Mad about the stats?

Well, some of us are getting ready for the play offs this week. No, I know, baseball play offs are about 6 weeks away, which are main concern for me, but this week, and indeed for about 140 others, the golf play offs start after tonight! Oh, that, well, its 125 players, and 15 rivals in the competition, if you must know!

Yes, the PGA regular season actually finishes today, but our contest season ended last week, after the final major. Somehow, more by luck than judgement, I came 4th, of 51 entries! So yes, therefore I’m in the 16 player play off, though for how many rounds, I have no idea! And like those big soccer tournaments, the play offs are 2 leg affairs, home advantage being the first to pick their 5 players! So, this round, and if qualifying, at least for the next round, I get home advantage in second leg, as the higher seed!

Let me say though, that if anyone thinks this means I have a shrewd knowledge of all things golf, you’d be wrong! Stats, darlings, stats are all I use, and go by. No, I’m not saying what stats, in case one of my opponents tries to sabotage my plan, but expert studying, and stuff like that, no chance!

Even more so, is a soccer contest I do, now that the season has started again. Thats right, a sport I cant even stand, but currently I’m in the top thousand, out of over 100 thousand entries. How, just following the stats! So if you ever wanted evidence that you dont need to know much, to do well at fantasy sports games, look at me! Oh, and soon, guesswork on NFL too, absolutely!

So yes, all those who study intently, good luck to you, I’m eating ice cream by then, lol!

Video time. Bit like my knowledge of soccer, I know nothing about Caro Emerald either. But if she’s good enough for Jools Holland, she’s good enough for me!

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The day the golf course died

Most weeks when I watch the US Golf, its won by a score of 20 under par, or lower, just a glorified putting contest, and crazy scores abound. Seems to be what the golfers enjoy, so they get that provided for them.

Then once a year, the US Golf people go to the other extreme, in the US Open, when they provide a course where going round in level par would be nothing short of miraculous. Me, I’d like something in between, but with modern equipment, and golf courses set up to pander to the golfers, its not likely to happen.

So why dont I enjoy watching the challenge of the US Open? Well, because they go too far. Take yesterday, when by the afternoon, the course was virtually unplayable, and on a course with a par of 70, anything under 80 was looking good! I like to see golfers challenged, but when they hit a good shot, and have an impossible shot left to them, whats the point?

Oh fine, it wasnt helped by the fact that the event was being watched by a large number of seemingly very drunk New York people, and the comments you could hear on the TV coverage were pretty awful. Racism, homophobia, and just plain insults by the dozen! So yes, I turned off, and watched the baseball lol. I know, I normally would, but the golf majors, I normally make more effort, but…

Its noticeable that last night, Sky were using the US Fox Sports commentary feed, tonight they’re doing their own commentary feed. Yes, the commentators last night were better behaved than the crowd, but not much!

OK, video time. Something a bit different tonight, a poem in tribute to the women of Long Island, where the golf is being held. Fine, it is funny, honest!

My favorite golf venue of the year

You might ask how this is my favorite golf course, when I’ve never even been there, let alone ever attempted to play there? Fine, more shortly. In fact, in my life, I’ve only ever visited 2 famous golf courses, and played at both, though not on the famous courses. Yes, putting greens only, lol. Having said that, the 18 hole putting green course at St Andrews is definitely not your average dull course. Carnoustie is a more normal version, but playing on it, literally as people are walking down the 18th fairway, just a fence away from you, still quite special.

But no, the closest I’ve been to this course is on a number 2 bus, heading to, and from Pacific Palisades. Yes, the US tour is playing at Riviera Country Club this week. And yes, in truth, its not the golf course shots I love, its the location views, which the TV companies involved, deign to give us.

Its funny, if things had gone as planned that first time, I may never have visited, and fallen in love with Pacific Palisades. I was heading for Beverly Hills, assuming the bus heading in that direction went there, but it didnt. By the time, I realized I’d got it wrong, that we were well past that location, I decided to stay on the bus, and take my chance, until we arrived somewhere where I could get lunch, maybe a look around, and then, with my tail between my legs (proverbially), turn around, and head back to Hollywood. Yes, I ended up in Pacific Palisades, and fell in love with the place. I dont think it was just the reasonably priced massage parlor, that eased a few aching limbs that clinched it, though that may have helped. It was the laid back feel of the place, the wonderful views of the sea, down the canyon, and everything else that cracked it, I’m sure. Fine, a wonderful ice cream parlor might have helped too!

