Monday, March 29, 2010

TALKING GOLF WITH GARY #75

 ELS HOLDS ON FOR WIN AT BAY HILL
Ernie Els is making an early bid for player of the year by continuing his inspired play. Els made two clutch par putts to win the rain-delayed Arnold Palmer Invitational in a Monday finish for his second PGA Tour victory in a row after a two-year drought.
Coming off a four-shot victory in the World Golf Championship at Doral two weeks ago, Els closed with a 1-under 71 at Bay Hill to win for the 18th time in his PGA Tour career and made it consecutive wins for the first time since 2003.
He was relieved upon holing an 8-foot par putt on the final hole, giving him a two-shot victory over Kevin Na and Edoardo Malinari of Italy.
The victory was worth $1.08 million and put Els atop the PGA Tour money list with more than $3 million. He moves to No. 7 in the world.
Retief Goosen and Chris Couch  tied for fourth.Ben Curtis,  who started the final round one shot out of the lead, closed with a 74 and finished alone in sixth.

Next week is the Shell Houston Open . Paul Casey took home the trophy in 2009.



COUPLES'  TRIPLE PLAY
 Fred Couples is white hot and the Champions Tour is getting burnt. Couples won his third straight start on the 50-and-over tour Sunday, shooting a course-record 10-under 62 at Jack Nicklaus-designed Punta Espada for a two-stroke victory over Corey Pavin in the Cap Cana Championship.
Couples made 11 birdies in the final round and finished the tournament at 21-under 195. Pavin finished with a 66.
The 50-year-old Couples is the first player in Champions Tour history to win three of his first four tournaments, and the eighth to win three straight starts, leaving him one behind the tour record set by Chi Chi Rodriguez in 1987.



SEO IS ON KIA
Hee Kyung Seo, who is not a member of the LPGA Tour, won her first LPGA tournament with a six stroke victory in the Kia Classic.  She received one of the three sponsor’s exemptions to get into the tournament. An 11-time winner on the Korean LPGA Tour, she can chose to become an LPGA Tour member this year or next.
After opening with a 70, Seo took the lead with a second-round 67 and had a 69 on Saturday en route to a 12-under 276 total.
The only real blemish on her round was a double bogey when she hit into the water on the par-3 16th. She had six birdies and two bogeys.
South Koreans swept the top four spots, with Inbee Park (65) finishing second, and Jiyai Shin (70) and Jee Young Lee (70) tying for third at 5 under.

The ladies have their first major of the year next at the  Kraft Nabisco Championship in Rancho Mirage. Brittany Lincicome is defending.



OOSTHUIZEN WINS FIRST TITLE
 Louis Oosthuizen, who was knocking on the door last week, earned his first European Tour title after shooting a 3-under 67 Sunday in the final round of the Andalucia Open.
Peter Whiteford of Scotland (66) and Richard Finch of England (67) were tied for second.
Oosthuizen has spent  eight seasons on the European Tour, He had previously finished second  four times, most recently at last weekend’s Hassan 11 Trophy in Morocco after having led into the final round only to be outplayed by  Rhys Davies.
However, from the moment he opened his fourth round in Spain with a successful 22-foot birdie putt on the first green, there appeared to be no threat of him being overtaken again.

Next up is the  Madeira Island Open in Portugal in two weeks.



 ARGENTINIAN WINS IN LOUISIANA
(AP)—Argentina’sFabian Gomez  won the Louisiana Open for first Nationwide Tour title, closing with a 7-under 64 in windy conditions Sunday for a tournament-record six-stroke victory over three playe
The 31-year-old Gomez finished at 15-under 269 on the Le Triomphe Country Club course and earned $99,000.
Kyle Reifers , Scott Gutschewski, and Brian Vranesh tied for second.



IN OTHER NEWS
Tiger Woods will hold a press conference before the Masters at 2 p.m. on Monday, April 5, according to a tentative interview schedule that Augusta National released Wednesday.
It will be his first press conference in nearly five months, and his first time facing a room full of reporters since he crashed his SUV on Nov. 27, setting off an epic sex scandal..



