Brit Lauren Taylor denied by USGA gaffe

A news release put out by the USGA on February 4th announced the addition of four new exemptions into the men’s and women’s US Open Championships: The male and female winners of the 2011 McCormack Awards, given to the highest-ranked amateur players in the world at the end of the year, and the winners of the 2011 British Amateur Championship and Ladies British Open Amateur Championship would all be in the starting lineup. Unfortunately what they meant to say was that exemptions would go to the ” reigning champions” of the latter two events. Since the Ladies British Open Amateur takes place in June, before the US Women’s Open, there will be a new champion crowned this coming June to whom the 2012 exemption will belong. Needless to say that 2011 Ladies British Open Amateur champion Lauren Taylor is pretty miffed at having her invitation withdrawn after she had learned online three weeks ago that the USGA had decided to extend an exemption to the winner of the 2011 LBOAC, she called the news  “unreal” and ‘so exciting.       Today, she was told she won’t be getting the exemption after all. I regard that as pretty poor form and the USGA should honor the offer made to her.

This is their cringing statement;

“The United States Golf Association extends its sincere apologies to 2011 Ladies British Open Amateur Champion Lauren Taylor. We have the deepest appreciation for how disappointed Ms. Taylor must be. The USGA proudly created an exemption category for the champion of the Ladies British Open Amateur Championship into the U.S. Women’s Open as a further commitment to the presence of amateur golfers in our respective major championships. We realize that our error may have caused the Taylor family an inconvenience and we wish to extend to them our regrets and our appreciation for their understanding. What occurred in this case is not typical of the USGA’s level of service to the golf community. We remain committed to working with the highest standards for the good of the game.”

Of course Lauren can still make it into the 2012 USWO through regular qualifying, or by winning the 2012 LBOAC, I wish all her all the best and hope that she makes it there.


2011 Ladies British Open Amateur champion Lauren Taylor, Photo by Getty Images

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Obama & Golf

There are a lot of people in the U.S.A who are Taking Barak Obama to task over his love and passion for golf. History records that he is not the only president to come under this kind of attack, personally I think if that is the oppositions main attack for wining an election campaign, they are on very thin ice. It’s a poor political argument to say we need to replace the president because he plays golf, would they be so critical  if he spent some leisure time playing football.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and filmmaker Michael Moore share the same gripe about links-addicted commanders-in-chief. Romney has dedicated a website to raising funds based on what he believes is Obama’s preoccupation with golf to the detriment of the country.

“He’s in Hawaii right now. We’re out in the cold and the rain and the wind because we care about America, he’s out there. Romney said at a rally just days before Iowans gather to cast the first votes for a Republican nominee to face Obama next November. “He just finished his 90th round of golf.”

A1_mediumLandov/Getty Images

The USA Today publication  noted that Obama had a long way to go to equal Ike’s “nearly 800 rounds during eight years in office.” And despite Eisenhower’s penchant for fairways and greens, Woodrow Wilson apparently is the leader in the clubhouse, having played almost 1,600 rounds in eight years.  President Harry Truman actually defended the need to spend some downtime on the links.

“To criticize the president because he plays a game of golf is unfair and picayunish. He has the same right to relax from the heavy burdens of office as any other man.”

I say enjoy the links Obama, and if your ever in New Zealand please join me as my guest , on our premier links course, Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club, you will not need your security people down here, so just relax and play the game.


Meanwhile, down in Mexico @ Mayakoba Classic

John Huh parred the eighth hole of a playoff to beat Australia’s Robert Allenby and win the 2012 Mayakoba Golf Classic. The 21-year-old Huh parred all eight holes in the playoff that matched the second-longest in PGA TOUR history. Huh and Allenby were tied at the top at -13 under par for the tournament, forcing the long playoff.

Tied in third place was Matt Every and Colt Knost just two shots back at -11 under par.

Hunter Mahan wins Accenture Matchplay

Hunter Mahan out maneuvered Rory McIlroy 2 and 1 in the championship match to earn his second-career victory in a World Golf Championship.

