May 2011

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Summer is here and I am looking for 10 readers to join me in Killeen Castle, home of the 2011 Solheim Cup, on Friday 10th June, for our first Golfbidder “Doc’s Dawn Raid” of the Summer. The day starts with Golfbidder club testing on the range at 7.30am, followed by brekkie and a round on the Jack Nicklaus course. Leave your wallet at home, it’s all on me!

Sign up through the entry form widget on the right and we will draw 10 people next week.

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

Hip mobility is vital in the golf swing because it makes it much easier for you to swing through the ball, much easier to maintain the correct posture, and much easier to generate lots of power in the golf swing.

A great exercise to help you greatly improve the mobility in your hips is called “Hip Drops”. Lie on your back with knees raised and feet on the ground, played out a little wider than your hips. It’s very important to keep your hips as close as possible throughout this exercise. Whilst keeping those hips stationary, let your right knee drop in as far as comfortably possible. Bring the right knee back up and repeat with the left. Do this five times on each side. Adding this hip mobility exercise to your regular morning stretching routine will yield massive benefits for your golf swing. 

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Karl Morris is one of the finest thinkers in the game of golf.  They say that on his deathbed Einstein asked for a piece of paper and scrawled the letters “KM” inside a diagram of the human brain.

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

Have you ever heard of Moe Norman?

Probably not. Well that is a shame because his story is close to being THE most fascinating golf story of all time. If you haven’t heard of him then you have missed out on learning about arguably one of the greatest ball strikers of all time. Amongst other many achievements Moe won over 50 tournaments, shot 59 THREE times in tournaments, had 19 holes in one and the straightness of his shots apparently had to be seen to be believed.

I am lucky enough to own two pieces of Moe Norman memorabilia. The first is picture of Moe on a practice range hitting balls. I looked at it and there stood in the picture clearly spellbound by what they were seeing were none other than Nick Price, Nick Faldo, Ben Crenshaw and Fred Couples. Multiple Major winners who had taken the time to watch Moe hit golf balls. A friend of mine called Jim Farrelly used to play golf with Moe virtually every day and his stories about Moe’s shotmaking left you awestruck.

moe norman Recently Tiger Woods said that he felt that there were only two men in the HISTORY of the game that actually OWNED their golf swing, one was Ben Hogan and the other was Moe Norman!

The other Moe treasure I have is a simple piece of A4 paper which has written on it “My Main Thoughts in Performing Well” by Moe Norman. There were about 25 one liners that had been Moe’s guiding principles throughout his career. You would think that they would have been all about the swing from such a legendary ball striker but take a look at some of them here:

  • Full Extension Back and Through
  • I play INTO my legs
  • I swing ‘Through’ the ball not at it
  • You are what you think you are
  • Never think of the money, get the ball into the hole
  • Winners see what they want, Losers see what they don’t want
  • Solid thinking ‘Good Golf’, bad thinking ‘Bad Golf’
  • Always be in a good frame of mind
  • I always play ‘Target Golf’
  • Negative thinking hurts more than negative swinging
  • I always concentrate on playing one shot at a time
  • Stop being afraid of yourself
  • Winners play golf automatically
  • Believing in your ‘Mental Image’ will make you a Master
  • Imagination is the key to success
  • Stop worrying about when you are going to die, but how to live
  • Imagination and visualisation are my keys to success!

Amazing that way before anybody had heard about Mind Coaches or Sports Psychologists that here was a man who was famed for his ball striking ability but who had clearly worked out the importance of understanding the role that the mind plays in golf. Without any formal tuition he had worked it out by his own intelligence and desire to be the very best he could be. Moe Norman clearly understood what I have talked about over and over again that to be the best that you can be at this wonderful game you need to control TWO things. The BALL and YOURSELF. One without the other will leave you well short of what you are truly capable of being. Look into the legend that is Moe Norman you will find it a truly fascinating story.

 

Check out Karl’s website

Front ClubhouseThanks to everyone who entered the Druids Glen Fourball quiz last week.  The winner was Paul Anderson, Aylesbury, Dublin, Ireland.

This week we have 10 places on the Docs Dawn Raid at Killeen Castle, 2011 Solheim Cup venue to be filled.  Enter through the widget on the site.

