While critics shed their two cents on the controversial new FedEx Cup playoffs, 3,778 die-hard amateur golfers have bigger things on their minds: The PGA Tour Superstore World Amateur Handicap Championships, starting Monday morning.
The "World Am" is amateur golf's greatest spectacle: a four-day event spread out over 70 Myrtle Beach-area courses. It's a tried-and-true tournament with a fanatic, loyal following. Golfers of all abilities have a shot at winning the overall prize, from scratch golfers to 36.4 handicaps.
Then there is the famous "World's largest 19th hole" that takes place each night at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center. It's part headquarters, part exhibition, but mostly a party where libations are consumed and stories are spread. Newly-engaged Annika Sorenstam is expected to be there Monday promoting the new Cutter & Buck clothing line.
This year, 3,778 participants make up 38 flights, ranging from 0-5.0 handicaps to three super-senior divisions comprised of men over 70. The event also features six womens' flights.
Like the FedEx Cup, competitors play four different venues for a shot at the overall crown. Unlike the FedEx Cup, no one will be playing "hookie" any of the rounds (at least on purpose, though the "19th hole" is said to cause numerous "alarm clock malfunctions").
So how do I like my chances heading into my first World Am? Well, my iron play is pretty solid right now, my putting and short game won't kill me...but off the tee I'm about as reliable as a Lindsay Lohan sobriety pledge. Luckily, I caught a sneak peak of my 3rd round course, the Dye at Barefoot, and it's got some pretty wide landing zones (maybe the tamest Dye design I've ever seen, to be honest, though the 17th and 18th are brutal as with any Dye).
To be honest, it's been so long since I played in a legit tournament, I just hope I don't pull a Michelle Wie/Sergio Garcia and get DQ'd.
I won't be shamelessly posting my scores all over this blog (unless I shoot in the 70s, then stay tuned for vivid, shot-by-shot recaps), but you can check up on my progress, your buddies' scores, or simply browse through the flights at the World Am's website, which will have daily updates and scores: WorldAmGolf.com
For behind-the-scenes recaps of the World Am, I'll be blogging on the "Every Man's Tourney" all this week. Now if you'll excuse me, my fashion consultant and I need to script out my four-day outfit plan (a.k.a. what golf shirt doesn't have noticeable BBQ stains on it).
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