Golf Digress

Physically cultured commentary on Sport and Wellness

Month: February, 2014

Stalking Points Memo – Veggie Edition

From: CNN

Dehydration: Not Just a Summer Thing

Each day, the body loses about eight cups of water, and that fluid needs to be replenished. When you become dehydrated, your blood becomes thicker, making your heart work harder. Also, as you age, the body is less able to recognize dehydration. The initial thirst signals aren’t triggered and sent to the brain, making it especially important to be aware of how much water is consumed.

…Eat water-rich fruits and vegetables. You can get some of the water from fresh produce. According to Karen Owoc, a human-performance specialist and professional member of the American College of Sports Medicine and the International Society of Sports Nutrition, although watermelon is usually the first fluid-rich fruit people think of, lettuce is 95% water. And oranges and apples are 88 and 84% water, respectively.

From: CBS News

Could eating fried foods lead to Alzheimer’s? Study links brain plaque with Western diet

They’re called advanced glycation end products (AGEs), which are proteins or lipids that when put in the presence of sugars, go through a process called glycation that makes cells stiffer and age faster. This can lead to chronic inflammation, and AGEs have previously been linked to diabetes and plaque buildup in arteries, otherwise known as atherosclerosis.

AGEs exist in small amounts normally in the body, but they are often consumed through food. They are especially abundant in meat and dairy products, and can increase when the food is cooked in high temperatures like when beef is grilled or fried.

For the study, mice were given a variety of different diets. Researchers saw that mice that ate more AGEs were more likely to have buildups of beta-amyloid protein plaques in the brain, a telltale sign of Alzheimer’s disease.

These mice were also observed having memory and motion issues, which were not present in mice that were not eating foods high in AGEs.

The researchers then took a group of 93 adults aged 60 and older, and gave them blood tests and asked them to complete a questionnaire that doctors use to test for dementia.

The researchers saw that people who had higher levels of AGEs in their blood had more problems with their cognitive functioning over the next nine months. They also had more problems with insulin resistance, which is one of the hallmarks of diabetes.

From: NY Times

How to Get Fit in a Few Minutes a Week

The takeaway of both studies is that it is best, if you wish to perform high-intensity interval training, to stick to what is well documented as effective: a few sessions per week of 30- or 60-second intervals so strenuous you moan, followed by a minute or so of blessed recovery, and a painful repetition or four. Done correctly, such sessions, in my experience, get you out of the gym quickly and inspire truly inventive cursing.

From Time Magazine:

7 Reasons Vegetarians Live Longer

Now there’s another health perk vegetarians can boast about. A new study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine looked at data from seven clinical studies and 32 other studies published between 1900 and 2013 where participants kept a vegetarian diet and found that vegetarians have lower blood pressure compared to people who eat meat.

Here are some other reasons vegetarians may outlive meat-lovers.

1. Low blood pressure: In the latest study, researchers found that not only do vegetarians have lower blood pressure on average, but that vegetarian diets could be used to lower blood pressure among people who need an intervention.

2. Lower risk of death: A 2013 study of more than 70,000 people found that vegetarians had a 12% lower risk of death compared with non-vegetarians. With none of the saturated fat and cholesterol that clogs arteries, vegetarians may be at a lower risk for chronic diseases overall.

3. Better moods: A 2012 study randomly split participants into a three diets: all-meat allowed, fish-only, and vegetarian no-meat. The researchers found that after two weeks, the people on the vegetarian diet reported more mood improvements than those on the other two diets.

4. Less chance of heart disease: Another 2013 study of 44,000 people reported that vegetarians were 32% less likely to develop ischemic heart disease.

5. Lower risk of cancer: Researchers at Loma Linda University in California studied different versions of the vegetarian diet and cancer risk among people at a low risk for cancer overall and discovered that a vegetarian diet may have protective benefits. Although the study is not the final say on the matter, vegans had the lowest risk for cancers, specifically cancers most common among women, like breast cancer.

6. Lower risk of diabetes: Studies have shown that vegetarians are at a lower risk for developing diabetes. While the diet won’t cure the disease, it can lower an individual’s risk by helping them maintain weight and improve blood sugar control.

7. Less likely to be overweight: Research shows that vegetarians tend to be leaner than their meat-eating counterparts, and that they also tend to have lower cholesterol and body mass index (BMI). Some data suggests that a vegetarian diet can help with weight loss and be better for maintaining a healthy weight over time.

From Web MD:

Vegetarian Diet May Help Lower Blood Pressure

Adopting a vegetarian diet may help people shave points off their blood pressure, a large study from Japan suggests.

The research, a review of 39 studies that included almost 22,000 people, found vegetarians had blood pressure that was significantly lower than those who ate meat.

On average, reductions seen across the studies were 5 to 7 millimeters of mercury (mm/Hg) for systolic blood pressure (the top number) and 2 to 5 mm/Hg for diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number).

While those results are modest, clinical guidelines suggest they could reduce a person’s risk of heart attack by 9 percent and the risk of stroke by 14 percent if sustained over time, the study authors said.

From Craigslist:

Actor needed for Costume Event on 3/13 at SXSW!! ($27 Hr (Austin)

We are looking for an actor to play the role of “Celery” at SXSW. You will be in costume as a large Celery talking to consumers at the event. You must be outgoing and ready to have fun with lots of energy!

Dates:

Training Tuesday March 11 from 5pm-6pm
Event Thursday March 13 from 1pm-5pm

Two-to-three years crudité experience preferred.
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The week’s high point

"CEO" Bryan Gathright caught in his office at the recently-concluded STPGA teaching summit in Bryan, Texas.

“CEO” Bryan Gathright caught in his office at the recently-concluded STPGA teaching summit in Bryan, Texas.

For about 10-to-12 minutes each week, for some 49 weeks a year, for nearly 17 years, San Antonio-based instructor Bryan Gathright and I have spoken publicly over the phone. Johnson to my Boswell, we’ve batted around many things, though I’m guessing he would agree we’ve barely scratched the surface of a topic of infinite depth such as golf in its many facets, borrowing a line from Red Smith, all of them turned on.

