April 2011

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darren and doc Darren Clarke held his nerve while all about him were losing theirs, in almost impossible golfing conditions to win the Iberdrola Open by three strokes from Chris Wood and David Lynn. Ireland’s Shane Lowry contended over the front nine but suffered in the tough conditions over the back nine, eventually finishing a very creditable tied fifth.

The win was Clarke’s 13th career European win and first since the KLM Open of 2008.

"It's a bit of a monkey to get off my back after three years not winning so it's good," Clarke said. "At the same time I feel a lot for Chris Wood -- he's a young guy, a great player and I've been in his position before."

Final Round Highlights

Click on pic to view highlights from the European Tour website.

Six over with three bogeys and a triple-bogey on the fourth hole, where he lost two brand new Nikes in the water.  Wouldn’t you want to go hostevieme too?

Since slipping on the pine straw at Augusta and suffering that Grade 1 mild medial collateral ligament sprain and a mild strain to his Achilles tendon, Tiger hasnt been right. It emerged that he still wore a medical walking boot last week and hadnt hit a ball in four weeks until last monday.

His practice rounds were limited to nine holes and even then he was having trouble walking.  Swing coach Sean Foley reportedly told Mark O’Meara, "You know, his leg is not good. I mean, he can hit balls, but he's having a hard time walking."

So why did Woods bother to risk himself in an event that Lee Westwood and Rory McIlroy didnt even play in? And will recover in time to play in this Summer’s majors.

As is becoming normal now with Tiger, its a mystery, but we wish him luck.  A major without him is like Barcelona without Messi.

donal Everybody needs a break, climb a mountain or jump in a lake. I’m off for a week, so, dependant on whether where I’m going have ever heard of the internet, posts will be very limited.  Hopefully the break will help you all realise how much you love golfcentraldaily and how boring all the other golf sites are!  Come the 18th, I’ll be back tanned and ready to go.  Now where are my white Lee Westwood transparent sun trousers?

Cheers, Donal

lynn Although she says herself that it’s her lifetime ambition to join the Mile High Club, Lough Erne’s Director of Golf Lynn McCool  is laying down the gauntlet to all golfers this Summer to become part of  “The 4 3 2 Club” by completing the Faldo Challenge and birdieing the last three holes on the Championship Faldo Course.  

The Faldo Challenge is free to enter and any golfer who birdies the par 5 16th, par 4 17th and par 3 18th will be awarded membership of the exclusive “432 Club”. They will receive a personalised framed certificate signed by Nick Faldo and Lough Erne’s touring professional Rory McIlroy, a complimentary five night luxury stay with golf at The Resort, VIP Guest Passes at major Lough Erne golf events, £200 voucher to spend in The Golf Shop, 10% off any Thai Spa treatments and entry to the 432 Club Winners board in The Loughside Clubhouse and most importantly a kiss from Lynn!

Check out their website www.lougherneresort.com


dunmurry quiz pic This weeks prize is a day out for four in Dunmurry Springs Golf Club. You will be treated do Tea/Coffee on arrival at the Kildare venue, before 18 Holes of Golf on the Mel Flanagan design followed by a meal in the clubhouse.

Set amongst fabulous scenery and maintained immaculately be sure to check out www.dunmurrysprings.com or call them on 045 531400 for green fee offers.

To enter email your answer plus your name and  address in the widget on the top right of the site.


How many times did Seve Ballesteros win the Irish Open? Was it 3, 4 or 5?

Congrats to last weeks winner Cathal Walsh, Dunmore, Co. Galway who gets a player issue shirt from Kartel.


Seve-Ballesteros-1995-Spanish-Open_2593673 Overnight leader Gordon Brand Jnr began with bogeys at the third and fifth, but, out in 38 he still held the lead on 12 under.  Seve Ballesteros dropped shots at each of the first three holes, but a birdie at the fourth took him out in 38.  Jose Rivero and Ignacio Garrido, out in 33 and 34 respectively, tied Ballesteros at 11 under.  Rivero gained the outright lead with a birdie at the 12th and set the target at 12 under.  Garrido matched it with two birdies and one bogey coming home.  But Ballesteros birdied the 12th, 15th and 18th.

peugeot spanish open 1995

Betting Preview And Tips

The Players Championship, 2011 The Players Championship Betting Preview, Odds from Betfair

Phil Mickelson 16.5/1

Tied for ninth at Quail Hollow on his first outing since the Masters. But for a Saturday 74, Phil could have really contended for honours but afterward declared himself happy with his weeks work. He now heads the hour down the road to Sawgrass with coach Butch Harmon, who no doubt will fine tune him in an effort to repeat his victory of 2007.


