Sunday, January 31, 2010

Fowler has strong showing at Torrey Pines


Rookie Rickie Fowler made a strong showing at the Farmers Insurance Open, making his first cut of the year and finishing in a tie for 5th at Torrey Pines.

Rickie Fowler photo gallery

Fowler finished two shots behind winner Ben Crane, and a unfortunate double bogey at the 17th hole cost him a shot at a playoff.

The 21 year old missed his first two cuts of the year at the Sony Open and the Bob Hope Classic, but played consistently this week, shooting rounds of 67-70-70-70.

Fowler played in only a handful of events in 2009, but made over $500,000, just short of earning his card. He then went to Qualifying School where he earned full time status for 2010.

Fowler has been called the "next big thing" on the PGA Tour and so far he has provided a lot of excitement and been in contention in several tournaments. It should be just a matter of time until he gets his first win.

Photo - AP / Denis Poroy

A Course Called Ireland


In his new book, A COURSE CALLED IRELAND, Tom Coyne writes about his journey through Ireland. He pulls off an unbelievable trip which any true golfer would love to take. Coyne took 16 weeks to play every seaside hole in Ireland, including top ranked courses, as well as nine-hole courses. The most amazing part of the story is that he walked the entire way.

Coyne details the many difficulties he faced on the road as well as the more comedic moments both on the course and in pubs. He also provides some insight as to the best courses to play in Ireland, the best pubs, the best meals, and the best places to stay.

The book goes on sale February 2nd and more details can be seen at www.tomcoyne.com.

Mickelson at center of groove controversy, accused of cheating


After shooting a third round 70, leaving him four shots off the pace at the Farmers Insurance Open, Phil Mickelson spoke out about the new groove rule and cheating accusations made against him.

Mickelson photo gallery

Mickelson said that if the PGA Tour doesn't do anything about him being publicly slandered, he will "let others handle it", implying that he may take legal action.

He was referring to Scott McCarron, who commented about Mickelson using old Ping Eye 2 wedges with square grooves. "It's cheating, and I'm appalled Phil has put it in play."

Starting this season, the new rule set by the USGA called for all irons to have V-shaped grooves. However, Ping-Eye 2 wedges made before April of 1990 remain approved because of a lawsuit settled 20 years ago which takes precedence over the new rules.

Several players, including Mickelson and John Daly, discovered the loophole and decided to take advantage by using the old clubs. Many players on Tour took exception, claiming that Mickelson, Daly, and others using these clubs have an unfair advantage because they can gain more spin on their shots.

"I understand black and white," Mickelson said. "And I think that myself or any other player is allowed to play those clubs because they're approved - end of story."

Mickelson, the number two player in the world, has not been shy in voicing his opinion on the groove changes saying that they are "ridiculous" and should not have been made.

The Tour did later release a statement defending Mickelson and the use of the Pings.

"Under the Rules of Golf and the 2010 Condition of Competition for Groove Specifications promulgated by the USGA, pre-1990 Ping Eye 2 irons are permitted for play and any player who uses them in PGA Tour sanctioned events taking place in jurisdictions of the USGA is not in violation of the Rules of Golf."

Because the use of pre-1990 Ping Eye 2 irons is permitted for play," the statement says, "public comments or criticisms characterizing their use as a violation of the Rules of Golf as promulgated by the USGA are inappropriate at best."

Tim Finchem, PGA commissioner, will be addressing the issues in greater detail on Tuesday, February 2nd.

John Daly quits (again), then changes mind (again)

John Daly shot a first round 79 at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, missed the cut, and claimed he was quitting golf afterwords.

"I'm done. I can't compete. Just can't play like I used to," he said.

Daly photo gallery

He went on to release a statement via Facebook. "To ALL my Fans---my financial situation is putting me where I cannot focus on my game, I'm putting too much pressure on myself, the few sponsors that I have are great but it's not getting me through these times."

"I want to thank my fans throughout all these years & I don't like to continue to embarass myself-- maybe my mind may change down the road but right now i don't have the money to be on the tour. My game has never been the same since my rib injury during the Honda Classic in 2007. God Bless! JD"

Daly probably should have thought about saving a little money rather than blowing millions gambling and playing $5000 slots.

