December 2009

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Odds thanks to Boylesports

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Its bound to be another go-low week in sunny South Africa where the average winning score over past three years has been 16 under. Yep birdies are to Joburg as Iris Robinson is to a teenage disco. Here’s my reading of the favourites and the long odds chances this week.

Richard Sterne 14/1

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Yeah he may pint sized but good poison comes in small bottles. At least that’s what my wife says. Richard was weighed down with all the pressures of defending champion last week and anyone watching his round two and three performances could clearly see that. He did finish with a stylish 67 though to tie 15th and free of the shackles of media and sponsors obligations this week, he could just feature. And just for good measure, Sterne won here in 2008. He didn’t make it easy on himself then either, he was three over after three on Thursday, before battling back to beat Garth Mulroy and Magnus Karlsson in a playoff.

Andrew McLardy 33/1

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Andrew McLardy brings new meaning to the word Journeyman-pro. Son of Ron and Mary McLardy from Helenborough in Scotland, Andrew was born in Zimbabwe, raised in South Africa, lives in America and plays on the European Open. Crazy or what! McLardy absolutely lives for the Joburg Open, as it has been his ATM card for the past three years. He finished second in the inaugural event in 2007, 14 th in 2008 and second again behind Anders Hansen last year. You just know Andrew’s been practicing away on the course for the last two weeks for this.

Pelle Edberg 33/1

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Named after Sweden’s best ever soccer player, Pelle is literally up Joburg Creek without a paddle at the moment with his limited exemption category 12 status on the Tour. Thus he’s desperately trying to play well in South Africa to get a couple more invites and make a few euro. Played great in the final round of the Africa Open last week until he burned €49,000 with a double bogey on the final hole dropping from potential third down to tied eighth. Expect the Swedish Zorro to be in the hunt again this week. Because if he isn’t , he’s toast.

European Tour- Shwartzel Has Excellent Teeth in Africa

Charl Schwartzel, one of the worlds skinniest golfers, claimed his fourth European Tour title after his final round 67 helped him win the Africa Open in East Lbranden graceondon. The South African, who only eats liquidized Special K, was thin enough to edge past out joint-overnight leader Thomas Aiken by a stroke.

Further down the field, Branden Grace, after 40 years entertaining Irish audiences with his slapstick comedy ended with an emphatic round of the day 66 to tie for eighth place on 16 under. “Bottler” as he is affectionately known tied with five other players, including James Kingston and veteran Miles Tunnicliff.

Northern Irishman Darren Clarke's three under round enabled him to finish three shots further back on an overall 12 under par for a 280 total. Darren picked up a cheque for €8542, enough to the keep the DC60 porsche in petrol for about a week. Branden “Bottler” Grace

US Tour- Groundhog Day for Ogilvy who looks a Bit Like Me

geoff ogilivy sbs Geoff Ogilvy successfully defended his title at Kapalua last night as he won the newly-sponsored SBS Championship, shooting a final round 67 on the par 73 Plantation Course to finish at 22 under par, a shot better than South Africa's Rory Sabbatini. Ogilvy who shares a first name with a 1966 England world Cup winner and Annie’s brother from Home and Away, vowed after his win not to make the same mistakes that led to the slump in form that followed after his victory last season. American Matt Kuchar was third at 19 under with his compatriot (and John Duggan’s tip from Today FM) Sean O'Hair in a tie for fourth at 18 under with Scotland's Martin Laird.

Geoff Ogilvy- Handsome

Royal Trophy- Nobody Knew It Was Even On!

Colin Montgomerie’s European team emerged victorious after a tightly fought final day's singles against Asia to reclaim the Royal Trophy. Leading 4 1/2 - 3 1/2 heading into the final round, Europe hung on for dear life to maintain their one point advantage in front on one man and his dog at the Amata Spring Country Club somewhere in Asia, we presume. According to morse code picked up from Asia, the end came when Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee bogeyed the last and Swede Henrik Stenson kept his cool to make par from six feet to halve the match and secure an 8 1/2 - 7 1/2 win for Europe. At least the event provided food for thought for Monty who watched Alexander Noren get his ass Royally whooped by Oda from Star Wars, whilst Peter Hanson gave child prodigy Riu Ishikawa a dead-leg winning 5&4.

Scores on The Doors

1UP

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WI

F

DYSON

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A/S

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LIANG

F

MONTGOMERIE

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A/S

5&3

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ODA

F

NOREN

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2&1

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SINGH

F

KARLSSON

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MARKSAENG

F

MARTIN

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2&1

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ISHIKAWA

F

HANSON

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5&4

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BHULLAR

F

KJELDSEN

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2&1

A/S

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JAIDEE

F

STENSON

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A/S

ASIA

7½ - 8½

EUROPE

Oh My God! How could anyone go with this Tiger Vanity Fair cover? As if the poor guy (I mean "poor" in spirit) wasn't having a hard enough time at the moment, somebody somewhere thought a picture of him looking like a cross between Andy Dufresne from Shawshank and Vinny Jones from Lock Stock would be a crackin' idea. However it has since emerged from sources, in my tiny mind, that the picture is actually a promotion for Tiger's hotly anticipated rematch with Elin.

