Sunday, October 29, 2006
Others in the tournament this week include: Brett Quigley, Arron Oberholser, Davis Love, Lucas Glover, Luke Donald, and Geoff Ogilvy plus 20 other guys.
The greatest thing was seeing Ernie Els after his round studying the computer to see if he did enough to get into the Tour Championship. It meas a lot to him to qualify and play in the that event. Unlike some Americans who are skipping it.
The course there at Valderrama is very beautiful with those cute stone bridges that I seem to like and interesting trees. Not like the average tree we see on every American course.
I now hope that David Howell will take some time off to get his shoulder healed up. American PGA tour players whined because they say their season is too long with the Tour Championship at the end of October and the first event of the next season in January, but the European Tour season begins again in a couple of weeks. Hopefully Howell will be able to rest up some.
Saturday, October 28, 2006
As for the battle for the Order of Merit title, David Howell and Robert Karlsson are even par, Padraig Harrington is +1 and Paul Casey, battling either the flu or food poisoning depending on which story you read on the web, is a distant +6. If Casey doesn't win the Order of Merit, I would like to see David Howell get it. He held the number one spot all year until Casey came along so it would be only right to see him get it if Casey can't claim it on Sunday.
Another comment related to yesterday's news about the PGA Tour's Tour Championship. This Volvo Masters is essentually the European Tour's version of the Tour Championship with only a select number of top players in the field competing for a big prize, the final prize of the season. In Spain, you have Paul Casey playing sick, David Lynn playing sick, David Howell playing injured. In America, you have players dropping out of the Tour Championship because they are tired. Is it any wonder Europe wins the Ryder Cup every time? You've heard the saying "there's no quit in that guy". Well, there's no quit in the European players, and apparently there's no start in America's top players.
Friday, October 27, 2006
"Playing seven out of nine weeks with an additional trip to Ireland for Ryder Cup practice was taxing both mentally and physically and I feel like I need another week away from competitive golf. I'm confident that this extended break will help me to recharge my batteries for the 2007 season."
Miranda's comments: It seems to me there should be a measure of respect doled out for the people who make your career possible, the tour, the sponsors, the fans. It isn't as if the Tour Championship was a surprise addition to the PGA Tour schedule. The players know it's there and they know it's the most important tournament for a lot of people. A win there carries a great deal of prestige as you can say you've beaten the top 29 players in the world. The game of golf is more than just records, more than just wins, more than just money. It's integrity. It's honor. It's tradition. It's respect for the history of the game and the people who made all this possible, from the players of yesteryear to the past PGA tour commissioners, from the legends in corporate sponsorship, to the volunteers and the charities, and to the fans who not only buy the tickets, but also the clubs, the balls, the clothes, the programs, the Buicks and Rolexes the players endorse. The fact that this is the last year the Tour Championship will be held so late in the season only makes me more incensed that some players are not participating. They got what they wanted with the shortened Fed Ex Cup season next year, but that just isn't enough for some of them. This week, there are hard fought battles being waged att he Chrysler Championship by players who would desperately love the opportunity players like Tiger and Phil Mickelson are so carelessly tossing aside. Are these two the best players in the world? They may have more money. But you have to question their passion. Their dedication. And their love for the game.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Commentator Comment: One of the announce crew was commenting on Woody Austin talking to himself. The announcer said "he speaks to/with the other Woody." That probably wasn't the best thing to say.
J.J. Henry's kid was pretty adorable, reaching for the microphone and saying hi to "BR" Billy Ray Brown.
26/10/2006 21:45 - (SA)
Sotogrande, Spain - European Order of Merit leader Paul Casey shot a 5-over 76 to trail by 10 strokes after the first round of the Volvo Masters on Thursday.
Jose Manual Lara of Spain shot a 5-under 66 to take a one-stroke lead over Graeme McDowell, Richard Green, and Niclas Fasth.
Casey said he struggled and was "feeling unwell" by the fifth hole, and on the 11th the Englishman was given a shot for his nauseous stomach.
"It wasn't too bad starting out, but (my stomach) wasn't feeling good, and it just got worse as the round went on," said Casey, who leaned on his bag for support through the final holes.
Casey started well with a birdie on No 2. But he bogeyed No 6, and then got a double bogey on No 7.
He was forced to lay up after his drive nestled in the left hand rough in front of some tree branches, and he subsequently three-putted from 20 feet.
The Englishman, hoping to become only the fifth player to win the European money crown since 1993, started the back nine with three consecutive bogeys.
Padraig Harrington, second to Casey in the European season money title by $274 080 going into the final event, finished seven shots back and three ahead of Casey after a 73.
Harrington also started strongly, sinking a six-footer for birdie at the par-3 No 3. His approach on the par-4 fifth landed within a foot for an easy birdie, and he finished the front nine on 2-under 34.
Harrington's inconsistent putting - he missed eight putts from within eight feet in his round - caught up with him on the back nine. The Irishman missed par-saving putts on 12, 16 and 18.
"I suppose I could have shot worse, but luckily I played well from the start," Harrington said. "I hit a few poor putts to start and I didn't trust my reads after that. But better to play like this in the first round than the last."
David Howell, No 3 on the money list, holed a 60-foot chip from the bunker for a 70. No 4 Robert Karlsson dropped a 20-foot putt on the last hole for a 69 to stay in contention.
Casey said he won't be disappointed whatever the outcome.
"The Order of Merit is a reflection of the year's golf and I'm not going to get caught up in letting this ruin my entire year," Casey said. "So whatever happens, happens."
Johan Edfors and 1999 winner Miguel Angel Jimenez each had opening rounds of 68.
Leader Lara carded six birdies. A a poor drive into the right rough on the par-4 16th resulted in his only bogey.
"To win the Volvo Masters here in Valderrama would be like winning one of the Majors," Lara said.
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
The Associated Press
A wet and rainy Volvo Masters is just what Paul Casey is hoping for in his bid to win the Order of Merit title.
It looks like he'll get it.
Rain interrupted Wednesday's pro-am event and is expected to be a factor during the first two rounds.
"It's very wet out there, which is probably a bit of an advantage for me," Casey said. "Valderrama is a position golf course, and it's nice and wet, which makes it longer, and I feel like my game is in good shape."
Casey's €218,185 (US$274,080) advantage over Padraig Harrington is slim considering first place at the Volvo Masters — Europe's richest tournament at €4 million (US$5 million) — is worth €660,660 (US$831,832).
Vying to become only the fifth player to win the season-ending money title since 1993, Casey will play with the Irishman at the start — the current Nos. 1 and 2 are paired together for the first round.
"It doesn't bother me," Casey said about playing with Harrington. "We've got to make sure that we go out there and don't get stuck in a match play kind of situation and are too caught up in what either of us are doing."
Harrington said he'd like to see the race for the money title come down to the last nine holes on Sunday.
"The Order of Merit is a reflection of how you play all year long," Casey said. "So if it comes down to that, then I would be surprised because it's such a long year, a lot of golf has been played, and honestly, I think you try not to put pressure on yourself that you've got to perform, let's say, with one final putt on the green.
"We've had enough stress already this year trying to hole putts in crucial circumstances," the Englishman said, referring to Europe's Ryder Cup win over the United States.
David Howell pulled out of Wednesday's pro-am with a sore shoulder and hasn't decided whether or not he will play Thursday.
"I haven't hit a shot. My shoulder is poor, so I've got a big decision to make, really, and am struggling to make it," Howell said. "I'll probably hit some balls later today and see how it feels."
