Monday, April 26, 2010

TALKING GOLF WITH GARY #80

 OCHOA SAYS GOODBYE
Last Friday, Lorena Ochoa fought back tears as she said goodbye to golf. She will step away as an active player after the Tres Marias Championship next week in Morelia, Mexico. She left the door open to play a few more
tournaments, including her own Lorena Ochoa Invitational each November in her hometown of Guadalajara.
   Ochoa wants to raise a family—she was married in December to Aeromexico chief executive Andres Conesa—and run her charity foundation.so a return to full time tour player seems remote.
   “I realized maybe I didn’t have the necessary motivation and that I wanted to start a new life and come to Mexico and do different things with the foundation,” she said. “I have achieved all I needed to achieve in sports. Now is time to change, I’m going to keep working very hard, but at home.”
   “Today begins a new stage,” she said, her voice choking, her eyes misting. “Today is the most special day of my career. Every career has a beginning and an end. Ours has come.”   Ochoa, who joined the LPGA Tour in 2003 after two seasons at Arizona, falls short of the 10-year playing requirement to be eligible for the Hall of Fame, though she does meet the point requirement.


BOHN WINS ZURICH CLASSIC
Jason Bohn took home the Zurich Classic with a two stroke victory over Jeff Overton. With it Bohn captured his second PGA Tour career victory.
  Bohn, who also won the 2005 B.C. Open, had it going early, shooting an opening 65 and leading after each round.
  He locked up the victory with birdies on three of the final four holes at TPC Louisiana for a 5-under 67 and a two-stroke victory.
  Jeff Overton mounted a persistent challenge, twice tying Bohn on his way to a 66.
Overton birdied the 18th—after missing a long eagle putt—but Bohn, who made birdie putts of 5 1/2 feet on No. 15 and 22 feet on No. 16, had to only tap in on 18 for his fifth birdie of the round.
  Twenty-four year old rookie Troy Merritt was third at 14 under. He was 7 under during a seven-hole stretch that ended at No. 13, making five birdies and an eagle.
  The tournament was plagued early on with bad weather and the players had to go long extra holes to complete the tournament on schedule.

Next up is the Quail Hollow Championship. Sean O'Hair is the defending champion.



O'MEARA WINS FIRST CHAMPIONS TOUR TITLE IN TEAM EVENT
  Mark O'Meara and Nick Price defeated Joey Sindelar and John Cook on the second playoff hole Sunday to win the better-ball Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf.
  Both teams bogeyed the first playoff hole and returned to play No. 18, where Price won it with a par putt from about 7 feet. The victory gave O'Meara his first Champions Tour Victory. O'Meara has been on the Senior Tour for 4 years.
  John Cook missed a four foot putt that would have given his team the win in regulation.
  Playing in  terrible weather, both teams bogeyed the first playoff hole and returned to play the 457-yard 18th again, where Price won it with a 7-foot par putt.
Ken Green, making his first Champions Tour start since having his lower right leg amputated after an auto accident in June that killed his brother and girlfriend, teamed with Mike Reid tied for 26th at 12 under.

Next week is the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic, a brand new event.



PORTER WINS NATIONWIDE TOUR EVENT
(AP)—Australia’s Ewan Porterwon the South Georgia Classic for his second Nationwide Tour title, parring the last four holes in fading light Sunday to hold off Venezuela’s Jhonattan Vegas by a stroke. Porter shot a 2-under 70 to finish at 11 under at Kinderlou Forest. Also the tour’s 2008 Moonah Classic winner in Australia, Porter earned $112,500 after missing the cuts in his first four Nationwide starts of the year.

 The Nationwide Tour's next event is the Stadions Athens Classic at UGA. Patrick Sheehan defends.



FRASER TAKES HOME A BALLANTINE
(AP)—Australia’s Marcus Fraser broke a seven-year title drought Sunday, shooting a 3-under 69 to complete a wire-to-wire win with a four-stroke victory in the weather-shortened Ballantine’s Championships.   Fraser had just one bogey going into final round and added only one more, on the 18th hole. He finished at 12-under 204 at Pinx Golf Club in South Korea, where the tournament was shortened to 54-holes after fog delayed the first day of play for nearly seven hours.

