Seniors players were again very much to the fore at St Andrews. First we had Mark Calcavecchia in the final pairing on Saturday, then there was Tom Lehman’s near hole in one on the 18th on Sunday and who will ever forget Tom Watson’s farewell pose on the Swilken Bridge in the gathering gloom on Friday evening. Well fear not Senior lovers, the over 50’s will get to do it all again on arguably the world’s toughest links at Carnoustie. Loren Roberts defends but look to the St. Andrews trio to contend again.
St Andrews qualifier and Glasson touring pro Colm Moriarty must have thought he missed the cut after bogeying 16 and 17 on Friday to finish on one over par. The golfing Gods were kind to the Athlone man however and in the worsening weather conditions the cut mark went from one under to two over, securing his place at the weekend. Moriarty finished the tournament on one under. His place in the field was also significant for another somewhat more lightherated reason as it was the first ever golf tournament to have a Holmes, Watson and Moriarty in the field!
On The Tour Truck with Derek Murray ForeGolf: Skid and Roll
One of the biggest partnerships in golf was severed for three days at least last week. The Tiger-Scotty putter love affair came to an abrupt end. The reasons are varied but from the Tour Truck it made perfect sense. When a ball is putted the energy from the face of the putter is transferred to the ball and this initial energy makes the ball move. With the loft on the putter the ball will lift a little, bounce (skid) and then once the initial strike energy wears off the ball will start to roll. The new Method putter from Nike with thanks to a polymer inset creates better friction control and with a raised groove edge on the face the roll is better. The real trick though is the loft on the putter and with most Scotty Cameron putters set at 4-6 degrees a simple change in loft to 2-3 degrees will help to roll the ball better. Where there is less skid and a faster roll the ball will stay straighter and the pace of putt will improve, especially on long putts on fast greens. Technically I can see why the Tiger moved. Check out the forward roll in motion section at The Oven, Nikes R+D test centre in Texas to see the video on how skid and roll is measured: http://www.nike.com/nikeos/p/nikegolf/en_US/experiences/method-putters
with Derek Murray from www.foregolf.ie
Matthew Ellis is the lead psychology consultant for the Golf Union of Wales and is also a PGA professional. I asked Matt why Tiger always starts as favourite and what we, as amateurs might glean from Tiger’s mindset.
It is true. Tiger always seems to start as favourite even though his personal life and golf game are in turmoil. His off course issues are well documented as he is continually hounded by the press who question his integrity, values and lifestyle. Furthermore and according to numerous coaches his golf swing is also disjointed and often produces wild and wayward shots. And yet, he has still managed two top five finishes in this year’s first two majors and again battled bravely at St Andrews. Whatever your opinion of him he remains a performer who oozes talent and possesses mental toughness in abundance.
What separates Tiger from all other players is his ability to block out unnecessary distractions so he can focus fully on his golf when he does compete. Most other golfers would take their troubles with them onto the course be it work worries, family troubles or maybe doubts surrounding their golf game and swing. Doing this influences subsequent emotions and physical sensations that they experience such as tension, anger, frustration and these obviously have a consequence on how they act and perform. Tiger on the other hand leaves his worries behind where they belong, off the course, which allows him to focus fully on his game and to enjoy the challenges that golf presents.
Try these following steps to clear your mind before you play.
1. Record - Before you play, write out your thoughts and worries that are troubling you.
2. Examine - Look at these in the cold light of day and ask yourself are these really problems to be solved or am I making a mountain out of a mole hill?
3. Problem Solve or Box Off - If you do identify some valid problems then try to solve them. If you cannot do this immediately then box them off for another day or to be tackled after you play. Make a conscious decision to do this!
4. Keep it simple - If you are dealing with poor swing mechanics then focusing on these will not help you score better. Make the decision to keep your swing thoughts simple and continue to address and work on your game on the practice ground. After all that it was it is there for.
5. De-clutter your mind – Focus your attention on what you do need to do to play well. Think fairways, greens and pre-shot routines. These will put you firmly back in control.
