July 2012

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WatneyBag-1Congrats to Nick Watney who turned his season around at The Barclays.  Here’s what’s in the bag.

DRIVER: Titleist 913D3 (10.5°) with a Mitsubishi Diamana White Board 83X shaft
FAIRWAY WOODS: Titleist 910F (15°) with a Mitsubishi Diamana Blue Board 93X shaft and a 910F (19°) with a Fujikura Motore Speeder VC 8.2 shaft
IRONS: Titleist 712 AP2 (3-PW) with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts
WEDGES: Titleist Vokey Design Spin Milled SM4 (54°, 60°) with True Temper Dynamic Gold S400 shafts
PUTTER: Scotty Cameron Newport prototype
BALL: Titleist Pro V1x

NickWatney wdges

TPC Boston, Norton, Massachusetts
Purse: $8,000,000. Odds from b’fair

also check out my Omega European Masters tips here

Jim Furyk 65/1

furyk Bound to go under the radar this week is 2010 Fed Ex Cup champion Jim Furyk. Almost everyone has questioned Furyk’s mettle down the stretch this week and after missing the cut last week at The Barclays, his odds have lengthened. This course however plays right up Furyk’s street, favouring the shorter hitter and good putter. It’s been borne out in his results here too with three top eight finishes in his last three starts (he did not play in 2010). Watch out for the 5 hour energy cap again this week!
 

Webb Simpson 38/1

webb The US Open winner is the defending champion this week having beating Chev Reavie in a sudden death playoff in 2011. You could categorize Simpson’s form as patchy this season with the big win putting a gloss on an otherwise inconsistent season. Last year however Simpson strung together seven top 10’s in eight events late in the season and after having last weekend off, I expect a bounceback in Boston.
 

Bubba Watson 32/1

watson Watson has unfinished business here in Boston this week. After overpowering the course and thrilling the crowds through three rounds last year, Bubba could only manage a final round 74 which dropped him into a tie for 10th. Almost backed up his April Masters win with another at The Travelers in June and has been consistent since. It’s always a lottery with Bubba’s style of play but this week I’ll be buying a ticket!
 

Brandt Snedeker 40/1

snedeker TPC Boston has consistently ranked amongst the easiest par 71 courses on the PGA Tour roster with an average winning score of 17 under in the last three stagings. That should suit Brandt Snedeker who currently ranks second in strokes gained putting and sixth in birdie average on the PGA Tour stats. Couple that two top-five finishes in the last two years,a win this season and a super second place last week and you have to consider Snedeker could be in the shake up this week.
 

Dustin Johnson 23/1

dustin johnson miss piggy funny pic[5] Another big name player who seems to be hitting great form at just the right time. Dustin Johnson will hope to bring the momentum from his third place finish at the Barclays into this week’s second playoff event in Boston. He finished down in 48th last year after shooting 75 on the Sunday but has the game to overpower this course. Tied for fourth here in 2009.
 











It’s nearing the end of the golfing season and many of you are already thinking of changing your equipment. It’s an exciting time. Maybe you can find a driver that hits it 30 yards further. Maybe there’s a set of irons waiting for you that eliminates that nasty slice!

Here’s a look at the pros and cons of the four most popular options open to the golfer thinking of changing up.

Golfbidder

Pros:

  • GolfBidder.com are based in the UK and allow you buy, sell or swap your clubs online and have a nominal postage charge to all other European countries.
  • They do a huge selection of pre-owned clubs as they are supplied from trade-ins to PGA pro shops across the UK. The website is easy to navigate and each club is priced according to a condition rating scale. Since the global recession kicked in Golfbidder has seen strong sales  as their prices are unparalleled.
  • Every item Golfbidder sells is photographed with a special 360º camera allowing the potential buyer to thoroughly inspect the clubs first.
  • Golfbidder also do a lot of research into exposing fakes and guarantee each sale.  http://www.golfbidder.co.uk/

Cons:

The weak euro versus sterling adds a little.

The Pro Shop

clip_image002

Pros:

    • Whether it’s a big retail store or the local pro down in the club, nobody will give you the kind of personal service like these. Buying new clubs nowadays nearly always comes with sound custom fitting advice, ensuring you get the right clubs for you.
    • Local Pro shops often have demo models which they will give to you to “try before you buy” and nothing quite beats being able to feel the club in your hands before buying.
    • Most stores and club pros also usually take trade-ins.

Cons:

· You usually pay a little bit more for your new clubs. Don’t forget every shop has overheads and taxes to pay!

· Trade-in values are usually fairly nominal.

