Archive for the ‘Golf’ Category

PGA Championship

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

The final major of the season, the PGA Championship! Who’s playing? Well the top ten in all three of the major categories, those being the Fed-Ex Cup, PGA Tour money list and the Official World Golf Ranking. Tiger Woods, Steve Stricker and Kenny Perry 1, 2 & 3 on both the Fed-Ex Cup Points and PGA Tour money list, then there is Phil Mickelson and Paul Casey who are 2 & 3 in the OWGR list, Zach Johnson, 4 in Fed-Ex Cup points and 5 on the money list, Sergio Garcia 5 in OWGR, Geoff Ogilivy 6 on Fed-Ex and the money list. Lucas Glover 7th in FE and 8th on the ML, Sean O’Hair 7th on the ML and 9th in FE, Brian Gay 8th in FE and 9th on the ML. Hehnrik Stenson 7th in OWGR, Retief Goosen, 10th in FE and the ML, Stewart Cink 9th on the OWGR and Jim Furyk 10th in OWGR. Wow, some really heavy hitters.  That does make the top ten in each category. Obviously some are in both, and however you feel the need to measure a golfers talent, they are all covered here. Moving down the list 2009 winners Pat Perez, Nick Watney. Dustin Johnson, Mark Wilson, Y.E. Yang, Michael Bradely, Angel Cabrera, Jerry Kelly, Rory Sabbatini, Bo Van Pelt, Nathan Greene, & John Rollins who incidentally won last week in Reno while the bigger names were at the WGC. Past Winners of the PGA Championship Padraig Harrington, Shaun Michael, David Toms, Mark Brooks, Paul Azinger, Vijay Singh, Rich Been, Davis Love III, Steve Elkington, John Daly and Bob Tway. Majors winners, Steve Elkington, Michael Campbell, Shaun Michael, Freddy Couples, Corey Pavin, Tom Lehman, Mike Weir, Trevor Immelman, Ben Curtis, Justin Leonard and Enrie Els. Then there are a host of International Players like Andres Romero, Michael Sim, Aaron Baddely, Adam Scott, Brendan Jones, Mathew Goggin, Robert Allenby, Stuart Appleby, Richard Green, John Senden, Rod Pampling, Stephen Ames, Camilo Villegas, Soren Kjeldsen, Soren Hansen, Anders Hansen, Chris Wood, Mich Dougherty, Ross Fisher, Oliver Wilson, Justin Rose, Luke Donald, Ian Poulter, Anthony Wall, Steve Webster, Brian Davis, Lee Westwood, Thomas Levet, Martin Kaymer, Jeev M. Singh, Rory McIlroy, Darren Clarke, Graeme McDowell, Fransesco Molinari, Ryo Ishikawa, Ryuji Imada, Shingo Katayama, Hiroyuki Fujita, Charlie Wi, KJ Choi, David Smail, Alistair Forsythe, Colin Montgomerie, Charl Schwartzel, Louis Oosthuizen, Richard Sterne, Tim Clarke, Alvaro Quiros, Gonzalo Fdez-Castano, Miguel A. Jimenez, Peter Hanson, Carl Pettersson, Johan Edfors, Thongchai Jaidee and Prayad Marksaeng

 

You can pick your favorites and figure out the young guns versus the grizzled vets on your own, A little about the course, the PGA Championship will be played at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minn.

 

The course is a Robert Tent Jones design from 1962, it plays to 7,674 yards and par value will be 72. That is a little odd for a major as opposed to 70 or 71 but not unheard of. The last PGA Tour event was held there in 2002 and at that time the most difficult hole proved to be the par 4, 16th which plays 402 yards, over Hazeltine Lake and additionally must be kept short of the creek on the left side of the fairway. The right rough is a bear and the green angles away and is hard to hold. Hole locations along the right side of the green will bring the lake back into play, so anything can happen. Johnny Miller called it the hardest four-par he ever played. The easiest hole was the par 5 7th which plays  572 yards, it is 29 yards longer than it was in 2002 when it played 543 yards but then most players went for it in two, that strategy can be dicey because of the pond on the left. Players like Zach Johnson and Justin Leonard may lay up and still make birdie, that would be the strategy I would prefer but we will have to see what the big dogs decide. During the 2002 season Hazeltine was the 2nd hardest course of the 57 courses played that year. It is no stranger to championship golf having hosted the having hosted the 1966 U.S. Women’s Open, the 1970 U.S. Open, the 1977 U.S. Women’s Open, the 1983 U.S. Senior Open, the 1991 U.S. Open and the 2002 PGA Championship. For history buffs the PGA Championship has been played annually since 1916 with the exception of 1943 when it was not played due to WWII.

The Players Championship Final Round

Sunday, May 10th, 2009

Henrik Stenson wins the 2009 Players Championship in impressive style shooting 12 under par for the tournament. Starting the day T2 at 6 under par Henrik put on an imposing display today shooting a bogey free 6 under par 66 to win his biggest tournament ever. Alone in second place is Ian Poulter at 8 under par, T3 John Mallinger and Kevin Na, T5 Jim Furyk, Brian Davis and Ben Crane at 6 under, Tiger Woods takes the 8th spot at 5 under par, T9 Aaron Baddely, Vijay Singh, Tim Clark, David Toms and Alex Cejka at 4 under par to round out the top 10.

Alex Cejka bogeyed 1, 5, 6, 8, 12 & 13, had a double on 4 and a birdie on 10. His 7 over and Stenson’s 6 under combined for a 13 shot swing. What made Cejka disintegrate? It couldn’t have been pressure from Tiger since TW had 4 bogeys himself albeit tempered with 3 birdies. It makes little difference now, it’s just that not a soul on this planet had ever enjoyed a 5 stroke lead going into the final round at this tournament, then to throw it away, he took it like a man though. I didn’t see him throw any clubs or swear at nobody in particular throughout the day. How about Aaron Baddely and Vijay Singh coming back from T65 and T55 respectively to bring it in at T9, Bads started dead last alone in the first group off the tee this morning.

Final key stats for the tournament are: Scoring average Henrik Stenson at 69, field average was 72.69, Driving distance Bubba Watson 308.5 yards with the field averaging 286.3, Driving accuracy Jeff Klauk too the honor with 80.36% while the field averaged 63.11%, Brian Davis led in GIR with 72.22% and the field average was 61.2%, Scrambling was led by Ian Poulter at 83.87% with the field averaging 53.66% and Putting was led by Luke Donald with 25.75 and the field average was at 28.87. The toughest hole for the tournament was 14 and the easiest was 16.

