Monday, December 3, 2007

Asmer, Villa to test for BMW

LONDON: Estonian Marko Asmer and Spaniard Javier Villa will test for BMW Sauber in Spain next week as part of the Formula One team's search for a 2008 reserve driver.

The team, who finished second overall this season after McLaren were stripped of their points, are looking for a replacement for German test driver Timo Glock who has secured a race seat at Toyota.

Their other 2007 test driver, Sebastian Vettel, is now racing for the Toro Rosso team. – Reuters

Loeb stays on course to win world title

LONDON: Sebastien Loeb had a fourth successive world rally championship in his sights on Saturday after settling into third place in Britain's title-deciding season-ender.

The Citroen driver, who will match Tommi Makinen's record of four successive titles if he finishes fifth or higher on Sunday, was 1:15 behind Ford's pace-setter Mikko Hirvonen at the end of the second leg in south Wales.

Hirvonen's team-mate and fellow-Finn Marcus Gronholm, whose slight hopes of preventing Frenchman Loeb celebrating in Cardiff on Sunday looked ever fainter, was in second place and 35.5 second off the lead.

Loeb is six points clear of Gronholm and, with more wins than his rival, need take no risks to be sure of the championship.

Norway's former world champion Petter Solberg, winner four times in the last five years in Britain, was more than a minute behind Loeb in fourth place.

“The conditions are not bad this morning, I've got no problems today,” Loeb said after completing the day's opening Crychan 1 stage in cold but bright conditions after fog and rain on Friday.

“For the moment I'm braking very early and trying to be as smooth as possible. Everything is going to plan. I'm doing what I have to, there will be no attack.” – Reuters

New putter helps Saltus clinch Cambodian Open

SIEM REAP: American golfer Bryan Saltus secured his maiden Asian Tour title at the Johnnie Walker Cambodian Open after a solid five-under 67 in the final round yesterday.

Saltus reaped the rewards of his new putter, firing six birdies against a lone bogey for a winning total of 17-under 271 at the Phokeethra Country Club.

The 36-year-old champion walked away with the top prize of US$47,550 and rose to 30th place on the Asian Tour's UBS Order of Merit.

“This is awesome. I would like to dedicate this win to Grateful Dead as they have inspired me all the way. Siem Reap is right up my alley so I've enjoyed my time on and off the course this week,” said Saltus, who is an avid Grateful Dead fan, having been to 153 concerts.

Overnight leader Adam Groom of Australia posted a 71 to claim lone second spot as he finished three strokes behind the winner.

The Thai duo of Thaworn Wiratchant and Prom Meesawat recorded matching 70s to claim joint third position after a 277 total.

Thanks to a new putter that he picked up this week, Saltus got off to a flying start, chalking up three birdies in his first three holes. He extended his lead with a birdie on the 10th and ended his captivating run with a final birdie on the 17th hole.

“My putting has been the winning formula this week. It's also nice to be one stroke off the lead coming into the final round as all eyes would be on the leader and not me,” he said.

“I told my caddie (Phal Savern) that if I win, I would buy her a motorbike and now that I've done it, I will get her a brand new motorbike,” said the Californian-based golfer, who has been playing on the Asian Tour since 2004.

Malaysia's Danny Chia posted a 67 for his best finish this season in joint fifth spot alongside Korea's Kang Ji-man, who shot a 66. – AFP

Rose falters as South African wins by one shot in Sun City

SUN CITY: South Africa’s Trevor Immelman won the 27th edition of the Nedbank Golf Challenge yesterday, in spite of bogeying the final three holes on the Gary Player Country Club course.

He outduelled England’s Justin Rose, who blew up with a double-bogey six at the last, in what turned into a nervy two-horse race between the two players in the final round.

It’s mine: Trevor Immelman holding up the trophy after winning the Nedbank Golf Challenge in Sun City, South Africa yesterday. – AFP
Immelman shot a 72 for a 16-under-par aggregate of 272, with Rose signing for a 73 and 273.

South Africa’s Ernie Els was third on 277 after a 72, and Swede Henrik Stenson fourth on 279, also following a 72.

“I’ve always been very determined to be a world class golfer and winning the World Cup for South Africa was one highlight, and outplaying Tiger Woods to win the Western Open on the PGA Tour last year was another,” said Immelman.

“But this event is what we in South Africa have always regarded as Africa’s major. Ever since I was a kid I’ve watched it on television. I dreamed of playing it one day, and then I dreamed of winning it.

“Today, that dream has come true and it is a very special moment for me.”

Immelman and Rose started the day sharing the lead on 16-under 200, but the South African bogeyed the first hole, and Rose birdied the second.

Suddenly, Immelman was two behind but he played superbly for the next 13 holes – chipping in twice, at 10 and 14, for birdie – to pull two ahead.

Then he went bogey-bogey at 16 and 17 and suddenly it was all square again.

The pressure was now mounting and Rose hooked his tee-shot into deep rough at the treacherous par-4 18th and had to lay up short of the 100m stretch of water that fronts the green before “airmailing” his third over the green into the grandstand.

He was allowed to drop out under penalty but ended up making six.

Immelman split the fairway with his drive and then hit a seven-iron into the fringe just over the back of the green.

He fluffed his first chip before hitting the next chip two feet past the hole and sinking that for victory and the US$1.2mil that goes with it.

Immelman has had an almost unique relationship with Gary Player over the year.

Player, winner of nine majors, has taken an interest in Immelman’s golf ever since he was a young boy.

The South African legend congratulates his young compatriot when he does well, commiserates when he doesn’t, and offers advice and criticism when the occasion demands.

“Perhaps it is because we are similar in stature and both really work hard at our game. Maybe he sees something in me that reminds him of how he was at my age.”

Els, who was chasing a record fourth title here, started the day five strokes back and in third position but much to the disappointment of the home fans he bogeyed the opening hole to fall six back.

