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Tiger Woods holes amazing chip at The Honda Classic

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Golf Course Review: Mohegan Sun Country Club 

This past fall a couple of us at BunkerShot.com had the opportunity to spend a weekend at one of Connecticut’s premier casino resorts Mohegan Sun.  The casino itself is located in Uncasville and the golf course is in nearby Baltic.

The course was immaculately manicured and the layout was visually challenging. Having played it for the first time I was impressed by the tee box site lines that made you think a bit before you lined up and hit.  Once out on many holes I then realized that what I saw was not what was reality.  Many times bunkers and rough seemed to drift into play when indeed they did not.  When playing the course again I would definitely choose different clubs and lines from several of the holes.

What I liked the best about this course was that several of the holes and tee boxes all came together in a spoke like fashion.  Centered in this was a café and restroom area.  There was a social connection there and because of this we passed by several of the same playing groups as we made our way around the course.

What really made the day was two groups of players who seemed be part of a family reunion of sorts.  We saw them a few times and one older gentleman stood out since he was dressed to the nines.  Argyle sweater, a perfect cap and shoes to match gave him a look right out of a fashion magazine.  My buddy finally at some point told him that he has to be the best-dressed golfer on the course today.  With that the gentleman ran off his tee box and over to ours and gave my friend a hug.  As he was running over he yelled, “I have had the worst round of golf in my life and you just made my day!”

The overall Mohegan Sun Casino and Golf experience lends itself either to buddy weekends or a romantic getaway.  At the casino there is plenty to do for the non-golfers and even non-gamblers.  Food, concerts, shopping, dancing and more will make for a great weekend away. 

For more information: www.mohegansun.com

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Ernie Els hits a brilliant approach shot at Accenture

Paul McGinley names Des Smyth and Sam Torrance as Vice-Captains for

The 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles

Torrance to follow up last October’s Seve Trophy captaincy role

Smyth to be EurAsia Cup Vice Captain later this month

Further Vice Captain announcements will not be made until after team is finalised

Paul McGinley, the European Captain for The 2014 Ryder Cup, has named Ireland’s Des Smyth and Sam Torrance of Scotland as his first two Vice Captains for the contest against the United States at Gleneagles this September.

The duo will bring vital Ryder Cup experience to the European team room; Torrance having played in eight consecutive matches from 1981 to 1995, memorably holing the winning putt at The Belfry in 1985, one of three winning teams he was a part of. It is a venue which continued to have particular resonance for the Scot when, 17 years later, he assumed the role of European Captain there and led his charges to an emotional 15 ½ - 12 ½ triumph.

Smyth, meanwhile, played in the biennial contest in 1979 and 1981, as well as being Vice Captain to Ian Woosnam at The K Club in 2006 where Europe recorded their record home victory of 18 ½ - 9 ½.

As well as being confirmed as a Vice Captain for The 2014 Ryder Cup, Smyth was today also confirmed as the Vice Captain to Miguel Angel Jiménez for the upcoming inaugural staging of the EurAsia Cup between Europe and Asia, which will be played at the Glenmarie Golf and Country Club in Malaysia later this month.

The move continues the consistency of selection favoured by McGinley, begun when he named Torrance as one of the captains for last year’s Seve Trophy contest in France. It will also allow Smyth the opportunity of working once again with not only experienced Ryder Cup campaigners, but also the exciting young European talent at the disposal of Jiménez in Kuala Lumpur.

McGinley said: “I am delighted to officially unveil Des and Sam as two of my Vice Captains for The Ryder Cup. As well as being good friends, they are two guys that I greatly admire both personally and professionally and I know they will be vital assets to me in Scotland in September.

“They were the first two people I had in mind for this role when I was appointed captain and, since then, I have talked to a lot of the experienced European players about having them as part of the team and, to a man, they have been very supportive of the idea.

“Des took me under his wing when I was a young rookie on Tour and he gave me tremendous advice which was not only valuable then but has continued to ring true for me throughout my professional career. His views and ideas about The Ryder Cup particularly have consistently proved to be spot on and I really enjoyed working with him as a Vice Captain in 2006 when I was a player.

