January 2011

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Our Golfbidder Doc’s Dawn Raid days are fast becoming legendary and the next in the series has just been arranged for Saturday 19th February on the beautiful Carton House Estate, Maynooth, Co Kildare.  Don’t worry, there’s no rugby internationals on that day so seek permission from the householder, and sign up on our widget to enter!

How do the Dawn Raid’s work?  The day is basically a free fun day out for 12 of our readers. The ingredients are club testing, breakfast and golf, with craic guaranteed.

Club Testing: We will start our day on the range in Carton House at the crack of dawn (8.15am) testing a whole stack of clubs (and a few gloves) sent to us by Europe’s largest pre-owned club seller Golfbidder.  We make little YouTube videos of what you, our testers think, so best clobber and game faces on! There’s no other place you can test all the big makes in the one place, blades and offsets, drivers and fairways than on one of our Dawn Raids.

Breakfast: At about 10am we will all head into the clubhouse for brekkie (full Irish of course), a chat and a bit of banter.

Round Of Golf: At 11am we’ll take on the fabulous O’Meara course in three fourballs.  You can use your own clubs for this or feel free to take some of the weapons you’ve tested out on the course for a real test.

Who Should Sign Up: This testing day is with men’s right handed clubs, so sorry ladies and lefties, but your day is coming soon.

And the best thing, it’s all free and on me so you can leave your wallets at home.  Cant say fairer than that.  Sign up through the widget on the right and wait for your phone to ring with an invitation.

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AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am 2011 Betting Preview and Tips

Odds on the exchanges

Dustin Johnson 8/1

oct12-dustin-johnson_372x365 Top tenned in Hawaii and tied third at The Farmers two weeks back. 29th last week but the undisputed king of this AT&T Championship having won this multi course format for the past two seasons. The shortest tracks on Tour were devoured by DJ last year who spat out the par fives in a ridiculous number under par. Like a champion boxer that’s prones to cuts, if Johnson can protect the scar tissue from his US Open 82 last time on Pebble he should be just fine.

 

Jonathan Byrd 50/1

jonathan-byrd-golf_t640 The back to back winner either side of Christmas at the Shriners and the Tournament of Champions Johnathan Byrd will also be confident heading to this week. He’s had a quiet two weeks finishing in the 30’s but interestingly his worst round out of eight since winning was a 73. Byrd has unfinished business at this event dating back to 2006 when, although finishing tied third, he could have and should have notched the win. In better form now than then, he will be aiming to join Mark Wilson as the second multiple winner of the year.

Vijay Singh 36/1

Vijay-Singh Kind of like Michael Schumacher, he’s back and he’s good but does anyone really want back?  Singh tied third last week in Phoenix, the first time he has done so in over two years. The difference? His putting, Vijay is back making birdies and what better time to start than the week leading up to an event he has won in the past. Well 2004 might be seven years ago, but I think his resurgence is no flash in the pan and the man who is more popular than Jesus in Fiji is well worth a look.

Tim Clark 20/1

tc-ht1650 If Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson were top tennis players, then Tim Clark would be a world champion table tennis (ping-pong) player. They don’t play many short tracks on the PGA Tour but all three courses in use this week are under 7000 yards. Add into the equation that Clark finished tied second at the Sony Open, he’s been injured since, and you have yourself a contender. His best result here was tied fourth in 2005 but he’s been in the top 25 almost every time he’s played this event.

Pic: Clark busy preparing for Pebble Beach with a blister on his foot!

Brandt Snedeker 32/1

maar01_snedeker This may a be little out of left field but keep an eye out for Brandt Snedeker this week. After finishing last season with a top five at the Deutsche Bank he has continued with top 10’s at The Farmers and last week’s Phoenix Open. Very impressive in last years US Open on the toughened Pebble Beach format tying 8th. One to watch and the bookies agree as these odds are not as long as you might imagine. If only he’d turn down those collars!

