February 2011

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the bag 2010 Rhys Davies what's in the bag 2010 Y.E. Yang what's in the bag angel cabrera What's in the bag ernie els what's in the bag Justin Rose what's in the bag Kenny Perry what's in the bag nick dougherty what's in the bag Rory McIlory what's in the bag ross fisher what's in the bag simon dyson what's in the bag stuart appleby What’s In The Bag 2010 Rickie Fowler winter golf special offers witb witb 2010 Ross Fisher witb edoardo molinari 2010 witb Francesco Molinari 2010 witb Jim Furyk 2010 witb matt kuchar 2010 witb Peter Lawrie 2010 witb rory mcilroy 2010 witb rory mcilroy 2012 Women's British Open Awards woody austin Y.E. Yang Yang's Hybrid

tiger beardLets face it, poor old Hunter Mahan has a face only a mother could love.  So maybe it is understandable that the WGC pace setter, who got well and truly hammered with the ugly stick, would try to cover it with a beard and shades.  Problem for Hunter is that he’s one of those guys with wispy stubble like an adolescent schoolboy.  I’ve seen more hairs on a gooseberry. It’s just never going to work.

Tiger on the other hand used to be the poster boy for Gillette, firing various balls at best mates Roger Federer and Thierry Henri.  But that was back in the day when he would get up on a crack in a plate.

Now more mature and absolutely cured he has cultivated a beard designed to drive any would be temptresses far away. My wife calls it “a chin minge” and describes the gardening Tiger has done there as good enough to be worn by highest of high class hookers.

The world’s greatest golf analyst Butch Harmon, dropped from the Sky Sports team for repeatedly winking suggestively at Di Stewart (or Dougherty or whatever she’s called now) may be on his way back for Sky’s Masters coverage after a special sitting of the Ocular Court today ruled in his favour.

Justice John Hawksworth ruled that Harmon had absolutely no control over the actions of his left eye and could not be responsible for its behaviour.  A psychologists report dubbed the eye as “completely crazy” and admitted failure in trying to get it to open up after several sessions.           Pic: That’s one crazy-ass eye you got there alright Butch!

Harmon’s eye is widely believed to have developed the Herbert Lom twitch after a freak accident in which the sun’s rays refracted off the diamond embedded in his belly-button and burned his retina.

It’s hoped that recent advances in Botox treatment may give Harmon back his quality of life and its thought it might also be used on his eye.  The American has not been seen on our screens sine the Punch and Judy actor that used hold his eye open with fishing line on Thursdays passed away.

The TopGolfer Tour is back and has announced an increase of over 50% in the number of scratch cups on its schedule in 2011. The Tour for single figure players now has over 5,000 members.

The K Club, 2006 Ryder Cup host venue, is but one of 46 on the 2011 schedule.

Rob Hill of TopGolfer said “We think this is great news not just for golfers who play off single figure handicaps, but for the game as a whole in Ireland and golf in this country needs some good news. Our goal was always to try and re-energise scratch cups and this announcement proves that both players and clubs will support a good idea. Last year’s success gave us all the encouragement we needed to push ahead with expanding both the tour and the community”.

Also announced were details of the Kelkin Revive Order of Merit which aims to offer competitors a flavour of life on a professional tour. There will be points up for grabs at every tour event, accumulating over the year and offering a route to the end of season Tour Championship finale.

This year the TopGolfer Tour Championship will be played at Druids Glen Golf Resort on Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd October 2011. All of the Scratch Cup winners from the year and 5 Order of Merit qualifiers will battle over 36-holes on the Druids Glen course to find Irelands TopGolfer for 2011.

For more information visit www.topgolfer.ie or Contact: Robert Hill | Phone: +353 86 6812744 | robert@roberthillconsulting.com

Click the more link to see full schedule

tiger sean foley Back in the day when Tiger was beating the bejaysus out of the field and the media, he didn’t need a swing coach to follow him out on the course with the camera, analyzing the plane of every swing.  In the build up to todays WGC Tiger trotted out more prose to cover up his paralysis by analysis issues. “I can do it on the range, I can do it in Isleworth" he says. “In spurts” he adds.

During practice yesterday swing coach Sean Foley filmed every Tiger shot; the pair even stopped intermittently in the middle of the fairway to watch slow motion reviews of the ever evolving swing. 

