Tiger has finally ended speculation about his return to tournament golf. He is to compete at next months Masters. In a statement Woods said “The Masters is where I won my first major and I view this tournament with great respect. After a long and necessary time away from the game, I feel like I’m ready to start my season at Augusta.”
Thursday Mar 18 – Sunday Mar 21, 2010
Innisbrook, A Salamander Golf and Spa Resort · Tampa Bay, Fla.
Course Par Value: 71
Course Yardage: 7,340
1st Prize ($)
Mar 22, 2009
Mar 9, 2008
Mar 11, 2007
The highest ranked player in the field this week, Stricker comes into the tournament having shot a four under final round of 68 at last weeks CA Championship to climb into a tie for 16th position. Stricker had control of this tournament after two rounds last year and despite a third round 73 he still had a chance to win on Sunday. He lead midway through the final round but bogeys on 17 and 18 gifted the tournament to Retief Goosen. I expect the Northern Trust Open winner to contend again this week.
It didn’t happen for Nick Watney last week at Doral with a series of double bogeys blighting any chance of a high finish. Although not shown on the TV cameras, Watney shot a final round 68 which included eight birdies and four bogeys. With the pressure off this week he could well contend over this tough Copperhead layout where the scoring is never low. It all depends on his putter, on these exceptionally grainy greens, the only club in the bag with which Watney’s stats are above the tour average.
How great it was to see Padraig return to form last week at the CA Championship. If you want a man to play for your life in the wind, it’s Ernie, but since he’s not available this week, we’ll take Padraig! Harrington has a busy week at the White House so the Transitions should come as a welcome relief at the end of it. Tied for third last week despite three consecutive back nine bogeys. The host Copperhead course this week could be even more suited to Harrington than last weeks resort layout, being as it is very narrow with thick greenside bermuda grass rough. It’s a week for the short game specialists, not the blasters (Tom Lehman was in the final group last year) and the wind is predicted to be up again which all bodes well for the in form Dubliner.
Royal Golf Dar Es Salam
18 Mar 2010 - 21 Mar 2010
The European Tour visits Morocco for the first time this week and welcomes back an old favourite in Paul McGinley after his extended injury lay off. The betting in this depleted field will be headed by Italian Francesco Molinari (16/1) who jets back home from the WGC CA Championship after carding a final round 68 to climb into a very creditable tie for 14th. Others to watch include Rhys Davies (40/1) who went close in Malaysia a couple of weeks back and England’s David Horsey (45/1) who has been by many to make a breakthrough this year.
Padraig Harrington is to visit the White House this week to meet Barack Obama, who will be hosting the traditional handing over of the St Patrick’s Day bowl of salad celebrations with er, Brian Cowen. All we know so far is that Harrington plans to wear a green tie. However my secret service insider has revealed that both Obama and Cowen have both scheduled half hour meetings with the Dubliner in the Oval Office. It is believed Harrington will first brief Obama on his five point plan to bring America out of its fiscal deficit whilst tweaking the Health Reform bill to get it passed in the Senate. Harrington is then expected to lecture Mr Cowen on fitness, the art of public speaking and dealing with the public. It is not believed Harrington will have time to outline his strategy on enforcing unilateral banking legislation within the Eurozone.
So you’re a multi million dollar gaming company and the golf star after which your top game is named is ‘dodgy at best’. What do you do? Well if you are Sony and EA Sports dealing with Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11 you try and shift the focus and give equal cover billing to Rory McIlroy. The new game will feature the Ryder Cup, which ironically McIlroy has never played in and Woods participation in is, well, ‘dodgy at best’. Sony has also revealed the new game will boast a revolutionary motion controller, presumably designed to make easier for Tiger to find his own hotel room. Sorry, couldn’t resist!
Seve Ballesteros, who has been battling brain cancer since being diagnosed in 2008 had a scare recently after falling off a golf cart and banging his head on the ground in Pedrena, northern Spain. The three-time British Open champion was taken to hospital where he underwent a serious of tests over for four days before being discharged. His management say that he has now fully recovered. Ballesteros spoke last year of his desire to return to competition one last time at this years British Open Championship and has pushed his ravaged body to the limit in order to regain his fitness for the event. However his participation must now be considered unlikely after this recent setback.
The newest European Tour winner and wonder kid is Korea’s Noh Seung-yul. Noh who is not quite twenty and has his Dad as his caddy not only claimed the Maybank Malaysian Open, but claimed one of four British Open qualifying spots only hours after. Another Korean to emerge last week was happy go lucky Kiradech Aphibarnrat. So taken are we by the big Barn-Rat’s on course antics we’ve decided to adopt the loveable rogue for the season. If the big rat bites on the Asian Tour, you’ll hear it here first.
