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 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 also captured Jason well:

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

Friday, March 30, 2007

Artan of the week - March 29, 2007

This week's Artan(TM) of the Week LITERALLY brought tears to my eyes...and it's a very special Artan...for two very special friends, who I haven't even met in person...but I'm honored to have met them in this grand adventure, and my life has been enriched as a result...

It commemorates the special bond that exists between one of my fellow golf bloggers, "The GolfChick" and her beloved companion, Kess.

My words cannot do the depth of this relationship justice, but Kristen has done an amazing job in a YouTube photo/video montage...(keep a kleenex handy, you've been warned...). I understand this bond, because I have a similar one with Rusti, a husky/collie mix that came into MY life in June 1995, and left it last September...

All I can say is, Kessy was lucky to have had YOU in her life, Kristen, and you in hers...she's a beautiful girl, and you can just SENSE the warmth and intelligence in her eyes...

It could NEVER be long enough...
In Kess' honor, I've decided that 12% of every MacKessock Artan(TM) sold at will be donated to the UC Davis Companion Animal Veterinary Research fund, to help find cures to the ailments that affect our fur-people, and improve their quality and length of life...

Monday, March 26, 2007

Congratulaciones, Lorena!

Lorena notched win #10 yesterday! I believe that she has taken the consistency crown from Annika, and her steady play put the pressure on Suzanne Pettersen yesterday, causing Suzanne to miss a few putts, which gave Lorena the win at the Safeway International LPGA Tournament.

After giving up a four-stroke lead, Lorena kept her foot on the gas pedal, birdieing four of the last five holes to cruise past Pettersen for a two-stroke win.

If you want your very own version of the putter grip that Lorena uses while winning all of these tournaments, you can either visit, or go straight to the secure shopping cart to purchase it directly.

Also, congratulations to amateur Taylor Karle, who played exceptionally well in the tournament, and will be attending Pepperdine University shortly. We are excited to have you on the Waves' ladies golf team!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

While we're talking about PUTTERS...

Since we're talking about PUTTERS...there's some news on the putter front...

I saw an article in the Golf Business Wire where Yes! putters will be launching an advertising campaign shortly to "increase brand awareness amongst avid golfers"...

I own several of these putters, and I LIKE them...I think there IS something to the C-groove technology (similar to that two-bar thingy) that does help impart top-spin off the putter face, and the machining on the putter heads is pure artwork...

I also noticed that Odyssey Putters have recently introduced the "Black" line of putters. These babies are GOOD looking...I also saw a segment on them on the Golf Channel yesterday, during the Tech Talk mini-infomercial. The putters look somewhat similar to my Callaway Tour Blue putter that was discontinued a couple of years ago (why, I don't know - it's an AWESOME putter!), and I need to get to the golf shop to test these babies out!

Golf ball ads

So it's Springtime, and all the golf ball manufacturers are tempting us to get back out on the course and try their new wares out, and to do so, they come up with THESE ingenious marketing campaigns:

1) Slazenger's new ad for the RAW golf ball featuring Steve Whatshisname from "The Sopranos" and a black panther named "Scratch" in a meat locker. (Apparently these ads have been out since January 4, but I only saw it for the first time last week...)
2) Top-Flite's new D2 line of golf balls, where they constantly tell you to "man up" and use the new dimple-in-dimple technology so you don't have to lay up any longer...

My response? What are these marketing people THINKING???

1) First of all - with the Slazenger ad - if this guy is so good, why is he back buying more golf balls "already"? Did he knock them out of round, or are they lost in the woods?
Neither is a very attractive option, and neither is having bloody balls at the end of the round, er commercial... I WILL give them credit for naming the Slazenger panther "Scratch"(which is clever), but the blood spattered ball at the end of the commercial just doesn't do it for that supposed to APPEAL to men? I can't imagine it appealing to women....

2) In a similar testosterone-soaked light, does Top-Flite think that ordering me to "man up" will threaten my supposedly fragile male ego? Will using their golf balls give me newfound confidence that I have been missing up to this point? (Are we selling golf equipment, or E.D. treatments? But I digress...)

