GOOD arms are crucial in the NFL and one astute reader assailed me recently because I hadn’t revisited a certain throwing subject, having only skimmed its surface last year.
A glance back into the mists of last October revealed I had indeed mentioned stone-skipping in a piece then, claiming that for reasons of space I couldn’t elaborate on the activity, but would return to it when I got a chance. Well those ripples have finally reached my bare ankles, so here we go.
First, is it “skipping” or “skimming”? Well, it’s both. Skipping counts hops; skimming measures distance.
I may as well admit here and now that I was never good at either. As a kid, while my older brother’s smooth pebbles would be careering off towards the horizon, mine would only make a satisfying ‘plop’.
But both activities are taken quite seriously by those who have the knack. On this side of the Atlantic, the more easily measured skimming is favoured. The World Stone Skimming Championships take place every autumn at an abandoned slate quarry on the Hebrides off Scotland. Dougie Isaacs has won eight world titles and holds the World Record for the longest skim at the tantalising distance of 399.6 feet.
Those with lofty ambitions across the ocean prefer to count the hops. Kurt Steiner is the world’s greatest stone skipper. Over the past 22 years, he has won 17 tournaments. In 2013 he skipped a stone 88 times! And he is only 26 feet behind Isaacs and says he wants to hold both records.
We’ll keep you updated when we hear more. For now, some advice to get you started from three times British champ Alex Lewis: Find a flat stone of about three inches in diameter. Aim to throw it at 20 degrees to the horizontal. When you throw, try to land your stone flat on the water.. Have first bounce around 10m in front of you. Technique beats power.
BY FAR the ugliest named tournament in the world gets underway on Thursday, the Waste Management Open on the USPGA Tour in Arizona.
Not alone is the name unappealing, the crowd is also famously the most boisterous, with silence during backswings not exactly guaranteed.
It will probably even be more so this weekend with Super Bowl just down the road on the final day of the tournament.
Scottie Sheffler edged Patrick Cantlay in a playoff last year, his first win on tour. He would bag two more before adding the Masters in April.
In nine of the last 10 years, the winner of this event has opened between 10-1 to 50-1 Sheffler is 8/1, while John Rahm is 11/2 favourite. Rory McIlroy is just behind on 15/2.
OFFALY swinger Shane Lowry parted ways with caddie Brian “Bo” Martin.
Lowry, currently 22nd in the world and likely to make the Ryder Cup this year, has claimed they had lost their “spark” after a four-and-a-half-year run that included that wonderful Open win in Portrush in 2019.
The break-up was said to be amicable however there were a few signs of on-course tension between the two, with Lowry occasionally letting off steam when he believed he was advised to use the wrong club.
Lowry is 40/1 to add a second major at Augusta this April and 13/2 to win any of the four majors.
If you are expecting a negative impact, he is 9/5 to make the cuts in none of them.
WE’VE already advised the Chiefs to win the Super Bowl. Devonta Smith at 25/1 to be MVP might not be too mad considering the Eagles can make hay if injuries continue to beset the Chiefs.
At the the golf, down the road in Scottsdale, I’ll go for someone in the 10/1 to 50/1 range. Xander Schauffele was a shot behind the leaders last year and can thrive in the pressure-cooker atmosphere at 16/1.