March 2010

Here’s what the computer predicts for the Shell Houston Open

Rk

Last Name

Season

Avge

Last 5

Events

World

Rank

Scoring

 Av

Overall %

chance

1

Casey

9.29

5.60

6

69.96

88.243

2

Westwood

27.67

12.20

4

69.86

87.875

3

Els

16.25

19.20

7

69.06

85.774

4

Mickelson 

23.33

24.20

3

70.43

84.888

5

Harrington

30.33

20.00

10

69.93

82.290

6

Ogilvy 

31.17

37.20

13

71.09

77.065

7

McIlroy 

26.20

26.20

11

70.38

76.715

8

Kaymer 

31.50

37.60

9

70.10

76.450

9

Mahan 

37.43

30.60

21

71.04

76.372

10

Donald 

26.86

11.80

20

70.09

75.242

Vital Stats

Residence: Bridgen97478908 daviesd, Wales

Attachment: none

Date of birth: 28/05/1985

Place of birth: Edinburgh, Scotland

Height and weight: 185cm 74kgs (6ft1in 11st 8lb)

Married: No

Interests: Cricket, all sports

Turned Pro: 2007

Qualifying School: (2007), (08)

Biography

The European Ryder Cup team could be headed to Celtic Manor in Wales with a home favourite in their ranks after Rhys Davies captured the Hassan II trophy in Morocco recently. Twenty four year old Davies, from Bridgend is in his first full year on the main Tour, having graduated from the Challenge Tour. Davies first played golf on a small nine hole course in Barry with his Dad but he did not join a club until he was 11 years old. The former Brynteg Comprehensive School pupil, enjoyed an outstanding amateur career in college golf in the USA. He combined his golf with a business degree at East Tennessee University, where local media called him "the best player to ever play" at the college. In his final year there in 2007 Davies extended his own ETSU record for career individual titles to 10 and became the first UK player to reach number one in America since Graeme McDowell achieved the feat in 2002 while at Alabama State. Davies also played twice in the Walker Cup (he won both his singles matches). He turned pro after the 2007 Walker Cup at Royal County Down. Davies would not be drawn on his chances of becoming a Ryder Cup player in Wales ahead of the October event. "That's way out of my equation at the moment. This is the first win, hopefully the first of a few, and it's really special." Davies currently lies 81st in the official world rankings and his aim is to climb into the top 50 in order to gain entry to the lucrative events where more Ryder Cup points are available.

whats in the bag rhys davies 2010

 

Secret Scot

clip_image002

Davies was welcomed into the winner's enclosure in Rabat to the strains of Flower of Scotland. Glasgow's Clarkston Pipe Band did the music and, as it turned out, the tune was highly appropriate. "I was actually born in Edinburgh as was my younger sister before we moved to Wales when I was two years old. I have lived there ever since,”said Davies. "My father worked for the Scottish Sports Council.”

 

 

Blade Runner

clip_image004

Davies putting hero is Phil Mickelson and like him uses a Ping blade putter. His original blade was a present from his parents while at a college at ETSU. According to former coach and head PGA pro at Royal Porthcawl, Peter Evans "His putting stroke is incredible and always has been. A blade is an old-fashioned style of putter where your putting stroke is absolutely critical and he's got wonderful technique and a wonderful feel to the putter. His speed putting is the best I have ever seen."

 

 

Just Not Cricket Old Boy

clip_image006Rhys was quite the sportsman in his formative years, excelling at cricket. Having represented Glamorgan and Wales at the crease, he had to choose between playing cricket or golf professionally as a teenager. Still a huge fan, Davies lists the Ashes as the one event he would pay money to see. One of his sporting heroes growing up was Darren Gough.

