March 2011

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Fit and Able: With top Irish PGA pro John Kelly of Harrington Golf and St Margaret's Golf and Country Club. To book a session call John on 086-8155248 or +353-86-8155248 from outside Ireland.

Theory

The key to hitting big accurate powerful tee shots is developing a good inside path on your downswing. To test your swing path place a stick just outside the ball pointing in the direction you want your ball to go. Simulate your swing checking that your downswing passes inside the line of the stick. A very common mistake is where a player goes “over the top” on the downswing, this type of swing passes over the outside of the stick resulting in a weak shot.

Practice Drill

Here’s a great drill to help you develop a constant inside path. Place your drive cover just a couple of inches away from the ball. Play your drive as normal making sure you don’t hit the cover. This will help you develop a consistent inside path, resulting in more power and greater accuracy off the tee.

Filmed on location at

LeeValley12th Our prize this week is a fourball in the Christy O’Connor designed Lee Valley Golf and Country Club near Ballincollig in Cork. The course is in immaculate condition in the build up to the Lee Valley scratch cup this coming weekend where Ireland’s top amateurs will compete for top honours.  Check out their website www.leevalleygcc.ie/ for more info

To enter email your answer plus your name and address to examinerspindoc@eircom.net.

Question: Can you name Rory McIlroy’s caddy?

Congrats to last weeks winner Ray Sheehan, Waterville, Co. Kerry who answered Nike.

 

Mind Funk with Karl Morris Consequence

A critical key to improving through practice and that is the concept of CONSEQUENCE. Golf is a unique game in the sense every single time you make contact with the ball there is a CONSEQUENCE to that action. Whether we like it or not, each shot we make has a consequence because it is going down on that scorecard.

So, if we are playing a game which is high in consequence, then surely a BIG portion of our practice should involve the same principle. Yet , consider what we see on every range up and down the country and across the world. How many balls carry a consequence? How many shots carry any pressure?

For most golfers, the only ball that carries any sort of pressure is the last one! And far too many times I have seen a golfer hit ball number 48 out of 50 like a bullet, then actually kick the last two balls out onto the range! That isn’t practicing - that is CHEATING!!

Usain-Bolt If we practice in a way which creates consequence, then we will get better at dealing with the very same situation out on the course. Understand the person, a human being, who he is most competitive with is HIMSELF, so then if you devise strategies which create a score and a consequence, then you can let human nature do the rest for you.

Also tied in closely with consequence, we also need to understand that confidence needs to be based on FACTS not FEELINGS! If a 100 metre sprinter like say Usain Bolt was working each day with his coach and the coach kept telling him he was improving but had no means to actually prove it, how do you think the confidence levels of the athlete would be?

The great beauty for an athlete is the CLOCK will give him a FACTUAL example of his improvement. For too long now in golf people have been basing their confidence on feelings as opposed to facts. Hit it great on the range this morning FELT great! However, as soon as that first ball travels offline on the course, where do all of those good feeling go?

When you are building your confidence on FACTS then you are building a process which will stand up over time and build UNSHAKABLE self confidence. Facts not feelings. Build CONSEQUENCE into your practice by playing games that involve a SCORE that you have to RECORD. As soon as a score is involved we create pressure.

Check out Karl’s website www.golf-brain.com

Hybrids

yang hybrid Hybrids are not just dodgy looking cars that can go tot the moon and back on one tank of petrol you know? Over the last 10 years hybrids have played some of the most critical shots in major golf. How about Y E Yangs stone dead approach on the final hole at Hazeltine to beat Tiger to the 2009 PGA Championship? That was played with the TaylorMade Rescue TP hybrid. Seven years ago Todd Hamilton used a Sonartec MD on almost every hole in Royal Troon when he won the 2004 British Open.

Last week at Augusta National where approach shot accuracy is critical, K.J. Choi alternated between four and three hybrids in his bag. The longest iron in Choi's bag during the first round was a seven iron, but put back in his six iron from then on and went with only three hybrids.

His aforementioned countryman YE Yang carries four hybrid clubs all the time, namely a two, three, four and five hybrid. The longest iron in his bag is a six iron. His coach calls him “Grandpa” because his bad resembles that of an old man.

"Three weeks ago, I felt that to contend at major championships, I had to be able to get the ball up in the air, higher, and to stop the ball on the greens better," Choi said through his interpreter Friday afternoon. "That's why I put the hybrids in the bag. When I tried it, it made playing the par 3s much easier. I still don't feel that I'm 100-percent comfortable with those hybrids, but I still plan to continue using them."

Phil’s Drivers

Houston Open Golf Phil Mickelson has been fairly going through his drivers recently. After cracking the face of his Callaway FT tour in Houston last week, rumours are that the same thing happened during the first round of the Masters. He was carrying two drivers at the time. Some say it was to shape shots, other just say it was “contingency”!

