Finally, A Birdie in Tropicana!

I managed to cram in a few games in KGPA, Tropicana and Palm Garden but eversince my birdie run ended, I’ve gone back to playing golf like a blind wombat high on meth. My game at KGPA was a train wreck and even the easy Palm Garden was no letoff as well. Then came Tropicana, where in one hole, I hit a perfect drive and with a sandwedge and 90 meters to pin, I proceeded to duff the ball FOUR freaking times. FOUR. And I hit the green and did a quadruple.

So, there was not much motivation to go on, really. I was thinking of actually quitting golf for a while. It got so bad that the Palm Garden game I missed I think around five two footer putts. In one hole, I wanted to fling my putter into the rough, but got snagged in my glove and it went spinning into the direction of my buddy and almost killed him. He didn’t speak to me the whole game and told me if I did that again, he is going to tomahawk me myself. I apologised. It was bad. It was not ethical and I am not like that. From then on, every bad shot was just greeted with a wry smile and a look to the heavens and a sarcastic thumbs up and clap to God. I don’t think God likes sarcasm. Because I played even worse and worse.

Things finally began to look up last game at Tropicana. I still missed sitters like two footers, but at least I got back my birdie. And it was on the index 1 hole nonetheless. Downhill perfect drive, took the left water out of equation and with the ball slightly above feet, I managed a pitching wedge to around 8 feet with a downhill winding putt. Perfect putt for me and it went in the hole.

So yeah, I’ve lost count of my triple bogeys and blown holes this year, but hey! I am now on Birdie number 4 for the year! Not bad, considering it’s like One birdie a month.

Next game!

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And the stupidest pest company goes to: RENTOKIL

Here’s a formal review I wrote to bloody Rentokil

Been a customer for more than 3 years. Every year they will miss out their scheduled visits. In 2016 they missed 2 out of 6 (generally, they will call you and say, hey can i come today, as in we assume that you are a jobless nutjob sitting around the house waiting for rentokil to call everyday) – so they agreed to move 2 extra ones this year. They did one and still need to provide one more service. Unfortunately, instead of doing that service, they gave an invoice for renewal for 2017. When called, they say, we can provide a credit note (to offset and discount due to missed service last year) – I said, no, I don’t want you guys anymore, just come and do your last service. And suddenly, the lady said, “Oh, according to our records, we don’t owe you any service anymore”.

Rentokil – i know house customers are treated by you as badly as how you treat rats and cockroaches, but remember before you guys were big and doing factories and companies, home owners were the ones you started off with. The arrogance of this company is just too extreme. Enough said, no more Rentokil for my homes. I rather deal with the cockroaches with my Ridsect than to give them anymore business.

Anyone thinking of getting these bunch of idiots better think twice. Worst pest control company by a million miles. I imagine cockroaches and rats doing hi-fives with each other when they see home owner signing up with them.

And really – it’s so sad. At this time and age, when economy is doing so poorly, you would think companies now should give a shit about customer experience. Yet, they are so batshit arrogant that they don’t give a flying fuzzball about customers. Rentokil – I hope you get killed as a company one day.

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The Birdie Run Ends. So Does the Triple!

Well I guess we can’t have our cake and eat it.

I finally played a round without the dreaded triple bogey.

I also finally played a round this year without a birdie. Final score of 48-43, at The Glenmarie Gardens, with 5 pars and a pile of missed putts and a ton of bunker shots.

For some weird reason I have never been able to get the better of the Garden course. I don’t know why. Maybe we underestimate it because from the onset it doesn’t look difficult. But by golly, I am always struggling on it! And today is the same reason, even after taking up the 5 wood tee-off to avoid trouble, I still found bunkers after bunkers. I counted. That is crap load of bunkers. The upside is that my bunker play has recently improved tremendously. I have this old Cleveland 60 degree with just the right bounce on it for Malaysian bunkers and it digs/slide perfectly through. I say Malaysian bunkers because oftentimes, we have that hard layer of wet sand just at the bottom of the top layer. So if you use your Sandwedge, it just hits that wet sand and skulls our ball whereas the 60 degree is able to dig in a little and allow that follow through. In fact it came to a point that I was looking forward to hitting to greenside bunker just so I can try to get up and down for fringes! I was 2 feet away from a Sandy par but putted like a chipmunk.

