Friday, September 17, 2010

Announcer Lite Saturday in Boise

This Saturday in Boise, Idaho, the Golf Channel will televise an announcer free telecast of the Nationwide Albertsons Boise Open. Will this departure from the "normal" show be a success? A huge failure? Interesting? Boring? Those are all the questions that we are asking ourselves as the day approaches.
Keith Hirshland, our producer, came up with the idea based on the fact that he loves the natural sounds of the game and conversational interaction of player and caddie. With GC's Executives Jack Graham and Tom Stathakes in full support, the idea went forward . Golf Channel prides itself on "listening in" on the banter between player and caddie better than any other network. Nothing irritates him more than having announcers interrupt and talk about what the player might do or what are they thinking instead of being quiet and listening to the actual conversation. I wholeheartedly agree! What could possibly be better than hearing first hand what the player faces? Yes, even the GC commentators have interrupted from time to time, but we're cognizant of it and effort to not get in the way.
Well, this Saturday, we won't be given the chance to get in the way. After Jerry Foltz introduces the show and what is going to transpire, there will be no more play by play commentary or on course commentary. No more announcer taking you in and out of commercial. Phil Parkin, Stephanie Sparks and I will do a few interviews during the 2 1/2 hour show and Jerry Foltz and Curt Byrum will answer viewers questions and comments via Twitter and/or e-mail . Word on the street is that a couple of PGA players who are at home being couch potatoes will contact us.
GC's graphics and audio team are going to have to go above and beyond and really excel to make up for the lack of commentary. Fortunately, we have a top notch team in place and that shouldn't be an issue.
What will be interesting to find out is whether the public misses the announcers voices. What happens if, heaven forbid, it becomes apparent that we commentators are not missed or needed? Can our egos handle that?? Is the audience going to have a better or worse experience? How will hearing more natural sound and less created sound affect the viewer?
Regardless of whether the telecast is a huge success or failure, I admire the GC for taking the chance on something new. It's good to experiment and try something different. And who knows, maybe the other networks will learn from our show and it will ultimately make all telecasts better! Tune in on Saturday 4:30-7 pm eastern time on Golf Channel to join in on the fun!

Monday, July 26, 2010

2010 USGA Girl's Junior

Can I just say how WONDERFUL it is to be back in cool SF where it's currently 62 degrees, some 36 degrees cooler than it was last week in hot, humid, oppressive Pinehurst, NC! I was there watching the 62nd US Girl's Jr. Golf Championship, one of 13 National Championships the USGA conducts each year. Winning a match play championship is a true endurance test. After 36 holes of stroke play, 64 players advance to match play. One must make it through five 18 hole matches before making to the 36 hole final. Of course, some matches end early, but others go to extra holes like the Victoria Tanco vs Kristen Park round of 16 match that went 24 holes. Tanco won that match and immediately headed right back out to face Ally McDonald in the afternoon, only to lose in 19 holes! Remember, as I mentioned earlier temperatures were in the 98-99 degree range with the heat index well over 100. The local news was warning people to avoid outside activities! When I think back to my winning 2 Women's Amateur titles, it's no wonder I accomplished those feats in the cool climates of Santa Cruz, CA and Barrington, RI. I don't know how those young girls played as well as they did last week.

The two juniors that came to Saturday's finals arrived via two very different paths. Doris Chen, 17, was born in NYC, grew up in Chinese Taipei (Taiwan) but has spent the last 3 + years in Florida at the IMG Leadbetter Academy and attending the Pendleton School there. She is under the tutelage of David Whelan, the Academy's director of golf, who also happens to coach current Women's US Open Champion Paula Creamer. Katelyn Dambaugh, 15, is from Goose Creek, SC a small suburb north of Charleston. Just saying Goose Creek makes you laugh and conjure up an image of a typical small southern town. Katelyn is a natural athlete who excels at many sports including basketball, softball and soccer. It's only been in the last couple of years that she has focused more on the game of golf.

