April 2011

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Betting Preview And Tips: 2011 BMW PGA Championship

odds on the exchanges

Lee Westwood 10/1

Lee Westwood number one There are those who say only a madman would tip Lee Westwood to do well at Wentworth. Well, since that description describes me perfectly, I will. Eleventh at The Masters, then a handy win in Korea, Westwood himself was psyched for the matchplay last week only to be beaten by eventual winner Ian Poulter by one hole in the last 16. Westwood bowed out on 19 under par for his last 45 holes at Finca Cortesin and now well rested, should be up to contend this week. Irrespective of having zero course form, adds the madman!

Luke Donald 10/1

Luke-Donald-006 Leaving Luke Donald out of the tips these days is like leaving Brian O’Driscoll out of the Irish Rugby team. Unthinkable. Just missed out on becoming world number one in losing the final to Poulter in Spain, but it’s yet another second place on the stats. And those stats are becoming more incredible by the week. Fourth at The Players, eight at the Zurich, second at Hilton Head, fourth at The Masters…oh I give up. On the flip side, Donald must be extremely tired after last week’s exertions. If it wasn’t for a seven on the 17th last year Donald would have surely won this event; in the end he tied second just one shot behind surprise winner Simon Khan.

Chris Wood 80/1

wood Beats me with what’s going on with Chris Wood on the caddy front. He announced in February that he and Dave Neilly were splitting up. Then Matt Harbour lugged the bag for a while before Neilly was back on his shoulder at the Iberdrola Open in Spain two weeks back. Wood finished second there and returns to Wentworth where he contended for three rounds before his putter betrayed him on Sunday and he shot 77. I remember an outrageous lip-out from two feet deflating Wood; surely he will do better this year. Wentworth owes him one.

Ross Fisher 40/1

fisher The season has been a struggle for Ross Fisher with only one top 10 in Dubai early doors but then again his wins in the past have come, more or less, out of the blue. A member of the Wentworth academy as a youth and home favourite, Ross came close in 2009 when pipped by Casey. He tied tenth last year on his first attempt at the revised layout. I’m a strong advocate of the horses for course theory, so I say Fisher cant be discounted.


Best Of The Rest: Molinari, Jimenez & Willett

Word inside the ropes is that Francesco Molinari (38/1) is coming back into form, but since he has no track record at Wentworth, I’ll reserve judgement here until after Wednesday’s pro-am. Another man with form at the venue is Miguel Angel Jimenez (44/1). He came third in 2006, tied fifth the following year before finally winning in 2008. Went close at the Ballantines a few weeks back and nothing the Spanirad does surprises me any more! Finally another kid well able to mix with the big guys is 23 year old Danny Willett (110/). He tied fifth last year and if he can get his mind in the right place, I predict at least a top 10 for the Englishman.

cutler Congrats to Paul Cutler who added the 2011 Irish Amateur Close Championship to his West Of Ireland title in Shannon.  Cutso followed a third round 77 with a final round 71 in tough conditions in Shannon to win by two strokes.

A super career on the European Tour beckons for the  22-year old but not before he plays his part for GB&I at Royal Aberdeen in this years Walker Cup for which he now has to be a racing certainty. If he does make it, Paul will join Rory McIlroy who also played Walker Cup a year after also winning both the West and Irish Close in 2006.

Final Leaderboard

hoey and craig Michael Hoey today claimed his second European Tour title on Portuguese soil with a two shot victory over Jamie Elson and Chris Gane at the Madeira Islands Open.

Pic: Michael Hoey and Owen Craig embrace on the 18th green.

Hoey with the help of caddy Owen Craig held his nerve amidst the stunning setting of Porto Santo Golfe to shoot a closing 71 to finish ten under par and win by two.  Fittingly the course was designed by the late Seve Ballesteros.

“I guess I knew I had a good chance this week. The last two years I finished sixth both times, and I knew I was putting better and chipping better this year. That's what I did well, I just chipped and putted better than the last two years. It was also windy when I won the Estoril Open at Oitavos Dunes, and I guess growing up in those conditions so that's an advantage.”

tiger-woods-new-video-game Tiger Woods wife is long gone, many of his sponsors have also scarpered, he hasn’t won a tournament in 18 months and is whizzing down the world rankings faster than a kid with Teflon shorts on a playground slide. Yet according to Forbes, Woods is still the biggest celebrity in the sports world.

