July 2010

Ross Fisher leads the Irish Open 2010 after the third round but not by as many shots as looked likely.  Fisher got off to a flyer with four birdies in his first seven holes but a double and two bogeys brought him back to 12 under.

Fisher is one shot clear of our Tuesday’s “Hot on the Range” pick Chris Wood who carded a 66 alongside an increasingly dejected Rory McIlroy who ended the day on 2 under after a 76.  Francesco Molinari is also just one behind Fisher and still looks dangerous.

Padraig CIMG0970Harrington is just three back on 9 under.  He pulled his drive into the hazard on 18 and a after a drop out and long iron to the green he produced one of the highlights of this year’s Irish Open by draining a 30 footer for par.  His playing partner Gonzo Castano took double on the hole to finish 10 under and though down, he like Harrington, is certainly not out.   Pic: Padraig before his third round with some rubber tubing attached to his knee. Apparently it help ensure nobody nicks any of his clubs!

  Irish Open 2010 third round highlights

european tour rules Is there a bit of slacking going on with the rules officials or were they busy doing doughnuts in their buggies, because yesterday Padraig Harrington was kept waiting 15 minutes for a ruling on the 17th. His partners had actually played the hole out before the rules official arrived. Also I came across an early morning player (high on the leaderboard) giving himself a drop off a walkway. No problem there. However the player in question measured his club length without taking off the headcover. I later asked a rules official (no names mentioned of course) was it a penalty? He told me it would be advisable for the player to take the headcover off, but it wasn’t a problem. So its okay to grab 6 inches extra to get an uphill lie next Sunday in the club championship?  Sounds dodgy at best ref. Hardly decisive. He must have gone to the Martin Hansson school of refereeing.

Pasta Watch: Molinari V Molinari

CIMG0892 Francesco Molinari canned his first ever five footer (it seems) this evening to climb to 9 under and into sole second behind Ross Fisher at the halfway stage of the Irish Open.  Mama’s gonna be so prouda!

Number Of The Day: 9

That’s the number of lives Padraig Harrington had as time and again he got himself out of trouble yesterday. The most exciting Houdini act came on 17 when Paddy sliced it into the ferns, looked at it for 15 minutes, hacked it out, pitched it up and chipped it in to raise yet another massive roar from the crowd.

Cambo Watch:

The wait for a second made cut to add to his Open de France weekend will have to continue for former Irish Open winner Michael Campbell.  Positioned at one over after his opening round and playing in the best of the Friday conditions, Cambo drove it as crooked as a New Delhi taxi driver as he racked up the blue numbers.  France was his only weekend worked since October 2009.

Fact Of The Day:

The Killeen course in Killarney has staged the Irish Open on two previous ocassions, both won by Nick Faldo in 1991 and 1992. Halfway leader Ross Fisher cites Faldo as his role model.

Amateur Dramatics:

The chances of having another amateur winner of the Irish Open this year have gone after the second round. Limerick’s Pat Murray just “woke up without a swing” this week after a hectic South of Ireland championship last week and was joined by Alan Dunbar and Cian Curley south of the cut line. Paul Cutler kept interest before slipping back around the turn to also miss out.

Hot On The Range: Ross Fisherross-fisher

- The last time I saw Ross Fisher hit the ball this well was on the range at the 2008 European Open in the London Club. On that occasion “Fish” won by seven strokes. The greens in Killarney suit the Surrey man too and he’s enjoying being able to have a crack at his birdies putts for a change. He may even do an “Oosthuizen” and be out of sight come Sunday.

Rory Watch:

CIMG0803 “Drive her like she’s stolen”, was the cry to Rory McIlroy as he jumped into his black 198 mph, Audi R8 V10 juice guzzler. Ror’s jammer has had a taste of the high life in Killarney this week, posing for pictures in the car park and just being downright gorgeous. Better not tell John Gormley though, he might wallop a carbon tax on Kilarney for the weekend.

Quote’s Of The Day:

“I had to stand there and watch chip-ins and bombs”, “I got a lesson these last two days on how to get up and down.” GMac discussing Padraig Harrington’s sometimes miracle escapes.