Ebay, Classified Sites (eg DoneDeal, BuyandSell)

clip_image005Pros:

  • Buying from other individuals online can result in you getting by far the best deals as nothing beats cash and classified listing also leave room for a bit haggling .
  • Over the years listings have improved greatly. A good seller now will provide all the necessary information plus several pictures of the equipment.
  • It’s generally very cheap to list on these sites.

Cons:

  • You are totally at the mercy of the seller when buying privately. For every 10 great bargains there’s one horror story. You need to ensure you are not that ONE!
  • Unfortunately fakes are rife online, with cheap Asian copies flooding the market.
  • Ebay has gotten more unpredictable with several buyers now using “snipe” programs to automatically bid for them. This makes having the winning bid all the more difficult for someone seeking a bargain as prices tend to rise dramatically in the last 30 seconds of the auction.
  • Buying this way means you usually have to sell your old equipment privately first which can be headache in itself.

Buying From The USA

clip_image006Pros:

  • Buying clubs online from the USA (on sites like GolfSmith) often provides the best value, especially on new equipment.
  • The amount of equipment and specifications available mean the USA offer by far the biggest choice to the customer.
  • The euro to dollar conversion rate is reasonably good right now (€1 to $1.25).

Cons:

  • There has been a major clampdown on excise duties payable for items imported from the US. Goods heretofore marked “gift” by smaller online sellers or whose value has been “written down” on a sales docket again to avoid heavy import duties are rapidly being eliminated. Most of these duties are now collected at the door by the delivery courier.
  • Shipping in the case of bulkier items like a set of irons can be costly and takes time so be prepared to wait a couple of weeks.
  • Potential shoppers need to background check all sellers before buying.

Thanks to our inside the ropes caddie Ricky on the PGA Tour, we blogged a few months back about Titleist giving its tour staff the new 913D2 and 913D3 drivers. Rory McIlroy was one of the first to game it.

titleist_913d2_540 This week at the Barclays Titleist players including Zach Johnson are using the new, as yet unreleased, 913F fairway wood.

While the 913F (and the 913F.d) differs from the 910 series in that it is designed to for golfers who want more distance in a fairway wood. It may well be a response to the success TaylorMade have had with their super long RBZ fairway wood, the season’s biggest hit in this category.

The 913F.d has a slightly larger head and a center of gravity that is closer to the face; in lay mans terms that means the club will deliver a lower more penetrating trajectory and be easy to shape, both of which make it more friendly off the tee. The clubs are all stainless steel and retain Titleists adjustability feature allowing 16 combos of lofts and lies.

As with all new releases the manufacturers claimed to have save weight in places and repositioned it to make the clubs even more user friendly. While I don’t buy that marketing blurb for one second what is important to know is that the 913F is far easier to launch for the mid to high handicapper while the 913F.d is for the competent single player player looking for a lower shot.

Expect to see these after Christmas in Europe so start saving!

 

The Harrington-Olazabal-Garcia affair is just the latest of many rows that have taken place in and around the European Team over the years.  Here, we look back at some of the most notable spats in recent Ryder Cup history.

harrington garcia funny

1997: Seve Wrestles With Monty

During a famously wet Ryder Cup in his home country of Spain, Seve Ballesteros struggled to keep bored team members content during the long rain delays.  The defining  incident took place when Colin Montgomerie missed an episode of Coronation Street  being shown in the team room, then demanded that the entire team sit and watch it again with him present.

After their refusal, Seve spent the entire rest of the week in a buggy following a disgruntled Monty on the course trying to explain to the Scot what really happened Jack Duckworth’s pigeon. It almost cost them the trophy and resulted in a protracted court battle during which both men represented themselves.

monty seve funny

1999: Brookline and The Faldo Fax

After being left off the team, Nick Faldo, ever the European Team patriot, sent a fax to his former teammates before the final singles matches. It contained the inspiring lyrics of the chart hit “Sit Down” from 80’s one hit wonder band James. The song had been sung by the entire team at every Ryder Cup since Tony Jacklin introduced it in the Belfry in 1989 as a motivational tool.

mark james funny Captain Mark James, himself not a music fan and more of a gardener, saw the title “James” on the fax and mistakenly thought it was addressed directly to him.  He famously tore it up after reading the line “those who find themselves ridiculous, sit down next to me”.  He claimed Faldo used it as a thinly veiled attack on his captaincy and the fact that he thought everyone from Ireland was some kind of terrorist.

2004: Langer Referees Howell Donald Scrap

Captain Bernhard Langer had to physically separate a warring David Howell and Luke Donald after Donald claimed Howell’s internet download connection speed of 56 kb per second showed “favouritism” over his 32 kbs connection.

2006: The Stenson and Karlssson Sit In

zach johnson funny pic Swedish pairing of Henrik Stenson and Robert Karlsson staged a 24 hour sit in with the curtains shut in their K Club hotel room, refusing to take part in practice.  They had heard Zach Johnson and Tiger Woods had access to high quality porn in the adjacent room and demanded equal rights and excellent download speeds.

