Joe Logan 
Wobblegate and Tiger
Monday, September 16, 2013
By Joe Logan

Just when I thought that nothing about Tiger Woods’ life or career could possibly surprise me, along comes this whole Wobblegate episode on Friday at the BMW Championship.


Of all the things I thought we’d have to wonder about Tiger, going fuzzy on the rules of golf was not one of them.  But when I saw the video Saturday morning, I felt like I’d been called down to the station house by the cops to watch indisputable surveillance video of my kid shoplifting or my best friend beating his wife.  My heart sank.


Come on, Tiger, that ball moved – not much, but enough.  We all saw it.  Nobody ever said the rules of golf made sense, or were especially fair, but they are what they are, we all have to live by them and they are cast in stone.


By Saturday morning, Brandel & Boys on Golf Channel were shaking their heads in collective dismay, or disbelief, over Tiger’, um, failure to readily recognize that the ball did, in fact, move, not oscillate, as he contended.   Truth is, Brandel & Boys walked right up to the edge of calling Tiger a lying’, cheatin’ dog, if you will permit me a bit of hyperbole.


They also cut to a report that said a number of Tiger’s peers had watched the video in the locker room and that everyone who saw it was "disturbed."


Still, Tiger was said to be "livid" after he watched the video several times with PGA Tour official Slugger White, who, let’s face it, is not going to come down hard on Tour’s marquee player and cash cow unless circumstances warrant it.


Tiger’s presser on Saturday:


Q.  We didn't get a chance to chat with you yesterday after your round.  How would you best describe what happened there beside 1 green?

TIGER WOODS:  Beside 1 green, I thought it was fine.  Afterwards, frustrated.


Q.  Do you feel like the twoshot penalty was warranted?

TIGER WOODS:  You know, it's one of those things where I thought the ball oscillated, and I thought that was it.  I played the shot, played the round, and then Slugger and Tyler in there, they replayed it and gave me two.


Q.  In a situation like that, how would you gauge your frustration level?

TIGER WOODS:  I was pretty hot because I felt like, as I said, nothing happened.  I felt like the ball oscillated and that was it.  I played the rest of the round grinding my tail off to get myself back in the tournament and then go from 5 to 7 behind, that was tough.


Q.  Was there a sense of, why is this happening to me again in 2013?

TIGER WOODS:  Just kind of the way it's been.  I fought back today, which was not easy to do.  Today was a tough round, but I fought and got myself back within striking distance.


Q.  I was going to say, how hard is it to concentrate when something like that happens the following day?

TIGER WOODS:  It's hard.  You know, there were a lot of thoughts going on last night, but the sun comes up in the east, and we start a new day.


Q.  After seeing the video did you think that you deserved a twoshot penalty after seeing the video?

TIGER WOODS:  After seeing the video I thought the ball just oscillated, and I thought that was it.  I thought that was the end of story.  But they saw otherwise.


Q.  Is this one tougher to take than the penalty at Augusta?  You seem to have moved on from that one a little bit easier.  This one seemed to linger.

TIGER WOODS:  Yeah, the one at Augusta after going through it on Saturday morning, yeah, I did take the wrong drop.  But yesterday I didn't feel like I did anything, and as I said, I described it in there and I said, I moved the pine cone right behind my ball.  I feel like the ball oscillated, and I just left it.  That's not‑‑ evidently it wasn't enough.


Q.  And it didn't occur to you that that was going to be an issue?

TIGER WOODS:  No, not at all.  We all have been in the trees before, and things can move and do move, and I felt like I tested it and felt like it just oscillated left and stayed in the same position, but evidently it didn't.


Q.  Was it a pine cone or a twig?

TIGER WOODS:  The pine cone was behind my ball, but there was a twig in front.


Q.  It looked like on the video that it dipped down, but I didn't see it dip back up.

TIGER WOODS:  As I said, from my vantage point, I thought it just oscillated and that was it.