 

Ratings

Power

Longest Drive: 316

Average Drive: 283.8

Rank: 99

Accuracy

Fairway Hit %: 55.5 (136 th)

Greens in Regulation: 11.5 gir (145th)

Putting

Putts per round: 28.2 ppr

Putts per GIR: 1.714

Rank: 24th

clip_image001

Thursday Apr 1 – Sunday Apr 4, 2010

Redstone Golf Club Tournament Course · Humble, Texas

Course Par Value: 72

Course Yardage: 7457

Early odds from Betfair

Geoff Ogilvy 25/1

geoff ogilvy

The Shell Houston Open is unusual in that international winners dominate its recent history. Aussie Geoff Ogilvy will feel this event owes him after he threw away the chance to win last year with a dreadful final round of 75 which dropped him from a promising position to finish tied sixth. Ogilvy also came close in 2008 tying for second. Winner of the SBS Championship early doors, his last outing was at The Transitions where he finished 28th. Will be keen to contend with the Masters around the corner.

 

 

JB Holmes 40/1

jb holmes

Big hitting JB Holmes has shown some really impressive form this season and could well be in the Ryder Cup mix later in the year. Holmes played brilliantly in last years final round where he and Paul Casey contested a playoff. A mistake in club selection saw his playoff approach shot hang in the wind and find the water handing Casey the victory. Already has a second and third in his last seven events and a solid top 25 last week, write JB off at your peril.

 

 

Fred Couples 60/1

fed couples

If you’re after some long odds value this week (and next), I think 50 year old Fred Couples makes a compelling argument for your money. Couples has always had a long affinity with Houston playing for the Cougars in College and winning this event in 2003. Came so close to victory again last year but a Sunday 74 saw him just miss out to finish tied third. The fairytale was also ‘on’ in 2008; that year he finished tied fourth. Fred warmed up last week in the Dominican Republic where he shot a 10 under par final round to cruise to victory on the Champions Tour. Will Freddie’s back hold up? If it does watch out, Boom Boom’s about!

 

Past Winners

2009 Paul Casey - England

2008 Johnson Wagner - United States

2007 Adam Scott - Australia

2006 Stuart Appleby - Australia

2005 Vijay Singh - Fiji

carton house montgomerie

To celebrate their hosting of the 2010 Irish Seniors Open from the 11-13th June this week we have a very special fourball voucher for the Montgomerie Course at Carton House in Maynooth. For more details on golf at Carton House log on to www.cartonhouse.com. To enter text your answer with name and address to 087-2029040 or e-mail to examinerspindoc@eircom.net no later than Friday next.

This week’s question: Who Am I?

I’m Irish through and through and as a kid had a bright future ahead of me in Gaelic football, but a broken knee cap ended my GAA career at the age of 19. I turned to my other love, golf, and my crowning glory came in holing the winning putt on my Ryder Cup debut in 2002. I am actually the first European golfer to be a winner in every one of my appearances. I’ve also won nine times on tour the highlight being the 2005 Volvo Masters. I’ve had more injury battles over the past year but am delighted to be back on tour coming into the Summer months.

Congrats to last weeks winner Thomas O’Brien, Clonmel, Tipperary who answered Seve and wins a fabulous fourball at The Slieve Russell Golf and Country Club.

Augusta Practice

steve marino

Tiger Woods wasn’t the only player doing an early scouting trip to Augusta National recently. British Open sensation Steve Marino and Ryan Palmer also made the trip down Magnolia Lane just behind the great (if somewhat tarnished forever) one. Among the Augusta changes Marino and Palmer encountered was the new practice tee, which replaces the member’s range this year and features two fairways, one that sways left and a dogleg right, a perfect replica of the par-5 second green, complete with four pin positions, and a heated teeing area to avoid possible frost delays. “It’s sick,” Marino said of the new range, “It looks like it’s been there forever.” It is reckoned the range will be open three weeks out of the year: Masters week, member-member week and opening week. As for Tiger, Marino and Palmer said they saw him on the range working with Hank Haney before teeing off the first when they off the tenth. “He looked good but what can I tell? He looks like he always does,” Palmer said. The pair also reported the layout was predictably impeccable and estimated the greens were rolling at about 11 on the Stimpmeter.

