Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Running Diary of Presidents Cup Day 1

I found myself with the evening clear, no work to be done, so what better way to spend the first night of the Presidents Cup than by taking a page from The Sports Guys book and doing a running diary for a couple of hours? Lets get it on!

9:05: And we are off! Its Watson and Webb vs. Ernie and Ishikawa. Bubbas pink driver shaft looks good even down under, where the water flushes the other way down the toilet (at least I think it does). Shockingly, the Americans look nice in a navy shirt and white pants combo. I guess Captain Couples read my post from yesterdayon our traditionally ugly uniforms. Bubbarips a drive to right up near the green. Ishikawa goes with an iron, also down the middle.

9:11: Simpson lips out his second shot from the fairway. Not a bad start for the rookie! To say these greens are lightening fast is a tremendous understatement. The greens are running faster than Andy Reid in a buffet line at dinner time. Wait, my anger over the Eagles dismal season has no place here.

Presidents Cup Preview: Day 1

The Presidents Cup starts on Thursday in Australia, but because of the time difference, in the United States, the matches actually start in prime time tonight, with the first match teeing off at 9:05 pm Eastern Time.  It's pretty cool to have some prime time golf to look forward to, and will get me out of having to suffer through my wife's DVRing of the Sing Off, where, while Ben Folds is delightfully quirky, the teams really aren't that good and everyone seems to be afraid to say it.  Paging Simon Cowell... 

Here is a look at what you can expect to see tonight on The Golf Channel - the format consists of six foursomes matches (alternate shot):

Match 1 (9:05 pm Eastern Time):  Bubba Watson / Webb Simpson vs. Ernie Els / Ryo Ishikawa:  Bubba and Webb are good friends, and this should be a very comfortable pairing for two Presidents Cup rookies (although Watson played in last year's Ryder Cup).  Simpson is playing as well as anyone in the world.  Ishikawa was a late arrival and did not have much time to check out the course.  Slight Advantage here to the US team.

Match 2 (9:17 pm Eastern Time):  Bill Haas / Nick Watney vs. Geoff Ogilvey / Charl Schwartzel:  Haas is the FedEx Cup champ, and Watney has had a good but streaky year.  Ogilvey, after an injury plagued season, is playing well now and is the local guy who grew up 500 yards from Royal Melbourne, a course where everyone says local knowledge will be a huge advantage.  Schwartzel was the man in the majors this year, and I am sure just stares at himself in the mirror in his green jacket (or at least that is what I would do).  I give Ogilvey's mustache the nod here.  Advantage International.

Match 3:  Dustin Johnson / Matt Kuchar vs. Aaron Baddeley / Jason Day (9:29 pm Eastern Time):  Some real young guns in this one should make it fun to watch.  All President's Cup rookies here.  Couples is hoping to get a favorable blend of DJ's length and Kuchar's skill arouind the green.  But the all Aussie pairing will surely have the crowd going bonkers.  Day has had a fantastic year and is playing well.  Slight advantage to the International squad here.

Match 4:  Phil Mickelson / Jim Furyk vs. Retief Goosen / Robert Allenby (9:41 Eastern Time):  Given all the exuberance about the youth dominance in the game this year, this is like a match on the senior circuit.  But it pits four very successful veterans against each other.  Phil and Furyk had disappointing years by their lofty standards, and it will be interesting to see how they fare this week.  Allenby has loads of local knowledge that could come in handy.  But I like Phil and Furyk to bring it tonight.  Slight Advantage to the U.S. team.

Match 5:  Hunter Mahan / David Toms vs. Kyung Tae-Kim / Y.E. Yang (9:53 Eastern Time):  This is probably the weakest American pairing of the first session, but the same can be said of the International pairing.  Mahan had to WD last week because of shoulder problems, so that is a question mark.  Toms has been solid all year.  I have little to offer on Kim as I have never even heard of him, but apparently he plays on the Japanese tour.  He is 25 and has a win on the Japan Tour this year and a few other top tens.  Yang is no stranger to the spotlight and should be able to handle the pressure well.  If Mahan's shoulder holds, so should the U.S team here.  Advantage U.S.

Match 6: Tiger Woods / Steve Stricker vs. Adam Scott / K.J. Choi (10:05 pm Eastern Time):  Leeeeeeeeeeeet's Get Ready to Rumble!  Welcome to the main event, though contrary to popular belief, Scott's caddie will not really factor into the decision here.  It is delightfully ironic they are paired together, but don't look for any sparks to fly here - off the course, anyway.  This will obviously be a fun one.  Tiger played great last week and will look to build on that momentum.  Stricker and Woods have serious man-love for each other, so that familiarity should also help the duo.  Scott has had a fantastic year, and K.J. Choi is as steady as they come.  But I think Tiger / Stricker roll here.  Advantage U.S. 

  

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

President's Cup Uniforms


It's President's Cup week!  A nice oasis in the golf lull that occurs after the Tour Championship that brings together some of the best golfers in the world in some friendly competition.