The European Tour moves to Spain for the Open de Espana.  Thomas Levet is the 2009 winner.



IN OTHER NEWS
  A boycott by South Korean golfers unhappy with new qualification rules instituted by the OneAsia circuit will not stop organizers from holding upcoming tournaments, the Korean Golf Association said on Monday.   The OneAsia Tour was launched last year as a joint venture between the Australian PGA and governing bodies in Asia, including China and South Korea. The tour scheduled 11 events for this year across the Asia-Pacific region.
  However, OneAsia has met opposition from the more established Asian Tour as well as from South Korean players unhappy that the international circuit is absorbing locals-only tournaments such as the Maekyung Open.


Phil and Tiger are both playing in this week's Quail Hollow Championship. This will be an excellent tounament with quite a few big name players appearing.


And speaking of Tiger, his schedule has become breaking news whenever he opts to play in a tournament.  The latest is that Tiger has committed to play in the Players Championship and the AT&T National.
 Woods' schedule is starting to look like it has in years past. The only missing piece so far is the Memorial Tournament, June 3-6, in Ohio. It is unlikely Woods would go from the Players Championship to the U.S. Open without another warmup in between, which would be the Memorial. 


And that's it for this week.

Checkout my podcast a http://par3radio.podbean.com

Have a great week.








Sunday, April 25, 2010

TALKING GOLF WITH GARY # 79

OCHOA TO RETIRE
Lorena Ochoa the #1 woman golfer in the world announced she is retiring. The 28 year old Mexican star will hold a press conference on Friday. Stay tuned.

Monday, April 19, 2010

TALKING GOLF WITH GARY # 78

 FURYK WINS VERIZON
It was bizarre to say the least,  Brian Davis ended the one-hole playoff  with Jim Furyk by calling a two-stroke penalty on himself.  Davis ticked a loose reed in a marshy area beside the 18th green and called in a ruling that confirmed the violation.
 Furyk won his 15th PGA Tour event, and second since March.
 Furyk felt bad for Davis, who he dueled down the back nine at Harbour Town as Davis went after his first win.
Davis, who rolled in a clutch 18-footer for birdie on his final regulation hole to tie Furyk and force the playoff .
In the playoff, Davis’ troubles began with his approach, a wayward 7-iron that hit the left edge of the green, rattled off the rocks boarding Calibogue Sound and settled amid some grass, twigs and reeds.
 Furyk earned $1.026 million, finally tasting victory at Harbour Town after posting two second-place and one fourth-place finish since 2005.
 Davis earned $615,000 for his fourth second-place finish on the PGA Tour.
 Davis held a one-shot lead over Furyk with four holes left when things began to go wrong. Davis had back-to-back bogeys on the 15th and 16th holes to slip behind the ultra-steady Furyk.
 Davis shot a 68 and, like Furyk, ended with four rounds in the 60s.
 Bo Van Pelt and Luke Donald were two shots further back in third.
 Next week is  the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.  Jerry Kelly defends.



LANGER WINS RAIN SHORTENED EVENT
Bernhard Langer won for the 10th time on the Champions Tour at the Outback Steakhouse ProAm, which was shortened due to constant rain.
Langer birdied  the final hole during the second round on Saturday which gave him a one-stroke lead over Mark O'Meara and Mike Reid. Because no player completed their third round, the final result was based on the second-round leaderboard.
The leaders did manage to get on the course Sunday, and Langer made par on the first hole at TPC Tampa Bay while O’Meara chipped in for birdie to force a tie at 9 under. It didn’t matter when persistent rain washed out the rest of the tournament.
O’Meara has finished second nine times in four seasons on the Champions Tour, but still has yet to win.
Langer certainly got a good break Saturday, when his approach shot on the final hole hit the flag stick and dropped near the cup. He calmly made the putt for a birdie that gave him a one-shot lead,and eventually the victory.
Langer remains in second in the Charles Schwab Cup standings behind Fred Couples,  who finished tied for 12th at 4 under.
Next up is the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf. Berhard Langer and Tom Lehman are the defending champions.