Monty Replacement Finally Found

allenby

Ever since Colin Montgomerie stepped out the limelight of top level golf the game has been has desperately been searching for his replacement. Enter Aussie Robert Allenby who has just been unofficially crowned the “biggest whiner in golf” in forums worldwide. “Allenbaby”, as he now known, chucked another in a long line of wobbly’s last week at the Tavistock Cup chewing up an official photographer for daring to stand behind him to get a shot. Be that as it may, we’re standing by old Rob, his “playing lessons with the pro’s” appearance was pure comedy gold. Perhaps he was suffering from a little bout of “White Line Fever” at Tavistock an illness which has been known to flare up and affect him every now and then!

Mickelson Hot in Desert

Phil Mickelson showed just how dangerous pros can be when transplanted back into an amateur setting with a record breaking game of social golf last week. Mickelson was tuning up at The Plantation Golf Club in Palm Springs. Following an early morning 18, big Phil had some lunch before deciding to play another nine with friends. After shooting seven under to the turn he decided to stay on, eventually firing a a course-record 14-under-par 58. "He had to get out of here quickly, but he was pretty excited," his playing partner said. "The golf course is actually playing extremely difficult. The greens are firm and fast, and the rough is pretty long. To shoot even in the mid-60s here is very impressive. To break 60 is phenomenal."

Kjeldsen In The Nip

98065435 kjeldsen naked man Soren Kjeldsen got more than he bargained for at last weeks Andalucia Open when had to contend with the presence of a naked man as he attempted to play a shot in Friday's second round. The Parador club runs alongside a naturist beach in Torremolinos and while attempting to a play a shot Kjeldsen found himself confronted by a patron bearing all just 15 yards away. “It’s tough to keep your concentration with that going on,” Kjeldsen said of the horrific encounter. "That was a new one on a golf course for me." It didn’t seem to deter the great Dane who turned in his best performance of the season. Keep it up Soren!

It takes nerves of steel to drive it super long and arrow straight down the tree lined fairways at Augusta. In this video Rory McIlroy’s driver swing can be enjoyed in super slow motion highlighting the phenomenal power he generates.

tiger green jacket One week to go before the Masters and the prediction mill is turning at full throttle. I’ve been weighing up the chances of the past five winners of the Masters in relation to “class”, “current form” and “course form” to try to decipher if any of them can do it again this year.

Would you believe it has been five years since Tiger donned the green jacket? Sabbatical aside, we know he has played practice rounds at Augusta and according to practice partners like John Cook, he’s reported to be at the peak of his powers. In the same way as Mayo always looked impressive in the kick-around before the All Ireland Final, there is absolutely no guarantee of what will happen come game time. Yes he has four green jackets and the most consistent course form of the entire field, but absolutely no tournament time in the lead up. Verdict: I’m going with “game time” over class here. Since he has none, I say no chance.

Angel Cabrera will be the defending champion next week and will be choosing the menu. The rumour is he’s going to change the word “Masters” on the front to “Mistresses” in honour of Tiger! Seriously though Cabrera goes so far under the radar he’s still on the ground. Last year in the build up to the Masters, he came 90th at Arnie’s event and 96th at Houston, a cumulative 10 over for the two events. Then he went to Augusta, arguably one of the toughest driving courses in the world, and shot 12 under. The “Duck” as he’s known, could never be accused of being a form dog but there’s not many guys that have a green jacket and a US Open trophy back at the pond. Verdict: I’m going with class, and the ability to surprise. Cabrera could contend.

Then there’s the 2008 champion Trevor Immelman. He wcabrera green jacketas the model of consistency two years ago, wasn’t he? Surprisingly no. Of the five tournaments the South African played in the build up to his Masters win, his best result was 40th. He was a huge price going into Augusta, but drove it like Schumacher for the week and won. Immelman has had his troubles ever since with his health and injury but it’s great to see him out there plugging away. He finished 20th last year as defending champion, a finishing position he hasn’t bettered anywhere since. Verdict: Current form rules here, surely Immelman will only wear the green jacket again at the past champions dinner.

