Sunday, January 22, 2012

Mother Nature and other proud mamas

Jan. 20, 2012, 12:21 a.m. PST
In the fast-twitch world of blogs and tweets and tubes, it’s only right that Mother Nature has her say, too.

It’s past midnight, and the guys are still working at the end of the street to rebuild the power pole that tilted under the weight of frozen snow and the big fir tree that cracked off mid-trunk and crashed down on the power lines over my driveway.

So I, curious if not brave, step carefully over the wire lying in the snow and slog (it’s raining now) down the block to see how the work is going.

They’re waiting on a load of gravel to pack in around the pole, then they’ll reattach the wires. Forty-eight hours, they say, ‘til we’re back to normal.

It’s cold, and wet, and I’m so grateful for the work they’re doing on my behalf that I think, gee whiz, I should whip up a batch of cookies for the boys and take it right on out. But my power’s out, and I can’t bake any fucking cookies, nor can I write or post a blog in the usual way.

So it’s longhand, for now, by cold candlelight, as I write about two men playing golf in the sunshine.

Jan. 22, 2012, 12:21 p.m. PST
Gary Christian (Blogolfosphere, Jan. 19) never really fired a shot in his first PGA Tour tournament last week, missing the cut at the Sony Open in Hawaii with back-to-back 73s. This week is more like it, he will tell you.

"I played my game," said Christian — which , for him, seems to mean hitting his irons tight and making his putts — in a first-round 66, three off the lead, at the Humana Challenge (they used to call it the Bob Hope Classic) in La Quinta, Calif.

The only blight on an otherwise tidy scoreboard at the Nicklaus Resort Course was a double on No.  6, a 406-yard par-4, when he hit a hybrid into the water and then hit a flyer over the green.

As well as he was hitting it Thursday, Christian was happier about his mental toughness. His favorite hole came early on the back nine, when he drove the ball way right to a difficult lie, then, still mindful of his trials on 6, hit the "best iron I've hit in a couple months" in close, and made the putt.

"It could have been a dismal number," he said, "and I got a birdie."

On Friday, he followed up with a bogey-free 68 on the Palmer Private Course. It doesn't take a golf genius to propose that a lot of rounds like that will earn Christian, 40, a ton of money on the game's top tour.

Saturday, Christian played two-over through nine holes before the powers-that-be shut down play because of excessive high winds. He was one-under through the first seven holes at La Quinta Country Club before taking a (wind-aided?) double on No. 8 and a bogey on 9.

Mother Nature does like to stick her nose in there now and then.

Players were to resume third-round play this morning and then go right into the fourth  round. Weather permitting.

Christian is a rookie, but at 40 he's no golf newbie. TJ Bordeaux is a rookie in every traditional sense of the word. He’s young (23) and a newly minted professional, working his craft on the NGA Pro Golf Tour in Florida.

Now, he’s also a winner. He picked up his first champion’s check ($13,500) Wednesday, outlasting two veteran pros in a three-way playoff at the NGA Winter Series event at Red Tail Golf Club in Sorrento, Fla. He opened with a 64, his low score as a pro, then shot 68 and 70 in the next two rounds 

Bordeaux had a 150-yard second shot, into the strong wind of an approaching thunderstorm, on the second playoff hole, stuck it to five feet, and made his birdie putt. Danny Ellis had a similar second shot, but didn't hit it as close, and couldn't get his putt to drop.

The players got the playoff done just before the rain poured and the thunder roared, Bordeaux said.  

The win comes on the heels of a tie for fourth in his previous tournament. It's all a continuation of a process, Bordeaux says, that every new pro goes through.

"It's respect for the game," says Bordeaux, of Tacoma and the University of the Pacific. "The talent level is deep, and you have to be that much smarter and that much more confident in your game."


What links the two men, Bordeaux and Christian, the through line from Sorrento to La Quinta, is their relationship to a woman who is pretty new herself at what she does.

They are among the first signees of Heather Deranek, 31, of Seattle by way of Gig Harbor, Wash., who hung up a shingle as a sports agent just this past August.

Deranek was a proud "mama" when she heard about Bordeaux's victory.

"With his skill and hard work, this is going to be the first of many," Deranek said. "He has a bright future ahead of him, and I am thrilled to have him on  my team."


Pretty obvious, by now, that power has been restored to my working domain ... in case you were keeping track at home.

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