You want Woods versus McIlroy? Picture the scenario. James Bond sitting opposite Largo in “Never Say Never Again”. Between them is the game – Domination where you must learn fast and mistakes are rewarded with the equivalent magnitude of electric shock. Just when it all seems to be over, a broken Bond insides half fried, suggests to Largo “one more game for the rest of the world?”
There are no excuses anymore. Tiger Woods has zipped up his flies, fixed up his knees and tightened up his swing. In his absence Rory McIlroy has done a Tim Tebow on it and stepped into the breach and won over the crowds. Like the Bronco’s QB, McIlroy has stumbled on occasion but always managed to find a way to get back up and be a winner.
Now the two will meet, fully fit and ready to see just who is the best. Of course there will be many other great players at the Abu Dhabi Championship, Luke Donald and defending champion Martin Kaymer but for now let’s pretend they’re just extras.
So they say the world of golf “needs” Tiger Woods. But do they mean the world of golf “loves” Tiger or is it really more a case of the world “grudgingly admiring his ability”? Tiger is the greatest player of our generation, of that there is no doubt, but there’s also no doubt that he doesn’t have the same public appeal as a Nicklaus or Palmer, the greatest players of the last generation.
They wanted to give an asterix to Padraig Harrington when he won Major’s without Tiger, yet there was no mention of the irritating little star, asterix I mean, when Charl, Rory, Darren and Keegan mopped up the big trophies last season.
Asterix’s to one side for a moment and Woods kicked off the season by turning over a new leaf and inviting the press to his house and giving a full and frank fireside interview to one and all where he laughed and joked and recalled locker room stories from famous victories. Did he heck! He issued a friggin’ email that reads like a sleeping tablet.
“The lowest moments (last year) came from the fact that I wasn’t healthy and couldn’t put in the time on and off the course that I wanted and needed to, and that was frustrating,” Woods typed. “I was playing with pain and that isn’t fun. The last couple of months have been really fun and that is mostly because I am feeling healthy again and building week on week.”
Holy smokes Batman, for a man that talks about having “fun” all the time, he doesn’t ever seem to be having any of it.
When Tiger gets back, for me it will be like those films where the the cryogenically frozen hero is thawed out sometime in the future. The golf world however has not waited for Woods’ while he has been in status, it has found a new hero, one that doesn’t curse, spit, slam or scowl, one that just gets on with gettin’ on and is happy to spend five minutes talking about it after.
Whatever happens this year, it promises to be a great spectacle. Two top sportsman playing for the highest prize. I’ll leave the last words to Largo. “As the stakes increase so does the pain. Rather like life”.
Nike over the years have produced some great TV adverts in the world of soccer and basketball and even a few controversial golf ones, I’m thinking Tiger talking to his father’s spirit, but of late some of them have been so bad they belong more in the incinerator than in The Oven.
Thus in a bad to kick off 2012 with an Oscar winning advert for their new Dunk shoes, Nike have wheeled out the heavyweights, the Pacino and deNiro of the golf acting world, Paul Casey and Anthony Kim. Such is their mere presence on the stage alone of the world’s number 20 and 78, Nike thought it also wise to dispense with any effects whatsoever.
Here is the result. Prepare to vomit!
We’ll be just getting over the conclusion of the 6 Nations rugby when Masters time comes around. Promises to be a super scrap with a fully fit Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy on a Major demon exorcizing mission at Augusta.
It’s set to be a sizzling summer with the US Open returning to The Olympic Club in San Francisco, California. The powers that be will be hell bent on making sure there’s no repeat of the embarrassing 16 under par winning score that Rory McIlroy posted last year at Congressional. Lee Janzen won at the Olympic Club in 1998 with a score of level par!
After Royal Ascot and Wimbledon, The Open returns to Royal Lytham St Annes in Lancashire, 11 years after David Duval claimed the Claret Jug. How the mighty have fallen.
Smack bang in the middle of the Olympics we’ll all be treated to the final Major of the season at the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort. Its gonna be one hell of a golfing year.
