May 2009

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Under The Microscope: Tiger Woods

tiger bethpage Full name Eldrick Tont Woods

Nickname Tiger

Born December 30, 1975 in Cypress, California

Height 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)

Weight 185 lb (84 kg; 13.2 st)

Nationality United States

Residence Windermere, Florida

Spouse Elin Nordegren (m.2004)

Children Sam Alexis (b.2007)

Charlie Axel (b.2009)

His driving accuracy was questioned. His ability to close out tournaments was under scrutiny. Some said his knee would never recover. His relationship with swing coach Hank Haney has been under the spotlight. What did Tiger do? He whispered to the media, then roared inside the ropes. Aside from his stunning come form behind win, Woods hit all 14 fairways off the tee at Memorial, completing one of the strongest driving performances of his career. He missed only three in the first two days and his 18 fairways hit in a row is his longest such streak since 2003. If he wins at Bethpage, it will truly be one of the most amazing comebacks from injury in world sport.

What’s In Tiger’s Bag:


The Who, What, When Quiz


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 one more winner this week to go into the draw for the big prize. To win, just e mail with the answers to the following questions. Clues are on

Q1. Who won the last US Open staged at Bethpage Black?

Q2. What venue will stage the US Open in 2010?

Q3. When was the last non-US winner of the US Open?

Congrats to last weeks winner Jayne Hogan, Ovens, Co Cork who goes into the final draw!

Bloggy Underfoot: Winner Alright

Only two days now until the US Open, the greatest test of a professional golfer, begins at Bethpage Black. We put out the call for your tips for the US Open and thanks to all who replied. Boy do you guys love Tiger! Here are the pick of the bunch.

“Tiger Woods, not very original, but if he could win it on one leg last year you would have to fancy him to do it with two this year. Stenson seems to have slipped under the bookies radar but he could be a good bet for top European.”- Chris Ablett.

“I believe that 2006 winner Geoff Ogilvy has a great chance. He has been in excellent form this year winning his third WGC event. Putting is a key factor in the US Open and Ogilvy can certainly perform on quick greens. The slicker they are the better he likes it. He knows how to play Par Golf when he has to. His short game is very good and this combined with his wonderful touch on the greens gives him a great chance. He is very cool under pressure.”- Eamonn Hughes

“Tiger will win because he's the best. The course should also suit Angel Cabrera.”-Dion Breen, La Cala.

“A friend of mine played Bethpage Black in April [ 22nd] and he said the rough was almost eight inches deep around the greens, so if they allow that to thicken and grow more, then as always, scrambling will be the biggest test at the US Open. My pick is Phil Mickelson; if his wife hadn't fallen ill I'd sell my cobra s9's and put the money on him to win here. We all know the short game is top notch, but another factor are his three second place finishes in New York based US Opens. If his head is in the right place, he has to be the man this year, the crowd will be rooting for him, like they were for Darren Clarke at the K-club.”-Brian O’Callaghan

“My heart says Phil Mickelson. My head Says Geoff Ogilvy. Geoff showed some form at The Memorial after a recent lull having won two events earlier on the year.”-Brian Quinn, Setanta Golf.

“Tiger and Ogilvy aside, my outsiders are Kjeldsen and Dougherty, at 175/1 and 200/1 respectively, they are good value!”- Kieran Murphy.

“One has to put Tiger in as favourite but I feel Paul Casey has a real shot. He has the length and more importantly he hits his irons very high. Bethpage is very long and has small greens. Casey is in a good place mentally at the moment. He showed his class in the way he closed out the PGA at Wentworth.”-Brian Shaw, Doonbeg.

“Obviously Tiger will be there or there abouts but there has to be each way value and I like Justin Leonard and Luke Donald - two plodders that will keep it straight! Each are playing fairly well and have some course form Tied 12 & T18 in 2002.”-Gavin Kelly

“Big Phil will be emotional, 'it can go both ways' so lets say top ten for him. Casey is in great form so he’s my top European. Rory McIlroy will make the cut and will win in 2010. Back on form Tiger to win!”-Bill Donald, K Club

“My outside bet for the US Open is Steve Stricker. He is one of those players that promised a lot but has failed to deliver so far. His form at present would suggest that he is not too far away from a major win this season.”- Seamus Walsh