Remember the good old days when Sergio Garcia was the happy go lucky El Nino? Here he struts his stuff as James Bond in a Michelob beer commercial. Apparently they had to shoot the final scene a total of 23 times because Sergio kept messing up from 007 feet! Sorry dude, I couldn’t resist.
Birthdate: January 10, 1976
Height and weight: 6ft 1in 13st 7lb (185cm 86kgs)
Birthplace: Hitchin, England
Attachment: Woburn G&C.C.
College: Barclay School
Turned Pro: 1995
Family: Wife: Katie (m. 2007); Children: Aimee-Leigh (2002), Luke (2004), Lilly-Mai Grace (2009)
Interests: All ball sports, Arsenal FC, cars
Turned Pro: 1994 (4)
Longest Drive: 296 yards
Average Drive: 283.5 yards
Fairway Hit %: 65.5%-rank 35
Greens in Regulation %: 80.6- rank 2
Putts per round: 29.5
Putts per hole: 1.64
what’s in the bag 2010 Ian Poulter, witb Ian Poulter 2010, what’s in the bag
This weeks prize is a fantastic fourball at The Heritage in Co. Laois, venue of the 2007 Seve Trophy. To enter text your answer with name and address to 087-2029040 or e-mail them to email@example.com. Even if you’re not a winner, don’t forget that online bookings and associate memberships with no joining fee are now available on www.theheritage.com.
Who am I?
I was born in 1971 in Jacksonville Florida. I have 13 PGA tour victories including one Major outside my own country in 2001. I’ve been the world number one but am most proud of shooting a 59 at the Bob Hope Classic. My slip down the rankings in the noughties was shocking and my 25 over par at the 2004 US Open was a low point. I proved I still have it though, tying for second at last years US Open after coming through sectional qualifying.
Congrats to last weeks winner Sandra Murnaghan, Ovens, Cork (who correctly answered 1. Larry Mize, 2. Colombia, 3. Loreno Ochoa) and wins a fabulous fourball at Adare Manor.
Boy am I sick and tired of hearing about the mental side of side of golf. The whole psychological part of the game has become as important as your swing or equipment. There’s something not quite right about that isn’t there? There they are, hanging around the practise green on tour, just waiting for the next player to break his putter in frustration before they swoop in for easy pickings.
I reckon these guys have their own sneaky marketing strategy too; the more golfers they get to talk about having the mental fortitude to close out an event or how to avoid filling your pants over a slippery left to right five footer the more they scare you into thinking that without their help you are automatically going to do that. It’s a self fulfilling prophecy.
The first golf email I got last Monday was from Dr Gio Valiante’s media company. No he’s not the doctor from the Simpsons, but rather Camilo Villegas’ head guru and he wanted to take all the plaudits for the Colombian’s victory. He reckoned Camilo’s on course philosophy of an “attitude of gratitude” helped him win the Honda. Gio’s secrets can be all yours for only $99.99. Right you be, it had nothing to do with Villegas diet of oil and nails, his 27 inch waist, muscle bound upper body, punishing training regime and having one of the best putting strokes on tour. I bet you Valiante will have an attitude of gratitude toward anyone daft enough to part with 100 quid for his ramblings. I feel brain freeze coming on.
That’s not to say I’m a complete sceptic. I do make an exception for Bob Rotella and his methods. He doesn’t come on all hot and heavy with the claims, preferring to make the odd appearance beside Padraig or offer a soundbite as to how his charge is doing. If golf psychology was a weight loss program, Valiante would be an untried yet expensive tablet whereas Rotella would be healthy eating with exercise. I like Bob’s little snippets. One goes something along the lines of: You are aiming down the fairway, ball sitting on the tee. Where are you aiming? I’m aiming down the middle of the fairway. Rotella says “where exactly on the middle of the fairway”. Ah, I get it, he wants us to focus on hitting specific targets, like going for the treble 20 in darts rather than being happy to hit the board. Nice one Bob.
Pic: Camilo: Winning has nothing to do with those muscles so?
