Tuesday, September 04, 2007

We're back...and hoping to help

It's been a little over three months, and things seem to be getting back to normal in my life again, and I feel that it's time to resume posting again - ESPECIALLY when a story like this touches my heart like this one has...

(Thank you to those of you who reached out to me and offered your support and prayers during a very difficult period in my life...)

Recently, I purchased a copy of "From Baghdad With Love" that chronicles the heartwarming story of an American soldier who was befriended by a local puppy, and his stories about successfully getting Lava back to the United States.

Well, I was reading an article at the Rocky Mountain News that highlighted the plight of ANOTHER American soldier, and HIS hope at getting his canine companion safely back to the States.

I did a little research, and the soldier has his own blog, called Operation Bring Charlie Home. You can make a donation through PayPal there, to help defray the high cost of bringing this adorable dog back to the United States, which I have, and I hope that many of those that read this blog will help out in any amount that you can.

My Dad was in the 8th infantry in WWII, and he relayed stories of many situations like this from HIS war experiences. Dad passed away suddenly a little over four years ago, and it's in his honor and memory that I would like to re-open my blog, and ask your assistance in this cause.

"Charlie" bears more than a casual resemblance to OUR little furperson "Triniti", so this story resonates with me for a NUMBER of reasons...

I'm back......and hopefully so will "Charlie" - SOON!

Monday, July 02, 2007

On hiatus

My apologies for being out of touch for quite awhile....while I was making the last posting on May 19, a series of events began to unfold that culminated in the receipt of some devastating personal news on May 21.

This news basically rocked my world. Let's just say that questions about the "Ross tartan" will always have significant meaning to me...and will always initiate feelings of supreme sadness and disappointment.

I am still dealing with the after-effects of this development, and the blog will practically be on hiatus for the foreseeable future.

In the meantime, I have been fortunate to include TartanGolfGrips.com putter grips in the player packages at the American Century Celebrity Golf Challenge that runs from July 13-15, and also at a charity golf tournament being played locally on July 9 benefiting the Long Beach VA Hospital.

Maybe someday I will discuss these developments - I hope not, however...but my primary objective in my life right now is healing...

Your prayers are very much appreciated in the meantime....

Have a safe, happy Fourth of July....

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Artan of the Week (May 18, 2007) - IRISH OPEN edition

Wow - things have been REALLY hectic at my "day job", and between juggling the pipe band, fulfilling orders for TartanGolfGrips.com, doing a little rehearsal preparation for the Kingsmen Alumni Corps, and a MAJOR overhaul of the TartanGolfGrips.com secure shopping cart and website links - I just realized that I'm a full TWO DAYS late for the Artan of the Week...gaack...

There's also ANOTHER special project that will take place in conjunction with the 18th Annual American Century Golf Championship that has sucked up whatever precious free time I didn't have before, but I'm REALLY excited about this opportunity....I'll let the cat out of the bag more later, but we will be heading to beautiful Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course in mid-July to participate in the American Century Golf Championship.

I've signed on as a walking scorer, and I'm really excited about this opportunity...I've watched the event on NBC for several years now, but this is the first time that I've ever been to Lake Tahoe in the summertime, PLUS seeing all of these athlete/celebrities play golf at the same time will be REALLY, REALLY fun...it would be a dream come true if I got to keep score for John Elway's group...

But I digress - the REAL reason for today's posting is to highlight the Artan of the week for May 18, 2007. This week's design highlights the OVERSIZED paddle grip that is an option at TartanGolfGrips.com. I personally use this grip myself, because I like the feel of a larger grip - you can see the extra grip material at the top of the grip. (You can ALSO see the damage that was done to the Artan design when the owner attempted to install the grip, and used a SCREWDRIVER to try and force the grip onto the shaft...I had to bail him out...the screwdriver shaft STILL embedded inside the grip, the HANDLE long gone as it had pulled off the end of the shaft...THAT was fun....you can see HIS customization to the artwork on and to the left of the "I" in HARRINGTON...oh well, I told him it's REALLY PERSONALIZED now...)

My personal full-swing grips are Eaton Golf Pride Dual Durometer "Yellows" which are the midsize offering in the Dual Durometer line. It's interesting to note that both Cheri and Lorena Ochoa both use the "Reds" in the GolfPride Dual Durometer line....
This grip was done for my neighbor across the street, Steve Harrington, and coincidentally, one of my favorite professional golfers, PADRAIG HARRINGTON is leading the Irish Open through the third round.

It would be SO COOL if Padraig could win his home country's Open tournament - it would be the first time in 25 years, as the last Irishman to win the Irish Open was John O'Leary back in 1982. How Irish a name is THAT??? Half the COUNTRY can probably lay claim to being the '82 Irish Open winner!

I think it's fate....it's been 25 years, and Padraig's gonna win this event. It's also nice to mention that the NEW IRELAND flag grip has been selling REALLY nicely since we debuted it back in what, March? I sold a couple of those this last week alone...as the word gets out, I think more and more people are going to want one of these....(at right).

Oh, during this past week, I found it interesting to learn that Nike is ALSO getting aboard the black club phenomenon that I chronicled earlier, when they announced the launch of their SV Tour Black Satin Wedge. (Shown below)

We're looking at another BUSY, BUSY weekend - today's haircut day, I'm gonna stop by Kemp Ford and check out a 2008 Ford Escape Hybrid, I've got Pipe Band rehearsal this afternoon at Johnny Carson Park in Burbank from 2-5, the website needs some more link updating, the lawn needs to be cut, edged and the plum tree needs to be pruned, and HOPEFULLY, we'll head over to the driving range to at least keep the swing in plane before heading out to play some tennis with our friends Mike and Michelle.

Sleep??? Who needs it???

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Photo contest help required

Let's have a little fun today with photos taken at The Player's Championship (courtesy of The Golf Channel). The three best responses will get posted after I review 'em...

I'll lead...

This one was taken after Ian Poulter stepped in the Pepto Bismol spill in the training room immediately off the player's locker room...

And THIS one is of Sergio Garcia doing his best 76 antenna ball imitation...
(That probably only makes sense to our Southern California readers... please click on the link above to see what I'm talking about...)

Have fun with THIS one...

Jason Gore

I TiVo'd THE PLAYERS championship yesterday, and I am INCREDULOUS that Jason Gore STILL has not been approached by an equipment manufacturer for a sponsorship...

I'm sure I'm naive about how these things REALLY work, but I cannot figure out why this guy is sponsor-free...

He's funny, talented, hits the ball a country mile, has a megawatt-smile and a sense of humor like few of the many robots on the PGA Tour do...

I WAS proud to see him representing our Pepperdine Waves on his cap, however...you're missing the boat, Callaway Golf, by not hiring this guy...he's HUGELY popular with the fans, has got the game, and could be a tremendous spokesman...

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Back in black...

Besides being one of my FAVORITE AC/DC tunes, I've noticed a new trend developing in golf club design, and it's one that I really like...A LOT....almost enough to get me to stray from my unnatural devotion to Callaway Golf clubs...

I first "strayed" a couple of years ago when I happened to meet " Dr. Jim" Yeh, the creative genius behind Alpha Golf Clubs, one of the most popular brands on the Long-Drive circuit, when I noticed an ad for the Alpha v5 driver...

Curious, I purchased one of the heads in a 12degree configuration, and built a club with it using the Aldila NV-Orange shaft with a half inch cut down to increase the control....FUN friggin' club, I might add, but it makes a RACKET when you hit it....I use it as my backup driver when my confidence in my Callaway EFT Fusion wanes (which hasn't been waning in awhile, so the Alpha is upstairs gathering dust in the corner of my office.), but it LOOKS sweet...it's got a tough, all black finish, INCLUDING the face of the club, which is REALLY convenient for seeing where the impact point of the ball was...