NORDQVIST GOT MOJO
(AP) Anna Nordqvist won the inaugural Mojo 6 Jamaica LPGA Invitational on Friday, beating Amanda Blumenherst 1-up in the six-hole championship match in the Raceway Golf event. Nordqvist, the Swedish star who won the LPGA Championship and season-ending LPGA Tour Championship last year, earned $350,000 in the unofficial event at Cinnamon Hill.
After three rounds of six-hole matches Thursday, the field was cut from 16 to eight for the quarterfinals.
Nordqvist opened with a 2-up victory over Christina Kim, and beat Cristie Kerr on the first extra hole in the semifinals. Blumenherst beat Brittany Lang 1-up in the quarterfinals, and topped Na Yeon Choi on the first extra hole in the semifinals.
In the third-place match, Kerr beat Choi on the sixth playoff hole.



 YANG WINS CHINA OPEN
(AP)—South Korea’s Y.E. Yang  has won the China Open, shooting a 1-under 71 to seal a two-stroke victory over Welshmen Rhys Davies and Stephen Dodd. Yang made his only bogey of the weekend at the Jinji Lake Golf Club’s tough 18th hole Sunday, leaving him with a 15-under total of 273. Davies closed with a 67 and Dodd shot a 69.



CHAPPELL WINS HIS FIRST NATIONWIDE TITLE
Kevin Chappell, a former UCLA star, wons his first Nationwide Tour title at the Fresh ExpressClassic,birdieing two of the last four holes for a 6-under 65 for a one-stroke victory over David Hearn.
Chappell earned $108,000 to jump from 18th to second on the money list with $151,021. The top 25 after the end of the season will earn 2011 PGA Tour cards..



 IN OTHER NEWS
Jerry Kelly aced the fourth hole in the first round , at Harbour Town Golf Links, the second time since 2007 he’s gotten a hole-in-one there during the Verizon Heritage.
 Kelly was among the early competitors last Thursday when he came to the 193-yard, par 3, fourth hole. He hit a 4-iron that ended in the cup.
 Kelly did the same thing during the third round in 2007, also using a 4-iron for the ace.
It’s Kelly’s third ace during PGA Tour competition.


Tiger Woods will tee it up again in only two weeks at the Quail Hollow Championship.
Woods announced on Thursday he will play in the U.S. PGA Tour event which begins on April 29. It will be his first time playing at a tournament where tickets are sold to the general public since news of a sex scandal broke.
The early commitment was a sign that Woods plans to be helpful to the promotion of tournaments. He had been criticized over the years for waiting until the last day to announce he was playing, except for tournaments to which he had a sponsorship connection.


And sticking with the whole Tiger mess there are reports in the press that divorce is on the horizon for the #1 player in the world.  Tiger Woods' marriage to Elin Nordegren is over, according to Entertainment Tonight,
Nordegren has refused to move back into the home she shared with Tiger and has grown increasingly distant from him.  Reportedly  Mrs.Woods  was  visited by a divorce attorney at her current house in Orlando.


Masters champion Phil Mickelson committed to play at the Quail Hollow Championship on Friday. The tournament begins April 29 at Quail Hollow Club. As reported earlier Tiger Woods also is playing this event , so it gives the World's #1 and #2 players a chance to go at each other.
There is quite an impressive field at the event . The field includes Lee Westwood,Jim Furyk, Retief Goosen,Hunter Mahan, Kenny Perry, and Sean O'Hair who is defending.


That's it for this week.

Check out my podcast at http://par3radio.podbean.com

Have a great week.

Monday, April 12, 2010

TALKING GOLF WITH GARY #77

MICKELSON WINS MASTERS

Phil Mickelson won his third green jacket defeating Lee Westwood by three strokes on Sunday. His greatest joy came when he saw his wife Amy behind the 18th green  for the first time in 11 months after diagnosed with breast cancer. This victory was for family.

Last year, it was the 12th hole that did in Phil,this year it was a birdie on the 12th that catapaulted Mickelson to  victory.

Mickelson made two remarkable par saves from the trees, seized control with a 15-foot birdie putt in the heart of Amen Corner and then made a gutsy play with a 6-iron off the pine straw and over Rae’s Creek on the par-5 13th to set up a birdie.

