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.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
The Irish Examiner SpinDoctor Donal Hughes 11th Aug 2009. Luke Donald, Being “Driven”, The Tougher Rules Quiz!, Bet Your Balls USPGA Championship, New G15 Driver, Ryo, Hagen and more!
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
Bloggy Underfoot: Driven
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!
Dr. and The Medic: Practice Mentality
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.