Q.  On the video you didn't see any difference?

TIGER WOODS:  They replayed it again and again and again, and I felt the same way.


Q.  It's kind of weird when Slugger would say one thing and you would say another, and doesn't it usually fall on the side of the player?

TIGER WOODS:  I don't know, but I went from five back to seven back real quick.


Q.  Motivationally did that change you coming in here today?

TIGER WOODS:  No, today was going to be hard, just like Saturday at Augusta was hard.  When situations like that happen, I had to fight, and I fought my tail off today, and I'm very proud of that, and I got myself back in the tournament.


Q.  Did you watch it in the trailer before you turned in your card, and then how many times did you watch it at home last night?

TIGER WOODS:  I never watched it at home.


Q.  How much did you argue with them about it?  I mean, did you feel that you didn't get a fair argument with them inside?

TIGER WOODS:  No, we had a very good discussion.  I'll end it at that.



This is a completely different situation from the penalty Tiger incurred at the Masters earlier this year, when he made a bad drop, then signed an incorrect scorecard.  There, blame should be laid squarely at the feet of Masters officials, who were determined to come up with any rationale not to have Tiger DQed heading into the weekend ratings bonanza.


If you don’t believe me, check out the "My Shot" by David Eger in the current issue of Golf Digest.  Eger, a Champions Tour player and former PGA Tour rules official, is the guy who saw Tiger’s bad drop at the Masters on TV and immediately phoned tournament officials.


It turns out that Eger and Fred Ridley, chairman of the Masters Rules Committee, aren’t each other’s biggest fans.  Here’s a pertinent, juicy excerpt from Eger’s "My Shot:"


IN 1998, I qualified to play in the U.S. Open at Olympic. The walking official in my group was Fred Ridley. After Casey Martin, Ed Fryatt and I finished playing the seventh hole, I noticed there was a wait on the eighth tee. The seventh tee also was empty. So, I practiced putting, which is not prohibited at the U.S. Open as it is at the Masters, the PGA Championship and on the PGA Tour. As I was stroking the putts, Fred walked over and said practice putting wasn't allowed. It was a serious objection, because if Ridley happened to be right, it meant I'd incur a penalty. I suggested to Ridley that he check with another official, which he went off to do while I continued to putt. On the tee at No. 8, Ridley returned to inform me that practice putting was indeed allowed. A lot of years passed, but when it became obvious he blew past my take on the Tiger drop, my 1998 opinion of his rules expertise was reinforced. In my view, Ridley's knowledge of the Rules of Golf was, and is, suspect.

I love this stuff.













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Sept. 11 is also a personal anniversary
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
By Joe Logan

For every American and millions of others around the world, today, Sept. 11, is a date we remember each year for tragic reasons.  For me, Sept. 11 is also a personal anniversary.


Five years ago today, on Sept. 11, 2008, I walked out the door of The Philadelphia Inquirer for the last time, after 26 years.  When I left, I wasn’t sure what my future held.  All I knew was that the trend lines for newspapers looked bleak, that the job I had loved so much was no longer fun or rewarding, and that the Inquirer was looking to trim the newsroom staff by offering yet another round of buyouts. 


As I mulled whether to take the leap, I kept coming back to what one Inky colleague told me when he took an earlier buyout:  "You’ll know when it’s your time."  It felt like my time.


The idea for a golf website or blog had been banging around in the back of my mind for a while.  Initially, while I was still at the paper, I had envisioned it as an outlet for golf stories that the Inquirer Sports section no longer had the room, or inclination, to publish.  The new Sports editor at the time – now long gone – had made it clear he did not share my enthusiasm for golf. 


Once I left the paper, I quickly came to see a golf website as an entrepreneurial endeavor – one that I hoped would fill a need for the local golf community, extend my career as a golf writer and, let’s face it, make money.


We launched 10 months later, in July 2009.  Just over four years hence, MyPhillyGolf is surviving and growing, still becoming what I imagine it can be.  It has changed and evolved over time, as we have done our best to figure out what golfers and advertisers want and need.


