Sunday, December 31, 2006
Saturday, December 30, 2006
Hit the Road, Jake
Most of the winners congregate on Maui to kick off the new campaign in the Mercedes-Benz Championship, then stick around the islands for the Sony Open on Oahu. This point was driven home to Steve Stricker by his 8-year-old daughter.
Bobbi was a toddler when Stricker last qualified for Kapalua in 2002, but the memories must have been lasting.
"She won a tournament at our club (in Wisconsin), it was either three holes or six holes," Stricker said toward the end of his season. "She comes home all excited and says, 'Daddy, I won, I won! We're going to Hawaii."'
Stricker had to break the news that he's the one who has to win for the trip to Hawaii. He did everything but that in a remarkable turnaround this year. Starting the season with limited status, able to play only four times the first four months of the year, Stricker rode a third-place finish in Houston and a tie for sixth in the U.S. Open to finish 36th on the money list.
He showed up at Tiger Woods' year-end tournament in California to play in the pro-am and prepare for 2007. After giving it some thought, Stricker decided to make his debut at the Sony Open.
"I'm going a week early to get ready," Stricker said, adding that Bobbi probably won't know the difference.
Friday, December 29, 2006
Don't worry, I passed the driving test, even the parallel parking, and Knock on Wood, I've been a decent driver ever since. (If I brag too much, the driving gods will curse me).
Monday, December 25, 2006
Friday, December 22, 2006
Sunday, December 17, 2006
From CNET News.Com:
"You were named Time magazine "Person of the Year" on Saturday for the explosive growth and influence of user-generated Internet content from such sources as blogs, video-sharing site YouTube and social-networking site MySpace.com.
"For seizing the reins of the global media, for founding and framing the new digital democracy, for working for nothing and beating the pros at their own game, Time's Person of the Year for 2006 is you," the magazine's Lev Grossman wrote."
From the European Tour Website:
Ernie Els ended a 12 month title drought at the South African Airways Open thanks to a brilliant final round of seven under par 65, which blew away the challenge of fellow South African Trevor Immelman at a blustery Humewood Golf Club.
Els, who last won at the Dunhill Championship a year ago following his return from knee surgery, finished on 24 under par 264, three clear of overnight leader Immelman and four ahead of Swede Patrik Sjöland.
In doing so the ‘Big Easy’ extended his record of winning at least one title on The European Tour International Schedule every calendar year since 2002. It was his 23rd European Tour title in all.
All of this was achieved with a superb display of attacking, but controlled golf on a blustery day in Port Elizabeth.
His 24 under par total was a record winning total for South Africa’s national open, surpassing the previous best of 21 under by Tony Johnstone in 1993 (Els was second on that occasion), while victory ensured that he has won at least once in the world every year since 1992.
"That's as good as I can play probably," Els said. "Under the circumstances I was chasing the first couple of holes and then I was in the lead and then I had to protect the lead and be aggressive. There were a lot of different emotions going on today. I view the South African Open like I do a Major, and that's how I played this week.
"I didn't know if I had much of a chance the way Trevor played yesterday evening, but I was on the range yesterday evening and I found something in my swing.
"I was glad to see a little bit of breeze because you had to more on your game to get birdies," added Els.
Immelman finished second after a slightly disappointing 71, although the 2006 US PGA Tour Rookie of the Year was at least able to keep a charging Sjöland at bay, the Swede ending on 20 under par after a 67.
South African Darren Fichardt carded a final round 68 to sneak into fourth place on 16 under, while first round leader Andrew Raitt of England managed to hold on to a share of fifth place with Retief Goosen and Louis Oosthuizen.
The much-anticipated duel between Els and overnight leader Immelman failed to materialise after the latter struggled in the late-morning wind while Els was imperious.
Immelman started three shots ahead after a course record 63 in the third round, but when the wind picked up it seemed he didn’t have quite the same touch.