Zach Johnson came into the 2007 Masters as one of the most consistent players on tour. Sure, it surprised many that he went and won that week, but he did bring form to Augusta that year having top tenned in the CA Championship. Just like Trevor Immleman, Johnson finished 20th in his defence at Augusta in 2008 but he remains one of the most consistent players in the world. Between the British Open in July last year and the Transitions two weeks ago, Johnson played 12 events with a worst finish of 37th ! Thus nobody can argue that Johnson lacks form but he did miss the Augusta cut last year and I’m not convinced. Verdict: Beginning to think it was a flash in the pan, I say no chance.

Finally there’s 2006 champion, big Phil Mickelson. some including Butch Harmon say golf is not his priority right now (with his wife and mothers illness) and that he lacks form, but for me there is no argument, it’s a big thumbs up. For a guy who pops in for a game the add time, Phil has finished under par in his eight events leading up to the Arnold Palmer invitational, which include two wins and a worst finish of 45th and since 1999 has only been outside the top 10 once at Augusta. Verdict: Combine form with course form and add just a sprinkle of dedication next week and I say Mickelson to contend.

Jim-Furyk swing speed With the golf courses of today getting longer club golfers are obsessed with distance off the tee. When it comes to distance it’s all about swing speed or more importantly ball speed. The swing speed with the driver of the average tour player is around the 113 mph mark. The Tiger can get it up to 125 mph and sometimes faster. This speed roughly converts to around the 290 yard mark. On the Tour truck we use a fairly sophisticated launch monitor to measure flight distances and tune all the required factors into getting the most from the players speed such as shaft (weight, flex and kick-point), driver head design (spin rate) and even the type of ball. However there is no such thing as the best swing speed as it all depends on what’s comfortable and what can be replicated. Speed is only good if it’s straight and it’s why the longest pros on Tour don’t always win tournaments. Jim Furyk won recently and is 189th on driving distance with an average distance of 261.2 yards. Maybe you do drive for show and putt for dough!

with Derek Murray from www.foregolf.ie

 hanging back Problem: Hanging Back is best described as a golfer that does not shift their weight correctly back onto the lead side on the downswing. Such golfers tend to hang back on their back foot with their spine tilting back through impact. This swing characteristic generally leads to lack of power in the shot and inconsistent ball striking.

Cause: Poor strength in the trail leg can prevent the golfer from achieving the correct weight shift on the downswing. Other causes of Hanging Back may be a result of having the ball to far back in the stance or the golfer performing a reverse pivot in the backswing that gets the upper body out of position.

Drill: A really great exercise is to balance on one leg with your eyes closed. Try timing how long you can balance, the PGA Tour norm is between 11 to 15 seconds. You will do well to stay balanced for half that time at the start but with practice you should be able to achieve it.

Log on to www.wayneocallaghangolf.com PGA Pro and TPI fitness instructor for more info.

rhys davies morocco Winner Alright

Last week we brought two winners. Rhys Davies obliged at a whopping 40/1 and Nick Watney (30/1) paid out each way for his fourth place finish at Transitions!

Disclaimer: Okay we’ve won a shed load of cash this year so far but there will come a time when we lose.  When we do remember the good times!

 

Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard

Thursday Mar 25 – Sunday Mar 28, 2010

Bay Hill Club and Lodge • Orlando, Fla.

 

Vijay Singh 28/1

vijay singh injured leg I couldn’t believe it either when I heard that Vijay Singh was taking a week off last week but when I saw pigs flying overhead I knew it had to be true. The next two weeks are going to be huge for the Fijian. An injury hit Vijay finished at the very back of the field last year on 10 over, but that aside, he has top tenned four times at Bay Hill. That included a win in 2007, a tied second in 2005 and a tied third in 2008. Tee to green Vijay is untouchable in the stats but the short stick has been dragging him down. Or should that be the long stick in Vijay’s case! Either way he’s been practicing on the glass and is raring to go.