Sergio Garcia 65/1

I will preface this tip with a warning. If Sawgrass plays like it did last year when Tim Clark won at 16 under, treat this with caution. Garcia will never get tonnes of birdies, he contends on tough set-ups. His best weeks total here was 9 under in 2007 when a final round 66 saw him finish second to Mickelson. The following year, with a belly putter, five under was enough to get the job done. Garcia has been in the top 35 in every start this year without seriously contending on Sunday. Warmed up well last week in Charlotte.

Ben Crane 46/1

First of all famous for being a slow player, second of all even more famous for making great youtube videos. If you haven’t seen them and are in need of a laugh, check them out! Crane took a week off last week after a sixth at the Heritage and 20th in New Orleans. Brings a great Sawgrass record to the table with a tied sixth in 2008, tied fifth in 2009 and tied fourth last year. One of the few players to card nine birdies in a round on the Stadium Course. Can he go one better this week? I think he can.


Kevin Na 85/1

Right now the Bingo callers across America are saying “Number 16, Kevin Na!” after his recent experience in the forest in Texas but since then he has notched up a ninth at The Heritage and finished fifth again last week for his fourth top 10 of the season. An excellent putter, Na has the game to contend at tricked up Sawgrass as he proved in 2009 when he tied third.


Lucas Glover 70/1

I had this tip written before Glover won at Quail Hollow and it’s rare players win two weeks in a row but I fancied Glover at Sawgrass for some time! Bridged a 41 tournament gap last week with his third win on Tour and first since the US Open in 2009. Considering he missed the cut in his last three events before the Wells Fargo Glover’s win was all the more impressive. Interestingly these two weeks last year were Glovers best of the season also. He finished third last year. Odds have drifted since his win last week.

Best of the Rest

He’s his own worst enemy at times but if Pat Perez (130/1) can maintain the right mental attitude this week, his ball striking will again get him into contention. Tied for sixth last week after shooting a three over final round in the Wells Fargo. Okay he may have suffered a case of vertigo on top of the leaderboard, but you never know with Double P who tied third in 2006. Brian Davis (160/1) deserves Tour justice after calling a foul on himself at last year’s Heritage and I expect another good week from him. He tied fifth in 2009 and showed great form last week. Finally keep an eye out again this week for Andres Romero (150/1), the Argentinean putting wizard who played well again last week until falling way in the final round.


Are you wasting your time taking lessons?

What are you going to do about your game this season? Keep it the same?

Play more or practice more? Change your clubs? How about taking some lessons? What a great idea! That is the answer, have some lessons and change your swing, improve your technique. Good idea and definitely a way forward but before you do anything HANG on a minute as you may just be about to do something that is a TOTAL waste of your time! So much has been written over the years about WHAT to change in your golf swing. You may favour a certain teacher be that a David Leadbetter or Butch Harmon, you may believe in a certain method be that the ‘two plane swing’ or the ‘golf machine’.

All of that is fine because I am not here to tell you WHAT to do in your swing. I am going to leave that to other people who are better qualified than myself. Yes, so muclip_image004ch has been written on what to do in your swing but so little has ever been written on HOW to change your swing. You see unless the information your receive from your chosen coach or method becomes ACTUAL physical motion then it is nothing other than INFORMATION. Information is fine, it is the starting point but we need to know HOW to change our swings so that it becomes our actual BODILY motion. We may not like to even consider this when so much is talked about ‘muscle memory’ but to actually change your swing you have to change your BRAIN, the storehouse of your ‘swing’.