2010: Rory at Celtic Manor

Ryder Cup rookie Rory McIlroy nearly didn’t make it to the first tee of the exhibition match after noticing that every other member of the European Team got a black curly wig in their kit bag while he was left completely wigless.  As the story goes McIlroy fled and got as far as the outskirts of Barry Town before Captain Colin Montgomerie intercepted him and explained that the wigs “were simply a massive piss-take at Rory’s expense” and that his own natural black curls were the reason he didn’t receive a wig.

wig funny pic     

But you have to love the way that Darla Moore gets a tiny little pen pic and Sergio gets zero pictureage whatsoever for confounding his critics and winning at Wyndham!  I’m not even entirely sure that “GolfWorld”  is a real golf magazine having not bought one since the internet started in 2003. I mean who else would go with the headline “Why The FedEx Cup Is A Winner”?

What I am sure of however is that is Davis Love’s torso right there and a poor photoshop job.

 conda golfweek

Let’s get the kinda bad over with first as Brian Keogh (and Charlie Mulqueen within) brilliantly recount the Jose Maria Olazabal vs Padraig Harrington incident which started the bad blood and get Sergio’s reaction to whether Podge would get his pick. Or NOT!

“I know José will do the best thing for the team and if that includes Harrington, that will be fine. If not, there are a lot of other guys who are playing very, very well too.  “I don’t think he’s a sure pick personally. He wouldn’t be a sure pick for me!”Padraig Harrington Humpty Dumpty Funny Pic[7]

Pic: Sergio and Padraig during happier times after they both performed a marathon nine hour surgery to successfully put Humpty Dumpty back together again in 2009.

And then there’s Sergio’s kinda good side on paying his new caddie for The Wyndham win.

Local caddie David Faircloth stood in literally in the car park before the first round and helped Garcia to a two-stroke win Monday at the Wyndham, and when I say helped mean JUST carried the bag.  Garcia did all his own yardages and putt reading. “My role was to stay out of the way”, Faircloth said after.

The two never discussed a fee before the job however.  Garcia’s victory earned him $960,000, meaning a caddie on 10% get $96,000.  But Faircloth could hardly expect that for the work done.  Sergio however suggested he wont be far off once a “tip” is added.

“He’ll probably get $75,000 and a tip,” Garcia said. “He’s going to be happy with what he gets. Obviously he’s not going to get what a normal caddie would get, because his job was fairly easy. But he’ll be happy with whatever he gets.”

Francesco Molinari 11/1

Francesco is fifth in the European points list but only a few quid (forty grand is a few quid to these guys!) ahead of Peter Hanson who also tees it up this week. Molinari got his first win in two years in Seville in May and since this has finished second twice in France and Scotland. Tied for third in 2010 when brother Edoardo won.

Mark Foster 50/1

johnnie walkerYou have to go back to 2003 to find Fozzie’s last win on Tour (in South Africa) but he’s been in solid form again recently as we saw at the Irish Open and remains one to watch. He and Ignacio Garrido lead the field by three shots heading in the final round last year and Foster made it into a five man playoff which Thomas Bjorn ultimately won.

Ross Fisher 22/1

With the Ryder Cup on the horizon it all serves to highlight the fall of Ross Fisher who lies down at 39th in the European Tour point list. His last win came in 2010 in Killarney but four top 10’s in the month of June including a solo second at the Nordea Masters suggests Ross is close to something great. A little reminder to Ollie maybe?

Jamie Donaldson 25/1

All sorts of doors are now opening in the career of Jamie Donaldson. His seventh place at the US PGA and a WGC appearance mean more starts on the PGA Tour and even a card is a very real possibility should he want it. The Irish Open winner is a big fan of Gleneagles too having tied for sixth in 2009 and tied third in 2010.

Stephen Gallacher 40/1

Of the home contingent this week I think Stephen Gallacher and Marc Warren will give the Scottish supporters something to cheer about. I give the nod to Gallacher with solid recent form and two top eight finishes here in the last four stagings. He’s been second twice this season already in Malaysia and Dubai and will be out to impress here on home soil.

Billy Payne, Lord Protector and supreme chancellor of Augusta National is today enjoying a threesome, I mean three-ball, I mean two-ball with Augusta’s newest members Condaleeza Rice and Darla Moore.  “It’s great to finally hit back at Augusta knockers, by getting our own Augusta knockers”, said Payne.

“Besides, there is loads to be done around here.  That carpet in the Champions Locker room needs to be scrubbed thoroughly, and those windows in the Butler Cabin are covered in pigeon shit. And that’s before even getting on to all those Green Jackets that need ironing.  Everyone knows men are useless at figuring out the right setting on the iron and deciphering those stupid triangley symbols on the label.”