Vijay: Rare photo showing both dodgy knee and dodgy putter

Nick Watney 34/1

NickWatney We’ve tipped Nick for the past two weeks and I don’t think he is done yet. Shot 65, 67 at the weekend last week, a full 11 shots better than the first two rounds to storm up the leaderboard and finish fourth. This is surely an indicator that he has finally found his putting game. Watney won’t mind the notoriously difficult Bay Hill layout either, he also tied for fourth last year with a good final round. The par for the course has been extended to 72 this year to give the crowd more birdies but with the wind and rain they have been experiencing recently it is set to be another tough track fro the pros.

Nick Watney: “Wat-knee Vijay”

 

Stephen Ames 50/1

stephen_ames Traditional alarm clock time of the year for the now Canadian Stephen Ames (or Mr. Ed as we affectionately call him)! The runaway 2006 Players Champion is currently 34th in the FedEx points race with a solid four top-25 finishes from his seven starts. That included a tie for sixth last week at Innisbrook with a sparkling final round 67 and with two previous top tens at Bay Hill under his belt he looks like good each way value at 50/1

Ames: Won the Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham with Ruby Walsh aboard!

 

 

Open de Andalucia de Golf

Parador de Málaga Golf

Málaga, Spain

thomas levet eyes It’s another low key week on the European Tour with many of heavy hitters away in the build up to the Masters. Take a look at Francesco Molinari at 15/1 again this week. By his own admission he was jet lagged last week after travelling from the CA Championship but he still managed a top-10. Third last year and worth a look. I also fancy Thomas Levet at 45/1 to do well this week. The 2008 Andalucia winner was tied for third last week without playing his A-game. Tour insiders reckon a good each way bet is Thomas Bjorn at 65/1 who though still temporarily representing players on tour while George O’Grady is out, is enjoying a return to form.

Pic: Thomas Levet- the eyes have it

charl schwartzel full length Here’s what’s in the bag of Charl Schwartzel as of March 2010.  He changes quite a bit but below is what he’s gaming (at Doral) from the guys on the Nike Truck.

Charl Schwartzel has had a flying start to 2010, winning the first two events of the year, the Africa Open and the Joburg Open to bring his European Tour victory haul to five. Charl is currently ranked #34 in the World Golf Rankings and leads in the early stages of the European Tour’s Race to Dubai. Last week American golf fans got their first glimpse of the South African at the WGC CA Championship where he finished second behind fellow South African Ernie Els. The result secures his PGA tour card for the year and Schwartzel now intends to play on both tour, mimicking the schedule of Els. The two are good friends, Schwartzel even stayed with Els in the two weeks leading up to the CA Championship. He continues a fine family tradition of golfers as his father, George, was a useful amateur before turning professional and his brother, Adrian, who caddies for his older sibling on occasions, is also making a name for himself on the South African circuit.

 

charl schwartzel whats in the bag 2010 clubs 

Vital Stats

Residence: Verceeniging, South Africa

Attachment: Blair Atholl

Date of birth: 31/08/1984

Place of birth: Johannesburg, South Africa

Height and weight: 5ft 11in 10st 6lb (180cm 66kgs)

Interests: Hunting, cars

Turned Pro: 2002 (plus 4)

Qualifying School: 2002*

Ratings

Power

Longest Drive: 316yards

Average Drive: 295.5yards

Rank: 23

Accuracy

Fairway Hit %: 58.5%-rank 105

Greens in Regulation: 70.3%: - rank 51

Putting

Putts per round: 28.8 Rank:50

Putts per GIR: 1.715 Rank:23

 

 

 

 

 

High Flyer:

charl schwartzel airplane Charl recently got his pilots licence and is the proud owner of a Cessna. Being surrounded by ailerons and propellers really gets Charl high. Let’s hope he keeps his feet on the ground when he lands in Augusta for the first time next month. “I watched the Masters on TV since I was 11” he says, “I said I’ll never go there unless I’m playing”. Dead right Charl. You wouldn’t have got a ticket!

