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Archive for July, 2012

RBC Canadian Open, Scott Piercy Wins

Power play

Scott Piercy/Martin/Getty Images

Scott Piercy won the RBC Canadian Open at the Hamilton Golf and Country Club in Ontario on Sunday. Scott had a last round of -3 under par, 67 for a tournament total of -17 under par. He won by one shot from Robert Garrigus who could only produce an even par last round, he started the day on -16 under par and sadly ended with the same total. William McGirt who also contested the outcome of this title also finished the day at -16 under par, tied with Robert in second place. William also failed to mount a challenge during the last round, finishing his tournament with a mediocre last round of -1 under par.

Scott’s win means he will now not be defending his title at the Reno-Tahoe Open next week, instead he will now be in the field for the WGC Bridgestone Invitational, Scott said about this embarrassment;

” Getting into Akron next week is a little change of plans. I was supposed to be in Reno defending. So I have to apologize to Reno. The tournament director there has been a good friend of mine and I’ve worked closely with her. I know she’s excited for me, and she’d want me to be in Ohio, too, if I could. So I’m just excited. I’ve been playing good for a while now, and you just need a couple of good breaks here or there and just play solid. I felt like I got a good couple breaks and continued to play solid, and I’m kind of speechless, to be honest. I’m really excited to be the champion.”

Robert Garrigus admitted that his putter was all that stopped him from winning this tournament, but was happy to be in second place at the end;

 ” You know, I should have won this golf tournament by seven shots. Everybody knows that. If I could have just made a putt today. I don’t know. It just wasn’t starting on my lines. I hit a couple too firm and then I hit a couple too soft. I just couldn’t get the feel for it. Finally got one to go on 14 there and thought I was going to get rolling and left that one on short on 15. Didn’t birdie 17. A bad tee shot. It’s one of my only drivers I hit off-line all week. Had to be there.Then made a good effort on 18 with my two shots and then lagged it up there for a nice second place. It was great.”

William McGirt said he was simply trying to post a good score and get in the clubhouse, he was happy and would take all the positives from this week;

” I was just kind of trying to make pars and get into the house. If I could sneak one in on 17. You know, I hit a good putt on 17 and just never turned. 18 I was dead in between clubs off the tee, hybrids flies right on the downslope and runs right through into the hazard. 4 iron I had to absolutely crush it to get it down the hill, and downhill lie, ball below my feet, and you gotta turn something in there. Just kind of came out of it, blocked it in the bunker and hit in a different bunker shot. I don’t know what to say about the putt. You know, it’s still a good week. I’ll take nothing but positives away from this week. That’s seven consecutive rounds in the 60s now. I just never gave myself enough chances today. Seemed like I had a lot of 30, 35 footers all day. But you know, I locked my card up for next year, so that’s a positive to take away from it.”

Three players tied in third spot at -14 under par, they were, Josh Teater, Bud Cauley and Captain Kirk, just why all these players at the top failed to score in the last round is amazing, there were  lots of guys lower down who able to shoot 64.

European Tour Senior Open, Victory for Fred Couples.

 

 

Fred Couples  (Getty Images)

Fred Couples (Getty Images)

Easy swinging Fred Couples birdied Turnberry’s closing two holes to claim a great victory in the 2012 Senior Open Championship, Presented by Rolex.  Fred  finished two shots clear of compatriot Gary Hallberg following a dramatic final round in Ayrshire, Scotland.

At the start of play on the last day Fred had  trailed overnight leader Bernhard Langer by one shot. He then took advantage of the German’s slip on the back nine to capture the title with a closing round of -3  under par 67, and a total of -9 under par for the tournament. Fred of course was very happy with his victory;

“It was a very fun day. Being paired with Bernhard, you’ve got to play great and for a long time there, we were neck and neck. But for me I felt like I was hitting the ball very strong, very solid and I was really lucky that it didn’t rain because I’m not very good in the rain,  I don’t wear a golf glove; I had two gloves in the bag that were all‑weather gloves and I was scared to death to ever put those on. That was a big birdie on 17 to make 18 play easier and then when I hit the last putt, the hole got in the way and I won by two.  I’m very happy and excited to have won this.”

