Monday, August 31, 2009

Can Michelle Wie win without team support?

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Michelle Wie really wanted all of the "judges" who convinced themselves that she isn't all that great a golfer to see her in all of her glory at the Solheim Cup, and with three and a half out of a possible four points to her credit. She really shut down the naysayers!

Is the "confidence boost" that Michelle Wie used to define her week in biennial match play against Team Europe at the Solheim Cup enough to change her psyche from just another player to winner? Can she finally become the female golfer that the LPGA Tour will look towards in order to boost their own ratings?

As one of the most expressive cheerleaders of Team USA, Wie proved that she has a voice and is a solid team player to boot! This may also be the defining moment in Wie's career as well; the moment that fans will remember long after her first win, placing Michelle on the road to greatness.

Then again, maybe not...

"I think I played with as much passion as I could. I think I played with as much desire and hunger as I wanted to. I think it was absolutely phenomenal, this experience that I had," mentioned a 'hyped-up Wie.

Did Wie say, as I wanted to? Does that mean that she doesn't feel the same way about playing in singles matches? Perhaps then, MW should be playing more team golf at Stanford and less on the Tour until she conquers this fear.

In addition Michelle stated, "I did not want to come to the 18th hole, but it came down to that and I did what I can do," concluding that her nerves were jangling but in spite of it she learned to conquer her fears and just go out and play.

Wie must now play on the LPGA Tour and win an event. She must win by a large margin, not because her opponent fails but because she shows confidence and strength from within.

Congratulations to Michelle Wie and to Team USA for taking possession of the Solheim Cup for a two year stint.

On this week's Golf for Beginners podcast, David Leadbetter's two golf club psych tip, bad last second swing decisions and how young is too young to learn about golf?

Michelle_Wie_Solheim_Cup



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Photo Credit: © Telegraph/EPA

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Will Tiger Woods be too old to take Olympic gold? Also Harrington on Woods and John Daly limps off course again

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A word within almost every sports column in the United States is that Tiger Woods 'choked' and gave up a 54-hole lead at the PGA Championship to the golfer who stood in 110th position before the Sunday start, Y.E. Yang. Did Tiger choke or only prove that he is human after all?

'Choke' is a strong word to associate with Tiger Woods and it is not supposed to happen to the one golfer that everyone believed to be made of steel, an alien from another planet to many fans. Some may say that he brought his "B" or "C" game to the final round of the fourth major and others may claim that Woods now has chinks in his armor but rimmed putts are hardly the stuff of failure.

Yang_Tiger_Woods_pga



A second place finish yesterday makes it difficult to say that Tiger allowed "a hungrier, more focused, more composed golfer kick the stuffing out of him" as written by Jay Mariotti. Let us reserve that visualization for Padraig Harrington whose quintuple bogey forced him to drop his head once again and sigh his way through another event with Tiger in the field.

Should golfers in future events be less fearful in a face-off with Woods?

Five wins this season is hardly a sign that Tiger is slipping off of his pedestal but lacking a major win this season also cautions fans that he can be beaten. Woods doing negative self-talk? That hardly ever happens either and perhaps Tiger is not even aware of it but when he rolls the playback, which he will, I'm sure that Woods will come back stronger than ever.

Fed Ex Cup golfers, BEWARE!

As far as Olympic glory in 2016, I don't think a forty-year-old Woods will compete but, on the other hand, the gold medal would look great in his trophy room. The problem is, could folks stand it if Tiger only came home with a bronze medal?

Golf for Beginners also reviews Padraig Harrington's thoughts on why Tiger should have won the PGA Championship and how any golfer can follow his progression.

We also look at the real reason why John Daly walked off the golf course at the PGA Championship.


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"Shiny Tech" courtesy of Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)"

This podcast is supported by Arizona Golf Packages, 1-866-444-0992.

Photo Credit: © Telegraph/AFP

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

La Manga Club: Golf and Travel in Sunny Spain

"I have seen dawn and sunset on moors and windy hills Coming in solemn beauty like slow old tunes of Spain."
Excerpt from "Beauty", a poem by John Edward Masefield, English poet laureate

Following in the same vein as my recent interest in playing golf at the Ailsa Course at Turnberry, I have also decided to select several other destinations that I am going to make a strong effort to visit over the next several years. Although I can only cross my fingers and hope that this happens, I consider this a "wish list" of sorts.

Sometimes when you wish hard enough, your wish can come true!

I love the sun, beach and golf, so I always make sure to include that "trifecta" when planning a holiday. The Murcia region of Spain happens to offer the most hours of daylight of any continent and so I am considering a visit to La Manga, Europe's most famous golf resort.

The Mediterranean climate boasts sunshine more than 300 days per year! Couple that with 1,400 acres of top-notch facilities, and I cannot believe that this resort is not on the tips of more golfers' tongues.

The resort town of La Manga del Mar Menor (aka 'the Sleeve of the Minor Sea') is on a strip of land which separates the Mediterranean Sea from the Small Sea (Mar Menor). La Manga was originally formed by an accumulation of sand carried by ocean currents. Volcanic, as well as other sediments came to the surface to form Mar Menor.

It is attractive to touristas who simply want to get away from their natural habitat for pure pleasure. Windsurfing, sailing and water skiing are popular because of the location of both Mediterranean and calm inlet. I don't think I am the type of person to enjoy diving but, isn't that what vacations are for...to try new and exciting things that you would never think of trying before? Perhaps a small cliff... If you are an equestrian, there are both Andalucian and French horses (and Shetland ponies for the kids I'm told) which are great for beach and countryside trots.

