Monday, May 31, 2010

Big Update Soon

Thanks in advance to any who regularly read this space. I've take some vacation the last week and have not been able to receive the mail to update my year-long project. Don't worry as I've had the mail collected and put aside every day so I know what came when.

I'll update the last week's happenings sometime Tuesday.

Monday, May 24, 2010

May 24 Report: 1971 Masters Winner Charles Coody, 1958 PGA Championship Winner Dow Finsterwald and Solheim Cup Player Becky Iverson

Three subset collections I began this year are slowly rounding into form.

Certainly those who regularly read this blog know I have been focusing a lot on golf lately. And amongst the thousands of individuals who have ever teed it up professionally, only a small percentage ever win a major championship or play for their country in either the Ryder Cup (men) or Solheim Cup (women).

The reason I chose to start a collection of American women who have competed in the Solheim Cup was twofold. First it is a heck of an accomplishment, and secondly it is the only subset among golf's 'major' accomplishments in which every player is still alive.

I've added Becky Iverson (2000) to the Solheim Cup collection today. I'll wait until the halfway point of the year to provide tallies on my subset quests, but suffice it to say I'm had pretty good success with the Solheim Cuppers.

The other subsets I received additions to today are from major championship winners.

First is 1971 Masters Tournament winner Charles Coody. Coody is among the 30 living Masters Tournament champions I'm hoping to collect on 5x7 photos of the Masters trophy. I know it's a longshot of ever getting Tiger Woods to sign, but if I can get all others I'll be incredibly pleased.

The other major championship winner I received today was Dow Finsterwald. Finsterwald won the first-ever PGA Championship in the stroke-play era.

You may recall Finsterwald signed for me earlier this year but the autographed photos were smeared so badly one could barely make out that they were signed. I explained this to Finsterwald and he kindly signed for me a second time.

Day of the Year: 144
Number of Autographs This Year: 191

Saturday, May 22, 2010

May 22 Report: 2007 Masters Tournament Winner Zach Johnson

The week started pretty slowly for me, but man did it turn into a strong week the last two days.

Not only did I end up with six different autographs this week -- which of course helps the case of making an average of one autograph a day for the entire year -- but I winded down the week Saturday with another major championship winner.

A super-quick turnaround from 2007 Masters Tournament winner Zach Johnson. Johnson, a standout on the Nationwide Tour before joining the PGA Tour in 2004. Johnson was gracious enough to sign a pin flag I picked up at the 2007 event as well as an original photo I took of the Masters Tournament trophy! These will definitely find a prominent display spot in my golf room!

To date he has won six times on the PGA Tour, none bigger than the '07 Masters. Augusta National was playing quite tough that year, with Johnson's 1-over 289 score tying Hall of Famers Sam Snead (1954) and Jack Burke, Jr. (1956) for the highest winning score in tournament history.

If you've followed golf for any time, you'll also know that in addition to being a great champion, Johnson is one of the brightest and most fan-friendly players on Tour.

Without a doubt living proof that good guys don't always finish last.

Day of the Year: 142
Number of Autographs This Year: 188

Friday, May 21, 2010

May 21 Report: Former British Open Winner Mark Calcavecchia

This week has been a fairly slow one, so it's great to report on a Friday a double success.

Not that I have two successes to report, but the one success I had today fills two big categories for me. Mark Calcavecchia returned a pair of of items to me signed today. Why is this a double for me? Well first off it's an autograph from a major championship winner, and secondly it's from a former University of Florida player.

Calc won the British Open in a playoff over Greg Norman and Wayne Grady. When Calcavecchia took possession of the Claret Jug (photo seen here) he humorously asked How his name was going to fit on it?

Calc is one of three former UF players to win a major, joining Tommy Aaron (Masters) and Andy North (U.S. Opens).

To date Calc has 13 wins on the PGA Tour. He has competed on four Ryder Cup teams for the United States.

Day of the Year: 141
Number of Autographs This Year: 187

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

May 18 Report: Former Atlanta Falcons QB Steve Bartkowski

Steve Bartkowski was the first overall pick in the 1975 NFL Draft, taken by the Atlanta Falcons. Atlanta's pick performed quite well from the start earning Rookie of the Year honors.