 

Rory McIlroy’s Swing in Konica Minolta Swing Vision Style Slow Motion at the 3 Irish Open

CIMG0875The caddies on the range say to watch the player who has a new caddy on his bag.  There’s something about that fresh relationship that yields fruit.  And so it turned out for David Howell team up with caddy John Mulrooney to shot an opening round of 64 to lead in the clubhouse on 7 under. Its been a tough number of years for the former Ryder cupper but he’s excited about his swing now being “better than it was in 2007”.

CIMG0871 In a case of extreme hard luck  Robert Rock has been disqualified from the Irish Open in Killarney.  Rock’s “immoveable object” image at the Irish Open was set to continue when he compiled an opening round of 65. Rock who had been surrounded in alignment rods as he struggled with his swing on the practice range, chipped and putted like a magician. However, as I understand it, it was discovered after the round that Rock’s score on 14 and 15 had been entered in the wrong order and he was disqualified.  Pic: A happy Rock in the media room after his 65, minutes before he learned of being DQ’d

 

rich green 3 Richard Green leads after the morning session of the first round of the Irish Open.  The Aussie shot 65 and afterwards praised the “old style” nature of the Killarney course.  “Here and the Emirates in Dubai are the only two courses of this type” said Green.  “Its a shot makers course and it feels very much like the course (Huntingdale in Australia) I grew up on”.  Until last week Green had been struggling with his driving, but after a phonecall to a friend in the UK from Sweden, Green was re-acquainted with his old driver at midnight on the Wednesday.  That seemed to do the trick and a confident Green is excited about his prospects this week.

Number of the Day 58

It’s what everybody is talking about on the range. The par on the Killeen course is 71 and if the weather stays fine, it may just be on. Five players have shot 62 this year on the tour including Rhys Davies, who’s in the field this week.

Rose Tinted Glasses

CIMG0790 Just what has enticed Justin Rose back to the Irish Open for the first time since 2002? According to the Englishman “it’s the date, the venue, the vibe, the crowd and the world ranking points”. What about the dough Justin? Don’t you know it’s the only event on Tour where you can come second and still make off with all the loot!

Fact Of The Day

The oldest winner of the Irish Open was Sam Torrance who was aged 41 years and 319 days when he won in Mount Juliet in 1995

Hot On The Range

He has the physique of a second row but Englishman Chris Wood’s swing is “right in the slot” in the lead up this weeks event.

The European Vijay

Italian Francesco Molinari was burning the midnight (well late evening) oil on the practice green in Killarney. With brother Eduardo putting some daylight between them in the Race To Dubai, Francesco must getting a roasting whrory mcilroyen the family sit down to Mama’s pasta.

Celeb Spot

Fourteen year old local lad Peter McEnery became a pro for the day as part of the Make A Wish foundation. Peter got to play with Padraig Harrington, and says he has arranged to take him on in a chipping competition later in the week! When asked what was the highlight of his day Peter replied “watching my Dad carry my bag!”

Rory Watch

  It seems the entourage around Rors is growing with every passing day. On the range today his handlers and management were assembled around him like All Blacks doing the Haka.  Pic: Guess Who?

Pretty much all the tour players are tied into club contracts but when it comes to shafts, every player is free to choose the ones he feels suit best. On the range at the Irish Open, there appears to be an overwhelming move from away from Project X towards KBS shafts in irons and players such as Peter Lawrie are using a KBS prototype in his driver. The shaft takes its name from its inventor Kim Braly and came onto the scene about three years ago. Since then it has grown into a worthy rival to Project X with stars such as Ernie Els gaming them to victory this year.  After all Braly is the original inventor of the Rifle, Rifle Flighted and Project X shafts even if they were wrestled from his hands by the manufacturers who finally wielded them against him.

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Its seems Braly may have the last laugh though as every major club manufacturer (except Nike) has made KBS shafts an option in their product line. They also are the stock shaft of Taylormade R9 irons.

KBS supremo on the European Tour Malcolm Clark is an extremely busy man with tour pro’s clamouring to get fitted up on the range. According to Malcolm, the KBS shaft feels slightly softer in the strike than the Project X without actually being so. However the real advantage of KBS are that they are “frequency matched”. In a set of irons, the frequency reading of the shafts (measured by clamping the grip end in a special device and twanging it) in the clubs will normally increase from longest to shortest club in the set. In KBS shafts that the increment of frequency increase from longest to shortest clubs in the set will be exactly the same from club to club.

