Reciprocal Golf Problog by Peter Baumann

SONY rankings a waste?

Do you wish that the SONY world rankings for professional golf had never been invented? For ten years it was simple; Tiger was Number One, Phil was Number Two, and the rest of the world didn't matter!

With Tiger's misstep with his personal life in late 2009, it has become a joke with too many TV commentators introducing this guy as "world number one", this guy as "world number three", and the next guy as "world number two". The following week they are all mixed around again anyway.

When Tiger was Number One, he had around 17 points to 8.64 points for Phil, then 8.53 points for number three, 8.51 points for number four, and so on down the line.

Today, whoever is Number One for the next day has 8.67 points, Number Two has 8.64 points, etc.

To listen to some commentators on the European Tour, if one player is about to putt a 20 footer, he announces within the next twenty seconds which five players will change position at the top if that player makes the putt! It's turning into a joke!

Johnny Miller hit the nail on the head when he announced during one recent tournament how embarrassed Lee Westwood looked when he was Number One. I agree with Johnny. Westwood, in my opinion, never should have made it to the Number One position. Whenever he even got within two stokes of leading a major, he'd fold like a cheap tent.

This morning I was watching the "European Tour" event in Kuala Lumpur (I know; it's not in Europe!). The commentator was talking about one player about to putt on one hole, and then saw a crowd of people running to another hole. He commented, "Look at all those viewers running over to hole number 5. Maybe Martin Kaymer is playing that hole. Wouldn't we all want to watch the World Number One play if we had the chance?"

Come on, really? The day to day, no I should say the hole to hole, change in who's Number One, Two, Three, Four, Five, etc. is getting ridiculous.

I suggest that whoever runs the SONY rankings change its policy and only make changes to their scoreboard every three months, or every six months. Once a year would be just fine with me.

But this daily update between players whose points are decimal points apart is ruining the major reason they set up the system in the first place. Once a player is out of the top five, or top ten, it doesn't amount to a pile of beans what position he is in.

I suggest they only list, or announce, who the top five players are once every six months or so. One tournament's outcome does not change anything, so why pretend it does?
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WHAT PRICE OUR FREEDOMS?

I was driving my son's car down from Oregon to Los Angeles to deliver boxes of his college textbooks and his car to him at USC last Fall. Interstate-5 allows the traffic to move along around 80 to 85 MPH from Stockton to the Grapevine without the California Highway Patrol getting into action, so I was making good time.

As the traffic lanes went from two lanes to five lanes near Newhall, I noticed that local drivers had joined traffic from northern California, and that the left lane was moving at 90 MPH. My car was heavy, being loaded with all those books, and I knew I could not stop as quickly if necessary, so I turned on my right turn signal, looked in my right mirror to see if my blind spot was clear (which it was), and then started to move one lane to the right. A small white sport car came out of nowhere and whipped past me on the right, so I returned to my lane!

I looked again in my rear view mirror, where an orange Honda Element was riding close to my rear bumper, and to my right, where there was no vehicle in sight, made sure my right signal was still on, then moved toward the lane on my right. The orange Honda Element flew past me on my right, so I stayed in the left lane once more.

It appeared to me that I was holding up traffic even though I was already moving with traffic at 90+ MPH! My third attempt to move to a lane on my right and slow down finally paid off. From the second lane I again looked to my right and was able to again move right and slow down.

As I drew a big breath to relax I noticed a CPH cruiser moving out from the right side of the road. Then he pulled in behind me and turned on his red light! I slowed down, then stopped on the right shoulder and started thinking how I was going to tell the officer why I had been holding up traffic.

The officer came up to my right window, so I lowered the window. Imagine my surprise when he said he had stopped me for speeding! I started to explain to him my predicament of trying to get out of speeding traffic in the fast lane when he barked, "License and Registration!"

I handed him my license and Registration while continuing to try to explain to him what had happened. He wasn't interested, and walked back to his cruiser. Five minutes later he returned with a speeding ticket made out for me to sign. I was shocked that he was more interested in writing the ticket than in listening to my explanation of how and why I tried to make my trip more safe! I decided then and there that I would "fight" the ticket.