Doris is stoic. She demonstrates no emotion during the course of play. Her facial features at times appear catatonic. Some might dub her "dull Doris". Her outward demeanor of course is a response to conceal nerves and unsureness on the inside. Actually, Doris is quite funny and much different once you get her away from golf and competition, according to David Whelan. In fact, we saw some of her personality as she walked to the 34th hole on Saturday, goofing around with her caddy Charlie MacInnes, calling him a polar bear. Doris also opened up in her interview with Steve Burkowski saying that she most looked forward to the next USGA event because of all the ice cream they provide on site. She is determined and focused. That, combined with her cool exterior, enabled her to keep plugging along and eventually wear down her competitor in the humid southeast.

Katelyn is all energy, enthusiasm, strength and personality strutting down the fairway. Katelyn
is the daughter of Cindy and Eric Dambaugh. She has an older sister Brooke who is a cheerleader. Katelyn got her athletic talents from her mom who was a very competitive softball player. Katelyn is naturally right handed, but swings the bat and the golf club from the left side. During the last 4 years, she's been coached by Koll Farman who teaches at Coosaw Creek CC. Katelyn doesn't play AJGA events and this was her first USGA Championship. Mostly, she plays tournaments on the South Carolina Junior Golf Association schedule. Last year, she finished second to Katie Higgins in the Beth Daniel Azalea Junior for one of her best finishes. Katelyn still plays HS basketball as a shooting guard who specializes in 3 pointers. Her personal best is 7 three pointers in one game! Katelyn has a great golf swing and as she gets more experience she'll keep improving and hopefully one day will reach her goal of playing for the Duke Women's Golf team. Besides being a big Duke fan, she's got Bieber Fever. Yes, she's in love with Justin Bieber and is going to see him in Charlotte on August 8, coincidentally right before the Women's US Amateur at Charlotte CC, for which she is now exempt!

I thought the different demeanor and games that these two teenage players brought to the US Girls Jr at CCNC was fabulous. Either junior could have won the championship. It was a slug fest with changes in lead happening 4 times and neither player ever going more than 2 up at any point. It was an even, well played match. Katelyn came into the championship just hoping to make match play and who had no expectations. She has to be delighted with the way she played and how she opened a nation's eyes to her talent. For Doris, who lost in last year's semi-finals, this has to be a sweet end to her USGA junior career. She is verbally committed to play golf at USC (Southern Cal) in 2011 but first we'll see if she can become the only player to win the US Girl's Junior and Women's Amateur in the same year. A tall order, but one I'm looking forward to watching in two weeks.

Monday Thoughts

Ahhh.....I love, love, love the first Monday morning at home after a long road trip. I lounge in bed as long as I can, watching the news, surfing the internet, reading the Chronicle while sipping green tea. I purposely don't plan much for the day so that I can piddle around the house and just enjoy being home. Usually one of my cats is laying next to me, purring that loud amazing song only cats can. Hmm, should I get up and eat, or maybe I'll just remain here and look back on the week's golf highlights:

-Because I was there, my main thoughts are of the US Girls Junior Championship at Country Club of North Carolina in Pinehurst. Surviving 36 holes of stroke play and 5 rounds of matches, Doris Chen and Katelyn Dambaugh were troopers playing each other in a 36 hole final. They did all this, mind you, in 99 degree humid, oppressive heat! No wonder they were semi catatonic at the end. Doris prevailed down the last 9 holes w/ birdies on two of their last 3 holes, winning 3 &2 . Doris is a stoic, unemotional (at least outwardly), consistent, straight hitting putting machine. Her consistency outdid Katelyn's naturally athletic, long hitting, emotional game. Each were very different in their approach to the game and their journey to this Championship. In the end we were treated to a wonderful match and a glimpse of the future talent of this game.

Two other girls made me look twice--Stephanie Liu who just turned 13 and stands nearly 6 feet tall is going to be a force in the near future. She has a beautiful swing, strength and a maturity that belies her age. She and her 2 brothers are Chinese/Canadian Americans. What?? A very interesting mixed race amazing talent. Look for Stephanie. The other player is Megan Khang who is all of 12 years old from Massachusetts. She not only made match play, but won her first match and took her second opponent, Cali Hipp, to extra holes after birdieing the last 3 holes in a row. She is articulate, cute as a button and just out to try and play her best! Love it!

