Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Final 2010 Official World Golf Rankings are out

Europe claims six top-10 finishers to four from the United States in the year-end Official World Golf Rankings, out Tuesday. As everyone awaits the start of the 2011 season, here are the top 10 of your final 2010 OWGR lineup:

* 1. Lee Westwood
* 2. Tiger Woods
* 3. Martin Kaymer
* 4. Phil Mickelson
* 5. Jim Furyk
* 6. Graeme McDowell
* 7. Steve Stricker
* 8. Paul Casey
* 9. Luke Donald
* 10. Rory McIlroy

To find your favorite golfer, check out officialworldgolfranking.com.

You won't find his name in the OWGR, but Richard Lewis golfed his way into the Guinness Book of World Records. Read how the retired amateur golfer played more than 600 rounds in one year -- all while walking and carrying his bag.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Masters Qualifiers Named from World Golf Rankings

Based on the final 2010 World Golf Rankings, 13 players have qualified for the 2011 Masters. Among the group are only two Americans, Rickie Fowler and Sean O'Hair.

Since there are no more tournaments this year, the final rankings were released Monday. The Masters sends out automatic invites to players in the top 50. The criteria is mainly for international players who are not PGA Tour members and have fewer ways to qualify, such as winning a tour event or getting into the FedEx Cup finale.

O'Hair, who started the year ranked 15th, did not win a tournament in 2010 or reach the season-ending Tour Championship. He ended 2010 at No. 43, while Fowler, completing his first year on the PGA Tour, ended up at No. 28 thanks to two runner-up finishes. 

The 11 other qualifiers include: England's Ross Fisher; Italian brothers Francesco and Edoardo Molinari; Spaniard Alvaro Quiros; and Swedes Peter Hanson and Robert Karlsson.

The others include the Japanese trio of Ryo Ishikawa, Yuta Ikeda and Hiroyuki Fujita; Korean Kim Kyung-tae; and South African Charl Schwartzel.

This brings to 92 the number of players who have qualified for the 2010 Masters, which has the smallest field of the four majors and prefers to keep its field at about 100. The event will be held April 7-10.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

2010 Chevron World Challenge - Golf Event Recap

2010 Chevron World Challenge wrapped up on Sunday, 5th December at Sherwood Country Club in California. Graeme McDowell seized the trophy of the tournament along with the cheque of $1.25 million and capped the PGA Tour with fourth title. The results went against the predictions. For the ones who missed the great combat, here is a recap of the event:

The tournament, which was hosted by Tiger Woods, kicked off on Thursday with a field of 18 players. Eleven Americans teed off against five Europeans to grab a share in the purse of $5 million. However, in the first round, a perfect combat was witnessed between one American, Tiger Woods and two Europeans, Rory Mc Ilroy and Graeme McDowell.

Tiger smashed eight birdies on the loss of one hole and took the charge of the field. One stroke behind were Rory Mc Ilroy and Graeme McDowell. At the fourth place was the player, who was in limelight for making claims of taking Tiger Woods down. Ian Poulter failed to conquer the course the way he did in Hong Kong and surrendered at par.

On the second day of the Chevron World Challenge, Tiger kept his name vaulted on the top of the leader board. The 34-year-old smashed a bogey free round of six birdies and took a four-stroke lead over Graeme and five strokes over Rory.

Woods could not stop smiling, as it was the first time in the year that the former world number one had surged into lead. Woods told the press, "I hit a lot of pure putts. I was not quite as sharp as yesterday, but I was able to piece it together and figure out how to hit better shots when I was struggling a little bit. I hit a couple loose shots and all of a sudden, 'OK, this is what I need to do to fix it.' And I fixed it. So that was nice."

Four strokes behind was the winner, Graeme McDowell. The player, who hails from Northern Ireland, gave a close combat to the leader. However, he dropped a shot on the ninth hole, which resulted in a double bogey. The veteran was not sombre with his game, but still kept himself together. Rory McIlroy and Luke Donald chased the Irish with eight-under and managed to seize the third spot of the leader board.

In the third round, only four players managed to keep the scores in the realms of par. Tiger was one of them. The runner-up picked seven birdies against two bogeys and once again remained successful in keeping the lead. Graeme and Stewart Cink smashed an identical score, but could not override the veteran. The worst score of the day was produced by Dustin Johnson, who helped one birdie and one bogey in a round of 80.

The real drama started in the final round when Graeme birdied the final hole and forced the tournament into a play-off. The 18th hole was chosen as the deciding hole, which turned out to be a bad news for the world number two. Tiger failed to birdie the hole whereas Graeme successfully holed it from 20 feet and surged into victory.

Rory smashed five birdies and took the fourth place whereas Paul Casey stroke 69 and grabbed the third place.

