This week we have for you a fourball voucher at the magnificent Carton House in Maynooth. You even get to choose which course to play, the O’Meara or the Montgomerie, venue for the Irish Open’s of 2005 and 2006. E mail your name, address and answers to firstname.lastname@example.org or text to 087-3140467.
Q1: True or False: In match play, if a player plays from outside the teeing ground when starting play of a hole her opponent may require the stroke to be cancelled and replayed from within the teeing ground.
Q2: True or False: In stroke play, the maximum penalty a player may incur from playing a wrong ball is two strokes, no matter how many times he plays it.
Q3: True or False: Sand and loose soil are loose impediments that may be removed on the putting green and through the green.
Last weeks answers:
Q1. True or False: A fellow competitor or spectator, may not assist a competitor in removing a large loose impediment. Answer: False. Decision 23-1/3.
Note: The player may seek help from anyone to remove a loose impediment, providing that there is no undue delay in play.
Q2. True or False: Time spent in playing a wrong ball is not counted in the five minute period permitted for searching for a ball. Answer: True. Definition of Lost Ball.
Q3. True or False: A player who is naturally right-handed may carry a left-handed club to use for shots where she might otherwise have to turn a clubhead over, for example, where her ball is lying against a tree. Answer: True. Rule 4-4.
Here’s the scenario. The club competitions are over, your schedule is free and you’re itching to head off somewhere nice for a fourball. Maybe a Yank is coming home for Christmas and bringing the clubs and you want to impress by going to a spectacular location for a great days golf. Well before I go into hibernation for the Winter, I’ve been googling to find the best Winter deals out there and here’s the best of what I uncovered.
1. Mount Juliet:
Designed by Jack Nicklaus, Mount Juliet is still the only Irish course to host the World Golf Championships, twice! If they gave Michelin stars for golf courses, this place would have one. The Winter Special includes golf with breakfast or lunch for €85. My advice is to get there early and enjoy the practise ground and the tricky 18 hole putting green. Tiger tamed it but can you? Full details on www.mountjuliet.ie or call 056-7773071
2. Castleknock Golf Club:
Castleknock have come up with a novel event this Winter. On their website are listed loads of dates where you can play for €30. That’s not all though. On those dates, the winners qualify for a chance to get a years free golf! Ten minutes from the city centre and always dry in Winter, Castleknock is where I head for a few holes when I’m up for a match or a gig! Bring your autograph pen too. European Tour winner Peter Lawrie often makes an appearance to fine tune his silky smooth putting skills. Full details on www.castleknockgolfclub.ie or call 01 6408736
3. Carton House:
If its choice you’re after Carton House has it in spades. The O’Meara course is a superbly laid out test while the Montgomerie is the ultimate exercise in course management being as it is one giant bunker with the odd fairway and green dotted around to give you hope. Their Winter special includes golf (on either course) with brekkie for €65 or with lunch after the round for a fiver extra. There are loads more permutations and discounts on www.cartonhouse.com or call 01-6517720
4. Adare Manor:
The Big Lebowski of Irish golf, Adare Manor is the dude! Unimaginably massive, this course could host a major at a week’s notice. The big news is Tiger Woods is coming back to play in the JP MacManus Pro-Am in Adare in July next year. To celebrate that, Adare are including two day admissions to see the Tiger with every green fee of €80. Full details on www.adaregolfclub.com or call 061-605274.
5. Dromoland Castle:
Find me a course in a more beautiful setting or with a better stretch of finishing holes on this island and I will bow to your golfing knowledge. The guys at Dromoland have dreamed up another cocktail of Winter Specials for societies and groups. For a green fee of €55 you get treated to a steak after your round and societies (of 12 or more) paying €50 per person get to come back a second day absolutely free! More details on www.dromoland.ie or call David Foley on 061-368 444. The closing six at Dromoland are up there with the Alp d’Huez as one of the great sporting levellers!
Pic: The par-5 18th at Dromoland
odds by Boylesports
UBS Hong Kong Open
Hong Kong GC
Fanling, Hong Kong
12 Nov 2009 - 15 Nov 2009
While the other players are winding down, the South African contingent are gearing up for four European Tour events in their homeland. One to note in this category is Charl Schwartzel who makes a compelling case for an each way wager this week. An unfortunate airline cock-up a month ago resulted in Charl having to replace all his clubs, but since then his golf has improved. Tied for sixth at the Portugal Masters and followed that with a tied fifth in Singapore two weeks back. Unlucky to miss out on last week’s WGC event in China where he performed well in the past, Charl will be eager to get back in the groove this week. Schwartzel is still touted as the next big thing and on current form a top three finish is certainly a possibility.
We’re plumping for ex-paratrooper Thongchai Jaidee again this week. The Thai finished tied 14th in the Barclay’s Singapore Open two weeks back when heavily fancied. Already a winner this season at the Indonesia Open and the Ballantine’s Championship, Jaidee has one more live chance to win a hat trick of titles in one Season. Although outside the top 10 last year, Thongchai has an impressive record at the Serapong course. Tied second in the 2008 staging behind Miguel Angel Jimenez and tied third in 2007, when another Spaniard Jose Manuel Lara took the title.
