Next Saturday will be the six-year anniversary of my venture into the world of golf. I was reminded of this when Mark M., on Facebook, when he noted that his Wichita State Shockers had won another game in the NCAA Basketball Tournament and I reminded him that I was happy for him, just as long as Texas A&M hired away their coach the way they did with Mark Turgeon back in 2007. All of that got me to thinking about how all that came about, about taking up golf and about how my game is doing now, six years later.
Yes, since there was a power outage, you can expect all kinds of headlines with the energy theme involved. Deanna Watson Miller, the editor of the Times Record News, the paper I worked for in the 1990s, pointed it out on Facebook, and I had to jump over to check out what the TRN had on their web page:
It really means nothing at this point in time, but it’s fun to mention. CBS Sports has released their preseason college football polls for next season and instead of having the Alabama Crimson Tide at number one, they have the Texas A&M Aggies at number 1. Let’s be clear, I know this is just pure speculation at this point. But it’s fun to see.
Here is their Top 10:
10. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
9. Clemson Tigers
8. Florida Gators
7. South Carolina Gamecocks
6. Georgia Bulldogs
5. Oregon Ducks
4. Ohio State Buckeyes
3. Stanford Cardinal
2. Alabama Crimson Tide
1. Texas A&M Aggies
Once again, Johnny Football Manziel has been named the SEC Freshman of the week. This is the 9th time this season that he has won the honor, and it ‘s a record for the honor. The most any other freshman has won it is three times, by multiple players. News sources are so not impressed with those freshmen who have won the award three times that they failed to give their names. Maybe that is because most of us would be hard pressed to know any of the freshmen to do so.
The sad note about this honor is that Manziel should be named Offensive Player of the Week, without the freshman designation, given that his numbers and performance outranks the “co-offensive players of the week” honors given to Mike Gillislee of Florida and Donte Moncrief of Ole Miss. Gillislee and Moncrief combined for a total of 313 offensive yards and five touchdowns between the two of them.
Our freshman passed for 373 yards, threw for three touchdowns, added 67 yards rushing and ran for two touchdowns as well. Which means, Freshman Johnny Football Manziel is better than the best two SEC players combined this week. He should have received Offensive Player of the Week without the freshman designation.
His numbers also improved for the season. He combined for a total of 4,600 yards on offense, which is an SEC record. The previous holder of the record was Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton who had 4,327 yards in 14 games instead of the 12 games in which Manziel accomplished the task. In other words, just to be clear, Manziel set the record with two-fewer games than Newton did. There should be no arguments left as to who is the best football player of the season. Hands down it’s Manziel and he should get the Heisman Trophy to go along with it.
As for what some are saying about Manziel, here is a quick reminder:
Tom Rossley, then A&M’s quarterbacks coach who recruited Manziel to College Station two years ago, compared Manziel to Brett Favre, whom Rossley coached at Green Bay. Alabama coach Nick Saban said Manziel reminded him of Doug Flutie. Now, Missouri coach Gary Pinkel added another great to the semblance list.
“Johnny made most of his plays running around back there,” Pinkel said, “just like John Elway used to do for Stanford.”
BTW, for those of you who did not watch the game on Saturday night, Manziel was injured at one point. It became so quiet in Kyle Field that the announcer actually shut up so you could hear how quiet the stadium was. 86,000 people have never been so quite. But in classic Manziel fashion, he came back into the game on the next drive and continued playing superbly even with the minor injury to his knee.
The Aggies went on to defeat the Missouri Tigers 59-29 and improved to 10-2 for the season. This is the first time since 1998 that the Aggies have had a 10-win season.
One more note: I was listening to Colin Cowheard on ESPN radio this morning and he said that A&M is playing the best football in the nation right now. He made the point several times. He added that Alabama is not the best team right now, as we saw two weeks ago.
