November 2009

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2am. Tiger lying on the ground with injuries to the leg and face. Elin standing over him wielding a golf club. The 4x4 planted into a fire hydrant. It all looks pretty suspect doesn’t it? Anyway the fun is in the speculation. Instead of dragging poor Tiger down a back alley over this, has anyone considered that there might be aelin holding club perfectly innocent explanation. It might go something like this.

Explain 2am: Everyone knows Tiger is a champion. And you don’t get to be a champion without hard work. He is so busy practicing up to 18 hours a day that he gets home VERY late every evening.

Explain the lnjuries: Though tired and weary, when he gets home every night at 2am, Tiger makes a special effort to spend some quality time with Elin, teaching her the game of golf in his specially constructed indoor practice area. Though usually Tiger never lets anyone touch his clubs, such is his love for Elin, that he lets her use his 3 iron. What he does not realise is that to the mere mortal, his 3 iron looks like a poker. Anyway having gently arranged her tender fingers on the club into a Vardon grip, Tiger puts down a pristine Nike One Black and takes a step back.  Elin makes a swing, takes an unholy shank, the ball ricocheting off the radiator, hammering of Tiger’s bad leg before heading back and to the left finally smashing into Tiger’s face.  Back and to the left, back and to the left………

Explain the car in the fire hydrant: After the injurious shanking incident, Tiger suggests that they take the lesson outside as it might be less dangerous. Ever the patient professional, Tiger, at this stage looking like Rocky coming out for the 15th round against Apollo Creed and only able to see out of one eye, suggests they create their own par-3 in the driveway to make Elin’s golfing experience as real as possible. The loveable rogue suggests a nearby fire hydrant would be the perfect water hazard and lets out a couple of thousand gallons to “re-create” the famous 17th at Sawgrass. Of course every good par-3 needs a hole-in-one prize, something like a car, and it has to be sitting tiger woods facial injuryout in the middle of the lake. Tiger heads over to the car to move it into the water. As he limps through the darkness and the sodden grass and sits into the car, with the water belting like a thunder storm on the windshield, Tiger realises that instead of recreating the 17th at Sawgrass, he has unwittingly made his front lawn into the first tee of the Ryder Cup at the K Club. A cold sweat breaks out, the pain in the leg is back worse than ever, and Elin looks like Stevie, imploring him to take a 3-iron. “No” says Tiger, “Clarkey is 300 yards up the middle, how hard can it be with driver?”. At that precise moment all Tiger’s driving demons come flooding back and he finds himself on his arse in the lawn, with the car straddling the fire hydrant and Elin standing there with the 3-iron and an “I told you so” look. Pretty simple really.

And the moral of the story? Well there are a few.

You don’t need driver on the 1st at the K Club.

Cavity backs are so much easier to hit than blades.

Never hit a golf ball when there is a radiator nearby.

Bad driving can permeate through the rest of your game, or “life” in Tiger’s case.

As Bob Rotella says: If the last image you have before you hit is the water hazard, you will find the water hazard.

Well done to Lee Westwood on grabbing the Dubai World Championship and The Race To Dubai.  Those trophies were wonderful though, weren’t they?  Firstly the mace thing must have been a leftover from some Ornage Order standoff at Drumcree and did you see the Race To Dubai trophy?  It was huge. Lee could barely lift it.  Maybe they should have considered making it from steel instead of depleted uranium!  Bring on 2010.

lee westwood


Dubai World Championship Betting Preview

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presented by: DP World

Earth Course, Jumeirah Golf Estates

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

19 Nov 2009 - 22 Nov 2009

Rory McIlroy 9/1

rory mcilroy cool With all the hype about jostling for places in the Race To Dubai, it’s easy to forget that there’s a massive tournament here for the taking. Everything seems to point to Rory this week. The course is part of the Jumeirah group, McIlroy’s main sponsor, and he will be eager to reprise the form of his last visit to Dubai where he won the Desert Classic in February. Another good second last week where he peppered the pins but failed to convert key putts for the win. Ryder Cup captain Monty will be delighted to see McIlory joined by Ross Fisher and Martin Kaymer in the battle for the Race To Dubai pot. All three will make up the backbone of the European Ryder Cup team.

Ernie Els 16/1

ErnieEls Some say Ernie Els no longer has the mental resilience to close out a tournament. To put it in rugby parlance, Els has had several five metre scrums this year, but just can’t seem to get over the line. On the other hand Els is something of a Dubai specialist with three Desert Classic wins under his belt. His good showing at the HSBC cannot be ignored, but whether he can keep his head while all about him are losing theirs is anyone’s guess.

