Under The Microscope: Hunter Mahan
Born: May 17, 1982 (age 27)
Height 5 ft 11
Weight 79 kg (12.5 st)
Nationality: United States
Residence: Plano, Texas
Turned professional 2003
Current tour(s) PGA Tour (joined 2003)
Professional wins 2
Hunter Myles Mahan was born in Orange, California. A successful amateur Mahan went to Oklahoma State University, where he was a two-time Big 12 Conference Player of the Year and a two-time first-team All American. He looked up to David Duval, Ernie Els, and Tiger Woods as role models for his game. Mahan was the runner-up at the U.S. Amateur Championship in 2002, in which he was defeated by Ricky Barnes 2 & 1. He won the Haskins Award in 2003 for outstanding collegiate golfer.
In 2003, still as an amateur, Hunter entered the Masters where he finished tied for 28th. He decided to forego his last season of college eligibility to turn pro at 20 and promptly earned a PGA Tour card for the 2004 season through Q-school. His first PGA Tour victory, which came at the 2007 Travelers Championship elevated him into the World’s top 100 and though he hasn’t won since, has climbed to 24th in the rankings. Hunter became a household name in Europe in 2008 as the architect of the USA’s Ryder Cup victory. Mahan played all four Friday and Saturday matches winning three points by winning two matches and halving the other two. Against Paul Casey in the Sunday singles, Mahan maintained his unbeaten run by gaining a half in what was a titanic battle of 12 birdies.
Mahan cites the first thing he learned about golf as, "Practice is the only way to get better."
What’s In Hunter’s Bag
The big news last week was Women’s Boxing’s likely accession to the Olympic Games and the possibility of Katie Taylor pummelling her way to gold. She’s won 39 bouts in a row you know, is only 22 and also plays soccer for Ireland! Maybe a shade less interesting to Irish boxing fans was the fact that at meeting the IOC also paved the way for golf to be an Olympic sport in 2016.
So is it to be Tiger and another United States gold medal to add to the others they will win in on the pommel horse and the parallel bars, or will it be Padraig doing a “Carruth” on top of the podium? If Danny Lee wins, will the Australian flag or the Korean flag be raised? And who will Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell represent, the cross or the harp? Maybe we are getting a little ahead of ourselves here, assuming that the pros will embrace the Summer games. Being that they already have four majors and the TPC event, would they have any respect for the Olympic Tournament? What comes to mind here is tennis, which itself has it majors and made a comeback to the Olympics in 1988. For me it has been an Olympic sized let down, with top seeds having little or no interest. I doubt 2004 winner Nicolas Massu from Chile would agree with me, but there you go.
Would it not be altogether fairer to allow the top two amateurs from each country the chance to fight fairly for Olympic gold? Surely this is closer to the Olympic ethos and ideals than letting the already mega rich touring pros sweep in and out of town for another week of glory. The dream of Olympic gold to a young kid whacking a ball around the dunes of Conemara would be a convoluted one; first become a top amateur, turn pro, qualify for a major tour, earn enough money to climb the World rankings to qualify for the Summer Games and then be on form to win the damn thing! And sadly that’s what how it looks like panning out. The IOC’s proposed format for the games includes a field of 60 players using the World Golf Rankings as a method of determining eligibility. The top 15 world-ranked players would be eligible, regardless of the number of players from a given country. Beyond the top 15, players would be eligible based on world ranking, with a maximum of two eligible players from each country that does not already have two or more players among the top 15.
According to these rules and using the current world rankings, if the Olympics were staged next week, the USA would have a total of six players in the field. That’s hardly the Olympic spirit is it? Ireland would at least have Padraig Harrington in there, but has no other qualifying player. Assuming Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell pull on the Great Britain tracksuit, they would also not qualify, as Casey and Westwood would own the GB spots by virtue of their world ranking. The process takes no account of form either. The Swedish team would consist of Henrik Stenson and a one-eyed Robert Karlsson who would still qualify as 17th on the rankings list.
