Sunday, November 29, 2009

TALKING GOLF WITH GARY #053

TIGER IN AUTO ACCIDENT
Tiger Woods was involved in an auto accident on Friday.In its initial accident report, the police said Woods left his house, ran over a fire hydrant with his Cadillac Escalade and then smashed into a tree at 2:25 a.m. Friday. Woods’ wife Elin, told officers she heard the crash from inside their home, and used a golf club to break out the back window.

The accident came two days after the National Enquirer published a story alleging that Woods had been seeing a New York night club hostess, and that they recently were together in Melbourne, where Woods competed in the Australian Masters.


The woman, Rachel Uchitel, denied having an affair with Woods when contacted by the press.

Tiger has issued a public statement on his website addressing the accident. In typical Tiger style he really gives no information.
The link is http://web.tigerwoods.com/news/article/200911297726222/news/






BROTHERS WIN WORLD CUP
Francesco and Edoardo Molinari became the first brother combination to win the World Cup of Golf, giving Italy its first title in the team event with a one-stroke victory over Sweden and Ireland on Sunday.

The Molinaris closed with a 4-under 68 in the alternate-shot final round on Mission Hills’ Olazabal Course. They finished at 29 under and earned $875,000 each in the tournament that featured two rounds of better ball and two of alternate shot.

Sweden’s Henrik Stenson and Robert Karlsson, the winners last year, shot a 69 to tie for second with Ireland’s Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell (70). McIlroy and McDowell led after each of the first three rounds.


England’s Ian Poulter and Ross Fisher (64) finished fourth, three strokes back at 26 under. Americans Nick Watney and John Merrick had the best round of the day, a 10-under 62 that gave them a sixth-place tie at 20 under.



WEIR INDUCTED INTO HALL OF FAME
Mike Weir was inducted into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame on Saturday night .
The 39-year-old Weir has eight PGA Tour victories, matching George Knudson for the most by a Canadian.

Weir’s Hall of Fame plaque was unveiled Saturday night and features a sketch along with a brief biography. It will soon make a permanent home alongside other honored members at the Hall of Fame on Glen Abbey’s grounds in Oakville. An exhibit featuring Weir’s memorabilia has been on display at Glen Abbey since the Canadian Open in July.




COUPLES CHOOSES FIRST CHAMPIONS TOUR EVENT
Fred Couples turned 50 in October, and he could not have picked a better Champions Tour event to make his debut.


The “King of the Skins” will be playing in the Champions Skins Game in Hawaii on Jan. 16-17, joining a Hall of Fame cast that includes Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Gary Player, Ben Crenshaw and Nick Price.

While the original Skins Game held over Thanksgiving weekend has been canceled, the 50-and-older version lives on in paradise at Royal Kaanapali. The total purse is $770,000, and it features two-man teams playing alternate shot.



SEVERAL PLAYERS USTNG EXEMPTION
As many as seven players could be taking an exemption from the career money list to keep their PGA Tour cards.


Brad Faxon (No. 37) and Corey Pavin (No. 48) already have notified the tour they will take a one-time exemption for being among the top 50 in career earnings.

The tour is waiting to hear from two players who already have used a one-time exemption from the top 25 in career money and still have the top 50 option -- 50-year-old Tom Lehman (No. 21) and Chris DiMarco (No. 22).

Stuart Appleby (No. 15) expects to decide in the next few weeks whether to use his first career-money exemption or try to get by on sponsor exemptions and his conditional status.

Jesper Parnevik is No. 46 in career money and entered in the final stage of Q-School. He likely will use his exemption if he fails to make it through Q-School or is ranked low coming out of Q-School. Tim Herron (No. 42) also is in the final stage of Q-School and could lean on his exemption if he doesn't make it.


That will wrap it up.

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Talk to you next time.

Monday, November 23, 2009

TALKING GOLF WITH GARY #052

WESTWOOD TOPS EUROPEAN MONEY LIST
Lee Westwood won the European PGA Tour event, the Dubai World Championship, and in doing so also won the European Tour's money list. He shot a course-record 8-under 64 in the final round to finish at 23 shots under par.

He earned $1.25 million with the 31st victory of his career to overtake Rory McIlroy on the season-long money list and win the European Tour’s first Race to Dubai since it changed from the European Order of Merit.
Ross McGowan of England was second and McIlroy, of Northern Ireland, finished third.

