Augusta is a paradise, says Martin Kaymer

Different people have different definition of paradise. Well, for golfer Martin Kaymer, it is the eighteen holes of Augusta, where he walks out for the 1st round of the Masters.

Martin Kaymer

For Martin there has been some problem in paradise. The ex world number one missed his 1st four cuts at Augusta and even though he relished his best finish in Masters previous year, still he was just 31st and thirteen shots off Bubba Watson, the winner.

But in spite of being 50-1 with bookmakers, the 2-time Major champ sees no reason why Bubba would not slip the Green Jacket come the Sunday finale. The German told that this is the only Major they go to the same place every time and it is the littlest pack of all four Majors so it must be the easiest to win.

He added that what he prefers regarding it most is it is the largest challenge that they face and, if one could win against the best players in the world on the most difficult course in the world, one could win anywhere in the world, though he was pleased to have the backing of his promoters out there Yacht Charter Scotland.

This is a place he would often seen on television as a children and actually in reality this is more than perfect there – this is paradise. It is like a huge backyard but this is the toughest place to win. Probably this is only because of the expectations as well as pressure you put on themselves.

Rory Loses To Hamilton

The entire golf world was shocked as the young golf icon Rory McIlroy lost out to Formula 1 legend Lewis Hamilton at the BBC Sports Personality of 2014 award last Sunday.

Rory’s Northern Irish fans, golf seniors and connoisseurs of the game were hoping hard for the Irish hero to win the coveted trophy since he was declared as the finalist for the prestigious award with Lewis Hamilton.

The F1 racing hero won his 2nd F1 title in November at UAE whilst Rory was the 1st golfer from UK to triumph at back-to-back golf majors as he claimed PGA US title this year.

The dapper Irish golf hero came up with spectacular performances this year with victory at two majors (WGC Bridgestone & BMW PGA) & helped Europe to retain the coveted Ryder Cup.

He is the reigning #1 golfer at present so it’s fair to say that it’s pretty natural that the golf veterans will be miffed with the 25-year-old golf star’s loss to Lewis Hamilton at the prestigious BBC award circuit. (For fans looking to back him to come back fighting in his next tournament, you can find the best betting odds for golf at William Hill Canada.)

“BBCSPOTY has become a huge joke”, read a tweet from seriously offended Poulter. “It is a such a huge shame. Big congrats to Hamilton but then he had one single guy to beat throughout the year.”

Rory tweeted later- “Thanks to everybody who supported me through voting. Congratuloations to every candidate & specifically Lewis Hamilton- he is a thoroughly deserved & worthy winner.”

In tune with Poulter, Rory’s fans too expressed great disappointment regarding the SPOTY decision, over Twitter.

“Rory’s year was any day better in comparison to Hamilton”, tweeted Mark Allen.

“I love F1 & Lewis but then I love golf as well & I feel Rory must have been awarded this time. Once again the award went to higher-profile sports”, noted Beck Bailey.

Mickelson commits to Shell Houston Open

Legendary golfer Phil Mickelson kept saying that he was keen to return to the Shell Houston Open scheduled for next week and Steve Timms, the tournament director stated that his conversations with the golfer gave him that same impression.

But until a player commits to play in an event officially, there remains some doubt. Moreover, with the new regulations of the PGA Tour allowing players to withdraw from the tournament till the Friday before an event is set to tee off, things tend to get really nervous for the organizers.

But now, it seems the Shell Houston Open will have one of the strongest fields it has had in a long time. It has been revealed that Lefty has finally committed to playing in the event, as has Jimmy Walker, the only three-time PGA Tour winner this season. The event tees off on the 3rd of April and will continue till the 6th.

Mickelson will be making his 10th appearance in the Shell Houston Open and he won the title at the Golf Club of Houston back in 2011 as well. Six of the top 11 ranked golfers according to the latest Golf World Rankings have committed to play in the event with world number 11 Matt Kuchar along with Englishman Ian Poulter as well as Webb Simpson featuring in the lost released by the organizers.

The inclusion of Mickelson and Simpson gives the event a field that has a combined 25 major titles between them. The legendary left hander himself has five major titles and a total of 42 wins on the PGA Tour as well.

The Shell Houston Open is back as the traditional opener to the Augusta Masters which is set to tee off on the 10th of April and will feature most of these players as well.

McConnell Golf To Eliminate Public Playing

McConnell Golf is reportedly eliminating public play at Members Club. It is one of primary policies to be implemented by McConnell Golf for the Grande Dunes golf.

Since the early quarter of 2011, Members Club has been accepting outside golf from the resort guests, select hotels as well as golf-package providers. Infusion of the revenue has assisted a membership which falls behind those from other private golf clubs across the region to financially back the club.

