Archive for the ‘golf’ Category

Martin Kaymer Wins PGA

August 15, 2010

Well, certainly no one will accuse Sunday afternoon at Whistling Straights of being boring!  First of all I would hope that Kaymer’s strong play today in getting his 1st major championship doesn’t get lost in the shuffle.  I of course am being naive in that hope, but he played very well shooting a final round 70 in windy conditions to get into a playoff with Bubba Watson and . . .

. . . not Dustin Johnson.  I recognize that Pete Dye designed that to be a sand bunker and I understand where the PGA of America is coming from in saying that this eventuality was covered in the local rules sheet they gave the competitors and on the signs they hung in the locker room.  And Johnson should probably realize that anytime he is hitting off of sand the safe thing to do is to not ground his club.  However, to me, any patch of ground outside the ropes that has been walked thru all week by galleries, has no rake, and has no lines marking it as a hazard, is not a hazard, and I really feel for Johnson.

As for the playoff Bubba can say afterwards he has no regrets, but he had to play that 2nd shot on 18 up the right side where there is a runway if it comes up short.  Failing that, he had the option to drop in the fairway keeping a point between where it crossed into the hazard and where he hit the shot.  That would have been a comfortable 8 or 9 iron and a much more realistic chance of knocking on the green and making a bogey that would’ve sent things into sudden death (into fast fading daylight).

An insane number of people had a chance to win this thing.  Heck, Phil Mickelson had it to -7 going to #15 about 2pm.  It obviously didn’t happen, but a miracle finish could have got him in the picture.  Rory McIlroy was so close; he had a lot of putts burn the edge today to miss the playoff by 1.  We once said the same thing about Sergio Garcia but you’ve got to think winning multiple majors is just a matter of time for him.  Where did Steve Elkington come from?  If not for that horrible break bounding over the green on 17 he might have won this thing.

Then of course there was the guy that entered the day with a 3 shot lead, Nick Watney.  He shot 81 today.  He might be the guy that caught the biggest break today with the Dustin Johnson situation.  No one will be talking about him.

If you want to read the official release from the PGA of America with regards to Dustin Johnson:

Dustin Johnson was assessed a two-stroke penalty today upon the completion of the final round of the 92nd PGA Championship, for grounding his club in a bunker on the 18th hole at Whistling Straits.
The penalty dropped Johnson to a finishing score of 9-under-par 279 and he was not eligible to compete in a three-hole aggregate playoff to determine the 2010 Champion.
The following is the wording that was made available to all competitors by The PGA of America Rules Committee, as a Local Rule for the 92nd PGA Championship:
Bunkers: All areas of the course that were designed and built as sand bunkers will be played as bunkers (hazards), whether or not they have been raked. This will mean that many bunkers positioned outside of the ropes, as well as some areas of bunkers inside the ropes, close to the rope line, will likely include numerous footprints, heel prints and tire tracks during the play of the Championship. Such irregularities of surface are a part of the game and no free relief will be available from these conditions.

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The Day in Golf

August 1, 2010

Yani Tseng becomes the youngest player in the modern (LPGA Tour) era to get to 3 major championships.   Stuart Appleby shoots a final round 59 to win the inaugural Greenbrier Classic by 1 shot.  And Bernhard Langer bests native son Fred Couples at the US Senior Open.

All 3 tournaments turned out to be 2 player races at the finish.  Tseng was a somewhat shaky +1 today, but having shot 68-68-68 the first 3 rounds she had some room to manuever.  Katherine Hull came close but a lip-out for birdie on 17 and having her 2nd shot to 18 hang up on a bank behind the green kept her from forcing a playoff.  I honestly was not familiar with Hull before this weekend, but the Aussie played very well, and I liked her loose outward demeanor on the back 9 today.  Her time will come if she can consistently play like that.  As for Tseng, I suspect the rest of women’s golf will have to contend with her for awhile, especially now that she’s won a major from ahead.  When she’s on, she’s on.  She had an insane number of putts burn edges this weekend or she could’ve shot an absurdly low score.