Justin Rose 28/1

justin rose It has been another stinker of a year for Justin Rose on both sides of the Atlantic. Of 22 events on the US Tour Justin has had only two top tens, the first at the Wyndham Championship and the second last week at the Miracle Classic. Of the 13 events he has played to retain his membership of the European Tour, he also has only one top ten. However that was a second place finish in Dubai, behind Rory McIlroy back in February. It sounds like I’m playing down his chances but the news inside the ropes is that Justin has found his form again and he has the game to tackle the dreaded Earth Course.


Henrik Stenson 16/1

henrik stenson By all accounts the Earth Course in Dubai will be a monster this week. First place bags €830,675 and the total prize fund is €7.5 million. The course itself is a risk reward track and the last four holes will measure exactly a mile, 1760 yards. Henrik Stenson is just the man for this type of occasion. Never mind that he has no form, in the past he has always come from absolutely nowhere to win, like at this years Player’s Championship. A Dubai resident himself, Stenson has not finished worse than seventh in his last four tournaments in Dubai. Don’t say I didn’t tell ya!

 rory mcilroy What’s In The Bag Rory McIlroy for 2010

Full name Rory McIlroy

Born 4 May 1989

Height 5 ft 9 in

Weight 160 lb

Residence Holywood, Northern Ireland

European Tour Wins: 1

With only the Dubai World Championship left to play for, Rory McIlroy leads the Race To Dubai standings by €128,000 from Lee Westwood. The top four golfers in the race, which include Rory, Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer and Ross Fisher are covered by €500,000.

The young Rory McIlroy attended Sullivan Upper School and played golf at Holywood Golf Club. From a Late Late Show appearance as a child chipping balls into a washing machine, McIlroy has developed into one of the World’s top players. He was a member of Europe's winning 2004 Junior Ryder Cup team and the following year became the youngest ever winner of both the West of Ireland Championship and the Irish Close Championship. In 2006 he again won the West along with the European Amateur Championship in Milan, Italy. In 2007 he briefly topped the World Amateur Golf Ranking. Rory came to the attention of the golfing world with his performance in the Open at Carnoustie in 2007 with his superb opening three under par 68 on his way to winning the low amateur medal. He then played in the Walker Cup for GB&I, fulfilling his last duty as an amateur. Rory burst into life as a professional, culminating in him becoming the youngest player in the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking at the end of 2008 and then his European Tour breakthrough with a wire-to-wire victory in the 2009 Dubai Desert Classic. By winning in Dubai at the age of 19 and 273 days he became the sixth youngest winner in European Tour history. Twelve other top ten finishes this year have brought the young Rory McIlroy to 17th in the World Rankings and more importantly to this week, where he is within touching distance of one of golf’s greatest accolades, the Race To Dubai title.

What’s In Rory McIlroy’s Bag

what's in the bag Rory McIlroy 


What a season is was. As this weeks Dubai World Championship brings to a close another thrilling year of World golf we look back at the top 10 stories of 2009.

1. Rory’s Acceleration

Who could have guessed that in only his second full year on the European Tour, Rory McIlroy who be in pole position for the Race To Dubai trophy. Rors has more than quadrupled his 2008 earnings with a stunning 13 top-10 finishes including a win at the Dubai Desert Classic. He may have been seduced by the US Tour, but Rory has reaffirmed his European Tour vows for more year at least.

rory terminal no 1

Terminal Number 1 in Dubai?

2. Injury Dominates

The physio unit on the European Tour in 2009 had more players carrying a knock than the Liverpool dressing room. Last years order of merit winner Robert Karlsson missed practically all the year with a serious eye injury. He returned at the Alfred Dunhill Links but hasn’t shown anything like his 2008 form since. Everyone’s tip for a major Paul Casey suffered a rib injury and by trying several times to come back too early (a la Stevie Gerrard) only made it worse. The Darwin award winning golf injury has to go to Martin Kaymer who missed several months after breaking his foot whilst karting with mates. In the west it’s called “Acting the Lug!”

3. Tiger’s Back, err, I Mean Leg

six million dollar man Fractures, tears, knees and ligaments; they said he could never come back as good as before. But guess what, he did. Tiger is not the Six Million Dollar Man, he’s the One Billion Dollar Man! Coach Hank Haney has rebuilt Tiger making him stronger, fitter, straighter than ever before. His haul included six tour wins including Arnie’s event, the Memorial and the WGC Bridgestone Invitational coupled with his five points at the President’s Cup. What’s missing from Tiger’s trophy cabinet? Nothing Major.

