Sunday, November 30, 2008

KJ Choi Wins the Skins Game

I watched the second half of the Skins Game today. I missed it yesterday because I had no idea what channel it was on or when it was on. Anyway, Choi won it on the last hole. I was happy because of my "anyone but Ames" opinion. I thought it was very funny how interested Phil Mickelson was in the prize packages that LG offered for Eagles and Closest to the Pin contests. Some people have been commenting on how the money hasn't increased in the Skins game even though purses on the PGA Tour have skyrocketed. Well, the Skins game isn't about a bunch of money. It's about enough money to make things interesting and having a good time. I don't want to see the money increase a lot for the Skins game. It would change the very nature of the event from 'a good time was had by all' to 'cut-throat'.

Out of Nowhere

Sweden came from out of nowhere to win the World Cup. They fired a 63 in the final round to pass Spain, who shot 70, and Australia, who shot 76.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

World Cup, Round Three

I believe Spain is tied at the top with Australia going into the final round.

One of the announcers calling the action on round three referred to one of the teams as 'a couple'. Yes, technically, there are two of them, but no one wants to refer to any two golfers paired together as a couple.

Friday, November 28, 2008

LG Skins Game

The Skins Game is on this weekend. I don't know how exciting it's going to be. To me, if Fred Couples isn't there, then it would be hard for me to watch it. And unfortunately, he isn't there this time. This time, the competitors are Phil Mickelson, Stephen Ames, KJ Choi, and Rocco Mediate. I'm sure there will be a lot of bantering between everyone except Choi so if you're into listening in to their conversations, it will be a hoot. Personally, I hope anyone but Stephen Ames wins. As I think about it more, I'd like to see Rocco win so the media can talk about something other than his loss at the US Open. He'd probably like for the media to talk about something other than that too.

Australian Masters

I haven't reported on the Australian Masters yet. Tim Clark's in the lead and it's a really sunny and pretty place down there. That's about all I can report because I haven't been watching it. Maybe I can see some more of it this weekend. Yesterday was Thanksgiving and I was cooking and today was a shopping day.

World Cup Round 2

Spain is in the lead after two rounds of the World Cup in China. Yippee!!!!! Miguel Angel Jimenez and Pablo Larrazabal are a combined 17 under par and have a four shot lead over Germany and Australia. Hopefully they can continue this good play and win the event. Sure, this would probably be counted in 2009 but it's still 2008 for the rest of us and a win here would be another remarkable achievement for Spain this year - along with Spain winning the Davis Cup in Tennis, Carlos Sastre winning the Tour de France, and of course Sergio's Players Championship win. I don't follow soccer, but I'm sure some Spanish team did something great in that sport this year.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

World Cup Round 1

The World Cup is going on in China again, at the Mission Hills course designed by Jose Maria Olazabal. There are a couple of curious results after round 1. England, represented by Ian Poulter and Ross Fisher, is way down on the list at a tie for 20th place. South Africa (Rory Sabbatini and Richard Sterne) and Italy (The Molinari brothers) are tied for 26th out of 28 entrants. I would have thought that as often as the Molinaris play together that they would have done better.

Some results after Day 1:

Germany -10 (Kaymer and Cejka)
USA T3 (Curtis and Snedeker)
Spain T3 (Jimenez and Larrazabal)
Denmark T6 (Soren and Anders Hansen)
Ireland T6 (McDowell and McGinley)
Sweden T6 (Karlsson and Stenson)
India T12 (Randhawa and Jeev Milkha Singh)
France T16 (Bourdy and Havret)
England T20 (Fisher and Poulter)
Italy T26 (Molinaris)
South Africa T26 (Sabbatini and Sterne)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Notes on the Hong Kong Open

I didn't watch this since I was watching Spain win the Davis Cup, but here are some results that I was interested in:

Lin Wen-Tang of Taiwan won the event.
Rory McIlroy finished T2
Pablo Larrazabal T4
Oliver Wilson T6
Bernhard Langer T6
Miguel Angel Jimenez T24
Jose Manuel Lara T29
Jose Maria Olazabal T70 - Even par.

