Monday, May 31, 2010

My Kind O' Birthday!

Today, I am 42.


Let's settle down, people. Not like I did anything to get here. I just sorta, well, waited around a while.

What did I get for my burf-day? Why, THIRTY-SIX holes of grueling, competitive golf! You know, the sport I THINK I am good at, but really suck!


I'm an idiot.

Playing in the Virginia State Amatuer qualifier at River Creek Golf Club. I'll let you know how that works out here in this space on Wednesday.

Speaking of my last post. Please ignore it. I'm sorta embarrassed. I wrote that thing as 90% therapy after a very depressing morning of slapping stripers at the range.

Still, I pursue this game because I love it beyond reason, like most golfers do. Which reminds me of a quote:

"Golf is like a love affair: If you don't take it seriously, it's not fun; if you do take it seriously, it breaks your heart." (Arnold Daly)

Save me some cake. I should be home just before dark.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

“You Have A Great Swing”

I get that a lot from people.

And I just want to punch them in the face.

It is not their fault. And I am not a jerk. It is just that this particular compliment, well intentioned, is the equivalent of a girl who knows she is 40 pounds overweight, being constantly told “you have such a fun personality” or “you have a beautiful face.”

My golf swing sucks.

Proof? Here. These are my golf scores starting from May 1st.

89, 85, 81, 95, 91, 89, 86, 88, 82.

That's a nice little 87.3 average. Or, about a 15 handicap.

Wow, what a great swing I have. The joy.

Now I bet many of you are saying: “You prick, Czabe. I would LOVE to have your swing. I shoot 100!”

Okay, tough guy. You can have my swing. But pretend that you put in the price to get it. Accept the fact that I have spent my whole life playing the game obsessively (32 years). I have taken HUNDREDS of formal lessons. I have looked at my swing on video for years and years. I have bought (no lie) over 100 training aids. I practice at least twice a week during the golf season. I play usually twice a week.

There. Now you can have my swing. Take this pile of shit swing, go out and shoot your 88, and just float home on cloud nine thinking how fun golf is.

You can say: “Hey Czabe, work on your short game and wedges! That's where scoring comes from.”

Yes, you are correct. However, with THIS pile of monkey dung move, I'll shoot 81 when my short game and putting is ON, and it's a 90 when not.

I just refuse to spend my life scrambling to break 80.

Many people ask me: “Did losing all that weight on P90x help your golf game?”

Answer: No. Not a bit.

In fact, if you go through P90x – and you know I strongly recommend it – do not expect it to help your golf game at all. Your SHIRTS will fit better. But that's about it. All the supposed increases in flexibility by doing Yoga and stretch routines in P90x?

Whatever. Haven't seen a lick of good when I swipe at the little dimpled ball.

I know what is going to happen with my golf this summer. Because I have charted it.

Come July, my scores will come down. I will – on the right course, with the right conditions, with my swing feeling just right – shoot a 74, or 75, or 76.

I will do this about 5 or 6 more times before the year is out. Of my 40 or so annual rounds, the 10 best of the last 20 will make up my handicap.

And plugging my scores dutifully into the ol' USGA computer, it will spit out a joke of an index like 4.3.

Ha. Yeah. Sure. I'm a 4 handicap. If I am honest, I state this on the first tee of a friendly match. Then I get fleeced. The handicap system is complete bullshit. I understand the THEORY on why they discard the WORST 10 rounds of your last twenty. It is to prevent tanking. Two ballooned scores can skew your number upward in a way that doesn't reflect you at your best.

But how can the USGA index just IGNORE the fact that some of us actually DO have a 20 stroke margin from playing well to playing poorly? If I play you for $5 a side, I might shoot 75 or 95. That's a fact! How the hell do I know what's coming out of my bag that day?

Some would say it's only natural that scores for a weekend golfer would come down as the season goes on. The more you play, the better your game gets. I understand this.

But with me, there's no way I should be shooting around 90 just because it's not yet June 1. My spread of scores should NOT be 74-95. It should be 72-82.

Now here's what is driving me to the brink of taking up fishing. I KNOW what my problem is. I see it. I understand it.

I just can't fix it.

And I have had several really good teaching pros try to help me. They have all failed.

Here is a sheet of swing stillcaps that illustrate my problem. And it needs to be noted, these are not other TOUR pros I am highlighting. These are guys like me. Weekend players. I consider them my peers. They were taken at last year's Potomac Cup Finals. I just want to be like them. Good weekend amateurs. I want to carry the ball 265 off the tee. That's all. Not 290, 300. Just give me 260. With a little 10 yards of roll, 275 will feel like heaven!

Currently, I carry the ball 245 off the tee with my driver when I sting it. That's lame. When I hit it mediocre, it's 230. When I miss it, it's down in the 220 range.

That's embarrassing, and no way to play golf. Not with drivers the size of titanium toasters.

There is nothing athletically these other guys do, that I can't. They don't practice any harder than I do.

So what's the problem?

Well, let me say one last thing before we get into that. I know what is NOT the problem. The problem is NOT me being too obsessed with video analysis, positions, etc. I had a couple of guys I play with – good players, better than me, and guys I consider to be friends – who both said (essentially) “Czabe, you just need to go out and PLAY. Forget about all this stuff. Just pick a target, and swing to it. The game isn't that complicated.”

Easy for you to say, I thought to myself. You hit the ball properly.

I, do not.

My swing may “look” good. But it's nothing much more than an elegant slap at the ball. It is entirely timing dependent, and thus it requires most of the season to figure it out. Old men, hit it farther than I do.

Until I learn to properly swing through impact, my golf game will be eternally maddening.

If you look at these photos, you can see what every decent player does at impact. Shoulders square or slightly open to target line. At least one ass cheek visible, maybe two, showing good hip rotation PRIOR to impact. Right arm lower than left.

Me? Shoulders closed to target line (and hunched). Arms covering each other. Hips square. Right leg straight. Bad, bad, bad, and bad.

This is a TIMING based swing. Yes, there are a lot of good elements to it. I really like the position I now get into at the top. But it turns into a weak slap by the time I get to the ball. When I TIME it perfectly, it works.

Fundamentally though, through the ball, it is un-sound.

It is weak. It is inconsistent.

This swing produces flips and flares. The straight balls are not very powerful. For example, during a typical round, you have 14 drives. Half the time, I'll hit a good one. 250 in the fairway. The other half, are snipe hooks and fearful balloon pushes.

These are almost certain bogeys. Often, worse.

So even if I would PAR all of my “good” drives, I'm still starting each round at about 80 for my best possible score. They say “drive for show, putt for dough.” That saying is a lie. It only applies to tour pros, who can all drive the ball great.

Amateurs like me, NEED to put the ball in play consistently, and with relative power.

With this swing, I should just be a once-a-week player, who never practices, and drinks beer on the course. There's something to be said for that, mind you, and I do not judge others who choose this route.

I only wish I could embrace that golf lifestyle. Maybe I'm just not ready yet. Maybe I'll never be able to embrace it.

I am working with a pro now, and I trust in what he's teaching me. I am working diligently on the drills he's laid out to address this issue. I understand it will take time.

