May 2009

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Yang what's in the bag angel cabrera What's in the bag ernie els what's in the bag Justin Rose what's in the bag Kenny Perry what's in the bag nick dougherty what's in the bag Rory McIlory what's in the bag ross fisher what's in the bag simon dyson what's in the bag stuart appleby What’s In The Bag 2010 Rickie Fowler winter golf special offers witb witb 2010 Ross Fisher witb edoardo molinari 2010 witb Francesco Molinari 2010 witb Jim Furyk 2010 witb matt kuchar 2010 witb Peter Lawrie 2010 witb rory mcilroy 2010 witb rory mcilroy 2012 Women's British Open Awards woody austin Y.E. Yang Yang's Hybrid

 

Under The Microscope: Anders Hansen

anders and bag Born 16 September 1970 in Sønderborg, Denmark

Height 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)

Weight 165 lb (75 kg; 11.8 st)

Nationality: Danish

Residence Zürich, Switzerland

Anders is a winner on tour already in 2009 claiming the Joburg Open in South Africa. Won the BMW PGA Championship twice in 2007 and 2002. Went to University of Houston where he enjoyed success on the US collegiate scene and has finished in the top 60 on the Order of Merit every year from 2000 to 2008.

 

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Bloggy Underfoot: Back To Black

Tee minus two weeks to the US Open. This year the slug-fest returns to Bethpage Black, site of the “people’s open” of 2002. It is rare for a US Open to return to the same venue so soon but the last staging on the municipal course proved so popular that the US tour vowed to return as soon as possible. This will be the third US Open in the New York area in the last seven years with Shinnecock Hills hosting in 2004.

So here’s a quick recap of what happened in 2002. Tiger Woods, the bookies favourite at the time, duly obliged by up-and-downing from absolutely everywhere to clip_image008win at three under par but that wasn’t the real story. The big winner that week was Phil Mickelson who became the darling of the Bethpage crowd. The “cult of Phil” carried him on a wave of euphoria to a second place finish behind the all dominant Woods. Sergio Garcia who entered the final round in second place slipped to fourth after being heckled by the crowd for his grip, re-grip, re-grip pre-shot routine. As I recall however, the Black course, which was billed as an absolute monster, actually proved quite a tame test as US Open’s go with wily course managers like Jeff Maggert and Nick Faldo finishing in the top five.

furyk getty 88283330 The previous winners of the US Open read like a who’s who of the World’s elite players. With all due respect, names like Christian Cevaer and Steve Stricker just aren’t on there. Last year Tiger beat Rocco on one leg at Torrey Pines. In 2007 Angel Cabrera bullied it around Oakmont and held off Jim Furyk to win his first major. The year before, 2006, belonged to Geoff Ogilvy but was probably best remembered in Europe as the one Monty threw away. Remember he missed the green with an eight iron and handed it to the grateful Aussie? Michael Campbell won at Pinehurst in 2005, a pinnacle of performance so sadly followed by the huge troughs he has endured ever since. Retief Goosen won at Shinnecock in 2004 with an incredible birdie on 16 to edge Phil Mickelson who double bogeyed 17 to throw the title away . 2003 was a very low scoring affair with Jim Furyk winning at Olympia Fields on eight under. Which brings us neatly back to Tiger at Bethpage in 2002.

What will happen this year is anyone’s guess, but two of the usual suspects certainly seem to be clocking in right on time. Tiger is coming off his greatest driving week for six years (49 of 56 fairways hit.) After hitting a mountain of balls of the practise ground in Isleworth over the past couple of weeks, analyst Peter Kostis described how still the “bill of Tiger’s cap” remains throughout his swing; a subtle change that has done the trick. Jim Furyk, who always seems to there or there abouts, was giving those irons the one eyed stare-down treatment at the Memorial indicating he is in the mood. There are plenty of questions about the rest however? We know now that Phil Mickelson will be there, but will his mind be? Will world number three Paul Casey be able to muscle his way into contention and find his putting touch on the ultra slick US Open greens? Can Cabrera, now a proven multiple major winner, get in the mood again with his long lazy style? What about Geoff Ogilvy after his collapse when in contention at Muirfield Village? Or can a journeyman pull it off this year, like Rocco so nearly did last time?

The history book alas, does not list any journeymen on the recent victory list. Where do they seem to go at major time? They always seem to get close, to the playoff even before succumbing to a big gun. Wouldn’t it be great to see a new young European major winner? Somebody to bring focus back onto the European Tour, somebody like Rory McIlroy or Martin Kaymer would do nicely. They certainly have the game, but have they got the major temperament, the patience, the course management nouse? I want to hear who you think will win the US Open and next weeks “Bloggy” will be devoted to you and your tips. E-mail your name, your tip and the reason why to examinerspindoc@eircom.net or text me at 087-3140467.

Dr. and The Medic: Outside the Bunker

Problem

The ball landed just outside of a bunker, requiring you to stand in the bunker while the ball is higher than your feet lying on the grass.

Cure

Play this shot just as you normally would when the ball is above your feet. One vital adjustment is to make sure you have stable footing in the bunker.

Therapy

Look to see how much lower your feet are than the ball. Choke down on the shaft by this much. Swing more around your body. If you do not, you will end up digging the club into the soil with very little distance. It might help to think of this shot as if you are using a hurl with a flat, rounded swing.