I haven't found anything on the web yet that might let us know how well Jose Maria's feeling as he comes back from illness/injury. Earlier in the week, I read he said he had some back pain and shoulder pain, I think. I hope he continues to improve.

Olazabal's Perspective

I found this little article about Jose Maria's perspective on Seve's recovery. Reportedly, Jose Maria has been in touch with the family and believes Seve is doing very well. Check out the article for yourself.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Not Watching Golf This Weekend

Unfortunately for Oliver Wilson, who is doing very well in Hong Kong this week, I am not able to watch him play. The Tennis channel has decided to air the Davis Cup final between Spain and Argentina at the same time. I have to watch Feliciano Lopez and David Ferrer. Nadal is home with tendonitis.

If the PGA Tour would like to make some extra money, they could put together a calendar of their star players like the ATP Tennis Tour does. Granted, the ATP's pictures are sometimes of the players without their shirts on, but I would be more than happy to buy a golf calendar of the players fully clothed. Sergio is his Sunday all -black outfit is really nice looking. Camilo in anything he wears is also something nice to look at.

Having the Cake and Eating it Too

It seems this is the Media's main goal as it pertains the the ADT Championship and Annika's last tournament. On the one hand, the media was all up in arms because Annika's name came up for random drug testing again, two weeks after her last test. Presumably because they thought that the second round was Annika's last round and she was done - the test would be pointless because they wouldn't be suspending her if by some miniscule chance the test came back positive. On the other hand, Brian Hammonds and Dottie Pepper were on air after Annika finished the second round claiming that she might not be done - that the cutline could go high enough to include Annika in a playoff. So, the media both wanted the meaty story of Annika being asked to take a drug test after finishing her last round ever on the LPGA tour AND the story of Annika making it into a playoff (in which case the drug test might not be so pointless).

It was ridiculous.

The drug testing story wouldn't have been a story if Annika and her 'camp', 'team', or whatever they want to be called didn't stir up a lot of controversy over nothing. This last hurrah for Annika could have been a moment to treasure, one last, touching memory for all of the fans of golf to carry with them for years to come. But instead, we are going to remember Annika's fiance's outrage over the test. That's the real shame of the ADT's round two.

As for the randomness of life - I've gotten picked for jury duty twice in my life and there are many people in my county who've never been selected for jury duty.

As someone famous once said, "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar."

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Good Summary of the Year

I found this article that points out a few things about the PGA Tour year end awards. This article points out a few things that the average viewer (like me) may not have picked up on by watching the tour this year. For instance, did you know Andres Romero (Rookie of the Year nominee) finished in the top 10 in two majors and made the cut in all four? According to the article, Romero was the only rookie to make the cut in all four. The article also talks about Comeback Player of the Year, which I would give to Dudley Hart after reading this. There's some Sergio talk in the article as well and a mention of Kevin Sutherland's good year.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Seve News!

Seve Ballesteros has been moved out of intensive care. This is great news. Doctors caution that he still has a lot of work to do and will still be undergoing therapy and residing in the hospital for a while yet.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Ian Poulter Had a Point

When Poulter pulled out of the Singapore Open citing the belief that if he played poorly, it would affect his world ranking, I thought it was a sad commentary on how the world rankings system works. Well, it turns out Poulter may have had a point. Last week, the distance between Sergio (8.68) and Phil (8.15) was just .53 of a point. This week, after Phil had a top ten finish at the Singapore Open, the distance is .64 between he (7.95) and Sergio (8.59). I don't know what it would have been if Phil hadn't played, but it must be disappointing to think that a top 10 wasn't good enough to gain any ground on the guy in front of him.

Of course for about 522 weeks, the guy in front of him has been Tiger. So, maybe Phil's used to this.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Hong Kong Open

The Hong Kong Open is the next event on the European PGA Tour. Many stars will be participating, like Nick Faldo, Bernhard Langer, Graeme McDowell, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Rory Sabbatini, and of course, Jose Maria Olazabal, who is making his return to full time golf after an extended illness. The Hong Kong Open is this week. Tune in to the Golf Channel to find out the times they will be showing the coverage.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Seve Update

Reports claim Seve could be moved out of intensive care next week as he continues to improve after his third surgery to address his brain tumor. Hopefully, we will continue to receive these really great news updates on Seve.

