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A year ago we were wondering would we would see Tiger Woods play tournament golf again. And yet here we are in December 2018 having watched Tiger lead the 2018 Open Championship on Sunday before finishing tied 6th then narrowly losing out to Brooks Koepka at the PGA Championship in Bellerive.  Not only that but Woods ended the season by claiming victory at the Tour Championship.

So the question on every golf fans lips for many years is being asked again....Can Tiger win another Major and will he beat Jack's record?

Well the bookies have posted Tiger's early odds for the four 2019 Majors.

Woods is 12/1 second favourite to win the 2019 Masters starting on April 11th. He won the last of his four green jackets at Augusta in 2005.

The PGA Championship will move to May in 2019 and is being held on the Black Course at Bethpage State Park in New York.  Woods won the 2002 US Open at Bethpage and is quoted at 14/1 for the event which begins on May 16th.

Woods is also quoted at 12/1 to win the 2019 US Open  starting June 13th at Pebble Beach.  In winning at the California venue in 2000, he was famously the only player to finish under par.  Posting a12 under total, he won by 15 strokes in what is still arguably the most dominant Major performance ever seen.

Tiger is listed at odds of 14/1 for The Open Championship which will be held at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland on July 18th. He has won three Claret Jugs, the last in 2006.

Get your bets on! Those look like good odds!

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This surfaced on facebook today and I died and went to Heaven.

Man walks in as if with his golf clubs on a regular electric trolley.  Seconds later he has turned it into a motorbike and rides away!

Check this out.

I've since googled it and this is an actual product called the TurfChopper.  The bad news is the hefty price tag of $3,000.

But hey, it's damn cool!

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Who remembers the old wooden drivers with the four screws holding the insert in the face?  I certainly do. I used one 30 years ago as a kid.  So imagine my shock when I see TaylorMade's new drivers (most likely the M5 and M6) with screws in the heel and toe of the face!

The war for distance between Callaway and TaylorMade has been, excuse the pun, epic over the last few years.  They watch each other like hawks.  So the pressure is really on at TaylorMade to blow the consumers minds with every release, because ordinary just wont do anymore.

So much so that the new TaylorMade "screw face" teaser video was released on the same day as Callaway got their new Epic "Flash" driver models onto the USGA’s conforming list.

So what will these screws do for TaylorMade players that two M1's, two M2's an M3 and M4 couldn't?  And what if you hit the ball on the screw? Surely that's going to affect the strike? And damage the club?

Most likely, and this is yet to be seen, the screws will have more of a cosmetic role. They grab attention. Maybe they are added on to a ridiculously fast and long non conforming face to reign in the driver and bring it back within USGA parameters. That would be a good story!

Generally nowadays distance is got mainly from internal weighting techniques, materials, thinner better faces, clever pockets, weight tracks and of course I'll be interested to see how important these screws really are.

It all remains to be seen.  TaylorMade have released some amazing products over the past few years and are possibly a victim of their own success of late.  Players are still winning on Tours around the world with the original and rehash versions of the M1 and M2. They are that good.  It's hard to prize those clubs out of a players hand. Especially if he's not contracted like so many now.

Then you have the others, not just Callaway, like Ping who have struck gold again with their G400, , Titleist with their TS2, Cobra, Mizuno, Srixon, Wilson and even PXG.

For the moment the benefit of any doubt must be with TaylorMade.  They are the true innovators and they haven't let us down yet.  Well........except for the SLDR......that was an awful club!

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This is pretty cool.  Tiger Woods and his girlfriend Erica Herman made a flying two day visit to Australia, apparently without an appearance fee, to do some recon and press ahead of his Captaincy of the 2019 US Presidents Cup team.

Woods even had time to surprise two young kids on the golf course at Royal Melbourne.

He also spoke in Brisbane about overcoming his anxiety issues to win at the Tour Championship.
Here's the full interview

Tiger even had time for a dodgy four footer on the Eureka Skydeck.

What a year it has been for the big cat!

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This popped up on the social radar today; the most perfect little golf video ever. Everything about it is brilliant. Golf, the excitement, the friendship, both girls and boys together, the genuine joy.

And then there was this. The greatest trick shot I've ever seen. Ever.

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We all love to pound on a drive.  Distance is the holy grail.  McIlroy, DJ, Koepka, Bubba and co are mega earners thanks in large part to their immense power off the tee.

But who are the straightest drivers on Tour?  And how did they fare out in terms of points and money over the 2018 season?

I've had a look at the top five.  There's one name on there I might have guessed, that's Henrik Stenson, but the rest? Not a chance.