MichelleWie made a splash at the Kia Classic but lost yet another rules dispute. Wie was five shots off the lead when she hit her ball into the water’s edge near the 11th green. With her right foot in the water and left foot on the bank, she barely splashed the ball onto the shore. After water fell all over her, and after finishing her swing, she set her club onto the ground with her left hand, within the red hazard line.
Not long after holing out at the 11th for what she thought was a par save, Wie was informed that she incurred a two-shot penalty for grounding her club. After the round, in a Golf Channel truck, Wie and rules officials engaged in a classic golf rules debate.
Wie conceded that it did not look as if she was using the club to help her catch her balance but that she actually was. She raised some good points in whether rules officials were making assumptions of facts they could not know.
Wie said the splash of water caused her to close her eyes, and set the club down instinctively to feel her balance.
LPGA rules chief Doug Brecht told Wie he and two other rules officials could see no evidence that she was off balance. Without the two shot penalty, Wie, would have finished second, instead she finished in a tie for sixth and lost about $91,000 dollars.(Golf Channel)



(AP)—Louis Oosthuizen and K.J. Choi were among five players to move into the top 50 in the world rankings and earn a spot in the Masters, which could have its largest field in 44 years.
Oosthuizen, the 27-year-old South African who lost a 54-hole lead a week ago in Morocco, won his first European Tour event Sunday at the Andalucia Open in Spain. He earned enough points to move into the top 50.
Choi closed with a 1-over 73 and was tied for 17th in the Arnold Palmer Invitational when the final round was suspended by weather. Choi, who moved up to No. 48 with his runner-up finish a week ago at Innisbrook, will stay in the top 50.
Augusta National takes the top 50 players in the world ranking to be published Monday. The only other way to qualify now is for someone not already eligible to win the Houston Open next week.
The other three players to qualify for the Masters through the world ranking are Charl Schwartzel of South Africa, Alvaro Quiros of Spain and Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand.



Thats it for this week

The podcast is at http://par3radio.podbean.com

You can email me at talkinggolf@gmail.com

Have a great week

Monday, March 22, 2010

TALKING GOLF WITH GARY # 74

FINALLY FURYK IS A WINNER AGAIN
Jim Furyk is a PGA Tour winner again after 32 long months. Furyk closed with a 2-under 69 for a one-shot victory over K.J. Choi, and that  earned him his 14th career victory.

It was a final round that was at times brilliant, at times sloppy, and uncertain to the very end, including a wild 18th hole.

When the pressure was on  Furyk responded with crisp iron shots and clutch putts. No sooner had he built a cushion, Furyk managed to keep it interesting with bogeys, including a trio of three-putt bogeys on the par 3s

Choi finishing second goes from No. 75 to No. 47 in the world ranking, and he only needs to stay in the top 50 after the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill this week to secure an invitation to the Masters.

Furyk had a three-shot lead, which was erased by Choi’s four birdies through six holes. The turning point for Furyk came at the par-3 eighth, when he rolled in a birdie and Choi missed the green and made bogey, a two-shot swing that Choi never made up.

Bubba Watson shot a 68 to finish third. Both Watson and Choi had their chances to catch Furyk but some how he managed to keep dodging the bullets. Even to the 18th.

Knowing that a tee shot left on 18, could lead to a big number, Furyk hit it right into the trees. Trying to advance the ball close to the green, he hit what Furyk called a half-shank. Furyk had a good lie in the rough,and kept his shot pin-high and removed all drama by lagging that par putt to an inch, assuring victory when Choi failed to chip in for birdie from just short of the green.

Next up is the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill. Tiger Woods is the 2009 Champion (not defending ).




 DAVIES WINS IN MOROCCO
Rhys Davies of Wales earned his first European Tour title on Sunday, winning the Trophee Hassan II by two strokes over Louis Oosthuizen after shooting a 7-under 66.

Davies bogeyed the second hole, but then had eight birdies in 11 holes on the Royal Golf Dar Es Salam course to finish at 25 under.

Thomas Levet of France, Ignacio Garrido of Spain, Mikko Ilonen  of Finland and Thomas Aiken of South Africa were tied for third at 18 under.

Oosthuizen, the overnight leader, shot a 70 after beginning the day with a two-shot lead on Davies. The South African was also seeking his first European tour win.

Despite an eagle at No. 12 that put him back in front, Oosthuizen faltered down the stretch had to be content with his fourth runner-up finish.

The Tour next stop is Spain for the  Open de Andalucia. Soren Kjeldson defends.



IN OTHER NEWS
Tiger Woods granted five minute interviews Sunday to  The Golf Channel and ESPN. He acknowledged “living a lie,” saying he alone was responsible for the sex scandal that caused his shocking downfall.

Woods answered questions on camera for the first time since his early morning car crash last November, yet divulged few details about the crash, his marriage, his stint in a rehabilitation clinic or his personal life. Woods insisted those matters would remain private, just as he had in a statement on his Web site right after his crash and again Feb. 19 when he apologized on camera in front of a hand-picked audience but took no questions.

He admitted to being nervous about coming back and playing at the Masters and continued to take full responsibility.

