Charged with inventing fictitious stories for April Fools Day, 2010, the A Position’s world-class journalists take aim at slow play, USGA rules, the hallowed entity that is The Masters, and even golf journalists themselves. They also promise to refrain from ever again using the world “undulating” to describe a putting surface (sorry—not really).
Augusta National Responds to Longer Driving Distances
Augusta National has had it! The venerable home of the Masters Invitational is taking definitive steps to combat ever longer driving distances by touring professionals out of fear they will render the golf course obsolete.
In response, the club has instituted a full set of new tees for the upcoming event, to be held April 8-11. Masters Tournament Chairman William Porter ‘Billy’ Payne explained, “Augusta National will be changed to a par 54, with an average hole length of 160 yards.” Addressing a question about souped-up drivers, Payne was overheard to say, “Let em’ hit the dang things! A lot of good it’ll do em’ now!” Augusta National will also treat the greens with actual bikini wax, and they are expected to measure 22 on the stimpmeter. In a related story, CBS has announced that Gary McCord will be replacing Jim Nantz as lead commentator for this year’s tournament.
Chicago Golf Club Takes Aim at Slow Play, Issues Firearms to Rangers
Chicago, IL, April 1–Anticipating that the U.S. Supreme Court will soon strike down the city’s ban on handguns, the Chicago Golf Club announced today that it will supply its course rangers with revolvers in an effort to speed up play. Established by legendary architect Charles Blair Macdonald as the nation’s first eighteen-hole course in 1893, the Wheaton course has recently been plagued by long waits for those stuck behind certain older members.
“We feel we’ve always been on the cutting edge,” said Frieda Stones, club manager. “After all, we admitted our first African-American member in 1993, and our first full female member in 2001, so we like to think we’re able to look forward as well as back.”
But referring to the club’s traditions, Mrs. Stones observed, “Charles Blair Macdonald played in an era when rounds were speedy affairs, and caddy flogging was still in vogue. We think he would have been appalled at the lethargic pace some of our members have adopted out on the course, and would applaud our proactive solution.”
While the exact firearms policy is still to be worked out, Stones assured members that rangers will not be encouraged to shoot to kill, at least at first. “We expect that firing a few warning shots should in most cases get the message across.”
—Tom Bedell, tombedell.com
Golf Resort Director of Marketing Sets New World Record
Phoenix, AZ: Demonstrating a spirit-numbing lack of imagination, Fairview Resort Director of Marketing Ima Hack smashed all previous records by using the word “breathtaking” thirteen times in a single eight-page brochure for this mediocre desert golf property. Hack employed the tired, aching adjective to describe, among other things, the following:
- Vistas from the clubhouse
- The concierge
- The Porte Cochere
- A flank steak
Upon hearing about her own accomplishment—and not recognizing that it was a dubious one—a literally out-of-breath Hack said, “Actually, I suggested to my General Manager that we change the name of the resort—from Fairview to . . . Breathtaking View!”
—Jeff Wallach, jeffwallach.com
Golf Considering Whether to Join Ranks of Major Sports
A freak night out on the town by PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem may forever change the way professional golf is played. Finchem attended a National Basketball League game, where he astutely noticed that both teams used the same ball. “I thought it was just to combat slow play, so they would not have to stop the game and switch out the ball every time possession changed hands,” Finchem observed. “But another fan told me they do it because they think it is fair for all teams to have to play with the same ball.” Finchem was later informed that in the NBA, all courts are also identical in size.
Intrigued, Finchem put his ace research team on the issue, and they quickly discovered that many other major sports, including football, tennis, hockey and baseball standardize the equipment that pros use. “Did you know that baseball players actually use hickory bats?!” Finchem exclaimed when learning about the national pastime’s rule prohibiting aluminum, titanium and graphite in order to restrict ball flight. “Even that other European sport, soccer, uses a uniform ball in competition,” he said in amazement. When told that NASCAR drivers must select from stock cars from just a handful of manufacturers approved by the sport, the Commissioner replied “Get out!”