Shane Lowry is on his way to the US Open at Congressional.  He  booked his place during qualifying today after rounds of 69 and 67 at Walton Heath.

Eleven spots were up for grabs at Congressional, with 82 players in the field. Among those who failed to qualify was Ross Fisher and Colin Montgomerie.

The event was won by Nico Colosaerts.

The hardest luck story of the day was the manner in which Richie Ramsay was eliminated.  He was summoned to a play-off at 9.10 pm with Swede Johan Edfors and Dane Andreas Harto for the final spot but had already left to attend the wedding reception of Gareth Maybin in Belfast. Ramsey returned to the course only to find Edfors had just finished the playoff as victor.  

Scores:

135 Nicolas Colsaerts (Bel) 64 71

136 Shane Lowry 69 67, Maarten Lafeber (Ned) 73 63

137 Thomas Levet (Fra) 66 71

138 Robert Rock 70 68, David Howell 72 66

139 Stephen Gallacher 70 69, Alexander Noren (Swe) 67 72, Marcel Siem (Ger) 67 72, Robert Dinwiddie 69 70

140 (after play-off) Johan Edfors (Swe) 70 70

*** The following players failed to qualify ***

140 Richie Ramsay 71 69, Andreas Harto (Den) 70 70

141 Soren Hansen (Den) 69 72, Wade Ormsby (Aus) 69 72, Jamie Donaldson 67 74, Raphael Jacquelin (Fra) 68 73, Gregory Bourdy (Fra) 68 73

142 Gary Boyd 72 70, Shiv Kapur (Ind) 72 70, Mark Tullo (Chi) 72 70, Rhys Davies 71 71, Soren Kjeldsen (Den) 69 73, Nick Dougherty 72 70

143 Alejandro Canizares (Spa) 73 70, Daniel Vancsik (Arg) 68 75, Martin Wiegele (Aut) 68 75

144 Sam Walker 74 70, Keith Horne (Rsa) 72 72, Steve Webster 76 68, Pablo Martin (Spa) 71 73, Peter O’Malley (Aus) 71 73, Jeppe Huldahl (Den) 73 71, Christian Cevaer (Fra) 72 72

145 George Coetzee (Rsa) 72 73, Ross Fisher 74 71, Bernd Wiesberger (Aut) 72 73, Colin Montgomerie 72 73, Daniel Gaunt (Aus) 72 73

146 Julio Zapata (Arg) 72 74

147 Gary Murphy 76 71, Matthew Zions (Aus) 74 73, Romain Wattel (Fra) 69 78, Leif Olson (USA) 72 75

148 Simon Khan 73 75149 Andrew Marshall 74 75, David Griffiths 75 74, Pablo Larrazabal (Spa) 73 75, Oscar Floren (Swe) 69 79

149 Andrew Dodt (Aus) 73 76, Rafael Cabrera-Bello (Spa) 72 72

150 Ross McGowan 71 79

151 Jean-Baptiste Gonnet (Fra) 78 73, Lee Slattery 76 75, Rick Kulacz (Aus) 76 75

153 Tjaart van der Walt (Rsa) 75 78

154 Mark Haastrup (Den) 76 78

155 Paul Simon (USA) 76 79

157 Alexander Levy (Fra) 81 76

from the European Tour website:

PowerPlay Golf’s inaugural Tour-style event – officially titled PowerPlay Golf driven by Saab: IGNITION – was won by rising Swedish star Caroline Hedwall, in a gripping finish that saw her win by three points from fellow Swede Helen Alfredsson.

Hailed as golf’s equivalent to Twenty20 Cricket, in that it delivers a high-excitement version of the sport in a short time frame, PowerPlay Golf’s two-flag ‘risk and reward’ format was played out on nine specially selected holes on The Celtic Manor Resort’s Twenty Ten course.

Paula Creamer and Victor Dubuisson set the early pace but Hedwall finished with three PowerPlay birdies for 6 points each to sprint from the pack and take victory.

“That was a lot of fun. I was in the middle of the pack with three to play but knew I still had a chance with PowerPlays in reserve. I was very nervous on the first tee but playing with Ian Poulter and Helen Alfredsson was a great experience,” said Hedwall, who picked up a £100,000 first prize – 50% of which she is donating to the Swedish Golf Federation.

