Well done to everyone who had Robert Rock backed at 100/1 in Abu Dhabi as per my recommendation. Rory McIlroy also paid out for second at 13/2.
Africa Open: we tipped Louis Oosthuizen at 5/1 (Winner) and Jaco Van Zyl at 16/1 (fourth)
Joburg Open: we tipped winner Branden Grace at 46/1 and Jaco Van Zyl who tied third at 18/1.
Hyundai Tournament of Champs: We tipped 1st Steve Stricker, 2nd Martin Laird, T3rd Webb Simpson.
Tiger Woods was ideally placed to put down a huge marker for the season after charging into a share of the lead with Robert Rock ahead of the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship.
Having ended 2011 with his first victory for over two years, Woods has a great chance to start 2012 with another.
Check out the new 2012 Rory McIlroy unveiled in Abu Dhabi. Bigger butcher and dare I say even curlier, Rors looks like could play rugby for Ireland if the whole golf thing doesn’t work out. Man mountain McIlroy tweeted lately that he had been working out in the gym with his good mate Harry Diamond and it seems to be paying off with his 5 under first round in the company of a puny by comparison Luke Donald and weakling Tiger Woods.
Pic: Is that a David Hasselhoff Baywatch jog I detect from Rory?
“I’ve been working hard in the gym. I really started working hard last year. I feel like I’ve got a lot stronger and it’s definitely helped my golf”, McIlroy said in an Arnold Schwarzenegger accent.
I’m at the 2012 PGA Show in Orlando Florida where the good, the great and the oftentimes plain crazy of the golf world gather under one roof to peddle their wares. Over the next couple of days I hope to bring you some of the highlights from the show. I’ll be awarding the symbolic, yet highly significant GolfCentralDaily Best New Product Award, to some lucky people, who as yet have absolutely no idea I even exist. Stay tuned!
Crowds of fans were left angry and disappointed yesterday after President Clinton’s planned re-enactment of the Tiger Woods duffed Ryder Cup chip fell flat after Cigar Guy failed to show up.
Cigar Guy had been a close ally of Clinton throughout his administration and also had close links with the Bush camp. However the two fell out over the Monica Lewinski affair after Cigar Guy was named by the intern in several interviews.
It’s thought Clinton and Cigar Guy had settled their differences in recent times, but his failure to show up for the re-enactment may have one small attempt at a humiliating payback for the President.
Here’s the original Cigar Guy in action at the 2010 Ryder Cup. But can you spot another famous player in a Rory wig planted in the crowd by the European Team to help Cigar Guy derail Tiger?
Wondering what clubs Mark Wilson was using to win the 2012 Humana Challenge.
DRIVER: Ping i20 (8.5°) with a Grafalloy Tour X shaft
FAIRWAY WOOD: Cleveland HiBore XLS (13°) with an Aldila NV 95 X shaft
HYBRID: Ping i15 (17°, 20°) with Graphite Design YS 85X shafts
IRONS: Ping i20 (4-PW) with True Temper CS Lite shafts
WEDGES: Ping Tour (52°, 60°) with True Temper CS Lite shafts
PUTTER: Ping Karsten Anser
HAT: Block Of Chedder Cheese
BALL: Titleist Pro V1x
Here’s what Branden had in his bag:
Nicolas Colsaerts and Branden Grace - who individually held four shot leads on the first and second days - are tied at the top with a round to play in the Volvo Golf Champions.
But just behind them European Captain José María Olazábal still has a chance to kick off Ryder Cup year with his first win since 2005 - from 596th in the Official World Golf Ranking.
Thomas Aiken got a horn of a different kind at the 2012 Volvo Golf Champions event at the Links at Fancourt, by wearing a rhino horn on his hat. The South African is trying to raise awareness of rhino hunting in his country which is threatening to drive the adorable animals into extinction.
Rhino’s apparently have very big horns which are supposedly worth a million dollars and have loads of handy uses. The horns have been prized for centuries for their beautiful translucent colour when carved, and their fake medicinal properties. There’s also a pretty good market for rhino horn used in dagger handles in Yemen.
Thomas Aiken however would prefer to see rhinos with their horns still attached. “I’m appealing to interior designers, witchdoctors and Yemen warriors to lay off the Rhino horns. I want Yemeni warriors to use other stuff like plastic and wood” Aiken said yesterday. “Have you ever tried dagger handles made out of plastic, they are awesome!”
Meanwhile fellow countryman Charl Schwartzel, a keen collector of extremely heavy grey animals was unavailable for comment yesterday as he out hunting.