 

Steve Marino 70/1

dan-marino Impressed at the Sony Open in Hawaii tying second and one of the first US players I look up coming into a seaside golf event. Tied fourth last season after faltering at Pebble Beach in the final round. The last couple of weeks have been a struggle but don’t count him out of this one.

 

The GUI have picked Paul Cutler (Portstewart), Alan Dunbar (Rathmore), Eddie McCormack (Galway) and Jeff Hopkins (Skerries) to compete in the Portuguese Amateur Open Championship at Montado Golf Club from 17-20 February.

With 999 views of him nailing a drive Paul is also looking forward to reaching another career milestone; the 1000 view club on Youtube.  Only 391,821 views behind Rory McIlroy, Cutler insists he can still catch his fellow Ulsterman saying “Doc from GolfCentralDaily championed me when all the others were swarming around stars like Peter O’Malley and Martin Lafeber on the range.  Moooo!”

Report  from PGATour.com.

Mark Wilson won the frost-delayed Waste Management Phoenix Open on Monday for his second victory in three starts this year, making a 9-foot birdie putt on the second playoff hole against Jason Dufner.  Wilson, two strokes ahead when play resumed Monday, closed with a 2-under 69 to match Dufner at 18 under. Dufner shot a 66, birdieing Nos. 16 and 17.

The 36-year-old Wilson, who won the Sony Open in Hawaii last month in a 36-hole Sunday finish, made a 4-foot par putt on the 18th to extend the playoff after Dufner had tapped in for par. Wilson then won on the par-4 10th, setting up the deciding putt with a 7-iron approach from the middle of the fairway.

Dufner was facing a 7-foot par putt when Wilson ended the playoff.  Delays for frost and frozen turf the first four days forced the Monday finish.  Wilson earned $1,098,000 for his fourth PGA TOUR title and moved into the FedExCup points lead. He also won the 2007 Honda Classic and 2009 Mayakoba Golf Classic.

Third-round leader Tommy Gainey, a stroke back with two holes, closed with a 74 to tie for eighth at 14 under. He made a triple bogey on the par-4 17th after hitting into the water twice on the driveable hole.

Last Week: Each way win- Alvaro Quiros 2nd at 15/1

Omega Dubai Desert Classic betting preview and tips

Emirates GC

Dubai, United Arab Emirates 10 Feb 2011 - 13 Feb 2011

Rory McIlroy 10/1

Form like 2,5,6,5 might not be that impressive for a racehorse but when it describes a golfers last four finishes it immediately grabs your attention. And when the player it belongs to won here in 2009 and tied sixth last year, you would be foolish to leave him off your betting slip. The question, as always, for Rory McIlroy is not how many birdie chances he creates in Dubai, but how many he takes. Quite simply, tee to green, Rors is the best and when his putting steps up, he will be the world’s best.

Alvaro Quiros 21/1

The towering Spaniard drove his golf ball an average of 323 yards from the tee last week, the longest in the field by a mile. If he can reproduce that driving form plus get a couple more putts than he did in Doha this man is going to be hard to stop. Finished tied sixth last year but knows he could have won were it not for a disastrous final round of 75. Second on his own last week and third at the Earth Course down the road in November, he remains a desert specialist.

Miguel Angel Jimenez 36/1

He may not have the length off the tee of the others but Jimenez remains a wily old campaigner. He proved that when beating Lee Westwood in a playoff to win here last year. Add to that tying for second, fourth, seventh and tenth all in the noughties and you begin to see just why The Mechanic loves to comes back to Dubai every year. Okay so he didn’t do so well in the wind last week, but his tied second in Bahrain suggests he will be still as dangerous as ever around here.

 

Thomas Bjorn 36/1

thomas-bjorn Could last week’s winner make it two in a row with another victory this week? With the pressure off and a few pints downed Bjorn is back on the course where he won in 2001. The Dane claims the new Callaway Razr driver is giving him ten extra yards off the tee but in truth his putts per greens in regulation were imperious. Another display like that on the short stuff could see him challenge again.

