with summer bugs. I returned home to Orinda CA determined to continue my love affair with the game of golf. My only option was to ride a very heavy Schwin Bicycle up and down steep hills to Orinda Country Club to get in line for a caddie job.

My first week I got a bag a total of ZERO times, and was frustrated. But I was determined to get on the course and make some money while learning more about the game. Week two the caddie master who looked like he woke up wearing his disco clothes from the night before, finally pointed to me and said get up here.

At the age of 9 I was nearly able to carry one bag, let alone a big single bag with 50 balls in it. I have never worked so hard in my life to carry this heavy bag up and down hills , chasing this total hacker all over the course while looking for his ball on almost every hole.

My reward was a cheap and insulting $6, which at the time was considered the base pay, with no tip. Still that didn’t keep me from coming back the next day. I finally got a player that could play, AND he had a light bag. This gentleman also gave me a whopping $8 which made my day, and the long bike ride home a lot easier.

I continued caddying all summer and saved every $5 bill I received which went into a cigar box. I didn’t own my own set of clubs, and my parents never played, so there wasn’t some old set in the garage. After I had accumulated $120 or 24 five dollar bills, I proudly purchased my very first set of clubs. I bought the Jack Nicklaus Golden Bear set of irons and woods. I was crazy excited to try my new set of clubs.

Problem #2 arose as my mother was not willing to drive me the 20 minutes to the nearest golf course. My brother had some friends, twin brothers that started playing golf at the same time as me, and I finally got them to let me tag along. We frequented Tilden Park Golf Course, Boundary Oaks and Franklin Canyon. But the game was very expensive with no subsidies or special rates for kids.

What these course did offer was late day discounted fees, usually after 3pm or 4pm. Usually we only had time for nine holes, but we did everything we could to play as much golf as we could. I was hooked, and the caddy job barely was enough to cover my golfing expenses, so I got other jobs. I sold knife sets door to door. I worked for neighbors weeding and painting. I tried a paper route. And then at age 16 I got my big break, I got a job at Pietar’s restaurant in Lafayette washing dishes Fri and Sat evenings from 6pm – 2am making $2 a hour.

My weekly paycheck was $28 after $4 was taken out for all the taxes. After 6 months washing dishes I got advanced to bus boy where I made the big bucks, $2 an hour plus tips that averaged $10 a night. There was nothing I wouldn’t do to fund my golfing addiction.

Now golf has priced itself well beyond what most families can afford. The image of golf being for the rich became a reality as the price of golf escalated over the past 50 years. The game is in jeopardy of dying without the injection of new players, the youth joining the ranks of addicted golfers.

Fortunately there are some amazing and very successful organizations that are making a difference. First Tee of America and Youth on Course have been super successful in getting kids into golf, keeping kids in golf while also providing scholarships and I think most importantly allowing these kids to forge great friendships while allowing access to low priced golf.

Golf tee times have always run at fairly low capacity. Prime time tee times are always in demand, but once we hit 2-4pm the course empty out. This is a perfect time to allow the youth onto our courses at fees as low as a few dollars. This will keep the game we love alive, and will continue to support the thousands of courses globally that are teetering on the brink of bankruptcy.

Without the youth, the future of golf is in question.

If you love the game of golf, please support these organizations, every dollar counts and we all need to do our part.

youthoncourse.org

first tee.org

Check em out, and stay tuned

SHOCKING US AMATEUR MISTAKE golf is a game of unexpected highs and LOWS

Perhaps Sigundo Oliva Pinto would be the one holding the coveted US Amateur title with all the spoils, had his inexperienced caddie not whipped his fingers through the sand on the 18th hole in a tight match that was tied. Sigundo actually had the easier chance at getting his shot up and in for perhaps the winning birdie on this finishing hole at Bandon Dunes.

Sigundo displayed some incredible self restraint after the incident, and showed the world again why MOST golfers are athletes with class, integrity and self control. Those that do not display these qualities typically don’t last in this tough game.

I can relate to what must have been going on with Sigundo, as most of us as kids dream of being in a position to win such a coveted event like the USGA Amateur. The Champion and runner-up get invitations to the US Open, Masters and the winner plays in the Open Championship in the UK. It can also be a springboard into a lucrative professional career and its just a fact that an amateur champion will get a shot at some good endorsement money entering his professional career.

All of the intangibles associated with winning this tournament only make what happened even more tragic. I guess my question is: Why did Bandon Dunes allow an inexperienced caddie to work the US Amateur. Was this guy ever properly trained?