Els was quickly off the mark with birdies at the second and fifth holes to close the gap to one stroke before a crucial error by Immelman on the sixth allowed the World Number Eight to take the lead, and subsequently control of the tournament.
Els put his tee shot within four feet of the pin on the par three while Immelman’s effort caught a gust of wind that sent his ball right onto the lip of the green before rolling off into the bunker.
Immelman splashed out some eight feet past the hole and two-putted to make bogey. Els turned the screw with a birdie to move into the lead with a two shot swing on the hole.
Immelman birdied the 11th to move within one, but Els responded with a brace of birdies at the next two holes to take him three clear once again.
Three straight birdies between 14 and 16 sealed it as Els cruised home to a cheering crowd and Immelman never had a chance to catch him, despite birdies on 15 and 17.
Sjöland rattled off four birdies between 14 and 17 as he tried to capture second place, but was unsuccessful in the end. However, the Swede left South Africa delighted by his return to form following the loss of his card in 2005 and a subsequent break away from top flight golf that ended when he regained his card at The 2006 European Tour Qualifying School Final.
Saturday, December 16, 2006
15 Dec 2006
|Seve Ballesteros receives the 2006 PGA Recognition Award |
Five-time Major champion Seve Ballesteros was guest of honour at the PGA Annual Luncheon at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London, where he collected the PGA Recognition Award for his outstanding contribution to golf.
The Spanish maestro, who recently delighted his legion of fans by announcing a return to competitive golf next year, has enjoyed a glittering career during which he captured three Open Championship and two Masters titles. The 49 year old also played a huge role in revitalising The Ryder Cup both as a player and captain.
Renowned for his shot-making and genius around the greens, Seve’s charisma and flair inevitably turned him into golf’s biggest attraction during the late 1970s, 80s and 90s.
In presenting the award, PGA Chief Executive Sandy Jones said: “The PGA is delighted to honour Seve with this award which recognises his outstanding contribution to golf since he first burst onto the scene at Royal Birkdale in 1976.
“We always recognise greatness but in life we get very few occasions to recognise genius and Seve is simply a golfing genius.
“Throughout the 70s, 80s and 90s he lit up world golf with his charisma, skill and flair, winning millions of fans in the process and playing a significant part in making The European Tour what it is today.
“He’s also left a lasting impact on The Ryder Cup and richly deserves the acclaim and recognition he is receiving today.”
In addition to celebrating Ballesteros, the luncheon included an auction to raise important funds for the PGA Benevolent Fund and the British Heart Foundation.
12 Dec 2006
|George O'Grady and Nick Faldo at The European Tour Golfer of the Year Luncheon |
England’s Paul Casey has been named The 2006 European Tour Golfer of the Year following a wonderful season in which he won three times on The European Tour International Schedule, played a key role in Europe’s record third successive Ryder Cup victory over the United States and came within €35,252 (£23,616) of capturing the Harry Vardon Trophy for the first time.
The 29 year old receives the accolade for the first time in his short professional career after earning the vote of a panel comprising the Association of Golf Writers (AGW), Television, Radio and The European Tour, who met at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London to discuss an outstanding list of contenders for the 2006 award. Among those also considered for the prestigious award were Darren Clarke, Luke Donald, Johan Edfors, Padraig Harrington, David Howell, Robert Karlsson, Jeev Milkha Singh, Henrik Stenson and 2006 Ryder Cup Captain, Ian Woosnam.
Casey won the Volvo China Open, the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles and a cheque for £1 million after capturing the HSBC World Match Play Championship at Wentworth Club in the week prior to The Ryder Cup.
At The K Club, Casey was undefeated in four matches, winning twice and halving twice as Europe equalled their 18 ½ - 9 ½ margin of victory from 2004, when the Englishman also played a leading role as a rookie.
One of the highlights of the week in Ireland came in the Saturday afternoon foursomes with David Howell, when Casey became the first player in Ryder Cup history to close out a match with a hole in one. His 213 yard four iron secured a 5 and 4 win over Stewart Cink and Zach Johnson.