Bob Hope is gone and pretty much forgotten as the 2012 Humana Challenge kicked off yesterday. Plenty of bizarre scenes including Morgan Freeman attempting to play a round with one arm. Here’s first Round Highlights from the PGA Tour.
Tour players and golf executives from the Callaway golf company held a series of meetings late last night in an effort to unlock the secret of Rory McIlroy’s golf grip. A key new piece of evidence emerged in the past few days when McIlroy (contracted to rival company Titleist) posted a picture of his blistered fingers following practice. It is thought Callaway golf scientists are aiming to recreate the exact McIlroy grip and finger tension on the club by extracting the blister pattern and inputting it into a complex software algorithm developed by homing pigeons.
Titleist executives in Fairhaven were last night sad to be “closely monitoring developments by Callaway scientists”.
Early simulations of the McIlroy grip were tested yesterday by Callaway staff testing pros in California and led to a number of injuries. One player lost a thumb after attempting to emulate “Rors” driver grip whilst another’s eyebrow inexplicably went up in flames.
“It’s pretty dangerous work but we are quietly hopeful of having the McIlroy grip ready to roll out in Abu Dhabi next week. Alvaro Quiros has expressed an interest in using it” said a Callaway designer today before adding “we’ve also gleaned some other vital information from the McIlroy photo regarding nobbily knees which we hope to put in action on Tour very very soon”.
It is thought that Woods, as a condition of his entry, had his choice of playing partner even though the official pairings are not decided until the 7th of February. Woods deliberated between three NFL quarterbacks before settling on Dallas Cowboys Tony Romo as his man.
Tournament officials are waiting outside the Church for golf and Jesus nut Tim Tebow to confirm his participation. Tebow has been in a heated debate with Jesus ever since the Nazarene carpenter's son apparently abandoned the Broncos in the NFL playoffs. “I had a major flood to attend to in Asia. It like, totally slipped my mind” Jesus told Vatican officials after that game.
Organizers are also hopeful that New England will get beaten soon so that quarterback Tom Brady can rubberstamp his attendance at Pebble. Should New England make it all the way to the final, Brady would be involved in SuperBowl action just four days before the tournament begins. And should they win, alcohol poisoning would most definitely rule Brady out.
“Anyone but Bill Murray” officials said yesterday “anyone but Bill.”
A true story for once about Michael Thompson, who managed to move up 52 spots in the world rankings in a week where there was no tournament. When Thompson first played a Tour event in 2008 nobody knew his middle initial so he was entered as Michael “X” Thompson on the world ranking list. That initial was used only once, before the proper name Michael “H” Thompson was set up in the system.
Thompson finished 98th on the PGA Tour list last year and then jetted off to Asia where he finished third in the Thailand Golf Championship. When he got back Thompson checked the world rankings on the internet only to find he actually drop two spots to 183rd for his good finish in Thailand.
After scratching his head for a while Thomspon’s manager called the ranking board who checked it out. As it turned out the 12.8 world ranking points had been given to Michael X Thompson by mistake.
And so it was that the world rankings were amended in a week where there no tournament to show Michael H Thompson jump from 183 to 131 in the world.
Golfers from all over the place have been trialling the two new Taylormade Drivers, the R11S and the RBZ in an effort to find which is best.
RookieBlue7 from Georgia carried out what I consider a pretty comprehensive distance test as follows:
15 balls with each driver, each with 60 seconds between balls (timed everything to be as subjective as possible), and then a 5 minute break between clubs each time. Then again in reverse order after. Control Ball: Srixon AD333
9 deg set to std, with Talamonti PD70 x at 44 7/8" shaft
Launch Angle 13.9
Back spin 3720
Ball speed 169.7
Smash factor: 1.475
9.5 deg set to neutral, with Talamonti PD70 x at 44 7/8"
Launch angle 11.8
Back spin 3455
Ball speed 171.6
Smash Factor 1.489
Just came across this brilliant article by Andrew Rice. In it he analyses all the PGA Tour Shotlink stats from 2011 and gives a report in each category. Here is just the one for Driving. Click here to see the full report on Andrew Rice’s site which will open in a new window.
The third round of the Sony Open threw an interesting curve ball into the mix; a side battle to see who is the most evil. In the corner was Rory Sabbatini, aggressive and fiery by his own admission, in the other Vijay Singh, sweet as pie in front of the cameras but widely regarded amongst his fellow pros as one of the the most repulsive human beings on God’s green Earth.