Graeme is like a box of technical Lego; it looks fantastic on the cover and all the pieces are there but putting them together is impossible. In Singapore it seemed that McDowell was going to overhaul Ian Poulter until the wheels came off and he slipped to a closing 74 to finish tied fifth. Along with his top 10 at the USPGA, that was McDowells biggest payday of the season and a far cry from the two wins and fifth place in the order of merit in 2008. He brings his recent improved form to a venue he has played on in the past two stagings, finishing tied 11th and sixth.
The younger of the two Molinari brothers returned to action last week following his second place finish behind Lee Westwood at the Portugal Masters in October. Francesco will be looking to cap off his best ever season on Tour having had eight top ten finishes including the HSBC in Shanghai. He made the Cut in the three Majors he played – the US Open, The Open and The US PGA Championship where he finished tenth. He also finished second in this event last November. A closing 65 saw him get into a three man playoff with Rory McIlroy and Lin Wen-Tang which Lin won.
Born: 22 November 1980 in Ascot, Berkshire
Height: 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Residence: Cheam, London
Professional wins: 3
What a year it has been for Ross Fisher. The newly crowned World Matchplay Champion has contended for Majors, virtually cemented his Ryder Cup spot and became a Dad in an action packed 2009. And who knows there may be room for a Dubai World Championship to top it all off.
Ross Daniel Fisher was born in Ascot, Berkshire. His home course is the famous Wentworth Golf Club, Surrey, location of the European Tour administrative headquarters. . Fisher joined the European Tour in 2006. In 2007 he won the KLM Open by one stroke over Joost Luiten and subsequently finished the year ranked 43rd on the Order of Merit.
In July 2008, Fisher won the European Open on the Heritage Course at The London Club in Kent. Despite never having played the course either in competition or in practice, Fisher shot a first round 63 - the lowest round of his professional career - which featured a wind-assisted 413 yard drive on the 9th hole, his last of the day. Fisher finished 2008 sixth on the Order of Merit.
Fisher's progress continued in 2009 when he reached the semi-final of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in Arizona and finished second at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth. On both occasions he was defeated by countryman Paul Casey. He finished fifth in the U.S. Open at Bethpage Black, New York. At this years Open Championship at Turnberry, he held a two stroke lead in the early stages of the final round before taking a quadruple bogey eight on the par four 5th hole, eventually finishing in a tie for 13th place.
With Fisher’s win over Anthony Kim at the Volvo World Matchplay at Finca Cortisan in Spain he climbed to 17th in the official world golf rankings and fourth in The Race To Dubai.
What’s In The Bag Ross Fisher
The Rory Show
What a great tournament the HSBC Champions turned out to be, even if the Tiger-Phil duel didn’t happen in the end. Apart from Mickelson’s win the big news was Rory McIlory’s closing sprint in the Race To Dubai. Rory’s final day 63 saw him jump 13 places to finish fourth. His earnings of €212,000 mean he climbs to second in the Race with only two events left. Rors is the only Race contender heading to Hong Kong this week and we reckon if he manages to scoop it of the first tee, he will earn enough cash to lead the race heading into the next week’s final event in Dubai. With Westwood, Fisher and Kaymer choosing to take the week off, or most probably head to Dubai to prepare, it remains to be seen whether Rors, or his Race opponents, have got their scheduling tactics right.
HSBC Champions Wrap
Ernie to Phil: “You got the trophy, I got the salad”
Ernie Els is back! Well sort of. His final round 63 in Shanghai earned him second spot and a cheque for €454,000, his best by a country mile this season. It wasn’t without its flaws however, as Ernie was hit yet again by the jitters on the 18th. Leading the tournament by one, he chose to go for the green with his second on the par five 18th when a three shotter would have seen him get into a playoff. He dumped his three wood second hopelessly into the water, 40 yards short of the carry, took six and ended up losing by a stroke. Elsewhere Paul Casey managed only two holes of his final round before having to pull out with a recurrence of his rib injury. He flew immediately to see a specialist in the USA and will miss this weeks event in Hong Kong. A decision is to be made about Casey’s participation in the Dubai World Championship. Of the rest of the Irish in Shanghai, Padraig Harrington shot a below the radar final round 67 to finish tied 25th, one shot better than first round leader, Shane Lowry.
Woods in Bush
A disappointed Tiger Woods arrived in Australia on his private plane yesterday, ahead of his first appearance in an Australian tournament for 11 years. Woods is to play at this weeks JBWere Australian Masters, at Melbourne's Kingston Heath. "Anything that could go wrong went wrong for me today," Woods said of his final round at the HSBC Champions in Shanghai. "Just one of those days." Woods has not visited Australia since competing on the U.S. team that lost the 1998 Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne. However he is set to pocket a $3 million appearance fee to tee it up, a greater amount than the tournament prize fund. Woods is joined in the Bush by Geoff Ogilvy and Ireland’s Gary Murphy, a massive Home and Away fan!