“ABT anyone but Tiger. Sadly I get more enjoyment when Tiger is beaten by someone else (which is not very often) than to see him winning by a wide margin. I accept he is the best golfer on the planet. Instead of making the courses tougher which is playing into his hands, should they not try and make them a little more user friendly which might give us a better and more exciting finish with maybe any one of six or seven players in with a shout in the last few holes? Retief Goosen is my choice, he is too good a player not to win another Major. If he gets into contention on the back nine on Sunday he will be more than a match for Tiger or anyone else.”- Mike Barrett

“It’s hard to look past Tiger. His mind-blowing final round finish to win the Memorial tournament proves he is coming back to his best. This pre-US Open win has an eerily familiar feel to 2002, when he won the Memorial before heading on to Bethpage and triumphing there.” Eoin Hahessy, Director of Communications for the 3 Irish Open

Is the winner listed above? Whatever happens get the recliner oiled up, the pizzas in the freezer and those handy twisty top beers chilling in the fridge because Bethpage is going to be awesome!

Dr. and The Medic: US Open Type Bad Lie


clip_image004The ball landed in a difficult or near impossible location to hit it up onto the green or at least near it.


One option is to go for it but you could end up taking more strokes overall because you did. Considering how unlikely you will be successful at this, you should try to find the closest, safe way to get the ball back on the fairway.


Do not allow your fellow golfers or even yourself make you feel as if you are a chicken if you do not take the difficult shot. So, step back several yards and look to see which direction you should hit the ball in order to provide a better second shot. Can you hit it diagonally to the left or right? Off to the side might not get you closer to the green but you will save strokes overall because you can get the ball in a better position for a good shot. You might even find that you have a better approach to the green if you hit the ball a few yards behind you, onto the fairway. So look at the green and decide which side you want the ball to land on it and it might change the way you play this shot.


I Want One Of Those: Wilson TW9 Satin Wedge


This TW9 Tour Milled Satin Wedge from Wilson Staff is the very same that Padraig Harrington used to win the 2008 British Open within one week of seeing them, and then the PGA Championship just weeks later. The new, lower-lofted cavity back options bridge the gap between the modern pitching wedge and sand wedge for improved gapping. The tour milled grooves provide shot stopping spin while the wedge has a classic satin finish. Priced at €99 in GolfStyle, Galway

Bet Your Balls-Tiger Vs The Rest

Odds from

No European tour event this week

last week: Winner Alright!  Brian Gay 45/1; David Toms (2nd) 22/1

US Open Bethpage Black

USA Pick: Jim Furyk: 16/1

jim furyk As long as Brian O’Driscoll can fall out of bed in the morning, he will be the first name on any teamsheet. The same applies to Jim Furyk in the US Open. With the exception of Tiger, Furyk’s record in the toughest major is stellar. Winner of the lowest scoring US Open of recent times (-8) at Olympia Fields and two second places since, in 2006 and 2007. Runner up also to Tiger also at The Memorial so expect to see the swing like an “Octopuss falling out the tree” producing pin-seekers at Bethpage.

Rest Of The World Pick: Geoff Ogilvy: 16/1

geoffogilvy_narrowweb__300x3910 This was a toss up between Ogilvy and Angel Cabrera, neither can be disregarded but the recent formbook suggests the Aussie. I believe Geoff Ogilvy to be the only man in the world who can go toe to toe with Tiger and win. A talented all rounder as a kid, he won several state and national athletic accolades before finding golf as a teenager. Twice a winner already this year in the Mercedes Benz and the Accenture matchplay and some signs of form in the Memorial with an amazing third round 63. Some fine tuning on the practise ground should see him right for a tilt at his second major, having winged home in 2006.

Elder Lemon Pick: Kenny Perry 50/1

perry This one came down to Steve Stricker (40/1) and Kenny Perry. There is a case for Stricker following his recent win at Colonial and his accolade of being the best scrambler on the PGA tour. However, I loved Perry’s attitude at The Masters, the manner in which he played that major and the dignity he displayed in defeat. He attributed his form that week to 18 hours spent on the practise green at Augusta and stated he wished he had discovered that method of major preparation years ago. It’s almost a given that he will mirror that build-up at Bethpage, for what may be his last big tilt at a major. Without a top twenty since the Masters, time is running out for my favourite player.