He also dropped shots at No 8 and No 12, and three-putted the island green at the ninth, admittedly from about 30m – for a par five when he desperately needed a birdie. – AFP

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Rose eyes money title at Volvo Masters

SOTOGRANDE, Spain (AP) — Justin Rose struggled early before shooting an even-par 71 Saturday to lead European Order of Merit rival Padraig Harrington by four shots after the third round of the Volvo Masters.

Rose, who started the round with a four-shot lead atop the leaderboard, recovered from a bogey-double bogey start with three birdies and then sank a tough putt at the last hole to save par.

"A four-shot lead is nothing to be excited about, as I proved after two holes," said Rose, who is at 4-under 209.

Harrington had drawn even with Rose by the third hole after a birdie at the first, but needed another birdie at the 17th to shoot a 71. The Irishman is tied with Simon Dyson (69) of England at 213.

"It's in his hands tomorrow," Harrington said. "It would be silly not to think there isn't pressure on us both. We'll wait and see tomorrow night who handled it the best."

Ernie Els leads the European money title by $313,892 over Harrington, but opted to play in Singapore on the Asia Tour this week.

Harrington, who won last year's Order of Merit money title at this event, leads Rose by $948.

Rose needed three putts at the first hole after his pitch rolled backward to leave him 60 feet short of the pin.

The Englishman overshot the green with his approach at the second, and then flubbed two wedge shots before his 9-foot putt slid past for a double bogey to be tied with Harrington at 1 under.

"I was obviously shell-shocked - it wasn't the start I was looking for," Rose said. "On the third tee, I just said to myself: 'You're still joint leader of the tournament, let's take it from there."'

Despite a tricky pin position at the third hole, Harrington didn't lay up as he did in the opening two rounds and his ball bounced sharply off a rock to leave him with a tough chip over water.

The Irishman didn't make it and needed to sink a 5-footer for a bogey, but Rose had retaken the lead.

"I played three good holes and was feeling very good about my game and feeling very confident," Harrington said. "If (the shot) came off, you're expecting to make birdie."

Rose's driving was inconsistent on the front nine, but he improved on the back to roll in birdies at the ninth and 11th. Although he needed to get up and down from a bunker at the last hole to save par.

"I putted a lot better today and that was the key," Rose said. "I'm just trying to win this tournament, it's as clear as that. The goal is a simple equation, which is: if you win, you win (the Order of Merit)."

Dyson, one of only six players in the 54-man field to finish under par, will partner Rose for the final round, while Harrington plays with 2004 winner Ian Poulter (69).

Verplank, Ames wind up tied after tough finishes

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — Scott Verplank was two shots behind with three holes to play Saturday, then surged into a share of the lead at the Children's Miracle Network simply by making pars.

Verplank, one of six players who had at least a share of the lead on a wild afternoon at Disney, wound up with a 71 and was tied with Stephen Ames going into a final round.

On a pristine day outside the Magic Kingdom, chaos reigned on the closing holes at a tournament that used to be known for birdies falling as often as the whistle blows at Thunder Mountain.

Ames, who had a two-shot lead at one point, bogeyed two of his last three holes with three-putts that measured 60 and 70 feet. He had to settle for a 70, but had few complaints about still being in the lead.

The man of few words was Brett Wetterich, who might have joined the leaders except for his triple bogey on the final hole when he suffered a two-stroke penalty for accidentally moving a twig inside the hazard while deciding whether to play the shot. He had a 72 and walked off the course without speaking to reporters or a PGA Tour official.

Once he cools down, Wetterich might realize he's still in the hunt.

Then again, just about everyone is.

"There's got to be 30 guys that have a chance to win," Verplank said.

Verplank and Ames were at 13-under 203, with Justin Leonard (70) and long-shot Tag Ridings (71) in the five-way tie for third. Two dozen players were separated by four shots going into the final round of the final PGA Tour event of the year.

"If you play steady tomorrow, you'll have some birdie opportunities and be at the top of the board at the end of the day," Ames said.

He played better than most, riding consecutive birdies on the 13th and 14th holes to a two-shot lead before his approach shots went to the opposite end of the green from where the flag was whipping in the wind.

That's no disgrace on the Magnolia Course, at least not anymore.

The final three holes measure 451 yards, 489 yards and 473 yards, and the soggy conditions for a week of rain made it play even longer. Leonard hit 4-iron for his second shot on all three of them, dropping one shot but still staying in the picture as he tries to win for the second time or at worst qualify for the Masters.

"It wasn't an easy day," Leonard said. "If you could shoot a couple under, you knew you weren't going to lose ground."

Wetterich lost all his ground on one hole.

His name was never far from the lead after an eagle on the par-5 10th, and he was only one shot behind when his tee shot on the 18th hole went left into the hazard. He took out an iron to see if he had a shot, but during one of his pre-shot waggles, the club moved a twig, and it's a two-stroke penalty for moving a loose impediment in the hazard.

Then came another penalty for taking the drop, and two putts from 20 feet for his triple bogey.

Verplank lost ground early.

He had gone 40 holes without a bogey at Disney until making his first one of the tournament on the par-4 fifth when he blasted a bunker shot 40 feet past the pin. He chipped weakly and missed a 6-foot par putt on the next hole to fall out of the lead.

From there, it became a revolving door of leaders with five players tied at one point.

When it finally sorted itself out, Verplank and Ames were on top and will be in the final group with Tim Petrovic, who played bogey-free on the back nine and quietly posted a 68.

Also at 204 were Mathew Goggin (69) and Jeff Overton (69). Heath Slocum shot a 69 and was alone in eighth at 205, followed by a group that included Wetterich, Rich Beem (70), Stewart Cink (70) and Robert Gamez (67).

It was a huge day for Gamez, who was is 152nd on the money list and at least wants to get inside the top 150 to secure some status for next year. Even better would be the top 125 for full status, and now he's only three shots away from the lead, knowing that a victory would sew up his job for two years.

Ridings, though, is the ultimate long shot. He was the 14th alternate when the field was set last week and got into the tournament. But at No. 210 on the money list, he needs nothing short of a victory to keep his card. Ridings was four shots behind on the back nine, seemingly sliding, but with the calamity that followed, he was right in the middle of it all.