I thought I always had the biggest BONE HEADED move in a tournament. In the 90’s I was playing Nick Watney in the NCGA Amateur at Spyglass Hill. I had a one hole led going to the short downhill par three 15th hole. I hit first and stuck my shot to 2.5 feet, almost a gimme, but not quite. Nick hit his shot to about 25 feet. Upon reaching the green, I marked my ball and whipped a low line drive to my caddie, a friend that had woken up at 5 am in the Bay Area to drive down to caddie for me. He was not totally with it, and the ball glanced off his hand and into the lake behind him. I knew the rule, and couldn’t believe that I could be so stupid to whip a golf ball to someone with a lake behind him.

My good friend and caddie went into the lake in search of my ball. He was almost neck deep in water and was pulling up balls with his bare feet. Back then you had five minutes to find it (three minutes now). He found about 20 balls, but never mine.

Instead of leaving that 15th hole 2up I left even, having to concede the hole to Nick for losing my ball in the lake. I lost to Nick on the 18th hole when he made birdie. We would not have played 18 if I had not thrown my ball. But it gets worse-

Obviously everyone heard about this incident, and even the local paper was kind enough to write a very unflattering article about my blunder. Also listing other recent mishaps I had experienced. But years later my iconic amateur championship friend Casey Boyns caddie for me in a late round match in the NCGA Championship after he had been knocked out. Again on the 15th hole I hit a good shot close to the hole, and again whipped a fast ball to the left of Casey. Thank god Casey has superior hand eye coordination and was able to snag my errand toss to him.

We both looked at each other, and clearly I felt like quite the fool for repeating something that had happened before and cost me so much. I however am pretty confident that Sigundo’s caddie will not be testing any more bunkers, at least I hope not.

I HAVE NEVER SEEN THIS HAPPEN BEFORE

Golf can be a cruel and punishing game. It will constantly test your patience and mental prowess. However I cannot imagine a better game that allows us to enjoy such beautiful places with such great people of integrity and honor while enjoying this amazing game for most of our lifetimes.

I’ve had my Cortisone and Steroid shots in my ankle so I play to be back in tournament action this weekend at the Antioch City Championship, a fun event, but certainly not a major.

Thanks for your support in reading this crazy blog, and always remember “Do as I say, not as I do”

STAY TUNED

PGA Championship MORIKAWA, COVID 19 and HELIUS MEDICAL

Remember that Collin Morikawa was one of my picks, and I am sure many of you were not shocked when this 23 year old super-talent won the first golf major in over 1 year. How did he emerge from the pack after 7 players were tied for the lead at one point?

I think Collin’s chip in on #14 after a very poor wedge shot vaulted his confidence that made the miraculous tee shot to 8 feet on the par 4 16th hole more doable in that situation. He was unflappable once in the lead, and is a great champion to be added to the list of past PGA Champions.

Did Collins previous experience at TPC Harding Park while at Cal help him to victory? I say not much, as he did. When you normally play Harding Park the fairways are wider, and the greens way slower making the breaks a lot different than during the PGA. I think the only possible edge would be the familiarity to his eye.

But certainly nothing can emulate the pressure that comes with leading a major down the stretch. So when will Collin win his next major? I say VERY soon, as he is loaded for bear, and hungry for more. He is almost a mini Tiger in that he has the belief that he can beat anyone in the world, and after the missed 3 foot putt in a recent sudden death playoff, followed with a made 30 foot putt in sudden death playoff against Justin Thomas, this kid has had everything thrown his way. He is ready and poised to be the next big super-star in golf, and he already is just that.

He is down to earth, and our friend JJ from Nor Cal is on his bag providing Collin with his expertise as a top caliber caddie on tour after over a decade with Ryan Moore. Anyone that knows Collin has nothing but respect and admiration for his dedication, talent and strong drive to be the best. This kid could have turned pro anytime after his year after year selection as an All America. Yet he stayed his 4 years and got a degree in business.

Golf is in very good hands with all the young talent that we are seeing on tour, but what has happened to Rory? Has his personal life and marriage made him soft and less hungry? Has his talent peaked and its now on the early decline. I love this guy and love it even more when he is in the hunt. My hope is Rory can win at least one Masters and claim the golf slam winning all 4 majors which is this day and age is almost impossible to accomplish. Perhaps Collin one day will achieve this, but with the stacked fields that compete week to week, its gotten tougher and tougher to win on the biggest and most talented tour in the world.

I try to stay in my lane and not write about anything but golf related topics. Occasionally I stray out of my lane and give you snippets of other stuff. By no means am I a good writer or even that knowledgable enough about anything to be writing about it. But occasionally I will find something I believe in, and want to share with you. So here it goes- COVID 19 has affected us all in many ways, and perhaps we will never live like before again. No one really knows how this will all play out, but I thought this information from the effervescent DC was worth sharing. I hope you check this out:

Researchers Develop Nasal Spray That Could Slow The Spread Of COVID-19

By Bill Galluccio

August 13, 2020

Check out the link to a very good news video on this topic

https://abc7news.com/video/embed/?pid=6367948

Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, believe they have developed a game-changing new treatment in the fight against COVID-19. The team analyzed more than two billion nanobodies and found 21 that had the potential to stop the coronavirus from spreading.

