August 2012

Sergio Garcia is skipping the Deutsche Bank Championship which starts today so as to be “refreshed” for the Ryder Cup, or in other words “to chase some tail”.

sergio

The hard work of the hunt began on Tuesday in Flushing Meadows, where Sergio was forced to run around as ball boy to 6 foot Slovakian Daniela Hantuchova as part of the process.  Yep that’s the same Hantuchova from the Sports Illustrated almost naked issue, you are correct.

As is by now customary in such budding relationships the beautiful tennis star promptly lost her US Open singles match and disappeared into the wind, or as they call it in Spain, El Nino.

Trust a Notably Gay to go blabbing on the radio about what is supposed to be a secret.

begay funny pic Tiger Woods best friend in the whole world and star of hit film Dances With Wolves (where I think he played Wind In His Hair), Notably Gay yesterday told the Golf Channel everything that Tiger told him about what Davis Love told him about who was going to get the Ryder Cup Captain’s picks.

“What I think is in the best interest of the US side is to find pairings that create good chemistry,” he said. “Tiger and Stricker have had a nice run. Tiger and Furyk have had a nice (bum, oops I meant) run. I’d put those two on the team based on performance and leaderboard. “And I’m a chemistry guy, so Rickie is a positive choice, too.”

Notably Gay added Love’s last pick was “up for grabs,” and is believed to be between  Hunter Mahan, Brandt Snedeker, Nick Watney and Dustin Johnson.

“Whoever Captain Love picks there’s going to be a couple of (gays, oops I mean)guys disappointed,” he added whilst wagging his finger, pursing his lips and shaking his head.

 

Calling all English Premier league clubs, Phil Mickelson is still up for grabs.  The news emerged from the USA late last night that big Phil never actually became a San Diego Padres minority owner. In lay man’s terns that means “not even a tiny bit”.

krispy_philMickelson apparently missed the deadline yesterday after being forced to take a detour away from the Bank (where he was due to cash a big cardboard cheque and buy the Padres) to bring his kids to Krispy Kreme for a snack.

The news has left several Chairmen of football clubs throughout England and Scotland jumping up and down in the hope of being bought by Mickelson.  Only Celtic Football Club have refrained citing fundamental differences between the club and Leftie.

 

Brad Faxon made his first appearance yesterday since the year 1999 to help unveil the changes to the 18th green at TPC Boston ahead of this week’s Deutsche Bank Championship.  So where has he been all this time?

Faxon was at his peak in the late 1980’s and was extremely popular amongst office workers throughout the nineties.  However advancements in technology have made Faxon almost redundant these days, the slow chugging nature and the annoying tone now deemed an unnecessary relic of the past.  He now spends his days in a store room, just waiting for the day that GMail breaks down or gets a virus. Then, Faxon may be come popular again.

One thing everyone is agreed on however is that, in it’s day, Faxon, though never flashy or cool, and with limitations, was known globally and did a pretty amazing job as a communicator.

 

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In the run up to the American Presidential election it seems it’s just one barefaced golfing  lie after another from both Democrats and Republicans. I’ve been following Geoff Shack’s coverage of the election golf references and I’m no expert but I can spot a lie when I see one.

jayFirst came the claim by vice president Joe Biden that he was a “good golfer”, a statement hotly denied by John Kasich at the Republican convention. “Folks, let me tell you this – Joe Biden disputes a lot of those facts, but Joe Biden told me that he was a good golfer. And I’ve played golf with Joe Biden, I can tell you that’s not true, as well as all of the other things that he says,” Kasich said.

But it’s not all one sided. Yesterday Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell attempted to convince stunned delegates that President Barack Obama was actually targeting a career on the PGA Tour.  "For four years, Barack Obama has been running from the nation's problems. He hasn't been working to earn re-election. He's been working to earn a spot on the PGA tour," McConnell said.

The PGA Tour hotly denied that any submission or application whatsoever has been received by President Obama regarding earning a Tour card and suggested “time would not be on his side” to progress from being a novice amateur to being Tour standard not to mention then qualifying in time for 2013 Fed Ex Cup points race.

Late last night White House press secretary Jay Carney also scotched suggestions that the Chief of Staff is set to rival Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods on the links.  “I can categorically deny Senator McConnell’s statement that the President is set to pursue a career on the PGA Tour.  He is in fact seeking re-election for a second term in office”.

Who can we trust?