Despite the loss, Woods was happy with his achievement. He told the press, "It was a great week, even though I didn't win. I am proud of today, even though I lost. The way I am playing right now, yeah, I would like to continue playing. Even though I lost and made countless mistakes in the middle part of the round, it said a lot for me to come back and put my swing back together again."

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Worst over for Tiger Woods?

Like a tsunami that begins on the other side of the equator, the great comeback has begun. Tiger Woods' final nine of the competitive golf season – at least coming into this week's Chevron World Challenge at Sherwood CC – was a 6-under-par 30.

His final round was a 7-under-par 65. His finish was fourth in the Australian Masters, which does not reward the winner with a green koala-fur coat but did feature winner Stuart Appleby, plus Camilo Villegas and Robert Allenby, among others.

"Over the last few tournaments I've played, I've gotten into hot streaks where I do it right," Woods said Tuesday. "Before, I'd get it going for three, four holes and now I've done it for nine holes, and now I've got to get it for 18 holes and eventually all 72.

"It's a process. I've been here before. I did it twice with Butch (Harmon) and once with Hank (Haney) and now once with Sean (Foley). I'm excited about it."

This comes near the end of the most famous year of Tiger Woods' life, a fantastical statement when you consider how universal his life has always been.

What if you had predicted, 53 weeks ago, that Woods would not only win no tournaments in 2010 but would not even compete in a final group or finish higher than fourth?

Or that he was at least 10 shots behind, going into the final round, in nine of the 13 PGA Tour events that he played?

Never mind the subtext, The Other Stuff, that preceded and then contributed to it. Take the golf alone, and it's like Kobe Bryant averaging eight points a game. And Bryant, when he went through his year from self-created hell, did not have to wait several minutes between shots.

Finally, mercifully, Woods is no longer the top-ranked player in the world. Lee Westwood is, and Martin Kaymer and Phil Mickelson are third and fourth.

They and the rest of golf will learn that 2010 was the interregnum. Just like 1994 and 1995 in basketball, when Michael Jordan played baseball in Birmingham.

Woods, 35, is healthy. He is relatively paparazzi-free. He has dodged WikiLeaks. He is suffering from nothing except a twitchy foot, which is eager to start booting the backside of the rest of professional golf, yet again.

Foley is a Canadian who has built the golf games of Sean O'Hair and Hunter Mahan. His father is from Scotland and his mother from Guyana, and he played at Tennessee State, a predominantly black school. His avant-garde approach, and his eclectic background and off-golf interests, were perfect for a curious mind like Tiger's, who had lost confidence in Haney, although Haney was the one who dropped him.

"It just wasn't working anymore," Woods said. "I kept trying to do the same things I'd been working on with Hank. I just couldn't do it, for some reason."

Foley and Woods got down to business every night at the PGA Championship in August. Woods took a week off and distilled the information, and shot 65 in the first round of the Barclays.

"At that point there was no looking back," he said. "Sean tried to explain his methodology and it was eye-opening because there were a lot of terms I didn't know. It was about coming to grips with the terminology and implementing it and whether I even can.

"I'm getting to the impact areas I used to, but in a different way. I'm staying over the golf ball now, something I've never done. We're always taught to move off and drive ourselves into it. But some of the motor patterns, when I feel the impact, I've been here before."

Only twice in 2010 did Woods post consecutive sub-70 rounds on the PGA Tour. The one day that he frothed up his gallery was Saturday at the U.S. Open, when he charged home with a 66.
He was in third place behind Dustin Johnson and Graeme McDowell. Most years, that would have meant he was leading.

"I was very confident, but I didn't putt well on the first two holes and hit that bad drive on 3," he recalled. Woods trudged home with 75 and was fourth. There were no more echoes to awaken.

Woods was not as forthcoming about anything else. About blocking out the divorce and the furor, he called it "harder than anyone can ever imagine." He said he was "creating boundaries, because there certainly had been boundary failure," and that excited him.

He also was asked what changes he would like to see in televised golf, since new contract negotiations are looming.

"I'd like to see me win more tournaments," he said.

That is the urge that reunites Tiger with the world. The comeback has begun. When it comes into view, you will hear it.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

20 of the World's Best Golf Courses

If you had to pick 20 golf courses that stand at least a half inch taller than others in the category, Best in the World, where would you start?

Scotland, Ireland, the US, England, Australia?

That’s where most of the world’s existing golf courses are. 

Many are exceptional, so much so that the competition to get into the top 100 lists is tough.  Staying there, even tougher.

Some courses are exceptional because they are breathtakingly beautiful, and they provide a challenge.
The test does not have to be impossible, but it should be interesting, distinctive.

Any golf course can be made impossible simply by the addition of length, and so to use length alone as the barometer of excellence is foolhardy.

