February 2011

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 gabriela-sabatini (1)Kyle Stanley, the man, the legend, the magician who will disappear on Sunday leads the PGA Tour after “going home” day at the Honda Classic. The big hero of the day was Rory Sabbatini who shot the lights out with a 64 in a gale at PGA National.  Sabbatini is said to have learned how to read the winds during a youth spent herding heifers with sister and former tennis babe Gabriella on the Argentinian plains before leaving to live with his Granduncle Bakkies in South Africa.

Pic: Rory’s sister Gabriella, hirsute tennis ace

Tommy two gloves Gainey (wonder is he wearing his explosive vest) is right in there at two under as is the Tweetmaster Lee Westwood on one under.  Westwood can retake his spot on the world No.1 seesaw with a good finish.  Rors and Gmac made the cut though both are back on four over.

Click on the leaderboard below to view full leaderboard

Honda_50 Tough day at the Honda Classic in Florida where only a handful of players went under par.  Last weeks playoff loser Spencer Levin continued his good form as did Matt Kuchar while Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlory struggled at three and four over respectively.  Lee Westwood carded a solid round of even par and could be positioning himself for a return to winning ways.

Click on Leaderboard to view complete on PGA Tour site

Even though we have a purely amateur ethos amongst our filming crew, it still doesn’t always quite work out as planned. Here’s a bunch of bloopers from our recent Doc’s Dawn Raid Golfbidder club testing day at Dromoland Castle.

If you’ve never been on a Dawn Raid it’s a unique chance to test clubs from all the makers without tape or limits so sign up on the widget to come on the next one.  We throw in brekkie and a free round of golf after the testing; you cant say fairer than that!

Thanks to Dave Foley and all at Dromoland Castle, our crew and testers for a great day out. Check out http://www.dromoland.ie.

baddeley family home burns A fire ripped through the recently renovated Melbourne home of the parents of Australian golfer Aaron Baddeley, completely destroying it.  Nobody was seriously injured in the blaze although Aaron’s Dad Ron suffered second degree burns to his foot leaving him on crutches.  A smoke alarm woke Ron and he had time to evacuate wife Joanne and daughter Emma before the blaze took hold.

  Ironically only some of Aaron’s clubs, trophies and memorabilia were all that could be salvaged by fire crews.  The fire comes just weeks after Baddeley won the Northern Trust Open.  He was believed to be in Arizona at the time of the fire.

 

 

Retaining the Aussie sense of humour Ron Baddeley commented after that losing his “Alice Cooper signed t-shirt” was the biggest tragedy of the fire.

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This is all that is left of a battery operated golf buggy that caught fire in Arkansas last week.

The guy using the cart burned his hand trying to remove his bag from the back of the buggy!

According to Aussie Golfer the fire spread and burnt half an acre of fairway before the blaze was brought under control.

Asked how we was feeling after, the golfer said “ I burned it up!”

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Dang why didn’t I think of that!  Irish golfers Declan and Shaun have come up with a nifty little concept which allows Irish amateur golfers playing in their own club competitions to compete against others around the country in a Tour style Order Of Merit.

Its called the VGA Tour and members compete to top the leaderboard heading to the Tour Challenge Final in September where prizes include a custom fit set of Titleist sticks and an R11 driver.

Entry is 50 quid and the Tour kicks off on April 2nd so sign up fast to get involved and support the lads.  Its a super idea.

For full details click on the or click on the pic opposite to register your interest.

Got lots of emails last week telling me  the GolfCentralDaily quiz was still far too easy so I’ve sacked the cryptic quizmaster professor I had just taken on from China.  I am now working with an old Eastern Bloc scientific mastermind who has come up with this weeks unsolvable quiz.  Well, I got it first time, but this fiendish little riddle could take you evil geniuses up to 30 seconds to solve.  There are too versions, an international one and an Irish one.  Good luck trying. Answers tomorrow!

So Horizon Sports Management’s Colin Morrissey flies across the Atlantic, gets a connecting flight across to the deserts of Arizona, colour coordinates with Graeme McDowell and Pete Cowan, carries GMac’s Bushnell whilst giving him a spud and poses for a picture.  And what do the Golf Channel do?

