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."



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