One MORE note: Last week I read an article in which the players from t.u. were actually pitying A&M because the Aggies didn’t … and I’m not making this up… didn’t get to play them on Thanksgiving Day for the first time in years. Actual players were feeling sorry for the Aggies. This shows you the unsurpassed arrogance that people in the great state of Texas have had to put up with when it comes to t.u. They truly believe the world of college football revolves around them. Of course, you couldn’t tell that by their performance against TCU on Thanksgiving Day. The t-sips lost to the Horned Frogs 20-13.
Don’t feel so sorry for t.u. I’m sure they have already convinced themselves that A&M left the “superior” conference when they departed the Big 12 and now reside in South’s equivalent of the Mid-American conference. But then again, they are fooling themselves. After all, their coach boasted that they were the SEC team of the Big 12 earlier in the year. I guess they are right there above… Auburn.
Kudos to the marketing department of Texas A&M University in touting Johnny Football Manziel for the Heisman Trophy. They have put together a wonderful web page that has all his stats showing why Manziel is the best choice for the Heisman Trophy.
BUT THE STAT that takes the cake… from the “I’m not making this up” category:
1 — The number of kittens that Johnny Manziel has save on Wellborn Road in front of Kyle Field!
That is absolutely priceless! Manziel saved a kitten! That should do the trick and win the hearts and minds of those voting for the Heiman Trophy winner!
Best Golf Game EVER!
The golf season is coming to an end for me because of the winter months and the need to spend golf funds elsewhere, i.e., Christmas presents. So today was the last day to get out for a round of golf. I was hoping to do well, and I did!
On the front nine I shot a personal best of 51, with three pars. I parred holes 3, 4, and 7, which really made the difference. Not a single blowup hole and I managed the course much better than in the past.
The back nine is considered much more difficult than the front nine. I’ve been told to add about 10 strokes to figure out what your game will look like on the back nine if you are consistent. I only added 6 strokes and finished with a 57, for a 108 total. That is the best score ever. Here is the clincher. In those 108 strokes, I didn’t lose a ball, or have to use a mulligan, meaning that the score is an honest 108. If you figure in my 35 handicap, that would be a 73 for tournament play. But I rarely use my handicap.
Needless to say, I’m quite pleased with the game. There is only one shot I would like back from all of them, a muffed second shot on the 18th. But my recovery shots looked really good which made up for it.
Another black preacher that gets the truth of the gospel. It’s not about voting for Obama because he is black. It’s about voting against Obama because he is opposed to the principles of Christianity. Bishop Harry Jackson points out four reasons he cannot vote for Obama.
Anti-Bullying is Really About Limiting Free Speech – Neil has an excellent piece on the anti-bullying movement, and how it is just another ploy for liberals to impose their warped view of control over free speech. Here is one of the key paragraphs:
In case there is anyone who still doesn’t grasp that antibullying is a euphemism for imposing liberal totalitarianism, Ontario’s Minister of Education Laurel Broten spells it out (please excuse the butchered English):
Texas A&M Aggies Move Up in the Polls — They may not last long in the polls, but right now the Texas Aggies are ranked at No. 18/20/20 in the BCS/AP/USA Polls. That truly is exciting, given it is their first year in the SEC. They were predicted to be doormats since they had a new coach, with a new offense and in a new conference. So far, they have managed to hold their own and are 5-1 in the season.
However, they are about to enter the really tough part of the season this coming Saturday when they face No. 6/6/6 LSU in College Station, TX. This will be their biggest test since opening the season against Florida.
After this Saturday, the Aggies go on the road to face Auburn, Mississippi State and then Alabama… all… on… the… road. Hopefully they can come out of that road trip with 2 wins.
Finally — I’m praying that Gov. Mitt Romney wins even bigger tonight in the debate than he did last time. I’m praying that the American people will have their eyes opened to the true Obama and that we will not be fooled again by the man who believes that America needs to be cut down to size.
I really like what Gene Wojciechowski has to say over at ESPN.com!
