Dinner with Toski and Kite

2/10/13: Dinner with Bob Toski and Tom Kite was arranged by Michigan Golf Hall of Fame member John Traub.  There were many great golf stories, plus a singing performance by Bob.  Bob is now 86 and amazing voice and tells me he has added a dance routine as well.  We were at Boca Raton restaurant near Bob’s home.  He presently is doing a pilot video for television on golf with his song and dance routine included.  He told too many stories to recount here, but really fun and interesting.

Conversation with Tom Kite was most interesting.  I have known Tom for few years, having worked with Tom Kite on the SAM puttLab and he has used my grooved grip since last April and moved from 30th in putting in 2011 to 8th in stats in 2012.  His concern for the game he loves it that there is no way it will grow in interest.  The reason is NOT and he emphasized NOT because golf is too hard.  He says golf has always has been too hard and that is one of the lures.  It will diminish in interest due to high price of playing and the excessive time necessary to devote, even to a round of golf.  He lays the responsibility at the feet of the manufacturers.  He says the technology applied to the large head driver and the “hot” ball has required golf course designers to make much longer course layouts which results in purchasing and maintaining larger tracks of real estate.  Worse yet the amateur does not use most of the back tee areas that must be bought and maintained.  Slow play is another issue, especially for the amateur who cannot negotiate “penal” golf courses.  He is not optimistic nor things there will be any hope or change in the future of golf.

I found it interesting that over his time in golf, that athletic conditioning is now necessary at the professional level.  He works out as though he was a track or gymnastic professional.  He is legendary in his devotion to the practice range, but now fitness is a must.

I asked him if he had any suspicions of performance enhancing drugs is golf.  He said there is the suspicions based upon obvious changes in physical body types of some players.

Tom then turned the conversation to me and asked me to comment on performance enhancing drugs in general.  The interesting thing is the use of deer antler nutritional supplements getting so much attention in golf news.  Here is the bottom line.  Under federal law a nutritional supplement cannot propose it makes a diagnosis or treats any medical condition.  Legally this is the end of story.  How could the PGA or any other body claim it does so when the law says it cannot say so and the company’s that sell nutritional supplements have no right nor obligation to support a claim it does anything.  In fact the deer antler saga is not supported by any hard evidence that the IGF-1 in the material could or may be absorbed.   So if there is no evidence it is absorbed, then how could it enhance performance, except by an placebo effect.  I ended my statement buy saying Vijay is playing this week on PGA tour.

John, like me, spend the evening listing to great insider stories about golf.   By the way, Tom graciously insisted on buying dinner.

On the way out Tom was stopped a couple times due to his celebrity.  I asked him if he could go out to dinner in Austin, his home town.   He said it was not a problem in that Austin has so many celebrities; he is lost in the mix.   I doubt it.