Westwood led by two shots entering the final round and opened it with five birdies in his first seven holes and he never looked back.

McGowan fell back from Westwood when he bogeyed his first hole. However, a run of five birdies from the 12th ensured he would finish second. McGowan is in his second season on the tour and only recorded his first win at the Madrid Masters in October.

McIlroy, who had a $120,000 lead in the Race to Dubai at the beginning of the week, made eight straight pars to kill any chance he had of making a run at Westwood.

Geoff Ogilvy of Australia and Padraig Harrington of Ireland finished tied for fourth at.



BROOKS WINS INVITATIONAL
Mark Brooks won the Callaway Golf Pebble Beach Invitational for a record third time, birdieing three of the last four holes Sunday for a 5-under 67 and a two-stroke victory over Rickie Fowler and D.A. Points.

The 48-year-old Brooks, the 1996 PGA champion, had a 12-under 276 total and became the first three-time winner in the tournament’s 38-year history. The seven-time PGA Tour winner also won the unofficial event in 1992 and 2002.



NORDQVIST WINS LPGA CHAMPIONSHIP;OCHOA TAKES PLAYER OF THE YEAR
In a tournament plagued by bad weather and shortened to 54 holes the drama came on Monday when Anna Nordqvist roared out of the pack as Lorena Ochoa and Jiyai Shin battled for LPGA Tour player of the year on the final, frantic day of the season.

Nordqvist shot a 7 under 65 to defeat Lorena Ochoa by two strokes in LPGA Championship presented by Rolex. It's Nordqvist's second win, in this her rookie year on tour.

Lorena Ochoa, finished second and received 12 points to beat Jiyai Shin for the 2009 Rolex Player Of The Year by one point.

Shin led Ochoa by eight points in the race entering the tournament. Once Ochoa finished second, Shin had to place no worse than seventh to win the player of the year award. Shin needed to chip in from the front of 18 and couldn't so she settled for a par on the last hole and finished tied for eighth, giving Ochoa the player award by a 160-159 score.



IN OTHER NEWS
After failing to find a venue to replace Upper Montclair Country Club, the Sybase Classic has dropped off the LPGA Tour schedule for 2010.

Tournament organizer Octagon Worldwide didn't renew its contract with Upper Montclair after a three-run at the course and then was unable to reach a deal with Essex County Country Club in West Orange.
http://tiny.cc/0zXWe



The LPGA Tour is adding a new $1.7 million tournament at La Costa Resort & Spa outside San Diego in 2010.

The LPGA Classic Presented by J Golf will be played March 22-28 at the resort in Carlsbad the week prior to the Kraft Nabisco Championship, the year’s first major.

In February, the tour said it would return to the Los Angeles area after a five-year absence. However, the new event is located 85 miles south of Los Angeles.

It gives the women’s tour three events in California, including the $2 million Kraft Nabisco to be played March 29-April 4 in Rancho Mirage.



The LPGA Championship will be held at Locust Hill golf course in suburban Rochester for one year next June, with supermarket chain Wegmans replacing McDonald’s as sponsor of the season’s second major.

The recession-pinched LPGA Tour is shrinking to 24 tournaments in 2010, down from 27 this year and 34 in 2008. With 13 events in the United States, it’s the smallest tour schedule in nearly 40 years.



Michelle Wie had to withdraw from the LPGA Championship with an injured ankle. She first injured her ankle at the Solheim Cup in August.

Wie was 3 under through 12 holes. Her ankle gave out on the 13th tee, and she stumbled backward, sliced her shot into the rough and took a bogey. She bent over in apparent pain on No. 14, then slipped again hitting her tee shot on No. 17.

After the round she went for treatment and withdrew a short time after.

That will wrap it up for this week.

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Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.

See you soon.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

TALKING GOLF WITH GARY #051

TIGER GOES LOW DOWN UNDER
Tiger Woods gave record crowds what they wanted to great shots and a closing round of 4-under 68 to win the Australian Masters on Sunday for his seventh win this year.

In his first trip Down Under in 11 years, Woods put on quite a show for his $3 million appearance fee.

Woods pulled away from a three-way tie for the lead with three birdies on his opening six holes, then seized control with a tee shot to a back pin on the par-3 15th that covered the flag and stopped 6 feet away for his final victory.

