The British Open

Once again, we head to the final day of a major championship, one that has been slightly more interesting than expected. Without Tiger, it’s like throwing a 21st birthday party and only inviting your grandmother’s friends over and watch reruns of Gone With the Wind, which is pretty apt, because that’s exactly what we should be calling this British Open in Royal Birkdale, England.

The first round and third round were absolutely horrific for the golfers, and one that we took special interest in was our all time favourite man in shades: Mr David Duval. He played spectacular for two rounds and as we eagerly waited for his tee off for the third round, he rewarded us with a triple bogey and a downward spiral more painful to watch than removing your toenails with a rusted plier. He was already like +10 before the turn and at that time, all our hopes of him winning the Open had been dashed. Game over, Mr Duval, we’ll have to wait another day for a possible fairytale. Like Tiger, I felt that he jinxed himself after the round 2 in his interview, saying that he is coming to greatness.

You know what that means. Falling flat back onto earth in the most humiliating fashion possible to mankind.

OK, the Gilagolf Prediction Engine has been tweaked and here are the nominees to lift the Claret Jug!

1. Greg Norman

It would be a fairytale but sorry no. We all recall 1996 Masters when Greg imploded in one of golf’s greatest meltdowns in history. He’s going to face it once again (failure, but not the meltdown), but it will be a close call. He won’t implode, but look to see his 2 stroke lead evaporate by the turn and then it’s a free for all. Which comes to blows between:

2. Paddy Harrington

We all like Paddy. Especially the way he walks. If you noticed the way he walks, he strides with complete expression across the fairways. It’s like Bozo the Clown with the size 20 shoes. His gait is definitely very advantageous especially with 50 KM winds buffeting the smaller guys around. Tim Clark has to tie a chainball to his feet to keep him from flying off into the ocean. Will Paddy repeat? No, he won’t. He’ll be crashing in the back 9.

3. KJ Choi

The first asian to win a major? I would love to live to see the day, but it is a possibility. KJ has played 3 days of pretty fantastic golf, with the expression of a piece of brick. He has shown that he has what it takes to win tournaments and in line with so many first time major winners grabbing the Claret Jug, GPE is highy biased to KJ. Also, GPE is automatically skewed to any Asians with any chance to win. And we’re talking about Asian Asians, not the ones who are Asians but has the American flag next to their names, although we think AK is cool and he’s very good…but KJ CHOI YOU ARE THE BRITISH OPEN CHAMP!!!! GO KJ!!!!!!

4. Simon Wakefield

There is no data for this person in GPE. We will just assume he will fizzle out under the intense scrutiny that comes from playing the last few groups.

Dark Horses

Anthony Kim — Told ya we liked AK. He is confident enough not to meltdown, but his game might not be complete enough to negotiate the winds. But his belt buckle is big, so that will work for him.

Ross Fisher — This dude blew the field in The European Open a couple of weeks back by 7 shots. SEVEN!

Henrik Stenson — He’s always a dangerous guy. Plus, he has a woman caddie, Fanny, which we think is quite cool. How often do you get a woman to lug a bag for you for nearly 5 miles a day? He must have some special persuasive powers no one else has.

A Rich Man's Game

I’m a golf evangelist.

As in, I’m always telling people it’s a great game.

Like most religion (and golf is NOT, I am just making an analogy), there’s always resistance and in golf, the biggest challenge is to get people to start the game. Once they are hooked, they won’t stop. The all time favourite resistant response is:

“It’s a rich man game la….”

It’s a known fact that golf retailers markup about 30%-40%, so for a single club, they are probably making a profit of about 300 bucks or so. But it’s not really the retailer’s fault because they need to make a profit and the manufacturers are already killing them with the increasing wholesale prices. Think about it. 99% of the clubs are made in China, in some sweat houses that pays workers like USD1 per day. You’d think the cost of making clubs is going lower and lower and lower.

You are right. So why the heck is the club’s prices soaring? The ridiculous CGB Max from Taylormade is at 2200RM. Who are they trying to sucker?! (If you bought it, much apologies, nothing personal).