Congratulations to Henrik Stenson. This is his second PGA Tour victory and the first in his last 27 starts. His first coming at the WGC Accenture Match Play in 2007, while he hasn’t won many he apparently likes the big ones. This round ranked as the fourth lowest final round by a Players Champion. Eclipsing Calvin Peete who also shot a 66 in the final round back in 1985, but Calvin only won by 3 strokes and Henrik won by four. While I didn’t expect Henrik to win this week, I did have him in my foursome in the fantasy league, the rest of my foursome didn’t fair as well. I can only start TW 7 more times and decided to save him this week, guess I should have used him but hindsight is always 20/20. Again congratulations to Mr. Stenson on a very fine performance indeed.

The Players Championship Round 3

Saturday, May 9th, 2009

Alex Cejka maintains his lead after three rounds of play. Shooting an even par round for a cumulative 11 under for the tournament, Alex enjoys a 5 shot lead heading into the final round Sunday. Six players are T2 at 6 under par, Tiger Woods, Retief Goosen, Jonathon Byrd, Ben Crane, Henrik Stenson and Ian Poulter. Brian Davis, John Mallinger and Kevin Na are all 5 under and round out the top ten at T8. Woody Austin and Kenny Perry shared the best rounds of the day with 68’s each moving from T61 to T11, 4 other players are tied in the 11th spot with Perry and Austin. The course played tougher today despite the favorable weather conditions. Angel Cabrera, Jason Dufner and David Toms each shot 5 over and took a considerable drop down the leaderboard. Charley Hoffman, Jeev M. Singh and Aaron Baddely each shot 4 over. Several players were at 3 over and despite his T2 status Ian Poulter has to be disappointed having lost 3 shots to the leader. The following made the cut but did not finish, after the third round they were over 218, my understanding is that it constitutes a cut after the cut; Robert Karlsson, Hunter Mahan, Martin Laird, Nathan Greene, KJ Choi, Stewart Cink, Bob Estes, Fred Funk, Graeme McDowell, Steve Marino, Dustin Johnson and Rod Pampling.

Key stats for the tournament to date are Alex Cejka leading in scoring average with 68.33 the field average is 72.54, Bubba Watson leads in driving distance at 305.5 with the field average at 285.8, Alex Cejka also leads in driving accuracy at 83.33% the field average is 63.08, Brian Davis leads in GIR at 77.78% while the field is averaging 61,32%, Ian Poulter leads in scrambling at 81.82% and the field average is 54.04%, Charley Hoffman leads in putting with 25.33 putts and the field average is 28.78. The toughest hole remains 14 this year and the easiest has been 16. The island green at 17 has played the easiest it has played in 12 years. I noticed the rough caught several balls near the pylons that were headed for the drink, whether that is thicker or taller than in past years I can’t say, but balls that would have surely been wet in the past couple years were getting caught in the rough.

Since Tiger was the first in at 6 under, he will be paired with Cejka in the final group, they will tee off at 2:25, Goosen and Byrd will tee off at 2:14, Crane and Stenson at 2:03, Poulter and Davis at 1:52, Mallinger and Na at 1:41 and the Perry/Austin group will tee off at 1:30. The 1:30 group could be an interesting one to watch. A lot will be made of the intimidation factor with Tiger being in the final group with Cejka during the telecast. If Tiger is to come back and win this thing, he needs to hit his fairways, if he does that he may in fact pressure Cejka into mistakes. If he doesn’t hit his fairways and Cejka does I’d say Cejka has it in the bag. Don’t get me wrong a 5 shot lead is by no means secure and I was a little disappointed in Alex’s play in that I thought he started laying up way too soon. It was like from 13 on he was just playing it safe or playing not to lose but there is still a day left to play. Tiger came back from 5 shots down to defeat Sean O’Hair just a couple weeks back and he can do it again, but he had help from O’Hair in that win whether or not that was the intimidation factor or not is left up to each of us to decide on our own. Just saying, Alex, make him earn it if he is to win, play your game, keep it in the short grass and aim for the pins, if you do that you can win the biggest game of your career.

The Players Championship Round 2

Friday, May 8th, 2009

Alex Cjeka has taken the lead by 2 strokes over his nearest competitor; he sets at 11 under par shooting rounds of 66/67. Ian Poulter is alone in 2nd place at 9 under par with rounds of 67/68. At T3 are Kevin Na, Angel Cabrera, Jason Dufner, John Mallinger, Henrik Stenson and David Toms. Na and Cabrera made significant strides up the leaderboard today shooting 6 and 7 under respectively. Four players round out the top ten at T9, those being Ben Crane, Richard S. Johnson, Tim Petrovic and Jeff Overton.

Key stats are Alex Cejka scoring average 66.5 with the field averaging 72.2, J.B. Holmes driving distance at 305.8 with the field average at 284.9, Michael Allen leads in driving accuracy at 85.71% with the field is averaging 63.83%, Steve Stricker leads in Greens in Regulation with 83.33% while the field average is 63.02%, Ryan Moore in scrambling with 85.71% and the field average a mere 54.3% and lastly Kevin Na led in putting with 24.5 putts and the field averaging 28.81. So far the easiest hole has been 14 while the hardest has been 16.

In the disappointment category is Anthony Kim who shot 10 over par today to end at 11 over for his two rounds of this tournament, astoundingly last years Masters Champion Trevor Immelman matched that feet and his Players Championship run is also over this year. Some of the other players missing the cut include: Rory Sabbatini, Rory McIlroy, Freddy Couples, Y.E. Yang, J.B. Holmes, Sean O’Hair, Charlie Wi, Lucas Glover, Vaughn Taylor, Ross Fisher, Davis Love III, Stuart Appleby, D.J. Trahan, Charles Howell III, Will MacKenzie, Adam Scott and Jerry Kelly. I was somewhat surprised the cut remained at even par. That leaves 83 players with 23 of them tied in 61st position. The tour has made efforts to keep the cut as close to 70 players as possible. They have in the past not let some of the players who technically make the cut play on Saturday and Sunday. Be interesting to see what they do with it.

For the Tiger Woods fans he is setting 7 strokes back at 4 under par T22 and for the Phil Mickelson fans he is T61 at even par 11 strokes off the pace. Some of the players who have been struggling of late that made the cut include Ernie Els, Padraig Harrington, Vijay Singh, Sergio Garcia, Jeev M. Singh, KJ Choi and Stewart Cink. It would not be unheard of to make up 11 strokes in two days, but it sure is a long row to hoe.

The Players Championship Round 1

Friday, May 8th, 2009

Ben Crane leads the way shooting a 65, just two shots off the course record. Alex Cjeka, John Mallinger and Richard S. Johnson are T2 with rounds of 66. Nine players are T5 to round out the top 10, those being Camilo Villegas, Brad Adamonis, Ian Poulter, David Toms, Retief Goosen, Scott Verplank, Jonathon Byrd, Jason Dufner and Bubba Watson. Tiger Woods is 1 under with a 71 and Phil Mickelson is 1 over with a 73. The projected cut after round 1 is even par.

