August 2010

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locker room christy o'connor The European Ryder Cup Team will be able to draw from iconic images of past glories as Captain Monty has several posted on the locker’s of the team room. Rory McIlroy may have been only four months old when Christy O’Connor hit his famous two iron on the 18th in the Belfry in 1989 but the portrait of Christy looking towards the Heavens has transcended generations. There’s also Seve and Olazabal demonstrating how a successful Ryder Cup partnership is built on friendship and trust. All designed to have the hairs standing on the back of the player’s necks as they board the first tee.

locker room image seve olazabal

To Lift The Cup: Europe 4/6

jimenez nicks ryder cupLets look at the stats. Since the 29th July when Ross Fisher won the Irish Open, European team members Martin Kaymer (US PGA), Peter Hanson (Czech Open), Edoardo Molinari (Johnnie Walker), Miguel Angel Jimenez (Omega Masters) and Kaymer (KLM Open) again have won in successive weeks. Throw into the mix Luke Donald’s win in Madrid in May and his performance at the Celtic Manor Wales Open where GMac won and the ingredients seem irrestible. Of course like every champion boxer who steps into the ring, there is a chance of an upset but at 4/6 the odds seem almost generous for what should on paper be a comfortable European win.

Day One Winner: Europe 5/6

At the last Ryder Cup USA had amassed five and a half points after day one and the match was as good as settled. The only possible European pairing from then that could be recreated next Friday is Graeme McDowell and Padraig Harrington and with that partnership disbanded immediately after in Valhalla the chances of them being paired again are slim to none. Indeed I expect McDowell and McIlroy to emerge first from the clubhouse on Friday morning followed by the Molinari brothers. All going to script the momentum the opening matches create will feed back to those behind. Monty aims to create the same atmosphere as at the K Club in 2006, where Europe gained the opening day advantage. He’s even okayed a massive spectator cauldron around the first tee to give the Yanks the hee-bee gee-bees. Hope it works!

Top European Points Scorer: Luke Donald 9/1

luke donald ryder cupThe case for Luke Donald as top European points scorer is strong. The Englishman is arguably the form dog of the European team having contended at The Tour Championship in Atlanta last week. Donald answered Monty’s call in coming to the Wales Open on the 2010 course and showed that he can manage the venue when he finished third in the event. There’s also the little detail that Luke has never been on a losing Ryder Cup Team having won in 2004 and 2006. In his two matches Donald has only tasted defeat once. That was in the singles in 2004 where he lost to Chad Campbell, a defeat he avenged when again drawn against Campbell in the 2006 singles. There is one proviso, Donald had Garcia as a partner for four of his Ryder Cup points and with the Spaniard on the sidelines with his soother this time around, a new wingman will be needed. Luckily there are plenty of suitable candidates.

Top US Points Scorer: Dustin Johnson 9/1

dustin johnson ryder cup 2010 Tiger Woods at 4/1 in this category is very tempting but I feel Dustin Johnson is irresistible at 10/1. Johnson is untainted by any memories of defeat in a USA shirt and his game should be well suited to the Celtic Manor layout. Johnson proved (with no sleep) in Adare during the Summer that his length and accuracy off the tee can bring long courses to their knees. DJ also has an amiable personality and will be crowd favourite on both sides. He proved this year that he can handle adversity and learn from it. His crumbling at the US Open could have had a psychological impact on lesser men, but to get right into contention again at the US PGA and then win the BMW show his strength of character. I expect him to play all five matches and if Corey gets his pairings right, Johnson could be the US man of the match.

ryder cup poulter Ian Poulter was the first European to arrive at Celtic Manor, a day before his team.   The 2008 Man of the Match and this years WGC-Accenture Match Play Champion told Sky "I've been excited since February.”

Commenting on the event Poulter added "There's nothing else like the Ryder Cup. It doesn't come close to a major. We're out here playing for Europe and that means everything. In a major you're just playing for yourself, so there's lots of added weight to your shoulders this week."

Relive Poulter’s Highlights From the 2008 Ryder Cup below

Rory McIlroy

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Rickie Fowler

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Profile

Born 4 May 1989 (age 21)

Holywood, Northern Ireland

Height 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)

Weight 160 lb (73 kg)

College: University Of Life!