“Sam is a man who has probably had the most influence on me in terms of playing team golf in my career. Being my first captain in The Ryder Cup in 2002, I learned a huge amount from him and have continued to do so over the years. Since those early days, our relationship has grown to see us become firm friends and, living not far apart, we see a lot of each other socially as well.”

As a player, Torrance’s European Tour trophy haul stands at 21 in the 22 years between 1976 and 1998 and he still holds the record of the most appearances in history on The European Tour at 706.

He finished second in the Order of Merit on two occasions – behind Bernhard Langer in 1984 and Colin Montgomerie in 1995 – but put that statistic right when he joined the European Senior Tour, winning the John Jacobs Trophy for topping the Money List three times; 2005, 2006 and 2009, achievements helped by 11 Senior Tour victories.

Torrance said: “Everyone knows how much The Ryder Cup has meant to me over my career so I am absolutely delighted to be involved once again. Paul was a special part of my team at The Belfry in 2002 and he knows I will do everything possible to help him and the team at Gleneagles in September.”

Smyth captured eight titles on The European Tour including the 2001 Madeira Island Open which, at the time, made him the oldest winner in Tour history at the age of 48 years and 34 days, a record which stood for 11 years until it was eventually overtaken by Miguel Angel Jiménez’s victory in the 2012 Hong Kong Open.

The Irishman’s thirst for silverware continued in the ranks of the European Senior Tour where, to date, he has captured five titles, the last of these being at the 2012 Travis Perkins Senior Masters at Woburn, a venue where he also claimed the title in 2010.

Smyth said: “I was thrilled when Paul contacted me and asked me to be one of his Vice Captains at Gleneagles – there was no hesitation for me in saying ‘yes’. I relished the opportunity to be a Vice Captain at The K Club in 2006 and I look forward to playing a positive role once again in supporting Paul and the team.”

Both Ryder Cup teams now have two Vice Captains in place, United States captain Tom Watson having selected Ray Floyd last month in addition to Andy North who was named last year. However, Captain McGinley revealed that he will be making no further announcements in that respect until after Tuesday September 2 when the full European Team for The 2014 Ryder Cup is known.

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Paula Creamer wins 10th LPGA title in dramatic fashion @lpga

Has to be one of the best putts to win ever!

Pros' Concerns Heading into the New Year

Who knows what 2014 will bring in golf? Which pros will rise and which will fall? While it may be hard to predict the future of these pros, (as I have learned myself that golf is completely unpredictable with its own ups and downs) there are many concerns surrounding some of today’s top golfers. 

5. Brandt Snedeker

Concern: After starting strongly in 2013, Snedeker suffered from a rib injury and had to withdraw from a number of tournaments. While he ended well in 2013, there is also the concern that traces of his past injury will sneak up on him in the upcoming year. Perhaps Brandt should schedule practice times accordingly and allow for intermittent periods of rest.

4. Bubba Watson

Concern: Bubba Watson has not sealed a victory since the 2012 Masters. As a popular player on tour, known for his long drives, Bubba is a favorite to watch. But if his successes do not recur, Bubba may disappear among the fresh pool of upcoming pros. To stay on top of his game, Bubba needs to work on his short game and putting. It just goes to show you that it’s not all about distance.

3. Sergio Garcia

Concern: Sergio Garcia has always been near the top of the pack, but lately he has not been able to secure many victories. Often, including in this past year, Sergio has found himself as leader going into Sunday rounds. So why can’t he win any tournaments? It’s often hard to watch Sergio as he typically chokes in the final round and loses confidence in himself. Sergio needs to stay focused on his game and out of drama this year if he wants to regain his confidence. 

2. Adam Scott

Concern: There aren’t many golfers who have had the type of year Adam Scott has had. With major victories now under his belt, Scott has established himself as a player to watch. However, there is always a concern of not meeting up to last year’s successes. Will he keep on winning or fall behind like Rory Mcilroy? On top of this, the long putter, which has undeniably won Scott a number of tournaments, will be deemed illegal in just two years. It will be interesting to see how Adam Scott responds to this change.

