Tag Archives: Bay Hill Club

Shoulder Pain Benches Top 50 CEO

“There are many rumors circulating on the internet regarding your shoulder injury,” writes a Top 50 fan from Sequoia Heights, Fla. “The silliest so far blames frozen golf balls, but Drudge is peddling some conspiracy theory going back to your college-radical days at Stanford. I’m guessing you’re keeping mum on purpose, to drum up more publicity. Am I right?”

John Garrity

Top 50 Founder and CEO John Garrity (right) at Madrid Central Station before his injury. (Photo by Edoardo Molinari)

Van — may I call you Van? — you couldn’t be more right. When I saw how much attention Tiger Woods gets for his career-threatening injuries, I decided to milk my recently-torn labrum for all it’s worth. Here’s how it works: Whenever a fellow journalist asks me why my right arm is dangling like an adventitious prop root, I smile enigmatically and walk away. This has gotten me front-page coverage in more than a hundred newspapers and three different citations on Bill Maher’s HBO program.

Frankly, it’s too easy — which is why I’m calling an end to it right now. Here’s the complete story, as revealed in my exclusive interview with Sports Illustrated senior writer Gary Van Sickle:

Q: Do you, in fact, have an injured shoulder?

A: Yes.

Q: Which shoulder?

A: I … [unintelligible] … agreement that we wouldn’t talk about that. You [redacted] only when ….

Q: How did you hurt it?

A: Actually, that’s kind of a funny story. In February, we had a brief thaw in Kansas City, so I went out to play a few holes at [42nd-ranked] Hillcrest. It was a breezy day, temperature in the fifties, the sun popped out now and again. However — and this makes me laugh ‘til my arm hurts — I didn’t consider the fact that my bag, and the golf balls in it, had been stored in an unheated garage at Catch Basin.But I noticed that none of my shots were flying more than a few feet off the ground — even the wedges! Naturally, I tried to hit them harder, but I got the same results. It wasn’t until I plopped three balls onto the iced-over pond on No. 14 that it hit me: I was playing with frozen golf balls! Hilarious, right? The next morning, of course, I woke up to the sensation of my shoulder caught in a bear trap.

Q: Your right shoulder?

A: Listen, if you’re going to [redacted] this bull—- [unintelligible] ….

Q: Fine. I’m out of here.

A: [Unintelligible] Right shoulder, yeah.

Q: What are you doing in the way of rehab?

A: I’m working with a trainer/therapist at my local 24 Hour Fitness. Most of the exercises involve gentle stretching to the sound of snapping ligaments and ripping muscle fibers.

Q: Is this your first shoulder injury?

A: No. Ten or fifteen years ago I shredded my left rotator cuff in a putting accident.

Q: A what?

A: I was playing [51st-ranked] Haig Point with some SI colleagues. What happened was, my cart was parked just off the green, so I was pulling my putter out of the bag while starting to walk toward my ball. Unfortunately, the putter grip got caught between some other shafts and didn’t clear the top of the bag. I called attention to it by screaming and falling to the ground.

Q: Did you finish the hole?

A: I think I’ve said enough on this subject.

Q: What impact will your injury have on Top 50 operations? Will course rating continue?

A: Of course not. You and the rest of the staff are furloughed until further notice.

Q: Well, [redacted] you. [unintelligible] …

A: My pleasure, Gary.

Top 50 on TV: Nothing this week, but the Arnold Palmer Invitational Starring Adam Scott is being played at 51st-ranked Bay Hill Club and Lodge in Bay Hill, Fla. Tiger Woods withdrew early in the week, sidelined by persistent back pain, and former Masters champ Bubba Watson withdrew after a first-round 83, citing allergies.


Filed under golf

The Top 50 Hits the Road

It has been a long winter in Kansas City. Last weekend’s ten-inch snow mocked the arrival of “spring” and prevented me from tuning up on the silky fairways of the Heart of America Golf Academy Par-3 (No. 55). “You need a vacation” said my wife, watching in admiration as I practiced full swings in the TV room, leaving perfect, dollar-bill sized scuff marks on the Persian rug. “I bought you a discount ticket on Southwest Airlines. I packed your suitcase. The car service will be here in ten minutes.”

My vacations, of course, are of the working variety. I am typing this in the media center of the La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad, Calif., site of this week’s LPGA Tour event, the KIA Classic.* If I can find time between my course-rating activities and my sideline as a free-lance dowser, I will file a game story to Sports Illustrated Golf Plus on Monday morning.

*La Costa’s theater-style press room, with its digital video screens, multi-media work stations and ergonomically-correct executive chairs, is No. 5 in the most recent World Press Facility Ranking Presented by Frito-Lay.

Word of my presence has spread quickly, judging from the press-room buzz about La Costa’s Dick Wilson/Joe Lee-designed composite course. Rolex points leader Ai Miyazato took a bashful stab at course rating yesterday when she was asked to compare La Costa’s tournament track to the more famous South Course at nearby Torrey Pines. “Well, I would say the grass is different,” she said through an interpreter. “I think over here is more thick so that makes it a little less distance, but the greens are much softer over here, so it’s kind of half and half.”

I carry the Top 50 data base on 42 keychain flash drives, so I was able to compare the Japanese star’s impressions with the reports of my course raters. They were all in agreement: “half and half.”

“But Torrey Pines,” Miyazato continued, “was like almost no wind, and it seems like over here is more windy. So La Costa is more difficult.”

I would have to disagree with Ai on that point. The ocean cliffs of Torrey Pines are far more exposed than the condo canyons of La Costa, and the latter is lined with giant gum trees, to which the wind must inevitably stick. Conclusion: Torrey Pines is more difficult.

More difficult, I shouldn’t have to add, does not mean better.

Top 50 on TV: Dick Wilson’s highly-regarded eighteen at Florida’s Bay Hill Club & Lodge (No. 56) is the site of this week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational, a PGA Tour event. Palmer, a course designer himself, likes to tweak Wilson’s old track from time to time. Most of his changes are inconsequential, such as this year’s lengthening of the already-unplayable par-4 18th by ten yards. But Palmer has shown true genius by moving the tournament tee on the par-4 15th to the other side of heavily-trafficked Bay Hill Boulevard, forcing the pros to smack their drives over a pair of neatly-trimmed hedges. As one who has long argued for the inclusion of steeplechase elements in golf design, I can only say, “Well done, Arnie — and pay no attention to the neighsayers.”


Filed under golf