I found myself getting weird feelings of interest this morning
when I was skimming through GolfWeek magazine, and found a new TaylorMade R7 SuperQuad ad, and started getting unfaithful thoughts towards my Callaway EFT Fusion driver....

So, to make "those" thoughts go away, I wrote an e-mail to Callaway Golf's customer service department, and pitched 'em an idea for an all-black themed driver (including the face) that would celebrate their 25th anniversary AND Gary Player's 50th appearance at The Masters tournament this year....I called it the "Black Knight" model FT-25...

Does anyone happen to know what DAY is considered Callaway's 25th anniversary? I know that they started in 1982 (I was in college, and I remember the "Hickory Stick" ads I used to see at the back of the golf magazines - those musta been the days when Mr. Callaway was selling 'em outta the trunk of his car), and this marks their 25th anniversary...but WHEN???

Friday, May 11, 2007

Artans of the Week (May11, 2007)

This week, it's CHARITY GOLF TOURNAMENT DAY, and TartanGolfGrips.com is busy, busy, busy.... this Artan(TM) celebrates the La Reina High School Athletic Booster Club's charity golf tournament that is going on today at Lost Canyons Golf Course.

I'm particularly proud of this Artan(TM), because it actually incorporates the La Reina school uniform's tartan into the design, along with the school crest and text...the tartan was actually sampled from the order form for their school uniforms!!!

We will be auctioning off a putter grip with this design at the auction, and also supporting the event with grips for the winners, the LAST place team and other players...

Good luck to the Booster Club, and have a great day on the course to the participants!!! (Wish I was going to participate myself, but I'm off to my 'day job'...)

THIS Artan was designed for Duramed Futures Tour player D'Rae Ward, who is hosting a fundraising tournament down in Texas today...

We are sympathetic to D'Rae's situation, and have decided to forward 77% of the
net proceeds of EVERY County Donegal Irish district tartan design sold in 2007 to help D'Rae defray her tour expenses...(get it, 77 in '07 - we just don't want D'Rae to SHOOT 77...hmmm...maybe I should only forward 60%...nahhhh...)

If you're Irish, and your family hailed from County Donegal, or if you just like the design, please order your own PERSONALIZED County Donegal Artan, and help out D'Rae in the process...

Monday, May 07, 2007

Requiem for a best friend - Cinder - June 7, 1993 to May 6, 2007

Exactly 24 hours and 30 minutes ago, we lost my best fuzzbuddy.....this is my loving memory of Cinder, my cat and the Senior Vice President of Curling Up Under The Halogen Lamp at TartanGolfGrips.com.

At 10:15PM on May 6, 2007, my feline friend Cinder slipped gently away from my tender embrace and into Heaven's...

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Cinder had been diagnosed with impaired kidney function by our awesome veterinary team at Oak Park Veterinary Hospital about a year ago, and her health began to decline about two months ago. We've had her on a special kidney diet for the last year or so, but her eating and drinking had become more and more sporadic, and as a result we took her back in for a check-up, and the results were sobering. As a result, we've been giving her subcutaneous fluids every morning, and unlike her usual fussy self, she holds still for EVERY single application of the fluids.

Cinder was born on Monday, June 7, 1993, exactly a week before my wife's birthday - we don't know where or to who, as my wife adopted her from the Chatsworth, CA animal shelter to give me as a birthday gift for my birthday in early September 1993, and she was exactly three months old when I first got her.

We went through the Northridge earthquake together, and I remember going back up to my apartment at the Warner Center Apartments to look for her, the smell of the ruptured gas pipes hanging heavy in the air, calling for her in the early morning light as the aftershocks rolled through, one after the other... My furniture had ALL been knocked over, and it looked like God had taken a big spoon and just mixed around every piece of furniture...we headed back up to check on her, and there was no sign or sound of her for the longest time, but I finally whistled for her with a certain whistle I used to make to call her for mealtime, and she finally 'CHIRRUP"'d the way she used to, and popped her head up from behind a pillow on my bed...perfectly fine!!! Looking like - "Well - where they hell have YOU been???"

We loaded her into a cardboard carrier to take her over to my folks house on Burbank Boulevard in Woodland Hills, and while we were there, she CHEWED the entire side of the carrying case away, rendering it COMPLETELY unusable...

She was a spirited little being, that's for sure...

When she was a kitten, she used to jump up on towels, and climb her way all the way to the top, usually leaving a trail of pulled terry-cloth threads in her wake...

In the meantime, she's basically ruled the roost in her regal style, disdainfully looking at the Cockers from the top of the stairs, occasionally high-jacking them by jumping on their backs and scaring them silly, but usually just hanging out quietly on the comforter in our bedroom.

I think we went to the vet's less than ten times in her life, usually only for a "lion cut" haircut to keep her cool and mat-free in the summertime...
Well, Cinder passed away in my arms last night at 10:15PM...I could tell Saturday evening that she was kinda fading, but she hung in there all day Sunday...enough for me to set her by her favorite window out the front kitchen to watch the trees blow in the wind, and then she stayed pretty much in the same place all afternoon yesterday...we went to the driving range, and then played two sets of tennis and went to dinner with some friends...
Got home, and my wife said "Why don't you pick her up and take her through to the living room, and we can watch a little TV?"...that was about 9...I laid down on the couch with her on my chest, stroking her head and side, and she purred quietly...At 10:15 exactly, she coughed a couple of times, retched, exhaled slowly and was gone....she just went limp in my arms...

It was a VERY powerful moment, and I just laid there on the couch with her for about an hour, thanking God for taking her peacefully at home, rather than on the exam table at the vet's, with a catheter hanging out of her forearm...

We laid her little body on her favorite blanket, and placed her body in a cardboard box, and put the box in the freezer in the garage for overnight. I took her to the Los Angeles Animal Pet Park in Calabasas the next day, and had her cremated, and had her remains placed in a pewter, cat-shaped urn that now sits on my dresser, with her collar and tags hanging around the statue's neck...

I cried quite a bit last night, and in the ensuing months I have cried several times more - she was a cute little buddy that was an important part of a great period in my life, and she is missed greatly...

Update: My Mom moved from the long-time family home on Burbank Boulevard to Thousand Oaks on my birthday last year, and we inherited her two black cats, Holly and Ivy, who we adopted at Chrstimastime from the Agoura Hills animal shelter to keep Mom company after my Dad's passing in 2003. (2003 was a LOUSY year, not just for me - I've talked to several friends and they all agreed that 2003 was a heavy, hard year for a lot of people...)

So we now have kitties in the house again...but I still miss Cinder...

Saturday, May 05, 2007

LPGA news and Duramed Futures Tour players news

I'm here working on the shopping cart overhaul tonight (another WILD Cinco De Mayo celebration here) and watching the TiVo'd coverage of today's LPGA tournament.

Several of my favorite LPGA players are seriously in the hunt today, as Stephanie Louden is tied with three other golfers in the lead, and my Pepperdine buddy Katherine Hull is only two strokes back in seventh place....ONE stroke ahead of Lorena Ochoa!

Looks like it's going to be a VERY interesting championship round tomorrow...but it's great to see two of the NICEST players on the LPGA (Stephanie and Katherine) in contention this week...I'll be hoping for good things for BOTH of you tomorrow!!!

While we're talking about hoping for good things...if any of my Texas readers are free next FRIDAY, May 11, 2007, Duramed Futures Tour player D'Rae Ward is having a fundraising golf tournament at the Glen Garden Country Club. You can read more about this event at D'Rae's website here... D'Rae is ALSO in the hunt at this week's Duramed Futures Tour event, which had today's play canceled due to high winds in the El Paso area...D'Rae's 24th birthday is coming up three days after the tournament, by the way...

