Rub of the Green

"The greatest game ever played!"

Athletes…Football…Golf


I first would like to express my unbridled enthusiasm for the game of football this year. Tonight as I address the masses, I’m also enjoying the Giants  and the Cowboys in the first actual regular season game. (Go Giants) About 90% of the people who grew up in North Carolina or Virginia were forced to be Redskins fans. Either way most of us loathe the Cowboys. The most accurate analogy would be the hatred of the Mets to the Yankees, or the Hatfields to the McCoys…OK, maybe I’m taking it a little to far but I think you’ve got my point. Maybe it’s because I’m in a football town now(Atlanta) that is rabid about their team but I believe that it’s because I have no doubt that my Panthers are a contender. If they don’t do the damage this year then it’ll be the next. Guaranteed. Cam Newton is something very special.

Sorry,  I got a little carried away. Now to the big news flash. I don’t know if you’ve heard but Rory, Tiger, Ernie, Louis, Phil…All the greatest players in the world have decided to go on STRIKE! These guys have decided that their pay is not proportional to the athletes in the other big four sports… Basketball, Baseball, Hockey, and Football. They have put their foot down and said ENOUGH! It’s just not fair! Just because we can’t bench press 400 lbs.,  run a 4.4 forty, hit a 90 mph. fastball 480 ft, slam dunk a basketball, or have a hat trick in hockey, we’re still athletes. The funny thing is that most of the people who say golfers are not athletes aren’t the players from other sports but the fans of the other sports. If you polled the other athletes from basketball, hockey, baseball, and football about 70-80%of them will agree that there’s no doubt golfers are athletes.

English: Arnold Palmer, taken by Hospital staf...

English: Arnold Palmer, taken by Hospital staff for historical purposes. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hell, almost all of them tee it up every chance they get. BUT…Golf is different. NEVER will a strike take place in golf because there’s just too much integrity, character, and appreciation for the fact that they get to play the greatest game in the world for a living. I would venture to say that Arnold Palmer would have played golf for nothing…as a matter of fact he and several others did. All golfers, past and present, relish the opportunity to do what they love for a living. And I relish them for it! God, I do love this game!

Fairways and Greens

Robert Rowe

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Only the Good Die Young


U.S. Coast Guard photograph of Wilmington, Nor...

Aerial view of Wilmington, NC

In the infamous words of one of the musical greats, Billy Joel, “Only the good die young”. This song came true in my life, as I’m sure it has in many of yours, 15 or 20 years ago. I had just left the golf business to pursue a career in sales which ironically enabled me to play more golf than I ever did in the business. One of my favorite and most frequent golf buddies was Rusty Morgan. Rusty was one of those special people who everyone was attracted to. This cat could tell time (within 5 minutes) with what he called the Indian Sun Dial. The way he did it was by stacking his fists on top of each other starting from the horizon up to the sun. I have no idea how he did it but he was deadly accurate. I had recently convinced Rusty to come to work with me with the worlds largest home improvement companies. No surprise to anyone who knew him Rusty was an awesome salesman. The top reps with this company made really good money and Rusty was no exception. One big difference between he and I was that Rusty didn’t need the money. He owned a very popular bar in Fayetteville North Carolina that more than covered his bills. The only way to describe Rusty’s watering hole is “Hakuna Matata” (“No Worries” for those of you who have not had the pleasure of seeing “The Lion King“). This pub was somewhere you may expect to see Jimmy Buffett swilling a frosty cold one down in Key West. Compete with a few big beach volleyball courts  with imported sand, as well as a small but perfect choice of your favorite beer. At any given moment Rusty would pull up a milk crate with a beer and an acoustical guitar and rock out for hours. Bigger than life, to anyone who knows him Rusty’s a Rock Star. He affectionately referred to himself as “Crusty Organ” as opposed to Rusty Morgan. How can you not love a man like that?

I’m not telling you this to depress you, but instead to uplift you. Anyway, Rusty met a great soul mate and quickly got engaged. He purchased a home in his favorite city of Wilmington, North Carolina. I was managing an office in Charlotte NC and Rusty was living in Wilmington but working out of our Greensboro office when I got word of the horrible accident. Rusty was in critical condition and it didn’t look good. I immediately dropped everything and headed to Wake Memorial Hospital in Raleigh. I arrived at the same time as his fiancé and two minutes later Rusty was gone. A week or two later everyone received the wedding invitations.

