Thought for the Day
Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what the hell happened
Heading for Augusta
Hands up if you know what connects the following golfers: Russell Henley, Brian Gay, John Merrick, Michael Thompson, Scott Brown and Kevin Streelman. If you can identify them all as having won on the US PGA Tour so far this season, you’re a bit of an anorak. But then, it is that kind of season. They are joined as 2013 winners by Dustin Johnson, Tiger Woods (twice), Phil Mickelson, Brandt Snedeker and Matt Kuchar. More relevantly, all of them will be at the Masters in just under a month – with the exception of Scott Brown, who won the Puerto Rican Open, which doesn’t have a full-point allocation for the Tour Championship and therefore doesn’t meet Augusta’s invitation policy. Hard luck Scott.
All of which is designed to let me off the hook by demonstrating how hard it is to predict the winner of any major, especially the season’s first, when there is comparatively little form with which to measure the runners and riders. In the last 10 years, for example, how many punters put their money on Bubba Watson, Charl Schwartzel, Angel Cabrera, Trevor Immelman, Zach Johnson or Mike Weir to have a green jacket draped around their shoulders? However, if we ignore those surprise winners and look at the other triumphs over the past decade, only two names emerge – Phil Mickelson (three times) and Tiger Woods (once). And because both of them have won already this year, albeit with Phil’s victory coming in early February, which already seems a long time ago, they will feature high in the bookies estimation. In fact, it’s difficult to find a bookmaker that doesn’t have Woods, Mickelson and Rory McIlroy (more of him later) as the first three in the pecking order. And most of them favour Tiger, which is no surprise given Rory’s early season problems.
And there is no doubt that Tiger has that old gleam in his eye and, more pertinently, looks to have his putting, such a crucial factor at Augusta, under control. He also wants another major, badly, if he is to have any chance of matching or beating Jack Nicklaus’ record. The unknown is how his nerve will hold up now that he’s a fallible, beatable golfer rather than the dominant titan of the game we saw pre-divorce. But I’m not going to buck the trend because he looks near to his best and that should be good enough.
You’re not a messiah…
A great deal of nonsense has been written and spoken about Rory McIlroy’s early season woes. Yes, he was wrong to walk off the course at the Honda Classic but a bigger mistake was committed a few hours later when he chose to lie about the reason. The sore tooth story was never going to fly once we saw the picture of him happily munching a sandwich a few minutes before heading for the exit. The lame excuse of dental problems sounds like the sort of stupidity dreamed up by a desperate marketing manager trying to exercise some damage limitation which, as so often is the case in these instances, immediately blew up in everyone’s face.
But Rory redeemed himself with an immediate and, one sensed, sincere mea culpa after we all had the opportunity to remind ourselves that he is still only 23-years-old. Considering the microscopic examination to which he is constantly subjected, he has handled it remarkably well for someone of such tender years and we really should cut him a bit more slack for the occasional misjudgment.
As for his form, he’s a hot-streak player who is going through one of those cold periods. His first win in America, at the 2010 Quail Hollow Championship, came in an event where he made the cut right on the line and then shot 66, 62 at the weekend. And his major victories, in the 2011 US Open and 2012 US PGA, were by a crushing eight strokes and in both cases followed a modest series of events. As for his equipment change, anyone who expected him to adapt immediately to new clubs was simply deluding themselves.
He will come good again, the only question is whether it will be in time for the Masters.
Goddess of Victory?
Somebody at Nike’s marketing department must have led a pretty bad life in a previous existence, if you believe in reincarnation and the power of karma. The highest profile sports stars on the company’s roster of talent in recent years are Tiger Woods, Lance Armstrong and Rory. Who still believes that all publicity is good publicity?
One final Masters thought
Like many, I would love to see Sergio Garcia win a major but having seen the numerous crushing disappointments experienced by the Spaniard, my dreams are based on hope rather than considered analysis. And yet… He has played four events in America so far, and finished in the top-20 in each with two of those being top-10s. And he always seems to find a way to motivate himself for Augusta. The Achilles heel of putting will always be a concern but recently he seems to have found a reliable method on the greens (although we have been here many times before). Nevertheless, with heart more than head, I fancy him for at least a top-10 finish, and who knows, perhaps Augusta has at least one more fairytale finish in its locker.