He went on to pass for more than 24,000 yards and he remains one of only eight NFL QBs who have achieved consecutive 30-touchdown passing seasons (1980 & 1981).

Bartkowski was selected to a pair of Pro Bowls during his career and he led the league in passing in 1983 with a rating of 97.6

Day of the Year: 138
Number of Autographs This Year: 186

Monday, May 17, 2010

May 17 Report: Golf Hall of Famer Betsy King, Solheim Cup star Danielle Ammaccapane and PGA Tour star Dudley Hart

Always great to add a Hall of Famer to the collection, and today is that of golfer Betsy King.

King was an elite player on the LPGA Tour in the 1980s and 1990s and continued to win into the 2000s.

Her rise to Hall of Famer was a long one, going seven seasons before her first Tour win. But once that first one came, it was impossible to hold back the rush. She won 30 times in 11 years and became the first LPGA player to cross $5 million in career earnings.

In all she won 34 times on the LPGA, including six major championships.

King, who today is actively involved in mission work and charitable efforts, signed a Solheim Cup photo for the collection of every American Solheim Cup player I am putting together.

My Solheim Cup project actually gets two additions today, as Danielle Ammaccapane also returned a 5x7, custom-made Solheim Cup photo.

Ammaccapane, who has won seven times to date on the LPGA, was a member of the 1992 U.S. team.

And to round out the hat trick of golf successes today is Dudley Hart. Hart, who has twice won on the PGA Tour, added a great inscription, too. Hart was a four-time All-American at the University of Florida and was gracious enough to add "Go Gators" to the card.

Day of the Year: 137
Number of Autographs This Year: 185

Friday, May 14, 2010

May 14 Report: LPGA Superstar Paula Creamer

Major milestone accomplished today.

Not only did I add the signature of one of the top players on the LPGA to my Solheim Cup collection, it also put me at the halfway point in this project.

Paula Creamer, who has won eight times on the LPGA to date, has also competed on three Solheim Cup teams in her young career. The Pink Panther's signature is the 182nd different one of the year for me, and it puts me squarely at the midway point of my quest to add 365 autographs to my collection this year.

Thank you Paula and here's to hoping the second half of 2010 is as productive as the first half.

Day of the Year: 134
Number of Autographs This Year: 182

Thursday, May 13, 2010

May 13 Report: Former Denver Broncos QB Craig Morton and Former 49ers LB Keena Turner

Two more great successes today from football, so it seems some of those requests that have been out there for a while are starting to find their ways back to me.

Short on time tonight, but here are the images of the signed cards from Craig Morton and Keena Turner, a pair of former NFL stars.

Day of the Year: 133
Number of Autographs This Year: 181

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

May 11 Report: Former New York Jets Kicker Pat Leahy

Hard to believe more than a month and a half has passed since I reported my last football success here on this blog.

Shouldn't be that much of a surprise since I've been focusing on golf so much lately. Guess like many aspects of this hobby, trends come and go. I never would have thought when I started this project I would have ever sent out more golf requests than I have football.

Well today I get back to my first love -- football autographs.

Pat Leahy kicked for the New York Jets for entire NFL career (1974-1991). Amazingly in his 18-year career he never had a kick blocked. He scored 1,470 points.

Day of the Year: 131
Number of Autographs This Year: 179

Monday, May 10, 2010

May 10 Report: British Open Winner and PGA Championship Winner John Daly

Few people have made the splash John Daly has on the PGA Tour.

Daly joined the Tour in 1991 and won a major -- the PGA Championship -- in his rookie season. Daly's victory was so stunning because he was the ninth and final alternate for the competition held at Pete Dye's Crroked Stick Golf Club.

Daly's unrefined style won him legions of fans as golf's "everyday man". His ability to simply "Grip It And Rip It" while tossing back a few beers was an endearing trait.

His detractors point to his lack of fitness and dedication to the game as a waste of tremendous talent.

Seen above is Daly's autograph on a photo of the Wanamaker Trophy, given for winning the PGA Championship.
Daly again won a major championship in 1995 when he won the British Open at St. Andrews. His playoff victory over Costantina Rocca remains one of the dramatic wins in golf's oldest tournament.