 1. Phil Mickelson

Concern: Without a doubt, Phil Mickelson is one of the most loved pro golfers today. Not only is he a favorite, but he has also been one of the most successful throughout his career. Phil has won every major except the U.S. Open, in which he placed second 6 times, including most recently in 2013. Age is Phil’s biggest concern, as he is already dealing with arthritis. Time is of the essence, and Phil should really focus on the U.S. Open this year, as it is more of a personal victory than anything.

Click here to find out more concerns for pros going into 2014.

My goals going into 2014:

While weather is certainly an issue, I hope to get out and practice as much as possible before my final high school season arrives. My main goal for this upcoming year is to be consistent. Last year, my scores were all over the place, some great and some not good at all. I hope that by the end of this year, I won’t be able to say that my game was consistently inconsistent. 

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Golf Pride Donates $15,000 to Folds of Honor Foundation; Amasses $65,000 Total Contribution Over Five Years of Patriot Grip Program 

Power management company Eaton announced today that its Golf Pride Grips Division recently continued its support of the Folds of Honor Foundation with a $15,000 contribution stemming from 2013 Patriot grip sales. Jamie Ledford, President of Eaton’s Golf Grip Division joined renowned golf instructor and Golf Channel personality Michael Breed in presenting the donation to Folds of Honor representatives Major Dan Rooney and Major Ed Pulido at the 2014 PGA Merchandise Show.

The donation came as part of Golf Pride’s Patriot Grip Program, an on-going partnership through which Golf Pride contributes a percentage of its Z-Grip Patriot sales to the Folds of Honor Foundation. During the first five years of the program, Golf Pride has contributed a total of $65,000 in support of Folds of Honor, an organization that supports the families of America’s fallen and disabled heroes.

“We are honored to call ourselves partners of the Folds of Honor Foundation,” stated Brandon Sowell, global sales and marketing manager for Golf Pride. “Folds of Honor provides valuable support to the families of the men and women that defend our great nation everyday. We look forward to continuing our relationship with this great organization and will continue to look for innovative ways to boost our support in the years to come.”

The Z-Grip Patriot features a red, white and blue patriotic color scheme with an all-rubber construction that provides enhanced traction and superior moisture management performance for all-weather control.  For more information on the Z-Grip Patriot and the entire 2014 Golf Pride product line, visit www.golfpride.com.

Immaculate Dyson in electric form at Copperleaf

An explosive finish from Simon Dyson handed the Englishman a share of the lead with home favourite Trevor Fisher Jnr on seven under par on the opening day of the Tshwane Open.

At 7,964 yards, the Ernie Els-designed Copperleaf Golf & Country Estate is the longest course on The European Tour, but Dyson carded a flawless round of 65 to sit alongside Fisher Jnr, who still had two holes left to play when play was suspended for the day due to the threat of lightning in Centurion.

Dyson notched birdies at the second and fifth holes on the front nine and collected another shot at the tenth, but it was at the 15th where the 36 year old really hit his stride.

A birdie there was followed by another after a pitch to within a foot at the 16th, before a 15 foot putt at the 17th completed a hat-trick of gains.

And Dyson signed off in style by holing from 25 feet at the last to set the pace, with his compatriot Ross Fisher and four more South Africans in Erik Van Rooyen, Jared Harvey, Darren Fichardt and Danie van Tonder all tied in third place on six under par.

“It was really nice,” said Dyson, who captured the last of his six European Tour titles at the 2011 KLM Open.

“Putting has been the let-down for the last few weeks, but me and my caddie had a chat about what I’m doing wrong. We spent about an hour and a half on the putting green yesterday, and I managed to get a good feel for it.

“I holed a good six footer for par at the first and then about a 40 footer for birdie at the second, and that was it – I was off and running.

“It’s a lovely start. It’s my lowest round in a good few years, especially on the first day. It just puts you in a nice frame of mind, and sets it up nicely to have a good weekend.”

Fisher Jnr will have to set an early alarm on Friday, when play will resume at 6.45am. Like his co-leader, Fisher Jnr is yet to drop a shot at Copperleaf, and the South African will hope to add to his seven birdies in his remaining two holes. 

Earlier in the day, Fisher had made an excellent start as he chases a first European Tour win for four years.

A four-time winner between 2007 and 2010, the former Ryder Cup star carded a six under par 66.