Some golf courses lists rely on having green speeds that defy normalcy.  With greens that stimp lower, say between nine and 11, like a St. Andrews, are they great or just very good?  A good course isn’t just about fast greens, it’s about strategy.  It’s about deception. It’s the way the land looks, and the way a golfer needs to play it to be successful.

Some courses in our top 20 are now obsolete for the touring professionals because of the changes in equipment, and because, as Jack Nicklaus has insisted for the last 25 years, the ball goes too far.

That doesn’t mean they aren’t fabulous courses. It just means the pros need to dust off some persimmon and a few old balata balls to play them the way they were meant to be played. Because most amateurs do not have professional length, the same courses are still the same tough test for most of us.   

Some courses are modern, yet look like they were invented right along with the golf itself.

Some are nearly as old as the game. Most of these, if not personally viewed, come at the recommendation of an expert in golf, often a noted player.

Some are left out, so this is with apologies to the many—particularly in Scotland, Ireland, Australia and the US—that are no doubt equal to many mentioned here.

This collection will surprise some and please others.   

You’ll see several designers mentioned often: Alister Mackenzie, Charles Blair Macdonald, Pete Dye and Jack Nicklaus.  

And now the courses, by age.

Monday, November 22, 2010

No golf, but the public can visit St. Andrews golf course for free on Sundays

In the birthplace of golf, I saw a puppy, not a putt.
The little dog raced across the Old Course's fine low grass, his mistress behind. Nearby, families posed on the Swilcan Bridge -- the bridge that Jack Nicklaus kissed in 2005 during his final British Open.

How is it that the ordinary person can walk on the world's most famous golf course?

"Nobody owns the Old Course," sniffed the ticket taker at the British Golf Museum across the street. The land was given to all the citizens of St. Andrews by the king of Scotland in the 12th Century.

Most days, lucky golfers from around the world pay up to $200 for the privilege of playing a round on the historic, par-72 St. Andrews Old Course links, where golf was invented 600 years ago.

But every Sunday, the course is closed "to let it rest," as it's so quaintly put. That's when the public gets free rein.

On a sunshiny fall afternoon, I even saw people lying down on the fairway, soaking in the brief Scotland sun as if they were on the beach.

The city even has a love story: Britain's Prince William, and Kate Middleton, who announced their engagement last week, met while students at the University of St. Andrews.

The course, of course

Naturally, my husband almost swooned when he discovered the news.

He stood on the old stone bridge. He examined the bunkers. He explored the 17th hole. And the 18th hole. And some other holes. He marveled at the perfect practice putting green, its individual blades of grass no higher than an ant's kneecap. He even sneaked a peek in the windows of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club clubhouse to glimpse trophies gleaming on a shelf. He shopped at the Links Clubhouse giftshop and had a beer in the bar.

From there, it was a short walk to the Best Western Scores Hotel, where because it was off-season and a Sunday, we stayed in junior suite 204, which directly overlooks the course's first tee.

Watch out for foozles

By the 1500s, golf was so popular in Scotland that it was banned because it kept luring men away from their archery practice. Later, towns had to pass laws against Sunday golf because too many people were on the links instead of in church.

Originally, the sport was played with wooden clubs and balls stuffed with feathers, which gave way over the centuries to much improved gear, if not improved golf scores.
The story is told at the British Golf Museum, which is golf's equivalent to the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. A treasure trove of golf memorabilia, it includes John Daly's autographed glove from his win at the British Open at St. Andrews in 1995 and Tiger Woods' autographed red shirt and black hat from his last triumph in 2005. A practice putting area lets visitors try their skill.

Older artifacts charmingly reveal the sport's long history. On display is the oldest known British Open champ scorecard, from golfer Old Tom Morris in 1864 (he won $9, hardly today's $1.29 million prize). You can also read about old golf lingo -- a "foozle" was a bad, bungling stroke, and to "miss the globe" was to miss the ball.

In a section on golf course design, there is a photo of sheep nibbling the greens to keep them short before lawnmowers were invented. And in a display of clubs over the decades, there's the Spalding Schenectady Putter from 1902, banned at St. Andrews for giving players an unfair advantage.

That old golf magic

If you want to actually play golf on the Old Course, there still are reserved slots available in 2011 -- but only from January to March (wear a parka) and after Oct. 11. However, St. Andrews has six other golf courses -- the New, Jubilee, Eden, Strathtyrum, Castle and Balgove, all of which can easily be booked just a week ahead or so.

Because St. Andrews is a public course, visitors can drop in at the golf practice center, three clubhouses, bars and giftshops anytime.

Also, if you would prefer a tour of the Old Course instead of just wandering around, 40-minute and two-hour guided walks are offered in summer (see story at right for details).

