Of apps, low left hands and changed names
ORLANDO, Fla. – You hear the darnedest things around a practice green at a PGA Tour event.
For instance, a few of the caddies, killing time Tuesday at Bay Hill while the boss hit balls, were comparing their iPhones and asking whether or not they had the "Tiger Text" app. In short, it's a program that automatically erases messages 20 minutes after they are sent.
Naturally, this is named in honour of Tiger Woods, who was busted by his wife when she found incriminating text messages still on his phone, which he apparently left lying around the house. Something like that.
One other caddie had the new episode of
So, yes, he remains a subject of great interest among his competitors.
Nobody would take a rip at Woods on the record, perhaps out of fear that he might still be logging insults in his head and might be able to come back and do something about it, but he and his self-made predicament were being made sport of, for certain.
The other interesting thing heard on the putting green was from Stephen Ames. The Calgary resident, who now sits 54th in the world rankings, needs something good here at the Arnold Palmer Invitational to hit the top 50 and regain a place in the Masters.
Ames recently took the somewhat drastic step of switching to cross-handed putting. This will be his third tournament putting with the left hand low and he likes it, the way it removes the wrists and makes it more of a shoulder-pendulum move through the ball. He particularly liked it after finishing sixth in last week's Transitions at Innisbrook.
"I'm working with a guy out of L.A., can't even remember his last name. I met him through a friend from Calgary and started doing it in L.A. and wow. It felt right. I haven't played much since L.A. This is my third week putting with it and I'm sure my stats have come down," he said. "I was 10th in putting last week. I'm feeling more comfortable with it, noticing that it's much easier. I spend more time on putting than I ever have and each day I come out here it feels more and more comfortable."
He is longer off the tee this year and hitting more greens in regulation, but his putting stats had been something like 1 ¼ putts per round-- five a tournament -- higher than last year before he switched. He needs a good finish, something like a top-six or top-seven, to make the Masters. It appeared he had played his way in when he won the final event of 2009 at nearby Disney, but slipped badly in the point standing in the off-season.
"It's the points system. The win moved me literally nowhere," he said. "Then you look at certain other wins, like the Australian Open. Adam Scott went from 72nd to 34th by winning the Australian Open and I said, ‘You've got to be kidding me.' The whole points system is whacked . .. but all I can do is work my way back into it, which is what I'm trying to do."
Trying cross-handed, that is.
Ames then disappeared for lunch with Scott Simmonds, executive director of the former Royal Canadian Golf Association, soon to be officially now known as Golf
It sounds less snooty and allows for that old "re-branding," but as Joe Friday used to say, the names have been changed to protect the innocent.