Howell, who trails Casey by €242,875 (US$305,734) in the Order of Merit, hasn't hit a ball in 10 days, and admits his shoulder hasn't been right since the PGA Championship.
"I've got a voice on each shoulder. One is telling me to go home and stop being ridiculous. The other one is saying, if you go home you might regret that decision for a long time to come," Howell said.
Anyway, since the guy who emailed me was so nice, I thought I would post something about the Pro Team Golf League. Here's what it says on their website:
"You are about to experience the passionate drive of competition, the adrenaline rush of cutting-edge strategy, the unity of teamwork - and either the thrill of victory or the agony of defeat. But this won't be a 'virtual' gaming experience, it's all going to be real.
Part revolution, part team-based league, part community, Pro Team Golf League is a whole new concept for fantasy golf. Members will guide the fates of professional golfers through regularly scheduled match play contests. It's a hub for fantasy gamers, professional golfers, and sports enthusiasts. A place where you can have a real-world impact on a professional team match."
If you want to join up and be what they call a ProCoach or if you just want to learn more about it, then click here to go to their website.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
No one should do interviews with the Golf Channel until after whatever tournament they are playing.
by: MIKE HENRY
Here's an excerpt:
After strolling around Disney's Palm Course on Thursday with a gallery that could have fit in a Volkswagen, Azinger must have wondered how long the Tour can ride the crest of Tigermania.
"Our attendance is so down, it's a joke," Azinger said. "The only reason our (television) ratings are flat is because Tiger drives the ratings so far above what they've ever been (when he competes).
"(Tour officials) will say 'Well, the Tour is in great shape because we're playing for so much money.' But they are going to The Golf Channel, which is as narrowly focused an audience as you're ever going to get.
"That's not a shot at The Golf Channel - they do a terrific job. But every single bar in America that has a television is sitting on ESPN, not The Golf Channel. When golf comes on (ESPN), the players benefit, and so do the sponsors."
And there are a lot of characters in the book. I'm having a hard time keeping track of all of them. Romance novels don't have a lot of characters. And the Nero Wolfe mysteries I read also have just a few characters.
NOT even the man himself would disagree that Greg Norman is now in the twilight of his career. So many body parts repaired, a business empire the envy of most of his golfing peers to control and, well, age itself have reduced him to a part-time player. But his has been a legendary career.
Thirty years ago next Tuesday - October 24, 1976 - the legend was born. It was the day the man who became known as the Great White Shark, and perhaps the most recognisable Australian ever, recorded the first of 91 career wins with victory in the $30,000 West Lakes Classic at The Grange course in Adelaide.
Sunday, October 22, 2006
So, since the Sprint Post Game Show operates under the motto of "If you can't say anything about Tiger because he isn't playing, then trash all the other players" (they even trashed Justin Rose when they were invited to make comments during Golf Central) I switched over to the Tennis Channel and watched Roger Federer win the Madrid Masters. Federer's a little boring to me, as you know I prefer Nadal, but the commentators aren't trashing Nadal tonight.
By Greg Norman
I was born in Mount Isa, a small outback mining town populated largely by Finnish immigrants who migrated to Australia after World War II. My mother was the daughter of a Finnish carpenter and my father was an electrical engineer. When I was still very young, we moved to Townsville on the Queensland coast. It was there, on the edge of the Coral Sea and the Great Barrier Reef, that I spent the first fifteen years of my life. I took it for granted back then, but now I realize that I grew up in paradise: a pristine rain-forest area near the Tropic of Capricorn with white-sand beaches, clear coastal waters and year-round warm weather.
Peter Allis: "Oh shut up" when some guy yelled "get in the hole."
Nick Faldo: Something to the effect: "No rides for the kids tomorrow." When Davis Love missed a putt on the 18th hole, thereby losing some money. That was so sad to think the kiddies couldn't go back to DisneyWorld if Davis misses a putt. Golf is a cruel way to earn a living. LOLOL.
I was happy to be able to watch a tournament that wasn't rainy and cold looking for a change. I'm glad the European guys left Scotland and England and went to Spain. Of cours that being said, it is worth mentioning that the guys on espn said it was 90 degrees yesterday in Orlando at the Funai Classic. And the course in Mallorca was pretty, with views of the ocean in the background.
Nearly a century ago, after someone realized that a scuffed-up ball travels farther than a shiny new one, balls gained dimples. Now manufacturers invest millions of dollars each year to design better performing golf balls.
The dimples create turbulence, or mixed airflow, which, if done right, reduces drag.
Here's how it works:
There are two main types of airflow—laminar and turbulent. Laminar movement creates less drag but is vulnerable to "separation"—a phenomenon whereby the air layer that clings to the ball as it moves through the air separates from the ball. Turbulent flow creates more drag initially, but is less vulnerable to separation. At high speeds, like that of a flying golf ball, you want this air layer to cling to the ball as long as possible, and the added dimples do just that.
Saturday, October 21, 2006
Friday, October 20, 2006
Coincidentally, yesterday after work, I stopped at the grocery store and bought a miniature rose plant. I don't normally name plants, but I think I'm going to name it Justin.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Okay a second comment:
At the beginning of the week, some guy named Brett Avery reported that someone gave Justin Rose good odds this week. I don't understand that whole Fantasy Golf thing so you guys can read the article by clicking here.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Justin Rose dropped his putter, put his hands on his knees and shook his head. Then he managed a smile, knowing just how close he came to tying the PGA Tour scoring record Thursday.
Rose settled for 12-under 60, a course record and an early lead in the Funai Classic at Disney.
"I did everything right to shoot 59," Rose said. "All I wanted to do was have a putt at 59."
He had one. It was pretty much straight, too.
Rose hit a 6 iron from 190 yards on the 454-yard 18th. The ball bounced 6 inches from the hole, rolled past and stopped near the fringe. Rose tipped his hat several times as he walked toward the green and couldn't stop smiling.
He lined up the putt from both sides, took two practice swings, then pulled it just left.
After his initial reaction, the 26-year-old Englishman tapped in for his best round ever on the PGA Tour, three shots better than his previous low set in 2002 at the Deutsche Bank Championship and tied in 2004 at the Canadian Open.
"You never know if you're going to get that putt again," he said.
Rose had other putts that would have made the difference.
He barely missed an 8-footer on No. 13 and a 4-footer on No. 16.
"Right now, I don't feel disappointed," he said. "Maybe the enormity of 59 will hit me and I'll think, 'Well, that was an amazing chance.' ... It was uncharted territory for me."
Rose started his record round with three straight birdies. He got even hotter with six consecutive birdies beginning at the par-5 seventh. At 10 under and heading to No. 13, Rose turned to his caddie and said, "A 59 is on the card here."
Unlike a pitcher working on a no-hitter, Rose felt no superstition as he walked the final six holes and openly discussed his chances with everyone around him.
He needed three birdies over the final holes to make history. He gave himself chances, too, when he nearly hit the flag with shots on the final four holes.
But he missed two good chances and also two-putted each of the par 5s on the Palm Course -- the easiest course on Tour last year by nearly a full stroke.
He joked that maybe next time he won't talk openly about trying to shoot a 59.
"Maybe the curse got me," he said.
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press
Niclas Fasth, Andrew McLardy, and Gary Murphy are at 4 under par. Stephen Dodd and Damien McGrane are at even par. Name of the day: Michale Hoey at 1 over par.
