Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tiger Woods determined not to dethrone Couples as King of "Silly Season"

Tiger-fred It has often been stated that Fred Couples, considered the "King of the Silly Season" and dominant skins player, became "Champion" of the off-season due to debilitating back problems.

In spite of being sidelined for much of 2007 and 2011, Couples still managed to make the cut at the '07 Masters and won the 2011 Senior Players Championship after treatment in Germany.  

That's determination folks.

Tiger Woods, in my opinion, is now waging war against his physical ailments, as did Couples, and is looking forward to the challange and to putting 'W's alongside his name once more.

Woods has said he's "anxious to compete."

Within the next few months, Tiger Woods will be testing the waters to see how his knee/achilles and golf game in general are progressing with an eye on helping the Americans win the Presidents Cup chalice.

Does Couples believe Woods can help lead President's Cup 'Team USA' to victory, knowing as he does of the incapacitating nature of Woods' injury?
Couples said. "If he goes there and doesn’t play well, I would be shocked."

Today, Tiger Woods plays golf at Turning Stone Resort, to benefit the Notah Begay III Foundation (which seeks to eradicate childhood obesity in the Native American Community) and possibly as the first in a series of "tests" to prepare for President's Cup "Team USA". I don't know about the rest of the fans in cyberspace, but this is one golfing girl who is happy to see Woods representing the home team!

After the non-competitive(?) Turning Stone appearance, Woods takes on California at the Open. Some golf media consider the to be a "second-tier PGA Tour event" but rest assured, with Tiger in attendance, the Open just moved way up in the rankings!

The fact that Woods was eliminated from FedEx Cup participation and that he still needed a few events under his belt before Couples allowed him to play for Team USA is probable reason for Tiger even entertaining the idea of playing the Open. Victory here, although adorned with less meaning than winning another FedEx Cup or a major, will help to validate Woods' return and bring added confidence for the 2012 season.

Tiger Woods golf blog mentioned another reason for his decision to play at the Frys Open, "One of my goals this year was to participate in a tournament I hadn't played before, and now, I will."

After the Frys, Tiger Woods travels 'round the world to Melbourne, in order to compete at the Australian Open in November, a week before his return to team play at the President Cup. A hearty welcome and a healthy stipend probably helped lure Woods to this event ...and Couples' strong warning certainly escalated the importance of this tune-up before representation as Freddie's pick.

Bottom line? Tiger Woods needs to start playing golf whether it be in charitable events and/or fall-series tournaments to see whether or not he can work through his injuries and regain status on the PGA Tour as a formidable contender. If not, move over Couples. You will be dethroned!

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Monday, August 29, 2011

Italy's Quiet Golf Champion – Francesco Molinari

A year ago Francesco Molinari put the seal on a remarkable twelve months with one of the most sensational tournament displays ever seen in Asian golf, when he and Lee Westwood finished streets ahead of a world-class field at the WGC-HSBC Champions. Tim Maitland reports.

When Francesco “Chicco” Molinari briefly raised his hands in the air and gazed momentarily up the cheering Shanghai crowds in the grandstand at Sheshan last year, you would have had little clue from his body language that he had just gone eyeball to eyeball with the hottest player on the planet and won. 

Even now, when he looks back at the best performance, the biggest victory, the most spectacular year of his career and a season unparalleled in the history of Italian golf, his voice – a deep baritone – rumbles along at exactly the same steady, careful, unflustered pace. 

"It was very, very good. It was probably the best golf I’ve played so. When you’re playing against the number one in the world it doesn’t get any tougher than that, especially the way he was playing. It was just a great week for my confidence and my self-belief to see that I could compete against the best in the world," the 28-year-old explains, his tone showing no hint of the kind of excitement of someone describing the day and the week where he delivered a performance that he had strived for most of his life.

There’s no hint of exhilaration when he considers the culmination of a remarkable twelve months in his life. It started when he won the Omega Mission Hills World Cup for Italy with his older brother Edoardo in Shenzhen and continued when he twice played alongside Edoardo as his brother won his first European Tour events in Scotland. If that wasn’t enough the brothers, who were born a little under two years apart, paired up again to help Europe win the Ryder Cup and, circling the globe, Francesco returned to China to claim the biggest prize of his career taking his season earnings to within a few Euros of 2.8 million.

 The vanquished in this case is far more effusive than the victor.

“Last year’s event was great! Myself and Francesco ran away from the field! We played a different golf course that week!” exclaims Westwood, who was starting his first of what would be 22 weeks at number one.

“It was pretty much flawless golf,” Molinari muses modestly.