Will the winner of the Irish Open be a KBS man? Whatever happens it’s a huge success story from a man who never spent one cent on advertising.

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Peter Lawrie’s KBS Driver Shaft

Betting Preview: Irish Open

Rory McIlroy 8/1

rory-mcilroy Proved his Quail Hollow 62 was no flash in the pan with a stunning Tghursday 63 at St. Andrews. Perhaps a more experienced McIlroy would have hung on in there on Open Friday but his tied third finish was overall a satisfactory result. Fourth in France before the Open, Rory plays well on courses where accurate iron play is rewarded. Killarney may just suit him down to the ground and Rors is sure to have the following of the home support.

Robert Rock 50/1

robert rock Rock’s seventh place finish at The Open brought to four his top ten haul since the beginning of June and though he ran out of steam last week in Sweden missing the cut, he remains one to watch this week. Rock bagged all the swag last year though he lost the playoff with Shane Lowry and always seems to be there or there abouts in Irish events. Expect to see lots of caddy Jamie Lane painstakingly lining his putts again this week. So close in Estoril and Celtic Manor recently, a win may not be far away.

Justin Rose  15/1

justin rose The last time Rose played in Ireland, he had barely two hours sleep before he teed it up. That JP pro-am appearance was his last before missing the cut at the Open but expect a refreshed and focussed Rose to show at Killarney this week. Winner of The Memorial and the AT&T National Stateside, a win this week would cement Rose’s place in Monty’s European Team for Celtic Manor. Rose hasn’t played the Irish Open since 2002 and he’s not popping in this time to make up the numbers.

 

 

 

Jamie Donaldson 66/1

jamie donaldson I was very impressed by Jamie Donaldson’s final round of 68 in Sweden last week. His tied eighth finish ended a run of three straight missed cuts for the Welshman and he heads to Killarney with renewed confidence. Indeed it was that very attribute that brought Donaldson on a run five top tens in six events from the end of March to the end of May. The SAS Masters in Sweden had the August bank holiday slot in the 2009 season and Donaldson finished second, so if you’re a believer that a golfers form goes in annual cycles, stick a fiver each way on Jamie.

 

Brett Rumford 100/1

brett rumford Aussie Brett Rumford showed some serious bouncebackability tying fourth at the Scandinavian Masters last weekend after being disqualified at the Scottish Open. Rumford took a bogey four on the short 17th in his second round, but a three was put on his card by playing partner Sam Little, who was marking it. The 32-year-old from Perth made the cut with one shot to spare, only to be ejected shortly after. The 2004 Irish Open winner may not be the most consistent player week in week out but second and third places in Qatar and South Korea this season, proves he still has game.

Best Of The Rest

Peter Lawrie 66/1 missed the cut last week but remains one of the most consistent players on Tour. If ever he had a chance to add to his 2008 Open de Espana win, the more manageable Killen track may just provide it. Spain’s Alejandro Canizares 50/1 makes his first appearance since his final round 77 dropped him down the leaderboard at the Open having had a super tournament up to that. I’ve been impressed by Canizares since his Iberian second and third in May and he continued his form tying second at Paris National.

Irish Open 2010 Betting Tips

lynn mccool Hi Everyone. Just a note to let you all know about the Ulster PGA Pro Am to take place on The Faldo Course in Lough Erne Resort on Tuesday August 3rd.  The format is a team of three to join one of Irelands PGA Professionals.  We have had a successful entry this year and have decided to create a few more slots. If your in Ireland or visiting Ireland during this time and wish to play in this event at The Lough then contact Karen Bogue on 028 66 345766 or email kbogue@loughernegolfresort.com to find out further information.
TIS ALL HAPPENING AT THE LOUGH!!

Last week we had the second annual Lough Erne Challenge. 

More than 3,000 spectators turned out to watch Challenge between Lough Erne’s 21 year old touring professional Rory McIlroy and Ryder Cup Star Darren Clarke against three time major winner Padraig Harrington and former Irish Open Champion Shane Lowry over the Championship Faldo Course this week.

