I suck at golf

jhonattan_vegasBut this guy does not.  In fact, Jhonattan Vegas will be one of the best golfers to ever play the game.  I’ve played with great golfers (Brian Bateman, Bill Rogers, Joe Ogilvie, Wes Short, Brian Gay, Omar Uresti, Bob Estes, Tony Jacklin, Steve Stricker and a bunch of great players you’ve never heard of), but I’m not sure any of them have or had the potential this guy has.  I know Coach Royal said something like, “potential just means you ain’t done it yet,” and he’s right.  JV here ain’t won the US Open or the Masters yet or a whole bunch of majors, but he will.  Why?  Because he has a rare combination of power, finesse, desire, intellect and attitude. He’s extremely likable.  He’s kind, funny, smart, authentic and plays golf on a completely different level than 99% of everyone else.  I’m not sure what he shot yesterday out at UT Golf Club, where we played in their 2009 Pro-Pro-Scratch-Scratch with UTGC’s Corey Lundberg and Longhorn golf team junior Bobby Hudson (who’s also a terrific player, genuinely kind man and UTGC course record holder), but JV played the game with confidence, power, talent and intellect.  And he played like a kid, having fun the whole time.  I could write a good-size book about the few hours I spent with this guy.  He finished 63rd on the Nationwide Tour money list, which means he’ll be back there playing the 2011 season, unless he makes it through Q-School.  He’s playing in China in a couple of weeks for his home country (Venezuela) in the World Cup. (This shot of him was taken four years ago at the 2005 Austin Men’s City Championship at Morris Williams GC.)

A day in the life

I started this blog on the suggestion and encouragement of the talented team at Fosforus.  In terms of ROI, it has been a homerun.  Off the charts.  The only investment has been time posting entries, and I’ve had actual cash return.  So big thanks to WordPress and to Fosforus.  That said, I think I’ll join the rest of you bloggers out there who use these things to tell people about your day (no, I’m not making fun of you…I repeat, I join you).  Today started out with trip to the dump.  1-800-Got-Junk is not effectively marketing themselves if they’re not using an image like this with a caption that reads something like, “You’ll Never Get The Smell Out of Your Nostril Hairs.”  You think Hell has fire and stuff?  Mine has six inches of foul-smelling slippery grey mud.

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Then, I drove back downtown.  Probably shouldn’t be snapping photos on a 70-foot flyover at 55mph.

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I saw a bad wreck at the intersection of MLK and the I-35 access road.  I hope everyone was okay, and by the look of that Prius, I bet they are.  Astounding structural resilience.

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I drove past the Capitol and thought about all the people I know who’ve worked there.

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Then I saw this in a parking lot in Sunset Valley.

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Then I drove back downtown and noticed how far along the W Hotel is coming.

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When I got up to Congress, I saw a small herd of those Segue tour people.

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And one of them wiped out.  I couldn’t help laughing.  Sorry.

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Then I went south on Congress to shoot some of those traliers that sell food, but got there to find that they’re not open on Mondays.  Shit.

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So I went home.

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Oh, and today is my birthday.

Truth and deception

truth

I like the truth, mostly.  Especially in a photograph.  But there are times when the truth gets in the way of the sale, without being deceptive.  Mike Nolen at Falconhead Golf Club asked me to come out and shoot the newly landscaped 17th hole, which you see here.  The best shot seemed to be from up on the hill left of the tee, but from up there, you get a good view of Lake Travis High School back there behind the trees.  You don’t see it from the tee.  But you also don’t see the surface of the green from the tee, which makes it a visually intimidating shot.

The point here is that while the top photo isn’t completely truthful, it shows the landscape better because the viewer isn’t distracted by something else.  I wonder which one you like better.  I know which one I do.

My book

book

So for those who don’t want to click through the whole blog and sit through my ramblings, click here to see a random sample of some images from the past year or so.  Shots from assigments, directed shots, personal stuff.  Chase Jarvis, at one point, asked readers to send in their opinions as to which ones in his portfolio they liked (and disliked) most.  I’d sure appreciate some feedback from you.  I like them all, so if you only want to tell me which ones suck, that’s okay, too.  Thanks for any input.

Texas Monthly Talks with Tom Kite

tom_kiteReally glad I took the opportunity to go down to KLRU yesterday to watch a taping of Texas Monthly TalksTM editor Evan Smith, there on the left, sat down with Hall of Famer Tom Kite and asked him about how he got started in golf, what shot he’d like to have back and how the game has changed.  Both did a really nice job.  Evan isn’t a golfer, but you’d never know it.  (I guess that’s what they call preparation.)  And Tom?  I’ve been with him several times before over at Roy Bechtol’s office, so I knew this already, but the robo-pro persona you see when he’s playing golf on TV doesn’t show the real him.  He’s quick, funny, smart, and very pleasing to listen to.  Catch the show when it airs on KLRU beginning December 18th.

Tiger vs. Jack

jack nicklaus 2006

It’s a silly debate, really, but here’s one argument in favor of Jack being better than Tiger, no matter how Tiger finishes his career.  Tiger’s birdie on the 72nd hole to win yesterday made me realize this.

I don’t care who you are, all seems right when Tiger wins.  He’s supposed to.  Everyone wants him to.  Everyone except the other guys in contention.  He has massive fan support.  Even people who don’t like him want him to win.  Jack Nicklaus, on the other hand, came along at a time when Arnold Palmer was the Tiger Woods of his day.  Jack won all those tournaments when everyone was pulling against him.  Arnold was supposed to win all those, and he probably would’ve if Jack hadn’t come along.  Johnny Miller certainly would’ve won a lot more tournaments in a Jack-less era.  Lots of other players would’ve.

Some knucklehead (Arron Oberholser, maybe?) was interviewed in one of the golf rags out right now, and he said Tiger is better than Jack because “today’s fields are deeper” and “anyone in the field can win any week” or something idiotic like that.   News flash, phucko: anyone in any field in any era can win.  You all start at even par.  Beyond that, and beyond Jack winning when no one wanted him to, everyone should respect what those who came before us did to make golf what it is today.

And if time travel were possible, there’s no telling what I’d pay to be inside the ropes as Tiger and Jack stepped onto the first tee of Augusta National on a warm Sunday in April.

Falconhead Golf Club

falconhead golf club austin texas

Anyone been out to Falconhead lately?  Here’s a shot of the 5th green I took in 2004.  The golf course sure looked good back then.  I haven’t seen it since, and I haven’t heard much about it.  I wonder if they’ve dug up those ridiculous “trough bunkers.”  Fire off a comment if you’ve got any news from there.