6. Re-visit – After your round re-visit your worrying thought and issues and make it a priority to address them before your next game.
I hope this helps, happy golfing.
Matthew Ellis can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thinning a shot often happens due to a golfer hanging back with their body through impact and not rotating correctly. 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 and inconsistent ball striking.
A golfers lack of mobility in both the hips and the thorax (chest) is a major factor in golfers hanging back causing thinned shots. Another reason golfers thin shots is as a result of trying to help the ball up into the air instead of allowing the clubs loft to achieve this.
A great practice drill to achieve a good impact position is to work with an impact bag or a tyre. Preset an impact position squaring up the clubface on the impact bag with the hands ahead of the clubhead, your hips should be open to the target with the majority of the weight on the left foot.
Log on to www.wayneocallaghangolf.com for more info.
I backed Robert Rock at 200/1, a fiver each way. He finished 7th, tied I know. A quarter of 200 is 50 multiplied by 5 is 250. Right? So how does Paddypower get to slash my winnings from €250 to €63. It’s crazy! Place reduction my ass.
Residence: Pinnacle Point, South Africa & Manchester, England
Attachment: Pinnacle Point Golf Resort
Date of Birth: 19/10/1982
Place of Birth: Mossel Bay, South Africa; Manchester, England
Height & Weight: 5ft 10in 11st 4lb (178cm 72kgs)
Family: Wife: Nel-Mare (m.2007), daughter Jana (2009)
Web Site www.louis57oosthuizen.com
Turned Pro 2003 (plus 6)
Lodewicus Theodorus "Louis" Oosthuizen is the 2010 British Open Champion. Indeed 2010 was a breakthrough year for Louis having secured his maiden victory at the Open de Andalucia. Born in Mossel Bay, South Africa Oosthuizen won numerous amateur titles before turning professional in 2002 playing off plus six at the age of 19. He once shot a 57 on his home course Mossel Bay which he says happened 'by accident' as he was aiming for 59! Though the winner of five professional tournaments on the Sunshine Tour, Louis has had to endure a long wait to notch up his first European Tour success in Spain but he surely wont mind with a Claret Jug also now in his trophy cabinet.
Louis nickname on Tour is “Shrek”, due to his striking similarity to the green Ogre that lives in the swamp, even sporting the gap teeth. Far from being embarrassed by it however, Louis has embraced Shrek to the extent that he even uses him as his headcover! He was in Far Far Away Land from the rest of the field at St Andrews too!
The Oosthuizen family’s first love is tennis. Louis Dad and brother are accomplished provincial players in the homeland and while Louis himself played representative tennis at all youth levels, he opted for golf. Lucky for us!
Louis lists his passion as movies and hunting. We reckon he likes movies about hunting and wonder why it is that all South African golfers love to hunt. Fellow tour winner Charl Schwartzel would also rather be armed when not golfing!
Serial first round leader Steve Marino does not look too happy with what the designers of his personalised headcover came up with but we love it. Marino’s headcover was inspired by 80’s TV hero Grizzly Adams. Marino only plays with a “Number Seven” ball and when not on the course enjoys nothing more than rescuing trapped bears from deep ravines.
And they’re off. The British Open has kicked off this morning and the foals are already galloping. Marcel Siem was first out of the blocks, carding 5 under after just 10 holes. If this Open is going to be dictated by the weather and what side if the draw the players are on, going low while the conditions are calm is going to be vital.
From the official Open Website
Be under no illusion — Rory McIlroy is a serious contender this week. So says the Ulsterman who, since winning the Silver Medal for the low amateur three years ago at Carnoustie, has enjoyed a meteoric rise to become one to the world’s top-ten players by the age of 21. But despite the expectation that accompanies him, expectation that has made him second-favourite to win the 150th Anniversary Open behind a certain Mr Woods, McIlroy is anything but overawed.
“I knew I’d come in here as one of the favourites, but it doesn’t put any extra pressure on me because I know if I go out and play this golf course the way that I know I can, I should have a good chance,” said the 2010 Quail Hollow Champion.