You have to alter the neural pathways in your brain that send the commands to your muscles. By understanding a little more of how our brain works we can then get down to the job of taking good technical information and making it an efficient golf swing in as quick a time as is possible. Anything else literally is putting a cart before the proverbial horse. I have over the last number of years done a lot of research on this area because it has intrigued me as to how many people I have seen take lessons, good lessons from good coaches but their swings have NEVER changed, not one bit! They have had great information but NOTHING altered. Then after nothing altered with one coach they went to another coach and NOTHING altered with that coach either!!

You may know somebody very well who has been through a similar experience. The more research I did the more it became clear that even though we know so much about the ‘golf swing’ we know so little about how human beings take in information and how their brain ‘codes’ that information. Within the scope of this article it is impossible to give you all of what has now been discovered but I do want to share with you what may be THE most important discovery made by a lady who you should find as much about as possible. Dr Gabrielle Wulf has spent the greater part of her life studying how humans learn motor skills. In a nutshell her work describes the difference between what she calls an ‘Internal Focus’ and an ‘External Focus’ and it seems that one if FAR better than the other when trying to change the swing.

An ‘Internal Focus’ is where you are focusing on your arms, your wrist, your legs or whatever. You are focusing on trying to get your body to move in a certain way but your focus is internal to you. Basically the way that most golf lessons take place. An ‘External Focus’ is where you place your attention on something that is external to your body so it could be the club or it could be the flight of the ball or it could even be your own belt on your trousers but it is external to you. Her research had my jaw dropping with its implication as she proved over and over again in scientifically tested environments with lots of different sports that an EXTERNAL focus was dramatically more efficient in learning than an INTERNAL focus.

What does this mean for me and you down on the range? Maybe we have been trying to change our swing in a way that the brain doesn’t really like. If you are stood on the range focusing on your arms or legs or whatever you MAY just be holding yourself back. Shift that focus to something EXTERNAL and you may be very pleasantly surprised with the results.

Check out Karl’s website

With top Irish PGA pro John Kelly of Harrington Golf and St Margerets. To book a session call John on 086-8155248.

john kelly shoulder turn

Here’s a great tip to help you improve your shoulder turn so you can get behind the ball and move your weight correctly onto your right foot at the top of the backswing. Place a club on the ground and take your address positioned with four right heel touching the club.

With your hands crossed place another club across your shoulders. Turn your shoulders so that the shaft on your shoulders is directly over the shaft on the ground. This will put you in the correct position and give you the feeling of where you need to be at the top of your backswing. Doing this several times will train your body, help your shoulder turn and put you in a strong position to really commit to your downswing.

With thanks to Moira and all at Portmarnock Hotel and Golf Links for use of their wonderful course for filming.

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Readers Tribute To Seve

I only met Seve once. I was among a handful of people that followed him during a round on Tour in 1998. His six over for the day consisted of17 pars and a 10 on a par four after two lost drives. Afterwards I sat down on the wall beside him, no-one around. He was sad, but was full of chat. I said "why don’t you use your 3 wood off the tee?" He turned to me, smiled and said "my friend, golf without the driver is not golf."

Rory Murphy Murphys Irish open in Fota golf club. I followed the great man for his back 9. He hadn't been playing well that time but came to the 16th hole par 4. This will live with me forever . Put the ball in greenside bunker and had shortsided himself. Up and down was in serious doubt but he went and played a super shot that went into the hole. Full backswing for a 10 yard shot. “Great birdie” I said as he walked by to the par 3 17th. He stopped turned around and shook my hand. A gentleman who will be very sorely missed. It was seve who gave me my big interest in the game. He was like a swashbuckler in the game. Highly skilled and always never doubted his own ability. May he rest in peace.

Ian William Halliwell He once told me I live with a smile so I play with one... fitting epitaph

John Stanton Quite simply a legend, a gentleman and such an inspiration to SO MANY people... Always watched him (as a junior) and wanted to emulate his free swing, amazing short game and passion... Will be missed so much by the whole golfing world, united in there sadness on the day he passed. RIP Seve.

Derek Murray (Foregolf) He asked me to build a wedge for him in 2003. I'll admit i nearly fell over when he approached me. He had an almost scary way about him, like you didn't want to upset him. He was really specific with how he wanted the grind on the base. He marked it like an artist with lines and curves on the bottom with a Sharpie. I spent hours grinding it, shaping it and delicately following his markings. Shafted the head, balanced it to precision and gripped it with the care of a surgeon. He hit five shots with it, thanked me and took it home. I only hope and wish it's in a rack in his garage. RIP amigo.