A week later I mailed the ticket to the L.A. Court with my letter of explanation asking to contest the speeding charge. I had also learned that I could file a complaint against the officer online, so I did so. A week later I received a phone call from a CHP sergeant asking me to tell him my side of the story, and why I wanted to file a complaint against the officer, which I did. A few days after that I received a letter from the same sergeant asking me to put my explanation of my complaint in writing and return it to him in the mail. I did so.

A few days later I received another phone call from the sergeant. When he asked me to explain one more time why I was filing a complaint against the officer, the sergeant stated, "The video and the recording of your conversation with the officer do not agree with your statement!"

I asked, "You video tape and record traffic stops? Is that legal?"

"It is."

"And the officer does not have to tell me he is videotaping and recording at the time?"

"No, he does not."

"What did he videotape? Our conversation?"

"No, he videotaped your car with your Oregon license plate in the second lane clocked at 90 MPH."

I said, "that makes sense if he caught me while I was changing lanes to get out of the faster traffic."

Then I said, "I'd like to see that tape, and listen to the recording of our conversation."

He replied, "You can't do that!"

"Why not?"

"It requires a court order."

"So, now our law enforcement officers may videotape and record traffic stops without telling the driver he is doing so, take a spot video segment that does not tell the whole story but takes a moment out of context, and the driver can't see the video?"

"Correct."

"When did this come about, with the Patriot Act?"

He replied that he did not know exactly when the rules changed. Then he asked if I still wanted my complaint to proceed, or if I wanted to cancel the procedure.

"I want to file the complaint against the officer, and now I will file a complaint with your new procedures that allow officers to videotape and record a standard traffic stop on an honest American citizen! This isn't Nazi Germany in 1939, it is the United States of America in 2010! I don't know how much longer our freedoms will last in this country at this rate."

I thanked him for his calm demeanor during the phone call, told him I did not blame him for the apparent current rules under which law enforcement may act, and then hung up.

I was reminded of my section on Americans losing their freedoms in my book, LOVE WAS NOT ENOUGH, to be published in a few weeks. In the book I explain that dishonest law enforcement officers in this country are one of the two cancers that will move our nation into the category of a Third World nation. I explain why I feel this country needs an experienced businessman in the White House, not another attorney and politician.

I go on to suggest that during our next Presidential race that we have all of the contestants compete in a golf tournament against each other instead of holding more debates, because the game of golf brings out the best and the worst in all those competing. In one day we can learn more about which contestants are honest, who has a temper, who can handle adversity with calm and who cannot!

Most importantly I explain why we do not want more attorneys in Washington, because attorneys are, next to doctors, the worst businessmen in the country.

I close with my explanation as to why I hope Donald Trump runs for the Presidency, and why I encourage all Americans to vote for him if he decides to run.

Our nation can no longer tolerate attorneys in the White House if we are to survive as a nation, and if our freedoms are to survive for our children!
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DO YOU PLAY GOLF FOR FUN OR FOR BUSINESS?

I played my first round of golf when I was 13 years old and my dad, U.S. Navy Commander Edward W. Baumann, took me out to the Barber's Point Naval Air Station near our house in Ewa Beach, Hawaii, to the base's new nine hole course in 1963.

Dad first stopped at the Base Exchange and checked out (rented) a half set of clubs in a canvas carry bag. Those mixed five irons, driver, three-wood, and putter would be my first set of golf clubs for the next four months. Dad bought me two sleeves of Jato golf balls to use. I would tee off on the first tee, then walk along the right side of the fairway, mostly an old airplane runway covered with weeds, and look for lost golf balls until I reached my drive. I'd hit my second shot toward the green, then return to the rough to look for more balls.

I didn't take a golf lesson right away, using an interlocking grip at first. After two months I could shoot 48 for nine holes, twelve over par, and had filled six gallon buckets with used golf balls I had found. Dad would drop me off at the course on a Saturday at 6:00 A.M. and then pick me up at 7:00 P.M. after I had walked 72 holes, and had found another two dozen balls or so. After four months Dad bought me a series of six golf lessons, and I changed to an overlapping grip. Then I asked Dad if he'd buy me my own set of clubs, a full set with 14 clubs. He replied, "I'll buy you a set when you break 90 for 18 holes!"

