News From Terre Haute, Indiana

September 28, 2012

Snedeker the big winner after FedEx Championship

Bob Arnett
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — The season-long FedEx Championship has finally come to an end and Brandt Snedeker may need a Brinks truck to haul his winnings to the bank.

Well, maybe not, since $10 million is paid over the course of several years, but the $1,400,000 Brandt earned for winning the Tour Championship was his as soon as he holed his last putt on a course that Bobby Jones might have had some difficulties.

Hard slick greens along with the pressure of playing for $10 million dollars plus could cause a tour professional to at least develop a condition known as cottonmouth.

Personally, I’m happy to see the end of the FedEx for a few months. Even the announcers have a difficult time explaining the intricate scoring system.

A few years ago Vijay Singh won the FedEx by sitting out the final round. And that is a tournament?

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Larry Adamson, retired from the USGA, relates one of his favorite stories about his friend, Payne Stewart.

At the Ryder Cup Matches in Boston in 1999, Payne was in a match against Colin Montgomerie. The American gallery was disrespectful, rude in their behavior toward Montgomerie. They yelled insults at Montgomerie and just, in general, behaved badly. This bothered Payne.

“This is not what it’s all about!” and he apologized to Montgomerie.

The United States went on to win the Ryder Cup that year, but on the 18th green of Payne’s match, (they were tied). He did something rather unusual. He said to his caddie Mike Hicks.

“I’m going to give him that putt.”

He waked over and picked up Montgomerie’s ball, conceding the putt and the match 1 up to him. Payne had enough of the crowd’s behavior. It shows that Payne was more interested in how his team came out of the matches rather than his individual accomplishment.

Larry relates he loves something that Payne’s wife once said about him.

“Payne was very much ‘a Christian in process’, not someone who felt he had arrived.  He never pretended to have the answers and probably didn’t know what some of the questions were,” Adamson said.

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Trick shot artists have been a part of golf’s multi-faceted past for many years.  I traveled to Rockville way back in the 1960s to watch Paul Hahn present a crowd-pleasing performance, which included something called the whirling dervish.

Paul lined up ten golf balls, assumed his stance, and with a 5 iron in each hand, he hit shots in rapid-fire order, each traveling about 150 yards.  He called on this writer to hit a shot off a tee that was about three feet high.  My shot went straight up in the air, much to the delight of the assemblage.

I had dinner with Hahn that evening. I asked him a question. Why would he put on a demonstration such as he did rather than make money playing tournament golf?

His answer surprised me.

“The fact is that most trick shot artists are not good golfers.”  Hahn said. “I just shot a 39 on the Rockville course and that’s about par for me.”

Hahn owned his own airplane, which he flew from city to city. Paul Hahn was not only talented; he was a really nice individual. His son, Paul Hahn, Jr., now performs the same routines used by his father and he has a video that can be purchased as well.

A few years back I saw a man who went by the name of Count Yogi. He claimed to be 75 years old, but he looked to be in his 40s. The Count performed a variety of acts. One was to blast a tee shot far into the distance with a driver that looked to have a shaft length of more than 90 inches.

One warm day a Caddy came up the driveway and parked next to the putting green at Rea Park. Inside the car was an assortment of weird looking instruments. They belonged to Count Yogi who was looking for a performance contract. I don’t believe that Mike Kaperak hired the Count.

One of the most unbelievable presentations is one that is performed by The Hit Man, who is really Chuck Hiter who performs a variety of tricks while riding, of all things, a unicycle.

The balance The Hit Man possesses when he hits shots in midair while balancing on the unicycle is uncanny.

Even when watching him, he is beyond belief. His DVD may also be purchased.

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Congratulations to Ted Kaperak on his 9th City crown. It would appear that Kappy’s golf game is impervious to age. … A tip of the hat to Willy Strickland who shot his age recently at The Landing, a smooth 72. Nice work, Willy. … John Tribble advises a two-man best ball tournament is slated for Oct. 6 and 7 at Forest Park in Brazil. Call the pro shop for tee times. (812) 442-5681.

Keep your head down and your shoestrings tied. We’ll be back.

Bob Arnett is a golf columnist for the Tribune-Star.