-Congratulations to Jiyai Shin for winning the Evian Masters. Her nickname, appropriately, is chalk line (always hits the dead center of the fairway) and more importantly Final Round Queen! Jiyai played a brilliant back nine (-2) and took the Evian away from Morgan Pressel who shot +1 on the second nine. Huge congrats to Lexi Thompson who tied for second in her 3rd event as a pro and took home $242,711. Nice chunk of change and a statement to all that she appears to be the real deal!

-Way to go DJ Brigman in winning the Nationwide's event at the venerable Ohio State Univ Scarlett Course shooting a stellar 64 to win by one. This win takes DJ from #47 on the money list to #6 and basically assures him of getting his PGA Tour card for 2011.

-Langer wins British Senior. Great player, but it doesn't move me at all. Would liked to have seen fellow Bruin and Ryder Cup cap't Corey get the win!

-Pettersson's win was amazing considering he barely made the cut, then shot 60 on Saturday to put him in position to get it done on Sunday. Now there's a good lesson to grind all day Friday b/c you don't know what may transpire on the weekend.

Well, I suppose I'll get my butt out of bed and do a little laundry and put away the suitcase for two weeks. Now, that is music to my ears!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Pink Panther tames Oakmont

2010 Women's US Open Champion, Paula Creamer, efficiently worked her way around storied Oakmont shooting 72-70-70-69 for a 4 day total of 281 (-3). I don't know what is more amazing-the fact that she won by 3, was the only player under par, or that she won her first major just over 3 months after major hand surgery. I had no doubt that Paula would one day win a major....I just didn't think it would be right now! Oakmont was a bear and she handled it beautifully.

One of the keys to her successful championship Sunday started early in the morning when Paula stuck a hybrid to within 6 feet and birdied the 18th hole to finish round. Finishing the round with a birdie at one of the most challenging holes on the course, which gave up only 5 birds in round 3, was crucial to ensure a positive outlook heading to the final round.

Paula's biggest downfall in the past had been lack of patience at majors and putting together 4 good rounds. This year, she displayed complete mental strength and control and stayed committed to her pre-planned strategy of how to play the course. The words of advice she received from the great Arnold Palmer "Stay away from 3 putts and keep your head down" helped her finish strongly and hoist the trophy at the end of the day.

The look on Paula's face when she holed out and won was priceless. You could see the elation, relief, excitement and surprise all in one moment. Her performance was a joy to watch. Paula's positive influence was made clear with her words to the young girls in the audience as she asked them to follow their dreams and let them know they too could be standing on the 18th green one day holding the US Open trophy.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Women's Open Day 1

Whew! I have a headache and I'm exhausted and I didn't even play 18 today! It was as hot, muggy and still a day that I've experienced in quite some time. Let's take a moment to honor the players today that survived Oakmont in extremely exasperating conditions. Just try and have the patience and focus to get around that track in 75 or less! 7 players shot even par or less today, with Brittany Lang leading the way at -2. Remember back in 07 when the men played the Open here, there were only 8 sub par rounds in the 437 played throughout the week. So far, the women have 5!

Big surprise of the day was Kelli Shean! She was the first to post a sub par round of 70 and held the lead for about 3 hours. She is a 22 year old from Cape Town, South Africa who will be a senior at Arkansas. She's the number one player on their team and won her first collegiate tournament this last season. Kelli just took up the game 7 years ago at age 15 and look how far she's come. She played with poise and assurance and was completely charming! Not to mention that she is hearing impaired which has been a hurdle I'm sure.

It will be interesting to see how the players adjust and play the course tomorrow. My bet is the course will still come out on top....the stroke average today was 6 over par (77) when I left the course. Low 60 and ties will make the cut or anyone within 10 shots of the lead. Could be a large cut!


Mallon Memories

As I look back on this first round of the Women's Open, my thoughts are with my good friend Meg Mallon. It's strange to think that she isn't here this week, after all, she's been a solid fixture at the Women's Open for the last 23 years. Meg has a special relationship with this Championship, winning it twice. The first time Meg won was in 1991, her breakout year on the LPGA when she won both the LPGA Championship (Bethesda CC) and the Open (Colonial) within a three week period. Those were two big wins in a 4 tournament winning season. Meg played in a total of 23 US Open's and had 8 top 10's, including a 4th place finish here at Oakmont CC back in 1992.

