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.