FedEx St. Jude Classic. Its Tight At The Top In Tennessee

            Click for detailed Tennessee Flag

It is tight at the top of the leaderboard in the FedEx St. Jude Classic at  T.P.C. Southwind, in Memphis Tennessee.

 

 

There are six players who tied at the top of the leaderboard at the conclusion of the first round at the FedEx St Jude Classic at TPC SouthwindNathan Green, Martin Flores, Stuart Appleby, Glen Day, Harris English and Davis Love 111 all had opening rounds of -4 under par 66. on the par 70 lay-out. This is the final event before the U.S. Open next week at Merion Golf Club, and Davis said he was excited to be back in contention;

“I still hit some bad shots, at The PLAYERS and Memorial, I felt like I was playing better than I was scoring. I think it’s rust. I’m excited to be back, and I’m anxious and I want to play better than I’m playing. I’m a little bit tired from the two 36-hole qualifiers as well. You got to be a little bit more patient and polished. That’s going to take some rounds of golf to get back. I tried to keep up with Dustin and Brandt.”

Stuart Appleby had his best round of the year, but was surprised the scoring was not lower, in the near perfect conditions;

“I thought there were some more birdies out there, I think just with the pace of the greens if you’re above the hole it’s tricky. I’m happy with the way I played today. Anybody who got under par today, the scoreboard, certainly fought to get there.”

Nathan Green lost his status last year, and was nervous seeing his name at the top of the leaderboard when he had completed his round;

“I was starting to get nervous seeing my name on the board and made two good up and downs to finish off the round, which is nice”

Phil Mickelson shot a +1 over, 71 , but said this was a ball strikers course,and he was striking the ball well;

“This is great because it’s a great test. The guy that strikes it well is going to have a big advantage, but when you do miss greens, you’ve got to be pretty sharp with your short game because the lies around the greens are some of the most difficult that we get. It’s about as good as I’ve been striking it, and I feel like there’s a good round in me.”

Behind the pace setters on the leaderboard, and  just one shot adrift are eleven players, who all had -3 under par 67′s.

Belly Putter Ban Imminent ?

It is commonly understood an official from the R&A will make presentations to the golf playing professionals at this week’s HSBC WGC Champions event in Shenzhen and then at next week’s Barclays Singapore OpenMike Davis, the chief executive of the USGA, has already held such a seminar with PGA Tour players. It is likely that they will take a formal vote in March, to decide if, and when, the ban will come into force. It is possible that a ban could be in place for competition from the start of 2013, or they may wait until the end of the current rules cycle which runs through December 2015. Either way it looks fairly certain that  they are going to eradicate the belly putter altogether. The catalyst for this action seems to be the fact that three of the last five major winners have used belly-putters. Strangely enough there is no mention of the broom-stick putter in this decision-making process, but if the ruling is based on Anchoring, rather than the length of the putter, jamming a putter under your chin, or chest would also be eliminated.

Davis Love 111, the US Ryder Cup captain, attended the meeting with the USGA representative in Georgia, he expressed the view that whatever path the authorities took, they should proceed with haste.

” If they said today, we met with the Tour and we’re going to change putters; Keegan Bradley is going to get himself a conforming putter and he’s still going to be a really good putter. He’s just going to have to make a change, but you’d rather not talk about it for three years and have it be a distraction.”

Webb Simpson, the US Open champion is already practicing with a conventional putter, in readiness of a rule change, although he disagree’s with the argument for a ban;

” I’m friends with a lot of the R&A and the USGA guys and I know they are trying to do it for the betterment of the game. But I don’t think it’s a good decision. If you look at the stats, last year there was no one in the top 20 of the strokes gained category who anchored a putter. So you have to throw out the argument of  it’s an advantage right there. There’s a bunch of arguments going around but I haven’t heard a good one yet.”

Players like Matt Kuchar, who use a long putter but do not Anchor it will be free to continue using such equipment if the ban itself is centered on the anchoring point and not just the length of the putter. It will be extremely interesting to see how this event pans out, is it really going to make the game better, or fairer, I actually doubt it.

The McGladrey Classic, Tommy Gainey shoots last round 60, to Win

Tommy-Gainey

 Tommy Gainey/Sam Greenwood Source: AFP

Tommy Gainey shot a last round of -10 under par, 60, to win his first PGA Tour event,  the McGladrey Classic, at  Sea Island’s Seaside Course in Georgia. Had Tommy made a birdie on the last hole  made he would have become just the sixth player in PGA Tour history to record a round of 59 strokes, his winning tournament total was -16 under par.