Manufacturers are raising the prices not because there’s like a bunch of technology involved or the clubs are getting more complicated. They are raising prices to cover for the increase in their advertising and sponsorship for the pros. How much does Nike have to cough up for Tiger? How much Callaway does for Ernie and Phil? They lower costs, jack up prices to retailers and customers suffer with pricings like RM1500 per driver.

Sure, you say, nowadays, drivers are full of technology. No, seriously, do you think a couple of screws at the back of the club is gonna make much difference to the average hacker? It might, but we’re still gonna suck regardless. Trust me. If you bought a new driver for about RM2200 and you immediately shoot 10 strokes lower, let me know. More likely, we’ll hover around the same score, unless we change our swings. And how different can the new burner be, compared to the old one, except the aesthetics? And is there a whole lot of difference between the Hi Bore XLS and the Hi Bore XL? In fact, I hit best with the Hi Bore original, compared to the other more ‘high tech’ drivers.

No, golf is a rich man’s game only if you want it to be.

Most of us have a lot more other things to do than to just play golf, unfortunately. We have loans to pay, and a life to run, which cost money, unless we decide to live in a cave and eat guano. So 99% of people will look at the price first before starting off and go, “Wah, so expensive one ah….”

There are 2 ways out of this.

1) Wait for retail sale and grab the best pricing possible. This is a good idea actually and later, I’ll show you where there are pretty good deals for new clubs (probably older models but still, new). The problem with this is that when you want to get it, it’s no longer there, because of the kiasu-ness of malaysians. Or even after the sale, it’s still outside of your reach.

2) Second hand clubs. This is the idea I support, because when it comes to golf, I am a cheapskate. Technology is improving at such a rapid pace that it’s now common for manufacturers to release 2-3 models in a season, rendering last season’s clubs obsolete. Of course, you need to be extra careful buying second hand clubs, and you need to make sure they aren’t hacked to death, or knock offs. I’ll write another post on this later.

In conclusion, golf is actually a very affordable game. You should get a decent set of clubs you can play with for some time, that means forget about those all in one sets for RM500, RM600. They suck. I don’t care if they are from Mizuno, Maruman or whatever. If you end up loving the game, you’ll buy another set almost immediately. If you end up hating the game, you can’t even sell the set to a hobo.

A fictional set that costs RM1400:

Ping Eye 2 irons 3i – SW – RM500

Adams Insight Driver – RM390

Cobra 3 Wood – RM180

TaylorMade Rescue Mid – RM200

Cobra IM-02 Putter – RM130

You can even go cheaper if you want, by taking a lousy putter, or removing the 3 wood, but with a set like this, you can probably use this for many years to come. So think before you pop up RM1500 for the new driver that actually costs only a fraction of the price you paid.

Good Deals Around Town
Here are some good deals around town:

1) [MST] TM Burner (OLD)RM888

2) [MST] Nike Sumo (Old) RM590 (R) – RM690 (S)

3) [RGT] Srixon w-506RM800

4) [Isetan KLCC] Cobra F Speed RM590

5) [Isetan KLCC] Nike Sumo Square (Old) RM750

These are the best ones I’ve found so far. MST also offers the new Callaway Hyper X for RM1050.

Also, Isetan KLCC is selling used Never Compromise Voodoo Daddy for about RM360 (after 20%). I am a HUGE Never Compromise fan, and I have exactly the same putter selling for RM250. And mine is better conditioned. Mine doesn’t have a headcover, but it still doesn’t justify for the RM100 difference. Hence, despite their ‘sale’, retailers still need to go lower!!

Isetan KLCC

Gilagolf

There used to be better deals for Hi Bore XL at RM700, TM R7 Draw at RM700 and Callaway X460 at RM700 (giving you an idea of the markup retailers get), but I can no longer get those. I doubt anyone can get those deals anymore. I’ll post up more once I find some good deals around town.

Happy Hacking!

US Open Round 5

Ogilvy, Mahan and Jimenez.

Those were the 3 Gilagolf predicted would go the distance.  Obviously, we’ll need a second look at our GPE (Gilagolf Prediction Engine) and get this sorted out.

Ogilvy’s round ended on the back nine, with 3 bogeys, the worst, that short putt he missed on the 16th.

Mahan never got going, bogeying 2 in the first nine and 3 more coming in. So much for flame on.

