Friday, January 4, 2013
Steve Stricker announced his semi retirement yesterday at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.
Stricker, plans to play a maximum of a dozen events this year. After the Tournament of Champions, he will only play the WGC-Accenture Match Play, the WGC-Cadillac and the Shell Houston Open before the Masters.
At present he has no plans to play in The Open Championship.
“I'm not quitting,” Stricker said. “I don't want to quit. I still enjoy the game. I still enjoy competing. It's just time for me to be home a little bit more and maybe focus all my attention to this foundation and do that a little bit more.”
Stricker hopes to focus more on his charitable foundation this year.
Thursday, January 3, 2013
Sad to hear of the passing of Jamie Patino, the man who created Valderrama.
I had the pleasure in 2008 of playing Valderrama thanks to Derek Brown. The Patino family were having lunch on the veranda as we putted out on the 18th. They didn’t clap but hey they let us play!
Here’s what I wrote back then.
Valderrama Course Review
On the hour long drive down the A7 autovia from Malaga, as if by fate the song “I’ll do my crying in the rain” came on the radio. Thoughts immediately turned to the 1997 Ryder Cup and a rain soaked Seve first hugging Nick Faldo as both men cried tears of joys and later his iconic emergence from the clubhouse when, flanked by his victorious Team Europe, he held aloft the Ryder Cup. We were headed for the theatre of that golfing dream, Valderrama, on the eve of the final ever Volvo Masters.
With a tee time of 10am, good friend Johnny Lydon (handicap two) and I decided to be thoroughly Irish and arrived in the gates of Valderrama at about 8am to “savour the atmosphere”. The first task was getting our bearings, just looking at the splendour around the clubhouse, administration buildings and practise facilities made my arms feel heavy, tired from constantly picking my jaw up off the floor. As it turned out, our early arrival was a real stroke of luck, we were to have the whole course to ourselves, being as it was officially closed to green fees in preparation for the arrival of the Tour.
Next we met our host, General Manager Derek Brown, a big burly Scotsman with a roguish smile and that larger than life charm that immediately puts you at ease. If they’re ever looking for an EU secretary general of golf, this man is perfect for the role. He’s the golfing equivalent of Michael Palin; there’s not a person alive or dead that played the game that he doesn’t know and he has a charming story to go with each. He excitedly quizzes us on an old black and white photo from the late 70’s of an older gent and a tall fit looking man, both smiling and chatting around a steel bucket overflowing with practise balls in Valderrama. The subjects were none other than three time British Open Champion Sir Henry Cotton and Ireland’s own legendary amateur Joe Carr.
The Calm before The Storm.
John Lydon, Derek Brown (General Manager Valderrama) and Doc overlooking Valderrama’s practise ground.
After clinking a few dozen pristine callaways on the range (that Faldo called the best in the world), we tore into a few drives in the vain attempt to reach the smattering of balls some pro had crushed 300 yards down to the very end. Little did we know at the time, but we were absolutely wasting our time and energy. Valderrama is no place for JB Holmes wannabies. The only place you should use your driver here is to measure a club length when taking a penalty drop. Henry Cotton was a great proponent of the use of the hands and forearms to correct flaws and produce accurate shots and indeed the first key to unlocking the Valderrama code is exacting accuracy off the tee. “Remember this boys”, shouted Derek after us, like the skipper of a Scottish trawler as we headed to the first tee, “Stay left of centre, on every hole”. Like Nicholas Sarcozy, I thought. And of course he was bang on. Valderrama’s fairways seemed as narrow as a landing strip, on a lego airport, and are endlessly flanked by what we christened “goalkeeping trees” which just seemed to grab the balls out of the air and drop them vertically into the rough below. On the odd occasion we did throw caution to the wind and rip a long drive down the centre of the fairway, we found we had driven too close to the Peter Schmeichel-esque trees which blocked the trajectory of the second shot and left no chance of hitting the green.
You know the way the touring pro’s always seem to get a lucky bounce when they carve their drive into the trees? That doesn’t happen much around here. If you’re wild, you’re history. I made the cardinal error of going for a big drive off one tee, but pirouetted like a ballerina during the swing and sent the ball at least 100 yards left of its intended line. Having left that ball for dead, I carried on, taking double bogey with a provisional. As if to teach me a lesson about use of the driver, Valderrama decided to later reunite me with my stray ball, leaving it six foot from the pin, four holes from where I lost it! I should have taken a hybrid off the tee but as Charlie McCreevy said, “Hindsight is 20/20 vision”. At under 7,000 yards, with a par 71, this course demands prudence, course management and flawless ball striking, borne out by its list of tournament winners which include our own Paul McGinley, Tiger Woods and Canadian Mike Weir. Defending Volvo Masters champion Justin Rose, won here with a total of one under par in 2007.
The second key is being comfortable on the greens. Make sure you clean your spikes before walking on them because they are glassy. A round without three putting in Valderrama is unthinkable. Ken Brown would be like an excited child here, dropping balls on the slopes and watching them whizz away. The aprons probably run faster than most clubs greens and you almost feel guilty taking a divot. The greens are absolutely tiny too, hitting them sometimes felt equivalent to hitting the bullseye on a dartboard.
