Hacker #7 is in the can

Finished the first draft of Hacker Golf Mystery #7: P.G.A. Spells Death. Like the most recent two or three Hackers, this one took about nine months to write. Seems to be my gestation period.

I wish I could crank out a new book every six weeks or so, like some of the indie authors out there. But my pace is slower. I usually spend two or three hours after lunch writing fiction. That’s when the juices flow, for me.

I go scene by scene. Get one down on paper today, come back tomorrow and revise and rewrite, then move onto the next scene. Over time, chapters form. They lead into the next ones. There’s a rhythm to a book, and I like to keep to it. But that’s natural for me: I learned forty years ago from a golf teacher (Chuck Hogan) that my dominant sense is auditory, so maintaining a rhythm, in both my golf swing and the pace of writing, is important.

This book came together fairly well. I don’t do a lot of outlining or plot planning. I’ve learned to let it happen. The story takes hold, characters do odd or unusual things and the story moves off into new directions. I don’t worry…just follow where it goes. Most of the time, it all comes together.

For this book, I had the bad guy right before I started writing. Actually, I had his name, which jumped unbidden into my consciousness. So knowing whodunit from the outset, all I had to do was figure out who was gonna get killed and how; and throw in some red herrings along the way.

And with the Hacker Golf Mystery series now at seven books, I can bring back characters from other stories, which is always fun.  Conrad Gold, my Donald Trump doppelganger who appeared in Death from the Claret Jug as a hotel developer in St. Andrews, is back in this one. He bid an obscene amount of money for the right to stage the PGA Championship at his property along the Hudson River north of New York City.

And, of course, the relationship between Hacker and his now wife, Mary Jane, continues to evolve. They have a new baby and need to find a bigger place than the tiny apartment in Boston’s North End. I hope Hacker’s cat, Mister Shit, survives the move!

a cinderella story

Oh…oh…oh…I love this story!

They had a professional golf tournament this week down in Scottsdale. The Scottsdale Open.  Not part of any tour, just the annual city championship. 

But of course, a lot of currently unemployed Tour pros live in and around Scottsdale, so the field was loaded.

You had Joel Dahmen, Kirk Triplett, Kevin Streelman, Colt Knost and others. 

So who won? 500 to 1 shot Zach Smith, that’s who.  Recent grad of UC-Santa Barbara, he shot 62-67-62 and won by three. His reward? A nice fat check for $20,000.

I’m told that over in Vegas, nobody bought his ticket. Too bad: just a $40 bet would have won you the same amount of money that Zach took home with his giant check.

Love this story!

What PGA Tour Pros Really Think

Two golf writers I know fairly well, John Huggin and Dave Shedloski, did a survey for Golf Digest asking 46 PGA Tour pros a series of questions.  No names were used—just percentages of answers and some anonymous comments. Fair enough.

But some of this is interesting stuff. Let’s dive in.

You get to choose one tour pro to be on your side in a bar fight. Who are you picking?

Ernie Els: 27.5 percent
Jason Kokrak: 10 percent
Scott Stallings: 7.5 percent
Gary Woodland: 7.5 percent
Ricky Barnes: 5 percent

Tony Finau: 5 percent
Brooks Koepka: 5 percent

I have no beef with any of those answers. But speaking of beef, I would have included Andrew “Meat” Johnston in my list. Big fella. Might be useful in a bar fight.

Will Tiger Woods win a major in 2020?

Yes: 60 percent
No: 40 percent

I’m in the “no” camp.  Surprise me.

Will Tiger be competitive in the Masters until he’s 60?

Yes: 46 percent
No: 26 percent
Don’t know: 28 percent

You’ve got to be kidding, right? Tiger is a great player, one of the best ever. He’s also barely hanging on, with some duct tape, AAA batteries and the finest pharmaceuticals money can buy, to his physical capabilities to play golf at the highest levels. No, he won’t be a factor at the Masters or anywhere else when he’s 60. Or 50.

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