There have been a couple of major redesigns and too many minor tweaks to mention.  We’ve added and dropped features, welcomed and bid farewell to bloggers and moved stuff around like chess pieces.  I now realize that it is a never-ending process.  Hardly a day passes that I don’t see something I want to improve or blow up entirely. 


Five years after I left the Inquirer, on what was a somber anniversary for the nation, I am happy to report (mostly to myself) that there is life after newspapers.  Building and maintaining MyPhillyGolf has been one of the most challenging and fulfilling – and, at times, maddening – experiences in my life.   With your support, there are many more anniversaries ahead. 






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The Muni Golfer[9/12/2013 8:13:57 AM]
Joe, while I miss your golf coverage at The Inquirer, I am glad that you started My Golf Philly. Congrats on the four years and keep going. Us Delaware Valley hackers appreciate it!

Golf writers wonít soon forget Bev Norwood
Friday, September 6, 2013
By Joe Logan

When I saw last night that Bev Norwood, longtime publicist for IMG, had died after a brief battle with cancer, I sat down to write a tribute.  Then I saw "remembrances" by two colleagues -- Adam Schupak in Golfweek and Ron Sirak in Golf World -- and decided there really wasn’t much more I could add.


If you covered the PGA Tour over the past 30 years, you couldn’t help but know Bev Norwood, and he was very much worth knowing.   Because IMG managed Tiger until a year or two ago, not only did Bev control much of the flow of information about Tiger when Tiger was the Biggest Thing in all of Sports, Bev was just plain fun to know.


He was diminutive man, wiry and wry, with a drawl from having grown up in North Carolina. He was also the source of a constant stream of commentary and wisecracks on golf and golfers, life in general and anybody who happened to wander into his field of vision. At tournaments, in the media center, Bev wouldn’t so much hold court as he would walk from one writer of cluster of writers to another, confirming or debunking rumors, or delivering the latest Tiger news that was suitable for public consumption, or just catching up on gossip.


One of his best friends was the legendary Dan Jenkins and the two of them (and oftentimes one or two others) would find a corner in the dining room of the media center, a couple of old-timers watching the world go by.  You could see them people-watching, then nodding in apparent agreement over something or somebody, or perhaps just over the absurdity of it all.


At night, Bev and often Dan and others would repair to the bar in the media hotel, in whatever city it was that week.   They never seemed to run out of things to talk about.


On any number of occasions, I would find myself at lunch tables or hotel bars or sitting around the media center with Bev.  It was always a joy.  By virtue of his job, he knew it all – the people, the places, the dirty laundry, which he was not inclined to air publicly, and all that was about to happen or not happen, if you know what I mean.  That, and his wry, running commentary, made Bev a man to know and like.

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Tigerís aching back
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
By Joe Logan

Watching Tiger Woods crumple to the ground in agony with a "back spasm" during the final round of The Barclays was an awful, painful spectacle, though admittedly more for him than for me.


Nowadays, every time we see Tiger, now a high-mileage 38, wince from yet another injury, the prospects of him ever breaking Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 majors seem ever more remote.


The whole thing is enough to make me think back to the old days, circa 2000 and 2001, when Tiger was invincible, winning eight and nine tournaments a year, hitting shots that were previously unthinkable and oozing the supreme confidence of an athlete in total command.


The standard line back then was that the only things that could possibly halt the Tiger Juggernaut were a bad marriage or a bad injury.


Uh, well, a dozen years later, Tiger has hit the Daily Double in that regard.


From afar – and Tiger prefers we all remain afar -- his personal life appears to be no longer in humiliating upheaval.  Of course, who knew what was going on behind that gilded curtain before his notorious Thanksgiving Car Crash ’09?  And who knows when it might all blow up again?


But for now, it is the injuries that pose the biggest obstacles in his quest to overtake Nicklaus.  Of course, the laundry list of Tiger’s injuries – knee, knee; knee, leg, wrist, elbow – could prove to be mere annoyances compared to a bad back.


