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Archive for December, 2012

Jimenez breaks Leg, McIlroy breaks Engagement Rumor

Miguel Angel Jimenez and Hong Kong trophy/ AP Photo/Kin Cheung

Miguel Angel Jimenez has broken his right shinbone, while Skiing, and will be out of golf for up to five months of the 2013 season, recuperating  from the injury. Miguel took it all  in his stride, saying;  

“I was skiing in Sierra Nevada, I lost control and fell. I felt a huge stab of pain and I knew straight away I had broken something. I broke the top of the tibia in my right leg, just where it meets the knee, and they put in two pins. It will take three, four or five months to recover and be able to return to competition. I was playing very well but, these things happen in life.”

A casual statement, but I guess it’s one you would expect from a millionaire, if you or me were out of work for five months it would be pretty disastrous. Amazing how many of these golfers get serious injuries, putting their golfing futures in danger, while doing some quaint pastime hobby.

Miguel was a vice captain on Europe’s Ryder Cup-winning team in September, and  In November, the 48-year-old Spaniard became the oldest European Tour winner by capturing his third Hong Kong Open title.

Rory McIlroy, the Worlds number one ranked golfer, has denied reports he is engaged to tennis player Caroline Wozniacki. Rory’s representative  released a statement on Friday saying various media reports of the couple’s engagement weren’t true.

“On behalf of Rory McIlroy, I would like to confirm that he has NOT become engaged to Caroline Wozniacki as was originally reported in Australian press. Rory is in Australia to support Caroline before he heads in January to Abu Dhabi.”

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In Happier times, Caroline and Rory / Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Of course if Caroline thinks that they were engaged and Rory has now slapped her down in public, I guess this is the end of that little fairy story. After that terse rebuff, what girl in her right mind would now accept the proposal of such a man. Who knows this could be the last picture of the Happy Couple.

Rory and Caroline Engagement Rumors are Rife.

Rory McIlroy and girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki have sparked engagement rumors once again after she was spotted wearing a huge diamond on her left ring finger in Australia on Friday.

Caroline Wozniacki and Rory McIlroy / Getty Images

Caroline Wozniacki and Rory McIlroy are rumored to have taken their relationship a step further by getting engaged. The pair flew into Brisbane, Australia, bright and early on Friday morning, Caroline flashing what appeared to be a diamond engagement ring on her left hand.

The talk of wedding bells is increasing after the couple allegedly purchased a Florida mansion together earlier this month. Some say the couple are already secretly married, alluding to the fact that she has also been seen wearing a diamond and sapphire band. Caroline has spoken of Rory’s never-say-die attitude as being an inspiration to her. But she will not be receiving any coaching tips while Rory accompanies her in Brisbane, before he flies to Dubai for the year-opening Abu Dhabi Championship.

” He leaves me alone to just let me do my thing.”

Rory is sure Caroline’s rankings slide and failure in Grand Slam events has nothing to do with her work ethic.

” Seeing how hard she works and how hard she practices and how dedicated she is, it definitely flipped a switch with me that I could be a little more like that. ‘She’s definitely been a great influence on me.”

Ex World number one Caroline, now ranked 10 is one of eight top-10 players in the main draw in the Australian Open in Brisbane, where Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Victoria Azarenka and Samantha Stosur share top billing. She is fully aware of the strong competition in this tournament;

”It is tough but that’s how I want to start the year, I want to start off well and this field gives the perfect preparation. Obviously I want to go far here and, to do that, I have to play against the best.”

 

 

“Hard Luck” Tony Sheehan

 

A good post from a friend of mine, David Owen. “My Usual Game” makes interesting reading, enjoy and follow David

Eighth green, Augusta National, 1930. Photo by Tony Sheehan.

Eighth green, Augusta National, 1930s. Photo by Tony Sheehan.

My Golf Digest colleague Ron Whitten and I recently spent a couple of days in Orlando with the video-game designers at Electronic Arts, the creators of Tiger Woods PGA TOUR. The game’s next edition will include a recreation of the Augusta National course as it was in 1934, the year of the first Masters, and Ron and I had been asked to help the game’s “environment modelers” make the virtual course as historically accurate as possible. We offered suggestions about everything from green contours to mowing patterns to the size and placement of individual trees—an experience we’ll both be writing about for the April issue of Golf Digest.