But I am more deeply skeptical than ever that I will ever become a good ballstriker. I try to put myself into the correct impact position, then practice taking half swings with that exact position in mind.

I go look at the video tape. It's the damn same as before.

I fear that I have spent too many years, ingraining a crappy slap-move at the ball, that will be impossible to fully correct.

Am I fishing for help here, fellow golfers? Do I sound desperate? Yes. Yes, I am.

All the while, fellow golfers, friends, and strangers will continue to say: “You have such a nice swing, Czabe.”

I am the fat girl with the great personality, and pretty face. Deeply depressed, and ready to bury my sorrows in a box of Twinkies on the couch.





Saturday May 29, 2010 - 1757 Golf Club from Steve Czaban on Vimeo.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Big Al: What A Swell Fella!

Albert Haynesworth - aka "Albert He-aint-worth-it" is a charming guy.

Aside from...

- Stomping un-protected Andre Gurode in the head
- Paralyzing a driver by tailgating him, then passing, and then causing him to run into a concrete divider. (Civil settlement pending)
- Getting out of a speeding ticket for going 103 mph

He's a guy who really takes care of his "baby-mommas".

Or not.

"It is very stressful, I cry all the time," stripper Silvia Mena told the New York Post.

Mena claims Haynesworth impregnated her four months ago in Miami during Super Bowl week, according to the paper. Court papers filed Tuesday alleged Haynesworth became aware of the pregnancy and promised to provide the New York woman with financial and emotional support.

But the dancer claims that Haynesworth hasn't come through with that support.

Well, ain't that shocking?! Tell missy to get in line behind Mrs. Haynesworth - currently negotiating her own big ol' chunk of that $100 million Snyder bonus check!

To All Of Our Troops, We Apologize For Peter King

Peter King continues his reign of total insipidity.

Thankfully, the boys at Kissing Suzy Kolber keep crushing him out of the park. Before I get to the guts of this week's entry, let me cut to the chase.

Memorial Day is this weekend. While we are all galloping around like fools eating hot dogs and throwing frisbees, it is our responsibility to remember the men and women who helped secure our freedom to do this kind of stuff.

For Peter King, it might be a good weekend to google up the wikipedia page on our most sacred burial place for these men: Arlington National Cemetery.

Writes King:

On a visit to Washington to tend to some USO matters last Wednesday, my wife and I visited Arlington National Cemetery for the first time.

In the midst of watching the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, we heard distant rumbles, like thunderclaps. Those were no thunderclaps. They were rifle volleys, fired at the interment of a former service member. I didn’t realize how active a cemetery Arlington still is.

REACT: You freaking dope.

Some people think King writes in a way that purposefully paints himself as an innocent, full of observational wonder.

That instead of just saying: "Arlington Cemetery is still, sadly, a very active one. Men and women from our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are buried there on a weekly basis" King writes idiotic stuff like the above.

I don't buy it. I really think he's a moron.

I mean, he also writes "Washington has to be the best walking city in America."

Snaps KSK: "Dude, the Lincoln Memorial is ninety miles from any goddamn Metro stop. Its staircase is littered with the corpses of old people who died from heat stroke."

Washington was laid out by a Frenchman on crack, Pierre Charles L'Enfant. It is full of long diagonal streets and traffic circles. You can't walk from the best nightlife part of town, Georgetown, to the monuments. The subway doesn't even connect that. Aside from walking the mall, you can't get ANYWHERE you want to be by foot. Especially sports. Other than the Verizon Center, you are screwed by foot.

Pete King is an idiot. To think Chicago or New York can't beat Washington as a "walking city" is absurd.

Well, enough of me. Please see the KSK treatment of King's latest column, which includes an overly gullible assessment of what the Bears offense will look like this year under new OC Mike Martz.

(Spoiler alert: King actually uses the phrase: "If Cutler doesn't throw alot of picks...")

And I remind people: This clown gets to help decide who should be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I'm With These Guys

Feeling just a bit pissy today. I totally agree here. Down with that. What? That. You know, all that crap. Boooo!

Monday, May 24, 2010

You're Gonna Want To See This

And don't give me the whole: "Oh my god! I can't believe you made me watch that! I'll never get it out of my head! Aaaahhhhhhggghhh!"

You people are the same ones who have seen every Saw movie, both versions of Hostel, and can't wait for the entire Texas Chainsaw Massacre series to come out on DVD.

Besides, the dude lived. He's expected to recover.

Bullfight again? Um. I would doubt that. But you never know with these guys.

Okay, enough prancing around. HERE IS YOUR LINK. Enjoy.

This Inspires People

Watching the Rajon Rondo highlight from this weekend, reminded me of a quote from Jerry Maguire.

"That is not what inspires people, Rod. Shut up! Play the game from your heart!"

Oh, what's the Rondo highlight?

If you saw it, you know what I am talking about. If not, let me fill you in.

**Highlight Package Here: Jump to 1:12 for the play**

Rondo and Jason Williams of the Magic were running full bore at a loose ball that was bounding down toward Boston's basket ahead of the pack.

As Williams seemed to have the angle on it, not to mention a step, he bent down to try to scoop it up.

Not so fast, my friend, said Rondo, who DOVE HEAD FIRST for the ball in full flight, used his absurdly go-go-gadget-like long arms to snatch it away from Williams, and not satisfied with that alone, proceeded to get up, take a couple of dribbles, juke Williams, and lay the ball in for two points.



THAT is the kind of stuff that DOES inspire people who love sports. For all of the narcissistic garbage in the NBA, it is great to be reminded that the core of the league remains a bunch of fierce competitors who are spectacular athletes.

You know what else is inspiring? The 16 year old kid who was in contention on Sunday at the Byron Nelson. Hello, Jordan Spieth. Well done, lad!

It's not quite Francis Ouimet all over again, but it is cool to see young phenoms, doing, well, phenomenal things. To think that this kid won his HIGH SCHOOL tournament last week, and then was actually IN CONTENTION to win this week on the big boy tour, is incredible.

He might be another Ty Tryon, I know. But it's awfully fun to watch.

Tiger, do you see this? They are coming for you, my friend. In bunches. They are young, they are fearless, and they want what you had. Manaserro, Ishikawa, McIlroy.

Here.... they.... come.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

World Cup Fever: Catch It!

Today's a grab bag kind of day, because there are a lot of good things to chime in on, and I don't have coherent theme to any of it. So without further adieu, let me get you tuned in to a tent-pitchingly-awesome website that will get you fired up for the World Cup.

It is the un-official "Babes of the World Cup" page.

Unlike fake World Cup soccer fans who are actually models, painted up to look like fans (usually body and boob paint) these gals are the real deal!

And as always, because I think you people are too lazy to actually click the link and go find it yourself, I decided to pull a few choice gals from the menu of nations.


This week, the NFL marked it's 75th anniversary of the college entry draft. While pro sports drafts vary greatly in terms of interest and media coverage (NFL = massive, MLB = obscure) they are an accepted fact of life in pro sports.

The notion of going back to a day and age where every college entrant was a FREE AGENT is simply un-thinkable to most fans.

