20 July 2009

    Watson & Cink shoot up world rankings

    Following their playoff for the Claret Jug at Turnberry this weekend, former number 33 Cink and 1374 Watson moved to 9 and 104 respectively.

    Cink will hope to move on from his first major and claim more - following the example perennial also-ran Padraig Harrington set in 2007. However it's more likely he'll join the ranks of Ben Curtis and Lucas Glover in the "nice guys who won a major" category. Sorry, Stew.

    The world rankings in golf are somewhat farcical - it's basically a case of who can get to number 2 behind Tiger, or number 3 behind Phil these days.

    New world rankings:

    1 Tiger Woods 10.82pts

    2 Phil Mickelson 8.53

    3 Paul Casey 6.60

    4 Kenny Perry 6.21

    5 Sergio Garcia 6.02

    6 Steve Stricker 5.88

    7 Henrik Stenson 5.88

    8 Geoff Ogilvy 5.74

    9 Stewart Cink 5.04

    10 Jim Furyk 5.01

    11 Vijay Singh 4.84

    12 Martin Kaymer 4.80

    13 Camilo Villegas 4.69

    14 Lee Westwood 4.65

    15 Sean O'Hair 4.39

    16 Padraig Harrington 4.33

    17 Anthony Kim 4.22

    18 Robert Karlsson 4.21

    19 Ian Poulter 3.97

    20 Lucas Glover 3.94

    16 July 2009

    Sandy Lyle calls Monty a drama queen as well as a cheat

    The war of words between sullen Scots Sandy Lyle and Colin Mongomerie continues to rumble on with Lyle now accusing "chubs" Montgomerie of being a "drama queen".

    "We sometimes call him a bit of a drama queen. He's probably milking it a bit" Lyle said.

    Montgomerie was furious over Lyle dredging old news regarding his blatant cheating in what was tiresomely dubbed "Jakartagate" by the press. Basically Monty moved his ball - see damning video evidence here.

    "Colin has nothing to add and wants to distance himself from any issues Sandy has," Monty's manager stated.

    "He can't, nor will he, get involved in this sort of thing. He just wants to get on with his golf. People say there is bickering going on but bickering requires two people.

    "Colin can't quite understand why he is being dragged into this."

    I've never been a lover of Monty - his attitude to fans and press, his arrogance despite never winning a major and his fat belly upsets me. He's a poster boy for a bygone era of golfers who thought gym was the guy who cut their grass.

    But dear old Sandy is a cantankerous fellow. Obviously overlooked for Ryder Cup captain as most of the players can't stand him so what does he do? Goes and upsets more of them and distances himself further. He'll now never be captain of the European team.

    "I've tried to talk to him but I don't think he wants to talk to me right now."

    I don't blame him Sandy, not one bit.

    14 July 2009

    A little history on the Green Jacket

    The first ever Masters Tournament was in 1934, although it was called the Augusta National Invitational Tournament until 1939. Bobby Jones did not like the title the "Masters," but he finally relented to his partner Clifford Roberts in 1939.

    The first ever green jackets were given to members of Augusta National to distinguish them from the crowd during the "Invitational" in 1937. This way if there was a rules question an official or player could easily identify a member if necessary.

    The first ever green jacket awarded to a winner went to Sam Snead in 1949. There is a common misconception attributed to winning multiple Masters Tournaments. For instance is is common for people to say, "Jack Nicklaus won 6 green jackets." This is actually not true. You only win the jacket once...thereafter the same jacket is placed on your shoulders after each victory.

    As a Masters winner you are allowed to take the jacket home for one year, at which time you are to return the jacket to Augusta National and you can wear it each time you return. This has been the gold standard and has only been broken Gary Player who refused to return his first green jacket to Augusta.

    That could be a trivia question: Name a golfer who has won two green jackets? There technically is only one right answer: Gary Player.

    Twitter Watch: John Daly checks out Turnberry

    John Daly is a big character on the tour - he's had the highs lows and the gastric band inbetween. So it's little surprise that such a big character as John is on Twitter and giving his fans what they want - a piece of the grip it 'n' rip it philosophy.

    In typical Daly fashion, the first photo is of the local ASDA (UK Wal-Mart equivalent).