The talk amongst the players is to expect to see more low scores today as the winds are supposed to be minimal again. Even with the favorable weather conditions 89 balls found their way into water hazards on day 1. Ben Crane led the way in scoring average and putting (65 with 22 putts), Bubba Watson in driving distance (318), Jason Bohn in driving accuracy (92.86%), Martin Laird in GIR (88.89%) and John Mallinger in scrambling (an impressive 100%). There were 57 players under par and 17 players are T58 at even par.

The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

The stadium course at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL would be the third leg of my dream golf excursion, one and two being Augusta and St. Andrews. Some think it should be the fifth major, I won’t go that far myself being somewhat of a tradionalist I like the status quo just the way it is, thank you very much. The fact that it really stands alone makes it unique, the players want to be there, it is their tournament although many are on record as not particularly liking the course and I believe it is because the course outshines the stars.

The course is a Pete Dye design, originally in 1979 and re-designed in 2006. In its current configuration it plays 7,215 yards. The course was ranked 6th in difficulty in 2008 on the PGA Tour. There are 93 sand bunkers, 24 water hazards and the greens run 12 on the stimpmeter. Tees and fairways are 419 bermudgrass, the rough is bermudagrass and the greens are mini-verde bermudagrass. There have been 24 aces recorded 10 at 13, 6 at 17, 5 at 8, and 3 at 3. The course record is 63 shared by Freddy Couples in the 3rd round of 1992 and Greg Norman in the 1st round of 1994. In last years tournament the easiest hole was the 16th a short par 5 that enjoyed 5 eagles, 188 birdies, 195 pars, 35 bogeys, and 4 doubles. The hardest was the 18th a wicked dogleg where accuracy is paramount. It saw 0 eagles, 31 birdies, 202 pars, 146 bogeys, 40 doubles and 8 triples or worse. The most famed hole is the 17th the signature hole at Sawgrass that has had 312 balls dropped into the water around the island green in the past five year’s, it is a wedge for most of the professionals and only plays 137 yards

Televised coverage provided by the Golf Channel Thursday and Friday 9-7 and on NBC Saturday and Sunday from 2-7.

Quail Hollow Championship Final Round 2009

Sunday, May 3rd, 2009

It wasn’t Zach Jonson who started the day with the lead, nor was it Tiger Woods who CBS had billed has the biggest threat to Johnson at the beginning of their telecast. But lack of excitement was no problem at Quail Hollow today. At one point 5 players shared the lead, it was a hard charging Sean O’Hair who walked away victorious today 11 under par for the tournament. After a bogey on 2 O’Hair settled down putting together 6 birdies and headed to 17 at 13 under par, bogeys on 17 and 18 wasn’t enough to drop him from the lead and he held on for his second win of the season and vaulted into 3rd place in Fed-Ex cup points. Bubba Watson and Lucas Glover were T2 at 10 under. Tiger Woods was alone in 4th who despite overcoming a couple bad drives on the front and pulling back to even par, never got his putter going today. Rounding out the top 10 at T5 were Phil Mickelson, Jonathan Byrd, Tim Petrovic, Ted Purdy, Ian Poulter and Jason Dufner. Mickelson put together a fine round of 67 today but that wasn’t enough to overcome his poor showing on Saturday. Zach Johnson was 4 over par at 76 today, a triple on 2 hurt him badly followed by a bogey on 3 after which he seemed to calm down and had back to back birdies on 4 and 5 but two more bogeys down the stretch, ending up in a 7 way tie for 11th.

Sean O’Hair was 7th in driving distance at 312.6 yards, T3 in GIR with an even 75% and 31st in putting at 1.778, his scoring average 69.25 the rest of the field averaged 72.42. Bubba Watson led in driving distance falling off some but still averaging 331.6 with the field average at 299.8, he also led the field in greens in regulation at 76.39% while the field average was 64.61%. Will MacKenzie led in driving accuracy at 69.64% with the field average at 46.14%. Lucas Glover led in scrambling at 82.76% with the field averaging 53.94% and he also led in putting with 26.75 and the rest of field at 29.75.

With the pin set back 17 was playing 225 yards today, most of the players seemed to be opting for 4 and 5 irons and bailing to the right but that left them with a near impossible chip to get over the hill and then with the green slanted toward the water it got very fast leaving them a long up hill putt, that is what caused most of the bogeys there today. PGA Tour still listed 18th as the toughest hole but 17 nearly took that dubious honor today.

Congratulations to young Mr. Sean O’Hair on a very fine performance today.

Quail Hollow Championship Round 3 2009

Saturday, May 2nd, 2009

With just 4 players left on the course play was suspended due to the approaching storm in Charlotte. The PGA Tour has to play it safe whenever lightning is in the area and at approximately 5:50 PM they blew the horn to suspend play. Johnson and McNeil have pegs in the ground on 18 while Goosen and Watson finished on 17 but have yet to tee off on 18. The lead stands thus at this point, Zach Johnson leading at 11 under par, George McNeil in 2nd at 10 under, Lucas Glover and Tiger Woods are T3 at 9 under, Brendon DeJonge, Sean O’Hair, Retief Goosen and Bubba Watson T5 at 8 under, Y.E. Yang, David Toms, Ross Fisher, Davis Love III and Jason Dufner are T9 at 7 under par.

McNeil has 135 yards with his 3rd having caught his shot fat coming out of the bunker on 18, however even if he bogeys he will still play in the last group with Johnson, if he doubles the last group would most likely be Zach Johnson and Tiger Woods, generally on ties the tour goes by first in first out for pairings. Of course it is possible that Bubba or Retief will birdie 18 in which case one of them would be in the last group if McNeil gets the double. I think he will be fine, probably choke up on a pitching wedge to leave him a little bit below the hole and make his par when play resumes. I suspect the pairings will be Johnson/McNeil, Woods/Glover, Goosen/Watson, and DeJonge/O’Hair.

The lead did change hands a few times throughout the day, starting out with Watson/Goosen, but Woods, McNeil and Zach Johsnon all head the lead alone at times while at one point there was a four way tie at the top with McNeil, Johnson, Woods and Glover all at 10 under. Woods bogeyed 17 and 18 getting bit by the green mile yet again today. Young Danny Lee in only his 2nd tournament as a professional was 5 under on his round, 9 under for the tournament going into 17 but a nasty double bogey on 17 and a bogey on 18 dropped him to 6 under for the tournament standing at T14, pretty good showing regardless in my opinion. It was disappointing for Phil Mickelson and Jeff Maggert today as they dropped from T7 to T30 both shooting rounds of 3 over par 75 today. Very unlike Phil with a wedge in his hand from the bunker at 10, to not get out once but twice then running his putt past the hole and having to settle for a double bogey 7.