Speaking of putting – my love affair with the MYR40 Ping putter is coming to an end. I missed TONS of putts today. Either I whiffed it, or didn’t hit it firm or just couldn’t feel it. But like in everything golf, just when you have given up on something, on the last hole, a crucial game wining putt of around 5 feet – managed to sink it and the love affair with the putter begins again. Aiya. Always like that one.

I did have birdie opportunities, though not tons – I think I had 3 clear look at birdies within 10 feet putting and dreadfully squandered all of them.

However – keeping the triples off the card was key and definitely helps. I think its a combo of poor putting and bunker attraction today. In the first 9 itself, I hit bunkers in 8 holes. Reflected in a dreadful score. In second nine, limit to only 3 holes, and once more , the score was 5 strokes better.

Glenmarie is playing quite nice, if not the greens pretty slow, and it seems their caddy service has also improved. Remember the last time we had caddies who stole money from our bags? This guy was one caddy between 4 of us and he was good. Reading the green, distance, getting the right clubs, finding balls.

Best shot of the day? The bunker shot on hole 1 (our 10). It was a high lip and with the 60 degree, I put it perfectly to 2 feet away from the hole. I missed the putt, hell ok – but it is exactly that sort of bunker shot I envisioned and for once, perfectly executed.

Felt good!

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The Call of Immigration

One of my best friend decided to pack and leave Malaysia. After close to 40 years in this country, bye-bye.

It’s obviously with a mixed feeling to see him and his family leave. One – you wish him all the best of course. Two, you wonder, am I being left behind?

To put it – and this is obviously a personal opinion like everything else in this blog, which is mostly garbage, so disclaimer on ranting – sometimes, I feel we have this squatter mentality. When things don’t go right, we look to other places. We never take root on a country or a place and call it home. When I say We – I mean it in a general sense – not about my best mate. He has his reasons and those are very good ones. He loves our country..forced to leave for good reasons. But for the most part, people make a decision based on – oh, my family, oh my work, oh the government, oh the currency, oh the weather, oh the relaxation, oh the nude beaches. One side of the coin is – eh, this is your Home, Malaysia. It doesn’t matter if some shit politician calls us pendatang and tells us to go back to China – that’s politics, man! Don’t get so worked up! Our incumbent politicians will sell their own mothers to slavery to get votes, so don’t be surprise they tell Chinese to pack their shit up and then the next day, grovel to China and kiss their communists feet and ask them to come and invest in Malaysia. Most of these “politicans” are categorised in the same category of lifeform as bacteria, and even the bacteria gets insulted to be associated with them.

But some do take it very personally. They say, “Well, we are not treasured here. Bye Bye”.

The other side of the coin is: What if Malaysia is truly going down the shithole? A lot of us think it is. A lot think this is the Titanic, sinking into debts created by our beloved captain and his cronies. So abandon the country, before it becomes another Myanmar, abandon it before we have to send our sons and daughters overseas to become maids and laborers. Abandon this cursed land because a few fat cats are sucking it dry.

But if all leave, what is there?

I read a facebook post recently about a girl who decided to come back to Malaysia to work after not being able to cut it in Australia. She went on to say “I hope my thoughts would encourage those who made the trek back home that there is life after being an expat, and those who live in Malaysia that they are NOT losers for choosing not to leave!”