As the quiet champion, Molinari is perhaps destined to be filed in the same place that the 2006 Shanghai winner Yang Yong-Eun occupied until he became Asia’s first male Major Champion and his 2009 PGA Championship cast his previous achievements into a new light. Both are symbolic of the arrival of relatively new golfing nations to the sport’s top table and, at the times of their win, neither golfer had the same superstar status as some of the other names on the HSBC Champions roll of honour like Phil Mickelson (2007 & 2009) or Sergio Garcia (2008).

They have one other thing in common: to win both produced a performance so perfect that they remain a regular reference point.

“I try to revive the feeling I had that week. I played with such poise. It was my perfect tournament,” Yang said the week before he enshrined himself as a legend of Asian golf.

Molinari’s emotions are he’s exactly the same.

“Definitely! What is left for me from that week are the feelings that I had on the golf course; being competitive, being really in the moment and just the attitude I had on the golf course, rather than the game itself,” he says.

It’s hard enough to believe Francesco would need such a reference point, so unchanging is his demeanour: even people close to his family say that while brother Edoardo rides a more typically Italian emotional rollercoaster, Francesco never deviates.

What’s almost impossible to believe is his claim that, as a child, learning the game in Turin, his dentist-father frequently banned him for ‘throwing the toys out of the pram’.

“I used to throw clubs as a kid and swear and if my Dad saw me from other holes throwing clubs he wouldn’t let me play for a couple of weeks. That was the punishment for not behaving on the golf course,” Francesco explains.

“I think I was lucky to learn the lesson as a kid. When you turn professional you try really hard think about what you’re doing and not about what happened or what is going to happen. I think that’s what I did really well in Shanghai.”

Patience has proved a virtue in other ways too. At the insistence of their parents, both Edoardo and Francesco had to complete degrees at the University of Torino (Edoardo studying Engineering and Francesco choosing Business) before starting their golf careers.

Although the younger Molinari initially singles out improving year-on-year rather than his victories, there have been plenty of highlights in his professional life.

“The World Cup and the Ryder Cup were two of the biggest moments in my career. The win in Shenzhen was great, playing against Rory (McIlroy) and G-Mac (Graeme McDowell) in the last round and winning by one shot at the 18th is always something special. Being the first World Cup success for Italy alongside my brother Edoardo was just something really unbelievable.

“The Ryder Cup is an unbelievable experience; different from any other emotion you can feel on the golf course. The first morning we were not even playing and when we went to the tee they started chanting “There’s only two Molinaris” and it was just a lot of fun. I thought it was one of the best chants of the week. It’s a lot of tension and a lot of pressure but at the same time it’s also a lot of fun because you don’t play for money, you don’t play for world ranking points… you just play for winning and the team.”

As for the steady improvement, Molinari admits that the law of diminishing returns applies as you get into the jet set of tour society. This year he has strived for a little more distance and in the process lost some of the pinpoint accuracy.

That’s not the only change. This year Molinari has played fewer events to make room for the Majors and other WGC tournaments that his HSBC Champions win has allowed him to add to the cream of the European Tour’s events.  The results haven’t been bad – top 10s in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, Volvo World Match Play Championship and the BMW Italian Open and, the highlight, a third place finish at the WGC-Cadillac Championship – but they haven’t been as consistent as previous seasons.

The other big adjustment has been the arrival of his first child, a son Tommaso, born this year on February 5th.

“Life changes after a baby. You have to adapt to the new condition of being a parent, but it’s fun. As soon as he smiles you forget about anything that happened – good or bad – on the golf course. It gives you a different perspective,” Molinari reveals.

So, Molinari returns to the HSBC Champions not quite on the crest of the wave that swept him to the biggest win of his career, but looking forward to defending his title on what he describes as “a phenomenal” 18 holes of golf.

“It’s going to be different! We won the World Cup in China and now I’ve won in Shanghai; obviously I really like playing in China! It’s going to be fun to be back there another year. The HSBC Champions was just the climax of a fantastic year for me. I’m really looking forward to going back there this year and try and do the same,” he says.

How he’ll be received will be interesting. Perhaps like “YE” Yang Yong-Eun it will only be a Major championship that will make a nation relatively new to the sport re-evaluate the near-perfection he displayed last year.

If Francesco Molinari doesn’t get the recognition from the golfing public, the player he vanquished believes the Italian certainly has got it from his peers; the people that matter most.

“I think he did by all the players. That’s who you want recognition from,” Westwood says.

“He played very nicely,” the Englishman adds.

It’s a comment that sums up Francesco Molinari perfectly; simply because it is so understated.

