Saturday, April 07, 2007

April is here. Show me the golf!

With the winter looking like it had finally coming to an end here in Atlantic City, we have a forecast for April "snow" showers . . . Is that how the saying is supposed to go? April snow showers bring frozen May flowers . . .

But, what is April really about to any true golfer? The Masters.

And so, here we are sitting inside thinking, hey, let's watch the Masters Tournament ( Golly, it doesn't come on until 3:30 pm. That is just standard issue TV coverage just like any other tournament. No respect! Then we get this little article coming down from the top brass at CBS Sportsline and the Masters:

They are being kind enough to give us an extra hour of coverage, ONLINE. As it stands, I spend the better part of my life at the computer and I know that nothing would please me more that to spend a few extra hours on the computer watching low-quality video. Is this supposed to be a gift to golfers of some kind?

Why is it that there is no way to see entire Masters coverage. I would pay dearly for pay per view or anything to see this. What golfer, even on Easter weekend, or especially because of Easter weekend, would not be spending a large portion of their time watching this. With 30 million golfers in the US, this is a substantial potential audience and a tremendously targeted audience for advertisers. We can pay for 50 pay per view channels of wrestling and crappy cartoons, but all we can see is golf interviews or reruns of past Masters.

Last year while on a 10 day cruise in the Caribbean, we watched on international ESPN, an entire 2 (8 hour) days of coverage of the Masters. It seems that only American Television can disrespect such an important event.

So thank you Masters and CBS for giving us so little coverage of such an important event. And especially so, for not even offering us the possibility to pay out the nose get some real coverage of this tournament. Shame on you both for not providing true access to this national treasure revered the world over.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

The Classic is of Course, Over

As is so often the case, a special week in your life can pass in a flash, with so much left to say and do. In this case, the ShopRite LPGA Classic at Seaview of Atlantic City came with somewhat of a whimper, but left with a bang. A brilliant final round 63 on the Bay Course at Seaview by the young amateur Seon Hwa Lee clenched her first LPGA title.

As painful as it is to admit, to both the reader and your scribe, the organization and implementation of the tournament was in many respects very disappointing. However, at every turn the golf and the LPGA golfers themselves were nothing short of amazing. Professional golf is a unique sport that provides both risk and reward to be part of day in and day out. My respect for the LPGA golfers grows each time I am afforded the opportunity to watch how golf can be played.

My concerns about the organization of the tournament are, in some cases, out of the control of the organizers, but some are.

The ShopRite Classic Website

This has disappointment written all over it. A website is a tool to communicate information. If the website does not convey information needed by the visitor, it has failed. At every turn, the website leaves the visitor with far less than they need to know. This forces the visitor to call and be shuffled to volunteers who are clearly unprepared to address these questions adequately. The un-official phrase of the ShopRite Class is "I'm just a volunteer." Still today, the website has not been updated with the winner's photo and scores.


Do all tournaments charge for parking? This will have to be looked in to more closely. To date, this is the only tournament I have had to pay to park at. It is also the only tournament that I have attended where the bus would wait until it was full to continue on to the tournament; an obvious necessity when there are only four busses shuttling spectators to and from the course. The parking fees are not listed on their website.

Will Call

It seems an oddity to have the Will Call booth open at different times every day of the event. This causes confusion for out-of-town visitors who may be traveling long distances to come to the tournament. The hours of operation for Will Call are not listed on the website. In addition, when you purchase a ticket online, no confirmation email is sent, which would be a perfect time and method of communicating when and where you can pick up your tickets.


The signage for the tournament was clearly wrong from the local's perspective. The signage from the White Horse Pike, directed the visitor to the rear-entrance of Stockton. The Will Call booth is at the front of Stockton. In many ways a trivial point, but an extreme inconvenience when you are toting an 18-month-old. This forced the visitor to exit the bus upon leaving and wait yet another 15-20 minutes for the next but to arrive.

In spite of the ShopRite Classic organizers best efforts to thwart any possibility of walking in the front gate of the tournament in a good mood, I loved the tournament and will always make a concerted effort to attend. This tournament represents one of the most important charitable efforts in South Jersey and rewards so many. This tournament is the foundation of Atlantic City Golf and represents what is could be. However, every day we all must learn to do whatever it is that we do better and improve upon the past.