Scotty Headcovers

clip_image004It seems you’re a nobody in the pro ranks these days unless you have a custom designed putter headcover. Titleist head putting guru Scotty Cameron may be the pound for pound king of the short stick but he’s not shabby with the covers aswell. Here’s his latest 2011 Masters commemorative putter. The cover is set to be sold to members of website for, wait for it, $116 bucks. And that doesn’t even include a putter!

The more immersed I become in this great game of golf the more my eyes are opened to the machine churning away in the background that consistently churns out top amateurs. Twenty years ago who could have believed we would have Major champions in Harrington and McDowell and even a new breed in McIlroy who played so well in Augusta and seemed destined for even greater things.

Before Padraig Harrington won his Irish Open in 2007, it had been 22 years since an Irish player won their home championship. If that was a great achievement in itself, the victory by amateur Shane Lowry two years later at Baltray was truly remarkable. Ireland is rapidly becoming to golf what the All Blacks are to rugby and both countries have quite similar populations.

But of course we didn’t just magic up these great players and prospects. Every weekend at my home club, GUI coaches Hughie O’Neill and Leslie Robinson are busy coaching Connacht’s top prospects; Freddie Twomey is doing the same in Munster and it’s a scene replicated across all four provinces. There are no political divides in Irish golf. Those not involved in the elite panels still have some of the finest PGA pros on hand to provide the very finest instruction.

There are also characters in Irish golf around whom people gravitate to produce great things. Last week I had the pleasure of meeting one such man, Seanie Barry of Lee Valley. With a great community effort Seanie and his friends at the club have developed of one the finest scratch cups in the country on the eve of the first amateur major of the season. It’s testimony to the event that the cream of Irish amateurs will all congregate in Lee Valley to compete just days before travelling across the country to Rosses Point in Sligo. Part of the schedule which has reinvigorated the scratch cup scene around the country, the event even has a live scoring system on plasma screens for instant score updates. Indeed last years West winner Rory Leonard won in Lee Valley the previous week, cementing its reputation as a must-play event in the Irish amateur calendar.

On the day of my visit two of the new generation of Irish professionals, namely Shane Lowry and Dara Lernihan had returned to lend their support to the Lee Valley Scratch Cup. Joined by Sean Barry and top amateur Andy Hogan the fourball put on an exhibition of golf for the locals with Lowry easing through the gears with a five under back nine to take the spoils.

Pic: Doc with Dara Lernihan, Keith Crowley and Freddie Twomey

If you’re a keen golfer living in the Cork area or have kids who golf try to make sure you put some time aside this weekend to see the top Irish amateurs in action at Lee Valley. You almost got the impression the two pros were longing to be back in the amateur ranks for just one week, so they could compete!

RORY McILROY had one piece of good news after his Masters meltdown - long-time girlfriend Holly Sweeney was waiting to console him.

McIlroy, 21, was kept in the dark when his management company decided to fly her into Augusta as he led the Masters from day one.

The young Ulster ace saw his dreams of a Green Jacket, eventually picked up by South African Charl Schwartzel, disintegrate with an horrendous final-round eight-over-par 80.

Holly, 18, was kept under wraps for two days to avoid the risk of McIlroy being distracted, as he built an imposing four-shot lead over the first 54 holes.

She had planned to greet him by the side of the 18th green if he clinched his first Major.

Instead, she waited for him in the clubhouse and his face lit up as she hugged him, and helped him come to terms with his heartbreak.

The couple are childhood sweethearts and McIlroy, when he first hit the golfing big time, used to pick her up at the school gates in his BMW. She was by his side when he made his Ryder Cup debut in October.

But McIlory later announced they were taking a "break" in their relationship, as he travelled the world and she concentrated on her studies sports technology student at the University of Ulster.

But within a few weeks he admitted: "Me and Holly still talk every day. We still get on great. I think we both understand what we want."

They flew together to Kuala Lumpur yesterday, where a shell-shocked McIlory is due to compete in this week's Malaysian Open.

And Holly's presence would have been especially welcome as Schwartzel was booked on the same flight.

McIlroy was being paid a reported £250,000 appearance fee to play in that event, but his value would have soared if he had managed to clinch the deal in Augusta.

Betting Preview And Tips

Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club, 14 Apr 2011 - 17 Apr 2011

Subject to field corrections, expected odds, odds  not posted yet

Kiradech Aphibarnrat 45/1

kiradech aphibarnrat It’s a co sanctioned event this week with the Asian Tour and of the local cast I like the chances of Kiradech Aphibarnrat. The big Thai might not be one for gym sessions but it doesn’t seem to affect his golf. Contended all the way to the death last year tying third (behind Seung Yul Noh) and recently won the SAIL Championship on the Asian Tour. Sure to be smiling come what may.