As the photo clearly shows,Tiger is taking the whole re-match with Elin thing seriously. It's the USA versus a Scandinavian fighting God; yep Rocky 4 all over again. While Tiger is busy lugging unspeakably heavy milk churns through the snow and doing stomach crunches with his feet manacled to the highest beam in some rat infested barn, Elin is hooked up to loads of cardio machines in Sweden and surrounded by a team of sports scientists making her stronger, fitter and faster than an accelerating black Escalade.

The fight is now set to take place on March 31st in Las Vegas in the slot recently vacated by Mayweather and Pacqiou (or however it's spelled). Elin is to enter the ring first and will wait alone there until James Brown has sung "Living In America" after which Tiger will drop into the ring like a lob wedge. Speaking of lobs and wedges, it looks like Elin is also set to garner the lion's, I mean Tiger's share of the purse too.
My opinion. It's too hard to call. Elin will have to come up at least ten weight divisions to fight Tiger but he has some decidedly dodgy hairy nipples goin' on; if Elin manages to tweak one or two of those bad boys, Tiger could go down again early, just as in the first fight. And no parent should have to watch their knocked-out son, desperately clamber to stand upright, twice in their career.

Tiger Vanity Fair- three words that just dont seem to sit well together just at the moment.

Well done to Pablo Martin and Richie Ramsey on winning down in South Africa.  Richie played an unbelievable 3-wood second shot into the par-5 18thpablo martin during a playoff against Shiv Kapur to claim the South African Open. And a big shout out to Pablo Martin who became the first man (I think) to win on tour as an amateur and as a professional in the Dunhill last week.  He also came close yesterday until he finally ran out of steam.

Pic: Pablo Martin “Knackered”

Okay so the Tiger Woods “What Really Happened” DVD may not make it to the shops in time for Christmas but I’ve been searching around for a few alternatives. These golfing gift ideas will have you scrambling for your mouse quicker than you can impale your car on a fire hydrant. Most are available in the shops, or online.

Dave Pelz Short Game Clinic

€149 for half day

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The only Dave Pelz short game clinic in Europe is located at the fabulous Killeen Castle in Dunsany, Co. Meath. If your loved one is coming up short in the scoring department this might be the ideal present to transform his or her golf life. Enjoy a crack course in wedge play from 100 yards in followed by a putting clinic from the experts. Click on the Pelz link at www.killeencastle.com

ForeGolf Custom Fitting Session

€50 per half hour

foregolf derek murray

Climb aborad the 40 foot, fully fitted travelling Tour workshop and club testing unit and become a pro for the day. Let master club fitter Derek Murray check all your clubs to ensure you a getting every last yard available. Located near Naas in Kildare, this is a must for any serious golfer. www.foregolf.ie or call 045-430660.

€11 Ben Hogan’s Five Lessons.

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The Modern Fundamentals of Golf by Ben Hogan is widely regarded as the definitive Bible of the golf swing. First published in 1957, the five lesson’s outlined by Hogan are still as relevant today as they were half a century ago. Starting from the grip, Hogan’s book brings you through the entire golf swing in five simple and expertly delivered lessons accompanied by fantastic hand drawn illustrations. Available on www.amazon.com

 

The Ultimate Golfing Holiday- Oceanico Portugal

clip_image026€584 plus flights

Portugal has some of the finest holiday golf facilities in Europe. We uncovered a gem in the form of this Oceanico golfing special for €600. The deal includes five night’s accommodation with breakfast at the Hotel Do Golf plus four rounds of golf to include the Faldo and O’Connor Courses in Amendoeira, the Victoria Course- venue for the Portugal Masters and the Old Course adjacent to the hotel. The price also includes all tranfers to and from courses and Faro airport. Direct flights are cheap and available from Dublin and Shannon. Oh and did I mention the sunshine? www.oceanicogolf.com/specials

€10-25: Adidas Shoe Bag

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Simple yet effective, this adidas shoe bag will help you in the fight to keep the grass out of your car boot. Using the bag will mean you always know where your shoes are, allowing you to work away, safe in the knowledge that the wheel of your caddy cart isn’t dripping into them for the entire week. To be found in all good golf shops.

€25-30: Cleveland GutBuster Umbrella

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When I mention the GutBuster umbrella why do I suddenly have the mental image of John and Edward prancing around the stage yelling “Who You Gonna Call?” Anyway this umbrella is like none you have ever seen before. The closest model I have seen is Mary Poppins parasol, and we all know that wasn’t real. The GutBuster is big enough to cover the entire fourball and is designed to withstand driving rain and winds up to 60mph. Perfect for next Summer so!

www.onlinegolf.co.uk

€30-35: Mizuno Thermo Body Mock

clip_image006Ladies, transform your man into the perfect physical specimen with this Mizuno Thermo Body Mock. A fusion of wonder-bra and spanks technologies has yielded this armour designed for sub zero temperatures to hold that beer belly in while you unleash fury with the driver. Men, be careful taking them off after; when the jiggly bits flop back out, balancing can be tough