Spaniard Watch (And boy are there plenty of players to watch this week)
Sergio Garcia - even par
Jose Manual Lara - one under
Diego Borrego, Tomas Jesus Munoz at one under
Alfredo Garcia-heredia, Francis Valera at +2
Alejandro Canizares, Marcos Juan, and Santiago Luna +3
Carlos De Corral and Carl Suneson +4
Carlos Del Moral, Carlos Rodiles +5
Jose Manuel Carriles +6
Miguel Angel Martin and Jose Maria Olazabal +8
Sebastian Garcia +9
Pedro Juan Sureda +10
Ignacio Garrido +12
Gonzalo Fernandez Castano +14
I recorded it today. Hopefully, I'll be able to watch some of it. I don't know. The travel channel usually has the Samantha Brown Europe show on - I like to watch it.
Monday, October 16, 2006
Thomas Björn, Henrik Stenson and Camilo Villegas are the latest players to commit to playing in the HSBC Champions in Shanghai, November 9-12, 2006. They will compete against tournament winners from four of the World’s leading Tours for the ‘Champion of Champions’ title.
This year’s field will be the strongest ever seen in China with ten of the World’s Top 20 players already confirmed including World Number One, Tiger Woods, World Number Two, Jim Furyk, two-time US Open Champion, Retief Goosen, 2006 HSBC World Match Play Champion, Paul Casey, defending Champion, David Howell and European Ryder Cup stars, Luke Donald, Padraig Harrington and Colin Montgomerie.
The international field represents players from more than 20 countries battling it out for the largest prize fund on offer in Asia of US$5 million.
Giles Morgan, Global Head of Sports Marketing and Sponsorship, HSBC Holdings plc., said: "One of the most exciting elements of the HSBC Champions is the qualifying criteria which makes for a truly international field. Winners from four leading tours have a chance to make their mark against the world’s best.
“That so many players have chosen to include the HSBC Champions in their schedule reflects the growing profile of our event. It also demonstrates HSBC’s ambition, as a sponsor of golf worldwide, to help grow the game in Asia."
The HSBC Champions will be played at the Sheshan International Golf Club with winners from four leading golf tours and the top 50 on the Official World Rankings qualifying. The event is co-sanctioned by The European Tour, Asian Tour, the PGA Tour of Australasia, the Sunshine (Southern Africa) Tour, and the China Golf Association.
Sunday, October 15, 2006
Faldo has his work cut out for him next year.
PALM DESERT, Calif. (AP) - Lorena Ochoa took a huge step toward dethroning Annika Sorenstam as the LPGA Tour player of the year, overwhelming her Sunday with a 7-under 65 that turned a three-shot deficit into a two-shot victory in the Samsung world championship.
ESPN Carl: "Matteson on top of Crane" Going to commercial, Carl tried to explain that Matteson was leading Crane in the final round.
ESPN Carl: "His backside is on your way" Going to commercial, Carl tried to say that Matteson's back 9 was coming up.
Peter Allis: "He can hear butterflies mating in a field four miles away." Speaking of Colin Montgomerie.
You have to wonder how many times ESPN Carl has had to explain himself after saying something like this. I hope they don't let him cover football - those players would use him for tackle practice.
England’s Gordon J Brand held off an illustrious list of challengers that included Greg Norman, Order of Merit leader Sam Torrance and Carl Mason to secure his maiden victory on the European Seniors Tour at the OKI Castellón Open de España Senior.
Brand closed with a level par 72 at Sergio Garcia’s home course of Club de Golf Mediterráneo to secure the €45,000 first prize with a winning 54-hole total of 13 under par 203.
The former Ryder Cup player had started Sunday’s final round in Valencia with a five stroke lead, following scores of 65 and 66, but finished two shots clear of Torrance and Carl Mason, who returned scores of 69 and 68 respectively for a share of second place on 11 under par.
Norman, who was playing in only his sixth tournament of the year following a second operation on his troublesome right knee, remained in contention before bogeys at the 15th and 16th holes saw him return a 71 for a share of sixth place.
“I didn’t make any putts today. I hit it fairly decent but nothing happened – it wasn’t meant to be,” said the two-time Open Champion.
Brand, who was second to Norman in The 1986 Open Championship at Turnberry, was relieved to break his duck in his 24th outing on the European Seniors Tour.
“That was hard work – I am delighted but exhausted. I knew they were getting close but I just kept plugging away making pars. I wasn’t 100 per cent confident out there, but having a lead meant I could play to the safe parts of the green,” he said.
Torrance was also happy, as his €25,500 runner-up cheque moved him a huge step closer to a second successive Order of Merit title. With the penultimate event due to start in Portugal on Friday, the Scotsman leads the standings with €319,996 and can only be caught if either Mason or José Rivero win both of the last two events.
“I knew how important that putt at the last was for the Order of Merit. I had a good run at trying to catch Gordon today but my three-putt at ten ended it. I couldn’t really get close enough after that,” said Torrance, who is now well placed to beat the Order of Merit record set by Mason at €354,000.
Earlier, Brand had looked like he might pay the price for adopting a defensive approach following his free-scoring performances of the first two days.
The Yorkshireman fired a brilliant, bogey-free 65 on Friday and followed it up with a beautifully controlled 66 on Saturday to move five clear of the chasing pack on 13 under par.
But after four holes on Sunday he had seen his lead cut to two by Torrance, who birdied the first and fourth holes while Brand’s only diversion from par was a dropped shot at the second.
At that stage Mason was on nine under par after a second birdie of the day at the sixth and Norman and Cambridge were both a shot further back.
Cambridge dropped out of contention with two successive bogeys approaching the turn and it was now down to a four-way race between Brand, Torrance, Mason and Norman.
Brand turned for home in 37 – four shots worse than all of his three rivals – and was now coming under severe pressure.
Some welcome respite came in the shape of a Torrance three-putt bogey at the tenth and Brand was swift to capitalise, picking up his first birdie of the day with a ten foot putt at the 11th, a blow that sent him three strokes clear of the pack.
Norman was first to play the difficult 15th and a bogey ended his outside hopes of victory, while Mason, playing in the group behind, conjured a brilliant birdie to move within one of the lead.
But Mason’s hopes of a third straight victory disappeared when he pulled his drive into the trees at the 18th and could only make a bogey five, while Brand parred the final five holes for a two stroke victory and his first European title since the Belgian Open on The European Tour 17 years ago.
South African Bobby Lincoln, who had earlier closed with a fine round of 67 to post the clubhouse lead at eight under par, collected his third top ten of the year with a share of fourth place. Also finishing on that mark was Australian Stewart Ginn, who closed with a 68.
A shot further back were Norman and Chile’s Guillermo Encina, who like the Australian returned a 71.
Saturday, October 14, 2006
His nearest challenger is Scotland’s Sam Torrance, who compiled a second successive 68 to climb into second spot on eight under par.
Ireland’s Eamonn Darcy, who is also chasing his maiden win as a senior, returned a 70 to earn a share of third place on seven under par. Also on that mark are England’s Carl Mason, winner of the previous two events and round in 71, as well as Jamacian Delroy Cambridge, who produced a best-of-the-day 65.
“I don’t think I have held such a big lead before. It’s a shame – I wish I could answer like Tiger Woods and say that it happens every week!” said Brand with a smile, as he pondered tomorrow’s final round.
The former Ryder Cup player was out in one under par 35 before taking off over the inward half, notching birdies at the tenth, 11th, 13th, 15th and 17th holes. It was testimony to his fine approach play that four of his five birdie putts were from two feet or less.
