Paul McGinley emerged as the new European Ryder Cup captain after receiving the very public backing of the key members of last September's winning team at Medinah.
Led by world No. 1 Rory McIlroy, the core group of stars such as Ian Poulter, Luke Donald, Graeme McDowell, Justin Rose and Francesco Molinari made their opinions known after it appeared that Colin Montgomerie might make a surprise return to the role for 2014. FULL POST
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. FULL POST
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. FULL POST
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. FULL POST
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. FULL POST
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. FULL POST
It’s a grand slam of sorts already for Rory McIlroy and the 111th U.S. Open has only just begun. With his imperious opening effort of 65 at Congressional Country Club, he has now contended in all four Majors, and all in the space of the last 11 months. Despite his notorious capitulation at this year's Masters, here is a player moving to new level in his career.
The U.S. Open is designed to find you out, to level the playing field and offer a grueling slog, where level par is the desired winning number. We only have to recall Graeme McDowell’s winning performance of three over par last year at Pebble Beach and his grinding closing effort of 74 (three over par) to win the title, leaving Gregory Havret, Tiger, Ernie and Phil in his wake. FULL POST
It is one of the most international leaderboards ever at the Masters. Fittingly, on the 50th anniversary of the first-ever win by an international player; the odds are certainly in the favor of an overseas victory here at Augusta National.
South Africa’s Gary Player won the first of three Green Jackets in 1961 and on Monday, he told me that his pick of bunch this week was none other than Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy. FULL POST
Saturdays in professional golf are traditionally called "moving day," but it all took off in the second round here at Augusta National as the tournament stepped up several gears. And how!
Rory McIlroy slept on the joint overnight lead and came out of the blocks perfectly on Friday here at the Masters, racing to 10-under par with the ease of a veteran. That his putter didn’t reward him on the back nine is an issue, for he could not have struck the ball better. FULL POST
I’d like to tell you that I’ve known Rory McIlroy since he was a little kid but I haven’t, well not really.
When I first saw him play as a 13-year-old (one-handicapper) at the Hermitage Golf Club outside Dublin, in the Irish Boys Championship, it struck me that although small in stature and very boyish in looks, he was actually a man in a boy’s body, playing with the authority of a seasoned veteran and clearly destined for bigger things.
It’s not often that Mozart returns in the shape of a boy golfer from Holywood (pronounced Hollywood) in County Down. FULL POST