Zach Johnson stats are not official until the end of the round, currently Lucas Glover is shown as the leader in scoring average with a 69, once Zach finishes his round that will change unless of course he has a meltdown, stranger things have happened on the PGA Tour, however he is averaging 293.5 yards off the tee (61st), 73.6% greens in regulation (T4) and 1.69 putting (3rd). Bubba Watson continues to lead in driving distance at 337.2 while the field is averaging 299.9. Will MacKenzie leads in driving accuracy at 73.81% with the field at 46.77%. Jason Dufner leads in GIR with 75.93% hit while the field average is 64.43%. Lucas Glover leads in scrambling at 83.36% the field average is at 53.85% and Kent Jones leads in putting needing only 26 putts while the field average is 29.79. The toughest and easiest holes remain 18 and 15 respectively; a change from last year as 17 was the toughest. I believe that 18 has been the hardest hole all weekend.

With the storms in the area and the darkened skies I would take a guess that unless play can resume by 7 PM they will just wait until tomorrow, weather permitting. The rain is still over the metro Charlotte area on radar, tomorrow’s forecast is for scattered thunderstorms.

Quail Hollow Championship Round 2 2009

Friday, May 1st, 2009

Bubba Watson and Retief Goosen share the lead after round at 8 under par. Tiger woods was 9 under going into the final three holes but bogeys on 16 and 18 left him at even par for the day, 1 shot back at 7 under. Zach Johnson, Jim Furyk and George McNeil share the T3 spot with Woods. Zach Johnson and Jim Furyk were both on fire today, Johnson toying with a course record shooting 8 under par heading into the final three holes but bogeys on 16, 17 and 18 brought down to 5 under on the day, Furyk had 6 birdies and an eagle but bogeyed 2 and 17 for 6 under on his round. Furyk may have moved up farthest on the leaderboard as he moved from T43 to T3. Rounding out the top ten were Camilo Villegas, Phil Mickelson, Jason Dufner and Jeff Maggert all 2 shots back at 6 under for the championship. Villegas moved up from T43 to T7 the rest of that group tied for 7th dropped slightly down the leaderboard. The next bunch drop out of the top 10 at T11 with Steve Marino, Lucas Glover, AK, Robert Karlsson, Davis Love III and Ted Purdy all 3 shots back at 5 under for the championship. Marino and Glover dropped down the leaderboard with the other 4 players all moving up from T20 to the tied 11th spot.

Bubba Watson stats were impressive in that he not only led the field in driving distance at 337.5 yards but also led the field in GIR, hitting 80.6% of his greens in regulation and he led the field in scoring average at 68. His putting is at 1.69 where he stands alone at 16th. The rest of the field is averaging 72.47 in scoring, 298.8 off the tee and 64.73% greens in regulation. Martin Kaymer led the field in scrambling at 91.67% with the rest of the field averaging 53.73% and Bo Van Pelt leads in putting at 25.5 with the field averaging 29.86. Scoring wise the toughest hole today was the 18th while the easiest was the 15th.

Some of the players missing the cut were Stewart Cink, Ben Crane, Johnson Wagner, Nick O’Hern, Woody Austin, Kirk Triplett, Angel Cabrera, Rory Sabbatini, Chris DeMarco, Padraig Harrington, Ryuji Imada, Steve Elkington, KJ Choi, Aaron Baddely, David Duval, Vaughn Taylor, Sergio Garcia, Vijay Singh, Jason Gore, Jeev M Singh and Stuart Appleby.

Pairings for the top 10 Saturday are Watson and Goosen at 1:50, Johnson and McNeil at 1:40, Woods and Furyk at 1:30, Villegas and Mickelson at 1:20, with Dufner and Maggert at 1:10.

It is a tight leaderboard so it should be an interesting moving day Saturday. I’m still pulling for a Tiger/Phil showdown on Sunday.

Quail Hollow Championship Round 1 2009

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

Tiger Woods shot a bogey free 7 under par 65 to take a two shot lead over Phil Mickelson, Robert Allenby, Jason Dufner and Steve Marino all at 5 under par 67.
The scorecards of Mickelson and Allenby were bogey free as well, Phil with 3 birdies and an eagle (on 7) and Allenby with 5 birdies, Marino had one bogey with 6 birdies to his credit while Jason Dufner had 3 bogeys but did make 8 birdies. At T6 and 4 under par are Jeff Maggert, Retief Goosen, Hunter Mahan and Lucas Glover. Ten players are tied for tenth at 3 under par, those include; Bo Van Pelt, Nick O’Hern, Steve Flesch, Jeff Klauk, Charles Warren, Sean O’Hair, Mark Calcavecchia, Bill Haas, George McNeil and Cliff Kresge.

Woods driving average is 297.5 and is T78 in driving distance, his Putts per GIR 1.571 where he is T7 and his Greens in Regulation 77.8% where he is T18, being the leader he is leading the field in scoring with a 65, field average is 72.18, he is also leading the field in scrambling an impressive 100% with the field average being 54.36%. Bubba Watson leads the field in driving distance at 337.5 (no surprise there) the field average is 298.2. David Mathis leads the field in driving accuracy at 85.71% the field average is 47.15%. Kevin Streelman leads the field in GIR at 88.89% with the field averaging 68.34% hitting their greens in regulation. Steve Flesch leads in putting with 25 while the field is averaging 30.35. The old adage drive for show and putt for dough is as true in the pro ranks as it is for your weekend scrambles.

Several players need to turn it up a notch if they are to make the cut after today’s performance. Padraig Harrington, Steve Elkington, Adam Scott, Trevor Immelman, Justin Rose, JB Holmes, Kirk Triplett, Jason Gore, DJ Trahan, Vijay Singh, Jeev M Singh, David Duvall, and Ryuji Imada all are in need of an under par round tomorrow if they want to play over the weekend.

The shot of the day had to belong to Phil Mickelson with his chip at 7 for eagle, I can’t fathom how he gets the spin to put the brakes on with those low trajectory chip shots he pulls out of his bag on a routine basis. Any faster and it would have careened off the pin and any slower and it would have come up short. Guess that is why he can sell his short game secrets videos for $49.95 on PGATour.com.

Will the stars continue to shine tomorrow? I would expect an exciting round of golf Friday. Saturday and Sunday for that matter, since the golf world didn’t get the Le Tigre/Lefty showdown at the Masters (well we did get the mini version, but not for whole enchilada) it could be coming this weekend for all the marbles.

Quail Hollow Club 2009

Monday, April 27th, 2009

The PGA Tour heads to Charlotte, North Carolina for the Quail Hollow Championship. Televised coverage will be on the Golf Channel Thursday and Friday and on CBS Saturday and Sunday.

