Luke Donald tees off at Sony Open

While most golfers on the European Tour are enjoying the sun in Abu Dhabi ahead of their tee off for the year, former world number one Luke Donald is in another bright and sunny spot in Honolulu as he readies himself to tee off at the Sony Open, targeting a return back to the top.

Donald hasn’t had the best of times over the last couple of years and he knows this very well and while he can play in some of the European Tour events to get back his rhythm, he knows he does well on the West Coast Swing of the US PGA Tour and with the Sony Open teeing off next week, he hopes it will give him the impetus he so badly needs.

This is a year that Donald has chalked out for getting back to his strengths, and his roots as well.

In order to shore up his play in the majors, the Englishman decided to bring in a new swing coach last season but realised midway through the campaign that it was not going to work. But it had already cost him dearly. He had been knocked out of the top thirty in the rankings and was overlooked for the Ryder Cup team.

Luke Donald said that he actually dined with Justin Rose before he went off to join the Ryder Cup team and he said that it wasn’t awkward and he knew he didn’t perform well enough to be in the team.

With his former coach from Northwestern Pat Goss back, Luke Donald feels that he has a much better chance of getting back to his best. Goss knows his play inside out and he believes he can be the one to provide the impetus he needs to return to winning ways and soon.

Donald’s Absence In Ryder Cup Disappoints Garcia

Sergio Garcia is extremely disappointed with Luke Donald’s absence in Euro Ryder cup this year. He has been public about his disappointment about not having Luke as his partner in the championship.

Sergio has won maximum matches with Luke in comparison to any of the Ryder Cup mates. They’re 5-1 while paired together in the fourballs & foursomes.

Paul McGinley’s decision to leave out Luke for the 2014 Ryder has raised questions from many quarters give Donald’s recent fantastic form. The Euro Ryder Cup skipper’s decision has undoubtedly hurt Donald as well.

“I am obviously disappointed with the absence of Donald on the squad”, remarked Garcia. “He is a great friend & one among my best partners. There were just 3 picks & there were more probably 5-6 players who had the potential to be here on the squad.”

The 3 captains picked by McGinley are Stephen Gallacher, Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter.

The Europeans haven’t lost out on any Ryder Cup championship with Luke on the squad. He aided the 2004, 2006, 2010 & 2012 squads beat the Americans. Luke was injured & missed out the 2008 season and that’s the year when the Europeans lost out to Americans in Valhalla. Luke dons a ten-four-one Ryder record & is three-one in the single. The man beat Watson (Bubba) in leadoff singles game at Medinah 2 years back which marked the epic Sunday revival for Europe.

“I had a talk with Donald & he was naturally disappointed”, Garcia continued. “However he obviously does understand that when you are not making the squad yourself & have to depend on captain for the pick, you can’t ever be sure about what can come through. Unfortunately, if Luke had played little better in last 2-3 weeks, it would probably have been a different scenario.”

Steve Stricker’s older brother passes away

PGA Tour star Steve Stricker’s older brother Scott Stricker passed away on 4th October at University of Wisconsin Hospital in Madison. Scott was born on 16th April 1963 in Edgerton and attended Edgerton High School and graduated in the Class of 1981.
Scott was a member of the Central Lutheran Church in Edgerton and worked at Nelson Young Lumber Company in Edgerton for many years. He lived at Cambridge and died at the age of 51.
Scott had undergone a surgery in January for a perforation in his intestine which was leaking bile into his stomach. He also went through a liver transplant in February, which saved his life. But after those surgeries, his kidneys stopped functioning properly and he was in and out of intensive care. He was also suffering from Crohn’s disease.
Scott’s funeral took place on 8th October with services commencing from 11 A.M. at the Central Catholic Church in Edgerton. Visitors were allowed between 4 P.M. to 7 P.M. at Albrecht Funeral Homes and Cremation Services in Edgerton.
In June Steve Stricker told the press in an interview that his brother’s health problem was taking a toll on his golf game. He told that he has been in the hospital when he is at home and his brother’s has been the focus of his family for the last six months.
Scott Stricker like his younger brother also enjoyed playing Golf and was a member of the Lake Ripley Country Club in Cambridge. He also played for the Home Talent baseball for the Albion Tigers and was a huge fan of Chicago Bears and Cubs.
Steve Stricker was the assistant captain for the U.S. Ryder Cup team last month. They lost to Team Europe in Perthshire, Scotland.

Tiger Woods no longer a threat to Phil Mickelson

This season’s Ryder Cup finale can very well be between Phil Mickelson and Rory Mcllroy, the odds being in Mickelson’s favor.

Rickie Fowler and Phil Mickelson shared the penultimate position at the Valhalla and have come out as absolute favorites for the season. Phil Mickelson, all of 44 years in age has made the past year seem meaningful by securing a place in the team United States. He is a player who has already made 10 Ryder Cup appearances and stands a good chance of captaining Team U.S. soon. The other players in the team consider him a mentor and elder brother and are very likely to take cues from him.