Meg's not here because she has decided to step quietly away from LPGA tournament golf. After several years struggling with injuries and personal issues, including the death of her father, sickness of her beloved mother and most recently the passing of her wonderful sister Tricia, Meg gave her career one more attempt. While physically she felt solid, she discovered she lacked that internal drive to get the ball into the hole as efficiently as possible. If your heart isn't in it 100%, it's time to move onward. A great champion like Meg can't just walk the fairways going through the motions.

I applaud Meg's decision to step away. So many people stay on the eternal treadmill, following the same path out of a sense of duty or because it's what they've always done. It takes courage and honesty to look at oneself and change the way your living your life, even if it's "comfortable". I will miss seeing Meg's smiling face and the classy way she played this game and I know a lot of players feel the same way. Good news for me is that Meg has been a longtime friend of mine, starting in 1987 when we played a round of qualifying school together.
I'll get to enjoy Meg the wonderful person for many years to come. If any of you are wondering, Meg is even more fabulous to be around off the golf course than on.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Birthday Girl Under Par

Can you imagine shooting 71 in a major championship on a very tight, tough course with swirling winds at 50 years of age? Body swinging in sync-check, hitting ball long-check, getting ball up and down-check....can you imagine it? Playing on the biggest stage, two decades after giving birth to your first child and thirty years into a strong marriage? Congratulations and Happy Birthday Juli Inkster! I'm constantly reminded of this amazing woman's ability year after year. Not only is she one of the finest competitors ever to play the game with 31 wins and 7 majors, but she is truly one of the most real, down to earth, giving people I've ever met. She's a great wife, mom, sister and friend and I salute her on this special day. Thank you Carol and Jack for bringing this wonderful woman into our world. Keep paving the way Jules!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Locust Hill on Steroids!

This year's LPGA Championship presented by Wegmans is going to produce one great golfer! At 6506 yards, it's not the longest course played for this Championship. However, given the already challenging layout of Locust Hill, the additional yardage and other tweaks to the course have turned into a bear. Ten of the fairways have been "pinched" in, or narrowed by 4 or 5 yards....that's like narrowing a bowling lane by a couple of feet. Bordering the slim fairways is 3+ inches of lush Kentucky bluegrass/rye rough and loads of trees. Superintendent Rick Slattery has the greens rolling 12-12.5 on the stimp meter. Also, the course has been lengthened by 150 yards, which doesn't seem like much on paper, but it is mostly felt on #1, 4, 9, 10, and 14 and will cause grief for the players.

Rochester has been inundated with a ton of rain in the last month, in addition to a good inch the last couple of days, so the course is dark green, lush and slow. Several players claimed that they barely advanced 8 irons more than 100 yards when hitting out of the rough. We could see some ugly scores this week, especially if the greens firm up and continue to be lightening fast. Length off the tee is always an advantage, but not at the expense of direction.

Who will win? The straight driver and best putter. My picks are: Ai Miyazato (except for the fact she's trying to win two in a row), Cristie Kerr, Karrie Webb, Suzann Pettersen, Anna Nordquist (different to defend at a new course), and dark horse Song-Hee Kim. Even though Jiyai Shin won at this course last year, she's not at 100% after her appendectomy and won't be a factor. Oh, let's not forget Yani Tseng who won the first major of the year and is the only one to have a chance to grab the first two legs....Can't wait to see what happens tomorrow!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Paula's Shoprite experience

OK, beyond Ai's amazing performance last week was Paula Creamer's remarkable comeback from surgery. That she was able to compete at the highest level and darn near win an LPGA tournament 2 1/2 months after major surgery was remarkable.

Dr. Hunt performed surgery on her thumb March 31 after trying several unsuccessful non surgical options. She ended up seeing 4 different hand specialists and tried various braces and gloves to help support the thumb and enable her to swing relatively pain free. However, none of the solutions lasted and eventually her injury crept into real life as she couldn't hold a plate in her hand w/o dropping it. At that point it became apparent she'd have to go the surgery route. Her left thumb surgery ended up being much more complicated than initially thought. Originally, the surgery was supposed to just tighten up tendons and ligaments that were stretched and too loose. Ultimately, when they opened up the hand, they discovered that the ligaments and the surrounding foundation were torn. Also, a tendon on top of the thumb was moved back into place to avoid it falling off completely in the future. Long story short, her thumb was basically reconstructed.