Now – I know she means well, but wait. Number one – you are not an expat. You are an immigrant. Even if you are there on a work visa, you are called a foreign labourer, or a maid, or a foreign worker, or some insulting and derogatory term. Oh, you don’t agree? Well, too bad, that’s what you are. Sorry, you are expat only if you go from Malaysia to lower developed places = at this moment is Sierra Leone, the Antartica and Mars. Other countries have taken over Malaysia as more developed. So even if you are paid, we have no right to call ourselves expat. Secondly, why bring up the word losers? Who is thinking of that? And herein lies the great mystery of our generation. We always think its better to go to the west (or in Australia’s case, the East). Why? Why is it better? If you run your own business here, why is it better to go to the most isolated continent in the world? If you have your family rooted here, why trek over to the place where convicts were banished to? The opportunities in Asia is endless. The great bustle of Bangkok, the great financial hubs of Singapore and Hong Kong, the growing opportunities in emerging countries like Cambodia and Vietnam. Why would I trade these adventures for one that I might want to have in a continent far, far away? Where they go to bed at 7 pm and watch a strange game called footy and basically have nothing much to do except having super good coffee. The coffee in Australia is the one thing I look forward to but nothing else. I have friends who constantly post streams of things they do in Australia on Facebook – like cutting grass, or sitting on the beach, or walking the dog, or happily playing with children etc. Eh – we also can do that here in Malaysia. I just don’t post it up so paedophiles can target my kids lah. Anything that OZ has, we have and more. OK – except for shitty currency. But otherwise, man, everything else!

Basically what I am ranting is, no – we are not losers for deciding to stay in Malaysia. If anything, we are fighters. We are survivors. We are likely 2nd or 3rd generation Malaysians – where our parents or grandparents had emigrated from China or wherever to come here to say, look, Malaysia is cool, they have durians and good weather – lets call this place home. For as long as we can, we should stay and fight for our land. Sure, we might not see fruits for this generation, but if it’s worth fighting for our sons and daughters, why not? Why do we want to become first immigrants again and start over? Why go to the other side when on this side, the grass is still green – it’s only hoarded by a bunch of fat and greedy cows. Can change happen? Maybe. I know for sure, if those who value this country remain in this country then we have a better chance. Australia doesn’t need Malaysians.

Malaysia needs Malaysians. I think the country is worth saving.

End of rant. Back to golf.

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Farewell to the Greatest of All Time (GOAT)

Tiger is the GOAT.

Just like Michael Jordan is for basketball. Just like Maradona is for football (sorry, Pele), just like Usain Bolt is for track and field, just like Federer is for tennis.

And sad as it is, the curtain drops.

I recall when Michael Jordan called it quits (the first time, let’s forget about the disastrous comeback ok) – I was really into basketball and I wasn’t bad at it. I represented my school, so can’t be that bad. I had a really good jumpshot and I played good defense, but I was horrible at decision making. So I kinda made the team but never really played because I never listened to the coach. Anyway – I HATED the Chicago Bulls. I hated them. They were too good. I mean, if you see Jordan scrambling down court, with Pippen at his side – my God, it’s like watching Leonardo Da Vinci paint the Last Supper. It wasn’t basketball. It was art. And for some weird reason, I hated the fact that they were so good that everyone was an underdog to them. Even when Utah Jazz faced them back in the 97 finals – everyone thought John Stockton and Karl Malone had a chance. None. They were like schoolboys. We pitied the Utah Jazz. They weren’t just outplayed, they were put in a Baby Bjorn by Michael Jordan and carried around with shit in their diapers.

So when Jordan said, I was done, I am playing baseball – we were like, great! Finally!

But guess what – we started to miss him horribly. Nobody came close to Jordan. And credit to Kobe and kudos to Duncan – nobody ever has come to replace Jordan. He is the GOAT of basketball.

And now Tiger.

When Tiger started, everyone thought he would open the door to more diversity in Golf. Back then, golf was played by a bunch of fat, out of shape and useless, racist white people like Fuzzy Zoeller. Tiger was the Great Black Hope. I am not racist. I am using the term from boxing “Great White Hope” – which is technically somewhat racist, as it refers to any white boxers that can beat a guy called Jack Johnson (who was African American).

But now, the end of an era is here. And we are still stuck with a bunch of white people except that they are not out of shape and probably no longer racist. Has golf progressed over the years?

Yes, I think golf has reached out to many young generation, and the only reason – I use ONLY, not ‘one of the main’ – is Tiger Woods. Like Jordan, Tiger transcended the game of golf. He became bigger than the game. Unlike Palmer, Player, Nicklaus or anyone before then, Tiger represented golf to the world, not just to the elite. And I picked up the game because of him. Because golf was cool. Now golf is no longer cool. Jogging is cool. Cycling is cool. Golf is a waste of time for many of the upcoming generation.