“The Open at St Andrews is probably the biggest championship that we play, and it only comes around every five years. There’s a great atmosphere and a great buzz about the place and I’m pretty confident around this golf course.
“I feel as if I’ve played well here before, so hopefully it’ll be a good week for me, and if I can go into Thursday playing the way I have been the last couple weeks, there’s no reason why I shouldn’t be able to contend come the weekend.”
Such assertions inevitably raised eyebrows at McIlroy’s pre-event press conference today [Tuesday], leading one journalist to question why the Northern Irishman was submitting himself to unnecessary pressure. McIlroy’s response was categorical:
“I’m not putting myself under pressure to perform,” he answered. “I’m just quite confident. I’ve played well on this golf course before, and you know, I feel as if I’m hitting it well coming in.
“It just feels like it’s the right time to go out and play well and win one of these big events.”
And his final preparation?
“I actually played County Down last night with my dad at about five o’clock in the evening before I came over here, which was great.
“County Down is in great condition, and there’s a lot of shots around there that I’ll probably need for this week, so hopefully that was good preparation.”
So brimming with confidence, but with his feet firmly on the ground, Rory McIlroy heads into his third Open Championship.
“It’s going to be a very special week,” he promised.
The Scotty Cameron that gave him 63 PGA TOUR victories and 13 of his majors was forced to stand down in the face of overwhelming product placement pressures. In an effort to make it sound in some way like it had nothing to do with Nike, Woods said he made the decision because he struggles on slower greens like the relatively flat putting surfaces at St. Andrews. The greens are large, too, so lag putting will be key and having a comfort zone with the speed is essential. Hmmm really.
"It's one of those things where I've always struggled on slower greens," Woods said. "I've always putted well on faster greens. This putter does come off faster with the new groove technology. It rolls the ball better and rolls it faster. "So these greens, I've had to make very little adjustment in how hard I'm hitting it compared to if I had my older putter.”
Cue the TV advert on Thursday morning.
Last week: Winner alright, we tipped Raphael Jacquelin 66/1 and Francesco Molinari 28/1 who paid out each way.
Some analysts argue that the only thing stopping Luke Donald from winning majors is his nerve. With a win, a second and third place in his last five events however the Englishman’s confidence must be sky high. Played excellent in Adare in very tough conditions. Tied fifth in last years Open at Turnberry. With bookies paying out to seven places, Donald is well worth an each way look.
Now injury free, Ernie Els is having his best season in years. Winner of the WGC-CA Championship and the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Els dearly wants another Major win. Came close at the US Open, finishing third at Pebble Beach and hasn’t been outside the top eight in the last four stagings of the Open. After impressing the crowds at Adare, he missed the cut in Loch Lomond but that may just prove to be a blessing in disguise given the conditions. Ernie’s going to win a major this year; it may well be at St. Andrews where he tied second in 2000.
Rors will take a lot from GMac’s win at Pebble and will be out to emulate his great friend’s achievement. “I know this place like the back of my hand,” says McIlroy of St. Andrews, a course on which he has never taken more than 70 as an amateur or professional in competition. The home of golf features in the Dunhill Links Championship every October and McIlroy has finished second, tied eighth, and third in the past three stagings.
The nay-sayers are so preoccupied with Padraig Harrington’s so called slump it’s easy to loose sight of his two wins in the last three Open Championship stagings. The Dubliner is also twice a winner of the Dunhill Links Championship (2002 and 2006) which features two rounds on the Old Course. Few would also argue that Harrington has the best links land short game in the field. What a way a win here would answer the critics.
Westwood’s US Open tilt was hindered by the physical and emotional toll winning the St Jude Classic the previous week took. Reports are mixed regarding Westwood’s calf injury and it may just be that the whole scenario is acting as the perfect subterfuge in the build up to the Open. The most consistent European around this year and hungry for the Claret Jug after having had one hand on it at Turnberry last year. If Tiger could win on one leg then surely Lee can too. Beware the injured golfer and all that!