All off this started over a year ago in June of 09 when Paula started feeling her hand bothering her. After a couple of cortisone shots, she managed to play fairly well through the year with a T6 at the Women's Open, T3 at the British and T2 at Lorena's event in Guadalajara. In November, her thumb started acting up at the Tournament of Champions at Houston. Another cortisone shot followed, then the off season. February 18, 2010 on the 16th tee in Thailand, Paula hit a knock down shot on the par 3 and felt her left thumb pop/tear. She played the last 3 holes in tears and at the end wondered if she'd ever play golf again. She withdrew after a first round of 69.

After Dr. Hunt did the surgery, he was very conservative with her time frame for coming back to golf. Paula was in a cast for 3 weeks and then it was 6-8 weeks before she could start hitting balls. She started with putting, added chip and runs, then pitch shots followed with wedges. It was several weeks before she could hit more than a 9 iron.

Given that she had only played 3 rounds of golf leading into the first hole of the Shoprite LPGA, it's pretty amazing she even completed the tournament much less finished in the top 10. I'd have to say those first two rounds of 67-65 were amazing considering what she'd been through. Even though she shot 71 on Sunday, she was in contention for much of the day and had a chance to win. Don't forget that she was in major pain the entire way and had to ice her hand 8-10 times each night after play. I have to say that was one of the grittiest performances I've seen in a long time. I was truly astounded as to the level of play that Paula brought to the week. She couldn't go after shots hard. She couldn't "work" the ball or hit knock down shots. Nevertheless, she stayed within herself and did what she could....and what she could was better than most.

This week Paula is in Rochester, NY for the LPGA Championship presented by Wegmans. I think this week is going to be a huge physical test for Paula. Last week's course was short and she had lots of lofted irons into holes and didn't have to hit out of thick rough. This course is set up in major fashion with narrow fairways and small, firm greens. The rough is going to pose a huge problem to Paula in terms of testing the strength of her hand and forearms. Also, she's going to have to hold back the number of balls she hits and be patient with her shot selection. She will have to monitor the hand daily and be honest with herself when it comes to pushing it too fast and too far.

I sincerely hope Paula can bounce back and play all the events that she desires. However, she should error on the safe side and rest her body rather than push herself to compete in too many events and risk straining more body parts in the long run. I certainly wish her all the best.

Ai Miyazato is #1

Watching Ai Miyazato as she effortlessly waltzed around the Seaview Resort yesterday in 64 shots, I found myself captivated....and not just because I was staring at a monitor calling the shots for Golf Channel's telecast. I was inspired and uplifted because of the simplicity she displayed in winning her 4th LPGA event of the year (5th overall) and first on US soil. The utimate compliment of any action done is "you made it look so easy!" That's exactly what Ai did. All of us who play golf and have played golf competetively know it wasn't easy at all. She withstood pressure from returning Paula Creamer, charging Suzann Pettersen and newcomer MJ Hur, among others and continued to execute. Only she knows how it truly felt, but to watch her play so brilliantly knowing she'd be the first Japanese player, woman or man, to achieve the #1 Ranking in the World was impressive.

Beyond the flawless technique, dazzling short game and amazing putting, Ai looks like she's having a blast! In this day of angry outbursts, grimacing faces, death stares or even worse--the robotic, trance-like way golfers work their way around the course, it's refreshing to see such simple pure joy from Ai. Watching her makes you want to grab your own clubs and head out to the course. Next time I tee it up, I am going to visualize her slow, beautiful timing and try to emulate it. I'd suggest the same to everyone!

As if attaining the #1 Rolex Ranking weren't enough, Ai is in Rochester to try and win her first Major at the Wegmans Rochester LPGA Championship. Chako Higuchi is the only Japanese woman to capture a major and she won the LPGA Championship in 1977. The great Hall of Fame golfer Ayako Okamoto won 17 times on the LPGA tour but never captured a major. Hiromi Kobayashi who was set to be the next Ayako was Rookie of the Year in 1990 and won 4 times, but no major. Japan follows Miyazato feverishly and to have her win a major would be "Major" indeed. Ai has handled the pressure of a nation admirably, although it took her several years to feel comfortable and find her "style".