Only 19 people from the world of sport made Forbes annual "Celebrity 100" list of the most powerful people in the entertainment business, with Woods ranking highest at number six overall. He has only dropped one place in the last year. Forbes calculate the list using pretax income coupled with the persons visibility in the media.

Even without winning Woods raked in a whopping $75 million in the last year up to May 1st, that’s $27 million more than the next highest athlete Miami Heat’s LeBron James. Singer Lady Gaga sits on top of Forbes' overall rankings, with Oprah Winfrey, Justin Bieber, U2 and Elton John ahead of Woods.

funny-sports-pictures-tiger-woods-do-it Yesterday Woods dropped out of the top 10 in the Official World Golf Rankings for the first time since the week before he won his first green jacket in April 1997.

After earning $105 million in 2010, many people expected Woods to fall off this latest Forbes list along with the likes of Michael Jordan (20th in 2010); Floyd Mayweather (31st); Shaquille O'Neal (52nd); Manny Pacquiao (55th); and Lance Armstrong (65th).

Instead Woods, who reportedly (by Forbes) passed the $1 billion mark in earnings two years ago slipped only one place. The next highest golfer on the Forbes List is Phil Mickelson who tied with David Beckham at No. 35).

rory mcilroy mute tweet Very funny RT from Rory McIlroy re putting Mark Roe on mute.  Poor old Roey, he’s not the worst.  I’d choose to put Simon Holmes on mute, but the button on my remote control is broken ever since I smashed it off the screen watching him drone on during the rain delay at the Crowne Plaza.  I’d rather listen to the kettle boil! Or a wasp.

This is fun!  Where’s the permanent mute button for Brucie? 

I’d never turn Di down though!


Lee Westwood has bird problems.  He says he might power down his Twitter account because of the amount of abuse he’s getting.

“It’s social media, not social slagging,” he said.

If Lee does quit Twit, he’ll follow zany, quit witted Scot, Paul Lawrie whose closed account has been mourned by tens of followers.

Ian Poulter on the other hand is a hardcore tweeter, and more than able to dish it the retorts when the situation requires.  Maybe Lee needs to bottle some of Poults spirit and mix it with a bit of Wayne Rooney who threatened to put a follower “to sleep in 10 seconds” after being abused on Twitter.

No more guessing yardages for amateur golfers. Range Finders are 100% legal in practically all club competitions in Ireland and the UK and Bushnell are the best. We caught up with Brian McConnell, Bushnell’s number one man inside the ropes of the European Tour to demonstrate the Bushnell V2 and the new V2 hybrid laser range finder. Golfbidder stock a range of Bushnells with rapid delivery to Ireland and the UK.  Click on the pic to view Golfbidder’s Bushnell range in a new window.

Padraig Harrington has pulled up lame and will miss next week’s BMW PGA Championship.

Pic: Padraig on the treatment table receiving some acupuncture on his hammer. Knickers by Kartel.

Here’s Padraig talking science.

“I originally picked up a knee injury during the Wells Fargo Championship, which then got worse during last week’s PLAYERS Championship,” Harrington said. “After returning home I continued to have physio on what was originally a hamstring tear, which caused the popliteus muscle to become inflamed. This resulted in the inability to stabilize my knee, causing acute pain. As it hasn’t improved significantly and the recommended course of action is a couple of weeks rest, reluctantly, I am forced to withdraw from next week’s BMW PGA Championship.”

The word on the streets is that fairways in Shannon are about as narrow as the corridor in the clubhouse and while that has some of the field jumping for joy. others have a tiny dribble of wee running down their leg at the prospect.

“It’s as tight as a nun’s knickers” one source claimed yesterday, while another said “it’s as tight as my banjo string!”. That coupled with forecasted blustery winds and rain threaten to make one epic battle.

Paddypower has installed West champ Paul Cutler 7/1 and Alan Dunbar 10/1, two players with an incredibly low centres of gravity as favourites.  Pat Murray, manager at Limerick Golf Club is third favourite at 20/1, having been living like a hermit in a tent beside the ninth green for the past two months in preparation. Having not showered or shaved in that time locals are calling him Pat Bin Laden.

