Nevada State Championships recap

I recently wrote about the Mountain Mayhem, which was a very bizarre tournament. Here were the summaries of the three rounds:

Round 1: My putter was stone cold and I couldn’t throw an up-shot to save my life (all three bogeys were caused by mis-executed up shots followed by missed putts). I wasn’t pissed off, but I definitely was disappointed. It was “mediocre” as I put it later that night. After one round, I was right in the middle of the pack (they were paying 6 out of 15 and I was in 7th).

Round 2: This round seemed more disappointing, though really, it was equally mediocre (both rated in the mid 950s, or roughly one stroke worse than my ‘average’ round). So yeah, Mediocre City.

Round 3: When all is said and done, I ended up shooting a 50, eight under par. It felt great, and sure enough, it was the hot round of the day (there were a couple of 51s). That round is unofficially rated a 1019, my second-highest ever. I propelled me from 9th to 5th, and in the cash.

You may wonder why I’m summarizing a tournament from two months ago, especially when the one I played yesterday was on a different course and under totally different circumstances. Well, because the results were almost exactly identical. Frighteningly so. Let’s break it down.

NEVADA STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS

Zephyr Cove is a course I like – it’s a top half course no doubt. My historical ratings are all over the map, everything from a 1004 rated round to a 910 rated round. My back was doing okay, though I’ve been dealing with a head cold for 3 weeks and I slept poorly because of the pups. And off we go to—

Round 1: I popped a 5-hour energy drink and tried to start off strong. And I did, kinda. I was -3 with 4 holes left to go, which would have been pretty good. My putter was failing me, though, and I ended up missing 6 putts from between 20-50’. Then I hit the tricky holes 12 and 13 and bogeyed them both. That put me at a mediocre -1 for the round. (My first round at Kirkwood is unofficially rated 955. The first round at Zephyr is temporarily rated 956).

Round 2: Same course, slightly harder layout (about 1/2 a stroke harder). I was feeling quite tired so I popped another 5 hour energy drink and headed out. I started on the tough holes 2-6 and bogeyed two holes in a row again (holes 3 and 4 this time). Both drives were not horrible shots but got back kicks. Then I proceeded to stay the course, shooting 3 birdies, and having a nearly identical round. Much like the Mayhem, I had two identical rounds that featured the exact same score. (The ratings were again nearly identical: Mayhem 2nd round 957, here 962).

After two rounds at the Mayhem, I was in 9th out of 15 people, 4 strokes off the cash line and 10 off the leader. At the NV Championships, I was in 9th out of 15 people, 4 off the cash line and 8 off the leader. Spooky, isn’t it?

I started again on the tough stretch of holes, 2-6. I had a 40’ severely uphill birdie putt on 2 (easily the best drive I’ve ever thrown on that hole). Putt was on line but missed short. Parred hole 3 easily. Had a 50’ birdie putt on hole 4 (easily the best drive I’ve ever thrown there). Putt online but missed short. Parred 5 and 6 with no real problem. Then I hit birdie row. I mean, literally, I hit ‘em all. I birdied 7 (20’ putt), 8 (drop-in), 9 (20’ putt), 10 (25’ putt), and 11 (drop-in). Then I came to the difficult holes 12 and 13. On twelve I took a par and on 13 I found the first trouble of the round, hitting early wood and bouncing backwards. I spent five minutes lining up different shots (probably to my group’s dismay) and opted for a tight high hyzer line through a million trees for about 150’ to the pin. I missed my line by just a bit, wrapped around the tree I meant to cut in front of, and ended up UNDER the basket. Sick up for the  par. I parred the difficult hole 14, birdied the touchy hole 15 (35’ putt) and then got 16 too (park job). My final three holes all left me with long jump putts (~50’, ~60’, ~45’ respectively), all three of which I ran but just came up short on each.

Where did that put me? Well, like at the Mayhem, it left me with the hot round. At the Mayhem it was a bogey-free -8. Here it was a bogey-free -7. There, the hot round by one stroke, here, the hot round by two. Then it was a 1019-rated round (my second best of all time), at Zephyr it was a 1021-rated round (my new second-best ever). Then I jumped from 9th to 5th and in the cash. Here, from 9th to 4th. I would have come from behind and won Masters at the Mayhem by 1 stroke. I would have won Masters at Zephyr by 3.

Essentially it was the same story. It felt good to crush it both times and take home a couple of shekels. Let’s hope for starting out of the gate a little stronger at my last tournament in 3 weeks.