The Who, What, When Quiz

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Thanks to all who entered our quiz last week. For those who don’t know, the good folks at Setanta have given us a free one year subscription to Setanta Sports (including Setanta Golf) to give away to a lucky SpinDoctor reader. We need two more winners over the next three weeks to go into a draw for the big prize. To win, just e mail examinerspindoc@eircom.net with the answers to the following questions. Clues are on www.golfspindoctor.blogspot.com

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Q1. Who is Phil Mickelson’s caddy (pictured)?

Q2. What brand of equipment does Jim Furyk use? Check out his hat pictured above

Q3. When did Tiger Woods win his first major. 1996, 1997 or 1998?

Congrats to last weeks winner Liz Crowley, Belgooly, Co Cork who goes into the final draw!

I Want One Of Those: MX-700 Hot Metal Fairway Wood

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Using Hot Metal Technology in its clubhead to increase ball speed, this MX-700 Hot Metal Fairway Wood from Mizuno is a genuine driver alternative from the tee. This forgiving driver has an understated design which hides the increased clubface size at address, as well as high COR and MOI to give you maximum distance and forgiveness. Around the €120 mark from Golfstyle Galway.

Bet Your Balls-

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Odds from bestbetting.com

St. Jude Classic

Thurs Jun 11 – Sunday Jun 14, 2009

TPC Southwind · Memphis, Tenn.

Purse: $5.6 million Winning Share: $1,008,000 FedExCup Points: 500

David Toms 22/1david toms

It’s called the St Jude Classic because staging a tournament the week before the US Open is a hopeless case. However I like the cut of David Toms’ jib this week. After his early season second in Hawaii, Toms has consolidated with five top tens in the months since. Won this event back to back in 2003 and 2004. Came second in 2005 when he shot a final round 63, only to be pipped by Justin Leonard who shot a 73. Also finished third in 2007 behind “aqua-man” Woody Austin.

Brian Gay 45/1

brian gay Between himself and Davis Love, the Gay-Love partnership have notched up an impressive five Verizon Heritage titles between them. With on form Love not entered this week, I’m plumping for Gay. It hasn’t been a happy time for him since his Hilton Head win, withdrawing from the Players Championship and missing the cut at the Byron Nelson but his last outing at The Crowne Plaza Invitational was an altogether more encouraging affair. This week sees a return to a happier hunting ground for Gay, who will recall a good fourth in 2007 and tied fifth in 2004.

Jerry Kelly 120/1

It’s a case of all or nothing for Jerry Kelly. Missed three straight cutjerry kellys after winning a million dollars at the end of April. Came back under my radar last week with a closing round 67 on the ultra difficult Muirfield Village layout to finish 14th. No discernable form to speak of at Southwind but any of you who know golf know that Kelly is streakier than a rasher and when he’s in the mood, he’s unstoppable. If this guy ever needs a heart transplant they only need to check his sleeve to find it.


Tailored Shorts

Ryder Cup Captains in Winners Enclosure

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Two Irish Opens, a Ryder Cup victory as captain and a European Seniors Tour title certainly make Ireland a happy hunting ground for Ian Woosnam. Woosie shot 67 in the final round to whiz through the field in Ballybunion, then triumphed in a playoff with American Bob Boyd. Rumours that the donned a tricolour, then climbed onto the roof of the clubhouse and down a pint of Guinness as are yet unconfirmed!

Meanwhile in the US, Bernhard Langer became the first three-time winner on the Champions Tour this season, shooting 67 in Triton Financial Classic for a six-stroke win over Mark O'Meara. Langer, now a seven time winner on the Seniors tour finished on 15-under at The Hills Country Club course in Austin Texas.

 

Daly Rehydrating

john daly quiet 88028356 This is a story about John Daly and drink, but hey, this time it’s all good news! As Daly prepares to return to the US Tour after his controversial six-month exile he has signed an endorsement deal with a sports drink company. He will display its Big Red brand of the All Sport company on his golf bag. "Corporate America believes in his comeback," said their rep.

Bear and Tiger in Woods

clip_image025Last Wednesday at a wet and windy Muirfield Village Golf Club, an unusual skins game drew huge crowds. With a combined 32 major championships and 139 PGA Tour titles between them, the great Jack Nicklaus teed it up with Tiger Woods. The two were joined by Kenny Perry and Stewart Cink in one foursome while Vijay Singh, Camilo Villegas, Jim Furyk and Padraig Harrington also played a skins game in the group ahead. Nicklaus who is now 69 joked, "They had me paired in the other group, and I said, uh-uh. I said, 'I haven't played with him for nine years. I'd like to play with Tiger.' So they said OK. I'm really looking forward to it. I told him I'd give him a couple of extra shots if he needed it. I'll throw my 98-mile-an-hour clubhead speed at him." Jack didn’t disgrace himself either, rolling back the clock at the par-5 11th to make a birdie and win two skins. Asked whether he expected to be the same way at age 69, Woods quipped: "I just hope I'm above ground." The game came down to a chip-off, where, you guessed it, Tiger chipped in. Talk about looking for signs and portents!