The time passes very quickly. Rarely, however, and often regrettably, are the conversations preserved. Here is a random sample transcribed, last Sunday as it happened. Several days earlier, I’d informally watched Bryan teach for the first time, part of a sectional PGA meeting. He happens to be left-handed. The late Harvey Penick, with whom Bryan spent formative time, recommended that he learn to execute shots right-handed for the benefit of his students, which he capably demonstrated.

We’ve never rehearsed. Nothing has been cleared in all the time we’ve spent chatting. We wing it. In fact, we went, I think, six or seven years, before even meeting. A small-town Texas boy, once a gutty collegiate kicker, Bryan, like those others at the top of his profession, is an excellent communicator. Conveying swing instruction over the radio can be tricky. Having worked with a very disparate group of exceptional golfers, including Notah Begay, a four-time PGA Tour winner, who once routinely putted from both sides of the ball, Bryan has shared numerous, memorable behind-the-scenes glimpses of his interesting career. Not only concerning Begay’s fascinating story, or those relating to Jimmy Walker, who just may be the hottest golfer going at the moment, but also superlative insights concerning Notah’s former and very private Stanford teammate, the world’s No. 1 golfer.

Bryan has also never shied away from the tough question, for which I’m also grateful. Walker, from nearby Boerne, Texas, recently severed his ties. They still talk, and the insights and perspective are no less riveting.

The following transcript, long overdue, covers what must be considered in the scheme of our visits typically wide-ranging. Occasionally a thinly-veiled question will concern my own delusional game for I make it a point not to directly discuss my golf – BORING.

There’s also a busy and varied (potential) audience to consider. So, we purposefully flit from one thread to another. Bryan has deftly and cheerfully fielded these along with numerous other unrelated tangents, some technical, others philosophical, one after another. A pleasure to talk to, and a lynchpin of clarity in an insane game, checking in with him remains one of the high points of my week.

I will say this particular conversation may have veered more into the philosophical only because the experience of listening to such gifted teachers talk earlier in the week about their craft was still so fresh.

HEADY STUFF FOR A MUNY CHOP, PRO. THANK YOU AGAIN FOR AGAIN LETTING ME BE A FLY ON THE WALL AT THE RECENT SOUTHERN TEXAS PGA MEETING.

Bryan Gathright: Well, it was a lot of fun and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing ya, and glad you got a chance to experience it. We had a great time, and what a great group of guys to spend the day with.

(BRYAN PARTICIPATED IN A PANEL WITH SEVERAL OF THE PGA SECTION’S BEST TEACHERS INCLUDING: CHUCK COOK, JIM HARDY, KEVIN KIRK, BILL MORETTI, JIM MURPHY, MARC STEINBAUER, AND PAUL MARCHAND.)

THIS WILL COME AS A TERRIFIC SHOCK TO BOTH OUR LISTENERS, BUT I AM IN THE ENTERTAINMENT BUSINESS. BUT I WAS SURPRISED TO HEAR ONE OF YOUR TOP 100 COLLEAGUES SUGGEST THAT ALL OF YOU WERE, TOO. WATCHING MARC STEINBAUER COVER AND STEP ON BALLS IN A BUNKER AND THEN HIT THEM OUT WITH A SAND WEDGE’S LEADING EDGE, AND THEN WATCH YOU SWIFTLY TEACH A CHIP SHOT TECHNIQUE THAT HAS LED SUFFERING MEMBERS TO KISS YOU IN GRATITUDE, I’M COMING AROUND.

ARE YOU IN THE ENTERTAINMENT BUSINESS?

BG: Well, I think we all are. And the thing you have to remember, for the majority of players that we work with, they’re playing golf because of a passion they have for the game, and a love of the game. All of us up there on the stage have worked with tour players and it’s a little different there. But with the rest of the people playing the game, it because they want to play better but at the same point in time, they’re coming to you for information and most importantly to learn how to better enjoy the game they love.

AND, YOU ALSO POINTED OUT THAT YOU’RE THE C.E.O. ON THE LESSON TEE. SOME STUDENTS, APPARENTLY, HAVE A LITTLE DIFFICULTY WITH THAT. HOW DO YOU, AS YOU SAID ON TUESDAY, ALMOST HAVE TO TRICK A DEMANDING STUDENT INTO LISTENING?

BG: Some of the more difficult pupils that you work with – they like to do a lot of the talking – and you’ve got to listen, and you’ve also got to know how to very respectfully take charge of that lesson. it’s something that’s just kind of a feel. You have to know your pupil, and most importantly, we all try and be as good communicators as we can but at the same point in time you’ve got to be confident to know that for that person, to get the help that they’re there for, you’ve got to be strong enough in your personality to take over that lesson at the appropriate time.

DO YOU ALSO CHARGE THE DIFFICULT STUDENT MORE?

BG: (Laughs) Well, I won’t say who… I don’t but one of my colleagues certainly mentioned that you might be able to price some of those out, if you needed to.

ATTITUDE IS SO IMPORTANT. YOURS AND YOUR STUDENT’S. WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO SEE FROM SOMEONE WHO COMES FOR A LESSON?

BG: On almost every occasion that you find, you want a willingness and openness for that student to kind of expose their flaws and weaknesses. So many times they’re embarrassed, especially if they’re a strong personality type. They’re embarrassed to not be good so they want to show what they do well as opposed to what they need to work on.

THIS WASN’T IN A GOLF CONTEXT, BUT THERE IS RESEARCH THAT SHOWS THAT BEGINNERS BENEFIT MORE FROM POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT AND THAT THE HIGHLY SKILLED BENEFIT MORE FROM CRITICISM. A BLANKET STATEMENT – BUT IS THERE FIELD EVIDENCE IN YOUR EXPERIENCE TO SUPPORT THAT?

BG: I think as a general rule there is but if that advanced player is a person that’s quite hard on themselves you’ve still got to blend it and give them some positives to go along with it because if they beat themselves up repetitively, and really don’t enjoy the better parts of their game, you’ve got to be careful and keep it on a nice positive mix. Certainly tour players want to work on what they don’t do well, but if you’ve got a personality that’s a little frail with their confidence, it’s still our job as a teacher to bring out the best in them and I think that’s a real tricky slope to slide down. You’ve got to be careful. You want to expose a way to improve on those weaknesses but you don’t want that weakness to turn into something that they beat themselves up on.

