Casey and Howell return

Paul Casey and David Howell played in 2 back to back Ryder Cups in 2004 and 2006 which resulted in grand victories for them – not only they were team mates, but they were also fourball partners, becoming victorious in 2 matches out of 2.

Both of them were in the world’s top ten and those five years which is generally looked at as a golf player’s peak years – from thirty to thirty five – was beckoning. This is the 5 year spell when experience and talent reflects on the golf course.

Yet, for some these five years can also be a desperately tough time, when injuries happens with aggravating frequency; or a life changing experiences like divorce or the loss of a parent can take years off a career.

And we have seen Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood, Justin Rose and Luke Donald all progress from UK’s golden generation to turn into truly world-class golfers during this time, and on the other hand they have also seen Paul Casey and David Howell fall by the wayside.

Whilst the others top the leaderboards, and are tipped by the likes of Unibet and other online betting companies, these two have struggled.

Six years back, David Howell won 2 of Europe’s top golf events, including the flagship tournament at Wentworth as well as defeating Tiger in Shanghai; Paul Casey made it to the world’s top 3. After that life poked in a destructive way. David lost confidence after some bad injuries and more importantly the lost his mother. Meanwhile, Paul had a difficult time during his divorce.

Phil Mickelson back on form

Though Phil Mickelson was unable to register a victory in his name at the Deutsche Bank Championship but still he thinks that he has played quite well. Now he thinks he is ready to get started with the FedEx Cup playoff event.

Mickelson recorded a 5-under par 66 after opening his account with three 68s. He tied for the fourth place with 14 shots behind. This was Mickelson’s best finish since the Masters where he tied for the third place. In fact he was unable to finish higher than the 36th spot since May when he tied for the seventh spot at Byron Nelson.

Mickelson reported he was happy with his game as his putting was good and he drove the ball according to his wish. Crooked Stick, the BMW Championship site, will be a whole new experience for him as he hasn’t ever played there. But he has been successful at the TPC Boston. While talking about TPC course he said that the course is full of birdie holes. There are also several par holes which are really tough.

Phil Mickelson is under some doubts about the new TPC course as it has been reconfigured by Gil Hanse, the architect. The size of the course has been reduced to 4100 square feet from 6500 square feet. But he is quite sure that it won’t create much trouble as he is getting back to his form. He scored birdie of 18 recently and also recorded two pars.

Hanse has been termed as one of the best ground architecture by Mickelson. But then he is not sure about the 18th hole as most of the measured shots are failing to reach the hole. Phil Mickelson can be the best in his day and he proved it by making only a single bogey which counts to six for the week. According to his opinion he prepared himself for four rounds and didn’t want to make any silly mistakes.

Luke Donald Manages Best Finish at The Open

The world’s top ranked golfer Luke Donald was able to match his best finish at The Open Championship, which recently concluded at Royal Lytham & St. Annes, and became the top ranked Englishman in the a Major tournament yet again. However, there was some consolation for the other English golfers as Ryder Cup teammate Ian Poulter managed to find some of his lost form at the final day of the event at Turnberry.

Donald managed to end the tournament, closing with a 69, which helped him achieve a T-5 finish along with Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland, matching his best finish at Turnberry from 2009. Donald managed to score a stunning three back nine birdies in just five holes, sandwiched between two bogeys at the 10th and 12th and picked up a check of £ 195,000 for his efforts. And although he didn’t win the title at a Major championship yet again, Luke Donald improved drastically after failing to even make the cut at the US Open, which took place last month.

And in spite of the negative publicity surrounding yet another failure in a Major tournament, Donald himself is confident that there is still time for him to win a Major championship sometime in the future. He also admitted that his performance at the British Open gave him enough confidence and also the self belief that he is good enough to become a Major winner sometime in the future.

Speaking about his performance, Donald was as candid as ever when he accepted that he didn’t put away enough holes to merit a victory, adding that there are still many positives that he will take away from the tournament. Luke Donald stated that he is leaving Turnberry with a lot of confidence and the belief that there is a Major awaiting him in the future.

Stricker Struggles into the US Open

Steve Stricker has admitted that he is struggling with his confidence, as he prepares to tee off at this week’s US Open, following what he describes as a ‘mini slump’.

The experienced 45-year old has four top-10 finishes in nine appearances, in 2012. However, Stricker’s putting has been way below the level that he wanted it to be at this point in the year.