A week later I shot 88, playing the Barber's Point nine-hole course twice. And, Yes, it was an honest 88. If Dad taught me one thing, it was to always be honest, in sports and in life.

Dad took me to the base Exchange and bought me a full set of Sam Snead Blue Ridge irons and woods. I think my first putter of my own was an Acushnet blade.

Three years later Dad was given orders to move to San Diego, and my younger brother, Bruce, and I joined the San Diego Junior Golf Association. Being residents of San Diego County, we could play unlimited rounds of golf at Torrey Pines Golf Course, owned by the city, for $33 per month, each! Today it costs over $200 to play one round at Torrey!

In 1966 I attended the University of California, San Diego campus, and was the #2 man on their golf team as a scratch golfer. UCSD being a two year campus at that time, I transferred to San Diego State College to finish my education in business Management in 1971. Two weeks out of college, I met two potato farmers from Boise, Idaho on the first tee at Stardust Country Club and played 18 holes with them, during which I corrected their slices! I was immediately their best friend for life!

Over lunch I told them I was starting a company called Intertel, Inc. where I intended to manufacture and sell the world's first cordless telephone. I asked them if they would like to invest in my company, $25,000 each in stock. Both men said, "Yes." The next day they called me and said they had two other potato farmers in Boise who wanted to invest the same amount.

Over the next four years we made and sold the world's first cordless telephone, as well as inventing the world's first "touch pad dialer" that allowed users to push buttons to dial regular telephones and our cordless phone on rotary-dial telephone lines.

Over the next 40 years every small business I started was with someone I had met and played golf with on a golf course! Golf, I had learned, was better than a Lie Detector when it came to judging the character of a man.

When I started Probe Golf in 1986 and was looking for nationwide distributors to market my custom fit golf sets, I would have interested individuals fly into the Medford, OR airport and drive to the Lake Shastina Golf Resort where my Probe assembly facility was in my garage.

The next morning I would play 18 holes with each applicant, and from one round of golf, or less, I could tell if I wanted that individual as a Probe distributor. I learned in less than four hours how honest a person was. I learned if he had a temper, and if he could handle pressure.

In my new book, LOVE WAS NOT ENOUGH, 2nd Edition, to be published next month, I even suggest that during our next Presidential primaries, we hold a golf tournament between all of those in the running, instead of holding debates.

Golf is the greatest game ever played, and I believe it should play a bigger part in our national and international politics. What do you think?
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The Ryder Cup matches were exciting this week, and ended up about as I had predicted; Europe beat America due to better putting, again as I had predicted. But the overall scoring was closer than I thought it would be.

This was my first Ryder Cup where I heard commentators at the Golf Channel discuss how Europe set up the course to give the European team the advantage. How did Europe do that? For example, the greens were slower than the PGA was used to putting. European Tour players are used to putting slower greens than are our American PGA Tour players, so the European team members had the advantage.

Also, the longer rough at the Ryder Cup matches penalized the American team more because the European team members are more accurate off the tee. The Golf channel commentators then asked each other why the United States doesn't do the same thing when the Ryder Cup is played in the United States every other year, and no one seemed to have an answer.

Are we just too nice, too fair, or too stupid to let Europe get away with such "gamesmanship"? Earlier last week I predicted that Europe would win simply because about half of their team members used oversize putter grips, where virtually all members of the American team used standard size putter grips. It has been proven that oversize grips help keep the wristiness out of the putting stroke, making each golfer more efficient at making putts.

Time after time the Americans rolled their putts toward the hole, only to come up two or three rolls short of the hole, while most European putts at least reached the hole and had a chance of falling in.

How close were the matches? The U.S. only needed 14 points out of the total 28 points to retain the cup, since it was last won BY THE United States. They fell short by 1/2 point!