Nanobodies were discovered in the blood of llamas, camel, and alpacas and are much smaller and less complex than human antibodies. They are also more stable and easier to mass-produce than human antibodies. The researchers were able to alter the nanobodies to target the coronavirus cells and prevent them from latching on to lung cells and multiplying.

The new nanobodies, named “AeroNabs,” were synthesized into an aerosol form, which can be delivered in a nebulizer.

Based on their initial tests, they found the AeroNabs were more effective at stopping the coronavirus than personal protective equipment. 

“They put two resulting modified nanobodies together, and it was so effective that it exceeded our ability to measure its potency,” AeroNabs co-inventor Peter Walter said.

The researchers are hopeful the new treatment will prove effective when they begin human trials.

“We’re not alone in thinking that AeroNabs are a remarkable technology,” Dr. Aashish Manglik, an assistant professor of pharmaceutical chemistry, said. “Our team is in ongoing discussions with potential commercial partners who are interested in manufacturing and distributing AeroNabs, and we hope to commence human trials soon. If AeroNabs prove as effective as we anticipate, they may help reshape the course of the pandemic worldwide.”

If the nanobodies prove to be effective at stopping the coronavirus from spreading, they could provide an inexpensive option to protect people until a vaccine is approved. They also believe the nanobodies could be used in air-conditioning filters, which would help stop the coronavirus from recirculating in indoor spaces like schools, restaurants, and shopping malls.

They did not say when the new treatment will be available.

HELIUS MEDICAL TECHNOLOGIES UPDATE

Yesterday the company formally announced its second quarter numbers and reported that they had successfully submitted their application to the FDA for the PoNS device with application to gait deficit for MS. If and when the FDA provides HSDT with clearance, which could take up to 150 days, I don’t expect the stock price to move much. The company did indicate that a published article on this technology could be published in the coming months. Although this information would solidify the importance of this technology to perhaps help all people with any type of neurological deficit, I don’t expect it to move the stock price much.

Until the management of HSDT demonstrated that they can successfully commercialize the PoNS device, I do not expect any big movement in the share price. Upon clearance from the FDA there should be a small pop to $2-$3 a share but certainly not back to $5-$10 a share. There will be a massive number of shares outstanding at that time, I estimate over 70 million shares outstanding at their current rate of selling shares to support a $1,000,000 a month burn rate. The math is easy, at $0.50 a share they need to sell 2,000,000 shares a month further diluting all those that bought the shares long ago at much higher prices.

The only chance these guys have of getting their stock price back over $10 would to be first get the approval, and then successfully obtain widely accepted reimbursement from the Insurance providers, and gain significant acceptance from the medical community. That will not be easy, but if the device is as good as advertised, then yes we have a shot of $10 or perhaps even $100 a share.

But for me it was all or none, I chose to put all my eggs into this basket, my other option was investing in Apple below $100 a share. Perhaps the putting woes have something to do with these life decisions.Despite these blunders, I still try to live my life everyday to the fullest, and if I can help others in the process then I am even more blessed.

I have not mentioned my result in the NCGA Senior Match play because I am still reeling from it, and need to make some major adjustments to once again be competitive in these major events that I love.

I hope this finds you all in good health, happy and aware that everyday is another opportunity to tell someone that you love, that you love them. I miss my mom everyday, and wish I had told her exactly that more often. So be well my friends and thrive.

Not sure when I’ll post again, but appreciate all the great support you have given me- God Bless

DJ NO SHOWS AT OLYMPIC

I guess I’m not overly surprised that DJ didn’t show at Olympic yesterday, his focus is clearly on the start of the PGA Championship. However we were looking forward to our match with he and his brother.

WHERE IS DUSTIN???
Daniel Connolly and Jason Anthony off the tough 6th hole at Olympic Lake

I guess the next topic of discussion is why in the Olympic Club hosting a PGA Championship in 2028 and not a US Open. Of the 5 US Opens held at the Olympic Club it has held up to par as well as any US Open venue in the country.

We are hosting the US Women’s Open in 2021 and the US Amateur in 2025, but what happened to the US Open?

I think I know part of the answer, but for once I am going to try to be politically correct and keep the answer to myself. I am not happy trading an Open for a PGA in 2028 and a Ryder Cup in 2032. This is the ideal venue to test the best players in the world. The challenge at Olympic is not the length of the course, but the sloping fairways and small greens.