The victory caps a memorable few days for Hedwall who secured her first Ladies European Tour victory yesterday at the Allianz Slovak Ladies Open.

Fans at Celtic Manor and at home on TV saw a stellar 12-player field alongside Hedwall, Alfredsson and Creamer  including golfing legend Gary Player, U.S. Open Champion Graeme McDowell ,Major Champions John Daly and Ian Woosnam  plus Ryder Cup stars Ian Poulter and Paul Casey and several other big names.

For more information on PowerPlay Golf and to watch the TV coverage again visit www.powerplay-golf.com.

Final scores:
Caroline Hedwall   32, Helen Alfredsson  29, Paula Creamer   27, Ian Poulter   27, Victor Dubuisson  26, Ian Woosnam   25, Maximilian Kieffer 22, Paul Casey   20, Gary Player  18
Thongchai Jaidee  16, Graeme McDowell   15, John Daly   15

When I read recently that Canada was famous for three things: Celine Dion, Terrance and Phillip from South Park and Kikkor golf shoes I had to investigate.  I then found myself on www.kikkor.com watching founder and pro James Lepp do some pretty sweet chip shots with moving targets.

Now Carlsberg don’t do golf shoes but if they did they would probably be exactly like Kikkor Golf’s 2011 range.  I ordered a pair of  Men’s Tenny Classics on www.kikkor.com and exactly seven days later they arrived here in Ireland.

Pic: James Lepp, the boss, in his Kikkor tenny’s. Dont know what he’s doing with his arms, maybe someone robbed his ski poles!

Kikkor golf shoes are not really golf shoes, they’re sneakers disguised as golf shoes. According to James, is an alternative golf footwear brand targeting the younger players at heart. The shoes are built with comfort and style first in mind, without ignoring the important technical attributes, such as grip, stability, waterproofing, and durability.

And if you, like me, like to make the course ranger so angry he’ll race over to you on the practice green, veins popping out the side of his head, and order you off for breaching some stupid dress code from 1927, then these are the babies for you.  All you’ll need to do is show him the studs, flip him the bird, and get on with it.  Kikkor’s are 100% legal.

 

are a kind of two in one, golf shoes and sneakers.  If you could manage to get your golf trousers off and put your jeans around them, you technically would only need to remove them when going to bed.  And they look equally good with both.

With all due respect to footwear experts, and I’m not one, let me describe Kikkor golf shoes.  First and foremost, they are a big solid chunky shoe.  They even have the feel of a quality shoe, built to last, not like some piece of cardboard made from a Corn Flakes box.

Waterproof leather on the outside, the (Tenny Classic) shoes are also fabric lined on the inside and instantly comfortable. The insole is not the thickest on the planet but it’s not glued in there, so after I subbed my own insoles I felt like my Kikkors were an extension of my foot.  Which technically they are.

The bottom of my tenny’s are rubber, kind of Converse like, with soft spikes moulded in or with replaceable spikes. The moulded spike versions cant be replaced when they wear out so best to wear to wear those Kikkors exclusively on the golf course and around the bar for max longevity.

So if you’re not a slave to ‘My this’ or ‘joy that’ and you are looking for a top quality shoe on and around the golf course, with contemporary and retro styling, then make sure you check out the Kikkor website.  Order about a size bigger than your normal size too, the lining and the thick tongue that hug your feet take up space.   And if they can make it from Canada to Ireland in seven days for me, you wont have to wait long.  The Kikkor UK website is on the way also; when that’s up and running, we’re talking next day delivery.

And oh yeah, here’s James doing his thing with his wedge and a few pairs of shoes!

THE FORMAT: PowerPlay Golf: Ignition uses a modified Stableford points system but the key to the format is the use of two pins on every green: white for easy and black for hard. Each player has the option to go for the hard pin on three occasions in the first eight holes. Doing so allows them to score more points for eagles, birdies and pars.

On the final hole every player can opt for the black pin should they wish but there is an added risk: bogey or worse on the final hole results in a loss of points.