€200- Bushnell Range Finder

clip_image008If you’re unsure of the difference between perception and reality why not spend €200 on a Bushnell Range Finder! Every golfing professional in Christendom has one of these in his bag. They give you an exact yardage for any shot, irrespective of the terrain. An extravagance but if you get the opportunity to play the St Andrews, Augusta or Mission Hills just once, you want to get your yardages right. No one enjoys nailing a five iron only to watch your ball drop 40 yards short of the green. Happy Christmas! www.bushnell.com

€5- Golf Dotz and Footiez

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Ingenious little transfers to personalize golf balls and shoes. No heat guns or degrees in engineering required to put them on either. The perfect stocking filler for mad-about-golf kids. www.golfdotz.com

 

€10-15 Shaft Skinz

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Shaft Skinz are a cool way to “funkify” the boring old shaft on your driver or putter. The brainchild of Irishman Martin Greeves, all that is needed to fit a shaft skinz to your club is a hairdryer and about 60 seconds. Used by the likes of Rory Sabbatini and loads of players on the LPGA tour. Come in a pack of four. www.shaftskinz.com

€20 Premiership Head Covers

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If you want to support your favourite team even on the golf course, then Premiership Head Covers are for you. I have a Spurs one on my driver to celebrate the glory of Peter “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Talent” Crouch. Seriously, these head covers are made of leather and neoprene and are top notch quality. Thus they wont be crumbling like Robbie Keane in front of an open goal! Available in most golf shops.

 

 

€15-20 The V-Towel

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When it comes to golfing inventions the Irish are world leaders. The V-Towel from Vicarious Golf won best golf product a couple of years ago and comes highly recommended. It’s basically a towel and groove scrubber all in one. It clips on your bag and ensures your weaponry is maintained in pristine condition. In most golf shops.

€20 Rick Smith Swing Glove

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There are millions of training aids on the market and to be honest it is really tough to decipher the good from the bad, not to mention the ugly. However one of the best game improvement aids I have come across is the Swing Glove from renowned teacher Rick Smith. One of the fundamentals of golf is to maintain a flat left wrist through impact and this glove teaches you how to feel that. The glove incorporates a removable plastic wedge that keeps your hand in wrist in the right place throughout the swing. From www.swingglove.com and in many shops.

A Fourball Green Fee Voucher

€100 and up.

What can I say about a fourball voucher? Nothing really except to say it’s the one present that is truly appreciated by the golfer. Opening that envelope is the nearest thing we get to uncovering a golden ticket from a Wonka Bar. Marquee suggestions might be Adare, Lough Erne, The K Club, Doonbeg but equally brilliant and possibly a little less expensive options include Dromland Castle, Ballyliffin, The Heritage, Slieve Russell and Portmarnock Hotel and Links.

Electric Golf Caddy

clip_image028€450 and up

The days of putting €4 in a slot only to uncover a dodgy cart with a rickety wheel are gone forever. An electric gglider olf caddy takes all the effort out of getting your clubs around the course allowing you to concentrate on what you do best- attempting to look good. They are also invaluable in the wet. Two of the best makes you will find in shops are Powakaddy (www.powakaddy.com) and Golfglider. Powakaddy are the market leader and have the most advanced technology but Golfglider are tough, sturdy, have a superior after sales service and most importantly are Irish. www.golfglider.com

Pre-Owned Clubs

€50 and up

Everyone knows golf equipment goes out of fashion every five minutes. If you’re not too hung up on getting brand spanking new equipment every time, why not try a set of pre-owned clubs. Every golf shop has a pre-owned section but another online option is Golfbidder. This web based company based in the UK has literally thousands of pre-owned sets at good prices. All are pictured and strictly graded. They will also quote you to take your old sticks off your hands. An increasingly good option now that the Euro Sterling conversion rate is so good. www.golfbidder.co.uk

Oakley Shades

€150 and up

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Oakley are the leader in golf eyewear and whether worn or not adorn the hats of hundreds of touring pros including Henrik Stenson. Premium models include features such as wide peripheral field of vision, removable lenses, cutting fittable and smudge resistance. Hide your fear and look the dog’s in 2010. www.onlinegolf.co.uk

Funky Golf Attire

clip_image032€50 and up

If you’re looking for something a little bit different to wear on the course next season the best option is online, as a plethora of funky golf clothing stores have popped up with something for everyone. Some of the most innovative mainstream brands include J Lindeberg and Puma but the Ian Poulter clothing site www.ianpoulterdesign.com is rapidly increasing its share in the market. Other sites including www.subseventy.co.uk and www.funkygolfgear.com and www.quagmiregolf.com have a decent selection at reasonable prices.

The Garia Luxury Golf Car

€14,000

garia golf car

The Garia is the Porsche of buggies. Designed by Danish designer Anders Lynge, features include in-built refrigerator, hand-stitched seats, and colour personalisation. Built with a double wishbone front suspension similar to those found in sports cars and inspired by Formula 1 cars. It may set you back €14,000 and trigger an immediate tax audit, but hey you only live once!

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