Either way, he later recanted on his initial statements with some new ones on twitter.

"Never said retirement in anything or twitter-i want to correct that! simply sayin I need my time & working through these bad times thank you."

Its not a surprise Daly is struggling with his game as he has lost 116 pounds in the past year due to lap band surgery. He needs to get used to a whole new body and this will definitely have an effect on his golf swing.

Daly is also probably attempting to stir up some added drama for his new reality show which begins in March on the Golf Channel.

Photos - AP / Chris Carlson

Friday, January 29, 2010

Reasons Mickelson should have a huge 2010

AP / Chris Carlson
  • He is coming off a four win 2009 in which he ended on a hot note with wins at the Tour Championship and the HSBC World Golf Championship
  • His wife and mother are recovering well from their bouts with cancer
  • He has changed his putting style after working with Dick Stockton
  • No Tiger as of yet
  • He should be the favorite heading into both the Masters and the U.S. Open
  • After almost 20 years on Tour, he has finally begun to use better course management
  • He is bombing it off the tee and has a ridiculous short game, especially with the loophole he is exploiting with the new groove rules
  • No Tiger as of yet (did I mention this?)
  • Johnny Miller said so last year and he is never wrong
Prediction: Phil will win five times this year including the Masters

Friday, January 22, 2010

Abu Dhabi Golf Championship

Rory McIIroy (AP / Karl Jeffs)

Abu Dhabi is where its at this week in the golf world as the Bob Hope Classic is awash in rain and lacks any star power whatsoever.

Top players in the field at Abu Dhabi include Rory Mcllroy, Sergio Garcia, Geoff Ogivly, Anthony Kim, Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Chris Wood, Alvaro Quiros, Camillo Villegas, and Paul Casey.

Leaderboard and tournament info

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Golden Bear turns 70

Jack Nicklaus turns 70 today.

Throughout his career:
  • He won 18 majors (six Masters, four U.S. Opens, three British Opens, five PGA Championships)
  • had 73 PGA Tour victories
  • played on six Ryder Cup teams and was captain twice
  • captained four President Cup teams
  • won the PGA scoring title eight times
  • won the PGA money title eight times
  • won ten Senior Tour events, eight of which were majors
Full list of career accomplishments

If you have ten minutes, Jack on the back nine at the 86 Masters:

video

Monday, January 18, 2010

PGA Tour Tournament Ratings

Definition of watchable: Interesting or enjoyable to watch

While attempting to watch the first two PGA tournaments this year, I thought to myself a few times that they were almost "unwatchable", at least during the first three rounds.

I'm a huge golf fan and love watching tournaments, but there has to be reasons to watch without it being too boring.

I came up with a rating system with the main factors that go into how "watchable" a PGA Tour event turns out to be. Any yes, I realize I need to be doing something better with my time.

Each of the following five points is graded on a 1-10 scale. Add them up and take the average to get the overall tournament rating. The higher the number the better. As an example, Jack Nicklaus at Augusta in 86 or Tiger at Torrey Pines in 2008 probably hit a perfect 10.

1.The Field:
(Top ranked players, big draw players, exciting players)

2.Tournament Importance:
(Event level, prestige, $ involved, Fed Ex Points, exemptions gained)

3.Venue:
(golf course, history, conditions, difficulty)

4. Story lines:
(Records set, comebacks, surprises, upsets, cinderella stories, meltdowns, etc.)

5. Drama:
(Overall drama coming down the stretch on Sunday)

I'll be grading the tournaments each week and providing the results during "The Monday Caddie". The Monday Caddie will discuss the previous week's tournaments, highlights, lowlights, story lines, etc.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Tiger News

Tiger has still not been seen in public but his name is all over the news.

Haiti:

Tiger supposedly is involved in making a 3 million dollar donation to Haiti which includes a cargo plane with a mobile hospital and 50 EMTs. This came about from rap mogul Russell Simmons tweeting about it.

