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Archive for November, 2011

Q-School, Tiger Woods and More This Week

November 30th, 2011 1 comment

by Jeff Skinner

The first week of December brings the familiar sights and sounds that we have come to expect this time of year.  No, it’s not Christmas carols, Charlie Brown Christmas or visions of sugarplums dancing in our heads.  It’s golf of course and plenty of it.

Amazingly this week gives us not one tournament, not two, not even three, but four golf tournaments.  It seems more like a week in June then is does a week in December.  And each of the events has a little bit of a buzz surrounding them.

Of course Tiger’s Chevron World Challenge will get the most press but that doesn’t mean the other tournaments are any less compelling.  Tiger’s season ending Chevron Challenge is usually just a millionaire’s money grab with a bunch of pros looking for some cash to stuff in their stockings.  But this year it is more than just a showcase for few fat cats.  We last saw Tiger Woods down under playing his best golf in two years and this is his last chance to show that he is on the comeback trail.  There are eighteen golfers competing for the $1.2 million winner’s check but a win here would mean more to Tiger than anyone in the field.  Tiger likes to say “it’s a process” and here is his chance to prove that the “process” is working.

The European Tour is playing The UBS Hong Kong Open as they march towards next week’s season ending Dubai World Championship.  With names like Rory, Ian, Yang, Jimenez, Manassero, and Rose it looks like this could be exciting week in Hong Kong.

Some European stalwarts are teeing it up in the warmth of Sun City, South Africa at The Nedbank Golf Challenge.  This is the Sunshine Tour’s version of Tiger’s tournament but with fewer entrants, better players and a bigger winner’s check.  Donald, Westwood, Kaymer, G-Mac, Schwartzel and Darren Clarke will be vying for the $1.25 million and the (last) twelfth place finisher pocketing $250,000.  Not a bad weekend to be in last place.

Last but very definitely not least, is The PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament or Q-School in La Quinta California.  This is by far the most exciting and compelling tournament of the week.  This is six rounds of torture where golfers will spend most of their round trying to keep their breakfast down.  The top 25 finishers get a ticket to the PGA Tour and this tournament has something in common with a major championship:  it changes lives.  There are over 170 golfers looking to earn their card or earn it back as names like David Duval, Tommy Armour III, Rich Beem, Lee Jensen and Boo Weekley and Jason Gore try to get back on tour.  As the last round winds down on Sunday night players will feel pressure like they have never felt before.  Q-School is part golf, part soap opera, and part drama overflowing with anxiety, tension and courage.  It has the suspense of Hitchcock and the blood and guts of Tarantino.  It is must see TV.

Link to Brian Wacker’s Q-School Preview.

 

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Trump International Golf Links & Some Bagpipes

November 29th, 2011 1 comment

by Jeff Skinner

Take a look at Brian Morgan’s shots of  Trump International Golf Links or as The Donald calls it “the greatest golf course in the world.”  It looks like the course is growing in just fine and there are certainly some dramatic vistas.  It is scheduled to open next July but I’m not sure it will be ready…I didn’t see any shots of Trump’s trademark waterfall.

Link to Geoff Shackelford story.

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Allenby & Ogilvy Tussle Down Under

November 28th, 2011 No comments

by Jeff Skinner

Robert Allenby’s week at The Presidents Cup was about as bad as bad can get.  He went 0-4-0 and was the only player on either team not to score any points.  Considering that Greg Norman went out on a limb to select him when there were other players performing far better than Allenby has to add to his frustration.

Well, it looks like his frustration hit the breaking point on Sunday evening in Australia.  There are reports that Allenby and his teammate and friend Geoff Ogilvy almost went to blows over Allenby’s play and Ogilvy’s tweets.

While he was playing at the Australian PGA, Allenby made comments about his partners at The Presidents Cup saying he didn’t get much support from his partners.  “Everyone’s making me look like I’m playing like shit and then it starts wearing on your mind a little bit, maybe you are,” Allenby said last week. He said Retief Goosen couldn’t convert any putts when, “I hit it inside 10 feet a few times, YE Yang’s form wasn’t great during the Friday fourball matches and Geoff Ogilvy forced him to chip out of the trees on three occasions on Saturday.”