Francesco Molinari Profile:
Nationality: Italian
Born: 8th November 1982, Turin (Torino) Italy
Height/Weight: 5ft 8in/11st 5lb (172cm/72kg)
Family: Wife Valentina (m. 2007). Son Tommaso (b. 2010)
Lives: London, England
Education: Degree in Business, University of Torino (Università degli Studi di Torino/UNITO)
Other interests: Snowboarding, Football (Supports Inter Milan and West Ham United)

Professional wins:
2010 WGC-HSBC Champions, Sheshan International Golf Club, Shanghai China
2010 Ryder Cup, Celtic Manor Resort, Newport, Wales
2009 Omega Mission Hills World Cup, Mission Hills, Guangdong, China (with Edoardo Molinari)
2006 Telecom Italian Open, Castello di Tolcinasco G & CC, Milan, Italy

Other Professional Landmarks:
November 2010: career-best 5th place in the European Tour’s “race to Dubai” order of merit
October 2009: reached top 50 of the Official Golf World Rankings for the first time
2004: Turned pro after earning his European Tour card at his first attempt at Q School

Amateur wins:
2004 Italian Amateur Stroke Play Championship; Italian Match Play Championship; Sherry Cup, Spain
2002 Italian Amateur Stroke Play Championship; Italian Amateur Foursomes Championship (with Edoardo Molinari)

2010 HSBC Champions victory:
Became the first wire-to-wire winner in the history of the HSBC Champions
His first European Tour victory since the 2006 Italian Open – a gap of four years and 185 days and 125 European Tour events between victories
His first WGC victory of his career, in his fifth WGC appearance
Moved into the top 15 of the Official World Golf Ranking; his highest career position
Marked the first time since the WGC events started in 1999 that European Tour members had won three events in the same year (Ian Poulter (WGC – Accenture Match Play), Ernie Els (WGC – CA Championship)
Became the 17th different winner of a WGC event, while Italy became the ninth different country to win a WGC event
The Molinaris joined Seve and Manuel Ballesteros, who in 1983 both won, as the only brothers to win in the same European Tour season. (1983 Seve – PGA Championship, Irish Open and Trophée Lancôme; Manuel – Timex Open. 2010 Francesco – WGC-HSBC Champions; Edoardo – Barclays Scottish Open and Johnnie Walker Championship)

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Tiger Woods can fall in rankings and still win at golf

The latest Tiger Woods news is that the former number-one golfer in the world has slipped yet again in the rankings, this time to 33rd position. Many fans are watching Woods' decline saying that his days of winning on the PGA Tour are over; others feel that, at thirty-five, there is still plenty of golf left to be played. Either way, Tiger Woods is still a winner in golf. Here's how:

  • "Tiger Woods PGA Tour '12: The Masters" is considered to be one of the best selling golf video games of all time. Woods has put on his motion capture suit once again in order to create another blockbuster video. The name? Not yet determined but maybe EA Sports can call it "The Year of the Tiger."

    If he can't win on the golf course, perhaps Woods can win in cyberspace. Unfortunately, the only shots Tiger says he is getting good at are "block-slices to the virtual marshals." Perhaps it's that new Sean Foley swing...

    • Woods is also leasing a 10,000 square-foot palatial Mediterranean "business command center" to be closer to his Jupiter home. It seems obvious that Tiger is no longer suffering from money problems.

    • Tiger Woods is looking to gain a spot on the U.S. President's Cup Team. If he can't win as a single, perhaps he can solidify his return in Ryder-Cup format. The only one stopping his comeback here (and rightfully so) is Fred Couples who demands that members on his team have several events under their belts before being selected.

    Will Woods win once again in a sport he once dominated? Anything can happen with the right mindset. As Tiger Woods blog stated, "I hit more solid shots than people might think and more importantly, I had no problems with my knee and Achilles tendon. Right now, I'm healthy."

    Tiger, it's just a matter of trust.

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    Monday, August 22, 2011

    Forsgate PGA Professional offers golf tips on consistency in the swing

    A few weeks ago at the annual Forsgate Country Club Writer Cup, I asked PGA Head Professional Mark Mazzola if he would share a few golf tips for readers of this Golf for Beginners blog. Before our shotgun round began on the famed Banks Course, four PGA teaching pros at Forsgate offered a very insightful Q&A to members of the MGWA, answering very basic to quite technical golf questions.

    Mark Mazzola, Greg Gage, Carolyn Mckenzie-Andrews

    Thank you to Mark Mazzola for offering this blog on how to utilize the golf club for maximum consistency in the golf swing! Check out Forsgate TV's Channel on for more golf tips.

    If you happen to be in or near New Jersey on October 4, 2011, be sure to stop by for the Forsgate Foundation Charity Classic Skins Game featuring Annika Sorenstam and Ken Griffey Jr. I understand that an E350 Mercedes Benz will also be up for auction!

    Written by Mark Mazzola, PGA Head Professional, Forsgate Country Club

    One of the most commonly requested improvements is “consistency”.  You gain more consistency by striking the golf ball rather than scooping the ball. If you use the golf club how it was designed to be hit, your game will get more consistent.