I know she has the game to win a major and will win one in the near future. Expecting her to win this week, making it two in a row might be too much to ask. In the meantime, enjoy Ai and all she brings to the game.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

2010 Sundance Film Festival

What a weekend in Park City! We arrived in Salt Lake City on a direct flight from SFO. It's a very easy 1 1/2 hour flight and then only a 45 min ride from the airport to Park City. Getting to Sundance is easy. Getting into the films takes some persistence and patience. Unless you pre- purchased a ticket package or have connections with a sponsor or someone in the film industry, the only way to see a film is to get in line at the main ticket office the day of and hope to get one of the few hard tickets they have for sale....or, get into the wait list line at each movie you want to see. It's a long, hard process to queue up and wait for a numbered ticket to only re-queue up in the proper order and hope to be able to purchase a ticket for $15. The competitor in me liked the idea of getting there early to be at the front of the line and get a low wait list number. The other part of me disliked having to devote so much time in line in order to see a movie. I avoid lines like the plague! I won't stand in the post office line if there's more than 6 people. I guess the determined part of my personality persisted as Danny and I saw 8 films in four and a half days. We were committed to seeing as many as we could, soaking up as much of the atmosphere of Sundance as possible.

My mother asked if we ate any good meals. Negatory! We basically ate on the fly in between movies.The only time we broke from watching films was to take a nap and then go to Doolans to watch the second half of the Jets vs Colts playoff game and then the Vikings/ Saints game. Oh yeah, we also hung out with lots of visitors at the No Name Saloon to celebrate Danny and Kelly's 42nd Birthdays.

So, what films did we see and how do I rate them? Here goes, in order of how I liked them.....

#1 Welcome to the Rileys, starring James Gandolfini, Kirsten Stewart and Leo. This movie was my favorite of the week. The intense performances of the 3 principle actors was extraordinary and the script was equally good. At first, it's hard to look past James' Tony Soprano character, but I quickly forgot about that and felt as though he embodied his new character. It was nice to see Kristen Stewart evolve past her Bella character and delve into something deeper and more complex. Her performance was excellent. I didn't know much about Melissa Leo, but she brought so much to the story with her subtle performance.

#2 Sins of my Father. Sins of My Father, a documentary on the son of Pablo Escobar and his perspective of growing up as the son of the largest cocaine dealer in the world. It was a very interesting viewpoint to a story we all know.

#3 Teenage Paparazzo. Delightfully entertaining movie about a 13 year old boy named Austin Visschedyk who becomes a member of the Papparazi. Adrian Grenier directs and produces this documentary on the general growth and success of the paparazzi phenomenon thru his experience with young Austin. The film is full of fun clips and good sit down interviews with actors. Adrien Grenier has done a great job with his first movie as producer/director. I really enjoyed the Q & A afterward w/ Adrien and his cast and crew. He was very intelligent and eloquent as he answered questions.

#4 Douchbag. Funny story of two brothers and their broken relationship. The amazing thing about this movie is that one of the main actors, Andrew Dickler, is actually a very accomplished editor and made his debut as an actor in this movie. He was extremely natural and interesting in front of the camera.

#5 The Dry Land. This was a very tense, serious look at soldiers coming back home after serving in Iraq and trying to fit back in to their former lives. America Ferrera stared in and co-executive produced this drama. Very well done, but hard to watch.

#6 Please Give. After a great start, this movie loses steam. The performances were very good, but the script sort of stalls and leaves you thinking there could have been so much more. The characters were interesting, but they weren't allowed to go very far and ultimately the ending was disappointing.

#7 HIGH School. There was a lot of buzz for this movie and for the majority of the under 25 crowd that was on hand for the premiere, they were satisfied. It's about two kids that get their whole HS stoned to foil the drug testers on campus. The film had a lot of promise at the start. The main characters were funny and interesting and Adrien Brody was amazing as a whacked out drug dealer. He was so strange! It looked like he had a lot of fun going out on a limb and playing such a weird person. However, the movie became a tad boring because it went over the top with slapstick and craziness.