I Guess It's My Turn

The weather forecast for my area next week calls for snow. Yuck. Some other bloggers have already experienced this plague and now it's going to be my turn. One of these days, I'm going to have to move to Hawaii or some other warm sunny spot.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Nearly Non-Sergio Post

As was pointed out on the Hooked on Golf Blog, there have been many Sergio's #2 in the World posts on golf blogs and news sites lately. So, in an effort to demonstrate a bit of variety, I'll post about something else. The new issue of Golf Magazine arrived at my house earlier in the week. In this issue is David Feherty's Golden Ferret awards. As usual, David gives Tiger just about every award he can. But some other awards went to other players. For instance: Best Haute Couture Ferret goes to Camilo Villegas. Stupidest Comment Ferret went to Bobby Clampett for saying "The wind is blowing from 10 past three." The Abe Lincoln Ferret went to Woody Austin and amateur Michael Thompson who won it for calling a penalty on himself during the Masters. Even Feherty's dog, Ziggy the beagle, won a Ferret award for being the slowest player. The top Ferret Award, Le Ferret D'or, went to Camilo Villegas.

Other things to check out in this issue: an Interview with Robert Allenby and an interview with Hunter Mahan, and a cool picture of the underside of Camilo Villegas when he's down on the green in his spiderman green-reading pose.

I'm thinking I might have to do some kind of year end awards thing. Unfortunately, that would require some effort and I don't know if I want to put that kind of effort into that when I haven't even watched those first two rounds of the Madrid Masters that Jose Maria played in yet.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Sergio Wins the Vardon Trophy

Sergio had the lowest adjusted scoring average on the US Tour this year. I don't know how or why they adjust it, but that's what the article says. You can read it HERE. It also talks about Padraig Harrington winning the Player of the Year award. Sergio is the first from Spain to win this award and the first from Europe since 1937. Go Sergio!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Other Golf News

After making a separate entry to celebrate Sergio's victory, I decided to do this post for the rest of the golf news. Davis Love captured his 20th career tour win at the Disney event. He gets a lifetime exemption on the PGA Tour. Tommy "Two Gloves" Gainey almost won the event himself. He was ranked, I believe, 228 on the money list and moved up to 147 with his second place finish there. So, he will have conditional status on the PGA tour next year. I try to think of Tommy Gainey in a neutral way even though he was on the Big Break and the Golf Channel likes to take credit for everything he's ever done. I'm not a fan of the Big Break and I'm trying my best to not hold that against Gainey.

Nationwide Tour: They finished up this weekend. There were some stories there to keep your interest. I just wanted to find out who won the Caddie/Player contest that the Golf Channel was holding. It ended up being Colt Knost and his caddie. Knost, by the way, did secure his tour card.

Still, the biggest story for me these last few weeks was the Jeff Overton story - playing right after having his appendix out. He finished in the top 125 so he's fine for next year.

A media criticism: The Golf Channel was reporting on Erik Compton and how he was using a golf cart for this event. They said "the tour 'allowed' Compton to use the cart." As if the tour officials were doing this out of the kindness of their hearts. Not even close. They pretty much have to allow disabled people to use carts thanks to the Casey Martin case. I still don't understand how anyone could be against the use of carts for some of these people. It was reported that Casey Martin's condition could eventually lead to amputation of his leg. And no one wants to see Compton blow out his brand new heart. (Sarcasm warning) Yeah, I can see how giving these guys a cart can make them soar up the leaderboard and win every event they play. Isn't that how it went for Martin? Oh wait, no it isn't. Gee there must be something else to this game of golf other than walking. The very fact that people have to practically beg and plead and nearly die before they get a cart is so ridiculous. The cart isn't going to give these people an unfair advantage. It's the same thing for them that the wrapped up arm was for Vijay Singh during the Fed Ex cup playoffs. There are allowances made for golfers every time you turn around. Left handed players get equipment made just for them. Players who can't hit the ball a long way get longer shafts for their clubs. People who hit the ball a long way get hybrid clubs to help them power the ball out of the rough they always find themselves in. Golfers with bad backs and knees get braces and wraps to wear. And let's not leave out repeated laser eye surgeries.

