Saturday, March 19, 2005

Bay Hill and More

To the very small handful out there who actually read this thing, my apologies for the paucity of content. Excuse – family responsibility and work. No time to watch golf. However, I’ve had the good fortune to log some time with my pal TiVo for Bay Hill.

First things first…yes this is a golf blog, but several items to note. Today was a trifecta of sorts – my Chelsea Football Club (CFC) earned three points in the English Premiership by beating Crystal Palace 4 -1, my Arizona Wildcats overcame Alabama Birmingham and my wife and I enjoyed a bottle of ’91 Harlan Estate. Brilliant! CFC remain 11 points clear of SCUM (Man United – ManUre) and 12 points clear of Arse (Arsenal – sorry Wenger!) Now to GOLF.

Bay Hill is Arnold Palmer’s invitational – or it was until my friend Tim Finchem and the PGA got rid of invitationals. Now it’s a PGA event but like Colonial and Pebble Beach maintains an “Invitational” in the title. Anywho, Arnold is a God – as I write I am in front of a photo of Mr. Palmer and the Hawk (Ben Hogan) teeing off at #2 in the ’66 Masters. Palmer made the game what it is today. All the TV and prize money we and they enjoy can be directly credited to Mr. Palmer. If I had one round of golf left to play I would hope to join Arnold, my Dad and Lee Trevino for the round at my home course.

Unfortunately Arnold will not be playing any more professional events. Although he is well past any ability to compete his presence will be missed. It’s not about winning – there’s history too. During the course of his career he won seven major titles and a US Amateur (arguably a major). He’s also had a hand in some wonderful course designs.

At Bay Hill there has been plenty of compelling action. Although the third round has not been completed, the cream is rising. The most notable performance is from one of my favorites – Kenny Perry. Apparently Mr. Perry has forsaken his Tabasco sponsorship, depriving many of the wardrobe drama associated with his final-round attire. His ball striking has been nothing short of brilliant. Few golfers can compete with Kenny Perry when he is hot – including Tiger, Vijay and Ernie. I look for Kenny to finish it off tomorrow, barring an insanely low round from someone in the back seat.

But the player in the back seat may be Stephen Ames. Can you say Trinidad / Tobago? Could Mr. Ames be the first Tobagan to win a PGA tour event? Ames is on fire and looks to be in the mix come tomorrow evening.

Also playing well is a lethal group including Retief Goosen, who played 25 holes in nine under par and Vijay Singh, who clearly misses his perch atop the world rankings. Others to watch include Freddy – what a magical win that would be! and Sergio.

I love Bay Hill – but the tour’s hottest weeks are just ahead with The Players Championship and (my favorite) the Masters tournament. Oh Baby!

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