Why I’m Rooting for the Cleveland Indians to Win It All (Then Immediately Change Their Identity)

I suppose I should start this by saying this will be a “political” post. It has nothing to do with politics, but basically anything nowadays that deals with serious matters (such as racism or feminism) is labelled as political because that’s the climate we now live in. Being a decent human has become a polarizing topic. Anyway, I digress. On to baseball.

I can’t quite say I’m a lifelong Indians fan. I was raised in the suburbs of NYC as a Mets fan and a Yankee hater (the latter being how all true baseball fans should be).

Image result for yankee hater

It would be in my later elementary school years that I started rooting for the Tribe as well. It coincided with the movie Major League, but not because of it. After all, it was rated R, and my mother made sure I would never see anything that had a possible exposed boob in it. I wouldn’t even see the un-edited version of that movie until probably the last decade.

Anyway, I latched onto the Indians for the same reason as the fans of Major League did – the team was terrible. I mean, staggeringly so. I was still predominantly a Mets fan, but I was a close second Indians fan because I guess in the 1990 I was glutton for punishment. That only grew and grew as they crept out of their misery and started playing like a true ball club. By their run in ’97, I was a full fledged Indians fan.

I watched the 1997 ALDS in my college dorm room surrounded by Yankers fans, and when the last out was made, I cheered as loud as I could then ran as hard as I could so I didn’t have to face any repercussions. I was full-blown fan.

By their surprising and somewhat miraculous run in 2007, I was more than an Indians fan first and a secondary Mets fan. I was a Tribe enthusiast. I was sick a few days after they blew a 3 game lead against the Red Sox (and even predicted at the time if they didn’t win game 5, they were going to lose the series). I was a true fan.

I remember my wife asking me a few years later how I could like a team that exploited an entire people for financial gain. How I could like THE INDIANS.

Image result for indians logo

My stance was I didn’t necessarily like the culture, the history, and certainly not the racism. I answered I liked the players. She asked this of me when Asdrubal Cabrera was a fresh-faced rookie that spurred on all sorts of romanticized dreams about a glorious future of multiple World Series rings. And that sentiment is still true today.

You got the infection smile of Lindor – Image result for francisco lindor smile

the charm and grit of Kipnis Image result for jason kipnis silly

the stoic badassery of Klubot – Image result for corey kluber

the future-is-bright-ness of Zimmer –  Image result for bradley zimmer

the Pucket-ness of Jose Ramirez – Image result for jose ramirez helmet

 

the outsider power of Encarnacion – Image result for encarnacion with parrot

My son’s favorites of Chiz and Santana, the REAL bullpen mafia (even Shaw… sometimes). Yeah, these are the players I am pulling for to end the longest drought in the Major Leagues – a 69 year span without a World Championship.

But I can longer ignore that the entire identity of the team is founded on ridiculous notion that Native Americans are in any way “Indians”. Chief Wahoo is a disgrace and needs to go, but he’s only the tip of the iceberg.

I was fortunate enough to go to Game 1 of the World Series last year. And you know what I saw? A whole lot of white people. I mean, I thought I was at a Trump fundraiser it was so white. And sure, it can’t all be attributed to the Indians fan base; the Cubs had a strong presence too. And it could easily be more indicative of the socioeconomic culture rather than a true cross-section of Cleveland baseball fandom. But it was damn near pure white. The owners of the Indians are white. The past ones were white. Most of the upper-brass of the Indians are white.

THESE PEOPLE ARE NOT THE PEOPLE WHO SHOULD GET TO DECIDE WHICH BLATANTLY ETHNIC IDENTITY IS “OKAY” TO USE.

I get it, the Indians as a franchise has been around since the late 19th century, predating many many franchises. Back then, it was not considered racist to name a team the Indians (at least by white men, who were the only voices heard then, as opposed to now, when they’re only the vast majority of voices heard). Somehow it wasn’t racist even when “The Indians” were named that after a Native American player who played for the Spiders in 1899. After all, there’s “history” there. Or at least so say ‘the fans’.

When I went to purchase some schwag for my kids at the World Series, I asked if they had anything without Chief Wahoo or the word Indians on the gear. The guy looked at me and said, “C’mon, it’s history, man!” And I said, “It’s a pretty horrible history, don’t you think?” He did not. Then again, he was paid to sell merchandise with a bright-red-faced Native American sporting feathers that somehow represented a blue-collar American city’s baseball franchise.

Chief Wahoo is bad enough, and this article does a pretty good job of breaking it down, so I won’t rehash that. But seriously, look at him.

Image result for chief wahoo

It’s 2017.