As Allenby climbed the leaderboard at The Australian PGA, Ogilvy tweeted “warms the heart to see Robert playing so well this week.”  Allenby took it as sarcasm, Ogilvy said it was sincere.

Ogilvy said that Allenby has yet to acknowledge that he played poorly at The Presidents Cup.  He can blame his partners if he likes but in his singles loss to David Toms he made six bogeys in 13 holes and was waxed 7 & 6 by Toms.

When the two got together at an after party for the tournament a confrontation occurred with Allenby challenging Ogilvy to step outside to finish this.

It is hard to fathom that these two players, who were friends, could act like this, especially in public.  Maybe the pressure of the Presidents Cup was too much for Allenby but there has to be a better way of handling this.

Check out Aussie Golfer story.

Check Out The Australian story.

 

 

 

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Lee Westwood Likes The FedEx Cup

November 28th, 2011 No comments

by Jeff Skinner

The PGA Tour received good news last week when Lee Westwood announced that he would once again join the U.S. PGA Tour and play the required minimum 15 tournaments.  Westwood said he actually missed The Players Championship last year while he was catching it on television.  He’ll start his PGA season at The Accenture Match Play in February and play in the FedEx Cup Playoffs.

Westwood is currently third in the World Golf Rankings and he’ll be joining his countryman, World Number One Luke Donald and number three Rory McIlroy on the PGA Tour.  All but one of the top ten in the world will be members of the PGA Tour as Martin Kaymer has declined to play on the tour again next season.

McIlroy recently split from agent Chubby Chandler, who still reps Westwood, citing his desire to be more active in the states.  Westwood hasn’t voiced those feelings but he looks forward to playing for the FedEx Cup.  “It’s a great event and one I’ve always enjoyed playing. It just felt right in Ryder Cup year to commit to a full program in the United States. The FedEx Cup looked pretty good on TV this year. I thought it would be great to give it a go, having never taken part.”

Translation:  It was pretty cool watching Bill Haas walk off with a ten million dollar check.  After all, it’s all about the benjamins and that’s not a bad thing.  Westwood is an international golfer and he travels the world plying his trade and cashing checks, appearance fee and tournament, so this makes sense.

Show me a tournament that offers a multi-million dollar appearance fee and you’ll see Tiger, Westwood, Mickelson and the rest lined up hoping their name is on that check.  There’s nothing wrong with those guys wanting to pad their bank accounts.  And that’s the real reason Westwood and the rest want to give the PGA Tour a try.  There is more cash to be made here than in Europe.  Certainly any top golfer earns millions on and off the course and Westwood has many endorsement deals.  But the sight of that $10,000,000 is too hard to resist.

 

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Tiger’s Anniversary, Two Years Today

November 27th, 2011 1 comment

by Jeff Skinner

It was two years ago today that the Tiger Woods hit that fire hydrant and started a collapse that is unequalled in all of sport.  It doesn’t seem that long ago that Woods was claiming majors like they were his and his only.  No athlete in history has fallen as far as Woods has.  He went from icon to pariah quicker than you can say Augusta National.

It is still difficult to believe that Woods carried on such a secret life and had everyone fooled, even his wife.  Time may heal all wounds but you can’t help but think that there are plenty of relationships that Woods had that will never recover.  Be they endorsers, media, friends or fans, few look at Tiger the same today.

Tiger Woods was once the most powerful man in sport and no one came close to his level of fame or earning power.  Over the past two years it seemed that just when you thought Woods had reached rock bottom he managed to fall even further.

Well, it looks like the decline has stopped and Tiger has turned his life around.  His play on the course has been the best since his accident and he has signed a few new endorsements contracts recently.  Life is different as a single parent and Woods likes to say he has his priorities in order now.  My kids are everything he likes to say now.