However, Greg McLaughlin, president of the Tiger Woods foundation, has not heard from Russell Simmons and spoke about the situation in this article.

From Wei Under Par:
Now if you don’t have a spare million to donate, here are two simple, legitimate ways to contribute to the Haitian relief efforts:
  • Text ‘HAITI’ to 90999: This service was set up by the U.S. State Department. Texting “HAITI” to the number will donate $10 to the American Red Cross, and will appear as a charge on your wireless bill.
  • Text ‘YELE’ to 501501: This will donate $5 to Yele Haiti, a non-profit organization founded by singer and Haiti native Wyclef Jean. A donation to Yele will also appear as a charge on your cell bill.
Federer talks to Tiger:


Tiger's boy and world number one tennis player Roger Federer says he has spoken with Woods and said the following, among other things.

"The tabloids are going crazy, sponsor contracts are falling apart. I've always been aware that the image you patiently construct for an entire career can be ruined in a minute. Tiger needs calm. And soon he'll become the wonderful golfer that we know again," Federer said.

Els talks Tiger and Phil:


"Phil has really been working hard, and now his putting is coming around. I think Phil is probably the man to beat now. Even if you asked Tiger at the end of last year, I think Phil got right to his level throughout his game. I think there's a new guy we gotta chase."

Sorry Ernie, Tiger would never admit that Phil is better at any point, especially seeing that he ended the year with 7 worldwide wins, won the Fed Ex Cup, went 5-0 at the Presidents Cup, and won his last tournament played at the Australian Masters. Not sure how Phil could be considered the man to beat, other than for the fact that Tiger is on an indefinite leave.

Jackass of the Week:

I've been considering starting a new feature on this blog naming the Jackass of the Week. I'm not sure if there are enough to go around in the golf world but this genius wins the first award for making fake Tiger Gatorade labels.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Review: Secrets of the Short Game


Phil Mickelson says the goal of his book "Secrets of the Short Game" is to help take your game to the highest level from 50 yards and in. He wants to provide golfers with a foundation for great technique, help to identify problems, and then provide solutions.

The book is broken down into five sections:

Putting
Chipping
Sand Play
Pitching
Flop and Lob

This is a very detailed book at just over 200 pages and Phil provides in-depth explanations and excellent photographs of just about every shot possible.

The book is not for brand new beginners and doesn't provide step by step instruction on the basics.

Mickelson provides excellent tips, strategies, and different shot options for different lies and situations on the course. He also gives examples of how he needed to use particular shots in big tournaments throughout his career, and how they turned out.

Regardless if you are a Mickelson fan or not, there is no doubt you can learn a great deal about improving your short game through this book. Phil provides a good combination of set up and mechanics with the imagination needed to have a great short game.

More Book Reviews:

Nothing Major - Bob Cayne
Open - Andre Agassi
The Downhill Lie - Carl Hiaasen
Greatest Game Ever Played - Mark Frost
Uneven Lies - Pete McDaniel
Sudden Death - Michael Balkind
The Match - Mark Frost

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Golf in France

Why golf in France?

  • France features over 400 golf courses, with 25 of Europe's top 100.
  • In a French golf club, you are not considered as a visitor but as a member for the day. After eighteen holes in the morning, you will have the opportunity to play a free extra round in the afternoon on most of the the French golf courses.
  • Some of the most famous architects have designed French golf courses (Robert Trent Jones Senior and Junior, Pete Dye, Peter Alliss, Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus)
  • French landscapes on golf courses include: links, cliffs, sandhills, parkland, wooded, and mountain ranges
  • Other than golf, you have the culture, history, scenery, art, wines, etc.


The picture above is from a course called Dunkerque, which features a heart shaped green for the ladies out there.

Notes on France golf:

France features the LPGA's Evian Masters and will take place this year starting July 22nd.

France is home of one of the most famous / infamous golfers of all time, Jean Van de Velde. Who could forget this guy?



