Under The Microscope: Justin Rose
Born: 30 July 1980 (age 29)
Bithplace: Johannesburg, South Africa
Height: 6 ft 3 in
Weight: 179 lb (81 kg; 12.8 st)
Residence: Orlando, Florida, U.S.; London, England
Turned professional: 1998
Professional wins 7
Justin Rose was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and moved to the United Kingdom at the age of five. Rose burst onto the golfing scene at The Open Championship in 1998 at Royal Birkdale. The then 17 year old amateur holed a dramatic shot from the rough for birdie on the 18th to finish tied for fourth. He controversially turned professional the following week, and promptly missed 21 cuts in a row. Four years later however Rose won his first professional event, the Dunhill Championship in South Africa and followed this up with three further victories in that year. In 2005 Rose announced that he would concentrate mainly on the U.S. tour but did continue to play a quota of European tour events culminating in winning the European Tour Order of Merit title in 2007 with victory at the Volvo Masters, which he won in a playoff.
Rose’s string of poor results this year has been widely attributed to a rift with swing coach Nick Bradley and a split was announced at the Open. Commenting on the split Rose said “Nick Bradley, my coach, is not here with me this week. He and I have mutually agreed to call it a day. We felt that we had reached a slight stalemate and neither was as effective with the other as we would have liked. Nothing was happening.” There were signs of a return to form with a good showing at last weeks Wyndham Championship.
Rose married long-time girlfriend Kate Phillips, a British former international gymnast, in December 2006. They have a house in Lake Nona, Florida, and a riverside flat in the London suburb of Putney. Kate gave birth to their first child, a son named Leo, on 21 February 2009.
What’s In Justin’s Bag
Remember last week’s ‘bloggy’ where we mused about golf’s inclusion in the Olympics? Little did I realize at the time, but it was about to create a debate that was shake the old establishment of RTE to the core. Well, tickle it anyway for about 15 minutes. Your loving Spindoctor was asked to take part in a debate on golf in the Olympics on non other than RTE’s Pat Kenny morning show.
As it turned out, the discussion was to centre on two questions, should golf be in the Olympics and, wait for it, is golf actually a sport or is it just a game (like tiddly winks or bridge) ? Pat Kenny was joined in the studio by Gerry Kiernan (the marathon guy) and on the line by sports writer David Walsh.
After asking me to explain the possible format golf was to take in the Olympics Pat got down to the hard question of does golf deserve a place there? I replied that any sport which empowers kids to get off their bums and leave the Nintendo or the X-box down would be good for the games. As to whether golf would have the mass appeal of the likes of beach volleyball or the pommel horse, I wasn’t so sure!
As it turned out, Gerry Kiernan wasn’t in favour of having golf in the Olympics. Gerry’s criteria for eligible Olympic sports seemed to involve varying degrees of pain like running around a track 15 times or propelling yourself up over a little plastic pole using a big long plastic pole. A game like golf where the likes of Miguel Angel Jimenez can show up with a cigar and a glass of Rioja just wasn’t deserving of a gold medal. Surprisingly Pat agreed wholeheartedly.
So golfers with big bellies weren’t sportsmen asserted the lads. Yep, by that rationale, that big 22 stone American shot-putter CJ Hunter couldn’t possibly have been a sportsman either. Sure he was twice the size of Jimenez. Wasn’t he married to the, er, multi gold medal winning sprinter Marion Jones for a while? I wonder whatever became of both of them? Oh yes, I remember now.
Hunter and Jones: Two fine athletes!
Pat then proposed something to the effect of, how could a 59 year old man like Tom Watson be considered a sportsman? Before I had a chance to blow my top, David Walsh blew his and rightly berated the boys for daring to belittle Watson’s achievements. “Off the Ball”, this was not! I was beginning to feel like a duck in the Donnybrook silly season.
My parting comments were an attempt to embrace us all under the banner of sport. Some sports, like marathon running require a huge amount of physical effort whereas others like golf require a huge degree of skill. To say both are not sports and their participants not sportsmen would be disingenuous in the extreme.