Brian Twomey Met him many years ago at the Carrolls Irish Open in Royal Dublin. While some really well known across the pond golfers (east direction) were too busy to sign an autograph Seve stopped the security personnel around him to sign mine. A true gent.

Graham Donohoe My best memory of Seve was his OPEN win in 1988 at Lytham. The last round was played on a Monday and the golf he played to snatch victory from Nick Price was amazing. Shot after shot rained in on the flag and the chip on the last that somehow didn't go in topped off an great day in Open championship History.

Michael Buggy SEVERIANO BALLESTEROS...he may not have been the "greatest" golfer of all time , but with his swashbuckling style he was by far the most exciting and charismatic player ever to play the game....

seve plaque Maurice Leahy So many memories......the sheer joy and exuberance of the man, the passion written all over his face when playing the ryder cup. Watched him give a clinic with David Feherty in Mount Juliet.....hitting five iron out of greenside bunker to a few feet! Tear in the eye and lump in the throat watching all the tributes. Ni bheidh a leithead ann aris.

Cameron Hickey saw him at cork golf club in 1983 he played a exhibit game with liam higgins and at the par 5 11th he drove the ball 320 meters there is a tree planted where the ball landed and nobody has reached that marker ever since what a legend R.I.P

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Irish Amateur Open, At The Royal Dublin Golf Club,Sunday 8 May 2011

Rhys Pugh of Wales has beaten Scot Gordon Stevenson in a three-hole playoff to become Irish Amateur Open Champion at The Royal Dublin. The pair finished six over after 72 holes, one shot ahead of Dutchman Daan Huizing and best of the Irish Paul Dunne.

Final Round Scores

After 72-holes:
294 R Pugh (Wales) 72 70 74 78 (Winner after three-hole playoff)

294 G Stevenson (Scotland) 74 69 76 75
295 D Huizing (Netherlands) 77 70 74 74, P Dunne (Greystones) 73 71 79 72
297 N Grant (Knock) 77 72 71 77
298 P Cutler (Portstewart) 75 71 75 77, A Dunbar (Rathmore) 73 72 74 79
300 L Bjerregaard (Denmark) 81 70 73 76
301 K Nicol (Scotland) 75 72 74 80
302 C Selfridge (Moyola Park) 78 73 72 79, R Whitson (Mourne) 76 69 76 81
303 J Findlay (Scotland) 76 74 75 78
304 A Hogan (Newlands) 82 68 73 81, R Kind (Netherlands) 71 76 79 78
305 S Barry (Laytown & Bettystown) 78 71 81 75, E Arthurs (Forrest Little) 76 75 75 79, J Greene (Carlow) 73 76 76 80
306 M Veijalainen (Finland) 76 70 78 82, E McCormack (Galway) 74 70 82 80
307 P Shields (Scotland) 79 73 76 79, W Harmston (England) 79 71 78 79, D McElroy (Ballymena) 79 70 81 77, P Murray (Limerick) 78 72 76 81, T Salminen (Finland) 78 71 77 81, F McKenna (Scotland) 77 73 79 78, R Van West (Netherlands) 76 73 77 81
308 K McCarthy (Kinsale) 82 70 80 76, R McNamara (Headfort) 80 69 78 81, C Doran (Banbridge) 79 73 78 78, B Casey (Headfort) 77 75 77 79
309 A Eckhardt (Finland) 79 72 80 78, C O'Malley (Westport) 77 73 81 78
310 H Beins (Germany) 81 70 81 78
311 J Brittain (England) 75 76 76 84
312 D Murphy (Portarlington) 78 74 76 84
313 R Dhondt (Belgium) 81 66 81 85, M Gaspar (Portugal) 75 75 83 80
319 J Evans (England) 75 74 86 84
321 C Fairweather (Knock) 73 78 81 89

