Australian Open, Tom Watson will be there

Eight-time major winner and Champions Tour regular Tom Watson will play in the Australian Open in December 2012.

Tom Watson/Getty Images

 Tom Watson, the  eight-time Major champion will contest the Australian Open this year, along with Adam Scott, defending champ Greg Chalmers and 2006 US Open winner Geoff Ogilvy .

It will be contested at  The Lakes, Golf Australia, and  chief executive Stephen Pitt has vowed to make more announcements ahead of the December 6-9 tournament, Stephan said;

” It’s fantastic to welcome back these four past winners of the Stonehaven Cup to the Emirates Australian Open. Tom is one of the household names in world golf and we can’t wait to have he, Adam, Geoff and defending champion Greg back in action at  The Lakes. It’s the pinnacle week in Australian golf and things are continuing to shape up really well for the Championship.”

Tom,  whose career victories include five British Opens, two US Masters and a US Open, will contest the event for the first time in close to 30 years, having won it back in 1984.

Good to see you Tom, have a great event.

Poulter and Colsaerts,Euro Ryder Cup Wildcards

Poulter and Colsaerts get Ryder Cup wildcard picks  (Source: Photosport) Ian Poulter/ PhotosportYou're in: Jose Maria Olazabal named Nicolas Colsaerts (right) in his European Ryder Cup team

Ryder Cup Captain Jose Maria Olazabal & Nicolas Colsaerts

Ian Poulter of England and Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium were named by captain Jose Maria Olazabal as Europe’s two wildcard picks for next month’s Ryder Cup at the Medinah Country Club in Illinois. Jose spoke at a press conference at Gleneagles, Scotland, he said,

“Every one of you pretty much guessed Ian was going to be there. That was not a difficult pick because he has a great Ryder Cup record and he’s playing well. He had some issues earlier this season when he got ill and couldn’t play as much as he wanted. But his attitude and his spirit in the Ryder Cup has always been great and he is a player that likes to be in that environment. It gets the best out of him. At Valhalla in 2008 and at Celtic Manor in 2010 you didn’t need to motivate him. Just by looking into his eyes you could tell he was going to give everything he had.”

Nicolas is one of the longest hitters on the European Tour, and will become the first Belgian to play in the Ryder Cup. Captain Olazabal explained his reasons for picking the Belgian Bomber;

“Nicolas has shown a lot of heart, a lot of character, and I think he has got the game and the desire to do well. It’s also a long course at Medinah and he can take advantage of that, he will be suited to it. He has had a very solid season and on top of that he has made the extra effort to try and get in the team, that showed me he wants to be a part of it. Nicolas is going to be the only rookie in an experienced team but his match play record is very good, he won the World Match Play Championship in Spain this year.”

Among those who missed out on selection were Padraig Harrington of Ireland, Paul Casey, Robert Karlsson and Henrik Stenson. Jose said he had called the disappointed players;

“I talked to the next few guys on the points list, David Lynn, Rafa Cabrera-Bello, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, Alvaro Quiros and Padraig. I made those phone calls and it wasn’t easy. They were disappointed not to make the team but they all took my decision well. Padraig played well at the US Masters, finishing eighth, he also had a good US Open and a good Irish Open, but he is 19th on the points list and he was just a little bit too far down. I know he’s a great player and I would have loved to have him in the team, in the same way I’d have loved to have Paul Casey, Robert Karlsson, Henrik Stenson, but you need to be playing well too,”

Jose has stated that the European Team  and the American Team, captained by Davis Love III, are evenly matched for the contest  at Medinah, even though Europe won 14 1/2 to 13 1/2 in the previous edition of the competition at Celtic Manor, Wales.

“Both teams are strong and I don’t see that there is a favorite. But the support of the home crowd will be massive to the U.S. They will also set up the course the way they want and we are going to have to play really well to have a chance to win.The atmosphere will be electrifying so I need to prepare my players for that and make sure they don’t allow themselves to be bothered by it. Luckily the guys have the experience to make that easier. We are playing great opponents but anything can happen.”

European team are: Rory McIlroy (Northern Ireland), Justin Rose (England), Graeme McDowell (Northern Ireland), Paul Lawrie (Scotland), Francesco Molinari (Italy), Luke Donald (England), Lee Westwood (England), Sergio Garcia (Spain), Peter Hanson (Sweden), Martin Kaymer (Germany), Ian Poulter (England), Nicolas Colsaerts (Belgium).

US captain Davis Love will announce his four wildcard picks on September 4 in New York, I love the Ryder Cup, and match-play.