YOU’VE HAD ACCOMPLISHED PLAYERS WITH STRONG, DOMINANT PERSONALITIES WHO WEREN’T AFRAID TO MIX IT UP WITH YOU.

BG: Oh, absolutely. I mentioned during the session that Notah and I used to go at it pretty well, and, always with each other, in a fairly respectable way but there were always those times where two strong personalities and two strong-willed personalities – we still had a common goal. So you always have to remember that and just know that some of the stronger personalities tend to question things. And the one thing you have to understand as a teacher, that’s the one fiber in their make-up that makes them as good as they are anyway. So you’ve got to be careful and let them do it. I think, occasionally, they enjoy the scrape as well.

AND WITH ANOTHER PLAYER, SAY [LPGA TOUR PLAYER] DOROTHY DELASIN, IT MIGHT BE A DIFFERENT APPROACH.

BG: Oh, absolutely. Dorothy is a wonderful lady and someone with her background growing up and playing golf and everything you had to be much more careful and choose your words wisely and always try and instill confidence. And, more importantly, instill fun. She was certainly someone who was never confrontational.

ONE THING AT THE TEACHER’S SUMMIT THAT I THINK THOSE RELUCTANT TO TAKE A LESSON SHOULD KNOW. HERE WAS AN EXCEPTIONAL GROUP OF TEACHERS, WHO’VE WORKED WITH SOME OF THE BEST PLAYERS IN THE GAME, AND THEY ARE DETERMINED AND PASSIONATE ABOUT HELPING THEIR STUDENTS – HOWEVER THEY PLAY – TO ENJOY THE GAME. IT MAY SOUND CLICHED, BUT THAT IS A VERY SINCERE COMMON BOND, IS THERE NOT?

BG: I think that’s very evident. When you get an opportunity to sit in and listen, like you did – we all have a passion to help people and help them improve. You could see that with every person that was in that room. No matter what their style, no matter what their method, it’s always, always visible when you sit down and talk with everyone and see how much concern and care for the pupil there is, and especially in that room.

FINALLY, PRO, I HEARD A BASEBALL COACH ADVOCATE HOLDING THE FINISH OF THE SWING. YOU LIKE THIS, AS MANY GOLF INSTRUCTORS DO, INCLUDING THE LATE HARVEY PENICK. WHY SHOULD IT MATTER WHAT WE LOOK LIKE AFTER THE BALL HAS GONE?

BG: Well, it’s a great test for us to learn just what happened. If you can hold your finish and it’s in a perfect balanced position, you’ll know that a lot of good had to occur to put you into that good position. You didn’t make a swing like an octopus falling out of a tree and automatically just end up in perfect balance in a perfect finish position facing the target. If you’re a little off balance, if the club’s not finished in the proper position – whatever the case might be – it’s a real good indicator of what might have gone wrong in the swing. And, certainly, it may not have helped the one that you just made but it can be invaluable information to figure out what you need to do on the next one.

THERE WAS A CHIP SHOT YOU TAUGHT, AND I DON’T WANT TO DENY YOU THE OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE YOUR LIVING BY SHARING THAT PRICELESS INFORMATION, BUT YOU DID SHARE IT WITH SOME OF YOUR FELLOW TEACHERS. IT’S AN INTERESTING SHOT, AND IT IS TRUE WITH A TIGHT LIE TO IMAGINE – WERE PEOPLE ACTUALLY BOUNCING THE CLUB OVER THE BALL?

BG: I don’t want to let the cat out of the bag but, as I mentioned, I actually had a kiss on the range from one of our members. When he had played his previous round of golf he had actually missed it completely twice in a single round, where the club hit the ground behind the ball and hopped over it. And when we went out for the lesson, I think he literally bounced three of the first four over the top of the ball. So that uphill into the grain shot is a wonderful shot which, as you could tell, is complex but – I had two Houston-area club pros who were terribly struggling…

I SAW IT! I WAS WATCHING YOU.

BG: And it was amazing that by the end of that session [minutes!] how that ball was coming off. And most importantly  you could see a real shift in their confidence in the ability to hit that soft shot.

YOU ALL HAVE DIFFERENT BACKGROUNDS. YOU ALL HAVE DIFFERENT APPROACHES. YOU’RE ALL EXCELLENT COMMUNICATORS. WAS THERE SOMETHING YOU HEARD FORMALLY, OR INFORMALLY, IN THE COURSE OF THE MEETING THAT YOU TOOK AWAY?

BG: Well, I think the one thing you always remember in those sessions, not as much as what was being said as how it was being said. I loved working with Marc Steinbauer. He and I have actually done a lot of things together over the years, and just the remembrance of that it’s okay to show them some fun things, and the next time we’re together I’ll show you how he was hitting that [bunker] shot, the one where it looks like it’s the edge. If you watch that club real closely going back there might be a little voodoo going on there.

THERE’S A LITTLE BIT OF THE ENTERTAINER…

There might be a lot of the entertainer in that shot, okay?

Stalking Points Memo: It’s what’s for dinner edition

From: NBC:

After the Gold: Olympic Medalists Struggle with Real Life

“It is extremely daunting,” he said. Even winning athletes grieve over career endings, [California sports psychologist Doug] Gardner said. “What ends up happening is that an athlete’s self-worth, and self-concept is connected to what they do. Take that away and there is a huge void. The task of the athlete is to have a successful transition out of the sport and that’s a difficult process.”

From: The Baltimore Sun

Exercise data reveal a couch potato nation

Americans are stuck in chairs and on the couch, spending eight hours a day with their metabolic engines barely idling, according to data from sensors that scientists put on nearly 2,600 people to see what they actually did all day.

The results were not encouraging: Obese women averaged about 11 seconds a day at vigorous exercise, while men and women of normal weight exercised vigorously (on the level of a jog or brisk uphill hike) for less than two minutes a day, according to the study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

If you included moderate exercise, such as yoga or golf, folks of normal weight logged about 2.5 to 4 hours weekly, according to the data. In part, that’s good news: federal recommendations include 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activity coupled with muscle-strengthening exercise.

