Golf

2012 Ryder Cup Logo

Are you sick of the NFL and its circus of replacement refs? Then consider taking this weekend to enjoy a sport where there is no grey area.  The putt either goes in the hole or it doesn’t.  This is not just about division rilvaries, thumb this is about patriotism.  Will the USA optimize its homefield advantage? There will be clearly defined winners, and and one country or continent will rejoice Sunday night and have bragging rights until 2014!

What You Need to Know

Welcome to the 2012 Ryder Cup.  The Super Bowl of golf.  The Ryder Cup is a bi-annual inter-continental contest between the 12 best American golfers versus the 12 best European golfers.  Established in 1927 the 39th Ryder Cup is taking place in Chicago’s backayard: Medinah Country Club!  It will be held this weekend, ed September 28-30.

USA v. Europe

Europe owns more Ryder Cup titles since 1995 (5) than in the first 67 years of the competition!  Europe’s dominance in the past eight Ryder Cups is relevant because 11 of its 12 players on the 2012 team have played in this event before.  Nine players on the European squad have been on winning teams, while only four Americans have.  The lowest European in this week’s golf ranking is No. 35, and they have Nos. 1, 3, 4, and 5.  All 12 US players are among the top 23, they have combined for 23 major championships, and, most importantly, they’re playing in front of their home fans.

Format of the Competition

The format of this golf tournament is different than other Championships because it will be Match Play.  Match Play means that each hole is its own match, whoever has the lowest score at the conclusion of the hole wins one point.  This is unlike Stroke Play where all 18 holes are played for a cumulative score. Intensifying each hole and each shot, the Match is played until one player has won enough holes that it makes it impossible for the other player to come back.  Meaning some matches will not play all 18 holes.  If a person is “4 Up” that means there is no way a player can come back from that deficit on the 16th tee with three holes left, so the match is concluded on the 15th.

At the end of three days of competition the Team with the most points wins the Ryder Cup. GO USA!

USA Team: Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Brandt Snedeker, Dustin Johnson, Steve Stricker, Jim Furyk, Zach Johnson, Webb Simpson, Keegan Bradely, Bubba Watson, Matt Kuchar, Jason Dufner

European Team: Nicolas Colsaerts, Luke Donald, Sergio Garcia, Peter Hanson, Martin Kaymer, Paul Lawrie, Graeme McDowell, Rory McIlroy, Francesco Molinari, Ian Poulter, Justin Rose, Lee Westwood

Players to Watch

Tiger v. Rory: Rory has had an incredible 6 weeks of golf.  He won his second Major Championship, the PGA, by a whopping 8 shots.  He won two premier golf tournaments in a row this month playing the best players in the world. He is arguably the most exciting player to watch at the moment.  Tiger has been the dominant figure in golf since 1997.  No matter where his game or personal life is he can never be counted out.  He is a true master of the game and hungry to prove that he is undoubtedly the number 1 golfer all time.  If this is the match we see on Sunday, golf may experience its highest TV Ratings in Ryder Cup History!

Rory Smiles During Team Europe’s Photo Shoot

Brandt Snedeker, Keegan Bradely:  Rookies to the Ryder Cup, but have proven themselves as two of the best in the world.  Brandt is coming off the biggest win of his career at the FedEx Cup Championship, where he cashed in $11.4 million!  In his two years on tour, Keegan has become a household name for golfers everywhere.  I hope to see great things out of these two.

When to Watch (Times CDT):

Friday: ESPN 7 AM – 6:30 PM

Saturday: NBC 8 AM – 6 PM

Sunday: NBC 11 AM – 5 PM

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Category: Golf
Darla Moore and Condoleezza Rice were given memberships to Augusta National

Augusta National, ed the famed hallowed ground of American golf, treat finally admitted its first two female members to the elite, albeit sexist golf club: former Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, and South Carolina businesswoman Darla Moore.  Rice is an avid golfer and Moore is a close friend of Augusta’s former chairman, Hootie Johnson.

Augusta National, with all its allure, beauty, history and controversy, has finally broken its membership barriers.   Augusta has never banned women from its grounds.  They can play the golf course with a male member, but could not have a solo membership.

Augusta’s decision to allow female members comes a decade after a public controversy between Martha Burk, chair of the National Council of Women’s Organizations, and Hootie Johnson.

