Commercial Bank Qatar Masters, at the Half Way Stage

Sergio Garcia   (Getty Images)

Sergio Garcia/Getty Images

Sergio Garcia is one of four players tied at the top of the leaderboard at the half way stage of the Commercial Bank, Qatar Masters tournament at the Doha Golf Course in Qatar. attaining a -9 under par total score for the tournament.  Joining Sergio at the summit are Ricardo Santos of Portugal, German Martin Kaymer and Marcus Fraser from Australia.

Of course Sergio and Martin are Ryder Cup Team-mates, who were part of the European Ryder Cup winning team in 2012 at  Medinah Country Club, Chicago U.S.A.

Sergio was happy with his first round of golf for this season, after his corrective eye-surgery;

“It was nice, I definitely felt I played a little bit better than yesterday. Obviously I would have loved to hit a couple of shots better, but I gave myself a lot of chances and I can’t be disappointed. The wind started picking up a bit and it made it tough enough to choose the right clubs. We tried to play smart and managed to do that fairly nicely.”

First round leader Ricardo  followed up his first round -7 under par 65 with a second round of -2 under par of 70 for his -9 under par total score. He made a fine up and down from the bunker at the par five last, while Marcus Fraser did the same on the long ninth to complete his 67. Marcus said he was a little scrappy down the last hole today;

” It was a little bit scrappy down the last hole but I managed to scramble a par. Overall I felt like I played pretty steadily most of the day. I made a few birdies once I got on to the back nine, which was the front nine, but I’m pretty happy with the day. It is definitely one of those courses where you need to be patient and just take your chances where you can get them.”

Ricardo Santos, the Madeira Islands Open winner was pleased with his efforts of the first two days,

I struck the ball very well today, I just missed a few shots but I’m still happy with the round. This afternoon the wind is a little bit stronger than the morning, so I’m happy with two under. It’s never easy, but I started really well, after four holes I was three under, so I told myself to just keep playing like that. I just want to play my game the best I can, and then we’ll see. I want to enjoy the weekend.”

World number four Justin Rose was penalised a shot on the opening day when his ball moved as he prepared to tap in on the 17th, but he still made his first cut in five visits to Doha, Justin joked;

“That’s almost like leading the tournament round here.”

Two rounds to go, I wonder if Justin is close enough to make an impact here at Doha,  if he does it would be for the first time.

Tiger Woods, Ryder Cup Captain ?

Tiger Woods: apologised to the four Ryder Cup rookies on the US team after failing to pick up a point at Medinah

Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods has expressed a desire to one day be the U.S.A Ryder Cup Captain, he said recently;

“It would be a huge honor, hopefully it doesn’t happen in the near future. I would like to be able to play for a lot more teams but certainly one day when my career is slowing down or it’s over, it would be huge to be part of a Ryder Cup from the captaincy side.”

Given that Tiger has lost six times against Europe in seven appearances, including most recently at Medinah Country Club where the USA threw away a commanding lead on the final day, his resume for the tournament does not instill one with any confidence in his ability to lead a team. In fact it is Tiger’s inability to perform well in a team environment that really astounds everyone. Instead of leading from the front, he seems to retreat into a shell in a team effort. I personally doubt that a man, no matter how great a player he is, if he can not perform well in a team environment, how will he be able to inspire others to do what he could not.

Tiger also confirmed that he has apologized to the four rookies who played on the United States’ team, Keegan Bradley, Jason DufnerWebb Simpson and Brandt Snedeker, for not contributing a single point in their devastating loss at Medinah. He admitted he found it tough;

“I had an opportunity to earn three points in team sessions but I did not do that. It was tough. Stricks and I went out there and tried to earn points for the team and didn’t do that and it was frustrating. We had a four-point lead and we went 0-3.”