Obviously a dramatic win for Appleby at the Greenbrier.  Two players came very close to the magical 59 on Saturday only to fall short on the last couple holes.  After a front nine 28 and an eagle early in the back 9 he birdied the last 3 holes to finish the deal.  And frankly, it looked like he would need every one of those just to maybe get in a playoff with Jeff Overton, but he had some cruel luck with a birdie putt hitting a spike mark on 17 and a great putt from the wrong tier on 18 nearly fell but didn’t, leaving him 1 shot behind.

As for the Senior Open this never was more than a two man race.  Obviously Couples will regret the snowman he built on the 2nd hole after his 3rd shot was chunked into the water.  Fact is, he should’ve been able to recover for a 6 or at least a 7, and if he had he would’ve been in a stronger position after his birdie on 16 still left him 2 behind Langer, a player you know isn’t going to screw up to let you catch him.  Then again, the German almost did, flirting with the water on 17.  Either way, a remarkable feat for Bernard to win in Seattle the week after winning the Senior Open in Scotland.  Rather cruel scheduling to make the old men do that, but I guess he showed it to be no big deal.

Creamer Tames Oakmont

July 11, 2010

And in so doing claims the US Women’s Open title that she has craved for years.  Excellent play all weekend; she had to play the majority of her 2nd round Saturday morning and had to play 23 holes today after the heavy rain that pelted Allegheny County Friday afternoon, and she had to do so on a sore thumb still recovering from surgery.  Despite all this and a course that was a bear for most of the field, she managed to shoot a -3 when no one else could manage even par.  At various times it looked like the likes of Cristie Kerr and Suzanne Petterson could claim the trophy, but Creamer outlasted them all.  Congrats to the Pink Panther of women’s golf!

Of course, the schedule shows how far down the pecking order women’s golf has slid in recent years.  NBC signed off on Saturday at 6pm despite the fact that, to get as close to on schedule as possible, play was going to continue until darkness.  Its not like NBC had anything else to show, they just punted it to their affiliates and the normal Saturday evening summertime schedule.  It didn’t get punted to ESPN2 who was too busy killing time with poker.  It didn’t get punted to the Golf Channel even, who was only showing a studio show.  Oh well.

Graeme McDowell Wins US Open

June 20, 2010

By shooting an even par 284 over four brutal days at Pebble Beach, holding off Gregory Havret by one shot.  The final round 74 by McDowell was the highest final round score by a winner in a quarter century.  Of course, the final round 83 by Dustin Johnson was the highest by a 54 hole leader in a century.  But McDowell played steady never making the big mistake, which is more than you could say about most of his pursuers.

The best final round of the leaders was by Havret; he just couldn’t get up and down from the bunker on 17 for par or on 18 for birdie.  But unlike his country’s football team he didn’t blame the ball or his coach.

A lot of big name players are going to be looking back at today and asking the what if questions.  Phil Mickelson couldn’t make a putt after holing one from off the green on the 1st hole.  Ernie Els had a number of edge grazers but would have been in much better shape if not for the double bogey on #10 when he sent two shots over the cliff.  Tiger could never get his round going and actually spent the 18th green clearing the stage for Havret, which was not exactly the expected outcome.

The USGA probably won’t mind the outcome of this tournament because they consider it pretty much ideal to have the winner golfer shoot level par for the tournament.  But I think some things with regards to course set up have to be questioned.  The 14th green was simply too diabolical.  There is difficult and then there is sadistic, and this green was the latter.  You have high rough everywhere else on the course; why go out of your way to shave that bank behind the green?  Also I don’t know how anyone could hit the green on #17.  That hole is too long and the green too fast for the size of the green.  8th place was +5 and that was with having no days with strong wind, and all 4 days the Cliffs of Doom holes played downwind.  Can you imagine how high the winning score would have been if even one round, particularly one weekend round, had been played in harsh weather?

