August 2009

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Under The Microscope: Peter Hedblom

peter hedblom Last weeks Johnnie Walker winner Peter Hedblom was introduced to golf at the age of six by his father, Olle, who remains his coach. He was Swedish Boys champion at 16, and the following year he won the 1987 Doral Junior Classic to promise a rapid rise to the top. Won three times on Challenge Tour within 18 months in the early 1990s but it took six visits to the Qualifying School to establish himself on The European Tour at the start of 1994. Before his venture into golf, he was actively involved in ice hockey. He took up ice hockey when he was six years old and broke his leg playing the game in 2001. This mishap came about when he participated in a yearly ice hockey game for golfers. Peter was granted a medical exemption after missing a sizeable proportion of the 2002 season following sustaining this injury.

Peter turned professional in 1988 and now has three European Tour victories to his name - the 1996 Moroccan Open and – after an eleven year winning drought - the 2007 Maybank Malaysian Open - a European Tour event which is co-sanctioned with the Asian Tour and last weeks Johnnie Walker title. Peter came to within a whisker of successfully defending his Maybank Malaysian Open title in 2008 only to lose out in a play-off to India’s Arjun Atwal. It was the third play-off defeat of his career; the previous two occasions both being in 2003. His playoff woes continued two weeks ago at Kennemer where Simon Dyson emerged victorious but his good play was a portent of things to come at Gleneagles. Desperate to avoid a playoff there with Martin Erlandsson, Peter held his putting nerve to sink a four footer on the last for victory.

What’s In Peter’s Bag


Bloggy Underfoot: All The Single Figure Ladies

clip_image006I found myself being pleasantly surprised by the recent staging of the Solheim Cup. It was far more compulsive viewing than the Wyndham Championship, my usual Sunday night entertainment. Women’s golf globally has been put through the ringer this year, much more so than the men’s game. The biennial ladies version of the Ryder Cup had also lost its lustre, having become something of a victory parade for the Americans with the last European win coming in 2003.

On paper the European Team were to be thrashed. Many commentators suggested that the Europeans were in desperate need of assistance from the “rest of the world”; they reckoned Ochoa and Co. were needed to relieve the by now battle weary Laura Davies and revive the franchise. As it panned out Europe were tied with the USA heading into the singles and for most of Sunday were in control of half the matches. The michelle-wie_1467614cfact they lost by four points in the end hardly did them justice.

Even though it is ostensibly a team event there will always be a “man of the match” or more correctly “lady of the match” and that went to Captain’s pick Michelle Wie. Her three wins, no losses and one half performance was the best by any American player at the Solheim Cup, and her singles victory against Helen Alfredsson (after falling three down half way through) was the stuff of a champion. Now more than ever the women’s game needs a Woods like figure and Wie finally looks like she can take on the mantle.

Killeen castleSo is the Solheim Cup significant? Absolutely it is. In fact the next instalment will take place on one of Ireland’s newest yet finest courses, Killeen Castle in Dunsany, Co. Meath. If last weeks event put the amazing Rich Harvest Farm layout on the map, the Jack Nicklaus designed Killeen Castle will blow them away. The event will not only showcase the host course, but all our finest courses. They say we will be emerging from the recession in 2011, the perfect time to shine the spotlight on Ireland and kickstart our golf tourism industry all over again.

Read our Killeen Castle Course Review By Clicking On The Link Below

Now I don’t profess to know much about the women’s game but I just wonder at what stage of their progression will the clip_image008prodigiously talented Maguire twins be at come the 2011 Solheim Cup? Lisa and Leona continued their path to stardom by taking part in last week’s Junior Solheim Cup in Aurora, Illinois. So far their inevitable rise towards the professional ranks has been carefully managed by their parents and handlers. At their age Michelle Wie was already burdened with the “Next Tiger” tag, something I’m sure the girls and their parents would be keen to avoid. If the 2011 Solheim Cup comes around too quickly for the girls, so be it, Ireland and Killeen Castle will still do it proud. And if the Ryder Cup was anything to go buy, Christina Kim wont be hootin’ and hollerin’ for too long in Dunsany.

Dr. and The Medic: Tight Greenside Lie


clip_image010You have a tight lie about 35 feet away from the green with a bunker between you and the green.


With a tight lie this close to the pin you will want to make sure you do not take the club back too steep.


Select a high lofted wedge. Set a little more weight on your leading leg and take a slightly open stance. Keep the shaft even with the ball. This is because if you lean the shaft ahead of the ball at set up, it will encourage too steep of a swing. If you do come in too steep, you will hit it a little fat and risk landing it in the bunker. You do not want a deep divot. So, soften your grip a little and avoid making too strong of a descending blow.