Thanks to reader David Voller, brother of German soccer legend Rudi for alerting me to the on the European Challenge Tour. Much is made of the fact that Parry only woke up 45 minutes before his tee time.  Jeez, I’ve gone to bed, drunk, five minutes before my tee time and still made it on time! But love the quotes from Paz!

rolexParry said: “As soon as I hit it, I shouted “Rolex” because I knew it was good – although I didn’t know how good. It’s just as well it went in, or I might have ended up looking a bit stupid! A few of the lads were speaking at the start of the week about how good it’d be to win a Rolex, because you don’t often get prizes for a hole in one on the Challenge Tour. So to get the first hole in one of my pro career and win a Rolex is pretty amazing. My caddie asked me if he could have it – I said there was absolutely no chance.
“I’ve had a look at them in the shops a couple of times, but they’ve been out of my price range, and I’m glad I didn’t spend all that money on one now. I don’t get it until the prize-giving ceremony on Saturday night, so I’ll have to change my flights because I was due to fly back in the afternoon. But it’s a small price to pay for a Rolex, because I can’t imagine my new flights will cost as much as the watch. Although I’ve now got to buy my playing partners a round of drinks, and that won’t be cheap in Switzerland! ”

Straight to the Pawn Shop I suggest JP!

Apparently Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein is hoping to secure funding to make a sequel to Snakes On A Plane.  The follow up “Sharks On A Plane” is set to recount the true story of the horrific ordeal suffered by Greg Norman this week when his private jet was forced to make an emergency landing at Geneva Airport. He was en route to the Omega European Masters.  Dead ringer for Norman, Samuel L Jackson is keen to take the role.

greg norman plane crashNorman was whisked off to hospital for treatment on a severely bruised ego and a prawn sandwich stain on his t-shirt when a lunch plate malfunctioned in the incident, slipping from a table.  He was released three minutes later.

"We were going 60, 70, 80 knots, the wheel went 90 degrees, the nose started kangarooing and stuff in the cabin was going everywhere," Norman said after his practice round at Crans-sur-Sierre. "All the cabinets in the galley came out. The shaking was pretty violent. Nobody knew what was going on."

For those who don't understand the aviation phrase ‘The nose started Kangarooing’;  he mean’s the nose made a Skippy-esque  tut tut tut noise, beckoning Greg towards the stranded kid stuck down the old mine shaft. It’s quite common on private jets.

And those of you worried about the cabinets in the galley, they were fine too.  There was some concern about a scuff on an early Victorian era mahogany tea chest with ivory beading but this proved fine after some french polishing made it as good as new.

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Thanks to facebook friend Ray Dowling for sharing his twitter reply to a former Miss Ireland’s status update! Shakespeare would have been proud of this.

ray dowling

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Omega European Masters Betting Preview and Tips, Crans-sur-Sierre,Crans Montana,Switzerland

also check out my

Jamie Donaldson 25/1

jamie donaldson irish open[4] The European Tour is very happy indeed that Jamie Donaldson is back this week. But for how long is the question? After a successful three week stint in the States, Jamie returned with a very respectable 7th at the US PGA and will be one to watch this week. I thought he should have won here last year (he ended up third), but things didn’t just fall into place on the Sunday. However with a win at the Irish Open this Summer, surely Jamie now has acquired the missing piece of the jigsaw required to close out a big event.

Brett Rumford 40/1

Rumford’s last win on Tour was actually here in 2007 when he beat Philip Archer in a playoff. Took four weeks off after finishing 30th at the Lyoness Open in Austria and came second on his return last week at Gleneagles. Hard to ignore a previous winner who’s in-form.

Thomas Bjorn 25/1

thomas-bjorn[4] The defending champion has come through a very rocky few weeks of finishing over par to suddenly get it to nine under and 10th place at Glenegales last week. Of course this time last year Bjorn was winning two weeks in a row and I think he is certainly worth an each way look this week. Bjorn is bound to be buoyed up by Ollie’s comments that he was very close to stepping out of the driver’s seat of the buggy and becoming a Captain’s pick for the Ryder Cup.

Victor Dubuisson 65/1

Tournament number 45 for the classy Frenchman who I like to keep an eye on. This is only his 14th start of the season and he has a tidy record of three top-10’s including a fourth in China and a third in South Korea at the Ballantines back in April. 15th last week at Gleneagles where he impressed enough to give him a squeak at long odds this week.

Kristoffer Broberg 50/1

broberg Is Kristoffer set to be the next big thing on the European Tour? The Swede won the Rolex Trophy on the Challenge Tour in Geneva last week, his third win in his last four starts. Broberg has played in the last two Nordea Masters on the main Tour but this week’s sees his first big test away from home amongst the big boys. It will be exciting to see how he fares. God knows the European Tour always needs new stars.