But the bottom line is congrats to Graeme McDowell for playing 4 solid rounds.  A lot of people thought this week could prove to be the first time since 1970 Tony Jacklin that a European would win the US Open but McDowell’s name was not at the top of the list.  But he brought his best game this weekend and beat the best.

Jordan Spieth

May 22, 2010

Its not the strongest field this week at the Byron Nelson, but I still don’t think many people thought a 16 year old would be in contention heading into the final round.  Even if he is the 2 time state high school golf champion in Texas:

http://sports.espn.go.com/dallas/golf/news/story?id=5210867

Rather ironic that he is paired with old man Corey Pavin tomorrow!  And, almost irregardless of how the final round plays out, its a great story.  I’m sure CBS is happy to have it to add a little juice to the event.

Lefty Claims His 3rd Green Jacket

April 11, 2010

By completing the four rounds at Augusta National in a blistering -16 272, outlasting Lee Westwood by 3 shots and Anthony Kim by 4.  It was an amazing round for Mickelson, playing a bogey-free round of 67.  He started with 7 straight pars before a birdie on 8.  But what held this round together was that he was able to scramble for pars after bad tee shots on difficult par 4s 9, 10, and 11.  Those are 3 of the hardest holes on the course, especially 10 and 11 and are oftentimes messed up from the fairway.  Then he birdied the signature 12th hole just like in 2004 and then hit a shot for the ages between two trees to the green on 13.  He biffed the eagle putt but wasn’t deterred by it.  When he birdied again on 15 to Westwood’s par he pretty much had it.  Just an amazing round.

One can’t help but feel a bit for Lee Westwood.  This is the 3rd straight major he comes in either 2nd or 3rd and he also had a near miss of the ’08 US Open.  He didn’t have his best day today but still certainly could have won if not for the back 9 that Mickelson had.  After all, -13 is usually more than good enough at a major.

One of the rising stars of the game is Anthony Kim, and he showed some that promise today, going out and shooting a 65 that would’ve had him square in contention if not for, again, Lefty shooting 67.  As this guy continues to improve, particularly improve in limiting his bad holes and bad days, he will be a force to be reckoned with.

Fred Couples looked at times like he might be able to out-geezer Nicklaus ’86 but it was his turn to have an awful Amen Corner to dash his chances.  Still, it was a great effort and nice to see him in contention again.  One cannot help but wonder if he would’ve had a few more majors than the ’92 Masters if not for his balky back.

Naturally most people will want to talk about Tiger Woods, perhaps even as much as the champion.  Indeed, a lot of people will want to over-analyze meaningless crap and I will try to avoid that.  I thought his erratic play this weekend shows just about as well as anything how great a player he is.  That might sound absurd but think about it.  He was taking swings, especially on Sunday, that just looked awful.  He was hitting duck hooks and sky balls off the tee.  He struggled with distance control on his short irons and his chipping.  He 3-putted from 8 feet on 14.  And he still shot -3 69 for the day and was -11 for the tournament, finishing tied for4th.  One assumes he’ll have those uncharacteristic miscues rectified by the 3rd weekend of June at Pebble Beach and the rest of the field could be in serious trouble if I am correct.

But I hope Tiger doesn’t overshadow Phil here as the champion deserves the spotlight, both for what his family has gone through the past year with his wife’s breast cancer and also of course for winning the tournament.  3 titles at Augusta brings him even with the likes of Demeret, Snead, Player, and Faldo and behind only Nicklaus, Woods, and Palmer.  Good stuff as always from Augusta.