Over the 2018 Season the straightest drivers were:

1. Henrik Stenson (75.19% fairways hit)

Driver: Callaway Rogue (9 degrees)
Played 16 events. Earned $2,680,484. Fed Ex Cup rank 57

2. Ryan Armour (73.58%)

Driver: TaylorMade M1 2017 (10.5 degrees)
Played 32 events. Earned $2,485,203. Fed Ex Cup rank 49

3. Chez Reavie (72.24)

Driver: TaylorMade M2 2017 (9.5 degrees)
Played 28 events. Earned $2,700,018. Fed Ex Cup rank 34

4. Ryan Moore (71.94%)

Driver: PXG ZZ and Prototype (9° degrees)
Played 22 events. Earned $1,986,608. Fed Ex Cup rank 71

5. Brian Stuard (71.44%)

Callaway Rogue Sub Zero (10.5 degrees)
Played 32 events. Earned $1,089,763. Fed Ex Cup rank 86

Of thosefive, Ryan Armour logged 109 rounds as opposed to Henrik's 60 so maybe he could claim to be the most accurate over the entire season.

All made it inside the top 100 in the Fed Ex Rankings with Chez Reavie faring best and all but Brian Stuard earned around $2 million.

The conclusion? Get into the gym quick!

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I love Ian Poulter's "Elf On The Shelf" tweets at Christmas.  Who knows what mischief that little Elf is going to get up to!  Or what kind of tricky festive situation he'll find himself in!

Oops! Elf what are doing you little rascal??!!

Today we got the first one.  I didn't quite match my expectation darling!

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Why in the name of all that is good was everybody getting so upset and "cheaty" at Tiger Woods scooping his ball out from under a tree at the Hero World Challenge?  Didn't you know the art of the scoop is about to become legal under the new 2019 changes to the official Rules Of Golf?

I didn't!

The 2019 Rule Book says:
Rule 10.1a, if the player’s club accidentally hits the ball more than once during a single stroke:
There will be no penalty and the ball will be played as it lies.

Let the good times roll!

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Tiger Woods has been cleared of any impropriety at the Hero Challenge today (after all it is his show!), but appeared to scoop his ball out from under a tree.

In fairness the shot looked okay when viewed in real time,  but in slow motion it looks very much like a scoop.

What do you think?

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What a beautiful tribute to Jarrod Lyle at the Australian PGA Championship today.  His suffering is over but his legacy as a great player and even better person lives on.

The theme was "Yellow for Lyle" and was embraced by players, caddies and fans. 

Just fantastic.

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Reading David Dusek's piece on Cameron Champ and comparing his incredible driving stats to Bubba Watson's longest ever year in 2012 it struck me that Ping drivers link both men.

What we are talking here is "Strokes Gained Off The Tee" versus the field. Bubba Watson set the record in 2012 with 1.485 Strokes Gained.  Nobody has even come close since. Until now.  With Cameron Champ who, so far this wraparound season has an SG Off The Tee on 1.483.

Could that have something to do with the drivers?

Bubba's (and the Tours) longest driving year versus Cameron Champ's far

In 2012 Bubba used  a Ping G20 (8.5°), possibly tweaked down 1 degree, with a Grafalloy Bi-Matrix shaft to produce an average driving distance of 315.5 yards from 132 measured drives.

His strokes gained off the tee was 1.485 (the highest ever since measuring began on the PGA Tour) his average swing speed that year was 124.69, his average ball speed was 184.98 mph and his driving accuracy percentage was 58.85.

Cameron Champ uses a Ping G400 Max (9 degrees) with a Fujikura Pro White TS 63X shaft.  Through 10 rounds measured during the 2018 season he averaged 325.6 yards.  So far in the 2019 season, from 40 drives he is averaging 328.2 yards.

Champ leads the PGA Tour in average clubhead speed at 130.2 mph and average ball speed at 193.61 mph. He is also hitting 61.79 percent of the fairways.
Interestingly despite Champ's 13 yards longer average, his strokes gained off the tee is 1.483, on track to be up there with the highest ever, but 0.002 behind Watson.  Why? Because everyone is driving it longer today than six years ago.
In 2012, 21 players drove the ball on average 300 yards.  Currently 60 players hit it over 300, nearly a 200% increase.

I'm going to get me a Ping!

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2018 Hero World Challenge Betting Preview And Tips

Albany, Bahamas, Nov 29 - Dec 2, 2018

The Hero World Challenge is the annual 18 man invitation event hosted by Tiger Woods and given the nod of approval by the PGA Tour. 