2012 Hyundai Tournament Of Champions
If there’s one man whose form everyone knows about over the Christmas it’s Bubba. The man tweets about what he eats for breakfast for God’s sakes! Among some of his more interesting tweets last week however was his account of a course record 58 he shot from the back sticks at Estancia in Arizona during a social game. With Sherlock Holmes playing in the cinema you’ll excuse me for saying if he keeps playing like that this week it will be ELEMENTARY for Watson!
If Webb Simpson can pick up right where he left off last season he’s going to be one of the main forces in US golf in 2012. Wins at the Wyndham and Deutsche Bank were part of seven top-10’s from his last nine events. If you’re one of those guys who bets on long odds Major Champions at the start of the season, you might like the look of Simpson at 40/1 for the Masters or 60/1 for The Open!
The Tournament Of Champions event title this week is stretching it a bit with the absence of many of the world’s elite, but nobody can argue that Steve Stricker isn’t a Champion. A two time winner last season, Stricks has been quick out of the blocks for the past two seasons with three top-10’s at Kapalua in the last four stagings. Tied fourth last year behind Jonathon Byrd after a poor final round.
I like the look of Scotsman Martin Laird at 16/1. He’s another good early season performer, last year he had four top-10’s racked up before the Masters including a win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational which got him into this week’s event. Laird also played well at the Chevron World Challenge and finished tied fourth at Kapalua in 2010. Finally keep an eye of Bill Haas at 16/1, after his amazing end of season antics at The Tour Championship I’m really excited about his chances of jumping into the world’s top 10 this year. He starts the year in 27th.
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Bubba Watson is at it again! During a Christmas knock around with mates at Estancia Club in Scottsdale Bubbaclaus cruised around the 7,314 yard track in 58 shots. And he did it all with the same ball. And he managed to do it whilst tweeting to his faithful followers all the way round.
Bubba was taking part in the club’s Black Rock Game, held twice weekly so the record is official and means Watson holds the course record on all three men’s tees at the course.
Pic: Bubba tweeted pics of his ball, the course record plaque and his final putt
The feat even grabbed the attention of manufactured teen pop icon Justin Bieber who took time to come down off his pedestal and congratulate Watson on the twitter machine, tweeting "Atta boy @bubbawatson shooting a 58!!! What a beast."
Less than a week since his death the rotting corpse of Kim Jong Il has qualified for the 2012 season on the European Tour. The deceased North Korean shot six straight rounds of 58 over both courses at PGA Catalunya in one day, including 5 holes in one in front of 17 security guards and George O’Grady from the European Tour.
The Tour created an extra qualifying spot for Jong Il “because I can do shit like that”, said O’Grady.
“Kim was really humming out there today” said the European Tour boss adding “he battled the heat, some swelling of the head and the flies but still played some remarkable golf for a dead dictator. He could have done even better too if one of his eyeballs hadn’t fallen out midway through his final round.”
While he was alive Kim Jong Il played golf just once back in 1994 where he managed 11 holes-in-one on his way to a 38 under par round at the 7700-yard Pyongyang Golf Course. That round was also witnessed and verified by 17 security guards and George O’Grady.
Paddypower has now installed the 69 year old corpse as the 4/6 favourite for the Masters at Augusta pending the granting of a US visa, and is also 1/2 joint favourite with Rory McIlroy for next year’s Open at Lytham.
The North Korean world rankings show Kim Jong Il at number one, just ahead of Luke Donald.
Bruce Critchley and Dr Bunsen Burner. Thats the Colonel on the left by the way!
Colin Montgomerie and Paul Casey. I know…freaky!
Chazz Michael Michaels from Blades of Glory and Bubba from the golfboys video.
and last but not least Hunter Mahan and Gary from Team America World police. “We need you to act your way past the guard Gary!”
If your after some Christmas golf and hot port with the pros and ams make sure you get yourself to the second annual Joe Lyons Christmas Pro-Am at Galway Bay Golf Club on the 28th of December. All proceeds go to Galway Hospice. A shotgun start takes place at 10.30am and more details are on the facebook events page here
Many people will know Joe as one of Ireland’s top amateur golfers and indeed his exploits at beating the living tar out of people half is age are the stuff of legend. However this shy retiring man is also very well known, if unheralded, in other circles.
