Monday, December 27, 2010

TALKING GOLF WITH GARY 12-27-2010

Just a few news notes

 David Fay, who championed a strategy to bring the U.S. Open to public golf courses, announced on Friday he was retiring after 21 years as executive director of the U.S. Golf Association (USGA).

Mike Butz, the USGA deputy executive director since 1995, will serve as interim executive director from Jan. 1 2011, while the association looks for a new executive director.

Fay, 60, began his career with the USGA in 1978. He became assistant executive director in 1987 and was appointed as the sixth executive director of the USGA in 1989.

A long time advocate of making golf more accessible to the public, his most lasting legacy may be his campaign to bring the U.S. Open to Bethpage State Park on Long Island, N.Y. in 2002. The Black Course became the first public facility to host the national championship.

From 1999 through 2019, the U.S. Open will have been played 11 times on venues accessible to everybody, including Pinehurst No. 2, Pebble Beach, Bethpage Black, Torrey Pines, Chambers Bay and Erin Hills.



Tiger Woods had a cortisone shot in his right ankle 10 days ago to relieve lingering soreness. By Tuesday, he was back to work hitting balls and filming a commercial.

Mark Steinberg, his agent at IMG, said Woods had intended all along to have the shot after the Chevron World Challenge, which ended Dec. 5. Woods has nearly two months off before his next tournament at Torrey Pines.

At this year’s Masters, Woods revealed he ruptured the Achilles’ tendon in his right leg in December 2008 while recovering from knee surgery. Steinberg says it still causes soreness, prompting the cortisone shot.




Procter & Gamble Co. will not renew its endorsement deal with Tiger Woods at the end of the year, adding another name to the list of companies that cut ties with the golfer after last year’s revelations of marital infidelities.

The company used Woods, Roger Federer, Lionel Messi and dozens of other athletes as part of its three-year “Gillette Champions” marketing campaign. Gillette said Thursday it was phasing out that program and not renewing the contract with Woods and several other athletes. It stopped using Woods himself in the campaign months ago.




A Japanese court has handed down a suspended sentence to Australian golfer Wayne Perske for possessing and using cocaine.


Masaaki Ono, an official at the Chiba District Court, said the 36-year-old golfer received a year and six months in prison, suspended for three years.

Perske was arrested in October after inhaling cocaine at a bar in Chiba, east of Tokyo, and carrying some 1.25 grams of cocaine in his pocket. A customer at the bar alerted police, leading officers to search and arrest him.





Now you can follow me on twitter at twitter.com/talkgolfgary
Listen to my podcast weekly at par3radio.podbean.com
Send your questions and comments to talkinggolf@gmail.com

Thursday, December 23, 2010

TALKING GOLF WITH GARY 12-23-2010

I'll be taking a few weeks off but will be back in January  to bring you all the golf news . So, I just wanted to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Now you can follow me on twitter at twitter.com/talkgolfgary
Listen to my podcast weekly at par3radio.podbean.com
Send your questions and comments to talkinggolf@gmail.com

Sunday, December 19, 2010

TALKING GOLF WITH GARY 12-19-2010

ELS WINS SOUTH AFRICAN OPEN 
Ernie Els won the South African Open for the fifth time Sunday, shooting a 6-under 66 to beat Retief Goosen by one shot in a tournament shortened to 17 holes for each of the final two rounds.

The third and fourth rounds were played Sunday without the par-3 fourth, where the green was water-logged and all players were given a par score.

Els had five birdies, an eagle and a bogey in the final round to finish at 25-under 257 in the 100th edition of the rain-delayed tournament, where South Africans took the top four spots.

Goosen also shot a 66 in fourth round of the European Tour event co-sanctioned by the Sunshine Tour.

British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen also had a 66 to finish third, four shots behind Els, and Charl Schwartzel was fourth, seven shots back, after a 67.

In the third round played Sunday morning, Els had three bogeys on his first five holes, but recovered with seven birdies to stay one shot ahead of Goosen.

Robert Rock finished with successive 64s to be the highest placed European, finishing in a tie for fifth with Romain Wattel of France (65) in the tournament co-sanctioned by the Sunshine Tour.



IN OTHER NEWS
Graeme McDowell has been voted player of the year by the Golf Writers Association of America.

McDowell received 87 votes to beat Jim Furyk (61) and Martin Kaymer (51). The Northern Irishman won three times this year and captured the decisive match in the Ryder Cup for Europe against the United States.