Original architect: Pete Dye (2003)
Par is 72
Ranked 32 out of 54 in difficulty
Plays to 7,341 yards (reduced from 7,520)
Grass is TifSport bermudagrass (tees, fairways, greens, rough)
71 Sand bunkers, 5 Water hazards and greens run 11 on the stimpmeter
Course record is 64 shared by Kirk Triplett (2004), Bo Van Pelt (2006) and Rory Sabbatini (2007)
One ace has been recorded in tournament history at the 6th hole by Jay Williamson in 2008
The most difficult hole is the par 3, 217 yard 17th. In 2008 it saw zero eagles, 31 birdies, 260 pars, 146 bogeys, 18 doubles and 14 at triple or worse. This is Quail Hollows signature hole, nearly an island that does forces players to carry the ball 200 yards to clear the water. The shot will also need to be faded to settle the ball on a precariously perched, back-to-front and right-to-left sloping green.
The easiest hole is the par 5, 566 yard 15th. In 2008 it saw 7 eagles, 203 birdies, 234 pars, 72 bogeys, 3 doubles and zero triples or worse. Water hazards to the right and left of the fairway where accuracy and caution is the order of the day. Most of the professionals will have little trouble on this hole.

Some of the biggest names in golf will be playing this week including; Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia, Geoff Ogilvy, Padraig Harrington, Vijay Singh, Camilo Villegas, Nick Watney, Zach Johnson, Brian Gay, Sean O’Hair, Retief Goosen, Pat Perez, Angel Cabrera, Dustin Johnson, Jerry Kelly, Steve Elkington, Trevor Immelman, Ben Curtis, David Duvall, Rich Beem, Jim Furyk, David Toms, Davis Love III, Todd Hamilton, Mark Calcavecchia, Justin Rose, Jeev M. Singh, Ryuji Imada, Y.E. Chang, KJ Choi, Rory Sabbatini and Robert Karlsson are just a some of the players. Four late withdrawals after the deadline for various reasons; Brandt Snedeker, Alex Cejka, Dudley Hart and Arjun Atwal if you were looking for any of those four players you maybe disappointed. This is normally a fun tournament to watch. The 17th hole in particular has the players can go from hero to zero in one swing of the club. At 217 yards the players need a club with enough loft and the fade to hold the green. I would need a four iron just to get there and that would definitely run right through the green and end up in the drink.

The Masters – Round 1 2009

Thursday, April 9th, 2009

They wanted to bring the roars back to Augusta and they did it in a big way, off to a record start with 38 players under par. Chad Campbell leads the way at 7 under but the impressive round of the day belongs to Jim Furyk who hit every green in regulation and played a bogey free round. Furyk and Hunter Mahan are T2 at 6 under par; Larry Mize and Shingo Katayama are T4 at 5 under par. John Merrick, Aaron Baddely, Todd Hamilton, Kenny Perry, Sean O’Hair, Tim Clark, Angel Cabrera and Mike Weir are all at 4 under tied for 6th. Seven players are T14 at 3 under that includes Graeme McDowell, Ross Fisher, Prayad Marksaeng, Andres Romero, Stewart Cink, Kevin Sutherland and Padraig Harrington. At 2 under par T21 are Lee Westwood, Greg Norman, Bernhard Langer, Nick Watney, the mechanic Miguel Angel Jiminez, Tiger Woods and Zach Johnson.

The projected cut is the lowest 44 scores and ties plus those players within 10 shots of the leader. The groups will remain the same tomorrow as they were today, the only difference being those who went out in the morning will go out in the afternoon and those who went out in the afternoon will go out in the morning. That may actually favor the groups who will be playing Friday morning as the winds are predicted to pick up on Friday afternoon.

Several story lines are being bandied about on the Golf Channel and ESPN. The young guys versus the old guys, Tiger and Phil, can Chad Campbell hold onto the lead, and will Jeff Ogilvy break the Aussie draught? As for me I’m just glad the course was set up to accommodate the lower scores and the weather is predicted to be reasonable this year. Don’t get me wrong, it is great to see Greg Norman and Bernhard Langer in the mix, it is great to see three teenagers in the field, Tiger is five strokes behind the leader and he has never had a sub 70 round in round 1 at the Masters, and even though Phil is one over we know what he is capable of, Chad Campbell has won the tour championship even though he is streaky at times he still can win and of all the Aussie’s out there this week Jeff Ogilvy is definitely playing the better golf so far this year. Golf tournaments and particularly majors are not won on Thursday, it’s two days to make the cut to play on the weekend and two more days to accumulate the lowest score in a four day stretch. It takes consistency and more than a little bit of luck to don the green jacket.

The Masters – Facts and Trivia

Monday, April 6th, 2009

It is finally upon us, in my opinion the most anticipated golf tournament of the year. The Masters, the hallowed ground of Augusta National, I thought it would be appropriate to start the week off with a few facts and a little trivia about the course and history of the first major of the year, something we just simply call – The Masters.

This will be the 73rd Masters tournament. April 9-12, 2009 at the Augusta National Golf Club, course length is 7,435 yards, par is 72, 36 out and 36 in. Television coverage will be provided by ESPN Thursday-Friday, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., and by CBS Sports Saturday, 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday, 2:30 to 7 p.m. The field is comprised of 96 players, 5 of whom are amateurs. Defending champion is Trevor Immelman.
Ten years ago: Jose Maria Olazabal held off Greg Norman on the back nine to win his second Masters.
Twenty-five years ago: Ben Crenshaw holed a 60-foot putt on the 10th hole and went on to his first of two Masters Titles.
Fifty years ago: Art Wall became the only Masters champion to start the final round out of the top 10.

Tiger Woods, who last won a green jacket in 2005, has never gone more than three years without winning the Masters since he won his first green jacket in 1997.
This year’s field has three teenagers – 17-year-old Ryo Ishikawa, 18-year-old Danny Lee and 19-year-old Rory McIlroy.
Maters.org provides one hour of coverage each day before the telecast. That includes live video of Amen Corner starting at 10:45 a.m. Thursday and Friday, 12:45 p.m. on Saturday, 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, live video of the 15th and 16th holes starting at 11 a.m. Thursday and Friday, and 1 p.m. on Saturday and noon on Sunday.

Fun numbers
Gary Player earned $313,162 making 51 appearances while Mark Hensby earned $304,500 in just two appearances.
$500—Room rate for the Augusta Marriott Hotel & Suites the Monday of the Masters.
$179—Room rate for the Augusta Marriott Hotel & Suites the Monday after the Masters.
$200—Cost of a Masters ticket for all four rounds.
$36—Ticket price for the practice round on Monday or Tuesday.