So I’m giving it a guarded welcome, though I think the proposed qualification process smacks of Rolex watches under hotel room pillows. Maybe they will change the change the Olympic motto to “Swifter, Higher, Stronger especially if you’re an American in the Worlds top 15”.
Dr. and The Medic: Chopping Wood
You hit a lot of balls off of the toe as well as see a lot of pull hooks.
Try not to use an excessively steep swing. Check to make sure that you are not using a severe out to in swing path. This is usually due to starting your downswing with your arms. Think of this swing error the same way a person swings an axe. They take the axe up steeply; continue the momentum in the arms at the top to almost loop the club back down in a chopping action into the wood or in this case, cutting across the ball. This motion with the golf club will leave you with a low finish with the arms and body curled up a little.
Too many players focus only on the way they take the club back and return it to the ball. They forget to look to see how they are finishing the swing. Freeze your body as you finish the swing and use a camcorder or a friends help to analyse your finish position. If you have the low finish position, work on improving your arm extension during the follow through with a shallower swing style. Make sure you also work on synchronizing your arm and body movements throughout the entire swing.
The Doc’s Rules Quiz
Try these tougher teasers to see if you really know the rules of golf. Text your answers, name and address to 087-3140467. The weekly winner will receive a Kartel shirt as worn by Padraig Harrington with thanks to Golfstyle Galway!
Question 1: True or False- A ball to be dropped under the Rules must be dropped by the player or his partner
Question 2: True or False- A and B are to play C and D in a four-ball match, however A arrives just after B, C and D have teed off at the third hole. A is prohibited from joining the match until the fourth hole but A gives advice to B during the play of the third hole. There is no penalty.
Question 3: True or False- In a handicap Stableford competition, a competitor inadvertently returns his score card to the Committee with a score of 6 at the 11th hole when his score for the hole was actually 7. The 11th hole is a par 4 at which the competitor receives no handicap strokes. The player is disqualified.
Last weeks answers
Question 1 - A player makes a practice swing and accidentally moves his ball in play with his club. What is the ruling?
Is it (a) The player has made a stroke and must play the ball as it lies, Or (b) The player incurs a penalty of one stroke and must replace the ball. Answer: b
Question 2 – True or False: In match play, a Tony's ball lies on a bridge over a water hazard and he grounds his club. There is no penalty Answer: True
Question 3 - True or False: In stroke play, a player’s ball lies in a bunker. The player takes his stance and is just about to ground his club when the ball moves. The player incurs a one stroke penalty. Answer: True
Congrats to last weeks winner Tim Doyle, Killorglin, Kerry who wins a classy Kartel shirt compliments of Golfstyle Galway.
Ah, I wish the recession didn’t kick in when it did. I was 13% of the way to saving up for the Segway X2 Golf. This is the ingenious self balancing two wheeler first seen on Irish TV screens as the device used by the BBC camermen at the British Open. This golf model has a golf-bag carrier and a score card holder mounted in the center on the handle bars. They say it fits into a standard car but we reckon you’ll need a 1999 Ford Transit to move it around. With a top speed of 12.5 mph, it’s pretty nifty and has a range of 24 miles on one single battery charge. Available online for about the same price as the ’99 Transit.
Bet Your Balls-
odds thanks to
The KLM Open
20 Aug 2009 - 23 Aug 2009
Gareth Maybin 28/1
Its back to the bump and grind of the European Tour with a trip to the recession hit KLM Open. Darren Clarke is the defending champion and we are hoping for a return to form for the Dungannon man. The form dog is his Ballyclare comrade Gareth Maybin, who on his first year on tour, is already into the top-50 in the race to Dubai. Maybin looked to have the Czech Open in the bag before disaster struck with four holes to play. That performance was Maybin’s fourth top-10 in his rookie season.
The 2007 Open de France winner is quietly going about his business. An early season tied third finish in Andalucia was followed by some indifferent efforts but three top-15 finishes in his last five events have seen him climb to 39th in the rankings. Seemed to have discovered his putting touch in the Czech Republic climbing to fourth at the finish behind winner Oskar Henningsson. One of the few players in the depleted field that knows how to win.
