Under The Microscope: Stuart Appleby
Born 1 May 1971 (age 38)
Birthplace: Cohuna, Australia
Height 6 ft 1 in
Weight 195 lb
Turned professional 1992
Professional wins 13
In 2008, Stuart posted a career-high seven top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour and finished 17th in the FedExCup Standings. He missed just two cuts in 23 starts and surpassed $2 million in earnings for the fifth time in his career. His eight career PGA Tour victories include three straight Mercedes Championships from 2004-2006, as well as a pair of wins at the Shell Houston Open (1999 and 2006). A four-time member of the Presidents Cup team, Stuart was raised on a dairy farm in Australia and first began practicing his golf game by hitting shots from paddock to paddock after his chores were done. He played Aussie Rules Football growing up before turning to professional golf. Early in his career, he became just the eighth player in the history of what is now called the Nationwide Tour to win his first start, the 1995 Monterey Open. He earned his PGA Tour Card for 1996 by finishing fifth on the Nationwide Tour Money List. Off the links, Stuart enjoys motor racing.
Appleby's first wife, Renay, was killed in an automobile accident outside London Waterloo station in 1998, shortly after he had missed the cut at The Open Championship. Appleby married his second wife, Ashley Saleet, in 2002, and currently lives with Ashley and his two daughters, Ella and Mia. Their first son was born 21 October 2008 and has been named Max. After the 1999 plane crash that killed his friend and next-door neighbour Payne Stewart, he has been one of the key father figures for Stewart's children Chelsea and Aaron.
What’s In Stuart’s Bag
After all the written speculation and news reports about Seve’s health it was great to hear directly from the man himself last week. In an interview with Sky Sports, Seve spoke about his health, his game and his goals going forward.
Dressed in a black tee-shirt bearing the logo of his charitable foundation, at first glance Seve appeared quite hail and hearty, a trick of the swelling effects of the medication and the latest six rounds of chemo. Though strong of speech and quick of thought, one cant help but notice that the eyebrows have dropped a little, and Seve’s overall expression is a lot more strained than it used to be.
To hear the great man speak however is elevating. He regards his treatment as being at the tenth hole, the chemo is over, the radiation treatment is next. When all the surgeons have done their work, Seve fully expects them to say the tumour, which was once the size of two golf balls and lying there dormant for six years, is gone.
The onset of the problem came as a shock to Seve. Before his airport collapse, he remembers bumping into things with his left shoulder, missing steps when climbing stairs, being dizzy and finally losing much of his vision in his left eye and the feeling in his left leg. A car crash where he ploughed into five parked cars at the golf club, lead the members to conclude he was drinking or on drugs, but right then Seve knew the gravity of his situation. Although he says his treatment was more mentally debilitating than physically painful, during the past six months he went through periods of helplessness and paralysis requiring constant care. However by summoning up all that battling spirit that stood him so well on the golf course, Seve has reached the turn in his usual swashbuckling style.
In order to aid to recovery, Ballesteros has set out a number of goals including insuring his children’s welfare and raising charitable funds for research and treatment of brain cancer. His one and only golfing goal however is not to play at next years British Open at St Andrews, but to “compete” at the home of golf. Everything on the golfing side of his life is geared toward this final appearance to finally and properly thank all his supporters and bid them all farewell. To that end (when not in treatment) Seve is following a strict training regime; a morning stretching session, weights, a five mile walk followed by a cold water swim, lunch and siesta then onto the range to hit balls. He admits that his treatment has robbed him, most likely permanently, of some of his faculties including 25% of his left sided vision and his ability to judge distances, but he is confident that with the help of a good caddy, probably his son, he can successfully negotiate the Old Course.
In an interview full of memorable quotes, the one that really struck a chord was Seve’s message to all those out there suffering with and battling cancer. “You need to fight, fight and never stop, because in the end, when you win, it tastes sweeter.” St. Andrew’s Swilken burn is only twelve months away and I have no doubt Ballesteros has even planned what club to hit off the tee.
Dr. and The Medic: Aim Your Eyes
You need to improve on putting accuracy.
Remember to keep your head stationary and your eyes over the ball. This is because you want to keep your eyes aligned to the target line.