#8 Bass Ackwards. Aimless Linas Phillips drives across the country and on the way he learns a lot about himself and comes out of his shell. The film moved as slowly as Linas' 1976 VW bus travelled across the country. I was impressed that Linas wrote, directed and stared in this flick, but I admit I closed my eyes a couple of times fighting sleep during the show.

A couple of movies we wanted to see but didn't were Runaways w/ Dakota Fanning and Kristen Stewart. This was the movie about Joan Jett and Cherie Currrie and the band they were in called the Runaways. I'll watch that when it's released in two months. Get Low has an incredible cast with Robert Duvall, Bill Murray and Sissy Spacek among can't go wrong with a group like that. HappyThankyouMorePlease has to be seen just for the title!

All in all, the experience of Sundance amidst the beauty of Park City made for a great trip. I don't think I'll make it an annual trip, but I certainly want to return again. But, I'll definitely get hard tickets in hand so that more movies can be seen and more than 5 hrs of sleep can be had each night.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Gal Pal Trip 2010

Just returned from our annual Gal Pal trip, this year to Pacific Grove. Every year we get together and go either to wine country or to Carmel/Monterey. The group consists of 8 women and we all know each other through golf. We either played junior, amateur or professional golf together and funny enough until two years ago, we never played golf on this trip. Nobody competes professionally anymore, although we are all self proclaimed Alpha females who are extremely least compared to the average female!
The women in this group teach golf , coach golf at universities, or work for the National First Tee....we also have one who works in commercial real estate and one in who works for law enforcement. It's quite a collection of careers. Nobody is shy or at a loss for words!
Bottom line is we laugh and relax and get away from our "regular" lives. Most of the gals are moms and they appreciate a couple of days w/o catering to their kids and husbands needs.
We play games at night like dominos, catch phrase, taboo, and believe it or not a very intense game of spoons! Nothing that requires too much brain power!
We had an awesome round of golf at Ft. Ord's Bayonette course. The course was in tip top shape and the weather was perfect for mid-January. We had 4 two person teams and played a shamble, which you pick the best drive and then play your own ball into the hole from there. This allowed us to not have to grind over every shot and promoted "team" play. We also had a foursome to foursome competition. Everything turned out great for team K-2 (Kiernan and Kay) as we won the twosome and foursome bets. I also won a couple of skins! Thanks Kiernan for all of your long, straight drives. I love having 8 iron or less into every hole!
I actually played very well despite not practicing or playing in weeks. I had a very clear head, not cluttered with swing thoughts and saw only the target. My routine has become even more simple and I focused only on club selection and setup. Ahh, it's nice to play with simplicity. Did I mention we played in just under 4 hours? Fast golf=Fun golf!
Thank you ladies for a fabulous get together! You are all fantastic and I look forward to our next rendez-vous. Cheers!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Twenty Ten

Can you believe the 1900's are firmly behind us now? Doesn't it seem like yesterday we thought Prince's "party like it's 1999" was so far away? The number 2010 is quite dramatic to me and signifies a new decade and era even more than when the calendar turned to 2000. So, what do we do now that we are at the beginning of not just a new year, but a new decade? I think it's important at the beginning of the year to take inventory of what each of us has in our lives both physically and spiritually. It's a good time to asses the positives and negatives in our lives and figure out what we need and what we can get rid of, both figuratively and literally. Look at yourself and your life honestly and decide what things need to change and what things should remain the same. Change can be very positive and healthy. At the start of a new year, it's fun to take up a new hobby or activity....especially for us edging up there in age. It stimulates the mind and body and keeps us engaged and growing. My plans for the New Year are to simplify, simplify. I'm going to continue to edit things out of my life and home that are extraneous. I will organize my office and notes for work. I plan on volunteering more--I'm looking at Project Open Hand, the SF Child Abuse Prevention Center, and the SF Golden Gate Parks and will figure out which groups work best with my schedule. I'm going to jump into the pool and start swimming a couple of days a week and Danny and I are going to resume ballroom dancing. There will be personal things to work on as well, but I'm not going share those! Lo siento. Best wishes to all for a happy, healthy year. Be safe and enjoy time with your loved ones, whether they are two or four legged!