In 2002 Burk sent a private letter saying that Johnson should work to include women in its membership before the 2003 Masters Tournament.  Johnson was infuriated and issued a public response to the letter claiming Augusta National would not work “at the point of a bayonet.”  He said the club would work to give women membership on its own timetable. This caused a media frenzy. The story and the transpiring events were published and repeated countless times in the major American media outlets.  Tiger Woods was even brought into the fray when it was suggested that he should refuse to play in the 2003 Masters unless women were allowed to join the club.  The Masters resumed as scheduled and Augusta worked to protect its corporate partners.

Former Chairman Hootie Johnson

The controversy resurfaced earlier this year when IBM hired Virginia Rometty as CEO, leading some to believe that Augusta would break its traditions considering all of the last four CEOs have belonged to Augusta.  Burk believed that this was the opportunity for IBM to hold its corporate sponsorship of The Masters hostage unless their new CEO gained membership.  Billy Payne as chairman reminded the world that Augusta would work on its own schedule on this issue.

Set two and a half hours east of Atlanta, it is said that visitors are hard-pressed to find a piece of grass out of place, or a weed anywhere.  It is a “perfect” golf property that came to life with the vision of one of golf’s all-time greats, Bobby Jones.   It is my favorite golf tournament to watch and the golf course I most want to check off my golfing bucket list.

I congratulate chairman Billy Payne for taking this historic step to recognize the fact that women are powerful leaders and deserve equality in all areas with their male counterparts.

Today women can rejoice at this enormous step in the right direction for women and girls, not just golfers, everywhere.  I personally hope Rice and Moore team up to take on the male members and beat them!

 

View of the Augusta National Clubhouse with flowers in the shape of The Masters’ logo on the lawn

 

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Category: Golf
The PGA Championship Trophy with Kiaway in the Background

The PGA Championship, here the final major of the golf season, thumb begins Thursday.  Hosted at the stunning and challenging Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort, just 20 miles south of Charleston, SC, the PGA Championship is different from the other majors as it is only open to PGA professionals, and not amateurs.   Nicknamed “Glory’s Last Shot” for the final chance it presents players to win a major this season, the pressure is on for Tour professionals.  Who will stand up to the challenge, and etch their name in history at the golf season’s final Major Championship?

What You Need to Know:

  • Sixty-five people from 9 different countries have won the PGA Championship in the past.   Of this years pros entering the tourney, 8 have multiple Major wins.
  • The PGA Championship boasts the strongest field of all the Major Championships as only professional golfers can enter.  The top players in the world will work to overcome the challenges of The Ocean Course, known as “the toughest golf course in America.”

The Ocean Course

  • Kiawah Island, home of the Ocean Course, is a gorgeous backdrop for the Tournament but definitely presents its challenges this time of year.  The Ocean Course is a stunning lay out on a 2 mile stretch of the Atlantic Ocean but has no protection from the wind, or weather elements.  Not only is it sweltering hot, but it is also prime hurricane season which could alter the weather drastically.  This week’s forecast calls for lightning and thunder storms which could disrupt play over the weekend.

 

Fans at The Ocean Course on Monday watching players make their final preparations for the tournament that starts on Thursday.

 

South Carolina has a proud golf tradition.  It was the first place in America to introduce golf to the New World.  As early as 1743 Charleston received shipments of golf balls and clubs from Scotland.  In 1786 a year before the Constitution was adopted, SC hosted the first organized golf event.  Considering all of these historic moments, it was a great surprise to learn that the 2012 PGA Championship is the first major in the Palmetto state.

Players to Watch:

I know I sound like a broken record… but, all eyes will be on Tiger Woods to see if he can snap his win-less streak in Majors at a Championship he has won four previous times.

Dustin Johnson is a South Carolina native golf star.

Dustin Johnson is the hometown favorite.  He even went to the local College of Charleston.  A young gun on the PGA Tour, he has come in the top ten in two of the three PGA Championships he’s played.  In 2010 a rules violation cost him a spot in a playoff at this Major.  With six PGA Tour victories, he’d love nothing more than to break through in a “Major” way.

 

Keegan Bradley is one of three players in golf’s history to win a Major in their first try.  He won in remarkable fashion at last year’s PGA Championships in Atlanta.  He is on a hot streak and coming off his first PGA Tour win last week since the 2011 PGA with a blistering final round of 64.

Keegan Bradley after winning the 2011 PGA Championship

Ernie Els:  After his come-from-behind with at The (British) Open in July at 42-years old, all eyes will be on this South African vet to see if he can repeat his fantastic performance with his re-vamped game.

