We’ve saved the very best golf commercial for last. This brilliant Nike advert tells the story of “sunshine and lollipops” that all the pros enjoyed while Tiger was out injured. An absolute classic. The guy who came up with this should be knighted!
Monday, November 16, 2009
Dubai World Championship Betting Preview
presented by: DP World
Earth Course, Jumeirah Golf Estates
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
19 Nov 2009 - 22 Nov 2009
Rory McIlroy 9/1
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
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
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
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!
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 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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 email@example.com 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
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.
Monty – Over Shoulder Boulder Holder Upper???
Woods Value For Money
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.
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
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.