The former high street clothes shop attendant graduated to the European Tour by virtue of winning the 2004 Challenge Tour. It has been a tough road on the big tour for the Englishman who struggles for consistency. In his bid to retain his tour card for next season, Slattery finished tied fourth at the SAS Masters and followed it with a tied 11th at the Czech Open. Having finished fourth at the KLM Open last year, Slattery will bring form and happy memories with him to Kennemer.
Sedgefield Country Club · Greensboro, N.C.
Shooting a 70 at Sedgefield is like shooting an 80 anywhere else in the world being as it is probably the easiest course on the PGA tour. That makes Rich Beem’s performance last year all the more remarkable when you consider he shot 70 in the first round. He closed with two successive rounds of 63 to scramble up the leaderboard and finish tied third. With all the pressure from the media regarding his 2002 Hazeltine PGA win firmly put to bed, Beem can get back to business at Greensboro and boy does he need it having not worked a weekend since June. A nostalgic long odds punt.
The 38 year old Aussie is having his best year on the PGA tour. This is the last scheduled event before the “playoffs” and Senden is sitting pretty in 28th in the standings. Senden has now clocked up five top-10’s this season including a tied second at The Buick Open behind Tiger. Performed well at this week’s venue last season also with three rounds of 66 helping him to a tied fourth finish. I predict a big Aussie finish to celebrate the return of Home and Away!
Somebody must have shown Tim Clark that Konica Minolta Slow-motion video of his leg action during a swing at the WGC in Firestone, because he dropped off the leaderboard like a two-day-old fly off a window. It was pretty scary stuff though, the five foot seven inch Clark actually has both feet off the ground at impact! Kind of like a Serena Williams serve only smaller. Let’s hope for good things this week for Tim like a repeat of his second place finish at Colonial. Arrow straight and a great putter, Clark tied for sixth here last year.
He flashed once on the radar at Hazeltine Aiport but other than that Rory McIlroy’s tied third finish at the USPGA went completely unnoticed. And all this with a putter that’s been permanently in the freezer. McIlroy’s ball striking was by far and away the best in the field at Hazeltine only two watch more putts rim the edge than a good night out in The George. Our statisticians reckon that if Rory had have holed 70% of his putts he missed inside six feet he would have won by three!
This week is the turn of the Ladies and the biennial Europe versus America scrap in the Solheim Cup. The USA are the hotter than hot favourites going into this staging at Sugar Grove, Illinois, having won the previous two encounters by four and three points respectively. The star studded USA team boasts names such as Creamer, Kerr, Gulbis and Wie whilst Europe are banking on favourites such as Laura Davies, Suzanne Peterson and recent major winner Catriona Matthew. The future of Irish ladies golf looks exciting too with the inclusion of Lisa and Leona Maguire in the Karin Coch’s Junior Solheim Cup side and the hosting of the 2011 event at Killeen Castle in Meath.
Hats Off Paddy
Lest we get too critical of Padraig Harrington’s PGA performance, let’s take a wee minute to review where he came from and how we actually did. After a year of swing changes, hard knocks and eureka moments, we think it pretty astounding that Padraig put in the kind of defence to his PGA crown that he actually did. Second at the WGC and top ten at the USPGA from absolutely nowhere a couple of weeks back ‘aint half bad. Minus that leak, pull, bone, duff quintoople, we could have been looking at a four time major winner. On such water-lined holes are majors won and lost. One thing is for sure, once Padraig has finished building that masterpiece of a swing, he will be unstoppable.
At half past eight he was Y.E., at half past nine he was ambassador for the rest of the golfing world and at half past eleven he became “Crouching Tiger”! What a breath of fresh air it was to see Y.E. Yang tear up, not only the script, but the entire golfing history book in slaying the Tiger. In winning the USPGA Championship, his first major, Y.E Yang became the first Asian to achieve that feat and in doing so, gave hope to every other golfer in the world. Tiger Woods' streak of 14 major wins after leading 54 holes is well and truly over. The truth is out there; you can enter the Tiger’s cage, prod him a couple of times, dangle raw meat in front of him and still emerge victorious. Nifty bit of bench pressing a tour bag too!