When Tiger opted out of the next two tournaments, we knew the end is here. Sure, he might play a few more majors here and there, but as painful as it is (and those who follow Gilagolf knows I am a rabid fan of Tiger’s) – I have to admit – enjoy this moment. We will never see another golfer like Tiger ever again, so in this twillight of an amazing career, we bid ode to the Greatest of All Time. We will miss that Sunday Red and those fist pumps. We will miss the amazing shots that seemingly are magnetised to the hole. We will miss those ridiculous chip shots that can only happen in movies. We will miss those domination of other players, that destroyed Ernie, Vijay, Retief, Phil’s legacy by them always playing second fiddle. We will miss the super-humanity of one person playing this game that we are all tragically addicted to.

Goodbye, Mr Woods.

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Analysis on Game 3: Kota Permai

Back at Kota Permai and seemingly with a good strategy to improve from my previous 93. Or so I thought.

We teed off the narrower back 9 first and I navigated well the first two holes teeing off with my five wood with a bogey – par. The par 5 12th – I used my driver and set up for a draw. Unfortunately, I blocked it so far right the ball caught the trees to the right and went into the jungle only around 50 – 60 meters. 2nd shot hit a tree, 3rd shot into the fairway, 4th shot blocked again to the right, fifth shot hit another tree, sixth shot barely crept onto the green and 2 putted for a glorious triple bogey. DAMN!

I meandered on with a few pars after that and came to my nemesis hole – the par 3 17th. I tripled this previous by going right, and now I hooked left. My punch out was too strong, went across the green and down the rough. 3rd shot duffed chip (again, damn it!), 4th shot on, two putted for triple bogey six.

My third triple for the round was the last hole, the par 4 9th. My drive found the bunker on the left, and I had no choice but to sandwedge it out to the rough and was left with a 9 iron shot into the uphill green. Unfortunately I only had my pitching wedge and was too lazy to wait for the caddie to come back with my 9, so I decided to muscle it it. Came down too steep, and shanked the shit out the ball to the right and nearly killing people in the clubhouse. OB – dropped for 5th, on it and two putted for triple bogey. This was so unnecessary – with an easy 9 I would have reached the green in 3, instead, lost the hole and lost the bet.

So in one round, I had more triple bogeys than both my other rounds put together.

The good news is that, I continued my birdie run. It was the par 5 1st hole – and almost exactly the same as the last birdie I had in 2016. Good drive, and then a 5 wood took me to around 20 metres from the green. A not so great chip forced me to putt around a 15 footer uphill. It wasn’t a terribly difficult putt, sort of straight and break a little to the left, so I sunk that in for birdie.

I suppose the other good news is that with the score of 47-45 for a 92, I played a stroke better than my last time out at Kota Permai.

Game 3: 1 Birdie, 3 Triple Bogeys.

Overall 3 games: 3 Birdies, 5 Triple Bogeys

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Gilagolf Analysis 2017

I’ve decided to simplify my analysis of my golf game heading into 2017. Previously I’ve kept track of everything I do – from fairway hits to putts taken to sand saves and all that. At the end, what is the point? The point is to improve right? I’ve been tracking stats for years and still I play like a monkey humping a chicken. So, maybe the point is to clear your head from these numbers and just hit the damn ball. It worked for me for the second half of 2016 when I began to see more birdies on my cards than normal – generally when I started to stop tracking my data and just play golf.

So for 2017, I’ll do it simple: track the good, track the bad. Anything in between, doesn’t matter. The good = Birdie or better. The bad = Triple or worse. I will assume par, bogey and even double will be the normal course of my game.

For the first game in 2017 at Kota Permai, I played 47-46 for a 93. Both good and bad occurred in the first nine (back nine for us). Firstly, the birdie on the par 3 14th. It’s a beautiful hole actually – it plays downhill all the way, the smallish green around 125 – 130 meters but protected by bunkers. On that day, we were playing slightly nearer, around 120 meters, and with downhill and no wind, I hit a gap wedge to around 12 feet from the hole to the left. To be honest, two other guys on my flight hit it nearer. The putt however wasn’t an easy one. Kota Permai was playing very fast that day due to a Taylormade tournament. It was a double break and I hit it just right and it dropped into the cup on the right side – I didn’t even read it correctly so it was dumb luck that I got it in.