According to Karen Crouse of the New York times an incident between the two was witnessed by a large group of marshals and security men who were assigned to Vijay Singh (don’t ask me why).
After missing a 6-foot par put on the first hole of his third round, according to witness reports in several forums, Singh turned to Sabbatini’s caddie Mick Doran and berated him for moving while he was lining up his putt, calling him a f*****g p****. When Sabbatini came to the aid of his caddie Singh swore loudly at Sabbo telling him where to go. Like a red rag to a bull, Sabbatini stood up to Singh and the two continued to have it out in front of the dumbstruck audience.
Afterwards Sabbatini formally complained to a PGA rules official about Singh’s outburst towards his caddie. The official refused to listen telling Sabbo to send an email to the complaints department!
Johnson Wagner brought the TaylorMade R11S driver to victory at the 2012 Sony Open yesterday. In all Wagner had three different manufacturers in the bag, TaylorMade, Adams and Titleist. He games the 712CB irons from Titleist with the increasingly popular on Tour Nippon NS Pro shafts. Also check out the multicoloured stamp on Johnson’s vokeys.
DRIVER: TaylorMade R11S (8°) with an Aldila RIP NV 65 shaft
FAIRWAY WOOD: TaylorMade Burner SuperFast 2.0 (13.5°) with an Aldila NV 75 shaft
HYBIRD: Adams Idea Pro a12 Proto G (18°) with a Graphite Design Tour AD UT 85 shaft
IRONS: Titleist 712CB (3-9) with Nippon NS Pro shafts
WEDGES: Titleist Vokey Design Spin Milled (48°, 54°, 60°) with True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issueshafts
PUTTER: Scotty Cameron for Titleist Mid Slant prototype
BALL: Titleist Pro V1x
johnson wagner what's in the bag 2012, Taylormade R11s driver, Johnson wagner adams hybrid, Johnson wagner vokey wedge pic
Here’s the first look at the adidas golf shoe range for 2012. The shoes are designed to be worn on and off the golf course, to look as good with a pair of jeans as they perform on the tee. Both are to be unveiled at the 2012 PGA Show in Orlando and are due to hit the shops in the Summer. Priced in the region of €80, £75 or $100 dollars upwards.
A big shout out to Matt Hall in Australia on the launch of his new website for professional caddies called www.tourcaddies4u.com.
Tour Caddies 4 U was established last year, and is designed to assist Professional Golfers locate High Quality Professional Caddies Worldwide for any professional event whether it is a Pro-Am or a PGA Tour Tournament. The website is also designed to assist anyone thinking of becoming a full time caddie to get a placement and a foot in the door of the Caddie world.
Matt Hall currently works with Chris Gaunt and has over 10 years experience on Tour. The site was designed with the input of many leading Golf Professionals who regularly play on PGA Tours worldwide.
“Ronnie”, the moustache worn by Tom Selleck in the TV show Magnum P.I. was last night celebrating the most unlikely of victories after helping Johnson Wagner to win the Sony Open in Hawaii. The 62 year old nut duster now lives in Malibu Beach living off royalties from the 80’s hit TV show and had been on the island by chance to film a 25th anniversary reunion celebration of the original Magnum cast.
“I was just here hanging with Magnum’s upper lip along with Higgins and TC” said Ronnie the tache. “Some of the guys were breakin’ my balls calling me a “nut broom” and “prison pussy” so I needed to get away. I came across Johnson Wagner on the putting green at the golf course and he needed some help with his putting alignment so I jumped up on his lip and it seemed to help. When he looks down through my middle, it shows the line perfectly. I’ve been dabbling in golf with Geoff Ogilvy lately also, it’s is an avenue I would really like to explore. I’d like to see how far I could go in this business; how cool would it be to get under the nose Rory McIlroy.”
The success of Ronnie the moustache has prompted speculation that other celebrity appendages may now try their hand in the golf business. Pamela Anderson’s breasts have already been closely linked with Colin Montgomerie for the 2102 season.
Here’s the way things work at the top of the Ancient and Royal. They sit around in the smoking room, hold china cups with two fingers and think of reasons why they should continue to give Portrush’s chances of hosting the British Open the two fingers.
This week Peter Dawson spoke to journalist John Huggan and bloody well set him straight as to why Royal Portrush is not Royal enough for for the British Open.
Dawson: “One or two of the holes need changes.”
Ah okay so being consistently ranked by just about every reputable publication as being amongst the top 15 courses on the planet is not good enough for the R&A. By that logic last year’s Open was not held at Royal St. Georges because 17 or 18 of the holes need changes.