Though he won by 3 it was not easy getting there. Mickelson arrived at Augusta National without a top five finish all year.

He opened with a 5-under 67. He closed with two more 67s on the weekend.And it was Saturday's stretch of holes that got the crowd going and Phil's game as he went eagle - eagle- birdie to jump into contention and a share of the lead.

The final round started with Westwood one stroke up. The lead stayed that way as the players jockeyed back and forth. Westwood stayed tough, K.J. Choi made a run at one point having a share of the lead. Anthony Kim shot a 65 and got within one but came up short. But it was Mickelson who remained tough and hit the pressure shot when he had to.

He took the lead for good at the 12th with a birdie and then a fantastic shot off the pine needles ,between trees, on the 13th.

Mickelson was steady the rest of the way—another birdie at the par-5 15th, pars at the tricky 16th and 17th holes and the birdie on 18.

Anthony Kim came into Sunday seven shots off the lead, and he didn't look to be much of a threat. But
from 13 to 16, Kim recorded birdie, birdie, eagle, birdie, going five under par and immediately jumping from into themix. He was just one off the lead, and  could have caught Left. . But a wide tee shot on 17 and a greenside bunker on 18 ended any hope.  Kim finished par-par to record a 65, still the lowest round of the tournament.

Lee Westwood went into the final round with a one-stroke lead, but a mediocre front side held him to a 1-under 71 as Mickelson pulled away the win.

The week also stirred our memories as Fred Couples and Tom Watson both, not only made the cut, but were in contention and a factor in the tournament.

Tiger Woods played his first tournament since word of a sex scandal came out and engulfed his life. Incredibly he contended but fell short with so-so play on the weekend. He played some great shots but had his share of errant shots that hurt his chances. Still he managed a fourth place finish.

Sunday, however, belonged to Phil Mickelson

“We’ve been through a lot this year,” he said, his voice breaking. “And it means a lot to share some joy together. She’s an incredible wife, an incredible mother, and she’s been an inspiration to me, going through what she’s been through.
“This has been an incredible week, and it’s something we’ll share and remember the rest of our lives. It’s one of the best things we’ve gone through. To feel this kind of jubilation is something we’ll never forget.”

 Next week is the Verizon Heritage at Harbour Town Golf Links Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Brian Gay defends.




IN OTHER NEWS
Tom Watson will be at The U.S. Open at Pebble Beach this June. Watson received a special exemption Monday to play in the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, where he won his only U.S. Open in 1982 with a chip-in to beat Jack Nicklaus.

 The exemption was announced a day after the 60-year-old Watson turned in another impressive performance at a major, tying for 18th at the Masters. In his previous major, he lost in a playoff to Stewart Cink in the British Open at Turnberry.



With his Masters victory Phil Mickelson moves back into the world number two ranking . Masters runner-up Lee Westwood  comes very close to the world number three slot, but remains in fourth, while Anthony Kim breaks into the top ten at 10th, up four places.


That's it for this week.

Check out my podcast at http://par3radio.podbean.com

Have a great week.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

TALKING GOLF WITH GARY #76

 KIM COMES OUT AT SHELL
 Anthony Kim stood in the rough just off the fairway of the 18th hole with a two stroke lead. Up ahead on the green Vaughn Taylor was lining up a putt that would put him one stroke behind Kim. He made his putt,Kim hit his second shot in a bunker,his third finished about 6 feet away. Kim needed to sink that for the victory. He missed it. Bringing on a playoff.

Shrugging off a bad putt on the 72nd hole, Kim parred the first hole of a playoff  to defeat Taylor and win the Houston Open on Sunday for his third PGA Tour title.

Kim and Taylor played No. 18 again in the playoff and Kim made a routine 4, two-putting from 30 feet. Taylor hit a bad drive, played out of the greenside bunker and came up short on his 18-foot par putt.

Charl Schwartzel and Graham DeLaet  finished a stroke back at 11 under. Shaun Micheel was two shots behind, and Kevin Stadler and Houston resident Jeff Maggert  finished four behind.
The event went to a playoff for the second straight year. Paul Casey beat J.B. Holmes  last year with a bogey on the first extra hole after Holmes drove into the water.