Celtic Manor Stuck In The Mud

Maybe it’s just me but I’m getting a really bad feeling about Celtic Manor as the venue for the Ryder Cup. It’s June now, yet the twenty ten course always seems to be sodden wet. What is it going to be like in September? I also the impression that the pro’s hate it. Last Sunday was the biggest bore-fest ever on the European Tour with previously unknown Dane Jeppe Huldahl (pronounced Yippee Roald Dahl) stealing victory. All the big names seemed absolutely disinterested as the tournament petered out without so much as a whimper. The European Tour takes a three week break before returning in Munich (we wont count the St Omer Open!)

Tiger for President?

Everyone has been talking about Tiger spending every waking hour on the driving range at Isleworth. He did however decide to ditch the divots for a couple of hours for a meeting with none other than Barrack Obama in the White House! Woods reported “I would love to be able to play golf with him and just talk. Maybe one day we can do that. He's got a lot on his plate, but is a very down-to-earth person, especially for someone who is the leader of the free world.” Instead of discussing the crisis in General Motors or the going hostilities in Afghanistan, Woods reported “What I especially enjoyed was learning about its (The White House) history and details about all the different rooms. It was pretty neat stepping back in time. I also enjoyed talking with the Secret Service agents.” I think that’s a no to a Tiger presidential campaign in the future!

The Who, What, When Quiz

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Thanks to all who entered our quiz last week. For those who don’t know, the good folks at Setanta have given us a free one year subscription to Setanta Sports (including Setanta Golf) to give away to a lucky SpinDoctor reader. We need three more winners over the next three weeks to go into a draw for the big prize. To win, just e mail examinerspindoc@eircom.net with the answers to the following questions:portmarnocklawrie castleknock

Q1. Who won the Open de Espana in 2008? clue in pic

Q2. What Dublin golf links was recently ranked No.1 in the Golf Digest top-100? clue in pic

Q3. When did Tiger Woods last win a major?

Congrats to last weeks winner Brian Kiely, Cloghroe, Cork who goes into the final draw!

 

Whats In The Bag: Peter Lawrie

Date of birth: 22/peter 03/1974

Residence: Dublin

Attachment: Castleknock GC

Height and weight: 6ft 11st

Interests: Snooker, football, cinema

Turned Pro: 1997 (plus 2)

University College Dublin graduate Peter Lawrie is the quiet man of Irish golf. Learned his trade on the European Challenge Tour from where his finally broke onto the main tour at the end of 2002. Hard work, steely determination and a cashmere putter insert has seen Peter retain his full playing status ever since. Claimed his maiden European Tour victory at the Open de España in 2008, defeating home favourite Ignacio Garrido in a play-off. Attached to Castleknock Golf Club in Dublin.

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Bloggy Underfoot: Simon Cowell On Golf

clip_image008Believe it or not there are a few things about golf that annoy me. I have kept them to myself up to now, but after watching an episode of “Britain’s Got Talent” I turned into Simon Cowell for an hour and started to let fly. Heres my irksome top of the pops.

clip_image006Shorts: Look here lads, shorts are not for golf. The only people that should be seen in shorts on the golf course are Michelle Wie, Natalie Gulbis and co. There’s just something sinister about men in cream tailored shorts with spindly legs like an Ostrich’s neck! If you want to show your nobbily knees and varicose veins, why not try Junior B football.

Tartan Raingear: Go straight to your rain jacket and check it for a tartan patch. In the same way that every Ford Sierra in the eighties had to have a huge spoiler, every item of rain apparel back then had to have a tartan patch. If you are still sporting tartan on your Sunderland jacket, why not make give it a new lease of life as a nice bed for the dog.

clip_image010Yellow Golf Balls: He drives a BMW, his driver costs €300, his irons another €1000 and he takes out a yellow molitor and expects to play well. Easier to find in the rough he says! Yellow is the cowards colour, we say. If you are ever playing a match and your opponent takes out a yellow ball, rejoice- you have every reason to be confident, because he clearly has none!

clip_image012Black Golf Gloves: Talk of black gloves, brings to mind images of OJ Simpson struggling to put his hand in and Michael Jackson struggling to keep his hand off. Black gloves are just not golf. Titleist golf gloves are the best in the business, and hey, they don’t come in black. They just wouldn’t lower themselves to that level.

Rubber Tee Organizers: Long tees, short tees, coloured tees, neatly assorted in a dainty rubber wedge around a wet sponge with a marker stuck in the side, just in case. Just like bullets in a magazine. Makes me feel like shooting! They were meant to be cheap golf related Christmas presents, never meant for actual use.

Wooden Golf Clubs: Okay I know there was a time when all there was, was wooden clubs, that’s how “woods” got their name. But surely in this day and age, there is no place for a persimmon three wood with a red insert held in by four screws. I suppose it’s a bit like Federer showing up to play Wimbledon with a wooden racket, it just wouldn’t work.

clip_image014Ball Retrievers: Says so much about you. You are pretty sure your ball is going into the water. You are looking forward primarily to retrieving someone else’s ball from the water. It’s a bonus when it’s a ball belonging to the guy in the group in front and he can see you. That moment when you pull it out and read the brand must be so exhilarating for you! I bet you hold the group behind up by trying to get that elusive Ultra in the middle of the pond. The definition of an absolute cheapskate!