They call him Conor Ridge!  Wouldn’t happen over here dude, wouldn’t happen over here.  Sloppy journalism we say.  It might not even be Pete Cowan there either, it may be Tom “Viper” Skerrit from Top Gun, popping in to request a fly-by!

2011 Honda Classic Betting Preview and Tips, PGA National

Vijay Singh 34/1

vijay glasses Some say he’s a phenomenon whilst others compare him to a rash on the upper thigh region that just wont go away, but love him or loathe him, Vijay is back. The big Fijian flanker has scored two podiums in his last three events, tying third at Phoenix before finishing second on his own last time out at the Northern Trust Open. He also won this event in 1999, back in the days when he should have gone to specsavers with those NHS glasses he used to sport.

 

Justin Rose 30/1

m4-justin-rose-image-2-380111076 Top 25 in each of his five events this season and getting a little closer by by the week with a good top-10 at the Northern Trust. Equalled the course record with a 64 on final round Sunday last year to surge up the leaderboard and finish third. With no European Tour event this week, the field at The Honda is fantastic with Rose up against European Ryder Cuppers Westwod, Kaymer, McIlory, GMac and co. The perfect opportunity for a jilted Englishman to make a statement then!

YE Yang 55/1

tiger-woods-defeated-by-ye-yang-20236-1250507680-40 It’s Yang Yong-eun in case you were wondering! Is YE getting back to those halcyon days of bench pressing tour bags and bowing at everyone joyously? Well he seemed pretty hard to shift in the WGC Matchplay last week when he got to the last eight. Even then it took a determined Matt Kuchar to edge him out. The former PGA Champ loves the greens at PGA National, the site of his only other Tour win in 2009.

Graeme McDowell 18/1

gmac funny pic The GMac is 100% flame grilled quality. Every time he tees it up he’s there or there abouts. Trading at about 18/1 or second favourite given that he absolutely no form on this track is testament to that. But then again Graeme has been breaking new ground regularly recently and I make it four top-3 finishes in his last eight events. Served with a juicy new Srixon contract, this is one meal you just have to take away.

Robert Allenby 44/1

_39077599_robert_allenby Pretty impressive in his last strokeplay event at the Northen Trust Open at Riviera where he shot a final round 68 to tie fourth. Always difficult to see him crossing the finishing line since he hasn’t managed it since 2001 on the PGA Tour, but a player nonetheless who could wangle his way into the places, especially in The Bear Trap. Allenby’s had more top-fives here than thorns Tiger Woods extracted from his butt last week in the desert. And that was a lot!

Matt Kuchar 25/1

kuchar Four top tens in his last five starts, the question is will Kuchar be too tired to contend after his desert exertions last week. Although it usually proves so, you should also bear in mind that Kuch won here nine long years ago! So to sum up, knackered but dangerous.

 

Whatever you think of an event where half the field goes home after just one round there was such much money at stake at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship that today’s World Golf Ranking is going to be all change.

Pic: Kaymer wearing his Yasser Arafat scarf during the final

Luke Donald, brilliant all week in the desert and a deserving winner climbs from ninth to third, with losing finalist Martin Kaymer overtaking Lee Westwood to follow in the footsteps of Bernhard Langer as World No.1.

These are heady days for European golf as we now occupy the top four spots in the World rankings with Tiger Woods down to fifth after an early exit in the matchplay.

Gone are the days when Tiger Woods was double the points of everybody else.  If it were Formula One, Kaymer’s lead over Westwood would be hundredths of a second.  Its seems for a while at least we are set to see top spot change frequently while Tiger is still in the Pits.

Bubba Watson yesterday sported a watch designed by Richard Mille, worth $525,000!

It has been reported that Bubba splashed out for the timepiece but we think its a lot more likely to be a PR stunt by the the same company that made the Rafa Nadal French Open $500,000 watch.