He finished two shots of Greg Chalmers who couldn't stand up to the "tiger onslaught".

Jason Dufner, with a 70 to tie for third with Francois Delamontagne of  France. James Nitties, who was tied for the lead, shot 73 and finished alone in fifth, followed by Adam Scott, who closed with a 69 for his second straight top 10 on the European tour.

Tiger has one tournament remaining—his Chevron World Challenge in California the first week of December that counts toward the world ranking for the first time.


AMES IS VICTORIOUS IN PLAYOFF
Stephen Ames won his second title in three years at the Children’s Miracle Network Classic on Sunday, edging George McNeill and Justin Leonard in a playoff to become, at 45, the oldest winner in the
tournament’s history.

Ames finished with an 8-under 64 for the clubhouse lead, watching as McNeill and Leonard  failed to pass him.

Leonard rimmed out a 16-foot putt for the win in regulation, even beginning to pump his fist in celebration only to watch the ball spin away. He twice  left putts short when he was eliminated on the first playoff hole.

After McNeill saved par on the first playoff hole despite landing his tee shot between the trees, he had a 6-foot putt on the 15th to force a third playoff hole. McNeill struck the ball right on the line, but it trickled around the edge and popped off to give Ames the win.



WIE IS A WINNER
Michelle Wie won her first LPGA Tour title,with a 3-under 69 Sunday for a two-stroke victory over Paula Creamer in the Lorena Ochoa Invitational.

Wie finished off the victory in style, hitting a greenside bunker shot to 6 inches on the 18th hole and then tapping in for a birdie.

The 20-year-old Wie raised both arms in the air putter in right hand—and then put her hand over her mouth.

Morgan Pressel, Jiyai Shin, and Cristie Kerr were three back. Wie finished at 13-under after starting the day tied for the lead with Kerr at 10 under.

Wie had a chances to pull away on the front nine, but couldn’t quite do it. She went to 13 under with a birdie on 11, giving her a one-shot lead over Creamer and Kerr. Wie bogeyed the next hole when her escape shot from under a cluster of trees squarely hit a trunk, the ball rebounding into the fairway behind her.

But she made par through 17.

Creamer drew even with Wie with an eagle on 10. But two bogeys down the stretch ruined her chances of victory.

Wie came to 18 hanging on to a one stroke lead. She hit her tee shot into the first cut, her second shot went into a greenside bunker. Wie then steadied her nerves and hit a great sand shot to within 6 inches of the hole and victory.

Wie has had quite a year as she rebuilt her career. She went to Q School and earned her tour card. She then went on to play in the Solheim Cup where she emerged as a star,going undefeated in four matches. And now she is a winner on the LPGA TOUR.



BOURDY WINS IN HONG KONG
France’s Gregory Bourdy has survived a late challenge from Rory McIlroy to win the Hong Kong Open by two strokes and secure a berth at the European Tour’s year-end championship in Dubai.

Bourdy had four birdies and a bogey in a 3-under 67 that gave him a 19-under 261 total and his third European Tour title. The win moved the Frenchman into the top 60 on the money list, qualifying him for Dubai.



IN OTHER NEWS
(AP)—The PGA Tour’s first-ever suspension for violation of its anti-doping rules wound up in federal court on Friday where attorneys for a 40-year-old journeyman tried to block the one-year ban.

Attorneys for Doug Barron, a professional golfer from Memphis, sought a temporary restraining order on his one-year suspension for testing positive for two banned substances in June. The tour announced earlier this month that he was the first golfer to be banned for violating the policy that went into effect July 3, 2008.
Read the full article here http://tiny.cc/LkXBk



It appears that David Duval,the former world No. 1 has likely lost his PGA Tour card for next year after missing the cut at the Children’s Miracle Network Classic, finishing at 5-over par in the final event of the season at Disney World.

Duval entered the week at No. 125 on the money list, the last spot to earn full status on tour. He is projected to finish at No. 131, giving him conditional status that would allow him to enter about a dozen tournaments for being in the top 150.

Duval’s name recognition should help him land sponsor exemptions. And his runner-up finish at the U.S. Open and his 2001 British Open championship will get him into the first three majors next year.



Paul Casey has pulled out of next week’s season-ending Dubai World Championship with a rib injury and will miss out on finishing at the top of the European Tour money list.