My standout holes in Valderrama include the first, purely for the fact that the hole speaks to you in a stern voice and says “You better be able to hit it straight lads or you’ve no future here.” The fourth hole, “La Cascada” is probably the best known hole on the course; a par-5 with two tired green flanked on the right by cascading agua. I also loved the dramatic par-5 17th; yes the slope on the apron of the green is as severe as it seems on TV and just gobbles up any chip shot short of perfect and deposits the ball in the water. Just ask Sergio, he’s had a few pro-V’s in the drink there over the years.
Hopefully Valderrama will soon be back as a regular Tour stop;it consistently ranks among the best in the world. If you are escaping the rain to Malaga for a weeks golf, be sure to make time to drop in and play it; it is pure golfing gold. Full details are on http://www.valderrama.com/ .
here it is, the first pic of Rors in his Nike gear. Probably not the one Nike really wanted! Take down under on Oz where Caroline is batting in the first grand slam event of the tennis season.
The Rory McIlroy debate has been going on for too long. By his own admission and speaking off the cuff Rory said he’d likely play for team GB. That’s totally understandable as he is from Northern Ireland. Many say that would upset his Irish fans and the GUI (golfing union of ireland) that supported Rory through his amateur career. However probably the biggest factor is that not declaring for Ireland would also affect Rory’s brand marketing and popularity in the USA where most American golf fans believe him to be “Irish” and love him and support him for being so.
Today the debate took another twist, it was inevitable; the possibility of Rory skipping the Olympics so as not to offend anybody.
“I feel Northern Irish and obviously being from Northern Ireland you have a connection to Ireland and a connection to the UK. If I could and there was a Northern Irish team I'd play for Northern Ireland. Play for one side or the other - or not play at all because I may upset too many people… Those are my three options I'm considering very carefully.”
There is however another option, playing in 2016 under the Olympic flag. To participate in the Olympics, an athlete must be a citizen of the country he or she represents, and that country must have a national Olympic organizing committee.
This year in London, four qualified athletes were allowed by the International Olympic Committee to participate under the Olympic flag. They competed as international athletes, representing the Olympics, because their countries did not have a national organizing committee.
Three of the athletes were, Churandy Martina (track and field), Philip Elhage (shooting) and Rodin Dauelaar (swimming).
The fourth athlete and most interesting was Guor Marial, a runner from South Sudan living in the United States since 2001 as a refugee. South Sudan does not have an organizing committee and Marial is not yet an American citizen so his only option was to run representing Sudan. However South Sudan fought for independence against Sudan and Marial said that running for Sudan would betray the two million people, including 28 members of his family killed in the battle for independence.
Whether this case is a precedent (albeit an extreme one) to present to the International Olympic Committee in favour of allowing Rory McIlroy to compete under the Olympic Flag is debatable. However in the spirit of the games, it seems right that one of the finest players in the world conflicted by countries which have had a troubled past should be allowed participate under the Olympic flag in the interests of inclusion and fairness.
Is it really fair that you are expected to get rid of your R11s again so quickly in favour of the all new R1 driver from TaylorMade? I’ve taken both out from the Golfbidder stock to have a look at them side by side to side what, if anything, is different in the new model.
Head: 460cc white livery
460cc White crown with grey black and orange flash. The white section forms an alignment triangle with the face.
Weights and Face Angle : R11 has 10 and 1-gram weight plugs with a sole plate that allowed golfers to open or close the face angle up to three degrees.
The R1 has moveable 10- and 2-gram weight plugs and the face can now be set up to 4 degrees open or 4 degrees closed at address.
Loft: The R11 comes in 9, 10.5 and 12º options. On each loft can be adjusted up or down ±1.5º
Every R1 driver comes pre-set at 10 degrees, but can be adjusted down to 8º or up to 12º. Loft can be changed in half-degree increments.
Stock shaft: 60-gram Aldila RIP Phenom shaft
Stock shaft: 55-gram Aldila RIP Phenom shaft
Length: 45.75 inches
Length: 46 inches
Make sure to check all the massive new and pre-owned TaylorMade Drivers in stock at Golfbidder.
Carl Pettersson is angry. And why shouldn’t he be? He has just had the rug pulled out from under his career and he needs someone to vent on. That would be the USGA's Mike Davis. Pettersson told Doug Ferguson:
“It feels a bit like a witch hunt to me. It was a pure reaction to Keegan and Ernie and Webb. They keep harping on the younger generation using them, but I think they're going to ban it because it looks bad. But you have strong arguments from other players, too.
There's no argument that it's a better way to putt because then everybody would be using it. “If it was easy, everybody on the PGA Tour would be using it. So I don't know where they got that from. It's just a different way of putting.”
Wednesday, January 2, 2013
For the third time in as many weeks reasonably handy tennis player Caroline Wozniacki has had to deny rumours that she is engaged to Rory McIlroy after she was this time spotted doing the hoovering at his Florida home.