Now that I’ve thoroughly depressed you let me try to snap you out of it. One year after the funeral, and every anniversary since, the local paper publishes an article about the people who Rusty helped to live with his generosity of organ donation. At least five people were saved or at least benefited from Rusty’s gift. Even Rusty’s lungs were instrumental in saving another’s life and honestly, this one has me puzzled because Rusty smoked at least two packs of Marlboro Reds each day.

The moral to the story, I guess, is that life throws you an uppercut followed by a right cross more than once during our lives. How you handle it is…#1 grieving and #2 celebrating the time you were lucky enough to have with them. I think about and feel the presence of Rusty everyday….Once again “Love ’em while you’ve got ’em”

Fairways and Greens

Robert Rowe

Tiger Slump…Good or Bad for the Tour?


 

Tiger Woods, champion golfer, drives the ball ...

Tiger Woods, champion golfer, drives the ball down range during the inaugural Earl Woods Memorial Pro-Am Tournament, part of the AT&T National PGA Tour event, July 4, 2007, at the Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland, USA. Woods donated 30,000 tournament tickets to military personnel to attend the event honoring soldiers and military families. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

First of all we need to take note of a few facts. Tiger has had one of the best seasons on tour this year. Any other player with the same results as Tiger this year would be showered with praise. Tiger is the only player I’ve ever seen that could be playing three or four holes in front of the last group on Sunday and still have a huge impact on the leaders. The obvious intimidation factor would seemingly make the competition crumble. One distinctive “Tiger Roar” and the leaders would start dropping down the leaderboard like an anvil. All this having been said, here’s my question. Has Tiger’s slump been good or bad for the PGA Tour? I believe that it’s been a big shot in the arm for the big show. Here’s how I justify my opinion…If Tiger had not had the personal and physical issues over the last three years the tour would be a different place.  Without the likes of Tiger, ever-present and ready to hold his foot on their neck to delay their trip to the winners circle, then young guns like Rory, Dustin, Louis, Keegan, and Ricky may not be where they are now. Granted, you’re not going to keep these guys down forever, but I do believe that without Tiger on his “A” game their success came quicker. This is why I think the “Tiger Slump” has helped the game. The depth and competition is at an all time high not to mention the golf fan base has gone through the roof. I think that the Tiger naysayers had better beware because I have a feeling 2013 will be the year of the Tiger once again. God I love this game!

Fairways and Greens

Robert Rowe

 

There’s No Place Like Home


 

One thing I  have realized over the past two weeks is that family is critical. This article is going to be a little diferent than the normal light read that you’re accustomed to. There’s no doubt that golf has been a huge part of my life and writing about anything esle is a bit unusual but I just have to say this. I recently made a career move to the Atlanta area that has every indication of being a smart monetary shift in my life. But sometimes it’s not always about the money. For those of you who don’t know, due to circumstances beyond my control, I was forced to reunite with my family for a few years after a ten years of stupidity. The reason I say “forced” is because prior to that I guess I had some kind of mental defect that made me think I could navigate life alone. Well trust me, I realized real quick that family is the most important part of life. My mother, Delsie, is my most precious commodity. Anyone that has ever met her immediately loves her and wil never forget her. My sister Connie, for around 28 years has been an expert educator of our youth. Now she not only helps the youth (tutoring four nights/week), but since she got her Masters degree she can and does help the newly indoctrined and graduating teachers get their feet wet in the most challenging profession I can imagine. I must say that since the masters degree, Connie’s been a little cocky. Then you all already know Bill, my brother in law, who’s the most thoughtful and generous person I’ve ever met. Then there’s cousin Mitch and niece Allie. We all worship the ground they walk on but sometimes they can be a little hardheaded. The most important moment of my life was the day my girl Alex was born. Even though her mother and I have ben divorced now for years, I can still remember the sound of her little feet running into my room to say “Wake up daddy!”. Now Alex is  entering her third year of college at East Carolina University…Wow how time flies. The last and final addition is dear, precious, beautiful, smart, and busy daughter of my niece…Abby, my four year old bundle of joy.

So there’s my closest loved ones. Thanks for letting me give you this brief introduction to those who have made me who I am.

I just want to say that I do love you all…even you Mitch. I think about you every day and remember I’m in Atlanta not Siberia!