Farm Boy:

dancshot Charl grew up on a farm one hour south of Johannesburg and still considers himself a farm boy at heart with a great love of the outdoors. When he’s not on the golf course he loves to hunt. We say why not strap a couple of guns to the plane and kill two birds with the one bullet?

 

Man In Black:

JohnnyCash man in black charl schwatzel  Gary Player, the Black Knight, reckons Schwartzel is the new man in black and can be the greatest South African player since, er Player. Confused?

You should be. South Africans will just have to get it into their heads that the real man in black is Johnny Cash.

 

 

 

 

Full Graphic:

whats in the bag charl schwartzel 2010 witb

Please email me at examinerspindoc@eircom.net if you want to use the graphic. Cheers!

Putt For Dough

58113308 In winning at Doral, Ernie Els averaged only 26.8 putts per round and in 2010 he is 27th on Tour in putting compared to 113th in 2009. So how did the Big Easy make putting look, well, so easy? For starters Els shortened his putter by 1.5 inches. The Odyssey White Ice No. 5 he used at Doral was 35 inches, considerably shorter than he used in the past. It’s not just Ernie either. Sergio Garcia was also spotted with a new putter recently. The struggling Spaniard is now gaming a TaylorMade Rossa Daytona by Kia Ma with an all-milled face and no insert. Even the Goose is getting in on the act with a TaylorMade Rossa Spider belly putter at The Transitions.

Ollie’s Pain

Olazabal More sad news from Spain this week as two-time Masters champion Jose Maria Olazabal says he will pull out of the Masters next month because he is suffering from a recurrence of his rheumatism. His manager Sergio Gomez reported that Olazabal is suffering acute pain in his shoulder, forearms and hands and is unable to swing properly. He said Olazabal’s condition restricts him to no more than an hour on the range before a flare up occurs. This will be the first year since 1996 that Ollie will miss the Major season opener. . That year he sat out the entire season after being diagnosed with rheumatoid polyarthritis. The 44-year-old Spaniard, inducted last year into the World Golf Hall of Fame, won the Masters in 1994 and 1999 but has not played a tournament since he finished 14th in the Castello Masters in Spain last October.

Creamer Rises To Top

paula creamer It’s Paula Creamer but not as you know her. The American female golfing sensation known as The Pink Panther due to her love of all things pink took to the catwalk in a black number recently in Singapore in the prelude to the HSBC Women's Championship. Since her rookie year in 2005, Creamer has bagged almost $7 million in tour earnings and barring injury is a nailed on certainty to be part of the defending America team at next years Solheim Cup to be staged at Killeen Castle.

Paula Creamer: Great Excuse to Put Pic On Blog

 

 

 

 

My Sack

mysack Attention men. Do your balls jiggle about when you drive off? If so you may need MySack. This unique ultra suede patented sack is guaranteed to bring a smile to your partner’s face. Its functional design holds golf balls and much more! Each MySack is crafted using high-quality, ultra-suede fabric and industrial-strength stitching. Ouch! It has a heavy-duty velcro enclosure and sturdy clasp which are both double-stitched to ensure longevity. MySack will not shrivel in cold weather and with regular attention should last a lifetime!

slieve russell

This week we have a fourball voucher for the Slieve Russell Hotel Golf and Country Club, consistently among the top parkland courses in the country and always in top condition. Log on to www.slieverussell.ie for course info and rates. To enter text your answer with name and address to 087-2029040 or e-mail to examinerspindoc@eircom.net no later than Friday next.

This week’s question: Who Am I?

