Posts filed under ‘Golf’

Was that Fore or Four?

Just as cricket appears to be looking to shorten the length of its game, there is talk of golf looking to expand its.

It has been suggested that the bi-ennial Ryder Cup golf tournament between the United States and Europe should be contested over four days rather than the current three, but traditionalists are none too impressed with the idea. Cynics are questioning if this is not just another attempt to cash in on the current popularity of the tournament.

Labelled the Miracle at Medinah in 2012 the 39th Ryder Cup, held at the Medinah Country Club in Illinois, witnessed an extraordinary comeback by Europe, captained by José María Olazábal of Spain. The Europeans were down 10-4 after 14 matches, there were two four-ball matches still on the course and 12 singles matches to be played the next day. They won those two matches and despite being down 10-6 going into the final day Europe managed to come  back to win by 14½ points to 13½. Out of the 12 points available on the final day Europe won 8½ points with the U.S. winning only 3½. It was a competition that captured everyone’s attention.

Traditionally the Ryder Cup has been contested Friday through to Sunday, although on a number of occasions weather has forced a fourth and deciding day. With next year’s event at the famous Gleneagles course in Scotland and the fear of autumnal mist sweeping the course some have advocated extending the event to last four days.

Whatever the final decision administrators must realise that sporting drama cannot be manufactured, if it is to happen it will happen, whether the tournament lasts four or three days.  In 2021 the Ryder Cup will celebrate 100 years of competition, and over the years there have been changes, none bigger than in 1979 making the tournament between European golfers and the USA rather than just golfers from the British Isles. This change breathed new life into the event, who is to say making it last four days would not benefit the event, but often it is best to leave things as they are.

October 11, 2013 at 1:16 pm Leave a comment

Wishing Him Well.

Sad to hear that former European Ryder Cup captain Bernard Gallacher is in a critical condition in hospital following a heart attack. Especially as it was only this week that Gleneagles was unveiled as the course for next year’s event. Gallacher is a man who is indelibly linked with the Ryder Cup and its rich history.

The 64 – year old scotsman skippered the Ryder Cup team in 1991, 1993 and 1995.  His team were defeated 14 1/2 to 13 1/2 first match in charge in South Carolina. They then lost 15-13 at home at the Belfry two years later  before he finally landed his first win at Oak Hill in New York by 14 1/2 to 13 1/2.

Gallacher was a leading player in Europe in the 1970s and 1980s and won 13 times in Europe and 8 titles elsewhere. In 1969 he became the youngest golfer to represent the then Britain and Ireland Ryder Cup team, a record that has since been taken by Sir Nick Faldo, Paul Way and Sergio Garcia. He played in 8 Ryder Cup tournaments.

Our thoughts go out to his family and friends and we wish the 64 year old a speedy recovery.

September 1, 2013 at 1:54 pm Leave a comment

A Little Birdie Told Us…

How many golfer’s have hit a great shot onto the green and seen that their shot has landed where the hole used to be, but instead of being left with a minuscule putt, still have on of several metres?

The professionals may well have someone to blame if that is the case in the final round of the PGA Championship this year, as it will be up to the public to decide where the pin is placed.

The PGA of America has announced a contest called “PGA Championship pick-the-hole Location Challenge hosted by golfing great Jack Nicklaus.

Fans can go to the PGA website (www.PGA.com/pickthe hole )and from August 10th can vote for one of four options on the location of the pin at the par three 15th hole at Oak Hill, and in the final round of the PGA Championship, the final major of the year.

Why the 15th hole? The reason this has been chosen is that Nicklaus won his record-tying fifth PGA Championship at Oak Hill in 1980 by seven shots over Andy Bean. That was the largest margin victory in the PGA Championship until Rory McIlroy won by eight strokes last year at Kiawah Island.

The 15th hole is 181yards with three bunkers on the left and water all along the right-hand side of the hole. Fans will not be able to place the pin where they want, but will have a choice of four locations. It is an interesting hole, and with the green sheltered by a tree on the left and is often influenced by the direction of the wind.