Tiger says he and Foley have become good friends on and off Is there course, sharing life advice as well as swing advice. Meanwhile a war of words is erupting between Foley and ex-coach Hank Haney after Foley’s “unprofessional” remark about Haney’s methods.

Could it be that Woods is equating his swing to his mental game?  He made bad swings when he was winning Major’s, loads of them; what beat the field then was his single minded determination and sense of entitlement to do so.   The question is this: Is Sean Foley unwittingly becoming the crutch that Tiger’s using to heal his mind rather than his swing?

by Brian Keogh, Irish Golf Desk

Graeme McDowell is riding such a tidal wave of confidence right now that not even the prospect of a four-day battle with the Blue Monster seems like a frightening prospect.

Having come through his tussle with the Bear Trap with flying colours and signed off with a course-record equalling 64 to claim a share of sixth place in the Honda Classic on Sunday, the US Open champion tees it up in the $8.5m WGC-Cadillac Championship in Miami with high hopes of challenging for his first World Golf Championship title.

Do you have an aspiring young golfer in your family?

Stephen Sweeney from the Tour Golf Academy has just announced details of their Summer Training Camp at Lough Erne Resort from July 3rd to 9th, 2011.  The academy gives the next generation of Tour stars the chance to prepare, practice and develop their golfing skills just like a Tour Pro.

Stephen Sweeney, Director of Instruction at the says “Our training camp incorporates a holistic approach to the game  of golf, improving your overall game and not just your swing. At this new and unique style of training for junior golfers, you will get the chance to experience how some of the best players practice and prepare for tournament golf. You will learn how to improve your physical fitness, strength and conditioning, mental approach, and diet and nutrition, as well as course management skills and of course improving your golf swing”.

tour golf academy lough erne resortThe camp will incorporate long game and short game video analysis tuition at the brand new Faldo Academy as well as on course tuition and tournament play on both Castlehume and Lough Erne championship courses.

To join the Tour Golf Academy at one of Europe’s best golf training facilities this Summer and take your game to the next level or for any further enquiries please contact;

Stephen Sweeney, Director of Instruction, E-Mail ssweeneygolfpro@hotmail.co.uk, Tel +44 75 57043070

phil and tiger

The pairings have been unveiled for the WGC Cadillac Championship and true to form the tournament officials have once again produced the bizarre, pairing the top 24 ranked players together for the first two rounds.

For some,  the strategy has worked out well. The full back line from Europe’s Ryder Cup Team in world No. 1 Martin Kaymer,  Lee Westwood and Luke Donald are sure to have a fun time.

For others it hasn’t.  Form man and new world No. 4 Graeme McDowell will not be standing downwind of partner Tiger Woods for fear of being spit upon whilst third member Phil Mickelson isn’t exactly best buddies with Woods either following epic battles in 2005 and 2009 at Doral.

The other 45 players in the field are spread out randomly.

An eagle eyed reader called Dario has been feverishly sending me comments to alert me to the fact that Rory Sabbatini and Gabriella Sabatini are not actually brother and sister after all and that all my articles linking the two last week were factually incorrect.

Fair play to you Dario, slap those handcuffs on me.  I thought the whole world would believe that Rory was ejected from the Sabbatini family farm in Argentina for refusing to uphold the family tradition of castrating bulls using only his teeth, and sent to live with his mean old uncle in South Africa.

So once again, apologies and for the record Rory and Gabriella are not brother and sister. I promise never to pull a stunt like that again.  Not even for comic effect.

RORY AND GABRIELLA ARE ACTUALLY HUSBAND AND WIFE !!!!!

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jupiter_island_slide2 from Tigerwoods.com

“Pretty soon, I'll be moving into my new home in Jupiter, Fla. I'm excited about that and even more excited about my new practice facility. It's phenomenal. Working with my team, I designed the short-game facility and oversaw its construction. It features four greens, six bunkers with different depths and kinds of sand, a video center and a putting studio. If no wind is blowing, the longest club I can hit is a 7-iron. It's also set up so I can hit shots out of my second-story studio.”

Full article link http://web.tigerwoods.com/design/jupiter_island.html

I met with all the characters representing Ireland’s top golf courses and accommodation at the recent 2011 PGA Show in Orlando.  Before you book your next holiday check out the vid!