Asked by a reporter how did they go about choosing the first two lady members, Payne remarked “We simply put a classified ad in the Augusta Chronicle stating that we were well built with a full head of hair and liked nothing more than enjoying long walks, watching sunsets and admitting to crying at Bette Milder’s performance in Beaches”.

And apparently it wont end there as Payne went on to hint at the possibility of more women members in the future. 

"In order to get more women to be members here at Augusta we need more manpower”, said Payne adding “I’ve put in place a five man team to look into it with former Chairman Hootie Johnson at the helm.  You wont find Hootie timidly pussy footing around the subject, he and his men have the balls needed to bring some quality females in here.  And we wont have to worry about those guys taking maternity leave either. This job wont take two years to get done!”, he chuckled.

 

I said he hadn’t won in four years, I said there were others more deserving of a Captain’s pick. Hell I even said Sergio has lost his love for the game.

sergioLast night was to be his greatest test in some time, to finish off the Wyndham and prove all his doubters wrong. But then God rained on his Parade and suspended play for the play. Garcia still lead at 15 under after only four holes when the Heaven’s opened and play had to abandoned.

The Spaniard doesn’t have it all his own way though. North Carolina alumni Tim Clark, along with in form  Jason Dufner and Bud Cauley were just one back.  The delay to this tournament also has a knock on effect for the playoffs with the top 120 still unclear ahead of the first event on Thursday.

Garcia desperately wants a place on the European team, and lies 11th in the World Points List.  Ian Poulter with approx 12 points more than Garcia, is currently sitting in the last automatic qualifying place so it is very much possible that Garcia could cement his position in the team automatically with a win or even some good finishes in the lead up to the Johnny Walker Invitational after which  captain Jose Maria Olazabal makes his two Captain's picks.

Elsewhere in the US, the next generation of Tour Stars were doing battle at the US Amateur Championship.  In an epic finish Steven Fox won the last two holes, then trickled a 25 footer in for birdie after playing a 6 iron off the tee on the first extra hole to beat Michael Weaver at Cherry Hills. Weaver had had the honour on the last 30 tee boxes having not been behind all day and missed a short putt to win on the last hole.

It was a dramatic win for Fox who we will now see tee it up at the Masters, US and British Opens next year.

This week it’s The Barclays, the first event of the 2012 Playoffs and this year it has a new venue, Bethpage Black home of the 2009 US Open.  We are already guaranteed one juicy pairing with Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods currently Nos. 1 and 2 in the FedEx Cup race, traditionally playing together. it may be the first of many duels between the pair over the next few months with the Ryder Cup on the horizon as well as the announcement of a new big cash exhibition match at Jinsha Lake exhibition in China on Oct. 29th.

Is this brave or foolish or just an attempt to sell more papers?  Whatever it is, it’s yet another article, this time from The Telegraph newspaper mixing Rory McIlroy, religion and the 2016 Olympics.

mcilroy olympics Here’s a snippet and here’s the link.  I do have a few issues after!

“I’d love to win an Olympic gold medal,” McIlroy told this newspaper in 2009, when golf was accepted as part the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro. In a remark that risked provoking a firestorm of sectarian sniping, the Ulsterman added: “I’d probably play for Great Britain.” To date, it was his only substantive comment on the subject of his twin allegiance to Britain and the Republic of Ireland — the vexed question that, in an Olympic context, dare not speak its name.

So sensitive is the issue of McIlroy’s national loyalties that, when an Irish tricolour was tossed in his direction after the US Open triumph at Congressional, video evidence suggested it was hastily removed by security guards. McIlroy, for his part, has not demonstrated the slightest aversion to the green, white and orange but simply an acceptance that any display of partisanship would only be provocative. “Whatever I say is going to upset someone,” he shrugged.

It is regrettable that McIlroy should be facing such a dilemma, when his second major title at the US PGA is a cause for jubilation on both sides of the Irish border. And yet he is under pressure to declare his hand for the Rio Olympics because he is Catholic. His great friend and compatriot, Graeme McDowell, is spared the same predicament as a Protestant, since it is widely expected that he will compete for Britain.

But Northern Irish Catholics tend, as boxing medallists Paddy Barnes and Michael Conlan showed at London 2012, to align themselves with the Republic. Representing Britain would, at one time, have been deemed perfidious, equivalent to backing a state that they perceived as oppressive.

All very nicely written but aren’t there a few sweepers in there.  Especially the bit about GMac being spared the predicament because he’s protestant.  Is that correct?  If I recall correctly GMac said after the 2010 US Open that his Mum is Catholic, his Dad is Protestant and that he grew up Presbyterian!