Beem was among those tied for the lead, but made three straight bogeys for a 70. The former PGA champion is playing his fifth straight week, even though he locked up his card last week, and he's feeling the fatigue.

After a birdie on the 13th — a hole where he made eagle 2 on Friday — Beem flashed a 2-3 with his fingers, presumably his score.

"Oh, that's not my scores," he said. "That's how many holes are left (23) until I'm done."

It could take all 18 holes Sunday to figure out who wins the last event of the season.

DIVOTS: In perhaps the most baffling move of the day, Golf Channel cut off coverage of the third round when the leaders still had two holes to play. The reason? So it could switch to the Nationwide Tour event in San Diego. All viewers missed were Wetterich's bizarre penalty strokes that led to triple bogey and Ames' bogey on the 18th that reshaped the leaderboard. ... J.B. Holmes, who was 126th on the money list, shot a 70 and was among those three off the lead. Holmes already was assured his card for next year from his 2006 victory in Phoenix, but finishing in the top 125 gets him into The Players Championship.

Johnson takes 1-stroke lead in Nationwide finale

LAKESIDE, Calif. (AP) — Richard Johnson birdied the final three holes for a 4-under 67 and a one-stroke lead over Tom Scherrer on Saturday after the third round of the season-ending Nationwide Tour Championship.

Johnson, at No. 6 on the money list already assured a 2008 PGA Tour card, had a 16-under 197 total on the Barona Creek Golf Club course.

"I'm surprised to be where I am," Johnson said.

He had a quadruple-bogey 7 on No. 11 and bogeyed No. 12.

"I played mostly solid except for two holes," said Johnson, the Mark Christopher Charity Classic winner last month in Rancho Cucamonga.

The top 25 on the money list after the tournament will earn PGA Tour cards, with Scherrer (67) fighting to move up from No. 27.

Kelly Grunewald (67), Jim McGovern (68) and first- and second-round leader Michael Letzig (73) were two strokes back at 14 under. Letzig began the week 26th on the money list, McGovern was 45th and Grunewald 55th.

Letzig three-putted from 3 feet on No. 18 for a triple bogey.

"I tried to tap it in three times," Letzig said. "I'm not really sure what happened. The good thing is I'm not out of it."

Grunewald needs a victory to advance to the PGA Tour.

"It was a bonus for me to be here this week," Grunewald said. "Last week, I was looking at going to first or second stage of Q-school. I'm playing with a lot of confidence and that's what you have to do out here."

Johnson has been in the final group five times this season.

"I think someone is going to go low," Johnson said. "I hope it's me."

Ueda wins first US Tour title

OVERNIGHT co-leader Momoko Ueda shot a brilliant 66, including an albatross, to claim her first US LPGA Tour title by two strokes at the Mizuno Classic.

The 21-year-old Japanese, ranked top on the Japan Tour this season, downed the par-five seventh in two and sank another four birdies against one bogey to finish the three rounds at 13-under-par 203.

Ueda received the winner's cheque of $227,000 ahead of Sweden's Maria Hjorth and Reilley Rankin of the United States.

"I'm determined to come back here next year as a stronger Momoko Ueda. But we have some more tournaments this season. I'm going to concentrate on finishing top in the rankings," she said.

Ueda, who claimed her fifth Japan Tour win and fourth this season, did not say whether she would take up her option of playing on the US Tour next season.

"I will think about it later," she said.

Hjorth started the day one stroke behind Ueda and eagled the first hole, drawing her level with the Japanese who birdied.

But Ueda's albatross put her in front and she increased her lead with a birdie on the 16th.

Japan's Shinobu Moromizato finished fourth on 208, followed by overnight co-leader Laura Davies who was level par for the day to be tied with South Korea's Kim Mi-Hyun and Japan's Chie Arimura and Mie Nakata on 209.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Be Patient

Golf Tips 13-14



Growing up in the Midwest, playing on courses like Scioto with its small, elevated greens and having to navigate tall, mature trees, I learned to hit the ball very high, even with my long irons. I just thought it was the right way to play golf. I didn't think there was a lot of trouble in the air, but there's a lot on the ground. To hit the ball high, you have to hit it from a shallow angle, drive with your legs, keep your head and upper body behind the ball and create clubhead speed. Also, position the ball farther forward at address, open the clubface, allow for a fade and hit hard with your right hand, making sure to work it "under" the left through impact.



Making the ball curve from right to left is as simple as changing your setup. First, make sure your eyes, shoulders, hips and knees are parallel to the target line. Then, move your right foot back, closing your stance (or foot line) so that it is pointed slightly to the right of the target.

You can check this by putting three clubs on the ground when you practice--one parallel to the target line in front of your left foot, and another just in front of that, closer to the target line, and a third along the target line, just inside the ball. Use the first club to line up your shoulders, hips and knees, the second to line up your eyes and the third as a reference for the target line.

Golf Tips 11-12



The idea of sitting in a tower at golf's greatest events and capturing the story for everyone watching at home is something that piqued my interest since the age of 10. I was always spellbound by the voices and erudition of golf commentators. I loved the way they told a story, and I wanted to be just like them.

How did I get there? I credit much of my success to a maniacal attention to detail, a thorough knowledge of the sport and an unabashed passion for broadcasting that dates to my youth. It's true that I recorded every word uttered during golf broadcasts in the 1970s. By listening to them over and over, I became attuned to the cadence, the style and inflections of all the top commentators.

That other vital ingredient for me was, and still is, passion. My job, especially in golf telecasts, is to be a storyteller. It's the most conversational sport I broadcast, by a mile. That's why I tell youngsters to study language and read obsessively. Listen to the great storytellers in your lives, whether it's a teacher or an uncle, anyone with a knack for holding an audience. For example, when I lived in Colts Neck, N.J., our pastor, Reverend Samuel La Penta, could deliver a sermon of interest, drama and emotion that often left me feeling downright touched.