Other notables include Niall Gorey at 33/1 who likes what he sees at Shannon and is rumoured to have bought a new glove in case it rains; there’s Harry Diamond at 40/1 hoping to draw on the inspiration of his idol Jackie Chan; and Rory Leonard also at 40/1 who is thinking of upgrading from his X14’s to the X16’s in the next couple of years when they get a bit cheaper.

cannon and mcilroyThere’s plenty of value too.  Joe Lyons, the Andre Agassi of amateur golf there at 50/1, Westport via USA’s Cathal O’Malley at 66/1, and what about GCD’s touring strongman Robbie Cannon at 66/1, recently spotted out the side door of a niteclub with Rory McIlroy sporting laser eyes.  When Robbie asked Rors for advice on winning in Shannon McIlroy simply said “Use the force Robbie, and oh yeah, a 3 wood on the 10th”.

Pic: Rors and Robbie, laser eyed, with a fire extinguisher, outside the men jacks, at a niteclub. What could possibly go wrong?

It’s all set up for a great weekend of golf and mayhem in Shannon.

2011 Crowne Plaza Invitational Betting Preview and Tips. odds on the exchanges

Sergio Garcia 36/1

1-sergio-garcia Garcia won this event ten years ago when it was the Mastercard Colonial. Carded a stunning 65 at The Players last Sunday to climb 27 places up the leaderboard and finish just outside the top 10. Garcia seemingly hasn’t holed a putt all year, yet has finished inside the top 35 in each of his nine US and European Tour appearances. He is also sure to have one eye on the Volvo Matchplay at Finca Cortesin, a fact which might heighten his awareness and spur him to his first win since the 2009 HSBC Champions.

Zach Johnson 21/1

zach_johnson1 The defending champion, Zach Johnson will be raring to go at Colonial on Thursday after a storming finish at Sawgrass last week. After three rounds in the 70’s, the former Masters champion shot a blistering Sunday 66 which included seven birdies. His driving and greens in regulation stats at the TPC were excellent and if Johnson can keep his SeeMore putter hot this week we may well be looking at a successful defence come Sunday Night.


Ben Crane 30/1

ben crane funny Well down the leaderboard last week the odds have lengthened significantly on Ben Crane who can now be got at 40/1 or better on the exchanges. I really expected a good show last week at Sawgrass from Crane but a Friday 76 and a card without a birdie was particularly worrying. The test however at Colonial is vastly different to Sawgrass and it’s a course where he has good form. Tied fourth in 2006 after a final round 64 rocketed him through the field. In 2008 when Mickelson won, Crane came fifth and he again contended last year, tying third. He has the course form, but is he in form? Worth an each way look we say.

Jason Day 20/1

jason day Rapidly becoming one of my favourite players on Tour, I think Colonial could be a huge week for Day. Aussies have always seemed to fare well here and indeed Day finished fourth on his first appearance at the event in 2009. Full of confidence after a great run which included that memorable tied second at the Masters, ninth at the Heritage and yet another top 10 at Sawgrass last weekend. Brilliant putting stats give Day every chance of adding to his Byron Nelson win last season.


Brian Davis 80/1

brian davis Couldn’t find the birdies to better his two round total of six under at The Players last week and ended at the foot of the top 30. The Englishman who is now a PGA Tour veteran always seems to thrive at this stage of the season and very nearly won here last after rounds of 64,65,65,68 were bettered only by Zach Johnson. Hugely respected on Tour following his calling a penalty on himself in the Hilton Head playoff two years ago.

Volvo World Matchplay 2011 Preview

Fisher-001 Ross Fisher (20/1 on the exchanges) missed the cut at The Players, his first tournament back since finishing 15th at the Masters. Winner here two years ago (the event wasn’t staged last year) when he overpowered Anthony Kim in the final. Like the London Club and Killarney, Finca Cortesin is one of those courses that Fisher has said suited his eye and game from the moment he laid eyes on it. Another player who may well thrive it big hitting Alvaro Quiros. He’s jetting in from Florida after a top 10 at the TPC and if tiredness is not an issue may just have the game to overpower his opponents in matchplay format. He should start at about 10/1. The main man to watch here is WGC Matchplay champ and favourite Luke Donald (7/1) who hasn’t finished outside the top 10 in each of his six events since his desert win. Another brilliant performance at Sawgrass, Donald is clearly playing the best golf in the world right now. And finally don’t count out the largely forgotten Paul Casey (14/1) when it comes to matchplay. His record mano a mano is excellent and he can be counted out in a limited field event.

lough-erne-resort-landscape-med-res-image2 This weeks prize is entry for a team of four to the Lough Erne & Links Challenge which takes place over The Faldo Course at Lough Erne, Murvagh and Narin & Portnoo on July 25-27th 2011. The winning team will compete over the three days for team and individual prizes. For €140 per person in a team of four you can avail of this unique opportunity to play links and parkland on the North West’s finest courses by contacting Grainne now on 074 9734054 or checking out details on

To enter fill in your answer and details in the widget on the right hand side.