Unnamed insiders say Finchem is considering installing similarly revolutionary rules in golf, so that in the future victory would be determined by player performance rather than better equipment. But that process may have been jeopardized by his recent call to the USGA. North American golf’s governing body is steadfastly against equipment limitations with the exception of the shape of grooves in clubfaces, its pet cause. A USGA spokesperson replied “Golf is a game of tradition. Old Tom Morris made his own balls and clubs, and no one told him what kind of feathers or sticks he could use, so who are we to step in?” When told that such luminaries of the game as Pete Dye and Jack Nicklaus vehemently support equipment restriction and believe that technological advances are “ruining golf,” the USGA spokesperson shrugged and replied, “If equipment were really getting better then handicaps would be going down and amateurs would find it an easier game,” to which Finchem allegedly replied “Nuff said.”
—Larry Olmsted, larrygolfstheworld.com
“Oregon Dunes Golf Trail” Announced
Many believe the upcoming debut of the Old Macdonald course at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort on the southern Oregon coast will be developer Mike Keiser’s finest achievement. But a story leaked last week by the Salem Statesman Journal indicates that Keiser has far bigger plans for the Beaver State.
According to the report, Keiser has had extensive negotiations with Gov. Ted Kulongoski, an avid sportsman who is seeking ways to prop up his state’s flagging economy. A public/private partnership has been proposed that would turn portions of the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, which stretches for 40 miles along the coast from Florence to Coos Bay, into a world-class Golf Trail. The usually self-effacing Keiser said the Trail would “basically put Scotland and Ireland out of business.” He noted that seven prime sites tucked among rolling hummocks have been identified. The concept calls for 18 to 36 holes of championship-caliber golf per site, a “Himalayas”-style putting course, and a family-friendly nine-hole short course.
Characterized by towering, wind-sculpted dunes rising to 500 feet above sea level, the diverse region has thick “tree islands” of spruce and fir that appear to float in the sand plus marsh-like deflation plains and numerous coastal lakes. The designers of Keiser’s courses at Bandon Dunes—David McLay Kidd, Tom Doak and Bill Coore-Ben Crenshaw—have expressed interest in contributing preliminary designs on a pro bono basis for the Trail.
“Formed by the ancient forces of wind, water and time, these dunes are like no others in the world,” said Gov. Kulongoski, a manifest destiny proponent who has won over the state legislature to the idea of creating a “special concession” for limited development in the state-administered recreation area. “This is the largest expanse of coastal sand dunes in North America, and they hold numerous opportunities for adventure. I have long fostered the idea of creating an Oregon Dunes Golf Trail. A chain of affordable golf courses is certain to boost tourism to the coastal area.”
As a special highlight, Gov. Kulongoski noted that handcrafted Oregon microbrews made exclusively for each Trail facility will be served within rustic log cabin-style clubhouses to be built at each stop.
—Brian McCallen, brianmccallen.com
North Korean Leader Embraces Golf—and So Much More
A story in the World Tribune Newspaper in 2004 reported that North Korean Leader Kim Jong-Il had become a fan of golf after making five holes-in-one and shooting 38 under par during his first-ever 18-hole round. Subsequent stories from the government-controlled media have reported that the “Dear Leader” routinely shoots three or four holes-in-one virtually every time he plays.
In the wake of reports about Tiger Woods’ sexual addiction, the Government of North Korea announced today that Kim Jong-Il routinely services up to a dozen women daily. “The queue forms each day at the door of the Dear Leader’s inner sanctum. Many smiling ladies exiting,” a spokesman declared. News reports that lawyer Gloria Allred is en route to Pyongyang could not be confirmed.