It's kinda funny - if you enlarge the image - they are OBVIOUSLY taking the macho-man marketing approach with phrases like "ATTACK THE FAIRWAYS", "SEIZE THE GREENS", "NO EXCUSES", "DISTANCE - FIRE AWAY" all over the box...(curious, no mention of "PILLAGE THE VILLAGE" or "MEN WILL FEAR YOU AND WOMEN WILL WANT YOU") and each box CONVENIENTLY comes with 15 balls in it, so you have a whole EXTRA sleeve of balls to shank out of bounds in your pursuit of that elusive 300 yard bomb off the tee!!! Check out the knuckle-dragging details at - no girls allowed, though...{eyes rolling}, (oh, and if you're at work, turn DOWN your sound so your colleagues won't overhear the junior-high locker-room commentary, courtesy of Kenny Mayne....Kenny, Kenny, Kenny....there's even a "Wussipedia" section...)

Are they KIDDING?

While I've been writing this, I switched over to the Infomercial, er GOLF CHANNEL, and have been giggling at the two-bar putter commercial...I only have ONE question after seeing THIS marketing gem - Was the "Iron Archie" putting machine set up exactly the same way for the competition and the two-bar putter? Or, was the competition set up so that the point of impact was slightly back in the impact zone, thereby causing the ball to bounce and skid??? Nah, they wouldn't do that to us, would they??? More infomercials, er, programming like THIS and they're gonna have to change the channel's name to THE COMEDY CHANNEL...oh, yeah, that one's already taken...

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Artan(TM) of the week-Mar 22, 2007

I couldn't help myself {sorry} - but I was reading the March 24, 2007 edition of Golfweek, and noticed this excerpt from the "Watchdog" section:

"NBC reporter Bob Murphy on the 13th hole Saturday, which was St. Patrick's Day: "It's time to make Mediate an Irishman. Here's Roc O'Mediate.""

That got me to thinking - Mediate sounds Italian (Rocco sure does) - there's two Italian tartans - why not make up an Artan(TM) for Rocco to celebrate his newfound "Irish-ness"? (Plus, Rocco's one of my favorite PGA Tour players - he's a Callaway guy (like me), and he's one of the most colorful, fun, outgoing personalities on the PGA Tour. I hope his back is going to continue going strong, because it was FUN seeing him SERIOUSLY in the hunt at Mr. Palmer's soiree last weekend...

So here you go, Rocco - these are what your grips could look like (without the watermark, of course):

{Notice how both Artans(TM) incorporate the colors of the Italian flag? The one on the right is MORE pronounced, with a horizontal line of red/white/green against a darker background, whereas the one on the left is a bit lighter and more subdued...I think that BOTH are really attractive though, which reinforces my assertion that there really IS a tartan for almost EVERYONE!!!

(Just wait 'til I show you the ones for Japan, Korea, Holland, Spain and GERMANY! In that same spirit of globe-trotting, here is ANOTHER ITALIAN Artan(TM) created for the Wandering Golfer's GIA BOCRA:

New FLAG OF IRELAND design available

This news is big - bigger than big!

Thanks in part to the popularity of the Mexico flag putter grip design used by the 2006 LPGA Player of the Year, the design team at C-Thru Grips(TM) has just released a similar design for the FLAG OF IRELAND!!! was proud to collaborate with the C-Thru design team and we are the first distributor to announce the availability of this design - we haven't even had time to update the shopping cart yet!

If you want one of these grips, please
go to the secure shopping cart, select the grip style that you want, select the Countries_IRELAND option from the Design drop down list, and in the SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS section, type the words NEW IRELAND FLAG DESIGN. Or, you can send an e-mail to tartangrips at gmail dot com with your contact information (e-mail address and phone number), and we'll follow up with you.

At only $10.97 plus shipping and handling, these designs should be REALLY popular, so you can be one of the first people ANYWHERE to own one of these if you get your order in TODAY!