Rory McIlroy and State Trooper Pat Hollis

Rory McIlroy with Deputy Chief Pat Rollins  (Getty Images)

 Rory McIlroy with Deputy Chief Pat Rollins /Getty Images

Rory has a new best friend, none other than Illinois policeman Deputy Chief Pat Rollins, who got Rory to the game in time. The World number one was confused about the difference between Eastern and Central time and consequently misread his 11.25 tee time, meaning he was still in his hotel room 25 minutes before he was due to take on American Keegan Bradley in the final round of the Ryder Cup at Medinah. Rory explained;

“I was walking out my hotel room door at 11:00, and I get a phone call saying, ‘You’re on the tee in 25 minutes!’ “I’m like, oh. I’ve never been so worried going to the golf course. Luckily there was a state trooper at the bottom outside the lobby of the hotel that took me here and got me here a lot faster than we would have normally.  I had just enough time to put my shoes on, have a couple of putts and go to the first tee. In a way it wasn’t a bad thing because I didn’t have time to think about it, and I just went out and played, and I played probably the best I’ve played all week.  I still would have liked to have got there sooner, but I delivered my point for the team, and that was the most important thing. I just said to the officer, Just get me there, get me there!  He was asking if I suffered from motion sickness and I just said, ‘I don’t care, just get me to that first tee. If I had let down these 11 other boys and Vice Captains and Captain this week I would never forgive myself.  I was just obviously happy to get the point and help the cause out a little bit.”

Officer Rollins has been hailed as a savior, by the Europeans for his part in Europe’s win, but he insists he was just doing his job;

” He was nervous, if I was in his shoes I’d have been as well. But he was a gentleman throughout. I had gone to the hotel to check in with our officers. I realized that one player had not come down from their room to get transported by the drivers to the course. He rode in the front passenger’s seat with me. We whisked him away up to the course. I had radioed ahead, just to make sure certain lanes of traffic were opened for us so we could make it to the course with time to spare. I took it as a job well done. I’m getting ribbed at work for this, but in the end I am very proud of our force and our community. We did the right thing and of course I would have done the same for the American team.”

To put this action into perspective, if  Rory had been two minutes late and he would have forfeited the opening hole against Keegan. Had he been five minutes late he would have faced disqualification with the point being awarded to America. The hosts only lost the Ryder Cup by a single point, so had Deputy Chief Officer Pat Rollins not delivered Rory to the course on time, the U.S.A. would have won the Ryder Cup.

Miracle At Medinah Ensures a Healthy Future for the Ryder Cup

Ryder Cup

A Happy Justin Rose/Reuters

The Miracle at Medinah ensures a vibrant and healthy future for the Ryder Cup, some people are already committing to buying tickets for Ryder Cup 2014 in Scotland at Gleneagles.

The European Team have now won the Ryder Cup seven times in the last nine events, some people have suggested that the Trans-Atlantic showdown, while always hugely anticipated affair, has become a bit of a lop-sided affair. This not so true, the reality of the last three matches between the two teams has underlined how close the contests have become.

Back in 1999 in Kentucky  the then Captain Paul Azinger, inspired the Americans to deliver in some style as they beat Europe by 16-1/2 points to 11-1/2 points. The Americans  were beaten in Wales two years ago, the margin of that defeat was another wafer-thin victory, 14-1/2 points to 13-1/2 for the Europeans.  The U.S.  visiting team again showed passion and cohesion, especially through Ryder Cup rookies such as Bubba Watson and Rickie Fowler.

At  Medinah the separation between the teams was widely perceived by many observers to be non-existent, with some critics predicting an eventual tie, which it could have been if  Tiger Woods had insisted Francesco Molinari make the remaining short putt, instead of conceding it.

Rory McIlroy summed up the passion for the Ryder Cup;

” This is the most special and unique golf tournament we have, period. To bring this group of guys together, to all play for the same cause. We win together, we lose together, and luckily the last two Ryder Cups, we have won together.”

American newcomer Keegan Bradley was also ecstatic about The Ryder Cup, the Team spirit and partnering  his mentor Phil Mickelson;

“I’ve never really felt more on a team in my life. We are all very close, and it was just such an unbelievable week to share with these guys and the captains. It’s a week that I’ll never forget, and I’m going to be disappointed that we are not going to get together tomorrow to all get ready to play.”

So now it is over to Scotland, Gleneagles for the 2014 Ryder Cup, I wonder where we will all be come game time ?

The European team posses with the Ryder Cup. Picture: AP

The Winning European Team, not sure about those jackets !!!/picture AP







The Winning Team/AP

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

Ryder Cup, There’s Tension in the Air.

There is tension in the air as the Ryder Cup closed on the second day with the U.S.A. in firm command of the situation, with a little help from the officials and the rub of the green, which always went in their favor.