Like I said, Sunday's golf is going to be VERY interesting...

Moving on to LOCAL charity fundraising events... TartanGolfGrips.com has created a VERY special customized putter grip for the La Reina High School Athletic Boosters Charity Fundraiser at the Lost Canyons Golf Club on the SAME day, Friday, May 11, 2007! The grip incorporates the La Reina uniform tartan, the school crest and matching text, and looks SLICK!!! It got sent off to Georgia to be produced on Friday.....this sounds like a REALLY fun event, and I wanted to put the word out for local golfers who are looking for a NICE round of golf at Lost Canyons...one of my favorite high-end local courses...

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Artan of the week - May 3, 2007

Sorry for being out of the loop, folks...life has taken a particularly busy turn for the past couple of weeks...

On a happy note, TartanGolfGrips.com had the best month EVER in April 2007! Huge thank you's to those that have found out about the personalized putter and full-swing grips, and have signed up...I have been HOPPING to keep up with order processing and communications (more about that below), and it's been an exciting and challenging month! (But those are the kinds of problems that aren't really problems...except for the shipping issues (below)).

On ANOTHER happy note, I did a sales presentation for the Los Angeles Chapter of the Executive Women's Golf Association on April 21, and the ladies were VERY excited and receptive about the grips, and it was really cool to see people "get" the idea, and realize the gift potential for "that golfer who already has everything". Or, buy one for THEMSELVES!!!

On another sorta happy note, I "introduced" the 20 or so women who have expressed interest in forming a new VENTURA COUNTY/CONEJO VALLEY chapter of the EWGA yesterday...

Between the Drum Corps and the Pipe Band, and the business, and work and life and chores and bills and golf and Cheri and.....I have allowed too much time go by. An e-mail blast from Los Robles Greens yesterday jarred me awake, and made me realize that I need to step aside, and allow the interested parties to gel on their own, because if they wait for ME to schedule the time, it probably WILL NOT happen....at least not THIS year!!!

I went into 2007 with a strange feeling that THIS year would be the one that we FINALLY get a Ventura County EWGA Chapter launched, and Sally Quinlan (of the VCJGA and ex-LPGA) and a couple of other women golf pros have indicated their support as well. Sally's offering women's lessons on Saturday mornings, and women's golf leagues over the summer, so she's a perfect one to be involved with this adventure.

While we're talking about Los Robles, it looks like it, Rustic Canyon, Elkins Ranch, Camarillo Springs, Sterling Hills, Buenaventura and Olivas Links are going to be our new "home" courses, as we officially bade FAREWELL to Sunset Hills as members as of April 30, 2007. It's a pretty nice course overall (Kristen always calls it "a dog track"), but their BILLING systems, and LACK of a serious system of internal controls and billing procedures meant that we faced a CONTINUAL stream of unauthorized charges to our account, because our member number was REALLY easy to remember, and I guess people overheard it, or found it on a list somewhere, and we were getting charged for days that we didn't go play, for $140 bar tabs on a Texas Hold-Em poker tournament that I didn't even know EXISTED, and on and on and on....

The final straw was getting a form letter from the GM announcing that our account was "several months overdue" and they were going to pursue it from a collection agency. We had ALWAYS paid our monthly charges! We even paid the small monthly finance charges that they assessed, while we REPEATEDLY requested a detailed breakdown of the supposedly "in arrears" portion of our account balance.

I have a rather FAT FILE of letters where I requested detailed billing support documentation, and only got ONE response, where I identified the unauthorized $140 bar tab, complete with a $25 tip, our surname misspelled, and NO signature on the face of the invoice...that was after the $12 cart bill where the old cart girl gave herself a $25 tip, on top of the $5 that I had already signed for...the place is REALLY interesting that way...

Every year, they run a customer-satisfaction survey, and every year, we RIP them on their accounting and billing procedures...American Golf FINALLY issued a statement from the GM that all "charge-throughs" would have to be signed for, ON the face of the invoice, but they rarely give you a copy at the time, and NEVER in your monthly billing statement...we finally got sick of having every month's bill arrival be a stress-filled adventure, and decided to stop the madness by finally cancelling our membership...we ended up eating a couple of grand for our initiation fees, but to be honest, they've filled up the membership rolls, and quite honestly, the course AIN'T that great any more...you don't get ANYTHING for your monthly beyond your green fees...they still charge you for cart rentals, they still charge your to participate in the Guys 'N Dolls tournaments...if you don't play any golf, you're STILL on the hook for almost $400 a month...and we haven't been playing enough to justify the hit to the budget, plus the risk of the overcharges.....

We used to be able to jet around 18 holes in about 2.5/3 hours, but lately, it's taken that long to get around the front nine, almost...(Snark sighting time: Some of the new members ALSO need to go to MEMBER TRAINING CAMP - we were recently HORRIFIED to see some younger woman DRAGGING her fully-loaded pull-cart DIRECTLY ACROSS the ninth green, completely CLUELESS about the damage that her wheels were wreaking upon the putting surface...just because you're a new country club member doesn't mean that you can treat the course like it's your own, lady...I hope that you didn't do that at the local muni either...UNbelievable....)

I'm sure we'll still visit occasionally to play golf with our buds Margaret and Steve, but it feels good to know that all of our golf there will now be "cash and carry" with NO ability to tack on ridiculous tips and assorted overbillings and unauthorized charges...we cancelled our membership on April 2, and paid up our "overdue" account balance via certified mail on April 26, so we're FREE!!!

FAREWELL, American Golf, FAREWELL Sunset Hills Country Club - it's been real, it's been fun, but it HAS NOT been real fun...

On a down note, I experienced a "blue screen of death" condition mid-month, which caused my graphics software to issue files that were considered corrupt by the printing software at C-Thru Grips, and we labored mightily for about two weeks to get the situation corrected...after purchasing new software, and re-creating many of the designs that were created in early April, we've finally worked our way through the order backlog. {phew} (THANK YOU and kudos to the team at C-Thru Grips for working with me through this challenging time!)

On ANOTHER down note, we're having ALL kinds of difficulties getting grips delivered to PO Boxes by the U.S. Postal Service....maybe they can use some of the impending postal rate increases to IMPROVE YOUR SERVICE!!! I cannot tell you how MANY HOURS I've wasted, issuing "missing order" requests to my contacts at corporate...I'm sure they're sick of me bugging them about it, too...

On the MOST down note, my beloved 13 year old fuzzball puddy-tat Cinder was diagnosed with kidney failure...we knew that her kidney function has been declining for over a year, and have been feeding her Science Diet k/d specially formulated food, but she took a turn for the worse in early April, and we got a sobering diagnosis. It doesn't APPEAR to be related to the Chinese contaminated wheat gluten, but who knows how far that garbage spread into the pet food (and people-food, for that matter) production system. We've been treating Cindy with daily subcutaneous fluid injections to keep her hydrated, and some days she's pretty spunky, energetic and eating, and some days, she's pretty punky and quiet...

Cinder's never been a really CONSISTENTLY warm little soul, but she's charming in her own cantankerous way...for SOME unexplainable reason, she's ALWAYS been really lovey between 3 and 6 in the morning, and usually makes her way downstairs to our bedroom where she jumps up onto the bed and either snuggles up next to me, or better yet, curls up in the small of my back and sleeps ON me...she's definitely MY cat...and I LOVE to hear her purr contendedly as she snuggles up against me...