The Doc’s Rules Quiz

J999 ques ust for fun this week, have a go at our rules quiz. Questions from “999 Questions On the Rules of Golf”, by Barry Rhodes.

Q1: True or False- A player may brush aside sand in the area where he is about to drop his ball under the Rules.

Q2: True or False- As a player reaches the top of his backswing on a tee shot the ball falls off the tee. He completes his stroke topping the ball just five yards forward. There is no penalty and he must play the ball as it lies.

Q3: True or False- A ball is visible in casual water but a player cannot retrieve it. Unless the player can positively identify the ball as his he must treat his ball as lost outside of the casual water.

Last weeks answers:

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. Answer: True

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. Answer: False

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. Answer: B

Congrats to last weeks winner Paul Godwin, Tallaght, Dublin who wins a classy Kartel shirt compliments of Golfstyle Galway.

I Want One Of Those: New Cobra ZL Driver


Last week, Cobra gave their tour staff their new Zero Limits driver to test. Among the Cobra playing staff are Geoff Ogilvy, Ian Poulter and Camilo Villegas. Ogilvy was particularly taken by the new weapon and immediately replaced his old Cobra S9-1 (10.5°) with the new ZL (9.5) set 1° open with an Aldila RIP 80X shaft. "The club is easier to draw and easier to fade (than the S9-1)," he said of the new ZL. "But it's harder to hit it really wide." The ZL driver has a titanium face and body, but the crown is made from weight-saving carbon fibre. A weight plug has been positioned on the lower-back portion of the club to increase the moment of inertia, lower the centre of gravity and create a higher initial launch angle. The head can be set to three different face angles – 1° open, square or 1° closed. The new Cobra ZL should hit our shops in November.

Bet Your Balls-

odds thanks to Boylesports


Omega European Masters


Rory McIlroy: 11/1 

1 rory If there is one player in the field this week with unfinished business it’s Rory McIlroy. McIlroy, trying to become the third-youngest winner in European Tour history, took a four shot lead into the final round last year then missed a five foot putt for par at the 18th during regular play that would have given him the title. But worse was to follow as he then missed again from only about 18 inches at the second play-off hole against Jean Francois Lucquin. Rors lies third in the race to Dubai and needs a good putting week to contend.

Bradley Dredge: 25/1

1 bradley We may forgive Bradley his 31st place finish last week as our other pick Martin Erlandsson came good with a final round 62 for second place at 50/1. Dredge did well to make the cut at Gleneagles, following a sloppy first round 75 with a battling 67. Dredge loves Crans and is still a horse for this course. Won by eight shots in 2006 and nearly defended in 2007 finishing third.

Gary Orr: 60/1

1 orr Recurring back problems saw Orr gain a Medical Exemption category for his first nine events of the 2008 season, during which he was required to win €32,800 in prize money to keep his card. He duly obliged and went on to tie for third here in Switzerland. Finished with a 64 last week in Gleneagles to leapfrog the field and finish fifth. Known as a quiet journeyman, Orr is a prolific putter when in the mood and on a course where the average winning score is 14 under he could feature again this week.

Deutsche Bank Championship

Ernie Els: 22/1

1 ernie Okay Ernie hasn’t won for a while and many wonder if he will ever regain the form he had before his knee injury. There have been recent signs of form however. It all started at Jack’s place in July where Els recorded his first top-10 since January. He followed that with top-10’s in both the US and British Opens and performed brilliantly last week to tie second in New York. Tied for third in this event last year and PGA title number 17 surely isn’t far off.

Nick Watney: 66/1

Final round of the Zurich Classic won by Nick Watney, Sunday April 22, 2007. Watney pumps his fist in the air after sinking his final putt on 18. Big Nick Watney was out of the blocks early in the season, winning the Buick Invitational in February and then coming second to Phil Mickelson at the WGC-CA Championship. Before last week Watney had not top tenned in 11 events, which made his performance at Liberty National all the more encouraging. Watney will doubtless bring that confidence to Boston.

Camillo Villegas: 60/1

1 camilo It hurt Camillo to pull out last week and he will be itching to tee it up again in the playoffs in Boston. This time last year Villegas was battling it out with Vijay Singh for the Deutsche Bank title but a final round 73 for the Colombian as opposed to Vijay’s 63 saw him finish tied third. He went on however to win the following two playoff events last year which shows the measure of the man. A fit Camillo is sure to give you an each-way run for your fiver.