According to reports Wozniacki could be clearly seen from the street moving through upstairs rooms methodically in about the same time as it takes to hoover. A neighbour later reported that she saw her outside the back door shoving a coat hanger wire into the top of the vacuum cleaner, believed to be a Dyson.
“It looked like Caroline hoovered up the top of a pen or a coin or something and it got clogged. She was pissed off, I could tell, Dyson’s are not meant to lose suction” said Jessica Pennis, 29, who lives on the same road.
The sighting further fuels rumours that the pair are engaged. Last week Wozniacki was seen sorting coloureds from whites before putting on a load of washing. It’s thought the load included soiled undergarments. The rumour mill started the previous week when the Dane was photographed with a toilet brush in her left hand.
Experts believe that seeing Wozniacki carrying out such mind numbingly boring mundane everyday tasks around the house mean that a wedding may soon be in the offing.
2013 Hyundai Tournament of Champions Betting Tips
The PGA Tour powers up slowly this week with the annual “bring the wife and kids along” Tournament of last years champions at the Plantation Course at Kapalua in Maui. The event runs from Friday to Monday so plenty of time to get your bet on.
The par 73, 7,400 yard course is distinctive in that it is wide open off the tee. Last seasons staging saw over 40 drives travelling 400 yards or more. The 8,000 sq foot greens are traditionally the easiest to hit on the PGA Tour.
Steve Stricker 14/1
It seemed last season that Steve Stricker was fading just a little but seven top 10’s including a win here at Kapalua is not to be sneezed at. The veteran has posted four top 10’s in his last five visits here including a second to Daniel Chopra in 2008 and a tied fourth behind Jonathon Byrd in 2011. Stricker is a masters of the green complexes here leading the field in total putting and scrambling during last years staging. His second round of 63 which set up the win was just incredible.
Johnson Wagner 66/1
Wagner is pitched at 66/1 this week on the back of a terrible run to finish last season, not managing better than 25th in his last 20 events. For me however Wagner remains a good January campaigner. In his two appearances at this event he has top 10’d and last season he got his win the following week at the Sony Open before finishing second at the Clinton event. Worth an each way look.
Bill Haas 20/1
I was very impressed with the way Billy carried himself as the only American in South Africa at The Nedbank just before Christmas. He finished third there; a strong indicator that he intends carrying peak form through the Christmas season when most others have shelved their weaponry. Finished in eighth here two years ago.
Scott Piercy 25/1
They say first timers find it tough to handle The Plantation Course but last January Scott Piercy passed that exam with flying colours on his debut. He finished just outside the top 10 with rounds of 72, 71, 69, 68. Piercy was the form player at the end of 2012, expect even better from him this year.
Bubba Watson 14/1
Kapalua is custom made for Bubba Watson and if this tournament was staged mid season I reckon he would win every time. Bubbas length, you would think gives him a huge advantage here but for me it’s his prowess on the tricky Plantation Course greens that get him my vote this week. According to shotlink Watson played all four rounds without a single three putt. The problem is he may not be up for it after the Christmas break. Tied second last time out in Asia.
Well the prophecy came true. Come the new year and Nike roll out Nick Watney and Kyle Stanley, the warm up acts for Rory McIlroy. As expected with Nike, both signed head-to-toe multi-year deals to include clubs, balls, footwear, gloves, apparel, headwear and accessories.
Watney, Stanley and McIlroy had been spotted filming a commercial for Nike in late 2012.
What’s In The Bag 2013 Nick Watney
Driver: Nike VR_S Covert 11.5-degree, neutral position
Fairway Wood: Nike VR_S Covert 3-wood/14-degree and 5-wood/18-degree
Irons: Nike VR Pro Combo (3-PW)
Wedges: Nike VR Pro 55-degree and 59-degree
Putter: Nike Method Prototype
Ball: Nike 20XI
Apparel: Nike Golf Tour Performance Collection
Footwear: Nike Lunar Control II
What’s In The Bag 2013 Kyle Stanley
Driver: Nike VR_S Covert 9.5-degree, neutral position
Fairway Wood: Nike VR Pro Limited Edition 3-wood/15-degree
Irons: Nike VR Pro Combo (2), VR Pro Blades (3-9)
Wedges: Nike VR Pro 52-degree, 56-degree and 60-degree
Ball: Nike 20XI X
Apparel: Nike Golf Tour Performance
Footwear: Nike Lunar Control II
Sunday, December 30, 2012
It’s not looking like a happy new year is in store for everybody’s favourite Spanish golfer Miguel Angel Jimenez after he broke his leg while skiing in Spain.
Jimenez fractured his right tibia after a fall in the Sierra Nevada range of Andalucia yesterday. He was immediately brought down the mountain to a nearby hospital where he had surgery to nail the fracture. The expected recovery time is approximately eight weeks before the leg can bear weight again followed by a further three months of physiotherapy to achieve full recovery. This can also be subject to delays due to further surgeries to remove screws holding the tibial nail in place.
"I have been playing well but that's just the way it goes in life," Jimenez said.