Allow your trailing arm to control the pendulum motion as you keep the putter moving without any wrist hinge. You want to putt as if the ball is simply getting in the way of your putter during your stroke. Regardless of your putting style, you want to avoid lifting or turning your head until you have completed your entire follow though stroke. If you move your head, you will also be moving your eyes and therefore changing your aim and control.
The Doc’s Rules Quiz
Question 1: True or False- A player must determine his nearest point of relief by using the club with which he expects to play his next stroke
Question 2: True or False- During a round a player may play a practice stroke from a hazard provided this does not unduly delay play
Question 3: True or False- A player is entitled to discontinue play if he believes there is danger from an electrical storm.
Last weeks answers
Question 1 - In stroke play, a competitor, in lifting a ball for the purpose of identification, cleans it more than necessary for identification. What is the penalty? A: no penalty, B: one stroke or C: two strokes Answer: B, one stroke.
Question 2 – True or False: Tony arrives at the first tee at 13:00 hrs, his start time being 12:57 hrs. Tony is penalised two strokes. Answer: False.
Question 3 - True or False: Stakes or lines used to define a lateral water hazard must be red. Answer: True
Congrats to last weeks winner Tony Keegan, Douglas, Cork who wins a classy Kartel shirt compliments of Golfstyle Galway.
I Want One Of Those: The ForeGolf Tour Truck
It’s the ultimate boy toy, your own Tour Truck. This 40 foot, fully fitted travelling workshop and club testing unit comes in at a shade under €400,000. And the great news is it’s coming to Cork. The truck will be visiting The Old Head on Sunday August 9th and Monday 10th You can book an appointment to be professionally assessed on the truck by calling (045) 430660 or emailing email@example.com. Spend an hour with tour clubmaker Derek Murray having your clubs assessed like the pro’s, then play the Old Head for a €125.00 all in deal! And say hello to The SpinDoctor if you see me there on Monday!
Bet Your Balls-
odds thanks to
WGC - Bridgestone Invitational
Akron, Ohio, USA
So lets get this straight. The recipe for success is downing pints in Doonbeg the week before the Open! Well it worked for Stewart Cink, who comes into this week refreshed and ready for another tilt at a WGC win. Despite the win at Turnberry, is hasn’t been the best ever year for Stewart, his lowest four round total in 2009 is eight under par. However Cink has won here in 2004 (with Tiger in the field) and lost in a playoff to Woods in 2006 and must be brimming with confidence as the newest major champion.
Lee Westwood must be wondering what he has got to do to win again. It’s been nearly two years since Lee lifted the now defunct Quinn British Masters trophy but he seems to be there or there abouts in all the big tournaments since. Its easy to forget that Westwood has 18 European Tour wins under his belt and many believe he is playing even better now. His third place at Turnberry made it three top-tens in his last three events. Tied for second in 2008 when Vijay won.
At the start of the year Paul Casey looked unbeatable. A massive win in Abu Dhabi brought him up to third in the world rankings. Played the best golf of the week at the WGC Accenture matchplay only to tire against Geoff Ogilvy in the final. Bounced back to take the flagship BMW championship in May but has really struggled in every event since. That run of form usually means a trip to see coach Bob Kostis in the desert and that usually does the trick. Don’t count Casey out.
The big man from Sacramento California showed a little bit of spark at Loch Lomond at finished with a respectable top-30 in The Open. The whispers on the US Tour is that Watney will come again with a late season surge. He won the Buick Invitational back in February and has good WGC memories finishing second to Mickelson in a great finish at Doral in March. One to watch.
Let’s hope his tied 34th finish at The Open did not dent Martin Kaymer’s confidence because the German is the form European in this field. Highly impressive in winning the Open de France and Barclay’s at Loch Lomond on the two weeks leading up to Turnberry. The 2007 Rookie of the Year now has an impressive four European Tour wins under his belt and what better time to contend on the world stage that at Firestone.
Matthew Kicks Shin
Women’s golf got a much needed boost last week with the successful staging of The Ricoh Womens British Open at Royal Lytham. Scot Catriona Matthew, who is still technically on maternity leave, held off Karrie Web, “loudmouth” Christina Kim and an army of Korean’s for a deserved win. Perennial underachiever Michelle Wie finished in the top-20 and a couple of hours later sealed a US Team Captain’s pick for the upcoming Solheim Cup. Her Granny Juli Inkster received the other wild card. On a serious note 114 year old Laura Davies secured her 11th straight European team berth by finishing 46th last Sunday.