McDowell also won the Golf Writers Trophy from the British-based Association of Golf Writers. He shared European Tour player of the year with Kaymer.

Yani Tseng won female player of the year from the GWAA, topping Cristie Kerr and Ai Miyazato. Bernhard Langer was the overwhelming choice as the senior player of the year.

They will be honored April 6 in Augusta, Georgia.



The Golf Channel is reporting that Davis LoveIII will be named the captain of the 2012 team, following a meeting of the PGA of America's board of directors. He's not an unexpected choice, having played in six Ryder Cups and assistant-captaining this year's matches. The PGA of America has indicated that it will make an official announcement sometime in the first quarter of 2011.

Separately, the United Kingdom Press Association has reported that Jose Marie Olazabal is the odds-on favorite to helm the European squad. A press conference has been set for Jan. 18 in Abu Dhabi to announce the choice, and Olazabal is well in the lead. Olazabal has had health issues over the last decade, battling rheumatoid arthritis, but appears able to handle challenges of captaining.

The 2012 match will be at Medinah.



After eight years as a caddie, and currently working for Camilo Villegas, Brett Waldman  said Wednesday he will play the Nationwide Tour next year instead of working for one of golf’s top players. Waldman earned that shot by completing an amazing ride through Q-school and shooting a 68 in the sixth and final round.

It wasn’t enough to earn a PGA Tour card, but he is fully exempt on the next best tour in the United States.
The hardest part of his journey was the final decision give up financial security by working for Villegas, or grind it out on a tour with no guaranteed pay from smaller purses.

 On a whim—and with prodding from his wife, Angel—he decided to try PGA Tour qualifying this year and was one of only nine players who made it through a pre-qualifier (four rounds) and the next two stages of four-round tournaments.

While trying to advance, he continued to work for Villegas at the Tour Championship and tournaments in China and Australia.

Waldman said he decided to play after talking to his wife, several friends including caddies and players. Support was one-sided, and he told Villegas of his decision on Tuesday night.



Stuart Appleby  has been voted the PGA Tour comeback player of the year after going from his worst season to a magical win.

Appleby won The Greenbrier Classic by closing with a 59, making him one of only two players to hit golf’s magic number in the last round. His historic win followed a year in which he finished outside the top 125 on the money list for the first time since his rookie season.

The Australian used a one-time exemption for career money to keep his card. His win helped him to finish 38th on the money list, and he topped off his year by winning the Australian Masters.


Good news from the camp of one of the most decorated golfers in history: Annika Sorenstam is set to be a mother once again.

"Mike and I are happy to share that our family will be a foursome by early summer," Sorenstam wrote on her blog". Ava is ready to be a big sister."



Now you can follow me on twitter at twitter.com/talkgolfgary
And on Facebook at par3prods
Listen to my podcast weekly at par3radio.podbean.com 
Send your questions and comments to talkinggolf@gmail.com

Sunday, December 12, 2010

TALKING GOLF WITH GARY 12-12-2010

 JOHNSON AND POULTER WIN SHOOTOUT
Dustin Johnson and Ian Poulter won the Shark Shootout Sunday, shooting a 13-under 59 in the scramble format to beat Darren Clarke and Graeme McDowell by two shots.

Johnson and Poulter grabbed the lead with birdies on their first four holes and never looked back, finishing at 30-under 186 at Tiburon Golf Club. Clarke and McDowell (59) never got closer than two strokes.

The two teams passed second-round co-leaders Jerry Kelly and Steve Stricker (64), and Fred Funk and Kenny Perry (66).

Kelly and Stricker, the defending champions, tied for third at 26 under with Chris DiMarco and Anthony Kim (61).

The 12 teams in the tournament hosted by Greg Norman played modified alternate shot on Friday and better ball on Saturday at Tiburon Golf Club.



2011 EUROPEAN TOUR KICKS OFF
Pablo Martin survived a disastrous triple bogey to successfully defended his Alfred Dunhill Championship title Sunday, shooting a 2-under 70 for a two-shot victory.

The Spaniard had a 7 at the par-4 17th but recovered to birdie the last for an 11-under 277 at Leopard Creek Country Club. He was two clear of Thorbjorn Olesen, Charl Schwartzel  and Anthony Michael, who took a one-stroke lead into the final round of the European Tour event.

He had surged ahead with an eagle-birdie start, and opened a five-shot lead through 11 holes following birdies on Nos. 7 and 9. With a three-shot lead on the tee at No. 17, the triple bogey then cut his advantage over playing partner Michael to one stroke with one hole to play.