Where’s Aug. 30th when you really need it? Because after one of the most news-filled, often depressing offseasons in the history of college football, I’m ready to watch anything that doesn’t involve a Freeh report, a police report or a hospital report.
South Carolina at Vandy? Never been happier to see the Head Ball Coach throw his visor.
UTSA at South Alabama? At this point I’d watch the USDA play football.
Eastern Washington at Idaho? I couldn’t name you one player on either roster — and that’s OK.
What matters is that actual football is actually going to be played. And that means a welcome respite, however brief, from the mind-numbing news of the day.
For me, the wait for college football is two-fold. First, my Texas Aggies have joined the SEC and I’m excited about the prospects of the Aggies playing in the best conference in the nation. I know it’s going to be tough on the Aggies. It’s meant to be.
What the move has done has eliminated my argument that I made for years that A&M played too many candy-apple teams in non-conference play. You remember those games in which I lamented the fact that they were playing Arkansas State for the first game of the season? It’s a no win situation when you play such teams because if you win, it adds nothing to the prestige of your team, and if you lose, you suffer embarrassment for years.
O how could I have brought that up! It was the very first game for Mike Sherman as head coach, and quite a foreshadow of what would come for him as the head coach.
Our season this year starts on August 30th, just like it does for most other teams. The time, 6:30 p.m. central. The team: Louisiana Tech University. The place: Shreveport, LA.
Now, in seasons past I would complain about playing a team like Louisiana Tech. But not this year. Given that A&M is in the best conference in the nation, have I said that already???, they have one of the toughest schedules in the nation. They can afford to play weaker teams now in non-conference play because in conference play includes games against Florida, LSU, Alabama, Arkansas, Missouri, Mississippi State, Ole’ Miss and Auburn. That is what happens when you play in the BEST conference in the nation.
The second reason I’m really excited about the season is that I bought two tickets to the South Carolina State game on September 22, and I’m taking Andy down to College Station to see the game. I wanted to get tickets to the Arkansas game, but did not for three reasons. The first, the tickets were twice the price as they were for the South Carolina State game. The second was that my father, who lives in Brenhan, TX (see the banner of this blog), was not going to be in town that weekend. I want to see him as well as go to the Aggies game. The third reason was that A&M should beat South Carolina State and it will be a lot more fun to see them win, than it will to risk a lost for Andy’s first game.
I can’t wait to go see the game. The last time I saw an A&M game was when they played Clemson back in the 2004 season. Andy was still in his mother’s womb at the time, but that didn’t keep us from going to the game. Every time A&M scored and the canon fired off in celebration, Andy kicked inside Elisa’s womb. It was a lot of fun. I’m hoping he is a natural Aggie.
How many days??? 17 days until football season starts. Gig ‘Em Aggies!
I did it again yesterday. I was approaching the Number 9 hole at Spring River Golf Course with a personal best 47 strokes for the front 9. For those of you who do not golf, this means that I was approaching mediocrity in my golf game as opposed to just bad golf. But for me, it was a big deal. My goal is to shoot less than 50 on the front 9 and back nine for a score less than 100 by the end of the year.
My goal yesterday was to shoot a 54 or less on the front nine. I learned a trick from my brother while playing golf out in Arizona with him. Realize what your game is, then set your own par accordingly. It’s the same principle that many use to figure a handicap, which is used in amateur golf all the time. My brother’s method was to set a 5 stroke limit for every hole. Five ends up being his par. Well, I know I’m not going to do that well, so I set a 6 hole limit for every hole, which would have given me a 54 for 9 holes.
Six is my par. That takes the pressure off me to obtain what I cannot obtain in the real game, a true par. Doing this gives the golfer a psychological advantage in that when you come to a par 4 and you decide it is a par 6, the pressure is off to make 4. To make a true par you cannot muff a single shot for the hole. To make a true par for each hole, your tee shot has to be really good, along with your mid-range shot, your short shot onto the green and your first putt. 90 percent of golfers cannot do that, especially given that most of the game is played in the six inches between one’s ears. (With my par at six, I actually hit a par on the Sixth hole. That truly helped my score.)