The Masters Halfway Thru

April 9, 2010

Is shaping up to be a very entertaining tournament.  No one should be surprised by Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter being on the top of the leaderboard.  The Englishmen are both top level golfers that have been close in majors and are most definitely good enough to win a major.  Westwood especially has been very close in the past.  I can’t imagine why anyone would be surprised that Tiger is in the hunt.  I would not have been surprised if he had a shaky week due to rust or unusual forms of stress from recent events, but that he is playing well on a course he knows so well frankly should shock exactly no one.  Same goes for Phil Mickelson; he has not played his best the past year or so for the most part he he always does well at Augusta (Top 10 all but one of the past 11 years).  Quite obviously it would be no surprise to see he or Tiger win another.  The person that could fly right under the radar is KJ Choi.  While a notch below the other players I have discussed so far he too is a very good player that always seems to do well at Augusta.  For that matter the talent is there for Anthony Kim but I think his game is still a bit raw to win a major; I can see him being a guy that is firmly in contention back 9 Sunday but finds the water somewhere at an inopportune time.  And of course YE Yang is just one more shot back at -5 trying to kindle talk of a “Yang Slam”.

I would’ve almost been willing to say that least years Open was the last time you would see Tom Watson in contention.  Oops.  He backed up a bit today and is 5 shots back; the safe assumption is he’ll fade over the weekend.  But he’s playing solid and obviously knows the layout.  I can’t picture him winning but a Top 10 would not be shocking.  Ditto for Fred Couples.  If he can have a hot stretch to really get into contention it could be fun to listen to his college roommate Jim Nantz try and fail to contain himself.

Like I said it should be a compelling weekend.  Saturday is known as Moving Day; the key for some guys will be to avoid moving back out of it.  I’m sure a couple guys will move forward with a 68 or so, but usually the Saturday pin placements are not ultra-accessible.  Expect it to be back right on the upper shelf on 16 and 13 for example.  Sunday is when the real magic usually happens.

Michelle Wie Gets 1st LPGA Victory

November 15, 2009

At Lorena Ochoa’s event in Guadalajara. I cannot speak intelligently on the tournament as a whole having my attention other places on a November weekend, but I did notice this was a very deep field that Wie was able to defeat. Paula Creamer, Christie Kerr, and a couple of the better Asian players were in contention down the stretch, but Wie was able to overcome them and hoist the trophy. Hopefully this win, along with her strong Solheim Cup performance and a solid 2009 campaign overall will help quiet her critics. Of course major titles are expected of her, but after some bumps in the road her career seems to be on a good trajectory again. Congrats!

Weekend Wrap

September 28, 2009

Well, its a good thing that Ohio St shut out Illinois to open Big Ten play, as my football teams otherwise had a bad weekend. No shame in East Liverpool losing to state ranked Maple Heights on the road though a closer margin would’ve been preferable. Ditto Bowling Green losing badly to nationally ranked Boise St in a game I personally attended with some old college chums. The Steelers dropping to 1-2 is another matter, though.

First of all, lets give the Bengals credit for keeping the 1st half damage minimal and sticking with things. And it was a perfectly constructed and paced final drive. But this makes two weeks in a row that the Steelers blew a game they should’ve won. Can I ask why the Steelers aren’t blitzing on those Bengals 4th quarter scoring drives? Pittsburgh is an attack defense, not a coverage play it safe bend don’t break defense. Attack Palmer, get a sack, get a turnover, harrass him, don’t let him do what he wants to do. And, if it backfired and they hit a big play, like the Cardinals did in Super Bowl XLIII, at least you’ve left time to respond, like Roethlisberger and Holmes did in Super Bowl XLIII. Don’t sit back and let the Bengals prick you until you bleed to death. Also, it would be nice if the Steelers stop putting Limas Sweed on the field. A wide receiver that cannot catch the ball is useless to me. Mike Wallace lets them be 3 deep at receiver and you’ve got two good pass catching tight ends with Miller and Spaeth. If he catches that easy touchdown ball it ices the game. Instead the Steelers don’t score and are left vulnerable to the Bengals comeback. And, the ironic thing is the Steelers ultimately screwed themselved by successfully defending that two point conversion that left their lead at 20-15. If its 20-17 the Bengals settle for the tying field goal when facing 4th & 10 at the 15 with 30 seconds left. Maybe the Steelers get a big kick return and win in regulation, or they have a 50-50 chance in overtime. But such is the luck of the draw sometimes. Now they are 1-2 and two games behind Baltimore in the standings. Which they are still okay if they can arrest this trend of lousy 4th quarters and win some games. They are at home with another stern test facing the Chargers on Sunday Night Football. If they can manage a win there maybe the Ravens lose at New England and they are back within one game of Baltimore and Cincinnati (assuming the Bengals beat Cleveland). At any rate, still have both games with the Ravens remaining and if they can manage to end up 11-5 or 10-6 that usually at least gets you a wildcard. But their play early in the year is not giving me strong positive vibes.