I chose to "visit" La Manga Club Principe Felipe because it has top-notch facilities and visually stunning areas allowing me to choose between relaxation by day and frolicking at night. The 1,400 acres of land boasts a five-star hotel, world-class spa, three world-class golf courses and both golf and tennis academies (practice makes perfect). Las Lomas Village on the property features townhomes, apartments and a more tranquil setting but both offer the same amenities.

La Manga was named European Golf Resort of the Year, and it is easy to see why it has received such outstanding accolades. The South, North and West Courses offer championship layouts and stringent tests with tricky slopes that demand exacting course management. Bring your patience for these courses but, with the incredible vistas, it should be easy to relax, regardless of the outcome! Kids are also welcome to play golf with parent/children golf tournaments scheduled every week.

No kids? Me neither! La Manga also offers the spa experience, a piano bar that offers wine and cheese tastings and, for a night on the town, visit Gran Casino Cartagena.

Although many people select accomodations based on what is within the walls of their resort, touring the surrounding areas offer a glimpse into the life of locals as well. Visiting small villages, museums and the ancient port of Cartagena will allow me to get to know the past and present culture of the area.

A visit to Spain is definitely in my future. A week at La Manga is just what I need to restore my well-being. Sunny Costa Calida, here I come!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Tiger Woods tips on hitting the mud ball, Solheim Team wild about Wie, 18 holes in only an hour and are WNBA fans interested in golf?

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Does Tiger Woods' victory at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational portend another major failure this week at the PGA Championship?

Although Woods put on a clinic this week, he may just as easily fail in his bid to win a single major tournament this season. Reuters mentioned that Tiger "sent out an ominous warning to his rivals" for the upcoming major event, but, as we have seen from Tiger this year, he has not been able to close the deal on one major title this season.

Perhaps Tiger should be content realizing that there are plenty of PGA Tour events left to play this season concentrating his efforts instead on tying, or beating Jack Nicklaus' record. Knowing that just the sight of Woods creeping up the leaderboard or tied for the lead causes the best golfers in the world to fall by the wayside (most recently, Padraig Harrington's disastrous flub at the 16th) should be enough glory in itself.

Even if Tiger fails to win a single major tournament this season, fans should consider his five wins in 2009 a sign that Woods is the man to beat on the PGA Tour.

"Just being able to come back and play and be successful again has been a tremendous step in the right direction," Woods confirmed.

But is this the Tiger Woods that fans want to see: father, husband and humble winner or "Super Tiger" as the Examiner calls him, "the Tiger that the media, sponsors and fans have created...invincible to everything from Kryptonite to Sabbatinium."

Although fans are a fickle bunch they know to expect a certain degree of fireworks whenever Tiger Woods is in the field. That being said, Harrington and the rest of the defending field better have golf balls filled with Kryptonite to have a chance at defeating Woods this week.


Tiger Woods



Golf for Beginners offers a Tiger Woods tip on hitting the dreaded mud ball. We also discuss the validity of Dean Knuth's assumption that golfers can play a round in one hour. The reasons why Team USA is wild about Michelle Wie is also a topic as well as if golf is a good half-time fit at WNBA games.

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Send your golf questions and comments to golfforbeginners@aol.com.

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"Shiny Tech" courtesy of Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)"

This podcast is supported by ResortsGolfandSpa.com, 866-643-6078.

Photo Credit: © Marketingshift.com

Monday, August 10, 2009

Michelle Wie takes rightful place on Solheim Cup team. Also, How many Buicks does Tiger Woods need, throw your ball at the tee and Forsgate CC

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Michelle Wie has overcome yet another obstacle on the yellow-brick-road to greatness with her selection onto the Solheim Cup team. The question is, will she assist her fellow teammates or will heatstroke prevail, forcing Beth Daniel to place her on the sidelines?

Wie has been given exemptions and handouts by the powers-that-be for so long that many people are wondering whether or not she deserves this honor and if she will make the most of it come "crunch time".

The choice of using Michelle Wie happens to be the right one for a number of reasons. The most obvious reason is that the ladies on either Solheim Cup team will become better known and their popularity within their sphere will rise.

Michelle Wie also deserves to be selected this time. In spite of the fact that this is her first year on the LPGA Tour, Wie has risen to thirteenth position on the points list due to an eleventh place finish at the Women's British Open. Although Wie has not won an event yet as a rookie, give her a chance...there have only been sixteen events to date with another major and half a season remaining to make her mark.

The choice to put Juli Inkster on the team is similar to the Wie decision in that Inkster has been without a win for three seasons. Experience is where the two part company and Juli has plenty with eight appearances under her belt. Inkster is a consummate team player with a 14-8-5 career record and has not lost a single match in eleven years which makes her a great choice for this event.

During the announcement of the final selection, Michelle was asked how it feels to her to be one of two captain's picks. Wie replied, "It was one of my biggest goals this year and I'm just so excited to be wearing this jacket and this hat and to be representing my country; it's such a thrill for me. I'm just so honored and so thankful that Beth picked me and I'll do my best not to let her down."

Will Team Wie (oh, I mean Team USA) get along and will Michelle become an integral part of the LPGA after offering an assist or will she fade into obscurity offering tons of fodder to those who believe her to be a second-rate LPGA golfer?


USA Solheim Cup Team with Michelle Wie (bottom left)



Golf for Beginners also discusses Tiger Woods' return to the winners circle and a great drill from Gia Bocra-Liwski, golf professional at Forsgate Country Club.


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Send your golf questions and comments to golfforbeginners@aol.com.

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This podcast is supported by GolfCalifornia.com, 1-866-351-1688.

Photo Credit: © LPGA

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