Successful hunt

Asked if it felt good to win Hunter said,

“Yeah, boy, it feels good. It feels good. It’s been;  I didn’t realize how difficult it is to win this week because it is six matches and you’re playing against the best players in the world. I had to beat Rory McIlroy, Matt Kuchar, Steve Stricker, Y.E. Yang, and Steve Stricker, Zach Johnson, all tough players, all tough match play players. It feels good because you’re going against the game’s best. I played well from tee-to-green, putting to chipping to driving, irons, everything was there. I needed everything to win. It feels good. I’m very proud of how I played. It feels great. It really does.”


Rory was trying to find the positives out of the week,

“Yeah, you know, not the result that I wanted going out this afternoon. It’s still been a positive week. I got through a couple of matches early on this week, which could have went either way. I dug in there and I was able to find some good golf when I needed to. So that was a positive. Yeah, it’s a good result. It’s, again, not what I was looking for. But I can look back on this week and take many positives out of it.”

With Westwood and McIlroy both failing to win this event, Luke Donald remains as the number one golfer in the world, probably much to his surprise.

The M’s beat the W’s in Accenture Matchplay semi’s

McIlroy and Mahan beat off the challenges of Westwood and Wilson in the Accenture Matchplay semi finals at Dove Mountain in Arizona. McIlroy won 3 & 2 in a good match with Lee Westwood, and now has the chance to go to #1 in the world with a win over Hunter Mahan in the final. Hunter beat Mark Wilson   2 & 1, for his chance at the title.

Live: Final matches


Will update this post after the final later today.

The winner of the semi between Rory McIlroy-Lee Westwood match will be 18 holes away from assuming the world No. 1 ranking.

The semi final winner of the Accenture Matchplay Championship between Lee Westwood and Rory McIlroy will be 18 holes away from assuming the world golf ranking of #1.

Westwood dispatched Martin Laird 4 & 2, while Rory McIlroy cruised passed Sang-moon Bae of South Korea 3 & 2. Lee said of his round,

“Well, I played solidly. I didn’t make a bogey. Martin gave me a couple of birdies; I made three others. 5 under par is solid golf. The course felt trickier today. A little bit more breeze out there. A couple of the flags were really tough. Martin started the match how I would like to have started it. He birdied the first two holes and got 1 up. And I suppose I could have been 3 down after three holes. But I made a nice 4 footer for a half of the second, and he missed from what was a makeable chance. So it was just a case of not giving any holes away and waiting for Martin to make a mistake. He gave me a couple of holes on the turn on 7 and 9 and then the 10th really. So you can’t do that at this level.”

Asked about the upcoming semi with Rory, Lee replied,

It’ll be exciting, won’t it? The seeds have worked out or they should work out. We’re both No. 1 seeds. That’s how it should be in the semifinals. One of us will have a chance to get to the final and win the tournament. That’s my main priority to go out tomorrow morning and play well.”

More than a match

Rory also said the semi would be an exciting match,

“Walking around the locker room I said I’ll see you on the first tee tomorrow morning. Yeah, I think it’s the match that most people wanted and definitely the match that I wanted. And I’m excited about tomorrow. It should be a lot of fun and very exciting for everyone involved. The way Lee plays, you know he’s going to hit fairways, he’s going to hit greens, he’s going to put you under pressure the whole day. He’s not going to take his foot off the pedal. He’s not going to give you any holes. So you have to play the exact same way. You’ve got to hit fairways, hit greens, give yourself plenty of opportunities. And I think tomorrow it’ll just come down to who holes the most putts.”

One fine day

Mark Wilson beat Peter Hanson 4 & 3, and Hunter Mahan was a 6 & 5 winner over Matt Kuchar. Mark was also looking forward to his match up with Hunter Mahan,

“Hunter tomorrow. A couple of Ping guys going at it. I have a lot of respect for what he’s done. I’m looking forward to it.”