“A lot of ugly things have happened. … I’ve done some pretty bad things in my life,” he told ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi.



Tiger Woods won’t replace AT&T with a new corporate sponsor on his golf bag when he returns at the Masters, instead using his Nike brand.

AT&T dropped him as a sponsor on Dec. 31 in the midst of the infidelity scandal.
 
It will be the first time since he turned pro that Woods has used an existing sponsor’s logo on the bag. The golf bag and hat are the two areas in golf where companies get the most television exposure.


.
 
The PGA Tour is looking for a new title sponsor for its World Golf Championship at Doral after CA decided not to renew its contract.

CA had been the title sponsor the last four years. CA spokesman Bill Hughes said Wednesday the company will continue looking for marketing opportunities in golf, just not as the sponsor of a tournament.

PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem has said he was confident the tournament would return to Doral next year, even if it has to find a new sponsor. Finchem said during the final round Sunday the tour had been speaking to a number of companies.




Former PGA champion David Toms  has been losing length off the tee that he can’t afford, and now he knows why. Toms said Friday he has a bone spur in his rotator cuff that will require surgery.

Toms said the original plan was to have the surgery after the Masters and return in time for the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. However, he shot a 63 in the second round of the Transitions Championship and finished in the top 20. 


If he keeps scoring like this, Toms said he could try to make it through the year and have surgery in the offseason.

Toms already has dealt with back issues, and he’s tired of waking up in pain.





That will wrap it up for this week.

The podcast is at http://par3radio.podbean.com

You can email me at talkinggolf@gmail.com

Have a great week

 

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

TALKING GOLF WITH GARY # 73

After months of speculation, the wait is almost over as Tiger Woods,announced in a statement today that he will return to golf at the Masters.

“The Masters is where I won my first major and I view this tournament with great respect,” Woods said in a statement. “After a long and necessary time away from the game, I feel like I’m ready to start my season at Augusta.”

April 8th is the big day.

Monday, March 15, 2010

TALKING GOLF WITH GARY #72

 ELS TAKES CA CHAMPIONSHIP
Ending the longest drought of his 20-year career, Ernie Els played the final 23 holes on the Blue Monster without a bogey and finished with a 6-under 66 on Sunday to win the CA Championship by four shots over 25-year-old Charl Scwartzel

Schwartzel, in his first time on a world stage, refused to let Els get away from him. Els was clinging to a one-shot lead as he stood over a 25-foot par putt on the 14th hole, and the Big Easy was relieved to see it fall on the final turn.

Schwartzel caught a bad break on the 15th hole when his ball plugged in a front bunker, and he knocked that into a back bunker on his way to a crucial bogey. He missed short putts on the next two holes and closed with a 70.
That allowed Els a strange sensation, walking up to the 18th green with his cap in hand, waving to the gallery, unable to contain a smile that showed equal parts relief and satisfaction.

It was a strong effort by Schwartzel, who has considered Els a hero since he first started playing golf. Despite two bogeys on the final four holes, he was the only player to give Els a run. And he was poised to take him down until his tee shot left him little hope in the sand.

Padraig Harrington fell out with three straight bogeys on the back nine, closing with a 72 to tie for third at 11-under 277 along with Matt Kucher and Martin Kaymer of Germany, who had a 69 and moved up to No. 7 in the world.

Defending champion Phil Mickelson, who was never ia real threat, shot a 68 and tied for 14th.




LAMELY IS TOP OF THE FIELD AT PUERTO RICO OPEN 
Rookie Derek Lamely fired a final-round 66 on Monday to post his first win.  After finishing his round,Lamely needed to sit and wait for two hours for the field to finish.

Kris Blanks parred the final hole, while Steve Whitcroft bogeyed to fall out of second place. As a result, Lamely gets a two-shot victory, becoming the first rookie to win on TOUR since Marc Turnesa at the 2008 Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.

He’s also the first Nationwide Tour grad from the previous year to win on TOUR since Chez Reavie at the 2008 RBC Canadian Open.

 Lamely came into Monday as the seventh alternate for this week’s Transitions Championship. Now he automatically gets into the field at Innisbrook for finishing in the top-10.



TSENG WINS AUSTRALIAN OPEN
Taiwan’s Yani Tseng won the Women’s Australian Open on Sunday, birdieing seven of the last 12 holes for a bogey-free 7-under 66 and a three-stroke victory over 2009 winner Laura Davies.

The sixth-ranked Tseng, the 2008 LPGA Championship winner, had a 9-under 283 total on the Commonwealth Golf Club course. She opened with rounds of 74, 71 and 72 to begin the day four strokes behind third-round leader Karrie Webb.