This is why handicaps were introduced. We may see great golfers like Tiger Woods shoot a 68 on any given day, but most golfers are not great. In fact, statistics show that 90 percent of all golfers never break an 80, and only about 75 percent of all golfers ever break 100.
My brother shot a 102 when we played, so he is above average, and falls into the 25 percent that do break into the double digits. It was the first time he has golfed in 4 years, so I imagine if he continues, he will drop back into the double digits.
Breaking 100 is my goal and I was trying to take a baby step toward that goal yesterday, just shoot 54 or less on the front 9. That goal was in reach when I came off the green at number 8 and headed for the tee box of 9. To be honest, butterflies begin bouncing in my stomach as I approached number 9. When it comes to Spring River Golf Course, number 9 has witnessed some of my biggest meltdowns. You could say that hole is doing her duty in getting inside my head, because she is there, sitting on a bucket, just laughing in my face when it comes to my game.
I tried not to listen to her. My mind immediately jumped to the facts. I have a 47, I simply need to finish the hole with 7 strokes to reach my goal. That is truly doable. In fact, I’ve done it before. I scored a par on this very hole… o so many months ago. She just laughed and shouted “meltdown!” I couldn’t get that word out of my head.
I teed up the ball, relaxed, took several easy practice swings and then launched my shot. I hit it well, but just slightly to the left and into the trees. “No problem,” I thought. “Just another opportunity for greatness to follow.”
Then I had to wait. There were four golfers ahead of me that I had not had to wait for since passing the elderly foursome back on the fourth hole (which is where my game really began to improve.) I had to wait to take my second shot… and I began thinking.
As every golfer knows, you must concentrate on your game because the most important aspect of the game is mental. Or is Yogi Berra once proclaimed, “90 percent of the game is half mental?” But to think too much about the game is catastrophic. In other words, you need to concentrate, but not think too much.
I was thinking too much. I thought I could hit my second shot along the tree line and get it closer to the green for an easy chip shot. That wasn’t clear thinking. I should have aimed for the middle of the fairway for the longer, but easier followup shot. Instead, my second shot went right along the tree line until it hit another tree and ended up behind a small burn.
“OK,” I thought. “Wait for the foursome to get off the green and put the ball right up on it.” Again, I was still thinking too much. I should have shot for the front of the green, then my chip shot instead of trying to go for the green.
Again, another tree. The ball went left again and now I had bunkers to worry about.
The next shot went to far to the right, but actually landed with an easy chip shot onto the green. If I got the ball onto the green and two putted, things would be well. But it was too late. By now, the pressure inside my head to finish off the hole meant that the nerves between my brain and muscles were no longer firing as they should. I wanted so bad to finish off this hole so well, that my muscles could no longer function. The chip shot flew over the green and to the fence. I was officially in meltdown mode.
I haven’t figured out how to break the cycle. But I do know the feeling really well. I could tell what I needed to do, but my muscles, hands and arms couldn’t do it. Every swing was filled with an unbeatable tension, followed by complete disgust at the results. I even ended up in the sand bunker, twice. Normally, I can play the bunkers well, but not in meltdown mode.
Instead of getting on the green in 4 strokes, it took me 9 strokes. I was utterly defeated. The goal of 54 was long gone and Number 9 was dancing around me shouting “Meltdown! Meltdown!”
“OK,” I thought with futility once again. “Just 2 putt and everything will be well.” Only problem, I couldn’t putt either. Another normally descent aspect of my game had left me. It took me three strokes to get the ball in. Instead of getting my my 54, I ended up with my normal 59. What looked like it would be a good 9-holes of golf, was shattered with one hole. Number 9 had won. She had done her duty and humiliated me. I couldn’t help but think that had I had just found one decent stroke in all of that, I could have come away with something. But even my putting was putrid.