Tommy is known throughout golf for his unconventional swing and wearing two gloves, but he is very proud to be the Champion  here;

“I get bashed all the time about my swing, the only thing that matters is right before impact on the downswing.  Oh, man, I tell you, you’re out here on the PGA Tour. you’re playing with the best players in the world. Ninety-nine percent of these guys have already won, and won majors, big tournaments. The only show I can say I’ve won is the ‘Big Break.’ Now I can sit here and say I’ve won the McGladrey Classic here at Sea Island, and I’m very proud to be in this tournament and very proud to win. And wow, it’s been a whirlwind day. I didn’t know having 24 putts and shooting 60 would be like this, so I’m pretty stoked about it. You got future Hall of Famer’s chasing me; chasing me now. I’m Tommy Gainey, I’m `Two Gloves.’ I shot 60 today and you got Jim Furyk, Davis Love III and David Toms chasing me. I mean, I was nervous. I was paying attention, and you know, it just worked out for me. I wasn’t thinking about 59, see, all I did all day was just try to make birdies,  and a lot of birdies, because when you’re seven shots back, your chances of winning a PGA Tour tournament with the leaders, Davis Love III and Jim Furyk,  it don’t bide in your favor, man. I’m in this position, and man, it feels like I’m in a dream. I’m just waiting for somebody to slap me upside the head or pinch me or something to wake me up.”

I did say yesterday that Jim Furyk and Davis Love 111 could spend the day watching each other, and not notice an outsider coming up on the rails, well done Tommy.

David Toms was in second place, coming home with a last round -7 under par, 63,and -15 under par for the tournament, while Jim Furyk was another shot further back at -14 under par total, and another dismal finish to a tournament this year.

David Toms got ahead of himself when driving off the last tee, he drove it into a bunker and admitted he was thinking about what kind of putt he would have to make birdie, and tie Tommy;

 

“I was thinking about what kind of putt I was going to have before I ever hit the fairway, you get ahead of yourself and that’s what happens.”

Jim Furyk came up short again, in third spot at -14 under par;

“You know, I’m disappointed, I did battle. I think at times it’s probably a little harder, you see the first guy to post, it’s harder to chase that score when it’s already in when we’re on the sixth hole.”

Davis Love’s hopes of winning in front of his home crowd ; he has lived at Sea Island since he was 14 , ended with a tee shot into the water for double bogey on the 16th. He was trying to become the first Ryder Cup Captain since Tom Watson in 1996 to win on the PGA Tour. Davis last had a win at Disney in 2008, when he didn’t look at a leaderboard until the 18th hole and saw Tommy Gainey making a run, that time he held on with pars to record his win. This time he saw Tommy’s name appear out of nowhere, and couldn’t do anything about it. He closed with a 71 and tied for fourth on -12 under par along, with Brendon de Jonge and D.J. Trahan.

McGladrey Classic, Jim and Davis Share Lead after 54 Holes

 

SEA ISLAND, GA - OCTOBER 20:  Jim Furyk (L) and Davis Love III speak on the 18th hole during the third round of The McGladrey Classic at Sea Island's Seaside Course on October 20, 2012 in Sea Island, Georgia.

Jim Furyk and Davis Love 111/Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Jim Furyk and Davis Love 111 share the lead at the McGladrey Classic at the 54 hole stage at the Seaside Course, Sea Island, Georgia. Both Jim and Davis had third rounds of -4 under par 66 to share the tournament total of -13 under par.

Jim said a win here at the McGladrey Classic could not erase the memories of his abject  failure to hold leads at the U.S. Open in June, the World Golf Championships,Bridgestone Invitational in August, and a 1 up lead over Sergio Garcia, with just two holes left to play in the Ryder Cup;

“I’m tougher on myself, I promise,  than anyone else is. So I’ve kicked myself 100 times already, and I’ve gotten over it. I can put it behind me and move on. There’s nothing I can do to change it. And nothing I do in the future is going to change it. I’m excited for this season to be over, only for the fact that I can turn the page and we can start talking about the future. If I looked at tomorrow as another chance to be judged in case I failed, you know, it’s been a tough year, but I could never look at it that way. It’s an opportunity for me to go out and win a golf tournament, and I’m not trying to make up for the rest of the year. What happened, happened. It’s over with. I can’t change it. I’m never going to feel good about what happened, but it’s done with. It’s an opportunity tomorrow to win a golf tournament, that’s the way I’m going to look at it.” 

