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Monday, August 30, 2010

Ryder Cup picks - No Rose, are you kidding!

Of course only winning twice in the last couple of months on the PGA Tour wasn't enough for Justin Rose to make the team. What was Monty thinking not picking Justin? The day before the picks were announced Justin shot 65 in the WGC event, a day when all the players were under pressure. He has an outstanding record from the last Ryder Cup, he's a great team guy and obviously the preferred partner of Ian Poulter who is already in the team. Oh, that's right, he's not with IMG. I knew there was something. To pick Harrington and Donald (both IMG) ahead of Rose is just plain crazy. On current form he can beat both of them, which is to take nothing away form Padraig and Luke (they are both great players), and in early October we will find out if Monty's choices prove to be correct. I bet Monty is cursing Peter Hanson for keeping one of his world top 20 guys out of the team!

Friday, August 27, 2010

US Amateur at Chambers Bay

...and very fine it looks too. I'm not a huge RTJ2 fan but he does look to have created a terrific looking golf course in Washington state. I'm sure the USGA will learn a tremendous amount prior to the U.S. Open being played there in 2015, albeit at a different time of the year. The course is playing firm and fast and with "brown being the new green" golf course looking great. It's wonderful to watch the amateurs playing quickly, for the most part. Just a shame that the geniuses at the Golf Channel saw fit to show the beginning of the quarterfinal matches and not show the end. Now why would we want to see the end of those matches when we could watch Phil miss the cut in The Barclays. Are you kidding? who is in charge of scheduling in O town? A 5 year old? Remember a few weeks back they cut away from the French Open playoff to show Tiger play the front 9 when not in contention. What's up (The) Golf Channel?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Monty's Choice

Only 4 days to go until Colin Montgomerie has to finally make his 3 player choices for the European Ryder Cup team for the early October match in Wales. With only 3 picks there are going to be some unhappy campers. Today, the 9 players in the team look like this. With 2 events this week at Gleneagles and Ridgewood, much can and will change.

Molinari - Francesco

That leaves a handful of great players outside looking in. These include the obvious choices, Casey, Donald, Harrington, Langer, Rose and the less obvious but still possible Edoardo Molinari, Robert Karlsson and Rhys Davies from Wales. Now, Monty early in season was insistent that those players who supported the Johnnie Walker event in Scotland would be looked upon favorably. Nice try Monty! No one bought that and all the usual suspects are playing the World Golf Championship event in the US, so Monty backtracked and is now "understanding" of this decision. Really.
Peter Hanson winning last week certainly threw Monty a curve - he would have preferred a brand name guy in that spot, which could still happen.

My choices would be Langer, Rose and Casey. What do you think?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Debacle at Whistling Straits

In soccer it's common to hear "we were robbed". In golf, not so much. And yet on Sunday the cry went out all over the golf world...Dustin Johnson was robbed!
Robbed of a place in the play off that had resulted from the most exciting back nine of a major for many years. The fact that the participants were all "bit" players didn't detract from wonderful, spirited play on the over-rated Whistling Straits. At least on Sunday the golf course showed up - a little wind to dry out the over-designed, over-watered "links style" golf course. I have played Whistling Straits and there is nothing, nada, zip, zero that is "links" about it. It is a manufactured, muscle course with little nuance and very little fun.
Okay, enough of my rant about Mr. Kohler's debacle. Let's focus on the blue blazered brigade's cock up. Granted, there was a rules sheet confirming the ludicrous 1200 plus bunkers. The fact that they couldn't seem to confirm this number seems to have been worn like a badge of honor. Instead of what it really was - a joke!
So, Dustin Johnson is on 18 after a nervy drive in an area that is covered in trash, looks like a sandy path and surrounded by a thousand of his closest friends. And these friends are actually standing in the bunker. Funny that, haven't seen that at Augusta, or any other major venue. No, I get it - it's his responsibility to read the rules sheet provided each week to the players. My question is why every "bunker" outside of the ropes being trampled by Wisconsin's finest was not declared "through the green" and therefore allowing the club to be grounded. I think everyone agrees he gained no advantage by grounding his club.
There are no winners here - DJ lost his chance to become the PGA Champion and Kaymer's win will be overshadowed by "bunkergate".
The PGA of America demonstrated their ability to choose an awful golf course and then lose control of a manageable situation. While we are on the subject of the PGA, if I hear once more about the dedicated "28,000 dedicated men and women" I will throw up. America's dedicated men and women are in the armed forces, not selling pencils in a golf shop!
So, there you have it. A great Sunday's golf mangled by an inept ruling. DJ - you was robbed!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Over-engineered & Unnecessary- the double golf bag strap

What's up with all the manufacturers only providing golf bags with the simply awful, over-engineered double bag strap? I grew up with a simple golf bag with a single strap that you threw over your shoulder and walked. It no longer seems to be an option with the major manufacturers and I'm not picking on Titleist (above) for the ugly looking contraption. Why don't they make it an option? Single or double strap with your bag, sir?
I was recently at a club where my caddy had swapped my entire set into a single strap bag so he could double bag. Well, I need my "stuff" with me when I play, so drastic action was needed so I took my bag into the shop, borrowed a box cutter from the pro and cut the useless second strap off. Result - Happy caddy, Happy player.
And don't give me all that "oh, it's so much better for your back nonsense". Walking, not driving is better for your back and having a bag of clubs on one shoulder a few times a month isn't causing any back pain.
Have a look at the top picture of the Mackenzie Walker golf bag - doesn't that single strap look better than the double? Of course it does AND it's way more comfortable. Let me know if you agree or not?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tiger Out, Langer In....Watch this space

It's going to be a wild ride into the early October Ryder Cup in the next few weeks as Captains Monty and Pavin have some tough decisions ahead. Firstly, how can Pavin seriously consider picking Tiger - he's playing the worst golf of his career, he doesn't want to be in Wales and the UK tax authorities are threatening all athletes "earning" money in the UK with a 50% tax hit on endorsement contracts. It could possibly cost him $900,000 on his Nike contract, unless there is some swift negotiation with the Inland Revenue. It makes the Av Gas bill look small!
Regarding Langer, the question is not does he pick him?, but how does he not pick him? Langer has been a stalwart of the team 10 times and as the winner of the last 2 senior majors he is the man on form. Those other guys looking for a Monty wildcard handout should wait a couple more years - their time will come.

Friday, August 6, 2010

TMaG and Villegas - too much too soon.

What are TaylorMadeadidas Golf (TMaG) up to? Publicly announcing Camilo Villegas is under contract from 2011 to them while still under contract to Titleist in 2010 is just asking for trouble. And they got it when the litigious Titleist filed suit against them.

If they were looking for publicity by their actions they got that too - just the wrong kind! Not only that, watch the results of Villegas in the coming months while this plays out and it will be surprising if he shows up in the Top 10.

In the past, we have had players switch manufacturers from year to year. Of course this happens all the time, but there is a unwritten rule that the switch, usually mid season, happens quietly and without a huge fuss. Press releases come and go and the public see the player with new equipment and figure out what has gone on. BUT, to announce mid season while the player is under contract to another company is just underhanded and as the lawyers will argue damaging to the existing company's business. TMaG - cheap shot - actually, maybe an expensive shot!