Tailored Shorts

My Left Foot- Martin Kaymer

broken foot Martin Kaymer’s bid to win the Race To Dubai was dealt a serious blow last week after a go-karting accident left him with two broken toes. The injury required surgery and is expected to keep Kaymer out of action for at least six weeks. "The operation went according to plan and we'll know more when he's seen an assessment specialist at home. It could be six weeks out but we expect quite a quick recovery with him being so young and fit," manager Lillian Jansson said. Kaymer, 24, still sits atop the Race To Dubai rankings following back-to-back French and Scottish Open victories and a sixth-place finish at the PGA Championship. Paul Casey, who is second on money list, is expected to return to action next week after three weeks out because of a rib injury.

Furyk’s Fluffs It

Jim Furyk’s performance at last week’s Barclays was tainted by the fact he was penalised four strokes during his third round. The penalty, imposed after Furyk discovered he had fluff15 in clubs in his bag on the second hole, resulted in two strokes being added to his score on each of the first two holes. Furyk was quick to divert blame for the penalty from his caddy, 61 year old, Mike “Fluff” Cowan. The offending club was a second 60° wedge Furyk had brought to the practice ground. The cost?  An estimated $131,000 were he to finish four shots better!  The incident brought back memories of Ian Woosnam’s angry reaction in the 2001 British Open at Royal Lytham where he was penalised two strokes after discovering a second driver in the bag on the second hole of his final round.

“Now where did I leave my glasses?”

Gory Rory

Rory McIlroy hasn’t been seen near a golf course lately because he’s doing one of the two most stressful things in life- moving house! In the process of settling in Theo the Labradoodle and unpacking boxes our hero managed to slice a chunk out of his finger, the third one on the left hand. Rors was getting his keys out of his pocket to cut open a box but sliced his finger instead! The good news is that the finger healed well and after a trip to Royal County Down to introduce it to JP his caddy, Rory is fit and ready to right all last year’s wrongs in Switzerland.

Paddy Watch

European Tour- Johnnie Walker C’ship

Finishing Position



Prize Money


Damien McGrane




Gary Murphy




Jonathon Caldwell




Gareth Maybin



Missed Cut: Shane Lowry, Peter Lawrie, Paul McGinley

US Tour- The Barclays


Padraig Harrington


It would have been one of the greatest playoffs in modern day golf, until Heath Slow-coach showed up and spoiled the party. We were seconds away from sudden death involving Tiger Woods, Padraig Harrington, Ernie Els and Steve Stricker. Are you kidding me? I would have paid Sky Box Office to see that. We reckon that Padraig Harrington would have won too; there was absolutely no water, ponds, lakes or drop zones around the 18th in Liberty National


Under The Microscope: Justin Rose

77177640SF046_Omega_MissionFull name:Justin Peter 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


Bloggy Underfoot: Is Golf Only A Game?

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!

hunter 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.

jones and hunter

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.

GolfStyle Logo 

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.

I Want One Of Those: Yang’s Winning Hybrid


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

Perthshire, Scotland

27 Aug 2009 - 30 Aug 2009

Søren Hansen 14/1

1 soren 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

1dredge-guiness 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

1Martin-Erlandsson-d1-Portugal_1350678 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.

The Barclays

Liberty National · Jersey City, NJ

Sergio Garcia 28/1

1 sergio 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

1 kevin suth 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

1 brandt 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!



Tailored Shorts

Presidents Cup Sides Settled

yang fist pump 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

ross fisher baby putter cover

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

08032009_Soren_9iron_impact_2 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!

Solheim Hope

pga_g_kim01_200 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

 1 hunter Full name: Hunter Myles 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


Bloggy Underfoot: Olympic Golf

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.

clip_image003So 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.

golf olympic ringsAccording 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!GolfStyle Logo

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.

I Want One Of Those: Segway X2 Golf

clip_image005Ah, 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

Kennemer G&CC

Zandvoort, Netherlands

20 Aug 2009 - 23 Aug 2009

Gareth Maybin 28/1

1 maybin 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.

Graeme Storm 22/1

1 storm  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.


Lee Slattery 45/1

1 slattery 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.


Wyndham Championship

Sedgefield Country Club · Greensboro, N.C.

Rich Beem 80/1

rich beem 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.

John Senden 35/1

1 senden 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!

Tim Clark 20/1

1 tim clark 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.

Tailored Shorts

How Good Is Rory?


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!

Solheim Cup

Solheim Cup Media Day wcQZL4cKrIRl 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

paddy sunday

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.

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