Dr. and The Medic: Pause

Problem

You have a really quick turn and inconsistent contact with the ball.

Cure

You need to keep the transition at the top of your swing nice and smooth. Do not forget that you are supposed to have a slight pause at the top of your backswing. Even if your arms are slightly faster than your body, this transition period will allow your body to catch up and swing in sync during the downswing.

Therapy

Watch your swing and check if you have a natural pause at the top. If your arms are swinging the club back too quickly, you will not be able to make a full backswing because it will make it too difficult for your body to catch up. So by the time you are swinging your arms down, your body is still trying to catch up. Take a slower backswing; a swing that is 75% power will give you a similar distance and it will give you far more accuracy. Notice a pause at the top before you unwind your body and arms together into the forward swing.

I Want One Of Those: Cobra S9-1 Driver

clip_image020This is the S9-1 Driver from Cobra as seen in the hands of Camillo Villegas and J.B. Holmes. Why have one sweet spot when you can have nine! Cobra designed the face shape with a 1:1 length-to-width ratio, allowing for a more efficient transfer of energy from the clubface to the ball. This refined Hotter 9 Points technology maximizes COR for higher ball speeds and more consistent ball flight across the entire clubface. As long a driver as you can buy and much cheaper since the newer L5V came out. Around the €200 mark in Golfstyle, Galway.

Bet Your Balls-

The Celtic Manor Wales Open

The Celtic Manor Resort

Newport, Wales

04 Jun 2009 - 07 Jun 2009

Soren Kjeldsen 16/1kjeldsen

It has been a fantastic year already for gritty Dane Kjeldsen with a victory in Andalucia and a tidy third in Wentworth. Ended the 2008 season in the best possible fashion with victory in the 21st and final Volvo Masters, his second European Tour title. Has some form at the Manor also with a joint second finish in 2007. Watch out for Soren’s unique putting grip.

Stephen Dodd 26/1

doddDodd made us a few quid on the each-way bet with a tied fifth finish again last week. Finished with a superb 68 to sail through the field on the tough London Club layout. Has now won ten times more money in the last two weeks than he won in the entire 2008 season. Top ten finishes in Celtic Manor in 2004 and 2006.

 

Simon Khan 100/1

khanKhan finished in the top 20 last week for the first time in ages. Seems to have turned a horrible run of form around with a superb joint first finish at the recent Open Championship qualifying at Walton Heath. I predict a continuance of his form this week. Remember 2004 when he came back from four shots behind with seven holes to play to defeat Paul Casey at the second hole of a sudden-death play-off in this event.

The Memorial Tournament

Muirfield Village Golf Club · Dublin, Ohio

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Zach Johnson 25/1

zach-johnson Zach is well and truly back to his best this year and currently stands atop the FedEx points race. Has already won twice this year, the Sony and Texas Opens but the real key is Johnson’s consistency; he has finished in the top 25 in seven of his 13 events including another 10th place at the Colonial. Has a nice bit of course from too with a tied second in 2006. Watch for the Zach attack to continue into major season.

 

 

Kenny Perry 25/1

Okay we tipped Kenny last week and it didn’t quite happen for him. But we’re not going to do a Tevez on him and drop him after one poor showing. After all this week is Kenny’s favourite week of the year. He is the unquestionable boss of Muirfield Village with an unmatched record. Perry defends his title this week, he also won in 2003 and was tied third in 2007. Many golf pundits believe that since his second at The Masters, Kenny is gearing himself up for a final tilt at one of the majors. This would be perfect final warm up.

Rocco Mediate 100/1rocco

With the US Open around the corner let’s spare a thought for last years playoff loser Rocco Mediate. I think another Rocco major run may not be likely so I’m banking he will stand up and be counted this week instead. Tied sixth in last years staging. Interestingly Tiger is in the field also this week. Will they be paired together and will the barber’s son make the cut?


Tailored Shorts

McNulty Slam Dunks Funk

Part time paddy Mark McNulty won the Principal Charity Classic on the Champions Tour by sinking a 30 foot putt in a thrilling playoff. His birdie putt win came at the end of the fourth playoff hole to eliminate a game Fred Funk. Second round leader Nick Price also made the playoff but was eliminated when both McNulty and Funk birdied the second extra hole. McNulty’s win is his seventh on the Seniors Tour.

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Shark Bites Garcia

If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of a breakup, you will know just how tough it is. Poor old Sergio got the flick from Morgan Leigh Norman and it ruined more than his game. No more long walks on sandy beaches, no more canoodling in the bunkers and whispering sweet nothings in each other ears. Yes, Sergio is going to miss Greg terribly.

Tiger Back For Jack

clip_image026Tiger is back at the Memorial this week and the two big questions are who will his coach be and has he figured out how to drive it straight? This is major month! Tiger is a three-time winner of the Memorial but has skipped the tournament two of the last three years because of family matters and knee surgery. Woods has not tasted victory in what is Jack Nicklaus’ tournament since winning his third in a row in 2001.

 

Mickelson Update

An update from Phil Mickelson about his wife Amy's breast cancer diagnosis was posted on his website. “We have a wonderful team of doctors helping us and it is believed that we caught this early,” it read. “We are anxiously waiting for a number of test results that will help guide us in the best possible direction." In a show of support the PGA tour and associated bodies staged a "Pink Out" on the Saturday of the Colonial, urging all players and supporters to wear pink.