In the season-ending Volvo Masters, Casey was laid low by a virus which threatened his participation at Valderrama. However he showed great fortitude in playing on before missing out on the Order of Merit to Ireland’s Padraig Harrington.
Ultimately, Harrington ended the season with €2,489,336 (£1,667,618) with Casey on €2,454,084 (£1,644,002), Howell on €2,321,166 (£1,554,959) and Robert Karlsson €2,044,935 (£1,369,911).
|Paul Casey |
©2006 Getty Images
Casey said: “It is a tremendous honour to be named European Tour Golfer of the Year. To win three times during the 2006 season and play a part in Europe’s record breaking third successive Ryder Cup victory before finishing runner-up to Padraig in the Order of Merit was extremely satisfying, although it goes without saying that I was bitterly disappointed to miss out on the Harry Vardon Trophy.
“The race for the Number One position with Padraig, David Howell and Robert Karlsson was truly exceptional and, I believe, fired the imagination of the golfing public in Europe. It didn’t help that I was ill during the Volvo Masters but these things happen in sport. It was a tremendous tussle with my three Ryder Cup team mates and their determination to succeed also helped spur me on at the end of the season.
“Many great golfers have won The European Tour Golfer of the Year Accolade and it gives me a great feeling of pride to join that illustrious roll of honour.”
George O’Grady, Chief Executive of The European Tour, commented: “Two of the highlights of a superb season on The European Tour were The Ryder Cup at The K Club and the Volvo Masters at Valderrama and Paul played a significant role in both events.
“After helping Europe defeat the United States for the third time in succession – and who can forget that hole in one? - he then showed a great desire to win the Order of Merit. The race for the Vardon Trophy, which came down to the wire at Valderrama, was thrilling to watch and Paul never gave up despite his illness. He is an outstanding role model in our sport and a deserving Golfer of the Year.”
Europe’s 2008 Ryder Cup Captain, Nick Faldo, Guest of Honour at The European Tour Golfer of the Year Award Luncheon at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London, said: “It was a very gutsy turnaround by Paul this season after a disappointing 2005 by his own high standards. He was outstanding in The Ryder Cup and his hole-in-one at The K Club was the shot of the year in my book.
“His performances during the season will set him up nicely for the big challenges ahead in 2007.”
John Hopkins, Golf Correspondent at The Times and Chairman of the AGW, said: “Darren took his courage in both hands at The Ryder Cup and Padraig finished the season strongly to win the Order of Merit, but Paul Casey left his stamp on the year by the weight of his achievements. His golf made a great statement throughout the world.”
The Golfer of the Month Award is presented to a European Tour Member each month from January to November for his performance on The European Tour International Schedule and in worldwide competition.Award winners in 2006 were Henrik Stenson of Sweden (January), South African Charl Schwartzel (February), Jean Van de Velde of France (March), Spain’s Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño (April), England’s David Howell (May), John Bickerton of England (June), Robert Karlsson of Sweden (July), Alejandro Cañizares of Spain (August), Paul Casey of England (September), Padraig Harrington of Ireland (October) and Jeev Milkha Singh of India (November).
13 Dec 2006
|Darren Clarke (L) and Lee Westwood |
©2006 Getty Images
European Ryder Cup heroes Darren Clarke and Lee Westwood have confirmed they will compete for the richest prize fund in the history of the Commercial bank Qatar Masters next month, and a top prize of US$366,660.
Clarke and Westwood will join their Ryder Cup team mate Sergio Garcia and World Number Five Retief Goosen at the US$2.2 million event, to be played at Doha Golf Club from January 25-28, 2007.
Commercial bank of Qatar CEO Andrew Stevens said: “I’m delighted to announce that the tenth anniversary of the Qatar Masters will offer record prize money of US$2.2 million as well as the strongest line-up in the history of the tournament.