On the website fans can get a visual presentation of the location and audio of Nicklaus explaining the differences as to how it may affect the shot being played. There will be a competition held in conjunction with the contest with a prize for someone to enjoy a behind-the-scenes experience at the PGA Championship next year at Valhalla.

One thing is for sure it is bound to generate a great deal of interest come the final round. Will the players like the interaction with the golfing fans around the world, time will tell, but it is a great way to bridge the gap between the two.

July 26, 2013 at 1:13 pm Leave a comment

That’s Another Fine Mess You Got Me Into

Last week golfer Vijay Singh moved to sue the US PGA Tour claiming it had damaged his reputation with an “Unwarranted” pursuit of an anti-doping case against him that was dropped the week prior.

The lawsuit  has charged the Tour with violating its duty of care and good faith in failing to determine that Singh had in fact not violated the Tour’s anti doping policy. He had used deer antler spray which he acknowledged using.

The spray contained the hormone IGF-1 a substance that was listed on the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) and the PGA Tour’s list of prohibited substances. The PGA Tour had in fact warned against using such substances in 2011.

In his lawsuit Singh is claiming that hormone was inactive and could not have affected his performance. He also argues that the Tour should have ascertained that before proceeding with a ban against the three time major winning Champion. In court documents it has been found that other players who admitted using the spray were not sanctioned.

On April 30 WADA advised the tour that they no longer viewed the use of deer antler spray as prohibited  unless it resulted in a positive drugs test. Vijay Singh never tested positive under such a test.

Singh’s reputation suffered great harm during this period and according to the lawsuit he suffered ‘humiliation and ridicule.’

This is another example of WADA appearing to jump before gathering all of the relevant information. It is rare for the Police to arrest and charge someone unless they are in possession of hard and fast evidence that the accused is in fact guilty. WADA needs to adopt a similar policy. By all means announce that an athlete is under investigation, without naming them, but do not charge them with such an accusation unless you have all the evidence.

This has brought embarrassment to Vijay Singh and tarnished his reputation, as some mud will aways stick. It has also put the US PGA Tour in an embarrassing situation and one in which they find themselves being sued. It would be interesting to see whether in the litigious USA they consider passing the blame down the line and sue WADA.

One thing is for sure WADA’s policies need to be seriously reviewed.

May 14, 2013 at 7:47 am Leave a comment

A Day to Remember

A quick question that is more of a coincidence probably than anything else. What do cyclist Sir Chris Hoy, oarsman Sir Steven Redgrave, the first man to run a sub-four minute mile, Sir Roger Bannister and double gold medal winner and possibly one day knighted Mo Farah have in common?

Would you believe the same birthday! All were born on March 23rd.

Some bright spark has picked up on this and encouraged those wanting an Olympic athlete for a child to start the process in May next year.  It probably takes a little bit more than just the same  birthday to make a star, after all this author shares his birthday with sprinter Wilma Rudolph, Cricket Sir Leonard Hutton, footballer Zinedene Zidane and golfer Colin Montgomerie. Which simply means I hit a gold ball like a cricketer have to sprint after it before it goes oput of bounds and can kick my divot beautifully in frustration!

September 20, 2012 at 3:36 pm Leave a comment

Els of a Decision

It was strange to hear that the organisers of the US Masters to not offer three-time major Champion Ernie Els a “special invitation,” but once again when one delved deeper into the issue one realised that it had little to do with reputation, but all to do with money.

Twenty-year old Japanese player Ryo Ishikawa was preferred to Els for the “Special Invitation.

Ishikawa is touted to be one of the bright young stars of the game, but he had fallen outside the top 50 players in the world to 52.

The committee at the Augusta National have the final call but it was believed that the Japanese networks hefty rights fee for the first major of the year swayed them towards the young star rather than the established big name player.

A tough call, but let us hope Ishikawa lives up to their faith in his ability.

April 4, 2012 at 11:35 am Leave a comment

How Ridiculous Indeed

The closest I have ever come to a hole in one on a golf course was when a shot that was going to probably fly at least 100 yards past the green luckily hit the flag and dropped about a foot short of the hole.

The team at How Ridiculous decided to try a different method and with amazing results.

Check this out…      

March 28, 2011 at 2:53 pm Leave a comment

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