Turned professional 2007

Professional wins 2

Profile

Born December 13, 1988 (age 21)

Anaheim, California

Height 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)

Weight 150 lb (68 kg)

College: Oklahoma State University

Turned professional 2009

Professional wins 0

Current World Ranking: 9

Current World Ranking: 33

Career Earnings: :$7,922,693

Career Earnings: $2,909,781

whats in the bag rory mcilroy july 2010

whats in the bag Rickie Fowler 2010

On The Tour Truck with Derek Murray Foregolf

ross fisher baby putter cover_thumb[2] The standard length for a putter in the shops is 35" and even 36". However we have never made a putter on the truck longer than 34". It is very important that your putter length allows your right arm(if you're R/H) to hang long or stretched out. Your eyes should also be over the ball. A great simple way to check the length of your putter is to put a piece of thin masking tape on the floor at home about 9 inches long. Scrunch up a sheet of paper and put it in your pocket. Take your putter and get into your normal putting position with the putter on the tape. Now take the piece of paper and drop it from your right eye as you hold your position. If it hits the top of the putter head then the length is good and if not move the tape to where the paper hit the ground. This is where your eyeline is and you need to adjust the length of your putter so it allows your eyes to be over the top of the ball. Your hands will now follow your eyes and you will hole more putts. Just remember if you shorten your putter you have to add lead tape to the head to rebalance it.

With Derek Murray, foregolf.ie

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Phil Mickleson’s caddy Jim “Bones” Mackay is an altogether decent chap, so much so that he gave his business class seat on the American Team’s Ryder Cup charter to a fellow caddy. Joe Skovron who caddies for Ryder Cup rookie Rickie Fowler had been told by the PGA that the plane that they had booked could not accommodate him and two other caddies. On hearing the news, Bones immediately offered to give up his seat. “I knew how excited I was for my first one in ’95,” Mackay said. “I would have been bummed if I couldn’t have ridden with the rest of the team and I wanted him to have the full experience.” As it transpired Bones got his seat back when Steve Stricker’s wife pulled out of the trip which flew in to Wales today!

prodger It was difficult to tell how by watching on TV how hot it was at East Lake in Atlanta for the Tour Championship last Saturday. Suffice to say the heat was so stifling that high flying KJ Choi’s caddy, Andy Prodger decided to don a pair of shorts for the first time in his 30 year career. Prodger, a cult hero in Korea, and who was voted the European Tour's "best-dressed" caddie in 2008 attempted to avoid ridicule from fellow caddies by wearing trousers on the range then nipping into a port-a-loo to pop on the shorts on his way to the first tee. "He needs SPF 4,000 for those (legs)," said Choi’s manager. Luckily rain on Sunday meant ‘Prodge’s Pins’ were covered again but not before strains of Johnny Cash’s “Ring Of Fire” rang out from the caddies tent!

 

With the intense pressure that faces the Ryder Cup players on the first tee, in order to produce a straight powerful opening drive it is vital that they shift their weight to the back foot as they swing back. Nerves often produce a reverse pivot which is a swing fault characteristic where the weight remains on the front side in the backswing. From here it is very difficult to achieve a solid or consistent contact with the ball and is a real power leak. A good body motion involves the upper body turning away from the ball as the lower body resists. I must stress however that the hips still turn don’t try to hold them totally still. A good powerful backswing would have a 90 degree shoulder turn with the hips turning 45 degrees.

Physically it’s important that there is good mobility in both the thoracic spine and pelvis to perform a powerful backswing that turns correctly.

A swing drill I would recommend practising the next time you are on the range is to turn against an alignment rod or umbrella. Stick an alignment rod on the ground slightly angled towards the body. Get into golf posture with the rod against your hips and if you turn back correctly your hips will be against the rod at the top of the backswing. If a gap appears you would have reverse pivoted.

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Log on to www.wayneocallaghangolf.ie  for more info.

Connemara man mountain  David Mortimer won thdavid mortimere Ladbrokes.com PGA Irish Championship in dramatic fashion by canning a monster 40 footer on the final hole at Seapoint. 