It hardly seems likely that the wholesome God fearing man who couldn’t afford range balls as a kid would indulge himself like this.  Doesn’t that break a few commandments?

What next? Luke Donald wearing diamond earrings or Tiger Woods in a backless Versace number!

We’ve had some complaints from readers to say that our quizzes have been just too easy recently so today we are cranking it up a notch with this cryptic “spot the odd one out” quiz.  Don’t worry if you cant figure it out, we couldn’t either first time.  If you give up, it’s okay, we’ve printed the answer underneath.  Enjoy the challenge!

gcd poulter quiz

Answer: No.2 because it is red and has a silver egg cup on top. 1,2 and 4 are all exactly the same.


GEOFF OGILVY (8) def. PADRAIG HARRINGTON (9), 4 and 3

In a match of big-name heavyweights, Ogilvy didn't need to play his best to beat the Irishman. Ogilvy, a two-time winner in this event, was 3 up through nine holes even though he had just one birdie on his card. Harrington, meanwhile, failed to produce a birdie all day as he bowed out in the first round for the third consecutive year. "Paddy didn't have his best today," Ogilvy said. "He let me off the hook." Ogilvy essentially sealed the deal with an eagle on the par-5 13th when he rolled in a putt from 13 feet. That put him 4 up, and with Harrington unable to generate anything positive, Ogilvy strolled to the finish.
Next opponent for Ogilvy: Thomas Bjorn


GRAEME McDOWELL (2) def. HEATH SLOCUM (11), 4 and 3

The reigning U.S. Open champ did not get off to a good start, losing the opening hole after his approach shot sailed over the green. After taking a drop, McDowell could not save his par from the rough. But he roared back with a 17-foot putt for eagle at the par-5 second to square the match. He then won four of the next five holes, thanks to three Slocum bogeys and a McDowell birdie at the par-3 sixth when he rolled in a putt from outside 21 feet. When Slocum bogeyed the 11th when his tee shot sailed wide left, McDowell was 5-up and cruising. The win ends a three-match losing streak in the first round by McDowell.
Next opponent for McDowell: Ross Fisher


RORY McILROY (2) def. JONATHAN BYRD (15), 4 and 2

McIlroy couldn't win the second hole with a birdie and didn't lose the third hole with a bogey. But when he eagled the par-4 fourth hole -- his tee shot came up just short of the 339-yard hole and he holed out from the fairway -- the Northern Irishman had a lead that he would not relinquish for the rest of the round. "I played very solid golf," said McIlroy, who reached the quarterfinals two years ago in his Accenture Match Play debut. Byrd, who won earlier this year at the season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions, had his chances. He squared the match when he birdied the eight, but promptly fell behind again when he missed a three-footer for par at the ninth. After that, he could never put another red number on his card.
Next opponent for McIlroy: Ben Crane


THOMAS BJORN (16) def. TIGER WOODS (1), 19 holes
Watch: Woods birdies 18

tiger match “Woods, a three-time Match Play winner, suffered just his second first-round loss in this event. Wednesday's loss is not as much a shocker as his 2002 loss to Peter O'Malley. After all, Woods currently is going through swing changes that have yet to translate into consistent performance on the course, while Bjorn came in with momentum after a recent win at the Qatar Masters. Woods did make a clutch birdie putt at the 18th hole to extend the match, but any momentum was quickly snuffed out with his ensuing drive at the 19th hole (the par-4 first). Woods' tee shot sailed right of the fairway into the heavy brush, and he couldn't hack his way out with his second shot. He finally found the fairway with his third shot, but he missed an 18-footer for bogey that would have kept him in the match. "Disappointing, very disappointing," Woods said. "I had all the momentum going down 18 and just gave it away." As disappointing as the last hole was for Woods, he will also look back on his start with frustration. He opened with a bogey, bounced back with a birdie, then followed with a double bogey at the third and a bogey at the fifth to find himself 2-down. But Bjorn couldn't hold the lead in a match that didn't produce many style points. "It was one of those days on the golf course where we're not proud of the way we played," Bjorn said, "but I'm proud of the way I hung in there."
Next opponent for Bjorn: Geoff Ogilvy”