    John took time out to "hare some British Open time with my twitters" via his Twitter page and we thought we'd bring you the highlights.

    and let there be WAL-MART folks--right down the street"

    "Waiting to play thru----Tiger 1 hole in front of us"

    "Tiger putting on 17"

    "Hole 10"

    Another BIG backswing - "
    Hole 6"

    Twitter Watch: Poulter checks out Turnberry

    Love or hate Ian Poulter, he's certainly a character. And where better for this natural extrovert and dodgy speller to spread his wings than on current social flavour of the month Twitter. He's got around 250k followers - still some way off American Stewart Cink on over 500k but he's catching.

    Ian's Twitter feed.

    The master and the apprentice?

    View from the 10th tee.

    View from the 11th tee.

    View from the 12th tee.

    View from the 13th tee.

    View from the 14th tee.

    View from the 15th tee.

    View from the 16th tee.

    View from the 17th tee.

    View from the 18th tee.

    13 July 2009

    5-year old golf prodigy: Kyle Lograsso

    Ok so you've heard of the greatest golf prodigy of all time - Tiger Woods. But have you heard of Kyle Lograsso? Remember the name, folks. This kid is going places.

    Oh and one thing to note, this little phenom had cancer in both eyes and lived to tell the tale (with full sight). According to his official site, Kyle has been cancer-free since 2005.

    Not sure yet? Check out Kyle's swing:

    LPGA: Bivens out, Evans in

    LPGA commissioner Carolyn Bivens' tenure is over - the controversial chief of the female game stepped down under tremendous pressure from the top stars of the sport. Marsha Evans is the somewhat unlikely replacement - a 61-year old retired Navy rear admiral - can she steady the ship? Sorry.

    Recently retired LPGA legend Annika Sorenstam also gets a new job as advisor to the tour's board of directors. She had this to say about the appointment:

    “Obviously, I will do everything possible to ensure that the LPGA remains the pre-eminent women’s sports association in the world,” Sorenstam said in a release from the tour. “I’m committed to getting up to speed quickly on the challenges facing the board right now, and will assist the LPGA in a number of ways both immediately and long-term.”

    Bivens was effectively forced to resign after a key meeting by the leading lights on LPGA who were in agreement that her short reign had to end if the game was to gain exposure and expand.

    The main reason for the pressure from players was the worrying loss of tournaments recently, with the cancellation of the 2009 Kapalua LPGA Classic. That wasn't the first tournament to be cancelled but it certainly was the tipping point. It's believed top stars, such as Natalie Gulbis and Paula Creamer, wanted to stop the rot they believe Bivens couldn't

    In a press release given by the LPGA, Bivens stated she was happy with her performance as commissioner.

    "My job was to be a change agent, to help move the LPGA into the strongest possible position to ensure its future. Those changes were only possible because the members are dynamic women who provide great value to our sponsors and tournaments," she said. "It is time to turn this organization over to someone who can build on the solid foundation we’ve established. I wish the LPGA and its members nothing but fairways and greens as it enters its 60th year.”

    Levet In; Quigley Out: Open Championship, Turnberry

    Frenchman Thomas Levet was the beneficiary of Brett Quigley's decision to turn down a spot at this week's Open Championship at Turnberry, Scotland.

    American Quigley was in thanks to his second-place finish at the John Deere Classic on the PGA Tour but declined. This meant Levet was the next available candidate according to the world rankings - he is currently 82nd in the world.

    "My heart's not into playing the British [Open]," Quigley said. "I know that sounds crazy for a major, the Open at Turnberry, and I love the golf over there.

    "There are a million reasons to go - I just feel like it's going to be better for me to go to Milwaukee and go with my family."

    His loss is Levet's gain:

    "I'm playing well and I hit the ball low, which you need to do at the Open.

    "I still knew I could get in by playing well at either the French or Scottish Opens, but I didn't realise until last Thursday that I was high up on the reserve list."

    Practice before a round of golf can make you play worse

    Thinking of hitting a bucket of balls in the range before you have a round of golf? Think again. PGA Pro Jerry Mowlds, speaking in a New York Times article, claims it can actually make you play worse.

    "Going to the range usually messes the average golfer up for the whole day

    If they hit it good on the range, it’s pretty common that a bout of nerves will make them hit a few bad shots as soon as they get on the golf course. That frustrates them to no end, and they start wondering why they couldn’t bring their range swing to the course.

    And if they hit it poorly on the range, they start changing everything in their normal swing, get more frustrated and head to the course a wreck. Either way, they play worse once the real golf starts."