As for Bowling Green’s loss to Boise, the Broncos are clearly the better team. They only really tried in the 2nd quarter and that was all they needed to blow the doors off Doyt Perry Stadium. No shame in the loss and it was nice to see what a sellout crowd looks like in that stadium. The Falcons had a somewhat disappointing 1-3 non-conference showing, but it was against a strong schedule and they still have as good a shot as any at winning the MAC East. Need to get some wins starting this Saturday at home against Ohio. Still, I am concerned 4 games in about our red zone execution, and I am also concerned that Tyler Sheehan is if anything regressing in his quarterback play. Presumably though most of the defenses he sees the next 2 months won’t be as good as Boise so I will remain optimistic for now.

I didn’t see the Ohio St game as I was busy hanging out in a parking lot outside Doyt Perry, but that was the 2nd straight shutout for the Buckeyes defense which is obviously a promising sign. They have several games ahead that figure to be harder than Toledo and Illinois. Hopefully they take care of business and have an undefeated October heading into the last 3 games of the season at Penn St, hosting Iowa, and at Michigan.

I didn’t see the Potter game either in person, but I gather it was close for awhile before Maple Heights opened it up. At 2-3 the Potters are still on track for finishing somewhere in the 5-5 range which would be definite progress over the past few seasons. It doesn’t get much easier this coming Friday night heading down Rt. 7 to take on OVAC perennial power Martins Ferry.

Tiger Woods won the FedEx Cup. I hope no one is shocked by that development.

The big sports story this coming week will be the 4 game series between the Minnesota Twins and Detroit Tigers settling the AL Central title and the right to challenge the Yankees in the ALDS. Detroit enters the final week with a 2 game lead. Obviously, this gives them a real advantage entering this series. If the Tigers can win 3 games of the 4 they will clinch the division and can use this weekend to rest and set the rotation. Splitting the series means Detroit is 2 up with 3 to go and could clinch over the weekend as quickly as Friday night. Even Minnesota winning 3 of 4 simply means the two teams are flat tied entering the final 3 games of their seasons. Of course, if the Twins sweep the 4 then they grab the 2 game lead with 3 games to go. About the only other story right now is the NL wildcard race, where the Braves have pulled within 2.5 games (2 in the loss column) of Colorado.

***UPDATE*** A quick check of mlb.mlb.com reveals that the Twins v Tigers game has been postponed because of a rainy evening in SE Michigan. According to the Tigers website they will play a day/night doubleheader tomorrow at 12:05pm and 7:05pm to get back on schedule. Presumably people that held tickets for tonight’s game would now hold tickets for the day game tomorrow.

Updated FedEx Cup Standings

September 15, 2009

This info shamelessly lifted from pgatour.com:

The FedExCup points will be reset following the BMW Championship in order to give each of the 30 players who advance to THE TOUR Championship presented by Coca-Cola a chance to win the FedExCup title.

While the points will be reset, however, the seeds will not. The player who ranks first in FedExCup points after the BMW Championship will still rank first after the reset. The player who ranks 30th will still rank 30th. And the player who ranks 31st? He will get the week off — remember, just the top 30 in points after the BMW Championship will advance to East Lake (and no alternates will be added).

Each of the first five seeds going into THE TOUR Championship will control his own destiny — if any of those five seeds wins at East Lake, he will win the FedExCup title. Meanwhile, seeds 6-10 will have an excellent chance of capturing the title with a victory.

The FedExCup points will be reset following the BMW Championship in order to give each of the 30 players who advance to THE TOUR Championship presented by Coca-Cola a chance to win the FedExCup title.