You have until 4pm today to get on board the steam train for the WGC Accenture matchplay.  Here my betslip and reasons:

  • Justin Rose: Those inside the ropes say he’s on form.
  • Robert Karlsson: Not many guys have shot 65 around here and lost a match. Except RK!
  • Paul Casey: Grrr, Grunt, Bulldog, Pummel, Heartless assassin; ie Casey.
  • Goeff Ogilvy: Win, loss record in matchplay is absolutely creepy.
  • Charl Schwartzel: World’s smallest stomach, easy to hydrate in desert conditions.
  • Ross Fisher:  Mental odds for the reigning real World Matchplay Champion.

The Golfing Union of Ireland have today unveiled their new range of buggies to be used on the amateur circuit by all referees and officials.

fine weather buggy1. The Fine Weather Buggy- Not For The West

1.  The first buggy in the range is a purely fine weather machine.  With an acceleration of 0-60 in four hours, this topless beauty will be offered to all the braches of the GUI, except the Connacht branch, because everyone knows it always rains at The West!

2. Enda’s Buggy

west weather buggy This ladies and gents is the official West Of Ireland buggy.  Designed with the aid of Connacht branch staffer and charity mountaineer Enda Lonergan, this buggy claims to be “the most waterproof and windproof machine on 4 wheels” with its gore-tex and taped side panels. Having chosen the colour to match his GUI blazer, Lonergan has also added his trademark “lightning bolts” on the drivers side.

GPS range finder buggy 3. The AWAX Buggy

This is the AWAX of the GUI’s armoury with built in SPD or “Slow Play Detection” technology and fitted with tranquilising darts effective up to 500 metres to “remove the threat posed by slow players”.  The AWAX buggy also sports a rearside jamming device that not only detects illegal range finders but jams the signal.

Three things in life are certain: time, tide and Enda Lonergan in his buggy officiating at The West. Well folks, father of two Enda, is leaving his battery powered Yamaha in the car park as he attempts to climb Croagh Patrick a staggering 15 times in seven days then scale Kilimanjaro in Africa in a bid to raise vital funds for Autism Action.  Having completed the 17.5Km vertical climb, that’s two Everests, Enda aims to have raised €10,000. to donate on Enda’s official page and to learn more about his charity project.

“The head and heart are willing and knees are in training and if anyone would like to join me on Croagh Patrick from March 11 - 17, I would love to have your company”, says Enda who you can contact on 086-6016553.                                                  

Further information on the 2011 Croagh Patrick Challenge is available by following this Link - http://www.croaghpatrickchallenge.com/

 

WGC Accenture World Matchplay 2011 Betting Preview and Tips

Snead Bracket

Paul Casey 8/1

Winner of the Volvo Golf Champions event in Bahrain a couple of week’s back Paul Casey has to be one to watch in the desert this week. A fine 68 last Sunday at tricky Riviera saw him climb to a 12th place finish at The Northern Trust Open. To say Casey has unfinished business here is a bit of an understatement given that he has lost the last two finals here to Ian Poulter and Geoff Ogilvy. The fact that the final has been reduced to a straight 18 hole shootout might signal a critical change in Casey’s desert fortunes. Will need to be at his best as he’s in a tough bracket and likely to face Els or Villegas early and Woods or Ogilvy later on if he is emerge from his side of the draw. Pic: Casey’s been in the gym preparing for this week.

Gary Player Bracket

Justin Rose 26/1

A resurgent Justin Rose arrives in Arizona this week with a point to prove. Monty’s rule change denied the two time PGA Tour winner last season a Ryder Rose1_2462153Cup spot, a decision that could spur the Englishman on to great things this week. If Rose can overcome Zach Johnson and Martin Kaymer in rounds one and two he could potentially face McIlroy and Casey in later matches. With the best of the best on show this week, progression to the final will not be easy.

Pic: Who could forget Rose’s Memorial win?