—John Strawn, johnstrawn.com
“People Who Know” to Apply System of “Shot Values” in Determining Fair Greens Fees
As difficult as the economic downturn’s been on the golf industry generally, it has spawned some innovative approaches to pricing a round of golf. A recent one, dubbed Values Fore Value, purports to compare a course’s quotient for “shot values” to its green fee schedule. It’s the brainchild of Damjan Beinlich, a Columbus, Ohio-based statistician and avid golfer, who claims it’s the perfect confluence of two aspects of the zeitgeist: an insistence on value and an insatiable craving for metrics.
Beinlich is vague about how the shot-value index will be calculated, saying only that shot values, and the corresponding 18-hole quotient – which can be used by golfers to determine whether they’re getting good value, or by course owners to prove to their customers that they are — will be assigned by “people who know,” who will presumably actually play the courses in question.
But course owners’ reactions ranged from skepticism to revulsion. “The term shot values was made up by some guy who needed another word for ‘design’,” said one owner, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation in the media. “And that’s fine, but we need another ‘rating’ like we need a hole in the head.” Beinlich disagrees. “These days, people insist on value at any cost. Values Fore Value is simply a golf-specific iteration of developments in other retail industries.”
—Tom Harack, tomharack.com
USGA Bans Use of Sports Psychologists
Far Hills, New Jersey—The United States Golf Association today banned the use of sports psychologist in golf, making the case that so-called “gurus” are influencing impressionable players with “un-American propaganda” and undermining the reserved nature of the game. Effective immediately, any player making use of the services of a sports “psychologist” will be disqualified from the next event he is entered in. Violators will also face mandatory rehab.
As per golf tradition, the new rule is to be self-enforced. But the USGA has mobilized a team of Mental Monitors to examine whether players are using phrases such as “being in the now” during cell phone conversations, and talking with grey-haired men in English caps and plus-fours, who are shrouded in mist.
“The USGA felt it was forced to act due to a number of things we’ve seen lately that are doing untold damage to our game and by extension to the very fabric of our nation,” said David Fay, executive director of the USGA.
“Every time Steve Stricker wins, he starts bawling like a baby, for God’s sake. Obviously, a psychologist has put Steve in touch with his ‘feelings.’ That’s just too disgusting to contemplate. You never saw Ben Hogan cry! He didn’t even cry when the bus hit him.
“A lot of the blather coming from these self-appointed golf shrinks is lefty new-wavy gravy that promotes all kinds of anti-American propaganda to impressionable minds and encouraging golfers to adopt Eastern practices such as meditation, which is just the slippery slope to another Eastern practice: Communism! The Europeans fell for this ‘winning through better thinking’ stuff, which is why prima donna Ian Poulter can prance around in pink and chartreuse. It’s enough to make a Yankee gag.”
Bob Rotella, the best-known sports psychologist in golf, was unavailable for direct comment, but was overheard mumbling into his cell phone, “I hope all the repressed USGA Neanderthals suffer ED and an incurable case of the yips.”
—Tim O’Connor, timoconnor.ca
Disoriented Scots Provoke International Incident in U.S. By Completing Round of Golf in Under Four Hours
Diplomats are working feverishly to secure the release of four Scotsmen incarcerated for completing a round of golf in California in less than four hours, according to a U.N. spokesman. “Diplomats always work feverishly,” he said, “but they’re particularly interested in ending this stalemate before their Friday-afternoon tee times.”
The Scots’ defense boils down to a claim that because they were playing a four ball, they didn’t need to study each six-inch putt like it was for the jacket at Augusta. They admitted that when clearly out of a hole they just picked up.
Witnesses told The A Position sources that the Scotsmen’s pattern of behavior was remorselessly consistent: they walked up to their balls, chose a club as if they’d already thought about it, hit—sometimes without practice swings—and immediately began walking again. On the greens, they were prepared to putt when it was their turn.
The fireworks allegedly began when the Scots finished playing and expeditiously cleared the 18th green. Expecting a cheery hello, they were instead confronted by a mob that had pried itself away from the grill room TV to excoriate them for “making everybody look bad.”
