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Following the banning of Australian golfer Mark Hensby for failing to provide a drug testing sample, the finger of blame is now being pointed at his clubs for still producing shit results.

Hensby, who doesn't play on the PGA Tour and who hasn't made a cut on it for four years, was banned by the PGA Tour for one year after being caught red handed as high as a kite or "failing to provide a drugs sample" as it is legally termed.

Drugs dont work. Ask Mark.

The PGA Tour are now investigating Hensby's clubs in a bid to figure out how he still played so shite even though he must have been like a coked up superhuman zen godlike blend of Thor, Spiderman and Batman on the golf course or "failing to provide a drugs sample" as it is legally termed.

A statement read: "The PGA Tour announced today that Mark Hensby has violated the TOUR Anti-Doping Policy for failing to provide a drug testing sample after notification and has been suspended for a period of one year. He will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018."

The publication of the drugs ban eschews in a new era of transparency on the PGA Tour designed to make public all drugs bans relating to players, not just those ranked No. 1623 in the world. The fact that the first revelation does relate to world No. 1623 Hensby is said to be purely coincidental.

More as it emerges.

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There were emotional scenes outside the High Court this morning as a Tour player, convicted of cheating in 2013, was released from prison having had all charges against him dropped.

The player, who cannot be named for legal reasons, and known only as Mr. X served four years in solitary confinement after being found guilty of cheating during a tournament in Asia after a viewer spotted him replacing his ball about a foot closer to the hole than where he marked it and promptly phoned in.

Overjoyed campaigners greet Mr X (blurred) on his release from prison.

The player's release and full pardon follows golf's five lawmakers the USGA, PGA Tour, PGA of America and R&A passing a new law saying that cheating is allowed anymore as long as you don't get caught doing it by someone watching on TV.

Amid emotional scenes on the steps of the court, the 39 year old was greeted by fellow campaigners, who themselves have battled cheating allegations.

More as it emerges.

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Rory McIlroy has decided to keep bestie Harry Diamond on as caddie for the 2018 season, multiple sources have reported at the weekend.

Harry has been on the Rory bag since stepping in after long time looper J.P. Fitzgerald was given his P45 in July.

The move follows a growing trend of friends replacing established Tour caddies on the bags of some of the world's biggest stars.

Jason Day replaced long time caddie caddie and coach Colin Swatton, with his friend and former academy roommate  Luke Reardon in September while Tommy Fleetwood with best mate Ian Finnis on his bag won the 2017 Race To Dubai.

Rory, who took a break from golf towards the end of this season, has also announced a crammed schedule in a bid to finally win a Masters Green Jacket in 2018.

McIlroy will return on the 18th of January at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and also play the week after at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.  A fortnight later he will tee it up at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am,  then move on to Riviera for the Genesis Open.

McIlroy then plans to play in the Honda Classic, WGC Mexico, the Valspar Championship, and Arnold Palmer Invitational which starts on March 15th.

The WGC-Dell Technologies Matchplay starts on March 22nd, two weeks before the Masters, and though he has yet to confirm, it highly likely in a Ryder Cup year that McIlroy will play in the matchplay format.

So the Rory 2018 schedule looks like

Jan 18th: Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship
Jan 25th : Dubai Desert Classic
Feb 8th : AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am
Feb 15th : Genesis Open
Feb 22nd: Honda Classic
March 1st: WGC-Mexico Championship?
March 8th: Valspar Championship
March 15th: Arnold Palmer Invitational
March 22nd: WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play
April 5th: The Masters

That's nine events in 10 weeks.  Hmmmm. Is that wise?

Of Course our video with impersonator Steven Connolly on Rory's caddie requirements was one of the highlights of the year on GCD.

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Paddy O'Looney the official "unofficial ambassador of Irish golf tourism" has passed away following a long illness.

Paddy was a former chief executive of SWING (South West of Ireland Golf) and one of the biggest characters in the Irish golf tourism industry.

Paddy O'Looney (left) with Charlie Rhymer and Brendan Keogh on the Golf Channel. Pic tnx @officialfergo
A scratch golfer in his day, Paddy worked the movers, shakers and influencers of the golf world promoting Ireland and helping shape it into one of the world's top golfing destinations.

Details of funeral arrangements are here.

