Arnold Palmer Invitational. Matt Every Makes It His.

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Matt Every won the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando.

Matt Every, 30, received the traditional winner's handshake from Arnold Palmer on Sunday. (Greenwood/Getty Images)

Arnold Palmer with winner Matt Every / Getty Images

As a kid growing up in nearby Daytona Beach Matt Every watched Arnold Palmer Invitational, now he was won the event. He could not believe that he had won, a last round of -2 under par 70 gave him a total -13 under par.

“It’s hard, I can’t believe I won, it’s tough man. You just never know if it’s going to happen. You get there so many times. It’s nice to get it done. Being close to winning out here, I mean it can be kind of discouraging because if you don’t win you just wonder if it’s ever going to happen. I don’t see how it could get much better than this, being so close to where I grew up and all the fans out there that were cheering me on. It was awesome.”

Second place went to Keegan Bradley, his final round of even par 72 was good enough to secure the spot with a total of -12 under par. Keegan had a putt on the final hole to force a play-off, he remembered Tiger putting from around the same spot in 2008 to win the tournament;

“I remember watching his breaking in there really hard, it looked about the same. I hit an absolutely perfect putt, perfect speed. Just didn’t break in.”

Adam Scott, who started the day with a three shot lead, completely went to pieces in the final round, finishing the tournament at -11 under par, after a disastrous +4 over par 76. It left him in third place alone, he said he was annoyed at the way he played, I bet Stevie Williams was pulling his hair out too. Bad putting was the major culprit;

“Sometimes you’ve got to be hard on yourself; sometimes you don’t. And I think I was getting into a really good spot and had an opportunity here to run away with an event and really take a lot of confidence. I’m annoyed that I didn’t do better today.”

“Today was a bit shaky, it was just a little out of sorts for whatever reason. And my short game just wasn’t there. So that needs to be tightened up and probably shows that I need to do a bit more work on it to hold up under the pressure.  If nothing else, it’s a good reminder on how much putting practice I need to do for going to the Masters and just how important it is. And if I think back to last year, I made every putt that you expect to in that last round and ultimately that’s, I guess, maybe what gave me the chance to win.”

I just wonder if having the chance of being World Number One was in his mind, increasing the pressure.

Arnold Palmer Invitational. Scott Sailing to Victory.

dragon logo darkArnold Palmer Invitational presented by MasterCard Logo Adam Scott is sailing to victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando.

Scores: Scott still cruising

Adam Scott / Getty Images

Adam put together a second round of -4 under par 68, to increase his lead at the top of the Arnold Palmer Invitational to seven shots. Arnold might just as well start engraving the trophy right now, Adam disagrees;

“We’re only halfway, seven shots over two days is not enough. I don’t think you can ever be leading by enough. The challenge might be just to start again and try and play a great 36 holes, start fresh, and try to be the leader after the next 36.”

“It feels very much like I was playing toward the end of last year in Australia, where I kind of picked golf courses apart by just hitting fairways and hitting greens, and just waiting for that right number to hit one close. I’d like to kind of keep that going for the next couple of days and I feel like I’ll be in good shape.”

There are three players who are seven shots adrift, and realistically have no chance of catching Adam. They are; J.B. Holmes, Francesco Molinari and Chesson Hadley.

Chesson Hadley  posted a bogey-free -4 under par 68, and is eying a spot in the field at the Masters.

“That just was so classy, and it really meant a lot to me, I came into this week just so appreciative to be here. It gives me something to work for, I know a win gets me in both ways,  Augusta is a thought, but it’s about winning more than getting to Augusta. It’s still hard to believe. We’re just playing with house money.”

J.B. is just happy to be healthy;

 “This is the first time in three years I’ve really been healthy. It’s a different feeling, that’s for sure. I’ve been really close, I feel like. I just haven’t really put it all together. I’ve just been waiting for it to click in. Hopefully this will be the week.”

 After a 7-under 65 on Thursday, Ryo Ishikawa began the second round in a tie for second, before he unraveled on his second nine. He had bogeys on Nos. 2 and 9 compounded by a double bogey at the third, en route to a +2 over par 74. He dropped eight spots on the leaderboard and into a tie for 10th, nine shots back of 36-hole leader Adam.

 Keegan Bradley carded the low round of the day -5 under par, 67  that included six birdies, nine one-putts and a total of just 25  putts on the round, to be T5.

