Joe Logan 
Saturday is huge for Tiger
Saturday, April 9, 2011
By Joe Logan

After Tiger Woods shot 66 on Friday and moved to 7-under par and three shots off the lead in the Masters, several people have been kind enough to call or email to point out that I wrote in this space a week ago that he is lost and has "no chance" to win a fifth green jacket this week.


Oh, how I hope me makes me eat my words.  If golf needs anything right now, it is Tiger back on his game. Remember, I didn’t say I wasn’t rooting for him; I just said I didn’t think his game looked sharp enough to win. 


It is looking more and more like we will ever see him dominate the way he did at the peak of Tiger-mania.  He’s 35 and not the same player anymore, and the guys he’s competing against these days are young and fearless and crazy-long off the tee.  If fact, if the sudden rejuvenation of Tiger is a major storyline this week, so is what is increasingly looking like a changing of the guard at the top of golf.


How can we not be impressed by the crop of young players who are muscling their way onto the leaderboard and into the limelight?  Rory  McIlroy, Jason Day, Alvaro Quiros, Ricky Fowler, not to mention Dustin Johnson, Gary Woodland and a couple of others.  These guys are the next generation of stars.   We should not be surprised at all of young McIlroy finds the poise to hold it together and win his first major.


Meanwhile, Saturday’s third round is crucial for Tiger.  So far this year in the reconstruction of his game, weekends have not been overly kind to him.  At the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, he shot 74-75 in the third and fourth rounds and fell off the leaderboard.  At the Dubai Desert Classic, he shot 72-75.  At the Arnold Palmer Invitational, he went 74-72.


Saturday is an even bigger test.

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The Muni Golfer[4/9/2011 10:17:17 PM]
Another Saturday 74 for Tiger. It seems like he puts one, maybe two good rounds together, but also has a couple of over-par ones as well. I think the biggest problem in his game is his putting. Is he too young to have the yips? Considering what he has been through, I wouldnít be surprised if his nerves are playing a part in his putting.

My day in the Champions Tour pro-am
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
By Joe Logan

If you ever doubt the veracity of the PGA Tour slogan, "These guys are good," play a round of golf with a Tour player.


I did that last week, in the pro-am at the Champions Tour event, the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic, at Fallen Oak.  My pro in the pro-am was Mark Wiebe, a two-time winner on the regular tour and a two-time winner on the Champions Tour.

Despite Wiebe’s career earnings of $7.5 million, it’s fair to say that most of us likely think of him as no superstar, rather as a moderately successful journeyman pro.


And yet, I am here to tell you that besides being a gracious and likeable guy, Mark Wiebe plays at a level well above even a hot-shot scratch player.


Over 18 holes at Fallen Oak – one of Tom Fazio’s better courses, by the way – Wiebe hit long, towering tee shots that almost always found the center of the fairway.  More impressive, however, were his second shots.


When you and I stand over a 4-iron shot in the fairway, we hope to get the ball up around the green, in up-and-down range, or on the green with a long putt, if we are lucky.


Wiebe, on the other hand, would stand over a 4-iron (from about 20 yards behind where I hit 4-iron) and proceed to launch a rocket that would sail higher and higher until it dropped straight down out of the sky to 10 feet from the pin, settling 5 maybe feet from the hole.


On par threes, with a mid- to short-iron in his hand, he was all over the hole, always giving himself a makeable birdie putt.


The format for the pro-am was a "shamble," meaning we four amateurs all tee shots, then we picked the best of the bunch and we all played out our own balls from there.  Wiebe played his own ball the entire round.


On the green, Wiebe would let all of us amateurs take our best shot at making the birdie for the team.  If none of us converted, he would attempt his own birdie putt. At least twice, we appeared to have no chance at birdie, as Wiebe faced a tricky 10- or 15-foot downhill, sidehill putt.


Both times, Wiebe and his caddie, Brett, read the greens with skills that elude me, factoring in speed and degree of break caused by the grain, even recalling how a similar putt from the same spot broke in last year’s tournament.


Both times, Wiebe sank the putt and kept our birdie run alive.


Did I mention Wiebe’s back was killing him?  He’s a big guy, 6-foot-3, 250 pounds with a lot of aches and pains.  On the first tee, he said he wasn’t sure he’d be able to play the entire round.  By the fourth tee, he was lying on his back, doing leg cross-over stretches.