And the Irish amateur boxing team, like the rugby and amateur golf team have an All Ireland system.  I doubt Billy Walsh and co give a flying monkeys what religion an amateur boxer is, as long as he’s from the island and can outpoint a Cuban.

Why cant we build a bridge and remove religion from complicating this debate for everybody, not least for Rory and GMac?

But nice try Telegraph. 

 

All credit to salacious tabloid headlines, but this one, shocking and all as it is, is 100% true, as reported by the Belfast Telegraph.

jade biscuit They even included a picture of blonde Belfast baker Jade Walsh, giving Rory head.  A Rory biscuit that is.  Easy with the teeth there love.

Jade made some cookie dough Sunday night, mixed in some curly black hair for effect and while they were in the oven at 200C for 15 minutes, got busy with her inkjet printer and scissors, to make a load of Rory face toppings.  The result, an ingenious McBiscuit.

“If you can make it past the taste of printer paper and the strands of hair getting stuck in your lips, they’re not bad”, said local postman John Crumbledon who regularly pops into Jade’s shop to deliver letters, stare at the girls and scab some free biscuits. 

 

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Setanta have acquired new exclusive content from The Golf Channel in the US. This content gives Setanta a 4 hour golf block each Monday night on Setanta Ireland. It starts from this Monday Aug 20th and a typical Monday evening will look like the below. This content is not available anywhere in the UK or Ireland and is a real positive for our viewers. The content will run for a year.

Mark MurphyPic:  Another chance to see Mark Murphy In Big Break Ireland

MONDAY NIGHT GOLF CHANNEL BLOCK

18:00 – 18:30     Golf Channel Academy

Features Hall-of-Famers Greg Norman, Annika Sorenstam and Lanny Wadkins sharing the best tips and lessons they received while playing professional golf.

18:30 – 19:00     Golf Central

From the Golf Channel, Golf Central is the best round-up of daily news stories from the US and around the world including unique interviews and analysis.

19:00 – 19:30     Being John Daly

From the Golf Channel, we get an insight to the games most colourful character.  Each episode follows John’s daily trials, tribulations and triumphs.

19:30 – 20:30     Big Break Ireland The K Club

Episode 1: 12 golfers head to Ireland in search of an $80,000 pot of gold and two Tour exemptions. All their skills and their confidence will be put to the test.

20:30 – 21:30     Feherty

From the Golf Channel, David Feherty interviews some legends of the game and gets rare and witty insights. Tonight, it’s Greame McDowell’s turn.

21:30 – 22:00     The Haney Project -  Ray Romano

Hank Haney, former coach to Tiger Woods, spends a series grappling with improving the golf game of comedian Ray Romano.

One hundred years after his birth and the legend that is Ben Hogan is stronger than ever.  Here’s the curious story of how Hogan always signed Masters Flags in EXACTLY the same place.  If you see one signed somewhere other than shown in the video below, it’s a fake!  Click to 43 seconds into the video below.

Carl Pettersson 20/1

carlThe Swede has already has a win and second on Tour this year at the PBC Heritage and Houston Open respectively but he’ll be targeting the putting contest that this tournament will inevitably be this week. With a top-30 at the Open and the WGC Bridgestone and a fine performance at last weeks PGA Championship, Pettersson brings decent form back to the site of his win in 2008 and his tied fourth last year.

Webb Simpson 12/1

The US Open winner is a native of nearby Raleigh and still lives there. He also top 10’d here in 2010 on his first appearance. Sedgefield is the perfect PGA Championship antidote ranking perennially as the easiest par 70 on the PGA Tour. From 12 rounds at the venue Simpson has shot 11 under 67!

Brandt Snedeker 22/1

Sned won this event inn 2007 the final year it was held at Forest Oaks but remains one to watch this week. Tied third at The Open with a super putting display and ranks fifth on the PGA stats for strokes gained putting. Top 10’s at Sedgefield in 2009 and 2010 add to Brandt’s credentials heading into this week.

John Mallinger 66/1

Got himself into contention at the AT&T a few weeks back before a poor final round saw him drop down to 11th. Bounced back at the lower order Reno Tahoe Open with a fourth under modified stableford scoring. Mallinger has a best of tied third here in 2010 when Arjun Atwal took the title.

Best Of The Rest

Argentina’s Andres Romero 66/1 has been bleeping on my radar recently. He came close to winning at The Memorial at the beginning of June and again two weeks back at the Reno Tahoe Open. A great putter on his day and long overdue a win. Last but not least keep an eye on former K Club Ryder Cupper JJ Henry who got his win in Reno and tied fourth here in 2008.