Sam The Man, Again!
Sam Torrance has won the European Senior Tour Order of Merit for the third time. Torrance narrowly defeated fellow former Ryder Cup Captain Ian Woosnam to claim his third John Jacobs Trophy following the final event of the 2009 season. Torrance’s third place in the OKI Castellon Senior Tour Championship took him just €3,380 clear of 2008 order of merit Woosnam in the closest Order of Merit contest since 2000. Sam’s season earnings of €170,696 sealed his third Order of Merit victory following 2005 and 2006. Tommy Horton holds the most Senior order of merit titles with five.
How fitting that the Poultergeist should wait until Halloween to win again on tour. See what happened when the Barclays Singapore Open winner met up with the SpinDoctor to discuss James Bond, Make-Up and Arsenal.
WGC - HSBC Champions Preview & Betting Tips
Sheshan International GC
05 Nov 2009 - 08 Nov 2009
Tiger Woods 7/4
Tiger has been out in his garage with the Mr Sheen and an old pair of jocks taking a thick layer of dust off his clubs in preparation for his flight to China. The HSBC Champions event has now been granted WGC status and the prize fund of seven million euro is second only to the Dubai World Championship. Six wins on the PGA tour and a perfect five points at the President’s Cup make Tiger the Sea The Stars of the golf world. A rusty Tiger has finished second twice in this event in 2006 and 2007 and though he has been out to stud for the past few weeks, will be giving this one his full attention.
Phil Mickelson 11/1
It’s a bit confusing but this tournament has already been staged as part of the 2009 season, so a little leap of faith is required when understanding the dates! Phil Mickelson was an impressive winner in 2008 and was right in the hunt in (trust me) 2009 until a pulled drive on the 15th cost him double bogey and a successful defence. Already a WGC winner at the CA-Championship in March. Phil put the clubs away after double wins at the Tour Championship and the President’s Cup but returned with his usual low key acclimatizing event in Shanghai where he finished in the top-20. Will it be Phil and Tiger having a ding-dong in China?
Soren Kjeldsen 66/1
If you’re looking for some long odds form in this elite field try Soren Kjeldsen. I’m sure the Dane will be reminded on the range that this time last year he was lifting the last ever Volvo Masters title at Valderrama. Soren’s season highlights are a win at the Open de Andalucia early doors and a tied sixth at the USPGA Championship. His stats show excellent November form for the past few seasons so write him off at your peril. The commentator’s always refer to him as a “gritty little competitor”, kind of like a Ray Houghton only blonde.
Attachment: Cordoba GC
Date of birth: 12/09/1969
Place of birth: Cordoba, Argentina
Height and weight: 6ft 15st (183cm 95kgs)
Family: Children: Federico (1989), Angel (1991)
Turned Pro: 1989
A weary Angel Cabrera will make the long journey from Finca Cortisan in Spain to Shanghai in China for next weeks WGC HSBC Champions event. Despite finishing with a round of eight under in the consolation match, Cabrera lost out to an on-fire Robert Allenby at the 19th hole. Despite that disappointment Cabrera can look back at the 2009 with some satisfaction having captured his second major victory at The Masters.
Cabrera's rise is the definitive rags to riches story. His father, Miguel, was a “changarin”- handyman. His mother, by all reports, a dark-haired beauty worked as a maid. Angel was three or four when his parents split up and he was left in the care of his paternal grandmother. As a child caddy at Cordoba, Cabrera became interested in golf. Touring pro Eduardo Romero recognised his potential, encouraged him to concentrate on the game, and gave him financial assistance in his early professional years.
Known in Argentina as “El Pato” – the Duck entered Masters week ranked 69 in the world and was to become the lowest ranked player to win the Masters Tournament when he defeated Kenny Perry and Chad Campbell in a play-off at Augusta National. Cabrera became the first Argentine winner of the US Open Championship when he won his first Major title at Oakmont Country Club in 2007, holding off World Number One Tiger Woods and another former US Open Champion Jim Furyk, to win by a stroke. Followed Roberto de Vicenzo, who won The Open Championship at Royal Liverpool 40 years earlier, as the second Argentine Major Champion, sparking massive celebrations across the country while his home town of Cordoba came to a standstill. As a result of his Major triumph, he was accorded Honorary Life Membership of The European Tour.
What’s In Angel Cabrera’s Bag
I’m beginning to get a teeny bit worried about patterns emerging on the European Tour. It’s gone beyond a joke at this stage for own Padraig Harrington, who seems stuck in the weekly rut of one super round immediately followed by a dodgy one leaving victory just out of reach. And if you think that’s tough, try Retief Goosen. He’s been in the hunt after three rounds so many times this year but time and again has failed to shoot a sub 70 final round. He lead the Portugal Masters by a shot going into the final round but his closing 75 compared to Lee Westwood’s 66, saw him fall away at the death. Retief’s collapse was a carbon copy of his BMW performance in Germany back in June where he was two clear after round three or his Barclay’s Scottish Open capitulation the following week.