Ernie Els

A  teaser…. If you can’t get enough of the Olympics, don’t worry.  An international golf competition is just around the corner.  You will hear a lot of talk about the Ryder Cup during the broadcast this weekend.  The Ryder Cup is a bi-annual competition contested between the United States and Europe, and ironically, was also held at The Ocean Course in 1991.  It  is arguably one of the most incredible golf tournaments, where patriotism and country spirit overwhelm golf.  The Ryder Cup will be played Septemeber 28-30 at Medinah Country Club right outside of Chicago.  At the end of the 2012 PGA Championship, 8 Americans will automatically qualify for team USA.

What’s Next:

Tune in to watch the world’s best try to capture Glory’s Last Shot.

Thursday August 9th 12 PM — 6 PM TNT

Friday August 10th 12 PM — 6 PM TNT

Saturday August 11th 10 AM — 1 PM TNT 1 PM — 6 PM CBS

Sunday August 12th 10 AM — 1 PM TNT 1 PM — 6 PM CBS

All times are CST.

 

 

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Woods British
Professional golf’s oldest major, viagra sale The (British) Open Championship, capsule begins on Thursday in Lancashire, nurse England.  As the oldest of golf’s ‘majors’, the 141st Open Championship will challenge the best golfers in the world to some of the most difficult conditions.  With a 6 hour time difference, live rounds on ESPN will begin in the wee hours of the morning here in the US, but will still draw viewers anxious to watch the best golfers in the world crumble under pressure on such a unforgiving course.   Bloody fun to watch, if you ask me.  Here’s why:
What You Need To Know:
  • As the 3rd of golf’s 4 ‘majors’ (1st: The Masters in April; 2nd: The US Open in June; 4th: The PGA Championship in August) the British Open is the only major tournament not hosted in the United States.
  • The Tournament is actually called “The Open Championship” but has been coined the “British Open” by Americans to distinguish it from the US Open in August.  For style points this weekend,  refer to it as “The Open”.
  • The annual tournament rotates between nine different ‘links’ courses in England and Scotland – the original birthplace of golf.  The Championship is played on a links style golf course, the oldest style of golf course that features coast lines, deep sand bunkers (pot bunkers), thick rough, uneven and fast fairways.  With no tree lines, players are left out in the open to battle the elements.
  • This year, the tournament will be contested at Royal Lytham & St. Annes Golf Club in Lancashire, England,  July 19-22.

Royal Lytham and St. Annes will prove to be a "major" challenge this week

 

  • On top of a treacherous golf course, players will have to mentally and physically overcome the extreme English weather to claim the title. Heavy rains and howling winds are common place at all Open Championships.

Modern golf’s origins can be traced to 15th century Scotland, and this Championship is a week to pay homage to golf’s roots and history.  The first Open Championship was played in 1860.

Unpredictable is the best word to describe the Open Championship. Creativity, strength of mind and body, and a little bit of luck will determine the Champion.  Nine out of the last 10 Major Champions were first time winners, so it’s hard to put your money on the regular favorites, but here are my recommendations on who to watch this week.

Players to Watch:

Tiger Woods is looking capture his 4th Open Championship and take yet another step to rebounding back to the golf legend he once was. Tiger would regain his place as the #1 player in the world with a win this week.  With 3 wins this season, and a few missed cuts, Tiger isn’t as consistent as he used to be, but is still an early favorite this weekend.

Phil Mickelson

Phil Mickelson came in 2nd in last year’s Championship, and is argued to be the best player to have never won a British Open.

Irish hopes rest with Rory Mcllroy and Padraig Harrington. Mcllroy has seemed to run out of steam as of late.  Some attribute that to his blossoming relationship with Danish tennis star Caroline Wozniacki.

Mcllroy and Wozniacki have been dating more than a year.

Since they started dating both have gained and lost their respective sports’ number 1 ranking. What ever happened to love conquers all?! I would never count out a talent like McIlroy, who grew up playing golf in these conditions.

Harrington won this Championship two years in a row (’07 and ’08).  With an easy smile and Irish accent he’s always a hometown favorite.

 

What’s Next:

The first foursomes that make the cut from Thursday and Friday’s 72-hole challenge, will be  teeing off at 6:00AM on Saturday and Sunday.  You might be rolling in from the night before just in time to catch The Open!  Wake up with the British Open Thursday through Sunday on ESPN as coverage lasts all morning long.  I know I will be enjoying my breakfast with a side of golf.  Hey, take some inspiration after watching with you out on the golf course for an afternoon round.

All times EST

Thursday July 19th 5:00AM–3:00PM

Friday July 20th 5:00AM–3:00PM

Saturday July 21st 7:00AM–2:30PM

Sunday July 22nd 8:00AM–1:30PM ESPN

Sunday 3:00PM–6:00PM ABC (tape delay)

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