No two paths to a job in broadcasting are alike, but I'm thankful mine worked out the way it did. It also helps that my dear father gave me his soothing voice.



You might not realize how much you can get away with on a bunker shot. Play the ball forward in your stance, open the face of your 56-degree wedge and hit anywhere between an inch and three inches behind the ball. You don't have to be overly precise. Just as long as you make an aggressive swing down into the sand and finish the shot with the club up and over your left shoulder, the ball will come out of there. So be aggressive with your swing and thump the sand.

Golf Tips 9-10



The latest studies indicate that golfers need to focus on three areas: flexibility, balance and symmetry. Before a round, you should concentrate on flexibility—stretching the entire back and shoulders and the rotary muscles of the hips, torso and rotator cuffs. After a round or on days when you aren't playing, focus on strength- and balance-training. Things like mimicking the golf swing with a weighted club or using resistance bands to improve range of motion are great, but they have to be performed in both directions to improve the body's symmetry. For a right-handed golfer, that means swinging the weighted club as a lefty would. Otherwise, a right-handed golfer would have a strong right side and a flexible left side. Sooner or later, injuries will develop from this asymmetry.

Performing exercises while standing on one leg instead of two (don't forget to switch legs between sets) will help improve balance. So will assuming a golf-swing posture as you go through your routine. The final element to improving your golf muscles is to do cardiovascular exercises such as running, swimming, etc. They will strengthen your legs and improve your stamina, making it much easier to perform the golf swing as you get tired.



When you are trying to learn something mechanical in your golf swing, the ball serves only as a distraction. It changes your focus to performance, rather than learning. It is extremely difficult to concentrate on making a correct golf swing and hitting the ball at the same time. So when you embark on making a swing change, first practice the new move with something other than a golf club (like a broom) and certainly without a ball. After you perfect your new move or position, then practice hitting shots on the range. If you find yourself thinking about your swing as you hit shots, get away from the balls and make rehearsal swings concentrating on your mechanics.

Golf Tips 7-8



This might not be the way you've always heard about hitting it low, but it works great. I learned it through experience, trying to play under wind in west Texas—where we have wind with a capital W. Move the ball back, but only slightly. Don't narrow your stance. Make it wider. You want the arc at the bottom of the swing to be more level instead of steep, to send the ball out on a penetrating flight. Now just rotate your body. Don't drive your legs. Swinging easier and using more club—a 6-iron when you'd normally hit 7-iron—is a good play. Less loft means a lower shot, and an easier swing creates less backspin. Backspin shoots the ball up in the air.



You have to play the ball in the back of your stance and set the heel of the club so it's off the ground and the shaft is vertical. To do this, stand closer to the ball. When you swing, keep the face square to your target, and make a putting type of stroke by rocking your shoulders up and down. Be certain you focus on making ball-first.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

US can still outplay formidable International side to keep Cup, says Woods

MONTREAL: Tiger Woods sees an impressive International squad poised for the Presidents Cup but likes the chance his US team can retain the trophy with a fun but focused atmosphere inspired by captain Jack Nicklaus.

Both teams arrived on Monday in Canada ahead of the seventh edition of the match-play event between American and non-European sides at Royal Montreal Golf Club, with the US squad owning a 4-1-1 edge in the rivalry.

South Africa's Ernie Els, Australian Adam Scott and South Korean K.J. Choi lead an Internationals lineup with nine of the top 18 players in the world.

“If you look on the international side, I think that everyone will be the first to admit that's probably the best lineup there is, including US or European Ryder Cup teams,” Woods said in a conference call on Monday.

“To be on the international team, you have to basically be in the top 20 in the world to make the squad. That's pretty formidable.”

As part of golf's global growth, the next Presidents Cups will be staged in new venues – San Francisco in 2009 and Australia in 2011, returning to the only nation where the Internationals won by 20 1/2-11 1/2 in 1998.

Woods, whose 61 PGA titles include 13 majors, cited the influence of Nicklaus, the man whose record 18 majors Woods wants to break, in keeping the US focused but also enjoying the event and each other.

“Jack has traditionally just let us play. He gets out of the way. He says go prepare how you normally prepare for an event,” Woods said.

In four Presidents Cups, Woods is 10-9 with one halved, 3-1 in singles and 5-2 with a half in foursomes but just 2-6 in four-ball.

Among this year's players with more than one prior Cup start, only Jim Furyk and Stewart Cink also have winning overall marks. And they, like Woods, have losing overall marks in the Ryder Cup against Europe's finest.

But while Europe has dominated the Americans, the US best have denied their global foes in the Presidents Cup. Woods has made a difference, including a night-halted playoff duel with Els that led to a 2003 draw at South Africa.

“Whoever plays Tiger Woods is in for a very difficult match,” Internationals captain Gary Player said. “But Retief Goosen played him and beat him. Nick O'Hern has played him twice and beaten him on both occasions.” – AFP

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Woods breaks more records

TIGER Woods shot the lowest score of his illustrious career when he blew away the field to win the PGA Tour Championship in Atlanta by eight strokes today.

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Monday, September 17, 2007

Woods completes easy victory at Tour Championship

ATLANTA — He wasn't at his eye-popping best on Sunday, but Tiger Woods was plenty good enough to win both the Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup.

Woods shot a final-round 66 to win by eight shots and claim the $1.26 million first prize at East Lake and the $10 million in deferred compensation for winning the inaugural FedEx Cup. It was his seventh victory of 2007 and the 61st of his career, moving him one behind Arnold Palmer and three behind Ben Hogan. Woods will almost certainly win the Vardon Trophy for low scoring average and finishes the season atop the money list at just under $11 million.

"Winning this week is pretty special," Woods said Sunday evening. "Winning the FedEx Cup is one thing, but I think as a player you always want to win the Tour Championship. There's history involved, and the players who have won it, these are basically the 30 hottest players for this year, and you know you're going to have your hands full coming into this week."

Steve Stricker, who played with Woods on Thursday and Friday, said: "He's just tough. Just when you think he's going to make a bogey, he holes it out of the bunker or makes a 30- or 40-footer."

