Category Archives: Golf Tips
AT a time when Irish golfers seem to knock off Major titles like coconuts in a fairground shy, other splendid personal achievements may be eclipsed.
Peter Lawrie’s share of fourth place at the UBS Hong Kong Open is a case in point.
This may pale alongside the recent world-conquering feats of Rory McIlroy but the Dubliner performed with aplomb under intense pressure at Fanling.
Lawrie (38) started with a target on his back yet produced, on demand, arguably the best performance of his frustrating season.
His fourth place at May’s BMW Championship yielded €225,000, nearly four times more than yesterday’s €66,411 cheque, but he had more to lose in Hong Kong.
Lawrie lay 60th in the Race to Dubai after missing the cut in Singapore, and only the top 60 go to this week’s $8m European finale, the DP World Tour Championship.
Banishing all thoughts of the consequences, Lawrie rigorously applied himself on a course that a jaded McIlroy and wayward Padraig Harrington clearly found too tricky to handle as they missed the cut.
After opening with two solid 68s, Lawrie propelled himself into contention with Saturday’s three-under 67.
But it was only when 19-year-old Italian Matteo Manassero also eagled the same hole more than two hours later that McIlroy could crack open the champagne again.
Already with the PGA Tour title in the bag, the 23-year-old world No 1 emulated the double achieved by Luke Donald last season when Manassero beat South African Louis Oosthuizen with a 12-foot putt at the third play-off hole.
If Oosthuizen had won he could still have caught McIlroy, but instead Manassero became the first player to win three times on the circuit before the age of 20. Not even Seve Ballesteros managed that.
McIlroy, watched during the week by girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki, stormed through to third place with a closing six-under-par 65.
Often amusing, at least for the cynical, is the naivete of sports fans and not only golf fans, but for purposes of this piece, let’s focus on the no-shows at the just-concluded HSBC Champions, won by Ryder Cup superhero Ian Poulter in China.
Thirteen of the top 20 and seven of the top 10 in the world were in the field, but Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods were not among them, even thought they were already in China for a made-for-TV event, with its guaranteed millions, earlier in the week.
The absence of Woods and McIlroy shatters the naive notion that top players choose events based on their prestige and the quality of golf course each is played on.
Pádraig Harrington has been handed the chance to complete some “unfinished business” and add the $1.35m PGA Grand Slam of Golf to his CV next week.
Open champion Ernie Els has pulled out of the annual 36-hole clash of the season’s Major winners at Bermuda’s Port Royal Golf Course and the 41-year-old Dubliner has been called up to join Masters champion Bubba Watson, US Open winner Webb Simpson and 2011 US PGA champion Keegan Bradley — a replacement for Rory McIlroy — in the battle for the $600,000 first prize.
“I definitely feel like I have some unfinished business in the Grand Slam,” said Harrington, who has pulled out of next week’s BMW Masters in Shanghai to compete in Bermuda on Tuesday and Wednesday.
“Angel Cabrera finished birdie-eagle to force a play-off in 2007 and then won at the third extra hole.
While the money won by Rose ($1.5 million which equates to £933,000) and Westwood ($1 million; £622,000) for finishing first and second respectively in the Turkish Airlines World Golf Final did not count towards the Race to Dubai, both Englishmen are keen to overhaul McIlroy at the top of the standings.
The world No 1 is currently €437,000 (£381,000) ahead of Rose on the money list, with Westwood almost another €1 million behind, but enough big-money events remain before the season-ending Dubai World Championship for those gaps to be wiped out.
“I would like to give Rory a bit of a run for the Race to Dubai,” Rose said after shooting a five-under-par 66 to beat Westwood by a single shot in yesterday’s final in Turkey.
Davis Love III was in front of the press again Wednesday, this time as a player at the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, and not as Ryder Cup captain.
It was clear, however, that the sting of defeat still weighed heavily on the man who said and did a lot of right things with his U.S. squad before the Sunday meltdown at Medinah.
“I’m happy to be here,” Love said. “I wanted to get back to playing golf, no matter what happened Sunday. I had committed that I needed to get back to my own game and it would be good for me either way.
“You know, Sunday was not good; Monday was, I think, hard for a lot of our players. We packed up and gradually everybody was leaving. It was emotional saying goodbye to most of the guys.
Davis Love III’s US team lost a four-point lead on the final day of the Ryder Cup Photograph: Jim Young/Reuters
While most of the world was lauding Europe’s dramatic Ryder Cup turnaround in Medinah as one of the most sensational and unlikely comebacks in golfing history, in the United States at least, the question was: how the hell did Davis Love III’s team conspire to lose a 10-6 lead on the final day?
Medinah’s local newspaper, the Chicago Tribune, was particularly cutting.