No Oskar for Maybin
Sweden's Oskar Henningsson made six fist-pumping birdies last Sunday to win the Moravia Silesia Open by two strokes, but hats off again to Northern Ireland’s Gareth Maybin who tied for seventh. Maybster looked the likely winner for most of the day until the par three 15th hole where a leaked tee shot into water lead to double bogey. Maybin’s strength is his accuracy off the tee which has helped him to 46th on the Race to Dubai with nearly €430,000 already in the Northern Bank.
Slam Dunk For Tiny Funk
“I may need help straightening up”
Being small of stature didn’t stand in the way of Freddie Funk as he tasted Senior Major glory on Sunday at Crooked Stick. Funk won by six strokes and broke the tournament record with a 20-under total. He shot a final round 7-under 65. Funk’s win is by no means the first recorded success for small people. Pint sized Ian Woosnam, himself no taller than a wheelie bin was probably the most successful golfing little’n securing a major win at Augusta in 1991. Other notable little people success stories include 80’s telly icon Jimmy Cranky and Mini Me from the highly successful Austin Powers movies.
Fred Funk with good friend Stephen Ames (aka The Krankies)
Daly Detox Taking Its Toll
John Daly’s new health regime in the aftermath of his gastric band surgery coupled with his punishing playing schedule is taking a heavy toll. Playing for the sixth straight week in five countries and two continents, John Daly felt as though he hit rock bottom in the second round of The Buick with his worst score ever in a regular PGA Tour event that left him wondering whether he should quit. (I would love to slot a “Have I got news for you” style joke based on rock bottom and Daly, booze, the law, Hooters and a PGA ban but in all good conscience I just couldnt.)
Rick Smith, Daly’s swing coach described Daly as being in a "toxic state" after a disastrous 88, which Smith attributed to the weight loss, not enough sleep and the wrong kind of diet. Many tour observers have commented that Daly has also lost some of his hitting power, over the last four months. "The last two weeks have been the first time in my career I didn't think I could win," Daly said. "I don't have the feel I used to have. I don't have the confidence. I just don't have it. I tried my [tail] off and shot 88. I've thrown in the towel and shot 82 when I quit. But I didn't quit this time. It was a weird feeling."
Under The Microscope: Chris Wood
Born 26 November 1987
Height 6 ft 5 in
Residence Bristol, England
Turned professional 2008
Chris Wood shot to fame after finishing as the leading amateur in the 2008 Open Championship at Royal Birkdale. A links course specialist Wood nearly went one better this year at Turnberry. His 210 yard nine iron approach to the last took a wicked bounce and finished through the green. A par would have secured Wood a play off spot but it failed to drop, resulting in a third place finish the young Englishman.
Wood was born in Bristol and began playing golf at a young age. He was also a keen footballer as a youth but a serious knee injury put paid to his chances of succeeding in the paid football ranks and instead he devoted himself to golf. He still remains a keen Manchester United and Bristol City fan.
Wood qualified as an amateur for the 2008 British Open at Royal Birkdale. With his Dad on the bag, Wood’s performance in the opening rounds prompted press speculation that he could be the first amateur to win The Open since Bobby Jones in 1930. He finished joint fifth overall alongside Jim Furyk, a tremendous achievement for an amateur in the toughest of conditions. He turned professional immediately after and earned a place on this year’s European Tour through Qualifying School in PGA de Catalunya.
As a rookie professional. Wood was delighted to be able to bank the cheque for €294,629 for his Turnberry third place. “I’ve just got a new flat so I need to pay the rent for that, so I should be all right,” he joked. In finishing in the top three Wood also earned himself a place in the 2010 Masters in Augusta.
What’s In Chris Wood’s Bag
Dr. and The Medic: Logo Tips
You want to become more consistent.
Aim the logo of your glove, ball, and shirt to help you make flush contact with the ball.
The logo of your ball can help you find the proper ball placement in your stance. Align the ball with the logo of your shirt pocket when you are using middle irons. You will notice that a lot of amateur players finish their full swings with the shirt logo pointing at the flag or coming up short of doing so. This indicates a poor turn. If you want to gain more distance, try turning your upper body even more so that the logo is pointing well past the flag. Use the logo of the ball to help you make square contact by teeing the ball with the logo turned away from the target. Use this as the contact point for the clubface when you hit it. Focus on aiming the logo of your glove towards the target at impact to help aim the clubface. Another way to use the logo of the glove is to help you gain a lot of loft. If you need to hit the ball really high, set the wedge clubface open and make a full backswing while hinging your wrist quickly. You will gain a lot of height if the logo on the back of your glove is pointing towards the sky at impact. Be sure to finish with a high follow through.