As far as golf goes…..Hit em Long and straight!

Fairways and Greens

Robert F Rowe

Rob Rowe

 

Way to Go Wide Eyed Nick!


Nick Watney rips the Fed Ex Cup points lead from Tiger with a win at The Barclay’s Championship. All it took was a solid -2 round out of Nick due mainly to the less than average play of Sergio Garcia who posted a weak + 75 today. Nick Watney has always been a fighter and has had a  healthy zest for the game. But the five time winner has always left me with the feeling that there was more there. Watney should be more. I understand that Nick has won over $14 Million in his career but again, I feel that something is still on the table. Maybe this will be the start of something special for the likable Mr. Watney…There’s no better time than this to hit the peak in your game. God, I love the golf playoffs!
Obviously Bill and I have failed miserably as odds makers in the complicated and ever-changing world of golf. I know, I hear it every day, “Relax, nobody’s perfect”.  Who cares about perfect…I just want to experience the feeling of picking just one right! Partner Bill is going to take a minute of two to give you the latest Rub of the Green update on the standings of the playoffs. I know that figuring this out is next to impossible so we won’t go so far to call Bill our bracketologist, but anyone that knows me knows that I’m not the most detail oriented guy in the world. So with that having been said, Bill will take it from here and try to lay it out it in layman’s terms, you know Who’s in Who’s out …That kind of thing. Bill,I appreciate you and now the ball is in your court.

Fairways and Greens

Robert Rowe

Rob Rowe

2012 FedEx Cup Standings

Standings through: The Barclays
+/- Events Points Wins
1
Nick Watney
+48 22 3,225.87 1
2 +17 19 2,694.45 1
3
Tiger Woods
-2 16 2,416.74 3
4 -1 13 2,299 2
5 -1 21 2,166.45 2
6
-4
19
2,110.3
2
7
-2
16
2,079.9
1
8
+18
16
1,972.3
1
9
-2
23
1,898.25
1
10
Sergio Garcia
+23
14
1,810.38

Playoff #1 Who’s Turn is it This Time?


Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell during a bas...

Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell during a basketball game (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Tiger Woods, champion golfer, drives the ball ...

 

Ricky Fowler

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Barclays, Who’s up? This has been the best year from a competition standpoint ever…anyone can win. I don’t know who it’s gonna be but I promise it’s gonna be exciting! Phil, Tiger, Sergio, Luke, Zach, Nick, our great friend Paddy Harrington, Dustin,  Ryan, and my buddy Ricky Fowler.  Ok, here’s my expert  pick….I don’t know! What happens is what happens. I’ve picked  guys and they are perennial front-runners, Tiger and Phil, and these guys are known Finishers…They get it done like no other. This is the most exciting event in the world. Golf is the greatest game ever  played. Nascar is exciting and the  NBA is off the Hook. The only  thing better than these are the NCAA Championships. The only way to get a feel for the best is to hear it.

 

 

 

Who’s the best?

 

 

 

 

Tiger, Rory, and Zach?


English: An image of golfer Zach Johnson on to...

English: An image of golfer Zach Johnson on tour in 2007. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rory McIlroy

Today’s first leg of the Fed EX Cup Playoffs will definitely one for the books. Yes, I’m talking about the days feature pairing, Tiger, Rory, and Zach. No doubt the most intriguing groups of the season so far. Rory, 13 years Tiger’s junior, has a firm and deserved grip on the Worlds #1 ranking but Tiger is leading in the battle for the cup. I hope that both men rise to the occasion and play the great golf that we know they can. I know they’re scheduled for two days together but I wouldn’t be shocked if they don’t spend the entire week with each other. My point being that if they’re both on their game I think they could separate themselves from the field. Anyone that knows me knows that I could never make my living being an expert prognosticator so I guess we’ll just have to see. I feel that we have to talk about the third wheel in this group, what about Zach? Zach Johnson has quietly had a great year. The thing that Bill and I have always said about Zach is that he’s a “Bulldog”. When he makes a move in a tournament and gets in the zone on the greens not too many on tour can handle him. Zach got this opportunity because Jason Dufner has decided to take this week off. Of course when you’ve had a year like his you can  pretty much do what you want to. Anyway Zach more than deserves to be playing with these guys and you better not count him out.

