Friday, July 31, 2009

Tiger On Fire, Daly Disaster

After a routine 71 to begin the Buick Open, Tiger bounced back by firing a 63 in the second round and is now tied for 5th place at ten under par. Tiger opened his round by going birdie, birdie, eagle, birdie, and birdie for the first five holes. This was his best career start and yes, this is ridiculous. This weekend should be a shootout as there are a lot of players in contention.

On the other end of the spectrum, John Daly put on quite a show by shooting an 88 which included a 51 on the front nine. His round included a ten on the first hole, a quadruple bogey, a triple, and two doubles.

"This is different," Daly said. "I can't control my hands like I used to. I have no clue where it's going. I just don't have any feel, and it scares me. This is the most down I've ever been with my golf game. I'm working my butt off, doing everything I need to be doing, and nothing is going right on the golf course." For full details on Daly's tough day and his recent weight loss, click on this article, describing his "toxic state."

For full scoring details, check out the leaderboard.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Tiger Criticized for Antics

In the past two weeks after missing the cut at the British, Tiger Woods has been openly criticized throughout the sports media for his actions after bad shots. Apparently, some people feel Tiger needs to be more of a role model for kids by not cursing or "throwing clubs" after poor shots.

First of all, has anyone ever seen Tiger "throw" a club. I've seen him toss the club aside, hit it against his bag, and slam it in to the ground. Many players on the tour do the exact same thing but obviously its not made to be a big deal when its not Tiger. I've seen many normal golfers "throw" a club, and the club ends up in a lake or stuck in a tree.

My personal opinion is that people need to get a serious grip when they suggest Tiger is not being a good role model. I would say that his overall effect on the world, especially with kids, has been overwhelming positive. Yes, it is true, he curses when he hits bad shots, and regardless of what parents think, your kid is going to curse whether they see Tiger curse or not.

As far as being a role model, lets take a look around the sports world. Michael Vick is killing dogs, Big Ben is being accused of rape, Pacman Jones is making it rain and gets arrested time after time. Many athletes in all sports have been found guilty of taking steroids. Countless athletes have committed adultery. Many athletes are involved with drugs and guns. Tiger's name has never been involved in any of this nonsense.

People need to understand that when Tiger is playing golf, he is 100% focused on the task at hand, and is concentrating in the moment. When he hits a bad shot, he is immediately reacting and getting frustration out. The people criticizing Tiger must be "perfect" and never curse, get mad, or frustrated while at work. Just because he is the #1 player of all time doesn't mean he is some robot that will never show emotion.

Anyway, there has been lots written about this issue and here are some examples that can be found at Golf Girls Diary, Wie Under Par, Devil Ball Golf, and Rick Reilly's article for Espn.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Cink Wins Open over Watson

In what could have been one of the biggest stories in sports history, Stewart Cink put an end to Tom Watson's stunning run by winning the Open Championship in a playoff. Cink made a great birdie at eighteen in regulation to post two under par and become the leader in the clubhouse, and then went on to defeat Watson by playing the four hole playoff in two under par.

Cink is a deserving champion, but his victory will be overshadowed by the great play of 59 year old Tom Watson, who going into the eighteenth hole in regulation was one par away from making history. Watson hit a perfect drive, and his second shot was directly at the pin but went too far and ended up in a difficult location for getting up and down. His first putt went eight feet past the hole and he missed the par putt for the victory. He would have become the oldest major champion of all time and won the British Open for a record tying sixth championship.

I'm sure this was a difficult tournament to watch for many people rooting so hard for Watson to pull it out. I could barely watch the last few holes and it was completely deflating when he bogeyed the last. Regardless, Watson is an all time great champion and earned even more respect all around the world with his performance at the Open. He will be playing next week at the Senior Open at Sunningdale and it will be interesting to see whether he has anything left after such a strenuous week.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Turn Back the Clock

Tom Watson, age 59, shot a bogey free round of 65 today at Turnberry and is tied for second place in the British Open behind Miguel A. Jimenez. Watson has won five British Opens, including the 1977 Championship also held at Turnberry, where he battled Jack Nicklaus in the famous Duel in the Sun.

Watson has also won three Senior British Opens and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1988. A slew of stars are chasing him on the leader board and its definitely a little early for everyone to get too excited, however, he is one of the greatest links players of all time. He could make history as the oldest major champion ever and it will be great to see him stay in contention through the weekend.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Golf In Scotland

Of all the places in the world, traveling to play golf in Scotland would have to be the top destination on the list due to the great history, the variety and abundance of links style courses, as well as the chance to play several of the most famous courses in the world.
Golf began in Scotland in the 15th century, is considered the home of golf, and the place where the modern game was developed. The R & A (Royal and Ancient Golf Club) is the governing body for the game, except in the U.S. and Mexico. It is located at St. Andrews (pictured below), one of the most famous golf courses in the entire world.
Several famous Scotsmen are in the World Golf Hall of Fame, including Old Tom Morris, Young Tom Morris, Willie Anderson, Tommy Armour, James Braid, Allistair Mackenzie, Dorothy Campbell, Donald Ross, Willie Park, and Allan Robertson. Both Old and Young Tom Morris (pictured below) are considered to be pioneers of golf and won four British Opens a piece.

There are many famous golf courses in Scotland, such as Carnoustie, Royal Troon, Prestwick, Muirfield, as well as the site of this year's British Open, Turnberry. Former British Open Winners at Turnberry include Tom Watson (1977), Greg Norman (1986), and Nick Price (1994). This year, Padraig Harrington seeks to win his third consecutive Claret Jug, the prized trophy the champion receives.

For many golfers, Scotland is at the top of the list for a golf vacation. With over 550 golf courses in a relatively small area, Scotland provides many great choices. Playing in Scotland would provide a great new experience for several reasons. First of all, the links style courses differ greatly from typical U.S. courses. A player would need to be prepared to hit a lot more low bump and run shots instead of high pitch shots. Links style courses call for a lot more creativity and shot making than typical courses in America.

These courses will have pot bunkers (pictured above) all over them, which usually causes a player to hit out sideways instead of going at their intended target. These courses are known for very deep rough and gorse bushes that can swallow up wayward shots. The biggest difference however, could be the weather. Scotland is known for a huge variance in weather conditions. One moment it could be calm and sunny, and the next you could have a storm come through bringing windy, rainy, and cooler conditions.

All in all, Scotland seems like a golfer's paradise. With the combination of the history, the variety of courses, the possible weather conditions, and the chance to play on several famous courses where history has been made, a trip to Scotland seems to be the ultimate golf destination.