Even the kids who are supposed to be young and fearless are being contaminated with the whole pycho aspect of the beautiful game. Last week Rory McIlory spent “probably the best 90 minutes I’ve spent in a long time”. Was he talking about watching Nuala Carey on the Late Late Show or Wayne’s Rooney’s demolition of AC Milan? Hell no. Rory got to spend an extended lunch with Jack Nicklaus specifically to peer inside the head of the 18 time major champion. I think surgeon’s call it a bifrontal craniotomy. “It was great to sit down and talk to him and see his approach to winning and what went through his head whenever he was in contention, and what things he might have done differently than other people,” McIlroy said. He had assumed that Jack, in his day was like Tiger, building a lead only to crush the competition but was surprised by the bear’s actual mindset. “He waited for guys to make mistakes. He had a lot more majors handed to him than he won.” Er, not quite with ya on the old “handed to him” bit Rory, but you got the jist.
So whether you’re a Dr Bob and a Dr Gio follower, or merely lunch with major champions and draw slightly dodgy conclusions, remember for me it’s all in the head. The clubhead.
A Sway is any lower body lateral movement away from the target during the backswing and forces the weight to the outside of the back foot. This swing fault makes it very difficult for a golfer to create power as it causes problems in the proper weight shift during transition and the downswing.
Right hip internal rotation is vital for full rotation into the right hip without any lateral movement for a right handed golfer. If there is any joint or muscular restrictions lateral movement will tend to dominate.
A great exercise to practise would be side step ups. Hold a medicine ball (or a buggy battery) and place a foot on a step about 6-12 inches in height. Start by stepping up on the left leg and swinging the right knee across the body. Make sure you keep the upper body facing forward with the medicine ball in front of the body. This will force the hips to rotate independently of the upper body, make sure to repeat on the other side too.
Log on to www.wayneocallaghangolf.com PGA Pro and TPI fitness instructor
Everybody knows about shaft flex and some know about kick point. But did you know about the latest shaft technology which involves the “spine” of the shaft? This is the strongest part or plane of the shaft when it bends. Some of the top players on Tour insist that the spine is located using a shaft profiling machine and then aligned to help stabilize the driver head. Having the spine in the straight up or 12 o’clock position stops the head from drooping or dipping at impact and allows the head to be more energy efficient in the 3 o’clock to 9 o’clock position and through the ball. Does it make a difference? The top players in the world believe it does, so……….
Pic: The Spine Analyzer, the golfing equivalent of an MRI.
with Derek Murray from www.foregolf.ie
Its great to be back for another season. In preparation for a successful year I’ve removed the fire hydrant from outside the gate, chopped down the tree in the front lawn and cut up all my wife’s clubs with an angle grinder! It promises to be an awesome year with drama on and off the course. By the end of it we’ll know if Europe brought the Ryder Cup home, if Rory climbed the Major podium and most intriguingly if Tiger got Booed.
As well as the old favourites such as bet your balls we’ve got some cool new features for 2010. We have enlisted world clubmaker of the year Derek Murray from Foregolf to give us the low down on the latest advances in equipment and keep us up to speed with what’s happening on the tour truck. Derek gets clubs, shafts and gear to test literally a year before they arrive on the market so if something is coming, we’ll know first.
We’ve also teamed up with Titleist Performance Institute graduate Wayne O’Callaghan to get us fit for golf. TPI is used by loads of PGA pro’s including Padraig Harrington and we’ve been delving into his exercise regime to bring you some really useful tips to increase your mobility and range of motion. It’s truly amazing the difference some simple drills make in increasing power and accuracy.
This year I want to hear from you too. If you are one of those enjoying the €3 Friday night pints in Rosses Point or have witnessed any other golfing wonders, get a pic on your phone and whack it to me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
So get those clubs out of the shed, remove the four month old banana from your bag and put a fresh layer of Skuff Kote on your skates because its all systems go for 2010 with The SpinDoctor.
