Ben Hogan won a fifth U.S. Open nobody knows about

The interesting thing about Ben Hogan’s mysterious U.S. Open victory isn’t that it was his fifth title that he never gets credit for. The interesting thing is how the tournament was hidden in plain sight in 1942.

Considering it disrespectful to hold a U.S. Open while World War II was going on, the powers that be decided to hold basically the same tournament under a different name and include war funding in the event’s mission. They held qualifying just like a U.S. Open and handed Hogan the same gold-medal trophy he would have won for a U.S. Open.

Hogan is only credited with winning four U.S. Opens, however, which doesn’t really matter.

I’ve always felt, or sensed, that Hogan was the best golfer ever to play. I never saw him play, but in reading about him and watching some videos, I think he was better than Nicklaus or Tiger. Whether he won four or five Opens wouldn’t change his place in golf lore.

The notion of a tournament committee holding the same event under a different name fascinates me, because a simple change in language – in this case a tournament title – changes history. It serves as further proof that what is written in the history books, the numbers and letters, don’t necessarily tell the whole story. We can’t use statistics and such to quantify a person’s greatness. If you have a gut feeling that someone is great, they probably are.

 

 

Passing Don’s wisdom on to writers

I continued my reading of Don Quixote this morning and stumbled across a passage that could easily apply to writers in today’s world.

In the passage, Sancho Panza asks Quixote why he continues to wander around doing great deeds that nobody will ever see or hear about. Why doesn’t Quixote go into the service of a great king somewhere, a king who can fund his journey with money and the best weapons and supplies?

This made me think of a modern-day writer who might think it isn’t worth writing anything that can’t get published by a big publishing house.

Here is Quixote’s answer:

“There is something in what you say, Sancho, but before one reaches that stage one must wander about the world on probation as it were, in search of adventures, so that, by bringing some of them to a happy conclusion, one gains such fame and renown that when one does go to some great monarch’s court one is known as a knight by one’s deeds; and as soon as all the boys in the street see one riding through the city gates, they follow one and come swarming around one and shouting: ‘This is the Knight of the Sun’ or of the Serpent or whatever device it is under which one has performed great exploits.”

So, a writer should write and write and write all over the internet and make a name for him or her self. If the writing is worth reading, people will read it and someday the big publishing houses will come chasing after the writer, instead of the other way around.

Write every day

One of the biggest lessons I learned in my journalistic days was that sometimes people like the dumbest stories. No, what I mean is, you never can tell what people are going to like. I would turn in stories I loved and hear nothing from anyone and I would turn in stories I hated and have compliments tossed my way. Point being, there were a bunch of stories I never would have written if it weren’t for a deadline and those stories brought a smile to somebody’s face, sometimes. So, that’s why I am rambling on late at night. I was about to go to bed with nothing on my mind to write about, but here I am.

If you have a crazy book idea, write it up and publish it. You never know, somebody might enjoy it. If nobody enjoys it, so what. Most of us are glad Charles Dickens wrote Great Expectations, but have you ever tried to wade through the Pickwick Papers? Then again, somebody out there probably loved the Pickwick Papers.

Shavasana is my favorite yoga pose

There is no better feeling than reaching the end of a yoga practice and hearing the instructor tell you to go into relaxation pose, or Shavasana.
That feeling of splaying your arms and legs out on the ground and letting your body relax after a challenging session. Of course, Shavasana wouldn’t feel so good if it weren’t for it directly following the practice.
If Shavasana came first, it wouldn’t be the same. If it lasted 30 minutes, it wouldn’t be the same either. The wisdom in Shavasana is that relaxation is an important part of life, but it has its place.
At the end of a long day of work, a good meal and an alcoholic beverage is Shavasana. At the end of a long week, sleeping in an extra hour on Saturday is Shavasana.
Work hard at something each day, even a hobby, and Shavasana will be there waiting for you.

McMurtry prose sings

In my journalist days I used to hear a phrase tossed around that was unique to the office. Someone would turn in a story to the editor and the editor would say, “Does it sing?”

I suppose it’s obvious what that phrase means, but in reading Larry McMurtry’s novel When the Light Goes, I have gained a better knowledge of the three-word question. When the words flow by in a thought-provoking manner that doesn’t feel like reading, it sings.

McMurtry is well known for his western tales like Lonesome Dove, which was made into a TV miniseries decades ago. Though I had seen Lonesome Dove and heard McMurtry’s name, it took me decades to actually read one of his books.