Bobby Jones Bracket

Charl Schwartzel 40/1

Winner of the Joburg Open and having banked five top-10’s in his five European Tour appearances this year, Charl Schwartzel is one of those outsiders that could do some damage here this week. Won a couple of matches last year to reach the last 16 and being on arguably the easier side of the draw this time around, the rested South African may fancy the challenge.

Pic: Charl Schwartzel pictured after eating at a South African barbeque (or Braai !!) last week

Ben Hogan Bracket

Ross Fisher 28/1

Having agonized over this one, I’m going to plump for Ross Fisher to emerge from this, arguably weakest bracket. The Irish Open winner will face on form Robert Allenby early and will have to come through that and a potential re-match with Stewart Cink in the second round if he is to progress. Fisher proved however in winning the 2009 Volvo World Matchplay that he has the game and temperament to succeed in matchplay. Reached the semi’s here in 2009 also.

Pic: Ross with wife Joanne sporting something made out of non-reflective space-age materials.

 

Click on Draw to Open In Full Page view

The European Tour as always have reacted quickly and decisively to combat the very real threat of the cranial annihilation of their Tour Marshals posed by the new breed of monster hitters by today unveiling a new range of protective headwear.

Manufactured completely from 100% recycled materials the range of fashionable headwear are to be worn by stewards and referees from next week at all European Tour events.  The range was successfully trialled in Dubai recently by the marshals following the group including number one Tour dangerman Alvaro Quiros.

Quiros is reported to have commented on the marshals who specifically targeted his group saying “Those pushy marshalling bastards with their bulbous bellies and timeshare properties and shag all to do all day long can wear what they damn well want on their heads.  But by God if any of them get in the way of one of my drives, they’ll need a whole lot more than a strap-on baguette or seven up bottle to save them.”

Speaking in his sleep Tour boss George “Rosie” O’Grady hit back at Quiros saying “Alvaro is young and handsome and has more locks than the Bank Of England.  He may be powerful now but when his hips start to grind and his back pops out in a year or two, he’ll be just like the rest of us.”

O’Grady added “We are proud of our new protective headwear.  The safety of the miserable timeshare owners who work as Marshals is paramount to The Tour.  We have carried out extensive testing in Cairo and Bahrain recently, not at Tour events, but in street clashes where the products were really put through their paces and they have performed very well.”

Home favourite SSP Chowrasia walked off with the Avantha Masters after England’s Robert Coles threw away his chance of victory in the most dramatic of fashion.

Tied for the lead on 15 under with two to play Coles wedged into four feet on 17 and looked nailed on for his first victory in over 290 events.  His pulled putt missed however leaving him needing a  birdie the par five last for victory.

Pic: It was all going swimmingly as Coles celebrated holing his second shot on the 7th hole for eagle.

Two fine shots later Coles was chipping for eagle from the back of the 18th.  Then a horror of horrors played out as the Londoner boned his chip through the green then without pausing for breath raced his 20 foot putt for the tournament eight foot past the  hole.  That left him with a par putt to force a playoff with Chowrasia but the tension proved too much and he again missed.

So in the end it was disappointment for Coles but a fairytale win for Chowrasia who also won in 2008.

Pic: Chowrasia does “Relieved”

 

Thanks to Francis Howley, Aine Mangan and all the team at Carton House for hosting today’s Doc’s Dawn Raid with Golfbidder.  Fantastic sunshine greeted the gang who travelled from all corners of the country for the day.

The guys tested Hyperbolic faces, Super Deeps and Tris and had more Moments Of Inertia thrown at them than you shake a driver at.  After brekkie we headed for a round on the fabulous O’Meara Course in smashing sunshine.

Make sure you sign up to join us on our next outing!

docs dawn raid carton

Left to Right on the range in front of Carton House: Darren Egan, Vinny Walsh, Pat Brady, Alan Dunning, Mick Walsh, Ciaran Molloy, Doc, Dominic Cribbin, Steven O’Hara, Mick Buggy, David Lally, Pauric O’Connor, Peter Coyne. and not forgetting cameraman Brian “Boytano” Finnerty!

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