Maybe this season hasn’t hit the same heights as 2009 when he won three times, but Steve Stricker (33/1) did bag the Northern Trust Open back in February and returned for the first time since the US Open at the John Deere classic where he shot a first round 60 and blew away the field. You have to go all the way back to the 1998 for Stricker’s best major finish, second behind Vijay. Justin Rose (22/1) is another form player in the field having won The Memorial and the AT&T National, Rose took part in the JP McManus Pro-Am having had practically no sleep. A well rested Rose will be at The Open with the equivalent form as Graeme McDowell going into the US Open. Not beyond the realms of possibility.
If you’re looking to have some fun with some of the longer odds players in the field, take a look at Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher at 125/1. The Scot has finished in the top six in four of his last six events including fourth last week in Loch Lomond. High in confidence, an excellent links player and a man high in confidence Gallacher could produce a dividend with the likes of Paddypower paying out up to seventh. Another Irishman that thrives on confidence is Shane Lowry at 100/1. A great Open qualifying round and a cheque for 100k last week have the Esker Hills man up to high dough for St. Andrews. Is the home of golf all that dissimilar to Baltray?
Player Profile and What’s In the Bag at the British Open 2010: Ernie Els
Born 17th October 1969
Residence George, South Africa; Wentworth, England
Height 6ft 3in
Weight 220 lbs
Parents Hettie & Neels
Children Samantha Leigh (26th May 1999),
Tour Wins: 62
(PGA Tour 18
European Tour 25 (7th all time)
Japan Golf Tour 1
Sunshine Tour 15
Ernie Els is one of the most successful golfers in the history of the game, having won more than 60 professional tournaments, including two US Opens, an Open Championship, and a record seven World Matchplay titles. The international scope of his victories is second to none. He is one of golf’s truly global players.
Ernie was born in South Africa on 17th October 1969. As a youngster, he was outstanding in soccer, cricket, rugby and tennis. At the age of 13 he won a significant regional tennis event, the Eastern Transvaal Junior Championships. A year later aged 14 and playing off a scratch handicap, Ernie won the world junior golf championship in San Diego, California. Ernie was awarded his Junior Springbok colours in 1984, the State President Sports Award in 1987, and in 1988 his full Springbok colours.
His classic, powerful golf swing is universally admired, and aspired to, from both sides of the ropes. And while his easy-going nature masks a fierce competitive drive, it is all of these qualities, along with an engaging on-course persona, that have helped make Ernie one of the most popular golfers in the game today.
It’s British Open time again folks and we’re heading back to the home of golf, St. Andrews in Scotland. It could be argued that this Open is wide open as no clear favourite has emerged in the run up. The winner could be young or experienced, a bomber or a tactician; it really is that open.
There are no tricks to St. Andrews, the course has not essentially changed during the lifetime of the field, save the lengthening of the 17th “Road Hole”, which probably will prove to be inconsequential in terms of scoring in any case. Nine out, nine home, what you see is what you get. There is no rough, a consequence of having to cater for the busloads of visitors to the course every day who have to be conveyor-belted through the 18 holes. Rough would slow down pace of play and take away from the enjoyment of the golfers; neither an option for the cash register in Bonnie Scotland.
St. Andrews however does have its defences and whoever is going to win will have to possess someone vital attributes. The first is course management and experience. Although wide open, the fairways are dotted with pot bunkers in all the right places and landing in one costs one stroke, to hack back out. When Tiger won in 2000, he didn’t hit a bunker all week. Padraig Harrington who played two practice rounds over the weekend reported the fairways to be like concrete and though recent rains will have softened them somewhat, shot placement whilst taking into account where the ball will run to when it lands will be vital. Harrington thinks the course sets up well for the golfer with a high ball flight who can control his ball-spin. One player with that skillset comes to mind immediately, but he’s off in Florida, on his wife’s doorstep, staring at the ground. Taking that into account, it’s wide open.