The Doc’s Rules Quiz
Do you really know the rules of golf? Try these questions and text your answers to 087-3140467. The winner will receive a Kartel shirt as worn by Paddy Harrington!
Question 1 - In stroke play, a competitor, in lifting a ball for the purpose of identification, cleans it more than necessary for identification. What is the penalty? A: no penalty, B: one stroke or C: two strokes
Question 2 – True or False: Tony arrives at the first tee at 13:00 hrs, his start time being 12:57 hrs. Tony is penalised two strokes.
Question 3 - True or False: Stakes or lines used to define a lateral water hazard must be red
Last weeks answers- Hardly anyone got them all right!!!!
Question 1 – True or False: A player is entitled to free relief from a burrowing animal hole in a water hazard. Answer: False
Question 2 - True or False: A player applies chalk to the face of his wedge as he thinks that will generate more spin. There is no penalty. Answer: False
Question 3 - True or False: No penalty is incurred if the player accidentally causes his ball to move in the process of removing loose impediments on the putting green. Answer: True
Congrats to last weeks winner Willie Morrison, Fermoy, Cork who wins a classy Kartel shirt compliments of Golfstyle Galway.
Continuing on our recession busting track here’s the driver in the bag of British Open Champ Stewart Cink and US Open Winner Lucas Glover. Now to be found for a third of its original price, Nike has built their Sasquatch Sumo Square 5900 Driver with the highest MOI for greater forgiveness on off centre hits, the highest geometry for increased ball speed and accuracy, deep Nike PowerBow weighting to further optimise precision and performance and a multi thickness cup face design that improves ball speed over a larger area. With so much forgiveness and straightness, you couldn’t possibly miss! And even if you do, you wont have forked out much. Available online for around €120.
Bet Your Balls-
Moravia Silesia Open
presented by ALO Diamonds
Prosper Golf Resort
Čeladná, Czech Republic
30 Jul 2009 - 02 Aug 2009
The recession is biting and the Inteco Russian Open has been devoured. Luckily the diamond market is still afloat and ALO have brought the European Tour to the Czech Republic. Our first pick this week is Aussie Marcus Fraser who brings some form into this week having tied for fourth at the SAS Masters despite an ugly final round 77. After an early season second in Australia Fraser’s form has been solid rather than spectacular and he currently sits at 58th in the race to Dubai. A former winner of the Russian Open in 2003.
The Belfry’s touring professional has endured some tough times on tour but 2009 has been somewhat of a breakthrough year with earnings nearing the million euro mark. Rock most notably profitted from Shane Lowry’s amateur win at Baltray but also finished tied second in Italy the previous week. Poor form of late but that wont bother the Englsihman whose stats show very good previous early August form. Has the game to challenge in a field short of stars on what will be a new course to all the field.
The 34 year old Scot has an eye for dramatic golf. Missed out on retaining his touring privileges by €586 in 2005 and €1,139 in 2006, yet has managed time and again to regain his playing rights through tour school. Drysdale looks to have cracked the code this year with second, third and fourth place finishes already practically guaranteeing him his playing rights next year. He has also finished in the top five in three of the last four years wherever he has played at the beginning of August!
Having enjoyed that winning feeling at Mayakoba in early 2008, Brian Gay has claimed two more titles in 2009. Gay first claimed the Verizon Heritage at Hilton Head where he won the event by ten strokes, finishing at 20-under par. The ten stroke victory is the one of the biggest wins in the PGA Tour's history. Then came a five stroke win at the St Jude Classic in June. Gay top tenned at the Buick last year with a blistering final round 65 and has actually finished second in this event also in 2002 where Tiger prevailed.
Last year was the odd one out for Jim Furyk in the Buick Open; he failed to finish in the top ten since he won in 2003. That string of illustrious results includes a second place finish again behind Woods in 2006 and a tied fifth in 2007. This year has so far been winless so far for Jim and that grip is getting dangerously close to his crotch at address. His second behind Tiger at Memorial threatened good things but aside from a tied seventh in the AT&T National, Furyk’s form has been uncharacteristically poor. Watch out for the one eyed staredown at Warwick Hills.