But Martin recovered to put his second shot on the par-5 No. 18 on the middle of the green, and Michael found the water to end his chances.

Martin finished with a birdie four for successive victories at the European Tour’s season-opening tournament, winning a $210,000 check. He is the first winner on the 2010-11 Race to Dubai and the first player to retain a European Tour title since Padraig Harrington won a second straight British Open in 2008.

Next week is the South African Open Championship, which of course is not in Europe.



TINNING WINS THEN RETIRES
Danish veteran Iben Tinning won her final tournament on Saturday after shooting a 3-under 69 at the Dubai Ladies Masters.
\
The 36-year-old Tinning, who is retiring after 15 years on the tour, ended at 11-under 277. She beat Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist by two shots and England’s Melissa Reid by three in the season-ending tournament at the Emirates Golf Club.
It was Tinning’s sixth tour victory and her first since 2005.

Holding a one shot lead over Reid and Nordqvist going down the 18th, Tinning managed to get safely on the green in three and then holed a 15-foot birdie putt for the win.

Reid, whose drive went into the woods, ended up bogeying the hole to fall into third place.

Lee-Anne Pace won the Ladies European Tour Order of Merit despite struggling to a tie for 52nd at 299. She became the first South African to top the women’s money list when Laura Davies of England failed to finish first or second.
American Michelle Wie, struggling with back problems all week, was eight shots behind going into the final round, but moved up to a share for sixth place after shooting a 67, the best score of the day, to finish at 283.


IN OTHER NEWS
The Golf Channel is going the morning show route.


The network said Friday it will introduce a weekday morning news show, starting Jan. 3. Golf will be the focus for "Morning Drive," but hosts Erik Kuselias and Gary Williams will briefly fill in duffers on general news and weather.


Programming chief Tom Stathakes says the show will be reminiscent of MSNBC's "Morning Joe." He wishes Golf Channel had done this earlier because some days it doesn't present fresh programming until evening.


Kuselias has worked for ESPN radio and TV networks, hosting "NASCAR Now" and "College Football Live." Williams has been doing the early morning program on Sirius/XM's Mad Dog Radio.






Consumer products maker Fortune Brands Inc. plans to split into three companies, keeping its liquor business, led by Jim Beam bourbon, while shedding the units that make Titleist golf balls, Moen faucets and Master Locks.

Fortune Brands said Wednesday it will focus on its spirits business, which generates annual revenue of $2.5 billion and also includes brands such as Canadian Club and Maker’s Mark.

The home and security business, which also includes MasterBrand cabinets, will be spun off on a tax-free basis to shareholders. Fortune’s golf business, Acushnet, which makes Titleist golf equipment and FootJoy golf shoes and gloves, will be either spun off or sold.
Now you can follow me on twitter at twitter.com/talkgolfgary
 Listen to my podcast weekly at par3radio.podbean.com
Send your questions and comments to talkinggolf@gmail.com

Sunday, December 5, 2010

TALKING GOLF WITH GARY 12-5-2010

MCDOWELL IS VICTORIOUS AT CHEVRON WORLD CHALLENGE
Graheme McDowell defeated Tiger Woods in a playoff to win the Chevron World Challenge. Tiger blew a four stroke lead earlier in the round but he  looked as though he would recover from losing the lead  when he stuffed his approach to inside 3 feet on the 18th hole, but McDowell knocked in a 20-foot birdie putt that forced a playoff.

On the first extra hole, McDowell got a lucky break as he hit a tree with his tee shot,then hit his second to a spot similiar to where he hit it in regulation. And again he made a birdie putt from 20 feet. This time, Woods couldn’t match him. His 15-foot birdie putt slid by on the right, and Woods ended a calendar year without winning.

Woods had never lost a tournament as a pro when leading by at least three shots going into the final round.




WESTWOOD WINS ENDS YEAR AS #1
Lee Westwood cemented his year-end No. 1 ranking with an eight-shot win at the Nedbank Golf Challenge at Sun City on Sunday.


The Englishman closed with a 4-under 68, chipping in from the fringe at No. 18 for a birdie from nearly 40 yards to finish at 17-under 271.
The 37-year-old Westwood had led the 12-player field since Friday and was unchallenged on the final day to win his first Nedbank title in his seventh attempt, collecting $1.25 million for the victory.

Westwood started out with rounds of 68, 64 and 71, finishing with five birdies and a bogey Sunday to secure the top ranking for the remainder of 2010.