4. Watson’s Dream

watson turnberry To anyone under 30 years of age, Tom Watson was just a name bandied about by journalists and golf historians as one of the “legends” of the game. They had never seen Watson in his prime, just not enough youtube footage to know how good he really was. Until Turnberry 2009 that is. The 59 year old veteran won a whole new generation of fans by grabbing the British Open by the short and curlies for all four days before eventually being pipped in a playoff by Stewart Cink. A Watson win would not only have been the biggest story in golf, it would have been the biggest sport in sport. Seeing really is believing.

5. Dark Clouds and Silver Linings

seve cancer As golf grows so too does media coverage and players lives off the course are increasingly under the spotlight. In 2009 Seve continued his battle with an aggressive brain tumour. Surviving four operations, Seve emerged fighting, vowing to tee it up one last time in St. Andrews. Phil Mickelson’s wife Amy also battled breast cancer this year. After treatment the prognosis for Amy was good, meaning Phil could return to the tour for the end of season where he picked up the Tour Championship and the HSBC Champions Trophy. Every cloud….

6. The Strangest Major Season

yang major I wonder if anyone in the whole world predicted the four major winners. Angel Cabrera who had not one anywhere since the US Open in 2007, did a smash and grab on the Masters, eventually shaking off Kenny Perry in a playoff. The Open at Turnberry saw Stewart Cink come up along the rails to disappoint the media world who had already written the Tom Watson headlines. Lucas Who won the US Open borefest and Y.E Yang outpointed (I mean out-putted) Tiger woods over 12 gruelling rounds at the USPGA. Weird yet wonderful in an underdog way.

7. The Amateur Winner

shane lowry win The Irish Open was in danger of being washed down the drain, quite literally, until the winds abated, the clouds parted and the sun finally broke through. Those on the wrong side of the draw must have felt like they were starting from the dirty side of the track at Imola, from where victory is impossible. They watched through soaking raingear as the afternoon players in t-shirts battered Baltray into submission. Chief among them was amateur Shane Lowry, who could see the chequered flag several times before crossing it for a truly unforgettable Irish victory. In winning Lowry fast tracked himself to the professional ranks, but more importantly saved the tournament and gave all of us with his recession depression something to cheer about. Nice one Shane.

8. Best of the Rest

david duval us open Who would have believed that John Daly could actually be thin? Little John is only half man he was, I mean that literally, following gastric band surgery. The top European performer in the majors this year was Englishman Ross Fisher who was within touching distance in both the US and British Opens. Not bad considering he was ready to down tools at Turnberry if he received a call from his pregnant wife. And lets not forget David Duval, the former world number one who came from nowhere to tie for second at the US Open. He missed 15 cuts either side of it and didn’t finish in the top 50 of any the five events where he saw the weekend. But for that one week Duval reminded us all of just how good he really was in the not too distant past. See you in 2010!

The Mount Juliet Fourball Rules Quiz

Mount Juliet WGC Thanks to everyone who entered our rules quiz this year. For our last prize of the season we have a super fourball in Mount Juliet, Kilkenny. Simply e-mail your name, address and answers to or text to 087-3140467. Thanks to Barry Rhodes, our rules expert for the questions.

Q1: True or False: A player is entitled to place his clubs in a bunker when his ball lies in the same bunker.

Q2: True or False: A player is allowed to use sand to raise his stance on the teeing ground.

Q3: True or False: Annika is attending the flagstick for her fellow competitor, Lorena. Her attention is diverted by some noise coming from an adjacent green and she does not notice that Lorena has taken her putt. Lorena’s ball hits Annika’s foot and comes to rest a few inches from the hole. Annika is penalised two strokes.

Last weeks answers:

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. Answer: True. Note: However, the opponent may also elect to let the stroke stand.

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. Answer: True. Note: The competitor must correct his mistake by playing the correct ball into the hole or he will be disqualified.

Q3: True or False: Sand and loose soil are loose impediments that may be removed on the putting green and through the green. Answer: False. Note: Sand and loose soil are loose impediments only on the putting green.

Congrats to last weeks winner Ray Rochford, Killeagh, Cork who gets to bring three mates to Carton House in Maynooth.

