Week 5 Football Picks: The So-Called Expert defeated again

The guest prognosticators have caught the So-Called Expert at the quarter-pole of the 2012 NFL regular season.

Randy Youngman: The So-Called Expert

Fulltime pastor and part-time caddie Todd Anderson of Tempe, Ariz., finished digging the guests out of an early-season hole when the Chicago Bears pounded the Dallas Cowboys on Monday night to win Week 4 by one game.

As a native Chicagoan and longtime Bears fan, I unabashedly admit that I am happy when they win even if I picked against them, so it was a win -win situation Monday night.

I won when da Bears moved into a tie for first in the NFC North, and Pastor Todd won five dozen golf balls and other prizes from our corporate sponsors for outdueling the So-Called Expert in my weekly one-on-one Pigskin Challenge.

(In case you’re wondering, it’s also not too late to register for California Golf’s season-long Football Pool and Golf Ball Challenge (go to www.calgolfnews.com/challenge), which rewards one contestant every week for posting the best record. Week 4 winner was Robert Villanueva, who went 15-0! I hope he had a parlay card in Las Vegas, too.)

This week’s guest prognosticator is John Chapman of Cypress, a Southern California golf company manager who was chosen to challenge the So-Called Expert after sending in a painful description of his worst golf hole – an 18 on No. 18 at Meadowlark GC in Huntington Beach.

We all have golf horror stories. A few examples:

  • Arnold Palmer, The King himself, hit four balls out of bounds en route to a 12 on the par-5 18th at Rancho Park during the 1961 LA Open, a dubious distinction that is commemorated today by a teebox plaque.
  • Tom Weiskopf hit five in the water on the way to an embarrassing 13 on the short par-3 12th at Augusta National during the 1980 Masters.
  • John Daly did his best impersonation of Roy “Tin Cup” McAvoy when he kept bombing tee shots into the water trying to cut the dogleg of the par-5 sixth hole en route to an 18 during the 1998 Bay Hill Invitational.
  • And more recently, Kevin Na made a 16 hacking his way out of the brush on the par-5 ninth hole at TPC San Antonio to spoil an under-par round during the 2011 Texas Open.

But Chapman’s on-course nightmare is equally compelling and cringe-worthy.

A few years ago when he was a “solid 6 handicap,” Chapman was having an uncharacteristically bad round at Meadowlark, a par-70 layout where he has been a longtime men’s club member and where he once shot his career-low round of 1-under 69.

Despite shooting a ghastly 54 on the front nine, featuring a 7 on No. 7 and a 9 on No. 9, Chapman remembers refocusing at the turn and setting a back-nine goal of breaking 90.  It worked.

“Standing on the 18th tee, I was 1-under on the back side and just needed a par to shoot 88, or a bogey for 89,” he recalled. “I was extremely proud of myself that I could bring it back like that.”

Famous last words.

Chapman chose driver on Meadowlark’s relatively short finishing hole (491 yards from blue tees), a par-5 reachable in two if you hit a good drive down the left side of the fairway away from the water hazard lining the right side of the hole.

“But I hit a weak little fanned shot that went right and . . .”


Oh, well,” Chapman thought to himself, “if I make a double (bogey), I still shoot 36 on the back for an even 90.”

So he drove his cart to where the ball entered the water, took a penalty drop and hit 3-wood for his third shot.


Another 3-wood for his fifth.


Another 3-wood for his seventh.


Another 3-wood for his ninth.


Another 3-wood for his 11th.


For his 13th shot, he switched to a 3-iron.


For his 15th, he chose 5-iron – and found land, at long last, coming up 20 yards short of the green.

He pitched his 16th onto the green and 2-putted for a glorious 18.


“I’ve been playing golf since I was 11 years old, and that was one of only two times I didn’t break 100,” said Chapman, who has been working at Quality Golf in Fountain Valley since 1997, currently serving as office and sales manager for a company that specializes in designing, repairing and refinishing clubs.

Quality golf? Not going to touch that one when were talking about an 18 on No. 18.

Chapman, 55, grew up in Southern California, attending Bellflower High and Cerritos College while rooting for the Dodgers, UCLA Bruins and Kings.