“Ah yes, the USPGA Championship and that great dance on the top of the steps in Minnesota. That was the moment, that was the iconic moment for America. People wanted to feel good and Y.E. Yang did it. It was a wonderful wonderful moment. People will say ‘Oh it’s a bit hokey’, but so what, life is hokey. Life is hokey.”
US LPGA star Anna Rawson obviously has it in for those doddery old rule makers in St. Andrews by clearly breaking the strict dress code of the R&A. Creamer pictured here at The Puck Fair in Killorglan on her way to playing 18 in Waterville also seems to have little regard for health and safety; her footwear is completely unsuitable and she risks breaking an ankle or even worse, damaging the green with those heels. I fear for the head of that driver too, it’s going to get scuffed on the road; sure those pro’s have no respect for their equipment- they get everything for free.
Under The Microscope: Luke Donald
Full name Luke Campbell Donald
Born 7 December 1977
Birthplace: Hemel Hempstead, Herts, England
Height 5 ft 9 in
Weight 73 kg; (11.5 st)
Residence Evanston, Illinois;
High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, UK;
Palm Beach Gardens, Florida
Spouse Diane Antonopoulos
Turned professional 2001
Professional wins 5
Luke Donald was born in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire. Luke and his brother Christian spent their formative years playing junior golf and both remain a team to this day as Christian now caddies for Luke. After a US collegiate application mix-up in which Stanford College (Tiger’s college) rejected him, Donald took a golf scholarship at Northwestern University in 1997, where he studied art theory and practice. He won the individual NCAA men's title in 1999, beating the scoring record formerly held by Tiger Woods.
Donald turned professional in 2001. His first win came at the rain-shortened Southern Farm Bureau Classic. In 2004 he won the Omega European Masters and the Scandinavian Masters on the European Tour. In the same year he was a member of the victorious European Ryder Cup team and also won the WGC-World Cup for England in partnership with Paul Casey. By early 2005 he was in the top twenty of the Official World Golf Rankings and his win in the 2006 Honda Classic moved him into the top ten for the first time. Soon afterwards he moved up to ninth and in January 2007 he moved up to seventh in the world.
Donald met his future wife, Diane Antonopoulos from Chicago, during his college years. The couple married on 24 June 2007 on Santorini, the Greek home island of Diane's family. Donald's longstanding interest in art is well documented. He lists John Constable and Leonardo daVinci among his favourite artists. In 2002, one of his oil paintings was auctioned by the PGA Tour for charity. He doesn't keep a sketchbook or doodle for kicks however. "I either decide to work on a painting for a few hours, or I don't paint at all," he says.
What’s In Luke’s Bag
With the final major of the year now upon us we are braced for another ear bashing from our esteemed Sky hosts as to the chances of hailing the next British major winner. It seems like an age since Nick Faldo strode to victory with his page boy hair-do and his purple Pringle knits and God knows the US based Englishmen Casey, Rose, Poulter and Donald should know the lie of the land over there by now. This major problem is one we don’t have to worry about since Padraig Harrington came good, but as time goes on, it’s getting more and more embarrassing for the English. The fact that Lee Westwood and Ross Fisher have gotten with kissing distance of the British and US Open’s this year before just falling short has once again raised this debate as to what exactly is blocking their route to success.
For me, it’s all about drive or rather lack of it. I remember as a young fellow watching Nick Faldo go through a two year process of swing building with David Leadbetter. He pioneered that strategy. He was driven. Tiger Woods took over a year to do exactly the same thing. The media called it the “Tiger Slump”, but Tiger wasn’t listening. He was busy being driven. Three time major champion Padraig Harrington has spent half this season remodelling his swing and the other half defending himself when questioned about it. He is driven.
