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.
Monday, November 2, 2009
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.