As anybody who has ever had serious back troubles can tell you, there is no all-consuming misery like a bum back.  It owns you; it rules your life. 


I have some experience with a back injury, although nothing that would get any sympathy from Fred Couples.  During a round five or six years ago, like a fool, I tried to power a ball out of heavy rough – you know, like we’ve all seen Tiger do a million times. 


I didn’t drop to my knees on impact but I knew instantly I’d done something to myself that was not good.  I was able to finish the round but by that evening, the muscles from my mid-back down through my lower back had seized up.  The next morning, I woke up in serious pain.


It didn’t bother me too much until I played another round a day or so later.  I was in pain on every shot, and it was impossible to take a decent swing at the ball knowing what was waiting for me at impact and on the follow-through.


After that round, I gave my back a rest for a few days, but it did little good.  Every time I would try to play, the searing pain would return.  It wasn’t always there on the first tee, but at some point during the round, I would take a swing that left me doubled over, crumpled like Tiger at The Barclays.  I tired Icy Hot, ice, heat, stretching, not stretching, whirlpools and serious couch blobbing.  The relief was always temporary.


I quit playing golf for two or three weeks to let the muscles heal.  Full of hope, I made my eventual return to the links.  Bad idea.  Horrible idea.  Two more failed attempts at playing later, I shut it down for the winter, figuring three or four months layoff would surely do the trick.


It didn’t.  For the entire golf season, and much of the year after that, the shooting back pains would return during most every round I played – without warning and without mercy  Every time, I’d go, "Here we go again."


Knock on wood, my back pain is finally gone.  In hindsight, I realize I was lucky.  Mine was only a pulled muscle(s) that I repeatedly aggravated, nothing compared to spine or disc problems.


Anyway, right now, I don’t envy Tiger.  Okay, maybe a little. 


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R1 Black TP 
Iím in a new bromance
Thursday, August 22, 2013
By Joe Logan

I have just entered into what I hope will be a serious and lasting bromance.


I say "bromance" because I prefer to think of my golf clubs as guys, not gals, like some sailboat named "Miss Misty" or a ’68 Camaro named "Little Darlin’".  Insofar as my golf club has nicknames, they are male, my long-ditched driver named dubbed "Big Bertha" by Callaway notwithstanding.


Anyway, the new arrow in my quiver is a TaylorMade R1 Black TP.  It replaces my wildly-popular white-headed TaylorMade R-11, which had served me semi-loyally for three or four years. 


I am not one to cast aside a semi-loyal driver without good cause, which, in this case, was the fact that the TaylorMade R1 Black TP showed up in the mail about a month ago, a gift from my nephew-in-law.  He’s a lawyer in North Carolina and I’d done some work to help him launch a website.  Sending me the driver to say, "Thanks."


It arrived, unfortunately, while I was sidelined from golf, recuperating from my recent hip-replacement surgery.  Initially, all I could do was loaf on the couch and fondle the R1 Black TP -- in a very manly way, mind you – occasionally glancing over at my old semi-loyal R-11 in the corner for any signs of jealously.


As my hip improved, I was able assume the position and take a few half swings in the living room, pining for the day I could actually put the R1 Black TP into action.  That day arrived on Tuesday, nine weeks to the day since my surgery.  I played nine holes with a couple of guys I know my club’s Thursday night Men’s League.


R1 Black TP and I got off to a great start together.  After hitting a few dodgy warm-up tee shots on the range that had had me concerned, I proceeded to bust my opening drive long and straight.  This, of course, was an unlikely development with an unfamiliar club, aside from the three-month layoff.


Not only was my maiden tee shot with the R1 Black TP long and straight, it was high  -- an even unlikelier development.   Normally, I do not, in fact cannot, hit high shots.  All my golfing life, I have hit a low ball, and not necessarily by choice.  But this maiden tee shot with the R1 Black TP, and two or three that followed, virtually soared where eagles fly.