How many additional putts did the U.S. team need to roll another two or three inches to the hole to have changed the outcome, and have the U.S. win this week's Ryder Cup matches over Europe? Just one!
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Ryder Cup Matches


With the Ryder Cup matches coming up in a few weeks. I thought I'd investigate the potential use of "performance enhancing golf equipment" by either side. What I learned is worth mentioning, although most golfers will not recognize it as an advantage by the European side.
As far as the use of drivers, fairway metals, irons, and wedges is concerned, both teams seem to be using similar equipment. However, it is in the area of putters that the European team seems to have the advantage over the American team.
At least half of the European team members are using putters that have larger than average grips. That's right, their grips are fatter than usual.
How is that an advantage? As a manufacturer of one of the most performance enhancing golf putters of all time, the PROBE 2020, I know what can improve a golfer's putting stroke. My 2020 was inverted-shafted, where the thin end of the shaft was in the grip, and the fatter, heavier end of the shaft was in the center of the brass putter head.
This guaranteed a pure pendulum stroke instead of the usual jerky stroke encouraged by virtually all other golf putters. The well-known "yips" were virtually impossible to imitate with a PROBE 2020 putter.
We also made the 2020 with larger than usual putter grips, which encourages each golfer's hands and wrists to remain calm during the stroke. It was virtually impossible to "strangle" the fatter grip with too much grip pressure, which can cause the hands to push or pull the putter off-line.
I have noticed that European tour players use fatter putter grips then do most American tour players. When I tried to search for different putter grips online this past week, I was surprised at what I found, or should I say what I did not find.
I could not find any manufacturers of fatter putter grips listed on the Internet. I could find article after article about name tour players using a righthand low grip, or a lefthand low grip, or a claw grip, or whatever. That described how they all held the putter grip, but there was no mention about the thickness of the grips preferred by each player.
Could it be possible that the Europeans understand how the thickness of a putter grip can give a player an advantage, and that the Americans have no clue about the subject?
That alone could determine the outcome of the Ryder Cup matches this fall.
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America vs. Europe!

What is the state of American professional golf at this time? The Ryder Cup matches are coming up in a few weeks, and the Europeans seem to be stronger than the Americans at this point in time.

As a manufacturer and inventor of revolutionary new golf equipment from 1987 through 1994, I noticed something I have never noticed before when I was watching the European tour event this morning on The Golf Channel. Two European golfers I was watching on one green were putting, back to back, with putter grips I had never seen before!

At that moment I asked myself whether European pros could be using golf equipment that was completely different from the equipment being used by American pros! That would seem to be almost impossible considering how small the globe is with the internet in this day and age.

But the thought lingered most of the day while I ran errands around Ashland, Oregon today. I remembered last year when K. J. Choi was seen using a fat, round, white putter grip at the Memorial. I had never seen that grip before.

So for the next week or so I am going to do some investigating to see what I can learn about the golf equipment European Ryder Cup team members are using, and whether it may differ from the equipment American Ryder Cup team members may be using in the upcoming Ryder Cup matches.

Golf equipment may seem to be the same, but subtle differences can make a huge difference in performance. For example, members on both teams may use Taylor Made drivers, but the shafts used can be different, and grips can make a huge difference. The putting grips I saw on TV this morning had flat sections running from the top of the grip to the bottom of the grip, and there were many flat sections. I would guess the grip, each one, had at least eight, possibly ten flat sections. I had never before seen such a putter grip.

The two putting grips I saw this morning were similar, but one was orange and one was white. They could be the same grip, except for the color. Then again, they could be entirely different.

Stay tuned for the next few days and I'll report what I am able to learn about the differences in golf equipment used by both the American Ryder Cup team and the European team members. This should be interesting!
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PGA Tour back to normal!

The PGA Tour is finally getting back to normal. No more "Oost-who's" winning majors, no more Tiger Woods's missing cuts. Tiger is in the Ryder Cup and Phil once again misses out on his (many) opportunities to move into the Number One Golfer In The World position by missing two-foot putts because he has to play a Callaway putter! Will Phil ever put winning tournaments ahead of his endorsement of poor golf equipment?

Tiger's game is coming around just in time for the Ryder Cup in a few weeks, now that he is putting his personal problems behind him.