Read more: http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-exercise-sedentary-20140221,0,2080046.story#ixzz2uGNMNCGz

From NBC News:

Hot Pockets Included in Massive Meat Recall

Nestle USA is recalling 238,000 cases of its Hot Pockets pastries because they may contain meat included in a massive recall of nearly 9 million pounds of “diseased and unsound” beef products.

Three different sizes of Philly Steak and Cheese Hot Pockets and Hot Pockets Croissant Crust Philly Steak and Cheese products in the two-pack box are part of the voluntary recall issued Friday but announced on Tuesday.   hot pockets

Officials with the Nestle Prepared Foods Division said that the firm used meat produced by Rancho Feeding Corp. in 2013. Last week, the Petaluma, Calif., plant recalled 8.7 million pounds of beef parts, including whole carcasses and heads, feet, livers and so-called “mountain oysters,” among other items.

From ABC News:

3 bad reasons not to meditate

No. 2 “It’s baloney.”

I get it. I used to feel this way, too. But there’s a reason why businesspeople, lawyers and Marines have embraced meditation. There’s no magic or mysticism required — it’s just exercise. If you do the right amount of reps, certain things will happen reliably and predictably. One of those things, according to the research, is that your brain will change in positive ways. You will get better at not being carried away by your passing emotional squalls; you will learn — as the saying goes — to respond, not react. We now know that happiness, resilience and compassion are skills, susceptible to training. You don’t have to resign yourself to your current level of well-being, or wait for your life circumstances to change; you can take the reins yourself.

From Time:

Banish the occasional headache or upset tummy with remedies straight from your kitchen

Cure for: Stress or anxiety

Next time your buttons get pushed, reach for a banana, says Molly Kimball, RD, a certified specialist in sports dietetics with Ochsner’s Elmwood Fitness Center in New Orleans. With only 105 calories and 14 g of sugar, a medium banana fills you up, provides a mild blood sugar boost, and has 30% of the day’s vitamin B6, which helps the brain produce mellowing serotonin, getting you through a crisis peacefully.

From Fox News:

 Modifying exercise routine important for aging adults

Dr. Wayne Westcott, co-author of the book “Strength Training Past 50,” said maintaining lean body mass becomes harder with ageing.

“The average man in good shape is about 85 percent lean weight, organs, blood, bones, muscles and skin, to 15 percent fat. The average healthy woman has a 75/25 ratio,” said Westcott, fitness research director at the South Shore YMCA in Quincy, Massachusetts.

“It’s more challenging with age but if you do strength training you can maintain your lean muscle to about age 70,” he said, adding that an older woman who doesn’t resistance train will lose up to 10 pounds of lean mass per decade.

Westcott places equal value on cardiovascular training.

“We recommend approximately 20 to 30 minutes of resistance exercises two to three times a week. Then try to have an equal amount of aerobic activity four to five days a week,” he explained.

Westcott added that older adults, who are hitting the gym in increasing numbers, might want to avoid explosive, high velocity activities, such as high jumps.

 

That’s Golf! 2.23.14 First segment script

The year before she won the '38 U.S. Open in Illinois, Patty Berg won the match play event in Aiken where P.G. Wodehouse won the coveted hotel umbrella against a field of rotund retired businessmen.

The year before she won the ’38 U.S. Open in Illinois, Patty Berg won the match play event in Aiken, South Carolina where P.G. Wodehouse captured a coveted hotel umbrella against a field of rotund retired businessmen.

ONCE AGAIN, TIME FOR THE VALUE MEAL PORTION OF THE ZONE’S SUNDAY IS FUN-DAY LINE-UP.

LESS DANGEROUS THAN HALF-PIPE, WHATEVER THAT IS. LESS CONTROVERSIAL THAN  FIGURE SKATING…I MEAN, THE BALL’S EITHER IN THE HOLE, OR IT ISN’T. IT’S A ZIRCONIUM MEDAL EDITION OF THE LONGEST-RUNNING GOLF RADIO SHOW IN TEXAS.

YOUR HOST AND SHAG BOY. WRITER-FOR-HIRE – 5’ 9” 150 LB. 16 YEAR, LIFETIME CATAMOUNT,  BATS RIGHT, THROWS RIGHT.

THANK YOU FOR FINDING THE TIME. IT MAKES IT SO MUCH MORE MEANINGFUL, SITTING IN THIS DARK ROOM UNDER THE FAKE PALM FRONDS KNOWING THAT SOMEONE’S HERE WITH ME, EVEN VICARIOUSLY, IN THE SHAG-ENCRUSTED CONFINES. WITH LUCK, YOU’RE IN A MORE HEALTHFUL ENVIRONMENT.

…IT’S NOT COMPLICATED. THE ENDEAVOR IS TO ENHANCE OUR APPRECIATION AND UNDERSTANDING OF GOLF. WE DO THAT BY TALKING TO INTERESTING PEOPLE DOING INTERESTING THINGS. TODAY WILL BE NO EXCEPTION.

I WON’T SURPRISE YOU.  I KNOW YOU’RE BUSY SO I LIKE TO LAY THINGS OUT UP FRONT IN THE HOPE THAT YOU’LL STICK AROUND. JUST AS LONG AS I’M NOT KEEPING YOU FROM PRACTICING YOUR SHORT GAME, OR, HEAVEN FORBID, FROM MAKING YOUR TEE TIME.

HERE’S TODAY’S SPECIALS:

PAULA LAVIGNE WILL JOIN ME. WE’VE NOT MET. PAULA AUTHORED A INVESTIGATIVE PIECE FOR ESPN’S ‘OUTSIDE THE LINES’ ON THE FINE PRINT OF THE PGA TOUR’S CHARITY COMMITMENT. SHE CRUNCHED TAX FIGURES, EXAMINED THE TOUR’S TAX EXEMPT STATUS, AND LOOKED INTO SEVERAL SPECIFIC EVENTS. HER FINDINGS ARE ASTONISHING, TO PUT IT MILDLY. AS SPORTS BUSINESS JOURNAL NOTED: QUOTE: JUST AS THE TOUR IS ABOUT TO CELEBRATE HITTING THE $2BILLION MARK IN TOTAL GIVING EARLY THIS SEASON, CRITICS SAY THE PERCENTAGE OF CONTRIBUTIONS COMPARED TO THE TOUR’S TOTAL REVENUE DOESN’T ADD UP.”