European Pick: Ian Poulter 66/1

PoulterDPSat_299x350 I’ve agonized over Poulter, Stenson and Paul Casey for this slot. None have any form to speak of in the US Open- Casey’s is best with a 10th and 15th. However, the betting value lies with Ian Poulter. Second behind Stenson at TPC (the fifth major), second in last years Open and the pick of the European’s in the Ryder Cup, Poulter is increasingly becoming the rock solid character for the big occasion. That allied to his scrambling ability (ranked second) make him an educated each way shot.

Stats Pick: Tim Clark 80/1

tim clark Bethpage is extremely long, tree lined, with dangerous bunkers and small slick greens. Accuracy is the key here as proven by Jeff Maggert and Nick Faldo with top five finishes in 2002. Maggert’s current incarnation is Tim Clark, ranking fourth in driving accuracy and sixth in putting. The news that Bethpage is firming up will also be music to the ears of the South African. Bottled a fantastic chance to win at Colonial, but at least it shows he is on form. Clark’s stats are too good to ignore. Don’t say you were not warned about the man who tied third in Pinehurst in ’05.

Tailored Shorts

Bethpage Practise

bethpage-black3 Less than 24 hours after winning the Memorial with birdies at three of the last four holes Tiger Woods was back at work at Bethpage. He played seventeen and a half holes with caddy Stevie Williams, swing coach Hank Haney and two police officers. After hitting his drive on the last, he laid up with an iron in the middle of the fairway. Woods got into a golf buggy and exited via a service road, leaving his ball in the fairway and disappointing the 100 fans who had gathering after getting word that he was out on the course

Course Changes

The Black Course at Bethpage State Park, measures more than 7,400 yards of wooded Long Island countryside. It is a public course, one of five in the park. Golf carts are not allowed. Bethpage Black has changed since its last hosting in 2002, adding another 212 yards, plus the longest par four in US Open history (the 525-yard seventh), an extended green at the par-three eighth that now brings a water hazard into play and a dangerous new fairway bunker on the 460-yard, par four ninth. The big news however is that the rough has been eased considerably since 2002. In the aftermath of Woods win then, USGA came under heavy criticism for the unplayability of the rough. Bethpage now has a graduated rough that still gives players who stray offline only slightly, a fighting chance.

Celebrities take on US Open Test

golf-digest-jt In what has become something of a tradition nowadays, celebrities and a member of the public took on the US Open Layout in the Golf Digest sponsored challenge. This year, Michael Jordan, Pittsburgh Steelers Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and Justin Timberlake were joined by a Larry Giebelhausen, the contest winner. Jordan played badly on the front nine but was a respectable four over on the back. Roethlisberger fared the best of the group, shooting an 81 with impressive birdies on 10 and 15. Timberlake had an 88. Rocco Mediate was on the bag for Roethlisberger, Anthony Kim for Timberlake and Fred Couples for Jordan.

Fun aside there have been whispers that Bethpage is not playing as tough as previous US Open venues.

Fun with the Pairings

Sergio, Camillo and Adam Scott:- if your looking out for beautiful women in the gallery, follow this group. Woods, Harrington, Cabrera:- I wouldn’t be surprised if the winner came from this group. Watch out for their grandfathers, Rocco Mediate, Kenny Perry, Tom Lehman coming nine minutes behind! Ogilvy, Furyk, and Casey:- second, third and fourth in this bunch? JB Holmes, Alovaro Quiros, and Nick Watney:- Would not want to be in the group in front of these bombers. Michael Campbell, Boo Weekley, Rod Pampling:- an interpreter may be needed with these guys accents. We’ve noticed that the USGA have got a bit lazy with some pairings too, check out the surnames in these three groups:- (1) Soren Kjeldsen, Soren Hansen and Peter Hanson; (2) Vijay Singh, Jeev Milkha Singh and K.J. Choi (3) Andres Romero, Eduardo Romero and Miguel Angel Jimenez.


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.



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 or text me at 087-3140467.

Dr. and The Medic: Outside the Bunker


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.


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.


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


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 with the answers to the following questions. Clues are on


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


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-

Setanta Golf Logo

Odds from

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


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


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 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.


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


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


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.


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

Setanta Golf Logo

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.


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.

If you are under 40 years of age, chances are you have never seen the great Ben Hogan swing. He was widely regarded as the greatest swingers of his generation and his writings on the fundamentals of golf are regarded as a bible to a huge number of touring pro’s. Enjoy watching the great Mr. Hogan rip it!

The Who, What, When Quiz


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 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


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


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


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.


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


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

Setanta Golf Logo

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?

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