What being “driven” looks like
One could argue that many of the current crop of English players just aren’t driven. Unlike the players of Faldo’s era who had to win to create their “brand”, today’s crop of players just have to get on tour to watch all the contracts come flooding in. They come under the title “six month millionaires” where they win a second rate event or two on the European Tour, emigrate to the US Tour and do the same there. They buy a house beside their mates in Florida, get a lovely little Tommy Hilfiger endorsement deal, a tidy little equipment contract worth a couple of million and exist happily ever after. For these the word “Driven” is used strictly to describe a means of getting from place to another in the most luxurious way possible. I personally think that players like Lee Westwood and Ross Fisher don’t fit into this category but I bet you know the gang that do. They may have a brand, but they certainly wont have a legacy.
The problem, as Dire Straits so aptly put it, is that it’s all about “Money For Nothin’” these days. Take a look down the leaderboard of any of the first three of this year’s majors and it becomes apparent. Do you remember how Steve Flesch did at Augusta? He came sixth and took home $180,000. And do you remember how Luke Donald did at The Open? He tied fifth and took home the same money. Neither were in contention at any stage and received little or no TV coverage whatsoever proving that it is possible as a top level touring professional to just coast along and pick up your cheque at the end of the week. When Tiger came onto the tour in 1996 the prize fund on the US Tour was $66 million, in 2009 it is (a recession busting) $277 million. Need I say more? So it’s back to the Sky studio and the chances of the Brits. And by the way guys, Rory McIlroy is Irish, not English!
You are always trying to improve some aspect in your game. This often causes tension when you are playing because you cannot stop thinking about the details in your swing.
Set aside practice time during the week and just before playing. Focus on what you are trying to fix in your swing at that time. Once you are getting ready to play your round, you need to change out of the practice mentality and switch into playing mode.
It is okay that your consciousness is in control while you are practicing. Work out any kinks in your swing at this time. As you are completing your practice time, you should focus on developing feel and sensitivity in your hands and arms. Swing the club with your legs and body supporting. Work up to the point that you will be able to allow your subconscious in control of the swing. This way when it is time for you to begin your round, you can play with feel and ease. Focus only on the picture of your shot in mind, using imagination and creativity during your practice swing. Keep only this picture in your mind as you set up to the ball and swing.
The Doc’s Rules Quiz
Try these tougher teasers to see if you really know the rules of golf. Text your answers, name and address to 087-3140467. The weekly winner will receive a Kartel shirt as worn by Padraig Harrington!
Question 1 - A player makes a practice swing and accidentally moves his ball in play with his club. What is the ruling?
Is it (a) The player has made a stroke and must play the ball as it lies.
Or (b) The player incurs a penalty of one stroke and must replace the ball.
Question 2 – True or False: In match play, a Tony's ball lies on a bridge over a water hazard and he grounds his club. There is no penalty
Question 3 - True or False: In stroke play, a player’s ball lies in a bunker. The player takes his stance and is just about to ground his club when the ball moves. The player incurs a one stroke penalty.
Last weeks answers
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. Answer: False
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. Answer: False
Question 3: True or False- A player is entitled to discontinue play if he believes there is danger from an electrical storm. Answer: True
Congrats to last weeks winner Martin Hayes, Pallaskenry, Limerick who wins a classy Kartel shirt compliments of Golfstyle Galway.
I Want One Of Those: New Ping G15 Driver
The very latest offering from Ping is the G15 driver. Designed to maintains ball speed on off-center hits more effectively than the G10, the G15 also spins the ball less than the G10 and launches it at a slightly higher angle, which theoretically should help increase carry. An external weight pad moves the center of gravity lower and deeper to improve launch conditions. The shaft of the Ping G15 has a balance point closer to the handle area, which allows more mass in the head without sacrificing the overall balance of the club. The result is increased ball speed across the entire face. Available for €299 in Golfstyle Galway.
Bet Your Balls-US PGA CHAMPIONSHIP
Odds thanks to
Hazeltine National GC
Chaska, MN, USA
13 Aug 2009 - 16 Aug 2009
Tiger Woods 6/4:
I really don’t like tipping Tiger but this time we just cant avoid it. Woods hunted down Richard Beem in swashbuckling style in 2002 only to come up short by a single stroke, the last time the USPGA was held at Hazeltine. Tiger really wants this badly and will be working hard this week on his driving accuracy. Five tour wins already this season and 70 overall, the thought of a year without a Tiger Major win is barely conceivable. If he drives it straight, he looks unstoppable.