Golf Writer Andy Roberts gives us the low down on this weeks WGC Cadillac Championship.

andy roberts The leading lights of European golf will be looking to end a 15-year drought of wins on Doral's TPC Blue Monster course at the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship this week.

With 20 Europeans taking part in the 69-man strong field, including our newly formed quartet at the summit of the Official World Rankings, it would seem there is every chance to fill the void stretching back to Nick Faldo's victory in 1995.

Over the past 12 months, Europeans have shifted the golfing balance this side of the Atlantic, claiming five of the last four majors and five WGCs - including a recent European one-two in Luke Donald and Martin Kaymer at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Final.


Germany's Kaymer will deservedly start as favourite, looking to make an instant impact in his first tournament as world number one - and he has every chance of winning the $1.4 million prize following his tie for third last year.


Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell is also hotly fancied to claim a hat-trick of wins in America, following his course record-equalling 64 in the final round of the Honda Classic last week to finish inside the top 10. After struggling at Doral in 2009, the Ulsterman put a first round 74 behind him in 2010 to climb into a tie for sixth.


But it will be no easy task for our stars considering the world's top-50 ranked players are here in force for the first time in the tournament's history since 2005, including defending champion from South Africa, Ernie Els.

Els broke his two-year winless streak in this event last year when carding an 18-under par total to beat fellow South African Charl Schwartzel by four shots.

Looking for something similar is American Tiger Woods, who is competing in a tournament for the first-time as world number five. Woods will be hoping to rekindle former glories having won here twice when the event was known as the Ford Championship at Doral - including a memorable duel with compatriot Phil Mickelson in 2005 and once again in 2007 at the WGC.

There is no question, however, the demise of Woods has given the Europeans, and the rest of the world for that matter, the confidence to kick on. Having endured his first winless season as a professional in 2010, while dealing with his well-documented personal issues, Woods has continued to look out of sorts in his three events and nine rounds so far this year.

The former five-year world number one carded a final round 75 at the Famers Insurance Open to finish tied 44th and once again at the Dubai Desert Classic when finishing tied 20th. If that was not bad enough, Woods was then dumped out by lowly-seeded Thomas Bjorn in the first round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play when double-bogeying the first extra hole.

With just one month to go until the first major of the season, the world's best will want to fine tune their games in preparation for Augusta, and none more so than defending Masters champion Mickelson. The world number six has recorded two top 10s so far this year but was sent packing to America's bright young prodigy Rickie Fowler in the second-round of the Match Play two weeks ago.

It would be like picking a needle from a haystack to find the winner this week, but one thing is for certain, there will be more red numbers posted on the leaderboard than at last week's Honda Classic where just 13 players broke par. Expect a birdie fest, warm weather and hopefully yet another World Golf Championship winner from this side of the pond.

Andy Roberts is a NCTJ qualified journalist, specialising in golf and football. BA (Hons) Journalism & English Language degree. Follow Andy on twitter @andyroberts7. Check out Andy’s blog http://andyroberts7.blogspot.com

2011 WGC Cadillac Championship Betting Preview and Tips-early odds on the exchanges.

Last week: We tipped YE Yang at 55/1

Graeme McDowell 16/1

gmac funny pic[4] There’s no easy out this week at the WGC Cadillac Championship (formerly the CA C’ship) with the top 50 in the world penciled in to play. After shooting a brilliant 64 last Sunday at PGA National, GMac heads to the Blue Monster in buoyant form. That’s five top tens in his last six events for the Portrush man. After struggling at Doral in 2009, GMac put a first round 74 behind him in 2010 to climb back to a tie for sixth. Good in the wind and top five in driving accuracy on the PGA Tour this year, there’s no two ways about it, GMac is the form horse, figuratively speaking of course.

Martin Kaymer 10/1

kaymer Martin Kaymer changed his schedule this season to hopefully challenge for these WGC events dropping the Phoenix Open where he missed the cut in 2010. Thus the German returns to Doral where he tied third last season with high hopes. Lost out to an imperious Luke Donald in the first WGC event but that just went to prove the new world number one is set to challenge for all the top titles this year. Already a winner in Abu Dhabi this season, does Kaymer have the Vorsprung Durch Technik to handle the Monster?