Woody Austin 33/1
After two top tens in June at Colonial and the St Jude Classic things seemed to be on the up for Woody Austin, but two consecutive missed cuts since have set him back. "Aqua-Man" as he is affectionately known, is a huge fan of Warwick Hills and has spent the past two weeks preparing for an assault here. Has shot in the 60's in 11 of his last 12 rounds on the course, resulting in being tied second in each of the last two years and tied seventh in 2006. Nerves are Austin's only enemy nowadays and at 44, the fire still burns but the odds have lengthened. Still worth an each way look.
Irishman Mark McNulty narrowly lost out to Loren Roberts in a playoff for the British Seniors Open title on Sunday, but is he really Irish? We know he was born and schooled in CBS Bindura, Southern Rhodesia (we think that’s near Clifden) but did McNulty prove his roots by dashing off after his round to catch John Mullane scoring the winning point for The Deise? And what his views are on the recommendations of the Board Snip Nua and does he also wonder why the Green’s Dan Boyle is always on the telly, even though he wasn’t elected? Or is McNulty so shallow as to claim to be Irish to bask in the wonderful Irish weather, to revel in our status as the world’s leading island economy, or to avail of our ridiculously generous tax breaks?
“I once ate six whoppers at the same time”
Mark Calcavecchia set a new PGA Tour record at last weeks RBC Canadian Open and no, it had nothing to do with consuming copious quantities of burgers whilst being restrained in a bunker. Calc reeled off nine consecutive birdies to beat the previous record of eight, which was shared by six golfers including Jerry Kelly. On the Saturday of the rain affected event in Canada, Calcavecchia, starting on the tenth opened with two pars, then birdied every hole from the third to the eleventh. Nine straight birdies. Nice way to work up an appetite!
In the wake of Tom Watson’s successful return from hip surgery the news has emerged in Sweden that Jesper Parnevik might have played his last round of the season. Folowing his top-20 finish at the SAS Masters, Parnevik told reporters that he will undergo hip surgery next week in a clinic at Vail, Colo. Now 44, former Ryder Cupper Parnevik has made just $58,000 on the PGA tour this year, including 9 missed cuts or withdrawls from 14 events. He even swapped his trademark upturned peak hat for something resembling that worn by a seventies pimp!
Last Wednesday I made the winding trip North to Enniskillen to witness the “The Lough Erne Challenge” between Rory McIlroy and Padraig Harrington on the spanking new Faldo designed Lough Erne layout. It was a throwback to those “Shell’s Wonderful World Of Golf” specials where the likes of Snead and diVicenzo would battle it out for five grand. No recession around Lough Erne however as the pot of €200,000 covered a sizeable mortgage and double the predicted number of paying customers (around 7,000) turned up to cheer on their hero es.
As well as revisiting the fabulous Lough Erne, my mission was to see first hand what all the furore about Padraig Harrington’s swing was about and to consider how it would compare to Rory’s. As the match progressed you could say that, in Formula One terms, there was only thousands of a second between the two. Where McIlroy had the edge on the fairway, Harrington ruled the greens. The fact that the format was strokeplay took any needle out of the match and both Harrington and McIlroy played with the air of respect and friendship that is bound to reap dividends in many Ryder Cup’s to come.
Rory McIlroy plays an approach during the Lough Erne Challenge.
First to Rory; he was on pole with the bookies and got off the line quicker with birdie on the first to Padraig’s stuttering bogey. McIlroy continued to be on fire off the tee and with his irons playing a flawless high hard draw throughout. I may be corrected on this, but I cannot remember him chipping more than once all day, as he cruised to an effortless four under par 68 and course record into the bargain. Of course, as the resorts touring pro Ror’s did have a slight advantage in having played some of the holes before. Privately however, he will be slightly disappointed in not having converted several of the makeable putts that I reckon could have seen around in 63. The day when they all drop is nigh.
And to Padraig who is playing the role of Lewis Hamilton these days, an undisputed champion who is just waiting for the next improvement package to bring him back into contention. On the day, I thought Padraig’s swing was excellent, very Hogan like with a firm right leg on the backswing. His ball flight was low and arrow straight and though he did let one or two shots stray off line he made up for it with a display of masterful chipping and putting that only belongs to major champions. Harrington finished on two under par, two shots behind McIlroy, but having wrung every last drop from his short game.