This weekend in the Fed Ex playoffs Phil Mickelson was contending until he missed a bunch of putts down the stretch on Monday's final round, including one from under two feet. Phil just doesn't have the mental strength to move into the Number One position every time he has the opportunity to do so.

This morning, Corey Pavin announced his choices to complete America's Ryder Cup team, naming Tiger, Ricky Fowler, Stewart Cink, and Jach Johnson to the team. Ricky fowler seemed to be the questionable pick to some in the golf media, but I think Ricky will bring youth and excitement to the team.

The American team needs to start building an experienced young team for the future as well as for this year's competition, and Ricky Fowler is a good place to start. The Ryder Cup is always exciting, if not too exciting when Johnny Miller's announcing style comes into play. If we listen to Johnny during the very first match on day one, each putt in his mind will decide the outcome of the entire matches on day three!

I hope Johnny relaxes a little this year and lets the television viewers relax as well. We don't need Johnny causing millions of viewers rushing to the medicine cabinet for their Valium thirty minutes into the first day's matches.
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Don't worry about Tiger!

Tiger Woods got off to a terrible start in this week's Deutsche Bank Championship, being four over par after the first 7 holes before returning to finish at one over par for 18 holes. But that is understandable for a man who is making major changes in his swing at this time.

He followed up that round with a six-under 65 on day two. Tiger will recover from his poor golf at the beginning of this year now that his personal problems are more or less behind him. In addition to his new swing changes, his personal life is now making major changes as well, moving from Florida to New York to live, for example.

Give him a few weeks to settle down in his new environment, and the old Tiger will be back in stride. And now that he is a single man again, his game will return to its best once he can settle on a new, steady girlfriend.

I can't stress enough the importance of a man having a good relationship with a woman and a happy home life in order to play good competitive golf. Tiger must have many women practically throwing themselves at him since his divorce, so the sooner he can settle down with just one woman the sooner his game will be back with a vengeance.
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Yes, Tiger is back!

For months, many months, eight to be exact, avid golf fans have asked, "What is wrong with Tiger's game, and when, or will, he ever be back?"

The answer is, "He has had personal marriage problems on his mind, and he will not be back until he can put them behind him."

Last week his divorce from Elin was finalized, and although he will still think about it often, his focus can now be directed back to his golf game. And, "Yes, he will be back to his winning self very shortly."

He will go on to pass Jack's record of eighteen majors, even though competition is getting tougher every year with the new young talent that is emerging on the PGA and European tours.

Last week in the first of four FedEx playoff tournaments Tiger finished seven under par, five shots behind the leaders. He is working on a new swing, and just one swing on Saturday, where his old swing got in the way, cost him three of those five strokes.

As time passes Tiger will think less and less about his personal problems and more about his golf game. He will stand up to each shot and visualize the shot, where it will fly and where it will land. He will not stand up to many shots and wonder where his kids are, or what is Elin doing at that moment.

Tiger is confident his game will be back very soon, as evidenced by the $54 million mortgage he took out last week on a new home for the future in Jupiter, Florida. In the meantime he has moved into a bachelor pad in New York where he can start a new life with new friends and get away from his memories of the last ten months.

Yes, Tiger is back, and back to stay.
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Is Tiger back?

When Tiger Woods shot 65 the first day of the Barklays at Ridgewood Country Club on Thursday, he was leading the tournament. Surprised? Many spectators were, while some were not.

It was no surprise to me at all. Tiger and Elin were in court on Monday, ending their marriage for good, and all the emotions that have plagued Tiger since last November should have finally ended for the better.

On Wednesday a People Magazine article and interview with Elin hit the newsstands and caused a little stir among the golf media, but the emotions finally took a new turn. Tiger could now concentrate on playing golf as a single man for the first time in six years, and his old winning attitude took over.

We all know how golf is a mental game first and foremost, and the last eight months has been mental torture for Tiger. Let's hope he can put it all behind him now.

If he completes this week's tournament well he would be a good Captain's pick for the American Ryder Cup team next month, and the American team can use all the help it can get.
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