April 9, 2012
Posted: 1627 GMT
Golf has just been injected with a breath of fresh air, and it’s taken a dramatic Masters Tournament for the golf world to fully appreciate what it now has on its hands.
Bubba Watson is the new Masters champion. Very few could have predicted that he would have the tenacity to bring this one home, despite recent good form and an outrageous talent to boot.
"Bubba Golf," as he calls it, can only be played by the owner: Booming drives, all played with shape, allied to a hit-it-find-it-and hit-it-again approach. It's very refreshing on the professional golf circuit. He plays the game in a unique way, relying totally on creative shot-making that cannot be taught. Read the rest of this entry »
April 5, 2012
Posted: 2038 GMT
It could have been the week the famed Augusta National made history. It could have been the week the club announced its first female member - nearly 80 years since its inception back in late 1932.
Instead, current chairman Billy Payne stuck to his guns and refused to discuss whether tournament sponsor IBM's new CEO Virginia Rometty would be considered for membership just like her four male predecessors.
It was a packed press conference at the National on Wednesday when the chairman gave his annual address to the world's media. I counted maybe five different attempts - including my own - to get Mr. Payne to elaborate further on his stance that the club simply doesn't comment on membership matters. But to no avail. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: 1303 GMT
Augusta National, where the Masters Tournament is being played for the 76th time, is without doubt the place to be in world golf right now. It is a venue that strikes a chord with even the most casual of sports follower because of its unique qualities.
It’s the only one of professional golf’s four “majors” to be played at the same venue each year. It awards a green jacket to its winner and guarantees an annual invitation to that special player to play in the tournament for the rest of their competitive career.
It celebrates the values of its founder Bobby Jones through its tight rein on old-school adherence to etiquette and tradition. In other words, you behave yourself! It is no surprise that Augusta's club president refused to comment publicly this week on the debate over female membership - it is not their style.
There is no other place quite like Augusta and, as a result, demand for tickets is at a premium. Grown men, captains of industry and regular golf fans are all like children anticipating Christmas. This is the Disneyland of golf and, quite simply, the only show in town. Read the rest of this entry »
March 26, 2012
Posted: 1930 GMT
Tiger Woods' victory at Bay Hill was his 72nd on the PGA Tour. For the 36-year-old, that’s two victories for each year of his life.
The reality is that he’s now been in the winners’ circle on his home circuit 72 times in nearly 16 years on Tour. Pretty special and just one short of the legendary Jack Nicklaus and 10 behind Sam Snead's all-time record.
That he has come through a torrid time these last two and a half years, mostly self-inflicted, and re-emerged in the style of old, gives hope not least to himself regarding his next challenge: that of winning a major championship for the first time since the U.S. Open in 2008.
All eyes are on Augusta National next week and his bid to win a fifth Green Jacket at the Masters Tournament. The stage is set for one of the all-time great Masters, with so many of the world’s elite peaking for the first major of the season. Read the rest of this entry »
March 7, 2012
Posted: 2147 GMT
Not Jack Nicklaus, not Annika Sorenstam, not Greg Norman, Lorena Ochoa nor Gary Player. Instead, it’s the American architect Gil Hanse who takes the honor of designing a course fit to host golf’s return to the Olympics in Rio in 2016. It would be fair to say it’s a surprise.
It’s not that Hanse isn’t good. In fact he’s very good indeed. His design for Castle Stuart, now host to the Scottish Open, won "Best New International Course" in 2009, and his portfolio includes the Boston Golf Club, Craighead at Crail and courses in South Korea and Japan. Donald Trump has just entrusted him with refreshing the Blue Monster at Doral.
Golf will be back in the Olympics after a gap of 112 years. It didn’t take quite that long for Rio and the International Golf Federation to choose a designer – it just seemed that way. A series of delays led to rumors that the selection committee had been split. Read the rest of this entry »
January 27, 2012
Posted: 1659 GMT
Tiger Woods remains the biggest attraction in the world of golf. Despite a lackluster run that has lasted two full years, and being dogged by his off-course dramas, the former world No.1 has proven yet again why he can pull in a crowd with his season-opening appearance in the Middle East.
Abu Dhabi is an unusual place for him to start his season, but there were several key factors in his decision to begin the year on the European Tour. Read the rest of this entry »
December 7, 2011
Posted: 2031 GMT
If you want to know why Tiger Woods isn’t about to dominate golf the way he once did, watch Luke Donald and Rory McIlroy go head to head at the Dubai World Championship this weekend.
Suddenly the sport’s focus is on two Brits –- 1st and 2nd in the world rankings -– battling it out to finish top of Europe’s money list. In years gone by, that sort of headline-grabber would have played out in the United States.
But this isn’t about a switch in golf’s geographical power base; it’s about a generational change. And the disappearance of Tiger’s fear factor despite his first tournament victory for more than two years. Read the rest of this entry »
November 5, 2011
Posted: 2346 GMT
Tiger Woods' erstwhile bagman, whose brain has clearly not engaged with his mouth since being set free by his old employer, has done it again - but this time it’s way more serious.
It was almost forgivable when caddy Steve Williams lost the plot last August, letting his emotions get the better of him in the aftermath of new boss Adam Scott’s impressive victory at the WGC Bridgestone Invitational. Read the rest of this entry »
September 26, 2011
Posted: 1257 GMT
When Northern Irishman Darren Clarke deservedly won this year's British Open, the spotlight once again fell on America's under-achieving stars.
With Tiger Woods winless in majors since June 2008 and Phil Mickelson's last grand slam title coming in April 2010, the pressure on this current generation of U.S. players was immense going into last month's PGA Championship and the PGA Tour's big-money end-of-season series in September.
But I have to say they've risen to the challenge in highly-impressive fashion. Keegan Bradley started the ball rolling by claiming his first major title, and Bill Haas has topped it off by winning the deciding Tour Championship and the $10 million FedEx Cup jackpot on Sunday. Read the rest of this entry »
September 14, 2011
Posted: 1509 GMT
Professional caddies do much more than just carry a bag for tournament players, what they provide should not be underestimated.
Caddying is a very well paid job for those good enough to attain the best bags and the individuals who chose this nomadic existence now come from a wide variety of backgrounds and not just the caddy shack clique of years gone by.
Australian Steve Elkington was so pleased with his caddy Dave Renwick’s performance at the 1995 PGA Championship, where he defeated Colin Montgomerie in a playoff; he presented the Scot with his entire winnings. Read the rest of this entry »