    So you must be wondering just what Mowlds recommends before a round? Well basically just your average warm up:

    "They should start by just swinging several different clubs without hitting anything.
    Warm up your swing and your muscles for maybe 10 minutes. Then, if they want to hit some 50-yard shots to get some feel for contact and control, that’s fine. But no full shots. None. It’s a warm-up, nothing more. Talk to pro golfers. If they want to practice, they do it after they play.

    “The average golfer should just get loose, get the blood flowing and then walk to the first tee with a clear mind.”

    There you go golfers - another good excuse why you aren't a pro yet!

    12 July 2009

    Kaymer clinches Scottish Open

    Martin Kaymer won his second tournament in a row by adding the Scottish Open to the French Open title he won last week. He finished with a fourth round 69 at Loch Lomond, two shots clear of Frenchman Raphael Jacquelin and Spaniard Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano

    The 24 year old German golfer now stands at 11th in the world rankings following back-to-back victories and must surely be in contention for a good Open Championship performance.

    "Everyone asks me about the third win in a row,'' Kaymer said, "We are playing a major next week. And the field is going to be the best we have all year long.

    "After last week and this week, I feel really good,'' he said. "My game is solid, so hopefully, I can keep it up.''

    The talk now is of Kaymer winning a hat-trick of titles - the last man to win consecutive tournaments on the European Tour before an Open was Ian Woosnam in 1990. The omens aren't good though - Woosnam finished tied for fourth

    CLUBHOUSE SCORES: GB & Ire unless stated
    -15 M Kaymer (Ger) -13 R Jacquelin (Fra), G Fernandez-Castano (Spa) -12 S Kjeldsen (Den), A Scott (Aus)
    Selected others:-10 L Westwood, R Fisher -9 M Laird -8 S Webster -7 G Ogilvy (Aus), E Els (RSA), D Clarke, MA Jimenez (Spa) -6 K Ferrie, D Lynn, J Donaldson

    11 July 2009

    Padraig Harrington wins third straight Irish PGA title

    Padraig Harrington claimed the Irish PGA Championship for an incredible third straight time this weekend, with a 7-shot victory from nearest competitor Brian McElhinney.

    It marks a timely return to form for the popular Irishman ahead of his defence of The Open Championship at Turnberry on Thursday. Prior to this even Harrington had missed the cut on five straight occasions.

    If you haven't heard of the Irish PGA, it's because it isn't sanctioned by the European Tour - or indeed any tour. But being an Irishman, Harrington likes to use it to get ready for the British Open. Harrington has now won it six times.

    "Obviously any time you tee it up in a tournament your want to win it. Whatever that tournament is it's always very pleasing to win. It's a nice feeling especially as I haven't been in that winner's enclosure for a little bit now so it's always nice to get a win in the bag,"

    Winning it worked for the last two Opens - could it be a hat-trick of claret jugs too?

    "Winning is a habit, there's no doubt about that. The more you win the better, regardless of where you are doing it. It's important to get out there and win. Yeah, it is important to win this week. The magnitude of the tournament is not as great as next week but winning is a habit and it's always good to be in winning form."

    10 July 2009

    Monty hits shot of year; nails paparazzi

    Usually miserable and grumpy Colin Montgomerie showed he had a sense of humour yesterday - by bagging him some fresh snapper.

    The pictures (courtesy of The Daily Mail - a paper which should be erased from existence, 1984 style) tell the story. Monty lines up a shot and cheers as he appears to hit the boat. Hopefully he knocked one of their eyes out.

    Ten best rounds in the British Open Championship

    1. Paul Broadhurst, St Andrews, 1990
    Broadhurst was the first player to shoot 63, a feat that has never been bettered.

    2. Greg Norman, Turnberry, 1986
    A course record 63 on Friday set Norman up for his first Open.

    3. Paul Lawrie, Carnoustie, 1999
    Many forget Lawrie hit an excellent 67 in awful conditions to make up a 10 shot deficit. That's because Jean Van De Velde self-destructed in front of the gallery, and even got his feet wet.

    4. Jodie Mudd, Royal Birkdale, 1991
    So nearly a 62, Mudd missed a 20 footer at the last to card an impressive 63.

    5. Isao Aoki, Muirfield, 1980
    Aoki break the course record set hours earlier with a stunning 63.

    6. Ian Baker-Finch, Royal Birkdale, 1991
    A third round 64 helped the Australian to a surprise victory.

    7. Jack Newton, Carnoustie, 1975
    Newton fired a course record 65 but lost to Tom Watson in a play-off.

    8. Tiger Woods, Royal Troon, 1997
    In his second performance at The Open, a young Woods carded an impressive 64 and got himself into the mix. Though he didn't win the trophy, he won many fans and headlines alike. It remains Woods' best round at The Open.