The wonderful thing about St. Andrews is that it is not ageist. That “run” that we mentioned removes most any advantage the big batters have and brings players like Tom Watson, who came so close at Turnberry last year into the frame with realistic chances. I recently saw Tom Watson’s instructional DVD “Lessons Of A Lifetime”, and was simply stopped in my tracks with the ability and knowledge of the now 60 year old player. On a side note, that DVD is by far and away the best I have seen and trust me, I have seen thousands! Veteran and past winner John Daly also seems to be reborn, his beer days behind him and his tummy permanently tucked in. He has a wonderful short game touch, another of the ingredients needed at the home of golf.
Of the Irish raiders, nobody knows the course better than Harrington. It hasn’t happened for Padraig yet this year but he knows how to bring home Majors. Another of that ilk is Graeme McDowell, who is still the form Irishman in the field. Two wins in three events and McDowell is a links expert. Whether he can put his Pebble Beach success aside and just say “no” to some media requests this week will determine how he fares. Spare a thought too for Rory McIlory, he has seen his mate GMac do the business and get this, McIlroy has never shot more than 70 in St. Andrews. If he keeps that record intact, we may be on the way to same class of a “Paddy Slam”. Enjoy!
There are quite a few pieces of new kit floating about on Tour at the moment. Quietly moving through the hands of the top players in the world these prototypes are being rigorously tested to see if they will make it, first on Tour and then perhaps also in the general market place. Every now and then I would catch a glimpse of a very special wedge design or a shaft that is a one of a kind, made specifically for a professionals requirements. It is very rare to see this kind of thing and usually it is reserved for the top 10 players in the world. However last week while the Tour Truck was stationed at The JP McManus Pro-Am I came across this very tasty Taylor Made Rossa Daytona by Kia Ma fully pimped up. The white "ghost" paint job and custom pressed shamrocks was specially made for the man himself. On the back of the head the three tungsten weight ports were paint filled in the green, white and orange Irish flag colours. Kia Ma is a Vietnamese putter specialist who looks after all the top end putters for Taylor Made. His design work is recognised as some of the finest craftsmanship currently available. He hand builds the custom putters in use at the top levels on Tour and his team spends countless hours in the pursuit of perfection for his Tour players. This one of a kind priceless putter for JP McManus proves you don't have to be one the best golfers in the world you just need to be one of the most generous.
with Derek Murray, Foregolf.ie
The X Factor is the difference in the number of degrees of rotation the shoulders turn in relation to the hips. The bigger the difference the more powerful your swing is likely to be. For example if your shoulders turn 95 degrees and the hips turn 45 degrees you will have an X Factor of 50 degrees.
Any restriction in thoracic spinal mobility will make it very difficult to g
et a big X Factor. Limited thorax to hip separation is another prime cause of golfers not achieving a big X Factor which leads to shots lacking power.
Torso turns on one leg is a great exercise to achieve a bigger X Factor. Stand on one leg, cross the arms over the chest and get into golf posture. Try to rotate the torso back and forth for up to 25 seconds without moving the lower body. Repeat on the other side.
Jim McLean Demonstrates The X-Factor During The Downswing
Log on to www.wayneocallaghangolf.com for more info.
Click on pic to view Final Round Highlights from the 2010 Barclays Scottish Open.
After weeks of having to hand water fairways and greens at St Andrews, recent torrential downpours on the Old Course have softened it a little too much according to course manager Gordon McKie. On one day St Andrews received 13mm of rain between 7am & 11am. Conditions were so bad McKie sent staff home about 11. The subsequent grass growth boost has resulted in extra cuts and rolls required on particular greens to bring them all closer together and achieve the consistency required for the event. Ireland’s Padraig Harrington is completing his practice rounds this weekend in the inclement conditions. Harrington surmised last week that high ball hitters who can control ball spin would have a much better chance of winning such was the dryness of the course. It is expected now however that the softer conditions will result in significantly lower scoring than initially predicted. More 2010 British Open Practice News as it emerges.