Not to my man, Skip Oliva who writes He has been a strident ANTI-draft advocate for years. And while I disagree with his take on the issue, nobody makes a more compelling argument.

Here's Skip:

The draft is an illogical business model. No other business allocates top incoming talent either by (a) random chance, as the NBA lottery does; or (b) rewarding the worst performing divisions. The draft isn't socialism, but it is a subsidy scheme, and subsidies mask business failures.

The draft doesn't even make any sense from the teams' perspective. By restricting intra-club competition for new talent, teams are often forced into making bad, expensive decisions. See JaMarcus Russell. If he's not an argument for abolishing the draft, I don't know what is.

I wrote a more extended piece on the subject after the 2009 NFL draft.

Interesting thought. Although I don't think I'll ever see an existing entry draft in ANY sport abolished in my lifetime. They serve as defacto marketing vehicles these days. The leagues would never give that up.


The inventor of the Chipwhich has died.

Richard LaMotta knew he had something good when he stuffed a serving of vanilla ice cream between two chocolate chip cookies and rolled it in chocolate morsels, and invented the 'Chipwich.'

But, Lamotta had no way to market his new tasty invention. After failing to raise money to roll out the 'Chipwich' nationwide, LaMotta found a way to sell the ice cream after watching hot dog vendors in Manhattan.


What started as 50 highly visible streetcarts with people standing in line for the $1 novelty, soon turned into armies of vendors nationwide. The 'Chipwich' became a success. In 2002 LaMotta sold his company to Canadain Distributor, CoolBrands International Inc, after over a billion were sold nationwide.

I plan to mourn by devouring four of the tasty treats on the couch in a prone position in one sitting.


Lewis Wheaton emails me to clarify why the NBA uses the mathematical jujitsu on the NBA lottery, instead of just 100 colored balls. And by "clarify" I mean: "CONFUSE THE LIVING SHIT OUT OF ME!"

Hey Czabe,
While you are dead on in your article about the overly-complicated NBA draft, it is based on basic math/probability.

So, it was deemed statistically invalid to flood the hopper with team-colored ping-pong balls based on wins/losses because it's too fair for the lowest slotted team (team with the best record of the lottery teams). When this happened in the Magic 1993 draft where, defying probability, they ended up with the first pick on a 1/66 chance. This was totally freakish and deemed unacceptable... basically like you guessing the first number coming out of the hopper in a 1 number, 1 shot deal, 1-66 ball lottery. Now, it is based on an entirely different statistical model where you have 1001 possibilities (basically, like putting 1000 balls in the hopper based on the 93 draft model). So now, you have a dramatically lower (and less random) chance of drawing the first pick if you are #14 in wins/losses because you have to have the right ordering that equals to the probability. So, instead of having to select 1 ball out of the 1001, you have to get the right 4 number sequence, which magnifies the odds. It could actually be worse, as the 4 number sequence (I believe) doesn't matter. 1-14 should net 24,024 possible individual combinations. By negating the order of the numbers (5-1-3-10 vs 1-5-3-10), this drops it to 1001, with 1 sequence removed to make the math more simple, leaving 1000 combinations.

So, go back to the Magic (11th seed, when there were only 11 teams lottery eligible), you had a 1/66 = 1.5% chance in 1993, would have an equivalent (11th slot) shot of 8/1000 = 0.8% chance today (this is a moderately fair comparison, because it assumes that the probability of the last team in 1993 is similarly slotted to the 11 seed today). So it basically dramatically modifies the odds. Basically, 100 balls in the hopper slpit amongst the 14 teams is to prone to have "mistakenly high" odds for the best of the worst teams. So, at worst, the odds are 1/100, or 1%. Compared to 5/1000, or 0.5% that's perhaps too good. And compared to the 1.5% that Orlando had in 93, it is way too good. And again, remember that if you did the 100 balls in the hopper, you'd have that 1% chance for each pick individually from 1-14. It basically does nothing to the #1 team in the lottery, but curtails the statistical probability more evenly for teams 2-14 making it next to impossible for the 4 teams that have less than 1% chance. In your 100 ball situation (and the old NBA draft style), nobody would have less than 1% odds.

It happens behind the curtain because in all likelihood it takes several hours to do this and would make for the worst TV ever, though ESPN would somehow try. Any network that will try to sell me on billiards and poker as prime time viewing can and will do anything. To me, I think that lotteries are stupid anyways and should be based on W/L only and if you finish lower on the pole, your ticket sales should be dramatically affected. Teams will be less likely to tank it then!



Well then, now you know why I never escaped Algebra 2 in high school, much less Trig or Calculus.



If it is found that some of the Redskins have used PEDs of any kind over the past decade, it is the only proof we have seen that suggests PEDs don't work.

Todd Nicolini

REACT: I can't top that one. Well played, Todd!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Yep, That's The Way Ol' (Hidden) Ping Pong Ball Bounces!

Holy crumpled envelopes, Batman!

My Wizards won the lottery!

John Wall, come on down!!!!

Some are already squealing about how the "fix" was in - again. Well, maybe. But it's about sweet damn time we benefited from some (possible) David Stern tom-foolery.

The story line is pretty easy to see. Abe Pollin, beloved original owner of the Bullets/Wiz, gets one final posthumous hook-up from the Commissioner after a farcically troubled season in which a star player brought guns into the locker-room as a joke.

Abe and The Commish were always tight. Abe was a loyal NBA guy through and through. He truly did think about the league's health, always, his own team, often second.

Why not throw him a bone? Surely, the NBA won't give some punk-ass Russian playboy the juicy first pick all of 5 minutes into owning one of the league's perennial cesspools.

Oh, what's that? You are saying the lottery is HONEST? Why would you believe that?

If the NBA wanted to actually end this kind of cynicism, they would expose the lottery to the light of day. Instead, they make it laughably convoluted.

Here, you want a weighted lottery? Fine. Do it this way.

Take 100 ping pong balls. Color them according to each team's chances. Nets have 25% chance at top pick? Fine. 25 blue balls. Wiz have 10% chance? Fine. 10 balls. And so on.

Put all 100 balls into big ol' vaccuum hopper. Turn it on. Let fans watch balls rattle around randomly. Open hatch on top. Announce who's ball it is.


When you get multiple Nets ping pong balls, just put them aside. Throw them to fans as souvenirs, or see how many Russ Granik can stuff in his mouth at one time.

It wouldn't be quite as "smooth" as the current set-up. A little clumsy. But so, freaking what!

NBA fans are too damn suspicious, and this league has proven to be too clever by half, too many times.

Either that, or just get rid of the lottery altogether.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Forget Smoke, Just Look at That Fire!

See that raging inferno across the river there?

It's the blaze of suspicion about Tiger Woods and performance enhancing drugs.

You don't think it's going to get out of control, do you?


Especially now that they have safely nabbed that shady "Doctor" who gave Tiger his platelet replacement therapy. Ol' Dr. Feelgood Galea got pinched today by the feds for bringing HGH across the Canadian border to treat several NFL players - including a Redskin, reportedly. Oh fun for me!

The one golf blog you need to have bookmarked - if you only have one - is Geoff Shackleford who is going to be on this thing like sunblock on the back of your neck in August.