    9. Tom Watson, Turnberry 1994
    A second round 65 gave the 44-year-old Watson the half-way lead.

    10. Colin Montgomerie, Royal Lytham & St Annes, 2001
    The Scot hit 65 for a lead of three shots in the opening round but still failed to win the Claret Jug.

    Top ten Open champions

    1. Harry Vardon

    Younger Golf fans may not know the name but you should - he won six Opens, more than any other. A record that I doubt will be broken for a very long time.

    2. Tom Watson

    Waton won five Claret Jugs on five different links golf courses. A fabulous player, his highlight being the "duel in the sun" victory at Turnberry in 1977. It lives long in the memory as the sun hasn't been spotted in the region since.

    3. Peter Thomson

    Thomson won five Opens and richly deserves his spot at number three. The victories came in just a twelve year span too.

    4. James Braid

    Braid won five Opens from 1901-1910 and retired in 1912. Some record!

    5. Young Tom Morris

    Admittedly Young Tom did compete in a different era with less competition but he still won the title four times and also holds the record for youngest winner - 17 years and 181 days.

    6. Old Tom Morris

    Old Tom also won four titles and holds the record for oldest winner - 46 years and 99 days.

    7. Jack Nicklaus

    The greatest golfer of them all surprisingly only notched 3 Opens in his 18 major haul. Jack always gave it his best and was unlucky not to add more titles.

    8.Tiger Woods

    The man who would be king has three titles - so far. Who'd bet against Woods adding more before his career is over? Not me.

    9. Seve Ballesteros

    The charismatic champion won three Claret Jugs and his extraordinary recovery game earned him the nickname of "car park champion" in 1979.

    10. Nick Faldo

    Faldo won three Opens and put Britain back on the golfing map. The abrasive Englishman has more under-par rounds at the Open than anyone else.

    9 July 2009

    Top ten Open Championship debuts

    With the third major of the season fast approaching, people are looking to Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson to step up and claim it. But the Open has a history of throwing up unlikely winners. In this article we take a look at the men who have won it at the first attempt.

    1. Tom Watson, Carnoustie, 1975
    Watson won at the first attempt in a play-off against Jack Newton. The American would go on to win five Opens in total, eight majors overall.

    2. Ben Hogan, Carnoustie, 1953
    Ben Hogan also won at the first attempt, in a play-off and at Carnoustie. This was the last of Hogan's nine majors.

    3. Willie Park, Prestwick, 1860
    The Scotsman has gained fame for being the first Open champion. The field at that time contained just eight golfers. Park went on to win four claret jugs in total (okay, okay, so they weren't actually jugs until a good while later.

    4. Ben Curtis, St George’s, 2003
    Curtis was an unknown before the championship and is hardly more famous now.

    5. Tony Lema, St Andrews, 1964
    Lema won this major just two years before his career was cruelly cut short by an aircraft accident. This was his first visit to St Andrews.

    6. Tom Kidd, St Andrews, 1873
    Kidd won the first Open ever to be played at what came to be known as the home of golf.

    7. Harold Hilton, Muirfield, 1892
    Amateur Hilton was the second Englishman to win the Open.

    8. Jock Hutchison, St Andrews, 1921
    A play-off victory made Hutchison the first American champion.

    9. Denny Shute, St Andrews, 1933
    Shute won three majors but this victory was his first and perhaps best.

    10. Mungo Park, Musselburgh, 1874
    Park was brother of Willie (#3) perhaps most famous for going to sea for twenty years only to return and claim the Open championship in his hometown.

    8 July 2009

    Tiger triples TV ratings

    We all know Tiger Woods is the most marketable man in sport, but his recent victory at the AT&T National tripled TV ratings when compared to last year's event. In case you didn't know, he was injured last year and golf writers everywhere wondered what the hell they should write about until he got better.

    CBS said on Monday that Sunday's final round of the tournament Woods hosts earned a 4.6 rating and 11 share, up from the 1.5/3 a year ago.

    It was the highest rating for a non-major on CBS since the Buick Invitational in January 2008, which Woods also won.