Mortimer’s eagle brought him to 11 under par, one shot clear of Tour Damien McGrane who fully expected to be in a playoff before the Connemara man’s wonder putt.

It’s Mortimer’s second win at the Irish PGA showpiece event having first claimed it in 2006 and stands him in good stead as he faces the next stage of the gruelling Q-School in his bid to gain a European Tour card.

Congrats to David, Hughie and all at Ballyconnelly for producing yet another champion.

ross fisher phil morbey Fair play to Ross Fisher. He and caddy Phil Wobbly Morbey have been giving The Ryder Cup their full attention by spending the week at Celtic Manor in preparation for the showpiece.  Ross likened the stands erected around the first tee to like “walking into a football stadium” and cannot wait to hear the European fans chants.  Last time in Ireland the pair recollected their favourite crowd song “We’ve got Montgomerie, you’ve got Walt Disney”!  Wobbly predicted the score as 16-12 and Ross 15-13 in favour of Europe.

GMac killeen castle A recharged Graeme McDowell has spent the past few days practicing on the range at the superb Killeen Castle in preparation for next week’s Ryder Cup.  GMac has hooked up with coach Pete Cowan at the superb Killeen Castle facilities and even a visiting Annika Sorenstam dropped in to offer her best wishes.  With six rookies in the team this year, Celtic Manor Wales Open winner McDowell knows that he’s going to be relied upon as one of Europe’s key men. GMac is desperate to shake off the good humoured if slightly hurtful banter line that “anyone could win with Rory” and if reports from our Killeen Castle spies are true, McDowell is set to be To The Manor Born next week.

jimenez bo derek It looks like the world has found the perfect man to fit into Dudley Moore shoes for the remake of the 70’s classic MSDTENN EC012“Arthur”.  A little bit on the rotund side, fond of a glass of vino, long flowing locks and a devilish sense of humour make Bo Derek ideal to reprise her role alongside the Spaniard.  Jimenez was spotted at casting for the film with Bo Derek  (real name Boo Derekson)  in Paris on Tuesday. Lucky b**tard!

peter hanson funny European team hard man Peter Hanson has pulled out of this week's Vivendi Cup in Paris due to a , mysterious illness with the Ryder Cup just eight days away.  Hanson, who with his brothers had a No.1 hit single with “mmmmBop” in the 90’s  told Tournament officials at the Vivendi event in France he would be unable to compete after being struck down with a chest infection and fever.  Hanson is now headed home to recuperate but hopes to be fit for the trip to Celtic Manor with the rest of the European Team on Monday.

Meanwhile a mysterious dark haired stranger was seen leaving the locker room at the Vivenedi yesterday wearing surgical gloves and holding a vial marked “toxic”.  Witnesses say the man was blocky in stature, had short black hair and seemed to be wittering in a high pitched excited tone. Who could it be!!

clip_image002A host of top Irish amateur golfers and several sporting celebrities will be taking part in the upcoming Junior Golf Ireland rory leonardfundraising am-am at Carton House on Friday 8th October. Organised by West Of Ireland Champion Rory Leonard of  JGI, all the proceeds go towards funding the junior golf programmes throughout the country that help produce Ireland’s most talented players. Entry is only €300 per team which includes a round on the Monty course with an amateur or celebrity, dinner with wine and prizes. It’s your chance to get up close and personal with the country’s elite amateurs whilst helping junior golf. For more information call 01 6290735 / 6290771 or contact Rory on rleonard@juniorgolfireland.com.

 

CUTLER AND BAG Paul Cutler

Club: Portstewart

Date of Birth: 12-01-1989

Handicap: +3

Paul Cutler is one Ireland’s top amateur golfers and is destined for European Tour stardom. He first hit balls aged four and took up the game seriously at 10. Playing out of Portstewart, Cutler has clocked up an impressive array of amateur victories including the East of Ireland Championship in 2008 and the Lytham Trophy earlier this year. That victory was all the more impressive considering the 21 year old was suffering from tendinitis in his left elbow during the final round. The Ulsterman is delaying turning professional in order to help GB&I win back the Walker Cup next year at the Royal Aberdeen Golf Club.