As a youth Joe’s intelligence immediately became obvious. By the age of 12, he had won Blackboard Jungle and secured a Caribbean holiday on RTE’s “Where In the World” quiz show before going on to become the youngest ever winner of “15 to 1” and Henry Kelly’s “Going For Gold”.
Excelling in languages and verse, a poem Lyons wrote whilst in Leaving Cert made its way to Israel in the late nineties and directly prompted the meeting of Yasser Arrafat and Ehud Barak to discuss his proposals. Laid out in rhyming couplets, Joe Lyons suggested granting Palestinians sovereignty over Jerusalem's Haram al-Sharif and control over their own land while the Israelis would have sovereignty over the Western Wall. Though ultimately unsuccessful, the “JLA” or Joe Lyons Accord remains the closest anyone has yet come to achieving peace in the Middle East.
Back in Ireland, the legend that is Joe Lyons is very close to celebrating a big birthday next year and plans are already well in train to transform Galway’s docks into a venue befitting the event where stars such as Lady GaGa and Tiger Woods, who Lyons beat 8 and 7 just one week before Woods won his first Masters in 1997 are set to attend. English rugby legend Johnny Wilkinson who modelled his World Cup hair highlights on Joe’s summer look will also be there along with Lakpa Gyelu, the Sherpa who finally beat Lyons record of having summated Mount Everest 11 times in 2007.
It’s also told that Joe foresaw the property bubble as early as 1977, but his detailed diagram of events, was mistakenly destroyed after being used to make a Papier Mache elephant by his teacher.
So when you meet Joe in Galway on December 28th, be sure to shake the hand of a truly remarkable statesman.
Join our top 50 instructor Sergio Garcia as he explains the fundamentals of throwing your club into a lake. Topics covered include a) the look of disgust, b) the pre-throw foot plant, c) the hyper extension of the right wrist to create power and d) the straight right arm and curse on release. See also Sergio’s other top tips including how to leave a bogey in a hole.
Much has been made of Dr. Anthony Galea so called “avoiding more prison time” but in actual fact the doc served all of one day in the clink, the day he was arrested. Are the media being a bit harsh on the Canadian version of Florence Nightingale that snuck over the border into the US in the middle of the night with his medical bag brimming full of hormones and bricks and blood spinning tricks?
The groundswell of support for Galea was pretty much phenomenal with linebackers and defensive ends and sons of hockey stars all coming out in support. The US Attorney's office wanted an eight to 14 month sentence but the court could find nothing to justify it. The only proven charge against Galea- that he brought in mislabelled drugs from Canada to the USA in his bag.
Team Galea also acknowledged his use of HGH, human growth hormone in some of his non athlete patients (and on himself), but qualified the use of the treatment banned in sport by explaining it was used in tiny amounts as part of a rescue remedy injected directly into torn and injured muscles. HGH is only effective as a performance enhancing agent in an athlete when administered regularly in much bigger doses.
Whatever is going on, there’s a lot more spinning for Galea to do before he can wriggle out of this one.
Fair play to Lee Westwood who ended 2011 on a high after beating the tar out of the entire field at the Thailand Golf Championship in Bangkok. The Nottingham Forest superfan hacked home in a canter on 22 under par to win by seven from Charl Schwartzel. Simon Dyson tied fourth.
“I wasn't happy until I was on that boat coming back from the island on 17 with a big lead," Westwood said after. The win sees him climb back to Number 2 in the world rankings and planning his 2012 schedule on the PGA Tour.
Ian Poulter had a van load of his IJP clothing ready to flog for Christmas and he needed to get rid of it. And what better way to peddle them than to win the Aussie Masters. Here’s the report from the official website.
Flashy Englishman Ian Poulter has finished the year on a high by staring down playing partner Geoff Ogilvy to add the 2011 JBWere Australian Masters gold jacket to his highly distinctive and very extensive wardrobe.
Poulter fired a final-round 67 in blustery conditions at Victoria Golf Club to finish at 15-under three shots clear of Marcus Fraser who jumped from the pack with a 64, the round of the day.
Ogilvy returned a two-over 73 to sit alone in third place at minus 11.