Australia’s Katherine Hull and Giulia Sergas tied for fourth at 4 under. Alexis Thompson, the 15-year-old U.S. amateur star, closed with a 74 to tie for 16th at 3 over.




 IN OTHER NEWS
The golf equipment company Acushnet has agreed to sell its Cobra Golf brand to Puma, an apparel company slowly getting into the golf business.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Acushnet said Wednesday it would continue to help with production, distribution, sales and customer service after the sale is completed so Puma can make a smooth transition.

Among PGA Tour players under contract with Cobra are Ian Poulter, Camilo Villegas and J.B. Holmes.

Acushnet decided last year to reduce its promotion and advertising of Cobra to focus more on its signature brands, Titleist and Foot-Joy.

Acushnet associates who had worked exclusively with the Cobra brand are expected to become Puma employees.




Tiger Woods has hired former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer to help with damage control and a strategy for returning to golf, according to the New York Post. Sources told the Post that the former presidential advisor to George W. Bush has been meeting frequently with Woods where the two have been plotting a return strategy for the Arnold Palmer Invitational March 25 at Bay Hill. ( Golf Channel)



Two people with knowledge of Tiger Woods’ plans told The Associated Press on Thursday that he intends to remain out of golf at least until the Masters in early April. The two people spoke on condition of anonymity because only Woods is supposed to release such information.

Woods has been practicing at Isleworth near his Orlando home the last two weeks, and swing coach Hank Haney flew there recently to work with him.

Woods has not played since Nov. 15, when he won the Australian Masters in Melbourne for his 82nd career victory.




Phil Mickelson will play Bay Hill this year in a change from his regular schedule.  He decided to add Bay Hill because he wanted to get a certain number of tournaments in before Augusta, and  his game simply isn’t where he wants it to be yet.


And speaking of Phil Mickelson a terrific breakdown of his game was given in the Devil Ball Blog on Yahoo. Essentially the author says Phil's main problem is analysing everything too much and that he should just play and not think. for the complete article see below.
http://tiny.cc/ryTgg




Augusta National announced Monday that next month’s tournament can be viewed on 3-D-capable television sets and computers. It will be the first 3-D sports event on TV in the United States; previous experiments used movie theaters.

Few Americans currently own the capable sets, but networks believe 3-D could be the next big thing and are starting to offer programming.

Comcast will broadcast the coverage for free to its customers with 3-D sets. A feed will also be available on the Masters’ Web site.



That's it for this week.

Don't forget the podcast at http://par3radio.podbean.com

And at duffertv.com

Send your questions/comments to talkinggolf@gmail.com

Until next time.


Monday, March 8, 2010

TALKING GOLF WITH GARY # 71

 VILLEGAS RIDES AWAY AT HONDA
 CamilloVillegas shot a final-round 68 to win the Honda Classic by five shots Sunday over Anthony Kim for his third PGA Tour victory .

He finished at 13-under 267, the lowest 72-hole score since the Honda moved to PGA National in 2007, four shots better than Y,E Yang's winning total a year ago. And Villegas made it look easy most of the way, too, capping his day with a 20-footer for birdie, then raising both hands skyward.

Villegas  led by only two after Vijay Singh  made a 45-foot birdie putt at the par-3 fifth, but three straight birdies—starting with a 25-footer on No. 8—sent Villegas to 15 under and six shots clear of the field. After that the putter went cold. Lucky for him nobody made a run at him.

Villegas missed short par putts on 11 and 12, three-putted from 50 feet on the par-3 15th for another bogey, but never lost control of the lead and ended up pocketing the $1.008 million winner’s share.

He  finally acknowledged the crowd as he walked up 18, waving and secure in the knowledge that he was getting his first victory since the Tour Championship in 2008.

Kim shot 67 and Rose had by far the best round of the day, a 64 that was three shots better than anyone else. Paul Casey  and Vijay Singh  tied for fourth, seven shots back.
Sam Saunders , Arnold Palmer’s grandson, shot a 73 and  finished the week at even par.

Next week is WGC CA Championship as well as the Puerto Rico Open. Phil Mickelson defends at the CA and Michael Bradley is the Puerto Rico Open.




WEBB WINS LADIES MASTERS DOWN UNDER
Karrie Webb won her seventh Australian Ladies Masters title Sunday, closing with a course-record 11-under 61 for a six-stroke victory.


Webb, a stroke ahead of defending champion Katherine Hull and South Korea’s Lee Bo-mee entering the final round, finished at 26-under 262 on the Royal Pines course to match the tournament record she set in 1999.

