Well, folks, this one comes to you from hurricane central. I went to the East Coast to escape the wrath of Wilma and the house — P.J. (my 5-year-old), a friend and I were hiding out.
The back doors of the house were blown off, the skylights had water pouring through them, and roof tiles were flying everywhere. It was on a lake and there were waves (not a big lake at all) waves, I said.
Thank goodness this hurricane season is over. The golf courses around town were a mess, but thanks to some pretty talented and hard-working superintendents we are back in business, and going to have a great winter season.
Next time you pass one of those fellows during your round, stop and say "well done." Those guys are all talented and hard-working folks.
They say lightning never strikes twice in the same place, but we had Wilma, and with Tiger Woods missing the cut at Disney, Mickey must have been devastated. It has nonetheless been an awesome display of golf once again by Mr. Woods — Player of the Year no doubt.
Next year expect more of the same. Yes, yes, I know Phil is talented, and won his second major, Vijay is hungry, great, and Ernie will come back healed and fresh ... whatever.
Tiger is still Tiger, just as Jack was Jack, Jordan was Jordan, Gretzky was Gretzky, and we could go on through the generations.
He is this generation's "freak," and I say that kindly and with respect for incredible talent. He has a storybook-like ability to write his own scripts. This kid will continue to produce record-shattering golf, with the occasional hiccup thrown in there to give those armchair athlete's called sports writers something to babble about.
I truly think "The Slam" is a possible feat for this giant, whether it happens, well stay tuned fans, same Bat Time, same Bat Channel. I also think we will see the supporting cast rally and produce some really historic chases , much the same as Weiskopf, Miller, Trevino, and Watson did with Nicklaus.
One or two of them will get Tiger on an occasion, and at that moment define their own career.
You know who will truly benefit? We will. We will get to witness it, up close and sometimes in person. We are in for some wonderful golf moments.
In the meantime, get out there and get your own game tuned up. Your winter partners and opponents are both on their way back, and you need to be ready for them. Start with that short game and very gradually work your way out to the full swing. Gradually means over the next few weeks, not the next couple of minutes. Develop that short game, let this be the winter you perfect that pitch shot, that bump and run.
This winter the painful three-putts or two per round will go away, because you truly dedicated the time and effort to do such. Hit some bunker shots weekly, be ready for any short game need you will encounter. You will be glad you did.
I wish all of you great viewing, great learning, and great golf this winter season.
Tom Patri's teaching academy has moved to Lely Resort, with an indoor studio now open at The Health Club of Naples on Immokalee Road. Patri is one of Golf Magazine's Top 100 Teachers in America. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or to set up a lesson, contact Brandi Hanson at 597-0787 or e-mail email@example.com, or go to www.tompatri.com.