A look back at 2011 with tales from the tour

Mike Tuten has spent the last 20 years on the North Shore of

Oahu shaping surf boards. He joined his brother, Titleist rep Chris

Tuten, for a round of golf on the Plantation Course at Kapalua at

the start of the year.

Walking down the seventh fairway, the Pacific Ocean on the

horizon, Tuten said he found a lot of similarities between surfing

and golf.

”It’s all about controlling your inner self and enjoying the

environment around you,” Tuten said.

That made sense to Adam Scott, who does a fair bit of

surfing.

Ditto for Geoff Ogilvy, who described himself as a

”splash-in-the-water kind of surfer.”

”A lot of surfing is just sitting on the back of your board and

just enjoying the place you’re at,” Ogilvy said. ”You can do it

with friends or on your own. Some of the appeal is that you’re out

there on your own with golf, too. Surfing is similar. A lot of guys

who go surfing would be those types of guys who like to get out and

do their own thing.”

For a technical answer, Kelly Slater weighed in.

”Physically, there’s not a lot of similarities,” Slater said

at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. ”When you surf, you do twist

your body. You twist your shoulders and bring the board to where

your shoulders are. When you catch a wave, you don’t want to be

thinking about the crowd, cameras, how pretty it is. You want to

have a calm mind when you take off on a wave.”

It all sounded good in theory until the question was posed to

Ernie Els on the range at Waialae.

Are there any similarities between golf and surfing?

”No, I don’t agree with that,” Els said.

He pointed to the 30-foot palm trees lining both sides of the

range to make his argument.

”You see a wave that big coming at you, I don’t see how you can

enjoy your environment,” Els said. ”I would be trying to get the

hell out of there. No, golf is not like surfing. You don’t get

killed playing golf.”

The 2011 season began with waves crashing along the shores of

Maui and Oahu. Rory McIlroy wiped out at the Masters and had the

ride of his life at the U.S. Open. Luke Donald is riding a wave

that doesn’t seem to end. And late in the year, Tiger Woods showed

signs of paddling back out to sea.

Along the way, there were plenty of other moments that went

beyond birdies and bogeys.

Saturday at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am is when CBS Sports

focuses primarily on the celebrities in the field, who don’t always

take golf – or the interviews – all that seriously. David Feherty

attempted to interview comedian George Lopez, who essentially spent

his time in front of the camera making fun of the Irishman.

Feherty was riding his bike along 17 Mile Drive the next

morning, still thinking about how Lopez buried him on TV, when he

decided it was time for revenge. It was 6 a.m. and he knew the

house where Lopez was staying, so Feherty went to the front door

and began ringing the bell. Over and over and over.

No answer.

He took out his phone and called Lopez, and the comedian

answered with a groggy voice.

”George! Why aren’t you answering the door?” Feherty told

him.

Lopez informed him that his door bell wasn’t ringing. Just at

that moment, Feherty heard another groggy voice, slightly

perturbed, through the intercom.

”Who is this?”

Feherty froze. He was at the wrong house. Lopez was in the one

on the other side of the road.

”I was looking at him across the street,” Lopez said. ”I

think I’ve still got a picture of it. He looked like a wet

rat.”

Bo Van Pelt walked up to the porch at the Augusta National

clubhouse to find his caddie waiting for him with the golf bag and

listening to a man on the bench telling stories.

”Bo,” caddie Mark Chaney said. ”Have you met Bob

Goalby?”

For the next hour, the 1968 Masters champion regaled Van Pelt

with stories about practice rounds with Ben Hogan, about the

stories Sam Snead once told at the Champions Dinner at Augusta,

about playing in the Ryder Cup against British players hardly

anyone knew.

Van Pelt didn’t want to leave. Goalby would finish a story,

there would be a long pause, and then he would start another.

At the end of the week, Van Pelt was among eight players who had

a share of the lead on Sunday. He tied for eighth. Yet that Tuesday

afternoon on the porch with Goalby was as strong a memory as his

best finish at the Masters.

”To me, those are the things where I feel fortunate I get to do

what I do,” Van Pelt said a few weeks ago. ”It’s great to be at

Augusta. And you’re thinking about the tournament. But when you get

a chance to visit with someone like that, those other things can

wait. I could have sat there all day.”

Darren Clarke couldn’t do the math.

For a guy who spent two decades chasing the claret jug, Clarke

did a remarkable job keeping a clear head until he approached the

18th green at Royal St. George’s and tried to figure out what

remained for him to capture golf’s oldest championship.

He played the final hole the way he wanted, taking the bunkers

out of play off the tee and hitting to the back left of the

green.

”The crowd was roaring and shouting, and I’m thinking, `How

many putts do I have from there?’ I promise you, that’s what I was

thinking,” Clarke said. ”And I couldn’t get the number in my

head. The only time that I really figured it out was when I was

standing over the ball. I’ve got five putts.”

He took three to make a meaningless bogey and win by three shots

over Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson.

Fred Couples was outside the ropes near the first tee at Royal

Melbourne, holding court on the world of sports as only Couples can

do, while Tiger Woods and Dustin Johnson prepared to play for the

first time as partners in the Presidents Cup.

Couples wanted to know about the sale of the Houston Astros, and

how they could go to the American League, and if someone bought the

Seattle Mariners, could the new owner demand they be in the

National League? The conversation shifted to hockey, back to

baseball, a brief stop for the NFL, back to hockey. And then he

stopped.

”You know, I should be over there talking to Dustin and Tiger

instead of you two clowns,” he said.

Maybe so. But, as one reporter asked, what would be his

preference?

”You guys,” Couples said. Nodding in the direction of Woods

and Johnson, he added with a smile, ”Those guys don’t give me

anything.”

Arnold Palmer was asked to describe his perfect day, and he

frowned.

”I’m in a dilemma right now because I can’t hit the ball the

way I want to,” Palmer said. ”I can do things that will allow me

to hit the ball where I want to hit it, but not as far. But

straight isn’t the answer for me because I can’t hit it far enough.

At 82, am I going to put the effort into it that I have to for me

to enjoy playing? It’s very difficult.”

At the end of a long day that included a golf-course opening,

Palmer made up his mind.

”I’ve decided I’m going to give it a shot this winter at Bay

Hill, for my own satisfaction,” he said. ”I’m going to work at

it.”

Three weeks later, using a 5-iron from 163 yards on the Charger

Course at Bay Hill, the King made his 20th career hole-in-hole and

shot 79.