“I was pleased with my score today. I didn’t play great early on but scored, and then played really good later on. The back nine was really solid - I was never in trouble.
“I think the rest has done me good. I learnt from playing eight weeks in a row – even when it’s only three rounds you still can’t play for eight weeks in a row and produce your best. Arguably my best finishes have come after a bit of a rest and hopefully I can secure my first win this week. It would certainly give me great confidence.”
Torrance, though, has his eyes firmly set on shooting low and overhauling Brand come Sunday evening.
With four tournament wins to his name already this year, the former Ryder Cup Captain leads the Order of Merit on €294,497 and knows that victory in the mountains of Castellón would all but seal his position as Number One.
With his nearest challenger, Eduardo Romero of Argentina (€220,192) not playing and third-placed José Rivero of Spain (€218,099) back down the field on two under par, the €45,000 first prize could give Torrance an unassailable lead with the final two events of the season to come.
Torrance said: “I played well today and although I am five shots back, I certainly feel I have a strong chance. I definitely want to win. I know I am ahead of everyone chasing me in the Order of Merit, but if I win here then I think it is over. It would be nice to wrap it up early.”
With that in mind, the Scotsman started his second round in aggressive fashion and holed from 15 feet for a birdie at the first. He picked up further shots at the par five fourth hole and the par four fifth, only to give one back following a three putt from 15 feet at the next.
After turning in 34, Torrance birdied the first two holes of the back nine and, just like earlier in the round, the head of steam he was building up was extinguished by a sloppy bogey. This time a pulled five iron did the damage at the 12th, rather than the putter.
However, he hit back immediately with a sixth birdie of the day and parred his way home for another round of 68, and an eight under par total of 136.
Looming large alongside American John Benda and Chilean Guillermo Encina on six under par is the considerable presence of Greg Norman, a man who knows a thing or two about winning tournaments – 91 at last count including the Open Championships of 1986 and 1993.
The Australian, who has played precious little golf since undergoing a second knee operation earlier in the year, was disappointed with his second successive 69.
Ironically, Brand was runner-up to Norman at Turnberry in 1986, by the margin of five strokes – exactly the lead he now finds himself with as he tries to break his duck as a senior.
Friday, October 13, 2006
Despite playing in only his fifth tournament of 2006, Norman showed glimpses of the talent that has brought him 91 victories worldwide, particularly when he holed his second shot from 68 yards out at the par four 11th hole.
In addition to the eagle, the Australian had three birdies and two bogeys to finish day one at Club de Golf Mediterráneo, north of Valencia, in a share of ninth place on three under par.
Brand, who was second to Norman in the 1986 Open Championship at Turnberry, leads on seven under following a bogey-free round of 65 that he described as his best 18 holes of the year.
The Englishman is one stroke clear of compatriot Carl Mason, who is chasing his third consecutive victory on the European Seniors Tour, and two clear of Ireland’s Eamonn Darcy, Canadian Bill Hardwick and Argentine Luis Carbonetti in third place.
Order of Merit leader Sam Torrance of Scotland is well placed on four under par - following a round that contained eight birdies - and features alongside Tony Allen of England, John Benda of the United States and Bobby Lincoln of South Africa.
Norman, who was watched by his daughter Morgan and her boyfriend, Spanish Ryder Cup star Sergio Garcia, as well as Villarreal footballer Diego Forlan, was satisfied with his return to action.
He said: “Generally speaking I played okay, given that the biggest deal for me is concentration. It does not matter what type of golf course it is, or what the event is, you have got to concentrate. I was in and out of concentration today as I haven’t played much golf in a long time.”
In fact, Norman has managed just five tournaments in a year ruined by a second operation on his troublesome right knee. He had hoped to be back for the US Senior Open, The Open Championship and The Senior British Open Championship, but was forced to postpone his return until the autumn.
“I am unable to practice much. If I go out and hit a lot of balls then I wake up the next morning in pain. Sometimes it’s my back, sometimes my knee. I don’t feel like going through that – it’s not worth it as I have many other things that I am involved in,” he added.
Brand, by contrast, is a regular on the range and his efforts appeared to pay off as he compiled a beautifully controlled round that contained seven birdies and 11 pars.
The pick of his birdies came at the tough par four closing hole – one of only four there all day – when he pulled an eight iron around the trees to within six foot of the pin.
Brand said: “I was out in 32 after four birdies and just kept going nice and steady on the back nine, before that pleasing finish. I got up and down from the bunker to birdie the 17th and then made another birdie at the last, which was playing long today. That’s probably my best round of the year – it is certainly the most under par.”
While the former Ryder Cup player searches for his maiden title as a senior, fellow Englishman Mason is trying to secure his third victory in as many events after returning to form with wins at the European Senior Masters and The Midas Group English Seniors Open.
Mason, whose highlight was a 35 foot putt for an eagle three at the 13th, said: “I felt good out there today. After the two wins I am a bit more relaxed, enjoying it like I was when I was on my good run. It’s a nice feeling again.
“I have got the feeling back into my swing and I am standing over the ball with much more confidence, which is basically what it is all about.
“The Order of Merit is probably not going to happen unless I win the last three events. All I can do is to try and keep playing this well and hope for the best. Greg being here makes my task that bit harder, but that’s what competition is all about: trying to beat the best players. It’s great to see Greg here.”
Last year’s joint runner-up, Spain’s José Rivero, who at third on the Order of Merit standings is the player in the field best placed to catch Torrance, made a steady start with a round of two under par 70.
Rivero was in the group with Norman and Club de Golf Mediterráneo professional Victor Garcia, who was round in level par.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Sergio Garcia is done playing the PGA Tour the rest of the year, so David Duval is assured of staying inside the top 25 on the career money list. That means Duval will be able to take one-time exemptions the next two years (top 25 and top 50) to keep his card if he doesn't finish in the top 125 on the money list. He's 171st with $318,276 -- $311,290 out of the top 125 who are fully exempt for next season.
(My comments: Whether or not Sergio intended to do something nice, it happened. Good for him. This kindness will come back to him.)
(My Comments: My Phoebe weighs about the same.)
Courtesy: PGA Tour Website
If it's true that things come in threes, well, Geoff Ogilvy may have reached his good-things quota for the year.
The Australian won the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship in February, defeating Davis Love III 3 and 2 in the match play event.
In June, he memorably captured his first major title at the 2006 U.S. Open Championship. Ogilvy survived a tough challenge from both the Winged Foot Golf Club course and some of the world's top golfers, beating Jim Furyk, Phil Mickelson and Colin Montgomerie by one stroke. With his victory, Ogilvy himself became a highly-ranked player, as he currently sits in fourth on the PGA TOUR Money List and 10th in the Official World Golf Rankings.It's off the course, though, where Ogilvy had perhaps his best moment. At 12:43 a.m. on October 10, 2006, he and his wife Juli welcomed a new addition to their household. Daughter Phoebe Elizabeth, who weighs a healthy 6 pounds and 15 ounces, is the first child for the happy parents.
11/10/2006 11:50 -
Johannesburg - Six European Ryder Cup stars will feature in the 12-man field for the Nedbank Challenge at Sun City starting next month, organisers said on Wednesday.
Colin Montgomerie, the 1996 champion, and two-time winner Sergio Garcia will lead the European challenge in the 25th staging of the event from November 30 to December 3, which now boasts a purse of over $4m.
Padraig Harrington, David Howell, Jose-Maria Olazabal and Henrik Stenson are the other stars of Europe's victory over the United States to be invited to the event at the Gary Player Country Club course, 250km north-west of Johannesburg.