Belgian Rutger Dhont shot a brilliant course record 66 on day 2 of the Irish Amateur Open Championship at The Royal Dublin, but it was Welshman Rhys Pugh who led the field with an assured performance in a two-under 70.
Pugh is two under  for the championship going into the final day, one shot ahead of Scot Gordon Stevenson and two cl
Irish Amateur Open
ear of Irish teenager Paul Dunne (Greystones) and Eddie McCormack (Galway).
Defending champion Alan Dunbar, pictured, is still well in the hunt after a second round 72, just three shots back on one over.
First round leader Robin Kind dug deep after a poor start, birdying the final three holes for a 76, five shots off the lead on three over, and tied with Dhont, whose course record was a tremendous recovery from a first round 81.
Click below for full scores


Robin Kind of the Netherlands was the only man to break par on day 1 of the Irish Amateur Open Championship at The Royal Dublin.Irish Amateur Open
Kind owed his success to his performance on the back nine – by far the harder in a testing easterly wind – as he covered the second half of his round in two-under 35, highlighted by an eagle two at the short par-four 16th.
Ian Brennan (Greenore) and Welshman Rhys Pugh share second place on level-par 72, with Greystones teenager Paul Dunne, the defending champion Alan Dunbar (Rathmore) and Carlow’s John Greene all on one over after 73s.
Galway’s Eddie McCormack, Banbridge’s Rory Leonard and Scot Gordon Stevenson are a further shot back after two-over 74s.
Full scores click below

seve Seve Ballesteros, the legendary five-time major winning golfer, has died after losing his fight against cancer.
The news was confirmed by a statement on the
golfer's official website which said: "Today, at 2.10am Spanish time, Seve Ballesteros passed away peacefully surrounded by his family at his home in Pedreña.
"The Ballesteros family is very grateful for all the support and gestures of love that have been received since Seve was diagnosed with a brain tumour on 5th October 2008 at Madrid Hospital la Paz.
"At this time the family asks for respect and privacy at such a painful time. Thank you very much.

seve and me[5] "The Ballesteros family informs that Seve’s neurological condition has suffered a severe deterioration. The family will inform accordingly about any change in his health condition and takes this opportunity of thanking everyone for the support that both Seve and his own family have been receiving during all this time."

Our thoughts are with them.

I’m sure you’ve all heard of the recent spat between Tour angry man Rory Sabbatini and sack everybody he sees Sean O’ Hair.  Here’s the official line (yawn!)

A verbal disagreement allegedly took place between O’Hair and Sabbatini on the 14th hole at TPC Louisiana. According to sources, Sabbatini spent much of last Thursday and Friday complaining about the speed of play. Eventually he asked O’Hair directly if he thought the speed of play was a problem and reportedly O’Hair said the problem was Sabbatini. Sources said O’Hair told Sabbatini that playing in a group with Sabbatini, a known speed-of-play advocate, was equal to a two-shot penalty for his playing competitors.

Sources said no other words were spoken during the round. Two sources said the two confronted each other again in the locker room.

Now Here’s What What Was Really Said

solheim cup Delving as we do into the world of women’s golf this morning we see that Sweden’s Maria Hjorth won the Avnet Challenge on the LPGA Tour last week.  That prompted us to check out the Solheim Cup standings being as the event is coming to Ireland in the fabulous Killeen Castle on 23rd September.

solheim standings Poor old Maria, though 16 in the World (and pretty much among the few recognizable name among the Shins, Kims and Inbees) lies a lowly 40th in the European team rankings which is lead by, wait for it, Laura Davies.  Hang on, can that be right?

Meanwhile Natalie Gulbis, the first name I thought of when Team USA came into my head, has fallen to 106th in the world, yet is 14th on the USA’s Solheim points list.  Hang on another second, can that be right?

Somebody’s got some explaining to do, and fast.  Much and all as I want to see Gulbis doing her stretching; I’ll be bloody angry if Maria Hjorth isn’t on our team.  Surely she shouldn’t have to rely on a captain’s pick (if there even is one). Sorry guys its substance over style for me, but so far it looks like they’ve got it the wrong way round.

padraig wells fargo I read the opening paragraphs of this lovely piece from Bob Harig of ESPN and just thought it summed up Padraig Harrington the man perfectly:

Talking about all things golf has never been difficult for Padraig Harrington, whose good nature and insightful views have always made him a media favorite, helped by his stature in the game as a three-time major champion.An injury at the Masters proved to be a setback for Padraig Harrington. But the Irishman's strong start at the Wells Fargo Championship on Thursday has him focused on the future.