"(Galea's assistant) Catalano told authorities that in his trips to the States, Galea typically performed two procedures on the athletes, both appearing to be an attempt to speed up healing. The first featured a cocktail mixture containing numerous medicines including Nutropin [human growth hormone], which would be injected into an athletes' injured knee. She described the cocktail as also containing Traumeel, Vitamin B-12, Lympomyosot and Procaine.

The other procedure was plasma rich platelet therapy, whereby Galea would take blood from the athlete and separate the plasma from the red blood cells after putting it in a centrifuge. The plasma would then be injected into the injured area on the athlete."

So wait a minute? Let me get this straight. Tiger claims he never used HGH or steroids. Did so angrily almost, at multiple press conferences.

Yet every single red flag, siren, and flashing light regarding PED usage is going off like crazy right now.

Body change? Check.
Injuries? Check.
Temper. Check.
Need to recover from injury? Check.
Spectacular performance? Check.
Connection to dirty doctor? Check.
Lack of testing by his sport? Check.

Oh, one more thing. Tiger has proven to be a complete fucking liar. His whole life was a lie. He lies to this day about injuries.

He wouldn't talk to police after the accident, and then tried to tell us "it's all in the police report."

But I'm gonna take him at his word when he says he never used PEDs. I'm sure he's shooting me straight on that one.

Because PED abusers never lie. Ever. Except for Marion Jones, Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro, and um, who was that other person.... oh, yeah, EVERY FUCKING CHEATER EVER IN SPORTS HISTORY!

Now, here's the big question. When it finally becomes Barry Bonds evident that Tiger used HGH or some kind of 'roids, how big will it be?

I don't think it's any bigger of a scandal than his marriage implosion. My colleague Andy Pollin thinks it'll be HUGE! Like, double his bimbo eruption.

I don't really have a feel for how this will play.

On the one hand, you gotta remember that steroids were not banned by the PGA Tour until they started testing just a few years ago. So was Tiger really "cheating?"

On the other hand, anytime an athlete does something spectacular, the public wants that spectacular to be a CLEAN spectacular. If it's obvious Tiger was juicing, then we'll have to grapple with how much did the "stuff" help him win those 14 majors?

I don't have an answer for that. Because like Bonds, Tiger was great way back when he was a wiry 21 year old. And steroids wouldn't help you get up and down from the rough, or make so many clutch putts.

I know this. Tiger's life sucks right now, and the sucking has just begun.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Sea Was Angry That Day....

Oh, what a happy story this is!

Golfer in my area spots a stranded whale - yes, whale! - beached near the 6th tee box at Lighthouse Sounds GC, in Ocean City, MD. (Fantastic course. Fantastic!)

Golfer jumps into water to save it!

Golfer returns to tee box, and rips drive down the middle!

Here's the details...

The church group was playing at Lighthouse Sound Golf Course in Maryland, when one of the golfers took a brief break - to save a whale.

Cooper related tale via email: “I was looking back over the water enjoying the view from the sixth tee box when I saw what I thought was the fin of a surf board turned upside down below the rocks. I walked back and saw that it was, in fact, what we now know is a Gervais Beaked Whale that was stuck on a sand bar.

“I reached for my phone to call 9-1-1 and, before I knew it, my friend Jeff Gibson was in the water (fully clothed, with golf shoes on) trying to push the whale off of the beach. Jeff literally had his arms wrapped around the whale’s waist pushing it off of the sand bar for 10 minutes.

“After 10 minutes of pushing him/ her, Jeff freed it and it swam away. There were three other fins in the water circling, seemingly waiting for their friend (you can’t make this stuff up).

“Jeff climbed out of the water to wild applause, stepped to the tee and ripped a 280-yard drive in soaking wet clothes and shoes. Without question the best golf story of my life (and I have had plenty).”

Wow! Imagine the Seinfeldian parallels to the George Saves The Whale Episode! Thanks to Kramer whacking Titleists into the ocean from the beach, one gets stuck in the whale's blowhole. George steps in to impress his girlfriend, to whom he lied about being a marine biologist.

Only here's one small problem. The whale in this fantastic golf story, died.

“When we got up close and saw the whale, we were absolutely mystified because none of us knew what it was. I’ve been doing this for 30 years, and I’d never seen an animal like that,” said Dave Quilter, a local charter boat captain and lead diver for the National Aquarium Marine Animal wet/dry rescue team. “We had our book of all different types of whales and aquatic creatures with us, and it wasn’t in our books, so we knew we had something special on our hands.”

When rescuers finally freed the whale from the sandbar around 5:30 p.m., the whale then swam up a canal heading towards a residential neighborhood before getting stuck underneath a dock, and was visibly injured and was displaying what scientists confirmed to be “unusual and erratic behavior.

City Manager Dennis Dare, who had been called to the scene, said that seeing the whale on the sandbar was one of the most unusual things he’s ever seen.

“It had beached itself and since it was in the sun for so long, its black skin was peeling off of its body like paint off a fire truck,” said Dare. “We were all out there trying to save this thing; we all had whale blood all over us.”

The funny thing is, whomever saw this act of incredible selflessness, had a really good camera on him. Which makes me wonder just a bit. I am also skeptical about a 280 drive down the middle. Could it have been 230 and in the right side of the fairway?

Now the question is this: does a beached shark deserve the same heroism? Or would you make wallets and boots out of it?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

He'll Be The Knicks' Problem Now

If you watched Games 5 and 6 of the Celtics-Cavs series, and had just emerged from a long, 8-year coma and knew nothing about the so-called "Chosen One", you might look at #23 for Cleveland and say: "You know, that guy James is pretty good. I could see him someday winning a championship."

Everybody in the living room would laugh at you. But that statement would be more right than what has been written about the cat so far in his career.

We live in an age of instant assumptions, projected hyperbole, and a sense that great ability is automatically entitled.

LeBron has been "great" for so long, we all seem a little puzzled that he hasn't won by now.

We shouldn't be. The guy doesn't know how to win a championship, and outside of state HS titles, hasn't won anything yet.

And may never.

We all better start realizing that the concept of the "Great NBA Player Who Was Denied a Title" did not end just because Ewing, Malone, and Barkley all retired.

Holding Lebron back in this quest for a ring, are a host of problems. But let me at least give the guy this much: I have no doubt he desperately WANTS to win a title. I think he's trying very hard.

So give him that.

Here's what Lebron needs.

1. New Coach
Puppets don't win NBA titles. You don't need to be a brilliant X&O guy per se, but you can't be a puppet. Mike Brown is such a puppet of LeBron, you can almost see the fuzzy felt ears and plastic google eyes. They say LeBron will have a direct say in who his coach is in whatever city he decides to land in this summer. Bad idea. LeBron needs a coach who will challenge him, teach, and not be so awestruck. Good luck on finding that guy. My short list would be Sloan and Popovich, and they aren't available.