“I was also a Rams fans before they left for St. Louis,” he said. “In my mind, the Rams don’t exist anymore. So I have adopted the Chargers. . . . They’re now my favorite NFL team, and Norv Turner is my least favorite head coach.”


While reading my NFL picks columns over the years, Chapman says he always was convinced he could beat the So-Called Expert.

“But now I’m nervous as hell,” he said.

Ready or not, it’s time for this week’s NFL predictions, with a lot of golf balls on the line, as usual.

Here are the So-Called Expert’s picks, noting the three games on which Chapman and I disagree:

Arizona Cardinals (4-0) at St. Louis Rams (2-2): Rams. My Upset of the Week, and Chapman doesn’t disagree. Apparently, the oddsmakers don’t believe it’s much of an upset, because the undefeated Cardinals were favored by 1 measly point at midweek, just before Thursday night showdown. Probably because Rams defeated Redskins and Seahawks at home.

San Diego Chargers (3-1) at New Orleans Saints (0-4): Chargers. (Chapman picked Saints.) When was the last time a winless team was favored by 3 ½ points over a 3-1 team? No respect for Norv, perhaps?

Buffalo Bills (2-2) at San Francisco 49ers (3-1): 49ers. I still think Niners are best NFL team, and maybe that loss in Minnesota wasn’t such a stunner, after all. I also think Bills are worst 2-2 team in NFL.

Miami Dolphins (1-3) at Cincinnati Bengals (3-1): Bengals. Dolphins have lost two in a row in overtime, so their record is somewhat misleading. But Bengals look better every week.

Green Bay Packers (2-2) at Indianapolis Colts (1-2): Packers. Green Bay has yet to play like a team that went 15-1 in regular season last year, especially at home. We’re waiting. Colts are coming off bye week and are playing for ailing and absent coach, Chuck Pagano, so be wary of upset potential.

Baltimore Ravens (3-1) at Kansas City Chiefs (1-3): Ravens. On paper, it looks like Mismatch of Week. Chiefs are giving up an average of 34 points per game, second-worst in NFL.

Cleveland Browns (0-4) at New York Giants (2-2): Giants. After losing close game to division-rival Eagles, Giants can use this “bye” week. Yes, I still blame the late Art Modell for plight of Browns.

Atlanta Falcons (4-0) at Washington Redskins (2-2): Redskins. Another Upset Special. (Chapman picked Falcons.) Yes, I’m predicting that another undefeated season comes to an end, one week after Falcons were lucky to beat Carolina.

Seattle Seahawks (2-2) at Carolina Panthers (1-3): Panthers. Seattle is a different team away from its rabid fans, though its defense is legit. How well it defends dual-threat Cam Newton will decide this game.

Philadelphia Eagles (3-1) at Pittsburgh Steelers (1-2): Steelers. Eagles continue to do it with mirrors (three wins by a total of 4 points) and Steelers are coming off a bye week.

Chicago Bears (3-1) at Jacksonville Jaguars (1-3): Bears. Even after impressive win in Dallas, I’m concerned because teams that play on Monday night and then travel usually struggle following week.

Denver Broncos (2-2) at New England Patriots (2-2): Patriots. But I’ll be rooting for Peyton Manning to spring the upset.

Tennessee Titans (1-3) at Minnesota Vikings (3-1): Vikings. OK, I believe, I believe, already. Christian Ponder is the real deal. Let’s hope that doesn’t jinx him. This isn’t the cover of Sports Illustrated, you know.

Houston Texans (4-0) at New York Jets (2-2): Texans. (Chapman picked Jets as his Upset of the Week.) Nice effort by Rex Ryan’s offense and defense in last week’s debacle against Denver, huh? I expect big changes if – make that when — Texans become the next team to manhandle Jets.

Byes this week: Dallas Cowboys (2-2), Detroit Lions (1-3), Oakland Raiders (1-3), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-3).

Last week: Todd Anderson, pastor/caddie, 11-4; So-Called Expert 10-5.

Season totals: Guest prognosticators 34-29, So-Called Expert 34-29.

Football Pool and Golf Ball Challenge winner:  Robert Villanueva 15-0. Yes, 15-0!

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