Brian Keogh at the Irish Golf Desk posted this excellent tribute piece with quotes from those who knew and worked with Paddy.

Paddy O'Looney was honoured by his peers in 2011 for his outstanding contribution to golf.

May he Rest In Peace.

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Jordan Spieth is said to be "recovering well" in hospital after complicated surgery to fuse two vertebrae in his lower back.

The 24 year old three time Major winner underwent a five hour procedure to fuse his lowest (L-5) vertebrae to his sacrum at the Texas Back Institute Center near Dallas.

The operation was performed by Dr. Guy Richards, the same surgeon who carried out Tiger Woods successful fusion operation in April.

Spieth intially presented at the hospital Monday complaining of a lack of distance off the tee.  After tests revealed no floating disc fragments, fluid leakage spasms or shooting pains Spieth was rushed immediately to the operating theatre where the surgery was performed.

"Given that Jordan was fully fit, pain free and healthy before the operation, the hope is for a speedy recovery now," said a spokesman for Spieth's management company.  "Hopefully he will gain a few yards with the driver and it'll all be worth it."

As for surgeon Dr Guy Richards; he is set to have a busy run up to Christmas with Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler all set to undergo the same operation in the next week.

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Masters Tournament organisers are set to introduce a network of snow cannon to Augusta National in a bid to toughen the course against distance gains with modern golf clubs, a press conference heard today.

Work is currently in progress on a $700 million project which will see every fairway and green lined on either side with state of the art snow cannon capable of covering the entire course in a thick blanket of snow and ice in under 15 minutes.

"After seeing Dustin Johnson drive the par-5 15th last year we figured we better face facts" said Masters Chairman Fred Ridley. "We tried asking the equipment and ball companies to roll back the distance technology but they all told us to piss off.  Then one of the guys said 'lets see DJ do that at like minus a zillion degrees in a blizzard with driving snow burning into his face' and we all said 'hey that's a great idea, let's do it, I mean we have the money for it!'".

Several pros including Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy have already been spotted practicing in full ski gear while it is believed TaylorMade are working frantically on 28 different types of heated goggles.

"True, it has been getting ridiculous recently so we would really like the winning score to be somewhere in the region of 50 over next year," added Ridley. It's going to be great watching some of the best folks in the world battle it out with frostbite."

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I just wanted to enjoy Tiger Woods playing golf again but after that I think It's fair to say everyone was shocked by Tiger Woods performance at the Hero World Challenge.

For me, it was Tiger's health that was most impressive.  A bonus was newly repaired back, the swing speed, the immense power and the straight driving!

The best climb down after Tiger's performance from professional twitter blocker Brandel Chamblee who ate humble pie after writing him off on the Golf Channel.

Brandel Chamblee doing what he does best on the Golf Channel.

Here are some links to the best reports on Tiger's four days.

Doug Ferguson at associated press

Woods made a return to golf that was solid with his health and his game, and he headed into the holidays thinking about a schedule for 2018.

Rex Hoggard who noted Tiger's immense driving.

For four days, Woods drove the ball as well as he has in a decade, putted better than his final statistics might suggest and largely controlled his golf ball with the notable exception of his opening loop on Saturday.

Bob Harig of also did a stats piece.

The power he unleashed with his driver -- and some of the other shots he launched into orbit with his 2-iron -- was a remarkable sign of renewal, especially if you understand where he has been since the first of four back surgeries in 2014 and all the struggles he has had keeping the ball in play.

Woods had no trouble keeping pace with Thomas, who ranked eighth in driving distance on the PGA Tour in 2017 by averaging nearly 310 yards off the tee.

And here are all the highlights from an exvellent final round.

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I thought I told you all yesterday to sit back and enjoy watching Tiger Woods and not let your hopes of a world beating comeback overcome you. You didn't listen!

After Tiger's first round of three under par, the bookies immediately slashed his Masters odds to 33/1 from 80/1.

Here's how his round went.

For me it was great to see Tiger out there again. And better that he was playing pain free.

There are tonnes of reports out there. I read Doug Ferguson.

Unlike a year ago, when Woods ended a 15-month hiatus from his ailing back, he didn’t show any fatigue at the end of his round or make any big numbers. His only regret was playing the par 5s at Albany Golf Club in 1-over par with two bogeys that stalled his momentum.