Rhys Davies 28/1

Rhys-Davies-001 The young Welshman enjoyed a welcome return to form at the Trophee Hassan last time out, narrowly losing out in a three man playoff to David Horsey. That was Davies best result since coming 23rd in Abu Dhabi in January and he will be keen to emulate his tied third finish in Kuala Lumpur last season. A brilliant putter on his day, these greens should be right up his street.

Johan Edfors 35/1

Johan-Edfors-006 The always colourful Swede hasn’t won on Tour since the Barcalys Scottish Open in 2006 but inside the ropes many think a victory is not far away. His second place finish in Andalucia behind Paul Lawrie (who himself bridged a long winning gap) two weeks back is sure to give him the belief that he can win again. Tied for seventh last year and is in arguably better form this time around.

Raphael Jacquelin 28/1

raphael-jacquelin-france What a great start it has been to the season for the Frenchman winning in Sicily and then tying fourth in Andalucia the following week. The break came at the perfect time with a rested Rafa now returning to a course he played well on in 2006 finishing third after the event was reduced to three rounds due to storm delays. Missed the event last year, but one to watch.

Thongchai Jaidee 26/1

thongchai It’s impossible to preview an event in Asia without mentioning the former Thai army paratrooper Thongchai Jaidee. Probably the best record in this event of the field winning in 2004 and 2005 when it was the Carlsberg Malaysian Open. Finished in the top 10 also last year but a word of warning, Thongchai hasn’t played since the Avantha Masters in February so there might be some dust on his parachute.

 charl green jacket

You sense that after a chip in on the first followed by a second shot hole out on the third that this might just be your day.  And so it proved for South African Charl Schwartzel who outpointed Aussie’s Adam Scott and Jason Day.

The day proved heartbreaking for overnight leader Rory McIlory who came a cropper on the 10 hole taking triple bogey, an experience from which he couldn’t recover.

It looked for a time like Adam Scott would take the title but four birdies from the 15th brought Schwartzel to the front.  He shot 66, six under for the day to take the title on 14 under.

Other notable movers were Tiger Woods and Geoff Ogilvy who both shot 67’s to finish in a tie for fourth.

Top 15 Leaderboard

 

If you’re going to lead going into the final round of the Masters you might as well lead by four.  Of the top 10, only Angel Cabrera with whom he plays tomorrow, has won a major.  Granted Rors would doubtless liked to have played again with Jason Day on Sunday but Angel Cabrera was first to finish on eight under.

Biggest movers on the day were Cabrera and Adam Scott while Tiger’s putting woes continued as he slumped to a 74 leaving him seven back.

All the very best to Rory in the final round.  What a stunning birdie on 17, let’s hope he keeps attacking tomorrow.

shane and doc Former Irish Open Champ Shane Lowry yesterday helped launch the 2011 Lee Valley Scratch Cup which takes place on the 16th and 17th of April.  Under crystal blue skies Lowry along with fellow pro Dara Lernihan and prospective scratch cup contenders Andy Hogan and Seanie Barry treated the hundreds of spectators who came out to see them to a wonderful exhibition of top class golf.  The Esker Hills man who returned from a wrist injury recently showed that he is in the form to add to his European Tour titles with a five under par round around the exacting Lee Valley layout.

The Lee Valley Scratch Cup is set to attract the cream of Irish amateur golf next weekend coming as it does, just one week before the first major amateur championship of the year.

Doc with Dara Lerhihan, Keith Crowley and Freddie Twomey at the launch of the 2011 Lee Valley Scratch Cup.  Thanks to all at Lee Valley for your kind hospitality and Niall O’Shea for the pic.

 

Absolutely no pun intended or even needed in this title as Aussie Jason Day takes the title. Playing in the same group as Rory McIlroy, Day found himself on the pine straw to the right of the par four ninth with a long iron in hand. As he hit it Day’s right foot completely went from beneath him resulting in a mini performance of swan lake in the follow through. The strike was pure though and the ball was dispatched straight at the target where it rolled up for a tap in birdie.

superstitious_1024 So I guess you have heard that nobody who wins the Par Three goes on to win The Masters. Obviously not a very superstitious character, after winning said Par Three event with a score of five under Luke Donald stands on four under after two rounds. Before he began his second round Donald opened an umbrella in his house, walked under a ladder, broke a mirror and stepped on a spider!

from pgatour.com

mickelson-bushes-040711-640x360

Phil Mickelson took the scenic route down the back nine on Thursday. (Getty Images)