The Who, What, When Quiz

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Great news! You never have to miss US Tour golf aharringtongain, (well for a whole year anyway!)  The good folks at Setanta have given us a free one year subscription to Setanta Sports to give away to a lucky SpinDoctor reader. Four weekly winners over the next four weeks will go into a draw for the big prize. To win, just e-mail examinerspindoc@eircom.net with the answers to the following questions.

lawrie castleknockQ1. Who is set to battle it out with Rory McIroy in Lough Erne’s “Duel On The Lough” on July 22nd?

Q2. What Dublin golf club is Peter Lawrie affiliated with?

Q3. When will St. Andrews next stage the British Open?

What’s In Nick Dougherty’s Bag

clip_image004Date of birth: 24/05/1982

Place of birth: Liverpool, England

Height and weight: 6ft 1in 13st 6lb (185cm 85kgs)

Interests: Flying, socialising, football, music

Turned Pro: 2001 (Plus 4)

 

Bag Check Irish Open 2009

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Bloggy Underfoot: Dear Mr. Lowry…….

Dear Mr Lowry,

On behalf of the European Tour we would like to welcome you. Please find enclosed your laminated pass, note that this expires in 2012. Show this to the security guard at the gate each week to gain entry to the event. As a new member of the Tour please allow me to offer some useful advice and set out our basic ground rules.

Language: Our events are extensively televised. As such, the use of foul or offence language on course is strictly forbidden on the Tour. Please note shane lowry tour cardwe are also very well aware that the Gaelic term for “word” is “focail”; we will be watching out for sly use of this also. Breach of this rule will cost you €5,000, so choose your words carefully.

Dress Code: Please note that the maximum size of logo’s players may wear on their shirts is 40mm x 80mm. Our sources tell us that you plan to wear an Offaly GAA jersey with the phrase “Offaly, now we’re Awfully Good”; please note that this is not permitted despite what Tom Cribbin might tell you.

Sponsorship: As regards equipment contract, you may choose whoever you like but when it comes to other sponsorship deals we have one all encompassing rule of thumb- “Arab and Chinese, thank you please!” In other words if anyone under five foot tall or wearing a white sheet offer you money, you should bow and take it!

On The Range: Speaking of bowing, players are assigned defined practise areas on the range in which to practise. These are allocated on a first come first served basis, with one exception. If Colin Montgomerie enters the range and expresses an interest in practising in your area you must vacate immediately. Do not make eye contact and only speak if spoken to. If you are permitted to speak, all sentences spoken to Mr. Montgomerie should end with “Your Eminence”.

Nickname: As you know all Tour players must choose a nickname for advertising and media purposes. We have given it some thought and suggest the name “Lumpy” which is currently not being used in Europe. We wondered how you felt about it. Please let us know.

Finally: Off the course please bear in mind that in all aspects of your public life you still represent the European Tour. As such you are not permitted come within 500 metres of John Daly outside of playing time. We dread to think of the consequences for the future of the tour if you two got together.

                                            Yours Sincerely,

                                          Georgie Porgie, Director of the European Tour

                                    

Dr. and The Medic: Driver Off the Deck

Problem

You are playing a par 5 and you did not catch your drive.

Cure

If the ball is sitting up, consider taking your driver and hit it off the deck. However, if you have a poor or tight, go for your three wood instead.

Therapy

This is something you can practise in your back yard or at the driving range. To hit your driver off the deck, you will want to set the ball back a little farther in your stance than normal. Open your stance and set your hands so they are aligned with the ball. Keep your lower body still. Focus on maintaining a good rhythm as you make a full shoulder turn and sweep the ball off of the grass. This is not the kind of shot that you want to catch the ball on your upswing because do not want to allow grass to come in between the ball and the clubhead.

 

I Want One Of Those: Cleveland Niblick

What goes around, comes around and the niblick is back. If you areclip_image010 having trouble with the Damien Duffs around the fringes, the niblick could help you. Bringing together the greatest characteristics of a wedge, putter, iron and hybrid, this ultimate hybrid scoring club is a fantastic way to improve your approach, recovery and pitch shots. Features zip grooves for extra stop. €125 from Golfstyle, Galway.

 

 

 

Bet Your Balls- European Open and Colonial

Odds with thanks to

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The European Open

The London Golf Club

Ash, Kent, England

28 May 2009 - 31 May 2009

Ross Fisher 12/1

Ross-Fisher-240x220 Let’s stick with Ross Fisher again this week. Showed us some decent form under pressure from his home crowd at Wentwoth.Romped to a seven stroke victory last year in the first staging of the European Open at its new home, The London Club. The Nicklaus design provides a long tough test which much of the field struggled with last year.

Graeme McDowell 30/1

graeme_mcdowell_25565t The Northern Irishman had to withdraw due to shin splints in Baltray after shooting the course record in the second round. Returned to demonstrate decent form in Wentwoth. Finished third last year but promised so much better going into the final round.

