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Needless to say that 2011 Ladies British Open Amateur champion Lauren Taylor is pretty miffed at having her invitation withdrawn after she had learned online three weeks ago that the USGA had decided to extend an exemption to the winner of the 2011 LBOAC, she called the news  “unreal”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.

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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.”

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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
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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

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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

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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
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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.”