Hunter spoke of his win over Matt Kuchar, saying,

“Today the course is playing tougher, didn’t make as many birdies. Matt didn’t play as well as he can or usually does. It made it easier to win a few holes with par.  I think Mark is going to hit a lot of fairways, a lot of greens, he’s a steady, consistent player. He’s playing well now. It would be fun to play against a Ping guy in Arizona. That will be exciting.”

Still Huntingp

photos/getty images

As at footnote the TV coverage for this event is like a breath of fresh air, the commentators, Ewen Murray, in particular gives concise and accurate opinions of the golfing action that’s taking place. The other channel seems to want to treat the viewer to a lighted comedy routine, endless repeats of old action, not to mention the commentators plugging the sponsors goods. So nice just to watch live golf, presented in a professional manner.

Accenture Match Play Championship, 3rd Round, McIlroy and Westwood through.

Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood , won their third-round matches on Friday at the Ritz Carlton golf course. They’re on a collision course to meet in the semifinals, but first they’ll have to get past a couple of double-digit seeds in Saturday’s quarterfinals.

McIlroy triumphed over  Miguel Angel Jimenez and will now face the biggest surprise of this week,  Sang-moon Bae of Korea, who despatched  John Senden and becomes just the third Korean to reach the quarterfinals in this event.

Working for the weekend

McIlroy’s commented’

“Miguel is a veteran and a wily competitor, even with a three-hole lead, it wasn’t safe. “I don’t think you’ve seen my best, but there definitely were glimpses of it today.”

Westwood comfortably beat Nick Watney 3 and 2 and will now face Martin Laird, who got the better of  his countryman Paul Lawrie      3 and 1. Lee has stated that  being No. 1 in the world is not his top priority, but,

“I’d be lying if I didn’t say every guy playing this week wants to be No. 1 in the world. It means you’re playing well, for starters.”

Lee got his revenge over the American, Watney, who had knocked him out the previous two years,

“I really didn’t want to make it a hat trick of wins on his part. I made a lot of birdies today and didn’t let Nick get into the match.”

Mark Wilson eliminated Dustin Johnson for the second straight year, this time 4 and 3. Mark will now face Peter Hanson, who beat Brandt Snedeker 5 and 3.

Hunter Mahan was a 4 and 3 winner over Steve Stricker, yesterdays birthday boy. He will now do battle with another USA player, Matt Kuchar, also a 4 and 3 winner over Martin Kaymer.

Hunter said after his win;

“No doubt it was going to be a tough match, luckily I brought my ‘A’ game. I played solid tee to green.”

Matt was happy with his days work, saying,

“I played some great golf, Martin’s a tough competitor.”

Rory Rory McIlroy or Lee Westwood could take over No. 1 this week

With a win in the Accenture Matchplay Championships either Rory McIlroy or Lee West wood will take over a World #1 this week. Luke Donalds early exit from this competition gives both of them the opportunity to take the coveted  # 1 spot in the official rankings. What a great competition this turning out to be, except of course Tiger Woods fans, who watched him miss a simple 5 foot putt, to hand the victory to Nick Watney, Nick now faces Lee Westwood in the next round.

 Greenwood/Getty Images

Rory McIlroy, who was aware of the possibility of being #1 before the tournament began was determined not to let the ranking become his primary focus

“To be honest, I came in here yesterday and talked about if I play well and just win matches, that will take care of itself. But obviously it’s another incentive waking up each morning and knowing that if you win your match at the end of that day, at the end of the week you could be World No.1. Yeah, I haven’t really thought about it. I saw the result on one of the scoreboards on 17, I think. So, yeah, we’ll see what happens. I have to get through a lot of matches before that. But it definitely gives me an added incentive this week.”

Rory will face Miguel Ángel Jiménez in the next round after his win over  USPGA champion Keegan Bradley.

And then there were 16PETERSEN/GETTY IMAGE

Lee Westwood said about his progress that in 11 years of trying, the world No 2 had never reached the third round in this ultimate test of head-to-head nerve, until his 3&2 dispatch of Sweden’s Robert Karlsson sealed his place in the last 16.