Quote of the Week
Comparatively few golfers ever show that they are aware that the golf architect tries to design a course that rewards an intelligent golfer and penalises a stupid one
That’s right, summer is just about here. Despite a few reminders in the southern states that we shouldn’t put the jumpers away just yet, we can look forward to pleasant times on sun drenched fairways for the next few months.
And what a summer it promises to be. Let’s start with the obvious – the Presidents Cup. 24 of the best golfers in the world (and Tiger…sorry, had to slip that one in there) at a rejuvinated Royal Melbourne, with the world (and maybe a real President) looking on. If that wasn’t enough, the RoW team is jam packed with local talent – Og’s, Scotty, Badd’s, Daysie and Allemby’eee all colluding to smash the cocky Americans (I’m sure they’re really nice actually). To warm up for the event, they’ll also be wandering around a place called The Lakes the week before as well!
And while the PGA will also have a stellar line up, it’s the Masters just before Christmas that’ll I’ll be looking forward to. World #1 (and probable dual money list winner) Luke Donald, the ever popular Ian Poulter and Italian young gun Matteo Manasero. Throw into the mix local hero’s Ogilvy, Allemby and Appleby and we’ve got another blinder on the cards.
Has there ever been a summer of golf in Australia quite like it….so if you’re wondering what to do to improve your game this summer, get down to The Lakes/Royal Melbourne/Coolum/Victoria and see how the best in the world do it!Add a comment
Before we get to the good news (OK, you looked already) we’d like to thank all the people that have taken the time to contact us and especially for all the kind words and positive comments. Bringing a product to a new market is always a gamble, but from the feedback we’ve received, Australia is ready to embrace the GoKart.
As mentioned we have had an incredible number of people register with us (the wonders of the internet eh) but there can only be one winner, and that is…..
Colleen M from Mosman Park in WA – well done Colleen, we’ll be in touch soon to see which colourful option most takes your fancy. As we’re feeling generous, we’ll also chuck in a range of accessories to keep your GoKart company while trekking around the courses of WA.
For everyone else, keep checking back with us as we’ll have details on the first delivery very, very soon!Add a comment
It appears that the littlest corner of the UK is actually the centre of the golf universe. There’s no other way to explain 3 of the past 6 major winners coming from this nation of just under 2 million people….so I’m moving there. And while I’m at it, I’ll enlist Andrew “Chubby” Chandler to manage my affairs. After all, he currently manages 5 of the past 6 major winners so must know what he’s doing. Could 2011 be the first Chubby Slam in history?
The only flaw in my master plan is I currently play off 22! No problem – once I’m happily domiciled at the home of golf, a member of Portrush GC, have Chubby manage me (and get a few lessons) I’ll be looking forward to my first winners cheque.Add a comment
FREE FREE FREE….Win a GoKart
To kick off the GoKart in Australia, were simply giving them away…well, one anyway.
Just leave your details in either the contact page or on the mailing list before 15th August 2011 and we’ll pick out a lucky winner to receive a GoKart of your choice or receive a full refund if you’ve already purchased one.
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Thought for Seve
Genius is the ability to put into effect what is in your mind (F Scott Fitzgerald)
He was magnificent
All other golfing news this week pales into insignificance when set alongside the awful truth that Seve Ballesteros has died. The strength, volume and eloquence of tributes paid to him, by friends, fellow golfers, writers and many others bears testament to the affection and admiration with which he was regarded and I, for one, am convinced we will never see his like again.
There are golfers we admire and respect – Nick Faldo, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods to name just three – and then there are those we love, such as Arnold Palmer, Sandy Lyle and, top of the list, Seve. In a world of seemingly computer-generated clones, who look, swing a golf club, and dress the same, and who give carefully controlled media soundbites that are a model of bland non-information, Seve stood out like a red tulip in a field of daffodils. The modern Tour pro’s modus operandi is to cut down the mistakes, reduce the margins of error, find the short grass, avoid the hazards and wait for others to falter. Seve, in contrast, never saw a challenge he wouldn’t take on, a course he couldn’t beat into submission, another golfer he couldn’t take to the cleaners or a birdie he couldn’t make. Descriptions like ‘swashbuckling’, ‘cavalier’ and ‘go-for-broke’ attached themselves to him with such predictable regularity because they were true, and we who could only watch and marvel fell in love with the way he played the game but more than that (more…)Add a comment 1 Comment