During is career Fred had previously finished in the top ten of  The Open Championship on nine occasions, wining the Senior Open has made up for those near misses;

” It’s the next best thing for all of us, obviously I never won The Open.  I came close.  Last night I really thought about the golf course. I knew I needed to play it well, and this is my biggest Senior Tour win, by far, winning on a truly great, great golf course. I can say I won a Senior Open at Turnberry.  I think the best thing about the whole week was playing this course.  It’s a challenging, very tough course, under extreme weather.  It’s nice to win any event, but there have been a lot of great champions on this thing, that’s for sure.”

Second placed Gary Hallberg had a last round 66,  on Friday Gary had equalled the Ailsa course record with a stunning 63, he lamented having to play in the worst of the conditions;

” I played my two best rounds in the worst of the conditions, I was very pleased with the way I played and congratulations to Freddie on a great performance.I didn’t think about setting a target. I tried to stay in the present moment.  I think I did a nice job of that.  I wanted to get ahead of myself.  But I stayed in the present moment.”

Bernhard Langer finished up sharing sixth place, ruing some bad play and bad luck with the pot bunkers;

“Obviously the back nine was a disaster, I just hit a couple of loose shots and got some bad breaks.  I ending up in pot bunkers and all of those things.  We were on the clock, as well, which didn’t help.  We had to rush a lot of the shots which didn’t make it any easier. Fred played very well, a solid round of golf and I think he deserves to win.  He finished in style with birdie, birdie.  That’s like a great champion, so it was well deserved.”

Rolex

 

 

European Tour, Wiesberger Wins Lyoness Open

Wiesberger seals fairytale triumph

Bernd Wiesberger (Getty Images)

Bernd Wiesberger won the Lyoness Open  after a brilliant seven under par 65 gave him victory with a tournament total of -91 under par, on home soil at the Diamond Country Club in Atzenbrugg Austria, on Sunday.

Bernd called it the best day of his life after chasing down overnight leader Thorbjørn Olesen and Frenchman Thomas Levet with four birdies in five holes around the turn, then remembered José Manuel Lara having a similar putt to win;

” It’s the best day of my life so far. It seems like it went my way, especially the last two holes. I had such a great country and such great fans backing me. I’m very proud to be following in such big footsteps, as Brier. I’m sure I’m not going to be the last home winner.
When José Manuel Lara holed a similar putt to win the tournament two years ago, I always imagined I’d have a putt like that to win here. I actually said that to my caddie walking up the 18th hole, and when it went in, I just couldn’t believe it.”

Shane Lowery and Thomas Levet shared second spot at -16 under par, Thomas making a mistake with a bogey on the 17th hole, which allowed Shane to equal his score. Shane was disappointed to start the last round poorly, but satisfied with the way he fought back and climb up the leaderboard;

After an awful start I’m delighted with how I fought back. I was two over after five holes, but then managed to go eagle-birdie-birdie, which really got my round back on track. I’ve played lovely all week, and today was no different, I just wish I was playing again next week. Still, a holiday in Portugal’s not a bad consolation.”

Congratulations to Thomas Levet for his effort in this tournament, Thomas used to play at my club back in England, Blue Mountain Golf Club, and I have spoken to him many times. It is nice to see someone you know performing well.

RBC Canadian Open Rd 3, Robert Garrigus Leads

 

Happy place

Robert Garrigus/Stan Badz/PGA TOUR

 

Big hitting Robert Garrigus leads the RBC Canadian open after shooting a third round of -6 under par 64, for a tournament total of -16 under par, and also broke the 54-hole scoring record at the RBC Canadian Open, that was set more than a half-century ago by Arnold Palmer .Robert  was one shot better than Arnold, who set the record in 1955 at Weston Golf & Country Club, and this was matched two years ago by Dean Wilson at St. George’s Golf & Country Club. Arnold went on to win in 1955, giving him the first of his 62 PGA TOUR titles.  The average distance off the tee this week by Robert is over 320 yards, leaving himself some short irons into the soft receptive greens at Hamilton Golf and Country Club in Ontario, and he has taken full advantage of these conditions.

Robert has a one shot lead over William McGirt, whose third round was a steady -4 under par 66, and he is in good position to challenge for his first win on Tour.

In third place, by himself, is another consistent player this week, Scott Piercy, his third round was a -3 under par 67, which left him just two shots from the top of the leaderboard.