2. Better Fundamentals
How can it be that guy who is a two-time MVP, and stuffs box scores like a tuna can, have terrible basketball fundamentals? Easy. Pure talent does all that stuff during the fast moving, city-to-city regular season. The playoffs are a different beast altogether. It is there, that bad fundamentals show up because teams are ready to stop you, and focused on doing just that. LeBron demonstrated this shortcoming repeatedly in Game 6. From lazily turning into a clear double team in the post to get stripped, to that high hopping bouncy dribble-charge move, to flinging passes from his waist on the run over the heads of teammates, he was all over the map against the Celtics. You want to see good fundamentals welded onto superior physical talent? Watch Kobe.

3. Maturity and Focus
LeBron has a seemingly deep need to be liked by his teammates. Hell, everybody has a need to be liked by others, but LeBron's is misguided. Jordan didn't care if his teammates liked him. He wanted them to respect him. Magic put on a more friendly face when the lights went up, but he wasn't organizing fake pictures during introductions with the fellas. All that retarded regular season nonsense needs to go. Yes, including the talcum volcano at the scorers table.

Lastly, I need to point out one thing LeBron does NOT need to win a championship.

And that is a "better supporting cast."

How come nobody was saying of the 60-win Cavs and #1 seed BEFORE the playoffs: "You know, I think there's no way this team wins the title. Besides LeBron, it's garbage!"

No, about 70% of the NBA pundits - men paid handsomely to make sense of the NBA and offer reasonable predictions - had Cleveland winning it all.

Again, there was no complaining that Antawn Jamison can't play defense, or Shaq is old, or Ilgauskas looks like a 7-foot penis, BEFORE the Cavs started their post-season quest.

Hell, nobody was even saying that after Game 1 of the series!

LeBron needs to help make his supporting cast better, not the other way around. And it's not just about drawing double-teams and passing to them. He needs to lead the LeBronettes in focus, intensity, and accountability.

For this reason alone, I don't think going to the Knicks will be such a huge setback for LeBron. Just adding him, makes the Knicks a 50-win team even if they don't add another player.

That's plenty of wins to be solidly in the middle of the Eastern Conference playoffs.

From there, the real challenge begins. Can LeBron absorb the loss they took, be honest about how and where he needs to improve, and work like hell to make it happen?

We shall see.

And for the record, I think he's a New York Knick by July.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Legacy Maker

I thought about waiting until AFTER tonite's game to write this post. Hell, LeBron might just go for 70 in a triple-overtime win to force a game 7.

Then I realized that now is actually the perfect time.

Shhh. Can you hear the stillness of the air right now? This is like the calm before a big, big storm.

If James and the Cavs win to stay alive, the storm will weaken, even perhaps dissapate if they win Game 7 to advance to the Eastern Finals.

If they lose, batten down the hatches.

The sports media shit storm that will rain down on King James will be nothing short of a Cat5 SuperStorm.

LeBron will be labeled by many, a bum.

It will be hard to argue with that.

Even harder if he bolts Cleveland for New York. You know who loses playoff series you are supposed to sweep, and then bolts for a bigger market just for the attention?

A bum does that. That's right. A bum.

His career will hardly be over. The next chapters in it will still be written. And I'm not saying a title in a new city - or two, or more - won't do plenty to hard-erase this incredible collapse.

But a loss here is going to leave a mark. A big one. One that will likely be on the record, for good. There will be the "yeah, but..." of what was not accomplished in Cleveland.

I have heard the renewed complaints that his "supporting cast" is still - STILL! - not good enough. I know Jamison can't guard an orange cone with 2-3 zone help. I am well aware of Shaq's advanced age and girth.

But I wasn't hearing any of that too loudly until this series tilted in Boston's favor.

Look, I have never been either a huge James fanatic, nor a detractor. Yet there are plenty of both out there. I never drank the Kool-Aid on this guy, I just stood amazed at how large the pitcher of it was. Call me, "curiously awed" by the guy.

The guy is a human freak-a-zoid. He prowls the court like a big ol' leopard. His hi-lite reel, un-deniable un-guardability, and numbers are otherwordly.

Yet, the LeBron James legacy hangs in the balance tonite.

Can you feel the eerie still air?

James has to deliver tonite. HAS TO! Period.

When asked if he was disappointed in his, or the team's performance in Game 5's boot-eating loss at home, James coolly said: "Me? Personally? Nah, I'm not disappointed. I'm never disappointed in my play. I feel like I could do more, but I'm not disappointed at all."

As for why Clevelanders should feel confident about a Game 6 win?

"They got me," he said.

And there you have it. From a guy who said he just wants to be "a global icon" and someone who wears his own MVP t-shirt, and from a guy who wears a "#6" shootaround jersey before tonite's game just to remind people: "Hey, remember I changed my number for next year, and I might just change teams"....

Well, suffice to say, there are a whole lot of chips sitting in the middle of the table right now.

I haven't salivated over an NBA game like this, since Kings-Lakers years ago.

To quote Bob Costas in the movie Baseketball: "You're excited? Feel these nipples!"

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Call Me, The "Bird Nerd"

These are purple martins. They are awesome little birds. They make pretty sounds, they zip around low to the ground, scarfing up flying insects for food. They are totally comfortable around humans, and will actually buzz your head if you are out working in the yard.

I want lots of these guys on my property. But first, we must go to war. More on that in a moment.

Laughable how it is, as we age, we start finding ourselves pursuing hobbies that are more properly suited to octogenarians shuffling around with canes.

Yet, this is where I stand. I am a bird nerd.

Here's the backstory. Last year, I was told by my landscaper to order a purple martin house. He espoused the captivating flight patterns, colors, and song of this rare migratory bird. He told me about how they actually come north from Central America every spring, and will somehow FIND the same birdhouses they successfully raised their young in the year before.

Sounded like total bullshit to me, but I said, okay, why not.

Sure enough I got a few of the lovely purple martins last year, and they immediately began a spat with some local house sparrows over living quarters in the 12 room house I had erected.

I had read briefly, how the house sparrow nests must be removed by the martin house "landlord" (me) diligently to prevent them from ousting and harassing the martins.

I was also told, by the literature that came with the house, that it was legal to "shoot or trap" sparrows.

Okay. Cool.

I tore out the houses, but not too religiously. I bought a Crossman Remington Summitt 22 pellet gun, and took some potshots at the sparrows, but never actually bagged one.

The martins eventually disappeared sometime in August, and I didn't think twice about it. Then the fall and winter came, and that was that for the season.

So this year, I decided to buy two bluebird houses, AND another 16 room purple martin house to try to give everyone a nice place to live.

Ohhhhh. NO.

That's when I read about so-called Sparrow Revenge Syndrome. Here's your key paragraph:

From my experiences, frequent house sparrow nest removal, without permanent removal of the house sparrows, is NOT a viable house sparrow control method. Such a method may create more aggressive, "vindictive" house sparrows because their nest cycle is broken and yet they still have a powerful desire to procreate. They will just look elsewhere in the martin house/gourd cluster for another nest site to breed. That nest site may just be an active martin nest. Remember: the male house sparrow selects the territory and nothing short of death will usually force to completely abandon the site.

Wow. I never knew that sparrows were such complete avian assholes! But then I read some more, and more, and more.

Then, I ordered this trap.

It is war, folks. Plain and simple.