Jack Nicklaus has played 163 rounds and made 506 career birdies at the Masters.
0-Bunkers found on the 14th hole.
1-Number of years it took Fuzzy Zoeller to win the Masters.
$1.50—Cost of a pimiento cheese sandwich.
2-Gene Sarazen’s score on the par-5 15th hole in the 1935 Masters.
3-Bridges at Augusta National.
4-Tom Weiskopf’s runner-up finishes at the Masters.
5-Largest first-round lead, by Craig Wood in 1941.
6-Green jackets won by Jack Nicklaus
$6.25—Cost of a Masters club sandwich, beer and potato chips.
7-Consecutive birdies made by Tiger Woods in 2005 and Steve Pate in 1999.
8-Largest final-round comeback to win the Masters, by Jack Burke Jr. in 1956.
9-Jack Nicklaus’ margin of victory over Arnold Palmer and Gary Player in 1965.
10-Cabins at Augusta National where members can stay.
11-Players who have made an ace on the 16th hole.
12-Tiger Woods’ margin of victory in 1997.
13-The score taken by Tom Weiskopf on the par-3 12th hole in the 1980 Masters.
21-Age of Tiger Woods when he won his first Masters.
40-Tiger Woods’ first nine holes as a professional.
42-Fewest players in the field, in 1938 and 1942.
109-Most players in the field, in 1962.
61-Number of Magnolia trees on the road that leads to the Augusta National clubhouse.
1,600-Azaleas on the 13th hole.
72-Lowest score ever shot by Bobby Jones in the Masters.
63-Lowest 18-hole score, by Nick Price and Greg Norman
97-Gene Sarazen’s age when he hit the ceremonial first tee shot for the last time.
70-Age of Charles Coody when he made a hole-in-one in the Par 3 Contest.
270-Lowest 72-hole score, by Tiger Woods in 1997.
235-Yards to the 15th hole when Gene Sarazen made double eagle in 1935 with a 4-wood.
Arnold Palmer competed in 50 Masters Tournaments.
Jack Nicklaus won his final Maters tournament at the age of 46.

WGC Championships – CA Championship Wrap up

Sunday, March 15th, 2009

Phil Mickelson made a statement in a big way by winning the WGC Championship – CA Championship this weekend. It was his first WGC Championship victory, it was the first time he has ever been able to close the deal at Doral, it was the first time any professional golfer (out of some 3600) that ever managed to win a tournament at Doral by shooting four sub 70 rounds, the victory moved him to second place in Fed-Ex Cup points and he vaulted past Sergio Garcia to claim 2nd place in the World Golf Rankings and closer to Tiger Woods than he has ever been. That is a big weekend for anybody but, considering the fact that he was dehydrated, hadn’t eaten much in three days and had to have IVs due to the dehydration after the third round is really phenomenal.

Nick Watney turned in a very solid performance for 2nd place. He can what if, and if it wasn’t for all he wants, he too has made a big statement this weekend. 2nd place on the biggest stage of his career is pretty darn good. Watney finished one shot back with a 270. Jim Furyk finished 3 shots back with a 272 ironically enough his four rounds at Doral this weekend were also sub 70 rounds it wasn’t enough though. Jeev M. Singh finished alone in fourth with a 274 effort; his highest finish at any PGA Tour event even though he has won several times on the Asian and European tours. Oliver Wilson and Camilo Villegas were T5 shooting 275, Thomas Aiken and Soren Kjeldson were T7 with a 276 and rounding out the top ten were four players at T9 including Tiger Woods, Rod Pampling, Kenny Perry and Justin Leonard.

I actually found myself agreeing with Johnny Miller, after Phil’s tee shot on 18 a fan yelled out “Go in the water” that is just uncalled for and whether a fan supports a player or not, behavior like that is rude and unsportsmanlike. Golf is a game of sportsmanship and integrity; it’s great to see the fans show emotion but do so with aplomb and dignity. Speaking of sportsmanship the post game interviews with Nick Watney and Phil Mickelson were a very good example of that. While Watney was obviously displeased with his performance today he didn’t make excuses and took his lumps like a man. Phil had nothing but praise for his competitors, acknowledged the fact that he didn’t pay much attention to Watney’s shots due to his ill health but still found a couple Atta boys for him and when pushed about vaulting to number two and being closer to Tiger than ever before said that was great, but Tiger is still the best golfer who has ever been and that he had been off for nearly a year. He has definitely found something, I have no doubt he wants to be number one but at the same time he wants to earn it. His sights are set on Augusta in April and make no mistake his desire and determination at this point make him a contender like never before. Whether or not that will carry him to another green jacket can and will be debated until then. I’d be pumped for another Tiger/Lefty showdown and where better than Augusta?

WGC Championships – CA Championship Midway Point

Saturday, March 14th, 2009

At the half way point it is Phil Mickelson with a two stroke lead over Nick Watney. On Thursday Lefty opened up with a round of 65 and that with a double bogey on his card at the par 4, 3rd and nine birdies then he backed it up on Friday with a 66. Get this, he has only 42 putts in two rounds, 20 putts Thursday and 22 Friday. It really helps when you can just leave the putter in the bag and chip in at will. Following Mickelson’s 131 and Watney’s 133, Kenny Perry and Rory McIlroy are T3 with a 134. Camilo Villegas, Rod Pampling and Prayad Marksaeng are T5 at 135. There is a logjam of seven players at T8 including Jeev M. Singh, Ian Poulter, Louis Oosthuizen, Jim Furyk and Dustin Johnson among those at 136 and still in the hunt.

Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh, Ernie Els and Miguel A. Jimenez are all 3 under, Geoff Ogilvy and Zach Johnson are 2 under par and while it looks as though they are out of contention don’t count them out just yet there is still a lot of golf to be played. Sergio Garcia is at even par shooting par both days and so is Boo Weekely after an opening round of 3 under, he shot 3 over on Friday to even up at 144. Retief Goosen who shared the round 1 lead opening up with a 65 shot a very dismal 76 in round 2, he wasn’t alone as Adam Scott, Trevor Immelman and Kevin Sutherland also had poor second rounds matching Retief’s 76.

If Phil can put together another good round today, he should go into the clubhouse with a nice cushion for Sunday. Watney, Perry and D. Johnson are all hot having won tournaments in this season and are all in position to put pressure on Mickelson, I’m anxious to see the pairings of Mickelson and Watney as well as Perry and McIlroy today. Kenny had not seen McIlroy play other than in highlight reels; he said something to the effect that he wasn’t worried about his distance because all the young players hit it far. This kid has something though, I believe he can be the next TW but he needs to keep his feet on the ground and not let the fame go to his head, his dad has been with him every step of the way and that too reminds of a man named Earl that stood by his son, Eldrick Tont “Tiger” Woods.

World Golf Championships – CA Championship

Monday, March 9th, 2009

Thur Mar 12 to Sun Mar 15
Doral was originally designed in 1961 by Dick Wilson; it was redesigned in 2006 by the PGA Tour/Doral (no architect listed). Par value is 72 and it currently plays to 7,266 yards has 110 sand bunkers and 11 water hazards. The grass is all Bermuda grass throughout (tees, fairways, greens and rough). The course record is 61 by Stephen Ames in the 2nd round of 2000. There have been nine aces recorded during this event, 3 each on 4, 9 & 15. The hardest hole is the par 4 467 yard 18th, in 2008 there were zero eagles, 31 birdies, 185 pars, 75 bogeys, 24 double bogeys and 1 other. The easiest is the par 5 529 yard 1st which saw 15 eagles, 181 birdies, 107 pars, 9 bogeys and 1 double bogey. Doral is ranked 40 out of 54 in difficulty on tour.