The only player apart from Poulter and Fraser to shoot four sub-par rounds, the ageless Peter Senior (70) shared fourth place at seven under with Adam Crawford (66), while world No.1 Luke Donald eased to the line with a 72 to sit alongside 2011 Australian Open and PGA champion Greg Chalmers at four under.
While 'a little disappointed' with his finish, Donald said he was proud of his achievements in 'an amazing year'.
Immediately after putting out for par at the 18th, a delighted Poulter shared his delight with his 1.2 million followers on Twitter: "winner winner chicken dinner ... what a way to finish the year."
A band of an angry Australian golfers brandishing golf clubs and firey torches gathered outside the scorers hut today in an effort to get leader Ian Poulter thrown out of the Australian Masters tournament.
A spokesman for the Australian PGA unruly players committee said, “Fair’d income, it’s not fair that Poulter is allowed come down here and spoil our Christmas. Strike me roan, nobody even invited the Pom. Everybody knows that he just wants people to buy his tartan clothes as Christmas presents, and he’s coming down here and kicking our Ozzie asses for some free publicity. The flamin’ gallah has played muck all year and is still making us look bad.”
He continued, “Imagine if we Aussies to England in their Winter and stuck an ad on TV with two guys on a balmy rooftop in party shirts drinking Fosters and talking to Holly Valance. Would that be tolerated? I think not.”
The protest continues.
Though they still have to get a boat out to the 17th green in Thailand, Lee Westwood is tearing up the course with a record equalling 20 under par 36 hole total. After narrowly missing out on a 59 yesterday, it looks like Westwood has set himself some new goals.
This interview translation has just been handed in by our local reporter Kiradech Alfiebarnowl, who hasn’t a word of English .
Westwood said “I’m very happy with 20 under. The plan is to shoot 48 under or lower. I’m going for two 58’s at the weekend. I’ve given up on 59’s. 59’s are so passe. 59’s are for pussies. 58 is where it’s at. I want to hear Billy my caddie tell me its the best round he’s ever seen again. I love that. And I’m going to throw a nine darter. Then I’m going to fit and help Forest win the Premiership.”
Jeff Overton was arrested was arrested last week for being what police described as “drunk and disorderly” in Bloomington. Apparently Jeff was in a limousine parked in the middle of a busy road in front of a bar shouting at passers by when police bagged him.
Witnesses reported Overton was shouting obscenities about the epic fail “Sun Mountain” raingear and Fireman Sam hat he had to wear at the 2010 Ryder Cup.
While this behaviour may seem perfectly acceptable and even downright healthy to our Irish and UK readers, apparently getting pissed drunk, hopping behind the wheel of a car and roaring at strangers in the street is frowned upon in the USA. Seems a bit harsh.
Lee Westwood said he wanted to curse aloud as he walked up the 18th fairway knowing he had let slip the magic 59 from his grasp in the first round of the 2011 Thailand Golf Championship. Just a couple of weeks after he shot a 62 and what Billy Foster described as his “best round ever” at the Nedbank, Westwood was again on fire racing out to seven under after six holes.
“I messed it up with a few pars”, the Englishman said after. “I missed short from ten feet at 11, then missed short middle on 14.” He added “Billy said today’s round was even better than the Nedbank. So I must be getting better!”
Tim Finchem head of the PGA Tour has vowed to beat the European Tour up a pole in 2012 and is introducing some revolutionary new concepts to do it. The first was unveiled yesterday at a press conference when Finchem brought into effect a new PGA Tour rule stating that from January 2012 former pop stars must be employed as caddies by the top players.
Dustin Johnson was first off the mark, announcing via twitter that he is team up with nineties coke snorting wife beater Bobby Brown. Its a case of out of with the Dusty and in with the Dustin for Brown who spent most of the last two decades standing on Whitney Houston’s throat high on cocaine, shouting “Two can play that game.”
Johnson split from old caddie Joe LaCava earlier this year when he defected to Tiger Woods. Under Finchem’s new pop star caddie rule, Le Cava is now set to be replaced by Lionel Ritchie as Tiger Woods caddie, while world number one Luke Donald is in talks with Rick Astley to take over his bag. The only female caddie yet confirmed is Barbara Streisand who is to take over from Fanny Sunneson on Henrik Stenson’s bag.