Jimenez had the best chance to make a run, as he birdied 3 of the last 5 holes, but his bogeys on 2 par 5s were absolutely unforgiving.

What we got right, was Lee Westwood missing the putt that mattered most. It was the same jerky action he employed in round 3, when nervous, and he hit his putt much too slowly.

So now, Tiger vs Mediate?

Goliath vs David?

Ferrari vs Daihatsu?

The Hulk vs Wimpy Nerd in High School?

It looks like Tiger will be chomping down Rocco for breakfast, but here’s the deal, he’s injured. So the only thing that can make Rocco win, it’s if Tiger doesn’t make it tomorrow. GPE predicts, if Tiger actually shows up in Torrey Pines tomorrow, he will win. Rocco is just too overwhelmed, if he’s in the same group as Tiger. Rocco loves to chit chat, like Phil, but Tiger is just going to look at him and say, “Shut up, little man, and let’s play ball. I will destroy you.”

We generally won’t vote for Tiger and we’re all for the underdog, especially one that resembles us in so many ways, from the way he swings to the way he gyrates his body when he hit a bad shot, but we just can’t see Rocco’s adrenaline carrying him another 18 holes. We can, however, predict what will go on in his mind tonight:

“Oh crap, I’m playing with Tiger tomorrow. I’m so screwed. Will he mind if I steal his balls and glove for souvenirs?”

We wish it was Jimenez vs Tiger one on one, and then we’ll be rooting for the Spaniard.

US Open 2008 Champion Prediction

OK, here we go again, the second Major of the Year and guess who is in front?

For those who observed the 3rd round at Torrey Pines, CA, it was again another reason why we think that Tiger Woods is either:

a. A Secret Project of the US Government to create androids who are perfect. Observe Robocop for more details.

b. An alien who decided that Golf Channel was as interesting as watching tulips grow and was sick of balding, fat guys who can’t hit a simple draw or fade and who crack under pressure–and so it decided to disguise itself as a politically correct african, american, english, spanish, chinese, thai, middle eastern, eskimo golfer called Tiger who has neutral political and religious views and have a hot wife.

The stuff he pulled out in the round was absolutely ridiculous. In fact, the eagle he pulled at 13th, a 70 foot downhill driller that took 10 minutes to track to the hole, is the stuff of legends. The free throw pitch shot he stiffed at 17th was so fake, it makes us believe Shia Lebouf really swung with the monkeys in Indy 4. And the crazy putt that snaked in for another eagle on the 18th? Who recalls the Bay Hill putt he made? Who would have doubted this crazy alien would miss it? And with a bummed knee?

And so, the Gilagolf Prediction Engine predicts this year US Open winner to be:

Geoff Ogilvy.

What?!

Let us explain before going further.

Tiger was going through the GFA syndrome. The GFA is Grimace-For-Attention Syndrome, in practice since the Ming dynasty in ancient China, where soldiers would pretend to be injured to lull their enemies into complacency before challenging them to a one on one duel and making short work of them. Then they return home as heroes and honoured by the emperor who applaud them for bravery and skill despite the intolerable pain. Most golfers apply GFA. Your golf buddy who strolls up the first tee saying he hasn’t played for months, or he has a tweaked back, or wrist or yada yada. Everytime he hits a bad shot he would grimace and offer the excuse. If he hits a good one, he’d say he is lucky. In the end, he would beat the crap out of you and you would sympathise with him while giving him 100 bucks. This is fair play, it’s detailed under Sun Tzu Ancient Art of War.

So Tiger, obviously GFAing, gives us all the display of pain and suffering as he grimaces his way to the lead. Now, we’re not denying he has a bummed knee, but we’re just saying it’s not as bad as it looks, and it makes his opponents think he is beatable (cue Rory), and us thinking, aww, shucks he’s in pain and still stiffs a 350 yard drive. We are in our prime physically, with sculpted bodies and six packs and we shank the darn ball off the tee.

However, we predict his knee will give way sometime tonight and he’ll be ice packing it the whole night. So he’ll be walking with a slight limp tomorrow, and because of this, we’re going to have a look at the guys 5 strokes back of this injured Tiger and give our patented Gilagolf prediction to be either Flop, Challenge or Win.