Question? Who is Lough Erne Golf Resort’s Touring Professional?

Congrats to last weeks winner Pierce Butler, Thurles, Tipperary on winning last weeks Dunmurry Springs Prize

Here’s a piece I did for Golfing Magazine. It’s a sweet little publication with a swish online version on http://www.golfing.ie/. Well worth checking out.
Golfers of the world, heads up, this is important. A deadly new gang is spreading like a virus through golf courses throughout the globe, wreaking havoc wherever they show up. They have already claimed the lives of two retired golfers in Australia (although some say they were on their way on out anyway) and are suspected of causing a golf pond drowning in the West Of Ireland late last year. They target three men on a Schmidt, Justine MIss Piggy fourball line and strike when least expected, in some cases just 30 minutes before tee off. They are known by the name “Timesheet Lurkers” often abbreviated to simply “Lurkers” or known in some parts of Western Europe as “Hayseeds”. You need to know how to recognize them if you are to have any chance of defending yourself against them. These guys are so dangerous they make swine flu look like Miss Piggy in a bikini.
To lurk is to move stealthily or be concealed, especially for evil purposes and these guys tick all the boxes. Timesheet lurkers are a secret society, who like to add each other to their professional profile on linkedin, but have never ever actually meet. Said to have spawned with the advent of online tee-time booking in late 2004, the members have no real friends but trawl the timesheets of the world seeking the holy grail of a single free spot to join a threeball and reign down their havoc.
Lurker’s method of operation is crude yet devilishly effective. They never put their name down on the timesheet on a Monday, for this could blow their cover, preferring to stealthily watch the names building up before pouncing just before tee time. It leaves their prey stunned and unable to escape at short notice. To the timesheet lurker, playing golf with three unwitting strangers, is like an Ebay auction. Timing is crucial and they are the highest bidder.

Fit and Able: The C Posture Fix

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

wall slides A very common golf mistake happens before the club is even swung. Instead of having a nice straight posture over the ball some golfers some golfers get rounded in their upper spine. We call it C Posture. This roundness in the upper back can be caused by tightness and weakness in the muscles between your shoulder blades . Stretching and strengthening exercises can help fix your posture. A great exercise to strengthen these muscles is the wall slide.

Wall Slide

Stand with your back flat against the wall and slight bend in your knees raise your arms and place them against the wall in a crucifix position. Bend your arms at the elbows 90 degrees so that the back of your hands are touching the wall. Keeping your hands on the wall slide your hands up and down the wall slowly and only as far as your flexibility allows. Trust me its not as easy as you think, the more you do this, you will begin to feel the burn! Doing this exercise every day you definitely notice your middle and lower trap muscles getting stronger which will lead to better posture for your golf swing.

Karl Morris is one of the finest thinkers in the game of golf.  The Mr Miyagi to the finest Karate Kids on Tour.  Be sure to Check out Karl’s website www.golf-brain.com
Would the ANCIENT GREEKS have been good GOLFERS?
They say that ‘nothing is new’ but you probably never thought that we would be going so far back in time to be digging up the relics of some ancient Greek wisdom to try to lower our golf score!
In Ancient Greece there was a school of thought which became extremely popular to the degree that the Romans took it on board and for many was a guiding way of life. The ‘Stoics’ had a very interesting philosophy on how to get the best out of each and every day and whilst I am absolutely no expert whatsoever on ancient Greek philosophy whareek olympust I have read so far has really caught my eye and got me thinking about how we could apply it to the modern world and how golf can be a really great place to start incorporating some of the ancient ideas.
Pic: Olympus- deadly from 100 yards and in.
The Stoics primarily believed that it wasn’t so much about what a person said that was important it was how he actually BEHAVED that was the key. It wasn’t what he thought about it was what he DID. How relevant to us all in the modern world is that? How many people do you know who SAY that they are going to do something? They SAY that they are going to call or get the job done, they say they are going to go on a diet, they say they are going to take some lessons, go to the range or whatever the latest fad is but what they SAY and what they DO is are two completely different things.

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

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