NEXT SEGMENT, PAULA LAVIGNE WILL TALK ABOUT HER FINDINGS, AND THE FALLOUT.

…LATER, AT ABOUT HALF-PAST THE HOUR, WE’LL WELCOME BACK OUR ERSTWHILE DIRECTOR OF GOLF. BRYAN GATHRIGHT CHEERFULLY MANS THE SWING CRISIS HOTLINE. ANONYMITY ALWAYS GUARANTEED, NO LAST NAMES NECESSARY. STELLAR SWING ADVICE AT CUT-RATE GOLF SCRIBE PRICES. KEEP THE NUMBER NEXT TO THE DUDE’S ON YOUR SPEED DIAL: 390-5483, 390-LIVE.

OUR FORECAST:

FOR OBVIOUS REASONS, WE’RE AN EXCLUSIVE PRESENTATION OF SPORTSTALK AM 1300 THE ZONE, AND YOUR AUSTIN AREA CHURCH OF THE INVETERATE DUFFER.

OUR CUSTOM ON SUNDAY MORNING IS TO OPEN WITH A SHORT INSPIRATIONAL READING.

OUR SELECTION THIS MORNING COMES FROM P.G. WODEHOUSE’S IMMORTAL COLLECTION, ‘DIVOTS,’ THE FIRST STORY, ‘THE HEART OF A GOOF.’ THERE’S AN INTERESTING DEDICATION TO THE BOOK, WHICH YOU MAY HAVE HEARD. HE DEDICATED IT TO HIS DAUGHTER “WITHOUT WHOSE NEVER-FALLING SYMPATHY AND ENCOURAGEMENT THIS BOOK WOULD HAVE BEEN FINISHED IN HALF THE TIME.”

ANYWAY, HE BEGINS:

IT WAS A MORNING WHEN ALL NATURE SHOUTED “FORE!” THE BREEZE, AS IT BLEW GENTLY UP FROM THE VALLEY, SEEMED TO BRING A MESSAGE OF HOPE AND CHEER, WHISPERING OF CHIP-SHOTS HOLED AND BRASSIES LANDING SQUARELY ON THE MEAT. THE FAIRWAY, AS YET UNSCARRED BY THE IRONS OF A HUNDRED DUBS, SMILED GREENLY UP AT THE AZURE SKY; AND THE SUN, PEEPING ABOVE THE TREES, LOOKED LIKE A GIANT GOLF BALL PERFECTLY LOFTED BY THE MASHIE OF SOME UNSEEN GOD AND ABOUT TO DROP DEAD BY THE PIN OF THE 18TH. IT WAS THE DAY OF THE OPENING OF THE COURSE AFTER THE LONG WINTER, AND A CROWD OF CONSIDERABLE DIMENSIONS HAD COLLECTED AT THE FIRST TEE. PLUS FOURS GLEAMED IN THE SUNSHINE, AND THE AIR WAS CHARGED WITH HAPPY ANTICIPATION.”

THE HEART OF A GOOF BY P.G. WODEHOUSE. HE NOTES THAT THIS COLLECTION OF STORIES WAS WRITTEN IMMEDIATELY AFTER QUOTE “I HAD WON MY FIRST AND ONLY TROPHY – AN UMBRELLA IN A HOTEL TOURNAMENT AT AIKEN, SOUTH CAROLINA, WHERE, PLAYING TO A HANDICAP OF SIXTEEN, I WENT THROUGH A FIELD CONSISTING OF SOME OF THE FATTEST RETIRED BUSINESSMEN IN AMERICA LIKE A DEVOURING FLAME.”

AIKEN, YOU LIKELY KNOW, IS NEAR AUGUSTA, GEORGIA. I’M GUESSING HE’S REFERRING TO THE HIGHLAND PARK GOLF COURSE AND HIGHLAND PARK HOTEL. ALMOST TO THE DAY THERE, 77 YEARS AGO, BABE DIDRIKSON SET THE PACE ON A SOGGY 5,418 YARD COURSE TO TAKE MEDALIST HONORS IN QUALIFYING FOR THE INAUGURAL WOMEN’S GOLF INVITATIONAL. BABE SHOT 73. PATTY BERG WOULD GO ON TO WIN THE MATCH PLAY EVENT BEATING AUGUSTAN BARBARA BOURNE, WHO WOULD LATER MARRY HORTON SMITH, THE WINNER OF THE FIRST MASTERS. THE TOURNAMENT, NOTED THE AUGUSTA CHRONICLE, WAS HAILED AS A HUGE SUCCESS. MARCH 20, 1937.

A match play tour de force, and your medalist in a soggy Aiken, c. 1937

A match play tour de force, and your medalist in soggy Aiken, c. 1937

AS A MATTER OF FACT, WE HAVE EXCITING MATCH PLAY ACTION UNDERWAY. JUST A MATCH PLAY APPETIZER TO THE FESTIVITIES IN SEPTEMBER IN SCOTLAND, IT BEING A RYDER CUP YEAR. WE MIGHT JUST TAKE A GLANCE AT THE STANDINGS FOR CAPTAIN TOM WATSON’S SIDE BEFORE THE HOUR SLIPS AWAY.

JASON DAY AND RICKY FOWLER IN ONE OF THE SEMI-FINALS. TWO GOLFERS WITH TREMENDOUS UPSIDES, OBVIOUSLY. FOWLER THIS WEEK BESTS: IAN POULTER, JIMMY WALKER, SERGIO GARCIA AND JIM FURYK. RYDER CUP MATERIAL, CERTAINLY.

THAT’S THE MENU. I HOPE IT MEETS WITH YOUR APPROVAL. ACCEPT NO SUBSTITUTES.  JUST THE SORT OF INFORMED GOLF TALK THAT YOU’VE GRADUALLY GROWN TO TRUST OVER THE YEARS.

ALSO THIS WEEK: PADRAIG HARRINGTON TELLS IRISH RADIO: QUOTE: “I’ve had a number of skin cancers removed off my face.”

