Monday, May 18, 2009
The SpinDoctor 19th May: What’s In John Daly’s Bag; The K Club Ryder Cup Offer; Joe Carr; Shane Lowry-Sky Testing My Limits; The Swing Glove; BMW PGA Championship Tips, HP Byron Nelson Classic Tips.
Under The Microscope: John Daly
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
Adams Speedline 8.5° with UST proforce tour xx flex shaft
Adams Hybrid FW 15° and Adams 9031DF 18°with Hybrex Tour shaft
Adams Idea Pro Black with True Temper Sensicore Shafts
Wedges: Titleist Vokey 48°, 52°, 60°
Putter: “Heavy Putter K4”
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
Went-worth Some Investment
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.
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
BMW PGA Championship
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
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.