Stephen Dodd 66/1

dodd_PR Whether this week will or will not provide the breakthrough for Welshman Dodd is debateable but one thing the tour pundits all agree on is that Dodd’s form has shown positive signs over the past number of weeks. In 2005 Dodd won over €1 million including the Irish Open but that is in stark contrast to the mere €24,000 earned last season.  I wrote this tip before his excellent Wentworth performance so let’s hope he hasn’t shot his bolt.

Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial

live on

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Colonial CC, Ft. Worth, Texas

Kenny Perry 30/1

perry With Tiger searching for a new coach, Phil caring for his wife and Paul Casey home in England, the Colonial needed a saviour.  Enter Kenny Perry, the Kentucky slugger.  Winner early at the FBR and second at the Masters, Perry has triumphed here in 2003 and 2005 so must be well worth a flutter.

pampling Rod Pampling 40/1

The former Irish Open winner loves this event. Has finished in the top three in 2006 and 2008. Shot a third round 63 on his way to tied second last year with Tim Clark. The defending champion is Phil Mickelson who has pulled out of the tour indefinitely to support his wife in her battle with cancer.

Stephen Ames 33/1

stephen amesDidn’t disgrace us in Texas with a fine top ten finish after a string of poor results. With career earnings of over $16 million, the Trinidad native will not be happy with is current 60th spot in the Fed-Ex standings. Ames has finished tied second, third and tied fourth in previous stagings of this event. Will 2009 provide the elusive win?

Under The Microscope: John Daly

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full name : John Patrick Daly

nickname : “The Lion” and “Wild Thing”

height : 5' 11"

weight : 235 lbs.

birthdate : April 28, 1966

birthplace : Carmichael, CA

family : 3 Children: Shynah Hale, Sierra Lynn, John Patrick

The US Tour’s loss has been our gain. Apart from Tiger Woods there is no bigger draw in golf than John Patrick Daly. Daly was born in Carmichael, California. His family moved from California to Dardanelle, Arkansas and John started his golfing career aged four. In high school Daly also excelled in football and baseball but eventually chose to give them up to further his career in golf. He played team golf at the University of Arkansas and turned professional in 1987. After being called in as ninth alternate, the Wild Thing pulled off an incredible victory in 1991 US PGA Championship at Crooked Stick. His second major victory came in the Open at St Andrews in 1995 after a play-off with Costantino Rocca. Daly enjoys writing lyrics and playing guitar and even recorded a largely autobiographical album entitled "My Life," featuring a guest performances by Willie Nelson. Though not widely publicized John Daly is involved in many charitable causes, most notably Make-a-Wish Foundation and Boys & Girls Clubs of America. A very welcome visitor to Baltray last week.

What’s In John Daly’s Bag
Driver

Adams Speedline 8.5° with UST proforce tour xx flex shaft

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Hybrids

Adams Hybrid FW 15° and Adams 9031DF 18°with Hybrex Tour shaft

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Irons 3-9

Adams Idea Pro Black with True Temper Sensicore Shafts

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Wedges: Titleist Vokey 48°, 52°, 60°

Putter: “Heavy Putter K4”

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Ball:

Titleist Pro V1


4 Lads On A Trip Down Memory Lane:  The K Club

There has never been a better time to get out on Ireland’s marquee courses for reasonable green fees. To celebrate the K Club’s latest Ryder Cup promotion, I took three readers to relive the memories on the famous Palmer Course at the Staffan venue. The K Club are offering a fantastic 2006 online green fees for €99 on the Ryder Cup track and site of 13 European Opens. I was joined for the day by Examiner readers Alan Moynihan, Daniel O’Leary and Brian Finnerty. My instructions to the three were to watch the highlights of the 2006 Ryder Cup and previous European Opens on You Tube the day before our game. It’s great fun to watch the pros play the holes you are going to tackle the following day. Kerri Wells of the K Club told me there are still some tee times left so get on to www.kclub.com and click on the tee times promotion button to grab a piece of the action. Here are a couple of my favourite K Club holes and the Ryder Cup memories that accompany them.

k club 1st darren clarke Hole 1: Slight dog right with water on the left off the tee and trees to the right. The second shot is also over water, slightly uphill to a well guarded green.

Memory: The roar of the Ryder Cup crowd as an emotionally charged Darren Clarke made his way to the tee clad in his green jumper. He ripped his drive down the right of the fairway, stitched the second and canned the putt. One up and a great memory. In contrast Tiger pulled his opening drive here into the water.

 k club 7th woodsironlake Hole 7: Smurfit’s Favourite and one of the best holes in Irish golf. The drive must be long and accurate with water on the right and trees on the left. A good drive leaves a long iron second shot over a vast expanse of water to a narrow sloping green.

Memory: Tiger Woods was lining up a putt near the edge of the green, close to the water. Steve Williams, who was cleaning Woods' golf ball with the 9-iron in hand from the previous shot, then lost his balance, tripped and dropped the club into the water. Because of the depth of the water, Williams was unable to reach in and grab the club, which meant his boss was forced to use 13 clubs until a diver in a dry suit returned the 9-iron to him on the 15th hole.

k club 14th casey hole in one Hole 14: A 213 yard par three with a stream flanking the left. The anti-water shot brings the bunkers on the right of the green into play from where par is a minor miracle.

