Why am I paying a hefty Sky Sports monthly subscription? Oh yes, it’s to enjoy insightful commentary from Colin Montgomerie like this nugget from the 2012 US Masters coverage.
Why am I paying a hefty Sky Sports monthly subscription? Oh yes, it’s to enjoy insightful commentary from Colin Montgomerie like this nugget from the 2012 US Masters coverage.
Lets hope Lee Westwood can bounce back from this cruel blow.
Everybody is talking about the MD Golf Surfer ad being aired during coverage of the Masters on Sky Sports. If you haven’t seen and want to get clued in watch the ad here
Based in Ireland MD Golf is rapidly gaining a reputation for its quality golf clubs at affordable prices. So good was their technology that when the began building the brand in the late 90’s Seve Ballesteros himself quickly noticed and put his name to the brand.
All MD Golf products are assembled in Ireland and are top quality. Where other companies skimp and save on shafts and grips, MD Golf do the opposite. For their forged blades to their Seve Speed Pro 2 cavity back irons, you can expect UST Mamiya proforce top quality stepless steel shafts and multicompound grips.
We are the point in the 2012 Masters when the punters pop up and let you know they had backed the leaders some time last Monday at ridiculous odds! I personally tore up my Louis Oosthuizen betting slip as he slipped way down the leaderboard on his front nine yesterday only to have to glue it back together as he staged a late rally.
The most interesting bet I've heard of came from a reader who told me of a Cork based GP who is sitting on a €350,000 accumulator if Sergio Garcia wins. And if that doesn't impress you, the same man won €250,000 three years ago when Trevor Immelman won! Where are my tablets??
When Kevin Na held his third shot for eagle on the 13th hole it meant he negotiated Amen Corner in a very impressive three under par. That didn't quite make shot of the day though. That accolade goes to Ian Poulter, also on the 13th, who having gone for the green in two, just about managed to find his ball embedded in the lush flowerbeds behind the green. After much deliberation, Poults thrashed at the folliage, leaves and petals flying. Amazingly, out popped his ball, trickled onto the green and ended up four foot from the hole. He converted for birdie, one of the greatest up and downs of this or any Masters.
The bad news for Poults was that he also gets our round two worst dressed awars. Poults wears his own IJP brand clothing but yesterday he was dressed "off the rails" uncoordinated! Add to that a pair of shoes that would look more at home on Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel and you get into unforgiveable territory. Oh how the mighty style icon has fallen. Lucky his golf game is bang on form!
Nick Faldo says "I think we can officially say Tiger has lost his game . . . and his mind."
You’d be forgiven from looking at the round one leaderboard of the 2012 Masters if you thought it was a regular season European Tour event! There’s an Englishman, a South Arfican, a Swede, a Scot and a Spaniard on top of the leaderboard after round one.
Tournament organizers must not have liked all the talk of potential record scoring this year. They used pretty much all the Sunday pin positions from 2011 on Thursday to bite back. Pre race favourite Luke Donald is on the wrong side of par as is "I'm only going to practice in The Bahamas" Adam Scott. He may be needing a flight back out on Saturday morning if he cant produce something special today. Fighting the cut too will be big hitting Alvaro Quiros, Jason Day and former champ Trevor Immelman. Sad also to see another green jacket winner Mark O'Meara having to withdraw with injury minutes before his tee off time.
“See you at the Senior Open!” was what Tom Watson said to 54 year old amateur Randal Lewis as he shook his hand following their practice round. Lewis, a financial adviser from Michigan got an invitation to the Masters after winning the U.S. Mid-Amateur tournament in September. He even passed over the chance of sleeping in the famous Crows Nest accommodation because he was afraid the breathing machine that helps his sleep apnea would freak out his roommates. After a first round of nine over the dream of the green jacket looks over for Lewis, but for a man who actually framed his invitation, it will always be a dream come true.
After round one we now that scoring on the par fives is going to determine the shape of this tournament. We have a couple of bombers at the top of the leaderboard, but we also have a few pea shooters. European pair Paul Lawrie and Francesco Molinari are not renowned for long driving but both scored heavily on their round. Tiger on the other hand got nothing from them. The 13th and 15th holes are accessible in two to 80% of the field. Charl Schwartzel was double digits under par for the par fives last year and it looks like more of the same will be needed this time around.