Cheri rescued her from the Chatsworth Animal Shelter, and gave her to me for my birthday back in 1993 when she was exactly 3 months old. She was born on June 7, 1993, and she got her name because she's gun-metal grey, with white cotton ball paws and a white blaze on her chest. She's a BEAUTIFUL cat, and she knows it!!! The people at the pound had labed her "DSH" for Domestic Short Hair, and we thought that it might have just been kitten-fuzz...turns out that it's REALLY a clever marketing ploy to get 'em adopted, because she's the FUZZIEST long-haired cat that I've ever seen! We spend a LOT of time with the brushes and combs, working out the mats that sometimes develop...she purrs contentedly, until "the snap" when SOMETHING goes off inside, and the claws come out...then WATCH OUT...same with the vet's...let's put it mildly...she's NOT a good patient...a Tasmanian Devil-cat, maybe, but NOT a good patient...

One of my most VIVID memories from the Northridge Earthquake was returning back to my heavily damaged apartment immediately after the main shock and set of aftershocks, to check on her... I whistled a little whistle that I've given her since she was a tiny little kitten, and she popped up, alive and unhurt, chirping back to me from amidst all of the overturned and damaged furniture in my Warner Center Apartments apartment....words cannot adequately express the sense of relief and joy that I felt at that moment! I then packed her into a cardboard cat carrier to drive the mile or so to my parents house down the road in Woodland Hills, only to have her CLAW her way out of the carrier...what a character...she was sitting there in the rear parcel tray, tail curled about her front cotton-ball paws, with this look on her face like "That'll show you to try putting ME in a cardboard carrier, Mister!" One of the first things that I did when life began to return to normal was purchase a PLASTIC cat carrier with a vinyl-coated, heavy wire door...I showed HER!!!

Now it looks like we're in the top of the ninth inning in the game of life...she's a good girl, and I love her dearly...hang in there, "Kitty-Putt"..you be a good girl, and be strong for Dad, OK??? {sniff}

Well, now that our therapy session's over - it's time for the REAL reason for this post...today's Artan(TM) of the week comes to us from halfway around the world, in SOUTH AFRICA. These two Artans(TM) were requested by a gentleman from Gauteng, South Africa who originally wanted an out-of-production version of the Scotland flag grip that's offered, and when I relayed that information back to him, I enclosed a mockup of these two grips.

His surname is Ward, and there are two Ward tartans. Since he wanted two of the out-of-production Scotland putter grips, I made these for him, and judging from his response, I think that he's happier than he would have been with the same old white-backed Saltire pattern...the one on my left is my PERSONAL favorite, but I'm a complete sucker for any tartan that has purple and green in it....

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Byron Nelson

Read a great article about Mr. Nelson and his wife Peggy, here...

He is missed...

Friday, April 20, 2007

EWGA news

I am getting ready tonight for a meeting with the EWGA's Los Angeles chapter at their 2007 season kickoff and membership recruitment meeting, which is being held tomorrow (Saturday, April 21) from 9AM til noon at Knollwood Country Club in Granada Hills.

I will be participating in the "Golf Expo", along with GolfTec, BellaSport, GolfGym and a representative from the CookieLee Jewelry Co..

More information about TartanGolfGrip.com's involvement in the establishment of a VENTURA COUNTY chapter of the EWGA, and more about women's golf in general later....

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Artan(TM) of the week-April 19, 2007

Today is our ninth wedding anniversary, and in honor of the love of my life, I'm making HER Artan(TM) the Artan(TM) of the week...

Very few guys can honestly say that they MARRIED the girl of their dreams...

I won the lottery nine years ago April 18...

I love you, Cheri...

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Clean sweep for Pepperdine golf teams

Congratulations to both of the Pepperdine golf teams!

Both the women's AND the men's golf teams won the WCC regional golf tournaments today up at La Purisima golf course in Lompoc!

The men's team beat Univ. San Diego by 5 strokes, and the #4 NATIONALLY ranked women's team DESTROYED the University of San Francisco by a whopping 21 strokes.

The women's team will next compete at the NCAA regionals on May 10, and the men's team returns to action a week later on May 17.

Go get 'em WAVES!!!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Artan of the week - April 12, 2007

So, it's LIGHTHOUSE time again, huh???

Time to head to the coast at Harbour Town in South Carolina.

My money's on Jim Furyk winning this one - this course seems to suit his eye, and he's usually in the hunt, and I think he's due...but wait, this is Davis Love III's home...could it be that being at home could help elevate DL III's game back to championship form???

Without further ado, the South Carolina Artan....customized for this year's tournament...

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The importance of tartan over time...

A big shout out to my golf-blogging buddy and neighbor, Rich at EatGolf, who sent me this link...

Apparently, the first color picture ever taken (back in the 1860's), was of this tartan ribbon...
You can get your own tartan ribbon (for under your golf grip), except now they can be PERSONALIZED, and the colors are brighter and the resolution is better, too...

Monday, April 09, 2007

Easter Golf news

After attending a local sunrise service, and heading out to an early breakfast out with Mom, Cheri and I headed over to Elkins Ranch Golf Course with our favorite other golf couple.

I wanted to go to Elkins because the citrus blossoms are in bloom right now, and I enjoy their scent immensely. Elkins is also a fun, friendly little course that is located smack in the midst of citrus groves on three sides, and mountains on the fourth. It's quite far out away from civilization, and it's a nice getaway that's still pretty close by....

Elkins is located in Fillmore, California, which is a town that is in the midst of changing from mostly agricultural, to suburban residential, which is kinda sad, because once all those groves are plowed under, where will we get our oranges and lemons???

For the time-being though, a trip to Elkins is like a trip back to the '60's, when the course was first built. My favorite hole on the entire course is #18,
which is a dogleg right into a large amphitheater green that is framed with large pine trees on the left and center, and the snack shack/bar/bar-b-cue patio on the right....it's a funky reminder of days gone by, and you can almost imagine the horn-rimmed and cat's-eye glasses on the people that played golf there when the course opened in the early 60's...and the HAMBURGERS are LEGENDARY - we joke that it's probably because the grill hasn't been cleaned thoroughly since the Eisenhower administration, but there's SOMETHING there that makes them taste EXTRA good....

The day was cloudy, and cooler than normal, and a bit of a breeze kept everyone bundled up in sweatshirts and jackets, but the citrus blossoms did their thing, and EVERYONE shot REALLY well...we had a bit of trouble with their fuzzy greens from poa annua, and all of us left SEVERAL putts short of their intended destination, and pumped up the scores, but I ended up with a legitimate 87, and edged Cheri out by 1 stroke, but she was playing from the forward tees, and I was playing from the blues...

We had a great day, and Cheri was just LAUNCHING her drives...her tempo was nice and slow, and she was just BOMBING the ball off the tee...we measured one drive at 276 yards on a flat fairway!!! How you ask???

Our playing partners brought along one of those new SkyCaddie GPS devices!!! Now, I'll be first to admit that when I saw them
advertised by Pete 'n Nat on the Golf Infomercial Channel, I thought they were a joke, being the traditional purist that I am...sorta...

After being out on the course with friends that actually HAVE one of the little babies, and knowing exactly how far out from the green we are, and hitting DARTS into the green...I want one....(more confessions...sheesh) I STILL think they're too expensive, but if you have the disposable income, they are COOL! We had access to the high-end model, the SG4, and they had downloaded all of the coordinates from the website, and we new EXACTLY how many yards INTO the pin, and how many yards OUT from the tee-box we were, and we were able to measure EXACTLY how many yards out Cheri had launched her Callaway Big Bertha Red golf ball....it was pretty FUN, actually...

Confessions...and tips

They say that confession is good for the soul, so here goes...

I sold out....I caved...I'm weak, and spineless and I lied to you all......

There, I said it....