Paul at Junior Golf Ireland Fundraiser in Carton on 8th October

clip_image004Paul will be joined by an array of top Irish amateurs and several sporting celebrities at the upcoming Junior Golf Ireland fundraising classic at Carton House on Friday 8th October. Organised by Rory Leonard of JGI, all the proceeds go towards funding the junior golf programmes throughout the country that help produce Ireland’s most talented players. Entry is €300 per team which includes a round on the Monty course with an amateur or celebrity, dinner with wine and prizes. It’s your chance to get up close and personal with the country’s elite amateurs whilst helping junior golf. For more information call 01 6290735 / 6290771 or contact Rory on rleonard@juniorgolfireland.com.

What’s In The Bag 2010 Paul Cutler

whats in the bag 2010 Paul Cutler

Phil Mickelson 15/2

phil Phil Mickelson will not want to go into another Ryder Cup in desperate form and with Tiger no longer the “Man” in the team-room, my guess is he wont. Mickelson shot 73 in the first round last year and still stormed home by three shots. His 25th at the Deutsche Bank is deceiving as he had three rounds in the 60’s before shedding five shots in two holes during the final round. Phil’s 67 when paired with Tiger at Cog Hill last time out was vintage and brought him a tie for eighth.  Pic: Going for Ice cream with the kids the morning after the masters.  The Green Jacket was nearest to the bed!

Matt Kuchar 9/1

kuchar Kuch lives down the road from East Lake and knows the layout like the back of his hand having played it socially, during his college days at Georgia Tech and on the Tour. He is the FedEx Cup leader having won the Barclay’s with a final round 66 and a playoff win against Martin Laird. His tied third at the BMW Championship while battling illness is a measure of the man. He’s suffered the lows and climbed back up the ladder; no one deserves it as much as Kuchar.

Pic: Kuch, poxed.

 

KJ Choi 33/1

KJ lies 23rd in the FedEx standings going into this week. The highlight of his season was a tied fourth at The Masters though he had two seconds in Malaysia and at the Transitions. The loveable Korean is arguably one of the streakiest players on Tour and may just have timed kj_president2his run up perfectly this week with a momentum building tied third last time out at the BMW Championship. Let’s just hope he can keep up the form after a week off and we see the weightlifters smile on the last come Sunday next.  Pic: When he’s not busy running the country, KJ plays a bit of golf.

Adam Scott 14/1

adam scott I’ve been keeping a close eye on Scott since his visit to Adare this year; his ball striking on the range was phenomenal. Scott got his first win for two years at the Valero Texas Open in May and though he has only three other top tens this year, two of them have come during the playoffs. Tied ninth at The Barclays was followed up with a tied fifth at The BMW and Scott is only a couple of holed six footers from winning at East Lake. He crushed the filed here in 2006, winning with four rounds in the 60’s. Pic: Lesson- Never borrow your father’s hat, it never looks as good on you.

Dustin Johnson 9/1

Johnson is like a surfer who having missed a couple of big rollers, just caught the perfect wave. If his crumbling at the US Open was self inflicted his PGA loss was a travesty. What a guy though, Johnson picked himself off the canvass twice to win at the BMW Championship. Johnson is going to be a huge hit at dustin-johnsonCeltic Manor and lets hope he heads there with the Tour Championship laurels. My player of the season.

Pic: Dustin doesn’t even know his pool is a water hazard.  Someone tell him please.

 

 

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If I had a euro for every time I was asked by a student how can they achieve more distance from their game I would be a very wealthy man. Most golfers feel by buying the latest driver that has been so well marketed by the leading golf club companies they will surely gain more distance. However sadly this is rarely the case due to either poor technique or a physical limitation that effects the power they can create.

If the golfer’s technique is pretty good then improving the body is the answer to unlocking more distance out of your game. There have been thousands upon thousands of physical evaluations conducted on golfers and the most frequent trend is that most golfers have hip limitations.

Hip Twisters is a great exercise to stretch the hips and help you generate more explosive speed in your swing. Assume a golf posture with your hands out in front of you as if you were sking then jump and turn your hips to the left without moving the hands then twist back again. Repeat on the other side.

Log on to www.wayneocallaghangolf.ie  for more info.