Phil tries the Claw grip on his putter

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Phil Mickelson/Chris Chambers/Getty Images

During The Barclays tournament Phil Mickelson was spotted using the claw grip on his putter. Nick Faldo did not notice the change until Sunday, when he gasped in horror, on live TV.   Last year, after Keegan Bradley won the PGA with a long putter, Phil gave the belly putter a test drive for a few weeks.  You have to ask yourself, in Gods name Why !!  The belly putter trial did not work out, and neither will this new switch to the claw grip. True that Sergio had a good win using it, but as we saw on Sunday the magic did not last. Phil said of his belly putter trial;

“I feel that I’m probably putting better with that putter than I would be the short putter, so I’ll end up using it for the rest of the tournament I would anticipate. But I don’t know if it’s a short-term or a long-term thing, but it feels good.”

Of his latest switch, which happened on the third round of  The Barclays, Phil said;

“I had a chance to get a couple more, but for me I drove the ball well and I putted very well and I hit some good iron shots. For me it built some good momentum after a day, yesterday, where I had lost a little bit of confidence. I made some putts and that was a nice feeling.”

The people who usually change over to strange putter grips are the people who have always had putting problems, and most of them continued to have the same problems because fundamentally they have a poor set up, or inconsistent swing. Phil has neither of these problems, he has always been a good putter, his problems now are in his head, he has lost confidence in the routine he trusted. To get that confidence back it just requires plenty of  practice, with the tools that have always been good for him, and plenty of enthusiasm and support from the people around him. Those who are advising him.

Many people think this change will be a short-term fad for Mickelson, they are questioning whether he will be able to make more putts with the Claw grip than his traditional method. What will Phil do next?  I bet he will quickly return to the method and putter that has bought him success for all these years.

You notice that I have not recommended he try one of our putters, Phil will be best served to return to his traditional method and tools.

The Barclays, Nick Watney Wins

Nick Watney/Cox/Getty Images

Straight to the top

Nick Watney won The Barclays tournament at Bethpage Black course in Farmingdale New York in some style with a score of -10 under par for the event. He won by three shots from fellow American Brandt Snedeker, who had a -1 under par last round to finish with a score of -7 under par.

Nick commented after his win about the extra putting coaching he received, which stopped him from leaning back on his heels;

“I made more putts than I made all year, it paid off. With the way things were going, I don’t know if anybody would have expected this, this week. But you know, Bill Haas proved last year that if you make it to Atlanta, you have a chance. The way they have the FedExCup formatted, it’s pretty neat. You need to be in Atlanta. So I wanted to have a good week. And to be No. 1 now is amazing. It’s been not quite the year I would have wanted, but this really makes it all forgotten. I’m thinking about the Ryder Cup, much more now than I was coming in, because coming in here, I didn’t deserve to be in the conversation, because I had not played my way in. Someone told me that Davis said he wanted a hot player, and we still have a week to go, but I’d love to be on the team. But I’m not really concerned with it just because it’s out of my control.”

The biggest surprise of the day was the way Sergio Garcia went from a commanding leading position to scrambling to finish in a tie for third place. Sergio sunk like a soggy souffle on Sunday afternoon, with five bogeys on the back nine, not the type of performance we were all looking towards, especially European Ryder Cup Captain Jose Maria Olazabal. Equally concerning for American Ryder Cup captain, Davis Love 111, was the collapse of  Tiger Woods, who finished the tournament at +1 over par.

Sergio is a fan of both Nick and Brandt and thinks Davis should consider both players for the Ryder Cup;

” I’m not, obviously, the U.S. Ryder Cup captain, but I think both Nick and Brandt, they both played great. They have been playing very nicely. Obviously Nick has had a little bit of a slower year this year, but you know, as a player, I hope they make the team, and then we’ll see what happens there.”

Brandt is also thinking of the Ryder Cup;

“The golf course was the winner this week, it was so tough to play the last two days. The greens were just as firm as I can remember on the Tour, the fairways were as firm as I can remember on Tour. It was a great test of how mentally strong you could stay on the course over the last 36 holes, because you knew you were just going to get some bad breaks no, way around it. Nick obviously played great today, to shoot under par today. The Ryder Cup’s definitely on my mind. But I’m not letting it affect the way I play. I try to win every golf tournament. The Ryder Cup gives me more motivation, and if I do that, I know I will make the decision easy for them. Davis has an extremely difficult choice with a bunch of guys. You can’t go wrong with any of them.”

CN Canadian Womens Open, Lydia Ko Wins.

Lydia KO, the world’s number one amateur was won the CN Canadian Women’s Open at The Vancouver Golf Club, Coquitlam, BC. This is 15 year-old Lydia’s first win on the LPGA Tour, and coincidently Golf Canada announced today that the  BC Children’s Hospital Foundation has been selected as the official beneficiary of the CN Miracle Match campaign that is being held during the 2012 CN Canadian Women’s Open.