Pic: A smiling Thomas Bjorn

Long Odds Shouts

David Howell 150/1

howell You might know him better as the funny guy from The 200 Yard Gong Shot or Clay Pigeon Golf or even Sky Sports but David Howell used to be a pretty handy golfer. In fact he was much better than that around 2005 and 2006 as he broke into the world’s top 10, played Ryder Cup and even took care of Tiger Woods in the HSBC Champions. Howell is now back fit and well after struggling with back problems and forging his way back up the leaderboard. Finished fifth last week and is a former winner albeit on a different course in 1999. I just think momentum is with Howell for a big finish and the Force grows strong with him. Well worth an each way look from 150/1.

Rafael Cabrera-Bello 110/1

Tying for third last week makes it two top-10’s in his last three starts for the young Spaniard having also clocked up a seventh place finish in Abu Dhabi. This man is a statisticians dream with his numbers from last week defying belief. He was fourth in driving distance, seventh in greens in regulation, first for putts per greens hit in regulation and fourth in overall putting. Simply put its extremely rare that a player finishes at or near the top of all the stat categories so alarm bells are ringing, especially when I see he can be got for 110/1 on the exchanges. Also keep an eye on the progress of England’s John Parry from 170/1. Straight off the tee and brilliant on the greens, better iron play could be the key for him this week.

mark wilson Tim Finchem and the PGA are today considering disciplinary action after Tommy “Two Gloves” Gainey apparently attacked playing partner Mark Wilson with a cheese sandwich midway through the final round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open.  Gainey, who also works as a Cage Fighter with a travelling circus had just surrendered his lead when the incident happened.  He emptied the contents of his sandwiches on Wilson resulting in a lump of cheese becoming embedded on his head.  Our picture, taken seconds after, shows an irate Wilson shaking his fist as Gainey. It is as yet unclear if Gainey will take his place alongside Wilson for today’s conclusion.

european tour trophy pic There were widespread calls for the introduction of regulations surrounding European Tour trophies after another near miss today at the Qatar Masters.  Dignitaries, including a Sheikh and banker,  almost decapitated Dane Thomas Bjorn during the trophy presentation.  The Qatar Masters trophy, a giant clam, became dangerously unstable in downloadthe windy conditions and almost snapped shut on Bjorn’s jugular.

The controversy follows just weeks after Martin Kaymer refused to touch the Race To Dubai trophy.  Apparently Kaymer was worried for his toes after a forklift, hidden boom and two of the Dubai weightlifting team were required to help Westwood lift it the previous year.

 

He may share the same facial attributes as a disgruntled farmer but those who know him best say he’s a joker and that’s good enough for us to wholeheartedly congratulate Thomas Bjorn on his 11th Tour victory in the Qatar Masters. Fourteen pars, then three birdies in four holes blew away the field in the same very windy conditions as his last victory in Estoril.

Alvaro Quiros finished second, his round came unstuck with a three putt on 15 but he then produced the shot of the day, a 310 yard three iron onto the green on the par four 16th.  Ouch!

The win moves Bjorn to just inside the top 60 from 133rd in the Official World Golf Ranking and on course to gain a place in the WGC – Accenture Match Play.  It also extends Denmark’s run of consecutive winning years on The European Tour to seven, dating back to the 2005 season.

tommy bjorn qatar

Ireland’s top golf journalist Brian Keogh tackles the subject of cheating  on the Irish Golf Desk site today.

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” Or put it another way. If a golfer cheats but no-one dares to challenge him, is there a cheating problem in golf?

The official answer, apparently, is no. But that’s not what the grassroots are saying. For example, if a player cheats in a club competition, gets caught and sanctioned by his club but is not officially reported to the Provincial Branch or the Golfing Union of Ireland, he will only be out of action for as long as his club sees fit. Or as long as it suits his club to be without his talents.