Among the many historical resources the game’s designers consulted were photographs of the course taken in the 1930s by Tony Sheehan, who was Augusta National’s unofficial official photographer. (The picture at the top of this post, which also appears in my book The Making of the Masters, is one of his.) Sheehan’s nickname was “Hard Luck.” Clifford Roberts, the club’s co-founder and first chairman, wrote about Sheehan in his book The Story of Augusta National Golf Club, which was published in 1976:

Tony was an oddball in appearance and dress, and he made comments at times that were just as unusual and unexpected. Neither he nor his battered old camera looked to be qualified to make even a passport photo, but he was a remarkably capable photographer . . . .

Many of us experience accidents as we go through life, but I doubt that any man endured bad luck so often and so continuously for so many years as Tony Sheehan. Every time an epidemic of any kind came to town, Tony was the first to catch it.

Tony tripped over something and broke one or more bones so often that it almost appeared to be a habit. On one occasion, while he was waving to friends, his car plowed into a large stone marker on Walton Way in Augusta, which cost him a number of teeth but gave him some distinctive battle scars on his face. . . .

Tony survived a half-dozen major operations, plus numerous patching-up jobs. His one lucky day was when he was married to the nurse, Eva Smith, who had looked after him in the hospital so many times that she felt lonesome between his visits.

Tony finally got himself into really serious trouble—his car was hit by a train. Over a year’s period the hospital lost track of the number of jobs that had to be done on Tony. Finally, the great day arrived when he could leave. His wife picked him up in her car and headed for home. When they arrived at the railroad track, the same one where Tony was wrecked, he asked her to stop the car. He then walked ahead and looked in both directions to make sure no train was approaching. As he was about to signal her that all was clear, her foot slipped off the clutch and she knocked Tony down. Whereupon she picked him up and took him back to the hospital for another stay.

Believe it or not, our friend Tony Sheehan lived to be eighty years of age, and died in 1974 of natural causes.

In 1931,Sheehan took this photograph of Ty Cobb receiving a golf lesson from Glenna Collett Vare, who won the U.S. Women's Amateur six times. Cobb was from Augusta, and this photograph was taken there--possibly at Augusta National.

In 1931,”Hard Luck” Tony Sheehan took this photograph of Ty Cobb receiving a golf lesson from Glenna Collett Vare, who won the U.S. Women’s Amateur six times. Cobb was from Augusta, and this photograph was taken there, possibly at Augusta National, although more likely at Augusta Country Club, next door, where Cobb was a member.

Roberts himself knew something about hard luck. He grew up poor in a succession of small towns, accidentally burned down his family’s house when he was sixteen, lost his mother to suicide when he was nineteen, earned a modest fortune and then lost it in the stock-market crash of 1929, and presided over Augusta National’s bankruptcy in 1935, a few months after the second Masters. Like Tony Sheehan, though, he persevered, and because he did we have the Masters, now just over three months away.

Lydia Ko, New Zealand’s Brightest Golfing Star

Lydia Ko and her Canadian Open Trophy/Getty Images

Lydia Ko is New Zealand’s brightest golfing star again this year, and while she intends to continue with her schooling, everyone his talking about her professional career to come in the future.

New Zealand Golf’s CEO  Dean Murphy said winning the Canadian Open was undoubtedly the greatest achievement ever by a New Zealand female golfer and it was a significant moment both in Lydia’s life and in the annals of New Zealand women’s sport.

“She’s playing the very, very best players in the world and at 15 she becomes the youngest ever winner of a tournament on that tour, so it’s enormously significant. Every time she plays she seems to rewrite history but this is right up there. This will be her most stunning achievement to date by a long, long way.”

This year 2012,  where Michael Campbell and Michael Hendry both improved their performances, and Danny Lee narrowly missed out on his PGA card, Lydia was still comfortably the star sports standout. She was the youngest ever winner on the LPGA Tour,  by more than a year, and the first amateur to win on the tour in 43 years.

Unfortunately Lydia  missed out on a share of the US$2m purse at the Canadian Open, but went on to earn individual honors at the Espirito Santo World Amateur Team’s Championship in Turkey, in October.

We wish Lydia well for 2013, in her continuing studies, and especially out on the golf course, keep knocking those drives straight down the middle.