“I played the exact same just no putts. The putter was the difference, went to talk to Dr. Bob last night and my buddy, John, and just talked about getting less into making putts and more into just having fun and looking forward to making them. Played so good all year, not much to show for it. I feel like I’ve got some good mojo going into the weekend.”

Amateur Nathan Smith was disqualified for playing a shot from an out of bounds area, what was his caddie thinking. Nathan took his disqualification like a true sportsman, accepting the decision with grace.

Arnold Palmer Invitational, Tiger Triumphs

Tiger Woods triumphed at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, at the Bay Hill Club and Lodge, on Monday. The win equalled Sam Snead’s record for winning the same tournament eight times, it also took Tiger to the top of the FedExCup standings, not to mention elevating him back to World number one.

 

The eighth wonder

Tiger Woods with Arnold Palmer / Cannon / Getty Images

Tiger strolled round the course, with a final round of -2 under par 70, and a tournament total of  -13 under par, giving him a two shot win over Justin Rose. It has been a long time since Tiger was last World number one, actually it was late October 2010. When the collapse came it was pretty devastating, he fell as low as 58th in the world rankings before making his remarkable recovery.

Tiger said it was all down to hard work;

“It’s a byproduct of hard work, patience and getting back to winning golf tournaments.”

Arnold thinks Tiger’s record will stand for a long time;

“I don’t really see anybody touching it for a long time. I had the opportunity to win a tournament five times, and I knew how difficult that was.”

Justin Rose also finished with a last round of -2 under par 70, securing him second place alone. Not what Justin would have had in mind when he was leading the tournament by two shots before his uncharacteristic melt down at the end of the third round.

Rickie Fowler had to settle for a +1 over par 73 and a tie for third place with Mark Wilson (71), Keegan Bradley (71) and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (72).

Congratulations to Tiger, it will be interesting to see if the other players on tour can mount any sort of challenge to Tiger’s dominance.

 

Arnold Palmer Invitational. Tiger Trounces the Course. Justin suffers the Jitters.

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Tiger Woods trounced the Bay Hill course in the Arnold Palmer Invitational, shooting a third round -6 under par, 66. Meanwhile Justin Rose, who seemed to be cruising with a two shot lead, suddenly suffered a severe case of the jitters.

Can he be stopped?

Tiger Woods and Rickie Fowler / Greenwood / Getty Images

Tiger putted like a champion today, it helped him to his -6 under par round and a tournament total of -11 under par, a lead of two shots over the field. The man looking most likely to mount a serious challenge to Tiger is Rickie Fowler, no slouch himself today, with a third round of -5 under par, which elevated him to -9 under par and in a tie for second place. He will also play with Tiger for the final round, something that he could not handle last year when he faced the same task. He shot a last round 84 that day, compared to the winner Tiger Woods, who came home in 67.

Tiger said he now knows how to fix his game while out on the course;

” I just understand how to fix my game, it’s taken me a while. I was hurt for a long time. The changes to make the swing from where I was to now is a pretty big change.I hit a bad shot here and there, and that’s easy to fix. I know what my fix is going to be and that makes a big difference. I’m much more comfortable, but also I think that I’m feeling pretty good physically, that was huge. I’ve had one more year of working on my game, and here I am. Just because I’ve won here doesn’t ensure that I’m going to win the tournament, the conditions are different. The game might be different. But the objective is still to put myself in position to win the golf tournament and somehow get it done on Sunday. Over the course of my career, I’ve done a pretty decent job of that.”

Rickie remembers that bad day at Memorial;

” After Memorial, I’m looking for a little redemption, I’m feeling good about the pairing, about my game. I’m going in there with the attitude that I have nothing to lose and we’ll see what happens from there. He’s definitely the guy to beat but I’ll be right there to see what’s going on. With him having leads on courses he loves like this and Torrey Pines and Doral, and I’m sure there are others, he’s basically never lost with a lead in the final round. So I’m looking forward to tomorrow and seeing if we can go do that.”

Tied in second place with Rickie are jittery Justin Rose and John Huh, Justin with an even par round and John a -1 under par round.

There are five players another shot back at -8 under par for the tournament, they are; Thorbjorn Olesen, Gonzalo Fedez- Castano, Jimmy Walker, Ken Duke and Bill Haas.