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Shooting a 7-under 65 in any round at the Masters is impressive. But first-round co-leaders Rory McIlroy and Alvaro Quiros aren't the only players who pummeled Augusta National on Thursday. With little to no wind, soft conditions and relatively easy pin placements, nearly half the field shot par or better to open the 75th Masters.
"It's a hell of a score, don't get me wrong," said Graeme McDowell when asked about the leading score. "But the pins were set up for scoring, the fairways are running quite slow, which really helps around the greens because the ball stays on the upslopes. ... It was there for the taking today."
Added Nick Watney after shooting a 72: "I don't think we'll see the course much easier than it was today."
Indeed. Augusta National will get firmer and tougher as the tournament progresses. Add increasingly difficult pin placements, and the winning score will likely end up in the 272-276 range as it has been the last couple of years.
Woe to anyone who may be feeling comfortable after the first round.
"I would say that's an inexperienced statement," said 2008 Masters champ Trevor Immelman.
As Heath Slocum -- another member of the even-par club on Thursday -- pointed out, the lack of rain in the forecast will allow tournament officials to basically dictate how they want Augusta National to play.
"They will have full control of how much moisture they want to put on (the greens)," Slocum noted, "so their target score -- they will dictate what they want."
Or, as 2009 champion Angel Cabrera said, "I'm sure the course is going to get more complicated."
SPANISH ARMADA: Earlier this week, Phil Mickelson paid tribute to ailing Seve Ballesteros at the champions dinner by putting Spanish cuisine on the menu. Unfortunately, Ballesteros was not able to attend, but the two-time Masters champ had plenty of well-wishers that night.
On Thursday, Spaniards Quiros and Sergio Garcia (3-under 69) found themselves on the front page of the leaderboard, another nice reminder of the legacy that Ballesteros created here with his first Masters win in 1980.
SPEAKING OF QUIROS: He has a new caddie this week, Gareth Lord, who used to caddie for Robert Karlsson. Asked about the timing of such a change during the week of a major, Quiros wasn't concerned. Obviously, there was no negative impact Thursday.
"I know that it's difficult to believe," Quiros said, then added, "Well, no, it's not difficult. Somebody who knows about golf will understand perfectly."
DON'T FORGET THE KOREANS: Tied for third at 5-under 67 are Y.E. Yang and K.J. Choi. Yang, of course, became the first Asian player to win a major when he overtook Tiger Woods to win the 2009 PGA Championship.
"It's a very good course for Koreans," Yang said. "It's atypical of a Korean course, so if you're on a good day, I think that it's to our advantage, really."
TOP TWO TROUBLES: The world's No. 1 player, Martin Kaymer, shot a 6-over 78; just four players shot worse scores on Thursday, and two of them play on the Champions Tour. Kaymer hit just six of 14 fairways and needed 35 putts (including two three-putts).
The young German has never made the cut in three previous Masters appearances, and he appears headed for the same fate Friday.
"It's just a shame," Kaymer said, sounding defeated. "It's obviously a huge tournament here and if it doesn't really suit your eye and you know that quite well, it's a little frustrating."
No. 2 Lee Westwood is in better shape after shooting 72, but he was headed to the practice green after his round. He missed a short par putt on the opening hole and could never get any sustained momentum.
"If you can't hole it out from four feet, you're going to struggle, aren't you?" Westwood said.
PHIL AND TIGER: Defending champ Phil Mickelson opened with a solid 2-under 70 after opting to change strategy and put just one driver in his bag (he said earlier this week he would use two drivers). "I didn't shoot myself out of it, but I didn't make up ground on the field the way I wanted to," Mickelson said, "so I've got to go do it tomorrow."
Tiger Woods signed for a 71, making birdie on just one of Augusta's four par 5s.  "I'm right there in the ball game," Woods said. "I'm only six back."
INTERESTING STATISTIC: Ricky Barnes has played nine career rounds at Augusta National (2003 as an amateur; last year and this year as a pro). Seven times, he has finished that round inside the top 10 on the leaderboard, including Thursday as he stands tied for fifth with Matt Kuchar after shooting 68.
That top-10 rate of 78 percent is the highest percentage of any player since 2003.
"If you are going to play well out here, you are not going to live and die by playing the par 3s and par 4s well out here," Barnes said. "You have to cash in on some par 5s."
Barnes, naturally, birdied all four par 5s on Thursday.
PUTTING WOES: McDowell, the reigning U.S. Open champ, went through a six-hole stretch on Augusta's back nine in which he three-putted four greens. "Pace is my problem," he said after his 74 (a fairly miraculous score given his putting woes. "The first nine holes, I could barely get a putt to the hole. And then i sort of overreacted and started blasting everything on the back nine.
Dustin Johnson three-putted twice and missed a few short putts in matching McDowell's 74. "It seemed like I was putting downhill all day," he said.
FedExCup points leader Mark Wilson four-putted the eight hole, which he double-bogeyed en route to a 76. He said he missed his initial birdie putt from 10 feet, then missed a couple of three-footers after that. "Obviously, I got a little ahead of myself," Wilson said. "I was counting that birdie before I even hit."
SLOW PLAY: Normally the first group out can zip around the course on fresh greens and no groups ahead of them. But Thursday's first group of Ross Fisher, Jonathan Byrd and Sean O'Hair, teeing off at 7:45 a.m. ET, found themselves on the clock by the eighth hole.
After putting out on the ninth hole, Fisher was approached by officials who told him that he was taking too much time. After that, Fisher kept the pace situation in the back of his mind while finishing his 3-under 69.
"Obviously being the first group, it's our job to set the pace," Fisher said. "Unfortunately, we were a little bit behind to start it off, but I think we got around in good time."
MORE BAD NEWS: The Japanese continent at the Masters were again hit with news of another powerful earthquake in their homeland, this one registering 7.4 on the Richter scale. Combined with last month's earthquake that produced a devastating and deadly tsunami, worries about friends and family have taken its toll on the Japanese golfers playing in recent tournaments in the States.
"I understand that people, especially in Sendai, they are living in hell," said teenager Ryo Ishikawa after his 1-under 71, "and I would love to show the energy and power of what golf can bring to those people."
INJURY WOES: Tim Clark shot a 73 despite playing his first competitive round of golf in nearly three months because of tendinitis in his right elbow. He's taking anti-inflammatory medicine but "it's not working," he said.
"Not only is the elbow sore, but I have no strength in my shoulders and back because I haven't been able to use them, so that all just adds up," said Clark, who is now worried whether he'll be in shape to defend his PLAYERS Championship crown next month.
Meanwhile, three-time major winner Padraig Harrington is also a man who wondered whether he should even be on the course this week. Harrington said he nearly pulled out of the tournament this week because of a neck problem. He didn't ... and ended up shooting a 5-over 77.
"I couldn't keep my head in position at impact," Harrington said. "I had to come up on all my shots. And when you're doing that, you can hit it right and left."
Harrington said he was determined to play in Friday's second round, despite having very little chance of making the cut. "I've never failed to finish a tournament," he said.
SOLID COLORS: Rickie Fowler was decked out in all green, his apparel company Puma making him a special Masters wardrobe (he said it was a little lighter than the Masters green). And Bubba Watson was in all white, a look that he will continue in every round he plays this week.
Fowler, of course, will wear his traditional all orange on Sunday provided he makes the cut (he's in good shape after shooting 2 under). Asked if orange might clash with the Masters' Green Jacket, Fowler replied: "Nothing looks good with a a Green Jacket."
HOW ABOUT THE AMATEURS?: Six amateurs are in the field this week. David Chung, Hideki Matsuyama and Peter Uihlein each shot even-par 72, Jin Jeong shot 73, Nathan Smith shot 75 and Lion Kim shot 76.
Chung, Uihlein, Smith and Kim are flying the U.S. banner this week and will try to break the drought of American amateurs at this event. No American amateur has made the cut at the Masters since 2005