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After the abject failure of the last few Haney Projects stateside the Golf Channel have today announced it’s bringing the series to Europe.  First up for some tuition is ex-Irish Taoiseach Brian Cowen. “I’d really like to get the ball going forward” said Brian before adding “my problem is achieving a good trajectory in the current climate”.

Shooting got underway today in Edenderry, and after attempting to drive the short par four first, Mr Cowen found his ball badly plugged in the rough just short of the green.  Being as it was the first day of practice Haney offered to remove the buried ball, but Cowen steadfastly refused a dig out, preferring to embark on a series of negotiations with the ball in an effort to agree a fiscal stimulus package to get it to move.

Commenting on the progress of the first day Hank Haney told reporters “This is going to be tough but I believe Brian is already a billion times better than when we started this morning.”

This revolutionary program was designed by John Kelly and BodySmart™ and consists of a six-week Golf Fitness program that will change the way your body works, resulting in increased power, range of motion, flexibility and balance.

PLUS, all participants in the GET FIT program have a chance to WIN a new set of golf clubs worth €2,500, custom fitted by Derek Murray of ForeGolf, awarded GCA World Clubmaker of the Year 2010.

Click on the pic below for details of the competition on the Bodysmart Facebook Page. Closing date is this Friday so check it out now!

We’ve had our resident computer wiz Carol  crunch the numbers and solve a few theorems to bring you our 2011 Waste Management Phoenix OpenBetting Tips.  After crashing and burning last week, the computer seems to be echoing public opinion and the bookies by installing Phil Mickelson as favourite at 15/2.  The stats have Phil with a 9% greater chance of winning than any other player.

Predicted Finish

Name

William Hill Odds

Average Result this season

Last 5 events

Scoring Average

Cuts In A Row Made

Overall % chance of winning

1

Phil Mickelson

15/2

19.50

19.50

69.56

7

86.1

2

Dustin Johnson

9/1

6.00

6.00

70.41

10

77.4

3

Bubba Watson

28/1

37.67

37.67

71.76

1

75.4

4

Hunter Mahan

25/1

15.50

15.50

71.66

12

74.7

5

Anthony Kim

22/1

12.67

12.67

70.30

5

74.0

6

Nick Watney

20/1

6.00

6.00

69.16

12

72.8

7

Rickie Fowler

16/1

20.00

20.00

70.41

11

72.6

8

Ben Crane

40/1

17.50

17.50

71.78

6

72.1

9

Bill Haas

28/1

6.33

6.33

70.28

11

70.5

10

Robert Allenby

55/1

99.00

99.00

72.25

0

68.6

According to playing partner and PGA Tour rookie Brendan Steele, Tiger Woods gave up during the final round of the Famers Insurance Open.  Steele told SI "I don't think he gave it ­everything today, once it started going in the wrong direction, I don’t think it had his full attention."
Paired together in the final round Steele shot a 2-under 70, and Woods 75 to tie for 44th. It was Woods' worst ever finish at Torrey.

So just what was on Tiger’s mind?  We let the art department have a go! And reckon the results might not be that far off the mark…

new titleist pro v1 2011 The 2011 model of the Titleist Pro V1x ball claimed a win out of the blocks with Bubba Watson in the Farmers Insurance Open Sunday. According to Bubbaclaus "It has a little bit higher ball flight, but with the same distance and same spin. I want it to go higher, you want it to be softer on the greens with these new grooves and the way it's been landing on some of these firm greens it's been able to stop a little quicker."


According to the men in white coats in Titleist, the new Pro V1 has more spin with little or no loss of distance, while the Pro V1x offers less spin off the driver and long irons for increased distance. Part of that is due to changes in the dimple patterns on the ball cover and part the increase in spin on the Pro V1 comes from an improvement in the way the cores are manufactured, called ZG process core technology.