Doral Golf Resort & Spa (7266 Yards)
A Marriott Resort - Doral, Florida, USA
11 Mar 2010 - 14 Mar 2010
2009 Phil MICKELSON (-19)
2008 Geoff OGILVY (-17)
2007 Tiger WOODS (-10)
Something good is happening with Retief Goosen lately. He’s finally starting to shoot under par final rounds again and got to the quarter final of WGC, only losing out to red hot Camilo. Goosen added four consecutive top 10 finishes in towards the end of the 2009 season and started his 2010 campaign in January with three consecutive top 10 finishes. He finished sixth at the SBS Championship, fourth at the Sony Open in Hawaii and ninth at the Qatar Masters. The Goose knows the course inside out with a best finish of joint second in 2008 behind Geoff Ogilvy. Virtual Bet €10 each way
Retief as Didier Cuche
We tipped Camilo to win on the blog last week and he duly obliged. Whether he has the stamina to keep his form going for one more week is debateable following an epic WGC matchplay week, a top 10 in Arizona, a dash back to Bogota to promote a Champions Tour event and then a win at The Honda. We know he can win two weeks in a row as he proved at the end of 2008 winning the BMW and Tour Championship. Camilo has previous on the Blue Monster too finishing fifth in last years staging. He also narrowly lost out to Tiger on his debut on this course at the Ford Championship in 2006. Virtual Bet €10 each way
Camilo: Where did she hide my hairdryer
If you’re looking for a rollercoaster ride this week, stick an each way bet on Vijay Singh. Tee to green he was back to his best at the Honda, but he struggled with the pace of his full length putter. Nothing that practice cant fix however and if there’s one man you can count on to practice, its Vijay. Many criticised his punishing training and legendary regime which he continued to engage in too soon after his arthroscopic knee surgery last year. Vijay tied for second here in 2008 and finished 11th in 2007. He has also played the course many times when it hosted the Ford Championship, with a notable third in 2005. Virtual Bet €10 each way
Vijay: Think I’ll go back to the long putter
There’s a case to be made for several guys in this top class field. Take Nick Watney (40/1) who came within a roll of a playoff last year. He has performed consistently in his six starts this year with two top tens. And what about Phil Mickelson (8/1) last years champion who makes just his fifth appearance of the year at Doral. His best result to date coming tied eight at the AT&T at Pebble Beach. His win last year atoned for a second place finish to Tiger Woods back in 2005 at the Ford Championship. Jim Furyk (20/1) is another who has had a solid yet unspectacular start to the season with three top 25 finishes. He came third last year after tying second in 2008. Furyk is a proven WGC performer with a total of nine top 10’s since the inception of the series. Virtual Bet €5 each way on these.
Date of birth: 24/04/1973
Place of birth: Worksop, England
Height and weight: 6ft Family: Wife: Laurae (m. 1999); Children: Samuel Bevan (2001), Poppy Grace (2004)
Turned Pro: 1993 (plus 4)
European Tour wins: 20
PGA tour wins: 1
Longest Drive: 363 yards
Average Drive: 299.8 yards
Fairway Hit %: 64.3%-rank 53
Greens in Regulation %: 74.8- rank 14
Putts per round: 29.7
Putts per hole: 1.65
Lee Westwood is the reigning European Number One having won the inaugural Race to Dubai with a breath-taking victory in the Dubai World Championship. The win earned him the €830,675 and a further €996,810 for topping The Race to Dubai Bonus Pool, taking his 2009 season earnings to a record €4,237,762. Lee also won his sponsors event last season, the Oceanico Portugal Masters, ending a run of three play-off defeats, two near misses in Majors and an amazing 26 top-tens since his previous victory in 2007. Off the course, Lee knows how to party too, he celebrated his Race win with a massive party in Dubai followed by two more back in England. A lifelong fan of Nottingham Forest, Lee always keeps track of their games on Slingbox.
To celebrate being back we have a cracking prize of a fourball at Adare Manor, venue of the JP McManus Pro-Am on July 5th/6th. To enter text your answers with name and address to 087-3140467 or e-mail them to email@example.com. If you’re not lucky enough to win don’t forget you can still play Adare and get a free two day pass for the Pro-Am for €80. Full details on www.adaremanor.com.
1. Who chipped in to win the 1987 Masters?
2. What country is Camilo Villegas from?
3. What is currently the world’s number one female golfer?
Swing Fault: The golf term “over the top” relates to one of golf’s most common swing faults. It is where the upper body starts the downswing by throwing the club head outside of the intended swing plane, with the club head approaching the ball in an out-to-in motion. This creates a pull if the clubface is square or a slice if it is open at impact. This action can rob golfers of power.
Cause: This action can be caused by the over dominance of the upper body during the downswing and might be caused by the golfers inability to separate the lower body from the upper body. If there is any reduced spinal and hip mobility it can cause limited pelvis to thorax separation.
Drill: A great exercise to practice is trunk rotation narrow base. Sit on a swiss ball (or chair) with the feet together. Cross the arms and hold a brush handle or club across your chest. Rotate the shoulders back and forth keeping your lower body still. Doing this regularly will increase your range of rotation.
with Wayne O’Callaghan PGA Pro and TPI fitness instructor
As far as drivers are concerned 2010 is all about distance and carry.
