Monday, February 22, 2010

The Irony of Faldo and Nantz on Tiger

Transcript from the CBS Accenture Match Play coverage with announcers Jim Nantz and Nick Faldo.

Nantz: Lets take a break from the golf action and touch on the Tiger Woods situation. Sir Nick, what do you make of Tiger's apology?

Faldo: Well, I thought it was quite brave actually. Personally, I've had three wives, three divorces, and a slew of mistresses so I know how tough it can be when you are the world's number one player. Women everywhere. Just everywhere.

I could tell you some stories you wouldn't believe Jim. This one time, after I won the Masters...

Nantz: Uhh, Nick, we're on the air.

Faldo: Ok sorry, I'll save that one for later. But really, I am familiar with a scorned woman getting angry with a golf club. One of my college girlfriends got mad, took my 9 iron out of my bag and smashed up my 200k Porshe. I'll tell you Jim, the price of fame, the price of fame. People just don't know how hard it is.

What is your opinion Jim? Can Tiger's marriage recover?

Nantz: Wow, I just don't know. This marriage thing is just insane. As you know, I'm going through a very tough divorce and dating a girl half my age. I'm paying 72k per month in alimony. Brutal! Just think what Tiger will have to pay.

The amount of women that want to date a sportscaster is just stunning. Can't imagine how many would want to be with Tiger.

CBS Producer into their headsets: Would you two shut up already! Talk about golf for godsakes! McCord, Feherty, start talking about something funny!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Final Four set at Accenture Match Play

Despite many of the top seeds losing early, some big names have reached the final four of the Accenture World Match Play.

In the quarterfinals Saturday morning, Ian Poulter defeated Thongchai Jaidee 1up while Sergio Garcia defeated Oliver Wilson by a score of 4 and 3. On the other side of the bracket, Camillo Villegas beat Retief Goosen 4 and 3 while Paul Casey whipped up on Stewart Cink, winning with a score of 5 up.

The semi-finals take place Saturday afternoon and the 36 hole final will be Sunday.

Final Four

Camillo Villegas

Paul Casey

Ian Poulter


Sergio Garcia


Villegas over Casey
Garcia over Poulter

AP photos / Nam Huh

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Picking the winners at Match Play

Here are my final four picks for the Accenture Match Play.

Bobby Jones bracket: Steve Stricker
Stricker is coming off a win two weeks ago at Riviera and is now the #2 ranked player in the world. Match play typically comes down to who can make the most putts and Stricker is one of the best putters on Tour. He is truly in the prime of his career right now and playing with a lot of confidence. When he gets hot with the putter, look out. He does have a brutal bracket however including Ryo Ishikawa, Ross Fisher, Anthony Kim, Paddy Harrington, and Angel Cabrera.

Ben Hogan bracket: Rory McIlroy
McIlroy is only 2o years old and has recently been having back problems, but he has moved to the #8 spot in the world. He's been playing very well of late with numerous top ten finishes and he is prime for a big tournament. He will have to beat out Martin Kaymer, Sergio Garcia, Luke Donald, and the Mechanic, among others, to reach the final four.

Gary Player bracket: Geoff Ogilvy
Ogilvy won the season opener at the SBS Championship and has won this tournament twice previously, including last year. He also reached the in 2007 before eventually losing to Henrick Stenson. He obviously has a knack for match play and typically plays his best at the beginning of the year.

Sam Snead bracket: Sean O'Hair
O'Hair is one of the top young players in the game with three career wins. He learned a lot about match play and gained experience from being apart of the Presidents Cup team in 2009. He also reached the elite eight in this event last year.

Semi-finals: McIlroy over Stricker, Ogilvy over O'Hair

Finals: McIlroy over Ogilvy

Rory McIlroy - AP Photo / Noush Salimi

Monday, February 15, 2010

Accenture World Match Play

The Accenture World Match Play begins this week in Arizona and there are a lot of great first round matchups. Print your bracket here.