The 24-year-old Kim won for the first time since the 2008 AT&T National.


 
 TSENG TAKES THE PLUNGE
Yani Tseng eagled the second hole and pulled ahead of a star-studded field with a 4-under 68 for her second major title the Kraft Nabisco Championship.

Tseng, from Taiwan, finished at 13-under 275 at Mission Hills to hold off Suzann Pettersen by a stroke. Two of Tseng’s three LPGA Tour victories have been majors—she won the 2008 LPGA Championship as a rookie, beating Maria Hjorth in a four-hole playoff.

Pettersen’s eagle chip on 18 stopped just a few inches from the hole, and Tseng tapped in for par on the final hole to win the tournament.

Tseng played even par on the back nine, yet no could catch her.

Tseng two-putted for the win, then did the traditional jump into the water.

 Pettersen had several chances to reel in her friend on the back nine with birdie chances on Nos. 13 through 16. The only birdie putt that fell in the stretch was at 16, leaving her two shots behind Tseng.

Song-Hee Kim  was third at 9 under, top-ranked Lorena Ochoa  followed at 6 under, and Karen Stupples tied for fifth at 4 under with Jiyai Shin ,Cristie Kerr and Karrie Webb. Michelle Wie  tied for 27th at 3 over.



IN OTHER NEWS
Tiger Woods spoke to the press and answered questions yesterday after a practice round at Augusta National. Woods trying to revamp his image went to the  stopped and signed some autographs on his way to the practice range. He also waved and smiled to some of the fans as his day went on. He finished his work and then spoke to the media.

Here's what we found out

He was specific about some issues—drug use and his contact with a controversial Canadian doctor—while continuing to be guarded about his personal life.

He ruptured the Achilles' tendon in his right leg in December 2008, two months before his return from knee surgery. Woods said he was taking Vicodin for that and his left knee.

 He began taking Ambien after his father died because he was having trouble sleeping.

 He was sent to an Orlando, Fla., hospital after his Nov. 27 accident for a sore neck and a cut lip that required five stitches.

He denied ever taking human growth hormone, performance-enhancing drugs or "any illegal drug." He said he sought out Canadian doctor Anthony Galea for "blood spinning" because of his treatment on other athletes. Galea's assistant was caught bringing HGH and other substances into the United States last year.

Woods said the government has contacted him about his association with Galea and that he would cooperate fully, "but as of right now, they have not asked for my time."

Woods also said he would tone down his temper -- and his celebrations -- on the course.

And so it is down to work as tries to win his fifth green jacket.



CBS’ sports chief promised not to pull any punches in talking about the golfer’s sex scandal on the air during Masters coverage this weekend.

“Our job is to cover what happens in the golf tournament,” Sean McManus, CBS News and Sports President, said Monday. “This year Tiger’s story is a major factor in the golf tournament and we are going to cover it fully.”

CBS anticipates some extraordinary ratings from curiosity seekers if Woods is still in contention during the weekend, particularly for the final round. The network televises the tournament on Saturday and Sunday, while ESPN has the first two rounds on Thursday and Friday.

McManus said he’s given no instructions to his announcers on what they can or cannot say about Woods. Similarly, the Masters—which has a contract with CBS to televise the annual tournament—hasn’t said anything to him about how it wants the issue to be addressed, he said.



Phil Mickelson pulled a special guest out of the gallery at the Houston Open on Sunday to carry his bag for three holes.

Dr. Tom Buchholz, a radiation oncologist at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, is treating Mickelson’s wife and mother, Amy and Mary, who were both diagnosed with breast cancer last summer.

Mickelson left tournament passes for Buchholz, his family and other hospital staff. Out of contention in the final round, Mickelson asked Buchholz to take the bag from regular caddie Jim “Bones” Mackay on the 14th tee.

Buchholz wasn’t totally inexperienced as a looper. He was working in the pro shop at the Westchester Country Club after college in 1984 when he caddied for Allen Miller in the PGA’s Westchester Classic. Miller tied for 10th.


That's it for this week.

I'll be back with a recap of all the action from the Masters.

Check out my podcast at http://par3radio.podbean.com

Enjoy the Masters and I'll see you next week.