Stricker’s short game has always been the strongest part of the American’s game, finishing inside the top-20 for putting in the past three years. So far, this season, however, the 45-year old has seen his putting ranking drop down to 72nd, making just 84% of his putts between three and five feet.

His loss of putting form has taken its toll on Stricker’s confidence, ahead of the second Major of the year. The former world number two has insisted he is still preparing to give this tournament his best shot, with glimpses of form recently giving Stricker something to take into the tournament in San Francisco.

“I am not excited (about) how I am playing lately, to tell the truth,” said Stricker. “I haven’t been getting the ball in the hole very well. I am hitting the ball fine, which is a good part, but my putting has been letting me down recently.

“I feel like the way I played the last few tournaments, I’m not carrying a ton of confidence in here, but I’ve been playing well in spurts. I feel like I can hold my own, and I’ve played well in prior U.S. Opens. So, I feel like, if I play my game, and I’m capable at what I’m doing, I can get myself in there.”

Stricker be hoping to rediscover his best form during this weekend at the Olympic Club. The American will be a 56/1 outsider in San Francisco, according to the US Open 2012 betting pages on Betfair.com.

Kim out for over four months

Twenty six year old American, Anthony Kim who memorably rose to fame in 2007 has been sidelined with an uncertain date set on his return to action. The Los Angeles based golfing pro has only managed to make two cuts in competition in 2012 and has not completed a number of competitions this year due to niggling injuries.

The player who has won three PGA tour events, made his name when achieving an incredible ten top five finishes in one year, but has always suffered from injuries in his career. The Korean American has been sidelined with Tendinitis in his elbow and is expected to be out for as much as four to five months and even longer depending on speed of recovery. The injury was sustained during the Texas Open where he hit a rock, but have been an ongoing issue for some time.

As previously suggested Kim is no stranger to injury having suffered a torn ligament in his hand in 2010 after a superb performance in Augusta and after trouble with both elbows last year he is now facing a lengthy lay off which will see him miss the US Open and the Ryder cup. Kim has only managed to qualify once for the Ryder Cup in the American win in 2008, but failed to make the team in 2010.

This injury will come as a severe blow but having lost lots of ground in his career having not won since the Houston Open in 2010, Kim is viewing this injury as a chance to rest up an revaluate his game ahead of returning for 2013 where he wants to bring back his form from earlier in his career.

McIlroy Reclaims World Number One Spot

In spite of losing the playoffs in the Wells Fargo Championships to Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy has scaled the heights to reach the top of the golf rankings once again, having overtaken Luke Donald in the process.

Although the loss at the Wells Fargo Championships could haunt the 23 year Irishman forever, due to the fact that he almost had the event in his pocket and spurned the chance to go on top with a win on his birthday, he can take solace from the fact that he is the top golfer in the world at the moment, again and there is not too many people around who can challenge him for his position.

Another source of his consolation would be that he lost the final to his contemporary Fowler instead of some old timer. Along with the two 23 year olds, DA Points, the 35 year old golfer was also a part of the playoff at the event but the entire concentration and focus of the people was on the two 23 year olds, battling it out for supremacy, a battle that the American golfing public had long been waiting to see.

Speaking to the media after the event, Rory McIlroy stated that it was a kind of consolation to return to the world number one position but added that he badly wanted to win the tournament. He also extended his congratulations to Rickie Fowler as well, adding that with his talent, he deserved to win the title and hoped that this win will act as the springboard in his career.
But what has perplexed Rory McIlroy the most is how he managed to spurn the chance to win his third consecutive American title in regulation time owing to some stray shots, displaying that even the very best also have flaws.

FURYK UPS HIS GAME

Veteran golfer and former US Open Champion Jim Furyk is heading into the Transitions Championships with the aim of improving his all round game, having made the cut in three out of four attempts this year.

Although that would prove to be a very successful conversion rate for any player, Furyk, on the other hand, has not had the best of starts to the present calendar year 2012 having had no finishes in the top ten in 12 tournaments that he has participated in sp far.

Furyk, who had been in the top ten of golf’s ranking for more than 350 straight weeks between 1999 and 2010, has had a dismal fall from grace, not being near the top 20 even over the last year or so and that does not sound good news for one of the most talented golfers of his generation. Ever since he won the FedEx Cup Championships back in 2010, the career of Jim Furyk has been on a downward spiral and he is not considered as one of the regular contenders for a tournament he enters in anymore.

