Here are some offbeat moments to remember from 2009.
The winner of the D-flight is…
Some Japanese designers combined their love of golf and funky fashion into a novelty bra that can be removed, rolled out and used as a practice putting green. One bra cup serves as the putting cup and has a built-in speaker that announces, “Nice shot!” after a holed putt. Ladies can stuff the bra’s pockets with extra balls and tees. Sounds really comfy.
What’s next, Frank Nobilo for Pope?
Nick Faldo, working these days as a golf analyst for CBS and Golf Channel, was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II to honor a golfing career in which he won six major championships and became England’s greatest golfer. Seriously, it really happened. He’s Sir Nick now.
Passed over for Oscar because his grip was too strong
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger attended the Presidents Cup held at Harding Park in San Francisco and met with the U.S. team one night during the event. Discussing his golfing acumen, the Governator said the last time he held a club was when he starred in Conan the Barbarian.
So do you want to buy an ice cream cone or not?
Legendary BBC golf commentator Peter Alliss, as witty as ever at 78, noticed ESPN’s Rick Reilly enter the broadcast booth at the British Open wearing a white suit and a purple tie. “When did Neil Sedaka come in here?” Allis asked.
Good luck, infidel
Among the e-mail messages of support received by Tom Watson after he led the British Open after 54 holes was this memorable one: “Even the Taliban are rooting for you.”
Told you Alan Shepard should’ve taken a fungo bat and a baseball instead
In July, John Stewart of The Daily Show commemorated the 40th anniversary of America’s moon landing. His take: “Then a couple of years later, we went back to the moon. To see how far we could hit a golf ball on it. Then, a little bit after that, we went a third time and brought a car. I guess to collect all the balls we hit… In fact, rarely in history has the distance between how hard it was to get to a place vs. what we did when we got there been so stark. It took us 10 years, astronauts’ lives, billions of dollars — and all we did was hit a f—ing golf ball?”
The mighty tighty-whities
Maybe he was doing a Steve Flesch impression. Maybe he was working on his tan lines. In any event, Henrik Stenson played the year’s oddest shot in the CA Championship’s opening round at Doral. To avoid getting his outfit muddy, he stripped down to his undershorts — and golf glove — to play a shot out of the mud in a hazard.
“My clothes would have been a real mess the last six holes so I had no option,” Stenson said in an effort to explain. “If you save a shot, that has to be worth taking off your shirt and trousers.”
He made a bogey on the hole, and the front page of newspapers worldwide.
Nice pants… on the ground over there
Stenson, the would-be Chippendale, was one of the several players sponsored by Stanford Financial, which collapsed after founder Allen Stanford was charged with running an $8 billion Ponzi scheme. Stenson also had a big chunk of money invested with Stanford. Asked how much he lost, Stenson replied, “I’m just trying to focus on playing golf in my underwear and letting others focus on my finances.”
In retrospect, maybe not the first time Tiger held someone else’s underwear
Before he teed off at the made-for-TV Tavistock Cup, Tiger Woods of Team Isleworth surprised Stenson of Team Lake Nona by giving him a pair of underwear that he’d autographed, his way of needling Stenson for his strip show at Doral.
Double or nothing he doesn’t make the Ryder Cup team
Ireland’s Shane Lowry won the Irish Open as an amateur, which prompted him to turn professional and take an exemption on the European tour. But he wasn’t the only winner in his family. Golf wagering is legal in the United Kingdom, and Lowry’s mother, Bridget, bet 50 Euros each way (to win and to finish top four) at 250-1 odds. She collected more than 15,000 Euros. England’s Robert Rock collected the 500,000-Euro first-prize check that the amateur Lowry had to pass up. “She had a nice check to pick up,” Lowry said of his mom. “More than me, anyway.”
It’s official, this course favors bombers
The county bomb squad was called to the Augusta (Ga.) Municipal Golf Course in March when a man looking for his tee shot found a half-buried hand grenade off the eighth fairway. Heavy rains were believed to have washed the grenade down a hill from land that was formerly Camp Hancock, a sprawling Army base. The bomb squad safely detonated the grenade… but did it replace the divot?
Looks like golf is doing both
An offbeat line of golf apparel was launched in 2009 called Birth. Golf. Death. Its catchy slogan: Get busy golfing or get busy dying!
We’re pretty sure we can guess what No. 1 is
The January issue of Golf Digest was off the printing press before the Tiger Woods scandal erupted. A sure winner in next year’s Bad Timing Awards, the magazine cover features Woods with President Barack Obama and the headline, “Ten Tips Obama Can Take From Tiger.”