Jim Furyk first objected to a ruling given to Graeme McDowell on gaining relief from a sprinkler head, Furyk stated there should be no relief given and called for the head referee, who then subsequently changed the original ruling. Jim said of the affair;

“I looked over to see what was happening, I saw that he was going to get relief and get to probably drop the ball into the fringe so they’d be putting rather than chipping.  When I looked to see where the ball was, I believe it was a good four inches, I’m being probably conservative, four to five inches ahead of that sprinkler head. They were going to gain a big advantage by being able to drop that ball. He had a sticky lie and a very delicate chip and to be able to putt that ball would have been a huge advantage and I really didn’t feel in any situation, whether it be matchplay or medal play, that it could be deemed a drop.”

Europe's Graeme McDowell

Seems like Jim wants to win at any cost. What a different point of view than that of  Jack Nicklaus who 1969 conceded a putt to Tony Jacklin, to halve the entire match.  By giving Jacklin the putt, Nicklaus made the half look less like an accomplishment by the British (who had won the cup only once since 1933) than like a personal gift from Nicklaus. It also left forever hanging the possibility that the reigning British Open Champion might have gagged over his eighteen-incher. That’s one of the cool things about match play.

Later in the day Bubba Watson was given relief from the opposite side of the bleachers from the nearest point of relief, he chipped on and made birdie, any complaint from the Europeans, no absolutely not, the referee made a ruling and they got on with it. Justice was done in the end when McDowell and McIlroy won their match. But really sad to see the lengths some people will go to just to make sure they win. As they say in America, that was a win/win situation. The affair has put Jim Furyk into a bad place with regards good spirit and fair play, and how people all over the world gauge him as a man.

The U.S.A. finished the day still leading the Europeans by a comfortable margin, 9-4, and it will take a super human effort from the Europeans on the last day to change the course of this match. I just hope that tomorrow some of the decisions and bounces will go their way and make it an even contest. Tiger Woods suffered his third straight defeat in this Ryder Cup, eroding his record in this contest even further, his only chance of a point will come in the singles. Tiger is, and always has been a loner, and as such he will summon the effort required to win his singles match.

Europe managed to avoid a sweep, thanks to who else?  Ian Poulter and Justin Rose, who beat Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson 1 up. Poulter has Europe’s best winning percentage in Ryder Cup play with a 10-3-0 record, and there was no way he was going to let the Americans take a point from his match.

“It was absolutely key, Jose put us out No. 1 for a reason, and that’s to get the point and put the point up on the board.”

If Ian’s fighting spirit becomes contagious, the Europeans do still have a fighting chance, but no betting man would put his money on them. In the afternoon Ian and Rory secured the last point of the day, with Ian’s 5th straight birdie.

Ryder Cup, Day One Belongs to the U.S.A.

Day one of the Ryder Cup belonged to the U.S.A. as they lead the Europeans by five Points to three at the end of the day, after dominating the afternoon fourballs at the Medinah Country Club.

Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley led the afternoon charge, and they were fully supported by an inspired Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson. That inspiration gave the American hosts three of the four points on offer after lunch to open up a commanding advantage.

Both  teams were level at 2-2 after the morning foursomes, with the Northern Irish pairing of Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy picking up Europe’s first point and Ian Poulter and Justin Rose providing the second. Controversially Ian Poulter, Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia were rested for the afternoon better-ball format.

Strangely for the U.S.A. the only pairing not to win in the afternoon was Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker, they were beaten by an amazing performance from Nicolas Colsaerts, who the partner of Lee Westwood. Watching the play you would have thought that Nicolas was the seasoned Ryder Cup man, not Lee.  Nicolas Colsaerts was an absolute lion and his point with Lee Westwood at the end of the day could be huge come Sunday.

American Ryder Cup Captain Davis Love 111 was extremely;y pleased with his teams performance;

“Just everybody played real well and hung in there and had a lot of fun. Seemed like as the sun came out, we just got better and better.”

European Captain Jose Maria Olazabal’s team will have to produce a major turnaround in order to claim the Cup for the fifth time in seven meetings. He commented;

“The afternoon was tough, that last point from Nicolas Colsaerts and Lee Westwood was very important.”

Tomorrow will be a very tough test for the European Team, it is probably going to be make or break day.