There are three players tied for fourth spot, Bo Van Pelt, Scott Stallings and Captain Kirk. Both Scott and Captain Kirk fired in rounds of -7 under par 63, and in that kind of form are certainly in contention. Scott managed to birdie six of seven holes on the front nine, including four in a row at one point, he said afterwards;

“It was a dream start, that front nine, everything was going right. I always had the theory that you always have these days when the putts are going in the middle of the hole and everything’s working out, so you have to get as many as you can on the days you have it.”

The way this course is playing the final outcome is far from certain, with just about anyone in the top ten at the moment with a chance of lifting the trophy, I expect to see someone else shoot a 62 in the final round.

RBC Canadian Lift,Clean & Place Open

TOUR Report: RBC Canadian

William McGirt & Scott Piercy/getty images

Once again they are playing lift, clean and place at the RBC Canadian Open on the Hamilton G&CC, with William McGirt and Scott Piercy sharing the lead after round two. Scott could not match yesterdays recording equaling round, but his -3 under par 67 got him to -11 under par and still top of the board. Sharing that spot is William McGirt, whose -4 under par 66 went nicely with his first round 63 and also on -11 for the tournament. Tim Clark had the best round of the day, another record equaling -8 under par 62 and tied for fourth place, with Vijay Singh. Alone in third spot is Robert Garrigus, with a tournament total of -10 under par.

Scott spoke about the pressure of coming off a 62;

“You shoot 62 and think, oh, I’ve got it. You expect to shoot another 62, which is;  to shoot 62, you’ve got to have things going for you. You’ve got to be making the putts. You’ve got to get the right bounces. I think you’ve got to be realistic with your expectations. When I shot 62, my expectation was to hit fairways and greens, and it just happened. Knowing that it’s generally tough to follow up a course record, I just wanted to hit a bunch of greens, a bunch of fairways, and let it happen again. I like to be aggressive and shoot at things, because the greens are so severe in spots, you want to be below the hole, putting up into them. Here it’s more playing for pars and hoping that the birdies fall.”

William McGirt is relishing the uncharted territory he finds himself in;

” I’ve never been in this position out here, I was in the next to last group at Tampa this year. It was a lot of fun. I’m looking forward to it. Yesterday it seemed like I hit a lot of really good iron shots. I did hit a couple close today, but I wasn’t quite as close yesterday, so it was a little tougher to make putts. But I did sneak it by them on 8 in the front of the green, so it was a bonus. All in all it was pretty solid. Hit a lot of fairways and greens, and fortunately I made some putts.”

This year Tim Clark has managed to miss the cut four times and was disqualified from another event, this was all due to him recovering from wrist surgery, he said of his round today;

” The only way to get better was to come out here and play tournament golf. I could feel I was getting better every round I played. I don’t think I came back too soon, I think it’s what I needed to do. Obviously being soft you’re able to go at a lot of flags and make a lot of birdies.”

With all these record breaking scores and the easy soft course conditions, you have to wonder why the authorities allowed these top professional players to, lift, clean and place. Professional players will always take advantage of easy conditions, why make even easier for them. This competition is the Canadian Open, a searching test of golf for the best of players, well it’s not much of a test at the moment. Even at my club, Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club, we never play lift, clean and place, it is always play the ball as it lies.

Given the easy conditions it is sad to see Canadian Mike Weir missing the cut of -1 under par, in his national tournament, but he is not alone in the big name casualties. Last weeks Open Champion Ernie Els has also missed the cut this week, much to everybody’s surprise.

Mike has failed to make the cut in all his eleven starts this year and does not seem to know what the problem is, or how to fix it;

” I don’t know,I need a little time to think about it, and see what I can draw on it and see what we can get ready for next week.”

RBC Canadian Open, Scott Piercy shoots 62, to lead

Scott Piercy/NATHAN DENETTE/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Scott Piercy shot a record equaling opening round of  62 to lead the RBC Canadian Open by just one shot at the Hamilton G&CC · Ancaster, Ontario, Canada course. He leads by  one stroke from England’s Greg Owen and William McGirt of America. Scott said about his opening effort;

 ” Hit a lot of fairways and a lot of greens today. I was rolling the ball well, and obviously you gotta make some putts, too. I hit it solid out there. I think I only missed a couple of greens, and ball striking round here with the rough being so penal is a must to shoot well.”