My beloved Phil is my sleeper this week and I feel horrible about it. It doesn’t even sound right… “Phil a sleeper? I got to pick first so I decided to go with Tiger and Phil this week. A year and a half ago this pick would almost be a lock but NO MORE. I’m not saying that they’ve lost they’re game but the competition has increased incredibly over the past few years and in my opinion makes the game even better if that’s possible. Enjoy the golf this weekend and be safe!

Fairways and Greens

Robert Rowe

Rob Rowe

Hot Lanta !


 

Well guys here I sit in Hot-Lanta. Only been here for about 36 hours and haven’t quite settled in yet. Atlanta is not Carolina, but from what I can see so far the people are very nice and share that hospitality  that is consistent across the south. Had a hiccup with the posting yesterday and today took a little work  get hooked up but things are up and running now. I foresee no issues from now on.

Enough of that. I’ve got a question for ya! Has Sergio matured to the point where he can finally realize the potential that we know he is capable of? I think Sedgefield definitely showed what El Niño can do if his mind is in the right spot. Although his talent has never been questioned, his attitude definitely has. I know that being so recognized and famous has to be tough. Especially from a privacy standpoint. But you chose this path for your life, you’re extremely wealthy, you get to travel the world and play golf everyday so what on earth do you have to be sorry about? So here’s my two cents, “Sergio, stop being hateful and give the game the respect that it deserves….Well done in Greensboro…Make that your new beginning.

I want to take a minute thank my partner Bill for stepping up to the plate during my transition. I think his posting was awesome but I do have a question….Bill, how does a woman in her 70’s blow her drive 25 yards past your sunday punch! Sure- she’s in the LPGA Hall of Fame but Please! All joking aside I was fortunate enough to meet Peggy Kirk Bell and she definitely has that presence that follows her where ever she goes, a class act and deserves our praise.

Well the playoffs are here and The Black Course at Beth Page State Park in Farmington NY is up for the task. Depending on the weather the winning score could be anywhere from even par to 7 or 8 under. In todays Tour environment, not getting to double digits is a rarity. You can count on some of those select few pros that will say the course isn’t fair….What ever, they’ve all got to play the same course. I can guarantee a great weekend of golf!

Rob’s winner – Tiger                           Bill’s winner – Rory McIlroy

Rob’s sleeper – Phil                             Bill’s sleeper – Bubba Watson

Fairways and Greens

Robert Rowe

 

“The Trouble with Girls”


Don’t let the title of this blog fool you… I love girls!  I have been fortunate to have met the love of my life during my third year of college. We have been married for 28 years and it has been unbelievable! Even though she is Bob and Delsie Rowe’s daughter and Rob’s sister, my  wife Connie has never been into the game of golf like I have. Early on in our marriage she tried to like golf….she really did. But the golf “bug” never bit her and she always found something more enjoyable to her. And that’s OK! She has always supported my love of the game and has always understood my need to spend hours on end playing this great game. I grew up in a time and place where there were always women at the club that played golf, but you sure didn’t want to get stuck behind them while playing a round! I knew there was an LPGA but I never paid much attention to it. I mean I knew who Nancy Lopez was, but my heroes were all the PGA Tour players in the 70’s and 80’s like Arnie, Jack, Lee Trevino and Chi Chi. That was until one day in the mid-90’s.

Pine Needle Lodge and Golf Club

In the summer of 1996 I was invited to play in a Super-ball tournament at Pine Needles Golf and Country Club in Southern Pines, NC, just outside Pinehurst. The Turlington Golf Tournament was a charity tournament started by friends of Randy Turlington who had become a victim of leukemia. The goal was to raise money to provide playground equipment to the area’s local schools. It promised to be a great weekend of fun and fellowship in one of Golf’s meccas.  The tournament was setup to include some really strange, but fun rules on each hole. Stuff like having to tee off with a Medicus Driver, using a long shafted Anchor Putter (before they were cool),  playing an entire hole left-handed, etc., etc. One rule in particular was the owner, an older woman, of the club was going to tour the course and play a hole with each group. When she arrived at your group, your team would be required to use her ball until you reached the green.