Aussie fight fans have descended on the Australian Masters in eager anticipation of the Geoff Ogilvy v Robert Allenby rematch. Both men have been hard at work in the gym in preparation for the title fight, with Allenby reported to have really bulked up around the ankle area.
Ogilvy though stepping up in weight and down in class is the firm favourite with the fans and the bookies.
The first fight, which took place at the Aussie PGA Championship ended in a controversial TKO decision in favour of Ogilvy, when Allenby illegally brought a broken glass into the ring, then walked out refusing to fight on.
Both fighters have toned down the pre fight verbals before this one, in stark contrast to the first meeting, when Allenby blamed Ogilvy and just about everybody else for his crappy performances. Ogilvy then hit back with an expertly timed tweet as Greg Chalmers was spanking Allenby in another title fight.
It’s all simmering nicely ahead of tomorrows weigh in.
Here’s what’s in the bag of Miguel Angel Jimenez, one of the finest players and greatest characters ever to grace The European Tour. With special thanks to Dominic Griffiths on the Ping Tour Truck.
what's in the bag Miguel Angel Jimenez, Miguel Angel Jimenez witb, Ping Tour Staff Equipment, whats in the bag Miguel Angel Jimenez, Dominic Griffiths, Ping Tour Truck
I wish my doctor would prescribe me with a mild bout of Dengue Fever so I could stay in Dubai for a few days and put the feet up. That’s exactly what Rory McIlroy will be doing after he announced he is to pull out of the inaugural Thailand Golf Championship on doctor's orders.
The prescription just says don’t fly for a few days and not to touch a golf club. Rors most likely contracted the virus from mosquitos who carry and spread it. The symptoms are rash (yuk) and joint pain. Hence Dengue Fever is also known as Breakbone Fever.
Rors is due back on the golf scene in the United Arab Emirates on Jan. 12.
"Can't wait to not have to get up and practice or hit a shot or people telling me what to do or where to go, or just have a few weeks off would be nice," McIlroy said.
Click below to view 2011 Dubai World Championship Final Round Highlights including Alvaro Quiros miracle putt on the last for victory. This post will be updated later to include links to the latest video packages as they become available from the European Tour.
Alvaro Quiros sank a monster eagle on the last to win the 2011 Dubai World Championship in dramatic fashion and along with much riches catapulted himself into the 2012 Majors and and a five year exemption on Tour.
Luke Donald made it two money titles adding The Race to Dubai title to his PGA Tour title. The World Number One finished alone in third after Scot Paul Lawrie sunk a clutch birdie putt to cap off a great season for him.
Best of the Irish was Shane Lowry in a tie for eighth. It caps off a great season for the Offaly man, with four top 10’s including top fives in Majorca, Wentworth and Valderrama.
Alvaro Quiros leads Paul Lawrie by two shots going into the final round of the Dubai World Championship presented by DP World, as Luke Donald moved ahead of Rory McIlroy to take charge of The Race to Dubai.
Donald is poised to complete the best year of his golfing life in real style after a third round 66 left the World Number One is within touching distance of an unprecedented double.
"It's over - definitely," McIlroy said after a 71 dropped him from third to eighth in an event he has to win just to have a chance.
"And Luke deserves it."
Nobody has ever topped the money lists on both sides of the Atlantic in the same season, but after taking the US PGA Tour title in October by winning their final event there is even a chance for him to do the same on The European Tour.
Needing a top nine finish to clinch The Race to Dubai, Donald burst from joint 12th place at halfway to fourth spot on ten under par.
Shane Lowry continued his super form at the Dubai World Championship by carding a second round of two under 70 to reach a total of five under, good enough to tie seventh at the halfway point. The Clara man set up the prospect of a Sunday session in his home town with a brilliant chip in on the final hole for eagle. Lowry’s success so far this week lies in his greens in regulation stats, the highest of anyone in the top 10.
Alvaro Quiros is the runaway leader on 12 under with Peter Hanson in second on eight under. The Race To Dubai got even hotter today with Rory McIlroy, who needs a win this week, finishing tied third on seven under while Luke Donald finished with three birdies to climb to tied 12th on four under.