THE VENUE:

The back-nine of the 2010 Course at Celtic  Manor will host the event.

THE FIELD:

Graeme McDowell: “Mejor Chompion”, winner at the Manor on Tour and devoured it in The Ryder Cup.

Ian Poulter: Well dressed, matchplay expert and Ryder Cup king.

Paul Casey: Paul Casey

John Daly:If Hannibal Lecter played golf…...

Gary Player: Stomach crunching 80 something who dresses like Simon Cowell.

Ian Woosnam: Pint sized powerhouse and 4 second drinker of pint of Guinness.

Paula Creamer: I love her and so does my wife. Not in the same way though

Thongchai Jaidee:  Hitman with a parachute who golfs

PowerPlay Golf: Ignition tees off at 5pm on Monday 30th May. Will it be the start of a golfing revolution? We'll soon find out.

Betting Preview And Tips: 2011 Saab Wales Open

Saab Wales Open, The Celtic Manor Resort, City of Newport, Wales 02 Jun 2011 - 05 Jun 2011

Winner Alright: Last week we scored a one-two with Luke Donald and Lee Westwood at Wentworth.

Odds on exchanges

Simon Dyson 28/1

200px-KLM_2009_Simon_Dyson I really liking Simon Dyson’s chances in Celtic Manor this week. After top 10’s in Sicily and Malaysia, Dyson is on another good run with a fifth at the Open de Espana and third on his own last week in Wentworth. It’s all action with Dyson, fidgety and emotional. Tied for sixth in Wales in 2009 and was in the running for a time last year after a third round 64. Looking for his fifth Tour win.

Thomas Bjorn 34/1

bjorn_1502147c They say ‘Life begins at 40’ and on the golf course at least it’s all good right now for Thomas Bjorn. Since his comeback win in Estoril this time last year Bjorn has looked a classier more confident and rededicated player. He won again in Qatar in February and finished in the top 30 in his last three events. Bjorn hasn’t played since April due to his father’s ill health and he sadly passed away last week. The Dane likes Celtic Manor, he finished ninth here last year after missing six cuts in a row. May be inspired to great things.

Raphael Jacquelin 28/1

raph jacq Looks like Raf-jack might be coming back into a bit of form after his tied fourth finish at Wentworth. The Frenchman bridged a four year winless gap back in March when he took the Sicilian Open title and contended again the following week at the Open de Andalucía finishing fourth. After missing the cut in Spain two weeks ago, Jacquelin has worked hard on the range and reaped the rewards at Wetworth. Finished third here in 2008.

David Horsey 38/1

david_horsey_1_lg Another man having a great season is England’s David Horsey. Next week he will be defending the BMW International title that he won this time last year in Germany and all the indicators are good for a repeat. Horsey added his second win at the Trophee Hassan in March and though he had a blip in form after, recovered well with a fifth at the Open de Espana and a tied seventh last week. Thus the perfect opportunity to go into your bookies for a golf bet on a Horsey!

Shane Lowry 40/1

lowry Let’s hope Bruce Critchley and Ewen Murray take some time away from their prawn sandwiches this week to go the range and maybe learn a little about Clara’s Shane Lowry. That way they might know a little more about him than his name when he’s in the mix at Celtic Manor. The 2009 Irish Open champion is on an excellent run since the Ballantines when he finished 13th. Lowry has improved his finish in each event since, with an 11th and 5th in Spain followed by a tied fourth at the BMW PGA Championship last week. Shane might not be in the best of moods to talk to the Sky guys however; he’s a die hard Man united fan so might be a bit tender right now!

 

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Rory Sabbatini wont be playing this week at The Memorial. After shooting 82 in the second round of the HP Byron Nelson last week, Sabbo said he wont be playing again before the U.S. Open and after that until the British Open because he is already exempt from qualifying.

Pic: Exclusive pic of Sabbatini’s head to head to Sean O’Hair.

The withdrawal has fuelled speculation that Sabbatini will actually being serving out his PGA Tour ban during that period.

Although the PGA don’t disclose the bans they hand out publicly Sabbatini is said to have been sin binned for his on-course shouting match with Sean O’Hair followed by his verbal machine gunning a young kid who was helping him to look for his ball at the Northern Trust Open.