Coming off a 25-foot birdie putt on the par-3 eighth, Woods hit a 3-wood that rolled up on the green and then down a slope about 30 feet from the pin. It took him four shots from there, starting with a chip that didn’t reach the green and his first expletive loud enough for television to pick up.

After his best shot of the day — a pitching wedge he hit low from 95 yards that settled a foot behind the hole for birdie on No. 14 — he sent a drive well to the right into the native dunes. Woods had to take a penalty drop to get back in play and wound up making bogey.

But it was solid enough that Woods was far more interested in the leaderboard than the fact he felt strong physically.

He still moves the needle like no other. I checked.

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Tiger is back in action today, but why not just enjoy watching him play again rather than expecting him to win 10 times on the PGA Tour next year and beat Jack's Major record?

Today is a day to sit down and celebrate the greatest player of our era, nothing more. Expecting anything more is lunacy.

There has been a lot of hype this week about Tiger being pain free and driving the ball 340 yards; that means jack shit.

The reality is Tiger has had one helluva shit time the last few months not to mention years.  Just look at the timeline. It's hard hard reading.

He spent weeks in some sort of therapy for his prescription medication addiction in July,  after being arrested for DUI and appallingly embarrassed in May, following surgery to fuse vertebrae in April.  Before that it was crippling leg and back pain, resulting in withdrawing last time out in Dubai.  Before that more surgeries and crap advice that just didn't work.

Major wise he impressed in the 2015 Masters but slipped down in the final round.  He missed cuts at The Open and PGA Championship and worryingly seemed to be struggling with "the yips" when chipping.  His last Major win was in 2008, that'll be 10 years in a couple of months time.

And then there is what happened in 2009 when it all went South personally for Woods.

Sadly they are the facts.

Also a fact is that Tiger has 14 Major wins, 79 PGA Tour wins and is the greatest player still of playing age of the modern era.

So again, let's enjoy these few days and celebrate Tiger playing again. Sit your kids and grandkids down on front of the TV and show them Tiger Woods.  As golf fans we are privileged to live in his time.

BTW Have you seen the latest video from golf impression genius Steven Connolly, the man who brought us the Rory Press conference video this year?

It's the story of "How Jack Got His Rolex"

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I don't think any of us would have taken Jason Dufner for the voice of the people but after he destroyed serial blocker Brandel Chamblee on Twitter he's a hero in my book.

The problem between the pair stems from a Chamblee criticism of Dufner's coach Chuck Cook and a subsequent twitter conversation that ended in Dufner being the latest to be blocked from Chamblee's feed.

Dufner reached out to the golfing community and got a massive response from the hundreds that have been also been blocked by Chamblee.

Dufner lit up the twittersphere with....

Dufner versus Chamblee on Twitter

Dufner said 
Best part of my day.. when people aren’t educated in what they are saying, they run and hide from the truth. It’s to keep what they have going and not be exposed for being a fraud.

Chamblee responded later
Twitter often brings out the worst in people, but one should consider there is no age limit to be on this forum&profane language is generally uncalled for. I have no beef w/Duf,he can carry on doing his thing -and we should all pardon reciprocally frailty,as it exists in us all.

Dufner has been busy since retweeting other stories of their Brandel clashes.

BTW Have you seen the latest video from golf impression genius Steven Connolly, the man who brought us the Rory Press conference video this year?

It's the story of "How Jack Got His Rolex"

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The hype surrounding Tiger Woods return to action this week at the 2017 Hero World Challenge has well and truly transcended just the game of golf. It is just brilliant to see him play again.

It's ok Tiger you've nothing to prove.
But some of the gloss at the reporting of the now "pain free" Woods outdriving Dustin Johnson in practice was taken off after a report on GolfWrx from The Bahamas expressed concerns at Woods very "twitchy" chipping during practice rounds.

I personally cannot see what all the fuss is about.  Looks absolutely perfect to me!

I think the key thing is not to expect much from Tiger.  Let's just enjoy watching him again.  He has nothing to prove at this stage.

BTW Have you seen the latest video from golf impression genius Steven Connolly, the man who brought us the Rory Press conference video this year?

It's the story of "How Jack Got His Rolex"

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There's "lost in translation" and found in translation and this by French golfer Clement Sordet was a classic.