That’s why the call it a “meltdown.” It’s purely psychological. It’s not as though the ability isn’t there physically, but the hole itself truly is inside my head like a giant mountain standing between me and my goal.
I’ve talked to other golfers about it. Zach, who works in the pro shop, said that is the hardest part of golf. Getting over the psychological barriers we face is what makes the game so difficult. Good golfers find a way to play through it. I haven’t yet discovered the ability to do so. I know when I’m in meltdown mode, but haven’t found a way through it.
I know when I do… I will score a 54 or even better. But until then… I will have to face the meltdown again.
I did try to play the back 9. But I must confess the joy had left me. I was truly having a good time on the front 9. I did manage to get the ball on the green on Number 13, which is a par 3. But I 5 putted to get it in.
By the time I hit my tee shot off Number 15, the joy was completely gone. So much so, that the thought of a turkey sandwich sounded much more appealing than finishing out the round of golf. I picked up my ball and headed for home.
Here is a clip from the movie about Bobby Jones, the greatest golfer ever to live.
Here is one on the life of Bobby Jones.
An era is really coming to an end for Texas A&M football. The equipment guys at A&M’s football facility changed the signs this week. The first shot is taking down the Big 12 logo, and the second shot is putting up the SEC sign.
This is from there twitter page… which shows the popularity of A&M football. Even the equipment guys have a twitter account. I have to confess, I don’t have a twitter account. However, I wonder if the maintenance man for the church does.
Also in SEC news, the schedule for the 2013 football seasons and beyond will be discussed in the coming weeks by the respective schools. There is a possibility (and I say possibility) that the last game of the season for the Aggies will be the LSU game and there is a possibility that it would be played on Thanksgiving Day, which would be a ratings bonanza for both teams. It would mean that the Arkansas/LSU game would no longer be the last one of the season for those two teams. I know this will disappoint Razorback fans. I personally think the A&M/LSU rivalry is bigger and better than the LSU/Razorback rivalry. A&M and LSU are closer together and have played each other more than 50 times.
I know Razorback fans may disagree. We will have to see what the schools think of it when the schedule comes out in the coming weeks.
What is for certain is that LSU and Florida will not be playing again for a while. Both schools agreed to end that game, according to sources.
What must eventually be hammered out is a long-term football scheduling format that will accommodate the SEC’s two new members, Texas A&M and Missouri, for 2013 and beyond.
The conference has already cobbled together a temporary scheduling plan for the 2012 season only. The effect of that plan on LSU has been to replace the Tigers’ previously scheduled road game at Kentucky with one at Texas A&M.
The Southeastern Conference has been using a 5-1-2 scheduling format under which a team played all five teams in its
division, one permanent opponent from the other division and two more teams from the opposite division on a rotating basis.
LSU’s permanent opponent has been Florida, and athletic director Joe Alleva said both schools are interested in ending that scheduling staple.
Other schools are eager to preserve permanent opponents to preserve cross-divisional
rivalries like Alabama-Tennessee and Georgia-Auburn, and Alleva said he thought there was momentum among the athletic directors to maintaining that.
“The only way around that is to try to maintain the old rivalries and come up with a solution for those who don’t have them,” Alleva said. “There’s a fine line to doing that.”
Alleva is also in favor of maintaining an eight-game conference schedule as opposed to expanding to nine, which he said the majority of athletic directors favor.
“The preponderance of A.D.s feel eight games is the way to go,” he said. “There’s still more to discuss, but that probably seems to be the best way.”
Despite the fact football schedules are often made years in advance, Slive said time isn’t pressing on the SEC yet to come up with a permanent football schedule.
“We have designed a discussion schedule in such a way as to provide more than enough time without having to rush,” he said.
“There is no date we have to have it, not at all.”