The European Tour has had Asian events in the calendar for years. Last season for instance they ducked out to Malaysia the week after the Masters, jumped to China the following week and on to Korea to complete the €6 million three week stint. It’s a Star Trek like odyssey that takes the Tour far from home and around the golfing galaxy in a quest for survival.

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Throw in the heretofore unsanctioned Lake Malaren Masters in Shanghai (which I’ll come back to later), the World Cup in China in late November, and the last chance for Santy money in Hong Kong before Christmas and it’s easy to see where both the money and the burgeoning golf market is at.

Even though it’s far from our shores, you have to credit George O’Grady for doing a ‘Captain Picard’ in Star Trek, and seeking out new life, new golfing civilizations and boldy going where no Tour has gone before.

Okay it’s not very palatable for us to wake up on Sunday morning and switch on the telly at 7am only to watch the last putt of the tournament in China but Asia is where it’s at. If the European Tour hadn’t spread it’s tentacles beyond mainland Europe and into Africa and Asia, the reality is it would be a no more than a mere satellite of the PGA Tour or worse still, dead Jim.

But lest George O’Grady and his crew of this Enterprise think they own Asia, be warned, they are not alone. Arch nemesis PGA Tour overlord Tim Finchem of they Klingon Empire have decloaked and swooped in announcing that from 2013 the CIMB Classic held in Malaysia will become an Official Money Event on the PGA TOUR and be part of the FedEx Cup. But that’s not the best bit, the prize pot is expected to be $7 million to be played for by only 78 players. Set your phasers to be stunned at the news that prize money is the equivalent of approximately four European Tour events without even counting the complicated appearance money doled out to the likes of Tiger Woods who will front the event.

This first salvo in this war to end wars will be fired on October 25th when the PGA Tour will stage that CIMB Classic at the Mines Resort, while on the same day the European Tour will be at the €7 million BMW Masters at Lake Malaren in Shanghai which we mentioned earlier.

Set a course for the money galaxy, warp factor 10. Engage! And all the while we will be wondering will they ever come back home?

Here’s what Italian ace Francesco Molinari is gaming this season.  I’m away from the office this week but promise a sexy what’s in the bag graphic update on this in the near future.  In the meantime here’s the pic and all the info for you gear buts to get your teeth into!

Profile

clip_image002Full name Francesco Molinari

Nationality Italy

Born 8 November 1982 (age 29)

Height 5 ft 8 in

Weight 11.3 st

Residence Turin, Italy

Spouse Valentina (m. 2007)

Children Tommaso

Turned professional 2004

Professional wins 5

European Tour wins 3

What’s In The Bag

Driver: Nike VRs 9.5º with Fujikura Motore Speeder VC 7.0 shaft

3 Wood: Nike VR pro Ltd Edition 15º with Aldila RIP 70 x-stiff shaft

Hybrid: Nike VR pro 2, 18º with Fubuki 450 ct shaft

Irons 3-PW: Nike VR II pro with Dynamic Gold Tour shaft

Wedges: Nike 52, 58º

Putter: Nike Method Core prototype

And check out the West Ham  putter cover!

 

Press release alert
phelps Recently crowned the most decorated Olympian in history with an astonishing 22 career Olympic medals, U.S. Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps has plans for the next stage of his career: to play the world’s greatest golf courses and improve his golf game under the watchful eye of Golf Channel’s Hank Haney.
The Haney Project will chronicle Phelps’ attempts to improve his game from tee-to-green with the guidance of Tiger Woods’ former swing coach when the hit original series returns for a fifth season on Golf Channel – television’s fastest-growing network among those servicing more than 80 million homes – in February 2013. The announcement was made today by Phelps and Mike McCarley, President, Golf Channel.

Brian Keogh wrote today about Michael Hoey’s decision to alert officials to a possible rules breach (he remembered at dinner!) and ultimately DQ himself from the US PGA Championship after shooting one of the rounds of the day 70.

michael hoey“About 8.20 after dinner, I went straight up to the club after calling my coach and caddy to make sure I had things right,” Hoey said last night. “I was just re-living the hole as I’d sunk a really long putt for par. As soon as I realised what had happened, I went to the club.”

Full story here

Aw who wants to rehash what someone else has gone to all that trouble to do anyway? Especially when they’re employed by the PGA of America.

2012_PGA_LOGOHere’s a snippet and

Carl Pettersson –

The Unfortunate First Round Leader who from now on will have a target on his t-shirt.

Carl Pettersson had never broken 70 in seven PGA Championship appearances. Until Thursday, that is, and the 66 he shot gave him the lead at the 94th renewal of the season’s final major.

Pettersson was extremely solid in the first round, hitting all but two fairways and 15 greens in regulation. The 34-year-old Swede birdied three of his first four holes, didn’t make a bogey all day and had eight one-putts among his 28 total strokes on the green.