Yep, I sold out...after last month's rant about Top-Flite's new testosterone-laden pokes at stereotypical male ego-insecurities and the new Top-Flite D2's ability to make us "man up"...I caved and bought a box..... (he said sheepishly, nervously toeing the ground while looking down...biting his lower lip nervously....)

I want to test 'em out (more on that later when they get here)...I USED to use Top-Flite balls back when Lee Trevino was happily shilling for them big-time, and I was a little kid, dependent upon lawn-mowing, car washing and baby-sitting earnings to buy big boxes at Penney's...After I got a bit more experienced, I began to hate them and FULLY understood where the "Rock-Flite" moniker came from... (You know that feeling you get from a wood baseball bat when you foul one off??? That STINGING feeling in your hands??? BINGO!)

Now that the fine folks at Callaway Golf have taken over Top-Flite, my curiousity got the better of me, and I ordered a box from Golfballs.com.

(Note to Carlsbad - I still PERSONALLY think that your marketing campaign SUCKS, but after seeing some of the knuckle-draggers that I saw "talking smack" to one another so loudly that a mostly-deaf 96 year-old grandfather could hear them outside the snack shack at Elkins Ranch Golf Course today, it's probably going to resonate with THOSE apes, and you'll probably successfully resuscitate the brand, kick-start sales, drive profits and therefore increase my stock price, so I'm with you on this one for now....grudgingly....)

Now, my sell-out wasn't COMPLETELY a sign of weakness on my part; it was also an ADVERTISING opportunity, and an opportunity to help get the word out about a TOTALLY COOL, relatively NEW feature that my buds at Golfballs.com have recently released...what, you ask???

DESIGNER GOLF BALLS !!!! (Trumpet fanfare, please?!)

Don't ask me HOW they do it, but they have a process where you can submit YOUR OWN
.JPEG, .JPG, .GIF and .BMP files, and Golfballs.com will PRINT YOUR DESIGN on your golf balls!!! NO MINIMUM either - you can do this on ONE BOX of golf balls...sure, it costs a few bucks extra, but WHAT A GREAT IDEA!!! (What a great GIFT item!!! What a great ADVERTISING idea!!!)

I've had the TartanGolfGrips.com logo imprinted on SEVERAL boxes of golf balls, and while I STILL feel a sense of frustration at shanking a golf ball into the weeds, it removes a LITTLE bit of the sting knowing that my errant projectile has now become a latent advertising vehicle, waiting to introduce its savior to the joys of TartanGolfGrips.com !

The only downside I can see is if you launch one into someone's yard or onto their roof, but still!!!! (And I don't do that anymore...much...)

Pinehurst blogs

While at the barber shop on Saturday, I was reading an article in GolfWorld: Turns out that Pinehurst No. 2 has TWO blogs going, here and here...

The article states " CELEBRATING: Beginning this month, the 100th anniversary of the the No. 2 course at Pinehurst (NC) Resort. Guests playing the Donald Ross course (#19 on the Golf Digest's America's 100 Greatest Courses list) this milestone season will receive a commemorative gift and add their names to an archival registry.
Pinehurst's clubhouse, the Tufts Archives and the North Carolina Museum of History will note No. 2's evolution with historic displays, and Pinehurst has started a blog (http://pinehurst2.blogspot.com) for anyone who has played the course and has a story to tell."

Right now, it looks like the word hasn't really gotten out yet, but I thought I'd do my part to help drive site traffic....

Anybody ever played there????

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Seeing Lorena in a whole new light

I was reading LPGA.com over the weekend, and saw the article announcing Tiger, Jay Haas and Lorena receiving their 2006 "Player of the Year" awards at the Golf Writer's Association of American (GWAA) awards dinner on April 4. (Jay and Lorena both use the same putter grips as those used in Tartan Golf Grips, by the way - we've tried to get Tiger to get with the program, but he seems to be pretty set in his ways...but I digress).

Now, I don't want this to be a rehash of what you get at Golfbabes, but I'm seeing Lorena in a whole new light now....muy caliente!!!

Add this to the "You KNOW that you're a GOLFER when:" file...when Farmer/Golf tans on attractive women only ADD to their sexiness, and glow-in-the-dark untanned feet are an ATTRACTANT, not a repellent...

I knew she was CUTE on the golf course, but....whoa....HELLO, Lorena!!! =P
(With comments like that, maybe I AM a man-pig candidate for a box of Top-Flite D2's....oink...)

Thursday, April 05, 2007

The Masters Artan of the week - April 5, 2007

This is an appropriate milestone - this post represents my 100th blog posting, and it's being done to present you with the 2007 Masters Tournament Artan(TM) of the week.

As everyone knows, the Masters Tournament (Or "Toonamint" (Hootie's pronunciation, not mine)) is played at Augusta National Golf Course, in Augusta, Georgia.

This is the State of Georgia tartan, personalized with AUGUSTA 2007.

The official description of the Georgia State District tartan is: "
The tartan commemorates the founding of the State of Georgia and combines elements in the design associated with its historic past. General Oglethorpe commanded the Highland Independent Company of Foot which, in 1746, wore the Black Watch tartan. Captain John 'Mohr' MacIntosh is remembered in the MacIntosh red. Georgia tartan is much in evidence at the annual Stone Mountain Highland Games held in Atlanta, Georgia's capital."

As an extra added treat, Masters.org is going to stream live video action from Amen Corner...worker productivity takes a dip for the next two days...

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Master's History

Just read an interesting piece that says that this Sunday's Masters telecast will have a very special lead-in...

I got an e-mail from Golf Wisdom at
Fairways of Life that quotes a letter from Steve Cohen, President of the Shivas Irons Society (which I just signed up for last weekend, by the way)...

I can't paraphrase the content and do it justice, so here it is:

It's Masters Week and GOLF is in the air...
Subject: Important news about this Sunday

Golf is deceptively simple and endlessly complicated; it satisfies the soul and frustrates the intellect. It is at the same time rewarding and maddening -- and it is without a doubt the greatest game mankind has ever invented.-- Arnold Palmer

. . . I can already tell you that Masters Sunday will be special. I know this because it's going to begin with Arnold Palmer winning the Masters. The 1960 Masters, that is. “I wanted two generations to see what the magic was all about,” said CBS golf commentator Jim Nantz, the man who made this resurrection possible.

We'll be able to re-live the '60 Masters, one of the more exciting finishes in history, because Nantz pried the original broadcast footage loose from the Augusta National vault, went to the incredible time and expense of having it colorized, and turned it into a one-hour show that CBS will air as the lead-in to its Sunday final-round Masters coverage.

This is footage that has never been aired since its original broadcast. The best part is, it's not presented in a highlight package with talking heads. It's shown as if it was a live telecast, featuring host Jim McKay (who left CBS later to join some upstart show known as ABC's Wide World of Sports -- wonder what ever became of him?) with coverage of the last four holes.

I watched a screening of the finished product and offer this advice: Don't miss it. The 1960 Masters had it all. A classic Arnold Palmer charge and Ken Venturi's agony of defeat. The old guard -- Hogan and Snead -- and a young gun -- some amateur named Nicklaus. There was a minor rules controversy. There was an innovative new scoring system for television invented by CBS director Frank Chirkinian. And there was the great man himself, Bobby Jones, the legendary founder of Augusta National and the Masters Tournament, holding court as the host of cabin festivities.

This show is a slice of golf history and a classic piece of broadcast history. If you hate goose bumps or nostalgia, don't watch. This show, a labor of love for Nantz, is one “Wow!” after another.