Especially since I was overjoyed to see at least 4 martin pairs flying around the new house, and hopefully scoping out a new home.

If I don't aggressively eliminate the sparrows around my house, then these awesome purple martins will never nest or breed.

So all counting, I bet I am in for at least $200 worth of bird houses, and now sparrow traps.

But when I go all in, I go "all in."

I turn 42 in June. What a freakin' nerd. But at least Tony Soprano had his little affection with those stupid ducks in his pool.

Purple Martins Check Out Their New Crib! from Steve Czaban on Vimeo.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Power To Crush

During the health care debates, there was a whole lot of teeth gnashing and finger pointing about so-called "death panels."

Liberals said it was all nonsense. They said that creation of a few governmental committees would only be used to help make "informed" decisions based on science.

Others, were not so sure.

The power of government, is the power to crush. Much like the expression "the power to tax, is the power to destroy." An individual who gets caught up in the gears of bureaucracy, is not a pretty sight.

Anybody who has been on hold at the DMV knows this.

God forbid you get targeted by a federal behemoth like the Federal Trade Commission. (FTC). Skip Oliva picks up the story from here...

Bill Isely is an 85-year-old retired systems engineer living in North Carolina. Since the 1990s, he's run a small business out of his home selling herbal products and dietary supplements. Everything he sells is perfectly legal; he even registered with the FDA after some post-9/11 rules were enacted (I don't see the relationship between herbs and terrorism, but okay). Isely doesn't do business over the Internet and relies primarily on telephone orders with established customers.

One of Isely's foreign suppliers started using his name and contact information in connection with one of its websites. This was all done without Isely's knowledge or permission. One of the websites got caught up in a Federal Trade Commission investigation. The FTC, you see, pays its investigators to surf the Internet for porn — er, websites that make claims about the medicinal use of herbs and natural supplements. The FTC's position, which has no legal foundation, is that nobody is ever, ever, ever allowed to even discuss the medicinal use of such products (that is, non-FDA-regulated products) unless they present "reliable and competent scientific evidence." Which sounds great until you realize the FTC — a bunch of lawyers with no scientific or medical training — are the sole judges of what constitutes "reliable and competent scientific evidence."

Anyhow, an FTC investigator in Atlanta comes across this website claiming that a type of mushroom juice had been used in a protocol to treat cancer. The website's details were laughably sketchy. But the investigator pounced. He did a WHOIS search on the domain, which revealed Isely's name and that of another man (the actual owner). The investigator only targeted Isely, however. Indeed, even though other individuals and retailers were mentioned on the website, none of them were ever investigated.

Just Isely.

The WHOIS search turned out to be the majority of the FTC "investigation." The only other thing the investigator did was go to the website where he made two purchases of the mushroom juice — which, again, is a legal product in the U.S. — using government-issued credit cards containing fake names. Yes, the FTC actually makes fake purchases on the Internet. Why, you may ask? Because the FTC wanted to prosecute Isely for harming consumers through false advertising — except that no customers had actually complained to the FTC. Hence, the FTC had to manufacture sham transactions to "prove" Isely was engaged in interstate commerce.

Now, the website belonged to the supplier. When the investigator got his receipt and credit card statements, the foreign supplier was clearly identified as the seller. However, as a courtesy to the supplier, Isely fulfilled the orders from his own stock (after all, why send mushroom juice from Brazil when a guy in North Carolina has extra). But Isely never saw a dime from the sale. Didn't matter. Once the investigator saw Isely's address on the package, that was all the "evidence" the FTC needed to sue Isely for disseminating false advertising.

Note the FTC never called Isely to clear this whole thing up. They just sent him a letter, with an enclosed "consent order," demanding he sign it or face prosecution. They wanted him to admit to running a website he had no control over! Isely fought them in court — actually, an FTC-appointed court — and managed to prevail about a year later. The judge said the charges amounted to nothing more then "guilt by association," and that the FTC's own poor investigation prevented discovery of the website's true operator (who to this day has never been investigated, probably because he's not a U.S. citizen).

Unfortunately, Isely's victory cost him about $130,000 in attorney fees, expenses, and lost business. Federal law does allow him to recover some of that, but when he petitioned the FTC judge, he got nothing. Zero. The same judge who cleared him of the charges turned around and said that since the government was nevertheless "substantially justified" in prosecuting him in the first place, he's entitled to no compensation. Huh?

Basically, the judge said the WHOIS search and the "undercover purchases" were enough for a "reasonable person" to believe Isely had disseminated and benefitted from the allegedly false medical claims on the website. Even though the FTC made the purchases, and clearly it didn't think the claims were true. Even though there were other people clearly identified as connected with the website that the FTC never investigated much less prosecuted. Even though all of the actual evidence showed Isely never conducted any substantial business over the Internet.

Isely still has a last-ditch appeal on his attorney fee petition to the FTC commissioners, the same group that authorized this case in the first place. It doesn't look good. And to add insult to injury, the FTC "accidentally" published a confidential document containing all of Isely's personal financial information — SSN, tax returns, bank account statements — on its own website. It was out there for about a week. It's also a violation of federal law, and when I asked the FTC official responsible, he hemmed and hawed and "no commented" me when I asked if he'd broken the law.

Fun times at FTC!

Skip is a legal writer who is also a big sports fan. You can read his blog here.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Los Dummies

There's a reason why we don't elect basketball teams to set public policy.

The Phoenix Suns are a good reminder.

No matter what you think of the new illegal immigration law in Arizona, it's fair to say that just putting a “Los” in front of your team name is not going to lead to solutions.

The problems Arizona face right now with their hopelessly porous southern border, are myriad.

And real.

The Suns stance – and they insist it is not a stance, per se, just a recognition of the proud latino community – is not a serious one. They offer no amendments to the law they purport to oppose. They offer no alternate solution.

They don't even give lip service to the seriousness or complexity of the problem.

To just put a “Los” out there, does nothing. Not for a civic/law enforcement/constitutional issue like this. It is the equivalent of reducing the entirety of United States foreign policy to a t-shirt that says “Make Love, Not War.”

I don't have a particular stance on this law, because I have not read it in its entirety. I don't care to. I don't live in Arizona.

Yet, these facts haven't stopped the usual chorus of sportswriters who live far, far, away, to write the utterly predictable. Few of them have read the whole bill. Few of them have interviewed local lawmakers to get a perspective on what is in the bill, and how it will be implemented.

And I haven't read one sportswriter who thinks the bill is sensible and fair.

Hmmm. Isn't that interesting?

I find it also rather amazing that not a single Suns player or executive felt comfortable enough with the tolerance of diversity of opinion these days, to come out and say respectfully: “You know, I think the organization is wrong here. I'm disappointed we're doing this.”


Well then, I guess it's just that simple. The Phoenix Suns are wise, enlightened, and sensibly color blind. And the democratically elected legislature of Arizona, and the democratically elected governor are complete idiots, morally bankrupt, and probably racist.

Nah. Strike probably. Those racists!

Is it “appropriate” for the Suns to go “Los” on this issue, or other leagues like MLB to pull the All-Star Game next year? Should sports and politics mix like this?

No. Of course it's not appropriate.