After nine, when we headed to the 10th tee, Wiebe said he needed a "little work" and headed to the fitness trailer.  A few minutes later, he showed up on the 10th tee.


"I’m fine now," he said.  "They popped my back into place."


On the 14th, as we all agreed that the course, the scenery, the weather, the setting sun couldn’t make for a finer place to be at the moment, Wiebe said, "Welcome to my office."  Then he smiled and drove off after his tee shot.

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Garcia the Golfer[5/5/2011 1:56:27 PM]
Joe, I was fortunate enough to caddy in a Champions Tour event when I worked at the TPC Jasna Polana for the Instinet Classic. I caddied for a guy by the name of Steve Veriato. while he wasnít a big name on the Champions Tour, he showed me how the tour players play. He made his way around the course splitting every fairway and not missing a green. He posted a 67 and 68 with a bad back. He showed me slopes and back stops on the greens that I didnít know existed. Just because these guys are supposely old doensít mean they canít play golf. Glad you enjoyed your round in the Pro-am.
The Muni Golfer[4/6/2011 6:28:00 AM]
Sounds like an AWESOME experience Joe! I find it incredible to watch these guys play live at a tournament. Can only imagine what it must look like "insideí the ropes.

Joe Logan 
Tiger has no chance at the Masters
Monday, March 28, 2011
By Joe Logan

The more I watch Tiger Woods fumbling his way around golf courses, the more inconceivable I find it that a player of his skill, success and confidence can be so totally lost.


C’mon, the guy has been a natural and preordained superstar since the moment he picked up a club while he was still in diapers.  Add to that the support system that was his parents, a work ethic that is second to none, a competitive drive to match, and the result was that run of greatness that we all got used, even began to take or granted.


So to see him mired in such frustration and ordinariness now pretty much defies the imagination.  How can he have gotten so lost?  How can he have become so uncertain of the most natural motion he has made in his 35 years -- his golf swing?  Outwardly, he still tries to project a certain bravado, but it’s all a front.  The man must be desperate by now.


Friends of Tiger’s have said that his primary emotion of these past 18 months is unspeakable shame and humiliation.  That’s understandable.   Aside from Richard Nixon, who was forced to resign the presidency during the Watergate scandal, it is hard to name another public figure who has fallen so far, so fast, as Tiger.  For that matter, at least before his troubles, Nixon was already a controversial political figure.  No so for Tiger, who had enjoyed an unblemished climb to the top as the ultimate athlete, success story, role model and corporate pitchman.


That he hit rock bottom and lost his image and his family, was unfortunate but to be expected.  You do the crime, you do the time. 


But given Tiger’s incredible ability to focus on the task at hand and to overcome all odds, I must say I imagined, even hoped, he would rise up out of the ashes better than he has so far.   We all know how badly he wants to win again, to regain his old superiority, to reestablish some semblance of his old life.


So to see him self-destruct with a 74-75 on the weekend, as he did at the Farmers Insurance Open, or shoot 74, as he did on Saturday at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, or watch him finish bogey-double bogey on Sunday at Bay Hill...I don’t know; it just makes me sad.


With the Masters a week away, we are coming up on a year since Tiger’s return to competitive golf. I give him virtually not shot to win.  I expect him to make the cut, maybe attract some attention with a 69 or Friday or Saturday, then fade. I hate that I expect that. 


Put me in the camp that believes that if Tiger can resurrect his career, it will be the greatest story of redemption and recovery in modern sports.   I’m pulling for him.  Not because I like what he did or have any naive notions about who he is as a person.  I’m only pulling for him because how can I not?

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A new golf season dawns
Friday, March 11, 2011
By Joe Logan

If you haven’t played your first round of the year yet, what are you waiting for?


I hit my maiden tee shot at Talamore CC last Saturday, when skies were clear and the thermometer was flirting with 60.  The fairways were surprisingly full and green and the greens were slow but true, for this early in the season. Tomorrow, it’s supposed to hit 58 and I’ve got 10:20 a.m. tee time.


Across the region, courses are awakening from their winter slumber, sprucing up as the new season dawns.