As for us, we kept drifting back to the Swilcan Bridge, built hundreds of years ago so sheep can cross. In July, golfer Tom Watson kissed that bridge as he left the game during the 2010 British Open, the latest in a long line of pro golfers to do so.

Source  http://www.freep.com/article/20101121/FEATURES07/11210376/1322/No-golf-but-the-public-can-visit-St.-Andrews-golf-course-for-free-on-Sundays

Monday, November 15, 2010

Where in the world are top golfers this week?

In the 1970s, into the 1980s and even through the 1990s, I thought golf had one very strong advantage over tennis.

While tennis might have its top three players playing in three different tournaments around the world in a given week, you always knew the top golfers in the world would be playing in the same field in that week's PGA Tour event.

Sure, a few of the top players might take a week off, and there was always talk of where one of the great international players might be playing around the world that weekend. But for the most part, the game's best players played week in and week out on the PGA Tour. It was easy to compare and contrast those golfers playing on the same course.

But the golf world of the 1970s and 1980s doesn't exist anymore. and for proof of that, just look at this weekend's tournaments.

Tiger Woods is playing in the Australian Masters, part of the Australasian Tour. Sergio Garcia, Stuart Appleby and Geoff Ogilvy are also in that field.

A couple of thousand miles away, Phil Mickelson is playing in the Barclays Singapore Open, an event on the European Tour. Adam Scott, Ian Poulter and U.S. Open Champion Graeme McDowell are in that field.

Down in Orlando, Fla., the PGA Tour is conducting its Children's Miracle Network tournament, the last official event of its season. Before you call it a tournament of lesser lights on the tour, remember that Vijay Singh, Rickie Fowler and J.B. Holmes are in the field.

So to keep track of the game's best players, you need to have one eye on Orlando, one on Singapore and one on Melbourne.
Golfers globetrotting

And don't look for things to get any easier in the coming year. The No. 1 player in the world, England's Lee Westwood, will not be a PGA Tour member next year. Neither will PGA champion Martin Kaymer of Germany or young gun sensation Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland. They will play most of their golf in Europe, though they can be counted on to play 10 or so events each in the United States.

We also know that Mickelson and likely a few other of the game's top players will be in Abu Dhabi the week that the PGA Tour comes to La Quinta for the Bob Hope Classic.

And so it goes. People like to talk about how globalization makes the world a little smaller and brings the world closer together. But in professional golf, globalization seems to be scattering the game's best players to the four corners of the Earth.

The answer of how to get the game's top players together again rather than only passing each other in airports seems simple. Somewhere out there is a blueprint for a world tour. The foundation for such a tour already exists with four majors and four world golf championships set on most players schedules. Add two to four more events around the globe and you've got a 10-to-12 event tour that would showcase the game's top players in the same place about once a month.

It's an obvious answer to the problem of the top 10 golfers in the world scattering to play in three different places. Otherwise, we'll have more weeks of needing to keep one eye on Orlando, one on Singapore and one on Melbourne.

Larry Bohannan covers golf for The Desert Sun. His columns appear Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays. He can be reached at (760) 778-4633.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Official apathy mars world’s highest Golf Course

It has been over five years since the Jammu and Kashmir government conceived a plan to ‘modernize’ the world’s highest Golf Course here in a bid to give fillip to the tourism sector by promoting Gulmarg as a ‘favourite’ Golfing destination. But as on date, the work on the prized turf is still incomplete.

According to observers, ‘official indifference’ coupled with ‘system failure’ has caused inordinate delay in completing work on the Golf Course, where the first Indian Golfer is understood to have beaten a British competitor in early 1950.

The delay is not only affecting the Golfing prospects in Kashmir, but also leading to huge cost escalation on the project. It is also spoiling the turf on which “some new works done this year are carried out afresh every next year.”

“The plan was approved by the Government of India in 2004-05 at the cost of Rs 2 crore. The actual work on it started in 2007, keeping in view the need to modernize it and promote Gulmarg as a favourite Golfing destination,” said an official, who has been closely associated with the plan. “Keeping in view the historicity of the Golf Course, it was deemed appropriate to modernize it to best possible extent so that it attracts Golfers from across the world. It was part of a vision commonly referred to as Davosification of Gulmarg.”

According to sources, a number of civil works were completed by the end of 2008 itself. This included the earthwork, tees (a short peg put into the ground to hold a golf ball off the ground) and greens work (an area of closely cropped grass surrounding the hole on a golf course). “Apart from other works, seeding had also to be done,” they said. “The seed was imported from the United States. But God knows why the state government has failed to make the Golf Course operational so far.”

A cursory look at the Golf Course—spread over 150 acres of land—reflects its sorry state of affairs. The place is in a shambles. Cattle are seen roaming around while a few ponnywalas are also having a field day.
Initially, the sources said, it was decided that the project shall be completed in two years. September 2010 was put as another deadline, which the state has failed to meet.