(This post replaces the Artan(TM) of the week for March 22, 2007 - just in time for Padraig Harrington to win the World Golf Championships - CA Championships at the famed "Blue Monster" at the Doral Golf Resort and Spa.)

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

More volunteer opportunities

Well, it's official - I'll be working as a volunteer at the Lake Tahoe American Century Championship this July - I just got my e-mail notification and my volunteer package charge just cleared my credit card.

I was a little concerned that John Elway wasn't going to play this year's tournament, but on today's celebrity list, I noticed that he's now signed up.

Another pleasant surprise was the addition of Brandi Chastain...and Charles Barkley...

THIS is gonna be FUN!

Oh, and uh, Happy Spring Equinox everyone!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Tartan of the Week - March 15, 2007

The Grip-A-Day promotion has been going REALLY well....keep those e-mails coming to freegrips at gmail dot com...there's still four days left in the combination birthday/St. Patrick's Day celebration promotion.

This being the Thursday before St. Patrick's Day, our latest winner COULDN'T be more Irish - this is the County Dublin Artan(TM) designed for Rick O'Bryant of Westlake Village, California (a neighbor), who selected the County Dublin tartan for a pistol putter grip! (This is the same design that was created for Padraig Harrington at last year's Target World Challenge, by the way...)

Happy St. Patrick's Day to Rick, and everyone!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

A Grip-A-Day - our birthday gift to you

March 10, 2006 was "Domain Day" - the day that I went gonzo buying domain names for the launch of - coincidentally, it was a week before St. Patrick's Day.

To celebrate these two important events, we're giving YOU a birthday present - an opportunity to win a TartanGolfGrip and Artan(TM) of your choice.

We will be giving away a grip a day from now until March 18 (we're going to celebrate through the weekend!).

To enter the giveaway, simply send an e-mail to freegrips at gmail dot com (we spelled it out to bypass the spambots) with the following information:

Subject Line: FREEGRIPS
E-mail address:
Desired grip type:
Desired tartan:
Desired text:
Shipping address: (So we can have your grip sent to you)
(Optional) I want a TartanGolfGrip because:

The winner will be chosen at random from all of the entries received each day. Your information will not be sold or released to any outside parties, and will be used for the purpose of this giveaway only.

Sorry, but this offer is open to United States mailing addresses only, and the contest will run from NOW until 11:59PM on Sunday, March 18, 2007.

Get those entries in to be eligible for the drawing for the Grip-A-Day

Go get 'em D'Rae!!!

Today was the second day of the LAKELAND DURAMED FUTURES CLASSIC, and our favorite Futures Tour player D'Rae Ward had herself a good day...a VERY good day...(the kind of day I only DREAM of...)

Notice how her score for the day was the lowest of the top players...
I hope she has a similar day tomorrow...I hope that you get a par or better on #1 - that must be a TOUGH hole...

A WIN would be a NICE way to begin the season...Go get 'em, girl!!!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Jason Gore leaving Nike

HOLY SMOKES!!! I was just watching the Golf Channel, and they reported that Jason Gore is leaving Nike because he reportedly wants to play one of the Titleist ProV1 golf balls, and his Nike contract stipulated that he had to play Nike golf balls...

Apparently he'll be playing the upcoming PODS tournament with a blank bag and a blank hat....

::: ATTENTION CALLAWAY GOLF::: This is a public relations COUP- you need to GET THIS GUY ON BOARD!!! PRONTO!!!
Phil, Ernie, Jason??? Has a nice ring to it, huh???

Happy First Birthday - TartanGolfGrips...

Happy Birthday to me...
Happy Birthday to me...
Happy Birrrthday TartanGolfgrips.... (DotCom)
Haaapy Birrrrrthday tooooooo meeeeeeeee......(and many morrrrrre....)

It's difficult to believe that it was a WHOLE YEAR ago that the idea to launch hit me, but I remember it distinctly (it's my half-birthday)...(Wikipedia is friggin' amazing...)