Reset points
Here are the FedExCup points that each player will start with going into THE TOUR Championship presented by Coca-Cola:
Position after
BMW Championship Reset points entering
TOUR Championship
1 Tiger Woods 2,500
2 Steve Stricker 2,250
3 Jim Furyk 2,000
4 Zach Johnson 1,800
5 Heath Slocum 1,600
6 Padraig Harrington 1,400
7 Sean O’Hair 1,200
8 Scott Verplank 1,000
9 Kenny Perry 800
10 Jason Dufner 600
11 Dustin Johnson 480
12 Nick Watney 460
13 Geoff Ogilvy 440
14 Phil Mickelson 420
15 Retief Goosen 400
16 Marc Leishman 380
17 Brian Gay 360
18 Kevin Na 340
19 David Toms 320
20 Lucas Glover 310
21 Y.E. Yang 300
22 Ernie Els 290
23 Hunter Mahan 280
24 Angel Cabrera 270
25 Steve Marino 260
26 Stewart Cink 250
27 Mike Weir 240
28 Luke Donald 230
29 Jerry Kelly 220
30 John Senden 210

Following THE TOUR Championship, the total points each player is awarded in the reset plus the points that player earns based on his finish at THE TOUR Championship will be added together, and the player with the highest point total will be named winner of the FedExCup.

In the event of a tie for first in FedExCup points following THE TOUR Championship, those players tied for first will compete in a playoff to determine the winner of the FedExCup.

So, how many FedExCup points are available at East Lake? THE TOUR Championship will have the same points distribution as the first three Playoffs events, in which point values are quintupled from most regular-season events.

Here is the point distribution for THE TOUR Championship:
Points distribution for THE TOUR Championship
If you finish … Then you get …
1st 2,500 points
2nd 1,500 points
3rd 950 points
4th 675 points
5th 550 points
6th 500 points
7th 450 points
8th 425 points
9th 400 points
10th 375 points
11th 350 points
12th 325 points
13th 300 points
14th 285 points
15th 280 points
16th 275 points
17th 270 points
18th 265 points
19th 260 points
20th 255 points
21st 250 points
22nd 245 points
23rd 240 points
24th 235 points
25th 230 points
26th 225 points
27th 220 points
28th 215 points
29th 210 points
30th 205 points

Thus, if the leader in FedExCup points entering THE TOUR Championship ends up winning at East Lake, he would have 5,000 points (and win the FedExCup). If the No. 5 ranked player wins at East Lake, he would finish with 4,100 points (and also win the FedExCup).

However, if the No. 10-ranked player wins at East Lake, he would finish with 3,100 points. That might be good enough to win the FedExCup title, but there are no guarantees. For instance, if the top seed finishes second at East Lake, he would have 4,000 points.

That’s why it’s important to be ranked in the top five after the BMW Championship. That way, you control your own destiny and are not reliant on how others finish.

Controlling your destiny
If this seeds win in Atlanta The following seeds can still pass him in FedExCup points
1-5 seeds None
6th seed 1st seed
7th seed 1st, 2nd seeds
8th seed 1st, 2nd seeds (3rd seed can tie)
9th seed 1st, 2nd, 3rd seeds (4th seed can tie)
10-14 seeds 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th seeds (5th seed can tie)
15-30 seeds 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th seeds (6th seed can tie)

Obviously, there’s the probability that players will finish in a tie at a certain position. At last year’s TOUR Championship, two players tied for third, three players tied for sixth and five players tied for 10th.

In case of ties, the points distribution will be adjusted accordingly. So if a player has a chance to win the FedExCup should he finish second, he might need to hope that no other players finished tied with him.

Following THE TOUR Championship, the total points each player is awarded in the reset plus the points that player earns based on his finish at THE TOUR Championship will be added together, and the player with the highest point total will be named winner of the FedExCup.

In the event of a tie for first in FedExCup points following THE TOUR Championship, those players tied for first will compete in a playoff to determine the winner of the FedExCup.