Sunday's sacrificial lamb was Mark Calcavecchia, who tied Zach Johnson for second place at 15 under. Calcavecchia birdied the par-4 first hole to close the gap to two shots but would get no closer to his playing partner and pal Woods. Both bogeyed the par-3 second hole, and all the suspense was gone after Woods nearly aced the watery, par-3 sixth and made birdie.

The four-week FedEx Cup race was over before the final round began. None of the four players who had a realistic chance to catch Woods were in contention to win at East Lake, so the action Sunday came down to a battle for second. Stricker shot a three-under 67 to finish six under for the tournament and hold off Phil Mickelson (five under) for the second spot in the FedEx Cup. Stricker won $3 million in deferred prize money.

"Tiger taking that week off allowed me to get up in there [in first place after winning the Barclays]," Stricker said. "Too bad he didn't take another one off, really."

The Tour Championship was supposed to be the crown jewel of the FedEx Cup, but it seemed hexed from the beginning. Perhaps it was the Halloween gods, who didn't appreciate the pile of expertly carved pumpkins placed just outside the East Lake clubhouse a month and a half before October 31.

First came trouble with the greens, which suffered heat damage and early in the week looked like they were on loan from an over-crowded muni.

Then came the weather, a rain storm that wasn't in the forecast led to a three-hour delay Thursday afternoon. Players could have been off the course had the PGA Tour moved the tee times up.

More than anything, the tournament suffered from a lack of competition. Almost without fail, every player with a mathematical chance to overtake Woods in the FedEx Cup played terribly. In fact, Woods had enough points to win golf's first playoff series even before the Tour Championship.

"Yeah, I wish Phil or I could've been up there and challenged Tiger a little more," Stricker said, speaking for many.

He may as well have been in the second flight while paired with Woods on Thursday and Friday. While Woods was shooting 64-63, Stricker was toddling along at 69-67, nowhere near good enough on a course made defenseless by torrential rain and ultra-receptive greens.

Mickelson came out similarly flat. He began the tournament by going three over for his first five holes while Woods was going three under through three, the equivalent of spotting Roger Federer the first set. Mickelson fought back for a two-under 68 in the first round and shot 66 in the second, but he was too far back to contend even if he played well on the weekend. (He didn't.)

Published: September 16, 2007

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Saturday, September 15, 2007

Americans lead but Davies makes great escape to keep Europeans in it

HALMSTAD (Sweden): Tromping through the bushes, Laura Davies looked as lost as she'd ever been on a golf course.

Then, she made two shots that will go down in Solheim Cup lore to win the hole, save her match and turn a rough opening day for the Europeans into something much better.

The United States led 4 1/2-3 1/2 after a windy, wet and frigid day in Sweden – a good sign for a team that hasn't been ahead after the first day of this event since 1998.

But it was the Europeans who walked off the course with all the momentum. Davies was a big part of that.

Playing in the final fourball match of the day, she was the last player to hit on the tricky par-3 16th hole. She didn't learn a lesson by watching Americans Morgan Pressel and Paula Creamer and her own teammate, Trish Johnson, all hit to the wrong side of Backen – the creek that runs in front of and down the right side of the green.

In fact, Davies hit the worst shot of the foursome.

So bad, that she found herself climbing through the shrubbery simply to get to her ball.

Once there, she took a wild swing and a gash of underbrush, blasting the ball out to the fringe on the opposite side of the green. Still away, she chipped in her next shot from 50 feet to win the hole and draw even in a match she and Johnson had trailed all day.

Davies and Johnson played the last two holes to a draw – Creamer and Pressel both had decent looks at putts to win – and wound up with a tie that, in many ways, felt more like a win.

That, plus a rally by Annika Sorenstam and Maria Hjorth to salvage another half point, helped the Europeans split the afternoon matches after being behind in all four of them at one point about halfway through. – AP

Source - The Star

Friday, September 14, 2007

Westwood equals career-best 61 at Mercedes

PULHEIM, Germany (AP) — Lee Westwood found his old putter and shot an 11-under 61 Thursday in the first round of Mercedes-Benz Championship.

The Englishman took a four-stroke lead after finishing one shot short of Fredrik Jacobson's course record of 60 set in 2003. Westwood went 7-under on the last seven holes, shooting 29 on the back nine. The 61 tied his career best.

Soren Hansen was second with a 65, ahead of Nick Dougherty and Simon Dyson at 66. John Daly shared fourth place with a 67.

Daly eagled the par-5, 523-yard 15th hole, a feat duplicated by Westwood, who chipped in from 40 feet.

Westwood had 10 birdies to go with the eagle. On the last seven holes, he dropped two birdies from 18 feet, one from 12 and another from 20.

Westwood said poor putting cost him a chance to win his last two events. After finishing tied for sixth at last week's European Masters, he returned home Sunday and rummaged through a garage full of old putters.

"I sifted through a few and picked one out that felt nice and sat nice," Westwood said. "My putting has been dreadful for most of the year, and it was starting to irritate me, but I made more putts today outside of 15 feet than I have in the past two weeks."

The Mercedes-Benz is the only German tournament Westwood hasn't won.

Source -

20 nations sign up for Fortis golf tourney

KUALA LUMPUR: A total of 20 nations have signed up for the Fortis International Challenge at Kota Permai Golf and Country Club from Sept 27-30.

Two-man teams from Asia, Europe and Africa will chase for five tickets to the Omega Mission Hills World Cup in China in November.

The early favourites include Chinese Taipei, Holland, South Korea, New Zealand, Singapore and home team Malaysia, which will be represented by Airil Rizman and Iain Steel.

Lin Wen-tang, winner of the Brunei Open earlier this month, will spearhead Chinese Taipei alongside brother Wen-hong as they make a bid for their maiden World Cup appearance.

South Korean Lee-sung, who was born deaf, could complete a fairy-tale season with a successful campaign with partner Lee Seung-ho.