Greg Owen was happy with the way he putted today;

” Obviously I putted pretty well. I think you shoot 63 you have to putt well, so that was the strength of my game today, which is unusual. You know, just gotta keep it in play, hit the fairways. It’s not a long golf course. Hit the fairways and then give yourself as many chances as you can, and that’s what I did today. Got off to a rough start, but I played pretty solid from then on.”

els11.jpg

Ernie Els 2012 Open Champion/Martin/Getty Images

Ernie was off target toady;

“It’s a scoring golf course if you get it in play, which I didn’t do enough of today. It’s not that I didn’t have some great chances, I was just a bit sluggish today, trying to find that rhythm to my swing that I had last Sunday at the British Open. But, it wasn’t quite there today.”

Ernie finished the day at +2 over par, alongside Canadian favorite Mike Weir. They will both need to put in great rounds tomorrow if they want to contest this title.

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No Bunkers at Kiawah Island for PGA Championship

Dustin Johnson in the bunker on 18 at Whistling Straits/photo golfdigest.com

 

The PGA released a special notice Tuesday to inform players that all bunkering at Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course will be considered sandy areas and will be played through the green. Kerry Haigh, the PGA’s managing director of championships said;

“Whistling Straits was obviously just the opposite. It’s the same conditions we played the Ocean Course during the 1991 Ryder Cup, the 2005 PGA Professional Championship, the 2007 Senior PGA and it’s the same conditions played daily at the resort.”

This ruling was made to avoid the confusion that surrounded Dustin Johnson at Whistling Straits,  he unsuspectingly grounded his club in what was deemed to be a bunker before his second shot, leading to a 2-stroke penalty. Dustin referred to the incident;

” I just thought I was on a piece of dirt that the crowd had trampled down, I never thought I was in a sand trap. It never once crossed my mind that I was in a bunker. Obviously I know the rules of golf and I can’t ground my club in a bunker, but that was just one situation I guess. Maybe I should have looked to the rule sheet a little harder.”

Nick Watney, who played with Dustin that day said;

“Honestly, I don’t think anyone reads the sheet, we’ve played hundreds of tournaments. We get a sheet every week. I feel for him. I’ve never seen fans in a bunker with a player. That was a little odd.”

A PGA statement was issued to clear up the differences between Kiawah Island and Whistling Straits;

“What differentiates the courses is that at Kiawah Island the sand is natural to the surrounding terrain, and in many cases, there is no clear definition of where such sandy areas stop and start. Bunkers at Whistling Straits were well defined and were completely surrounded by grass.

“As a result of this [condition of play], players will be allowed to move loose impediments, take practice swings and to ground their club lightly in these sandy areas; except when their ball lies in such a sandy area that is part of a water hazard or lateral water hazard. Under the rules, if a player’s ball is believed to be covered by sand anywhere on the course, he may move the sand without penalty, in order to find or identify the ball. All sandy areas inside the gallery rope line will be raked each morning, prior to play. During play, as strokes or practice swings are made, or players and others walk through such areas, footprints and other irregularities of surface may develop. Rakes will be available so that these areas may be smoothed as a courtesy to following players; however, these irregularities of surface, when not smoothed, are a part of the game and no relief, without penalty, will be provided.”

So Be warned. If the crowd are standing next to you, how are you supposed to know its a bunker ?

 

 

 

R&A upset over Carlos Tevez as Caddy, not too bothered about long putters.

Carlos Tevez, the renegade Manchester City striker made an unscheduled appearance on Sunday at Royal Lytham as caddy to fellow Argentinian Andres Romero. The move did not help Andres too much, he finished with a last round of  82, which left him at the bottom of the leaderboard of those players who made the cut and contested the final rounds. Looking at the picture he does not appear to be too upset at falling apart on the golf course.

Carlos Tevez (L) acted as caddie for Andres Romero (R) during the final round of The Open at Lytham

Carlos Tevez and Andres Romero/Sky

 Royal and Ancient committee chairman Jim McArthur was incensed;

” He never put the bag down, even when he was standing on the green, it’s just absolute madness. I think we need to look at this particular case. We normally get a list of caddies at the start of the week.”

This apparently is what is most important to him, not the long putter debate. Luckily for the genuine golf fan the R&A chief executive Peter Dawson managed to put a positive spin onto the strange but golfwise harmless occurrence;

“It was pretty interesting. I thought, because of the big crowd following the group, that golf fans and football fans may overlap a little more than I had realised. It’s not a bad thing, perhaps.”