I hope the USGA makes a move to bring an open to the Olympic Club sometime in the 2020’s

Stay tuned for more on how the pro’s are tearing up TPC Harding Park and why

MUST READS-GOLF WITH Dustin Johnson-HELIUS UPDATE AND WAGR DROP

Today I am playing golf at the Olympic Club with my best pal and best ball partner Jason Anthony. Our opponents will be DJ (Dustin Johnson) age 36 and his caddie brother Austin Johnson age 30 I think.

Dustin former #1 in the world (now currently ranked #5) and 2016 PGA Tour caddie of the year and acccording to Forbes Magazine, Austin was the second-highest earning caddie on the PGA tour in 2017, behind Rory’s former bagman JP Fitzgerald, receiving a cool $1.6 million. Versus #2000 ranked amateur in the world Randy Haag and #452 ranked amateur in the world Jason Anthony.

We are going to propose a one best ball bet of $1000 a man for 18 holes at the Olympic Club Lake at 12:30 today. Oh I am suppose to keep this game quiet, but since the Olympic Club is still on lockdown nobody will ever see us.

I am going to propose to Dustin that if he loses he will also need to give me a 5 minute interview where I’ll ask him the craziest questions ever asked of him. And If I lose I get a 10 minute interview that I’ll post here and on my YOUTUBE channel (subscribe to it if you’d like). I have history with Dustin dating back to 2007 when we both played in the USGA Amateur at Olympic Club and both made match play (me being the oldest player in the field to do so).

We share many other common things like our Caddie, but not his brother. I introduced Bobby Brown to Dustin at the US Amateur in 2007, and they went on to win every year on the PGA tour staring in 2008. Bobby was my caddie from 2001-2004 and then went on to caddie for Matt Bettencourt and others before meeting DJ.

Bobby called me up before the US Open at Olympic Club in 2012 and asked if I’d spend the week working with Dustin. Of course I said yes. I worked from Monday thru Friday when Dustin shot +9 for 36 holes and missed the cut by one. Over 36 holes Dustin made one birdie on his 35th hole the par 5 17th hole.

If you look way back in the archives of my blog you’ll find my interview with Dustin posted along with a fun interview with Butch Harmon, check them out if you can find them.

What happens today is Jason and I take down these two studs and with video evidence we get paid (no credit will be accepted). If we lose, and possibly press and lose, it will cost us $2,000 each. Probably a fair deal for getting a 10 minute interview with DJ. He hasn’t agreed to any of this yet, and my hope is he will actually answer all my questions.

Here is a sneak preview of the questions I want to ask him:

  1. How does it feel to take (or lose) money from two amateurs with severe physical ailments (including mental) on their home course?
  2. What are your top 5 favorite courses in the world?
  3. How much shorter does the ball fly here in SF in August vs. last week?
  4. How do you honestly feel about Harding Park, and Harding vs. the Olympic Lake course?
  5. Do you know who’s dating Amanda Balionis?
  6. What is the question the media always asks you that is your least favorite question
  7. Who are you favorite players to play with in practice rounds in money games, and also in tournaments?
  8. What do you think of Bryson new found distance and what he has done to his body?
  9. What are you yet unfulfilled goals in golf?
  10. What are your favorite sports to play?
  11. Do you and Wayne play a lot of golf together?
  12. Where is home for you now?
  13. What do you need to do well at TPC Harding to be in the hunt on Sunday?

OK that’s a rough draft of questions I will ask of Dustin, If you have any additional ideas on questions please send me your comments NOW. Tee off is in 4 hours.

OK, because I played in the NCGA Stroke play and California Amateur my world ranking plummeted with a 66th place and 130 our of 156 player finishes. So why play in these events against the kids when I shoot 77,79, 76 78. It was horrible golf and I hope to start my rise from 2000 ranking in the word to back in the top 25 in the over 55 ranks. I am currently the 32 ranked senior amateur in the world, down from 8th at the end of 2019. The new power ranking really punishes poor play, and moves you around the ranking quickly. I hope to improve next week when I compete in the NCGA Senior Match play at Poppy Hills and Spyglass Hill.

HELIUS MEDICAL

Watch out for the company to soon submit their application for MS to the FDA. This will move the stock higher before and after the announcement. I think the stock will pull back after its rise after submission, and then eventually climb back to old highs (over $10 a share) once approval is granted in 4-8 months from now.

If you like this golf blog share it, if not….well then don’t

STAY TUNED FOR VIDEO EVIDENCE OF MY GOLF MATCH WITH Dustin Johnson TODAY

AND DON’T FORGET TO TRY OPTIMEND- UNLESS YOU LIKE THE ACHES AND PAINS OF GOLF

This is not an Ad or something I am marketing, just a friendly reminder to try this. This was the information that appeared in todays issue of the Global Golf Post which I recommend you subscribe to.

OPTIMEND

Stay tuned for more updates on the PGA Championship and TPC Harding Park