One golfer, described as “not a designated driver,” suggested the witch test, which would entail throwing the Scots into the pond fronting the first tee. If they floated, they were witches; if not, well… Cooler heads prevailed, however, and the Scots’ bags, rather than the men themselves, were pitched into the water, which was so engorged with golf balls and algae-encrusted drivers that the bags wouldn’t have sunk if made of pig iron.
“I see a lot of horrific stuff on the golf course, but as a guy who plays four or five times a week, this demonstration of fast play hit home bad,” said a thrice-divorced witness. “I hate to see people—especially foreigners— abuse the game.”
—Timothy Nolan, tgpnolan.com
PGA Tour Admits: FedEx Cup Not Really a Playoff
Ponte Vedra Beach, FL—In a public announcement on April 1, The PGA Tour finally admitted the obvious: That its non-season-ending, non-major championship event, the FedEx Cup and the associated PGA Tour playoff system leading up to it, are not really a playoff at all—and certainly don’t identify a definitive “best” player.
“You don’t necessarily even have to participate in all of the playoff events to win the Cup,” said Director of Equivocation in Marketing, Ace Dufferson. The admission contradicts how the Tour continues to peddle the FedEx Cup and the series of tournaments leading up to the TOUR Championship, held September 23 – 26.
In determining a champion, the PGA Tour advances golfers through the “playoffs” based on their amassed number of FedEx Cup Points. In the Cup’s four-year history, the points system has been revamped three times already. Complaints against the format reached a crescendo last summer when journeyman Jim Furyk had a realistic chance of winning the $10-million prize heading into the final event despite not winning a single tournament all year. At the time, PGA Tour Commissioner, Tim Finchem, told ESPN’s Mike Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser on their show, Pardon the Interruption, that he was fine with Furyk having a chance to win. Further downgrading the FedEx Cup, Finchem went on to say, “Everybody hates the BCS [the college football championship series], but everybody talks about it.”
On April 1, Dufferson responded, “Obviously no one wants to use the BCS system as a paradigm for their own championship, but that doesn’t mean we don’t admire their TV contracts.”
Still, despite the Tour’s admission that a fair playoff system by contrast would require players to finish in the top half of the field each week during the playoffs in order to advance, with the eventual FedEx Cup Champion having to win the final event, the Tour doesn’t foresee making any further adjustments to the current format. “This doesn’t change anything,” Dufferson added. “It’s still called the PGA Tour Playoffs and, before you ask, yes Tiger will be given the FedEx Cup point lead upon his return. What’s fair is fair. Although we reserve the right to change the rules any time we like.”
—Jason Kerkmans, jasonkerkmans.com
Golf Journalist Shunned By Colleagues After Actually Paying for Round
Westfield, MA, April 1–Daniel Carter, a freelance golf journalist who plunked down a mere $15 to play an early season round at the East Mountain Country Club in Westfield, Massachusetts, is discovering just how costly that round has become.
“I’ve basically been shunned by all my golf writing ‘friends’ for going against the code of ethics and paying for a round of golf,” said Carter.
Syrus Cophant, membership director for the Golf Writers Association of America, said, “I just don’t know what Danny was thinking. As a GWAA member, laying money on the counter for a round of golf is a pretty serious breach of protocol. In fact, not paying for golf is really the main purpose of our organization.”
Carter, a member of GWAA, the Met Golf Writers Association and the International Network of Golf, says he’s playing solo these days: “Every time I call someone to try and arrange a round they all say the same thing: ‘Sorry, our threesome is full.’”
While no official records are kept, one ING staff member who asked to remain anonymous said he thought Carter’s transaction was the first time a golf journalist had paid for a round since a much-cited event in 1971. “And that may have been careless record-keeping,” the staff member said.
—Tom Bedell, tombedell.com