Memory: England's Paul Casey hit a sensational hole-in-one here to seal a 5&4 foursomes triumph over US pair Stewart Cink and Zach Johnson. It was only the fifth hole in one in Ryder Cup history. Casey, who won the World Match Play tournament at Wentworth only six days earlier, was congratulated by countryman David Howell as the crowd roared their approval.

kclub 16th clarke Hole 16: The famous risk-reward par five where the shot to the narrow green crosses the Liffey.

Memory: In the wake of losing his wife to cancer, Darren Clarke got to experience camaraderie, friendship and a European Ryder Cup win on this hole. After chipping in for victory with Lee Westwood on Saturday, Clarke repeated the dose defeating Zach Johnson here in the singles. After receiving a hero’s welcome from the crowds, Clarke broke down in tears and was showered in hugs from Ian Woosnam, Tom Lehman and Tiger Woods, among others.


Bloggy Underfoot: Sky Testing My Limits

I took a trip to Baltray last Tuesday to get a glimpse of the professional tour from inside the ropes. Though the Irish Open wasn’t to begin for a further two days, the preparations had begun in earnest. The majority of the field were on site and the speculation was just beginning as to just who was going to do well. In the press tent I tested the media reporters knowledge of golf history by asking them to identify a famous Irish amateur golfer from an old photo I had been sent. Needless to say, nobody present could identify the young athletic figure in the photo. That was until the Irish Examiner’s Charlie Mulqueen studied it. “That’s Joe Carr”, he immediately answered. How prophetic and fitting it was that the week was to start and end with famous amateurs.

Imagen 003

Joe Carr and Henry Cotton in Valderrama in the late 50’s

My primary aim for that day was to stock up on my “what’s in the bag” files for our Under The Microscope section. It basically involves approaching the player with a polite request to photograph the bag and jot down what equipment they are using while they practise. It’s quite non invasive and painless and the players are always very co-operative. It’s a good ice-breaker and leads to a bit of friendly chat also. A nasty left to right wind on the practise ground for much of the day meant most of the field stayed away, because pros don’t like to hit balls in conditions that could affect their swings. Of the hardened campaigners that did brave the practise ground elements it was great to see Nick Dougherty back on tour. He told me that he’s been through a tough period since the death of his mother and is only now getting back to serious golf. A new 2-thumb grip on his putter has brought a whole new optimism to his game. His eventual tied fourth finish was nothing less than what he deserved. Ryder Cup team member Oliver Wilson was also in great form, working hard and really looking forward to the PGA in Wentworth this week. He is coming off a successful spell on the US tour and I for one will be watching out for him after a decent showing in Baltray.

My work on the range was all but done when who docked in only Colin Montgomerie. It is a surprise to see Monty on the range at any time but to see him there on a windswept Tuesday morning was quite exceptional. There were two reasons for his presence; he had never missed three cuts in a row in his career before and having clocked up two MC’s in the previous two weeks was desperate to avoid that horrible statistic in Baltray. There was also the matter of a tour committee meeting that evening regarding an extra Captains pick for next years Ryder Cup. With all that was on his mind, I wasn’t surprised by his polite but firm “no” to my request to probe his bag. He has a way of saying “no” like no one else. There’s always one, and Monty will always be ‘the one’. Little did I or anyone know at the time but the real star of the week was quietly going about his business under the radar on the other side of the range.

Monty might be the one, but Shane Lowry was number one. He joins Barrack Obama and Brian Cowen (and the guy who put €300 on him at odds of 1000/1) as the world’s most famous Offalymen. What a tournament the Irish Open turned out to be. After a sodden monthly medal I settled down to watch the final round action with one of Deirdre Lydon’s famous steaks in my local. As the Sunday afternoon unfolded it became increasingly apparent that Sky Sports TV coverage was shocking in its ineptitude. For a professional organization, the commentary team had little or no useful information on either Shane Lowry or Robert Rock. Indeed as Lowry battled through a tough period mid-round I took great offence to the way the Sky team focussed on the Clara man’s choice of language rather than his game. As far as I could see Shane ‘threw’ three perfectly acceptable “f**ks”, all following bad shots. How was he to know a furry microphone was on him? And did it matter? Lowry was David and Goliath was floundering on the ropes. Ewen Murray then weighed in with what I could only describe as a below the belt jibe about Lowry standing in the “through-line” of professional golfers who were out there “earning a living”. I have the utmost respect for Murray and acknowledge him as the best analyst in the game, but those comments, in my opinion should have been said quietly in Lowry’s ear after the event, and certainly not on TV. As the evening wore on, the backtracking seemed to start, but not once did anyone on Sky fully acknowledge the supreme feat of Lowry, who as a young amateur emulated Padraig Harrington’s achievement of two years ago. Have they forgotten the 25 year period between John O’Leary’s and Harrington’s Irish Open victory. Bruce Critchely even referred to “Steve” Lowry and the fact that it was lovely to see that his raincoat was “British”. Sky cut their coverage about 30 seconds after Lowry’s final putt as if in a final gesture of disgust that an amateur could outplay the professional tour stars. What they missed and what RTE covered were the scenes of unbridled joy and celebration, never before seen on the European Tour. Well done Shane and must do better Sky!


Dr. and The Medic: Score Early

Problem

You are nervous and stressed out for the first few holes of your round or don’t seem to really start motoring until about the fourth tee box.