With the two big names missing from competition, Tiger Woods and Dustin Johnson, Mickelson is very likely the favorite for the American side of the fans. While Johnson has an anti-Mickelson persona regarded his absence from golf to deal with issues back home, Woods absence is on account of his ongoing issues with his lower back. Woods was also absent in 2008 at Valhalla owing to knee injury. His absence will give Mickelson free ground to earn him the king – of – the – hill honor.

The Louisville air was muggy when the Americans were either competing to earn places for the automatic qualifications or were playing to impress Captain Watson. “The Ryder cup is a platform for players to re-invent themselves and being a lovable team mate doesn’t matter. Reed and Mickelson will manage, I know,” Watson was heard saying.
There are a total of nine players who have managed to secure their places in the Ryder Cup battle from the U.S. side and the final line-up is pretty intense – Watson, Fowler, Mickelson, Furyk, Walker, Kuchar, Johnson, Reed and Spieth. There are three more spots for the captain to choose as wild entries; who will they be?

“Nagging Shoulder” – Martin Kaymer

Injuries seem elevated this season in the golf course and apparently professional German golfer, Martin Kaymer is no exception.

Kaymer displayed great finesse during the Players Championship as well s the U.S. Open, offered viewers and fans, an assorted platter of straight winning streak however this success was not to last long when he started showing signs of errors at tournaments after. A close acquaintance of Kaymer has revealed of his shoulder injury that exhibited nagging pain and mistakes that made supporters disheartened.

“I think I had a muscle cramp. It is like you wake up and do not realize the smaller issues here and there till they turn out to be something really annoying that gets in the way of your practice and performance. It came as a surprise to me, I could not get even one single ball go where I wanted it to. This continued till Thursday and I got very little practice during the British Open.” Martin told reporters.

Officials have informed that Martin Kaymer is back in form, ‘fit and ready to go’. “He is one of those players who never back down; he carries on him the expectations of many people.” Kaymer took it slow on the British Open, nursing his shoulder back to form before the PGA tournament. Martin Kaymer was the very first to win both the Players Tournament as well as the USPGA, his shoulder injury though provided minimal distraction.

Kaymer is fit now and still has a great game to offer to the other contenders. After a spectacular win at the US Open, he finished a dismaying 70th at Hoylake. “I hope for a fast paced start at the Valhalla,” said Kaymer confident of making an impact there.
“It’s not about making birdies. It’s the small things that matter and sometimes these very small margins can create a huge difference that one has to take the next day.”

Swanson Outpoints Stephens in UFC Main

Cub Swanson’s fans must be in a great mood of late as their favorite fighter came up with a remarkable win beating Jeremy Stephens at a very amusing UFC Main fight.

After the 2nd round of the fight, Swanson asked his coach (Jackson) on whether he would work to turn the things up.
“He said, I would like that”, said Swanson while stressing on his conversations with coach Greg during the fight.

And boy, he did turn the fight up! After being dropped a couple of times in 2nd round, Cub came back with full aplomb & swept away the remaining fight at the UFC main event Fight night last Saturday. The champion winner landed up the win with unanimous decision in a fight which made the spectators completely forget about lackluster card till that point. This great victory could earn the champion a rematch bout against UFC Featherweight hero Jose Aldo.

“I’m not going to beg”, remarked the winner.

Swanson & Stephens stood & exchanged for the maximum time throughout the 5 rounds. Jeremy was good with his earlier stints & even jarred Swanson with his hands. Cub’s output was way greater yet when his opponent hit him it was quite an audible sound. Huge damage was visibly being inflicted.

Swanson got back his hold in 3rd round with a fantastic kick pointed to his opponent’s liver which almost folded the latter down. Cub chased him hard & finished him yet never did he follow up to his body. Jeremy managed to somehow survive that round yet Swanson’s heavy moves thwarted his previous speedy pace from that round on.

Cub was more accurate, faster & better active striker in the remaining couple of rounds. He did hurt Stephens in 5th round & flurried to body & head with kicks and punches.

Kuchar skeptical on Wood’s surgery

Whilst most of the golf world is mourning given Tiger Woods’ absence from the 2014 Masters, his peer Matt Kuchar has a different take on the issue. In a recent interview, the 2012 Player Champ is of the opinion that the news of Woods’ surgery is anything but serious.

Woods sustained a bad back injury recently that has forced him to stay out of Golf Masters 2014 at Augusta.

Kuchar has been quite candid about his view on the World Number one’s back surgery news going around since last March. The 35 year old American golfer has even asserted that this news is nothing less than an April-Fool joke from Woods on the entire world. Kuchar is even expecting Woods at Augusta for Golf Masters 2014 which is about to start soon.

