Category Archives: Golf

2011 US Open Headlines

Prior to the Bruins game 6 win over the Canucks, I realized the US Open was going to start on Thursday.  After the game was over, I decided that writing a US Open preview would take my mind of the upcoming Game 7.  Boy was I wrong.  Therefore,  I have decided to only take a look at a few of the story lines for golf fanatics can ponder this weekend.

Tiger Woods has withdrawn from the US Open

A week ago, Tiger Woods announced his withdrawal from the 2011 US Open.  This is the first time since 1994 that Tiger is not going to play in the national championship.   (Keep in mind, Tiger was just graduating high school in 1994).  Tiger’s decision to withdraw came at the advice of doctors.  His doctors have finally gotten through to him that if continues to play, he could do more damage to his already ailing left knee and Achilles tendon.

Honestly, I think this is a good decision for Tiger.  His knee is obviously in bad shape and he reportedly tweaked it at the Masters earlier this year.  I think sitting this one out will not only help his injuries, but also help his psyche.  He clearly has not been himself since his infidelities caught up to him.  He’s also within 4 Major victories of catching the Golden Bear (Jack Nickolaus).  Hopefully he can use this time off to heal, regroup and come back rejuvenated.

Can Phil Mickelson overcome his US Open demons?

Phil Mickelson has never won the US Open.  Not only has he never won, but he has finished in 2nd place on 5 separate occasions.  That’s right, 5 runner-up finishes.  And now with Tiger out, “Lefty” has a chance to overcome his demons and finally secure the US Open Championship.

Do I think he can do it?  Absolutely.  Do I think he will do it?  No. 

The field this weekend is deep, very deep.  The PGA tour has had an influx of young guns.  Guys are coming onto the tour younger, stronger and ready to play against the seasoned veterans.  This year Phil has played some great golf.  He’s made the cut in all 12 of the tournaments he entered.  He has one win in 2011 (Shell Houston Open) and four top 10 finishes.  Pretty impressive, but not dominant.  I think one of the younger guys will take this major.

Are we going to see another major collapse?

Over the past 5 years, golf fans have witnessed several collapses on the final day of major tournaments.  But none are as well known Dustin Johnson at last year’s US Open and Nick Watney’s at the 2010 PGA Championship.

Last year, Dustin Johnson went out on Saturday and put up an insane 66 in 3rd round of the US Open at Pebble Beach.  This put him first place and the final group on Sunday.  This was when things went horribly wrong.  When it was all said and done on Sunday, Johnson finished with an 82.  After watching Graeme McDowell celebrate his win on the final green, Johnson left without even addressing the media.

At the PGA Championship last year, Nick Watney was in a great position on the Sunday.  On the 17th hole, Watney made a birdie to give him 1 shot lead with 1 hole to play.  Watney shanked his drive on the 18th but showed great poise and perseverance.  He scrambled to get onto the green and then missed a makeable putt that would have sealed the win.  Then something bizarre took place.  Watney was forced to take a 2 stroke penalty.  Apparently his wayward drive on 18 actually landed in a bunker.  However, with people standing in this supposed bunker all week, Watney didn’t know it was even a bunker.  So he stepped up, took his stance, grounded his club, and took his shot.  What did he do wrong?  He grounded his club.  According to the Laws of Golf, players are not allowed to ground their clubs while in a bunker.  Thus, the rules official penalized him 2 strokes and that spelled the end for Watney.

I don’t foresee anything like Watney’s collapse happening this year.  But there is always the possibility of blowing up the way Johnson did last year.  It’s golf and anyone who has ever picked up a club knows that self destruction is just one swing away.  Hopefully that does not happen this year, but you can never rule it out.

Can Ernie Els rekindle the flames of his 1997 win at Congressional?

In 1997, at the young age of 27, Ernie Els won his first US Open at Congressional Country Club.  Congressional will also host this year’s national championship.  So, can Els get his game back on track and win another here?  I don’t think so.

Els has won 3 Major Championships: Two US Opens and a British Open (the REAL Open Championship).  He holds two World Golf Championships and seven World Match Play titles.  In addition, he was recently inducted to the World Golf Hall of Fame.  Given all those accolades, I still don’t think Els can win this week.  In his past 5 tournaments, Els missed the cut 3 straight times before posting a tie for 16th and a tie for 61st.  He’s simply not on top of the game anymore.