I wonder if it has anything to do with the course set-ups? They seem to be pretty much the same every week too. It used to be the PGA Tour that ended up with ridiculous sub par numbers every week, but for the four weeks up to and including the Portugal Masters the winning score on the European Tour has been a minimum 20 under. I know it’s just after Halloween but the tour venues are hardly monsters anymore. By my reckoning there have only been five events all year in the US where the winning score has been 20 under or better.
By that token, it seems hardly believable that the news came through from St. Andrews last week of their intention to change the famous 17th prior to next year’s British Open. The Road Hole re-jig includes an additional 25 yards from a new tee with the idea of bringing the enormous greenside bunker more into play. The sight of new kid on the block Rory McIlroy reduce it to a drive and floated seven iron to set up birdie at the recent Dunhill Links might have had something to do with the decision.
"The 17th was played at the same yardage in 1900 as it was in 2005 and this fuelled our belief that the formidable challenge of this iconic hole should be returned for the Open Championship,'' said Peter Dawson, chief executive of the R&A. "Over the years we have seen the threat from the road behind the green, and to a lesser extent the Road Bunker, diminished as players have been hitting shorter irons for their approach shots, allowing them to avoid these hazards more easily. This change will ensure that the hole plays as it was originally intended.''
Aside from the extra yardage, the hole will still retain the same character with the old machine shed and Old Course Hotel in the line of sight from the tee. Apparently former Open champion Henry Cotton had suggested the change as far back as 1964 but his suggestion, until now, had fallen on deaf ears (probably literally)!
If I were in charge of the R&A, I’d play the first two rounds of The Open clockwise and the third round anti-clockwise as they used to do in the past at the Old Course. Its hardly Tiger proofing, but hey wouldn’t it be fun. Speaking of the feline one, I doubt the 2000 and 2005 Open winner at the Old Course is quaking in his boots at the thought of 25 extra yards. He can make it go that far with a stare.
A putting lesson from Tiger
Sean O’Hair attributed his good finish at the Tour Championship to a putting lesson received from Tiger Woods prior to the tournament. We’re pretty sure Tiger didn’t bill Sean but if he did it looks like Tiger Charges $32,000 for a half hour lesson. At Woods' fifth annual charity Block Party for the Tiger Woods Learning Center in California, organizers auctioned off another Tiger putting lesson for 32k, which contributed to the total raised of $500,000. Other auction items included an audience with Woods and singer Sheryl Crow which went for $11,000. Those who claimed 50 bucks of that total was for Sheryl were judged a tad harsh.
Seve Feelin’ Groovy
Having undergone "aggressive" radiotherapy treatment used over the past six weeks, Seve’s doctor’s have reported “very positive” results. This follows a series of exhaustive checks in the 52 year old Spaniard’s recovery from four separate operations last year to remove a malignant tumour from his brain. On his website, Ballesteros said that he would now rest as much as possible after feeling fatigue over the course of treatment. The five-time world matchplay champion was said to have kept a close eye at proceeding at Finca Cortes last week, an event he helped promote.
Montgomerie’s War Strategy
General Sir Colin Montgomerie has demanded of all prospective Ryder Cup Team members that they compete in both the PGA Championship at Wentworth and also the Wales Open at Celtic Manor - venue for the 2010 match against the Americans. "I feel every European that is qualified for that event (the PGA Championship) should be playing and I will be asking for that personally in my role," Monty said. One man who refused to commit to Monty’s plan was Sergio Garcia, claiming he may already have other commitments. Garcia has never played in the Wales Open and not competed at the PGA since 2000, says he will make the effort but only if it fits in with his schedule. "He (Montgomerie) hasn't talked to me yet, so maybe he doesn't think I'm going to make it," Garcia said. Where’s my handbag, Sergio?
Thin Not Crispy
Among other things, this season will be remembered for startling weight loss. Some like John Daly did it with a gastric band inserted around three of his stomachs; other like Lee Westwood (pictured), locked himself in the gym for half the year. The latest stick insect on Tour is Niclas Fasth who appeared worryingly gaunt in Singapore last week. Its unclear whether he used Slimfast, Special K or the Posh Spice diet. What’s next we wonder, Darren Clarke sweating stones on Strictly Come Dancing maybe?
Honorary Munster man Ian Poulter took the Barclays Singapore Open in stuttering style on Sunday. Poults carded a closing 72, one over par, to edge out China's Liang Wen-chong and complete a nervous wire-to-wire victory. The win is Poults first since the Dunlop Phoenix in Japan in 2007 and first on The European Tour since Madrid the previous year. Blast from the past Adam Scott was tied third. Meanwhile in Spain, nice guy Ross Fisher defeated nasty guy Anthony Kim in the final of the World Matchplay Championship. The 28 year old played an amazing 126 holes in four days. Ironically, the trophy which was kept at Wentworth from 1964 until 2007, when the tournament left is going back as Fisher is a member there since childhood. On the Challenge Tour, Edoardo Molinari (brother of Francesco) smashed Tour record for earnings in a single season after winning the Kazakhstan Open to bring his total to €188,079.