While the outcome this year is tough to predict (though the International team, on paper, will be heavy favorites), one thing that you can count on is that the US team will have the ugliest team shirts, hands down.  Can someone explain this to me?  With all of the great designers in the US, why is it that in every team golf competition, the U.S. team has the ugliest gear?  Today's gem, pictured above, makes it look like Couples is the Captain of the Brazilian team.  Green and yellow?  It's the President's Cup!  What color should we wear...hmm...perhaps, say, red, white and/or blue?  A wild idea, I know.  I hope it gets better from here, but I fear it will not.

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Tiger Attack Down Under!

With two rounds in the books in the Australian Open, Tiger Woods finds himself in a familiar, yet, unfamiliar position after two rounds - at the top of the leaderboard. Woods followed up an opening round 68 with a 67, good enough for a one shot lead. The big question remains: can he put four good rounds together and hang on for a victory, something he has not been able to do in two years? Woods has been making putts this week, to go along with his better ball striking, which is a deadly combo for the former world numero uno. After the round, Woods stressed the fact that he is finally healthy, and has been able to translate the way he has been playing at home to a tournament setting, a big step for him. Woods play is also good news for Fred Couples, who some think went out on a limb by adding Woods to the Presidents Cup team.

A couple other notes on the tournament:

-This is a pretty cool looking golf course, with hazards aplenty. The wind is blowing pretty good out there too, which leads to some interesting shots.

-Have you seen Geoff Ogilveys mustache? It is a bona fide porn star stache. It seems like he ended up at the tournament after making a wrong turn on his way to a Boogie Nights 2 audition.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Playing The Black: Course Review of Bethpage Black

You have seen it on TV. You have watched the course eat up some of the best players in the world. In the New York area, the course takes on amythical status. Around here, all you have to say is that you are playing "The Black" and everyone knows what you are talking about. Walking on to the grounds of Bethpage State Park knowing that you are going to play the course that hosted the 2002 and 2009 U.S. Opens is truly a special feeling, and a borderline spitual experience. There really is something magical walking down the first fairway knowing you are tracing the same path that Tiger and Phil took before you. The ability to test your game on a course that has hosted a major championship is one of the things that makes golf great -- you likely arent going to be able to play a ballgame in Yankee Stadium or catch a toucdown at Lincoln Financial Field,but you can play the Black, and it is definitely worth the trip.
I previously wrote an article on the Bethpage golf experienceso you should check that out for some more information on everything the park has to offer golf enthusiasts. But today I want to focus on the crown jewel - the Black course - a coursethatneeds to be on your golf bucket list.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Faldo Proposes Unique Design Idea For 2016 Olympic Golf Course Venue

With golf making its triumphant return to the Olympics for the 2016 games in Rio, noted golf course designer and 6-time major champion Nick Faldo has proposed a unique design for the course.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Sneak Peak at New Cleveland Classic Driver Prototype



This is why it is fun to follow pros on Twitter like Graeme McDowell - you get some sneak peaks at excellent new equipment the same time the pros do!

G-Mac tweeted some pics of a new prototype driver from Cleveland Golf that he just received.  Take a gander - pretty sweet right?  I love the old-school persimmon look to the head.  Very classic.  G-Mac says that it is built on the Cleveland Golf 290 Launcher platform.  G-Mac's version is the same as his current driver and comes with a 46.5 Aldila Golf Green Eye RIP shaft and a 9 degree loft.  

Thanks to G-Mac for letting us inside for a behind the scenes look!

I will leave you with a couple more pics:




  

Sadly, Williams At It Again

If you were walking around the HSBC Championship event this week and saw a caddie walking around with his foot in his mouth, I am sure you were stunned to learn that it was Stevie Williams.

At the annual "Caddie Awards" dinner that is supposedly a highlight of the year for caddies, Williams received the tongue-in-cheek "Celebration of the Year" awards for his rant against Tiger after his new boss, Adam Scott, won the Bridgestone Classic.  In the process of accepting the "award," Williams made a racially inappropriate remark directed at his old boss, Tiger Woods.  According to Fox Sports:

"On Friday night, the host called Williams to the stage to collect his award and asked him to explain his enthusiasm. Williams, with a smirk on his face, leaned toward the microphone and said, ''It was my aim to shove it right up that black a------.'"'

Stevie, please do yourself, and all golf fans a favor, and shut the hell up.  Don't speak anymore.  Not in front of cameras, and not in public where your words might get reported.  Williams continues to make stupid comments that detract from the game and overshadow the awesome events that should be the story - in the first instance it was Scott's great performance to win the Bridgestone and this weekend it was Martin Kaymer's historic comeback to win in Shanghai.

Your job is to carry Scott's bag, help him with yardage, maybe read some putts, and try to make him the best golfer you can be.  You got fired by Tiger.  Get over it.  But please spare us all from having to air your bitterness publicly, and offensively.  It is stupid and unnecessary.  I think we would all rather just focus on the golf.