“I feel like the first man on the moon. It’s one giant step, through to Match Play on Friday. I need more clothes, I didn’t pack for long enough.”

Lee’s big problem is he now faces Nick Watney the man who has eliminated the Englishmen two straight years. Steve Stricker on his 45th birthday also progressed to the next round after drilling in a 21 foot putt on the 18th to defeat Louis Oosthuizen.

We meet againGETTY IMAGES

Lee Westwood                                                                                                  Nick Watney

Steve Stricker, celebrating his 45th birthday,  drilled in a 21 foot putt on the 18th green to defeat Louis Oosthuizen, and after his first round drubbing of Luke Donald, Ernie Els had to taste some of the same medicine as he went down to Peter Hanson, 5 & 4.


























Ernie eliminates Luke @ WGC Accenture Matchplay

Ernie Els dusted off all his cobwebs and eliminated world number one Luke Donald in the first round of the WGC Accenture Matchplay Tournament. The event is being held at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club, Dove Mountain, Arizona.

Eliminate is probably a sympathetic term, in reality it was more like annihilation. Els triumphing 5 & 4 over an out of touch and surely out of form world number one, and top seed here. Luke continued his poor start to this season, and needs something good to happen soon, or he will soon be tumbling down the world rankings. It was hard for Luke to pinpoint what happened to him today;

I’m not sure where to start. I just didn’t play very well. It’s disappointing. I’ve been working really hard. To lose control of the golf ball like I did today is really frustrating, but I believe the hard work will start paying off soon.  I don’t think it would have mattered who I played today; I just didn’t play well. I struggled. I gave away too many holes and made too many mistakes. You can’t do that in match play against anyone, let alone Ernie.

One and done


Ernie himself was pretty philosophical about it.

” Well, yeah, I mean, I was trying to just take it as a first round match. Obviously there was a bit of hype. There’s always hype when the No.1 player is playing with the No. 64 seed. But I think Luke and I took it for what it was, you know. And I think he didn’t want to play me and I sure as hell didn’t want to play him the first round. But that’s the way it worked out. But I played well. I thought I hit the ball well and eventually made the odd putt. Luke had a bit of an off day. I’m obviously very pleased to go through.

“As I said before, I’m sure he didn’t want to play me. Obviously I can play a little bit of golf. So I’m sure he didn’t really want to face me. And I was just glad to be in the event. So if I was going to play Luke or Rory or Westwood, I knew I had to be on my game. So it was a bit of a situation coming into this week. Last week wasn’t great, but Monday and Tuesday I could practice and felt comfortable.”

“I played the Callaway ball, the HX ball, which launches a bit higher and in this altitude I felt that an advantage on Luke, if I played him.”

Match recaps: Day 1


Robert Rock of England the 15th seed disposed of  the 2nd seed Aussie Adam Scott, just 1 up. Good to see Robert continuing his good recent play.

Other notables on the way home after the first round included;

Justin Rose, Ian Poulter, Jim Furyk, Sergio Garcia and Webb Simpson, who all faltered in the quickfire first round of 18 holes.



Paraparaumu Beach Golf Course, NZ, Pairs Competition



Pete Robbins (that’s me) and Steve Griffin (my partner) won the pairs tournament at Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club, today. It was a combined competition where both scores counted on each hole, in a matchplay situation. My new White Dragon Putter worked very well. We won 3 and 2 on the par three 16th, which just happens to be one of the worlds hardest short par three’s. My recommendation to you all is, come and try it, it’s a 119 meter heartbreaker. A long and narrow green slopes away from three sides into trouble, short and right rolls back into a hazard, on the green one minute, and the next your nearly dead. Left of the green is long thick rough on a hill, miss right and your are now ten feet below the green, and if you are too long you are now twenty feet below the green. No doubt about it, you are either on the green or in trouble. Sorry there are no pictures at this time of our presentation, but stand by and I will see if I can rustle some up.

Does not look too bad, does it, in this picture. If you want to come here, let me know, I have spare bedrooms and can get you a good deal on the course.