SKIN CANCER, THE MOST COMMON OF ALL. NEARLY 1 MILLION CASES IN THE U.S. ALONE ANNUALLY, ACCORDING TO THE AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY. ANY UNUSUAL SORE, LUMP, BLEMISH, OTHER SKIN MARKING, OR CHANGE IN THE WAY AN AREA OF THE SKIN LOOKS OR FEELS MAY BE A SIGN OF SKIN CANCER OR A WARNING THAT IT IS LIKELY TO OCCUR. WWW.CANCER.ORG.

  • PERCENT OF GIVING WATCHDOG GROUPS SAY MAKES A GOOD CHARITY: 65 PERCENT.
  • PERCENT OF EXPENSES EXAMINED TOUR EVENTS DONATED IN 2011: SIXTEEN PERCENT.

AFTER THE BREAK (THERE ARE NO TIME-OUTS IN GOLF) PAULA LAVIGNE AND HER FINDINGS: “TAX BREAKS POWER PGA TOUR GIVING.” YOU’RE LISTENING TO THAT’S GOLF ON SPORTS TALK AM 1300 THE ZONE.

Which situation would you rather be in?

I happened to pick up a copy of “Top Dog,” subtitled The Science of Winning and Losing, apparently making the rounds with an avalanche of favorable pop science press and publicity. Golf doesn’t figure heavily in the storyline, although there are a few references, but I find myself coming back to it as the authors veer from various circumstances to make their points. For instance, they pose the question regarding the following flip side of the coin regarding a soccer penalty kick.

 Which situation would you rather be in?

  • Your team is down by one, and you have to make it to tie; if you miss, your team will lose.
  • Your team is tied, and you don’t have to make it, but if you do make it, you’ll win.

A similar situation occurs routinely in golf and will be recognizable to anyone with a penchant for the game’s most traditional and agonizing format: match play, such as we get it in pitying small doses in events like the Ryder, Solheim, Curtis and Walker Cups.

A putt to win the hole is obviously easier than one to halve it. Only the stakes have changed. Research shows that in the above scenario, the ball finds the net 30 percent fewer times, such is the psychological baggage. It’s the difference between what’s characterized as a threat (the team down) and the challenge (for the win). One only need recall the pressure on the shoulders of Herr Langer along the South Carolina coast to wonder if in golf the 30 percent figure might be conservative.

In any event the example serves to underscore one endearing and inherent aspect of golf’s complexity.

An earlier part of the book highlights the differences between competing against a clock and alongside an opponent. Humans, it seems, far prefer and do better pitted against someone. We perform better when the competitor is in our sights, as in a race. The heat of the moment, the sense of the occasion, the crowd can spur us on to remarkable feats. A distinction is made between what’s known as extrinsic and intrinsic motivation. On our own, if I have this right, the motivation is intrinsic. The presence of a direct competitor ups the ante, spurs the competitive juices. It is extrinsic and it improves performance. Better times, for instance, even for a competitor who doesn’t necessarily win.

Here again golf offers another layer. During rounds of medal play the golfer must perform well intrinsically. His nearest competitor(s) may be hours from teeing off. Then, perhaps should be begin the final days round in sight of the lead, or even in the final pairing, he may have at least a general idea of his direct competitor. It may, however, be foolhardy to give the matter a second thought. Numerous others he’s never laid eyes on can pass him. Carole Semple Thompson, an exceptional match play champion, told me she hardly paid her opponents more than a glance – but match and medal play are not the same.

Golf, it would seem, offers a much more complex psychological landscape than other sports – a mix of intrinsic and extrinsic. Much harder, not to belittle the feat, than, say, overtaking a swimmer with an advantage in the anchor leg of a race.

There’s also this, a finding related to the study of SAT scores. The study identified something called the “N-Effect,” which holds that the more competitors involved, “the worse outcome for the individuals who are participating.”

 When there are only a few people in the race, we put our foot on the gas, working harder and harder to outpace our competitors. And the competition becomes very personal, a referendum on our own ability.

“In contrast, when we are against many, many competitors,” says [Professor Steven] Garcia, “we don’t care as much about how we stack up against one other competitor. Once the crowd is large enough that we don’t feel the element of personal competition, the result doesn’t feel like a personal statement of our worth, so we don’t try as hard.”

If this is indeed, true, it suggests an additional invisible element tugging at the professional golfer struggling against a large, competent, determined – and as noted – real if largely ephemeral field.

I'm guessing I know which option Herr Langer would choose.

I’m guessing I know which option Herr Langer would choose.

Stalking Points Memo: Azodicarbonamide edition

“…food strictly from the earth.”

I cook just about anything, but I don’t fry no foods and I very seldom mess with pork. I’m not against port. But most of our guys are trying to make weight, and pork doesn’t help you make weight. When a fighter’s got to make weight, he should eat roast chicken, turkey, fish, green vegetables. When my fighters find out I’m cooking, they break the doors down.

North Philadelphia's George Benton, boxer, trainer dietician, hall of famer.

North Philadelphia’s George Benton, boxer, trainer dietician, hall of famer.

I really think diet has a lot to do with how fighters develop. Puerto Rican and Mexican fighters, most of them are brawlers and good punchers. You know why? Beans and rice and tortillas, that’s why. They eat food that’s strictly from the earth. Beans, rice, flour, corn.

It’s a funny thing, you eat better when you’re poor than you do when you’re rich. The more money you make, the more you start eating fancy food. When I was a kid, I was eating collard greens. Now I never eat collard greens. But they’re better for you than fancy food.

The late George Benton from “In the Corner” (Great Boxing Trainers Talk About their Art) by Dave Anderson (1991)

From NBC News:

8.7 Million Pounds of Meat Products from California Recalled

Nearly 9 million pounds of meat products has been recalled by a California company that processed “diseased and unsound animals,” according to federal regulators.

The meat from the Rancho Feeding Corp. of Petaluma, Calif., was processed without proper inspections and was considered unfit for human consumption, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service said Saturday on its website.

The agency’s notice classified the health risk as high, but said it had received no reports of illness. It did not specify what diseases might be involved.

From Gallup:

Americans Eating Habits Worsening in 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Americans’ eating habits have deteriorated in 2013, as fewer adults report eating healthy all day “yesterday” in every month so far this year compared with the same months in 2012. In particular, healthy eating in June, July, August, and September declined by at least three percentage points from the same months in 2012. Moreover, in most months this year, healthy eating has been at its lowest in Gallup trends since 2008.