Davis spoke about being able to separate his disappointment at the Ryder Cup result and playing his own golf, and also stopping Jim beating him;

“I can separate a lot of things, separate the Ryder Cup with its own experience. People were surprised I played the three weeks after, but I’d had some time off. I was ready to play. I haven’t played enough tournaments, so it’s nice to be back in the swing of things.  I’d love to keep him from it, we’re both very competitive. That’s why I picked him for the Ryder Cup team. He competes hard every time he goes out there and he gives you everything he’s got. I think it would mean a lot to both of us. It would be a pretty close tie.”

Tied in third place are D.J. Trahan and Arjun Atwal, two shots adrift of the lead after rounds of -4 under par 66, and -1 under par 69, respectively, for their -11 under par tournament totals.

Bud Cauley is alone in fifth spot after his third round of -2 under par, 68, and a tournament total of -10 under par.

It will be interesting to see if Jim and Davis spend too  much time looking at each other, and not noticing someone racing up behind them.

 

Ryder Cup 2012; Europe beat USA after record comeback

 

European Ryder Cup Winning Captain Jose Maria Olazabal

The Ryder Cup 2012 turned into a magical explosion of great golf as the European Ryder Cup Team produced a stunning final-day comeback to win the Ryder Cup at a shell-shocked Medinah Country Club on the final day of this wonderful competition, to beat Team U.S.A. I personally have to eat humble pie, after yesterday saying a betting man would not give Europe a chance, you can see why I am not a gambling man.

Team U.S.A.  only required four points from the 12 on offer on the last day, Team Europe somehow secured eight and a half to clinch a historic 14½-13½ win. German Martin Kaymer sank a five-foot putt on the 18th green to get his team to the 14 points needed to retain the Ryder Cup Trophy, before a Tiger Woods bogey in the final match gifted them overall victory.

Etched in the sky during the last day was a message about remembering  Seve,  so I guess it worked. Team Europe wore the trademark Seve Ballesteros colors for the final day, it was a fitting tribute. European Team Captain said,

Seve will always be present with this team. He was a big factor for this event, for the European side, and last night when we were having that meeting, I think the boys understood that believing was the most important thing, and I think they did.”

This was the first time in three days that Team Europe had come charging out of the traps, Luke Donald going into an early two-hole lead over Bubba Watson and muting both his opponent and the crowd in the process. Then with Justin Rose also two up on Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy held off the previously unbeatable Keegan Bradley and the unsung hero Paul Lawrie taking early control against Brandt Snedeker. There was an entirely different atmosphere around the course than there had been on the first two one-sided days. Team Europe won the first five matches of the day, and that set the tone, and paved the way to Victory.

In the end  it came down to the last two matches on the final two holes, both matches were all-square and is was all square on the leaderboard.  None of the four, Martin Kaymer, Steve Stricker, Francesco Molinari or Tiger Woods, had won a single point between them all week. Then suddenly Steve Stricker three-putted on the 17th green and Martin Kaymer had a one-hole lead. Tiger Woods went one up on Molinari on the 17th which left Martin Kaymer two putts for the Cup, and he somehow held his nerve as the shadows lengthened to seal an extraordinary triumph. The usually noisy home galleries were silent with disbelief, as a dazed Tiger Woods blew two putts from within eight feet to hand Molinari a half point, and with it victory.

U.S.A. Team Captain Davis Love 111 said in disbelief;

“We know what it feels like now from the ’99 Ryder Cup, it’s a little bit shocking. We were playing so well.”

USA 13½-14½ Europe

Singles matches:

Watson lost to Donald 2&1

Simpson lost to Poulter 2 up

Bradley lost to McIlroy 2&1

Mickelson lost to Rose 1 up

Snedeker lost to Lawrie 5&3

D Johnson beat Colsaerts 3&2

Z Johnson beat McDowell 2&1

Furyk lost to Garcia 1 up

Dufner beat Hanson 2 up

Kuchar lost to Westwood 3&2

Stricker lost to Kaymer 1 up

Woods halved with Molinari

Tiger Accepts Responsibility for The U.S Lean Spell at the Ryder Cup.

