Random Golf Thoughts of a Wandering Mind

A few nights ago as I was channel surfing, I ran across The Big Chill, the 1983 movie starring Tom Berenger, Glenn Close, Jeff Goldblum, William Hurt, Kevin Kline, Mary Kay Place, Meg Tilly and JoBeth Williams. The plot centered on a group of 30-something University of Michigan baby boomers coming together for the funeral of a friend who had committed suicide. Not the most uplifting story in the world, but it worked because the interaction between the friends seemed natural and the music was sensational -- Creedence Clearwater Revival, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, The Rolling Stones and Three Dog Night. As I watched it, two thoughts came to mind: 1. Nineteen eighty-three was 37 years ago! Good God! Seriously?  2. What were my favorite movies of all-time?

After a little deliberation, I came up with my Top 10 Favorite Movies Of All-Time:

  1. Godfather   
  2. Godfather II 
  3. To Kill A Mockingbird   
  4. Princess Bride 
  5. Babe 
  6. Raiders of the Lost Ark (Indiana Jones) 
  7. Shrek    
  8. Goodfellas
  9. Patton 
  10. Toy Story.

Just for the record, The Big Chill would be in my Next 10.

I surprised myself when I realized that Caddyshack (1980) didn’t make my list, which in turn made me start thinking about all sorts of golf lists.

My Favorite Golf Movies:

  1. Caddyshack   
  2. The Greatest Game Ever Played (2005)  
  3. Tin Cup (1996)  
  4. The Legend of Bagger Vance (2000)  
  5. Seven Days in Utopia (2011).

I can watch Happy Gilmore (1991) every two or three years, but Caddyshack II (1988) gets a 1 on a 1 to 10 scale.

My Favorite Golf Books (fiction and non-fiction):

  1. The Greatest Game Ever Played (2002) by Mark Frost
  2. (Tie) The Clicking of Cuthbert (1922) and The Heart of a Goof (1926) by P.G. Wodehouse
  3. The Match (2007) by Mark Frost
  4. Golf In the Kingdom (1972) by Michael Murphy
  5. Caddy For Life: The Bruce Edwards Story (2004) by John Feinstein Note: This is my favorite Feinstein golf book, but all of his golf books are wonderful. 
  6. The Dogged Victims of Inexorable Fate (1970) by Dan Jenkins 
  7. Golf Dreams  (1996) by John Updike
  8. My Usual Game: Adventures in Golf (1995) by David Owen
  9. The Duffer’s Handbook of Golf (1926) by Grantland Rice with illustrations by Clare Briggs.   

My Favorite Golf Instruction Books:

  1. Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book: Lessons and Teachings from a Lifetime in Golf (1992)  
  2. The Timeless Swing (2011) by Tom Watson
  3. Golf My Way (1974) by Jack Nicklaus
  4. The Game I Love (1997) by Sam Snead
  5. How To Play Your Best Golf All The Time (1953) by Tommy Armour 
  6. Secrets of the Master: The Best of Bobby Jones (1996) edited by Sidney L. Matthew  
  7. All Things Golf: Lessons, Thoughts, Tips, Reminders and Memories from Stan Thirsk  (2004) by Howard Richman 
  8. Modern Golf (1913) by Harold H. Hilton.

The Five Best Players In The History Of Golf:

  1. Jack Nicklaus (b. 1940) -- PGA Tour Victories: 73. Majors Won: 18 (Masters -- 1963, 1965, 1966, 1972, 1975 & 1986; U.S. Open -- 1962, 1967, 1972 & 1980; British Open – 1966, 1970 & 1978; PGA – 1963, 1971, 1973, 1975 & 1980. In addition, he finished second 19 times and third nine times in the Majors. 
  1. Bobby Jones (1902 – 1971) – Majors Won: 13 (British Amateur -- 1930; British Open – 1926, 1927 & 1930; U.S. Open – 1923, 1926, 1929 & 1930; U.S. Amateur – 1924, 1925, 1927, 1928 & 1930). During his era, the four Majors were the British Amateur, British Open, the U.S. Open and the U.S. Amateur. Jones, who never gave up his amateur status, played in 31 Majors from 1923 to 1930, winning 13 times and finishing in the Top 10 27 times. His BIGGEST YEAR was 1930 when he won all four Majors.
  1. Tiger Woods (b. 1975) -- PGA Tour Victories: 82 (Tied for 1st with Sam Snead). Majors Won: 15 (Masters – 1997, 2001, 2002, 2005 & 2019; U.S. Open – 2000, 2002 & 2008; British Open – 2000, 2005 & 2006; PGA – 1999, 2000, 2006 & 2007). From 1997 through 2008, Woods finished in the Top 30 in 44 of 46 consecutive Majors, winning 14 of them.
  1. Walter Hagen (1892 – 1969) -- PGA Tour Victories: 45. Majors Won: 11 (U.S. Open – 1921, 1924, 1925, 1926 & 1927; British Open – 1922, 1924, 1928 & 1929; PGA – 1921, 1924, 1925, 1926 & 1927). Hagen is considered by many to be the greatest match-play golfer ever, winning the PGA Championship four consecutive years. From 1916 to 1957 the PGA was a match-play tournament.
  1. Ben Hogan (1912 -1997) -- PGA Tour Victories: 64. Majors Won: 9 Masters – 1951 & 1953; U.S. Open -- 1948, 1950, 1951 & 1953; British Open – 1953; PGA – 1946 & 1948

Over his career, Hogan placed in the Top 10 in 40 of 58 majors. That's 69 percent.