Dr. and The Medic: Trapped Behind
You’re not sure where the clubhead is during your backswing. You lose your balance during your swing and often suffer backache following your round.
Your hands may be getting trapped behind during your backswing. This results in a flat swing plane. In order to effect a correction to hit the ball, your body must turn quickly, often causing loss of balance and creating huge pressure on the vertebrae of your lower back. You need to develop a steeper swing plane.
With the club held only in your left hand, practise swinging always ensuring your left hand is in front of your body throughout. Lift your arm up higher than normal on the backswing. Put your right hand on the club and check your swing plane in a window or mirror. What may feel steep will look correct. With the correct plane, you will be able to effect a more solid downswing that will not hurt your back and produce much better balance throughout the swing.
The Rules Quiz
Just for fun this week see how much you really know about the rules of golf. Taken from “999 Questions on The Rules Of Golf” by Barry Rhodes.
Q1. True or False: A fellow competitor or spectator, may not assist a competitor in removing a large loose impediment.
Q2. True or False: Time spent in playing a wrong ball is not counted in the five minute period permitted for searching for a ball.
Q3. True or False: A player who is naturally right-handed may carry a left-handed club to use for shots where she might otherwise have to turn a clubhead over, for example, where her ball is lying against a tree.
Last weeks answers:
Q1. True or False: You hit your ball into a totally flooded bunker. There is no place in the bunker you can drop. There is no penalty for dropping outside the bunker at the nearest point of relief. Answer: False
Q2. True or False: A player carrying a broomhandle putter is entitled to use it when measuring relief. Answer: True
Q3. True or False: In a match Nick places his putter gently on the ground in front of his ball in the act of lining up a putt. Padraig claims the hole saying Nick has illegally touched the line of the putt. Padraig is correct. Answer: False
Check out details of the the Adare Manor Golf Challenge below. If you haven’t played it recently, be sure to go back and play it this Winter. With each green fee you will get priceless tickets to see Tiger’s return to Ireland next Summer.
Westwood Pumping Iron
Donal with Lee after his Portugal Masters win.
Following his recent win in the Portugal Masters at Oceânico Victoria Golf Course, Lee Westwood spoke about the importance his fitness had in bringing back that winning feeling. “I looked at the guys at the top of the game and every one of them seemed to have big arms, big shoulders and impressive core body strength,” Westwood said. “I thought, if I’m going to compete at this level, I need to develop that physical strength”, he added. Westwood joined the likes of Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh in embarking in a punishing training schedule when not in competition. His average driving distance for the tournament was 306 yards and that coupled with his legendary accuracy proved the difference in Vilamoura. Westwood hit 87.5% of greens in regulation and 10.3 fairways per rounds.
Gary Player Moves East
While golf development projects stall around us and courses struggle to stay afloat it’s seems there’s “no recession around here” in Bulgaria. The country whose only claim to fame used to be Dimitar Berbatov has unveiled the first of two new courses designed by Gary Player. Player, who still manages to squeeze out around 4,000 stomach crunches before breakfast was on hand recently to open Black Sea Rama and oversee the final stages of construction of Thracian Cliffs, both set to become premier European golf resorts. Thracian Cliffs, built along five kilometres of Cape Kaliakra Cliffs has already been compared to Pebble Beach. Player on the other hand, has been compared to Simon Cowell.
Immelman’s Latest Injury Woe
Trevor Immelman’s injury woes continue but the former Masters champion now expects to be fit again for the 2009 PGA season. The former Masters Champion has suffered severe tendonitis all season and after exhausting the possibilities of natural healing finally underwent surgery on his left wrist last week in New York. The procedure was performed by the same doctor who successfully operated on Luke Donald and Jim Furyk. Immelman is expected to start strength exercises in six weeks, and hopes to begin chipping and putting after three months of rehabilitation. This is not the first injury to befall the amiable South African. In December 2007, doctors removed a calcified fibrosis tumour from his ribcage, which after tests was found to be benign. Nevertheless, treatment and recovery caused him to miss the first eight weeks of the 2008 PGA Tour season.
2010 Race To Dubai Fixtures
The European Tour will again feature the Race To Dubai in 2010. the new season will feature two new events, the Africa Open, pencilled in for the East London Club in Januray and the Hassan 11 trophy in Rabat to be held in March. The Hassan 11 trophy has been contested since 1971, but is now set to get European Tour status and will feature a pro-celebrity format. Three events to be dropped from next years schedule include the Johnnie Walker Classic, the Malaysian Open and the Indonesian Open. The European Tour has had to overcome serious financial difficulties this year with the collapse of its backer Leisurecorp. Nakheel Leisure who stepped in to, in effect save the Tour, negotiated a reduced prize fund for this years Race to Dubai.
apologies to our die hard fans for not updating last week. We were at the Portugal Masters and just plain forgot to bring the files! Here’s a double helping of vids to bring us back up to date.