The executing agency of the project is the Gulmarg Development Authority (GDA) under the aegis of the Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Department.


There is a peculiar problem that has marred the Golf Course functioning. “Three Chief Ministers have been monitoring the project. Three Chief Executive Officers of the GDA and administrative officers changed since it was started. This frequent transfer marred the project because the priorities of the officers were different at different times. When someone comes in the middle of the season, he tries to understand the project in their way. It takes them time to go through the projects again which affects the overall efficiency. There is that continuity break which consumes more time,” said the official, who has been working on the project. “Also, the system failure caused the delay. It took the state government a lot of time to purchase the equipments for the Golf Course, though requisition for the same was made in time. The procurement process takes time. Some of the equipment is yet to be procured because there are too many agencies and procedural hitches involved. There has to be a backing and support from the government for such projects, which is missing for the past two years.”

Sources said there was also the “lack of accountability factor” to the issue. “There was a problem of lack of expertise and timely release of funds for the people associated with the project. With so many works, it was like carpenter’s hands for mason’s work. And then people on ground were to be made accountable and asked to meet the deadline. But nothing like that happened,” they said.


According to Ranjit Nanda, the consultant for the Gulmarg Golf Course, all the major work has been done. “There is some fine tuning that needs be done. There is also some fertilizing and maintenance work that has to be carried out,” he told Greater Kashmir. “All that is the next phase, which can’t be done in winter. The grass has already gone into dormancy. If we start early next season, we may be able to put the Golf Course into operation by July 2011.”

He said as a golfing destination, Gulmarg turf was a wonderful place. “Gulmarg Golf Course is the world’s highest Golf Course. It has lot of history. The first time an Indian player beat a British golfer was in Gulmarg in early 50s. Every year Golf tournaments would be held on the turf and Golfers from across the world would participate,” Ranjit, who has played Golf on the turf, said, asserting that the completion of the Golf Course “would certainly give fillip to tourism sector in Kashmir.”

“There is a limited working season in Gulmarg which affects the work. Then we had the turmoil this year again, which also created problem. By we are at the job. We are trying to throw it open for the sport as soon as possible,” Nanda said.

Sources however said that outside the state such projects are completed in 15 to 20 months. “The unrest in the Valley, cited by officials, is a handy excuse now. The question is why a project, which should have been completed in time, is still incomplete. That needs to be looked into,” they said.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Woods Trails Australian Masters Leaders by 4 as Putts Fall Short

Tiger Woods opened his Australian Masters title defense with a 2-under par first round that leaves him four shots behind the three leaders.

Woods, the world's No. 2-ranked golfer, recovered from an early bogey at the Victoria Golf Club to hit three birdies at the 6,886-yard (6,297 meter) course in Melbourne. He said his putting let him down after he missed just two fairways.

"That was probably the highest score I could have shot today," Woods told reporters. "I didn't make anything. I kept leaving every putt short, my speed was just slightly off, not hard enough."

Woods, 34, hasn't won since his two-shot victory at nearby Kingston Heath 12 months ago and faces the prospect of ending 2010 without a title to his name. His best finishes were at the Masters Tournament and U.S. Open, where he tied for fourth.

Less than two weeks after winning the 2009 Australian Masters, Woods crashed into a fire hydrant outside his Florida home. The single-car accident led to an admission by the 14-time major champion that he repeatedly cheated on his wife, causing the eventual end of his marriage to Elin Nordegren.

He lost sponsors including Accenture Plc, AT&T Inc. and Procter & Gamble Co.'s Gillette razors, while his record five- year run atop the Official World Golf Ranking ended last week when England's Lee Westwood took over as No. 1.

Woods entered today's opening round as the bookmakers' favorite for the tournament, which also features seven-time U.S. PGA Tour winner Sergio Garcia of Spain, 2006 U.S. Open champion Geoff Ogilvy and fellow Australian Robert Allenby, who are 1- over and 2-over, respectively. Garcia hit three bogeys and a double bogey in a 2-over-par 73.

Early Start

After teeing off at 7.27 a.m. from the 10th hole, Woods took 19 putts on his first nine holes and needed to sink a 7- foot putt for par on the final hole to avoid his second bogey.

While he left several putts short, Woods said his ball- striking was the best in an opening round since deciding in August to remodel his swing with the help of coach Sean Foley.

"I certainly have not hit the ball like this first round," he said. "I've played better on stretches for six, seven, eight holes, but nothing like this for the entire day. I really hit it good."

Australians Adam Bland and Alistair Presnell, who have shared rooms on the second-tier Nationwide Tour in the U.S. for the past two years, are tied atop the leaderboard with countryman Daniel Gaunt after 6-under-par rounds of 65.