Since then, I’ve been back there on each of my trips, and if I get to LA again, its a certainty that PP will be visited on that trip too. Though fine, walking down, and definitely up the canyon might be less practical now, with my back!

Oh, and one other thing of golf at Riviera, long range shots of Santa Monica Pier! Not that I’ve ever ridden any ride there, but got plenty of other good memories of that pier! So fine, if they want to show a bit less of the golf this weekend, and a bit more of the locale, I for one, would appreciate it!

Right, video time. Let me say this was one of those You Tube searches, not a song thats my thing in the slightest. But given the video has lots of shots of PP, and Santa Monica, I’ll live with it!

The one area of California I still want to visit.

Its funny, 51 weeks ago, I was reminiscing on here about a golf tournament in the US that I watching on TV, and saying how much I loved the area. Yes, Riviera, in Pacific Palisades, somewhere I suspect I may well return to in May, given that I suspect that unless ‘I make it’, it will be my last visit to the area for quite a while, if not longer. Because in truth, I have no idea how much longer my body will stand up to West Coast flights. And besides, 3 holidays in a row in that area is just way too much lol!

At the other end of the state, I’ve been to San Francisco a couple of times, and loved the city, which definitely includes that baseball park, and the view. And no, that definitely isnt the Oakland Coliseum, though I have seen a game there!

But in between the 2 big cities is one small area that I’d love to visit, though its easier said than done, for a non driver. Yes, thats right, and anyone that knows their golf venues will have worked out, is the area around Carmel, and Pebble Beach.

Fine, as I havent played golf in about 40 years (beyond pitch and putt/ par 3 golf), I have no plans, or desires to actually play Pebble Beach, but I have to say that the golf course looks amazing, and the views even more amazing! Oh, and fine, probably my main reason for going to Carmel is to visit the town, where a certain famous resident lives, though I wouldnt see her. Yes, Doris Day, who will be 93, or 95 this April, depending on which version of her age you go by! I have been a fan of her for probably about 50 years by now!

But in truth the whole Monterey peninsula looks amazing, and I hope one day to get there, though I suspect Doris might not still be with us by then. But fingers crossed…?

So yes, I might have been to California 5 times after May, but it doesnt mean I’ve seen everywhere in the state that I would love to!

The video. Probably one of my favorite Doris Day songs ever, though sadly the only live versions I can find (unsurprisingly) is from the movie, Calamity Jane. Fine by that, but it does mean she doesnt sing the whole song herself, but Howard Keel isnt a bad singer lol!

Number crunching machine

When it comes to doing competitions, especially sports one, where my knowledge is, to put it mildly, a bit limited, I tend to focus on one thing I am good at, number crunching, and go into computer mode, for want of a better term.

There are some sports it works with, that are better than others. It would never work with baseball, or the like, to be honest, because players arent machines, and with the number of games they play in a season, no chance. Thats not to say that a couple of people in the hit streak competition in the baseball havent got close to correctly forecasting 50 players getting a hit in games, but in terms of matches, and players, its a hard challenge.

So fine, I’d enjoy it (probably too much) if I was actually turned into a precise, number crunching machine, but I’ve found one sport, where even this human version can number crunch very successfully. Golf.

For whatever reason, it seems to be a sport where ‘horses for courses’ seems to work a lot. If a golfer has played well somewhere in the past, they have good memories, and a lot seem to do so again. So yes, its probably no surprise, that like 125 players on the PGA tour, I made the playoffs in a golf competition I do. Only 12 of us qualified, but then again, only about 50 take part! But yes, fine, I’m 4th after the regular season. Yes, 3 prizes in cash, so with my luck, I wont get there, but we will see. This is the first tournament of 8 in the playoffs for us.

More remarkably, the one over at CBS Sportsline has over 35,000 entrants, and yes, I’m in the top 50, comfortably, and this is the last week. So yes, in golf at least, number crunching works beautifully. Some other sports, maybe not? 😉

Now, if anyone actually wants to turn me into a genuine number crunching machine, instead of a human, let me know!

The video. Some very early Boomtown Rats, in fact, its their very first single, when they were still very punk!