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FORE March/April 2013 : Page 13

RANGE TOKENS ([FXVHV&#0f;  ([FXVHV very February the PGA TOUR comes to Los Angeles. The world’s best players are treated to one of the world’s best courses: Riviera CC. So awesome. Tiger Woods hasn’t played there since 2006. By many accounts, his reasoning for not coming to his former backyard is because he doesn’t like the greens. They are made of bent grass. The fairway … kikuyu grass. Apparently, Tiger doesn’t like this stuff. Not sure about you, but when I play golf, I just look down and see … grass. I view the grass the same way I view hair on my head. As long as it’s there, I’m doing okay. But Tiger is playing a different game than we are. His excuses are just a bit more intricate. He thinks he missed five yards to the left because one of the blades of grass is heading in a north by northwest growing pattern. Cool. I miss a shot 50 yards to the left and I’m more likely to say some-thing like, “where’d that wind come from?” I recently played a round at The Los Ange-les CC. I know, fancy, right? My neighbor is a member and for some reason, thought it would be a good idea to invite me. I have a brand new set of clubs, and this was their maiden voyage. I swung them … many times. In the days following the incredibly embar-rassing round, I settled on a few things. I thought about that day at LACC. It was a cold day. I was still getting the feel for the new clubs. It was my first round in about three months. I have two young kids at home, so I don’t get out much. Did I mention LACC is really hard? And those cad-BY MARK WILLARD ( dies just keep watching you, with those judgmen-tal eyes. Over time, I went from being embarrassed by the bad day to patting myself on the back for even making contact. I mean, with all those things work-ing against me, it’s a wonder I even had the courage to venture out of the car. See how good it is to be a golfer? We have an excuse for everything. What a sport. We get to take credit for every good shot. But if you can’t think of a good excuse for every bad shot, you’re just not trying hard enough. Golf has it all. What other sport allows the participant to blame his terrible luck on a minus-cule gnat that flew in the wrong place at the wrong time? Brilliant. In a way, the golfing excuse is a necessary evil. If we didn’t have excuses, we may stop playing. But instead of throwing our clubs in the lake on the 18th hole after five hours, we use those five hours to think about how to justify our shortcomings. Once that justification sets in, you’re ready for your next round. You’re just sure that bad luck won’t happen again. I’m not sure if this was my best column. If it wasn’t, I’m blaming the fact that I heard a loud noise outside right before I hit send. That totally messed up my concentration. Yep, I’m a golfer. ■ You can catch Mark Willard on ESPNLA (710AM) weekday mornings from 10 a.m. -12 p.m. where he gives instant reactions on the hottest topics in Los Angeles-based sports. SCGA.ORG MARCH/APRIL 2013 | FORE Magazine | 13

Range Tokens

Mark Willard

<br /> Excuses, Excuses<br /> <br /> Every February the PGA TOUR comes to Los Angeles. The world’s best players are treated to one of the world’s best courses: Riviera CC. So awesome.<br /> <br /> Tiger Woods hasn’t played there since 2006. By many accounts, his reasoning for not coming to his former backyard is because he doesn’t like the greens. They are made of bent grass. The fairway … kikuyu grass. Apparently, Tiger doesn’t like this stuff. Not sure about you, but when I play golf, I just look down and see … grass. I view the grass the same way I view hair on my head. As long as it’s there, I’m doing okay.<br /> <br /> But Tiger is playing a different game than we are. His excuses are just a bit more intricate. He thinks he missed five yards to the left because one of the blades of grass is heading in a north by northwest growing pattern. Cool. I miss a shot 50 yards to the left and I’m more likely to say something like, “where’d that wind come from?”<br /> <br /> I recently played a round at The Los Angeles CC. I know, fancy, right? My neighbor is a member and for some reason, thought it would be a good idea to invite me. I have a brand new set of clubs, and this was their maiden voyage. I swung them … many times.<br /> <br /> In the days following the incredibly embarrassing round, I settled on a few things. I thought about that day at LACC. It was a cold day. I was still getting the feel for the new clubs. It was my first round in about three months. I have two young kids at home, so I don’t get out much. Did I mention LACC is really hard? And those caddies just keep watching you, with those judgmental eyes.<br /> <br /> Over time, I went from being embarrassed by the bad day to patting myself on the back for even making contact. I mean, with all those things working against me, it’s a wonder I even had the courage to venture out of the car.<br /> <br /> See how good it is to be a golfer? We have an excuse for everything.<br /> <br /> What a sport. We get to take credit for every good shot. But if you can’t think of a good excuse for every bad shot, you’re just not trying hard enough. Golf has it all. What other sport allows the participant to blame his terrible luck on a minuscule gnat that flew in the wrong place at the wrong time? Brilliant.<br /> <br /> In a way, the golfing excuse is a necessary evil. If we didn’t have excuses, we may stop playing. But instead of throwing our clubs in the lake on the 18th hole after five hours, we use those five hours to think about how to justify our shortcomings. Once that justification sets in, you’re ready for your next round. You’re just sure that bad luck won’t happen again.<br /> <br /> I’m not sure if this was my best column. If it wasn’t, I’m blaming the fact that I heard a loud noise outside right before I hit send. That totally messed up my concentration. Yep, I’m a golfer. n<br /> <br /> You can catch Mark Willard on ESPNLA (710AM) weekday mornings from 10 a.m. -12 p.m. where he gives instant reactions on the hottest topics in Los Angeles-based sports.

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