I was born in Europe in 1957 and grew up playing golf on the beach near my home. At aged 19, I announced myself to the golfing world by coming second at The Open. I went on to win the Claret Jug three times and also have two green jackets in my wardrobe. I was also very proud to captain the European Ryder Cup team to victory in my own country in 1997. I’ve had my battles of late but am aiming to tee it up one last time at The Open in St Andrews.

Congrats to last weeks winner Donal Fenton, Midleton, Cork who answered David Duval and wins a fabulous fourball at The Heritage

In the wake of his latest interview at Isleworth, in one sense I’m happy to see Tiger coming back, in another I’m disappointed he has chosen the Masters as the place to do it. In deciding to return at Augusta, Woods has taken the sumptuous cake that is The Masters and poured gravy all over it. All the talk about green jackets, slippery greens and zipping it back into Rae’s Creek is going to be drowned out by a Tiger feeding frenzy. As one reporter put it, he’ll need a flak jacket not a green jacket!

tiger woods espn interview Would it not have made a lot more sense for Tiger to make his first appearance back at the Tavistock Cup? After all it’s a bit of an airy fairy two day event, between two posh clubs, Isleworth and Lake Nona, behind closed doors in a gated community. Nobody in the prawn sandwich munching crowd would have the audacity to heckle him, for fear of being crossed off the Woods’ Christmas card list.

Does Tiger actually think he can win at Augusta without tournament practice? I know he’s produced some miracles in the past, the monster putt at the 17th in Sawgrass, the chip-in at Augusta, covering up his indiscretions for years and the Rocco putt at the US Open spring to mind, but surely he doesn’t expect to contend at The Masters. If he were serious about winning, I suspect he would have played the Arnold Palmer Invitational in the lead up. To my knowledge Tiger has never missed that event and his friendship with Arnold Palmer is well documented. Perhaps Tiger wanted to spare Arnie from that potential awkward moment under the bleachers on the 18th after his final round. We’ll never know if Arnie would have hugged him or pushed him into the lake.

Tiger’s decision to return at The Masters is, to me, a tactical manoeuvre. With due deference to the course and its immaculate condition, the people behind the tournament are the equivalent of a golfing museum piece, an antiquated bunch of suits who for the rest of the year don’t even get the tiniest squeak in the running of the PGA Tour. They run their event with military precision. The media are strictly controlled, both in their numbers, where they can go, and potentially what they can and cannot ask Tiger. I remember Ken Green doing one of his little inserts on the beeb last year. He was walking and talking as he headed down towards the practice ground only to be stopped about a hundred yards short of the range by BA Baracus. Not even charming Ken was getting what he wanted at Augusta. The green jacket brigade have been known to “remove from the property” media hacks who have the gall to question the speed of the greens or the slightly off colour of the magnolias. Yep, commentators will have to be on their best behaviour at the press conferences or risk being taken out from behind the perfectly manicured grassy knoll.

So it seems Tiger, though “so so sorry”, is still hell bent on having things so so much his own way. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fantastic for the game to have him back, but to hijack the first major of the year in doing it is a bit rich for my blood. Has anyone considered the odds of a having a weekend at Augusta with the Tiger having been dispatched with his tail between his legs? You can have all the magnolias you want on the lane, but this one stinks.

World Clubmaker of the Year Derek Murray from Foregolf grinding a wedge with his father Don in their workshop in Red Lane, Naas.
Photo: Tony Gavin 20/1/10

Wedge grinding is quite an art-form and shaping a wedge by hand is almost like dancing the Tango with a club head. The Tour professionals are always tweaking the sole of their respective wedges to suit not only their style of swing but also to allow relief of the back edge of the club to get better contact quality for their wedge play. It wouldn’t be unusual to spend a whole day building and grinding new wedges for Tour Pro’s to suit specific course rough and playing conditions and the official Tour record to date is 253 wedges built in one day!