Unfortunately, in the next par 3 17th which was a reasonably long one, I hit my seven iron short to the right. It was in rough but it wasn’t bad rough, but slightly buried. I skulled my pitch across the green, the chunked my returning chip. Wasn’t even on the green and hitting my fourth. I rammed my fourth past the hole, and missed the fifth and tapped in for six – my first triple.

Game 1: 1 Birdie, 1 Triple.

For Game 2, I played at Palm Garden, and unlike Kota Permai, their greens were undergoing maintenance so it was absolute horror to putt. I played a lot better and actually had 4 – 5 opportunities to birdie – i.e putts less than 10 feet but always missed. It didn’t help that I was trying out a RM50 putter I bought – an old B61 Ping which looked older than me. It didn’t have good weight (I have since added Lead Tape to it) and I struggled a fair bit on the greens. I played 41-44 for 85, with 8 pars and 1 birdie.

My triple came first on the index 2 Par 5 13th. I know how to play this hole but because I just got a par on the previous hole, I felt pretty grand about my chances. I usually would hit a 5 or 3 wood but decided to go for the driver. Instead of my usual draw, I blasted it straight into the water on the right. I dropped, hit a wood 5 to a greenside bunker. Chunked my fourth out of the bunker to the apron, chunked my fifth chip 20 inches. Hit my six on the green finally but was horrible. Missed my seventh and tapped in my triple. Stupid hole.

I came back at least with 2 pars in my next two holes including a par 5 par on the 15th after hitting into another water. I managed to drop and recovered by hitting a sandwedge into the green on my fourth and tapped in.

The 16th was where I got my birdie. This is a very short par 4 and we usually drive it to around 30 – 40 meters away from the downhill green. I hit a not so great drive – hooked it and it kind of rolled to around 80 meters from the green but at least on fairway. I used my 60 degree lob wedge and hit it to around 2 feet from the hole, similar to the one I hit in the previous hole. From there, a simple tap for birdie #2 for 2017.

Game 2: 1 birdie, 1 Triple.

Overall: 2 games, 2 birdies, 2 Triples.

Time to knock off those stupid mistakes!

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How to Enjoy your golf

I am a great believer that perfection is never achievable. Never in this life. Your job is never perfect. Your home is never perfect. Your kids are never perfect. And God forbid, your spouse is never perfect. You’d be stupid though to say that in front of her.

And in golf, forget about being perfect. The thing is, we are not pros. Neither are we those with a million hours to spend practicing around the greens and driving range . If you are anything like me, juggling between being a driver for my kids, a babysitter, running a business, spending time in my church doing stuff, participating in our home associations, going to my kids’ friends parties and generally being completely overwhelmed with activities in life without involving the game of golf – you will know the only time you are practicing golf is when you are playing it.

Trying to cram in one game a week isn’t easy. Firstly, its the work. Secondly, the family. Weekends are out obviously. Even weekdays, golf tends to eat more into my work hours than family time.

So the expectations of what we get out of golf is a lot less. And when the expectations are less, it makes the game a lot more enjoyable.

Playing golf – one of the easiest way to enjoy it is to play fast. I recently played with someone who took an eternity with his swing. An Eternity. I am a reasonably quick player, or so I think. My ‘pre-shot’ routine if there is such thing is to put the ball to the ground – 2 seconds. I step back, look up and find a spot like a tree, a crane, a bunker, a hill, a building – anything for a reference to aim at, near or far. It’s usually anything off to the right of my line of sight – because my natural shape is a draw. I would mutter to myself “Tree” or “Crane” or “bush” or “billboard” or whatever. That probably takes about 5 seconds. I take my stance, the ball slightly to my left heel, take one practice swing – 5 – 6 seconds. Step back and address the ball again – 5 seconds. I take a practice back swing to set my plane and shift my weight to my right slightly and address the ball again – 5 seconds. Then I rip it. My shot is between 20 – 25 seconds from teeing up to letting it fly. Which isn’t extremely fast but I have seen people go through the 40 second barrier and even one guy who takes a full minute. I am like, damn it, hit the bloody ball! Have you played with someone who just stands there at address on the ball as if he was frozen? Literally, a full 10 seconds go by and he is just there looking at the ball, addressing it. I am like, are you waiting for the ball to say hello?

