Jerry West named exec director of Northern Trust

Jerry West has been named the executive director of the Northern Trust Open. He replaces Tom Pulchinski. We’ll see if West can convince Tiger Woods to put Riviera back on his schedule.
Here’s the release:
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Slow play from the back tees

Tried to get 18 holes in before it got dark the other day. I barely made it, no thanks to a couple of slow groups on the back nine.

What really got me was the foursome I joined on the final hole in a desperate hope to be able to read my line on the 18th green.

They were playing from the blue tees, the longest on the course. One of the guys, a left-hander, warned me to watch out when I pulled my cart up perpendicular to the tee box. He was right … he nearly hit me.

The guy in the cart with him received an unfortunate lie next to a fairway bunker, his ball just sitting up on the grass outside the bunker, while he had both feet in the sand at address. He proceeded to whiff five times and on his sixth try the ball moved about three inches. He fanned again before finally making contact.

These guys should have been playing from the executive tees, not the blues.

One of the biggest causes of slow play is players using the incorrect tee boxes.

I used to play the back tees … when I had a handicap bordering on single digits in my early 20s and hit the ball pretty good with my persimmon driver. Unfortunately, improved technology — both clubs and balls — makes everyone think they’re Phil Mickelson.

I’m in my early 40s and carry a 14 handicap. I look at the scorecard when I get to the course and try to play the tees that are closest to 6,000 yards. Some courses those are the whites and some the blues. But 6,000 yards is my comfort zone, where I feel I have a chance to play my best.

That other slow group during my round was what ended up being a fivesome in front of me (a combination of a couple of groups that had joined together because of the pace of play). They invited me to join them on the 16th hole. I waited until all five had teed off from the blue tees, then walked up to the whites and hit a solid drive. Point is, I don’t care what tees you’re playing, I’m going to play what’s appropriate for me.

I recently played a round with an old friend who just retired. He insisted we play the blue tees, yet he didn’t reach a green in regulation until the back nine because the holes were too long for him. He didn’t break 100 and even on good days shoots in the mid-90s. Wouldn’t he get more enjoyment out of the game if he could reach a few more greens in two and make some pars and maybe even a birdie or two?

The greens fees at that course for a weekend round were about $75. Why torture yourself from the back tees when you’re already paying more than $4 per hole. Shouldn’t getting your credit-card statement be enough of a hardship? Seems you’re paying for a good time, which nobody is going to have when there are hackers playing slowly from the back tees.

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Phil’s kiss cam

Quite a funny moment during last night’s Lakers-Rockets game. Phil Mickelson and his wife, Amy, were sitting courtside and were spotted on the JumboTron during the kiss cam. However, there was a man standing in front of them, blocking fans’ view of the Mickelsons. Fans started booing and it took a while before someone sitting next to them got the man to move out of the way, and the Mickelsons kissed.

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Spotted: Anthony Kim

Anthony Kim and George Lopez played a round of golf together at Lakeside last week. Lopez, a member at Lakeside, and Kim are friends. From what I’ve heard, the sight of the popular Kim traveled quickly around the clubhouse and members scurried out and surrounded the first green to watch Kim tee off. Kim promptly hooked his first two tee shots on the first hole into the parking lot. No even the Ryder Cup stars are perfect!

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