Not because the Suns are not “entitled” to make such a choice. They can do whatever they like with their name and jerseys. It's not appropriate because their actions add nothing to the public discourse on the issue. The Suns were not there when the bill was being formulated. They won't be there after it's put into action. And they have no capacity or desire to write public policy.

So they should do themselves a favor, and shut the hell up and play basketball.

If Steve Nash still thinks the law is crap, he's welcome to say: “I hate this law, think it's wrong, and if it's not changed before next season, I'm demanding a trade.”

As a Canadian, it must be nice to have a super rich, peaceful, common language speaking neighbor to the south. One that doesn't invade their country illegally by the millions through Moose Jaw and Thunder Bay. One that doesn't shoot the crime rate through the roof in Medicine Hat, or flood the schools with non-english speaking immigrants in Saskatoon.

How about this, Steve. We'll trade you Arizona and New Mexico for British Columbia and Alberta. Then you can figure it out.

And if MLB or the NFL decides to jump in on this issue – which I doubt, because of the logistics involved in yanking an All-Star Game or Super Bowl – then they will officially be in the business of passing judgment on state lawmaking of all kinds.

To which their sensitivity and “doing good” shall have no end.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Kimbo and Tiger

My favorite Ultimate Fighter, is likely finished.

Kimbo Slice, some of us, still love you.

My more seasoned UFC friends like Solly and Galdi often chided me for being such a sucker. Slice is crap, they kept telling me. Great on YouTube, garbage against actual skilled fighters.

I didn't care. "Kimbo Slice is the baddest fighter on the planet" I would repeat like a 10 year old child. When challenged, I would say: "Dude, look at those eyes! Check out that gold fist hanging from his neck!"

Slice flopped badly in a loss on UFC's Saturday PPV, good ol' "Fleece The Public 113" or whatever they call it.

Dana White, the big bad bossman of UFC said afterward that, that, was essentially that.

I'll never forget a scintillating Saturday Night promotion of EliteXC, where Kimbo went mainstream on CBS. Good times, good fun.

Good luck Kimbo. We'll always have YouTube.


The Tiger Comeback just got more complicated.

Having withdrawn from the Players on Sunday with a neck injury (reported), his playing schedule going forward is even more uncertain. He's going to speak on Monday at a presser for the AT&T National, which has decamped to Aronomink in Philly for the next two years while Congressional here in DC recovers from major greens surgery and gets ready for the 2011 US Open.

So we'll see what he says then.

But believing what he says about this injury, is sorta like believing the stories all his mistresses are selling to the tabloids right now.

In other words, there's some truth in there, somewhere. You just got to rummage around for it.

Tiger dropped a shocker on the golf press at his Masters interview session when he claimed he played part of last year on a "partially torn" achilles.

Yet, he never once mentioned that.

Hmmm. Really. Partially torn? Achilles? Really?

On the one hand, an injury to Tiger makes sense. His driving distance is way down (a shocking 70th in the field at TPC) and he's all over the map.

On the other hand, Tiger said this injury first appeared BEFORE the Masters. And we all know after 3 rounds at Augusta, nobody was saying, "yeah, Tiger's right there, but I wonder if he's hurt?"

If you want the conspiracy theory angle on it, it's simple. Tiger is sick of being just another tour player, not dominant, and being watched for every f-bomb he utters (he let loose with 3 of them on the 18th hole on Thursday). He's going through a divorce, and the best way to deal with it, is to claim injury and basically flush the season. That way, he also gets to avoid the Ryder Cup for a second straight time, and thus also avoid potential Euro-Tabloid hounding and drunken hecklers.

Or, his neck really is hurt. And he'll be back playing more golf - probably average - later this summer.

We shall see.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Sushi of Sports

I have been watching a metric ton of Stanley Cup playoffs this spring, and not just my now dismissed Washington Capitals. As such, I have pondered what has kept hockey at such a miserably low TV rating for pretty much, well, forever.

For starters, it is a sport that I would venture 90% of the sports watching men in America have never, ever, ever played. Not just on ice, but even street hockey.

This is the biggest, primary barrier to the sport.

There are other reasons - lack of stats, preponderance of European/Canadian players, difficulty in seeing the puck, lack of basic strategic understanding. I could go on and on with those forever.

But cutting to the heart of it, I think, is the fact that most of hockey is frustration and failure. There is very little scoring compared to other American sports (although, more than soccer), and most plays are foiled at some point well before resulting in even a shot on goal.

Which 90% of the time, statistically speaking, turn into saves. Which is a success for the goalie, but ultimately a failure for the offensive team.

Hockey to the un-initiated, is lots and lots of hacking, whacking, checking and grabbing.

Yet to me, and others who love the sport, or played it at any level (me, C League adult ice hockey at midnight with other middle aged dudes) the game remains electric, flowing, and filled with constant tension.

In this way, I think hockey is the sushi of sports. If you like it, you LOVE it. If you don't, you'll never eat it. Period. It's gross. All or nothing.

I said this on my radio show on Tuesday, and got many thoughtful responses. This was one.


I'm with you, hockey is exactly like sushi. I think the "lots of failure" is close but not quite the whole picture. Growing up in Michigan I used to play and am a big hockey fan but watching in DC and with my friends and occassionally my girlfriend, here is why I think Americans aren't into it:

1. People don't understand the game/rules, my friends ask me constantly what certain things mean. Probably comes from most people not playing growing up so they aren't attached.

2. Its hard to watch. Americans are all A.D.D., the non-stop action without a break to stop and chat with your friends is not condusive for the casual fan. The small puck also plays into it being hard to follow.

3. Its hard to follow your favorite superstar player during the game. Without clearly defined possessions, shifts where players come and go without a clear break (not to mention they are only on for a minute at a time) coupled with equipment that makes it hard to follow them while they are all playing makes it impersonal for most fans.

Ok that is all. Thanks.

-Joe in DC

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Clown's Mouth or Golf Marvel?

"It's such a fine line between stupid, and clever."

- David St. Hubbins - Guitarist, Spinal Tap

This week, golf fans get to weigh in on the legitimacy of the infamous 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass. Is it a stroke of Pete Dye genius? Or a "clown's mouth".

Whether or not Sawgrass is the "5th Major" is an argument I find boring. My take: No. Just like there's really no "5th Beatle" there's no "5th Major". No matter how much money they shell out for the winner. No matter how strong the field. No matter how many FedEx Cup points are at stake.

No, no, and no. Run along.

As for the 17th however, that debate is endlessly fascinating to me. To wit, here's an annual TPC rant from my email in-box buddy John Witzke:

When your host course is a swampland goat track that features a made-for-TV clown's mouth, windmill and an island green, you're just never gonna be taken seriously as some sort of "5th major".

Doesn't matter how much $$$ you put up to attract the world's top players to come hang out at the amusement park located in the backyard of your headquarters in buffalo by the sea, FLA.

Nor does it matter how much NBC deepthroats Tim Finchem right when they know they've got the casual fan sucked in. This is no more important than the John Deere Classic or the Shearson-Lehman-Hutton-Andy-Williams-Clambake-Buick-Invitational-at-La-Jolla-Pines.