Defending champion:
Geoff Ogilvy

The #1 seeds:
Steve Stricker, Martin Kaymer, Lee Westwood, Jim Furyk

Notable first round match ups:

Bobby Jones group: Ryo Ishikawa vs. Michael Sim, Anthony Kim vs. Matt Kuchar, Angel Cabrera vs. Adam Scott

Ben Hogan group: Martin Kaymer vs. Chad Campbell, Rory McIlroy vs. Kevin Na, Sergio Garcia vs. David Toms

Gary Player group: Lee Westwood vs. Chris Wood, Ernie Els vs. Ryan Moore, Camillo Villegas vs. Dustin Johnson

Sam Snead group: Alvaro Quiros vs. Mike Weir, Hunter Mahan vs. Charl Schwartzel

The rankings in match play can be thrown out the window because anyone can beat anyone on a given day.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Golf Channel sucking it up at Pebble

After attempting to watch the Golf Channel's coverage of the AT & T Pebble Beach Pro-Am today, I have to say that it 100% sucked. It was awful. Terrible. Atrocious.

First of all, they would show one or two golf shots, show some guy walking his dog on the beach, cut to commercial, show one or two shots, show kids making sand castles, cut to commercial. Same thing over and over.

I get it. Pebble Beach is the most scenic golf course in the world but how about maybe showing some actual golf.

Second, how about showing the professionals. For some reason, they did not show any shots by first round leader Dustin Johnson or any of the other leaders with the exception of David Duval. They only had cameras on Pebble Beach apparently. No shots by Phil Mickelson or any of the other leaders that everyone actually wants to see.

Instead, who do they show? Chris Berman, one of the worst golfers ever, as well as one of the worst golf commentators ever, taking pathetic swings, chunking shots, and taking five shots to get out of the bunker. Berman then acts as if he is mad at his poor shots. Ridiculous display. They also enjoyed showing Pederman from Seinfeld more than any professionals.

Even funnier is when Jim Gray interviewed Berman after the round. He asked Berman if playing Pebble Beach would help him when he does the ESPN coverage at the U.S. Open in June. Uh, no Jim, he shot 175 today. He can offer no insight whatsoever as to the strategies the players will use. One thing is for sure, if Berman does the coverage, I will have my mute button on the entire time.

Read about others not amused by Berman here and here. After one minute of browsing, I've found there are many Berman haters out there but that is besides the point for now.

Why is the golf channel showing terrible celebrities play rather than the professionals? It makes absolutely no sense.

Can David Duval win again?

With David Duval nearly winning the U.S. Open at Bethpage last year it became quite evident that he still has a lot of game. He has recently shown the flashes of brilliance that made him the #1 player in the world before Tiger came along. He has also shown how inconsistent he can be by following up great rounds with very poor rounds.

Once again, he is in contention at the AT & T Pebble Beach Pro-Am with rounds of 67 at Spyglass and a 68 at Pebble Beach. One off the lead heading into the weekend, he appears to be in great control of his game and playing with confidence.

Between 1997 -2001, Duval won 13 professional tournaments including the 2001 British Open, which was his last win. From there on, a downward spiral began with his playing career, dropping him all the way to 882nd in the world rankings.

A win by Duval would obviously be great for his career and a huge boost for the PGA Tour in general. Most golf fans enjoy a good comeback story and this certainly would qualify.

AP photo / Tony Avelar

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Dustin Johnson birdies final five holes for 64 - leads at Pebble Beach

Dustin Johnson - AP / Eric Risberg

Defending champion Dustin Johnson got off to a great start at the AT & T Pebble Beach Pro-Am with birdies at his final five holes for a first round 64 and the lead at eight under.

First round photo gallery

Celebrity pro-am

Pebble Beach is known for windy conditions, although Thursday saw the course in calm weather. “It’s one of the best places you want to be when it’s good weather,” Johnson said. “It’s so pretty, too. It’s a fun place to be.”

The tournament features a rotation of courses including Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill, and the Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula. The players play each course the first three days of the tournament and those making the cut play the final round at Pebble Beach.

J.B. Holmes made eagle on the difficult par-4 8th hole by holing out an eight iron from 175 yards on his way to shooting 65 at Pebble. He's joined at seven under by KJ Choi, who also shot 65 at Pebble.

David Duval had the round of the day at Spyglass Hill, shooting a five under 67 on the course considered to be the most difficult in the rotation. Duval continues to show signs of greatness at times but then tends to falter down the stretch. Hopefully he can play well for the entire tournament and make a run for the title.