Dawson: It is not obvious where the practice ground would go. It is not obvious where the tented village would go.
What is the man on about here? “None of these big fields would actually be suitable because they are not the correct shape of green?”
Tell you what Peter. Watch this year’s Irish Open and see where they put the practice ground and the tented village. That may just give you a clue.
Pic: These big fields around the course are not immediately obvious so we have used big red arrows to point them out.
Smoking jackets on, two fingers ready…..
Just weeks after securing his card at Q School Branden Grace was holding aloft the Joburg Open trophy after winning his first European Tour title. Grace’s final round of 72 was just about good enough to hold off another Q School graduate Jamie Elson who has an I for the dramatic. The Englishman who held a monster putt on the 18th in Catalunya to earn his card, this time shot a blistering 63 to surge through the field and almost catch Grace.
In the end however the 23 year old playing on home soil held his nerve to card a Faldo-esque 72 with 16 pars to finish on 17 under, one ahead of Elson. The win was worth €206,050 and sees him exempt on Tour until the end of 2013. His nearest challengers at the start of the day, Richard Finch and George Coetzee had a tough day at the office and slipped quietly down the leaderboard.
Six players tied for third including four South Africans and two Scots.
“It’s a dream come true,” said Grace after. “It’s nice to win in front of a home crowd and I wouldn’t exchange it for anything else.” Grace then paid tribute to his caddie saying “I think there was one big key today, Zack [Rasego] on the bag kept me calm throughout the whole day so big thanks to him.”
With just one more event on South African soil, The Volvo Golf Champions, to play this week the question is will another South African player win? The rainbow nation have now won four of the last six European Tour events. These include Garth Mulroy (2011 Alfred Dunhill Championship), Hennie Otto (2011 South African Open Championship), Louis Oosthuizen (2012 Africa Open) and Branden Grace (2012 Joburg Open).
Great fun trying to figure out Matt Every’s putter at the Sony Open. It’s a BlackHawk model from Orion golf. The theory behind it is to get the highest MOI possible based on the current restrictions of the USGA on putter size. The size also allows the golfer to easily sole the club and set their hands in the same position without effort. It is made of a forged Aluminium alloy and has a black sapphire coating. The feel of the putter is very solid and the roll of the ball is consistent from toe to heel. In theory it is not possible to mishit a putt with the club as it rolls true no matter where it is struck. It retails from about 250 US dollars.
The short answer is yes but not in the way you might think. Today I watched a video with Luke Williams from Callaway introducing the new RAZR X driver for 2012 and in the video Luke talks about the 46 inch shaft, (yep 46 inches) installed there to get you increased clubhead speed and thus more distance.
Granted that caveman mentally of “Me hit you hard Unga Bunga” is inside all of us. But it’s not all about raw distance. Look at the caveman’s club for instance, shorter for power plus accuracy. Even they had their physics correct.
Most of the top name drivers in the shops this year have shafts measuring between 45 and 46 inches and there are even a few longer than that. However the average shaft length on the European and PGA Tours is 44 inches with some of the very best players having even shorter shafts. The question is which driver of these two do you want?
Pic: Bubba long. 143 rd in driving accuracy. Of 14 drives, 7 will finish in rough
A: With this 46 inch driver you will splay the ball left and right but 1 in 5 you will catch sweet and it will go 2 yards further.*
B: With this 44 inch driver you are 28% more likely to hit the fairway and 4 out of 5 times you will hit it further than your bomber mate who will be stuck in the rough.*
If you’re answer is A, thanks for your time. If your answer is B you’re with the pro’s who use drivers 1.5 inches shorter than shop models. Are all the pros dummies? Surely there losing 10 yards?
Sorry to argue with the big companies on this one but I do loads of Tour player what’s in the bags and the scientist in me has to tell you that the formula
longer shaft = faster swing = longer distance = fairway is INCORRECT
longer shaft = faster swing = longer distance = some fairway + a lot of rough is CORRECT
shorter shaft = fast accurate swing = more sweet spot = long distance = fairway is CORRECT!
And what’s more I will make a prediction now. “Driver shaft length will be reduced by the Biggest Golf Companies in the near future and they will market heavily “The far increased accuracy” of the shorter shaft!
*Read the excellent article on testing long and short shafts carried out by mygolfspy here.
46 inch driver, 44 inch driver, Callaway razr x driver 2012, luke williams, whats in the bag, tour players driver length, custom fitting drivers, what shaft length do pros use