Rory McIlroy -

Talking about platforms or Olympic diving or something.  The opening sentence could be straight from a novel.

Rory McIlroy has seen the forecast. So he knew gusty winds and thund erstorms are just on the horizon.

"It’s just something that you’re going to have to deal with and I’m just happy that I got off to a great start," the young Northern Irishman said. "I have a great platform to go from."

He does, indeed. McIlroy will likely start the second round of the 94th PGA Championship one shot off the lead held by Carl Pettersson. He was extremely steady on Thursday, hitting 10 fairways and 15 greens while making his way around the Ocean Course bogey-free.

Keegan Bradley-

Staring down a putt like Robert deNiro in Goodfellas

Keegan Bradley had an anxious moment on Tuesday as he was playing a practice round with Phil Mickelson.

He heard a ping as the two were walking down the fairway and realized part of his putter had fallen off.

"It’s a miracle it didn’t happen on Sunday," Bradley said, thinking back to his come-from-behind victory at the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational. “ I’m thankful that it didn’t happen on Sunday or today.
"But Odyssey made me a putter that’s exactly the same. It feels great. It’s my old shaft in there. No worries at all. It’s amazing, with my old shaft, it looks the exact same, there’s no difference."

Tiger Woods-

Lurking like a Tiger in some Wooded Area

Tiger Woods didn’t have to look far to see what he needed to do,

His playing partner, Keegan Bradley, was 3 under after playing just two holes on the Ocean Course on Thursday. With the breezes off the Atlantic likely the most gentle the players will see this week during the 94th PGA Championship the morning starters like Woods and Bradley knew they needed to take advantage.

Woods did just that, too — making six birdies, including three straight as he made the turn, and dropping just three strokes to par.  So he’s three off the pace being set by Carl Pettersson – and glad to be finished as the wind finally began to blow.

"Well, I mean, geez, I’m playing with Keegan and he’s 3 under through two, and you look up on the board, some guys 4 under through six; a bunch of guys 3 under through five; a couple of them were 3 under through three," Woods recalled.

rainThunder, lightning, torrential rain. That’s the forecast all week at Kiawah where the changeable weather has played havoc with practice rounds. Now Kerry Haigh, the guy in charge of course set-ups for the PGA of America hinted that he might set the course up shorter than its full yardage, to compensate for the conditions.

“The rain is certainly one part of the unique characteristics of playing right on the ocean. The weather is a very important part of what we’ll be looking at all week,” Haigh said referring to the course set-up

All the weather predicting sites suggest at least a 50 percent chance of rain including thunderstorms every day of the event.

Now everybody in golf knows there’s a waiting list among the senior players to become Ryder Cup Captain with the likes of Paul McGinley, Thomas Bjorn and Darren Clarke all patiently waiting their turn.

colin montgomerie funny pic[3]But on Tuesday in Scotland, Colin Montgomerie complicated matters by stating he would again captain the European side if asked when the Ryder Cup heads to Gleneagles in 2014.

. “If the European Tour wants me to be captain, I will be.,Monty told a UK magazine

The Scot even quoted the precedent for being Captain more than once, “If you go back to the days of Jacklin and  Gallacher, yes, there’s an opportunity to do it again. And I don’t think the rules have changed.”

Thanks to Jimmy Hanby for telling me about Ryan Ballangee’s story about naughty goings on at Tam O’Shanter Club in the USA.

naked golfer Being a member of a country club has its benefits, but usually has nothing to do with a man’s member – that is, unless you allegedly belong to Tam O’Shanter Golf Club on Long Island.

The club has been slapped with an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint, in which a former employee accused the club of hiring prostitutes and strippers to entertain male members during a tournament, then banning staffers from telling the members’ wives about the fiasco.

Former bartender Justin Williams said the tournament would feature a different stripper on each hole, then make prostitutes available afterward for sexual activities in various parts of the clubhouse. Female employees were asked to go home before the extracurricular – and, likely, extramarital – stuff started.

Williams claims to the New York Post he was also subject to sexual harassment from a male dishwasher and asked to disguise lower-grade booze as top-shelf liquor for sale.

The club denied comment to the paper.

Now, as usual, the most important point is being completely missed here.  And that is, does Tam O’Shanter accept Irish members? And what is the fee?  And when exactly will the strippers etc be there?

 

I’m finding it hard to believe that Jason Dufner would make a spat with Rickie Fowler public, especially via the medium of Twitter.  But unless Duff’s account has been hacked or he’s pre-arranged this little stunt with Rickie to increase his social media following it looks pretty damming.  Here are a selection of the tweets.

coneAs if to top it all off, there’s a retweet taking the mick out of Rickie’s Sunday orange in there too.