And of course, it goes without saying that when you make your pipe dream a full field 156 man event, inviting every schmuck on earth that has a tour card, sometimes you're gonna be forced to act like you're happy to be handing over that big fat check and a 5(!!!!!) year exemption to Jodie Mudd or Craig Perks.

Worst week in pro golf, Czabe.

REACT: Well, John is right in many regards. However, a few "yeah buts" on my part. First of all, I am fan of the 17th hole. Big fan. It's controversial, but fair, in my mind. Yes, even when a wind shear cuts down a Paul Goydos tee shot in a playoff and rinses his dreams of a massive payday and much needed exemption, that's golf.

The 17th is a hi-wire daredevil act, and it comes so late in the round, it exists in your head for hours before you even get to that tee.

I have played now both a replica of 17 ( and the real deal. It's a scary look, no question about it. It's also a little popcorn wedge or 8 iron at most.

Make the shot, pro. You and your finely creased slacks, and courtesy. Make the f'ing shot!

As for the tournament, John is right. A full 156 man field is absurd. Pick the top 100 and make it taste better without all the gristle.

But I know why they don't do that. This event is to solely enrich the members of The Tour. Period.

In fact, that's why Deane Beman BUILT the joint in the first place. Beman's dream with Dye's creativity, turned a $1 parcel of god-awful Florida swamp into something pretty cool.

And helped make the Tour and the players rich.

I can respect that.

The layout itself is pretty forgettable, save for the closing 3 holes. But again, I must add a caveat. This is Florida, people. You can only do so much with +/- 3 feet of natural elevation change, and your stereotypical Florida golf course features.

Sprinkle of palm trees here. Swampy hazard there. Wind, wind, wind.

Not my favorite state for golf courses, to be honest, but I would wager many Floridians would admit as much themselves.

One of the coolest things about visiting Sawgrass this winter with my main man Mark Spencer, was looking at the framed invoice for raw materials that was typed up by Dye himself on letterhead during construction.

Who would think I could marvel at a document stating: "10,000 cubic tons crushed white gravel for cart-path rough in: $25,000."

But I did.

TPC Sawgrass was a dream of a pioneering sports commissioner, Deane Beman. I respect dreams. Too bad the current commish is so unworthy of the office.

End of rant.

TPC Sawgrass & Amelia Island from Steve Czaban on Vimeo.

Czabe's Trip to TPC Sawgrass - January 2010.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Ohhh, That's A Dagger!

So I'm watching "Dancing With The Stars" tonite, and wondering to myself: "Dude, all these chicks (minus Niecy Nash) are smokin' hot. Why don't you just TiVO the episodes, and zip through the crap to get to the booty shakin'?"

Especially since Erin Andrews is bringing her "A" game. And I have no idea how she's actually dancing.

Unlike on ESPN when she has to "dress down" in order to NOT be a sex object - remember, she's a journalist - on DTWS (as the kids like to acronymize) she is whored up to the max.

And by "whore" I don't mean an actual woman who trades sex for money.

I mean a woman who is dressed up very seductively with dark eye liner, bright red lipstick, and tight skimpy outfits that make men want to pay upwards of a thousand dollars to have sex with her, if they could.

Am I making sense here?

Anyway, my point is, Erin Andrews is hot. I like her. I was nowhere near those hotels when that asshole filmed her curling her hair while naked and putting it on the internet.

While I may, or may not, have the entire spliced together footage of said horrible incident on my laptop converted from the somewhat grainy .flv flash files and enhanced into a nice meaty hi-res .avi file, I swear I haven't watched it in days.

Perhaps over a week.

So yeah, I respect her for her journalism skills and now her dancing - in respectable journalism clothing.


Where was I? Oh, yeah. My wife. So the lovely Mrs. C and I are goofing on the show in general, when she blurts out:

HER: "So who is this dude here. Wasn't he on a soap opera?"
ME: "No, he's the professional dancer."
HER: "Oh. Well, this is why this show is dumb. I don't even know who the famous people are supposed to be."
ME: "The girl is Erin Andrews, the ESPN sideline reporter."
WIFE: **blank stare**


One would think that Erin might be happy that not everybody knows who she is, or what happened to her.

But I know people on TV. They HATE IT when people don't know who they are.

Oh well, I'm glad she's having fun. She's super hot. Dances nice. And when I need a football coach to give me a cliche about "halftime adjustments" she'll be standing there holding that microphone, looking very serious and all.

Carolina On My Mind

Just got back late Sunday night from our fabulous stay at "The National" in the Sandhills area of Southern Pines. (aka: "Pinehurst") If you have never experienced the glory of a springtime day of golf amidst the pines, you just haven't lived.

The consensus of the group was that THIS, was the BEST Malcolm Memorial Tournament ever. The weather was warm and lovely. Nobody was arrested. And best of all, Team Czabe was victorious, with a withering Sunday singles barrage to break at 30-30 tie.

Mucho mucho thanks, to Ken Crow, seen below with his aspiring little Rory McIlroy, Benjamin (10 years old, and already beating Czabe's pants off in a chipping contest!)

Ken is the bossman at "The National" and if you want to book a golf trip of a lifetime with unbelievable stay and play accomodations then just call the club and ask for him by name. Wouldn't hurt to drop The Czabe's name for a special little hookup!

You just can't have a certain weekend in May of 2011, because we already re-book the minute the scorecards are ripped up and thrown away from this year's tournament.

I've got a nice little video to edit in the coming days, but for now, here's a little pictorial recap of the event.

Warmup on the range, always important. And our group gets at least 3.5 minutes before each round. Bums.

Don't tell Jack, but we put the Malcolm trophy next to the championship monument on the way to #1 tee!

Ron Thomas laces a shot into #18 in front of the group on Friday at The National.

Being tournament chairman means taking crap for the rest of the group. Here, Jerry at Talamore gives me a good ol' fashioned North Cackilacki butt-whippin' over our slow play. Sorry, Jer. We'll pick it up!

Catcalls and cockatails on the veranda of Talamore

Grillin' and chillin' outside the "Butler Cabin."

Bill Fix attempts to give the cart girl at Talamore an impromptu golf lesson. Note: It didn't go well.

Ed Barbour finesses a wedge into #17 at Talamore.

Pete Cornellier shows that if you can't play it off the pine straw, you are going to struggle in the Sandhills.

Dave Adams sticks the dagger in with a par on #18.

Bryant Hatcher makes good use of post-match "down time" by checking his "" account. We just called him: "!"

Jimmy Joseph tries to "stay level" no matter how he's playing.

Kurt Knapper hit the Derby for a nice payday. He missed it for an even BIGGER payday! I'll let him tell you all about that!

Michael Kurtz lashes it out of the wispy hair tufts.

Jack Mateosky decides to "Release the Kraken!"

Mike McGowan. Not, "Malcolm McLeod." But close. Sorta.

Bob Miller. Reliable wheel man. Right to left ballstriker!

Ron Thomas grinding, baby, grinding.

Max Watson finds plenty to laugh about.

Czabe humbly accepts the Malcolm Trophy. Hell, he built it, why shouldn't he take it home!