However, Kuchar is not the only one joking about Woods’ surgery. Dustin Johnson too joked about it saying that Woods’ withdrawal from the tournament is like a lighter pressure on the competition. However, unlike Kuchar, Johnson wasn’t skeptical about the surgery news and he wished the World Number One all the best.

“Our prayers are for him”, said Johnson. “I hope he gets OK. Woods is a chief aspect of the game. One would definitely want to have him at Augusta and his absence takes away little bit from the competition. He been, for quite a long span, the best. I have had my share of injuries earlier & it is just no fun when you have to sit back at home & rehab.”

Other than Johnson, another famous golfer Jimmy Walker also expressed concern on hearing Woods’ surgery news. The hottest PGA Tour golfer with 2 feats this year tagged the news as “a bummer.” In his verse-“It is really tough. I have had some disk issues earlier. Let’s hope that this surgery would be successful in fixing him up.”

Rose says his shoulder injury healing

Justin Rose, the reigning US Open champion has stated that the tendinitis problem in his right shoulder that has been troubling him for quite some time is close to being fully healed and he hopes it will be fully healed by the time the Masters event tees off in a few weeks’ time in April.

Speaking to the media before tee off at the World Golf Championship – Cadillac Championship, Rose stated that he took one week off from training as he looks ahead to the Masters. He mentioned that the shoulder injury has not eased off fully but it is on its way to being healed.

The Englishman mentioned that the tendon just gets angry if he pushes it too much.

He went on to add that although it is very uneventful, he has to be very meticulous as well as methodical in the way he warms up as well as use the ice to cool off and has to follow this method for the next couple of months and he is hopeful that he thinks it will be fine in due course of time.

Rose has hinted that he plans to take a two week rest as he builds up to the Masters tournament, but he also mentioned that he will change his plans if he thinks he needs a bit more playing time on the course.

The Englishman mentioned that he hasn’t hit as many balls as he has hit for some time but he also doesn’t believe that it is a factor if he doesn’t perform up to expectations.

That is just one way of easing pressure off himself as he knows he is not in the best shape to put up a title challenge at the Augusta National as the event tees off in the second week of April.

Doonbeg & Rosses Golf Clubs badly hit

The Atlantic storms off late hurled a heavy blow on many golf courses. Two of the most damaged names are Rosses Point & Doonbeg golf clubs. Albeit some of the clubs were able to stand against the coastal erosion given their “rock armour” defense mechanism yet these two clubs were not so fortunate.

The “rock armour” defense helps to limit the damage, restricting the fallout to mere debris, rocks and litter-nothing which the old-fashioned manual cleanup can’t sort out.

Doonbeg Co Clare golf club has been made famous by G. Norman while Co Sligo Rosses Point golf club is the conventional home ground of West Ireland amateur tournament. Both the courses had their dune complexes severely devastated given the menacing combination of storm force and high tides taking a toll on them. The backward tee- one among the 4- on eighteenth hole at the Doonbeg club was completely swept away.
However, the Doonbeg director Joe Russell is a really positive person. “At least our club still has got 3 tee boxes”, remarked Russell.

The good news is that the rock armour defense has been a great savior for a number of golf courses hit by storm & high tide. Among these the most prominent names are Dooks, Ballybunion & Tralee. All these courses have been guarded by rock armour along their shoreline to defend them against the damaging coastal erosion.

“We could escape thanks to the very presence of rock armour safeguarding the dunes”, noted Dooks course superintendent Michael Shanahan. The Dooks course have been under the rock armour protection since the 80’s and more such guards have been fixed off late as well.”If the rock armour had not been there, we would have been surely devastated. I can estimate- we could have lost out on guts of as many as 9 holes.”

Player weighs in on Tiger Woods rules infraction

Gary Player is a nine time winner of major championships and a member of the Golf Hall of Fame and he has now weighed in on the rules infraction of Tiger Woods as well as some of his other problems on the course.

Player went on to describe the third shot at the par-5 15th hole during the second round of the Masters tournament earlier this year by Woods as one of the most unlucky things that he has witnessed in his life. He stated that Tiger hit the most perfect shot he could have. He mentioned it was coming in there softly and even the flag became visible. If it had hit, it would have been a mere four feet from the hole.

Player admitted that he now thinks if Tiger Woods had hit a bad shot, and a really bad one at that too, using a sand wedge standing just twenty feet from the hole, he would have gone on to win the Masters by his reckoning.

However, that wasn’t the case. Woods’ ball hit the flag and ricocheted off it into the water. He then went on to take an improper drop, turning into a double bogey what could have been a birdie quite easily. Moreover, this was due to the two shot penalty that he was handed. A TV viewer called in the rules violation and according to Player, such a practice should never be allowed.

Some critics blasted Woods and said he should have withdrawn from the tournament after the highly controversial ruling but according to Player, he didn’t see anything wrong on the part of Tiger Woods. He also mentioned Woods is an extremely driven and dedicated golfer and he thinks he will be able to break Jack Nicklaus’s long standing record of 18 major titles.