“I didn’t spit, I just let it go down. Anyway it’s no big deal”. If you missed it at the time, relive the gory of Sergio’s misdeamour that kicked it all off for poor Serg.
Briny Baird Hits An Unlikely Homer
Nickname El Niño
Born 9 January 1980 (1980-01-09) (age 29)
Borriol, Castellón, Spain
Height 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Weight 160 lb (73 kg; 11 st)
Residence Borriol, Castellón, Spain
Turned professional 1999
Professional wins 19
Sergio Garcia was born on January 9, 1980. The second of three children, he grew up in the Spanish town of Borriol, a short distance from his country’s east coast and about an hour north of Valencia. At the time, his father, Victor Sr., was the pro at the Mediterraneo Golf Club, and his mother, Consuelo, ran the pro shop. In fact, she was working there when she went into labour with Sergio.
Golf was a passion enjoyed by the entire Garcia family. Sergio’s older brother by three years, Victor Jr., got the bug first. He eventually attended college on a golf scholarship. Mar, Sergio's younger sister by four years, would go on to play at the University of Arizona.
Sergio began mimicking his father’s swing at age two, with a broom or feather duster. Victor Sr. cut down a set of clubs for his son when he was three. From then on Sergio was hooked. As a child, he often worked on his game on his own. He’d walk the course at Mediterraneo Golf Club and practice hitting difficult shots between trees and from uneven lies. To that he added a few finishing touches courtesy of his idol Seve Ballesteros
García turned professional in 1999 after shooting the lowest amateur score in the 1999 Masters Tournament. His first title on the European Tour came in his sixth start as a professional at the Irish Open. He first achieved worldwide prominence with a duel against Tiger Woods in the 1999 PGA Championship, where he eventually finished second. He now has eight European Tour wins and seven PGA Tour wins to his credit. García was a member of the European Ryder Cup team in 1999, 2002, 2004, 2006, and 2008 and holds an impressive career record at the Ryder Cup of 14-3-3. As three of his appearances have resulted in overall victories, his input in the team has proved invaluable.
Sergio is rated as one of the best drivers in the world. He normally works the ball from right to left with amazing control. Even on tight courses, he isn’t afraid to hit woods off the tee. This is partly why his performance in majors is so impressive. An emotional athlete Sergio battles his temper both on the course and in the press room. In 2007 he encountered criticism when he spat in the cup during the Doral Championship after three-putting. His heavily publicized break up in 2009 with Morgan Leigh Norman further added to his woes both on and off the course.
What’s In Sergio’s Bag
Odds thanks to Boylesports
Thongchai Jaidee 33/1
An amazing character the Thai Thongchai Jaidee is one to watch this week. He discovered golf whilst recovering from a football injury when a wooden skewer was embedded in his foot. He didnt turn pro until ten years later, choosing to firstly serve as a paratrooper in the Royal Thai Army. On the golf course, in 2004 he made history as the first Thai golfer to win an event on The European Tour with victory in the Malaysian Open, and then successfully defended the title in 2005. Jaidee is seeking a hat-trick of titles for the first time in a season, and a win over The Serapong Course would see him climb back into the money-spinning top 15 in The Race to Dubai. “I’ve not won three tournaments in a year before, but this year I have a very good chance,” said Jaidee, who lifted the Enjoy Jakarta Indonesia Open and the Ballantine’s Championship in Korea earlier in the year.
Miguel Angel Jimenez 50/1
The ever popular Miguel Angel Jimenez takes his place in a star studded field this week which includes Padraig Harrington, Ernie Els and Phil Mickelson. Victory in the UBS Hong Kong Open at the start of The 2008 European Tour International Schedule ended two fruitless seasons and took his victory tally to 14. That was followed by one of the best wins of his career at the BMW PGA Championship. Although not the longest hitter on tour, Jimenez starts this week with the distinct advantage of having won four European Tour events played in Asia. Loves competing in the region and still has what it takes to win. When asked his requirements for The 2004 European Team Room at The Ryder Cup, he simply replied: “Rioja wine, an espresso machine and cigars,” all of which were provided.
Ernie Els 20/1
He may have over 50 worldwide victories including three major’s, but the question on everyone’s lips is not when Ernie Els will win again, but if he can win again. His last victory was in March 2008 at the Honda Classic where he stuttered to victory over Luke Donald. There have been signs of improvement from Ernie of late however. Weekend rounds of 66, 66 in his last European appearance at the Dunhill Links were noteworthy. Els is also somewhat of a Sentosa specialist and will enter this weeks $5 million co-sanctioned event with high hopes. Tied for second with Padraig Harrington (who himself will have designs on this title) in 2008 behind Jeev Milkha Singh. Also came second in 2006, where he lost a bizarre three hole playoff with Adam Scott, when heavy rain reduced the event to 54 holes.
