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Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life in the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
In case anyone is interested in any of my past posts, an archive list can be found at the bottom of this page.
My newest novel, Happy Valley, can be found here.

Sunday, June 21

2015 U. S. Open Golf Championship

Sunday, Father’s Day, and here I am again, waiting to watch the world’s best golfers tee it up at Chambers Bay in Washington. Or should I say “Chambers Pot?” I’m always fascinated by the U. S. Open, for the golf, of course, but also to see what the USGA has come up with to get even with the uppity players who keep getting better and better at bringing a course to its knees. Almost every year the Open sites have had some dumb outcomes. I remember the 2004 Open at Shinnecock Hills in New York, when the greens on Sunday were like glass. Poor “Runnerup Phil” had a five-footer on 17 and the putt raced by where he would miss another for a double bogey that caused him to lose to Retief Goosen by two shots. I remember that first putt that he barely touched to get it started, watching as it went well down the slope from where he would also miss. That’s too high a premium on putting, when you have to guard so much on a 5-foot putt. I know, I know, all the players have to play the same holes on the same courses, but luck seems to play too large a role in U. S. Opens. I can’t remember which year or which course, but there was a hole with a steep rise from front to back. The cup was cut to the very rear of the green, and player after player would putt up the hill and then watch the ball circle around and come back to the front of the green. Dumb. The greens this year are also dumb. One can hardly call them greens: The players and viewers can’t distinguish where the fairways end and the greens begin, and the texture of the grass (fescue and poa annua) is awful to look at. Henrik Stenson joked that it was like putting on broccoli. Rory McIlroy added that it was more like cauliflower. And the number of mounds and swales on each green, causing players often to play putts and chips way right or left or long to get the ball to maybe come back somewhere near the hole.
Dumb. And what should be good shots into greens too often land and bounce thirty or forty yards long or don’t quite make it up a slope and then slowly turn back and rapidly run thirty or forty yards back toward the player who just hit it. On Saturday we heard the ranting that Gary Player let loose in an interview, calling Chambers Bay the worst course he’d ever seen, suggesting that the architect Trent Jones had to have one leg much shorter than the other to accommodate the drastic elevation changes. He wished he could hook up all the golf announcers to a lie detector to see what they really thought of Chambers Bay instead of what they had to say on camera. They keep praising the view. Yes, the sight of Puget Sound and snowcapped Mt. Rainier in the far distance is beautiful, but the same can’t be said of the overhead views of the course. It looks exactly like what it once was, a sand and gravel pit, like an industrial complex there for its utility rather than its beauty. When I think of beautiful courses and their views, I envision Pebblebeach, beautiful course, beautiful surroundings. I envision Augusta National, breathtakingly beautiful course, beautiful surroundings. Then there’s Chambers Bay. Ugly. I just hope that the winner this year is someone who actually wins it and not someone who wins because another player runs into Chambers Bay bad luck. I hope it will be Jordan Spieth, who seems to be an All-American Boy in ability, looks, and demeanor.
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