The 32-year-old Casey just returned to action after being sidelined for three months with an injury he picked up practicing for the British Open in July and was fifth in the Race to Dubai. He returned for World Match Play Championship in Spain two weeks ago but withdrew early in the final round of last week’s HSBC Champions tournament in Shanghai.

His manager, Guy Kinnings, said the muscle behind the rib had become inflamed again.


That's it for this week .
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Have a great week

Sunday, November 8, 2009

TALKING GOLF WITH GARY #050

LEFTY WINS IN CHINA
Phil Mickelson sank an 18 footer on the the 16th hole, then birdied the 17th, and parred 18 to defeat Ernie Els in the HSBC Championship. Els, who had a last round lead , and who was in the lead until hitting into the water and making bogey on the final hole watched from the clubhouse.

Woods was never a factor in the final World Golf Championship of the year, falling six shots behind on the front nine and doing well to stay on the leaderboard the rest of the way. He hit into the water with his third shot on the par-5 18th and had to scramble for bogey to close with a 72 and tie for sixth, five shots behind.

Mickelson finished at 17-under 271 and earned $1.2 million in winning his second WGC event of the year. It was the first time he won a tournament while playing in the final group with Woods.

Mickelson won for the fourth time this year, tying a career best. Sunday was Michelson's final round of the year. He will start his 2010 season at Torrey Pines in late January.



BO BAE WINS MIZUNO IN A SONG
Bo Bae Song, of South Korea won the Mizuno Classic on Sunday for herfirst LPGA Tour title, closing with a 4-under 68 for a three-stroke victory over top-ranked Lorena Ochoa, Brittany Lang and Hee Young Park.

The 23-year-old Song finished at 15-under 201 and earned $210,000 in the event co-sanctioned by the Japan LPGA. Ochoa shot a bogey-free 64, and Lang and Park had 68s.

Jiyai Shin, the 2008 winner who is trying to hold off Ochoa in the player of the year points race, closed with a 69 to tie for fifth.




IN OTHER NEWS

The HSBC Women’s Champions will remain part of the LPGA Tour schedule for the next three years after the title sponsor announced a three-year contract renewal.

The HSBC Women’s Champions will be played Feb. 25-28 in Singapore with
a $1.3 million purse.

Saturday’s announcement was a boost for the LPGA Tour, which goes into 2010 trying to keep as many title sponsors as possible.

The HSBC Women’s Champions will have a 63-player field determined largely by LPGA Tour winners and top players from the women’s world ranking.  Jiyai Shin, who is leading the LPGA Tour money list, won
the tournament this year.



Michelle Wie will end her season in Dubai at the final Ladies European Tour event of the year. Tour officials announced Thursday that Wie will be part of the field at the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters from Dec. 9-12.

The 20-year-old from Hawaii played this year as an LPGA Tour memberfor the first time and is No. 17 on the money list. She did not win a tournament, although she helped lead the United States to victoryin the Solheim Cup.



Greg Norman’s slower-than-expected recovery from shoulder surgery will force him to miss next month’s Australian Open.

Tournament officials said that Norman was advised by his doctors not toplay competitive golf again this year following arthroscopic surgery in September.

Geoff Ogilvy, Adam Scott and John Daly are entered in the Australian Open, the second of three tournaments on the Australian late-year circuit.

Tiger Woods is making his first appearance in Australia since the Presidents Cup in 1998, at the Australian Masters, next week at Kingston Heath in Melbourne.


The season is really coming close to finishing but we will remain to report and whatever news occurs in the golf universe. Next week is the Childrens Miracle Network Classic, the last official stop for 2009 on the PGA Tour.

Tiger plays in Australia,and the LPGA has the Lorena Ochoa Invitational.


Have a great week.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

TALKING GOLF WITH GARY #049

VIKING CLASSIC CANCELLED
  PGA Tour officials canceled the weather-plaqued Viking Classic on Saturday because of unplayable course conditions.
  No makeup date has been scheduled and players will move on to the final event of the season, the Children’s Miracle Network Classic on Nov. 12-15 in Orlando, Fla.
  The course had received 1.75 inches of rain Friday and Saturday alone,this on top of about 20 inches 0f rain in the past six weeks.
  This is the first time a tournament has been cancelled because of weather since the 1996 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, which was canceled due to unplayable conditions. The last rainout came in Houston in 1991, though that tournament was rescheduled.
  The Viking Classic was important for a few dozen players who are chasing tour cards for the 2010 season. The top 125 on the money list pass through and most of the players hovering around that level were in attendance. They’ll have just one chance now to move up.