1.Lee Westwood

Flop. Anyone seeing him miss that 5 feet birdie putt on 18 knows this dude cracks under pressure. Really. His putt was so bad, it reminded us of us. He was thinking, “Darn it, if I miss this putt, I’ll be in front, and Tiger may catch up. If I miss it, maybe Tiger will be paired with Rocco instead and I can stop peeing in my pants tonight. But I have to hit this….oh darn, I’ve hit it and it sucks and 200 million people saw it. I have lost my pride.” Plus, he is playing with Tiger, and for the first time will have more than 3 people watching him from his gallery, his wife and kids. And they will be secretly rooting for the alien/US project Robot.

2. Rocco Mediate

Flop. Anyone swinging like my 18 handicap golf buddy is going to flop in the final round of the pressure cooker called US Open. Seriously. There was a slow motion of Rocco’s follow through drive and it looks like he was undergoing colonscopy without anaesthethic.  He’s a goner.

3. DJ Trahan

Flop. We didn’t follow DJ much, but anyone with a name like this will not win the US Open.  The US Open’s secret policy is to allow only people with proper names to win. In fact, last year’s winner had the name Angel and they decided it was a little too sexually ambiguous so they made sure he didn’t make the cut. He got assasinated with a +13. We can be sure no DJs or KJs or VJs will be hoisting this baby anytime soon.

4. Geoff Ogilvy

Win. There are a lot of reasons why we like Geoff’s chances. He won this one before but it was an asterix. Phil, the perennial choker, gave Wing Foot to Geoff on a plate. So he has a chip on his shoulder. He wants to prove he deserves the major and that he’s not some kind of one time wonder like the Rich Beems, the David Howells, the Michael Campbells, the Ben Curtises and Shawn Micheels who don’t deserve to be called major champions but are anyway. And Geoff is a cool cat. He’s typical Aussie, very relaxed. Of course, Aussies are famous for playing well and cracking like a waffle under pressure, like Appleby, who choked his way in the 3rd round like an 18 handicaper and wish he could crawl into a hole like a wombat, and Adam Scott, who seems more interested in getting his lovely face in GQ mags, and of course, the most famous choker of all, Greg “The Nurse Shark” Norman. They usually don’t have the backbone to hold up to pressure, but Geoff has proven he has the stuff in him to win it. So, In Geoff We Trust and we predict that due to these reasons, and Tiger’s knees, Geoff will be the winner again and in one fell blow, do justice to the great land of Australia.

5. Robert Karlsson

Flop. Robert played like a nut in the first few holes with Tiger. Like Westwood, he is completely unused to having people actually watch him play and compare him to Tiger. It’s like comparing a 1986 Datsun 120Y with a Lambo Diablo. He knows that everyone watching him is going, “Why is this clown even here?” He might make a run here and there, but he has as much charisma as a piece of drifting wood in the blue Pacific that Torrey Pines overlooks, and for these reasons, the USGA will be assasinating his chances like how they did to Angel.

6. Miguel Jimenez

Challenge. Everyone loves a cigar chomping Spaniard that seems to have “You-don’t-like-me? I-Spit-on-your-family-graves-and-challenge-you-to-a-deathmatch!” written on his face. I mean, come on, seriously, without even needing to see him play, we already love the way he looks. He’s more likely to take a 7 iron and crush Tiger’s other knee than to give in and shatter like a Mickelson glass. He’s a pitbull, and he’s going to have a run at the title, but will be stopped by the Cool Cat from Aussie.

7. Robert Allenby

Flop. Another Aussie who plays really well but putts like us weekend hackers. He can’t putt to save his nuts. And on greens like Torrey, he doesn’t stand a chance in heck.

8. Camilio Villegas

Flop. Spiderman’s run will end. Is it us or does he hit his irons like us? He doesn’t have any follow through,and he falls back on his heels the way we do. The only difference is that his ball somehow magically gets to the pin while ours tracks out to OBland. True, his recovery is excellent, but in the final round, we predict his swing will fall apart and his only challenge will be against Adam Scott to be the most beautiful male golfer in Torrey Pines. Which might be more important than the US Open itself.