“In association with the Qatar Golf Association, we believe we have attracted a field that will take the Commercial bank Qatar Masters to the next level.”
Clarke and Westwood can be sure of a fantastic reception from Qatar’s golfing public after both starred in Europe’s magnificent win over the USA at The K Club after occupying both of Ian Woosnam’s Captain’s Picks with distinction.
The Ryder Cup, for Clarke, was a well documented, emotional roller coaster following the death of his wife just weeks earlier, but he performed with courage and a sense of dignity that made The 2006 Ryder Cup one of the most memorable sporting events in recent ye.
“It certainly helped having Lee at my side because he’s always been like a brother to me,” said Clarke, who took maximum three points from his three outings, two of those in the company of Westwood during the Fourball Matches.
“I felt sorry for Lee at the Ryder Cup because so much media attention was focused on me. But he won four points out of five and played fantastically well.”
Clarke became the first European to win one of the World Golf Championships (WGC) events, capturing the US$1 million first prize at the WGC - World Match Play Championship in 2000, defeating Tiger Woods in the final. Three years ago, the 38-year-old became only the second man after Woods to win two WGC events with victory in the WGC-NEC Invitational – a win that helped him to second place in The European Tour Order of Merit.
Westwood has won 16 times on The European Tour and was Order of Merit winner in 2000.
“Darren and Lee are two of the best European players of the past 25 years,” said Commercial bank Qatar Masters Tournament Manager Chris Myers.
“With Ryder Cup stars like Sergio, Darren and Lee joining Retief Goosen in the line up and many more to come, I have no doubt the 2007 Commercial bank Qatar Masters will be the biggest and best in the tournament’s history.”
That all being said ............... Go Henrik and Geoff!
Sunday, December 10, 2006
Australian PGA: Nick O'Hern won after a 4 hole playoff with Peter Lonard. This is O'Hern's first win since 1999 and it also secured his place at the top of the Australian Order of Merit for the year.
WGC World Cup: Bernhard Langer and Marcel Siem won in a playoff with Scotland's Colin Montgomerie and Marc Warren. The winners won $700,000 each. Langer had his son caddying for him this week - I wonder if he will get the standard 10%. They showed some of the Spanish team on the tv coverage today - Gonzalo Fernandez Castano and Miguel Angel Jimenez.
Unheralded Spaniard Alvaro Quiros came roaring from behind to win the Dunhill Championship by one stroke at Leopard Creek on Sunday.
Quiros, playing just his fourth European Tour event, shot a five-under-par 67 to pip overnight leader Charl Schwartzel of South Africa, who deposited his second shot on the par-five 18th into the water surrounding the notorious green.
Britons Lee Westwood and Mark Pilkington, who were tied for second two strokes behind at the start of the final round, both endured frustrating days.
Westwood finished third on nine under par, four behind Quiros, after a one-over-par 73, while Pilkington shot a 75 to finish tied for seventh, his round destroyed by three successive double bogeys between the seventh and ninth holes.
The 23-year-old Quiros shot 74 in the first round but then tore up the course with rounds of 66, 68 and 67 to finish on 13-under-par 275 overall, having started the final round in fifth place, four strokes behind.
Saturday, December 09, 2006
Alfred Dunhill, Ltd. is a British-based company, specializing in leather goods, writing implements, timepieces, fragrances and clothing. The business was developed by Alfred Dunhill after he inherited his father's saddlery business on London's Euston Road. Dunhill, responding to the growing demand for automobiles, developed a line of accessories called "Dunhill's Motorities". This first collection included car horns and lamps, leather overcoats, goggles, picnic sets and timepieces. Dunhill pitched the company under the slogan “Everything but the Motor”.In 1967 Carreras acquired a 51% stake in the company. The company is currently owned by Richemont.
There seems to be a lot of things named after Alfred Dunhill. I need to find out who this guy is.