Plus, it was a couple of days later that I went hog wild, snapping up domain names at with wild abandon, overcome with fits of creativity, so I've got some renewin' to do tonight!!!

::: FOLLOW UP NOTE::: Holy SMOKES - renew about half a dozen domains for two years, add private registration, drop $225, do not pass GO, do not collect $200...(PAY #200, but definitely do not COLLECT $200)
No wonder postponed their IPO...they're getting more than enough money from their CUSTOMERS....(love ya, Bob)

It's been a GREAT ride, and I believe that it's only getting more and more exciting all the time....

I recently installed several Artans(TM) on grips for me, my wife, my Mom, my brother-in-law and took some pictures for some advertising that I'm doing...while I was over at the folks place, Mom was regaling me with stories of her childhood in Scotland, and produced a blanket that has been in her varous car trunks since I was a kid...Mom mentioned that she inherited it from HER Grandma Dow, who used it to keep her legs warm while they were out on Sunday afternoon drives in the Scottish countryside. Mom said it was old when SHE was a little girl, and estimates that it's over 100 years old...(and it's now in the trunk of her car....hmmmm....we need to do something about that...I feel a trip to Target coming on to replace a family heirloom with something a bit more , ummmm, PEDESTRIAN...) Check it out:

Tartan of the Week - help out D'Rae Ward on the Futures Tour

This week's Tartan of the Week celebrates several things:

1) is starting a new program. After reading an article about Futures Tour player (and former LPGA'er D'Rae Ward) at WaggleRoom, I decided to do what I could to help her out, and decided to donate a significant portion of the sales of the County Donegal tartan grips to help defray D'Rae's tour expenses. How's that for a tagline - "Help defray D'Rae's expense!" You can read more here...

1a) I sold the very FIRST County Donegal Artan(TM) today...that's a good omen....

2) It's ten days til St. Patrick's Day...the FIRST celebration of the year of all things Celtic...

3) The Duramed Futures Tour season kicks off this weekend...more here...

4) Annika Sorenstam's season ALSO kicks off this weekend, and the tournament is in Mexico...Lorena Ochoa's homeland! You can buy your own Mexico flag putter grip just like the one Lorena uses at

5) Daylight savings starts on Sunday - that's cause for a party unto itself!!! (GOLF after work!!!)

6) It's springtime....and this weekend is supposed to feature RECORD WARMTH....break out the sunscreen folks!!! We're goin' GOLFIN' in San Diego!!! This will be a nice opportunity to break out my new Callaway stand bag (with the embroidery on the side pocket) at the Coronado golf course.

7) I had lunch with Larry Stewart, owner of, and we discussed his business expansion plans. Larry's got some interesting ideas to expand the footprint beyond the local area, and his ideas are really compelling. Surf on over to to get an idea of what 1.0 looks like...version 2.0 is going to be pretty cool.... I'm going to be supporting future "Fantasy Tour Challenge" competitions with donated grips as prizes....I finished in the top 25 of the latest Fantasy Tour Challenge, and won a Zen Golf CD from Dr. Joseph Parent.

And renewal...

Spring has returned with a vengeance to Southern California, and what used to turn this young man's fancy to baseball, now turns to GOLF!!! (I've mentioned it before, but I'll mention it here again...if you play golf, and live in or near Los Angeles, you simply MUST visit Elkins Ranch Golf Course during April/May, while the citrus trees are in bloom...go on a warm, sunny day, soak up the citrus blossom fragrance, have a legendary Elkins Ranch cheeseburger and your favorite drink, and experience a little slice of heaven here on Earth...who CARES about the score...just GO and EXPERIENCE it...everyone needs to do it at least ONCE!!!)

The Weather Channel indicated that highs would be in the low '70's yesterday - well, SOMEONE forgot to carry the one or SOMETHING, because the temperature on the official Acura TL indicated a high of 88 at lunch yesterday, and I confirmed that with the large plastic thermometer that hangs outside the official bay window in the kitchen over the sink...

