Impeachable Me

There’s a word in the English language, which escapes me at the moment, to describe that feeling you get when you’re watching TV and you realize you know more about the subject being discussed than the people doing the discussing.

I got that feeling last night watching the Rachel Maddow Show. Her lead story was a “breaking news” report hot off the presses of the New York Times, whose reporters had learned that President Donald J. Trump had asked his British ambassador to ask the British government to ask the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews to award the British Open golf tournament to the Trump-owned Turnberry Resort.

Got all that? Rachel and her guests from the Times thought this qualified for immediate impeachment under the Emoluments Clause. I couldn’t stop laughing.

OK, those of us who know about golf (of which obviously neither Rachel Maddow nor the NY Times reporters have the first clue) understand a few things.

  1. Turnberry has hosted the Open Championship several times already (last time in 2009 when Stewart Cink lucked out against the rapidly fading 59-year-old Tom Watson) and will host the tournament again, some time in the future.
  2. Trump knows that the Open Championship is staged and controlled by the R&A. The British government and even the Queen her ownself has nothing to do with it.
  3. Even if the R&A got a call from Boris Johnson telling them that the President of the USA wished them to move Turnberry up in the rota, we all know that the reaction would be gales of laughter. Nobody tells the R&A what to do, especially about the Open.
  4. The head of the R&A was asked, when Trump purchased the Turnberry Resort in 2014, if the course would still be included on the Open rota (there are eight or so courses in the British Isles that regularly host the Open Championship; Turnberry has been one of them since the 1970s) now that Trump owned the joint. Of course, he said, adding that there might be some factors that determined exactly when that would be. He went on to say that political considerations–like Trump getting elected the 45th President of the United States–might be one of the factors that went into the decision.
  5.  The Open is already scheduled for the next four years. Royal St. George’s next year (postponed from this year); the Old Course in 2022, Royal Liverpool in 2023 and Troon in 2024.  Chance of any of those venues being replaced…0%.

So, assuming Trump is re-elected in November (my guess: easily), he will be out of office before the tournament returns to Turnberry.  Is the Emoluments Clause forward-looking? Can we impeach him for something that happens after he leaves office? Yeah, I’m guessing no.

The New York Times is a disgrace to journalism and Rachel Maddow is as stupid as a sack of golf tees.

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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Is patrick reed a cheater?

It’s official. Patrick Reed is the most hated man in golf. The Boogeyman. A Russian implant.

Does he deserve this reputation? Good question.

Reed’s troubles began at the University of Georgia. As a freshman member of the Bulldogs’ golf team, there was an incident at a qualifying event for a collegiate tournament. Reed reportedly hit a drive into some deep rough. There was apparently another ball in the same area of rough, closer to the fairway and in a better lie.

The story goes that Reed prepared to hit that second ball when his teammates confronted him, telling him that wasn’t his ball. He is said to have pleaded ignorance, saying it was an honest mistake. He has strongly denied any intent to cheat, then and now.

Then, apparently some items went missing from the UGeorgia locker room: $400 in cash and some other things. Reed’s teammates allegedly blamed Reed for the theft. Again, he has vehemently denied any involvement. And no proof has ever surfaced indicating that Reed was the culprit.

Finally, Reed ran afoul of alcohol and the law: twice he was arrested in Athens, Georgia for public intoxication. The second time he was busted, he tried to keep it secret from his coaches. They found out. Reed left Georgia, enrolled at Augusta State and helped them win Division I titles in 2010 and 2011.