So many to chose from including Bo Van Pelt's near ace on the 12th and the Quiros Creek shot on 13 but Padraig Harrington's second shot to 15 gets the award for bravery from me. After only parring his nemesis hole, the par 5 13th, Podge was determined to do some damage on the next par 5. After he hit his 5-wood second shot caddie Ronan Flood looked away in horror, sure it was wet. Fortune favours the brave betimes though and Harrington got a big slice of it as he watched his ball land inches from disaster and roll onto the green. "What was all the fuss about" Harrington said to Ronan using only an ear to ear smile, hunched up shoulders, and palms facing skyward! He walked away with birdie. It was all so reminiscent of Olazabal's shot during the third round in 1999 and we all remember how that ended up.
Before the event all the talk was about how wet Augusta National was and how long it would play. Now we know the fairways are sodden while the greens are still super slick thanks to the sub-air drying technology. Padraig Harrington played a masterful lob shot from the right of the 11th only to watch it die on the fringe. Thunderstorms continue to threaten the event. The last Monday finish to a Masters? 1983 when one Seve Ballesteros emerged victorious.
Henrik Stenson hasn't won on the European Tour since 2007 and his last victory on the PGA Tour was the Players Championship in 2009 but yesterday on his birthday, he played like a champion. Well, for 17 holes at least. Now 37, fannyless Henrik got a present of two pairs of crystal golbets from the Green Jacket brigade for his two eagles. After a terrible run of results in 2011 Stenson had knee surgery and mathematicians are still trying to figure out how he got into the field. The house of cards collapsed with a quadruple bogey on the last but if you had offered Stenson an under par round here (or anywhere) before the start he would have bitten your hand off!
Here’s Padraig Harrington’s Kartel shirt selection for all four days of the Masters.
Luke Donald has worried fans by hitting his R11 driver a mere 8 feet during a 2012 US Masters practice round. The shot was 275 yards and 7 feet shorter than his PGA Tour average for the season and has left experts baffled at the World No.1’s sudden loss of power.
Donald is reported to have hit the drive off the deck from the fringe of the fourth green and was spotted by the keen eye (the left one) of Sky Sports analyst Butch Harmon.
Donald is expected is hit many more greenside drivers over the course of the week, decimating his shotlink stats. “I’m going to use the driver when the greenside lies are sticky or if I’m in the group behind Sergio” said Donald.
You remember the way your mother used always scrub underneath your fingernails at bath time? Well it seems digitry hygiene didn’t catch on so much in 80’s Spain and today’s adults are paying the price!
“It’s going to be uncomfortable,” he said, wearing a small Spongebob plaster over the finger.
“It felt worse today than it did yesterday, but hopefully it will be better tomorrow,” Garcia said. “I can play. I won’t quit. Even if it’s painful, this is a tournament that should be played.”
That’s the spirit Sergio, you can overcome. It’s not as if it’s something serious like a small stone in your shoe or anything!
Most of the big fashion houses release what the players will be wearing at The Masters and take my word for this, most of it is GAKKK! One notable exception is set to be Geoff Ogilvy. The maker is called Propr, and the designer is David Bedwell. Understated and classy.
Pity we cant get hold of what GMac for Kartel’s cardy will look like. It may be only thing to challenge Geoff!
For once a crazy story on golfcentraldaily that also happens to be 100% true!
Seattle man Russ Berkman’s four tickets to today's practice round at the Masters were eaten by his Swiss mountain dog called Sierra. He rang his girlfriend for advice and she said “You gotta make the dog puke”.
Berkman then mixed hydrogen peroxide (that is bleach to you and me) and water and gave it to the dog. Needless to say poor Sierra wretched up the entire contents of her newly whitened stomach pretty quickly.
In there were the mangled remnants of the four tickets.
There is to be a happy ending though. After phoning a local radio station with story and explaining it to the people at Augusta, Russ got his tickets reprinted.