Predictions?

In all honesty, I have no clue who will win this thing.  As I said before, there are tons of young bucks who are very capable of winning: Anthony Kim, Hunter Mahan, Jason Day, Martin Kaymer, etc.  The only thing I can predict is an enjoyable golf tournament.  Congressional is a beautiful country club steeped in history.  There will be great shots and lousy shots.  In the end, there will be one winner….but I have no idea who that will be.  Just sit back and enjoy the tournament.

-Mersy

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Tiger Withdrew From The Players Championship After 9 Holes; Was He On HGH Or Other PEDs?

After shooting 42 on his first nine holes of The Player’s Championship, Tiger Woods withdrew from the tournament.  He withdrew due to an ailing left knee and achilles.  Tiger has been dealing with injuries for a few years now, and some would suggest that it is because he no longer has the same remedies available.

Tiger Woods brought golf back to a level that the sport had not seen since the late 70s, early 80s and took it one further.  Golf was main stream.  Tiger was thought to be a machine. He was seen as a golf robot that never wavered in the face of golf adversity.  Four majors away from Jack that all changed.  Tiger crashed his car and up to this point his career.

I am…er…was a baseball purist.  I wanted to deny steroids were rampant throughout the game.  I stated, even with steroids you still had to hit the baseball, and that is the toughest thing to do in the world of sports.

I then went through a transition phase.  I was disappointed with the athletes whose skills and work ethic I had marveled at and respected.  I was turned off and disgusted with the glorification of the home run derby in 1998 and the joking about andro in McGwire’s locker.

That morphed into my eventual edification right around the time of the Mitchell report.  I began to accept that a large percentage if not the bulk of ball players were using some form of PEDs.

I never liked Barry Bonds per se but I loved his game.  I had a wall of Griffey and Bonds clippings in the mid 90s.  I loved the game of baseball, and they were the two best players in the sport.  It is just so ridiculous that such a tremendous baseball player had to do what he did.  Bonds wouldn’t have been the homerun leader, but he probably would have been the only ever 500-500 guy.  That wasn’t good enough for him.

I never liked Tiger Woods so much either, but there was nothing like watching him perform his craft.  He pounded 350 yd drives, fired irons over and around trees to 15 ft, was among the best short game players, and made every putt that mattered.  He struck fear into opposing players.

Enter Dr. Anthony Galea, the Canadian physician who was arrested and indicted for allegedly smuggling and unlawfully distributing HGH into the United States a couple of years ago, and as Mike Bianchi from the Orlando Sentinel says the parallels are a little too coincidental.

Tiger has not won a major since his victory at the 2008 US Open, two weeks after the PGA began a drug testing program.  Coincidence? Maybe, but with my eyes now open I prescribe to the where there is smoke, there is fire theory.

Why does someone go to Canada to find a doctor that will go down to Orlando for a blood spinning treatment? Why couldn’t Tiger just go to Dr. Purita in Florida, it sounds like he may have been able to help him out.  Hell, maybe he did?

So as we watch Tiger’s drives land where the mere mortals’ do, and see him struggle to make it through a season healthy, one must at least be skeptical of the legitimacy of his accolades.

-Brophy

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RIP Seve Ballesteros

I know I’m a little late with this post, but last Saturday long time golfing great Seve Ballesteros lost his battle with brain cancer at the age of 54.  During his career, Seve won 91 professional tournaments including 5 major championships.  His major wins included 2 Masters Championships and 3 British Opens.  In addition to his own wins, Ballesteros, who lived in Spain, helped Europe win the Ryder Cup 5 times as a player and a captain.  He also won the World Match Play Championship a record tying 5 times.  In 2009, Ballesteros was awarded his 2nd Lifetime Achievement Award at the BBC Sports Personalities Awards. In addition, Ballesteros was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1999.

Throughout his career, Ballesteros wore his heart on his sleeve.  He was passionate and had a charisma unlike any other golfer.  Ballesteros was full of energy and charisma.  He was an icon to many of today’s professional golfers.  My only regret is not being old enough to enjoy Seve’s play during his prime in the 80’s.

Below is a clip of Ballesteros winning the 1984 British Open.  Enjoy!

– Timmers

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