From CBS News:

Subway sandwich chain to remove chemical found in yoga mats from bread

Subway confirmed on Thursday that they were removing a chemical used to make yoga mats and rubber soles on shoes from their sandwich bread.

Thanks for the tip, Food Babe!

Thanks for the tip, Food Babe!

“We are already in the process of removing azodicarbonamide as part of our bread improvement efforts despite the fact that it is a USDA and FDA approved ingredient,” Subway told CBS News via e-mail. “The complete conversion to have this product out of the bread will be done soon.”

The fact that azodicarbonamide was used as an ingredient in U.S. and Canadian Subway products was brought to light by FoodBabe.com blogger Vani Hari. Hari claims the chemical can be found in 9-grain wheat, Italian white, honey oat, Italian herbs & cheese, parmesan/oregano, roasted garlic, sourdough and Monterrey cheddar breads.

From WebMD:

  Avoid Sports Injuries: Tips From an Olympic Doctor

 2014 Winter Olympic Team USA Chief Medical Officer Dr. Gloria Beim:

Non-Olympic athletes who are really interested in playing a sport need to think about training during the off-season. Think about doing routine flexibility and strengthening exercises and keeping your body balanced, because that reduces injury. Proper biomechanics and muscular balancing reduces injury. It really does.

I will give you an example. I often see tennis players (and even golfers) in the summer with shoulder pain. They tell me, “Yeah, I didn’t do anything all winter, but I just played tennis, five games, over the weekend, and my shoulder is killing me.”

No off-season shoulder pain here. Hello...

No off-season shoulder pain here. Hello…

 

Well, that is not surprising. The Olympic athlete would never do that. They are training all the time and they are keeping in excellent fitness, excellent muscular balance. They have the coaching, the training, the physical therapist or athletic trainers — all the resources to help them train properly and stay balanced and fit. They don’t get the overuse injuries that a non-Olympian would who jumps into his sport now and again.

That’s Golf! Feb. 9, 2014 – Joe Black edition

Arnold famously assisted by Joe Black - as Jimmy Demaret quipped - with Hawaii as his nearest drop.

Arnold famously assisted by Joe Black – as Jimmy Demaret quipped – with Hawaii as his nearest drop.

I’M NOT SURE HOW I’D REACT IF I SAW DIRTY HARRY MOVING TOWARDS ME. BUT IF HE DISLODGES A PIECE OF STUCK CHEESEY BIT CHOKING ME, I’M OKAY WITH HIM ADMINISTERING THE HEIMLICH. YOU COULDN’T MAKE THIS STUFF UP, COULD YOU? WELL DONE, CLINT EASTWOOD. . .

…AND THEN, DID YOU HEAR THE CRIME DOG – THE ACTOR WHO PLAYS THE CRIME FIGHTING MASCOT – GETS 16 YEARS. AND SUBWAY SANDWICHES WITH YOGA MAT INGREDIENTS. TASTY! YOU COULDN’T MAKE THIS STUFF UP. (I’LL RESERVE JUDGMENT ON OLYMPIC UNIFORMS. AND MAYBE YOU SAW JOHN DALY’S STARS & STRIPES TROUSERS. KID ROCK WAS WEARING THEM YESTERDAY. VERY POPULAR SELLERS, I’M SURE, IN HELLMAND PROVINCE OR TEHRAN.)

…LIVE FROM THE INSTITUTE OF NON-BRACKETOLOGICAL RESEARCH, IT’S THAT’S GOLF! NO ALGORITHMS, NO DATA MINING, NO CREEPY STUFFED OVER-SIZED MASCOTS, JUST MINDLESS CHATTER. ACTUALLY, I HOPE THE NSA IS LISTENING…IT COULD BOOST THE RATINGS.

YOUR HOST AND SHAG BOY, WORTH A MILLION IN PRIZES, BUT NOT ONE OF THE 1.23 BILLION ON FACEBOOK, AGAIN SAFELY ENTOMBED INSIDE THE SHAG-ENCRUSTED CONFINES. THINK OF ME OF THE ZONE’S “PROFESSOR DUMPSTER.”

THE PEBBLE BEACH APPETIZER EPISODE RECALLS A TIME-TESTED BIT OF ADVICE: ONE NEEDS TO BE WARY OF APPETIZERS. MY METHOD, I THINK IS SOUND, SO I’LL SHARE IT. I DON’T TYPICALLY GIVE ADVICE BUT …WHEN IT COMES TO APPETIZERS, IF YOU CAN’T RECOGNIZE WHAT’S IN IT, BEST NOT TO PUT IT IN YOUR MAW.

…WE’RE A PRESENTATION OF SPORTSTALK AM 1300 THE ZONE AND YOUR AUSTIN AREA CHURCH OF THE INVETERATE DUFFER. HERE’S A STORY FROM JOE BLACK’S BOOK, “A FEW GOOD GOLF STORIES.” THE PRO WILL JOIN US IN THE NEXT SEGMENT.

IT’S ENTITLED, “ARNOLD PALMER’S CLUBS.”

…WE PLAYED THE DALLAS OPEN AT OAK CLIFF WHERE I WAS A MEMBER. IF YOU KNOW ARNOLD PALMER, YOU KNOW HE HAS ALWAYS FIDDLED WITH HIS CLUBS. HE DID EVERYTHING IN THE WORLD WITH HIS GOLF CLUBS. HE WOULD REWIND THE GRIPS DURING THE PRACTICE ROUNDS AND BE IN THE BAG ROOM BEATING ON THEM WITH A HAMMER. HE WENT INTO THE BAG ROOM AT OAK CLIFF TO TINKER WITH HIS CLUBS AND HE SAW MY CLUBS IN THE BAG ROOM AND STARTED EXAMINING THEM. HE COULDN’T KEEP HIS HANDS OFF OF THEM. HE CAME TO ME AND SAID, “I’ve got to have your driver.”

ARNOLD WAS WITH WILSON AT THAT TIME AND I WAS PLAYING WILSON CLUBS. I HAD A DRIVER THAT JOE WOLF, WILSON’S TOUR REPRESENTATIVE, HAD MADE FOR ME. HE SAID “I’VE GOT TO HAVE IT.”