Here's a short list of reasons to watch:
The gaffe that almost cost Palmer the Masters. I had read about, but never before seen the incident at the 16th hole. Palmer is one stroke behind Venturi, who has already finished. At the par-3 16th, he's got a 30-foot uphill putt to a back pin placement. He chose to leave the pin in when he putted -- yeah, that was still legal then. He rolled a superb putt that was dead-center but hit the pin flush and kicked out six inches. Watching the footage, I'd rate it a 90 percent chance that without the pin, Arnie's putt is in. You can see from his reaction that he realizes his tactic backfired and just might cost him the Masters.

Arnold Palmer at 30 is a lot like Tiger Woods. He bashes the ball amazing distances and putts like a genius. At the 17th, Arnie's got a 20-foot uphill birdie putt. It looks as if he's left it short but the ball rolls out and barely topples in while announcer Jim McArthur makes a Verne Lundquist-type call: “It's up and up and up and up .. and in!” Palmer half runs, half dances to the cup to pull out the ball, like Tiger after that putt at Valhalla only without the finger-pointing.

At 18, Palmer stiffs his 5-iron approach, spinning behind the hole and stopping it about five feet away. He makes the putt, of course, for the win.

More about Arnie. He is repeatedly seen puffing like a chimney with a cigarette dangling from his mouth. It looked cool in 1960, now it makes you cringe. Palmer was paired with Billy Casper, who played first from the 18th fairway and hit a shot to three feet. Before Palmer hit, Casper walked over and said something encouraging, like knock it close. Can you imagine Tiger doing that to, say, Chris DiMarco?

On the green, Palmer let Casper putt out first while he walked over just off the green and -- I'm not kidding, you'll see it on the video -- spread out on the grass.. Ken Venturi comes through. Venturi makes a clutch par on the 18th to finish at five under par. When he taps in a testy two-footer, he holds his pose and pauses for a moment because he thought he had finally captured his Holy Grail, the Masters.

“Old” Ben Hogan. Hogan is seen playing to the 18th green, a pretty good shot. McKay refers to him as “old Ben Hogan” because he's the ancient age of 47. Unfortunately, CBS never shows him putting out.

The scoring flap. McKay earns bonus points for bringing up a scoring issue regarding Dow Finsterwald, who was paired with Venturi in the final round and in the thick of contention. Finsterwald dropped a ball and hit some practice putts after putting out on a green during the first round, an error he confessed to the next day. Instead of being disqualified for signing for an incorrect score, as he would be today, Masters officials assessed him a two-shot penalty and let him finish the tournament, which he nearly won.

Two for the show. Groups weren't paired Sunday by score. So there were six pairings behind Palmer. The next group was Sam Snead and amateur Jack Nicklaus. Snead holes a 40-foot putt from the fringe. Then Nicklaus walks by the camera and McKay introduces him to viewers as the national amateur champion from Columbus, Ohio, and says he's been told this kid “has a great future.” The myth about Nicklaus always making his putt on the 18th green? He sinks an 18-footer for birdie here, too.

Pass the hedgeclippers. Augusta National looks surprisingly mangy compared to the way it's maintained now. Even on shots from the fairway, you wonder, “Didn't they mow the grass?” The areas around the bunkers were intentionally left rough and uncut, a very different look from the sharp-edged, perfectly manicured conditions today. The greens were still Bermuda grass and much, much slower.

Ken and Mr. Jones. The post-round ceremony held in the cabin is presided over by Jones and you get to enjoy his thick Southern drawl. He actually isn't bad, much less stilted than some of his predecessors who froze up on camera, like Hord Hardin and Jack Stephens. Jones calls Venturi's effort “lion-hearted” and both Palmer and Venturi get to say a few emotional words.

Six under. Chirkinian, who went on to direct 38 Masters telecasts for CBS, devised a new scoring system to keep track of what was going on in the past. Previously, the scoring was aggregate. So someone would finish at 279 and a player on the course would be said to be at 258 and you'd have to do the math in your head. Chirkinian came up with the score in relation to par -- plus or minus -- and it quickly became the game's standard. CBS also devised rudimentary graphics showing the scores.

Don't tell Ted Turner. The colorizing, which had never been done to a sports telecast before, was remarkable. I thought it would've been fine in black and white but the show opens with black and white footage and then Nantz announces the colorization and when the screen changes from gray to green and Augusta's colors come to life, it's a true goose-bump moment.

Nantz showed the telecast to Palmer and Chirkinian in December and said both men were pretty emotional watching it again. Nantz brought cameras to film Arnie's reaction and interviews the obviously choked-up Arnie at the end. In February, Nantz premiered the finished product at Bel-Air Country Club in Los Angeles. Bel-Air members attended, along with Palmer and Venturi, who is recovering from heart bypass surgery. Palmer and Nantz met with reporters the next day to discuss the telecast.
“I can't tell you how important it is what Jim has done here,” Palmer said. “We really had one of the great evenings of all time.”

Nantz said the project came about when he was being wooed by another network. In a meeting with CBS president Les Moonves, he was asked what else he wanted. Nantz pitched him his idea about doing a show leading into the final-round Masters telecast, and what he wanted to do with the show, which was resurrect footage from Augusta National's archives. “Do it,” said Moonves.
Nantz hopes to do a whole series of similar flashback shows. He kicked it off last year with a one-hour review of the 1986 Masters won by Nicklaus.

Next year, he's planning to feature one of Gary Player's wins. This April, however, the spotlight belongs to Palmer. And plenty of good seats are still available...

Make sure the recording device of your choice is ready to roll...

Monday, April 02, 2007

New greenskeeper at St. Andrews Old Course

New head greenkeeper for the Old Course

Gordon McKie has been appointed head greenkeeper at the world famous Old Course at St. Andrews.

Mr. McKie, who has been head greenkeeper at the New Course for two years, will take up one of the most prestigious roles in golf next month. His immediate task will be to continue the preparations on the venerable links for the staging of the Women's British Open in August and further ahead the Curtis Cup next year and The Open Championship in 2010.

Gordon takes over from Euan Grant who is moving on to a similar role at a new development in the Mull of Kintyre after three years at the Old Course.

Having worked for St Andrews Links Trust for 12 years, Gordon said he was very proud to be taking over at the Old Course. "It is a privilege to work on the most famous course in the world," he said. "The history and tradition surrounding the Old Course makes it unique and it is continually under the glare of the international media spotlight. I am very much looking forward to maintaining the exceptionally high standard of the course and ensuring it continues to set the benchmark for links courses around the world."

Alan McGregor, general manager of St Andrews Links Trust, welcomed the appointment which comes ahead of an extremely busy tournament schedule at the Home of Golf. "There is no doubt this is one of the most challenging and demanding greenkeeping roles in golf and in Gordon I am confident that we have someone who is more than up to the task. With his skills and experience of working at St Andrews Links over the years and at previous Open championships, I am sure he will relish the challenge "Gordon will work closely with the Links Superintendent Gordon Moir and the greenkeeping team on preparing the Old Course for the upcoming major championships. I would also like to thank Euan Grant for the substantial contribution he has made over the last five years and wish him all the best in his new position."

Born in Glasgow and brought up in Tain, Ross-shire, Gordon began his career with an apprenticeship at Tain Golf Club. He studied at Elmwood College and became deputy head greenkeeper at Tain in 1989. He joined St Andrews Links Trust in December 1995 as deputy head greenkeeper of the Eden Course. Five years later he became head greenkeeper before moving to the New Course as head greenkeeper in January 2005. Gordon is married to Susan and has one son, five-year old Ross.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Charity scramble golf tournament in Texas-May 11, 2007

Hey, all you Texas golfers, and blog readers who can travel to Fort Worth Texas!!! (South Fort Worth, to be exact...)