Out of 156 players at the Farmers Insurance Open here's the Ball Count:
1. Titleist (102)
2. TaylorMade (15)
3. Callaway (13)

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2011 Commercialbank Qatar Masters Presented by Dolphin Energy Betting Preview and Tips

Doha GC

Doha, Qatar 22 Jan 2009 - 25 Jan 2009

Robert Karlsson 15/1

The defending champion this week, Karlsson warmed up last week in Bahrain in some style. Four rounds in the 60’s, including a closing 66 gave him a fifth place finish on his maiden outing of 2011. The Swede won in some style last year with precision approach play and an obedient putter giving him a three stroke victory. Sure to contend again this time around though it wont be easy with the top two players in the world in the field along with the likes of Paul Casey and guesting Steve Stricker.

Pic: Karlsson “I must break you.”

 

Miguel Angel Jimenez 22/1

For those who didn’t catch last week’s event in Bahrain, Paul Casey won but was gifted the tournament by Miguel Angel Jimenez who missed putt after putt during the final round. Maybe his struggles were justified after Ian Poulter called the greens in Bahrain “the worst I’ve ever seen” and “embarrassing”. This week in Qatar the greens will be perfect and if Jimenez can reproduce that same brilliant iron play and find his form on the short stuff he could easily go one better.

Alvaro Quiros 15/1

Alvaro top tenned last week closing with an excellent 67 in Bahrain. The Spaniard won in Qatar in 2009 beating Louis Oosthuizen and Henrik Stenson by three shots. He also mounted a spirited defence last year and put on a final round putting masterclass to finish second behind Karlsson. His final round putt on the ninth then was one of the finest I’ve ever seen held.

Henrik Stenson 32/1

Where the hell has Henrik Stenson been? Well after finishing third at the British Open in St Andrews, the Swede embarked on a seven tournament US odyssey which was frankly, a failure. His first start of 2011 was in Abu Dhabi where he went largely under the radar down in 44th. However irrespective of form the Doha course has always been kind to Stenson since winning here in 2006. He top tenned the following year and finished second in 2008 and 2009 (tied). This will be Stenson’s 200th start so keep an eye out for a decent finish at good odds.

Brett Rumford 65/1

brett_rumford_1_lg Our long odds each way shot this week is Aussie Brett Rumford. The former Irish Open winner played really well here last year finishing tied third with Lee Westwood. That was even more impressive given that Rumford shot a third round 73. The greens in Doha seem to suit Rumford’s long putter and though not a prolific winner (though he has won three times in Europe) he does tend to come into a place on good greens with three top threes last season. Reasonable squeak at long odds.

 

With Bubba Watson leading and Phil Mickelson needing to hole out his third shot over water on the final hole, Phil scoped the green  and then sent caddy Bones forward to tend the pin. His incredible pitch landed just a foot left of the flag but failed to spin in. What an effort, what a shot. Our shot of the weekend.

Apologies everyone  for the wee break in posts for the past 24 hours. I’ve been in transit across the Atlantic from Orlando to Dublin, followed by a three hour drive back to the West, followed by a defeat on the soccer pitch!  What a day.  Now back to the golf.

After an exhausting hour signing autographs on the Srixon stand Ireland’s newest major champion Graeme McDowell broke free from his Srixon handlers at the 2011 PGA Merchandise Show to meet up with friends from the Irish Golfing Industry at the Golf Ireland stand.

GMac congratulated John McLaughlin and delegates from the North West Ireland group which won IAGTO’s prestigious European Golf Destination of the Year Award for 2011.  For more details check out http://www.northandwestcoastlinks.com/

It’s all go on the Bushnell stand at the PGA show but we caught up with the European Tour Rep Brian McConnell.  The “Silver Fox” as he is know on the ranges of Europe’s Tour stops demonstrated the new Bushnell Hybrid rangefinder which combines both laser and GPS technology.  The result is an incredibly accurate device with readings to the front, middle and back of the green.

Already in use in the USA, McConnell thinks the Hybrid will hit European shores around April.  The pricepoint for the Hybrid stateside is $499 which equates to €365.

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