It is unclear whether Sierra’s stomach will ever recover after being horribly bleached, but sure wasn’t it worth it seeing her master toddle to the Masters!
Dustin Johnson is quite the athlete, of that there is no doubt. He might have been an Olympic standard swimmer or a top quality basketball player, but chose golf. Yesterday David Winkle, his sports manager revealed how Johnson injured his back so badly that he was forced to withdraw from The Masters.
Lifting a jet ski? Are you serious? First of all we have ‘wounded knee man’, injured playing with the Navy Seals, now it seems we have a part time weightlifter who likes to bench press unusually shaped items. Like jet skis.
What next? Phil Mickelson pulls out due to whiplash from world record reverse bungee attempt?
And I thought golf is supposed to be a gentle game. For gentle men.
The news from the players coming in after their practice rounds is that the Augusta National golf course is soft, slow and very wet. And more rain is forecast to fall before Thursday’s first round. Balls are not running out on the fairway and the greens, though rolling quick, are extremely receptive.
Inside the ropes the phrase being is “target golf” which plays against those with course experience and into the hands of the younger contenders. With local knowledge of the subtle bumps and variations being taken out of the equation due to the soft conditions, commentators expect one of the lowest scoring Masters ever.
Nobody knows the course better than Phil Mickelson. At yesterday’s press conference lefty carried a somewhat let-down look saying “The greens are soft. I don't want to say they are slow, but it's just not the same Augusta. It's wet around the greens, and there's no fear of the course. You've got to attack it this week.
Unless something changes, and I know they have SubAir and hopefully they will be able to use it, but unless they change it, it's going to be a birdie‑fest. When the subtleties don't come out, the experience of playing here in the past is not as important, because you don't have to fear the greens and you don't have to know where the ball will end up and you don't have to fear certain shots because you can get up‑and‑down from the edges. Those shots are not as hard.
Therefore, I think there's a very good chance that a young player, inexperienced, fearless player that attacks this golf course can win if you don't need to show it the proper respect.”
After his round Tiger Woods said “Obviously we got some pretty good rains here. Today I played nine holes with Freddie and Sean, and seven drives and had seven mud balls. So hopefully it will dry out, but I think the forecast is for more rain. But the greens are absolutely perfect. They are quick, there's no doubt, but they are pretty soft and pretty receptive.”
Johnson injured his back in practice and after consulting with experts announced to the media his withdrawal from the tournament. Unlucky Johnson returned earlier this following knee surgery over the Christmas period.
"First I have to apologize to the fans and sponsors. With heartfelt regret, I won't be playing in the Masters due to a tweaked back," Johnson tweeted.
The five-time PGA Tour winner has played in the Masters three times, finishing tied for 30th in 2009 and tied for 38th the past two years.
We’ve just unearthed some more massive McIlroy Masters marketing madness!
How would you like free membership for the year? Well, it could happen. Join Moyvalley Golf Club or New Forest Golf Club between now and 5pm Friday 6th April and if Rory McIlroy wins the Masters you will have your membership fees refunded. It's as simple as that. If Rory Wins You Win. Log onto www.moyvalleygolfclub.comor www.newforest.ie for more details.
WIN A FABULOUS BREAK FOR TWO AT THE FABULOUS 5* STAR LOUGH ERNE RESORT
‘LIKE’ the golfdublin facebook page www.facebook.com/golfdublin between now and midnight next Monday the 9th or April and be in with a chance to win a 1 night stay in a luxury lake view room for two with a full Irish breakfast and golf for two on the The Faldo Championship Course.
I shouldn’t be plugging Golfsmith but this new Tiger Woods commercial video is worth the post. Best I’ve seen in a while!
by Ron Burgundy in Augusta Georgia:- Scot Paul Lawrie is said to only have a “slim” chance of being allowed to tee it up at The Masters after being ejected yesterday for acting like a tourist. Green Jacketed members and one invited guest, Ryo Ishikawa, have scheduled a meeting for 6pm GMT, to discuss whether or not the Qatar Masters champ should be permitted to participate.