 

Charl Schwartzel 34/1

praying_mantis_green01 The 2001 Joburg Open champion made his first appearance in a PGA strokeplay last week at the Honda and tied for 14th. Not impressed? A poor third round 74 may have done for his chances but that was sandwiched in between three rounds in the 60’s on a tough track in windy conditions. It’s set to be more of the same this week at Doral, thus perfect for the South African contingent. The Ray Floyd restored Blue Monster seems to suit Shwartzel’s game as he took Ernie Els all the way last year before slipping at the end. Wont be overawed by the stars on show. One to watch.

Bill Haas 46/1

bill haaas Haas version 2.0 has replaced dad Jay on the PGA Tour and so far so good for the North Carolina man. Billy picked up a win last year at The Bob Hope Classic and almost defended this season. Three top tens in his six events played this year, the younger Haas is continuing the family tradition of consistent golf. Driving accuracy will be key if Haas is to emulate his tied sixth performance last year in this event.

Alvaro Quiros 30/1

quiros funny A swampland track always buffeted by a tough wind with 11 water hazards; it doesn’t strike you as a place where the likes of Alvaro Quiros could contend. But contend he does and will again for my money. Finished 13th on his first visit two years back and improved to tie sixth last season. The Spaniard has, lets say, paced himself so far this season but his schedule has been vindicated by three top-10’s from five appearances including his Dubai Desert Classic win. There’s no man I’d rather have playing the 467 yard par four 18th into the teeth of the wind than Alvaro!

Geoff Ogilvy 42/1

geoff ogilvy stitches[5] You can never count him in but in the same breath you can never count him out. Something of a WGC specialist, the Aussie tied third here in 2007 before returning to win in 2008. Good in the wind and streakier than Fat Frank in Old School, if he does it don’t say you weren’t warned.

  To be an ass or not to be an ass? That is the question facing the golf world’s media today in the wake of Rory Sabbatini’s win at The Honda Classic.

On the ass side, the South African has gotten himself into plenty of trouble on and off the course with his short fuse and fiery temper.  Remember when he stormed off on “slow coach” Ben Crane (and his wife Amy showed up the next day with a “keep up” t-shirt) or the several times he let fly at Tiger Woods over the years?

On the non ass side, Sabbatini has been proven right in most of what he said.  Tiger Woods it turns out is the real ass and is indeed “more beatable than ever” as claimed by Sabbatini.  And in the six years since the slow play incident,  Ben Cramy sabbatiniane, though a super star on youtube, is now well know as one of the slowest players on tour.

Rory Sabbatini says himself he’s not proud of some of the things he has said rory sabbatini hondaand done on Tour over the years but vows now to be a role model to his kids.  Now sporting a Greg Norman style the ex bad-boy wears it not a fashion statement, but a barrier from the sun after suffering a skin cancer problem on his face.

So today Mr Sabbatini we officially absolve you of your ass and take our hats off to you.

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gabriella The real beauty of Rory Sabbatini can only be seen in looking at his sister Gabriella.  And she is immensely proud of her brother. Though their Argentinean father cast Rory out for refusing to castrate a bull using only his teeth, the youngest Sabbatini forged a new life for himself with his uncle in South Africa.

“ Down the stretch I feel no pressure” said Rors, “Pressure is having to angle your head under a raging bull before sinking your teeth squarely across his bag of sweets, if you know what I mean”, he continued.

Yusef Elin Yang or Y.E. as he is better known damn near forced a playoff and GMac shot the bleedin’ lights out with a 64 to tie for sixth. But you know what makes me happiest?  Tommy two gloves Gainey finishing fifth on his own. What a trier fair play to the man.

Check out the highlights below

 

Dont get me wrong, I love Jerry Kelly on the PGA Tour.  He wears his heart on his sleeve; there has to a bit of Irish in there somewhere. But yesterday on the Tour, Kelly benefitted from the same technology that helped DQ Padraig Harrington a couple of months back.  Kelly grabbed a photographers high powered lens to identify his ball in a tree.

Personally I have no problem with both the use of the camera and the ruling in this case.  If technology and cameras are to be used, they should be in there to aid the players they are trained on.  What would that have meant for Harrington’s shuddering ball?  A referee walking up to Padraig on the green, informing him the ball moved, the addition of a penalty strokes but no DQ.  Here’s the video of the Kelly incident.

 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!

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