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2010/11/10/bloomberg1376-LBP7J31A74E901-20580PM4MEQ0GR95K02A5F2TNC.DTL

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

World Golf Glance

Site: Melbourne, Australia.
Schedule: Thursday-Sunday.

Course: Victoria Golf Club (6,886 yards, 6,297 meters, par 71).

Purse: $1.52 million. Winner's share: $273,200.

Last year: Tiger Woods won at Kingston Heath, closing with a 4-under 68 for the last of his 82 official worldwide victories. Greg Chalmers was second, two strokes back.

Last week: Italy's Francesco Molinari won the HSBC Champions in China for his first World Golf Championship title, holding off top-ranked Lee Westwood by a stroke. Woods tied for sixth, leaving him winless in a U.S. PGA Tour season for the first time in his career. ... Australia's David Bransdon won the Australasian Tour's WA PGA Championship at Bunbury, matching the course record with a closing 8-under 64 for a two-stroke victory.

Notes: Last year, the presence of a woman alleged to have been Woods' guest at his Melbourne hotel led to revelations of infidelities that derailed his professional life and ended his marriage to Elin Nordegren. Woods is making his second-to-last start of the year. He also will play in own Chevron World Challenge on Dec. 2-5 in Thousand Oaks, California. His sixth-place tie last week in China was only his third top 10 of the year and his best finish since a tie for fourth at the U.S. Open. ... Australian stars Geoff Ogilvy, Robert Allenby, Stuart Appleby and Aaron Baddeley also are in the field along with Sergio Garcia and Camilo Villegas. Allenby won in 2003 and 2005, and Baddeley took the 2007 title. ... The par-4 opening hole is 257 yards. ... The NSW PGA Championship is next week at Wollongong.

Online: http://www.australianmasters.com.au

PGA Tour Australasia site: http://pgatour.com.au
Site: Singapore.

Schedule: Thursday-Sunday.

Courses: Sentosa Golf Club, The Serapong (7,300 yards, 6,675 meters, par 71) and The Tanjong (6,577 yards, 6,014 meters, par 72).

Purse: $6 million. Winner's share: $1 million.

Television: Golf Channel (Thursday-Sunday, 1:30-5 a.m., 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.).

Last year: England's Ian Poulter led wire-to-wire, beating Liang Wenchong by a stroke.

Last week: Italy's Francesco Molinari won the HSBC Champions in China for his first World Golf Championship title, holding off top-ranked Lee Westwood by a stroke. Tiger Woods tied for sixth, leaving him winless in a PGA Tour season for the first time in his career.

Notes: Phil Mickelson is making his fourth straight appearance in the event. He has an endorsement deal with tournament sponsor Barclays. ... Poulter and Molinari also are in the field along with two-time winner Adam Scott, U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell, U.S. PGA Championship winner Martin Kaymer, Padraig Harrington, Y.E. Yang, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Europen Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie. ... The final two rounds will be played on The Serapong course. ... The tours will team again next week for the Hong Kong Open. The European Tour's season-ending Dubai World Championship is from Nov. 25-28.

Online: http://www.europeantour.com

Asian Tour site: http://www.asiantour.com

Site: Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

Schedule: Thursday-Sunday.

Courses: Walt Disney Resort, Magnolia Course (7,516 yards, 6,873 meters, par 72) and Palm Course (7,010 yards, 6,410 meters, par 72).

Purse: $4.7 million. Winner's share: $846,000.

Last year: Stephen Ames won the season-ending event for the second time in three years, closing with an 8-under 64 and beating Justin Leonard and George McNeill on the second hole of a playoff.

Last week: Italy's Francesco Molinari won the HSBC Champions in China for his first World Golf Championship title, holding off top-ranked Lee Westwood by a stroke. Tiger Woods tied for sixth, leaving him winless in a PGA Tour season for the first time in his career.

Notes: The tournament ends the Fall Series. The top 125 on the money list will earn full 2011 exemptions. The next 25 will receive conditional status. Woody Austin is 123rd with $727,352, followed by. No. 124 Michael Allen ($726,631), No. 125, Troy Matteson ($723,328), No. 126 Briny Baird ($710,337), No. 127 Aron Price ($704,102), No. 128 Bob Estes ($701,158) and No. 129 Michael Connell ($694,884). ... Ames is sidelined by a back injury. ... Stewart Cink is making his first start since the Ryder Cup. ...In 2008, Davis Love III won the last of his 20 U.S. PGA Tour titles, finishing with a 64 for a one-stroke victory. ... The final two rounds will be played on the Magnolia Course.

Online: http://www.pgatour.com

Site: Guadalajara, Mexico.

Schedule: Thursday-Sunday.