Speaking of which, the Indians are the toast of the town in 2017, having just won an AL-record 21 games in a row. The name “Indians” has probably been said more this year than even last year, when they took it to extra innings in game seven of the World Series in one of the greatest games of all time. I can’t help but think that time the name “Indians” is mentioned is somehow NOT causing a systemic cringing reaction, and that’s a problem.

Which is why I want them to win it all this year. Well, I want that because I’m a fan. But here’s my dream scenario. They win it all this year as the Cleveland Indians, as a team that bases its profit on the backs of Native American exploitation. Because they’re not going to change it now, with 20 games left in the season. So let them win it. For “the old timers”. For “history”. For “fans across the world” (although in reality it’s predominantly white people from Ohio).

Then before the 2018 season, they can work out a deal with Major League Baseball (there have already been discussions between the owners and MLB) and to have them totally re-branded as the Cleveland Spiders, a name they used up until 1899.

Fun fact: the Cleveland Spiders hold a record that will never be broken – most road losses (101!).

Hell change it to the franchise name as it was just before it was changed to the Indians, the Naps (after Hall of Famer Nap Lajoie). I am all for a team that promotes healthy daytime sleeping. Don’t want to name it after a player from a century ago? Change the name to the Cleveland Pronks. Still want more recent? The Cleveland Loopstoks. (He’ll make it to the majors one day, I just know it.)

If management is going to be so obstinate as to stay the course (after all, it would be a huge financial hit because blowhard WHITE fans would likely boycott a change away from the Indians moniker), then at least follow the lead of the Chicago Blackhawks. Their mascot isn’t racist, it’s a hawk. They intentionally work WITH native tribes in terms of philanthropic outreach and even branding. They don’t seek to profit off the backs of a misnamed people, they try to grow with them. It’s an imperfect model, and ideally I’d like to see it get away from all of that, but it’s certainly better than where we’re at today.

Let’s move more to this:

Image result for cleveland block c

It celebrates a town that has not had much to celebrate before Lebron came back. It celebrates a team that has been built the proper way and is firing on all cylinders. It celebrates a team of diversity (their 40 man roster represents 7 countries, and while they’re all the US or Latin American countries, it’s a start). It does not predominantly feature white people making beaucoup bucks off a racist misnomer. Wait until after the year is done, especially (but not necessarily only if) they win the World Series. They can pump all their extra revenue into a re-branding campaign.

Go Tribe in 2017! And go Spiders in 2018!

King of the Lake (post-script)

It’s been several weeks, and you might have assumed (correctly) that I sucked for King of the Lake, so I didn’t bother posting about the rest of it. And that is largely correct.

But I did want to talk quickly about two things. 1) My incredibly bizarre round at Tahoe Vista. 2) Weird trends with King of the Lake.

Let’s begin.

Image result for #1My weird round.

I’ve described Vista as my do-or-die course, in that I either crush it or get crushed. It’s kinda rare that I just shoot an okay round there. During 2017’s King incarnation, I managed to do both.

After day 1 I was floundering in the bottom half, probably a handful of strokes off the cash line (Zephyr really killed me).

Hole 6: So I start on hole 6, the EASIEST HOLE on the course, and I probably average a three on (a very rare birdie, a very rare bogey). I’d say pros average 2.2 on that hole. Whatever. I FINALLY throw a good drive right up the gut, fly over the basket, but skip up the hill a bit. No problem, maybe a 20′ putt. Except I’m behind three branches. I have to release my putt near the ground (under the first branch), go OVER the second branch, and come down before the guardian branch. And it’s all down a 30 degree slope. Probably the most convoluted 20′ putt I’ve ever had. And I just missed low. Par.

Hole 7: An easy par four. I throw a pretty bad drive but follow it up with a good up. But NO! I somehow skipped 40′ past (on a course that really doesn’t allow for skips). No matter, I bang the putt. Birdie.

Hole 8: A gimme hole that I rarely seem to get. I got it handily. Two birdies in a row.

Hole 9: A really really tough hole that I four as often as I three. I played a “safe” hyzer shot that was supposed to bail out and hopefully give me a 50′ level putt and also take the OB out of the question. I’m a little short of where I wanted, leaving me about 50 uphill with my foot in a bush. BANG! YES! Extra birdie, and for a turkey!

Hole 10: I didn’t have the right disc in my bag to try to deuce this difficult par 3, so I just played a “safe” flick shot, threw a 70′ up shot, and tapped in a par.

Hole 11: A pretty difficult 370′ hole but, for whatever reason, one I play really well. Threw the perfect drive and found myself 2′ from the pin, just long. ACE RUN! Still a birdie.