HJORTH WINS LPGA FINALE
Maria Hjorth won the LPGA Tour Championship on Sunday, using a final-round 72 to hold off a field that struggled to even make par.

Hjorth had three birdies and three bogeys on a picture-perfect day at Grand Cypress Golf Club, where only six of 120 players finished below par for the tournament. Third-round leader Amy Yang shot 74 to finish one shot back.

Hjorth finished at 5-under 283 for the tournament, the highest-winning score relative to par all year except for Paula Creamer’s 3-under victory in the U.S. Open at Oakmont. The firm and fluctuating greens at Grand Cypress played similar to the toughest major this week, and near-freezing conditions in the first two rounds only punctuated the challenges.
Yang made a birdie putt on the 18th from about 15 feet over a ridge, forcing Hjorth to sink an 8-foot putt slightly down hill to save par. She did, dropping her putter and lifting her arms in the air in triumph after it rolled in.

Yani Tseng also clinched LPGA player of the year, despite finishing 5 over for the tournament. None of the major season awards even changed hands this week.

The victory was only Hjorth’s fourth LPGA win and first since 2007. It also was a sweet homecoming victory for the Swedish native who now lives a few miles away from the tournament, the first LPGA event in Florida in two years.


OGILVY TAKES AUSTRALIAN OPEN
Geoff Ogilvy won the Australian Open on Sunday for his second professional victory in his home country, closing with a 3-under 69 for a four-stroke victory.
Ogilvy had a 19-under 269 total at The Lakes. The 2006 U.S. Open champion won the 2008 Australian PGA for his only other professional victory Down Under.
He slumped after winning the PGA Tour’s season-opening event at Kapalua.
Allistar Presnell, and Matt Jones tied for second, Jordan Sherratt  and John Senden followed at 12 under, and American David Oh  was in a group at 11 under. Sherratt was making his pro debut.



IN OTHER NEWS
Jim Furyk was voted by his peers as the PGA Tour Player of the Year.  Furyk was the favorite to win the award with his three PGA Tour victories, including the Tour Championship to capture the FedEx Cup. He was second on the money list and in scoring average to Matt Kuchar.

Furyk had gone more than two years without winning until his victory in the Transitions Championship in March, then won again a month later at Hilton Head. He ended the year with a par save from the bunker on the final hole at East Lake to not only win the Tour Championship, but the FedEx Cup.

He previously won player of the year from the PGA of America, an award based on points. This was a vote of PGA Tour players who had to choose among Furyk, Kuchar, Masters champion Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Ernie Els.

Rickie Fowler won Rookie of the Year on Tour.

Fowler won the award over Rory McIlroy and others,  McIlroy not only won Quail Hollow, he was third in two majors.

Fowler was a rookie in the purest sense, fresh out of Q-school at age 21. He had two runner-up finishes, at the Phoenix Open and Memorial, and was selected for the Ryder Cup team. In his singles match, he won the last four holes to earn a halve that gave the Americans a chance to win until Grame McDowell won the final singles match.

Fowler was the youngest rookie of the year since Tiger Woods won the award at age 20 in 1996.




The PGA Tour lost one tournament and picked up seven new title sponsors for a 2011 schedule that is not much different than last year and still offers about the same amount of prize money.


The schedule released Wednesday includes 45 tournaments that count toward official money, down one from last year after the Turning Stone Resort Championship decided not to renew.

Despite losing that tournament, however, total prize money hardly missed a beat. Assuming the majors keep their purses at least the same, the total is $288 million an increase of $3.8 million that offsets the $4 million Turning Stone purse. The 17 tournaments had slight purse increases built into their contracts.
FedEx will become title sponsor for one year at the St. Jude Classic in Memphis, Tenn., held a week before the U.S. Open.

Six new title sponsors had already been announced, a strong showing in this economy. Those were Hyundai (Kapalua), Farmers Insurance (San Diego), Wells Fargo (Charlotte, N.C.), Cadillac (Doral, Fla.), McGladrey (St. Simons Island, Ga.) and CIMB (Malaysia).

That leaves only two tournaments on the schedule that do not have sponsors— The Heritage at Hilton Head and the Bob Hope Classic. PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem has said both events could make it at least another year without one.




Now you can follow me on twitter at twitter.com/talkgolfgary
And on Facebook at par3prods
Listen to my podcast weekly at par3radio.podbean.com
Send your questions and comments to talkinggolf@gmail.com