The Killeen Castle Fourball Quiz
Fancy a fourball in the brand spankin’ new Killeen Castle, venue of the Solheim Cup 2011? Have a go at our rules quiz and text your answers (with name and address) to 087-3140467 or e-mail to email@example.com
Q1. True or False? A player may have one person carrying his clubs and another person giving him advice on his play at the same time.
Q2. True or False? In stroke play, a player may not move aside a large weed growing next to his ball.
Q3. True or False? A player is entitled to hold his ball, to stop it moving, while moving aside a moveable obstruction under the rules.
Last weeks answers:
Q1. True or False? A player may test the condition of a bunker located 10 yards away from the bunker that his ball in lying in. Answer: False
Q2. True or False? In a four-ball or foursome competition, a player may ask advice from his partner’s caddie. Answer: True
Q3. True or False? On the day of the Captain’s Prize, a strokeplay competition, a player may practice on the course very early on the morning of the competition. Answer: False
Congratulations to last weeks winner Patrick Brennan, Kilcolgan, Galway who receives the Mount Juliet fourball voucher.
Born: June 16, 1970 (1970-06-16) (age 39)
Height 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight 200 lb (91 kg; 14 st)
Residence Rancho Santa Fe, California, USA
Turned professional 1992
Professional wins 44
Phil Mickelson is already looking forward to 2010. Having decided to “shelve” his season to be with his wife Amy, who is battling breast cancer, Phil made a triumphant return to the Tour for the playoffs, claiming victory at The Tour Championship. The win was Lefty’s 37th on Tour.
Phil married Amy, a former Phoenix Suns cheerleader, in 1996. They have three children. Their first was due the week of the 1999 U.S. Open, where Mickelson carried a beeper and was ready to leave if Amy went into labour, even though he was in contention to win his first major. He finished second to Payne Stewart and the child was born the next day. As it transpired Mickelson was to remain major-less for another four years until he sought help from a former NASA physicist turned short game guru named Dave Pelz
When Phil phoned Dave Pelz for the first time seeking help in December 2003, he declared that he had saved a quarter a shot in each round in each of the majors he has played, he would have won several of them. He asked Pelz to help him achieve that by working on his short game. Pelz was somewhat daunted but intrigued by the request and suggested meeting Phil in Augusta in January to practise on the greens well in advance of the first major of 2004. An out and out family man, Mickelson was vehemently opposed to the idea, prompting Pelz to deliver an ultimatum, “You are 0 for 43 in the majors your way, lets try it my way”. Pelz recalled their first putting session. “Phil read a putt and lined up one ball right of the hole. He made his stroke and hit it three balls right of the hole. It came around beautifully and dropped into the cup. He looked over at Pelz for approval but the big guy just shook his head. “93% of players subconsciously aim it differently to where they want to aim it”, he says. If it drops, a player is lucky but statistically a player cant get lucky all the time. At the start of their time together Pelz says, “Phil was a poor reader of greens”. Their work together lead to Mickelson’s now famous around the clock putting routine which he has used ever since. And the proof is the putting; Mickelson now has three majors under his belt, two of them at Augusta.
Mickelson is well known for his sense of humour. In the lead to Annika Sorenstam’s debut on the men’s PGA Tour at the 2003 Colonial, Phil was asked by the press how he thought she would do. “I think she will come in the top 20” he said. “And how do you think you will do” continued the press-man. “I hoping for 19th or better”, laughed Phil.
What’s In Phil Mickelson’s Bag
Oceânico Victoria Golf Course
15 Oct 2009 - 18 Oct 2009
Padraig Harrington 12/1
There’s a star studded field headed to Portugal this week including Westwood, Garcia, McIlroy, Fisher and our pick, Padraig Harrington. Padraig has been in the news of late in relation to a difference of opinion with European Tour Player’s committee chairman Thomas Bjorn and with a player’s meeting planned for this week, let’s hope it doesn’t affect his performance. The Dunhill Links came after a hectic (if highly profitable) playoff season in the US, and a rested Harrington is sure to mount a serious challenge this week.
Charl Schwartzel 33/1
Disaster hit Charl last week as his clubs failed to arrive in Madrid in time for the first round of the tournament. Without a back-up set Charl was forced to borrow clubs. He battled bravely with irons which were much too flexible for him, but the wrong set-up ultimately caught up with him. A leaked bunker shot at the eighth lead to a triple bogey and scuppered his tournament chances. He’s back with his own sticks this week and knows how to go low on the Victoria course, he was right in the final round mix in 2007, eventually tying for seventh and has played well in Oceanico corporate events in the past.
