Whiffle: verb – to blow lightly in puffs or gusts; noun – something light or insignificant.

Monday, June 21, 2010


A few back-handed stabs at things that have caught my attention, at the U.S. Open and elsewhere ...

No Fourth First for #1. Boy, it's hard to know what to make of Tiger Woods these days. On Saturday, he looked like his old self. His second-shot approach on number 18, a big left-to-right bender around the fairway trees, was one for the archives. He looked poised to take charge on Sunday and claim his fourth U.S. Open title. But instead he looked as mortal as everyone else. So we know he still has it in him; he just can't seem to tap into it on demand these days.
     I also couldn't help but wonder if the prospect of a big win on Father's Day might have gotten into his head just a bit. On Saturday night, when it looked like he might just be able to win this thing, I found myself thinking, "Who will he hug?" His dad has passed on and his own kids are off with Elin somewhere, presumably. It's like that commercial where the kid makes a hole-in-one in the fading twilight, only to realize there was no one around to see it. Seldom does a man feel so alone as in the light of solitary glory.
     And you know what I wish? I wish he'd drop the dropped club routine when he hits a bad one. It just bugs me; strikes me as childish. It's like he wants us to know that he knows he hit a bad shot before we can figure it out for ourselves. He probably does without even really thinking about it, but it's unnecessary. But then, it's not an F-bomb. And with all he's going through, maybe we should just take what we can get.

No Sixth Second for #2. Was I the only kinda sorta hoping that if Phil Mickelson didn't win on Sunday that he would finish second? It would have been the sixth runner-up finish in the U.S. Open for the man who already holds the record at five. It sounds cruel, I know. And Phil himself was quoted after the tournament saying, "I'm glad it wasn't a second." But that would have been something, wouldn't it? It's the sort of quirky statistic I often find myself rooting for. But hey, it could have been worse. (Image: John Biever/Sports Illustrated, via golf.com)

Sweet T16. How 'bout them college kids, huh? My new favorite amateur, Illini star and NCAA champ Scott Langley, and Georgia Bulldog Russell Henley showed up a lot of veterans at Pebble Beach. Both shot +8 292 to tie for 16th place overall and share the low-amateur honors. It was just the third time in the last 30 years an amateur has finished in the top 20 at the U.S. Open, something never accomplished by Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson. They finished tied with Lee Westwood and Jim Furyk, and placed ahead of such notables as Sergio Garcia (+9), Angel Cabrera (+9), Tom Watson (+11), Kenny Perry (+12), Ryo Ishikawa (+12), Vijay Singh (+13), Stewart Cink (+13), Steve Stricker (+15), Camilo Villegas (+18), Zach Johnson (+22), and Rory McIlroy (MC), to name only a few.
     You can read more about Henley's performance here, about Langley's U.S. Open here, and read a Q&A with Langley here. 

Practice round at Erin Hills. In my previous post, I wrote that some feel the tiny town of Erin, home to Erin Hills golf course, is not up for hosting a major sporting even like the U.S. Open (Erin Hill was just awarded the 2017 event). On Sunday, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel ran an article about the town's opportunity for a "practice round" when the course hosts the 2011 U.S. Amateur Championship. They're going to need it. Because if the lead photo is any indication, the most exciting thing going on in Erin these days is the daily father-son sweeping exhibitions at the local gas station.

Whiffling Straits at Whistling Straits. The Whiffler is excited to announce that he's been invited to take part in a golf outing at Whistling Straits next week. We'll be on the Irish Course, not the Straits Course (which is where the pros will play in August), but Pete Dye's less-famous Kohler gem will easily be the finest course I've ever played. Will Whiffling Straits be blogging about the Whistling Straits experience? Did a young Ben Hogan sleep in a sand trap in order to get the best caddie jobs early in the morning? (The answer is "yes.") (Image: The 6th at the Irish Course at Whistling Straits, golf.com)
      The occasion is the third annual golf outing for the Stacey Elizabeth Mayer Foundation, established two years ago to fund scholarships for students attending Capernwray Bible School in Carnforth, England. Stacey, 19, was a student there when she was killed in a car crash while home in Wisconsin for the summer in 2007. Her parents, Steve and Sue Mayer, are friends of ours and I'm proud to take part in such a worthwhile event.

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