Webb holed a 9-iron approach from about 125 yards for eagle on the par-4 seventh and made a 30-foot putt on No. 18 for her ninth birdie of the round. She broke the course record of 62 set last year by Kristie Smith.

Hull and Lee, bogey-free in four rounds, shot 66s to tie for second in the event sanctioned by Australian Ladies Professional Golf and the Ladies European Tour.





 COUPLES WINS SECOND TITLE
Fred Couples won his second straight Champions Tour title, shooting a 6-under 65 for a four-stroke victory Sunday in the Toshiba Classic.

Couples, making his third start on the 50-and-over tour, had an 18-under 195 total on the Newport Beach Country Club course. He won the ACE Group Classic on Feb. 14 in Florida and finished second behind Tom Watson in the season-opening event in Hawaii. Last week, Couples tied for 14th in the PGA Tour’s Phoenix Open.

Couples earned $255,000 to push his tour-leading total to $691,000.
Ronnie Black finished second. Tom Lehman and Chien Soon Lu tied for third at 12 under, and Watson  and Loren Roberts followed at 11 under.

Couples played the front nine in 1 under Sunday, then had a 5-under 31 on the final nine holes—making an eagle, four birdies and a bogey.

Couples hit a wedge into No. 12 that stopped a foot from the hole, then made a 3-footer for another birdie on 13.

But Couples made a mistake on the par-3 14th when he missed the green and was unable to get up and down for par. Black made an eagle on No. 15, to cut the lead to two again, but wasn’t able to get any closer.

Couples reached the par-5 15th hole in two and made a 12-foot eagle putt to extend his lead to four. He birdied the following hole and even birdied the 18th after his second shot hit the side of the grandstand to the right of the green. He hit a wedge to 20 feet and rolled in the birdie putt.

The over 50 set  take the next few weeks off but return at the end of the month with the Cap Cana Championship. Keith Fergus is the defending champion.




PATE WINS IN BOGOTA
Steve Pate  became the oldest champion in Nationwide Tour history, winning the Bogota Open on Sunday when Aaron Watkins missed a 3-foot par putt on the second hole of a playoff.

At 48 years, 9 months, 11 days, Pate broke the tour record of 48 years, 6 months, 17 days set by Dick Mast in the 1999 New Mexico Classic.

Pate won for the first time since the 1998 CVS Charity Classic, the last of his six PGA Tour titles. The victory drought spanned 245 starts (173 PGA Tour, 72 Nationwide Tour) and lasted 11 years, 7 months, 11 days.

Pate closed with an even-par 71 to match Watkins (68) at 11-under 273 on the Bogota Country Club course. Jamie Lovemark  matched the course record with a 65 to tie for third at 9 under withWilliam McGirt  and Tag Ridings.

Pate eagled the par-5 13th, holing a 35-footer, to pull within a stroke of Watkins and grabbed a share of the lead with a birdie on No. 17. Pate had a chance to win on the par-5 18th, but his 25-foot birdie try slid over the edge of the cup.

Playing the par-5 18th again in the playoff, both players parred the first extra hole. Pate missed a 10-foot birdie try, and Watkins two-putted from 40 feet.

Watkins then missed his short birdie try on the second extra hole to end it.

The Tour takes off the next few weeks and will return for the Chitimacha Louisiana Open. Bubba Dickerson defends.



IN OTHER NEWS
Tiger Woods did not enter the field for next week’s CA Championship at Doral, marking the first time he’ll miss that World Golf Championship event. Players had until 5 p.m. Friday to commit to that event.

In all, 64 players will be at Doral, including Steve Stricker and Phil Mickelson, the two players immediately behind Woods in the world ranking.



The New York Post reports that the Academy Awards bosses deleted a series of rude Tiger Woods jokes from the script. A well-placed source tells us writers penned cracks about the golfer's cheating scandal for hosts Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin to deliver. But the lines have been nixed by producers. The source said, "Some of the Tiger jokes were deemed too rude."





Miami Children's Hospital will open the first Nicklaus Care Center in Palm Beach County in 2010, hospital officials have announced. The Miami Children's Hospital Nicklaus Care Center will deliver medical care from pediatric craniofacial, endocrinology, gastroenterology, neurology and orthopedic specialists to a stand-alone clinic at a to-be-announced location in Palm Beach County.


With support from the Nicklaus Children's Health Care Foundation, medical specialists from the not-for-profit hospital will offer new options to Palm Beach County-area families with children who have special medical needs.



The Nicklaus Children's Health Care Foundation is a not-for-profit foundation focused on providing charitable support to organizations and initiatives that advance and enhance the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of childhood diseases and disorders.


That will wrap it up for this week.

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Until next week.