My group was playing fairly well and made the turn at 3 under par. Not too bad considering all the crazy rules and obstacles in our way. We were teeing off at number 10, a long 524 yard par 5 with a slight dogleg left. I had just CRUSHED my drive splitting the fairway leaving us no more than a 5 or 6-iron up the hill to reach the green. A birdie or maybe an eagle was in sight!  Just as we were leaving the tee box, the owner of the club pulled up behind us. OH NO!! My best drive was going to be wasted! We were going to have to use this 75-year-old woman’s ball until we reached the green. Our potential eagle was ruined.

We watched as she arrived at the tee and got out of her cart. This older woman had an air of grace around her. She was very pleasant as she said “hello” and asked if we were enjoying ourselves. She then pulled out her driver and proceeded to airmail her tee shot about 25 yards past my “stellar” drive. When we arrived at her ball, we all took turns dropping a ball and playing our approach shot. None of us hit the green and the best shot would need a short pitch and putt to get our birdie. Then the woman played her shot. It never left the pin, coming to rest about 8 feet away from eagle. Wow!  This old woman could play! Of course we all missed our putts and Ms. Peggy Kirk Bell stood up and drained her eagle putt like she could have made it blindfolded. She gave me a putting tip and said goodbye and rode off into the sunset. From this moment on I have never looked at women’s golf the same. I later found out that Ms. Bell is regarded as one of the best women’s amateur players in golf history as well as the premier female golf instructor of all-time. Since then, I have attended several LPGA tournaments and even the 2007 U.S. Women’s Open at none other than Pine Needles. As I walked around the course marveling at today’s best women golfers like Annika SorenstamChristie Kerr, Paula Creamer, and Morgan Pressel, I could never forget that hot July day when that 75-year-old woman changed the way I felt about women playing The World’s Greatest Game forever!

Long and Straight!

Bill Rogers

PS-Rob’s moving to Atlanta today and will resume his light-hearted

take on the World’s Greatest Game tomorrow.

English: Photo by Forrest L. Smith, III. Paula...

English: Photo by Forrest L. Smith, III. Paula Creamer, U.S.G.A. Women’s Open Practice Round, June 26, 2007, Pine Needles Club, Southern Pines, N.C. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Annika Sörenstam (SWE) during pro-am before 20...

U.S. Team. Clockwise from upper left: Robbins,...

U.S. Team. Clockwise from upper left: Robbins, Mallon, Inkster, Castrale, Lang, Creamer, Wie, Kerr, Gulbis, Lincicome, Daniel, Stanford, Pressel, Kim, McPherson. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Wet Sunday at Sedgefield


Rain delay at The Wyndham Championship
Photo Credit: http://www.digtriad.com

Unfortunately, due to a massive afternoon downpour, the finish for the Wyndham Championship has been until Monday. You can catch it on The Golf Channel at 9:00 am. The two final groups are finishing up on #5 and#6 to start the final round. The fiery and sometimes bi-polar Spaniard, Sergio Garcia, leads the way at 15 under. Sergio is followed closely by Tim Clark of South Africa at 14 under then there’s a crowd of Americans led by Jason Dufner. Local phenom Webb Simpson will start his day on number 11 at 10 under par and will have to get busy to have a chance.

Sergio Garcia, spaans golfprofessional

Sergio Garcia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m moving to Atlanta in the morning . I think you know how much I’m going to miss the great state of North Carolina. Although I’ve lived all over the eastern seaboard, I’ve always called North Carolina home. “Rub of the Green ” will continue as normal but with some exciting new features. So keep reading and I promise it will only get better and better.

I’m just going to finish this post with a cute and CLEAN joke:

A poor man got stranded on a deserted island in the South Pacific for 10 years when he spots a little spec on the horizon. At first he thought it was a boat, then maybe a raft, but it was neither. It was a beautiful woman with scuba gear and in a wet suit. She walks up to the man and says “How long has it been since you’ve had a cigarette”. The man says “ten years”. So she unzips a pocket on her suit and handed him a fresh pack of cigarettes. He lights one up and says “Wow that’s great!” Then she said “How long has it been since you had a drink of whiskey?” He said “ten years”. She then opened another pocket and handed the thirsty man a flask of some “Top Shelf whiskey”. He takes a swig and says “Wow that’s great!”. Next, the gorgeous scuba diver began to unzip the long zipper down the front of her suit and says “How long has it been since you’ve had some REAL fun” And the man replies,”You’re kidding me… you’ve got a set of clubs in there too!”

Please don’t stop following the blog just because of one bad joke!

Fairways and Greens

Robert Rowe

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