57956396 The new format of Northern Ireland V Republic of Ireland proved to be a close fought match with McIlroy and Clarke claiming victory by a single shot 66 to 67 in this prestigious 18 hole betterball strokeplay event.

This was the second time Ireland’s world class players had competed in a professional event in Northern Ireland and it was World No. 7 McIlroy who got off to a flying start with three early birdies giving the homeside a three shot lead after just five holes.

Undettered the Republic of Ireland team fought on with Harrington birding the short 13th tying the scores on four under par. However, McIlroy struck the decisive blow with a birdie at the par three 15th to edge the North in front again and that proved enough for victory.

This was McIlroy’s second successive victory in the challenge and following the round he said”: It was quite nice that we got off to a good start but they played some good golf and came back at us and we were lucky to hold on at the end.”

Darren Clarke was full of praise for the course despite the difficult conditions.

“I thought the course was brilliant. It was in sensational condition. The greens were as good as I’ve putted on all year.This golf course would make a sensational tournament venue.”

Padraig Harrington was equally full of praise for the Faldo Course and commented:

“I think the crowds would be phenomenal up here, you would like to see an Irish Open come here. The pros would love it and it would be a great event.”

 

comical_ali with guest reporter and US PGA consultant Comical Ali.

Yes yes your man Langer may have won the Senior Open at Carnoustie but it took him 13 attempts to do it.  My man Corey “the Puma” Pavin was competing in his first and such is the tradition that must be upheld, he allowed Langer to win by one stroke.  This means of course that Pavin will now follow victory in every other major he plays in.  It is written I tell you.

lance In the irony to beat all ironies Scandinavian Masters winner Richard S. Johnson’s regular caddy Lance Ten Broeck took the week off to try to earn a decent paycheck at the Senior’s British Open in Carnoustie. He missed the cut and went home with a cheque for €1230, missing out on a payday of over €40,000 if he had lugged his man’s bag in Sweden.  Ouch, Alanis Morrissette eat your heart out.

Pic: Lance Ten Broeck with former employer Jesper Parnevik.  Didnt have much lick with him either!

Yesterday’s guest reporter Comical Ali of the US PGA was so popular, we decided to get him back to update us on Round 3.

Do not worry that Corey Pavin  seems to be becomical_alihind Bernhard Langer and Ian Woosnam for he his merely positioning himself for tomorrow’s inexorable path to certain glory.  Our musclebound captain, such is the wonderful human that he is, today gave hope to the other players by allowing them to think they lead him.  Alas tomorrow Pugilist Pavin will be clinical and cut through the pretenders to surely raise the trophy.  He will score birdies at will on his glorious march to a Sunday 58.The celebrations will begin at 6pm tomorrow with the raising of my newly adopted US flag over Carnoustie. 

The Senior Open Championship 2010 Highlights US Ryder Captain Corey Pavin bullied Carnoustie into submission during the second round of the Seniors Open Championship.  Powerful Pavin smashed his way to a second successive 69 to share the halfway lead with aging German Bernhard Langer who will surely fade away tomorrow.  Pavin who is built like a Greek God made a mockery of the renowned bunkering around Carnoustie as his ball sailed majestically over them all  with consummate ease.  It is now written that Pavin will now sail gloriously to certain victory. 

Pic: See The Power

harrington jump Unbeknown to himself Irish golfer Padraig Harrington shattered the Irish Long Jump record when he leapt over the Swilken Burn at St Andrews last Thursday.  A special delegation from the Irish Olympic Committee armed with a Stanley Tape Measure spent the following week at the 5 star St Andrews Hotel verifying the record.  “Its official alright” said a senior OCI member, “Harrington has beaten Liam ‘The Legs’ Lawlor’s previous record set in 1968 when he powered over a large puddle on the main street in Moate”.  Harrington is now set to be offered a place on the Irish Olympic Team for London where he will compete against the likes of Britain’s Philips Sodoku in 2012.  “I’m really looking forward to it” said Harrington “I’m lining up a team of about 50 guys to analyze the living daylights out of my technique, totally confuse me, tie me in knots mentally and make it as complicated as possible for me to win.”

