Saturday, January 28, 2012

Tiger Woods progresses to third round 66 and leads in Abu Dhabi

Tiger Woods has said it would be a "process" to overhaul his swing and bring his game back to the form that dominated for so many years. So far in Abu Dhabi, he's gotten progressively better with rounds of 70, 69, and 66 to share the lead at 11-under with Robert Rock heading into the final round.

Woods last played at the Chevron World Challenge in December where he birdied the final two holes to win by one shot over Zach Johnson. He will now have his chance for consecutive wins at a full field event against many of the top players in the world.

It should be quite a challenge as he will be chased by several players, including world number three Rory McILroy, who is two shots back.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Mickelson 15 shots back at Torrey Pines after "pathetic" first round 77

Phil Mickelson is usually money at Torrey Pines but he had a terrible first round Thursday at the Farmer's Insurance Open. Playing on the more difficult South Course, he shot a 5-over par 77, 15 shots back of leaders Spencer Levin and Kyle Stanley, who both shot 62 on the North Course.

"I had some good days of practice and I was ready to play. I don't know what happened, I just wasn't able to focus. Obviously, I made some bad swings just in the wrong spots and so forth. But I felt like my game was ready heading in, and I don't know what to say about the score because it was pathetic."

Not sure what's going on with Phil so far in 2012 but he's obviously not off to the greatest start. Mickelson has admitted staying focused has been one of his weaknesses throughout this career and this round seems to be a good example.

Mickelson is known for pulling off brilliant shots and going on ridiculous hot streaks, but is also capable of having mental lapses and high scores that seem to come out of nowhere.

One possibility is that he's just bored with "normal tournaments" because he's been on Tour so long. Hopefully he will still be able to get fired up for the Majors this year because golf is much more interesting when Phil is in the mix.

Sergio Garcia drains hole in one in Abu Dhabi

Sergio Garcia made a nice hole in one in Abu Dhabi at the 12th hole on Thursday. This showed quite a bit of improvement from his last tournament, when he got bitter and gunned his 5-iron into a lake after an errant shot.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Woods opens with 70 in Abu Dhabi

Tiger Woods began his 2012 season with an opening round 70 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship which included two birdies and no bogeys. He had complete control of his swing while hitting 17 out of 18 greens but struggled on the greens ending with 35 putts.

“It was a good ball-striking round,” Woods said. “But I had a hard time reading the greens. They were pretty grainy, and I just had a hard time getting a feel for it, especially for the first few holes. Towards the end I hit some pretty good putts, but overall I got fooled a lot on my reads.”
Woods played with world number one Luke Donald, who shot a 1-under 71, and world number three Rory McILroy, who is tied for the lead after a 5-under 67.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Excellent field set for Torrey Pines

It's about time for AK to get back into the winners circle.
Although Tiger Woods declined to play this week at a course he's dominated throughout his career, a top notch field is prepared to play at Torrey Pines for the Farmer's Insurance Open headed by the pairing of Phil Mickelson, Nick Watney, and Hunter Mahan.

Here are the betting odds for the tournament and other intriguing pairings include:

Anthony Kim, Jhonattan Vegas, D.A. Points
Justin Rose, Ernie Els, Geoff Ogilvy
Rickie Fowler, Bud Cauley, John Mallinger
Dustin Johnson, Gary Woodland, Camillo Villegas
Bill Haas, Bubba Watson, Keegan Bradley

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Woods, Mcllroy, and Donald paired up in Abu Dhabi

The pairings and tee times are set for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship with the featured group of Tiger Woods, Rory Mcllroy, and Luke Donald sure to take center stage for at least the first two days.

Question: Luke Donald raised some eyebrows at the end of last year, identifying Rory McIlroy as having the most talent he had ever seen, more even than you in your prime; I just wondered if you could talk to whether you see Rory as the most talented player you've ever seen, and also how you see Luke Donald's accomplishments and whether he deserves his world No. 1 ranking, despite not having won a major?

TIGER WOODS:  Well, you don't have to win a major to become the No. 1 player in the world; you have to be consistent.  You have to play well in the big events, and it's about accumulating points.  That's how the system has developed. But as far as being the most talented player, I think the most talented player that I've ever seen in person was Seve.  Never seen a person do the things with the golf ball that he was able to do and the creativeness that he was able to do.  To me, he certainly had the most talent that I had ever seen in person.  I had never saw Hogan hit a golf ball.  Never saw Mr.Nelson hit a golf ball.  I never saw Jack in his prime.  But I did see Seve when I first came out here, and I was able to play with him a few times; it was impressive.

Other notable pairings include the group of Jason Day, Darren Clarke, and Alvaro Quiros, as well as Sergio Garcia, Martin Kaymer, and Lee Westwood.

Tiger Woods is not a fan of "The Big Miss"

Tiger Woods had his season opening presser today for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and discussed the usual topics such as the form of his game, his health, the top players in the world, and his goals for the upcoming season. Woods also discussed Hank Haney's new book, "The Big Miss", set for release one week prior to the Masters, but he didn't go in to great detail.