Phil Mickelson, three time winner of the event, shot a two under par 68 at the Shore Course.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

AT & T Pebble Beach

The AT & T Pebble Beach Pro-Am kicks off Thursday and there is a very good field. This week will provide a great warm up and preview for the players to get ready for the U.S. Open, which will be held there in June. Having played Pebble Beach, it is always enjoyable watching the best players in the world on such a difficult course, especially if the wind is blowing.

Defending champion:
Dustin Johnson

Top ranked players:
Phil Mickelson, Padraig Harrington, Vijay Singh, Retief Goosen, Jim Furyk, Sergio Garcia, Mike Weir, Sean O'Hair

Young guns:
Ryo Ishikawa, Rickie Fowler

John Daly, Sam Saunders (Arnold Palmer's grandson)

Full field

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Johnny Miller comments on Tiger story

In my opinion, Johnny Miller is by far the most interesting golf announcer because he's not afraid to give his honest assessment. He has been known to be the most outspoken announcer and has grilled many of the player's decision making over the years. They even have a "Top Ten show" with Johnny Miller comments on the golf channel. With the Northern Trust Open being covered by NBC this weekend, he had his chance to talk about the Tiger story.

LA Times story

"Couple of things for sure," Miller said. "He's damaged the game of golf. It's been hurtful. He's lost a lot of respect and his integrity is pretty shattered right now. And more importantly he's injured his marriage and his family."

"He'll come back strongly because he's got so much talent, so much game but he'll have to go through a lot of media blitz. He's become almost bigger than golf, Entertainment Tonight, People Magazine type of thing. He's going to have to face the music and show he has done anything he can to repair his marriage and have some genuine sorrow in his voice and feeling from the heart to show he can change and make his life better."

Miller didn't really say anthing that wasn't already known, however, this isn't stopping golf fans from going nuts on this topic. Check out more details and quotes from the golf channel site as well as the comments.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Final round showdown looming at Dubai Desert Classic

The Dubai Desert Classic is set for a great final round Sunday as Lee Westwood, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Alvaro Quiros, and Thongchai Jaidee are tied for the lead at 11 under par.

Photo slideshow at Dubai

Both Westwood and Jimenez shot 68 in the third round to catch Thongchai Jaidee (69), who held the lead after round two. Quiros shot 67 to join the foursome for the lead.

Rory Mcllroy is next in line at nine under par after shooting a third round 69.

Westwood, who won the Dubai World Championship last November, is expecting a final round shootout.

"If the weather stays calm as it did for the third round it's going to be a birdie feast," Westwood said.

AP photo / Kamran Jebreili

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Golf in Portugal

Playing golf in Portugal has become very popular because of the fantastic climate as well as the stunning landscapes, especially in the Argarve. The Argarve is the southern province of the country along the coast, and provides the greatest number of golf courses with many currently being built.

The main golf season is from late autumn to late spring. Winters are mild which allows golfers from northern European countries to work on their swings when their home courses are unplayable. Portugal does have a lot of sunshine, however rain does fall with nearly all of it coming during the main golfing season.

Course designer Henry Cotton brought the first of his three golf courses to Penina in the Algarve in the mid sixties. Cotton lived in the Algarve and supposedly trained a donkey to carry two golf bags around the course and be a caddie. Yes, you heard that correctly.

Either way, Penina continues to be one of the top courses in the country with tricky water hazards all over as well as 250,000 trees planted along the fairways.

Currently, none of the courses in the Algarve are more than 15km from the coast, however, course terrains vary from steep hillsides of Parque da Floresta to near sea level flatlands of Vilamoura and Salgados.

Vilamoura, a town that provides a lot of nightlife focused on the marina is also home to seven championship courses, making it highly recommended as a top destination for groups.

Portugal appears to be an excellent destination for golfers due to the weather, the landscapes, the variety of courses, and the nightlife.

All Golf travel:

Golf at Pebble Beach
Golf in Vegas
Golf in Scotland
Golf in Panama
Golf in Sicily
Golf in England
Golf in South America
Golf in Spain
Golf in Spain 2