Just kidding Padraig, all the best in Killarney!

tom watson bridge 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.

colm moriarty getty 102914143 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

clip_image002One 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

 tiger miss 18 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 mellis@psychologyofgolf.co.uk

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Problem:

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.

Cause:

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.

Drill:

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.

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Player Profile and WITB: Louis Oosthuizen, Open Champion

louis looking cool Vital Stats

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)

Biography

Lodewicus Theodorus "Louis" Oosthuizen is the 2010 British Open Clouis oosthuizen 57hampion. 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.

He’s an Ogre

74930197 oosthuizen shrek 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!

 

Anyone For Tennis

louis family_portrait_1 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!

Huntsman

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!

 

What’s in Louis Oosthuizen’s Bag at the British Open 2010

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.

Technorati Tags:
  •  shrek Louis Oosthuizen held his nerve and putted like an ogre to lead going into the final day.
  • Paul Casey is lurking in second.
  • Martin Kaymer was the model of German efficiency,  He’s 8 under in third.
  • Best shot of the Miguel Angel Jimenez’s off the road hole wall lob shot.  Worst shot of the day was the one preceding it.
  • Tiger’s on –3, Rors is one better, GMac is toast, and Darren is brown bread.
  • Shane Lowry played nicely again, finishing on –4.
  • Its Casey and Oosthuizen in the final group tomorrow.
  • tiger Those who feared the draw would favour yesterdays early starters need no longer worry. Probably the opposite is the case. It’s blowing a gale this afternoon.  So much so that play had to be halted for over an hour.
  • South African Louis Oosthuizen snuck into the clubhouse this morning on 12 under par.  With everyone else going backwards Oosthuizen could lead by several shots tonight.
  • Miguel Angel Jimenez holed everything he looked at today to shoot 67 and finish at 5 under.
  • Rory McIlroy who has never shot worse than 70 around St Andrews may just about lose that record.  It’s been a struggle in the early stages for Rory.  Whether he can score on the down wind holes later remains to be seen.
  • Veteran Mark Calcavecchia with his wife on the bag is in at 7 under.
  • GMac played superbly also and sits at 5 under.
  • Tiger three putted twice in his first three holes.  Should never have changed the putter!
  • The cut currently stands at par but there exists a slight chance of it coming back to 1 over.  As it stands several big players are outide the cutline including Luke Donald, Angel Cabrera and Padraig Harrington who at time of writing is still in the early stages of the round.
  • westwood The wind picked up for the afternoon starters.  The forecast is that they may also have the worst of the conditions tomorrow.  Ouch!
  • Louis Oosthuizen shot a 65 in a major and still doesn’t lead.  How mad is that.
  • Three under today would get you a tie for 30th.
  • Two broadcasters Nick Faldo (72) and Andrew Coltart (66) did pretty good.
  • As predicted Lee Westwood’s calf is just fine.  He on –5 with Tiger.  Lee even hit a cheeky little stinger into 17.
  • Tom Watson said of the benign course conditions, “she hadn’t got her clothes on today”, but Tom still found the going pretty hairy!
  1. Rory McIlory on fire. Shoots 63 even with a missed four footer on 17.ivor robson
  2. Harrington struggling badly.  Double on the first and struggling to even match par.
  3. Tiger: A few poor swings but lurking ominously.  Finished five under with a couple of really poor short putt misses on 17 and 18.
  4. The weather: Flat calm for the morning starters.  A huge advantage.  Will have a big bearing given the wind is set to build this afternoon.
  5. Anyone not making four under or better today will feel tdalyjpghere is a huge amount to do.
  6. John Daly shot a 66, six under to roll back the years.
  7. Tom Watson couldn’t recreate last years magic.  Hovering around par, Tom will need to play well to make the cut.
Technorati Tags:

siem 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

mcilroy 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.

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nike method putter Tiger has dumped his trusty Scotty Cameron putter for guess what?  A Nike method putter.

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.

Luke Donald 35/1

clip_image002Some 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.

Ernie Els16/1

story_ernie_els 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.

Rory McIlroy 16/1

mcilroy 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.

Padraig Harrington 16/1

padraig harrington 2010 british open practice news 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.

 

Lee Westwood 16/1

Lee-westwood-image 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!

Best of the Rest

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.

Long Odds Glory

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?