Steve Webster 50/1
Steve Webster will always have an emotional attachment with the Victoria course in Villamoura. Shortly after the sad passing of his mother in 2007, Webster claimed an emphatic victory in the inaugural Portugal Masters, pointing to the Heavens on the 18th green as if to give thanks for divine inspiration. On that occasion he shot a final round 64, which included a brilliant risk-reward eagle at the par five 12th to eclipse the field. Made a wonderful defence last year, finishing tied third despite a cold putter in round one. One to keep your eye on.
Colin Montgomerie certainly is taking his role as Ryder Cup 2010 Captain seriously. A couple of weeks back he oversaw the jousting at the Vivendi Trophy a la Hitler at the 1936 Munich Games. He is said to already have a shortlist of probables and possibles. Monty’s Notebook might read thus……
Did you know that according to the 2008 Majors stats, Ross is the lowest scoring player across all of the majors. He seems to love to love the major arena and may just have the best mental game of all the players on our team. He was ready to leave the Open this year if his pregnant wife went into labour; I need to be ringing Ross all through next Christmas with birth control advice. With Rory McIlory and Martin Kaymer destined to be there, I don’t need any more baby blues! Verdict: Grab Your Clubs
Poor Sergio. A victim of unrequited love this year, I’m still not sure Sergio is over his break-up with Morgan Leigh Norman but time will heal him. Like myself he seems to save his best putting performances for the Ryder Cup stage. It’s hard to believe but Sergio is now a Ryder Cup veteran and if Miguel Angel Jimenez doesn’t make it, Sergio and Alvaro Quiros might become the new Ballesteros and Olazabal. Verdict: Dry your eyes mate and grab your clubs.
Simon Dyson is rapidly becoming a great player. With his win at the Dunhill Links, his second of the season, he has burst into the World’s top-50 and increases his chances of an automatic Ryder Cup spot by gaining automatic entry to all four majors. If he does make the team automatically I would have no qualms playing him, possibly alongside Ross. Verdict: Keep the clubs in the boot and check your messages.
Whenever I think of Henrik I get that mental image of him in his Y-fronts with Fanny trying not to look! Henrik won the Players Championship but followed it up with several missed cuts on the European Tour. With his length and strength I have no doubt that Henrik will win big in 2010 and make the team automatically. We will need his humour in the team room. Verdict: Keep your pants on and grab your clubs.
The personification of “class”. You don't win three Majors without having that X-Factor. At odds with the European Tour at the moment, I hope Padraig commits to play the requisite number of events in Europe next year; I really want to avoid a situation where a player of Padraig’s stature might soak up a Captain’s pick. Either way, A Ryder Cup without Padraig is unthinkable. If he plays next September like he did this September he will be untouchable. Verdict: Grab Your Clubs
I think Alvaro is going to be among five players from which I have to pick my three Captain’s selections. Alvaro may be streaky but when he hits form, he is simply sensational. Tiger called him “Stupid Long”, his booming drives would be a real asset in a cold wet Celtic Manor in September. Could do with some fine tuning of his short game, but he has time. Sure to be an intimidating opponent and a potential partner for Sergio. Verdict: Practice the wedges and check your messages
It’s official! Golf will return to the Olympics at the Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro. Both golf and rugby, last featured in the games of 1924, were reinstated for the 2016 and 2020 Games after a vote last week by the International Olympic Committee. Golf’s pitch to be included in the Games was aided greatly by the participation of Tiger Woods, Padraig Harrington and Michelle Wie who addressed the IOC before the vote. Woods has indicated he would play in the Olympics if golf were accepted for 2016. "There are millions of young golfers worldwide who would be proud to represent their country," Woods said from the Presidents Cup. "It would be an honour for anyone who plays this game to become an Olympian." The gold medal will be decided by a 72-hole stroke-play tournament for men and women, with 60 players in each field. British bookmaker William Hill were quick off the mark quoting Tiger at 6-1 odds to win the gold medal. It gave the same odds for any player from Britain or Ireland winning.
According to news sources in South Carolina, an alligator bit off the lower half of a golfers arm at a private course in the region. The victim who is in his 70’s, had entered a water hazard at Ocean Creek Golf Course in Beaufort County in an attempt to retrieve his ball when a 10-foot alligator emerged and bit him. The gator pulled the golfer into the pond and ripped off his arm in the struggle. His playing partners managed to free him, preventing further injury. Wildlife workers killed the alligator. The man who has not been identified, underwent surgery to attempt to reattach his arm at the Medical University of South Carolina. The incident provides further evidence, if any were needed, of the importance of hitting the fairway.
The US Team unveiled their latest weapon at last week’s President’s Cup; basketball legend Michael Jordan. Jordan was given the official role as assistant Captain. In a US team room meeting prior to the event, Jordan addressed the young players on the U.S. team about believing in themselves. Rookie Sean O’Hair was said to be “in awe” of the ex-Chicago Bulls star following his words. It is as yet unclear if Jordan is to have a role at next year’s Ryder Cup. Hopefully the European Team will enlist the services of supermodel Jordan as a repost!
European Tour- Madrid Open