I found it randomly on Oyster and I’ll admit I was hooked by his reference to a woman’s nipples on the first page. The story has its share of pornographic moments, but isn’t a dirty story. It has it’s share of romance, but isn’t a simple love story. The reason to read the book isn’t the plot, it’s the writing. McMurtry uses simple, poetic language that doesn’t sound like it’s trying too hard.

Upon finishing When the Light Goes, I vowed to read more McMurtry and started with the first chapter of the first book in the Lonesome Dove series, a novel titled Dead Man’s Walk. If my old editor asked me about that first chapter, I’d say, “Indeed it does.”

Would Mark Twain have been a blogger?

Mark Twain wasn’t always a writer. He wrote professionally as a young man, but pursued other careers, only returning to writing when those other professions failed him.

So, if Mark Twain wrote primarily for money, it’s fair to ask whether he would have wasted time blogging.

Supposedly, some bloggers make money, but few do right away. I suppose there might be some big magazine paying a writer to keep a blog, but that doesn’t count. When I say blogger, I mean random folks typing away for a handful of readers.

A better question might be: if Mark Twain was a blogger, would anyone read his ramblings? Anyone who has read Mark Twain knows he was a gifted writer, but that doesn’t mean the blogging community would find him.

Maybe Twain would have been a master marketer and spread his name on the internet, but maybe not. Maybe he would have written a few blog posts and gave up to pursue something that actually produced a paycheck.

Diva rules

The third annual JDP Invitational was over before it started.

A scheduling quirk allowed Deb “The Diva” Peters to play her round four days prior to the other four competitors in the 18-hole event in Mesquite, Nevada.

Her net 76 at the Palms proved too tough to beat for the others at Casablanca on Friday. Deb, who was taking care of her eight-month old grandson Quin, was left with the luxury of a leader in the clubhouse, getting score updates via text message.

“I realized after nine, I was in pretty good shape for the win,” Deb said. “I thought everyone else would come through, but they didn’t.”

Through nine holes, Sean Walsh was in the best position to overtake The Diva. He made birdies at 10 and 12, but stumbled to a third-place finish with a net 80.

Finishing second was defending champion Jeremy Peters, who was playing on no sleep after flying in that morning. His net 78 included too many early double-bogeys to ever give him a chance to contend.

Laura Walsh was fourth, a net 82 not quite living up to her standards. She did have the excuse of having to play with the Diva’s clubs. Walsh didn’t hit the driver once, failed to master the Diva’s sand wedge, but rolled the ball well with the Diva’s putter.

Inaugural champion John Peters played one of the worst rounds of his life to come in fifth. His net 85 included many poor shots of all variety, some of which he attributed to fatigue on a hot afternoon. 

The reward for winning the JDP is the right to carve your initials in the green candle, which the Diva did while all competitors sipped Baileys on the rocks. 

“I felt like my score intimidated from the very beginning,” Deb said.

Her score at the Palms came in horrid conditions from the red tees, a 115 with a 39 handicap. Deb attributed her putting for the win, and a few nice drives. Her favorite shot was the drive she hit on the ninth hole, a dogleg left over water. She cut the corner on the par-4, a gutsy move she attempted for the first time, and left herself 40 yards from the green. The only competitor with the pleasure of witnessing the feat was John, who agreed with the Diva’s final assessment of the week.

“If you could have seen me play that day, you would know I earned the win,” she said.

DP sets the pace

The third annual JDP Invitational launched in windy, frigid conditions Monday at the Palms Golf Course in Mesquite, where Debbie Peters served as pacesetter for the other four players in the tournament.

Debbie’s 115 from the red tees at the Palms was a net 76 for the 39-handicap who usually plays from a modified senior ladies tee marker that looks suspiciously like the 150-yard marker.

“My putting was back to amazing,” said Debbie, who played with John Peters and pretty much had the course to themselves. “We just had a blast today. I made some awesome putts.”

A net 76 will be tough to beat for the others, who play Casablanca on Friday for the right to carve their initials into the green candle. Defending champion Jeremy Peters will be back with a six handicap, meaning he will need an 81 or better to win. Inaugural champion John Peters comes in with a handicap of 20, making his target score a 95.

Laura Walsh is back as well and not carrying a baby this season, at least not in her belly. Her 18 handicap sets her in position for her first win if she can shoot 93 or better. Sean Walsh added a few strokes to his handicap over the winter, coming in as a nine. Do the math and that means an 84 or better could earn him his first green candle.

 

Final hole seals first JDP for The Scribe

The second annual JDP Invitational was a little more dramatic than the first, with Jeremy Peters edging out Sean Walsh on the final hole to claim the green candle by one stroke.