Although Furyk is still fourth on the Tour in terms of his driving accuracy, his ball striking has left a lot to be desired, putting him in 187th position on Tour and that is not good for a player who once had the reputation of being one of the cleanest strikers of the golf ball of all time.

But Jim Furyk is adamant that there is still room for him to improve and the veteran golfer is heading into the Transitions Championships with the aim of improving his stroke play and to restore the confidence that many people believe he has lost forever and only a win here would serve him for the next few tournaments.

JOHNSON SET FOR HUMANA

Dustin Johnson has finally made his move and set his foot down on his decision to enter into the Humana Challenge and partner with the foundation set up by William Clinton.

Dustin is quite a known and recognized name in the golfing circuit and has gained quite a number of achievements in his professional career.

His earnings on 4.3 million dollars are enough to show where he currently stands. His dedication and skill is quite unmatched and he manages to bring about consistency to his game play, which is why he has moved on to such great heights.

Dustin Johnson is very particular regarding his future course of events and has already set out to plan the strategy for his future endeavor in the coming seasons. He is one the high ranked player in the Humana tournament and this goes on to add the excitement to the game. The other ranked players who share a similar standing with him include those like Matt Kuchar, Bill Haas, Phil and a few more.

The chairman of the Humana challenge, Mr. Larry has also shown and expressed his contentment on the joining of Dustin and has clearly mentioned that the addition and entry of such high class players give a boost to the tournament on the whole as well.

Changes in the schedule for the Humana tournament might be on the minds of the organizers and this has been taken in the positive spirit by the audience and the players as well. Everyone is quite interested and keen to know how the change in events will affect the game and whether it will maintain the standard set by the Humana challenge in the previous years. As of now the focus stays on Dustin Johnson.

STRICKER TAKES TITLE

Think one of the best American golf players and Steve Stricker definitely features on everyone’s chart, just as he was one and half decade ago.

Stricker was the top ranked US golfer in the field at Kapalua, where the no-show chart of 11 golfers included 3 major winners.

He was asked at the beginning of the week whether he saw himself as a headline maker, he sheepishly smiled and answered ‘no’.

A few days ago, Tim Finchem, the PGA Tour commissioner commented that personally there is no one he would rather watch play golf than Steve Stricker as a fan. When this was told to Stricker, jokingly an individual asked whether Finchem was drinking a Mai Tai at the time?! Stricker asked whether he was drunk or not.

On Monday, Steve Stricker won that Tournament of Champions by 3 shots. It was Steve’s 8th win in last fifty events, the top winning rate of any player on the PGA tour in that period.

Runner-up Martin Laird stated that Stricker is the most underestimated golfer.

Taking the title for the 12th time in his golfing career was special along with assuring his family that they will go back to Maui next year. Having his daughters greet him with a hug on the 18th green turned it all the sweeter.

What defines Steve Stricker is what Jimmy Johnson, his caddie, says about him – “He may not be the flashiest player sometimes, but he does other things well. He uses his golf clubs well. He chips and putts well. He drives the ball well. Everybody has got a little bit of a different game, and Steve’s game focusses on the bits that he knows how to do the best.”

JOHNSON SIGNS UP TO HUMANA CHALLENGE

Dustin Johnson has agreed to join in the Humana Challenge partnering with the William J Clinton foundation.

This player, known for his long hits is a five time winner on tour and has a lot of achievements up his sleeve. His total earnings in the year 2011 were 4.3 million dollars and this goes on to show how skillful and dedicated he has been in his game play.

Dustin has already planned his future course of game strategy for the next upcoming season. He will be playing the Farmers insurance Open just after the Humana tournament is done with.

The beauty of joining the Humana tournament is that Dustin Johnson is one of the highest ranked players along with the others, the likes of which include Matt Kuchar, Phil Mickelson, Bill Haas and a few others. The tournament chairman Larry is also quite pleased to see that Dustin has planned to launch the start of this season with the Humana tournament. Having players like Dustin Jonson enter these tournaments gives the entire tournament a different feels altogether.

There have been speculations that there will be a change in the tournament schedule and pattern which is why there has been a great response from both the players as well as the audience. Both parties are interested to see how this new schedule will function and whether it will end up being successful as the previous years.

After Friday, the players can also stay on the field for the victory of the Sony Open to be held in Hawaii and even have the results of the Sony event change with time. People however are waiting to see how Dustin Johnson performs and whether or not he will be able to bring about a bright start to his professional career.