Lets all hope that Peter Dawson’s clear thinking will prevail when they finally get around to debating the anchoring issue. As I reported yesterday even Ernie Els knows anchoring is cheating, he said before he swapped to the belly putter;

“It’s become such an easy way to putt. Nerves and skill in putting is part of the game. Take a tablet if you can’t handle it.”

And then after he had switched;

“As long as it’s legal, I’ll keep cheating like the rest of them.”

The question is, do YOU believe anchoring is cheating, or is it now just part of the game ? What do you think?

R&A going to call time on Anchoring

R&A

Ernie Els/ The Open Champion 2012/ Getty Images

The dust had hardly settled over the Royal Lytham & St Annes course, scene of  The Open 2012 and Ernie Els anchoring assisted win on Monday when Peter Dawson of the R&A issued a statement about how soon they would be addressing the problem;

“This decision has not been taken, but I think we are going to say something in a few months rather than years. Anchoring is what we’re looking at, method of stroke, and it’s all about putting around a fixed pivot point, whether that fixed pivot point is in your belly or under your chin or on your chest, I don’t distinguish.”

Mr Dawson said that data shows 14-15 percent of the field regularly use a longer putter, and at the Open Championship, that number increased to 27.5 percent. Any future ruling would not invalidate the wins of  The Open champion Ernie Els, PGA champion Keegan Bradley and U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson, officially or unofficially.

“It doesn’t detract in any way from the winner as long as he obeys the rules of play at the time. Bobby Jones used concave-faced clubs for some of his major championships and they were outlawed later.”

 USGA executive director Mike Davis remains focused on a decision that is best for the entire sport;

“Together with the R&A, we remain deliberate in our review, and are keen on getting any decision right for the long-term, for the game and for all golfers, rather than rush to judgment.”

Strange fact, is what Ernie Els said after Trevor Immelman had won the Deutsche Bank-SAP Open Tournament Players Championship of Europe, using a belly putter;

“It’s become such an easy way to putt. Nerves and skill in putting is part of the game. Take a tablet if you can’t handle it.”

After switching to the belly putter, his demeanor had changed to if you can’t beat them, join them;

“As long as it’s legal, I’ll keep cheating like the rest of them.”

I guess The Big Easy found out the hard way, there is no tablet to help you win at golf.

What do you think, is anchoring “cheating? “

The Open, Ernie Els wins at Windy Royal Lytham

 

Ernie Els/ AFP/Getty Images

Ernie Els won the The Open at Royal Lytham & St Annes in windy conditions on Sunday. Ernie shot a last round -2 under par for a tournament total of -7 under par, and a one stroke victory over Adam Scott. Ernie was on the putting green when told of his win;

“I’m a little numb at the moment. First of all, I feel for Adam Scott. He’s a great friend of mind. Obviously, we both wanted to win very badly. But you know, that’s the nature of the beast. That’s why we’re out here. You win, you lose. It was my time for some reason.”

Adam Scott completely collapsed on the inward nine, from a commanding position he somehow managed to bogey the last four holes to end his championship hopes with a last round of +5 over par, 75, and a total of -6 under par. Peter Alliss, the TV commentator remarked after Adam had missed the last putt just to tie and head towards a play-off, ” He will be scarred for life.”  With the experience of Steve Williams on the bag you have to ask the question, why did Adam not play some irons off the tee, just to avoid those hungry bunkers.

Adam simply said;

“I’m pretty disappointed,I had it in my hands with four to go, I managed to hit a poor shot on each of the closing four holes. Look, I played so beautifully for most of the week. I shouldn’t let this bring me down. Surprisingly I was incredibly calm and I still am. I thought I could roll that last putt in, but I didn’t and that’s golf.”

Tiger Woods and Brandt Snedeker finished tied for third place at -3 under par, with World number one Luke Donald and Graeme McDowell tied in fifth at -2 under par. Luke had another slow start to a tournament, something he needs to address for the future.

It is no coincidence that on a windy day the two main contenders were guys who employ anchoring in their putting stroke, and this is another Major title going to the long putter brigade. The pressure is growing for the authorities to address the problem of anchoring. It was proved today that anchoring is definitely an advantage in these windy conditions, stabilizing the player as he leans against the putter while addressing the ball.

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