A statement released by Augusta Chairman Billy Payne said “When we first noticed a man standing on the magnolias in the sacred Founder’s Circle we went right ahead and warned him to desist from interfering from the foliage. When he replied with, and I quote, ‘aye shove it up yer arse ya wee bumstick, Om just tekkin a wee photo for the kedz tee see, I’ll nay be back here again, ya green prick’ we were left with no option other than to go right ahead and incapacitate him. A member of security delivered exactly one million volts to Mr Lawrie’s neck and he was removed from the property”.
Lawrie was immediately taken to the nearby Lyle Hospital but doctors were unable to establish if he had suffered any serious injuries. Chief consultant Todd Klan said “Mr Lawrie is slurring his words and looks to be in extreme discomfort, but I’m lead to believe that it quite normal for him. Unfortunately nobody here speaks Scottish so it’s very difficult to communicate”.
More as it emerges.
Cornflakes. I’ve had them pretty much every morning of my life, but you know what, I still look forward to a bowl at brekkie time. It’s the same with the Masters. We spend 51 weeks of the year criticizing how up their own asses they are at The Masters and the other enthralled by it. If golf were food then the host course Augusta National would be like the fine China, it spends the whole year safely behind presentation glass, but by golly when it comes out for its annual appearance the food upon it looks great.
Pic: Cabrera’s Green Jacket in the Champion’s Locker Room. Is it just me or has somebody mixed up the measurements with Charl Schwartzel??
To me, there’s something quite comforting about the quaintness of the Masters. To the non-golfer, it must just be plain weird. Here you have Augusta National which prides itself as being its own little socialist republic of golf, so to speak.
At first the Augusta National members of the 1940’s wore green jackets and had outstretched arms, to help direct the patrons around the course. Today they still wear green jackets and have outstretched arms, only now those arms are mostly used to clap each other on the back.
The boss is called a Chairman, as in Chairman Mao and the key qualifying criteria for this important role is having a descriptively entertaining name. Ex-chairman Hootie (and the Blowfish) Johnson has now been replaced by Billy Payne (in the ass). For one week of the year, Billy and the lads actually open the course and invite the world’s best to come and play; assuming of course they present the armed yellow hard hats at the gate with the correct credentials. Apparently it’s easier to get in to “Judean People’s Front” than the Masters but that’s what makes it all the more intriguing.
The lucky few who bought tickets in 1975, or badges as Billy calls them, get to be called ‘patrons’ and to watch the event. The chosen ones, i.e. who haven’t sold their badges to touts, get to look forward to a weekend of extreme hillwalking, being presented with “retail opportunities”, being herded around like sheep and generally not being allowed to touch anything.
At the end of the event, Chairman Mao, er Billy sits in an incredibly small room, called the Butler Cabin beside an American football commentator called Jim and after some heavily scripted ad libbing makes the exact same speech year after year. He then congratulates the new champion, fakes surprise and says “and I think I hear him coming now!”. That’s the cue for the champ to be pushed in from behind the camera to undergo the initiation ceremony of getting to wear his very own green jacket that’s three sizes too big and doesn’t match his golf shirt. Why don’t the third round leaders ever wear something that goes well with green, I always ask myself? Where was I? Ah yes, the Butler Cabin. Did you know if was named after the Irish carpenter who spent a half day building it?
For all its careful choreography and staleness, the Masters has moved with the times in the one area you would have expected never to change. The course. Augusta is constantly undergoing tweaks, whenever Aldila bring out a new shaft, Billy shoves the tees back five yards. And the greens there are faster than anywhere. They kind of start off like like Olazabal’s stubble. The staff cut them at some ungodly hour like 4am and then give them another “freaky” at 7am just before play. To the unitiated, a “freaky” is another, tighter, cut, like shaving in the wrong direction, which makes them ultra slick. So if they start like Ollie’s face, and end up like Mannassero’s!
So bring it on I say, I think I’ll watch it with a bowl of Cornflakes. In a china bowl, of course.
When you hear players talking about Augusta playing longer than other courses it’s not just plain yardages they are speaking about. The greenkeeping staff at Augusta National purposely mow every fairway from green back to tee, so that every blade of grass is always running against the player.
