Friday, September 28, 2012

Ryder Cup Foursomes - Day 1

Today the Ryder Cup 2012 kicks off at Medinah Country Club in Chicago, Illinois. There are two sessions on day one, in the morning the Foursomes and in the afternoon the Fourballs.

So, kicking off the Foursomes this morning, the format is that each team (USA and Europe) has 2 players and the team just plays with one ball with the players taking turns in playing the shots. On player will be chosen to take the tee shot then the other plays the second shot and so on until the ball is holed (or a gimme is given). The team that wins a particular hole will get the point for that hole. If both teams hole out in the same number of shots then the hole is halved. So the game goes on over 18 holes unless someone wins it before the end - this can happen if for example one team is more points up than there are holes left to play. E.g. if Europe are 3 up with 2 to play then they cannot lose so the match ends at that point and Europe get the point for that match.

Foursomes in the morning session are:

Jose Maria Olazabal, Captain of the Europe Team
Match 1
Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy against Jim Furyk and Brandt Snedeker

Match 2
Luke Donald and Sergio Garcia against Phil Mickleson and Keegan Bradley

Match 3
Lee Westwood and Francesco Molinari against Jason Dufner and Zach Johnson

Match 4
Ian Poulter and Justin Rose against Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker

The matches have often veered from one team winning to the other and at different points in time you may see a swathe of blue on the scoreboard which an hour or so later is then replaced by a swathe of red! So for most matches it is difficult to know who is going to win until pretty much the last few holes which is what makes the Ryder Cup so exciting.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Dubai Desert Classic Kicks Off

So the Dubai Desert Classic kicks off today, without Tiger Woods this year as he was paid to go to the Abu Dhabi Championships so I guess that was his Middle Eastern stop off. But there are plenty of big names out there vying for the title and the big paycheck that comes at the end of it. Lee Westwood is one player who really wants this title, having not secured it as yet. The defending champion is Alvaro Quiros and there are many other top names in the field.

Yesterday I was out marshalling for the pro-am and was lucky to be with Colin Montgomerie's group. He was on top form, very jovial (great, particularly for someone who is known to be let's say a little moody) but who knows if that is anything to do with his beautiful new wife who was travelling with him or the white Rolls Royce he has at his disposal in Dubai! Hopefully the ex Ryder Cup Captain will do well at the tournament as he has a large fan base over here.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Should Golfers Be Paid an Appearance Fee?

It is common knowledge that Tiger Woods has been paid large appearance fees to take part in golf tournaments, particularly in the Middle East. Last year it was claimed that Woods was paid more that the first prize money that was being offered for the Dubai Desert Classic, just for playing in the event. And this year he is being paid appearance money to play in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship too.

The organisers of these events know that the appearance of Tiger Woods in their event will not only guarantee larger crowds on the day but also give them a larger global television audience and so wider coverage for the event sponsors. This in turn makes it more likely for them to get sponsors for the event and for the event to be successful. So is it a win win situation?

Well one of the problems is that that PGA tour does not allow players to be paid appearance fees, whereas the European Tour has no rules against it, although it does not advocate the practice. So, if there is a choice between playing in a PGA event or a European Tour event, and the player will get paid a large appearance fee for the European Tour one, then there may not be a big choice to be made.

So maybe it is up to either the European Tour to ban the practice (and there would be a lot of big money behind the opposition to this) or else for the PGA Tour to allow it.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Luke Donald Makes History

Luke Donald today secured his place in history by taking the number one spot for earnings on both sides of the pond. No-one has previously had the top level of earnings in both the US and the European Tour so this is truly a first. Added on to this he is number one in the world so things couldn't be going any better for him golf-wise.

His personal life has had a couple of highs and lows recently with the birth of his second daughter coming shortly after the death of his father.

Donald just needed to finish higher than 10th at the Dubai World Championship to secure the top earnings spot for the European tour and the only player that could beat him was Rory McIlroy - who needed to win - but he was struggling with illness over the last couple of weeks.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tiger Woods Comeback?

So is it possible that the Tiger Woods comeback that we have all been waiting for, might actually now happen? With his first win for over 2 years, Tiger won the Chevron World Challenge by 1 shot from Zach Johnson. I would imagine that at times Tiger had wondered himself if this win would ever come, after a massive comeback sparked from not only his knee injury but also the psychological damage caused by the sex scandal and his divorce.
It seems that most of the other players are happy that Tiger is back in the game - after all it brings more attention, media coverage and even sponsorship to golf which consequently will likely mean higher levels of prize money and gate receipts etc which is all good for golf. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Dubai Desert Classic Marshalling Opportunities

Although the next big event in golf is the Dubai World Championship, which is a culmination of the Race to Dubai taking place in early December, if you are interested in being a marshal at a high profile golf event then registration is now open for the Dubai Desert Classic Volunteers.

Having been a volunteer marshall at this event 3 times in the past I can highly recommend it. If you have not been a golf marshall before then sign up and you will be shown what you need to do. If it is your first time then make sure you volunteer for the Wednesday pro-am as this gives you an opportunity to learn the ropes in a slightly more relaxed environment - and usually there are not so many spectators at the Pro-Am event. if you are a spectator then I recommend you GO to the Pro-am as this is the one day when you are allowed to take cameras and get autographs from the players and mostly they are very happy to do this. I have chatted to quite a few players on the Pro-Am day and been maybe one of only a handful of spectators on the course.

Anyway, back to the marshalling. You need to volunteer early, so get your name down now. You can find the volunteer registration form here. And a note to female volunteers, the shirts come very small so choose maybe a size larger than you would normally! Ideally they like you to sign up for at least 3 days, if not more, and in the past they have turned down anyone not offering to do 4 or 5 days as they usually have a lot of volunteers. The marshalling basically involves helping the public find their way around the course and ensuring that the players are safe and not disturbed by anyone by keeping the spectators quiet and only in the places where they are meant to be! It can be tiring work as you may end up walking the course 3 or 4 times but it is very enjoyable and you usually get to see a good bit of golf in your off times. You also may be able to play a round on the Emirates Golf Club Majlis course where the event is held as they have a volunteer golf day a week or so after the tournament. You are given free meals and access to the course but the majority of volunteer jobs are obviously not paid.

And to prove my point, here is a picture of myself and Rory McIlroy at the Dubai Desert Classic!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

More Tiger Woods Controversy

So there was more controversy surrounding Tiger Woods recently - or more to the point his ex-caddy Steve Williams. On receiving an award for best caddy celebration at the annual golf caddy awards for his post match celebration at the Bridgstone Invitational where Adam Scott had his first big win, Williams was alleged to have said about Woods "I wanted to shove it up that black a***hole"

Tiger Woods says that Williams is not racist and to be honest, to describe a part of his body as black - when it is - to me does not make him a racist. If Tiger Woods said about Williams "I wanted to shove it up his white..." then would that be described as racist? I somehow doubt it. Tiger Woods is black and I say that as a fact, if people reading something describing a part of someone's body as the colour that it is then isn't that their problem to believe the word 'black' to be racist? OK yes it was an insult but if Tiger Woods stands up for Williams and says he is not racist then maybe we should assume he didn't mean it in that context.

Sometimes it just seems that we are taking things a bit too far and need to take a look at things a bit more closely before calling the racist card. I am not denying that there is racism out there but to aggravate a situation by tarring it with that brush only serves to stir up controversy like the media want.