Quick 18: Seve, barefoot Rocco and fishing tales

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Q-18 enjoyed seeing former Clemson Tigers Jonathan Byrd and Lucas Glover together in the Wells Fargo Championship playoff.
May 09, 2011
Melanie Hauser, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent

1. We begin by saying goodbye. Seve Ballesteros was passionate, talented, mercurial, magnificent, fearless, mythical, sheer genius and ... a legend. In his prime, he was golf. Ditto for the Ryder Cup. He was the Ryder Cup. He was unfathomable, breathtaking shots. He was funny -- the famous four-putt: "I miss de, I miss de putt, I miss de putt, I make de putt." Sir Nick Faldo called him Cirque du Soleil. He did things, Sergio Garcia said, you couldn't comprehend. Ben Crenshaw said he stalked the golf course. "He was almost regal in the way that he did it, because he played by pure instinct,'' Crenshaw said. "And it was a wonderful thing to watch." There are a lot of heavy hearts, a massive reminder of how precious life is, tears and a profound sense of loss. But as we celebrate him, also remember he'll live in our memories forever.

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2. And while we're on Seve, let's get one thing straight. There won't be another Seve. Yes, Phil Mickelson may be the closest thing we have to the dashing one, but close isn't ... Seve. There's only one Jack, one Arnie, one Byron, one Hogan, one Payne Stewart. One Seve. No discussion.

3. Serious touch of class by defending PLAYERS champion Tim Clark who asked -- and was granted his request -- to have Spain's flag fly high over The PLAYERS Championship this week, not his native South African flag.

4. Keep an eye on ... Adam Scott. He's already won a PLAYERS and his game is back with a vengeance. Heck, he even brings cool to a those belly putters. It would come as absolutely no surprise to Q-18 to see Scotty join the likes of Davis Love III, Steve Elkington, Fred Couples and Hal Sutton and win a second one at Sawgrass.

4. In case you missed it, great shots of Sunday-before-PLAYERS from Golf Channel. Best was Rocco Mediate playing barefoot and in shorts. He swears the greens are already running 12-plus on the stimpmeter. Get ready.

5. Fun stuff watching two Clemson Tigers go at it in the Wells Fargo Championship playoff. More fun knowing the two good buddies talked earlier about playing together late Sunday. So where were the painted Tiger faces in the gallery? Lucas Glover has found his way back and the late Dick Harmon is smiling down. It was G-Lover's -- see David Letterman's Top 10 after Glover won the 2009 U.S. Open -- first win with that fearsome beard. And runner up Jonathan Byrd? He's about to come into his own -- soon. Watch out for him this week, too.

6. Want a scathingly brilliant idea?? How about this one from twitter-meister Stewart Cink who orchestrated a twitter-ific scavenger hunt for tournament tickets Saturday night. He had a couple of clubhouse tickets in his locker and wanted to do a giveaway or something. But when he stopped by an ATM on the way to the hotel ... "I thought, instead of giving away the tickets to somebody who answers a question, then I have to like look at my Twitter all night long, what I'll do is I'll just put the tickets up on the top of the ATM machine and go back to the room and let everybody know that there's tickets waiting at this address on top of the ATM machine, and I did that."

First, he tweeted there was going to be a scavenger hunt, then the address. "As soon as I said the address a bunch of people must have swarmed right to it because within just a couple minutes they were gone and there was a bunch of people responding that they got there just as people were taking pictures of the tickets and all that. So it was fun.'' What will Mr. Cink -- who taught Q-18 to tweet a few years ago -- do next? He's thinking of putting tickets somewhere close to his hotel room so, "I can be there peeking watch the swarm. It was fun. I mean, I love doing stuff like that on Twitter because it creates a little bit of a bond between me and them, and I think the ones that live in Syracuse and Sacramento and Tokyo think it's pretty fun, even though they don't get a chance at the tickets.'' Better start following him @stewartcink.

7. It was the golf shoes. Well, in retrospect, it should have been. According to several reports, when President Barack Obama walked into the Oval Office in his golf shoes last Sunday, the press corps should have known something seriously big was up. The Golfer-in-Chief always stops by the residence to change shoes after playing/hitting golf balls, but that afternoon he didn't. A few hours later, he announced the death of Osama Bin Laden. Apparently the shoes tipoff just clicked with the White House press corps. By the way, why is everyone marveling over no leaks about the Bin Laden mission? Isn't that what we should expect?

8. While we're on a political bent, it's worth noting that Golf Digest is now campaigning on behalf of that Obama-John Boehner match that Capitol Hill, Q-18 and others have been discussing for a while now. Digest has had about 10,000 Obama-Boehner "Let's Play Golf!" buttons made to distribute at the U.S. Open at Congressional Country Club next month. Jerry Tarde, Digest's editor-in-chief, told the Wall Street Journal the match probably isn't imminent, but he's heard "behind the scenes that there is interest ... it's very hard to get clear answers." Remember Digest's "Be Nice to Monty" campaign at the 2002 U.S. Open at Bethpage?

