The first round of the Western New Year kinda tells you what type of year will follow and, as usual, I got a few rounds in during the first week. This might be a good time for me to go hide in a cave somewhere until 2018 rolls around. It really wasn’t funny and shows me that it will be a year of successes, but they won’t come easily.
2017 will involve a lot of grinding things out.
In a nutshell, I was ripping my brand new TaylorMade M2 driver (with a Fujikura X-flex shaft) down the middle of every fairway. This new club actually gave me 20 more yards. Yeah, I know… I need more yardage like Donald Trump needs more hairspray, or Hillary Clinton needed more emails (I’m an equal opportunity basher). Length I got, but down the middle is what I need.
Irons were pretty accurate and even the wedges decided to cooperate.
The problem was the putter. I have never seen anything so aggravating in my life. Every putt missed, even what I would consider a no-brain two-foot tap in. I finally swapped putters and that made no difference. I honestly cannot remember the last time I lipped out so many putts.
Over the course of four rounds, there must have been 20-25 lip outs. My caddie, being mischievous, commented, "You like licking the hole more than being in it."
At my age, it’s a safe bet she was talking about golf.
While my score wasn’t an absolute horror show, it was the most frustrating rounds of golf I have played in years. The Bluffs at the Hoà Traøm Strip event with arthritis and stress fractures in both feet tops it in terms of pain and frustration, but not in despair.
I really understand what Tiger Woods felt when he screwed up his knees and back.
Then I played again on January 5 and things went from frustrating to ridiculous. I have never seen such a change of fortune ever. Honestly, I was laughing like a lunatic after the sixth hole and kept laughing.
This time, instead of splitting fairways, my driver took off like a North Korean rocket and I couldn’t hit a target if you put a gun to my head. I had absolutely no idea where it was going.
For example, on Hole 5, my drive is next to the white tee on Hole 6. On Hole 6, my drive is almost on the tee of Hole 7. One is a slice, the other is a hook. Then on Hole 7, my drive was almost back on Hole 5. On Hole 9, my drive ended up halfway down the 14th fairway.
The sick part is that I had birdie chances on all three holes…
Irons over, under and around trees to the green and within 10 feet for birdie. I rang the flagstick on the 3rd hole with a lob wedge from 102 yards.
And even the putter seemed happy to cooperate and why shouldn’t it? After all, the Driver decided to give me a hard time so the putter could take some time off from aggravating me.
I ended up shooting even par 68 without ever touching a fairway...
The good news is the Teát Lunar New Year is now here and that means I have another chance to destroy myself.
There have been many times where the thought of hanging up the clubs and devoting all my waking hours to my usual vapid ridiculousness masquerading as investigative journalism. OK, I’m a columnist not a journalist, so I get to bloviate (awesome word. Google it) endlessly on whatever tickles my fancy.
Come to think of it, It’s been a long time since my fancy or anything else has been tickled…
As I am writing this column BEFORE Teát, I really cannot predict what the first round after the Lunar New Year will be like, but based on what I did after the Western New Year, anything is possible. I could make a Hole-in-One on a Par 4, or I could make a 22 on a par 3.
Anything can happen, and that’s the best part.
I wish all of you a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous Lunar New Year. VNS