Lydia Ko, of New Zealand, is doused by fellow golfers after winning the LPGA Tour's Canadian Women's Open golf tournament. Photo / AP

Lydia Ko/photo/AP

With this win Lydia becomes the youngest player ever to win on the LPGA Tour, she said of her achievement;

” This means a lot, I just came to make the cut and play my best, and I won, and I’m going to get the trophy. It’s amazing.”

Well done Lydia, a great achievement.

 

 

 

Talking of her bright future Lydia commented;

 

The CN Canadian Women’s Open, Lydia Leads

 

 

Lydia Ko/Harry How/Getty Images

The third round of the CN Canadian Women s Open has an amateur at the top of the leaderboard at the end of the day, the amazing Kiwi Lydia Ko, with a tournament score of -8 under par. The fifteen-year-old World number one amateur Lydia will enter the final round at the CN Canadian Women’s Open with a chance to rewrite the record books. The New Zealander holds a one-shot lead over major champions Stacy Lewis, Inbee Park, Jiyai Shin, and also Chella Choi, who is fighting for her first win, in the last round of play at Vancouver Golf Club on Sunday.

Lydia was very happy to still be at the top of the board, a position way beyond her expectations coming into this event;

“It’s good to stay at the top of the leaderboard, but my first goal was to make the cut and hopefully top-15 or something. But to be up there is just an honor, especially playing against the world’s best. Fifteen year olds don’t lead at an LPGA event all the time. Like I said, I’m very surprised. But I’ve been playing really good golf and I’ve been really confident with my game. Today I tried to have more fun, but my score wasn’t as good, I mean, 72 is better than 73 or any other score, so I’m pretty happy. Tomorrow, I’m just going to try my best. I’ve got to play my own game. I can’t concentrate on what the other players are doing. If they shoot 66 and I shoot 68 and I lose, I can’t control what they do.”

Biggest mover on the day was Stacy Lewis, she began the third round seven strokes behind Lydia and Chella.

“It’s the kind of course if you get some birdies early and kind of get rolling on the par 5s, you can shoot a good number, if you don’t, you’ll be struggling for pars. I mean, it’s a course that you can play well and shoot 1 or 2 under. So it’s just kind of the way the course plays, I think.”

Talking about being beaten by a fifteen year old Stacy admitted it was not good;

“Suzann Pettersen and I were talking about it yesterday and it is kind of because we are working, this is our job, and we’re working full-time on it. It’s not supposed to be her job, and yet she’s beating us. But I think its’ good for the game. She’s obviously playing well, she won an Australian LPGA event earlier in the year, and I played with her actually in Australia. She’s solid. She hits it good, she putts it good, and she’s rolling with the confidence. I say why not. She’s playing good golf, and more power to her.”

Obviously everybody down here in New Zealand is rooting for Lydia, what a truly talented golfer.

 

The Barclays, 3rd Round at Bethpage Black, Its Still Sergio in Front

Sergio Garcia still leads The Barclays after the third round at Bethpage Black course in Farmingdale New York. He leads by two shots from Nick Watney who could only manage a par round today, against Sergio’s -2 under par third round effort. Sergio spoke about today’s tough conditions;

Proving ground

Sergio Garcia/Cox/Getty Images

” The course is extremely firm, the greens, just probably some of the fastest greens I’ve ever played. Just one of those days where you knew it was going to be tough and you have to hold on very tight, and just kind of hope for the best. If you play well, you can shoot a decent score, but as the day goes on, the course just gets harder and harder. No doubt playing in the morning makes it a little bit easier. Even though the greens were still firm, they were probably not as firm and probably not quite as fast. It’s just we know what Bethpage Black is all about. We know it’s a tough golf course, and you’ve just got to realize that’s the way it’s going to be. This will tell you how fast it was, usually when you are putting on fast greens, you have an idea where the ball is going to stop, and today, you didn’t. You thought the ball was going to stop 2 feet behind the hole, and it went 6. It was pretty much as simple as that. Was it unfair? I wouldn’t say it was unfair, it was borderline. It was very close. It felt like the greens were very close to Shinnecock Hills at the U.S. Open.”

Nick backed up Sergio’s assessment of the tough conditions;

” The course just kind of beat you up. There’s firm and fast, and then there’s this, I mean, this is pretty extreme.”

The lowest round of the day went to Kevin Stadler, with a -6 under par 65, Kevin is  now just three shots off the lead. There is a large group at 4-under par that include Tiger Woods, Louis Oosthuizen, Lee Westwood, Phil Mickleson and Charl Schwartzel, an impressive collection of players who have either won a major or been No. 1 in the world. For the first time in a tournament Tiger Woods three putted four of the greens, the unexpected experience shocked him;

“I don’t remember blowing putts by 8 to 10 feet, so that was a bit of a shocker.”