5 Things: Presidential style
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Looking for a piece of U.S. presidential memorabilia for the golfer this holiday season?
President Bill Clinton is auctioning three of his Callaway Pro Series clubs – a 5-iron, an 8-iron and a pitching wedge – each autographed as part of the Clinton Foundation charity auction. As the description says, “President Clinton has teed off on courses all over the world, and with your bid you can take home some of his love for the sport.”
So far, there is only one bid for $5,000. But beware of a bidding war as the Dec. 2 deadline looms. Who can forget the hilarity that ensued when John F. Kennedy’s clubs were auctioned off as a scripted scene in the television sitcom, Seinfeld. In that laugh-a-minute episode, Elaine Benes was ordered to attend the live auction by her eccentric boss, J. Peterman, and given a $10,000 budget. The plot thickened when she gets into a bidding war with her nemesis, Sue Ellen Mischke, the “Oh Henry!” candy bar heiress. Elaine ended up paying double what she was authorized by Peterman to spend. In reality, $20,000 for JFK’s clubs would’ve been a steal. In 1996, a set of the president’s clubs sold for $770,000 at a Sotheby’s auction during a sale of Jackie Kennedy’s estate.
Oliver Wilson abandoned traditional footwear to play the first round of the Dubai World Golf Championship in shoes with five toes.
Called Vibram Five Fingers, Wilson recently started practicing in them. “I’ve had them for the last three weeks after my trainer turned up wearing a pair,” Wilson said. “I practice barefoot sometimes and swing it better. They look horrific and I’ve had lots of comments, but they’re good for you. I think the positives certainly outweigh the negatives. You walk better in them and there’s less strain on the legs, but I’m not sure I’ll be keeping them on.”
He didn’t. He was back to proper golf shoes in round 2.
Normally players would feel peeved at finishing last. Not Ireland’s Damien McGrane.
He finished the Dubai World Championship with a four-round total of 13-under, falling behind Robert Rock and Rhys Davies by a shot to finish bottom of the heap. (McGrane finished 59th out of the 60-man field; Chris Wood withdrew after the third round.)
McGrane doesn’t want any pity. Afterall, a few years ago he was just a club pro, giving lessons to 18-handicappers. The €15,840 he earned in Dubai more than paid for the vacation he treated his mother and father to in Dubai. He took them hot air ballooning, and they swam with dolphins.
So much for the hype surrounding the Race to Dubai three years ago.
Back in 2008, Dubai-backed company Leisurecorp pledged $100 million to this event over five years. Then the worldwide credit crunch hit Dubai hard, and Leisurecorp no longer exists. (It merged with real estate developer Nakheel.)
Now, the European Tour will be lucky to get one more year out of this tournament. The deal has been restructured and only one year remains on the contract, with a wait-and-see outlook for the future.
Considering Jumeirah Estates remains a building site with delayed housing construction and an unfinished clubhouse, don’t bet on seeing Europe?s elite finishing the season in Dubai in 2012.
Caroline Hedwall has qualified for LPGA Q-School finals, but she’s hedging her bets. Fully aware that nothing is guaranteed, she’s in Cartagena, Spain, this week for the Ladies European Tour pre-qualifying tournament.
The Swede might have a slight advantage at this week’s venue, La Manga Club; it’s the same site where she led her country to gold at the European Ladies Team Championship in July.
Hedwall, the 2010 NCAA individual champion from Oklahoma State University, also tied for eighth at the Finnair Masters in August and was a member of the 2007 European Junior Solheim Cup team.
Starting Monday, players will be split into two fields and will compete over the North and South courses on alternate days, respectively. After four rounds, the top 70 players and ties (comprising the top 35 and ties from each field) will progress to Final Qualifying, taking place at the same venue Dec. 15-18.
If she advances to the LET finals, she’ll have just three days after the LPGA final in Daytona Beach, Fla. (Dec. 8-12) to get back to Spain.