 

No Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles in 2014

   ryder_cup_logo

Gleneagles Golf Course

Created  by Jack Nicklaus, the PGA Centenary Course is the Host Venue for The 2014 Ryder Cup, and a decision by Ryder Cup director Richard Hills, has revealed the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles will not feature on the European Tour in 2014. Richard announced;

 “We are very grateful to the management of both Diageo, the owners of Johnnie Walker, and The Gleneagles Hotel for agreeing to postpone the Johnnie Walker Championship so that preparations for the Ryder Cup can begin as planned in July 2014. The magnitude of the Ryder Cup is such that trying to host the Johnnie Walker Championship in the same season would have compromised both events.”

The  chief operating officer and director of international policy for the European Tour, Keith Walters revealed that a lot of thought had gone into making the decision;

” We looked at rescheduling the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles to an earlier week on the 2014 schedule but a suitable date could not be found. But we are delighted all parties have agreed to reschedule the Championship for 2015.”

This is a sad but unavoidable conclusion, we look forward to the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles in 2015.

 

 

Stacy Lewis, Roger Chapman and Rory McIlroy voted Players of the Year, by Golf Writers Association

Stacy Lewis / Scott Halleran

Stacy Lewis Roger Chapman and Rory McIlroy have been voted Players of the Year by the Golf Writers Association of America. Stacy won four times on the LPGA Tour this year and was the run-away winner in the women’s bracket, gaining 153 votes to Na Yeon Choi who carded 31 votes and 10 for Inbee Park. Stacy’s percentage was 78.8% of the total vote. Congratulations to Stacy Lewis.

Stacy’s record was three runner-up finishes and a third-place slot on the LPGA money list $1.87 million, and was the first American since Beth Daniel in 1994 to earn the tour’s Player of the Year honors. The 27-year-old from Texas, had to battle scoliosis, since aged eleven, to make it big on the pro tour, she also becomes the first American since Juli Inkster in 1999 to earn the Golf Writers of America Player of the Year award.

Roger Chapman won 116 votes beating Tom Lehman who received 44 votes and Bernhard Langer who got 33 votes.  Rogers winning percentage was a healthy 60% of the votes cast. Roger, aged 53, began the year with conditional status on the Champions Tour, but won the Senior PGA Championship in his first start of the 2012 season. The Englishman then came from four shots back of the leaders to win the U.S. Senior Open.

Rory McIlroy, who captured the money titles on both the PGA and European Tours, received 190 votes, a massive 97.9%  Brandt Snedeker was second with 3 votes and Tiger Woods third with just one vote. Rory had already won European Tour’s Golfer of the Year,cementing his season with five birdies at his last event of the year to win the World Tour Championship in Dubai. His other achievements included his second Major, the  US PGA Championship, PGA Tour’s Byron Nelson Award and PGA of America’s Vardon Trophy for adjusted low scoring average of 68.87%  and also finished the season with 10 top-tens in 16 starts. Rory is the World Number One ranked player.

 

 

Phil and Padres Part Company

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Pitcher Phil Mickelson / photo AP

Phil Mickelson has announced that he will not be joining the ownership group of the San Diego Padres. Phil is a San Diego native and a committed sports fan, and it had been rumored that he would take a stake in the baseball team. Phil had previously mentioned joining the group, saying that he was;

” Really excited” 

But he has had a rethink in the last six weeks and decided to step aside;

“I think to be involved with the Padres you have to be fully committed to the long-term. I’ve been born and raised here, but at this moment I’m not able to make that kind of long-term commitment to the city and to the team.”

I think this is a good decision, good for Phil Mickelson and his golf, and good for the golfing public who wish to see Phil playing at his very best. Ownership of a multi million dollar baseball club would have been too much of a distraction. I like Phil the golfer, and so do millions of fans.

Is That a Christmas Star over Kapiti, or Just Another Sunrise ?

sunrise 11

Just another Sunrise over Kapiti / avalon

Oh well, I will just have to go play another round of golf at Paraparaumu Beach Golf Club, I only live two minutes away.

Santa & Crew @ sunrise

Looks like Santa and his helpers are also enjoying the early morning sunshine. Not sure why the snowman would be so happy. I will be happy standing on the first tee looking at these views,

General Manager is Leo Barber, you can contact him via the website; http://www.paraparaumubeachgolfclub.co.nz

End of Season Spats, for Rory and Tiger

2012-12-16 rory mcilroy

World number one Rory McIlroy / Stephen Hindley, AP

End of season spats involving Rory McIlroy and also Tiger Woods.