I Want One Of Those: Make The Putt Bra

make the putt bra

Ahead of tomorrow crunch World Cup qualifier, this little invention gives a whole new meaning to the “wearing of the green”. Japanese lingerie maker Triumph International have unveiled the "make the putt bra," the only brassiere in the world that unfolds into a putting mat. Sensors in the cups electronically congratulate you with a "nice in!" when you can a putt. Ladies- now you can just stop and drop for a few practise strokes anytime. Gents- beware. Combining life’s two greatest pleasures in this way could cause cardiac failure.

Colin-Montgomerie moobs

Monty – Over Shoulder Boulder Holder Upper???

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Tailored Shorts

Woods Value For Money

tiger jb were Tiger Woods gave value for his $3 million appearance fee by winning the JB Were event in Kingston Heath, Australia. Round criticised for his appearance fee, Woods put on quite a show in the event had the look and feel of a major. An estimated 100,000 people thronged to see Tiger claim his first win down under and his 13th in different countries. The Australian government, which paid half of Tiger’s appearance fee claimed the event was a sound economic success, grossing $20 million. Brian Cowen are you listening?

Much Ado About Nothing

The new 2010 conforming groove irons were being used by at least a dozen players at last weeks Miracle Classic on the PGA Tour. “It’s much ado about nothing, at least score wise,” said Davis Love III, who has been the conforming wedges for about a month now. “Is it going to change the Tour? No. Tiger is still going to be really, really good,” he added. From next season all players must use irons with “conforming grooves” which are smaller than the old grooves and not as sharp along the edges. The impact will be mostly noticed in wedges. Tests indicate a Tour player gets 3-4% less spin with the conforming grooves. “I couldn’t tell any difference,” said Heath Slocum.


Rory Watch

rory and phil Heading into this week’s Dubai World Championship Rory reckons his ball striking is in a great place. After struggling early in the HSBC Champions event two weeks ago he discovered that his ball position had got too far forward and moved it back to produce a more penetrating ball flight. The tweak allowed him to climb the leaderboard on Sunday finishing fourth and he reaffirmed his form last week with another blistering final round to finish second. Rory was paired with Phil Mickelson at the recent HSBC Champions event and he reported on his blog that the two got on famously, to the point of having a long driving contest during the tournament!. On the fifth tee on Friday, Rory hit a drive as good as he could straight down the middle. Up next, Phil himself unleashed a monster drive pitching his ball at Rory’s and running a further five yards. As they were walking off the tee Mickelson asked Rors “did you get that one?” devilishly implying that he had plenty more in the tank. Speaking of tanks, Rors has also traded in his Ferrari for a Lamborghini Gallardo LP 560-4 in white. Four miles per gallon we reckon!

Creamer Soaked In Wie

getty wie win 93076870 It was ten years in the making but Michelle Wie finally won her first LPGA Tour title at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational in Mexico. Wie finally fulfilled her promise with a three under 69 for a two-stroke victory over Paula Creamer. Wie bounced up and down and pumped her right fist after canning the winning putt as Solheim Cup teammates Morgan Pressel and Creamer showered her with champagne. "Wowwwww ...... never thought this would feel THIS great!!!!" she posted on her Twitter account, clearly never having been doused in Champagne before.


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carton house montgomerie

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 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:

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 or call 056-7773071


2. Castleknock Golf Club:

castleknock 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 or call 01 6408736

3. Carton House:

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 or call 01-6517720


4. Adare Manor:

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 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 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!

dromland 18th

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


Charl Schwartzel 28/11 charl

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.


Thongchai Jaidee 28/1140709-TURNBERRY-ENGLAND-Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand pictured during an official practice round on July 14, 2009 at the Alisa Course Turnberry, England, the venue for the 138th Open Championship which begins 16-19, July 2009. Picture by Paul Lakatos/Asian Tour.

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 McDowell 25/11 graeme

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.


Francesco Molinari 18/11 francesco

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.

ross fisher Full name: Ross Daniel Fisher

Born: 22 November 1980 in Ascot, Berkshire

Height: 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)

Residence: Cheam, London

Turned professional:2004

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

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

phil ernie getty 92890299

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.

WGC - HSBC Champions Preview & Betting Tips

Sheshan International GC

Shanghai, China

05 Nov 2009 - 08 Nov 2009

odds from 


Tiger Woods 7/4

tiger in suit 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

phil-mickelson chinese 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

SorenKjeldsen 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.


STF Residence: Cordoba, Argentina

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)

Interests: Football

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

what's in the bag Angel Cabrera


clip_image002I’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

seve 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

thin lee westwood 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?

Weekend Wrap

poulter singapore open 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.

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