Course: Guadalajara Country Club (6,638 yards, 6,070 meters, par 72).

Purse: $1.1 million. Winner's share: $220,000.

Last year: Michelle Wie won her first U.S. LPGA Tour title, beating Paula Creamer by two strokes. Wie shot 70-66-70-69.

Last week: Top-ranked Jiyai Shin won the Mizuno Classic in Japan for her second U.S. LPGA Tour victory of the season and eighth overall, closing with a 5-under 67 for a two-stroke victory over Yani Tseng.

Notes: Tournament host Ochoa is making her first tour start since retiring in April. The Mexican star has 27 U.S. LPGA Tour victories. She grew up playing at Guadalajara Country Club, still her home course. ... Wie won the Canadian Women's Open in August for her second tour title. ... Tseng has a 14-point lead over Ai Miyazato in the player of the year race. Shin, skipping the tournament, and Na Yeon Choi are tied for third, 18 points behind Tseng. In 2008, Angela Stanford won the inaugural tournament, beating Annika Sorenstam and Brittany Lang by a stroke. ... The tour is off the next two weeks. The season-ending LPGA Tour Championship is Dec. 2-5 at Grand Cypress in Orlando, Florida.
Online: http://www.lpga.com

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Golf-World rankings

World rankings on Monday (U.S. unless stated, last week's positions in brackets):

1. (1) Lee Westwood (Britain) 8.84 average points
2. (2) Tiger Woods 8.21
3. (3) Martin Kaymer (Germany) 7.96
4. (4) Phil Mickelson 7.73
5. (5) Steve Stricker 7.07
6. (6) Jim Furyk 6.98
7. (7) Paul Casey (Britain) 6.27
8. (8) Luke Donald (Britain) 5.97
9. (9) Rory McIlroy (Britain) 5.53
10. (10) Graeme McDowell (Britain) 5.41
11. (11) Matt Kuchar 5.28
12. (12) Ernie Els (South Africa) 5.22
13. (13) Dustin Johnson 5.04
14. (30) Francesco Molinari (Italy) 4.58
15. (14) Ian Poulter (Britain) 4.55
16. (15) Hunter Mahan 4.40
17. (16) Edoardo Molinari (Italy) 4.38
18. (17) Retief Goosen (South Africa) 4.35
19. (18) Zach Johnson 4.07
20. (19) Padraig Harrington (Ireland) 4.03

Monday, November 8, 2010

Woods donates money for flood victims

US golfer Tiger Woods and Thai golfer Thongchai Jaidee met Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva at the Government House on Monday to donate part of proceeds from the ticket sale of a golf tournament to help flood victims.

They donated 2.2 million baht to help people affected by flooding in the country.
Woods is among four players competing in "World Golf Salutes King Bhumibol Adulyadej," a charity event in honour of His Majesty on Monday. The one-day skins golf event is held at a country club in Chonburi province.

After his visit to the Government House, the former number one golfer went to the Siriraj Hospital to sign a get-well book to wish His Majesty a speedy recovery.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Tiger Woods no longer the world’s top golfer

It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to golf fans around the world that American ace Tiger Woods is no longer ranked as the top golfer on the planet. It didn’t come as a shock to Woods himself as he could see it coming based on his mediocre play of late. What it does represent though is a new era in golf, not at least for all of you golf betting fanatics out there. 

Woods has had quite a few issues to deal with over the past two or three years starting with knee problems in 2008. After that came the infamous car crash which took place just outside of his home late one night, which was then followed by the public details of his infidelity and finally ending in a divorce from his Swedish wife. 

It’ll be a new era in the world of golf because Woods had been the top-ranked golfer for the previous 281 weeks. He has also held the number-one ranking for an overall total of 623 weeks during his career. Woods has shattered the previous record of 331 weeks which was held by Greg Norman. Some of the game’s best players have never earned the top ranking though as the Official World Golf Ranking system has only been in use for the past 24 years. This means top golfers such as Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus were never ranked. 

Most golf fans likely thought that Phil Mickelson would eventually take over the top spot from Woods, especially after he won the Masters tournament earlier this year, but his game has slipped since then and he hasn’t won another tournament since. 

The top golfer, this week anyway, is Lee Westwood of England. Westwood has always been a top contender when it comes to winning major tournaments, but he hasn’t actually managed to win one yet. His reign as the top golfer in the world could very well be short lived as the HSBC Champions tournament takes place this week in Shanghai, China. 

The tournament will feature Mickelson, Westwood, Woods, and 25-year-old Martin Kaymer of Germany, who captured this year’s PGA Championship. Either one of them could take the top spot after the event, including Woods, as the rankings are that close. 

