Archive for July 2010
Like most, I tend to root for the underdog in certain sports situations. Ken Green would definitely qualify as an underdog worth rooting for — when he has the energy to play in a golf tournament. Most golf fans know Green’s story, and how he recently made a comeback to the sport after a horrific RV accident that saw him lose some of the most important people in his life, as well as part of his right leg.
It’s hard not to want to see Green shine once more. After a couple of struggles with his game and the searing pain of having to get around a golf course with his prosthetic leg, Green hit his biggest rough patch in his comeback this past week, when he had to withdraw from the Connecticut Open.
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Erynne Lee became the first player to face the wrath of the USGA, after her wedges were deemed “non-conforming” under the new grooves rule. While the story was a tragic one, at least Lee wasn’t playing for her livelihood on a professional tour, where money can be the deciding factor between eating well or getting by on ramen for another week.
Sarah Brown, like Lee, had a run-in with the competition committee at a recent event, where she was subsequently sent off the course after her Ping 54-degree Tour W wedge was deemed non-conforming by a rules assistant at the Duramed Futures Tour event.
There was only problem: Brown’s wedge was conforming, thus forcing the 18-year-old to miss out on a weekly paycheck. The worst part of all? The rules official on site decide to pull her off the course, as opposed to letting her finish out her round and then making a ruling. Read the rest of this entry »
Everything was aligned for Tiger Woods prior to the 2010 season. Augusta National. Pebble Beach. St. Andrews. If ever there was a year where Tiger Woods was going to make his biggest push towards Jack Nicklaus’ 18 major championships, this was the year. It was now or never.
While it was hard to put Woods on the clock as he entered what was supposed to be the prime of his career, there were some out there who were starting to question if the greatest golfer on the planet had enough in the tank to pick up six more majors.
But with three of Woods’ major championship playgrounds on the slate, it felt like the stars were aligned for one monumental year that would silence most — if not all — of the critics. Then came the accident; and the infidelity; and like the endorsement deals Woods had previously, his dream of putting a serious dent in Nicklaus’ number went by the wayside.
Walking off the putting green on Sunday at St. Andrews, Woods looked nothing like the conquering hero of 2000 and 2005, when he not only assaulted the “home of golf” but every player in the field during those two weeks. What once was considered Tiger’s year was gone in a flash.
Three weeks of golf at three of his favorite courses, and all he had to show for it was a battered ego and a couple of decent finishes. And just like that, Tiger’s chance of catching Jack started to disappear.
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Along with the Claret Jug and the Champions Belt — a replica of the red, Morocco belt that was given to winner of the event back in 1860 — was a sizable check that went along with the victory. The £850,000 Oosthuizen earned for his clinical victory at St. Andrews was £100,000 more than what Stewart Cink earned in 2009 for his win at Turnberrry. The decision to increase the prize money was made after the euro and British pound declined significantly in relation to the U.S. dollar.
But that’s not even the biggest story regarding the check Oosthuizen received for his victory. Like most European countries, a win on foreign soil usually comes with a giant caveat in the form of an income tax rule that could leave the South African lighter in the wallet. Read the rest of this entry »
If you would have asked Tiger Woods prior to Thursday’s opening round if he would have taken 5-under 67 in the opening round of this week’s British Open, chances are you would have received an emphatic “yes” as a response.
Like the rest of the field, Tiger Woods figured the blustery conditions on Wednesday would have turned Thursday into a battle for survival — and even par. Instead, players were left to feast on a helpless Old Course.
Woods was one of number of players to take advantage of the scoring conditions. The Open Champion at St. Andrews in 2000 and ’05 started the week off with a round that normally would have been good enough for first or second place under normal course conditions.
But Thursday’s course conditions were anything but normal. Woods’ round went from great start to good start after seven players managed to best the World No.1’s first round score.
But Tiger shouldn’t be too worried about being T-8. His sheer dominance at St. Andrews means he’s well within striking distance of the leaders; and he’s got more than enough history on the course to make up a couple of shots.
John Daly has been through a lot of peaks and valleys in his lifetime. More recently, it’s been a lot more valleys than peaks. After suffering through Lap-Band surgery that caused him to lose an unhealthy amount of weight in a short period of time, Daly has since kept the weight off and turned things around after a number of forgettable years, on and off the course.
While Rory McIlroy’s record-tying 63 was the story of the day on Thursday, John Daly’s 6-under 66 had to be top story 1A. The former British Open champion, who won at St. Andrews in 1995, was all business on Thursday, making a number of big putts on the outward nine to go out in 31 (5-under).
While his inward nine wasn’t as spectacular, there were still signs that Daly’s game is finally getting back on track at the right time. Through three-and-a-half rounds last week at the Scottish Open, Daly was in contention for a top-15 finish. While two holes seemingly derailed his Sunday back nine, he managed to keep the mistakes to a minimum. Read the rest of this entry »
Winds and stinging rain pelted the Old Course at St. Andrews on Wednesday, sending most of the field scurrying around the course in an attempt to get in as many holes as possible. The weather washed out the four hole exhibition that was supposed to be a curtain call of sorts for some of the game’s best players.
The forecast called for similar weather on Thursday. But that weather never arrived. Instead, players awoke to calm conditions and an overnight rain that left the Old Course with soft conditions and very little wind — also known as perfect scoring conditions.
As expected, the field took advantage of those conditions on Thursday. They didn’t just beat the course into submission; they chewed it up, spit it out, and then ran it through a wood chipper for good measure.
“The old lady had no clothes on today,” said Tom Watson, referencing the benign conditions on the course. Read the rest of this entry »