Entries Tagged as 'News comment'

Tiger back?

The announcement has been made. Tiger Woods is to return to the PGA Tour at the Masters. Click here for detailed report.

It is not surprising that Woods would choose the Masters to return.  Whenever he returned the media circus will be enormous, and public interest extremely high.  Whenever it happened it was going to be chaos for media and public.

The Masters is the most controlled and controllable of tournaments. Tickets are limited and crowds are well controlled. Security is high – and you  can expect it to be ramped up a notch this year.  It is the perfect time for Woods to return.

Thus far Woods has refused to respond to questions. He has dealt with the media on his terms. Press statements have been issued, and his one public performance was a pre-prepared statement that he read leave. No questions thanks!

He may be the greatest golfer in the world at present. His swing and statistics can be analysed at length, but don’t expect frank, open and honest discussion about the issues that he continues to face.  Tiger will be under scrutiny in areas of his life that he has kept hidden for many years.

Tiger will continue his efforts to keep the media out of his life, and the golfing part of the media will respect that. They need him on the golf course. The tabloid press and the entertainment media will not be so accommodating.  Watching the media scrum may be more interesting that watching the Masters!

Didn’t make the headlines.

Robert Allenby almost played an excellent final round at the Farmers Insurance Open on Sunday.

As I headed off to work Michael Sim and Robert Allenby were hot on the heels of eventual winner Ben Crane, and Marc Leishman was climbing the leader board.  With no radio coverage the shot tracker at PGATOUR.com allowed me to tune in for a while. Allenby was -11 at the ninth hole. After the 13th he was 12 under and going strong.  Then it went pear shaped.  Two bogeys, a par and then a disastrous triple ended his run. An eagle finish jumped him up the money list to a creditable ninth, two places better than his overnight spot.

PGATOUR.com has included information about the spat involving Phil Mickelson and Scott McCarron around the new rule on grooves.  For some reason they didn’t bother to include dialogue with Robert Allenby ( see espn sports) who is in favour of the new rule, even though it was a flyer from the rough that cost him dearly.  Without the new rule he may have been right in the mix at the 18th.

I wonder if Allenby would have attempted the 235 yard carry over water if the title was still on the line?  I suspect the answer is “Yes”.

Par just doesn’t cut it!

Aaron Baddeley burst on the Australian golf scene with back to back wins in the Australian Open in 1999 as an amateur and 2000 as a professional.  He seemed destined for big things, and progressed up the ranking to number 18 at the end of 2007.  Today Badds ranks 143 and seems poised to head further south after missing the cut at the Farmers Open with an even par 144 after two rounds. Par just doesn’t cut it!

What has gone wrong?

In 2007 his scoring average was 70.96  In 2009 it had ‘blow out’ to 71.31. Hardly world shattering stuff, yet it meant 5 fewer cuts made and only a quarter of the prize money.

Some other comparisons:

2007: FIR  60%  (Stat leader 75.47%)  GIR 60.35%   ( 70%) PPR 28.26 (27.88)

2009: FIR  56.48%   (74.09%) GIR 59.57% (70.89%)  PPR 28.09 (26.6)  * Only in putting was he better than the tour average.

Badds made the news with the “stack and tilt” method before reportedly abandoning it in the first half of 2009. Was it tinkering with his swing that made the difference? Possibly, but I suspect it is not all the answer.   He was married in 2005 and their first child was born in the last months of 2008.

While 2007 was stellar year for Badds it seems that other aspects of life became more important. While he can still make a good living from playing the game, and from various sponsorships, until he can regain his hunger to win  maintaining his golf ranking will become increasingly difficult.

Par doesn’t cut it where the top professionals are concerned – but then again some things are more important than golf.

Back to back

Geoff Ogilvy went back-to-back at Kapalua on Sunday. Last year he won the Sony Open, this year it was the SBS Championship.  To go back-to-back in the Sony Open he will have to win two weeks in a row on the tour.  So it is back-to-back for the opening event of the  USPGA tour.  Stuart Appleby won the Mercedes Open in 2004, 2005 and 2006 .  For the record Appleby is behind Jack Nicklaus (5) as a multiple winner, and is a three time winner with Arnold Palmer (4). Nicklaus won $45,000 in 1977, Ogilvy won $1,120,000 in 2010.

Why did Ogilvy win? His  statistics are telling:

  • Driving Accuracy:86.67%
  • Greens in Regulation: 94.44%
  • Putts per hole = 1.706

At 290 yards his driving distance wasn’t too bad either!

Another statistic: Rory Sabbatini was runner-up for the third time (2006, 2008, 2010) in the Sony Open.

Allenby wins PGA – again!

Well done  Robert Allenby.

After a trip back from South Africa, Allenby made a mockery of jet lag and switching continents to win at Coollum.  A bogey free final round allowed him to be a clear winner. His game plan was simple – fairways, greens and make a few putts if possible. It worked. But isn’t that what we all try to do? Just that some of us have trouble with hitting the fairway, which makes it harder to hit the greens and sometimes leaves us with too many long putts.

Adam Scott finished his round more like the average golfer, and must have been disappointed with a triple bogey finish. Like the others he wasn’t really in the hunt coming down the 18th, but blew a few thousands bucks because he couldn’t keep out of the water.

A good weekend for Aussies – and more statistics lessons.

