Wednesday, August 30, 2006

That Roar You Hear Is a Dangerous Tiger

The headline in the paper the other day said, “Tiger Takes the Fifth.” It made me think of Retief Goosen.

But, first, about the meaning of the headline. It refers to how many times Tiger Woods has won the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio. Five. Woods has also won four tournaments in a row, including the British Open and the PGA Championship, after failing to make the cut at Winged Foot for the U.S. Open. The guy is blowing away the competition.

Now, back to Goosen. I interviewed him in early July before Tiger went on his hot streak. Goosen said competition on the PGA Tour these days is tougher than ever. But it's great to see so many players have a chance to win, he added.

"It's a lot tougher to win out there than it was five years ago," Goosen said. "But then again, Tiger Woods was so on top of his game five years ago that it seemed like he was winning every week."

You remember the Tiger Woods of five years ago, don’t you? Well, looks like he’s back.

-- Larry Aylward, Editor in Chief

Thursday, August 17, 2006

A Fall Classic?

You may have heard of Charlie Cook, the veteran Washington, D.C.-based political analyst. I had the pleasure of hearing Cook speak earlier this year at a Media Summit presented by BASF.

Cook monitors political candidates and their ratings like baseball nuts watch box scores and batting averages. He’s a fascinating person to hear speak.

But despite his knowledge, Cook admitted he doesn’t have a real good feel about this fall’s election. He can’t predict who will win control of the House and the Senate in the U.S. Congress.

Cook examined the election from two perspectives — the macro political approach and the micro political approach. When you look at it from the macro political approach — or from top to bottom — Cook said Republicans appear to be in eminent trouble.

But when one looks at the election from the micro political approach, or from the bottom to the top, it appears the Democrats will have a difficult time gaining control of the House and the Senate. Republicans will lose some House and Senate seats, but they’ll probably hold their majorities, he said.

As far as the presidential election in 2008, Cook said two early contenders are John McCain and Hilary Clinton. And, yes, Hilary has a chance.

— Larry Aylward, Editor in Chief

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

50 Dollars of Unleaded and a Conspiracy Theory

My day is off to a wonderful start. I filled up for $2.89 a gallon this morning. Boy, do I feel lucky.

Lucky because I beat the price increase that should hit the gas pumps today that will cause consumers — once again — to mutter expletives out loud and under their breath when they run up another 50 bucks in gas on their MasterCards. This is happening because BP announced yesterday it was shutting down an oilfield because it discovered "unexpectedly severe corrosion" in its pipelines in Alaska. The shutdown represents 8 percent of the nation's domestic oil production and could last for weeks to months, according to reports. Hence, gas prices will soar like Superman.

So, golf facilities will spend even more to fill up their fairway mowers and other gas-powered equipment to maintain their golf courses. And Joe Golfer, meanwhile, will be forced to use part of the money he normally spends on golf for the week at the local Speedway station.

No matter how you look at it, the latest news from the oil world is not good news for the golf industry. (Not to say that there’s ever any good news from the oil world.)

Now, I’m not one for conspiracy theories, but the oil companies are starting to make me wonder.

Your thoughts?

-- Larry Aylward, Editor in Chief