In match terms, the difference between the players was an errant drive from Harrington on the stunning stadium hole 10th which cost a shot. Indeed he could have easily finished one or two shots better but for an approach shot on the 11th costing double bogey, which cruelly skidded off the green into a hazard, when it looked to be stitched on landing. That left Padraig five behind in the match and though to his immense credit he birdied four of the next six, the match was won by the rock solid McIlroy.
Left: Platinum One’s Johnny O’Shea meeting and greeting during the Duel whilst Right: Lough Erne Golf Manager Andy Campbell holds off the rain and marshals the crowds.
There were lots of interesting cameo’s on the Lough also including the players landing (slightly comically) on a sea plane, the Henley-ish regatta in the water beside the tenth green and actor Jimmy Nesbitt popping up now and again dressed up like a golfer! Men of the Match included Platinum One event organizer, and Amir Khan lookalike, Johnny O’Shea, who deserved some sort of award for not only staging a top class event but for having the dodgiest pair of trainers I have ever seen worn on a golf course. I have heard singers being accused of having “no soul”, but O’Shea’s runners brought that phrase to a whole new level. Then there was Lough Erne Golf Manager Andy Campbell, who, though supposedly was being helped by a throng of plus-four clad marshals, single handedly produced an exhibition in crowd control not witnessed since Charlton Heston’s Moses parted the waters in “Ten Commandments”. Divine intervention or not, Lough Erne’s “Duel On The Lough” proved a fantastic success to be remembered for years to come by all who witnessed it.
Full name Stewart Ernest Cink
Birthplace: Huntsville, Alabama
Height 6 ft 4 in
Weight 14.6 stone
Nationality United States
Residence Duluth, Georgia
Professional wins 13
Stewart Cink, the 2009 British Open Champion was born in Huntsville, Alabama. After attending college at Georgia Tech in Atlanta, Cink turned professional in 1995. The following year he won the Mexican Open and three events on the developmental Nike Tour. The full PGA tour beckoned in 1997 where Cink claimed the Canon Greater Hartford Open in his rookie season. Although he also won the 2000 MCI Classic it wasn’t until 2004 that Cink’s star really began to rise. That year he had a fifth-place finish on the money list with wins at the MCI Heritage and at the WGC-NEC Invitational. There followed a four year barren spell before Cink again tasted victory in June 2008 at The Travelers Championship. An experienced Ryder Cupper, Cink is extremely popular amongst his fellow pro’s both sides of the Atlantic. Marks his ball with a cross as a symbol of his devotion to his faith. Following his playoff victory over Tom Watson he was greeted by wife Lisa and sons Connor and Reagan.
What’s In Stewart’s Bag
One hundred metres from my house are the front gates of Ashford Castle in Cong, County Mayo. Through those gates is hidden a wonderful little nine hole course, which, during the 70’s and 80’s, played host to some of world’s most famous figures and golfers. There sits a plaque on the tee box of the 321 yard third hole, in honour of Tom Watson. On his way to winning the 1983 Open in Birkdale, Watson stayed in Ashford and practised on the course. The first time he reached the dog leg third he asked his caddy how to play the hole. “Hit it out straight with a fairway wood, you’ll be left with 150 odd yards to the green”, was the advice. Watson then asked for a direct line from the tee to the green and was reluctantly shown. Disregarding all cautionary advice, Watson unleashed a towering hard drawing drive over the dense forest that flanks the hole. The ball landed ten feet from the hole and Watson duly obliged by rolling it in for a two. The hole was named “Watson’s Deuce” and that plaque commissioned as a lasting reminder of the feat and the man.
What a week it was. Two instalments back, we discussed the real possibility that an older pro could actually go ahead and win Turnberry and just last week we plotted out exactly why Tiger Woods could not and would not triumph. Little did we know then, that both debates were to prove prophetic. Well, sort of.
Okay Tom Watson did not win the Claret Jug, but he won the hearts and minds of a whole new generation of golfers that have never before seen the great man in action on the links. They say no-one ever remembers the runner-up, but I think they will make an exception whenever the 2009 British Open is recalled.