Adam Scott hit form at the Australian Open, Allenby won the Netbank Challenge at Sun City in South Africa and Michael Simwas named Nationwide  Player of the Year. It was a good weekend for the Aussies.

The performance of Adam Scott at La Perouse was remarkable for the best and worst of reasons.

He finally returned to the ball striking that had carried him into the top echelon of world golfers over previous years – that’s the best. He missed two putts of under 60 cms – that’s the worst.  With a lead of four shots or more Scott had a margin to play with. In other circumstances those two missed putts could have consigned him to the also rans.  With such elementary mistakes in a local tournament one wonders whether Scott can live up to his earlier promise and grab a major.  On the evidence of the last weekend he still has some more work to do yet.

At the other end of the scale Michael Sim is the first Aussie to be voted Nationwide Player of the Year.  iseekgolf identifies the list of his accomplishments for the year.  Nationwide Tour Statistics have Sim ranked No. 1 in Scrambling (71%) , Putting (28.18), No. 5  in Driving Accuracy (78%),  No 5. in Greens in Regulation (74%),    and No. 25 in Driving Distance (297 yards).  Those statistics show that the work on and around the green is more important than how far you hit the ball. Woon Joon Lee is the longest driver on the tour at 312.7 yards,  but greens in regulation and scrambling are less than 60% and he averages 1.2 more putts per round than Sim (that’s 5 shots a tournament!).

So which part of the game do you think the average golfer should practice most?

Another interesting aspect is the comparison with PGA tour stats – where the best driving accuracy was 74% and Greens In Regulation leader (Aussie John Senden) was at 71%.  It probably means that the PGA courses are set up tougher than the Nationwide Tour – and Michael Sim still has work to do to really make his mark at the next level.

As Nationwide Tour leader he is in good company and we wish him well as he jons the PGA Tour full time in 2010.

And Robert Allenby?

His win in South Africa came with top ten statistics in all categories except eagles, double bogeys and other scores. He was No.1 in sand saves, 3 in GiR and 5 in putting. Watching the TV news it was also clear that Stenson lost in the play off because of a poor approach and a worse chip out of the rough.

Stick to your home course

Well. Tiger has broken his silence and admitted to an affair.  Lots have been written about the situation that got Tiger into the headlines for non-golfing reasons.

The Cadillac will be repaired or replaced. Tiger’s reputation and earnings will take a hit. He will survive.

I hope that his marriage also survives, for it too has taken a big hit. I hope this passes into history before his kids are old enough to suffer badly from it.

So what do we learn from this sorry episode?

My take is simple.  When it comes to playing golf  it is OK to play around, in marriage stick to your home course!

Bad Drive

Tiger has made the news for non-golfing reasons this weekend.

For someone who has avoided any bad press this little episode at least let’s us know that life is not always perfect for the world’s greatest golfer.

When most of us have a bad drive no-one knows. For Tiger it meant front page all around the world. Such publicity is the price of fame. Unfortunately not all media outlets are committed to objective truth, and speculative or imaginative reporting ends up being far more damaging that contact with a fire hydrant. Why not back off and just report the facts as they are known? It’s about selling newspapers, and nothing helps that more than a little salacious and unfounded gossip.

Tiger could help himself now by fronting the media, and the police, and making a statement about what happened. Until he does others are going to fill in the blanks with whatever beats this thing up even more.

Tiger Woods and $3 million dollars.

There is no doubt that getting Tiger Woods out to the Australian Masters was a marketing winner.

Tiger drew the crowds, gained the publicity and even won the tournament. For winning he got less than $300,000. For being here he got ten times that amount.

Tiger is to be admired for his achievements, golfing skills and work ethic.  He is, without doubt, the best golfer in the world at present.  He is also one of the richest golfers in the world. $3 million is simply icing on a very large cake. I hope he does something worthwhile with the little bonus.  Lots of schools, orphanages, refugee centres and medical facilities in the developing world would welcome even half of his after-tax return.

One question I have from this comes from a pre-tournament interview.  Tiger competed in the President’s Cup in Australia a few years back, but it is over the years since he last competed in an Australian tournament.  He openly praises the sand-belt courses as among the best in the world, yet it is ten years since he deigned to play in an Australian tournament.  The reason it has been so long – his schedule would not allow it!

OK, so Tiger takes November as his holiday break. He didn’t this year! Why? His scheduled allowed it.

Who controls Tiger’s schedule? Let’s face it – if Tiger had really wanted to come to Australia and play on our wonderful courses he would have been here years ago. As one of the world’s great ambassadors for the game of golf it must be hard to be straight up and say – I would have liked to come here earlier, but your sponsors wouldn’t come up with enough money for me to bother!

I,  too, would love to play at Kingston Heath, at Royal Melbourne, or any number of great golf courses… I can be straight up and say, “On my income, I can’t afford it”.   Tiger doesn’t have that problem.

If an invitation came and it was not possible to accept the invitation I am happy to admit to a conflict where work or family must take priority.  Tiger could have done that, but chose to say his ‘schedule’ would not allow it. In ten years he could not find the time to play golf in an Australian tournament. Let’s face it, Tiger chose not to come.

You know something, I do not mind that he did not come. He has his reasons, and that’s OK,  just don’t give us the line that for the last ten years a visit down under wouldn’t fit in the schedule.  It’s not about the schedule;  it is about the money!