Sunday, March 28, 2010

Couples gets 3rd win on Champions Tour

Fred Couples fired a course record 62 with eleven birdies to win the Cap Cana Championship in the Dominican Republic. The win is his third straight on the Champions Tour and third victory out of four starts. He finished runner up to Tom Watson in the season opener.

Couples beat Corey Pavin by two strokes and broke the course record of 63 that Pavin had set the previous day. He won $240,000 and now has won $931,000 in four tournaments to lead the money list.

Couples, the 1992 Masters Champion, is expected to play a practice round at Augusta with Tiger Woods on April 5th, the Monday of Masters week.

"I am looking forward to seeing Tiger and playing with him and having a good time," said Couples in a Golf Channel interview.

At age 50, Couples is playing extremely well and could be the oldest player ever to win a green jacket.

AP Photo / Paul Connors

Friday, March 26, 2010

Lefty shoots 58 as he gears for Masters

While playing a round with friends at The Plantation Golf Club in California earlier this week, Phil Mickelson shot a course record 58 on the 7042 yard course. He broke the previous record of 61 set in 2002.

After playing 18 holes in the morning, he decided to play another nine after stopping for lunch, and shot seven under 29. He continued playing and ended up shooting 29 on the back nine, with an astounding total of 12 birdies and an eagle.

"The golf course is actually playing extremely difficult. The greens are firm and fast, and the rough is pretty long. To shoot even in the mid-60s here is very impressive. To break 60 is phenomenal," said Tim Kunick, an assistant pro at the Plantation.

After playing fairly average for much of the year, Mickelson seems to be getting his game in shape at the right time of year. After two rounds at the Bay Hill Invitational, he is at six under par, one shot off the lead.

Mickelson is looking to have his game in peak shape with the Masters starting on April 8th. The two time champion said Thursday that he would love to be paired with Tiger Woods as he makes his return during the opening rounds at Augusta.

Last year at Augusta, Mickelson and Woods were paired during a final round filled with fireworks. Mickelson shot a front nine 30 and both of them put on a final day charge before coming up just short of eventual winner Angel Cabrera.

AP Photo / John Raoux

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Mickelson would welcome Woods pairing at Masters

Tournament officials rarely pair Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods in the early rounds of tournaments, but if it happens at the Masters, Mickelson would be thrilled.

He spoke to ESPN about the possibility after his first round 71 at Bay Hill. "I think it would be great. The Tour hasn't paired us together since I've been out on tour. It's never happened before. But I think it'd be great. I'd love it."

Mickelson, currently number three in the world, is looking forward to the return of the world's number one player. "I think we're all excited to have him back," Mickelson said. "We all know the importance that he is to the game. We as players are excited to have him back."

With six Masters victories between the two, this would be an unbelievable pairing for the first rounds. It would add even more intrigue to the return of Woods by putting the two rivals together.

If not Mickelson, it would seem right for tournament officials to pair veteran players with experience with Woods, such as Steve Stricker, Jim Furyk, Padraig Harrington, Angel Cabrera, or Kenny Perry.

The return of Woods at Augusta is already hyped to the extreme, and adding Mickelson or another top star to his pairing would make it even more of an event.

AP Photo / Phelan Ebenhack

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tiger preparing for Masters at Augusta

Tiger Woods was practicing at Augusta on Monday preparing for his return at the Masters which starts April 8th.

He addressed a few issues in two interviews Sunday.

On how he will do at Augusta. "I know how to play the golf course and that helps a lot," he said. "I've just got to play it. I'm excited to get back and play. I'm excited to get to see the guys again. I really miss a lot of my friends out there. I miss competing."

As for how the fans will react to him when he returns. "I'm a little nervous about that to be honest with you," he said. "It would be nice to hear a couple claps here and there. But also hope they clap for birdies, too."

PGA professionals John Cook and Arjun Atwal played with Woods recently and both had good things to say about the state of his game. "I don't see anyone that hits the ball like he does," said Cook. " As far as ball-striking goes, if he takes that up there, it's vintage."

"He's hitting it just fine," Atwal said at Isleworth. "He's hitting it longer than before. There is no doubt."

Monday, March 15, 2010

Stats for Ernie Els at Doral

The Big Easy won for the first time in two years at Doral and now moves up to #8 in the world rankings and #3 in the Fed Ex Cup Standings. Els should certainly be a contender at the Masters when the real season finally starts.

Stats for the week:

Birdies 23
Pars 44
Bogeys 5

Driving accuracy 60.7%
Putts per round 26.8
Greens in Regulation 69.4
Sand Saves 66.7

Scores: 68,66,70,66

Compare your stats with Els.

AP Photo / Lynne Sladky

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Trump building 1.6 billion dollar course

Donald Trump has plans to build a 1.6 billion dollar golf course in Scotland which will include 950 holiday homes, a hotel, equestrian center and tennis courts, as well as other indulgences.

Trump, who already owns 13 courses throughout the world, claims this will be "the world's greatest golf course."

He certainly won't spare any expense as he already spent 7 million on a waterfall on hole #13 at Trump National Golf Course in New York.

Being John Daly

I know a few reasons why JD agreed to the reality show "Being John Daly" on the golf channel.

This article details seven costly pro athlete screw ups, including the following on Daly.

Two-time PGA major champ John Daly gambled away between $50 and $60 million in career earnings, according to his 2006 autobiography. Daly once lost $1.65 million in five hours playing the slot machines at a casino. If you think that’s impressive, there’s more. Daly blew $1.2 million in a mere two hours and 30 minutes at a casino in Las Vegas. He just had his $1.6 million house foreclosed on. Did Daly quit gambling after blowing so much cash at the casino tables? Not by a long shot. Instead, he decided to downgrade from the $5,000 slot machines to the $100 and $500 machines. It looks in John Daly’s world, that is considered sound financial planning.

Playing $5000 slot machines is one possible definition of insanity.

AP Photo / Ricardo Arduengo

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Time for Tiger to get back on the course

It is definitely time for the most recognizable athlete on the planet to get back to doing what he does best. Tiger Woods needs to get back on the golf course as soon as possible to begin moving on from car crashes, scandals, therapy, and apologies. Enough is enough.

Woods seemed to have an impeccable life both on and off the golf course, and after watching him for the past decade or so, the last thing I ever thought his name could be involved in would be a beauty pageant on the Howard Stern Show.

It did happen however, as Stern just held the Tiger Woods Mistress Beauty Pageant involving three contestants. I can only imagine Tiger just shaking his head at how ridiculous this situation has really become.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Stats of the Week

Camilo Villegas won THE HONDA CLASSIC by five strokes for his third win on the PGA Tour.

He finished at 13 under par for the week and led the field with 22 total birdies.

His statistics for the week:

Round 1: 66
Round 2: 66
Round 3: 67
Round 4: 68

Birdies: 22
Pars: 41
Bogeys: 9
Other: 0

Driving accuracy: 62.5%
Greens in regulation: 73.6%
Sand saves: 66.7%
Putts per round: 28.3

Track your own stats throughout the season with The 20th Hole: Stat Book and Log for Golfers.

AP Photo / Alan Diaz