    Ratings represent the percentage of all households with televisions tuned into a program, and shares represent the percentage of all homes with TVs in use at the time. Overnight ratings measure the nation's largest markets.

    7 July 2009

    Open Championship purse confirmed

    Next week's British Open Championship at Turnberry has bucked the downward trend in golf by offering the same purse as last year: £4.2 million.

    The winner will take home a cool £750,000.

    However, due to the pound's increase in value against the dollar, any potential American champion would take home $282,236 less than 2008's championship at Royal Birkdale.

    6 July 2009

    Tiger proves he's got a sense of humour interviewing himself.

    Tiger won the tournament he hosts - the AT&T National - and thought it'd be only fair if he got to interview himself after such an achievement.

    Who says Tiger is boring? Well, most people actually. But credit where it's due...

    2 July 2009

    Golfers are America's richest athletes

    Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson once again top's Fortunate 50 list of the 50 highest earning athletes in America.

    However the average income for athletes has dropped for the first time in six years, though it still weighs in at a cool $23.6 million.

    Tiger Woods earned just under $100 million whilst "Lefty" Phil Mickelson earned $52 million. Despite the huge sums of money, this represents a drop for both involved as on-course prize money drops as well as off-course endorsement deals dry up.

    Woods has lost a lucrative Buick deal whilst Mickelson lost a deal with Ford. This can largely be blamed on the global economic downturn.

    The only other golfer to make the list was Jim Furyk at #41 - he earned $16.2 million.

    For more info, go here.

    Judges order John Daly to pay damages

    You know when John Daly crops up in this blog it won't be good news. Well, maybe one day. But until hell freezes over, have some typical Daly bad-luck/self destruction.

    The big hitting golfer was ordered this week to pay the nearly $272,000 in legal expenses for his unsuccessful defamation lawsuit against the Times-Union and its parent company.

    Daly sued Morris Publishing Company, the newspaper, and former columnist Mike Freeman for a 2005 column that accused him of smacking women and a general thug lifestyle.

    He turned down a $5,000 settlement proposal from the newspaper, a reasonable offer in light of the facts, Carithers said in his order.

    Funny golf picture

    They say a picture says a thousand words so I'm going to save my fingers and post a picture

    Golfing Ironman

    How many consecutive rounds of golf do you think you could play? Two or three? Sometimes I feel like one round is enough and I can't wait to get home.

    But golfing ironman Bob Kurtz managed to play 500 holes without stopping (yes, no sleep or rest) over the course of 39 hours.

    The obvious question is why and you won't be surprised to learn that it's for a good cause. Bob raised over $100,000 for charity. Not bad for a 68 year old!

    The blurb on Bob's site is quite hilarious:

    Combining the ball-striking strength of Vijay Singh, the fitness of Gary Player, and the intensity of Corey Pavin, he has utilized his golfing ability in a remarkable way.

    Bob played through the night - and shot respectable scores. He shot his age twice (rounds of 65 and 67); posted 72 or better 12 times; averaged 72.6 for his daylight rounds and 76.7 during the overnight rounds.

    1 July 2009

    Golfers with most second place finishes in majors

    Sure, sure, everyone is interested in the big guys - the 18 majors for for Nicklaus or the 14 for Woods. But what about the guys that have finished second a lot? Is second place first loser or just the guy who challenged hard and missed out?

    Who would you think had finished second the most? Take a look at the list and see for yourself:

    Jack Nicklaus - 19
    Greg Norman - 8
    Sam Snead - 7
    Tom Watson - 7
    Ernie Els - 6
    Ben Hogan - 6
    Phil Mickelson - 6
    Byron Nelson - 6
    Gary Player - 6
    Harry Vardon - 6
    Ben Crenshaw - 5
    Raymond Floyd - 5
    Byron Nelson - 5
    Arnold Palmer - 5
    Tiger Woods - 5
    Billy Casper - 4
    Seve Ballesteros - 3
    David Duval - 3
    Sergio Garcia - 3
    Walter Hagen - 3
    Bobby Jones - 3
    Tom Kite - 3
    Gene Sarazen - 3
    Fred Couples - 2
    Nick Faldo - 2
    Jim Furyk - 2
    Retief Goosen - 2
    Bernhard Langer - 2
    Davis Love III - 2
    Nick Price - 2
    Curtis Strange - 2
    Lee Trevino - 2

    Only players that have finished second twice or more were included. If we missed anybody then leave a comment and we'll check the history books!