To be honest I can not see anybody challenging Tiger for this title, it is his for the taking. Winning would move him to the top of FedExCup leaderboard, becoming the first player to hold the top spot in five different seasons. Additionally, he’d match Sam Snead as the only other player to win the same tournament eight times and of course he would move back to No. 1 in the World, for the first time since Oct. 30, 2010.

Nobody is going to stop Tiger.

Tiger is Headed Back to No.1

Tiger & Donald Trump, at Doral / theadvocate.com

Tigers win at Doral on The Blue Monster could be the signal that he is finally headed back to his much coveted Number One Spot in golf.

The great Sam Snead was 45 when he won his 76th tournament, Tiger is eight years younger than Sam was, and he already has 77. During his career Sam won a record 82 PGA Tour events, including seven Majors.  It will not be long before Tiger eclipses that record of Sam’s, and a victory at the Arnold Palmer Bay Hill Invitational in two weeks would return him to the top spot in the world rankings.

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In Tiger’s favor, Rory McIlroy is going through a slump in form, and despite a friendly threat from Arnold Palmer, Rory apparently does not intend to play at Bay Hill, but he will play the Shell Houston Open, scheduled for March 28-31, two weeks before The Masters. But by then if Tiger wins at Arnold Palmers place, and he is the defending Champion, Rory will already have lost his Number One tag.

End of Season Spats, for Rory and Tiger

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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.

Golf Trip, Up Country NZ

Tim, Roy and myself set off at 9 am on Friday morning, three of us in Tim’s 4×4, make and model unknown, probably Japanese, we were in a tournament organised by the Kapiti Club. Roy had recently won his club championship at Waikanae Golf Club. Tim is the Captain of the Inter-Islander Ferry, and I of course am the CEO of White Dragon Golf. A really distinguished group, if I may say so.

Things were going quite well until it was decided to stop for coffee, I think about an hour and a half into the four-hour journey. Captain Tim pulled into the first coffee shop he saw, just as we entered a town called Foxton. The building did not look too salubrious, but the boys shrugged off the shabby appearance and went in. They both ordered coffee, one Latte and a Mocha-chino, it was a hot day so I pulled out a can of Coke from the chiller. Tim loves to eat, so he decided to supplement his coffee break with a beef sausage roll, a strange concoction, I did not like the look of it. When the coffee’s were delivered to our table I thought the mixture looked more like dirty washing up liquid, and apparently my observation was spot on as both guys remarked that it was the worst cup of coffee they had ever tasted. They dubbed it the worst coffee in the world, and later on the dodgy sausage roll would have its effect on Tim.

I have not named or even published a picture of this joint for fear of legal reprisals, but if you are ever in New Zealand and are driving  north through the town of Foxton do not stop at the first coffee shop over the bridge.

Our journey continued, we were on our way to play a round at the Taihape Golf Club Inc, Arnold Palmer had once played there and reportedly said that the par 3 12th hole was one of the finest he had played. Confident that this would be a good choice of golf course we happily drove past Rangatira Golf Club, where some others of our 20 strong party in total, were playing.

No sooner had we passed this delightful course when I received a call from Tony and Les, the two guys we were going to meet at Taihape, their car had broken down, some miles behind us, could we turnaround and go to back to help. So being the good Samaritans we executed a u-turn and went back to offer any assistance we could.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Les, arms in air in disbelief at his cars meltdown, Tony, in yellow and Captain Tim look on.

After a lot of deliberation the A.A. were called and a tow truck dispatched to our location. As there was not enough room in our car for both gentlemen and their golf gear, it was decided to dump Les and his gear off at Rangatira Golf Club, where the others would get him to our final destination.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tony, waiting patiently for our car to return and pick him up.

Once Les had been delivered the four of us continued our journey to Taihape, some two hours later than expected, but still full of anticipation for the golf ahead.

Unfortunately Taihape Golf Course was not quite the delight we were expecting, and although we appeared to be the only people on the course itself, we still had to share the space with a couple of thousand Lamb cutlets {sheep}. They did not interrupt the golf by being in the way, they took off as soon as we came into view, it was what they left behind that caused all the problems. Sheep crap sticks to anything, including my ball as it was hole bound on one green. Arnold was correct about the par 3 12th, it is indeed a handsome challenge, but not worth the slog through the crap to get there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taihape Golf Club

I will continue the story of the weekend golf another time.