Mark your calendars for Friday, May 11, 2007, because there's going to be a scramble-style golf tournament to help raise funds for Duramed Futures Tour player D'Rae Ward, in her quest to continue playing on the Duramed Futures Tour. The tournament will be at Glen Garden Golf and Country Club, a place that describes itself as "Home of Ben Hogan, Byron Nelson and Sandra Palmer". Pretty impressive company, for sure!

D'Rae's a good player, and has made both cuts in both tournaments thus far on the 2007 Futures Tour. Her 2007 season scoring average has been 73.5, and she needs some financial assistance to help keep her playing on Tour.

D'Rae first came across MY radar scopes when I learned of her eBay sponsorship efforts. Impressed by her creativity, energy and creativity, I decided to help her out by designating ALL County Donegal Artans to play a significant role in helping her defray her Tour costs.

It would be a shame if her talents weren't encouraged due to a lack of funds...if you can help out, please check out D'Rae's website, and help out in any way that you can...

We golfers are a giving group, and if you're impressed with this young woman's creativity, determination and initiative, and we all chip in (figuratively), who knows how much good we can do??? It's worth a shot...(pardon the pun...)

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Jason Gore without an equipment sponsorship deal?

I've got to admit, I am still surprised that Jason Gore, one of THE most engaging and popular personalities on the PGA Tour is STILL without an equipment sponsor?

I had the good fortune of happening to be on the same flight from Phoenix into Burbank a couple of years ago when Jason had won his third Nationwide Tour event, earning his "battlefield exemption" onto the PGA Tour...

I recognized the same red wristband that he had been wearing that season from his adventure at the 2005 U.S. Open, and the big grin on his face as he weaved his way down the aisle of the America West flight confirmed that it was indeed him...even though he finished the final round of the Open with an 84, the way that he captivated all of us golf fans continued to resonate with me far beyond the finish of that tournament, and I was THRILLED at the prospect of actually getting to meet him and talk to him.

I scurried down to the baggage claim carousels, and again encountered Jason as we both went to reclaim our golf clubs, swallowed hard and walked up to him, extending my hand as I congratulated him on his achievement.

He was genuinely nice, genuinely appreciative of being recognized, funny, pleasant - and I sesnsed a genuine warmth emanating from him that led me to conclude that this is a good man...a solid man, with his feet planted firmly on the ground. (A man that can drive a golf ball well over 300 yards, his feet are so firmly planted on the ground...)

A couple of months later, he won his first PGA Tournament at the 84 Lumber Classic, and I figured that his star was on the ascent. (The irony of his "blowup" 84 at the US Open, followed by his first PGA Tour win at the 84 Lumber Classic was NOT lost on me...)

However, golf is a fickle mistress, and she has turned her back on Jason for awhile, but this weekend, recently freed from his association with Nike (see below) , and pumped up from a meeting with HIS idol (Roger Clemens - more below) the magic is back, and he's in the hunt at the Shell Houston Open...wearing a Houston Astros baseball cap, and a blank golf bag...again, an "everyman" who we weekend warriors can admire and empathize with.

SO: Today''s question - what golf club equipment manufacturer can you see Jason Gore affiliating with???

Call me strange, but I sort of associate golf club manufacturers with certain personality types... Here's how I perceive certain manufacturers:

Titleist: Accomplished, aloof, somewhat arrogant, country clubbers..."David Simms", the cocky, self-assured pro who played against "Roy McAvoy" in "Tin Cup" probably played Titleist...
Callaway: Technical, friendly, approachable, fun-loving...Callaway is the Labrador Retriever of golf club manufacturers...
PING: Easy-going, casual, nice, friendly, approachable...PING is the GOLDEN Retriever of golf club manufacturers...
Mizuno: Quirky, exotic, aloof, moody...Catherine Trammell, played by Sharon Stone in "Basic Instinct" would have played Mizuno...
Nike: Garrulous, frat-boy, gets by on reputation and who they hang around with...relies upon their reputation, not by their performance...in the corporate world, AKA "empty suit", in Texas, "all hat, no cattle"...sorry, I LOVE your shoes, your clothes, but your golf equipment just strikes me as somehow inferior, and not as well done as your OTHER product lines...
Cleveland: Who? Oh yeah, the golf club company that's owned by a surf-clothing company (ZQK) ...the lead designer and namesake now designs for CALLAWAY!!!
Srixon: WHO???
TaylorMade: Technical, brainy, a bit aloof...TaylorMade is the German Shepherd of golf club manufacturers...
Adams Golf: See PING
Cobra Golf: The class clown, can deliver when they need to, but jokes their way around...Cobra is the Jack Russell Terrier of golf club manufacturers...
MacGregor: Was good once upon a time...trying to get the magic back...
Wilson: See above

From that frame of reference, I can see the following companies affiliating with Jason, especially if he places well this weekend:
1) Adams - They've been making a push into the long-hitters, signing Brittany Lincicome - I could see them making a pitch for Jason if they have the budget.
2) TaylorMade - They seem to have EVERYONE under contract...
3) Cobra - Jason's a funny guy - I could see Cobra doing commercials with David Feherty and Jason VERY, VERY easily - Cobra's also playing up their bomber image, and Jason can bring it...
4) Callaway - My sentimental favorite, but they seem to have a thoroughbred mentality, where they only sign the top five players on any given Tour.
5) PING - The personalities are well-aligned, but PING doesn't do much sponsorship activity...the fit would be natural though...

Since newspapers often remove content after a brief period, I found these two articles to be really good representations of Jason, and where he's at right now.

The first one is by Richard Justice, courtesy of the Houston Chronicle:

March 31, 2007, 12:57AM
Any group of duffers would welcome Gore

Jason Gore represents just about everything we love about sports, and that may be why fans still cheer for him and care about him and let him know he's special.

"Maybe they feel sorry for me," he said.

It's impossible to feel sorry for someone who makes you feel so good, who represents so many of your hopes and dreams.

No matter what he accomplishes in his golf life, Gore always will be remembered for one improbable weekend at the 2005 U.S. Open.

That's the weekend he almost did the impossible. He was the everyman hacker who went head-to-head with the best golfers and one of the toughest courses and never flinched.

Well, almost. By Sunday afternoon, he was in a place he never expected to be. That he fell apart and shot 84 on that final day makes the story even sweeter on some level.

When the world finally began paying attention, when they hoped against hope that this guy would do what no one thought he could do, he blinked.

Don't feel sorry for Gore because his story didn't end there. He took that one amazing weekend and shaped a career from it. He won his first and only PGA Tour event a few weeks later. He won three times on the Nationwide Tour that summer.

Let's be clear about what Gore is and isn't. He's not a star. Probably won't ever be.

He has finished in the top 25 just 10 times. His $2 million career earnings is haircut money for some. He entered this week's Shell Houston Open ranked 201st in the world, having missed the cut in six of his seven tournaments this year.

He has changed clubs and coaches, changed his golf ball, too. And for a couple of days this week, it has again worked the way it's supposed to. He shot 68 on Friday for a two-day total of 138, good enough to get him in a six-way tie for first.

He saved his round on No. 11 by hitting a bunker shot into the hole. He sank long birdie putts on the next two holes and was off and running.

He finished the day with a 12-foot birdie putt on No. 18. Afterward, he was asked the usual questions about why he'd finally hit on something that had been working.

"Besides the fact I changed 14 clubs and a golf ball?" Gore said. "I finally just had a couple of weeks off to go home and play a lot of golf and get comfortable with my equipment again."

When someone asked about his putting stats, he smiled.

"It's sad, isn't it?" he said. "I know I'm a streaky putter, but when you're having 50-, 60-footers all day, it's tough to gauge yourself. I just haven't hit my irons close all year."

Another thing that might make him appealing to fans is the simplicity with which he approaches the game. He jokes that if he writes an instructional book, it'll be simple enough for anyone to understand.