World number two Jim Furyk, the defending champion, is the highest-ranked player in the field, with three-time winner Ernie Els(sixth), 2004 winner Retief Goosen (seventh) and Garcia (ninth) the other invited players who are currently in the world top 10.
Chris DiMarco of the United States and South African debutants Trevor Immelman and Charl Schwartzel complete the field.
"It is a world-class field, with the invites being made by going down the world rankings," Sunshine Tour commissioner Johan Immelmann said.
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
By GREG OLIVER
- Producer, SLAM! Wrestling
In the off-season for hockey, baseball or football, one often hears about the golf games of the players. In wrestling, there never has been an off-season. So Chavo Guerrero Sr. warns that at the upcoming Eddie Guerrero Memorial Golf tournament not to expect much from him or his peers on the links. "We're wrestlers, man, we're not golfers. Some of them, like Harley Race, they try and all that. We're not golfers, man. We just go out and golf for fun," Guerrero Sr. said with a laugh. "As far as taking it serious? I don't think any of us can actually say -- don't get me wrong, the Guerrero brothers play golf, but once you start taking it serious, you go in in a bad mood, and come out in a bad mood."
Instead of concentrating on the competition aspect of the tournament on Saturday, October 21st, he's geared up for the camaraderie. "We just go out and play golf. I respect the game very much. I enjoy it. But to be a good golfer, you've got to be consistent. You've got to be out there every day, working on that. We just don't have time; we're on the road all the time. It's a good thing to get together."
The first annual Eddie Guerrero Memorial Golf tournament is quickly becoming a who's who event. The line-up at the all-day affair at the Summerfield Crossing Golf Course in Tampa, Florida, is pretty impressive, even if the scores may not be. Confirmed names include Chavo Sr., and his brothers Hector and Mando Guerrero, Kendall and Barry Windham, Haku, Blackjack Mulligan, Roddy Piper, Greg Valentine, Pat Tanaka, Ricky Santana, Dory and Terry Funk, Art Flores and Jack Brisco. Some of them, however, will just be a part of the meet and greets on the Friday night at two local Cherry's Riverview restaurant locations. Proceeds from the tournament go to the Riverview Boys and Girls Club and the Eddie Guerrero Memorial fund for Eddie's daughters.
Tournament organizer Clyde Jensen met Guerrero at another charity tournament earlier this year, and they talked about a day for Eddie, who died in November 2005. "He said this is something that he wanted to do for his brother and his foundation. From there, it just snowballed," said Jensen. "It sounded like a good idea. He asked me if I would head the tournament up. I told him I would." While Chavo Sr. is booking the wrestlers, Jensen has the expertise in running golf tournaments. "The public is starting to come around. This is how golf tournaments go. Usually you get your big push 8-10 days before the tournament," he said. "We're sitting at about 13 teams right now signed up, and a ton of people are calling me, saying they're going to bring a team, and they're going to do this, they're going to do that. I never count my chickens before they hatch. Usually the day of the tournament, you'll have between three and five teams sign up."
Jensen's hope is that he ends up with 25 teams, and one Japanese fan has already booked a spot. Like Guerrero Sr., Jensen recognizes the grapplers aren't golfing greats. "A lot of the guys aren't there for the golf, they're there for Chavo and in support of his family, which is a neat thing," Jensen said, adding that he's pretty pumped to meet one of his all-time favorites, Barry Windham (whom he even remembered as the short-lived Yellow Dog). For Guerrero Sr., it's a chance to revisit some old friends, and some old foes. Like Roddy Piper. "He told me yes right away. He had no afterthoughts or before thoughts. As soon as I asked him, he said, 'Anything for you, Chavo. Anything for the Guerreros.' He's a gentleman. He's taking time out of his busy schedule."
The Guerrero brothers will all be there, of course. It's a welcomed chance to reunite. "We see each other more often now. We've always been tight, but with the passing of my brother, we're tighter now and closer," said Guerrero Sr. "I'm looking very much forward to it, seeing some old foes and some old friends, in the name of charity and Jesus, and have a good time out there. I think it'll be good for Tampa too."
The Associated Press
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 10, 2006
Published: October 10, 2006
MADRID, Spain Technology, money and Tiger Woods are hurting golf, according to two-time British Open winner Greg Norman.
Monday, October 09, 2006
Q. Was it a case of one tournament too many in this run?
PAUL CASEY: Of course it's a hard run. The HSBC was a tough week but the Ryder Cup is without a doubt the toughest week I've ever experienced in golf, physically and mentally. That was very much apparent at the Amex and this week was tough as well with the weather.
I know I played a cracking round of the golf on Thursday but the game wasn't quite there for the rest of the week. I think I used them all up at The K Club. I had lots of chances today and early on there were a few more. I felt I played all right from tee to green.
I would like to have cracked the top five today and I think I played well enough to do that, but I am just outside so there you go.
Q. You said earlier that you hope to re-charge your batteries over the next two weeks?
PAUL CASEY: I've got Valderrama and three more events before Christmas. They are all important. I will have a break between Tiger's event and probably Abu Dhabi. Not a huge break. I probably won't play an early US event.
Q. The Order of Merit - very important today not to fade away?
PAUL CASEY: I agree with that. From what was a tough Friday and Saturday to post a top six score is a good result. The first round was very good. I am happy with that. I felt I ground it out, and to finish top ten by staying relaxed and focused is good.
I will practise. I will put the clubs away for a couple of days. Nice to wake up for a couple of days not to play golf. I am going to Florida to join Jocelyn and her parents.
Q. Harrington has moved closer at the top.
PAUL CASEY: It's a huge event and I know I've won three times this year but two of them have been slightly smaller events. I think it's right they don't count all the money for winning the Match Play, but if Padraig goes on to win this it's going to be close. I actually feel slightly sorry for Howler because of his injuries. I feel guilty to be on top. I feel he should be ahead of me.
End of FastScripts.
Momentous Milestone Reached with the Announcement of The 2007 European Tour International Schedule
The continuing strength in depth of The European Tour is splendidly illustrated today with the release of The 2007 European Tour International Schedule in full, a schedule which features a record minimum number of 50 counting events for the Order of Merit, in addition to The Seve Trophy which returns to Ireland. It is a momentous milestone in the development of The European Tour and compares with the 21 tournaments staged in 1977, 27 in 1987, and 34 in 1997.
Included in that number are two tournaments new to The European Tour International Schedule – the MasterCard Masters in Australia and the Portugal Masters – while the Blue Chip New Zealand Open returns, along with the Mercedes Benz Championship, which continues the traditional Tour competition staged by Langer Sport Marketing since the launch of the German Masters in 1987.
Keith Waters, Director of International Policy for The European Tour, said: “We share with all sports, the incentive to break records and we are naturally both delighted and encouraged to announce, that for the first time in our 36 year history, there will be more than 50 tournaments on the Schedule.
“This can be attributed to many components, not least of all the considerable strength in depth of our Membership, but we would like to particularly thank all promoters and sponsors for their superb support which enabled us to assemble The 2007 European Tour International Schedule.”
The €3 million Portugal Masters, featuring a first prize of €500,000, will be staged at Victoria Clube de Golfe, Vilamoura, from October 18-21, 2007. It is the first of a minimum three year arrangement and will be jointly staged by The European Tour and the Portugese Tourist Board (ITP).