 

 

Rory Beats Tiger in the Duel at Jinsha Lake

The Worlds number one ranked golfer beats the worlds number two ranked player in the Duel at Jinsha Lake, that means Rory beat Tiger in the first one-on-one exhibition match between golf’s two biggest names.

 

Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy have a light moment when they wait to receive their trophies. Photo / AP

Tiger & Rory/ Photo / AP

Rory engineered  a 5-under 67 round to beat Tiger by one stroke in an 18-hole match between these two top-ranked golfers at the Jinsha Lake Golf Club in central China overnight, where the total money prize was a reported $US two million.

Tiger may have lost this match, but he said it was fun;

” This is certainly not like most Mondays, to have this many people come out and watch us play golf in an exhibition was something special. This doesn’t happen, as far as doing something like this down the road, it would be fun.”

This event is the first time the two golfers had played head-to-head without other competitors, and it probably won’t be the last given the spectator interest and support for this match-up. It could become similar to the rivalry between Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray that have made men’s tennis so exciting in recent years.

Tiger thinks it could only be good for the game of golf;

“If you look at the history of the game, it’s not like other sports where the guys play against each other all the time. Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer didn’t go at it that often. But you know what, if we can do this for the next 10, 15 years, then certainly we can have that type of rivalry. I think having matches like this to promote the game of golf is what it’s all about. We’re trying to promote the game of golf in this region and it’s come a long way since my first time here 11 years ago.”

Rory’s win was some consolation for not winning his last tournament, when he was in position to do so;

“It’s been a nice distraction to not dwell on what happened yesterday. I let a great chance to win a golf tournament slip through my fingers. Coming to do something like this today has definitely made it a little easier to deal with.”

The game of golf is certainly taking off in China, and sponsor ship events like this will only help towards spreading the news and attracting youngsters to the game. Apart from the golf on offer, there were stunt planes buzzing overhead. A fleet of Rolls Royce’s elegantly whisked the players to the course, cruising past helicopters for sale and Aston Martins and Maserati’s, all with showgirls draped over them. After the two struck a gong to open the event, fireworks exploded behind them and confetti cannons rained gold flakes over the jostling crowd. Not sure what that was all about, but the crowd seemed to enjoy all the razzmatazz.

Arnold Palmer Awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor

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The Great Arnold Palmer

 The Great Arnold Palmer joined the company of elite Americans like George Washington and Neil Armstrong, when he was honored for his far-reaching lifetime contributions on Wednesday by being awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

The Speaker of the House John Boehner, praised Arnold during the ceremony in the Rotunda of the Capitol building, he said;

“He didn’t set out to change the game. But he did. Arnold Palmer democratized golf. And made us think that we too could go out and play, and made us believe we could do anything really. All we had to do was go out and try. You’ve struck our hearts and our minds, and today your government and fellow citizens are striking the Golf Medal for you.”

Arnold has become the sixth athlete to be honored with the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest honor that can be bestowed upon any living citizen, following Roberto Clemente of the Pittsburgh Pirates, track and field Olympic champion Jesse Owens, Brooklyn Dodger pioneer Jackie Robinson, boxing legend Joe Louis and of course fellow golfer Byron Nelson.

Arnold mentioned Byron and the respect golfers have for each other in his acceptance speech;

“It’s interesting that two of the six recipients of the honor have been golfers. I like to truly believe that golfers promote some sort of human value that symbolizes so many Americans, such as characteristics of honesty, hard work, dedication, responsibility, and respect for the other guy. I hope I can thank you properly and tell you how much it means to me to be here to accept this award. I’m very humbled, thank you very much.”

Jack Nicklaus, a fellow competitor on the Golf course as well as in business, honored his close friend, with a heartfelt speech built around the theme of the Arnold Palmer I’ll never forget. Jack reiterated the story about the first time he watched Arnold hit a ball, at age 14. He was standing and watching in awe at Sylvania C.C. outside Toledo, Ohio as Arnold hit piercing long irons into the rain, on the driving range before the 1954 Ohio Amateur Championship, which Arnold went on to win. Jack said;

” Arnold embodied the hard-working spirit of America, and he played a game we all could try to be good at.”

Among Arnold’s numerous charitable contributions include the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, the Arnold Palmer Prostate Center in California and Arnie’s Army.

Congratulations Arnold, and I hope you have tried the putter I sent you.



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.