All Golf travel articles:

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

Friday, January 8, 2010

2010 Major Championship Predictions

Major Winners for 2010 without Tiger:

Masters - Phil Mickelson

U.S. Open - Lee Westwood

British Open - Rory McIlroy

PGA Championship - Sean O'Hair


Major Winners for 2010 with Tiger:

Masters - Phil Mickelson

U.S. Open - Tiger Woods

British Open - Tiger Woods

PGA Championship - Sean O'Hair

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Monty says Europe will beat United States at Ryder Cup


European Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie just can't stop himself from speaking. It is only January and he continues to talk about the Ryder Cup, which doesn't take place until October at Celtic Manor in Wales.

In his most recent interview, he talked more about Tiger Woods and how he thinks his team will do against the United States.

"We'd love to have him play in the Ryder Cup against us, although no one's quite sure how long this absence from the game is going to be," he said.

"A lot depends on whether Tiger plays, as he hasn't lost in the singles. But if our 12 play to their potential, with the crowd's backing, we will win," he added.

The 2010 Ryder Cup will be a huge event as the United States will look to defend the Cup. The U.S. will be led by captain Corey Pavin, and the team is surely keeping track of every comment Montgomerie makes.

If nothing else, at least Montgomerie is promoting the event early and often.

Tiger Woods Update

New Year. Same Story.

Tiger continues to provide the only interesting news in the golf world thus far in 2010.

I didn't know you could go to jail for having cheated on your wife but these photos were taken by Annie Leibovitz at Pelican Bay. Just wait until you see the prison tats all over his back.

But seriously, this is definitely a new look for Tiger. These photos were supposedly taken in 2006 and are accompanied by this article.

AP photo / Michael Dwyer

On Tiger's recent trip to Australia, he brought in over 31 million dollars to the economy. Woods was a huge draw at the Australian Masters and brought in over 107,000 spectators to the pro-am, the practice round, and the four day tournament.

"This was truly a great event for Melbourne and Victoria that delivered a massive boost to our tourism industry, attracted thousands of visitors to our state and beamed Melbourne to a global audience," state Premier Rob Hulls said. "Due to unprecedented ticket sales and public interest, the actual impact was almost double what was forecast."

This was the last tournament in played in prior to his car crash, which of course he won.

EA Sports is sticking with Tiger at this point. EA Sports President Peter Moore said that the company decided to stick with Woods because he is "still one of the greatest athletes in history." Moore added that the company spent considerable time developing and testing the new game, "Tiger Woods PGA Tour Online," which he considers a "breakthrough experience."

Even Tiger's caddie, Steve Williams is in the news. The caddie has won two consecutive motorsport races down under while on vacation from his day job.

European Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie loves talking. He had a lot to say about Tiger on a recent radio appearance such as:

"It is absolutely impossible to play good golf with all that going on."

"There is no question there was an aura about Tiger Woods over this incredible record he has, not just in majors but in other world events. That wall has been split slightly and there are cracks. It gives us more opportunity to find ways of winning these events now and I am thinking of myself as well as my peers."

Sorry Monty, you don't have a chance.

Friday, January 1, 2010

2010 will be huge year for Sports

Happy New Year!

2010 should not only be a great year in golf, but for all sports in general. In golf, we have the Masters, the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, the British Open at St. Andrews, and the PGA Championship at Whistling Straights. The Ryder Cup will take place in Wales as the U.S. will try to defend the cup.

The year will also see the Winter Olympics in February, the World Cup this summer, and hopefully the Pacquiao / Mayweather fight in March.

Of course you can't leave out the Super Bowl, March Madness, Stanley Cup, NBA Championship, the World Series, and the Kentucky Derby.

Here is a rundown of the top sport events (in my eyes) for 2010.

The Super Bowl - Miami - February
The Winter Olympics - Vancouver - February
Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather - Las Vegas - March
NCAA Basketball Tournament - March
The Masters - Augusta - April
The Players Championship - Sawgrass - May
The Kentucky Derby - May
The World Cup - South Africa - June
The U.S. Open - Pebble Beach - June
NBA Playoffs - June
NHL Playoffs - June
The British Open - St. Andrews - July
The PGA Championship - Whistling Straights - August
Fed Ex Cup Playoffs - August / September
Ryder Cup - October
The World Series - October

Full PGA schedule 2010