Lee-sung claimed his breakthrough Asian Tour triumph at the Bangkok Airways Open in June and his strong performance even caught the attention of South African star Ernie Els when they played together at the BMW Asian Open earlier this year.

The Fortis International Challenge will use the fourball (better ball) format in the first and third rounds and foursomes (alternate shot) in the second and final rounds.

A total of 18 teams will qualify automatically for the Omega Mission Hills World Cup through the Official World Golf Rankings.

Five qualifying places are available at the Fortis International Challenge and Nations Cup in South America respectively, which will bring the total number of teams for the World Cup to 28.

Source- The Star Newspaper

Amazing Ball

How to perform the perfect golf swing

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Malaysian clean sweep in Brisbane

FOR the first time since the debut of the MercedesTrophy golf tournament, Malaysians made a clean sweep in all the categories, in addition to claiming the Nation Cup.

In the showdown staged in Brisbane, Australia, the Malaysian team topped the leaderboard with 244 Stableford points, and left Thailand (231 points) and Taiwan (229) to settle for second and third place, respectively.

Seven Malaysians qualified for the Nation Cup in this year’s MercedesTrophy Asian Final. And later this month, 23 teams from 32 nations will be battle it out at the World Final in Stuttgart, Germany.

The players who qualify for the World Final are those who win the tournaments in their national or regional finals. And with their recent proud victory, the Malaysian team has confidently secured a place in Stuttgart.

Five top Asian Tour players get Australian Open invite

SINGAPORE: Five of the Asian Tour’s top players will receive invites to the Australian Open for the first time this year, reflecting the growing stature of golf in the region.

The leading five available golfers from the top-25 on the Asian Order of Merit as of Nov 5 will earn their tickets Down Under for the tournament at the Australian Golf Club in Sydney from Dec 13-16.

“This is the first time that the Asian Tour has been accorded with such an invitation from Golf Australia and I believe this is a wonderful recognition of our rising stature in the world of golf,” said Asian Tour chief Kyi Hla Han.

“We are confident our five players will represent the Asian Tour well in Australia’s most prestigious golf championship.”

John Senden won the US$1.1mil event last year, ahead of Geoff Ogilvy, Stuart Appleby, and Adam Scott. – AFP

Veteren Lian-wei feels right at home at China Classic

Guangzhou - Chinese stalwart Zhang Lian-wei is feeling right at home at the Midea China Classic satrting today after adding his touch to the course earlier this year.
Lian-wei will be walking on familiar ground having renovated the Nick Faldo 18-hole course at the Royal Orchid International Golf Club.
The Chinese star will be flanked by an elite Asian field that includes compatriot Liang Wen-chong, Taiwan's Lin Wen-tang, big-hitting australian Scott Hend, and Thai heroes Thaworn Wiratchant and Chapcai Nirat.
The 42-years-old Lian-wei has no kept secret about the par-71 course as he believes that steady iron play coupled with solid putting will ensure a low round.
"The fairways here are wide and will provide ample room for a good approach shot. With accurate approach shots and steady putting, a low score is easy to come by," he said.
"We have added more bunkers and water hazards. The rough is not too long so the course is easy for long hitters such as Scott (Scott Hend ), but the bunkers will be waiting for him."
After having endured his first miss cut of the season in Brunei two weeks ago, Wen-chong will be inspired to make amends in the US$4000,000 event.
He has been on a hot streak before Brunei, chalking up a win in Singapore and seven other top-10 finishes.
"I took a short break after Brunei to recover from a slight injury but now I'm ready for the challenges," he said.
"I am glad to be coming into this event as th UBS Order of Merit leader but I think it will be really tight with the top players gathered here this week."
He also finished second at the Royal Orchid course here at a domestic event last year. - AFP

Tiger Woods

Born: December 30, 1975
Residence: Orlando, Fla.
Wife: Elin (10/5/2004)
Children: Sam Alexis (6/18/2007)
Parents: Earl and Kultida
High School: Western HS (Anaheim, Calif.)
College: Stanford University (Palo Alto, Calif.)
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 185 pounds


Record breaking pro golfer Eldrick 'Tiger' Woods was born on the 30th of December, 1975, the only child to parents Earl, retired lieutenant, and Kultida, of Thai descent. Earl Woods gave his son Eldrick the nickname 'Tiger', after a soldier and friend of his father who was also nicknamed Tiger in his days as a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army. Tiger grew up in Cypress, California, where his future passion and talent was foreshadowed while he was only a baby. Tiger would watch his father hit golf balls and would mimic his father's swing while still in his crib. Even before becoming a graduate from Western High School in Anaheim, California, Tiger was appearing on television and winning golf tournaments. At the mere age of 2, Tiger played with comedian and golfer Bob Hope on a national televisor, the Mike Douglas Show. He was featured in Golf Digest at age 5, after having already succeeded in shooting 48 for nine holes while the same children his age were still playing with building blocks.

A six-time winner at the Optimist International Junior Tournament, Tiger won at the ages of 8 and 9, and consecutively from ages 12 to 15. While a student at Stanford University, Tiger won 10 collegiate events and held the NCAA title. Before his years at Stanford, Tiger had already played in a professional tournament when he was 16 years old, the Nissan Los Angeles Open in 1992. One year later, he participated in three PGA Tour events and in 1994, Tiger placed 34th in the 1994 Johnnie Walker Asian Classic in Thailand and appeared in three more PGA Tours that same year. After having won the 1994 Western Amateur and representing the United States in the 1994 World Amateur Team Championships in France and the 1995 Walker Cup Match in Wales, Tiger was ready for his first major championships in 1995 -- the Masters and The British Open. Tiger couldn't play in the US Open that year because he injured his wrist.