Rory is being sued by Oakley, for breach of contract, according to a law suit filed last week in Federal Court at Santa Ana California.  Oakley had tried to use it’s ” Right of first refusal” to counter the reportedly $200 Million offer from Nike. Apparently Rory and his agent Conor Ridge decided to ignore the counter offer, thereby breaching the Oakley-McIlroy contract. Oakley were upset that a new $300,00 advertising campaign which Rory was to have endorsed for 2013, has been wasted.

Rory’;s management company Horizon Sports Management have stated that;

“McIlroy has fulfilled all of his obligations to Oakley, and the claims in the lawsuit are entirely baseless.”

I have to admit that I would be upset at having wasted that kind of money on a new campaign, but I am sure a lawsuit is going to cost a lot more, they must be feeling pretty confident. I have just purchased a set of Oakley sunglasses for golf, etched on the lens is Dragon Golf, a small advert for my company, wonder if Rory will still be wearing Oakley sunny’s.

Tiger Woods at the 2012 BMW Championship

Tiger Woods / getty

The spat involving Tiger Woods is a little more baffling, especially as Tiger himself has not been involved personally, although he has been personally vilified. The Australian billionaire Clive Palmer, owner of the  Palmer Coolum Resort golf course, that has been the host of recent Australian PGA Championship events has verbally put down Tiger. His rant is recorded thus;

“Tiger Woods isn’t the No. 1 golfer in the world anymore, we don’t want to look backwards; we want to look forwards. So why would we get Tiger Woods here? I would prefer to have this year’s winner Peter Senior, than Tiger Woods. I am sure Peter Senior could beat Tiger Woods on a good day. I am sure he could. Tiger Woods has improved a lot, but he’s an emotional wreck, and he’s not a good example for kids, anyway.”

He may be a billionaire, but with that kind of thinking it is easy to see why The Australian PGA are proposing to move their tournament to another course, after the new negotiations for next years tournament broke down. Actually I always thought the Coolum Resort was owned by Arnold Palmer, bet most people would have preferred Arnie to run the place.

Palmer himself reckons that the Aussie PGA will go back to the Coolum Resort, citing he has lined up Rory to play in next years event;

” If you rang him now, he would probably tell you unless it’s at Palmer Coolum Resort, I won’t come. We can be sure he won’t come if it goes somewhere else. If it stays here, there is a chance he might come here. We had Darren Clarke and Bubba Watson.”

I hope Rory has not signed anything yet, last thing he needs would be another lawsuit dropping on his doorstep if he decided not to travel to Australia. Of course Tiger Woods has never entered the Australian PGA Championship, and probably never will.

Alfred Dunhill Championship, Charl Schwartzel Wins

 

Charl Schwartzel won the Alfred Dunhill Championship by a massive 12 shots at Leopard Creek Country Club in South AfricaSublime Schwartzel completes mammoth win

Charl Schwartzel / Getty Images

The last round may have been interrupted by thunderstorms, but noting interrupted Charl Schwartzel cruising to an easy victory setting a target of -24 under par. An amazing twelve shots clear of Kristoffer Broberg in second place.

Charl has a remarkable record at this course, which is situated on the border of the Kruger National Park, he won his first European Tour title there in 2004 and has had four runner-up finishes. He said it has always been special for him;

“It’s always been a special place for me, this is where I can almost say my career started and it’s always stayed close to my heart. It’s nice to have continued my form from last week. I was saying a month and a half ago it’s been a pretty disappointing year. Slowly and surely I started to swing the club a lot better, back to how I did when I won The Masters, and I actually got excited to play again. It started at the South AFrican Open and from there got better and better. It’s been a pretty good year now!”

Sweden’s Kristoffer Broberg, four times a winner on the Challenge Tour last season, finished in second place, after  Grégory Bourdy suffered a double-bogey seven on the final hole.  Grégory had been the main challenger to Charl for the best part of the weekend, but slipped up on the last hole to give Kristoffer the second place on his own. Kristoffer was of course delighted with his first earnings on the European Tour;

“It’s amazing to get off to such a good start in The Race to Dubai in my first season as a European Tour Member and it sets me up pretty good for the new season.”

 

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