The tournament further enhances Portugal’s commitment to The European Tour, the country already playing host to two consecutive weeks of golf, starting with the Madeira Island Open from March 22–25, 2007, and followed by the Open de Portugal from March 29–April 1, 2007.
Luis Patrão, President of the Portuguese National Tourism Board (ITP) said “We are very proud to host the first Portugal Masters, an event that will hopefully become a regular addition on The European Tour calendar.
“Portugal is already well known for its high standard in golfing holiday facilities with the largest concentration of courses along the Algarve, where sun, sea and over 30 courses offer a constant challenge. This is closely followed by the Lisboa Golf Coast with over 20 courses boasting an impressive portfolio of excellent layouts designed by some of the game’s greatest names. To be associated with the prestigious European Tour demonstrates further that Portugal has world-class golfing facilities and a strong infrastructure to host international events.”
There are also several significant date changes to be announced for 2007, most notably in terms of the BMW International Open and the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles which exchange places in the calendar, the former taking place at Golfclub Munchen-Nord, Eichenried, Munich, Germany, from June 21-24, 2007, while the latter takes place at The Gleneagles Hotel, Perthshire, Scotland, from August 30 – September 2, 2007.
Also moving dates are The Quinn Direct British Masters which will be staged at The De Vere Belfry, Sutton Coldfield, England, from September 20-23, 2007, while the HSBC World Match Play Championship at Wentworth Club reverts to its former traditional date of October 11-14, 2007.
Sunday, October 08, 2006
Interesting personal anecdote: When I was little, my parents owned a Dodge Aspen 4 door sedan. I remember it well with the hot, summertime vinyl seats and enough room to haul about 10 people. We owned that car for many, many years until it got wrecked. I forget who wrecked it, either mom or my sister. Today I saw that Chrysler has brought back the name Aspen but it now applies to a very expensive SUV. I wonder if owners of this new Aspen will have as fond of memories.
IT WAS the late Mark McCormack who once called Jose Maria Olazabal, "a strange guy. He just doesn't care about the money he could be making." While the International Management Group founder's bewilderment stemmed mostly from the fact that Olazabal was not - and still isn't - a client of the Cleveland-based conglomerate, his rather insulting comment was surely an indication of his own shallow materialism rather than any shortcoming on the part of the Spaniard, who is now 40.
Take this weekend. The two-time Masters champion is here in Scotland competing in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, and is doing so not for any particular financial gain: he made the trip purely for the joy of playing links golf and of performing on the Old Course at St Andrews, in particular.
Which is easy to understand. Now competing basically full-time in the US, the Dunhill represents for Ollie a rare opportunity to escape the seemingly-endless tedium of life on the PGA Tour. Never a fan of American culture, the proud Basque, one of golf's most accomplished shot-makers inside 150 yards from the hole, is increasingly frustrated by the on-course sameness that he endures almost every week.
"What I don't like is that there is less artistry in the game now," he sighs. "And the set-up of the courses contributes to that. When you have rough that is five inches high, not even a magician can create shots.
"I do believe players still have the skill. They can shape the shots, hit them high or low. But we don't find ourselves in situations where creativity is encouraged. As technology has advanced, players have hit more and more fairways, so the courses have adjusted. One seems to have led to the other, in an attempt to keep scores up.
"Now we have rough right up to the edge of the green. There is no imagination in that. All the long grass hurts people like me. I don't mind rough off the tee so much; there should be a penalty for being in the wrong place. But around the greens, it is silly. You can hit a shot to 15 feet from the hole and be just off the green, and another guy can hit to 45 feet, but on the green. He has the better chance. That is not right.
"They kill off imagination. There is only one shot. You don't have to think. Miss the green? Give me the 60-degree wedge, and I'll flop it up there. All the touch and finesse is gone.
"The great sadness is that you can make courses just as difficult - and so much more interesting - without any rough. And there is no need to have courses that are 7,500 yards long. I look at guys like Justin Leonard and Corey Pavin and wonder how they can compete most weeks. I'm not sure we are on the right path. Courses are getting longer and longer, and we see fewer and fewer where length is not the biggest factor in success. Which doesn't make it fair for everyone."
On a happier note, Olazabal is still basking contentedly in the lingering afterglow of his return to Ryder Cup duty after seven years away and, of course, Europe's crushing victory over the Americans at the K Club.
"Jose was obviously really excited to be there," says team-mate Paul Casey. "He showed great enthusiasm for everything that was going on, and was obviously trying to enjoy the week no matter what. And that all fed into the other players.
"I wouldn't want to play him in match-play. He has the sort of game where he is always liable to hit the spectacular shot or get up and down from somewhere strange. So he was a great asset to the side both on and off the course."
That he was. In the three matches he played - two in tandem with compatriot Sergio Garcia - Ollie emerged with three victories and more great memories to add to the ample Ryder Cup store he had compiled between 1987 and '99.
"It was very special for a few reasons," he says with a smile. "It was my first time playing for a while. Having Darren [Clarke] in the side drew everyone together even more, I think. And the result was very positive, mostly because of how the crowds responded to us and treated us. It was a unique atmosphere. This was my seventh Ryder Cup, and I have to say that it was easily the most special.
"The only thing that felt different was that, the last time I played, I was one of the youngest players in the team. This time only Monty was older. I felt the difference! I certainly felt older."
One thing that did stay the same was Ollie making up half of a potent Spanish partnership that was an integral part of the side's success, even if the contrast in the play of his two famous cohorts could hardly be more marked. Where Seve Ballesteros was perhaps one of the wildest drivers of his generation, Garcia is one of the most consistent today.
"Playing with Sergio kept me young," he claims, the smile returning. "Sergio was fantastic. On the first day he was just unbelievable. He played so well. It's true that I managed to make four or five holes, but he carried the whole team really. I was pretty much there watching his performance. I hope my presence was a small factor in how well he played, but the fact is that he played awesome golf. He drove the ball beautifully, split the fairway on nearly every hole, and barely missed a shot.
"He was six under par by himself for 16 holes. It is true that I jumped in here and there, but that was about it!
"It was completely different from playing with Seve. Seve and I stood on the tee, hit our drives, then said: 'See you on the green!' With Sergio, it was the exact opposite. He is such a solid player. You know he is going to be in every hole, which allowed me to play with a more relaxed attitude. I knew he would hit every fairway, so I was able to stand on the tee with a lot of confidence. He was such a help to me."
In the wake of what seems to have become a biennial bashing of Uncle Sam's increasingly beleaguered nephews, other comparisons have been made. Until now, the 1987 squad that pulled off Europe's fist win on US soil - and contained six present and future major champions in Olazabal, Seve, Nick Faldo, Sandy Lyle, Ian Woosnam and Bernhard Langer - have been almost universally recognised as the Old World's finest. But Ollie is one who feels that proud boast may now be unsustainable.
"This year's team was different from 1987," he maintains. "Back then we had maybe the best five players in the world. Now we have so many more good players, guys you can rely on. They are just so solid.
"It wasn't always that way. In 1987 we had Eamonn Darcy in the team. Now, with all due respect to Eamonn, he probably wouldn't make the team today. So the two teams were very different. In '87 we had five stars and the rest of us. Yes, we were good players, but it wasn't like today. From top to bottom this team is more consistent and more solid than the one in 1987."
As for the future and the Ryder Cup, in particular, there seems little doubt that Ollie is a captain-in-waiting. After Faldo's turn at the helm in 2008, the popular Basque would seem a logical choice for Wales in 2010. He would certainly welcome the chance to lead a European side on this side of the pond.