Padraig Harrington 20/1:
Having seen Padraig play at Lough Erne last month, I wrote that it wouldn’t be long before his name sits on top of the leaderboard again. He has since had his “eureka” moment on the range and now armed with new swing and a putter that’s on fire, the trademark Harrington smile is bigger than ever. We know that Padraig can produce major victories without having a form-line in the build up, but his WGC form last week is a bonus. He certainly will not be giving up this trophy without a fight and performed well at Hazeltine in 2002, though hampered with a neck injury.
Ross Fisher 40/1:
Hazeltine has gone through some serious changes since staging the event in 2002 and they look like they could play into booming Ross Fisher’s hands. The landing areas of players drives from 2002 were charted and a massive program of work since undertaken to make each fairway more difficult. After tying for fifth at the US Open and contending at Turnberry keep an eye on the in-form man from Wentworth.
Hunter Mahan 33/1:
f you take the British Open where he missed the cut out of the equation, Hunter looks the real deal going into this week. Four top tens on the spin including tied sixth at the US Open and second at the AT&T. Tied for fourth at the WGC last week with a blistering final round 66. Mahan is highly regarded in the US and hotly tipped as a future major winner.
Angel Cabrera 66/1:
The Masters champion is back on the radar after a largely indifferent Summer. El Pato doesn’t usually give form indicators coming into majors so his impressive tied fourth at Firestone should be carefully noted. Cabrera is the one man in the field that’s not afraid of the Tiger and, when on form, he just seems to gobble up those long tree lined courses.
Justin Leonard 100/1:
Hazeltine can be a very windy course and there’s no better wind player than former British Open champion Justin Leonard. I recall Leonard was the only player in the third round to shoot under 70 in very windy conditions the last time the event was staged here and he actually lead the field by three strokes going into the final round. Unfortunately a final round 77 saw him tie for fourth, but he looks like he is the mood for another Hazeltine tilt with a nice performance at the WGC last week.
This weeks PGA championship venue Hazeltine is not only famous for being the site of Rich Beem’s vistory in 2002 but also for hosting the 1991 US Open where Payne Stewart beat Scott Simpson in a playoff. It has been 10 years since Stewart’s tragic death and this weeks return to the site of his first major victory will rekindle fond memories of the great man. A plaque dedicated to Stewart’s 1991 victory sits on the bridge at the signature 16th hole, where he made three straight one putts (the longest was 85 feet) on his way to securing the title.
The Great Hagen
The PGA Championship dates back to 1916 when it was contested as a 32 man matchplay event. The change to strokeplay was only made in 1958 to ensure a greater TV audience. Of course under matchplay rules the favourite could be beaten on day one, thus discouraging spectators, but it didn’t always turn out like that. The great Walter Hagen won five PGA championships, all in matchplay, including four in a row from 1924 to’27. No player won the PGA title in both matchplay and strokeplay. Hagen shares his record five wins with Jack Nicklaus.
Don’t expect a repeat of Rich Beem’s 10 under par winning total this week at Hazeltine. On a recent trip to the course Beem expressed his surprise at the increased difficulty injected into the course. Hazeltine has been lengthened by over 300 yards since 2002 and tee shot landing areas dramatically altered to provide a tougher test. Beem will be paired with Tiger Woods and Padraig Harrington for the opening rounds. Scot Richie Ramsey won the US Amateur title at Hazeltine in 2006 and it will also host the 2016 Ryder Cup. The Minnesota venue has the distinct honour of hosting the PGA Championship for the second time.
Japenese sensation Ryo Ishikawa will set the record for the youngest ever competitor at the PGA Championship this week. He’ll be nearly 17 years and 11 months when he tees off on Thursday, eclipsing Gene Sarazen’s mark of 19 years 7 months. The oldest winner of the event is Julius Boros who won in 1968 at 48 years at 4 months. That mark also still stands as the oldest winner of any major having survived threats from Kenny Perry and Tom Watson who lost Masters and Open playoffs.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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."