Cure

Play out the course in reverse on the practise ground. This way you will have already played the shots required for the day and the first few holes will be still fresh in your mind.

Therapy

Even if you do not have enough time to practice every hole on the course, select at least the last and the first two holes to get warmed up. Visualize how you should play the course and which shots you will need to use. Start with 18th hole and work back through the 17th, 2nd and 1st hole. If you hit a poor shot, repeat it until you are happy with the way it needs to be played. When you start your round you have no need to be stressed because you just played the holes, have hit the required shots and know you can play them well.

I Want One Of Those: The Swing Glove

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Your hands are the only point of contact with the golf club and one of the key components of the golf swing is the flat left wrist. Many amateurs break or “cup” their left wrist during the hit causing a loss of control and power. From Ben Hogan to Tiger Woods professionals always maintain a flat left wrist through impact and follow through. The swing glove is a training aid to promote this from one of the worlds top instructors, Rick Smith. Its hard plastic insert will allow your wrists to hinge correctly but not break at impact. By practising with the glove you can train yourself to swing correctly through repetition. The plastic insert can be removed for competition play. Retails for about $25 from www.swingglove.com

Tailored Shorts

Went-worth Some Investment

Wentworth-West-Course Following this week’s BMW PGA championship, Wentworth plan to rebuild all the greens and approaches on the West Course. The current poa and colonial bent grass greens will be dup up and completely replaced by USGA tournament specification greens.

Gonzalo Gutted

ganzalo british masters Spain's Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano won’t be defending his British Masters title at The Belfry after the news came through that it has been dropped from the European Tour schedule. The event’s Quinn Insurance sponsorship deal expired and no replacement was found. The worsening economic climate has resulted in this, the cancellation of one the Tour's oldest events, having been staged every year since 1946. The Austrian Open will now take place in its slot of 17-20 September. This latest axing follows the earlier cancellation of the English Open until 2011 at least.

Per Ulrik Johansson’s Search

I witnessed a lovely moment on the putting green at the Irish Open. Per Ulrik Johansson was busily trying out all the putters, gadgets and gizmos that surround the green. He just devours the stuff, endlessly searching for that special something to change his tour fortunes. After speaking to the “Daly Golf” putting team, he picked up a little plastic sign that sat alongside their line of putters and asked Fred Daly’s son Robin “What does this do? Is it an alignment device? How does it work?”. “It’s an advertising sign!”, came the reply as Robin Daly took it back off the ever so slightly embarrassed Swede and sat it back on the ground. Per Ulrik’s search goes on.

Bet Your Balls-

with thanks to www.paddypower.com

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BMW PGA Championship

Wentworth Club

Surrey, England

21 May 2009 - 24 May 2009

Angel Cabrera 20/1

A stellar field has gathered this week to do battle for the €4.5 million purse. The Argentinian contingent includes Andres Romero but we’re plumping for El Pato, Angel Cabrera. The 2005 champion will attempt to emulate legends like Seve, Langer and Faldo in winning the title weeks after claiming the green jacket at Augusta. Loves the lengthened Wentworth layout which suits his immense long game. Reached the final of the HSBC matchplay in 2007 where he lost out to Ernie Els.

Ross Fisher 28/1

The next couple of weeks will be huge for young Englishman Ross Fisher as he returns to his home club Wentworth and then on to the London Club where he will defend his European Open title. Fisher is Wentworth’s touring pro and he has a long association with the venue having started as a junior there. A prodigiously long hitter of the ball, Fisher spent recent weeks on the US Tour, which included his first Masters appearance, but says he feels fresh going into the next two weeks.

Anders Hansen 40/1

Two of Anders Hansen’s three wins on tour have come at Wentworth. He claimed his maiden title there in 2002 and repeated the feat in 2007 defeating Justin Rose in a playoff. Hansen’s 2009 season started with a bang with victory at the Joburg Open, but he has struggled to recapture that form since. Nevertheless having spoken to him in Baltray, he really is gearing up for a strong showing at a venue he loves.

 

HP Byron Nelson Championship

Monday May 18 – Sunday May 24, 2009

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Ian Poulter 18/1

Continuing his commitment to the PGA tour, Ian Poulter will tee it up for a share of the 6.5 million dollar purse at the Byron Nelson while the European Tour’s flagship event is taking place in Wentworth. After a tied fifth at Quail Hollow and a second at the recent Players Championship surely a win can’t be far off for the Englishman. Poulter has gone low in the course, shooting 65 in the third round in 2007 on his way to third.

Charley Hoffman 25/1

If you think Rory McIlroy needs a haircut, get a load of Charley Hoffman! Hoffman has been out of form since his second place in the FBR in January but finished with rounds of 63 and 66 last week in texas for a top ten finish. Finished in the top ten at last years Byron Nelson despite a horrid final round when victory was there for the taking. He may feel this event owes him one.

Jerry Kelly 40/1

Kelly’s missed cuts in his last two events are understandable given his heroics at the Zurich Classic in April where he won over a million dollars. Has happy memories of the Four Seasons Resort club in Texas having shot the low round of the day on day four in 2007. His 64 then saw him tie for third, and now that he has won this season, Kelly will be eager to challenge again this week.

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