When Watson topped the leaderboard on Thursday evening the general consensus was “Isn’t that lovely to see the old Champ have his day in the Sun”. On Friday evening, the five-time champion had wobbled and recovered before reaching the sanctuary of the clubhouse still leading his peers. Then came the Watson warning shot across the bows of the field; when asked by the Beeb’s Hazel Irvine “Do you think you can win this thing?”, Watson contorted his furrowed features into a glowing smile before answering “I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t.” On Saturday evening the impossible dream was only one sleep away from becoming a reality. Young Tom had done it in the 70’s and Old Tom was on the brink of glory in the Naughties. His winning threatened to be not only the biggest story ever in golf, but the greatest ever in sport. And though Watson lost in the playoff to the deserving Stewart Cink, he did himself proud throughout the final round, to the point that he even had a putt on the final green to realise the dream. There was no final round collapse, no jitters over short putts, no being enveloped by the peleton. Short of winning, what more could you wish for.
Watson’s efforts will do an enormous amount globally for the game of golf. We’ve already heard that Seve, inspired by Watson’s performance in Turnberry, has vowed to return for the next Open in St. Andrews. Older players the world over can take heart in the reality that age need not be the barrier to success that younger people would like us to believe. Even golf in Ireland will benefit; Watson is a huge fan of golf on our shores and when pressed has always cited Ballybunion as his favourite ever course (an assertion I fully agree with) and Cink prepared for his win in the fabulous Doonbeg. Congrats Stewart and well done Tom for giving us one the greatest majors ever.
Dr. and The Medic: Guiding finger
You are having a hard time putting straight along your line or have the yips.
Try changing your grip to alter the way you are perciving the motion or feeling in your arms as you make contact with the ball.
A good drill to help you focus on putting straight down your target line is to simply point your forefinger down the shaft. Do not think about making contact with the ball. Instead, focus on pointing your finger along your line to almost tell the ball to where you want it to go. Place the forefinger of your trailing hand so that it is pointing down the shaft as you putt. Use it to help you guide the putter through the ball as you putt. As you finish the putt think about pointing your finger towards the hole.
The Doc’s Rules Quiz
Do you really know the rules of golf? Try these questions and text your answers to 087-3140467. The winner will receive a Kartel shirt as worn by Paddy Harrington!
Question 1 – True or False: A player is entitled to free relief from a burrowing animal hole in a water hazard
Question 2 - True or False: A player applies chalk to the face of his wedge as he thinks that will generate more spin. There is no penalty.
Question 3 - True or False: No penalty is incurred if the player accidentally causes his ball to move in the process of removing loose impediments on the putting green.
Last weeks answers
Question 1 – True or False: In a Stableford competition, at the par 5 2nd hole, Tony gets a gross 5, net 4, for 3 Stableford points. By mistake he records a gross 5 for 4 Stableford points. Tony is disqualified for recording more points than he is entitled to. Answer: False
Question 2 - True or False: A player may only remove loose impediments on his line of putt by picking them up or by brushing them aside with his hand or a club. Answer False
Question 3: True or False: A player may clean his ball whenever it is lifted under a Rule that requires its replacement. Answer: False
Congrats to the winner Adrian McIntyre who wins a classy Kartel shirt compliments of Golfstyle Galway.
Lest we be accused of always featuring the newest equipment, try the Big Bertha Fusion FT-3 on for size. There have been newer models introduced since which means the FT-3 can be snapped up for a fraction of its original selling price. Why do you need one? Read the on-line reviews, the average mid handicap club golfer can get as much as 40 yards extra distance. You’ll get launch, power and forgiveness that’ll warm you all the way down to your toes at a fraction of last years price. In Henrik Stenson’s bag and could be in yours for around €110 if you look around.
Bet Your Balls-
odds thanks to
Barsebäck G & CC
23 Jul 2009 - 26 Jul 2009
The diminutive Dane battled back from a disastrous second round 76 in Turnberry, to finish in the top 30, once again proving what a gritty competitor he is. Last years Volvo Masters winner has kept his form into 2009, winning the Open de Andalucia back in March. Kjeldsens three top-tens in his last five events has seen him pass the million euro earnings mark again this season and has him poised to challenge again for end of season honours. A big fish in a small pond this week.
Peter Hanson 14/1
For every Mayo –Galway classic there has to be a Sligo-Kerry borefest and in much the same way the SAS Masters has the worst possible slot, following as it does, the British Open. Back to defend is home boy Peter Hanson who muscled it around Arlandastad in impressive fashion to edge out Nick Dougherty. The fact that this years staging is at Barseback wont bother Hanson, he also finished second there in 2004.