And so the debate will rage on for another seven years. When golf returns to the Olympics in 2016, a gap of 112 years since its last appearance will be bridged. On that occasion 74 Americans, battled 3 Canadian’s for gold and guess who won? Yes Canada’s George Lyon took his place on the rostrum alongside the barbell swingers and choral singers that contested those St. Louis games.
Dr. and The Medic: Between Two Clubs
You cannot decide between two clubs.
For a high handicap player, you will want to use the longer club, choke down on the grip, and take a full swing. Try a knockdown shot if you are a low handicap player.
Place the ball back in your stance a little. Use the longer club and choke down on the grip as the higher handicap player would. However, take a shallower swing for the knockdown shot. Do not take a full finish. This is because you want to keep the club and the ball low to the ground. To help you keep the clubhead low after impact, focus on extending your arms as you would do with your driver. This shot can be harder than it seems; so, remember to practice it before playing it on the course.
The Doc’s Rules Quiz
Question 1: True or False - In a foursomes competition partners may carry both sets of clubs in one bag, provided that each player uses only his own clubs
Question 2: True or False - A player is allowed five minutes to search for his original ball and five minutes for his provisional ball even though they are lost in the same area.
Question 3- After reaching the putting green, a player places his clubs near the next tee. An opponent's golf cart accidentally strikes the player's clubs, breaking several of them. Is the ruling-
(a) The clubs were not damaged in the normal course of play and, hence, the player is not entitled to use them in their damaged state, repair them or have them repaired, or replace them or
(b) In equity, the player may use the clubs in their damaged state, repair them or have them repaired, or replace them.
Last weeks answers:
Question 1: True or False- A ball to be dropped under the Rules must be dropped by the player or his partner. False (only by player)
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. True
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. False (no point earned, no issue)
Congrats to last weeks winner Barry Rhodes, Foxrock, Dublin who wins a classy Kartel shirt compliments of Golfstyle Galway.
Introducing the TaylorMade Rescue TP 2009 as used by Y.E. Yang to nail his second to the 18th in Hazeltine and subsequently slay the Tiger. This new offering differs from the regular TaylorMade Rescue 2009 by offering the same TaylorMade adjustable head technology that is included on the R9 driver and fairway woods, and the Aldila Voodoo VS8 Graphite Shaft. With an extremely low centre of gravity for an easy launch, and Ultra Thin Wall technology for greater weight distribution, this is a club every golfer needs to save a shot from the rough. Available for €225 from Golfstyle, Galway.
Bet Your Balls-
odds thanks to Boylesports
Johnnie Walker Championships at Gleneagles
The Gleneagles Hotel
27 Aug 2009 - 30 Aug 2009
Søren Hansen 14/1
Dane Soren Hansen makes his return to the European Tour after his appearance at the USPGA at Hazeltine. Although he didn’t feature there, Hansen will consider it a successful major season with top tens at the US and British Opens. Although still to register a victory this year, Soren lies 19th in the race to Dubai thanks mainly to four top tens in his last seven outings. Narrowly missed out here in 2005 where he was pipped at the post by Paul Casey.
Bradley Dredge 28/1
Until last week Bradley Dredge had not featured in a European Tour top ten since January. His fortunes seemed to have changed though with a strong putting performance at Kennemer. The Welshman is a perennial performer at Gleneagles. His tied seventh last year could have so much better but for a disappointing final round of 73. In 2005 Dredge was in a four way tie for second behind Emanuele Canonica.
Martin Erlandsson 50/1
Even with a bogey six on his card Sweden's Martin Erlandsson equalled the Kennemer course record with a seven under par 63 on the final day of last weeks KLM Open. Erlandsson will be hoping his good form can continue at Gleneagles where he tied for third in 2007 when Marc Warren was the victor. The Swede has performed well over the early Summer period in the last three years to comfortably retain his card but this year he lies in the precarious position of 122nd approaching the back end of the season. An each way shot.
