Golfer Wins $10K Ham and Other Headline News

October 7, 2011 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Entertaining News, Golf News, Pro Insider, Spy Blog 

Cruising the web, perusing some favorite sites, using our golf-dar to identify random news items upon which to opine.

It’s relatively quiet, aside from a certain player’s return to action (if not form) after a two-month layoff. We did uncover a few stories worth noting, however, including a contender for the title of: Best. Headline. Ever.

Saltman wins body weight in ham for hole-in-one

When Elliott Saltman, a Scottish pro best known for his three-month suspension on charges of cheating, aced the third hole during the first round of the Madrid Masters, he won something better than a new Cadillac or BMW. He won his weight in cured Spanish ham.

Scottish golfer Elliott Saltman

Elliott Saltman

This fellow is no shrimp -- Saltman tips the scales at 240 pounds --  and this is no ordinary ham. Saltman’s hunk of hog is reportedly worth €8,000, or the equivalent of about $10,600.

“This is going to last me until next Christmas,” Saltman told Reuters, “nevermind this one.”

For that matter, he’s got enough to carve out a nice emergency ham, Homer Simpson style.

Can’t wait for Cantlay

American golf fans, desperately seeking one of their own to challenge the world’s top young guns, may have their man: Patrick Cantlay, the 19-year-old wiz kid from UCLA.

Already verging on household-name status thanks to a brilliant summer, Cantlay added another notch to his belt in the first round of the Frys.com Open. Paired with Tiger Woods, Cantlay breezed to a 2-under 69 while Tiger struggled to shoot 73 in his first competitive round since August.

It was nothing new for Cantlay, the NCAA player of the year as a freshman, low amateur at the U.S. Open, and owner of the PGA Tour record for lowest round by an amateur (60, at the Travelers Championship).

Cantlay will return to UCLA for at least one more season at the collegiate level. Hopefully, he’ll soon challenge Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, Ryo Ishikawa et al for world supremacy.

Worst shot in golf? The shank tops them all

Golf Digest recently asked readers to name their most frustrating shots. Not surprisingly, the shank was the “winner,” beating out the humiliating whiff, soul-crushing yip and humbling top.

We didn’t vote, but agree that the shank is the worst of the worst. Unlike a whiff or a top, the hosel rocket often ends up unplayable. And while the yips are equally hard to shake, there’s an easy way around them: just pick it up and call it good.

If your partners/competitors complain, ask them if they really want to watch you miss another 2-footer. The yips are contagious little buggers.

Spy on Golf: Rocco’s Wrong, but Short Courses are Alright

Who’s making news in golf this week?

Who else? As we write this, the top eight headlines on golfchannel.com involve Tiger Woods.

Rocco Mediate and Tiger Woods

Rocco Mediate and Tiger Woods

Among other topics, there’s his new endorsement deal with Rolex, his pending appearance at the Frys.com Open, and Rocco Mediate’s recent comments on the state of Tiger’s game.

Geez, not even the president gets this much attention.

Take Tiger out of the equation and things are relatively quiet around golf. Of course, that’s like saying if you take the sauce off your spaghetti, all that’s left is pasta.

Since we love pasta – and non-Woods-related golf issues – we’ll dig right in…

Im-Mediate reaction: Sorry, we simply must take a bite of sauce before moving on… Mediate is one of our all-time favorite pros. He’d be on the short list for filling out our dream foursome. But when Rocco said Woods’ woes are strictly physical, we let out a big, “Huh?”

No doubt Tiger’s knee troubles and swing changes have something to do with his two-year winless streak. But to assert that Tiger’s psyche is the same as it was pre-scandal is crazy talk.

Our take: Tiger isn’t playing like his old self because he doesn’t feel like his old self. Where he once thrived on being the center of attention, he now feels vulnerable – exposed, even -- when all eyes are on him. No longer bullet-proof between the ears, Woods now bludgeons putts he would have gutted in his glory days.

Maybe Rocco’s right and Woods just needs to get the old swing plane straightened out. We think he needs a different kind of therapy.

Another golf trend we like: Following up on last week’s post, it’s great to see the fun, creative things being done with short courses these days. Next year Bandon Dunes Resort will open a par-3 course called Bandon Preserve, designed by Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw. It should jump immediately to the top of best-of lists everywhere.

The Golf Purist has more details and a sneak preview of the scorecard.

The Prairie Club, Horse Course

The Prairie Club, Horse Course

At the Prairie Club in Nebraska, the Horse Course is a 10-holer inspired by the basketball game of horse. There are no tee boxes, so the player with honors chooses where the next hole is played from.

How cool is that?

Independent Golf Reviews has photos and a rave review of the Horse Course, at the bottom of a full write-up on the up-and-coming resort.

Other stuff we’re chewing on…

Luke Donald finally three-putts: The world’s No. 1 player went 449 holes without three-jacking before his streak ended last week during the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. Imagine how good he’d be with a belly putter.

The new Brangelina: The golf world’s collective gag reflex got a workout with the news that Rory McIlroy had given his girlfriend, tennis star Caroline Wozniacki, a wedge inscribed with the couple’s pet name: WOZZILROY. Guess LET’SMAKEEVERYONEPUKE wouldn’t fit on the club.

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