Best Of The Rest

After four top 40’s in five events, Gary Boyd 100/1 took the next big leap back to the top with a top-20 at Gleneagles. He knows it could have been so much better though after a final round 74. Suffered the exact same fate here last year in the final round but showed enough when leading after two rounds to make me think a good week could be on the cards.

If you are not a fan already, I advise you follow Joel Sjoholm 150/1 on twitter, the man is 100% entertainment. Tweeted yesterday “Im back in our room after beating Mr @Thorbjornolesen at our practice round! First time in a while i feel like a hero”- I’m guessing he likes the place!

 

 

Following on from Bill Hughes ode to Miguel Angel Jimenez I thought it might be fun to pay homage to Bubba Watson in the same style.

  • Bubba didn’t buy the General Lee, it bought him.
  • He once went to a Pavarotti concert, and ended up singing for him.
  • Bubba-Watson Once on a trip to the Zoo, he ordered an escaped lion back into his enclosure by showing him his chest.
  • When Bubba was a baby, there was no little plastic name band on his wrist, just some strange symbols on the outside of the crashed capsule, barely visible in the scorched crater.
  • He turned down the lead role in The Crow, because it wasn’t dangerous enough.
  • Bubba once sank a 50 foot left to righter across the 17th green in Sawgrass, using a sewing needle.
  • He cannot allow gold or precious metals to touch his skin. They melt.
  • Strands of Bubba’s hair from the barber shop floor are carefully gathered and sold to the US Military for use in bullet proof vests.
  • MacGyver often spends time at the Watson homestead in a bid to “better himself and learn some useful tricks”.
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Brilliant post by Bill Hughes from Sawgrass on facebook, honouring The Mechanic

-jimenez He once 4 putted just to say he did it.
-He once brought a 9 iron to a gunfight, just to even the odds.
-He was inducted in the European PGA Hall of Fame...twice.
-He taught his German Shepherd how to bark in Russian
-He lives vicariously through himself.
-If he beat you in a playoff for the OPEN, you'd have to fight off the urge to thank him.
-He is Miguel Angel Jimenez, the most interesting golfer in the world.

Here’s a pretty cool piece about him too from golf.com

 

 

Top English golfer, man mountain, champion planker and avid facebooker David Lynn was said to be “utterly inconsolable” after being passed over by Jose Maria Olazabal for a Ryder Cup Captains pick.  Lynn recently finished second at the US PGA Championship and posted this pic of his mood at the news.  Chin up David, we love ya!

david lynn book

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.

Final round highlights from the 2012 Barclays on the PGA Tour where Nick Watney secured an emphatic victory.

And in Scotland, Paul Lawrie continued his amazing resurgence with a win at the Johnnie Walker Championship.

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.

Gone_Racin Just a quick one to say I probably wont get much time to post on GCD this weekend as I’m off doing Gaelforce, a 60km torture fest in the West Of Ireland.

All going well I hope to be back to full speed with the posts early next week. Wish me luck!

I just came across this home video of Hogan at his great friend George Coleman’s house, pelting balls into the ocean.  If you look closely at 3.00 minutes in, you can see the ball actually land out in the water.

There’s a lovely Hogan grip lesson in there too.  It’s terrific stuff.  Coleman died within days of Hogan in 1997.

 

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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. 

 

On the 100th anniversary of the birth of Ben Hogan, here’s a great insight into the legend from Andrew Lynch of Hambric Sports.  It’s Ben’s locker at his home club Shady Oaks, perfectly preserved as it was on the day he died.  What a fantastic picture.  Loving the clothes!

 

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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.

Forget one hour golf lessons.  Here’s my favourite Ben Hogan lesson delivered in under two minutes!

 

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!

 

Well done Rory McIlroy who claimed the second Major of his career in stunning fashion, pulverizing the field at Kiawah.

Final Green and Putt Highlights

Final Round Highlights and Interviews

 

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.

It’s a one in a million shot, but unluckily for Rory McIlroy it cost him a shot when he drove his ball into a crack in a tree during the second round of the PGA Championship.  Check out the video.

 

It was a high tariff, 200 yard sliced bank shot off Angel Cabrera’s bag, Peter Hanson was attempting.  Let’s see just how he got he on!

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

Loving this clip from the first round of the PGA Championship where Tiger found a novel use for his towel!