Liberty National · Jersey City, NJ
Sergio Garcia 28/1
Sergio went form hero to zero last week at the Wyndham. Three consecutive birdies early on Sunday saw him hold a two shot lead before his putter ran cold and took three bogeys in the next three holes. Finished in a tie for fourth, only his second top ten of the year but as Padraig Harrington might advise, you rarely come off a run of poor form (Garcia is 89th on the FedEx list) and win. It takes time to get mentally adjusted to being up there and closing the deal. Let’s hope Garcia continues his form into this week, he tied for second also last year at Ridgewood. There may a problem however in the form of a Tiger loose in the field
Kevin Sutherland 80/1
The Barclays represents the start of the 2009Fed Ex Cup Playoffs. The event is moving from last years Ridgewood venue to the Liberty National Golf Course in New Jersey. One man who brings form into the event is Kevin Sutherland who finished tied for fifth last year despite being the only player in the top ten to shoot over 70 in round one. Over the past few seasons Sutherland seems to find late season form; he finished tied for second behind Vijay in last years staging. An each way punt.
Brandt Snedeker 50/1
He was the name on everyones lips coming in to Major season but it has been a year of ups and downs for Snedeker. Twelve missed cuts in 20 events including three in his last seven starts suggests something seriously amiss but despite all that it is still fair to say when he’s good he is very good. Of the four cuts he has made recently, Snedeker has always finished in the top five including last week at the Wyndham where he only lost out by two shots. One to watch if he’s around for the weekend!
With his win at the USPGA, Y.E. Yang earned himself a spot on his first Presidents Cup team. The matches between the USA and International teams will be played from October 8-11 at Harding Park in San Francisco. The Americans have not lost the Presidents Cup against the International team in 1998, and hold a 100% record at home. The International team has Ogilvy, Singh, Villegas, Goosen, Els, Cabrera, Weir, Allenby, Yang and Tim Clark. Villegas and Yang will be playing for the first time. Captain Greg Norman has a further two picks. Fred Couples’ American team consists of Woods, Mickelson, Stricker, Perry, Johnson, Cink, O'Hair, Kim and Leonard. U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover needed a birdie over the final three holes at the USPGA to secure a spot on the Presidents Cup team, but finished with a bogey and now has to wait for a captain’s pick.
Baby Pink for Ross
Scotty Too Hotty! Maybe it’s one of David Howell’s spares. It’s long enough.
Englishman Ross Fisher received a present from famous putter maker Scotty Cameron during his recent visit to Akron, Ohio. The one-off Newport special came embossed with the words “Eve Rose Fisher, 25/7/09, 8lbs 12oz’s” and features baby pink grip and matching teddy bear head cover. During the British Open, Ross had said that if wife Jo went into labour he would leave Turnberry mid-round, if need be to attend Eve's birth. In the event baby eve didn’t arrive until six days after, plenty of time for Ross to paint the spare room pink!
Hansen Test Drive
Soren Hansen is known as one of the best iron players in the game. His Titleist 670 muscle back irons have been in his bag for years and he’s not one to change on a whim. A recent visit to the Titleist testing facility at Fairhaven Massachusetts however threw up some exciting results for the Dane. Testing the new 710 CB and MB irons, Hansen immediately produced Formula One style telemetry which included some 200 yard plus five irons. At the end of the session Hansen remarked “there’s nothing like a new set of irons” and had them packaged up “to go”. I wonder did he think about that €60 Ryanair handling fee for sporting goods!
It has been a torrid year for female touring professional golfers, with fixture changes and sponsor pullouts on a regular basis. None of that seemed to matter at the Solheim Cup, where the United States team hooted and hollered, their way to a 16-12 victory over a brave Europe. The event at Rich Harvest Farms in Chicago was attended by a huge and sometime raucous crowd. It all bodes well for the next instalment, which takes place in two years time at Killeen Castle in Dunsany. It remains to be seen whether an Irish player makes the Europe side but teenage sensations Lisa and Leona Maguire from Cavan took another positive step in that direction by appearing on the European Team at the Junior Solheim Cup in Aurora Illinois also held last week.
Christina Kim: A Couple Of Cans Short Of A Six-Pack?
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.