About a month or two ago, we had a record cold snap, and many of the native plants and trees were damaged (frost burned, actually), and many of them are even starting to show signs of life...but the damage is still quite evident, and many of the plants are later than usual in launching their Spring finery...I managed to mitigate the damage to our two dwarf citrus trees in pots on the patio (shown here) by covering them with old bedsheets when the frost hit, but others in the neighborhood are still showing yellowed, curled leaves and brown spots on the winter crop that's still on the branches, primarily lemons.

But back to golf - I just realized that this weekend begins Daylight Savings Time! That is one of my FAVORITE days of the year, even if we DO lose an hour of's totally worth it, because the sun's gonna be out to about 7PM, and we can now try to squeeze nine holes in after work!!!

Speaking of which, I'm heading down to San Diego next week for Microsoft's 2007 Convergence meeting, and one of our vendors is having a golf outing on Coronado Island on Sunday morning...tee-off time is 10AM, and I'm going to have to leave the headquarters at about 0600 to make it down there in time, but at least I'll get the front nine in before I have to head off to training sessions at 1PM...

The Liquidambar tree outside of my "day job" is starting to have its buds emerge, and the cherry trees in the center median along Lindero Canyon Road are also starting to bloom...

Spring is definitely springing....FINALLY!!!

Friday, March 02, 2007

In memoriam - Kess "The Goose" Williams - 1995-2007

I got some sad news yesterday morning...

Kess "The Goose" Williams, beloved companion of Kristin "Golfchick" Williams had passed away...

Now, I've never actually met Kristin or Kess in person, but thanks to the miracle of our respective passion for golf and the sense of community that can be developed via our blogs and internet technology, I've come to consider the two of them as friends, and my heart broke at the news....

"The Kessmeister" (as I frequently referred to her in my e-mails to Kristin) is a beautiful Great Dane, and she and Kristin shared a very special relationship, chronicled here and here.

Kristin and I have shared information about vets and treatments and other "pet-parent" topics via e-mail over the last few months (since we're sorta neighbors)...and tonight I shed more than a tear or two and have an empty feeling inside...

Like I said, I never got to meet Kess in person, but over time I felt like I got to know her from Kristin's descriptions...just one look at those eyes in all the pictures, and you just knew that she was a total sweetie...she's a beautiful pup...

As I recently lost a beloved companion of my own, I think I can empathize with Kristin tonight...and you have my sincere and deepest sympathies, Kristin...hearing this sad news kinda re-opened the hurt and sense of loss that I recently experienced, and to be perfectly honest, it sucks....

We have to focus on the JOY and the LOVE that we have shared with our dogs for so many years, and give thanks that our lives were enriched SO deeply by having those HAPPY memories for the rest of our lives...

There could never be enough of them though, and that's where the hurt happens and that sinking feeling hit
s and the tears come...been there, done after six months have gone by...

To commemorate and CELEBRATE Kess' life and the obvious joy that she brought into Kristin's life, the best tribute that I could think of was to design an Artan in her honor and memory, and try to help OTHER dogs in the process. It is intended to celebrate the special bond that Kristin and Kess shared via the bond that Kristin and I share through our respective golf blogs AND our love of golf, a great game that brings people (and dogs) together...

I'm honored and touched that golf has introduced me to Kess and Kristin, and my deepest and heartfelt sympathies and condolences go out to you, Kristin....

Without any further is the "Kess" Artan, which is derived from the MacKessock tartan design...
Rest in peace and Godspeed, Kessie - you will be missed....

In Kess' memory and honor, and to help other "fur-people" that are dealing with health challenges, I have updated the charity tartans section to include the MacKessock tartan, and I will contribute 12% (one for each year of Kess' life) of the net proceeds of each MacKessock Artan(TM) sold to the UC Davis Center for Companion Animal Health fund. We'll honor Kess by doing that, and help OTHER dogs and companion animals that need veterinary care, while providing the funding and research resources that will advance veterinary medicine for future generations...