It was a brilliant spot and thanks to Micky Gallagher for sending in.

Sooooo Clement was very excited about his first top 10 on the European Tour at the Hong Kong Open and took to facebook to send a message to all his friends and fans.

It is unclear whether he was using Google Translate or did actually employ the services of one of Hong Kong's ladies of the night to relieve his stress but either way it came our perfect.

Clement posted....

I'm super happy from this tournament. I couldn't dream of a better start on the European Tour!
This morning was a bit complicated, I was stressed and too tense, but as I went along, my game relaxed, I thought it was a great hit, I got a great whore and especially enjoyed myself!

Here's the post!!


BTW Have you seen the latest video from golf impression genius Steven Connolly, the man who brought us the Rory Press conference video this year?

It's the story of "How Jack Got His Rolex"

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How cool is this?  Here's Australian Tour pro golfer Cameron Davis warming up both right and left handed.

And it must work. The 22-year-old lies third after two rounds of the Australian Open.

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Following several months of discussion new Augusta National Chairman Fred Ridley has today announced a new rolled back distance ball will be used at the 2018 Masters.

The move follows much debate within the industry that Augusta was becoming "too short" in light of massive distance gains for players using modern equipment and four piece golf balls.

2018 Masters Ball Announcement
Augusta Chairman Fred Ridley makes the announcement.
Speaking at a press conference in the Augusta National Media Centre Ridley outlined the specifications of the new ball.  "The ball to be used by all players at the 2018 Masters must be really really rubbery, be at least 28% limestone, have a big red stripe around it and go nowhere even when you nuke it," he said. "Range balls or any of those shitty pink ones you get in a gift pack with aftershave and socks at Christmas will be fine also."

Shares in Molitor, Nitro and Kasco have soared following the announcement and several robberies have already been reported from driving ranges across the country.

"Players can also purchase and use our Masters balls from the on site merchandise tent," added Ridley. "We will be doing a special of a sleeve of three balls and a cheese sandwich for 10 dollars all that week."

More as it emerges.

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There's just something honest and refreshing about listening to Geoff Ogilvy's thoughts on the state of golf, its many issues and where it's going.

Yesterday he spoke about limiting the ball, super long courses, brutes smashing courses apart, guys playing injured and whole pile more.

Well worth a watch.

I also came across this interview with Jarrod Lyle on the even of the Aussie Open.  Jarrod is battling cancer for the third time and going for a stem cell transplant next month.

"I’m back into hospital for some really heavy-duty treatment that’s really going to determine how things pan out for me," he says.  We wish him good health.

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2017 Hong Kong Open Betting Preview And Tips

Hong Kong GC
Fanling, Hong Kong 23 Nov 2017 - 26 Nov 2017

It's a little bit lower key this week in Hong Kong but several of the top names like Rose, Garcia, Fleetwood and Fitzpatrick have been lured.  Odds on them all are less than 10/1 pre event so I've had a look for some solid each way value down the odds.

The Four Best Each Way Bets At 2017 Hong Kong Open

Kiradech Aphibarnrat 25/1

A brilliant season for Kiradech has been capped by a T2 in Italy, T6 in Turkey and a fab T2 again last week at the Tour Championship.  It remains to be seen how serious the likes of Rose, Garcia, Fleetwood, Fitzy and co take it this week after the stress of the desert but I think Kiradech can win.

Rafa Cabrera Bello 20/1

A T21 finish in Dubai last week wont have you jumping up and down but I noticed Rafa hitting 64 of 72 greens in regulation over the four rounds and in the tipping game a massive jump in ball striking like that sets alarm bells ringing.  Granted Dubai was wide off the tee but Rafa also topped the GIR stats on his way to second in Hong Kong last year so is worth a punt for me.

Scott Hend 100/1

Solo second in Crans was the highlight of Hendy's 2017 but now that the pressure is off, he might just be able to string four good rounds together again.  Contended last week in Dubai until a killer round of 78 on Sunday ruined all the good work. Winner here in 2014.

David Lipsky 50/1

There was some good stuff from David Lipsky last week in Dubai including a Saturday 64 and Fanling should be a lot more suited to him.  Another good accurate driving week and continuing to putt as he has and he could surprise.  Solo fifth here in 2016.

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