It might have an end of season holiday feel in the Bahamas, but with a no cut 72 hole strokeplay format, it's always a good scrap.  At 7,309 yards and with five par-5's the Albany course is looking at a 20 under-ish winning total depending on how strong the wind blows. 

The limited field means poor odds in the market this week, with five of the favourites all below our cut off of 10/1.

Here is a shortlist of five players however at longer odds you can make a case for each-way. Choose your favourite and best of luck.

Doc's Best Top Each Way Bets

Patrick Reed 20/1

Has kept himself busy these past few weeks by crossing over to the European Tour for our Tour Championship.  And he showed with that T2 in Dubai that his game, and will to compete, travel well.  T45 last time out in Hong Kong seems poor but Reed recovered from an opening 75 to card a 65 with a fist punching putt on 18 to make the cut on the number.  That level of desire is rare, especially in Winter.  Reed also knows Albany well with a T5 and 2nd in the last three Hero stagings here. My tip of the week.

Henrik Stenson 25/1

The bookies don’t see Henrik as a danger this week but any man who goes from the operating theatre to a T12  at the Tour Championship with 21 birdies and a T9 greens in regulation clip has my RESPECT.  Solo 2nd here in 2016, a great wind player and would not be here if he didn't feel he could compete.

Tony Finau 16/1

After a run of five top-10's in his last eight starts from the Northern Trust, Dell, and BMW in the US, to the Dunhill in Scotland and HSBC in China it seems Tony Finau can rock up and compete just about anywhere and I wonder if he's a dark horse for a Major in 2019.  Prodigiously long and supremely athletic he has kept playing through the PGA Tour wraparound and will fancy his chances this week. 

Patrick Cantlay 22/1

Another who can go about his business this week in relative obscurity with the stars all around him.  Second last time out at The Shriners following a T7 at the WGC HSBC, his stats tee to green rank with the best, and Cantlay is a man in form.

Keegan Bradley 40/1

Down the bottom of the betting at 40/1 this week and I cannot for the life of me see why. Granted Keegan hasn't played the Hero for a few years but he's coming here off a great late season.  Winner again at the BMW Championship, 6th at the WGC HSBC and T17 at the Aussie Open last time out.  Surely there's enough there for a decent each way punt at 40/1?

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OK the Tiger Phil match didn't live up to the hype. A glitch with the "Pay Per View" login process meant the event was ultimately shown live for free in the USA with comcast now left having to issue refunds.   Here in Europe we got it on Sky Sports.

Tiger looked disinterested, for the most part.  But what seemed to catch everyone's eye was the blonde following him throughout.

At first I had to do a double take....thinking it was Lindsey Vonn! Or Phil's wife Amy.

Or is it someone else. Did Tiger know her? Or better still, did Phil plant her there as a tactic to distract him and to prey on Tiger's weakness??!!!

At one stage she seems to talk to Tiger when he passes by as if she knows him.

I'm in the dark.  Who is she? Answers in the comments box!

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Two charities High Class Hookers Anonymous and Inside Trading Survivors are waiting with baited breath today in the hopes of sharing a massive $9 million cash injection following "The Match."

"We are so excited," a joint spokesman for the charities said today.  "We are not the most popular charity organisations and don't receive any government funding, unless its a personal donation, so nine million bucks would really come in handy from the guys."

Members of both organisations work closely together, supporting each other emotionally and physically when they meet up every Friday after work.

"Some of the girls are complaining that their thongs are getting very worn and the guys on Wall Street are saying that hot inside stocks and shares tips and cocaine are costing a lot more nowadays so rest assured every cent we receive from the guys will be put to good use."
More as the payout emerges.

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Now before ye all get too angry.....let he or she who is without sin in this matter cast the first stone..... or smash the first tee box.

I've certainly done it.  But to a concrete tee box that made shite of my driver!

Here's Tyrrell Hatton in action on the 10th at the World Cup Of Golf.  He's using all the tee box to get a line on the drive.  Only thing the tee markers are in the shape of the trophy! And made of cardboard.

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Lovely scenes at the Metropolitan Golf Club in Melbourne where World Cup competitors Marc Leishman, Cameron Smith, Matt Kuchar and Kyle Stanley stop to pay tribute to Jarrod Lyle's wife Briony and daughter Lusi.

Marc and Cam gave a great interview after.

Meanwhile Tiger and Phil posing with $9 million struck an altogether more business chord.  I really hope there is a charity element to their Pay Per View "Match" tomorrow.

The match is on at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas.  Check out this pic of when the course opened 20 years ago.

There's quite a few houses around it now!

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