Did you ever think Hank would write a book about you?

Q.  And if not, why not?  Why did you think he wouldn't?
TIGER WOODS:  I don't know.

Q.  And just when something like that‑‑ is it difficult to trust anybody, if everything is just going to get revealed in books and statements and telly and everything?
TIGER WOODS:  One might say that.

Q.  That must be sort of sad in a way.
TIGER WOODS:  You think it's sad?

Q.  Do you think it's sad?
TIGER WOODS:  I'm asking you.

Q.  I find it sad, yeah.
TIGER WOODS:  Okay.  There you go.  (Smiling).

Q.  It's on the book subject again, I'm afraid.

Q.  I'm assuming you would appreciate why people in general and golfers in particular would like an insight into your game and swing and how things have developed.  Please tell me what's so wrong about Hank writing a book about you?
TIGER WOODS:  I think I've answered all the questions on that.

Q.  What's so wrong‑‑
TIGER WOODS:  I think I already have.  I'm sorry.

It can't be all bad for Woods right now as he's being paid a monster appearance fee this week. He also has a chance to compete against the top players in the world and zoom up the world rankings with a good tournament.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship Betting Odds

The real start to the golf season kicks off Thursday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship. The tournament features a top notch field including world number one Luke Donald, defending champion Martin Kaymer, Lee Westwood, Rory Mcllroy, and Tiger Woods. They will be joined by 2011 Major winners Charl Schwartzel and Darren Clarke, as well as Sergio Garcia and Jason Day.

Notable player betting odds include:

Tiger Woods: 7-1
Martin Kaymer: 13-2
Rory Mcllroy: 13-2
Lee Westwood:12-1
Luke Donald: 12-1
Sergio Garcia: 25-1
Jason Day: 28-1
Charl Schwartzel: 30-1
K.J. Choi: 33-1
Darren Clarke: 175-1

Monday, January 16, 2012

And then Vijay said to Sabbatini...

In a surprising episode, two of the friendliest players on tour got into a verbal altercation Saturday at the Sony Open.

Apparently, Sabbatini's caddie moved while Vijay putted a six-footer which caused him to miss. Vijay then had some choice words for the caddie, prompting Sabbatini to jump in and defend him.

“The only thing I told Vijay is whatever he was saying to my caddie is inappropriate. I was just sticking up for my caddie, who doesn’t deserve to be talked to in that manner."

It sounds like this one was Vijay's fault. Off the top of my head, Vijay has had problems with Woods, Mickelson, and now Sabbatini. Sabbatini has had problems with Woods, Crane, O'Hair, and now Singh.

Amusing. Hopefully they pair these two at the Masters.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Matt Every breaks out the Black Hawk

Matt Every has been using a new putter called the Black Hawk, which appears to be a stick attached to a DVD player. Either way, it's been working well for him as he's tied for the lead heading into the final round of the Sony Open. 

If he wins, be prepared for golf purists to call for the putter to be banned, just like the long and belly putters.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Tebow mania swinging into Pebble Beach?

There have been recent discussions between Tim Tebow and the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am about the star quarterback playing in the tournament.

An appearance by Tebow in combination with Tiger Woods playing would mean huge ratings. Although rumored as a possibility, it's unlikely that the two would be paired up together. Woods is supposedly already playing with Dallas Cowboy quarterback Tony Romo.

A lot will depend on whether or not Tebow's Broncos can pull off another huge upset win against the heavily favored Patriots on Saturday night.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Woods to make 2012 PGA Tour debut at Pebble Beach

Tiger Woods will start his 2012 PGA Tour season at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am on February 9th, returning to the tournament for the first time since 2002.

"I'm excited to start my PGA Tour season at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am," Woods said. "AT&T is a great partner to my Foundation, and I'm looking forward to playing in this event. I haven't been to this tournament lately, but I have a lot of good memories at Pebble. It will be fun going back."

Being a Pro-Am, the rounds have been known to last 5-6 hours which will be one downside for Woods. On the plus side though, he's continuing to forge good relationships with his business partners while at the same time getting in another tournament in preparation for the Masters.

The Big Miss

Hank Haney has written a new book titled "The Big Miss" which details his six years coaching Tiger Woods.

"I get asked all the time about Tiger, what it was like to work with him," Haney said. "I felt like I had a front row seat to golf history. It just kind of chronicles a little bit of what I went through, what I dealt with, how I coached and the observations I made."

Woods will most likely not be happy about this but I'm sure it will be interesting for readers to learn exactly what was going on behind the scenes from Haney's perspective. 

"If he reads it, I don't think it will be a book that bothers him. It's hard to say," Haney said. "Anybody who reads it will think it's interesting, very fair and honest, and that's what I wanted to do. I was on that job for six years. There were 110 days a year I was with him. I stayed at his house for close to 30 days a year. You make a lot of observations."

The book is set to be released one week prior to this year's Masters for publicity purposes.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Betting Odds to win major championship in 2012

Who will win the four biggest events in 2012? Here are some notable player betting odds to win a major this year.