I could lie and tell you it was some swing change I made, but more than likely it was because I had used the little wrench that comes with the club to dial the clubface up to as high as it would go, something in the range of 12 degrees loft.


True enough, I hit a couple of crappy tee shots toward the end of the nine, but that’s because I was getting tired and because it is hard to learn to trust your swing when you’ve got two titanium hips and a relatively fresh 6-inch scar.


As satisfying as my return nine holes was, I am not inclined to get all swept up in a crazy love affair with the R1 Black TP.  I know it will betray me soon enough.  I know I will be hitting low-ball worm-burners before too long. I have played golf long enough to know that they honeymoon with my new R1 Black TP won't last forever.  Just to be clear, I should refer to our journey together as a buddy trip, not as a honeymoon.


Now, however, is not the time to fret about the future, or ask too many questions.   Now is the time to swing for the fences and take the long, straight, high tee shots for as long as they come.


Heartbreak will find me soon enough.



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The Muni Golfer[8/26/2013 11:23:46 AM]
Joe, glad to hear your recovery is progressing and you are back on the links. Good luck with the new driver!

The Wyndham Championship will always be the GGO to me
Thursday, August 15, 2013
By Joe Logan

I realized it was Thursday a little while ago, which means the start of another PGA Tour event, so I turned on the TV for some background noise.  Lo and behold, this week’s tournament was the Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, N.C.  I stopped what I was doing and sat down to watch for a while.


To most golf fans, the Wyndham Championship is a second-tier tournament with a so-so field.  It falls the week after a major – in this case the PGA Championship -- so the big names like Tiger and Phil are nowhere to be found; they’re home resting, or, more likely, off reaping the rewards of the millions they knock down.


For me, the Wyndham Championship will always occupy a special place in my heart.  Years ago, before every tournament had its sponsor’s name in the title, the Wyndham Championship was known simply as the Greater Greensboro Open, or the GGO for short.  I grew up in a small town 2½ hours east of Greensboro.


The 1961 GGO, when I was 10, was the first PGA Tour event I ever attended, not long after my father discovered golf and quickly became addicted.   At the same time, my father bought me my first set of junior clubs and I, too, quickly became addicted.


On our maiden trip to the GGO, my father and I were both awestruck by the whole scene --  the pros with their big bags and confident swings, the TV cameras and Sedgefield CC, a fancy club with a hilly Donald Ross layout that was nothing like our scruffy little 9-hole club back home.   The trip to the GGO became an annual father/son ritual that lasted for the next four or five years. 


This was so long ago, it was in the years before the PGA Tour felt the need to put up ropes between the pros and the fans.  You could stroll up the middle of the fairway, which I did.  Once, I remember walking along with some pro, who put his arm around my shoulder and asked me about myself and about my trip to a big-time golf tournament.  Whew, have times changed.


We would drive up  to Greensboro early Saturday morning, attend the GGO until the last shot was struck, then head to our room at the nearby Howard Johnson Hotel.  One year, as we ate breakfast in the HoJo’s restaurant on a Sunday morning, in walked a couple of pros.  I have a vague recollection that one of them was George Bayer, a good player and a bear of a man.  But I know for sure that the other was Bobby Nichols, who a year or two later would win the 1964 PGA Championship.  


Nichols and Bayer no sooner took a seat on a couple of stools at the counter before my father began prodding me to go ask them for their autographs.  I was a shy, scrawny kid, but after much hemming and hawing, I finally screwed the courage to give it a shot, to approach these exotic golf pros.  I don’t know why I say "give it a shot" because they couldn’t have been nicer when I interrupted their first cup of coffee.  I think Bobby Nichols signed my HoJo’s place mat.


I also have a distinct memory of the 1963 GGO, won by Doug Sanders, he of the short backswing, colorful outfits and reputation for fast living.  On that Sunday afternoon, as Sanders stepped to the 18th tee at Sedgefield with the victory on the line, the fans were stirring with excitement.  Feeling the pressure, Sanders backed off his tee shot and asked for fans around the tee to settle down, let him hit his tee shot.