My Five All-Time Favorite Golfers To Watch On TV:

  1. Tom Watson (b. 1949) – I always root for the hometown team and he was a hometown team that actually won. He has 39 PGA Tour victories, including eight Majors -- – Masters 1977 & 1981; U.S. Open 1982; British Open 1975, ‘77, ‘80, ’82 & ’83. He placed in the Top 10 at least 10 times at each of the four Majors, which is a feat only he and Nicklaus can claim. And who can ever forget the 1977 Duel in the Sun at Turnberry when he defeated Nicklaus by one stroke or Sunday’s chip-in birdie on the par-3 17th hole of the 1982 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, resulting in a two-stroke victory over Nicklaus.
  1. Tiger Woods (b. 1975) – I couldn’t NOT watch him, but I rarely rooted for him, probably because he was so good for so long.   
  1. Lee Trevino (b. 1939), winner of six Majors (U.S. Open 1968 & 1971; British Open1971 & 1972, and PGA 1974 & 1984. I loved watching his unconventional swing and appreciated his enthusiasm for the game.
  1. Seve Ballesteros (1957 to 2011), winner of the Masters in 1980 & 1983 and the British Open in 1979, 1984 & 1988. He was an escape artist with great imagination. As sportswriter Jim Murray wrote, “Seve Ballesteros goes after a golf course the way a lion goes after a zebra.”
  1. John Daly (b. 1966), who won the 1991 PGA and the 1995 British Open, was must-see TV with his bombs-away approach to the game. “Like a hurricane, his arrival came without warning and his game spells danger whenever he plays.” – Golf instructor David Leadbetter.

My Current Favorite Golfers To Watch On TV:

  1. Bryson DeChambeau (b. 1993) has put on 40 pounds of muscle and last week while winning the Rock Mortgage Classic at the Detroit GC, he averaged 350.6 yards off the tee. Can’t wait to see how he performs in the Majors.
  1. Brooks Koepka (b. 1990) won the U.S. Open in 2017 & 2018 and the PGA in 2018 & 2019. He is the first golfer in history to hold back-to-back titles in two Majors simultaneously. I also like that he plays quickly.
  1. Jordan Spieth (b. 1993), winner of three Majors: Masters 2015; U.S. Open 2015 and British Open 2017. I am rooting for him to regain his winning form. He is too young to be washed up.
  1. Gary Woodland (b. 1984), the 2019 U.S. Open Champion, won his first Major by defeating two-time defending Open champion Brooks Koepka by three shots. ROCK CHALK!
  1. Tiger Woods. Old habits die hard. That and the fact that when he does play.

The Two Best Players Who Haven’t Won A Major That I Like:

  1. Rickie Fowler (b. 1988) was the 2010 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year and has won five PGA events. He can putt and he actually looks like he is having fun.
  1. Xander Schauffele (b. 1993), who was the 2017 PGA Rookie of the Year, has four PGA Tour wins. His best finishes in the Majors are: 2019 Masters, Tie 2; 2019 PGA, Tie 16; 2019 U.S. Open, Tie 3; 2018 British Open, Tie 2. Currently ranked No. 11 in the world, it’s just a matter of when he will win his Major.

My One Before- I-Die Golf Trip:

I would like to go Bandon Dunes and Cabot Cliffs before I go, but the one trip I must take is to Northern Scotland where I want to play at least four rounds at Royal Dornoch. I have wanted to play Dornoch since I read about Tom Watson and his good friend Sandy Tatum’s experience there in 1981 prior to defending his British Open title at Royal St George's GC. (In 1980, Watson won his 3rd Open title at Muirfield.)

This is how Watson described his day at Dornoch in a letter that he sent to the club:

Dear Fellow Golfers,

I would like to thank you again for allowing Sandy Tatum and me the opportunity to play Royal Dornoch G.C,

The wind and rain on Saturday combined with one of the truly great golf courses in the world made my second round one of the most enjoyable rounds of golf I have ever played.

It is a golfing experience I'll always remember.


Tom Watson

The other courses in the Highlands courses I would like to play are: Broara, Castle Steward, Cullen, Nairn and Tain.

My Dream Foursome? Too many friends, too little time!

Play Away!

Allan Stark (Still a 13 handicap.)



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  • Barbara Chapman

    Hi Allan, Duncan, Antonia and I are watching The Big Chill tonight. Thanks for the thought.

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