The title was undecided until the final hole Friday at Casablanca golf club in Mesquite, Nevada, where “El Capitan” was tied with “the Scribe” as they stood on the 18th tee.

“It was pretty cool,” said Jeremy “The Scribe” Peters. “After three days of golf, for it all to come to one hole was exciting and proved the net format of the event worked as intended.”

Sean “El Capitan” Walsh held honors and hit first, his driver shot sailing right and clearing a fairway bunker on its way to the desert brush. 

“It was the first driver I lost to the right all week,” Walsh said.

Peters hit a 4-hybrid down the center of the fairway of the par-4. Walsh couldn’t find his tee shot and dropped with a one-stroke penalty that ultimately would be the difference. Walsh two-putted for a bogey and Peters two-putted for a par that sealed a one-shot victory. Peters, a 6-handicap, shot net scores of 76-72-77 to finish at 225.

“My last putt was about a five-footer,” Peters said. “I wasn’t sure I would make it, so I was relieved to see it roll into the center of the hole. Sean and I have a long history of matches being decided by one stroke, so I wasn’t surprised it came down to the last putt.”

Defending champion John “Ahab” Peters finished in a tie for third with Laura “Lil’ L’Dub” Walsh, who posted some big numbers early in the final round and battled back into contention. John was only one shot behind Jeremy when he took a crippling quadruple bogie on the par-3 14th hole, the same hole Laura made a birdie to gain five strokes.

Jeremy opened the door for everyone when he double-bogied the par-5 15th. A perfect drive led to a wayward second shot that splashed into a water hazard. Sean birdied the same hole for a three-shot swing that tied him with Jeremy overall. The two leaders parred the 16th and both made three-putt bogies on the 17th.

Later, the green candle was passed from John to Jeremy. The candle was lit to burn John’s Mark of “Pappy” from the top of the candle. Jeremy then carved his mark of “JJ” into the candle. Pictures can be seen below, along with complete scores.

Statistical note: Jeremy’s net total of 225 bettered John’s score of 240 the previous year by 15 shots, but the courses used in the second installment of the event were much easier than the ones used the first year.

Final net scores:

Jeremy Peters – 76-72-77– 225

Sean Walsh – 79-72-75– 226

John Peters – 79-71-79– 230

Laura Walsh – 76-74-79– 230

Debbie Peters – 76-81-82– 239

   
    

Ahab is in hot pursuit of second green candle

A benign front nine gave way to a blustery back nine at The Palms golf course Wednesday in Mesquite,  where the Scribe vaulted into first place in the JDP Invitational and Ahab shot the low round.

A hot putter led Jeremy “The Scribe” Peters to a net 72, good enough to move into first place alone with one round to play. John “Ahab” Peters dazzled with bunker play en route to a net 71, pulling into an overall tie for second with Laura Walsh, who fired a net 74. Sean Walsh posted a net 72 and Debbie Peters struggled to a net 81 to sit in fourth and fifth place, respectively.

Defending champion John Peters, playing on a newly-constructed left knee, repeatedly found himself in sand traps that may more aptly be called hard-dirt traps, but he made the task look easy, digging out soft-landing, high-arching shots that nestled close to the pin. 

“It was quite a tough day out there in that sun, close to 100 degrees,” Peters said. “I was surprised, making the low round of the day, but it was brought on by that sand wedge of mine. Without that, it wouldn’t have happened.”

The sand wedge was a gift from the participating Walshes. It has a special grind on the sole that makes the shots a little easier from hard sand. 

“If I can make the magic work one more day with that sand wedge, I wouldn’t be surprised if I end up winning the second annual event.”

The final round takes place Friday at Casablanca in Mesquite, where John Peters (18 handicap), will have to overcome a two-stroke deficit to Jeremy Peters (6 handicap) if he wants to repeat. Laura Walsh (18 handicap) is also two shots back and Sean Walsh (7 handicap) is three shots back.

Debbie Peters (25 handicap) is nine shots out of first, but can take consolation in cleaning house on Wednesday’s par-3 skins game. She won two of the four possible skins, with John taking the only other skin.

“It was very thrilling to win two skins today,” said Debbie. “I didn’t play all that well, but it’s all about the money for me, The Diva.”

If john Peters can find a way to win his second JDP, there will be no cash prize, but he will keep his name on the coveted green candle.

“John played really well,” Debbie said. “I was very happy for him, because he has a new knee and he tested it out and did really well, however we may have to break his other knee tomorrow, before the (final) round.”

There may be some practice in John’s plans for Thursday, because he said the final round at Casablanca will be all about the putting.

“If I have a bad time with my putting at the Casablanca, it could be a disaster for me,” John said.