Members Club spans across an area of 7,029 yard par-71, co-designed by Craig Schreiner and Nick Price. It was a completely private arena since its inauguration in 2005 till 2011. But the private ambience failed to pull in members, especially post housing lump & the recession span in 2007.

“The immediate idea is restoring the club to its original intent”, stated McConnell Golf COO Christian Anastasiadis. “We feel that this property has lost out on its identity and vision. The primary thing you would desire for is reestablishing the very vision of Burroughs and Chapin.”

“….I feel it would be great to get back to the private character of the course in the contemporary market which has got oversaturated with the public courses.”

McConnell now holds a good collection of as many as ten private golf clubs at 8 facilities across Carolinas, including Pawleys Island Reserve Club, with restricted reciprocal playing provisions in between them.

It was LStar Management which hired McConnell Golf to operate Ocean Club, Members Club & Anchor Café. LStar purchased the Grande Dunes 22-acre resort & development on December 20.

Members Club at Grande Dunes is the 1st of 10 courses operated by McConnell Golf, which it does not own. The club has been purchased on a 2-year contract which would get renewed automatically.

Dustin Johnson wins WGC-HSBC Champions

American golfer Dustin Johnson managed to hold back the challenge of Englishman Ian Poulter and Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell on what turned out to be a griping final day at the World Golf Championship HSBC Champions in Shanghai, China to take the trophy.

The American had a three shot lead overnight but quickly found his lead cut back when he required three attempts at a putt while his rivals managed to sink in birdie putts to take over the lead from him. However, Johnson managed two straight birdies in the eighth and ninth holes and went back in to share the lead before Poulter took the sole lead after hitting another birdie on the twelfth hole.

Johnson went on to snap up another birdie on the thirteenth to draw level before both the leaders sank their respective birdies to set up a thrilling finale to what was becoming one of the events of the season, thinks to tumultuous way it proceeded in.

But it was meant for Dustin Johnson as he found an eagle and followed it up with a birdie par and ended up just the way he had begun the day, with a three shot lead and the title as well. It was his eighth victory on the PGA Tour and the first that he has managed on a European Tour event.

And he admitted that he didn’t get off to the best of starts during the day and gave credit to Ian Poulter and Graeme McDowell for pushing him all the way to the finish. He mentioned that he was happy with the way he played during the latter half of the day and added that he immensely enjoyed how things turned out.

Dustin Johnson also mentioned that this could be the biggest win of his career so far.

Kuchar back in BMW contention

A day after golfer Jim Furyk hit the game’s magic figure of 59 to get a portion of the lead at BMW Championship; it took very little for another golfer to go low at the Conway Farms Golf Club. After scrambling with windy circumstances through the 1st thirty six holes, Matt Kuchar finished his round with 3 back to back to card a bogey free, ten-under sixty one and rush up the leader board outside Chicago.

Matt Kuchar told that it was a completely different day compared to the first two days. Now Matt stays at five under 208 through 3 rounds after carding 5 birdies on each side on Saturday.

Following rounds seventy four and seventy three, Mat found himself tied for sixty-first through thirty six holes. He was in jeopardy of dropping sharply from his spot in the standings of FedEx Cup that was 4th entering this week. With several golfers in the field trying to go in the top 5 to assure their own luck at Tour Championship next week, Matt stated that he has absolutely no plans to begin number mashing FedEx Cup points.

Mat told that he had never figured out how thinking about any of those things serves someone to play better on the field. He really does not understand how people get concerned regarding these things. He thinks that one can play the best they can and allow the numbers to figure things out. The former players champ also added that he got off to a good start and then had a thought on the last hole; he thought if he hole this out from the fairway, it’s a 59.

Phil Mickelson cautiously optimistic about Open

The veteran American golfer Phil Mickelson hasn’t had much success over the years at The Open Championship, having had just two finishes in the top 10 in his 17 appearances at the event.

However, as he embarks on his preparatory mission ahead of the Scottish Open, the first European Tour event to be telecast live in the United States of America, Lefty stated that he is feeling rather cautiously optimistic about his chances this year at Muirfield.

Speaking to Sky Sports as he was preparing to take to the course for a practice session, the legendary American golfer stated that he hasn’t played the gold he is capable of, his best game at the event. However, he also added that it is time to play that golf now; adding that it is the time to shoot the scores as well as hit the shots that he has spent the last twenty years working on. Phil Mickelson added that he believes that over the last eight or nine years, he has started to play the game a lot better, but admitted that the Scottish Open provides still a chance for him.