Having started on the back nine, Fisher turned in a blemish-free 32 before carding a bogey at the first hole.

However, a run of four consecutive birdies from the fifth hole – including a 20 foot putt at the seventh – saw him hit the top of the leaderboard, only to drop a second shot of the day at the last after failing to get up-and-down from just off the green.

“I got into a nice steady run with four birdies in a row on the front nine, which was my back nine,” said Fisher. “Unfortunately I dropped one at the last, but I can’t complain too much with six under.

“The course is pretty soft after all the rain we’ve had, but if you drive it well then you’ll have a lot of looks at birdie.

“My game feels in good shape coming off the back of a good result in South Africa a couple of weeks ago. I don’t know what it is, I just enjoy playing down here and I seem to play quite well.“

Photo by Getty Image

Stacy Lewis, world number 3 returns to do battle at Sentosa and re-claim her title at ‘Asia’s Major’

Wednesday 26th February 2014: Stacy Lewis, the world number three and current title holder of the HSBC Women’s Champions returned to Singapore today and the scene of her famous victory on the stunning Serapong Course at Sentosa Golf Club. 

The twenty-nine year old American was given a special welcome back to the championship with her name emblazoned across the giant leaderboard that surrounds the 9th and 18th greens. Hugely talented Lewis will face a tough challenge to re-claim her champion’s crown as she seeks to secure her first victory of the season in a field that includes World Number 1 Inbee Park (South Korea) and World Number 2 Suzann Pettersen (Norway).

Speaking ahead of the tournament which is widely regarded as ‘Asia’s Major’, Stacy Lewis said:

“It’s definitely nice to be back where I won and on a golf course that I’m comfortable with, and you know, we had many fun with the photo call there.  Actually got up in the scoreboard and kind of poked my head out.  So we had a good time with it, and you know, it’s just cool to be back and everybody is still kind of congratulating me from last year.”

“People are talking about Inbee Park, Suzanne Pettersen and myself but none of us have done as Karrie, Jessica Korda, and Anna Nordqvist in winning this year. All I would say is that this is ‘a thinker’s course’ and I would expect the winner to be relatively experienced”, she added.

As the only LPGA-sanctioned event held in Singapore, the US$1.4 million tournament has consistently attracted stellar fields since its inception in 2008. The 2014 event proves to be no exception, with all the top ten ranked players confirming their participation alongside 53 other world elites.

Building on the overwhelming success of last year’s event, the tournament returns to the acclaimed Serapong Course at Sentosa Golf Club (SGC), and will take place from 27th February to 2nd March 2014. 

 

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Tiger Woods holes incredible chip from fringe at The Honda Classic

Anchoring Whistling in the Wind

By ED TRAVIS

At the annual meeting of the United States Golf Association in Pinehurst last month the PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem and PGA of America President Ted Bishop asked the Executive Committee to delay the implementation of Rule 14-1b prohibiting anchored putting strokes.

Their presentation proposed a “grandfather” period to provide amateurs more time to adapt to putting with a conventional stroke. Professionals and amateurs playing in competitions using the Rules of Golf would have to comply in any event so the request was only applied to recreational players.

In any event the USGA said, “No,” the Rule will be implemented on Jan. 1, 2016 without exception according to a letter from Bishop to his members released yesterday. When the Rule was announced both organizations came out strongly against it as something that would hurt the game and its potential for growth.

What has been lost in all the posturing and rhetoric is Rule 14-1b will not have any more attention paid to it than the other Rules of Golf unless the average golfer chooses to. Put another way, on any given day you often see multiple mulligans, a Judge Smails “footwedge from the rough, bags with over 14 clubs and gimme putts of a length that if you had that much Manhattan real estate you’d be rich.

All of these are against the Rules of Golf but at the end of the round the scores are still put in the GHIN computer for the calculation of handicaps…talk about a system that’s dysfunctional. And by the way, nobody knows for sure but far fewer than 20 percent of golfers — maybe less than 15 percent — have a USGA handicap. So a rule banning anchored putting strokes for recreational players is another case of golf’s ruling body whistling in the wind.

Or maybe it’s whistling past the graveyard as participation in our game continues to shrink and the USGA continues to fund programs that don’t produce significant results.