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9. Russell Henley. Remember the name. He's not just the latest amateur to win a professional event and the second player to do it on the Nationwide Tour. And don't give Q-18 any of this he played on his home (University of Georgia GC) course stuff. He's got some history leading into it. Like a T16 at last year's U.S. Open and the low scoring average on the Georgia team. He had to turn down the winner's check and he's opting to take his exemption in 2012. Why? He wants to play in the Walker Cup.

10. Another swing at making the cut at a Nationwide event, another future Hall of Famer at another sport goes down swinging. So just what, Augusta Chronicle columnist Scott Michaux asked, is former pitching ace John Smoltz missing that pro golfers you have never heard of have? "About 25 years of doing it since you were a kid," Jason Gore said. "Smoltz and (Jerry) Rice, they are world-class athletes. And I think they expect to be able to come out here because they can shoot 66 on their course. 'I was the best at what I did, why can't I do that?' But they've been training other muscles and doing their thing." One day, someone will make a cut. Now that Smoltz knows what to expect, it might be him the second time around.

11. If the U.S. Open is approaching ... Tony Romo is about to tee it up in qualifying and the discussion has begun. Airwaves, internet sites and newspapers are buzzing with the annual Dallas Cowboys fan question: Should the Cowboys' quarterback, who is coming back from a shoulder injury, put time in on the course or go 24/7 at the Cowboys' training facility? Romo has been a fixture in Open qualifiers since 2003 and was in reach of making it through sectional qualifying at The Woodlands last year before several weather delays forced him to withdraw so he could participate in Cowboys' OTAs (Organized Team Activities). He's in today's local 18-hole qualifier at Stonebridge Ranch in McKinney, Texas. Other famous faces in the Open qualifier crowds? Smoltz, actor Lucas Black, former NFL kicker Al Del Greco, tennis great Ivan Lendl and current Jacksonville kicker Josh Scobee.

12. Was it really 21 years ago that golf was still a black and white issue? So much changed when golf took a hard look at a lot of things and Shoal Creek Country Club cracked its doors and admitted an African American member. How far have we come? Q-18 needs only point to former U.S. Secretary of State, Shoal Creek member and Birmingham native Condolezza Rice, who hit it ceremonial tee shot at last week's Regions Tradition. "Our country's been turning a chapter for a while," Rice said. "We have a tough history (regarding race relations), and you always need to remember that, but you also need to see how far our country has come. To me, this speaks to that." Indeed.

13. This week's Oh-my-Oh-dear tweet comes from defending U.S. Open champ Graeme McDowell, who teed it up at Congressional last week for media day: "Congressional 7574 yards Par 71 US Open set up. No-one will break par." He meant for 72 holes. For 18? Maybe.

14. Tom Lehman in a runaway?? Not Sunday, of course, when he needed a playoff to beat Peter Senior at the Regions Tradition, but the season? That's a different matter. He's the first player to three wins this season and he's opened a huge early lead over Nick Price in the Charles Schwab Cup race and the money list. It's a Bernhard Langer-like charge, but wouldn't it be fun if Price or two-time winner John Cook would take off, Langer would bounce back from thumb surgery and make this one heck of a race?

15. What keeps Fuzzy Zoeller on the golf course?? The master of the quip said it is those large bodies of water that often swallow golf balls. "The only real reason I play golf now is so I can go fishing," he told AL.com. "Golfers are very fortunate. We get to go to a lot of lakes at these courses that have a lot fish in them. I didn't get to fish here at Shoal Creek this time but these lakes here are full of big bass. I tell you. I'm ate up with bass fishing."

16. Two caddies down. Now an instructor. Sean O'Hair isn't high maintenance. He's just doing what players do when things aren't working. Caddie Paul Tesori was sent packing at the end of last year, and, most recently, Brennan Little. Now, instructor Sean Foley, who knows the drill. "He hasn't been happy with how this year has gone, and he feels he needs to make a change in direction with his instruction," Foley said. "We had a good run up until the 2011 season. Sean is a good friend of mine. I love the kid. But this is business. I don't look at it from an emotional standpoint but a rationale standpoint ... it's like in the NBA. You win a championship one year, two years later the coach gets fired for having a losing record. That's the business."

17. Nothing stands between a player and fishing. Not even his Sunday best. From @RickieFowlerPGA: "Straight out of the car to fish "@bubbawatson: Yes @RickieFowlerPGA is fishing in his orange pants!! #hi5 http://yfrog.com/gyeabhcj"

18. And finally, we must point out that last week's item about Tiger Woods hobbling onto stage in a protective boot at Tiger Jam was incorrect. Q-18 noted the source was Las Vegas Weekly's Robin -- Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous -- Leach and the information turned out to be ... well, not so credible. Tiger didn't wear the boot and he also schmoozed with VIPs the night before. The item was corrected later, but to be fair, we offer apologies.

Melanie Hauser is a columnist for PGATOUR.COM and can be reached at melaniehauser@gmail.com. Her views do not necessarily represent the views of the PGA TOUR. Follow her on Twitter @melaniehauser.

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