The ban would not apply to the majors, the US Open is run by the USGA (not the PGA) and the British Open by the R&A.

 

Several women have tried it, including Annika Sorenstam, Michelle Wie and Laura Davies. But very few have succeeded.

Now a 32 year old lady from Montreal named Isabelle Beisiegel has defied the odds and overcome battles with her health to become the first female player to earn a playing card on a “men’s” professional golf tour, by tying for ninth place in the Canadian Tour’s Spring Qualifying School to earn the last non-exempt spot.

The way qualifying works for the Candian Tour is a little complicated. The top 12% of the field at Canadian Q School earns exempt status and the next 12% earns non-exempt status. Exempt status means a player can enter and play in any field event. Non-exempt status means you qualify for certain events based on yisabelleour ranking coming out of Q-School and your ranking on tour. Non-exempt members may have to qualify to earn a spot in events.

In 2008 Beisiegel overcame Graves' Disease, an auto-immune disease and made her goal then to one day play alongside men. “The ball doesn't know whether it is a man or a woman hitting it," Beisiegel said back in ‘08.

She was diagnosed with Graves' Disease in November 2005. Ironically, the first symptoms were traced back to 2004. The auto-immune disease is considered rare and primarily affects women older than 20. It causes hyperthyroidism, a condition in which the thyroid produces too much of the hormones that control the body's metabolism, which has a negative effect on heart rate as well as muscle and bone strength. In Beisiegel's case, the disease – which resulted in her resting heart rate routinely climbing to 130 beats per minute - went undetected for nearly a year.

This isnt the first time she has tried to mix it with the men. She has previously played in the U.S. PGA Tour qualifying school and tried to qualify for the men’s U.S. Open.

In 2006 Beisiegel underwent surgery to have her thyroid removed, and at the same time doctors discovered she had been suffering from Hashimoto's Thyroiditis,a rare second type of auto-immune thyroid disease where the immune system destroys the thyroid gland. The subsequent recovery from surgery forced her to withdraw from the LPGA final qualifying tournament later that year.

Now completely recovered Beisiegel’s 8-over finish Morningstar Golf Club was enough to get the job done and earn her Canadian Tour card albeit with non-exempt status.

Rumours are now rife that Sergio Garcia will attempt to be the first man to play on the LPGA Tour next season.

TomWatsonwillattend2011USSeniorOpen-150x150 Tom Watson again played the role of living legend, holing a 3-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole to beat (rules official) David Eger in the Senior PGA Championship at Valhalla. Both Eger and Watson had missed short putts on the 72nd hole for birdie.
Watson at 61 became the second oldest player to win a major since the seniors tour was created in 1980. He finished with a 70 to finish at 10-under and capture his 14th career major, six since turning 50 to go with five British Opens, two Masters and a U.S. Open.
More famous as a rules official than as a player, Eger closed with a 67.
Both Eger and Watson missed short putts on the 72nd hole for birdie.

He’s been there through thick and thin.  From wonky knee distress to sixty three mistress, Mark Steinberg has pretty much seen it all, and sat outside the door for the rest, when it comes to Tiger Woods.

Tiger’s agent of 12 years has now officially split from former employer IMG, who still manage Woods.  This means Tiger could now leave IMG also and ride of into the sunset with Steinberg.  Figuratively speaking of course. 

“I'm committed to both, with IMG, and Mark's my agent,” Woods said last week, after which an industry insider said “’Tiger’ and  ‘committed’ in the same sentence? Please.”

The most likely scenario now is that Steinberg would set up his own sports representation/marketing business with Woods as his star client.  He might also invite Woods to get into bed with him as a partner.  Figuratively speaking of course. 

Or, and this would be cool, Steinberg and Woods could join a smaller, more loving, caring and giving management company, like say for instance Horizon Sports Management, who could offer Tiger a fresh alternative and rebuild his reputation, piece by piece, rekindle the love (figuratively speaking) culminating in a speech to millions in College Green, Dublin.

What a stable that would be.  You would have Gmac, Tiger, Ross Fisher and co. happily peering out the stable door, while Steinberg shovels the shite in the background. I can smell it now!