It may be that the past few weeks in Australia mark the start of Tiger’s climb back to the top of the golf world.  He’ll never be the icon he was but the question is: Will he ever be the golfer he once was?  He thinks he will and 2012 will be his most important season since 1997 when he won his first Masters and started his decade of domination.

 

 

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Saturday Swing Tip: Graeme McDowell’s Right Foot Back Drill

November 26th, 2011 No comments

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Kuchar & Woodland at Mission Hills World Cup

November 23rd, 2011 No comments

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Tiger Woods: Life is Good

November 22nd, 2011 No comments

by Jeff Skinner

This week marks two years since Tiger Woods left his house for that post Thanksgiving ride that ended with him hitting the fire hydrant.  From that moment on Tiger’s world has never been the same.  But time heals all wounds, as they say, even Tiger’s.

These past two weeks have been good for Tiger.  His golf game is very close to being where he wants it.  He finished third at the Australian Open and this week at The Presidents Cup he looked like the Tiger of old.  His singles round was nearly perfect and you can see that he is ready to make that charge back to number one.

Life off the course has been good also.  Tiger has snagged a few new endorsements recently with Rolex signing him to a deal and now Fuse Science.  Darren Rovell talks to Tiger on life, golf and making money.  Tiger says life is good, his kids are good and signing new deals is good.

Rovell points out that this is an “equity deal” meaning Tiger is getting some ownership instead of a boat load of cash.  Pardon me, but a few years ago you needed seven figures and a half dozen years before Tiger and “Steiney” would even return your calls.

Tiger’s right, life is good.  He’s not back yet, but he is getting there.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

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Aussie Fanatics Plus 1

November 21st, 2011 No comments

The Picture of the Day had to include these Aussie fanatics and their newest member.

 

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Studs & Duds at The Presidents Cup

November 21st, 2011 No comments

by Jeff Skinner

The victory by the American Presidents Cup Team was a real team effort.  Each player earned some points but there certainly were some Studs and Duds in Australia.  The big winner was the Royal Melbourne Golf Course which was the toughest stud of all.

The Stud of the Week has to go to Jim Furyk and his 5-0 record.  He may have had an off regular season but he was money this week.  He was 3-0 with Phil Mickelson, 1-0 with Nick Watney and took down course record holder, Ernie Els in singles.  And to top it off he’s humble about it.

Super Stud: Hunter Mahan had only one blemish for the week and finished 4-1.  His singles match was a cake walk as Jason Day struggled but when Day tried to make some noise he shut him down with a matching birdie to close him out 5 & 3.

Stud: Phil Mickelson cruised through the first three sessions with wins, took Saturday afternoon off and left his game in the team room on Sunday.  He looked lost early against Adam Scott and could never recover but his leadership and victories early on show how much Phil loves these events.

Studs: Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson ripped off three quick wins to give the U.S. their insurmountable lead.

Stud:  David Toms flew under the radar all week but his 3-1 record qualifies for Stud Status.  His Sunday 7 & 5singles win over Robert Allenby was almost painful to watch.

Players: Nick Watney and Bill Haas were left to fend for themselves by Captain Couples and they had mixed results.  They halved their first match but narrowly lost to the more experienced team of Ogilvy and Choi.  Watney’s win over Choi on Sunday gives him a step up on Haas who lost to Ogilvy in singles.  Given the fact they are rookies four points between them is respectable.

Player:  Tiger Woods earned two points for the week but after he and Steve Stricker got blown out on day one he played better and better each day.  Unfortunately Woods got no help from a struggling Dustin Johnson on two occasions.  Tiger was in form on Sunday as he pasted Aussie Baddeley.

Player:  Steve Stricker is usually a stud on these teams but he was playing hurt this week.  He still managed a respectable 2-2 record.

Dud:  Matt Kuchar had a difficult week winning only one match and halving another.  A ball striker like Kuch should have fared better on this course.

Big Dud:  Dustin Johnson looked out of sorts all week.  His short game hurt him and his putting was worse.  For such a huge talent and large personality to play so poorly, he has to be viewed as the American’s biggest disappointment.

 

 

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