Monday, June 05, 2006

A Fine Friday at the ShopRite Classic

It was a great pleasure to take Adam, the Atlantic City Golfer's 18 month old son, to the ShopRite LPGA Classic early Friday morning. He knows golf, but in a different way than we do. It is clear that he likes the flowers around the course and the smell of them more than he cares about the clubs, balls, tee, bag, flag-stick or anything else related to golf. Irrelevant and charming to say the absolute least.

But, one thing that 18-month-old boys are fond of, are women, especially young beautiful ones. It's pure instinct and an LPGA event is the perfect place to witness this instinct rise to the surface. But logically, women love them back and have an almost instant attraction to children this age. It is a fit made in heaven and just as it should be.

As father and son wandered past the practice greens that Friday morning during the opening tee times, Morgan Pressel who the Atlantic City Golfer had watched the day before at the practice range, was putting and loosening up. Slowly walking around the ropes, we seemed to somehow be the only three at the practice green. Instinctively the beautiful Ms. Pressel and Adam saw each other and she walked over.

"What is your name little man?"

"Adam", said dad.

"How old are you Adam?"

"18-months", said dad.

"What beautiful blonde hair and blue eyes you have."

"Thank you", said dad. He went on, "Oh, you mean Adam . . ."

She smiled at Adam and never seemed to notice dad.

Ms. Pressel reached out in an offer to hold Adam. He accepted. Where was the shyness that is offered to most strangers that grace his path daily? I guess he understood that you don't leave Ms. Morgan Pressel hangin'.

She held Adam for about a minute and then set him down. We thanked Ms. Pressel and wished her the best. She said, "Bye Adam". It was a beautiful and proud moment for dad.

Ms. Morgan Pressel teed off 30 minutes later and went on to shoot a 5-under-par, 66 on the Bay Course in the opening round. Just 2 shots behind a blistering opening round of 64 of Annika Sorenstam.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Thursday Pro/Am At The ShopRite Classic

Having never attended a Pro/Am at any event, the Atlantic City Golfer decided to give it a whirl. The only preconceived notions of a Pro/Am come from the numerous events seen on TV where famous individuals from entertainment pair up with the golf pros. The Pebble Beach Pro/Am with Bill Murray lighting up the course with his humor and talent. However, the miracle of television allows for selected scenes from the tournament and a complete perspective of the event is never really apparent. Most amateur golfers at these events just suck, or maybe it seems more so because of the quality of the LPGA Pros.

After taking the pilgrimage to the ShopRite LPGA Classic on Thursday, the first hole seemed a great place to start. Teeing off was Nina Reis with her foursome.

There were several unique elements that had never crossed the ACGolfer's mind. The first was that the LPGA Pros walked while the Amateurs had the option of riding. While gazing around the course, not all Amateurs rode, but many did. The second element that actually made sense was that the LPGA Pros always hit last. This just made logical sense.

What clearly stuck out the most was the amount of cigarette and cigar smoke that Nina had to endure. There seems to be only two kinds of smokers; those who are conscientious of their smoke and those who aren't. Nina's group was the latter. As a smoker, the ACGolfer is in the first group. Watching this spectacle was an embarrassment to smokers everywhere.

That said, she played like a champ and ultimately took her group to the Thursday winner's circle. It was a pleasure to watch.

After following Nina for nine holes, I moved over to the practice range where the opportunity was had to watch some the LPGA's finest practice in every conceivable fashion. The ladies had free run of Seaview's range and no spot was left ungraced. They were hitting in every direction, over each other and at every conceivable target they could find. A real highlight was watching the young, rising star Morgan Pressel practice. It was an unusual style that would surprise most, but during her first round yesterday with an opening 5 under par, it is a style that seems to work.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Dogleg Left, Not Right

After a trip around the block today, the Atlantic City Gofler learned that parking for the ShopRite LPGA Classic has moved to Stockton from the Galloway Township Municipal Building. Instead of making a right off the Garden State Parkway, make a left. Follow this about a mile look for the big sign on the right for Stockton. There are also lots of LPGA signs too.