The Daily Flogging: Groove rule drama, Ryan Palmer's Sony Open win, golf course property taxes

The Daily Flogging: Groove rule drama, Ryan Palmer’s Sony Open win, golf course property taxes

Does anybody else think Wilson’s comments sound a lot like baseball’s Mark
McGwire claiming that steroids didn’t help him hit home runs, he was just
trying to stay healthy?

But the main groove bout pitted rookie Aaron Goldberg versus Champions Tour veteran R.W.
Eaks in the Monday qualifier at Turtle Bay. After Goldberger, a 24-year-old
from San Diego State, won the qualifier with 63 (and Eaks shot 65 and lost a
playoff for the last spot), Eaks apparently asked that Goldberg’s grooves be
checked. They passed.

“I thought everyone was getting checked,” Goldberg said later. “I didn’t know
until Tuesday that I was the only one.”

Here are four TDF guarantees: One, you’ll hear more to come on grooves. Two,
you’ll have more players asking to have other player’s grooves checked. Three,
someone is going to get caught with non-conforming grooves, probably
accidentally. Four, the value of old Ping square-grooved wedges will go up —
some Tour players are probably rummaging through closets and garages right now
to find some suitable antique Pings to try out. You
still don’t know who Ryan Palmer is?
That’s exactly the point, Dave Reardon
wrote
in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin: “I just let them
go,” said the new Sony Open in Hawaii champion. “I don’t want to ruin
it for them.”

On a day when Watson and Nicklaus won in Hawaii, of course Palmer would
have to come through, too. The game’s biggest living and still-playing legends
took care of business on Maui at the Champion Skins Game. And a guy with the
same surname as the fella they named the hybrid drink after did the same here
on Oahu.
But Ryan Palmer is as much kin to Arnold The King as
he is to Arnold The Governator. Now, with his third Tour win, even more fans
will be convinced he’s the grandson of that other Palmer. “I just let them go,” said the new Sony Open in Hawaii champion. “I don’t
want to ruin it for them.”

Robert-allenby_250 Runner-up
Robert Allenby showed some class
and didn’t blame any of a multitude of
distractions for his finish. More from Reardon:

It’s louder than happy hour at Murphy’s out at the
14th and 15th holes at Waialae, near Kalanianaole Highway. The concert of
generators (I understand) and bottles being thrown into a dumpster (someone
please explain) was joined yesterday by an ambulance siren and a pack of
motorcycles just as Palmer and Allenby were negotiating the par 4s.
Allenby
missed a short putt for birdie on 14 that could’ve changed everything. This
putt was attempted right after he twice acknowledged (with smiles) a crying
baby a few feet away from the green. It was clearly a distraction at the time,
but Allenby said it didn’t bother him — none of the noise did, until 17, where
he and Palmer barely missed birdies.
“Sometimes you hear things that we don’t hear. When
you are focused on what you’re doing, you don’t hear it,” he said, but noted
some noises are hard to block out. “I heard all the bottles smash just before I
hit the putt on 17.”
Note to Waialae staff: Wait until after the
tournament to throw out the bottles. Note to patrons: Do not bring babies to
golf tournaments.

Insert your own wisecrack here about players who act
like babies. Allenby, in this case, was not one of them. Laugh
off the Wendy’s Champions Skins Game if you want
. Four two-man teams teed it up
and a funny thing happened. The oldest and most famous twosome came away the
winners — Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus. The real story? They may have outsmarted
the rest of the field
.
The
event featured nine holes Saturday and nine holes Sunday (yeah, it’s a
made-for-TV event). After they finished Saturday’s show, Watson and Nicklaus
went ahead and played the back nine, getting a preview of Sunday’s action. They
won three skins and $130,000 the final day and went home with $350,000.
Watson
told The Maui News, “It’s a sign of intelligence. Why not go out there? If
you’re given the opportunity to play a golf course and know where the flag
positions are and they say, ‘OK, go ahead and play it,’ why not?… It’s the
old saying, treachery and old age sometimes beats youth and strength.”
Asked
for his opinion, Nicklaus joked, “Who played? I don’t remember. That’s part of
being old, isn’t it? You don’t have to remember what happened five minutes
ago.”
Nicklaus,
who’ll turn 70 Thursday, did say he and Watson would be back next year, “If Tom
will put up with me.” In
the overwrought chase to get a new angle on Tiger Woods
, the Associated Press
asked the burning question, will Woods miss another Ryder Cup?
The
Ryder Cup is the least of Tiger’s problems and also eight months away. Captain
Corey Pavin was nonplussed about the topic “There isn’t much to think about right
now,” he said. “It’s a matter of when and if he comes back. As a captain, I’ll
just watch what he does.”
The Ryder Cup isn’t among the top 30 issues that Woods has to worry about. The Los Angeles Times
tapped into what could prove to be a major story in golf in the coming years — taxes
.
In California, many super-exclusive private golf clubs haven’t been re-assessed for property taxes because
they haven’t changed ownership. Now a county assessor is taking another look at
that policy
, since members at those clubs routinely buy and sell their
membership shares. With California facing a big state budget shortfall,
politicians are looking for ways to increase revenue. This could prove to be a
classic tax-the-rich (country clubs) scheme.
If the Board of Equalization advises that a
membership change amounts to an assessable change in ownership, it could be a
boon for cash-strapped local governments. Since voters approved Proposition 13
in 1978, property tax has been capped at 1 percent of assessed value, and assessment
increases have been limited to 2 percent a year. Properties are usually reappraised at
market value only when they change hands. The policy has produced wide
discrepancies in how properties are taxed. At least two homeowners within a
half mile of the Brentwood Country Club, for example, pay more property tax
than the 128-acre club, according to records from the Los Angeles County
assessor’s office
. A six-bedroom house in the 12000 block of Marlboro
Street had an assessed value last year of $14.35 million, or $737.79 a square
foot of house and land. Another six-bedroom house in the 12000 block of Hanover
Street was assessed at nearly $11.1 million, or $565.92 a square foot. But the
country club, with its 18-hole golf course, tennis courts and pool, was valued
at $9,526,453 — $1.71 per square foot of land and facilities.
If California pols find a way to squeeze money from golf clubs, the rest of the country’s tax boards won’t be far behind.
(Photos: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)