Even as an amateur in 1995 and 1996, Tiger was making and breaking records and it was for this reason (among many others) that he was named Sports Illustrated's 1996 Sportsman of the Year. In 1997, Tiger won the first Mercedes Championships of the season, the Masters and four PGA events. Tiger became the leading money winner, winning $2,440,831. Among the records Tiger has broken are:

* In 1997, the youngest ever No.1 golfer at age 21, 24 weeks.
* In 1999 alone, Tiger won 81.7 percent more than the runner up during the PGA Tour.
* In 1999, he had as many as 8 victories in one year.
* In 1999, he achieved the highest point average (20.61) in the history of the World Ranking.
* In 1999, earned a record setting 750 points.
* In 1999, achieved the lowest ever adjusted scoring average of 68.43 strokes.

Woods and Mickelson

Woods and Mickelson will play together Thursday and Friday at the Tour Championship.


Sep 6-9

BMW Championship
Cog Hill G&CC
Lemont, Illinois

Sep 13-16

THE TOUR Championship presented by Coca-Cola
East Lake GC
Atlanta, Georgia


Aug 2-5

World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational
Firestone CC (South Course)
Akron, Ohio

Aug 2-5

Reno-Tahoe Open
Montreux G&CC
Reno, Nevada

Aug 9-12

PGA Championship
Southern Hills CC
Tulsa, Oklahoma

Aug 16-19

Wyndham Championship
Forest Oaks CC
Greensboro, North Carolina

Aug 23-26

Barclays Classic
Westchester CC
Rye, New York

Aug 31-Sep 3

Deutsche Bank Championship
TPC Boston
Norton, Massachusetts


Jul 5-8

AT&T National
Congressional C.C.
Bethesda, MD

Jul 12-15

John Deere Classic
TPC Deere Run
Silvis, Illinois

Jul 19-22

The Open Championship
Carnoustie GC
Angus, UK

Jul 19-22

U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee
Brown Deer Park GC
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Jul 26-29

Canadian Open
Angus Glen Country Club
Markham, Ontario, Canada


Jun 7-10

Stanford St. Jude Championship
TPC Southwind
, Tennessee

Jun 14-17

U.S. Open
Oakmont CC
Oakmont, Pennsylvania

Jun 21-24

Travelers Championship
TPC River Highlands
Cromwell, Connecticut

Jun 28-Jul 1

Buick Open
Warwick Hills G&CC
Grand Blanc, Michigan


May 3-6

Wachovia Championship
Quail Hollow CC
Charlotte, North Carolina

May 10-13

THE PLAYERS Championship
TPC Sawgrass
Ponte Vedra Beach
, Florida

May 17-20

AT&T Classic
TPC Sugarloaf
Duluth, Georgia

May 24-27

Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial
Colonial CC
Ft. Worth, Texas

May 31-Jun 3

the Memorial Tournament Presented by Morgan Stanley
Muirfield Village GC
Dublin, Ohio


Apr 5-8

The Masters
Augusta National GC
Augusta, Georgia

Apr 12-15

Verizon Heritage
Harbour Town Golf Links
Hilton Head, South Carolina

Apr 19-22

Zurich Classic of New Orleans
TPC Louisiana
Avondale, Louisiana

Apr 26-29

EDS Byron Nelson Championship
TPC Four Seasons Resort
Irving, Texas


Mar 1-4

The Honda Classic
PGA National gc (Champion Course)
Palm Beach Gardens, Florida

Mar 8-11

PODS Championship
Westin Innisbrook -Copperhead
Palm Harbor
, Florida

Mar 15-18

Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by MasterCard
Bay Hill Club & Lodge
Orlando, Florida

Mar 22-25

WGC-CA Championship
Doral Golf Resort & Spa
Miami, Florida

Mar 29-Apr 1

Shell Houston Open
Redstone GC (Tournament Course)
Humble, Texas


Feb 1-4

FBR Open
TPC Scottsdale
Scottsdale, Arizona

Feb 8-11

AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am
Pebble Beach Golf Links
Pebble Beach
, California

Feb 15-18

Nissan Open
Riviera CC
Pacific Palisades, California

Feb 21-25

WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship
The Gallery Golf Club at Dove Mountain
Tucson, Ariz.

Feb 22-25

Mayakoba Classic at Riviera Maya
El Camaleon
Riviera Maya, Mexico


Jan 4-7

Mercedes-Benz Championship
Kapalua Resort, The Plantation Course
Kapalua, Hawaii

Jan 11-14

Sony Open in Hawaii
Waialae Country Club
Honolulu, Hawaii

Jan 17-21

Bob Hope Chrysler Classic
The Classic Club
Palm Desert
, California

Jan 25-28

Buick Invitational
Torrey Pines (South Course)
San Diego, California

Golf Tips 5-6


When hitting out of a divot, the worst thing you can do is scoop the ball--the clubhead getting ahead of the hands at impact. But that's exactly what the lie makes most golfers do. Scooping exposes the leading edge and leads to skulls or drop-kicks. What you need is a descending blow, and there are two ways to get it: (1) Play the ball back slightly in your stance, and lean left, which sets up a steeper swing plane and a downward hit. With this method, the ball will come out lower, so allow for some chase when it lands. (2) This technique is tougher to execute, but allows you to hit the ball higher and stop it faster: Take one extra club, play the ball farther forward than you normally do and open your stance and the clubface slightly. Swing across the ball from out to in, like you would for a bunker shot. You'll hit it high and stop it on the green.


The latest studies indicate that golfers need to focus on three areas: flexibility, balance and symmetry. Before a round, you should concentrate on flexibility--stretching the entire back and shoulders and the rotary muscles of the hips, torso and rotator cuffs. After a round or on days when you aren't playing, focus on strength- and balance-training. Things like mimicking the golf swing with a weighted club or using resistance bands to improve range of motion are great, but they have to be performed in both directions to improve the body's symmetry. For a right-handed golfer, that means swinging the weighted club as a lefty would. Otherwise, a right-handed golfer would have a strong right side and a flexible left side. Sooner or later, injuries will develop from this asymmetry.