So a chat after his round Thursday at Quail Hollow seemed routine until it wrapped up. Harrington thanked the assembled scribblers, walked away to sign autographs, then stopped and turned back.

"It's nice to be wanted," he said, smiling…….

To be honest we were not entirely sure if it Posh Spice or Lee Westwood we were looking at, but it seems since there was no sign of David Beckham around, it really is the new ultra sinewy Lee Westwood.  The Worksop man is rumoured to have undergone a three week training camp of caveman diet and the Gary Player stomach crunch DVD.  And he’s emerged paler than a Taliban counting helicopters to get to sleep!

Only jokin’ Lee, it’s just me having fun with photoshop!

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To celebrate the launch of Kartel’s new website www.kartel.ie, this week’s prize is a fab Player Issue Shirt as worn on Tour by Padraig Harrington. It’s full of technology and comes complete with all Podge’s Tour logos. Whether you play like a pro or not, you will certainly look like one with this on your back!

To enter just answer the questions and fill in your details on the widget opposite before the 10th May.

Congrats to last weeks winner Colm Magee, Ratoath, Co. Meath who answered Ross fisher and Richard Finch and wins a fourball in Bunclody.

2011 Wells Fargo Championship Betting Preview and Tips

Odds on Betfair unless stated

Phil Mickelson 12.5/1

Phil makes his first appearance since The Masters where he was tipped by many to earn another green jacket. Having won the Shell Houston Open the previous week Phil finished down in 27th at Augusta, possibly a little exhausted after two weeks exertions. Finished second last year behind Rory McIlroy who blitzed the field with his final round 62. That was Phil’s third top five in the last three years.

Jim Furyk 30/1

Jim Furyk last won at The Tour Championship last September and he will be looking to kick start a rather lacklustre season at Quail Hollow. Won this event when it was called the Wachovia in 2006 in a playoff having lost in a playoff in 2005. He’s been in the top 25 in his last four events but a very poor final round when right in contention at The Heritage was a little worrying. Showed enough with three rounds of 66,68,69 though and sure to contend.


Dustin Johnson 25/1

Impressed greatly at the WGC Cadillac in finishing second but his missed cut at the Arnold Palmer seemed to dent his Masters hopes. Returned in Korea at the Ballantine’s last week and finished fourth seemingly without holing a putt. Drove it an average 306 yards there with an average 80% accuracy. Johnson will put himself on the greens in Quail Hollow; it all depends on whether he can get the putts to drop.


Angel Cabrera 80/1

Shouldn’t have bothered his ass going to Texas after the exertions a former Masters champions endures during Augusta week. Seventh at Augusta and third here last year. Cabrera shot a 73 on the Saturday last year, the worst third round of the eventual top 10. Has the big game for this course.  Might be inspired by Andres Romero’s form last week in New Orleans but then again so might Andres Romero.


Bo Van Pelt 80/1

Went on a run of third, fifth (at Quail Hollow), fourth from the end of April last season. Top 10’d at Augusta but bombed out since then. Speaking of bombing out, this is a bombers course and I give Van Pelt a shot. A safer bet is “to finish in the top 10”- he’s 5/1 on paddypower.


Long Odds Preview

In a dark period of 17 weeks last year Mark Wilson (150/1) only made one cut. That was here at Quail Hollow where he tied seventh. This year Wilson has won twice in Hawaii and Phoenix and showed some decent form at the Heritage recently and could be worth a look.

If you’re looking for some long odds glory this week you cold take a punt on Aussie Matt Jones (150/1). You probably wont hear about him for the rest of the year but he seems to like Quail Hollow. Tied seventh last year and top-10’d last week at The Zurich Classic.

And the final word goes to form dog Tommy Two Gloves Gainey (90/1).  The market doesn’t seem to care about his incredible form.  He’s at 90/1 for which an each way bet would pay handsomely, not a word usually associated our hero.


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