That ensures the ball does not run out nearly as much as at a normal PGA Tour event. It penalises the shorter hitters hard, but some longer hitters say it actually helps them. In an article published recently Geoff Ogilvy says the grass running against the player makes some landing areas effectively “wider” off the tee, knowing that the ball will not run far from the landing zone.
Where being against the nap of the grass hurts most though is around the greens, and every player in the field will be faced with their fair share of greenside chips. Anything short of the perfect strike with the grass lying against you will result in a duff, flubb or a chilli dip.
Overcompensate and you hit the ball too high and flash it across the green where more pain awaits. Experienced Masters players also warn about the massive difference between the fringe speed and the green speed. Any chip not landing on a sixpence at Augusta means bogey. Or worse!
Last years winner Charl Shwartzel duffed a chip at the Houston Open last week then chipped in nonchalantly for par. Needless to say, Augusta National will not be as forgiving to the South African this week in his quest to retain the Green Jacket.
With only two days to go before the Masters, betting on both sides of the Atlantic has been frantic. Here are the biggest movers.
After his win last week in Houston, Hunter Mahan is available at 34/1.
Last year’s winner Charl Schwartzel is obviously not fancied by many; you can get him at 48/1.
Stateside all the money has been lumped on Woods and McIlroy with Phil Mickelson just behind in third.
In Las Vegas there has been a huge punt on Dustin Johnson who can still be got at 60/1 on betfair.
And surprisingly the American golf betting public have plumped for a European Peter Hanson 250/1 as someone they think will play well this week.
Here is my full 2012 US Masters betting preview and tips post
To kick off today’s Masters Special I’ve teamed up with my mate Danny Brassil in the Old Head of Kinsale (well, texted him really!) to bring you the readers online and in the paper a really spectacular prize, the chance to win a fourball at the iconic venue.
If you’ve never played the Old Head of Kinsale, you’re missing a truly breathtaking golf course, easily in the top one courses I’ve ever played! You can enter the competition opposite (on the left). Closing date next Sunday night 8th April when I get back from watching the Masters.
Poor old Jesper Parnevik faces four months of rehabilitation after a freak accident resulted in him almost losing the top of his finger. However eye witnesses have said it could have been so much worse.
Parnevik, who was attempting to take his boat out of the water was operating a motorized boat winch when his hand got caught in the machine. A swedish paper quoted him as saying "When I saw the edges of the machine, I was 100-percent sure that I lost all the fingers. I was terrified."
Alan Bastable from golf.com has just published a nice interview with Rory McIlory.
After a long day of beating balls and pumping iron, McIlroy, in flip-flops and jeans, wanders to the end of the yard, beyond a stately fountain and a sculpture of a scantily clad woman. “Rickie’s five doors down,” he says before gazing across the white-capped channel, “and Keegan’s right across the way.” That would be Rickie Fowler and Keegan Bradley, two other young princes who have taken the PGA Tour (and Jupiter, apparently) by storm.
Could the weather be a factor in the outcome of the 2012 Masters? The forecast throws up some interesting points. Wind direction for Thursday is predicted to the West South West gusting up to 37Kms per hour. On Thursday night the wind is expected to change direction and remain an easterly breeze for the rest of the tournament. The odd thundershower is also predicted on Thursday and Friday. Here are the forecasts.
Though I managed to fool a lot of people into believing the Irish Examiner were flying me to Augusta to “fill in” for a sick colleague this week. the best April Fool’s Day gag surely has to go Geoff Shackleford in the US for his report that Donald Trump had become a member of Augusta National! The report came complete with a grainy photograph of Donald in his Augusta green jacket. Here’s the full piece. Quality!
Another winner Sunday for our betting tips as Hunter Mahan came good in Houston from odds of 28/1. JB Holmes also gave us a good run each from 120/1 but finished just one shot out of a tie for fourth. Make sure you check the GolfCentralDaily 2012 US Masters tips here
What a weekend it was for Hunter Mahan at the 2012 Shell Houston Open as he became the firsdt two time winner of the year. Here are all the highlights from an exciting final round.