poulters masters outfits I’m off to watch the first round of the Masters tomorrow night down in Lee Valley with Seanie Barry and his crew who are busily preparing for the Lee Valley Scratch Cup on April 16th and 17th.

Preparations are set to involve us sitting at the bar drinking pints of heineken and shouting at Tiger, Rory and co on the telly box.  Meanwhile, Anneka from IJP Design was on to me just now to exclusively reveal what Sean Barry will be wearing during all four days of The Masters.  Apparently Ian Poulter uses Barry as a good luck charm and sends over the exact same outfits (in XXXL of course) that he will be wearing during the tournament.

If you want to look like Ian Poulter or Sean Barry log on to www.ijpdesign.com.

Augusta is such a quaint little town, full of character, very similar to St. Andrews or Ballybunion.  If you’re heading to the Masters here’s a couple of ideas for things to entertain you around the village within 100 meters of Magnolia Lane.

1. Try to Find the Entrance Game

entrance to augustaThe most famous players ever on the planet have driven up Magnolia Lane but the question you will be asking is How The Hell Did They Find It?

Enjoy hours of family fun in your vehicle trying to find the famous entrance to Augusta.  And even when you do the fun’s not over; trying to turn in there off the busy motorway is set to be one hell of a ride!

2. Car Spot at the Famous Bone Dry Roofing Centre

car spotting at the bone dry roofing centre Ah yes, a trip to Augusta would not be complete without the traditional fare of standing across the road from the front entrance of Augusta National at the famous Bone Dry Roofing Centre Sign for a bit of car spotting.  See if you can spot the mega-rich cars amongst the mega-poor cars on the road.  Bonus points if the mega rich actually swing in the entrance!