Amazingly Daly has won only five PGA Tour events, but two of them have been majors. He's the only eligible player to win two majors but never get selected for a Ryder Cup.

The photo seen here is of the Claret Jug -- the prize for winning the British Open -- and Daly has signed it.

On both photos Daly has inscribed his catch phrase "Rip It" before signing his name.

Day of the Year: 130
Number of Autographs This Year: 178

Saturday, May 8, 2010

May 8 Report: Two-Time Masters Winner and Hall of Famer Bernhard Langer; Solheim Cup Player Brittany Lincicome

As I typically like to do, I'll begin with the Hall of Famer.

Bernhard Langer is definitely that. Not only is he in the golf hall, he'd also be in the great guy HOF if there were such a thing.

I've had the opportunity to be around and meet Langer on several occasions and he's never disappointed his fans. Definitely a role model for today's young people.

On the golf course Langer accomplished 80 worldwide wins and was the first-ever player to be ranked No. 1 in the world when the rankings debuted in 1986. Among his most notable wins are his two Masters Tournament titles.

It is those two titles I was seeking autographs to represent, and Langer accommodated both. I'm just picturing one here, but he signed two prints of the Masters trophy and inscribed each one with the year he won.

I also received another signature for my Solheim Cup collection today. This is the first one from a current player, that of Brittany Lincicome.

Lincicome has won three LPGA events in her short career to date, including a major championship in 2009 at the Kraft Nabisco Championship.

She has competed for the U.S on the 2007 and 2009 Solheim Cup squads. The U.S. won both competitions.

Day of the Year: 128
Number of Autographs This Year: 177

Friday, May 7, 2010

May 7 Report: Hall of Famer, U.S Open and British Open Winner Johnny Miller

Sometimes during the course of your day a huge surprise lands in your lap. Today was one of those days.

While touring the World Golf Hall of Fame today, an unexpected guest showed up inside the museum, which drew quite a crowd. The man who shot the lowest final round in U.S. Open history (63) at the 1973 event at Oakmont walked into the Hall of Fame.

Miller took the time to shake hands, take pictures and interact with the guests in the museum. He signed a few autographs and looked like he was thoroughly enjoying his visit to the museum where he is honored for his achievements on the golf course.

Definitely a day everyone who was in the Hall of Fame will remember for as long as they have a sound mind.

Day of the Year: 127
Number of Autographs This Year: 175

Thursday, May 6, 2010

May 6 Report: LPGA Major Champion and Solheim Cup Star Pat Hurst

Incredibly busy week this week with my "day job", but wanted to make a quick post on today's success.

Pat Hurst is the latest to sign and return one of my custom Solheim Cup prints to me for the collection I am working on of all the U.S. players who have competed on at least one team.

Hurst, who won the 1998 Kraft Nabisco Championship, played on five different teams between 1998-2007.

Day of the Year: 126
Number of Autographs This Year: 174

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

May 4 Report: Toronto Blue Jays Catcher Ernie Whitt

Another baseball success to report, which puts me above the 50 percent return mark for baseball autograph requests this year. It's taken a while, but now every sport is above 50 percent. Most other sports, however, are around the 80 percent or higher success rate.

Perhaps it just takes former baseball players longer to sign as maybe they get more requests.

Regardless, today I received a pair of signed cards back from Ernie Whitt.

Day of the Year: 124
Number of Autographs This Year: 173

Monday, May 3, 2010

May 3 Report: Former Masters Tournament Winner Jack Burke

A number of days have passed since I added a signed golf ball to my collection. So take that joy and add to it the fact that a Hall of Famer was the one signing it!

Needless to say I'm pretty pumped about my ability to add Jack Burke Jr.'s autograph to my collections of Masters champs. Burke, at 87, is the oldest living Masters Tournament winner, claiming his Green Jacket in 1956. He signed a Masters Tournament logo golf ball.

Burke, a former Marine, won 16 PGA events and played on six Ryder Cup teams. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2000.

Day of the Year: 123
Number of Autographs This Year: 172