"We’re off to a normal start," said Darin Bevard, senior agronomist with the U.S. Golf Association’s Mid-Atlantic office in Glen Mills.   "Most courses are getting opened, if it would stop raining on them."


At Whitemarsh Valley CC, superintendent Tony Gustaitis agreed.  "It’s a relatively normal spring, except for the rain last night."


As both Bevard and Gustaitis noted, yesterday’s day-long deluge, which ranged from 1½ to 3 inches, was a bit of a soggy setback.    Some courses, including Whitemarsh, were closed today because of the deluge.


"Courses only need 2-3 days to dry out," said Bevard.  "But we need some warm weather. We haven’t had any warm weather yet to speak of."


Some winters are harder than others on golf courses.  Gustaitis rated this winter as a 6 on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the worst. Bevard described this winter as pretty much average.   We had snow cover for about seven weeks, from right after Christmas to late February. Snow cover is not necessarily bad; it can a protective blanket for turf grass.  The good news is, we didn’t get much in the way of damaging ice storms.


The most damage to courses resulted the wet, heavy snow we got back in late January or early February, said Bevard.  That caused tree damage at many courses, as did high winds that whipped the region on several occasions.


"Conditions are...well, this is still the first week or so of March," said Bevard.  "Most courses are okay but guys haven’t had much chance to do much grooming."


Conditions are not the same everywhere.  In the Poconos, there are still some courses with snow.  The Jersey Shore, on the other hand, is a week to 10 days ahead of Philadelphia, said Bevard.


"The Shore doesn’t get as much snow as we do, and their courses drain a little better – at least some of them do."


Barring any weather setbacks, Bevard predicts Spring-like conditions will arrive right on time, around April 1.

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Mike Davis and Merion
Thursday, March 3, 2011
By Joe Logan

When the U.S. Golf Association named Mike Davis its new executive director on Tuesday, they not only picked a capable executive and good guy, they chose someone who was instrumental in bringing the 2013 U.S. Open to Merion GC.


Here’s the pertinent passage I wrote in a 2009 story for Golf World headlined "Resurrecting Merion."


Mike Davis, the USGA's senior director of rules and competitions, had had his eye on Merion for a while. A native of Chambersburg, Pa., Davis was a longtime fan of the course and respectful of the club's place in the game. He had also been in that original making-amends meeting at Far Hills, so he knew the effort Merion was putting forth.

In the fall of 1998, Davis, then deputy to Tom Meeks, had been invited to Merion to examine the changes, both underway and planned. And there was something else.

"I was asked by Buddy [Marucci], 'Could you come down and tell our board why we can't have another Open?' " recalls Davis. Therefore, it was not a trip Davis relished. "It is easier telling somebody their kids are ugly," he says, "than telling them their course can't hold an Open."

But a funny thing happened on that visit as Davis played a round with Marucci, Iredale and Greenwood: He became something of a believer in the possibilities for Merion. He marveled at the improvements, especially the new tees and the removal of trees that had clogged pedestrian traffic during the '81 Open.

Then, later...

As the Amateur approached, however, Davis continued to visit. It was during one of those trips, in late 2001 or early 2002, over lunch in the Merion grillroom, that Davis dropped a bombshell. He said he liked the changes so much he had broached the subject of trying to figure a way to bring the Open to Merion with his boss, USGA executive director David Fay.

"We were stunned," recalls Iredale.

Immediately, the conversation turned to the outside-the-ropes obstacles. That's when someone at the table wondered aloud about maybe using the acres and acres of wide-open space a stone's throw away—the athletic fields at nearby Haverford College. During the '81 Open, those same fields had been used for parking. Why wouldn't they work for corporate hospitality tents?

"We got up and went straight over to look at it," says Iredale. The Haverford fields were perfect, but given the scale of the modern Open, they would still need more room.

How about Merion's West Course, two minutes further up Ardmore Avenue? And what about the mansions along Golf House Road, adjacent to Merion? Could they put hospitality tents in their yards?

By the end of that day, Davis was all the more convinced Merion could pull off another U.S. Open. Not a giant Open, such as Bethpage or Pinehurst, with 45,000 spectators a day. But a smaller Open, similar to Winged Foot, with room for 20,000 or 25,000 spectators per day.