The last time he found himself close to winning the title at the event was back in 2011 when he finished at the event at T – 2, just three shots behind the eventual winner Darren Clarke. In spite of hovering around the top of the leader board for much of the final round, Lefty blew his chance when he hit four bogeys in his last eight shots.

Phil Mickelson mentioned that he is always cautiously optimistic; adding that the British Open is one of his favorite events because it has challenged him to the limit but also admitted that one needs a bit of luck to succeed on the course.

Focus on Graeme McDowell

Graeme McDowell was born in Portrush, North Ireland, on the 30 of July 1979 to catholic/protestant parents. Since the early age of 8 he played with Rathmore Golf club. He was coached by his own uncle, Uel Loughery. When he was just 14 years old he played the senior cup for Rathmore.

Graeme McDowell attended college at Queen’s University in Belfast; he then transferred to the University of Alabama in Birmingham. Through the spring of 2002 he played golf for his college. In 2002, McDowell won six out of twelve college events and the Haskins award. The Walker Cup team which won in 2001 at the Sea Island, Georgia included him as a member. This is an evidence of a successful golfing career as an amateur in both Ireland and America.

Graeme McDowell started playing professional golf on 2002 and his professional golf career got a brilliant kick start, his first victory came in that season’s Volvo Scandinavian Masters on the European tour. Due to this victory he was rewarded the honorary life membership at the Royal Portrush Golf Club. In his third season he won the Telecom Italia Open and bagged the sixth position on the European Tour’s order of merit. Though not a full member of the PGA Tour his continuous good performances ensure that he is invited to play in many American events. He finished a tied-second in the Bay Hill Invitational.

Then in 2008 he won both the Ballantine’s Championship in South Korea and the Barclays Scottish Open. He was also a member of the Ryder Cup team that represented England. At the end of the season he was ranked 5th on the order of merit. In 2010 he achieved his fifth European win when he claimed the Celtic Manor Wales Open by three shots. This victory was followed by another in the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach and the Ryder Cup at Celtic 2010 Ryder Cup win.

Focus on Steve Sticker

Steve Sticker is an American golfer who plays professionally on the US PGA Tour, and although over the last couple of seasons, he plays more on a part time basis than as a full professional, he is still considered one of the flag bearers of the American golfing scene on the Tour.

The American has won 12 titles on the US PGA Tour and although he is yet to win a major title in his long career on the Tour, he came very close to securing a major championship when in 1998; he finished a close second in the PGA Championship.

His major wins include the 2001 World Golf Championship – Accenture Match Play Championship as well as two playoff events of the FedEx Cup. But the most successful season for Steve Sticker on the US PGA Tour came when in 2009; he won three tournaments in the season and finished the season ranked second on the money list. His highest career ranking in the Official Golf World Rankings came when he climbed up to number two in the rankings. Stricker spent a whopping 57 consecutive weeks in the top 10 of the rankings between 2007 and 2008 and spent a further 157 weeks in the top 10 again between 2009 and 2012.

Stricker began his professional career in 1990 as part of the Canadian Professional Golf Tour where he managed to win two events. He played on the Tour for four years and he finally got his chance to play on the US PGA Tour in 1994.

Steve Sticker is an extremely family man and his recent decision to play golf only on a part time basis has been attributed to him wanting to spend time with his family. His wife Nicki frequently helps him out as a caddie as well.

Dufner and Khan top of Doha leaderboard

Jason Dufner, the US Ryder Cup player, and English golfer Simon Khan made brilliant bursts to the leaderboard’s top position early on 3rd day of Doha’s Commercial Bank Qatar Masters. Jason, on a 2 – week trip to the Middle East, was just forty second at halfway, but he went to turn in thirty two and after that he started the back 9 with 2 more birdies.

This brought him alongside the 4 overnight pacesetters Ricardo Santos, Marcus Fraser, Martin Kaymer and Sergio Garcia before they have even teed off again. Ex PGA event winner Simon Khan made it a 6 – way tie after he birdied 5 of the first 6 holes to go 9 – under par as well.

That was a huge turnaround from previous week for the forty year old golfer from Essex, who escaped the cut by 5 strokes in the 1st leg of European Tour’s 3 week ‘Desert Swing’.

Jason bogeyed the short thirteenth, but Simon’s 6th birdie came at 391-yard 7th as well as with 2 pars to follow as he was out in a 6-under-30.
Branden Grace , the South African golfer, also birdied 3 of his first 4 holes to be a part of the group 1 behind on 9 under. Simon grabbed his 8th birdie at 203-yard thirteenth, but he was joined on twelve under when his fellow countryman Chris Wood had 5 birdies in the 1st eight.