"Come on, folks," said Sanders, "I need to win this thing because I’ve got a big alimony payment to make."   Everybody laughed.



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Iím back! I think.
Friday, July 26, 2013
By Joe Logan

Now, where was I?


The last time I sat down to write a blog for MyPhillyGolf was June 17, the Monday after the U.S. Open at Merion, plus the birthday of both my sisters, 15 years apart.  But that’s another story.


The next morning, before sunrise, I drove to Pennsylvania Hospital in Center City, four blocks from Independence Hall (and where both my children were born), to undergo total right hip replacement surgery.  It had been less than a year since I underwent total left hip replacement surgery.   Granted, most people would call that a lousy year for hips in the Logan household, except that both surgeries went well and my doctor assures me I will be back on the golf course in a few weeks.  He is less enthusiastic about my future as an Irish dancer.


Total hip replacement, in all honesty, is not that much fun.  It involves a gruesome incision along the side of your hip, about were your pants pocket is.  It also involves a surgical pry bar, a power saw and a titanium rod and ball joint that are snapped back into place.  After they stitch you up, you get through the next couple of weeks or so on powerful, mind-numbing narcotic painkillers.  As much as I needed them, I absolutely hate them, and for the life of me, I cannot imagine how anyone gets addicted to them.  They do the job on the pain, but for me, it comes at a cost of a dark, thick mental fog.   I couldn’t think clearly and I certainly couldn’t write anything coherent or worth posting here.  I spent most of the first two or three weeks post-hospital tossing and turning in bed at night, then sleeping on the couch all day.  (You do not want to roll over on your bad hip in the middle of the night.)


There were days at a time that I didn’t go on the internet, check my email or read one of the dozen newspapers and magazines I subscribe to.  I laid on the couch watching TV – well, I laid there; whether I was actually watching is debatable.  Come to think of it, I must have been watching, because I have developed a pathological hate for cable news (CNN, MSNBC, Fox).  Last year, when I had my left hip done, the big story on cable news was the murder trial of Casey Anthony.  You could not escape it.  This time, it was George Zimmerman’s trial for shooting Trayvon Martin.


In the middle of it all, my big-screen, high-def TV died.  One of my first trips out of the house, using my cane but still limping horribly, was to go to Costco to buy an even bigger, high-def-ier TV.  In a sign of how far we have come as a civilization, my ex-wife’s husband came over and did the heavy lifting to install the new TV. I thanked him and promptly returned to the couch and took a nap.


If there was a highlight of my time on the couch, it had to be Phil Mickelson’s two weeks in Scotland.  I did not miss one minute of either the Scottish Open (I’d had to turn down an assignment to cover it for a magazine) and the British Open.  No sport benefits more from the advancements in big-screen high-def-ery than golf.  Castle Stuart, site of the Scottish Open, was designed by homey Gil Hanse, and it looked amazing on TV.   We swapped emails and he was thrilled for Mickelson to win.


A week later, I am still walking with a cane but I am off the drugs, stronger and trying to climb back onto the horse, if not into the golf cart just yet.   I am surfing the web with zest, I am reading my email and my magazines -- I am plugging back into life.  Today, I even sat down and wrote this.  It’s a start.

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Steve8x[8/2/2013 6:29:21 PM]
Greetings from the desert. Glad to hear youíre on the mend. Let me know when youíre ready for a winter escape. A day at the 16th hole at the Phoenix Open will do wonders for you.
The Muni Golfer[7/29/2013 8:48:41 AM]
Joe, glad to hear things went well. Hope your back on the golf course and hitting the ball long and straight very soon. Take care.
Eleanor Thompson[7/26/2013 3:05:34 PM]
You forgot to mention your newly svelte look. Not the best way to lose weight, but whatever works.
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