Tiger Woods: 11-8
Rory Mcllroy: 15-8
Luke Donald: 5-2
Lee Westwood: 11-4
Phil Mickelson: 7-2
Dustin Johnson: 11-2
Martin Kaymer: 11-2
Adam Scott: 6-1
Jason Day: 6-1
Sergio Garcia: 13-2
Anthony Kim: 10-1
Rickie Fowler: 10-1

Monday, January 2, 2012

Brandel Chamblee earns 12.5% approval rating

After the Masters in 2011, I wrote a post titled Brandel Chamblee = mute button because of the constant idiocy coming out of his mouth. This post had 16 comments added by readers of this site with 14 of them being negative. By my math, that gives Chamblee a 12.5 % approval rating. This is obviously an extremely small sample size but if a much larger poll was taken, I'm sure the results would be similar.

Here are some excerpts of the comments added about Chamblee and if these demonstrate what the golf public thinks of him, it makes a person ask two questions. Who hired this guy? Why is he still on TV?

"Chamblee is a complete joke. All he does is criticize everyone on tour. Especially Tiger, he needs to clean Tiger's clubs and shut his mouth."

"Chamblee is an idiot."

"Maybe when Arnie P. sobers up he will come to his senses and fire the dumb ass."

"Chamblee comes across as a sanctimonious stuffed shirt, cast from the same mold as the imperious, overly pompous Rich Lerner."

"Chamblee makes the Golf Channel look bad. He must do damage to the bottom line -- I don't linger very long when Chamblee appears onscreen. Absolutely horrible and biased."

"I am new to the Golf Channel and have really been enjoying most of what they do. But I totally cannot stand this cocky know-all. His brash, mouthiness runs directly counter to the civilized spirit that separates golf from a lot of other pro sports."

"Chamblee was a hack as a golfer, tries to be Johnny Miller as an analyst though he has neither the experience or the knowledge to make comments on pressure situations."

"He reminds me of my mothers toy poodle always barking for no apparent reason." 

"His delivery and attitude make it almost impossible to actually listen to what he says on TGC."

"Brandel Chamblee has outworn his welcome in giving opinions. Logical inferences from his statements show he really wants Tiger to fail." 

Although I can barely stomach listening to Chamblee for more than a minute, I did end up taking the time to also post Tiger Woods vs. Brandel Chamblee after listening to more ridiculousness.

It seems that by now, the Golf Channel should know that by far and away, Chamblee is the most disliked analyst they have.  They must be sticking to the strategy that bad publicity is better than no publicity.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The 2012 Major Champions will be ...

Tiger has won the Masters four times and seems to be in contention at Augusta even when he doesn't have his A game. He finished in the top five the past two years despite injuries, swing changes, and the scandal. This year he appears to be healthy, his swing changes have become more ingrained, he's coming off a win at Chevron, and he'll have at least 4-5 tournaments to play prior to Augusta to prepare. Look for Woods to get his 15th major victory this April and get back on track to breaking Jack's record of 18.

Mickelson has finished runner-up five times in the U.S. Open and he wants this tournament more than any other. He's approaching his mid-forties so his window of opportunity to win is closing. No one knows if Phil will show up with one driver, two drivers, no driver, a regular putter, or a belly putter. Regardless, he will be gearing up and trying to peak this summer to try and win his first U.S. Open. He still has a good chance to win the career grand slam.

Well on his way to becoming the number one player in the world, McILroy is the most talented golfer to hit the scene since Woods. Injuries aside, he will no doubt be a top ten player in the world for the next decade. He should have won the Masters last year and won the U.S. Open in a runaway.  He grew up in Northern Ireland playing links style courses and there's no question he will eventually win the Open Championship. Other than Woods, McILroy is the only player with the potential in winning the calendar year Grand Slam. Look for him to earn his second career major in 2012.

Now in his 30s, it doesn't seem possible that a player with his talent could go a career without winning a major championship. After a self-imposed hiatus from golf, he came back last year looking sharp and winning back to back tournaments on the European Tour. Of course, he also made news for slinging his 4 iron into a lake after a bad shot. Garcia is definitely a wild card, but if he gets his putter rolling and keeps his head in check, he could finally win his first major championship in 2012.

The top events on the golf calendar in 2012

Luke Donald and Rory McILroy: The battle for #1 begins again in 2012. 

Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship: Abu Dhabi Golf Club

WGC Accenture Match Play: Ritz Carlton Golf Club

WGC Cadillac: Blue Monster at Doral
Arnold Palmer Invitational: Bay Hill


Wells Fargo: Quail Hollow
The Players Championship: TPC Sawgrass
Memorial: Muirfield Village

AT & T National: Congressional CC


WGC Bridgestone: Firestone CC 

August - September: Fed Ex Cup Playoffs
The Barclays: Bethpage
Deutsche Bank: TPC Boston
BMW Championship: Crooked Stick
Tour Championship: East Lake