Performing exercises while standing on one leg instead of two (don't forget to switch legs between sets) will help improve balance. So will assuming a golf-swing posture as you go through your routine. The final element to improving your golf muscles is to do cardiovascular exercises such as running, swimming, etc. They will strengthen your legs and improve your stamina, making it much easier to perform the golf swing as you get tired.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Golf Tips 3-4



There are no get-out-of-jail-free cards in golf. When faced with a shot from trees so thick you need a flashlight or a lie in rough so deep you can't see your shoes, you need two things: an active imagination and a total absence of fear. I've always been taught that bad lies are part of the game and certainly nothing to fear if you're prepared physically and mentally to deal with them. That's the rub: You must have the strength to hit from the hay and the concentration to execute the shot under the most extreme pressure. Several years ago, I decided to bulk up and add muscle mass to handle difficult lies without injuring myself. When I dig the ball out of the deep stuff, I really fire my right side through the shot toward the target. That takes pressure off my left side through impact and allows me to get a lot of force behind the ball.

In the trees, you have to be creative, which is the fun part of practice and competition. It helps to have a mental picture of the ball flight, trajectory and how the ball will react when it lands, and the best way to achieve that is through practice. I rehearse this by practicing huge cuts, low hooks, flop shots and hitting from buried lies. Make a game of it on the range. You'll be surprised how much your confidence will grow when you're prepared for almost any situation.

But if you don't have the courage to play the shot, you'll fail every time. That's the difference between those who execute difficult shots successfully with amazing regularity and those who don't. After weighing the odds, have the guts to go for it.



Lee Westwood called it the best bunker shot he’d ever seen. All I know is I had to hole it. It was the 18th at The Belfry in the 2002 Ryder Cup, I was 1 down to Niclas Fasth, and if I lost my match, we’d lose the Ryder Cup. The ball was on a little downslope, sitting kind of heavy in the sand, and I was into the wind. My technique is to let the club release. You don’t want to guide it, which is the biggest faux pas the best players make under severe pressure. I knew if I hung on to it, the ball wouldn’t get there. I read the green like on a putt. The ball just came out great, trickled down the slope and into the hole. Even though we still lost, it was a thrilling moment.

Golf Tips 1-2



Make a fuller turn, and maintain a relaxed grip pressure throughout the swing. You must be sure to complete your backswing to maximize your coil. And the relaxed grip pressure ensures good clubhead release for increased clubhead speed.



It's harder than before to make a shot back up a ton. The old wound balata balls used to spin more. However, manufacturers have done a tremendous job with ball technology, making something that has great trajectory off the driver and spins enough to stop pretty dead with the irons.

Still, if you're determined to really spin one, use a wedge with extra loft, and hit the ball with a descending blow. When average players try this, they usually hit the ground before the ball. That makes a big divot, but doesn't make the ball spin. You've got to hit the ball first, then make the divot, so play the ball well back in your stance. You need some clubhead speed to make it spin, so swing hard while staying under control.

This Week in Golf

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - PGA TOUR - THE TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP, East Lake Golf Club, Atlanta, Georgia - The FedEx Cup system was constructed to give each of the 144 players who qualified for the playoffs a mathematical chance of winning the top $10 million prize.

Heading into the Tour Championship this weekend -- the last of the four playoff events -- only five players remain with a shot: Tiger Woods, Steve Stricker, Phil Mickelson, Rory Sabbatini and K.J. Choi.

They hold the top five spots on the playoff points list, in that order, with Stricker, Mickelson and Woods having won the first three events, also in that order.

Aaron Baddeley is sixth on the list, but even if he wins this week, he would still fall short of claiming the $10 million windfall. That is because Woods can receive no fewer than 395 points at East Lake (which he would get for last place) and Baddeley can receive no more than 10,300 (for a win).

In that scenario, Baddeley would end up 28 points shy of Woods.

Another interesting scenario would be a first-place finish by Mickelson, and a runner-up for Woods. If the weekend played out like that -- Can you hear NBC begging? -- Woods would still beat Mickelson for the $10 million.

More news

Rumford wins Euro Masters with playoff chip-in

CRANS-SUR-SIERRE, Switzerland(AP) Brett Rumford holed a 30-foot chip from the fringe on the first playoff hole Sunday to beat Phillip Archer at the European Masters.

The 30-year-old Australian, who shot a 3-under 68 in the final round for a 16-under 268 total, was surprised his final shot went in.

``It was tracking the hole all the way but I thought it was coming up short. But the breeze took it in,'' said Rumford, who last won at the 2004 Irish Open. ``My short game has pulled me through this week.''

Archer, who shot a 65, had a shorter chip in the playoff but left it wide.

``Brett played well all week and is a worthy winner,'' said Archer, who has never won on Tour. ``He has one of the best short games out there and I knew his chip would be close and it went straight in the middle.''

Archer is known for missing a 7-foot putt on the last hole of the 2006 Wales Open that would have given him the first 59 in European Tour history.

Defending champion Bradley Dredge shot a 69 to finish third, one shot behind Rumford and Archer. Sion Bebb had a 68 and was fourth, another stroke back.

``It had been a pretty tough year,'' Rumford said. ``I just had to have five minutes alone and it has just hit me. I have been trying hard, grinding week in, week out for not much and it has all come together this week.''

The tournament was the first qualifying event for the 2008 European Ryder Cup team. Of the five 2006 team members playing, Lee Westwood was the highest finisher in a tie for sixth.

Robert Karlsson was 12th and Paul Casey was 37th, while Darren Clarke and David Howell missed the cut.

Woods earns his ninth trip to PGA Grand Slam of Golf

Thanks to his victory in the 89th PGA Championship at Southern Hills, Tiger Woods has nailed down the final spot in the 25th PGA Grand Slam of Golf. Woods, who won the 2006 PGA Grand Slam, is seeking his eighth PGA Grand Slam title.

Monday, September 10, 2007

BMW Championship

Tiger Woods reclaimed the top spot in the PGA Tour Playoffs for the FedExCup Sunday with a two-shot victory over Aaron Baddeley at the BMW Championship. Woods, Steve Stricker, Phil Mickelson, K.J. Choi and Rory Sabbatini are the only players who can win the FedExCup next week at the Tour Championship.