@JasonDufner @RickieFowlerPGA looking for his ball in the hedge during his second round +10 over par pic.twitter.com/hfg89hHP

More on this as it emerges!

Update at Ryder Cup 2012

DRIVER:Cleveland Classic 290 (9°) with a Miyazaki Kusala Indigo 61X shaft
FAIRWAY WOOD: Cleveland Launcher (14°) with a Kusala Black 83X shaft
HYBRIDS: Cleveland DST 2i (18°) with a Project X HB2 shaft, Cleveland Mashie Hybrid 3i (20.5°) with a Miyazaki C.Kua Hybrid 83X shaft
IRONS: Cleveland CG7 Tour (4-PW) with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts
WEDGES: Cleveland 588 Forged (54°, 58°) with True Temper Dynamic Gold S400 shafts
PUTTER: Odyssey Sabertooth belly
BALL: Srixon Z-Star prototype


Congrats to Keegan no his WGC win. Here’s what’s in his bag heading into the 2012 US PGA Championship.  With thanks to Keegan and caddie Pepsi.

DRIVER: Cleveland Classic 290 (9°) with a Miyazaki Kusala Indigo 61X shaft
FAIRWAY WOOD: Cleveland Launcher (14°) with a Kusala Black 83X shaft
HYBRIDS: Cleveland DST 2i (18°) with a Project X HB2 shaft, Cleveland Mashie Hybrid 3i (20.5°) with a Miyazaki C.Kua Hybrid 83X shaft
IRONS: Cleveland CG7 Tour (4-PW) with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts
WEDGES: Cleveland 588 Forged (54°, 58°) with True Temper Dynamic Gold S400 shafts
PUTTER: Odyssey Sabertooth belly
BALL: Srixon Z-Star prototype

Kiawah Island Resort (Ocean), Kiawah Island, South Carolina
Purse: $8,000,000

pga looney tunes tips

Charl Schwartzel 55/1

charl Call me crazy but I have a feeling Charl Schwartzel could do well this week. His odds have lengthened considerably seeing as he hasn’t even scored a top 10 since Malaysia back in April and is without a win since the Masters last year. However his 28th place finish last week at the WGC was an exhibition of seven birdies and no dropped shots. Charl found something on the practice ground and I bet he’s excited about this week. If you believe in gut feelings have a flutter on this one.

Jason Dufner 28/1

Jason-Dufner-007 Wins at the Zurich Classic and Byron Nelson backed up by a tied fourth at the US Open and another top 10 last week at the WGC make Jason Dufner one of the favourites this week. With that trademark hangdog expression, he has the temperament for Majors and this season it seems he has the game to match. The PGA Championship seems to be Duffs Major of choice too having tied fifth at Whistling Straits in 2010 and then just losing out to Keegan Bradley last year after a three hole aggregate playoff at Atlanta Athletic Club.

Dustin Johnson 28/1

dustin If Kiawah Island conditions turn out to be as wild as expected, then my go to man is Dustin Johnson. I followed his progress closely at The Open and was very impressed with his patience and ball striking stats. Has the physical ability to muscle the ball around this mammoth setup and after suffering that cruel loss in 2010 a win here would be golfing justice. DJ wont have to worry about grounding his club in a bunker here either; all sand has been declared waste areas.

Louis Oosthuizen 35/1

louis  Louis has been my “go-to” man in the Major’s this year and after coming second at 95/1 in The Masters, he certainly doesn’t the punters anything. Played super last week in Akron to finish fourth and traditionally when Louis plays well one week, he follows it up the following week. That’s what happened in the Malaysian Open after the Masters and at the tail end of last season where he had consecutive top-10’s.

Matt Kuchar 40/1

kuchOf the four Majors since 2010, Matt Kuchar has had a top 10 finish in all of them. Pre 2010 he only ever made one Major cut! Such is the progression of Kuch that he’s almost a banker these days to contend. Tied third at The Masters this year and won the “fifth” Major at TPC Sawgrass but the wait goes on for top honours. Showed good form last week at the WGC and I’m convinced the win will come.

Best Of The Rest

Graeme McDowell 35/1

gmac If it’s “wind” you’re after, you need one of two things, baked beans or Graeme McDowell. Discount the fact that GMac has only only top-10 from eight PGA Championship appearances and you have arguably one of the most consistent Major performers this year. Tied for second at the US Open and tied for fifth at the British, you have to believe that if GMac keeps putting himself in position the win will come.

Do not discount the US Open champion and new Dad Webb Simpson 40/1. Though he hasn’t played since the Greenbrier where incidentally he should have finished much higher than seventh, he is certainly one to watch come Friday evening and cut time.

 

 

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