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Let’s see if we can’t go big here

Matt PaulsonBy Matt Paulson,

Round three. Moving day. Go big or be damned to the pages of the leaderboard no one sees. The ones that swallow into obscurity even the “notables.” The ones that should not even count as the leaderboard. There is nothing leader about it. It’s board, at best. Well, this is round three of Badgolfer.com world roundup. Let’s see if we can’t go big here.

So we begin relatively locally: Clearwater, Fla. Professional Bill Buttner has quite possibly the best timing in the world. No, not swing timing. The driving range upon which he instructs is located directly south of the St. Petersburg/Clearwater Airport, and with the constant deafening thunder of planes approaching and taking off, he has to time when his students will be able to comprehend his instruction. But no more. The airport is planning to expand directly onto the driving range at the county-owned Airco Golf Course. Buttner can either instruct while dodging planes and wearing earmuffs. Or he can pack it up and hope the ringing in his ears subsides before insanity sets in and he starts instructing lawn gnomes and bottles of orange juice.

A third option, however, has presented itself. The course has considered moving the driving range to where the tenth hole now resides. Buttner said they now do not know where to move the tenth hole. A viable option would be to move it right onto the runway, making it a 1,200-yard par 4 where the greens would run at about a 32 year-round. And if one’s playing partner was hit by an airplane, the entire group would be awarded one mulligan apiece for emotional pain and suffering.

To north of the border, that Canada place. The same one that spawned Mike Weir, Bryan Adams, hockey, and well, that’s about it. Recently, legislation was proposed to charge bottled water companies for pumping water out of Ontario’s lakes, rivers and aquifers. The Canadian Bottled Water Association (Yes, that’s right. There’s an association. Remember, these are the people that took ham, called it Canadian Bacon and convinced us to put it on our pizzas) said it agrees with the legislation, but the fine should be levied to all other water users, including golf courses. In fact, Larry Brookes, spokesman for the Association, said golf courses are to blame. They take 81 percent more water than water bottlers, he said. Apparently, neither golf nor golf courses are necessities. Coming from a bottled water association? Nuff said.

Now on to the British Masters. Australian Jarrod Moseley felt sick during his Sunday round, but not because of that chili dog he ate the night before. On the first hole, he caught a flyer. On the other end of the air-mailed approach was an unlucky middle-aged woman’s head. The blow knocked the woman unconscious while bleeding profusely. Moseley said the whole scene made him rather queasy. He recovered to shoot a 72 and finish 4-under for the tournament. No word on the woman’s specific condition, but she was definitely sub-par. (Enter appalled and offended but disappointedly amused groans here).

Back on the domestic homefront. To Arizona and the not-so-aptly named Eagle’s Nest Country Club: Like the pigs in Animal Farm, owls seem to be taking control. The nocturnal birds are being illegally uprooted by local developers and moving into and around the course. But the neighbors and patrons of the course seem to have taken a liking to the birds. Recently, about a half-dozen of the Dirty Dozen Plus, a local group dedicated to preserving the owls, built an extravagant underground lair for the birds near the golf course, where eight paint buckets became owl nests.

Said Bo Smith of the Dirty Dozen Plus: “They’re the nicest little birds to have around. They fly around and feed on all the bugs. Scorpions are one of their favorites. The people get really attached to them.” Smith then squealed excitedly and began chasing a butterfly around the teebox.

Finally, to the Italian Open Championship where Graeme McDowell has plenty to “wine” about. As part of McDowell’s prize for winning the Open, Italian cheese giant Grana Padano provided McDowell with his weight in cheese. Apparently a thoughtful gift-giver, McDowell gave half to his mother – suspiciously near Mother’s Day – with the hopes that he wins his weight in crackers at his next appearance. Think dairy prices are high now? What if Lumpy had won?

So that’s all for now. Maybe we made the top page, maybe not. Maybe our round-three performance has warranted damnation to the boughs of the bottom pages on Sunday, the ninth circle. Ah well, at least we made the weekend.

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