Hole 12: So at this point, I’m -4 through 6, which is pretty darn good. I step up to hole 12, the second easiest hole on the course. This is a gimme, and what’s more, it’s my bread-and-butter hole. Except I throw my drive into the one pine right in front of me. No matter, the disc slides down and I have a clear up shot. Which I saw off and leave myself no look for par. Okay, settle down. A little touch forehand upshot will give me a slim chance for par but an easy bogey. But I gack it and it hits the guardian trees and slides 20′ down the hill. Whatever, bogey. BUT – I hit the cage and it rolls back 35′. And I miss that. A six. A TRIPLE BOGEY ON THE SECOND EASIEST HOLE ON THE COURSE. WHEN I WAS HAVING A KILLER ROUND! How… what… how does that even happen?

Hole 13: I par. I was really shaken by that six. How do you go from killing a course to blowing up in one hole?

Hole 14: A really tough 3. I throw a pretty good drive but hit the guardian 200′ down the fairway, leaving me a tough high hyzer window to hit. Which I don’t. At all. Still thinking of that 6. I proceed to kick deep into the woods, leaving me nothing but a total 1 in a million desperation forehand roller. And I HIT MY LINE! Only hit the last possible object before curling around toward the pin. Upshot, putt. Double bogey. WHAT JUST HAPPENED? I go from -4 to +1 in three holes? Holy bejeezus.

Hole 15: A pretty easy birdie hole, but I par it. My drive was okay but I didn’t convert the 45′ putt on an elevated basket.

Hole 16: Another must-get. I actually hit the post. Drop-in birdie.

Hole 17: Scenic downhill tunnel shot unless you thumb the hole. I do, which usually gives me anywhere from a long look to a gimme. I leave it early and have a 70′ blind hyzer putt. And damn near make it, but no, settle for a par.

Hole 18: I grip my drive just a touch and it leaves it wide. Should be okay but no, it actually doesn’t quite stay in the dogleg left fairway. In fact, I’m neck-high in a bush. I only have a pitch out, which I throw too far into the other fringe. I pump a terrific third shot, giving me a 60′ save for par over a tree, which I just barely miss low, giving me a straight up bogey.

Hole 1: Now I’m plus 1. WTF happened? This is a pretty easy hole but one I rarely get. I park it for the bird. Okay, at least I’m back to par.

Hole 2: I throw a decent shot and end up at circle’s edge with an uphill putt. Chain out right, settle for par. Grrr.

Hole 3: MY NEMESIS. I swear, I average 4.8 on this par 3. I throw a decent drive, giving me a pretty easy up and down. Only I saw off my up, leaving me a 30′ downhill putt. Actually make the par. Screw you, hole 3.

Hole 4: A really tough par 3, and I throw the drive of my life and put it about 15′ away. Another rare birdie.

Hole 5: A deceptively tricky par 4, and one I’ve had trouble with in the past. I throw a mediocre drive (flipped up in the wind more than I expected) but threw a great second shot, leaving me a 25′ cleanup putt for birdie, which I make.

I finished the round shaking my head. I had eight birdies, probably the most I’d had on this course in one tournament round (I crushed three great rounds there in 2013, but even then I’m not sure I had 8 birdies in any of those rounds). But I had a bogey, a double bogey, and a triple bogey. I probably average even on those three holes, maybe even below. But let’s say I were to have shot a disappointing +1 on them, my round goes from a mediocre rating (unofficially 963) to one of the best of my life (1012).

Needless to say, between that disappointment and my body which was not doing so hot after three rounds of golf, I tanked my final round at Sierra College. I’ve still yet to play an actual good round of golf there. Sucks because I enjoy the course, I just stink at it.

Image result for #2Even/Odd splits

As I detailed here last year, I tend to suck at King of the Lake during odd-numbered years. And that did not change in 2017. My best odd-year finish was way back in 2009, when I came in T13th out of 29 (45% percentile).

2011: T45th out of 59 (76th percentile)

2013: They didn’t have it, which I suppose is fortunate.

2015: 25th out of 36 (69th percentile)

2017: T31 out of 46 (67th percentile) – bear in mind 5 players didn’t even finish the tournament, so I might have done even worse if they had. Worse yet, I can often fall back on “well, I did crappy in open but would have taken 5th in Masters) – nope, wouldn’t have cashed there either.

Contrast that with even years, where I cashed 3 out of the 4 years (two of which were A-tier events) and the fourth year I got injured in my final round.

Next year, I’m playing in an even year, playing Masters, and hopefully get back to my odd (even) ways.