For German Marcel Siem, the European Tour is a constant battle for survival. After winning the World Cup with Langer in 2006, Siem lost his tour card in 2007, before impressively winning it back at tour school in San Roque. 2009 has followed much the same pattern as the other years for Marcel, amongst countless poor results, his best results were two top sixes on Spanish soil. Did well on the weekend at the last SAS masters staged on the Barseback course in 2006, to finish fourth and he’ll the eyeing this event to move away from the relegation zone in the race to Dubai.
RBC Canadian Open
Monday Jul 20 – Sunday Jul 26, 2009
Last week was a real watershed week for Luke Donald. It reaffirmed him as a real major contender after a wrist injury seriously threatened his career last year. Rock steady in the States this season, only missing two cuts in 14 events. This week’s Glen Abbey venue hosts the event for the second time and it is certainly not a bombers playground. The emphasis this week will be on putting with a 15 under projected winning score. Right up the buoyant Donald’s alley.
If last week didn’t take too much out of Marino he should bring his promising form back to Canada this week. Granted, he faded from the top of the leaderboard to card rounds in the mid 70’s at the weekend in The Open and slip way down to 38th, but The Canadian Open will be a return to what Marino knows best, namely target golf. Finished tied for third last year behind winner Chez Reavie.
The man who brings the phrase “Pushy Parenting” to a whole new level. Sean O’Hair did the equivalent of “divorcing” his father in 2002. Marc O'Hair sold the family business to invest $2 million in his boy's professional future and allegedly subjected Sean to the kind of physical and psychological regimen that would make most drill sergeants blush. Bogeys in junior events were punished by press up, and long runs. Sean was made sign a contract granting his father a cut of all his earnings. Since he broke free, Sean has been enjoying increased success on the PGA tour. Winner in Quail Hollow in March and tied third in last years Canadian Open.
Golf in The Olympics
It looks like golf could be an Olympic Sport as soon as 2016. The next key date for the international golf federations bid to have golf included in the Summer Games is August 13th. That's the date when the International Olympic Committee executive board will recommend two of the seven sports, including golf, that hope to be included in the 2016 Summer Games. International Golf Federation Global Ambassadors Annika Sorenstam and 2010 European Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie made a presentation to the IOC in Switzerland recently and 16 of the games top names including Tiger and Jack Nicklaus have made a video presentation, which has also been shown the board.
Last week we bigged up the chances of the 16 year Italian sensation Matteo Manassero and he didn’t disappoint. The British Amateur champion shot a one under under 69 in the final round and won the silver medal as we predicted. Paired with Tom Watson for the first two rounds Manassero managed the tricky Turnberry links to finish tied for 13th. In finishing two over, the teenager from Verona became the youngest winner of the silver medal for amateurs since it was introduced 60 years ago. Manassero made five birdies in his final round and would have finished with an even better score if he hadn't bogeyed two of the last three holes. Watch this Italian space.
Fan’s of Shell’s Wonderful World Of Golf will get their very own Irish version tomorrow in Enniskillen. Padraig Harrington and Rory McIlroy go mano-a-mano for €300,000 at the opening of the fabulous new Faldo designed Lough Erne Golf Resort. The format is 18 holes strokeplay, with the winner pocketing the cash. As Ray Foley says on the radio “Ooooo, no recession on around here!” Check out the Lough Erne website for ticketing info.
While the cats away the mice will play and so it turned out at the U.S. Bank Championship when journeyman Bo Van Pelt won for the first time on the PGA Tour in 229 starts. A three foot birdie on the second hole of a sudden death playoff with John Mallinger got it done for the nervous Van Pelt. It was a weekend for tall men with Van Pelt, like Stewart Cink standing six feet four inches. Bo’s Dad, Bob Van Pelt played American Football with the Philadelphia Eagles. And no, ladies, Bo Van Pelt is not a South African porn star!
Though world number two Phil Mickelson sat out his first Open Championship since 1993 last week, he was extremely happy in the knowledge that wife Amy’s breast cancer has not spread to her lymph nodes. He said on his web site that the news "improves our chances of beating this in the short and long term.” Mickelson's mother is also undergoing cancer treatment. After surgery, the family is awaiting pathology results.