 

3.  Join the Freemasons

scottish rite of free masonry A nod here, a wink there and plenty of opportunity to brush up on your studies of morality through ritual, symbol and allegory.  And oh yeah guaranteed Masters badges if you can manage to be accepted in to The Scottish Rite of Freemasons, 50 metres down the road.  Coded tip of the cap to ya laddie!

4. Feeling Peckish For Some Religion

new direction christian centre Hungry for some religion after visiting Augusta?  Well we have so many latter day sects to choose from around here, but probably the most apt for golfers and only a lob wedge from the front gate is the “New Direction Christian Centre”.  They will relieve you of your sins and a few dollars because the Priest news a new Bugatti and is planning a mega golf trip to Ireland later in the year.

  Bronze: Tiger’s Chip In On The Par 3 16th in 2005

bronzeAt the time Tiger could play any shot and when the chips were down he always seemed to produce the goods.  Tiger chunked his chip away from the from the flag up the hill before the roll started to take it slowly down the slope. It trundled toward the flag, Stevie squatted in expectation, the Nike logo lingered for a second before the ball dropped in for a birdie.  Woods went on to beat Chris DiMarco in a playoff. 

 

Silver: Larry Mize Chip In For Playoff Win in 1987

silverPro’s might get up and down one time out of ten from where Larry Mize  ended up right of the green on the 11th during a playoff with Greg Norman. Everyone expected Mize to fill his pants when up against the shark but the local man played the shot of his life from about 50 yards which caught the lip, hugged and dropped in for his only Green Jacket.

 

 

 

Gold: Mickelson’s Shot From Trees on 13 in 2010

goldIt was a shot that just was not on.  Phil was snookered behind trees from  the tee on 13 on pine straw.  He imagined a gap and ripped it like thread through a needle.  The ball barley carried the creek before jumping up beside the pin.  The odd thing is that Phil only walked away with a birdie, but built the momentum from there for his third green jacket.

 

• 7:45 a.m./10:52 a.m. - Jonathan Byrd, Ross Fisher, Sean O'Hair
• 7:56 a.m./11:03 a.m. - Sandy Lyle, Alex Cejka, a-David Chung
• 8:07 a.m./1:14 a.m. - Jerry Kelly, Camilo Villegas, Jeff Overton
• 8:18 a.m./11:25 a.m. - Ben Crenshaw, Brandt Snedeker, Kevin Na
• 8:29 a.m./11:36 a.m. - Mark O'Meara, Anders Hansen, Heath Slocum
• 8:40 a.m./11:47 a.m. - Dustin Johnson, Adam Scott, Nick Watney
• 8:51 a.m./12:09 p.m. - Vijay Singh, Tim Clark, Aaron Baddeley
• 9:02 a.m./12:20 p.m. - Gregory Havret, Carl Pettersen, Ryan Palmer
• 9:14 a.m./12:31 p.m. - Martin Laird, Mark Wilson, Bo Van Pelt
• 9:24 a.m./12:42 p.m. - Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Jason Day
• 9:35 a.m./12:53 p.m. - Mike Weir, Hiroyuki Fujita, Retief Goosen
• 9:57 a.m./1:04 p.m. - Padraig Harrington, Ryo Ishikawa, Bill Haas
• 10:08 a.m./1:15 p.m. - Larry Mize, Rory Sabbatini, a-Jin Jeong
• 10:19 a.m./1:26 p.m. - Martin Kaymer, Lee Westwood, Matt Kuchar
• 10:30 a.m./1:37 p.m. - Hunter Mahan, Ernie Els, Francesco Molinari
• 10:41 a.m./1:48 p.m. - Tiger Woods, Graeme McDowell, Robert Allenby
• 10:52 a.m./1:59 p.m. - Arjun Atwal, Sergio Garcia, Robert Karlsson
• 11:03 a.m./7:45 a.m. - Charl Schwartzel, Stuart Appleby, Charley Hoffman
• 11:14 a.m./7:56 a.m. - Ian Woosnam, D.A. Points, Ben Crane
• 11:25 a.m./8:07 a.m. - Craig Stadler, Kevin Streelman, a-Nathan Smith
• 11:36 a.m./8:18 a.m. - Peter Hanson, Kyung-Tae Kim, Ryan Moore
• 11:47 a.m./8:29 a.m. - Angel Cabrera, Ian Poulter, David Toms
• 12:09 p.m./8:40 a.m. - Trevor Immelman, Lucas Glover, a-Hideki Matsuyama
• 12:20 p.m./8:51 a.m. - Zach Johnson, Y.E. Yang, Migual Angel Jimenez
• 12:31 p.m./9:02 a.m. - Jose Maria Olazabal, Davis Love III, a-Lion Kim
• 12:42 p.m./9:13 a.m. - Tom Watson, Ricky Barnes, Jason Bohn
• 12:53 p.m./9:24 a.m. - Fred Couples, Luke Donald, Steve Stricker
• 1:04 p.m./9:35 a.m. - Anthony Kim, Henrik Stenson, Steve Marino
• 1:15 p.m./9:57 a.m. - Bubba Watson, Paul Casey, Edoardo Molinari
• 1:26 p.m./10:08 a.m. - Stewart Cink, Jim Furyk, Yuta Ikeda
• 1:37 p.m./10:19 a.m. - Justin Rose, K.J. Choi, Louis Oosthuizen
• 1:48 p.m./10:30 a.m. - Phil Mickelson, Geoff Ogilvy, a-Peter Uihlein
• 1:59 p.m./10:41 a.m. - Jhonattan Vegas, Gary Woodland, Alvaro Quiros