One of the best driver finds this year is from an unexpected source and has already won on Tour this year with Ian Poulter winning the WGC Accenture Match Play Championship using his new wonder stick.
Cobra Golf have released the ZL (Zero-Limits) driver which after some testing on the truck has the lowest spin rates with highest launch angles we have ever seen. Having low spin and high launch makes this driver superb in the wind and very, very long off the tee. The trick with this club is to use 1 degree more loft than you usually go for and thanks to the adjustable hosel the head can be opened or closed to suit the different ball flight requirements. www.cobragolf.com for more information and www.foregolf.ie
Rory McIlroy paid a visit recently to the famous watchmaker Audemars Piguet near Geneva in Switzerland. While there he got the full “how do they do it” tour of the watchmaking process and even ordered the new Limited Edition Grand Prix watch which is 18 carat pink gold and comes with a receipt for $50,000. Rory reckons one model can even “tell the sunrise and sunset of wherever you are in the world”. I wonder is there’s a Tiger version that can remember hotel room numbers anywhere in the world!
Assuming you know what’s been going on the Tiger Woods saga, here is the latest. Woods is now back at home after a week of family counselling in Arizona. He has started back into a routine that includes fitness and hitting balls for the first time since the Australian Masters in November, 15 weeks ago. No word yet on Woods’ return to competition but Jack Nicklaus last week commented that he expected Woods to play at least once before Augusta.
Woods has been hitting balls on the range at Isleworth, almost within site of the fire hydrant and tree that changed his life. Meanwhile Stevie Williams has been on NZ TV, claiming ignorance of Tiger’s off course activities. "I'm a straight-up sort of person. If I had known something was going on, the whistle would have been blown." Whether Williams was referring to a moral metaphorical ‘whistle’ or the type that a trainer might use to encourage his lads to ‘get stuck in’ is unclear.
TopGolfer, an innovative new golf website aimed at single figure golfers was launched last week. The TopGolfer Tour incorporates thirty scratch cups around the country, the first of which will take place at Fota Island on Sunday March 21st. The initiative aims to provide low handicap golfers with a series of competitive events and an online community of their own. The Tour will run from March until September with events spread throughout the four provinces. The winner of each event will receive an invite to compete in the TopGolfer Tour Championship, a three day finale which will take place at the end of October. For more info visit www.topgolfer.ie
Greg Rita the former PGA tour caddie has died on his birthday at the age of 54. Rita was on the bag for Curtis Strange when he won back to back US Open titles in 1989 and 1990 and won his third major with John Daly at St. Andrews in 1995. He also had a spell with David Duval when he was at the height of his powers. Rita collapsed at a Champions Tour event in September 2007, and had surgery to remove a brain tumour two months later.
The Honda Classic
PGA National Champion Course, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida
He can bench press a tour bag, has an explanar in his garage, could well be KJ Choi’s brother and is a major champion. That’s about the extent of my knowledge on YE Yang. But I do know this, he shot a 65 on this notoriously tricky PGA National course last year on his way to victory. Is he in form? Absolutely. A tidy 69 in the final round last week saw Yang finish third. Surely he’s going to be the mix again this time around.
I would imagine Robert Allenby has been just waiting for this week to pounce. It will be a return visit to a favourite stomping ground only this time he has his new (well sort of) putting style. I liked him last week in the desert where he tied 8th and he has been in the top five at the Honda for the past three years. It’s hard to argue with those stats and while I don’t have huge faith in Allneby being able to cross the finish line, an each way bet wouldn’t be worst move.
“They call me ‘el Hombre Araña’, the Spider Man” Camilo says on his PGA tour ad. “I’m not really a Spider Man, I just play one on TV” is the killer line at the end. Camilo must have been exhausted last week in Arizona after his exploits in the WGC matchplay but he rallied to tie for eighth. His stats will show he’s a streaky player but if he can keep his good form going for one more week, he has a squeak here at the Honda. He shot a final round 67 here back in 2007 to reel in a faltering Mark Wilson, only to lose out to him cruelly in a playoff.
Here are my positive thoughts on Rory. He finished tied for 13th last year which will have given him experience of the course. As we know the Honda is traditionally not a birdie fest, which should suit our man. He will probably finish the week with the best GIR stats but since you can’t bet on those, it comes down to putting. Rory has identified this as an area of his game that he really needs to work on and Bob Rotella has been enlisted this week to help. Could Bob do for Rory what he did for Paddy? In one week? The bookies certainly think so, posting Rors at 16/1. I just hope the media don’t hound him in an effort to fill the Tiger void.