"I remember it like it was yesterday, walking into David Fay's office when I got back, saying, 'We can do this, we can hold an Open at Merion,' " Davis recalls. Fay listened but was not convinced. That soon changed, too, in September 2002, when Fay was invited to be the keynote speaker at Merion's annual celebration of Jones' Slam, a day that included golf and a black-tie gala.

During his round Fay began to grasp all that Davis had been telling him. "You would have had to be blind not to appreciate the changes that had been made," says Fay, who suddenly was also in Merion's corner. Ultimately, though, the prospects hinged on whether the logistics could be overcome and if Merion could stand up to the longest hitters in the game.

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Downgrading expectations of Tiger
Monday, February 28, 2011
By Joe Logan

After watching him go down in such ignominious fashion to Thomas Bjorn in the first round of the Accenture Match Play Championship, I think it is time we all downgrade our expectations of Tiger Woods.


No longer does it appear to be an inevitable foregone conclusion that he will break Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 major championship.  It’s not even clear that he will ever win again, never mind add to his current total of 14 majors.


We all wanted to believe it when his close pal John Cook played a recent round with Tiger and pronounced him to be thisclose to being back to his old self.  Of course, then came Match Play, letting the air our of that balloon.


The thing is, besides lacking confidence in his new swing, Tiger seems to also lack confidence in himself – an assertion that I cannot believe I just typed.  For so long, Tiger was the most confident athlete in any sport in the world – and justifiably so.  Now, at 35, he has lost his swing, lost his swagger and lost his way.


Tiger didn’t win a tournament at all last year, for the first time in his career.  In three tournaments so far this year, he finished tied for 44th at Torrey Pines, a course he virtually owns, shooting 74-75 on the weekend;  he finished 20th at the Dubai Desert Classic, stumbling to 75.  And then there Match Play.


This once invincible athlete suddenly appears so...vincible.  If it is hard for us to watch, imagine what it must be like for Tiger, unable to recapture the magic, no longer able to wow us with ease.


Who ever thought in a million years this is what would become to Tiger Woods.

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The Philadelphia Golf Show
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
By Joe Logan

To everyone who stopped by our booth at the Philadelphia Golf Show, thank you.


It was a great weekend, even if I did talk about until my lips hurt and my voice was pretty much gone.  That’s okay – anything for the cause.


I spend so much time working on and thinking about this website, I forget that plenty of golfers in the region still don’t know about us.    There was no end to the stream of golfers who walked by our booth, checked out our 9-foot wide banner, glanced at the computer screen showing off the home page, then paused long enough for me to give them a tour of all that resides on MyPhillyGolf.


The reaction we heard time and again was just what he wanted: Wow, it looks good and there is a ton of information.


Aside from the fresh content we upload daily, the biggest hits with show-goers were the discounted tee times available via, the Discussion Boards and the Bausch Collection, the amazing cache of photo course galleries on by Villanova chemistry professor and golf addict Joe Bausch.


We passed out 1,200 MyPhillyGolf pencils (with erasers) and collected several hundred more email addresses for our new monthly e-newsletter.  (If you signed up at the show and haven’t received an e-newsletter by tomorrow, it’s probably because we couldn’t read your handwriting.  You can sign up again on the home page.)


If you missed the Philadelphia show, or if you simply can’t get enough of golf shows, there is another one is coming up this weekend, the first-ever the Reading Golf Show.    The Reading show is part of the larger Sports and Fitness EXPO.  One admission get gets you into everything.


Vance Diezel, who is running the Reading show, tells me in an email that they expect 8,000-10,000 people, and they’ve got "big retailers selling golf equipment, bags, shoes, balls and probably around 50 other vendors."  "Basically a smaller version of the North Coast type show but with different unique things added in."  They’ve also got raffles and a silent auction.



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Adam Dean[3/6/2011 3:40:07 AM]
Your are doing a great job here, Joe. Philadelphia needs a great golf website and you have certainly created on here. Good luck and best wishes on a successful venture.
HANK CHURCH[2/25/2011 5:33:49 AM]
The Muni Golfer[2/19/2011 7:07:48 PM]
Joe, It was a pleasure to meet and talk with you at the golf show too. Keep up the great work!
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