 

No more freezing his balls off in PGA de Catalunya in the depths of Winter for Masters champion Charl Schwartzel after his was given honorary life membership of the European Tour.

Charl joins  Trevor Immelman as only the second South African without a recognizable nickname to receive the award.

The four others are The Black Knight, The Big Easy, The Goose and Shrek.

Okay so the pic and the pic have angered Tour bosses, but that was when I was younger.  I’m more mature now and fully understand I have a duty of care to the players.

Okay, I admit I do like to photoshop images of the guys I tip, for comic effect, but I totally refute any suggestions that I intentionally set out to make Lee Westwood look like Wallace.  Just for the record I’ve put the two pictures together to prove to Georgie O’G and co I’m not disrespecting the family. I’m sure you will agree with me when I say the two look nothing alike.  And I promise I will not try anything like this again.  (I had my fingers crossed there!)

Karl Morris is one of the finest thinkers in the game of golf.  Karl is so good that even The Stig rings him for advice.  Be sure to Check out Karl’s website www.golf-brain.com
clip_image002[4]Have you heard of Tony Lema? What does the name Tony Lema mean to you as a golfer? Have you ever heard of him? Do you know anything about him?
Well perhaps we SHOULD all know a little bit more about ‘Champagne Tony Lema’. This fascinating man and his tragic story and in particular his clear perception of what it he believed was key to being a great golfer and how that very insight YOU could put to good use this year on the golf course to reduce your scores.
In 1964 Lema won the British Open at St Andrews, by five shots over Jack Nicklaus. This was an unbelievable surprise.
lema_545x600 Lema was not only making his first appearance in the championship, but had only nine holes of practice before starting.
However, Lema hired Arnold Palmer's regular Open caddy, Tip Anderson, since Palmer was not competing that year; Anderson, a descendant of a past Open champion, Jamie Anderson, had grown up on the course and likely knew more about it than anyone else.
From 1963 through July 1966, Lema finished in the top ten over 50% of the time on the PGA Tour and never missed a cut in a Major, finishing in the top ten in 8 of the 15 majors in which he played. He was a member of the 1963 and 1965 United States Ryder Cup teams, and his Ryder Cup record (9-1-1) is the best of any player who has played in two or more.
In 1966, at age 32 tragedy struck Tony Lema.

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

Have you ever gone to a European Tour event and marvel at how crisp and clean the professional hit the golf ball? The sound of iron and ball is a staccato like “click”, very different to the sound most amateurs produce when they hit the ball. Many players unwittingly tend to hang back on their right side and try to lift the ball into the air at impact. This results in the club impacting the ground first slightly behind the ball producing the muffled sound of earth club and ball.

Professionals transfer their weight to the left side and hit a descending blow on the ball. It is very much contact with the ball first and then the ground. A tour player’s divot will start in front of where the ball sits. During your practice focus on transferring your weight to the left side and almost feel as if you are hitting the ball into the ground. You will hear the “click” in the strike and see a much improved shot.

With two championship courses in one unique Location, Druids Glen is one of Ireland’s most magical golf resorts. This week’s prize is a fourball at Druids Glen Resort.

You can book a Fourball on Druids Glen from €200 and on Druids Heath from €110 by visiting www.druidsglenresort.com or calling 01 2870812

Enter through the Druids Glen widget on the right hand side of www.golfcentraldaily.com

Question?? Name the Scot who won back to back Irish Opens at Druids Glen?

Congrats to last weeks winner Denis Conroy, Headford, Galway who wins team entry to the Lough Erne Links Challenge.

Sergio Garcia withdrew from British Open qualifying at Gleneagles because of an infected fingernail.  Brave little Sergio held back tears as officials scurried to get a plaster to cover up the little red patch.

As it turned out however Tournament organizers were left red faced when they were unable to get hold of Sergio’s preferred “Dora The Explorer” plasters and the Spaniard was left with two choices; “Toy Story” plasters or withdraw.  Since he doesn’t like Buzz Lightyear, Garcia was forced to pull out.

Garcia now down to 73 in the world and thus forced to qualify, has played every Open since 1998. Now 31, he no longer needs a soother but is particularly squeamish when it come to cuts and stuff.

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).

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