9. Hunter Mahan

Challenge. Have you seen Hunter Mahan play? This guy is a the streakiest dude in the whole world. Even more streaky than Gilagolf’s favourite player, Aaron Baddeley. Hunter Mahan’s swing is absolutely perfect, and the type that can hold up under pressure. Plus, he reminds us of another one of our favourite player, David Duval, when he wears his shades. We predict he will flame on during the round and challenge the Aussie Cat down the stretch. And what better headline on Monday with Tiger and Hunter’s face on the front page and titled “TIger Hunter-ed Down!”

So there you go, tune into the final round of US Open 2008 at Torrey Pines and get ready for the big show!

Gila golf out!

Augusta Masters 2008 Review

Ok, so our Gilagolf Prediction Theory was a little off. We predicted Brandt Snedeker to win. Instead he went the other way, posting 77. We thought we tracked him after that eagle on 2 but he derailed instead. Our other prediction was partly correct, Ian Poulter making a brief run after the second before killing himself with 3 double bogeys in three holes. Paul Casey playing like a chipmunk drunk with tequilla. Cink and Flesch wishing they had more hair to win this dang thing.

We also predicted Tiger Woods wouldn’t come close to challenging the masters and we were correct. Trevor Immelman played the 16th like your weekend hacker and still could afford a double on the 18th to win it. Nope, Tiger was no where close.

Since you can read in 100,000 other articles on the net on how Trevor won, and the full Masters analysis, Gilagolf is just going to offer one perspective:

How Tiger Lost

Many will say Tiger lost it in the final round, where he missed putts like how I miss putts. On the 15th, he had like less than 5 feet to start a major run, and he screwed up the birdie.

But his chances really ended months ago, after he made this statement, when asked if he can complete the Grand Slam this year:

“I think it’s easily within reason.”

For the uninitiated, the Grand Slam is winning all 4 majors in a calendar year, a feat only achieved by Bobby Jones, who sounds like your neighbourhood garbage man but who is actually one of the greatest golfers ever lived (well, he’s dead now). Mr Jones did it before the modern definition of majors; i.e The Masters, The US Open, the British Open and the PGA Championship. Nobody has ever won these 4 tournaments in one year.

And Tiger says: “It is EASILY WITHIN REASON.”

Note the innuendo of the world Number 1. In these 5 choice words, he has conveyed the following messages:

1) I am good, way better than all the other losers on this PGA tour.

2) All of y’all suck, especially that idiot Rory, whom I will have the joy of pounding my 7 iron into his mouth one of these days.

3) I have a hot wife.

Tiger definitely has a way with words.

Every golfer, from pro to hacker, knows the golden rule of golf:

NEVER JINX YOURSELF.

This is so easy to do. You sometimes do it without realising it. For instance, take my KRTU experience. I was saying to myself breaking 80 is ‘easily within reason’ and then blew up for a 95 on a windswept day. Another time, I shot 40 on my front nine in Nilai Springs, then said to myself: “Maybe today…”. I didn’t even tell anyone! Next thing I knew, I started hacking like a pregnant hippo and shot 47 on the back. How many times I was poised to shoot a low round record when my entire game would decide to take a break and destroy any semblance of pride I have left?

That’s how Tiger lost. He jinxed himself. His recovery shots and putting left him. True he made a ridiculous par on the 18th on Friday (or Thursday?) but it didn’t matter. He lost, because of his big mouth. And hence, he tried to recover from it, saying in the post round interview:

“I learned my lesson there with the press. I’m not going to say anything,”

Welcome Tiger, to the world of hackers.

Augusta Masters 2008 Champion

Gilagolf, aside from hacking unfortunate golf courses to pieces both literally and literaturely, will now include random ramblings of any golf subjects that crosses our minds (which is quite often), and can be written down without causing too much offence (which is quite often, the offence part, we mean), and that can be published without banning us from any golf courses (which is quite rare, the publishing part, we mean).

This is being written about 3 hours before the final group tees off in Augusta for the final round of the Masters 2008. For days, we’ve been running through our time tested Gila Prediction Theory (GPT) and with each round, we’re getting more and more excited about the results. Finally, we’re about the prove that the GPT is accurate and this is how we are going to prove it.