I get very impatient very quickly; because I am a rhythm player. One of the difference between Kota Permai’s 93 and Palm’s 85 was rhythm. In Kota Permai we played behind very slow players and we were constantly disrupted. In Palm we made sure we teed off in front of a big group that registered and we played with hardly any breakage or waiting. Tee off, walk to the ball and take around 10 – 15 seconds to hit the ball, then go on. I play best when I don’t think so much. In the previous game, I had at least 4 -5 birdie opportunities – birdie putts with 10 feet or less. I missed all except one…that’s more due to the putter than anything else.

So, really, if you want to enjoy this game and have other people enjoy – play a quick pace. With our standard of hacking, it makes no difference if you address the ball for 10 seconds or just hit the ball!

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85 at Palm Garden

The up and down year continues. After posting a 93 in my first game in Kota Permai with 1 par, 1 birdie showing, I switched drivers and putters and promptly shot an 85 at Palm Garden. It had nothing to do with the drivers and putters though because I was still awful with my drives and my new (or rather very old) putter wasn’t do me any favours either with a 3 putt on the 1st, 3 putt on the 10th and 3 putt on the 18th.

However, my irons were just dialed in as I went on a birdie hunt on a few holes – and ended up with 8 pars and 1 Birdie for a somewhat respectable score. if I two putted those, I would have saved 3 strokes. If I played the somewhat easy par 5 smartly instead of smashing my driver into the water for a triple, I could have parred it maybe and shot a 79. I never broke 80 before in my life. A 79 for me would be like the pros shooting 59.

Speaking of pros, how is Tiger doing? I did manage to catch a bit of his highlights at the Farmer’s at Torrey Pines. He was -1 after 11! And he had to go screw it all up by shooting +5 over the last 7 holes. I wish I can say that he is back. I don’t think he is.

However, here is some mind boggling stats for you.

Tiger Woods is ranked 663.

Our great Malaysian Players – Danny Chia, Nicholas Fung and Gavin Green are ranked 276, 321 and 346 respectively.

Yet, when he teed up, Tiger Woods, ranked 662 ranks lower than Jason Day, brought in crowds more than 4 deep. It’s like a football game between Germany vs Bhutan and everyone is watching Bhutan. It’s like watching Andy Murray play against Alberto Brizzi and everyone is going like: Alberto! I Love you!

WTF is Alberto Brizzi? I don’t know. He is the 663rd ranked player in the ATP tour.

So yeah – say what you like about Tiger – he is the main reason why I played golf, play golf and will continue to play golf. If he’s back, great. If he’s not, it’s still going to be Tiger being watched more than any golfer on this planet.

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Gilagolf is back with Tiger Woods!

So now, 2017! I managed to get my first game into the year at Kota Permai and went on to score an amazing 93. Yes. There is sarcasm. I shot 47-46 and didn’t do any favours by struggling at my putting and chipping. I ended up with 1 birdie and 1 par amidst a whole lot of bogeys, a triple and sprinkled with some doubles. New year, same game, it seems. At least my birdie run continues for now with consecutive games with birdies. I did manage to dig up a very old Cobra LD 5 wood out from my store room to test. This is a 2007 model, mind you and by God it is terrific. I am punching this baby further than my 3 wood. In one hole, I flat out outdrove the whole flight who were using drivers. And these are not lightweight guys as well. It was the 11th hole in Kota Permai where I ended up around 70 metres away from green. We were teeing up at blue which was registered at 311 metres.  This is a 5 wood for goodness sakes. On the Par 5 hole 18, my drive around 250 still left me around 210 – 220 uphill to the green. With the wood 5, it went long. It’s ridiculous club.

It didn’t do me much good though in terms of scoring. I still suck at the game. I landed, I think in the bunker like 8 times or so throughout the game.

As for Tiger Woods – the good news is that HE IS BACK! Yes, I basically have given up watching golf for good for a year plus now. Even the majors I don’t give a crap anymore. The only guy out there worth watching is Tiger, and he’s going to be playing this weekend, so I will try to stay tuned!

Happy hacking in 2017!

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