Welcome to the latest installment of Scratching A Niche, the new Randball feature in which commenter Newbie attempts to enlighten you on the soft underbelly of the soft underbelly of sports. Usually, this involves golf and bowling. Newbie?


What Happened Last Weekend:

I’ve said it before; the Packers are a good team and deserved to win the Super Bowl.  The fans, however, don't.  So when one walks along the hole of a PGA tour event in frigid Phoenix, Az., with cheese on his head, you'd hope to see him get tackled by security.  Unfortunately, he was a golfer and was leading the tournament, and this was the 16th hole in Phoenix where anything can happen.  On Monday, Mark Wilson bolstered the already elevated bravado of Wisconsinites to above even iPhone user smugness levels, by winning the Phoenix Open.

But I am not here to rue that. I am here to talk about the 16th hole at the Phoenix Open.  I have never been there, but I hear it is a... no, THE PAR-TAY... (do the kids still say that?). There is a raucous crowd, with a small contingent led by a Minnesotan that finds obscure facts about players, distributes a list, and yells as they come by -- from the names of their dogs to adult film stars that attended the same high school.  Players describe the short par 3 as nerve-racking or exciting.  It is the only hole in golf that is entirely surrounded by grandstands housing more fans than a Gopher football game.* The only real info I can find on the guys from Minnesota is this article.  If anyone knows this individual, please get him in touch with Mr. RandBall -- it would be fun to get the inside scoop.  If anyone would like to send me out there next year to investigate and report, that would be cool too.  Incidentally, this is what they live for on that hole.

*Entirely made up, but seems plausible.

In other golf news, a few weeks ago this blog discussed the topic of players being disqualified by TV viewers calling in penalties.  James Achenbach of Golfweek Magazine now tweets: "New golf rules decision coming on DQs because of TV viewers. Players to be spared DQ if they can't see or feel what technology reveals."  My hunch is, that means of this year's two DQ's; Villegas' was legit and Harrington's would not have been a DQ.  Villegas should have known the rule, his caddie should have known the rule, and yes a rules official should have seen it and known the rule.  He clearly made an effort that violated the rule.  Yet, no one caught it until someone called in.  That was a mistake on a lot of parts.  However, Padraig did not realize his ball moved, at least enough, to warrant a violation.  An unintended accident that, while technically a violation, would not have been noticed by anyone but a close-up TV lens.  The new change is probably going to be a fine line and still not satisfy everyone, but I look forward to seeing what the new decision spells out.

What to watch this weekend:

Ummm... I guess the Pebble Beach Pro-Am is on.  Tony Romo is going to be playing.  He always does well as he has plenty of time to practice in late Jan. and early Feb. 

USBC Masters: Sunday, ESPN 2pm.  The third major of pro-bowling should be a good one. 

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention qualifying for the Daytona 500 starts this Sunday and the Shootout race Saturday night.  Catch all the live action of the practice for the Shootout (non-points race), Friday evening on SPEED.  Everything else is on FOX.
Feel free to bring up other topics or missed sports in the comments; we’re in a mini sports abyss, unless you like Bas-ket-ball or Hoc-key.  Any suggestions for new segments would be welcome as well.

Older Post

Mid-day talker: How the Brett Favre on "Dancing With The Stars" non-story came about

Newer Post

TFD: Friday apology list -- Packers fans, Black Eyed Peas haters and more