As British Open week beckons thoughts are again turning to Seve Ballesteros who remains at home in Pedrena. In a BBC TV interview with Ken Brown, Seve though in high spirits, looked to be ailing physically.
"Every day I see the unbelievable things that happen to people and I don't understand why," said Ballesteros in a recent newspaper interview. "I think 'Why does it happen to those people'. I think the same thing with myself. Why did it happen to me? It is unfair, because I have been a good person. But it happens to some people and not to others.”
"It's like when you start a round. You bogey the first three holes, but there are still 15 to play. Here I am more or less at the 12th hole."
"There is always a beginning and there is always an end.
"This is the difficult thing, when you see that the end is coming."
R&A bosses were today said to be “extremely worried” about whether the British Open will actually go ahead as planned next Thursday after fears emerged of a new Ash Cloud descending over Scotland. Just weeks after the Icelandic Volcano debacle that grounded flights all over Europe, reports emerged last night of a new more deadly eruption. Transatlantic pilots first noticed smoke and ash spewing from veteran Miguel Angel Jimenez, shortly after his Open de France win last Sunday night.
Up to 4,000 flights are being cancelled into Scotland and the UK's air traffic control service said no flights would be allowed in UK airspace until at least 0700 BST on Thursday amid fears of engine damage. Jimenez is still spewing ash and the wind direction is expected to continue bringing clouds into UK airspace.
Transport Secretary Lord Adonis said he was "closely monitoring Jimenez" and experts have warned that the tiny particles of pro-v1, glass from Rioja bottles and bunker sand contained in the ash cloud from the still-erupting Spaniard could be sufficient to jam aircraft engines. More from the Spaniard as it emerges.
Congrats to Darren Clarke, the winner of the JP McManus Pro-Am. Clarke shot a second round 68 to match his opening 73 for a three under total. Luke Donald was a shot behind with Ernie Els and Shane Lowry tied for third. Thanks to all the pros and volunteers and indeed JP McManus for all their work in making this event a huge success.
When I walked up to Orson Hodge he was sitting in his wheelchair clutching a photo of Bree. Placing my hands on his shoulders I whispered “By the power of the desperate housewife, may thine legs regain power.” Moments later Orson rose to his feet, and with a tear in his eye we embraced. Having regained his composure Orson suggested a few holes of golf, his treat, and sure who am I to argue?
In the immediate aftermath of Padraig’s hat being stolen, he managed to round up some suspects. Can you help find who took his hat?
A)-the kid at the front? Nope, that’s a Clare hat. Rarely seen on a Dubliner.
B)- the girl in the middle? Hmmm, she is definitely hiding something under her jumper.
C)- the kid back left with the suspicious grin!!! You Scamp!!
It’s a testament to JP McManus that when he asks the world’s top golfers to take part in a charity event, to a man they say yes. JP managed to assemble a field fit a Major or WGC event with 12 of the 15 top players in the world taking part. Among them were Woods, Els, McIlroy, Harrington and the newest Major Champion, Graeme McDowell. Not forgetting the world’s best golf blogger! Sure when JP needs me, who am I am to say no. It is the fifth staging of the JP McManus golf pro-am, which has raised €55 million for charities in the midwest since 1990.
Click on any players name to view their profile on the official site.
Thanks to all the Golfcentraldaily.com and Irish Examiner readers who took part in our “Docs Dawn Raid” with Golfbidder day out in Killeen Castle on Friday. Thanks also to Jackie Wade and all the staff at Killeen Castle for making the day so great. Full report next week.
Westwood pulled out of the pre-tournament pro-am in Paris after waking up to discover swelling in both his calf and his ankle. Tests revealed the golfer was suffering only from a muscle strain, his manager, Andrew Chandler of International Sports Management, said.
It was initially feared he might have a deep vein thrombosis brought on by large amounts of air travel. "Lee will see how he feels in the morning, and if there is still a problem he won't play. But long-term this isn't an issue."
Pic: Calf Problem for Westwood