U.S. captain Davis Love III poses with Tiger Woods and the Ryder Cup during the 39th Ryder Cup golf matches at the Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Illinois, September 25, 2012. REUTERS/Jeff Haynes

Tiger, Davis and the Elusive Ryder Cup, at Medinah/Reuters/Jeff Haynes

For a while Tiger  Woods reigned supreme over the golfing  world, winning  his 74 PGA Tour titles, including 14 Majors, but he has been unable to extend his golfing panache to the biennial competition that pits the U.S. best against Europe’s best. His performances at the Ryder Cup have been pretty average, some have even labeled him, Mr Joe Average, and on Tuesday Tiger accepted the responsibility for the dismal U.S. showing for the past 15 years. Tiger’s mediocre record of 13-14-2  from six Ryder Cup contests does not enhance the otherwise brilliant resume of  Eldrick Tont Woods, who has only  been able to celebrate just one team win from six Ryder Cup appearances. Tiger reported;

“Well, certainly I am responsible for that because I didn’t earn the points that I was put out there for. I believe I was out there, what, in five sessions each time and I didn’t go 5-0 on our side. So I certainly am a part of that and that’s part of being a team. I needed to go get my points for my team and I didn’t do that. Hopefully I can do that this week, and hopefully the other guys can do the same and we can get this thing rolling. I’ve always loved coming here, I enjoy playing in Chicago and for some reason, I’ve just had a lot of success here. I don’t know what it is but I seem to be very, very comfortable here.”

As they say in America, Bring it on.

Ryder Cup Crowds Will Be Hostile, says Davis Love 111

U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Davis Love III (left) and European Captain Jose Maria Olazabal (right) pose with the trophy in front of the clubhouse at Medinah

Team Captains Davis Love III,  USA and Jose-Maria Olazabal, Europe.

US Ryder Cup Captain Davis Love III has intimated that Europe’s players should be prepared to expect a fiery reception from the packed home galleries as the USA Team battle to win back the Ryder Cup. Davis is a veteran of the infamously hostile crowds at Brookline 13 years ago, he said;

“When we travel over there it’s tough on us, and when they travel over here it’s tough on them. Chicago is an incredible sports town, and they are going to be fired up. The first tee could be the loudest any of these guys have ever seen. I expect a lot of passion, if we’re winning holes it’s going to get pretty loud out there, and that’s what home-field advantage is all about. We’ll try to get them going loud in our favour.”

Davis replied to suggestions that he has set the Medinah course up to favour his team;

” How do you get an advantage? we have 24 of the best players in the world, they are all pretty good at adapting to conditions. One thing I’ve never liked is rough. But the fans want to see a little excitement. They want to see birdies. We want to let these unbelievable athletes free-wheel it a little bit and just play. Medinah is such a big, long golf course, and I don’t think we wanted a lot of rough. It’s still going to be tough. But without the deep rough, it saves us the chip-outs and the grinding-it-out style of golf.”

Jose Maria Olazabal Ryder Cup Captain Europe,responded with these comments;

“I don’t see it as a disadvantage. We have always been a close team, and we have been in touch through the phone. They are all going to be there by the time I get to the hotel today. I think the teams are pretty much even, and I think it’s going to be a close match. There are no favorites. It’s obviously completely different to 15 years ago. Now they play over here, they are very familiar with the golf courses over here, with their opponents. They feel more comfortable about the whole situation of coming here to play the Ryder Cup. They realize that over the years they have been able to compete against the players here, and that boosts your confidence, which is a very important thing when you’re playing matchplay. This is a new Ryder Cup, we’re playing here against a very strong team, we’re playing away, the crowds will be rooting for the home team really strong so we have to be prepared for that. I’ve said it all along, I think the teams are pretty much even, and I think it’s going to be a close match. There are no favorites.”

There is a rumor that Jose will a pay a tribute to the late Seve Ballesteros by wearing Seve style trademark navy jumper and trousers and white polo shirt for Sunday’s singles matches, Jose did not confirm this story but simply said;

“I talked to Davis about that and he was very understanding. Seve is going to be there in our team in some way or form. We are going to miss him a lot. It’s the first time he is not going to be with us, and he was a special man.”