With Woods being knocked out of the top spot, there isn’t really anybody on the PGA Tour who can be considered to be a clear favourite to replace him for a lengthy period of time. There are a only a few exciting youngsters and pros who seem to have the potential to do it at the moment, so it’ll be interesting to see if Woods has what it takes to reclaim his number one ranking in the near future.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Pakistan finish 53 in world amateur golf team ranking

Pakistan slumped to 53rd from its pervious ranking of 47 in the world Amateur Golf Team Championship (men) for Eisenhower Trophy which concluded at Buenos Aires on Sunday with France winning the title.
The championship was reduced to three rounds as the second round was suspended due to stormy conditions.

As many as 69 teams took part in the championship which is held once every two years. Antalya ( Turkey) has been chosen as the venue for the 2012 World Amateur Team Championships while Japan’s city of Karuizawa has been selected as the site of the 2014 Championships.

Pakistan is the only nation to field the same team as in 2008. Muhammad Safdar Khan, Muhammad Ali Hai and Hamaz Taimur Amin finished 47th in 2008.

These three formed team which was managed by Pakistan Golf Federation secretary Taimur Hassan. Pakistani’s performance was disappointing.

Muhammad Safdar logged 75-82-78 for an aggregate of 235 in three rounds. Ali Hai played 79-77-82 for a total of 238 and Hamza Amin had scores of 76-85-84 for 245.

As best of two scores on each day is taken into consideration, Pakistan had 151 score on first day, 159 in second round and 160 for third round for a total of 470.

Pakistan team is due to return home by Qatar Airways some time on Tuesday.

Johann Lopez-Lazaro and Alexander Levy of France each shot even-par 72 to propel France to victory at the 2010 World Amateur Team Championship by four strokes over Denmark and five strokes over the USA to win the Eisenhower Trophy at Buenos Aires Golf Club.

The French, with a 7-under-par 423, fended off the Danes and Americans in the last 12 holes of the weather-shortened 54-hole championship.

Because of poor weather during the second round, the championship was reduced to 54 holes. Denmark, at 427, claimed its first medal in the championship. The USA, at 428, now has 23 medals, with a top-10 finish in all 27 competitions.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Tiger Woods Yields No. 1 Golf Ranking to Lee Westwood, Capping Torrid Year

Tiger Woods’s record five-year reign as the world’s top-ranked golfer is over, marking another low point in a torrid 12 months for the 14-time major champion.

Lee Westwood took over top spot in the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time, becoming the only European player to top the list since Nick Faldo in 1994. Westwood was ranked as low as 266th seven years ago and is only the fourth player to gain the top spot without winning a major tournament.

“When you’re growing up and people say, ‘What do you want to achieve,’ everyone says ‘I want to be the best in the world,’” Westwood said in comments posted on the European Tour website. “Right at this moment, I can show people the world rankings and say ‘I am the best on the planet.’”

Westwood, 37, hasn’t played since Oct. 10 as he continues to recover from a calf injury that’s limited him to one tournament finish since July’s British Open. U.S. PGA champion Martin Kaymer would have become No. 1 had he finished first or second at yesterday’s Andalucia Valderrama Masters in Spain. The German, who had won his past three events, was 21st.

Woods drops to No. 2 and Kaymer remains third in the rankings. Phil Mickelson is fourth and Steve Stricker rounds out the top five.

Woods’s personal and professional life began to unravel after he crashed his Cadillac into a fire hydrant while leaving his Florida home early on Nov. 27. The incident sparked revelations about repeated marital infidelity, which Woods confessed to in December, leading to his divorce in August. Woods lost sponsors including Accenture Plc, AT&T Inc. and Procter & Gamble Co.’s Gillette razors, and failed to win a tournament this year after taking a break of almost five months.

Record Run

Woods, 34, spent 281 consecutive weeks as No. 1 and 623 weeks in total atop the rankings. His next tournament is the World Golf Championships’ HSBC Champions in China from Nov. 4-7, according to his website. Westwood is also scheduled to play in the tournament.

“I have a great relationship with Tiger,” said Westwood. “We have mutual respect and have always got on well, on and off the course. I give him a little bit of stick and he gives me a little.”

Westwood is the third British player to be world No. 1, after Faldo and Ian Woosnam, and the 13th in all since the rankings began in 1986.

He’s had 20 career wins on the European Tour and topped its money list in 2000 and 2009. He was runner-up at this year’s Masters Tournament and British Open.

Westwood won June’s St. Jude Classic for his second victory on the U.S. PGA Tour and last month helped Europe beat the U.S. in the Ryder Cup.

The 25-year-old Kaymer finished the Andalucia Masters in a tie for 21st place at 7-over par. Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell, the U.S. Open champion, won the title at 3-under, two shots ahead of Denmark’s Soren Kjeldsen, Damien McGrane of Ireland and Gareth Maybin of Northern Ireland.