We use a high powered belt sander to literally shape and rub away parts of the wedge sole to affect how it hits the ground and delivers energy and spin through to the ball. Each players grind is uniquely different and is all geared around getting the absolute most from the wedge play.

with Derek Murray from www.foregolf.ie

DENIS golf 4.jpg

Problem:

The feeling of getting trapped or stuck on the downswing normally occurs in lower handicap golfers. The arms tend to get stuck behind the body as the golfer begins the transition into their downswing. It can cause blocked shots or hooks depending on how the clubface is at impact. The swing path created is from an in to out path to the intended target line.

Cause:

Having this swing characteristic is generally caused by the lack of rotation of the hips in the downswing as a lateral slide of the hips towards the target occurs.

Drill:

To create the correct feeling, preset yourself to mimick your impact position using an impact bag or even just the golf ball. Place the clubhead behind the bag having it square to the target line then turn your hips and shoulders open to the target line. By rehearsing this you can train your body to produce a more consistent impact position.

Log on to www.wayneocallaghangolf.com PGA Pro and TPI fitness instructor for more info.

Lee Valley Scratch Cup

Saturday March 27th

Lee Valley Golf Club, Cork

Its that time of the year again with the one of the biggest events on the golfing calender.  Yes its the Lee Valley Scratch Cup and your last chance to see of Ireland’s biggest golfing talent before they jet off to watch The Masters.  Who’s going to win?

Paul Cutler 9/2

paul cutler

If you haven’t had a chance to see Paul Cutler in action grab it while you can because this man is going all the way to the big boys tour. With last years Lee Valley winner Shane Lowry gone pro, the spotlight has shifted to Cutler, who is rumoured to be so psyched about the Lee Valley Scratch Cup that he’s even bought a Sat Nav to find his way down from Portstewart. Reliable sources say he left home on the journey to Cork 10 days ago with six sherpas and is due to reach Lee Valley sometime in the early hours of Friday morning. 

 

 

Paul Dunne 12/1

paul dunne golf

A potential Lee Valley raider this weekend could be Paul Dunne from Greystones. They’ve had to extend the mantelpiece in the Dunne house to display all the trophies Paul has won and a Mr Sheen logo has been rumoured to be appearing on the shirt of the Irish star. Both Dunne and Cutler have been named in the extended St Andrews Trophy squad and their rivalry has been compared by many to that of Ricky Bobby and Cal Naughton Jr!

 

 

ricky bobby cal naughton dear lord baby jesus

Ricky and Cal: “Dear Lord Baby Jesus”, Cutler and Dunne to go at it!

 

Sean Barry 40/1

 

seanie  barry Utter lunacy, complete mayhem and uproarious madness. That not only sums up a night out with Seanie Barry but also his Paddy Power odds at 40/1. Barry, who claims this tournament is “as important as The Masters” has been camping out in the bunker at the 16th green at Lee Valley for the past month in a bid to be ready for Saturday. He also says he won’t shave again until he wins on his home course but locals reckon the long wispy beard he has now cultivated is only hampering his backswing and his chances. Third last week at the TopGolfer in Fota and “playing better that Niall Gorey” according to Sean Barry.

Barry: Has slipped away from Buddhism in recent years.

 

MacDonagh Withdraws

Shock news from the midlands as Kelan MacDonagh has announced he is to withdraw from the Lee Valley Scratch Cup.  Ireland’s biggest Home and Away fan has cited a scheduling clash with the omnibus edition of the Aussie soap on RTE2 as the reason.  Paddypower had earlier shortened odds on MacDonagh to 18/1 stating that they hadn’t seen such a flood of money coming in since Francie Barrett’s cousin fought Audley Harrison on Prizefighter.  MacDonagh has just returned from New York where he granted five minute interviews to ESPN and the Golf Channel to speak about the Lee Valley Scratch Cup and his affair with Sergeant Charlie Buckton.  Sources say MacDonagh is keen to catch up on her on-off relationship with Angelo.

  kelan macdonagh

Happier Times: MacDonagh last week with Jon Bon Jovi in New York