Augusta Chairman Billy Payne announced that from next year 2012 the average joe can register for the lottery to buy practice-round tickets for the  Masters on the Masters.com website.  He also said  a small number of daily tournament tickets will be available also. It is the first time in 47 years that daily tickets will be sold. Yes folks you heard right, 47 years!

The list of “patrons”  who get tickets or “badges” has been closed since 1971 and opened again for five minutes in 2000 before closing again.  The Masters ticketing is the biggest golf tournament for touts in the world.

Masters badges are like hens teeth. The face value of a four day badge is $200 but by the time the smelly old farts sell them on to the touts they go for over $3,000.

This announcement by Billy Payne is just a steaming pile of horse crap designed to divert attention from the blatent touting scam they preside over.

Lee Westwood says himself his game is in excellent shape coming into this weeks Masters.  Not even a cockpit fire on Thursday on board his jet from Houston could phase the Englishman.  He described the incident as a ‘bit scary’.

“The smoke was coming from the cockpit and they told us later they couldn't drop our masks because they feed oxygen into the cabin and if there was a fire it would have fanned the flames.  The plane came down in a bit of a nose dive because you obviously have to get down as quick as you can. There had been a small fire somewhere in the instruments and we had the three fire tenders chasing us down the runaway, but I think that's just a precaution.”

augusta_national_golf_club No it wasn’t Rory Sabbatini or even Gary Player, the sound was actual chainsaws clearing up after a storm hit Augusta last night. PGA champ Martin Kaymer and fellow German Alex Cejka were delayed by 45 mins before their practice round.

The storms toppled trees and some power lines across Augusta but only minor damage to tree limbs was reported on the golf course.

What’s in the Bag 2012 Phil Mickelson

Update: 8th March 2012
Here's what was in Phil's Bag at the 2012 Pebble Beach Pro-Am
DRIVER: Callaway RAZR Fit (9.5°) with a Fujikura Motore Speeder VC7.2 shaft
FAIRWAY WOOD: Callaway Big Bertha Diablo (15°) with a Fujikura Rombax 80B shaft
HYBRID: Callaway X prototype (19°) with a Mitsubishi Fubuki 73X shaft
IRONS: Callaway X-Forged (4), RAZR X Forged Muscleback (5-PW) with Rifle Project X 7.0 shafts
WEDGES: Callaway X Series JAWS (52°, 60°, 64°) with Rifle Project X 7.0 shafts
PUTTER: Odyssey White Hot XG Blade Prototype
BALL: Callaway Hex Black Tour



Poults has been busy ironing out a few creases ahead of the Masters on Thursday.  His address position looks fairly bang on but that inverse C on his upper back is of some concern with just two days to go. Poults put in a good three hours yesterday on low heat, low steam and plans to finish off his preparation today with a little work on his shorts game.

18thGreenOldLinksWe are celebrating Masters week with an extra special prize on the links in Ballylffin, County Donegal. Our winner will receive a fourball on the Old Links, overnight accommodation and a fourball the following day on the Glashedy course.

The Great North Links Challenge takes place over Ballyliffin, Royal Portrush and Portstewart on October 5-7th 2011- Teams of 4 compete over the three days for team and individual prizes- entry is only €175.Contact Ballyliffin for entry forms and further details. www.ballyliffingolfclub.com

To enter email your answer plus your name and address to examinerspindoc@eircom.net.

Question: Tiger Woods plays what brand of golf equipment?

Congrats to last weeks winner John Lonergan, Fermoy,Co.Cork who answered Phil Mickelson.

 

Mind Funk with Karl Morris

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Darren’s Practice Drill

Last week we spoke about the importance of making your practice more difficult than the real game. A reader, Steve Kelly commented “We use to have to do something like this in hurling training we'd train with wet heavy sliotars so when you play a match with a new one you'd find it easier to hit. It did work.”