Sergio to Number 2 in the World!!!!!

Sergio Garcia won the HSBC Champions tournament in China to move to #2 in the world. Yay!!!! That's three wins in a calendar year for Sergio and, more importantly, a win as a result of a playoff. Why is that important? Think back to all of the playoffs he lost this year. He was able to come out on top in a playoff finally and that should be important for his confidence.

I don't know how long he will be #2 in the World. Phil's playing this week in Singapore but I don't think Sergio is.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

A Little Maintenance

I've done some maintenance on the blog. I removed my list of US Ryder Cup choices that I made in 2006. I thought about doing one for the European Team since they didn't win this time, but the team the Europeans had was a very strong team, with the exception of Martin Kaymer being left out. So, I didn't think I could add to that. I also removed a few links to blogs that hadn't been updated for a while. And I added the link to the European PGA Tour website and a link to Seve's website.

It's hard to believe that in a week or two I'm going to have to change the Order of Merit link due to the new year starting this week in China.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Great News on Seve!

According to the latest update from the hospital, Seve is awake and speaking to his family. He is breathing on his own and will begin some form of rehabilitation soon. Yippee!!!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Weekend News

Seve Trophy News: According to this news article, the European Tour is looking at having the 2009 edition of the Seve Trophy in Spain in honor of Seve and his current battle with poor health. Sergio Garcia has reportedly pledged to support the Seve Trophy as a tribute to the 5 time Major Champion. Also, there are discussions concerning some type of year end award in honor of Seve to be awarded each year.

Race to Dubai: According to the same news article as above, it looks as though Phil Mickelson may not join the European Tour afterall. This really shouldn't be a surprise to anyone since Mickelson is very methodical at planning out an 'economical' (meaning the fewest # of events possible as well as predominantly U.S events) schedule. This makes me happy as I think the US players have snubbed the European Tour for so long that I don't think they deserve the chance to play for the big prize at the end of the year. That trash-talk in 2006 about the Nationwide Tour being the second best tour next to the US Tour - well the US PGA tour players can make their extra money by playing the Nationwide Tour with my blessing.

Annika Sorenstam wins: She played an LET event in China and won in a playoff. I guess if she wanted to win and couldn't get it done on the LPGA tour, she decided she'd go to China and try there. I read that she was hoping her appearance there would open doors and increase opportunities for women and children in China.

Round Up

Robert Karlsson won the Order of Merit today. Sergio finished the Volvo Masters tied for 4th. Soren Kjeldsen won the Volvo Masters. The 2009 European Tour season begins this week with the HSBC Champions tournament. Final Thought: Martin Kaymer should have been on the Ryder Cup team. He made one heck of a move up the Order of Merit and the World Rankings this year and it's a shame his hard work wasn't recognized with a spot on the team.

Ryan Palmer moved from outside the 125 to inside and a two year exemption with a win at the Ginn Sur Mer on the PGA Tour. Jeff Overton is sitting on #125 with one event to go. Hopefully he can retain his card after his bad break - the appendix. David Duval finished the event somewhere in the 30s - the subject of the TV jinx of the week thanks to all of the Golf Channel promos.

Jay Haas won the Charles Schwab Cup again for the second time in three years. I'm sure he'll give the prize money to charity, as is the customary thing to do with the check. I'd like to point out that Jay and these other guys who give away their earnings are already spreading the wealth without having to be taxed extra. But I'm not getting into politics on the blog right now. Fred Funk was only 12 points behind Haas and couldn't convert. He's probably really disappointed today. Again, I'll say that the Charles Schwab Cup is more exciting than the Fed Ex Cup.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

The Golf Channel Jinx

They jinxed David Duval by doing one of their "he's poised to win for the first time in such and such. Can he do it? We'll see in round three today on the golf channel" ads. Why doesn't that jinx work on Tiger Woods?

Going into the final rounds of the tournaments, here's my cheer: Go Sergio, go David, Go Jeff Overton.