77 players representing 20 countries will tee it up. A venerable who’s who in professional golf; Tiger Woods, Sergio Garcia, Phil Mickelson, Geoff Ogilvy, Padraig Harrington, Vijay Singh, Henrik Stenson, Robert Karlsson, Camilo Villegas, Kenny Perry, Mike Weir, Ernie Els, Trevor Immelman, Zach Johnson, Retief Goosen, Ben Curtis, Justin Leonard, Jim Furyk, Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Justin Rose, Robert Allenby, Paul Casey, Stuart Appelby, Luke Donald, Martin Kaymer, Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell, Darren Clarke, Ryuji Imada, KJ Choi and Miguel A. Jimenez just to name a few.

Everyone who enjoys professional golf will find a player to root for during this event. Tiger has won it six times but Ogilvy dethroned him last year. It is also one of the most beautiful golf courses imaginable. This weeks Kodak challenge hole is the 560 yard par 5, 8th which is really a remarkable hole expect to see some extraordinary golf shots.

Honda Classic Wrap Up

Sunday, March 8th, 2009

Round 1 saw Sergio Garcia and Robert Allenby tied with a one stroke lead going into the bear trap only to come out with Allenby in a tie for 1st with several players at -3, and Sergio dropping from a -4 to a -1. Ernie Els struggled shooting 3 over par; the defending champ looked like he was out of contention on day 1.

Round 2 brought South Korea’s Y.E. Yang to the top of the leaderboard at 7 under par followed by Will McKenzie, Robert Allenby and Jeff Overton at -6. Yang is looking strong but has been near the top before only to falter, he has been working on his grip and swing though and it shows. Sergio shot 2 over par today. Ernie Els shot even par to just make the cut at 3 over.

Yang continues his lead in round 3, the wind appeared to be a big factor as the entire field struggled to come in at even par, there were a few exceptions Charlie Wi shot an impressive 65, a half dozen players shot 67’s nice to see Jeff Klauk in that number, a couple 68 and 69’s. Yang looks to be in control with his steady play. Jeff Overton hit 2 into the water on 11 for a triple but recovered with birdies on 2 of his last 3 holes and is T2 with Klauk only 1 stroke back, certainly still in contention, they cannot afford any mistakes in the final round. Sergio is over par again today and most likely out of contention. Ernie hung in there shooting even par and is till 3 shots over, 10 shots behind the leader and it would be a miracle if he is to repeat.

Y.E. Yang held on to win his first PGA tour event with a one stroke lead over John Rollins. Yang at one time had a 5 stroke lead today dropped two shots as he entered the bear trap, he had only 5 bogeys the entire tournament but three of them came today. Ben Crane came in 3rd at -6 and Jeff Klauk came in 4th at -5 to earn his biggest paycheck of his career. Scott Piercy, Robert Allenby, Fredrik Jacobson, and Will McKenzie all tied for 5th at four under par.

Congratulations to Y.E. Yang on your 1st PGA Tour victory, a trip to Augusta, the million dollar paycheck and an exemption from Q school doesn’t hurt none either.

WGC Accenture Match Play Final Round

Sunday, March 1st, 2009

Geoff Ogilvy stayed in control of the match all day winning 4 & 3 over Paul Casey on the 33rd hole. At 17-2 he now has the highest winning percentage all time at this event, although officially listed as fifth in wins. Tiger has 32 wins, David Toms 23, Davis Love III 19 and Stewart Cink has 17, but their winning percentage is lower, Cink is 17-9 but officially listed in 4th place. Paul Casey played good golf today as opposed to his 2nd round yesterday, it was just that Ogilvy played better.

Ross Fisher has played better today as well, that match has been back and forth all day mostly with Fisher in the lead, Cink led briefly on the 12th. Fisher tied it on the 13th and took the lead through 14 & 15 but Stewart Cink came back to square the match on the 16th and they remained all square on 17. Stewart Cink won the 18th hole to win the consolation match 1 up.

1st Place Geoff Ogilvy – Australia
2nd Place Paul Casey – England
3rd Place Stewart Cink – USA
4th Place Ross Fisher – England

Congratulations to Geoff Ogilvy claiming his 2nd WGC Accenture Match Play Championship

WGC: Accenture Match Play Round 3

Friday, February 27th, 2009

Round 3 is in the books, from 64 to 32 to 16 and now the elite eight squares off in the quarter finals. It is tough to pick what story is the story of the day, so many emotional moments, frustration and joy for the players, but how can we ignore 19 year old Rory McIlroy beating Tim Clark 4&3. He was 4 up through 6 and never really gave Clark a chance to catch him, five birdies and bogey free golf for the 15 holes it took to win. Now I was fortunate enough to see Tiger come up and I can’t tell you by watching his swing but the pundits who study these things all seem to agree that Rory’s swing and mechanics are better than Tiger’s at that age. If so golf world look out if this young man stay’s healthy he will surely some day claim title to #1. Not to take anything away from Ross Fisher who trounced Jim Furyk by the same 4&3 margin, he had a bogey at the fifth but still posted 7 birdies in his 15 holes, he appears to want to make a statement and so far he has with his game. Luke Donald who was 1 down going to the 18th tee had to concede his match against Ernie Els after tweaking his wrist on his drive at 17. Took a lot of maturity and courage to concede, healthy he had all the chance in the world to tie on 18 and go into a playoff but to risk further injury to the wrist was too a big a gamble. Mickelson was able to square his match with Cink but Stewart took the 17th and went to 18 1up to which Mickelson was unable to answer. Camilo Villegas tried to make a run on Geoff Ogilvy but never brought his putter today, with Ogilvy winning the match 2&1. Justin Leonard defeated Oliver Wilson in 19 holes, which I believe was the closest match of the day. Ian Poulter started his match with Sean O’Hair 2up but the steady play of O’Hair quickly turned that round and at one point went 3 up, O’Hair ended the match winning 2&1. Paul Casey stayed in control of his match with Peter Hansen to win outright 4&2.

By bracket beginning with the Bobby Jones bracket:
#4 Rory McIlroy defeated #8 Tim Clark
#2 Geoff Ogilvy defeated #3 Camilo Villegas
Saturday McIlroy plays Ogilvy (tee time 7:20 am) the winner will play the winner of the Ben Hogan bracket.

Ben Hogan bracket:
#4 Ernie Els defeated #9 Luke Donald (by concession)
#6 Stewart Cink defeated #2 Phil Mickelson
Saturday Els plays Cink (tee time 7:32 am) the winner will play the winner of the Bobby Jones bracket.