Many golf coaches talk about WORKING HARD, but it is usually judged in terms of time by the number of balls hit and standing on the range for hours. Well, anyone can make their hands bleed or get blisters on their feet by spending too much time practicing. The concept of hard practice here is making the TASK more difficult than the game. We need to move away from this archaic interpretation of what good practice is.

darren clarke chipping Far better we have a short practice session which is difficult in the way it is appropriate to your own golf, but builds mental and physical toughness by stretching the system in a way which leads to genuine self-confidence. Just consider now how you could make a portion of your practice more difficult than the game.

One of the players I have worked with for many years is Darren Clarke who loves to play a short game drill called ‘Par 18’

The simple short game drill which has you playing 9 par twos from differing locations around the green BUT (and this is the most important part) you MUST write down your score at the end of the session. You can take Par 18 to a different level in that if you score 21 or better, you play the game again but this time, with two balls! Taking the worst ball score of the two balls for a further 9 holes. If you shoot 21 or better with the two balls, you get to play the game again this time with 3 balls!

Darren Clarke 1 As you can see, with this system you NEVER stop making the game more difficult. The better you get at the game the harder it becomes. Remember, you are only allowed to play par 18 once in any given day unless you shoot 21 or better. Take to heart and emblazon it on your soul the key concept of making practice more difficult than the game. I absolutely guarantee that this way each time you go out to work on your game, you will be stressing your system and the system will respond by becoming STRONGER.

Check out Karl’s website www.golf-brain.com

About Karl

Karl Morris is one of Europe’s leading MIND COACHES, delivering cutting edge methods of peak performance and goal achievement to a range of clients across sports and business.  From the world of golf, he has worked with players such as 2010 US Open Champion Graeme McDowell, 2010 Open Champion Louis Oosthuizen, Darren Clarke, David Howell, Lee Westwood, Paul McGinley, Richard Finch, Phil Archer, US Open Champion Alison Nicholas and Trish Johnson.

masters black caddies It’s Masters week and I can just smell the magnolias. Yes there’s more than golf to be had down South with pretty flowers, green jackets and bikini waxed greens all in glorious 3D. At least that is the image the “patrons” at Augusta want the television audience to see. Chairman of Augusta Billy Payne and his green blazered soldiers are determined to insure that their little outpost, situated in the middle of a run down neighbourhood in Augusta Georgia, remains a modern day plantation as the world around them gets on with getting on.

So it’s pretty understandable that GMac and Ian Poulter’s little behind the scenes movies shot on their iphones inside Augusta did not go down well with the suits. Our embedded pro’s posted them on twitter only to be immediately hit with a strongly worded slap on the wrists and a request to desist from video phone use from an Augusta National spokesman.

poulter tweet It’s not as if the videos exposed much. Poulter’s film just depicts the inside of the locker room. Maybe they were worried one of the lockers might spring open to reveal some anti women golfer placards and Ku Klux Clan conical hats? I’m with the lads, it was just a bit of harmless fun. For most of us, the only chance we’ll ever get to play Augusta National is on the playstation. I personally think it’s a bit rich coming from an organization whose allocation of tickets or “badges” as they call them in Augusta is the greatest ticket tout scandal in the world, where old fogies that signed up for badges in the 70’s, still sell on to the same touts every year for a ball of dollars.

I love golf and the tournament that’s played on the fabulous Augusta National course but I will always have my doubts about what goes on around the mahogany tables in the Butler Cabin. It isn’t a wet week since they had all black caddies and their attitude towards women players remains frankly disgusting. However for all their idiosyncrasies the green jacket brigade still thrives and there’s no argument, it’s one hell of a Major.

So who had the last laugh, Ian Poulter or Billy Payne? Poults of course when he tweeted “Looks like I will be taking next week off now. No Masters for me and Graeme_McDowell, was it worth it.” On the first of April!

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Flexibility in Calf

With the Masters starting on Thursday this is the time of year where a lot of club golfers dust off their clubs and head off to the golf course for their first game of the year. Generally playing after a long lay off can leave some parts of your body a little stiff the next day. Walking on a soft hilly terrain such as a golf course can leave your calf muscles stiff and sore especially if you have not done it in a while! Having better flexibility in your calf is of vital importance for mobility in your lower leg.

Half Kneeling Calf Stretch

Get into a half kneeling position with your right knee down and left foot forward. Holding onto the head of your golf club place the grip of the club four inches forward of your big toe and hold the club vertically. Keeping your back straight and heel on the ground lunge forward trying to get your knee to touch the club. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds and switch legs. Do this daily and you will notice a huge difference in power and mobility in your lower leg and stability in your stance without any of that niggling post round stiffness.

robbie calf stretch

With top Irish amateur and TPI certified fitness instructor Robbie Cannon of Harrington Golf. To book a session call Robbie on 086-6002432. Video Of This Exercise Coming Soon.

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