"I would love to do it in Europe," he confirms. "In the States, on their own turf, the atmosphere is more for them, so it feels different.
"I want to be part of it at home. I want to feel the atmosphere we have had at Valderrama in 1997, and this year in Ireland."
Hopefully, he will get his chance. No-one, as McCormack highlighted all those years ago, would bring more integrity to the role.
Saturday, October 07, 2006
First, I am pro-Europe. Sorry, but I can't cheer against Sergio, Jose Maria, Luke and Paul Casey.
Next, I think the main problems with the US team are:
1. US players are more individualistic than the European players. You don't hear about any of the US players being good friends and hanging out like you do the Europeans. This translates into individual pursuits of individual goals. When the US players are required to work together for a team goal, it's a foreign concept to them and they don't know how to succeed. I've often thought about what kids in Europe and kids in America think about golf as they grow up. Here's a possible scenario: European kid: "When I grow up I want to win the Open or make the winning putt for the Ryder Cup team." American kid: "When I grow up I want to win the Masters or the US Open." The European kid identifies with the Open and the Ryder Cup because those are the two biggest events that affect him at his young age. He doesn't identify with the US Open or the Masters. How long has it been since a European player has won either of those? Plus they are played in America - that country far, far away.
2. US players don't seem to have as strong an appreciation for the Ryder Cup as the Europeans do. The Europeans could probably recite chapter and verse every Ryder Cup event for the last 20 years. Knowing the history of the Ryder Cup cultivates passion and a winning attitude. Playing not to get beat isn't as strong a reason as playing for the teams of Ryder Cup past and carrying on/becoming part of that prestigious legacy.
3. Here's the controversial one: Tiger's dominance on the US tour has resulted in a complacency among the other players on the tour. They know if he's in the field, they are playing for second since he wins dang near one-third of the events he enters. Therefore, the other players don't develop that take no prisoners approach that helps a player finish off a tournament and secure the win. This in itself is not a death-blow to the American team if Tiger performs at his dominant level at Ryder Cup time. But, (see #1) Tiger doesn't play well with others. And he can only seem to make a difference in the single matches. You all might disagree, but you need only to look at the European Tour to see that there may be something to what I've just written. There is no dominant Tiger-esque player on that tour and look how successful they are at Ryder Cup. It could be because they have more confidence in their game as they have been in the winner's circle more than once. They have that experience to help build their confidence. They don't have that "I'm playing for second because so & so can't be beat" voice in their heads. The Europeans still have the "on any given day anyone can win" concept guiding them.
What do I think can be done to help the US team next time? Ryder Cup Study for one thing. Have the top 40 on the Ryder Cup points list study the history of Ryder Cup, watch old film, listen to stories from past participants. They need to identify with what makes Ryder Cup so great so they know what they are playing for. More experience with team events would also help. Whether it's a friendly get together or legitimate tournaments, the top 40 on the list need to play together to get them out of the individualistic frame of mind. And they can't team with the same people all the time. They should change up. Extra emphasis on the Ryder Cup would also help, not a monetary incentive because there couldn't be enough money offered to inspire the likes of Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods to play better - they have more money than they can count as it is. Extra emphasis could run into something like a special end of the year award for team mvp of the year or having the Hall of Fame criteria allow special consideration for exceptional Ryder Cup play. Why did I say top 40 - if they start at the beginning of the two year period, then focusing on the top 40 will allow for any movement in the rankings over the two year period.
If I were to build my own Ryder Cup team, who would be on it? Here's my current list:
J. B. Holmes
This list has a couple of veterans, a couple of fighters who've battled through low points and are experiencing some measure of success, and new guys who actually want to be a part of the team. Davis Love and Lucas Glover wanted to be on the team so much they made a special trip to the K Club to play after their British Open week ended. Zach Johnson and Scott Verplank had the best anecdote that I heard from this year's Ryder Cup team - Zach calling Scott in the middle of the night excited about playing the next day and Scott telling Lehman "we're going to win this match." Arron Oberholser plays well and had expressed the opinion that if the points system was changed to give point to the top ten ranked Americans in each tour event rather than the Americans finishing in the top ten of the events, then he'd be right in there. Brett Quigley and Steve Stricker have been around for many, many tournaments and have that never say die attitude. They don't give up. J. J. Henry and Vaughn Taylor need to make a return trip to the Ryder Cup - they have unfinished business. Henry needs to do more than just halve a match and Taylor needs to play the matches he should have played at this year's event. As for J. B. Holmes, Ryan Moore, and Jerry Kelly - Holmes can electrify the crowds with his long hitting and he's young enough to embrace the Ryder Cup for it's history and hasn't been beaten down by the "playing for second place" mentality. Moore's natural golfing ability makes him dangerous - he can sneak up on you with a good round because his game isn't focused as much on mechanics and tons of practice. Jerry Kelly reminds me of my little chihuahua. She latches on to my foot and ankle when I go to the door and doesn't let go for anything.
So, those are my Ryder Cup thoughts. Hopefully, I'm either dead wrong and people listen to me, or I'm right and no one listens to me because I would really like to see Europe win in 2008 (even though I did say I wanted J.B. Holmes on the US team since the matches take place in Kentucky). If it does end up being an Azinger vs Faldo captaincy in 2008, I might just have go see it.
I'm really getting tired of seeing all this cold rainy weather. It's in Scotland at the Dunhill thing and it's in Greensboro too.
Now that I've seen all three courses they are playing in this tournament, I have to say that I think Kingsbarns is the prettiest of the three. The other two were Carnoustie and St. Andrews.
Friday, October 06, 2006
Thursday, October 05, 2006
I haven't watched this yet. I recorded it this morning while I was at work (at least I hope it recorded). But I have seen the round one scores. Paul Casey is currently leading with a 63. Spaniard Watch finds the following: Miguel Angel Jimenez -5, Gonzalo Fernandez Castano -4, Ignacio Garrido -4, Alejandro Canizares -3, Jose Manuel Lara and Jose Maria Olazabal -2, and Carl Suneson Even par. Some other notables: Damien McGrane (whom I like just for his cool sounding name) -1, Ian Poulter and David Howell are both +3.
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
Nick Faldo joined CBS Sports as its lead golf analyst on Tuesday, giving him more air time than any other golf broadcaster but a job that will keep him from playing in the Masters.
Faldo, a three-time Masters and British Open champion, replaces Lanny Wadkins in the tower alongside Jim Nantz.
The Masters is the highest-rated golf tournament, broadcast every year since 1956 by CBS. Faldo said his decision to join the network showed his commitment to his new career as a television analyst.
"I will be in the tower at Augusta for the whole week,'' he said. "I will not be playing, and that was a major part of my decision. I view this as a fabulous opportunity for me, which may come once every 10 years. But it will seriously curtail my playing career. My playing days aren't completely over, but my priority now is given to CBS.''
Faldo joins the network as it embarks on a six-year contract with the PGA Tour.
CBS will broadcast 21 events on the schedule starting in 2007. Faldo recently signed a deal as an analyst with The Golf Channel, which has the first three tournaments next year and all the Thursday and Friday rounds.
Faldo also will be in the booth for ABC Sports for the British Open, giving him every major except the U.S. Open, which is carried by NBC Sports with Johnny Miller as its lead analyst.
Tony Petitti, executive vice president of CBS Sports, said Wadkins declined to take a reduced role with the network and decided to devote more of his time to playing on the Champions Tour.