We first start by taking in past champions for five years. We believe any data older than that is not helpful, since equipment changes, diet changes, course changes and the general aging of the earth have caused such data to be obsoleted. The past five winners are as follows:

2003 – Mike Weir
2004 – Phil Mickelson
2005 – Tiger Woods
2006 – Phil Mickelson
2007 – Zach Johnson

I know there are some prediction techniques out there that calculate stats like GIR, Fairway hits, low score average, plane of attack, trajectory of ball flight, momentum of quantum weight shift and all that baloney. Forget ’em. They confuse everyone and has proven that they are too confusing even for the statisticians who devised them. GPT is simply based on one criteria of the past winners:

Hair.

If you notice from the mugshots above, starting from 2003, there is a distinctive pattern to be predicted in the Augusta Champions. Mike Wier kicked it all up when he won. This guy is really bald under that cap. He’s quite a good looking chap with the cap on though. Then in 2004, we all remembered Phil’s celebratory jump, that probably looked as if he was attempting to leap over a sheet of paper and failing. Look at Phil’s hair. Dang, that’s a lot of hair! 2005 was Tiger time, and we all know Tiger has been losing hair since he first picked up the club and sold his hair to the devil for giving him a mad, mad game.

You see the trend? Each year alternates between a hairy and a bald champion.

The very next year, Mr Lots of Hair came through and won again in 2006, since it was the year that a Hairy Champion would wear the green jacket. In 2007, this was a ‘bald’ year and I tell you, Zach Johnson’s hair is receding as fast as the beach water before a tsunami hits. This mug shot was probably taken in his school days when he was 12, but I assure you, his hair is gone, as much as Jim Furyk’s hair is gone.

So what does that leave us? A prediction of a Hairy Champion in 2008!

And here’s where we got excited, because while there were buzz about Furyk, Singh and of course Tiger winning in Augusta, we pshawed it, because they didn’t fit the GPT prediction! Instead we predicted Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els and Adam Scott. All three are of course toast bread by now. So we rescanned the GPT for predictions and expectedly, here’s how our final 2 pairing looks like:

It’s painfully obvious the third guy, Steve Flesch is NOT gonna win it. He has a head like an egg, and we predict by the first 9 before amen corner, he’s going to be scratching whatever hair remaining out.

Forget about Tiger or Cink. I mean look at Cink. Look at him. You cannot possibly tell me, with this new information you have, you’re gonna bet of a dude who looks like that. I like Poulter’s chances since he’s got a head full of hair. But he wears tight pants, which is bad, since that means he chokes a lot.

GPT predicts IAN POULTER to be the dark horse to play well in the last day but fall short due to his tight pants.

So that leaves us Immelman, Snedeker and Casey.

Immelman’s hair hasn’t been that great and with a balky putter, and the fact that he looks a little like Lorena Ochoa after he hits the ball, we’re not going to go for him.

Casey is a firebrand. He hates Americans and he intimidates everyone. He has game to back it up, not like Sergio, the mama’s boy. But unfortunately GPT does not select him because it would give Europe too much to gloat for (Ryder champs and Augusta Champs??! COME ON!!). It’s ok to balance the power, but if Europe wins too much, everyone will become like Colin Montgomerie and golf will likely be banned in Asian countries, since Doubtfire has a personal grudge against Asians like myself. So, sorry Paul, nothing personal, we just don’t like that fat white guy who picks on little Asians.

Which leaves us with Brandt Snedeker. With a mop like that on his head, he’s on track to win the Masters outright. Plus, we like his boy band face, and we like the way he putts, since he doesn’t delay over the ball (If God was playing behind Jim Furyk, He would probably have fried Furyk with a million thunderbolts for slow play). Snedeker reminds us of Aaron Baddeley, our all time favourite since he putts very quickly as well. Also, Snedeker sounds like Snead, which is good. And finally, most importantly, we like comical names that we don’t see elsewhere. Sne Dek Er sounds like a chinese name, obviously a major advantage to have. With such overwhelming evidence set before us, Gilagolf is therefore predicting:

BRANDT SNEDEKER TO WIN THE 2008 MASTERS AT AUGUSTA!!!