I SAID, “ARNOLD, YOU CAN’T CAN’T HAVE THAT DRIVER.”

THEN HE SAID, “I’VE GOT TO HAVE THAT DRIVER.”

AGAIN I TOLD HIM NO. THEN HE SAID, “LET ME USE IT THIS WEEK.”

SO HE USED IT THAT WEEK AND DROVE GREAT WITH IT. HE WAS SUPPOSED TO PUT IT BACK IN MY BAG AT THE END OF THE TOURNAMENT.

WELL, ARNOLD, GARY PLAYER AND I WERE GOING TO CHICAGO THE NEXT WEEK TO FILM A TELEVISION MATCH BETWEEN GARY AND ARNOLD. THEN ARNOLD SAID, “WHY DON’T YOU FLY UP THERE WITH ME ON MONDAY? SINCE THE MATCH ISN’T UNTIL FRIDAY WE CAN MESS AROUND AND PLAY GOLF AND GO OUT TO WILSON.”

I TOLD HIM NO, THAT I HAD BEEN GONE FROM HOME ALL SUMMER AND I WAS GOING TO STAY HOME AND WOULD BE IN CHICAGO ON THURSDAY. HE SAID OKAY.

SO I CALLED HIM ON THURSDAY WHEN I GOT IN AND HE SAID, “HEY, YOU’VE GOT TO COME OVER HERE AND SEE YOUR DRIVER!”

I SAID, “WHAT DO YOU MEAN I HAVE TO SEE MY DRIVER?”

HE SAID, “WELL, I BROUGHT IT WITH ME AND I TOOK IT OUT TO WILSON AND, BOY, IT’S REALLY GREAT NOW!”

SO I WENT OVER TO HIS ROOM AND HE TAKEN A WOOD RASP AND RASPED THE TOE RIGHT OFF MY DRIVER. HE HOOKED EVERYTHING SO HE DID THAT TO ALL HIS CLUBS. HE HAD JUST DESTROYED MY DRIVER. I WAS REALLY HOT.

HE WENT OUT THE NEXT DAY AND DROVE IT DREADFULLY. THEN HE TRIED TO GIVE IT BACK TO ME. I SAID NO, THAT HE HAD RUINED MY DRIVER AND THAT HE OWED ME. HE ASKED ME WHAT I WANTED AND I SAID I WANTED HIS BACK UP PUTTER. HE HAD THAT FAMOUS PUTTER THAT HE MADE BY WELDING A FLANGE ON THE BACK OF A TOMMY ARMOUR PUTTER. HE HAD TWO OF THEM. HE REFUSED, SAYING HE WOULD BE IN TROUBLE IF HE LOST HIS PUTTER.

WE WENT TO SEATTLE FROM THERE AND EVERY TIME I SAW HIM I ASKED HIM ABOUT MY PUTTER. NEXT, WE WENT TO PORTLAND FOR HIS LAST TOURNAMENT, AND EVERY TIME I SAW HIM I ASKED, “ARNIE, WHERE IS MY PUTTER?”

AT THE END OF THE TOURNAMENT I WAS STANDING NEAR THE SCOREBOARD WHEN HE FINISHED AND HE CAME OVER TO ME AND SAID, “COME OUT HERE!”

I WALKED OUT INTO THE PARKING LOT AND HE PULLED HIS IRONS OUT OF HIS BAG AND HANDED THEM TO ME AND SAID, “I DON’T WANT TO HEAR ANOTHER DAMN WORD FROM YOU ABOUT MY PUTTER!”

THOSE IRONS WERE THE ONES HE USED TO WIN FOURTEEN TOURNAMENTS INCLUDING THE MASTERS, THE BRITISH OPEN, AND THE OPEN – TOURNAMENTS THAT ENABLED ARNOLD TO SET THE ALL-TIME MONEY RECORD OF THAT TIME.

I STILL HAVE THEM.

My notebook

  • Can be dropped, or thrown, repeatedly without damaging it.
  • Costs nothing to store.
  • Does not require electricity or batteries to operate.
  • Requires no heavy metals or slave labor.
  • Will never “eat” my work.
  • Doesn’t require a manual, or packaging.
  • Using it has not been linked to cancer.
  • You can spill food on it.
  • No one will steal it.
  • No ads, creeps, or trolls.
  • It is inexpensive, not to mention:
  • Personal, adaptable, and ancient.
  • A century from now it will still be “fully functional.”
  • It is impervious to the NSA, FBI, Department of Homeland Security, Facebook, etc.
  • Yet, it requires no password.
  • It is easy to read; no eye strain or risk of carpal tunnel.
  • Lightweight and ergonomic, a renewable resource.
  • Child and adult can use it without instruction.
  • It never needs updates, and will never be subject to recalls or upgrades.
  • Only the people I show it to can access its contents.
  • Airplanes allow it during take-offs and landings.
  • It doesn’t make a sound.

What else? What have I forgotten?

Oh, here it is:

Sorry, dorm room entrepreneurs, it's already perfect.

Sorry, dorm room entrepreneurs, it’s already perfect.

Moscow 1980

Image

One of a number of posters from an eventful year at the University of Southampton, 1979/80. It is for sale. I can’t remember many Conservative students during Madam Medusa’s time but I couldn’t resist the poster.

“…hard in a very sweet way,” says Bradley Wiggins

"At the top end it’s a very sweet pain, " writes the first British cyclist to win the Tour de France.

“At the top end it’s a very sweet pain, ” writes the first British cyclist to win the Tour de France.

“It’s hard to put into layman’s terms how you feel. It’s a nice way of being wasted. When you are fit and your form is great those efforts are hard in a very sweet way. Sometimes you haven’t got the form and you are suffering, but if you are hurting when the form’s good, it can be an incredible feeling. When you are getting dropped in a race it’s horrible, a lot of people who ride sportives and so on would be able to relate to that. But when you are off the front as I was in Paris-Nice that March or leading a time trial, it’s a different kind of pain altogether. At the top end it’s a very sweet pain. It’s mixed with the endorphins you get from the effort; it’s what makes you able to push even harder. I’ve been at both ends of the spectrum.”

From: My Time by Bradley Wiggins (Velo Press, 2013)