"It's going to be a bestseller," he said.

For instance, how do you hit a hook?

"I don't know. Aim right."

Gore's career has had so many highs and lows and so few stretches of consistency that he said: "I think Magic Mountain is going to name a roller coaster after me."

He said that weekend at Pinehurst in 2005 changed more than the way people look at him. It changed the way he looked at himself.

He vaulted into contention with a third-round 67 and was paired with Retief Goosen for the final round. And then it all got away from him.

"This is the first time in my life I actually realized that I can play at this level," Gore said of that weekend. "You always have these doubts and stuff like that because I hadn't done anything. You never kind of get over that slope, and that's really what it was. I competed against the best players in the world on a great golf course and was beating them."

He says it seems surreal all these years later, but he remembers the feeling of people cheering his name and wishing him well as he went around the course.

What he never has lost is his love for the game. He was one of the few golfers wearing a shirt without a single logo. He won't be at the Masters next weekend.

That underdog status, that everyman quality, surely is part of his appeal.

"Maybe it's just because I actually do enjoy playing golf," Gore said, "and I struggle just like everybody else. Nothing was ever handed to me. I just love what I do. This is everything I dreamed of."


And this article from Mealnie Hauser at PGATOUR.com also captured Jason well:

Gore heeding Rocket's advice to be TAD
Mar. 30, 2007
By Melanie Hauser
PGATOUR.com Contributor

HUMBLE, Texas -- He's so not technical.

Stat Rd. 1 Rd. 2 Total Rank
Eagles 0 0 0 N/A
Birdies 2 5 7 T28
Pars 16 12 28 T9
Bogeys 0 1 1 T75
Double Bogeys 0 0 0 N/A
Other 0 0 0 N/A
Driving Accuracy 64% 43% 53.6% T56
Driving Distance 319.0 yds. 320.5 yds. 319.8 yds. 3
Greens in Regulation 83% 83% 83.3% T5
Putts per Round 31 28 29.5 T33
Putts per GIR 1.867 1.667 1.767 27
Sand Saves 100% 67% 80.0% T8
Couldn't tell you how to hit a hook to save his life. Just aim right.

Knows what loft and lie are, but that's about it. Want specifics? See the guys in the equipment trucks. Thank goodness for them. They're lifesavers.

Want to know if he's playing the right club and ball? Just watch. Does it go straight?

And once you hit a shot? He's just a spectator like everyone else. Might as well have bought a ticket. Crazy crap -- his words -- happens.

Jason Gore doesn't reach. For answers. For great sound bites. Or for perfection.

He's comfy, thank you so much, in his own skin. And he's come to terms with the fact that, along with this so-not-technical thing, he's never going to be a perfect 10 like his old junior and college golf buddy Tiger either.

And that has nothing to do with his 52-inch chest or short arms.

More like his amazing highs and so-so lows, his streaky putting and his slow starts on the west coast. They're just part of his life.

His pro career started on a low note when, on the day he was to play in his first tournament, he woke up to his mother's screams. His dad had died of a heart attack. Fast forward to the U.S. Open at Pinehurst where he burst onto the scene, made it into Sunday's final pairing and closed with 84. Three months later, he won his lone PGA TOUR tournament -- the 84 Lumber Classic. Symmetry anyone?

And then there's this year, which went from a T65 at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic to five missed cuts and a W/D. And now?

A second-round 68 has him in contention at the Shell Houston Open where he was tied for the lead midway through Friday's round.

"Want to put these shoes on?'' he laughed when someone asked about his EKG strip of a career. "I think Magic Mountain is going to name a roller coaster after me.'' (Magic Mountain is a popular amusement park in Jason's hometown of Valencia, CA)

And as for those slow starts? "I'm the only guy who lives in Southern California who can't read poa anna greens,'' he chuckled. "... And, you know a man of my stature is what I'll say, shouldn't like the heat and humidity. For some reason I play better in it.''

Right now, he's playing just fine in the wind and humidity here in the Bayou City area. He's also doing just fine with his "clubs du jour" -- a mixed bag he's assembled since splitting with Nike a month ago. He's gone back to an old Titleist Pro V1-X, tossed in a Cobra driver, Cobra irons and a 3-wood and rescue club from TaylorMade.

How did he come up with that combination?
I threw every set to the bottom of the lake. Whichever one floated. '' he smiled. "...You know, being out here you have the opportunity to hit a lot of stuff and a lot of stuff is thrown in your face. I just picked a set that just visually looked good to me. And they happened to work pretty well.''

He paused. "I mean so far. It's been two days.''

Two days, we might add of birdies. And not 60 foot bombs. The close kind. Like his 7-iron to eight inches at the fifth hole. "I'm 6-for-10 from that range,'' he said.

The old/new golf ball is helping. When he was with Nike, he was playing the same ball Tiger does, but it wasn't for him. "The ball didn't fit me,'' he said. "I'm not saying it's a bad product or anything like that. It's a great product. The best player in the world uses it. It just didn't work for me.''

So is a change back to his old swing coach Mike Miller. "I wanted him to slap me pretty hard. It was just one of those things. I was trying to do something that I'm not physically able to do,'' he said. "This is the way I swing. This is it. Just get some of the bugs out of it... I think I'm a pretty good ball striker. When I try to be something I'm not, it just starts to throw another problem in the hole.''

This week, Gore is taking things as they come. His hero-turned-friend Roger Clemens dropped by and tucked an Astros cap and some shirts in his locker. He's sporting the cap this week and Clemens' motto -- Tough All Day or TAD. That's what Gore has written on his golf ball this week.

There's a signed Clemens jersey from his Boston days on Gore's wall and, well, when the two met two years ago at the ADT Skills challenge... "I don't get star-struck, but that was Roger Clemens. I was freaked out,'' he smiled. "I'm a pretty big guy, but he's a monster.''

The two email back and forth and Clemens dropped by this week with the cap and TAD shirts.

And no, Gore doesn't know what decision he'll make about one more season. "I don't think his wife knows.''

Gore is nothing, if not genuine. He can laugh at losing 20 pounds in the off-season, working hard and coming out and stinking up the early season. He's honest when he says that final round at Pinehurst was a blur. He admits there was a time when doubts crept in.

But Pinehurst changed all that. The media, the competition and being in the final group with former Open champ Retief Goosen.

"It was one of those things as a professional golfer, that's our drug. That's our addiction to get into that mode and be so nervous that you can't see straight and hit something and feel that... I can't even describe.''

This may not be the U.S. Open, but it's Gore's next chance to get that feeling. To jump into the weekend mix. To give himself a chance -- for the first time since last fall's Southern Farm Bureau Classic.

He's got the swing going. Now, if the putter will behave.

"My putter has got a mind of its own sometimes, but it doesn't mean I'm a bad putter," he said. "I didn't make a lot of putts yesterday, but I hit a lot of good ones. It's golf. It's outside. It's on the grass. These things aren't suitable for scoring, you know... If we're on a pool table, I can make putts all day.''

Not the best answer, he said. But all he had.

And now, after putting in the hard work for the last five weeks, he'll see if this week might just belong to him.

"We always have that glimmer of hope that this could be our week. One person is going to walk away being the 2007 Shell Houston Open winner and you sit in your room and lie in bed and think, 'Why can't that be me?'"

Maybe this week, it will be.

Copyright 2007 PGATOUR.com. All rights reserved.

We're pulling for ya, big guy! I hope that you play your very best golf today, and that you can move up big time on that leaderboard...maybe WIN this thing!

And hopefully, the golf equipment manufacturers will hitch their wagon to YOUR star, and BOTH of you will prosper together....