COOK WINS CLOSER- ROBERTS WINS CUP
John Cook won the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship by five strokes Sunday for his second Champions Tour title in three weeks, while Loren Roberts held on to win the season points title.
Cook, won the Administaff Small Business Classic winner two weeks ago in Texas. He finished today with a 3-under 69 to finish at 22-under at Sonoma Golf Club.
  Roberts had a 66 to tie for sixth at 13-under and win the points title and $1 million annuity for the second time in three years. He had to hold off a strong surge from Bernhard Langer), who also finished at 13 under.
Russ Cochran finished second in the tournament. Brad Bryant and Jeff Sluman were 15 under, and Phil Blackmar was 14 under.


CHOI WINS LPGA EVENT
Na Yeon Choi made birdie at the last hole for a 67 on Sunday, giving her a one-shot victory over Maria Hjorth and Yani Tseng at the Hana Bank KOLON Championships.
Choi and Hjorth played in the same group and were tied heading to 18, where they both hit nice tee shots. Hjorth hit a 4-iron into a water hazzard, while Choi laid up in front of the green. Hjorth managed to save par, while Choi chipped within inches for the tap-in birdie.
  She finished at 10-under 278 at Sky 72 Golf Club’s Ocean Course, where the LPGA was making its annual tour stop in South Korea. Choi won the Samsung World Championships in September in similar fashion, with an eagle at the par-5 last hole.


FISHER DEFEATS KIM IN MATCH PLAY CHAMPIONSHIP
Ross Fisher beat Anthony Kim 4 and 3 on Sunday to win the 36-hole World Match Play Championship final.
  Fisher eagled the 22nd hole and birdied the next to take a 3-up lead. Kim won the next hole before missing short putts at the next two, then squandering several chances to win holes down the stretch. Fisher never trailed his American opponent.
  Kim tried to rally on the second 18, putting his tee shot within 15 feet on the 24th hole and then making the birdie putt. But he couldn’t hold it together around the greens, lipping out from about a foot two holes later.

POULTER WINS SINGAPORE OPEN
Ian Poulter overcame a rough stretch in mid-round to fire a one-over 72 and win the Singapore Open by one shot on Sunday, finishing the $5 million event on 10-under 274 for a wire-to-wire victory.
China’s Liang Wenchong finished second on nine-under-par, with Australian pair Scott Hend and Adam Scott tied for third,a further shot adrift of Poulter, who won for the first time on the European Tour since the 2006 Madrid Open.
  The co-sanctioned event was troubled by weather delays on the three previous days but Poulter returned to the course under blue skies on Sunday and battled through 30 holes before limping over the finishing line having let slip a five-shot halfway lead.
  Australian players Scott Hend and Adam Scott finished two shots back in a tie for third. Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els finished six shots back at 4-under.



IN OTHER NEWS
Joey Sindelar remained hospitalized Sunday after having a pulmonary embolism during the third round of the Charles Schwab Cup Championships.
The Champions Tour said Sindelar’s condition had improved but doctors at Sonoma Valley Hospital wanted to keep the 51-year-old for further observation.
Sindelar withdrew Saturday and was taken to the hospital for dizziness and shortness of breath after playing the 204-yard, par-3 fourth hole. Sindelar rested in between holes and tried to play the fifth before withdrawing. Medical personnel attended to Sindelar at the course before he was taken to the hospital for additional tests.



The LPGA Tour picked Michael Whan as its new commissioner. Whan previously worked for TaylorMade Golf and Wilson Sporting Goods and most recently was president of Mission-Itech Hockey. He replaces Carolyn Bivens, who was forced out by players in July as the tour kept losing sponsors. Bivens had a strong business background but little experience in sports when she was hired in 2005.
  The number of official money events dropped from 34 in 2008 to 28 this year. The number of events for 2010 will be even less, but will be surprisingly strong. The complete schedule will be released in  mid November.
Whan will take over in January.


Have a great week and keep on swinging.