Faldo, 49, has been in the booth with Paul Azinger for ABC Sports the last three years and he already has carved his own niche with his distinctive English accent and insight as the dominant player of his generation. Along with his three Masters and British Open titles, Faldo has earned more Ryder Cup points than any European player.
He is not as acerbic as Miller, although several players - particularly from Europe - have said Faldo's analysis has allowed them to understand what his thought process was as a six-time major winner.
Asked to define his style, Faldo said, "I duck and dive, go with the flow each week. If you know what you're going to get, there's no point in having me.''
As if his television work isn't enough, Faldo also will be keeping his eye on European players as the Ryder Cup captain for the 2008 matches, when Europe will try to capture the cup an unprecedented fourth straight time.
"My finger is on the pulse. I'll know all the scores,'' Faldo said. "I'll keep my eyes on what the guys are up to.''
Faldo still can wear his green jacket at Augusta National when he's on the grounds or at the Champions Dinner on Tuesday night. And while Petitti said it might be a good way for CBS to open its Masters coverage, a club spokesman said it was not clear if Faldo would be able to wear the green jacket in the broadcast tower.
Monday, October 02, 2006
Courtesy: European PGA Tour website
A truly sensational month of golf in Great Britain and Ireland comes to a conclusion this week with the sixth staging of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at three of Scotland’s most celebrated courses – Carnoustie, Kingsbarns, and the Old Course at St Andrews.
Over the past three weeks, the HSBC World Match Play Championship at Wentworth Club, The Ryder Cup at The K Club and the World Golf Championships – American Express Championship at The Grove enthralled the thousands of spectators who came to the three venues and the millions of television viewers who tuned in around the world.
Now it is the turn of Home of Golf itself to become the focal point of global golfing interest and with the high quality field which has assembled to contest the sixth staging of the US$ 5 million Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, it will not disappoint.
Headlining will be defending champion Colin Montgomerie who thrilled the home galleries 12 months ago when he emerged victorious by a shot after a tremendous last day battle with Englishman Kenneth Ferrie. It was, of course, a victory which helped Montgomerie win The European Tour Order of Merit for the eighth time.
While the 43 year old Scot will, understandably, be the main draw for the crowds this week, extra special cheers will also be reserved for the nine of his Ryder Cup-winning colleagues who will make the trip north of the border.
Paul Casey, Darren Clarke, Padraig Harrington, David Howell, Robert Karlsson, Paul McGinley, José Maria Olazábal, Henrik Stenson and Lee Westwood all rejoiced alongside Montgomerie in Ireland but will now be doing their best to dethrone him and pick up the bumper first prize of €630,566 (£427,441) for themselves.
For Casey and Howell in particular, the week will have particular resonance as they continue their intriguing battle for The 2006 European Tour Order of Merit. Howell had led for almost ten months since his victory in the season-opening HSBC Champions tournament but was overtaken by Casey after his victory in the HSBC World Match Play Championship.
Now, following last week’s WGC – American Express Championship, Howell, who finished in a share of 13th place, has edged closer to his compatriot, the gap now only €119,915 (£80,709).
As well as the ten Ryder Cup men, victorious Captain Ian Woosnam will also return to competitive action for the first time since his leadership triumph at The K Club while one of his vice-captains, Peter Baker, and one of his assistant captains, Sandy Lyle, will also play.
It is not only European players in action of course. A truly international field has assembled in Scotland, led by the South African duo of Ernie Els and Retief Goosen alongside Fiji’s Vijay Singh.
The Alfred Dunhill Links Championship is rightly billed as a celebration of links golf and while it is certainly that, the tournament has achieved much more in its short history, specifically linking the worlds of sport and entertainment successfully.The 168 professionals will join with an amateur partner for the week, including many personalities from the worlds of sport, television, films and business. Amongst those who playing this year are: Boris Becker, Ian Botham, Sir Bobby Charlton, Johan Cruyff, Kenny Dalglish, Kapil Dev, Ruud Gullit, Dennis Hopper, Kyle MacLachlan, Sir Matthew Pinsent, Sir Steve Redgrave, Michael Vaughan and Gianluca Vialli.
The teams all play one round at each of the courses over the first three days, with the top 60 professionals and those tied for 60th place, together with the top 20 teams, going forward to the fourth and final round over the Old Course on Sunday.
Sunday, October 01, 2006
- Norman joins cream of Seniors talent in Spain
28 Sep 2006
|Greg Norman |
©2005 Getty Images
Greg Norman, a two time Major Championship winner and one of the most recognisable figures in the world of golf will join the top five from the current European Seniors Tour Order of Merit – Sam Torrance, Eduardo Romero, José Rivero, Carl Mason and Juan Quirós – in a high quality field for the OKI Castellon Open de España Senior next month.
The tournament, which will take place at the Club de Campo del Mediterráneo in Castellón from October 13-15, was always guaranteed great interest being the third last counting Order of Merit event in the 2006 European Seniors Tour season. Now, with Norman’s inclusion, that interest will be heightened even more.
The Australian, known the world over as the “Great White Shark,” has accumulated 91 professional victories on five continents, including 18 wins in Europe and 20 on the US PGA Tour wins.
Among these are two coveted Open Championships, the first coming at Turnberry in 1986 and the second at Royal St George’s seven years later. To this day, he is the only player to be Number One on both sides of the Atlantic, accomplishing that feat in Europe in 1982 and in the United States 1982, 1990 and 1995.
Scotsman Torrance topped the Seniors Tour Order of Merit in 2005 and is currently in pole position to repeat the feat thanks to four victories already in 2006. The 2002 Ryder Cup Captain will be eager to move closer to that eventuality with a fifth victory of the year in Spain.
But he will be pushed hard by the four men currently behind him who have amassed six titles already between them in 2006.
Second placed Romero captured his second consecutive Wentworth Senior Masters over the Edinburgh Course a week after narrowly losing out in a play-off to Loren Roberts in The Senior British Open Championship at The Westin Turnberry Resort.
Third placed Rivero has won twice this season – in the curtain-raising DGM Barbados Open and the FIRSTPLUS Wales Seniors Open – while fifth placed Quiros claimed his maiden Seniors title in the Bad Ragaz PGA Seniors Open.
Fourth placed Mason is one of the most honoured players on Tour, having claimed the Order of Merit title in both his rookie year of 2003 and also in 2004, and the Englishman has shown recently that he is back in similar form with victories in the last two events on the 2006 Seniors Tour, the European Senior Masters at Woburn and The Midas Group English Seniors Open.
Carlos Fabra, President of the Diputación of Castellón, said: “The show that these champions are going to offer is going to be a once in a lifetime event. I would like to encourage al golf fans to come to Castellón and share and enjoy with us these sure to be unforgettable days.”
Javier Toledo, President of OKI Systems Ibérica, said: “At OKI we have invested in golf during the last ten years, and it is evident that as a sponsor, we want the very best and this is what we are going to have at the OKI Castellón Open de España Senior.”
Javier Gervás General Manager of promoters MatchGolf, said: “We have worked hard as a team and, this year, the OKI Castellón Open de España will be one of the biggest events on the Senior Tour. We have to thank Victor Garcia, the club, the Senior Tour, OKI and Castellón to make this happen and hope all golfers in the region enjoy a great week. The Spanish Senior players are playing very well and this event will grow in strength in the future.”
Victor García said: “A long time ago, when Javier Gervás and myself started thinking of recovering the Open de España Senior, we were sure that some day we would have players like the ones that are going to come to the Club de Campo del Meditarráneo, a feat I feel very proud of.”