Sam Snead bracket:
#9 Ross Fisher defeated #4 Jim Furyk
#7 Justin Leonard defeated #11 Oliver Wilson
Saturday Fisher plays Leonard (tee time 7:44 am) the winner will play the winner of the Gary Player bracket.

Gary Player bracket:
#12 Sean O’Hair defeated #8 Ian Poulter
#6 Paul Casey defeated #15 Peter Hansen
Saturday O’Hair plays Casey (tee time 7:56 am) the winner will play the winner of the Sam Snead bracket.

Televised coverage for Saturday begins at 10 AM and ends at 2 PM (Golf Channel) and 2-6PM EST on NBC consisting of the four quarter final matches and followed up by two semi final matches. Sunday will have a 36 hole championship match and an 18 hole consolation match, to determine 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th. Televised coverage for Sunday is scheduled from 10 AM to 1:30 PM (Golf Channel) and 2-6PM EST on NBC. Amateurs tee it up Monday March 2nd but I do not believe any of that will be televised.

Ogilvy is leading the tour in birdies having converted 40% with a scoring average of 68.56 and has hit 79.49% of his greens in regulation this year. I believe he is the best golfer left in the field, however, he hasn’t faced the 19 year old Rory McIlroy who does not have stats compiled on the PGA Tour but he is leading this field in fairways in regulation and is near the top in greens in regulation for the event. It is unfortunate that this match can not decide the championship, were it not for the brackets falling the way they did it may very well have. Els scoring average is 69.5 and his GIR rating is 74.07% while Cink’s scoring average is 70.6 and his GIR rating is an even 70%, I’d like the Georgia Tech alum to take this match, but Ernie is playing better than I’ve seen him play in a long time. Going back to the old putter from the days he was really on form seems to have given him a much needed boost of confidence. Justin Leonard’s scoring average is lower than Els or Cink even though he is ranked higher in the world at 28th, his average is 69.38, Fisher also does not have stats compiled on the PGA Tour on paper it looks like it should be a Leonard victory by world golf rankings but Fisher has defeated lower seeded players the whole way. I hate to jinx an American but I’m going to say Fishers momentum will carry him through this match. Paul Casey has an average score of 71.75 and his greens in regulation are 65.71%, Sean O’Hair although ranked considerably higher in the official world golf rankings than Paul Casey has an average score of 69 even and an impressive GIR rating of 74.44%. I’m going to give the edge to O’Hair on this one. I’m not so sure anyone understands how they determine the “Official World Golf Rankings” some of the players prefer playing on the European or Asian tours and just don’t play enough events in the US to have official PGA Tour stats. Right or wrong I just call them as I see them, McIlroy, Els, Fisher and O’Hair, McIlroy over Els and O’Hair over Fisher, McIlroy and O’Hair for the championship with McIlroy the victor while Els will defeat Fisher for 3rd in the end. That is my prediction anyway, time will tell.

WGC: Accenture Match Play Round 2

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

After two rounds of play no #1’s are left standing. There are only two #2’s left as we head off to the third round of play tomorrow. It is all relative to one’s opinion but for my money match play is the most exciting in all of golf. No score card, an eagle might win a hole, a birdie or a par, but it is winning holes that count not an accumulation of points on a scorecard.

What the top story of the day is has to be Tim Clark defeating Tiger Woods 4&2. It was not poor play on Tiger’s part, he admittedly hit two poor shots today, an eight iron and a drive but it was the steady play of Tim Clark that won the match. The other #1 to fall was Vijay Singh who fell to Luke Donald after 19 holes. Donald ground it out coming from 2 down, took Vijay to a tie on 18 and went on to win in the first playoff hole. Two of the most exciting matches were Davis Love III and Justin Leonard along with Hunter Mahan and Rory McIlroy whose matches went down to the wire ending in regulation play for 1 up victory’s by Leonard and McIlroy. Phil Mickelson nearly squandered a 4 up lead with 5 to play but pulled out the win 1 up. Ross Fisher only needed 13 holes to defeat Pat Perez 6&5 Perez never really brought his game today. Another blowout was Paul Casey taking Mathew Goggin 6&4. Camillo Villegas soundly defeated Miguel Angel Jimenez 5&4, it was reported that Miguel broke the head of his driver midway through the round. Stewart Cink and Lee Westwood traded the lead from the 11th to the 17th from there they were all square until the 23rd hole, the longest match of the day.

This is what the day looked like by bracket starting with the Bobby Jones bracket:
#8 T Clark defeated #1 T Woods
#4 R McIlroy defeated #12 H Mahan
#2 G Ogilvy defeated #10 S Katayama
#3 C Villegas defeated #6 M Jimenez
Friday it will be Tim Clark vs. Rory McIlroy (11:37am) and Geoff Ogilvy vs. Camillo Villegas (11:50am)

In the Ben Hogan bracket:
#9 L Donald defeated #1 V Singh
#4 E Els defeated #5 S Stricker
#2 P Mickelson defeated #7 Z Johnson
#6 S Cink defeated #3 L Westwood
Friday it will be Luke Donald vs. Ernie Els (10:45am) and Phil Mickelson vs. Stewart Cink (10:58am)

In the San Snead bracket:
#9 R Fisher defeated #16 P Perez
#4 J Furyk defeated #5 M Kaymer
#7 J Leonard defeated #15 D Love III
#11 O Wilson defeated #3 A Kim
Friday it will be Ross Fisher vs. Jim Furyk (11:11am) and Justin Leonard vs. Oliver Wilson (11:24am)

In the Gary Player bracket:
#8 I Poulter defeated #16 C Schwartzel
#12 S O’Hair defeated #13 B Weekley
#15 P Hansen defeated #10 S Ames
#6 P Casey defeated #14 M Goggin
Friday it is Ian Poulter vs. Sean O’Hair (12:03pm) and Peter Hansen vs. Paul Casey (12:15)

Tough to bet against any of these men whose game has brought them to the sweet sixteen, 19 year old Rory McIlroy wanted to play Tiger in the third round yet he will have to play better than he did today to beat Tim Clark. Geoff Ogilvy and Camillo Villegas could be a dog fight the major champion against one who surely will be. Luke Donald who has been playing well this year against the Big Easy, another toss up, Phil Mickelson and Stewart Cink two stalwarts will it come down to Phil getting erratic? My heart would be with Furyk but Fisher is hot. Leonard is saying all the right things, he is going to play his game and let Oliver Wilson play his. The hot headed Ian Poulter against the young Sean O’Hair both of whom we have seen have meltdowns on the course. Paul Casey ranked at #23 in the world against Peter Hansen ranked 58th in the world and the lowest ranked player left in the tournament, Casey has always impressed me maybe it is his time.