Okay, you are at a very nice cocktail party populated with people you know. All is going well conversationally with your current huddle of guys. You have talked about the lack of rain, reviewed vacation plans, asked about each other’s children, discussed the viability of self-driving cars, shared car-care tips and then there is silence.
After about 15 seconds, you dig into the conversation bag of tricks that your parents taught you: “Have you seen any good movies lately? “I need a book recommendation.” “Who is going to win the World Series?” “How many more years will Tom Brady play? He will be 41 in August!” “How did you meet your wife?”
Three minutes later, feet are shuffling and there is talk about “needing another drink” because it is no longer socially acceptable to talk about current events and politics. Since we now live in such easily-to-offend times, it is often a challenge to keep a fun and lively conversation going unless you are with your very best friends.
That’s where I-Didn’t-Know-That Information comes into play. A well-armed conversationalist should have an ample inventory of facts that have a chance of stimulating an interesting and fun of exchange of views and comments. Of course, predictably so, I am focusing on I-Didn’t-Know-That Information about golf and golfers. What will be your area of concentration? Even I know you can’t think and talk golf 24-7.
- The total number of traditional golfers held steady at 23.8 million in 2016 and 2017.
- “The equipment category is a $2.6 billion annual market and, beyond clubs and balls, includes club components such as shafts and grips. Golf is among the largest recreation sports in the United States, trailing only camping and fishing. More money is spent every year on new clubs and balls than on equipment for sports like basketball, baseball and football combined.” – National Golf Federation
- In his entire 14-year career, Bobby Jones (1901 – 1971) played in only 52 tournaments, 23 of which he won and 13 of which were Majors. During Jones’s playing days, the U.S. Open, The Open Championship, U.S. Amateur and British Amateur were considered to be the four Majors. He won the U.S. Open in 1923, ’26, ’29 & ’30, The Open Championship in 1926, ’27 & ’30, the U.S. Amateur in 1924, ’25, ’27, ’28 & ’30 and the British Amateur in 1930. He won The Grand Slam in 1930. He is the only player to have won the four Majors in a calendar year.
- Sam Snead (1912 to 2002) has the record for most PGA Tour wins with 82. He is also the oldest winner on the PGA Tour. He was 52 years, 10 months and eight days old when he won the 1965 Greater Greensboro Open.
- Tiger Woods is second on the all-time list of winners with 79 and Jack Nicklaus is third with 73. Woods’ last PGA victory was on Aug. 4, 2013, at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone CC in Akron, OH. Woods has won a record 25.2% (79 out of 313) of his professional starts on the PGA Tour.
- The Top 5 in Career Earnings on the PGA Tour are: 1) Tiger Woods, $112,205,724. 2) Phil Mickelson, $87,617,019. 3) Vijay Singh, $70,952,528. 4) Jim Furyk, $68,098,747. 5) Dustin Johnson, $53,363,689.
- If you walk, rather than ride 18 holes, you will walk roughly four miles and burn 2,000 calories. To compare, golfers who ride burn about 1,300 calories.
- The 2018 Ryder Cup (the 41st) will be played on Sept. 28, 29 & 30 at Le Golf National, which is just outside of Paris. The American captain is Jim Furyk. The European captain is Thomas Bjørn.
- The first Ryder Cup was played in 1927 at the Worcester CC, in Worcester, MA. The U.S. team has won 26 times, the Great Britain-Ireland team three times and the European team 10 times. In 1979, players from continental Europe took part in the competition for the first time. The U.S. won the 2016 cup 17-11.
- Most Ryder Points Won – Europe: Nick Faldo, 25; Bernhard Langer, 24; Colin Montgomerie, 23.5; Lee Westwood, 23; Seve Ballesteros, 22.5; Sergio Garcia, 22.5; Jose Maria Olazabal, 20.5. USA: Billy Casper, 23.5; Arnold Palmer, 23; Phil Mickelson, 21.5; Lanny Wadkins, 21.5; Lee Trevino, 20; Jack Nicklaus, 18.5.
- I know Tiger Woods’ Ryder Cup record is not very good: 13-17-3 (wins, losses, halves) and that he is a VERY long shot to make the U.S. team as one of the eight automatic qualifiers. However, with his recent good play, I believe Captain Furyk should make him one of his four captain’s picks. Do you agree or am I just being overly nostalgic?
Okay, just to give you an example of an interesting non-golf topic, my wife, Nancy, daughter, Ruth, and I were discussing vacation destinations Tuesday night. An Alaska cruise came up as one possibility and then Ruth asked about which states were the biggest. We all agreed that Alaska was No. 1, but how much bigger was the question. Here are the numbers: The U.S. is 3,794,083 square miles. The five largest states are: 1) Alaska, 663,267. 2) Texas, 268,580. 3) California, 163,695. 4) Montana, 147,042. 5) New Mexico, 121,589. Rhode Island is the smallest state with 1,044 square miles. You could fit 628 Rhode Islands into Alaska.
Of course, the good news is that you can escape the social complexities of the real world by calling a few friends for a round of golf.
Allan (My handicap continues to be 13 on my home course. I started the year as a 12.)