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I was reminded this week by a good friend of mine that two guys who won on Tour a few weeks ago were playing the same driver but in two very different lofts. In general and for most club golfers loft is your friend and I always encourage golfers to get the ball in the air first. Martin Kaymer uses 8.5º in his driver to help keep his spin rate low so he can stay behind the shot and launch it in the air. His shaft also produces a high launch angle so he uses his loft to get the ball flight flat once he pops it up there. Dustin Johnson has the same head but in 10.5º and he uses loft to help him to launch it high and then his shaft choice gets the ball to spin lower through its tip and kick-point profile. It demonstrates two very different products but both very effective ways of getting the ball to fly. It also proves that where there are two very different players and their swings there is always a very successful club solution.

With Derek Murray, www.foregolf.ie

us ryder cup team outfits mad-men-don-draper

The task of kitting out the US Ryder Cup Team this year has fallen to Peter Millar and it looks like the designers have been watching a bit too much Don Draper from Mad Men as their creations are straight from a bygone era. The team will wear purple cardigan sweaters, dress shirts and dark striped flannel trousers for the Saturday matches. It is unclear yet whether all the players will be wearing cravats, smoking cigarettes without filters and drinking whiskey out of crystal tumblers!

 

paul azinger bmw motorbike When will professional golfers learn that other pastimes don’t come as easy as just hitting a ball down a fairway. Paul Azinger, a Champions Tour rookie having just turned 50, brought his season to a thudding end when he suffered bruised and cracked ribs in a motorbike accident. The former Ryder Cup Captain was spinning on his brand new BMW when a car turning left cut him off. Quick thinking Zinger lay down the bike and took the fall; the only option. His injuries are set to sideline him for about three months, though he is expected to take the commentators microphone at Celtic Manor The driver who failed to yield was later cited by cops.

 

After making the cut for the first time in nine tries last week in Holland, Spain’s Jose Manuel Lara went one better in winning the Austrian GolfOpen 2010.  Lara claimed his first European Tour title in four years after beating David Lynn in a play-off.

Lara produced a closing round of 64, which included ten birdies, to put him on a 17 under par total.  Lynn, playing in the final group made a career up and down on the last to force a playoff  but needed three shots to find the green on the first extra hole and when he two-putted Lara was able to win with a par.

Quotes

"I was expecting something good. I was hitting the ball really well last week," Lara said.

"I wanted to win this tournament and the way I played today and this week, in my best dreams I never imagined that.

"Today I just came from behind and tried to work from the back and I did my job.

"It's a great time for me. All the guys supporting me, the Spaniards, I'm really happy now."

"I saved my card today. I've been struggling in the last few years and I've missed too many cuts."

 

They’re just getting younger and younger on the European Tour and matthias and johannes schwabthis week has seen another kid, barely out of nappies, contend for a title. Amateur Austrian Matthias Schwab asked his teachers for a week off to compete at the Austrian GolfOpen and at 15 years of age became the third youngest player ever to make the cut at a European Tour event. The youngster from Rohrmoos hasn’t disappointed either, as he delighted the home crowd with an excellent tied ninth place heading into the final round. Matthias’ younger brother Johannes is also a budding amateur.  Below is Matthias’ card after round three

matthias schwab card austrian golfopen

harrington ryder cup funnyjpg Speaking ahead of next months Ryder Cup, Padraig Harrington believes Tiger Woods still has an  "intimidation factor" when it comes to matchplay.

"In many ways the Ryder Cup could be the pinnacle of his year," Harrington said. "Definitely he'll be in a fighting mood for the week -- a mood to perform."

"He's coming into this Ryder Cup not having succeeded and achieved a lot of his goals this year. He's coming in thinking, 'I want to play well in this Ryder Cup to make me have a successful year.'”

Woods has won only 11 points from five Ryder Cup matches and lifted the trophy only once in 1999.  He missed the last staging with a knee injury.

"He is the No.1 golfer in the world still by rankings," Harrington added. "He has a presence -- an intimidation factor.  When you get picked, you are under the spotlight more, you have something to prove, in many ways you're trying to justify it. There's definitely more pressure, but pressure brings a bit more adrenaline, more nerves, more focus. I'm trying to hold myself back and I'm excited about getting into it."

 

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