    Golfers come in different shapes, sizes, abilities, and talent levels that make every golf swing unique. For as long as I have been teaching this game I have not seen the same swing come from two different golfers  but  every good golfer is using the club correctly.

    The golf club was designed to be hit in the most powerful position, slightly in front of the ball with forward shaft lean. If the sole of the club is lying flat on a surface the shaft of the club will always lean toward your target. With this fact in mind it is imperative that you use the golf club this way to consistently strike the golf ball.

    The most effective way to accomplish the goal of using the club correctly is to combine a circular motion around your body with balance and limited extra movement making sure that your hands and body are in front of the ball when you are making contact.

    There is no right or wrong way to swing a club there is just a right or wrong way to use the club!

    Mark Mazzola
    PGA Head Golf Professional
    Forsgate Country Club
    375 Forsgate Dr.
    Monroe NJ, 08831
    Forsgate CC on Facebook

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    Wednesday, August 17, 2011

    Twitter makes media social for New York golf bloggers in Putnam

    It is unusual and exciting to meet up with Twitter users whom you follow and chat with regularly but that is exactly what happened when three of the most recognizable golf bloggers in New York converged last week at the lovely Putnam National Golf Club for a fun game.

    Social media jumped out of the computer and met face-to-face on the golf course!

    Patricia Hannigan, President of Golf Girl Media and writer of the fun and flirty golf blog "Golf Girl's Diary" joined Mike Wolfe, President of WAM Marketing Solutions and myself (with my husband Barry), putting away our smart phones in order to explore Putnam National as a foursome.

    Mike had recently played golf at Putnam National and in his review appreciated the "scenic views", "elevation changes" and "undulating greens" of this once private golf course. Patricia enjoyed this Mahopac golf course only once before on an autumn day. "What I remembered most was how the brilliant fall foliage extended up the surrounding hills to provide a colorful vista at almost every hole."

    Putnam National Golf Club

    I took pleasure in being enveloped by the natural beauty of my surroundings and the feel of calm joy being out on a beautiful day with a friendly group. A few solid bunker shots and a receptive driver didn't hurt either!

    Jason Peck, in an article entitled, "How Social Media is changing golf"  mentioned that, "One of social media’s strengths is being able to compliment real-life events and extend their reach and interactivity."

    This idea tends to work both ways in golf: being one of the most social sports, golf is ripe for converting internet conversations into friendships on the course and also for players to be able to find others in cyberspace interested in discussion and meet-up.

    "I think the more golf can utilize social media to help make the sport and golfers more accessible and interesting to casual fans, the more the game will grow,"  said Peck.

    Our foursome's face-to-face golf experience concluded on the 19th hole at Putnam National's pub with a few beers and a chat about our respective games. We took pictures and vowed to play golf again in the near future. Until we meet again, we can still be social!

    Golf4Beginners, WAMGolfs and GolfGirl at Putnam the flesh!

    Meet and follow us on Twitter:
    Stacy Solomon @Golf4Beginners
    Patricia Hannigan @GolfGirl
    Mike Wolfe @WAMGolfs


    Monday, August 15, 2011

    Did the Tiger Woods golf era end on PGA Championship Sunday?

    After receiving an encouraging tweet in the aftermath of the 93rd PGA Championship where Keegan Bradley charged from behind to take glory's last stand from Jason Dufner, I wondered if Tiger Woods is needed anymore to stir interest in professional golf. My answer, "Golf will survive and thrive without Tiger in the game!"




    A short conversation between @GolfSchott on Twitter and myself (@Golf4Beginners) after a sudden-death playoff on Sunday transpired as follows:

    @GolfSchott: I would say this one would be considered memorable now as well. What a tourney!!

    @Golf4Beginners: Playoff always good but memorable?

    @GolfSchott: Absolutely, this is no ordinary playoff, this is a playoff in a Major!

    Excitement and patriotic relief were measured hand-in-hand as Americans came in first and second and that a red-shirted, fresh-faced Keegan Bradley hoisted the Wanamaker Trophy; "relief" that there is finally someone on this side of the pond to challenge the ever gregarious and competitive golfers standing up to be counted in the world arena.

    I watched intently as the playoff commenced with two relative unknowns taking center stage. There were center-cut drives, long, twisting putts dropping into the cup and fists a'pump with unabashed joy as the golfers walked as purposely as the once-great Tiger Woods did on major Sunday with fans cheering immeasurably as a hero was finally crowned.

    This was not just one hero that the fans were cheering in my opinion, it was the game of golf that received the applause!

    According to this opinion piece, Tiger Woods as we knew him is "dead". "He might still win, but the dominant force we loved to watch is gone." Woods can never be the person or champion that he once was; his true identity has been discovered, found out, ousted and doubt in his own ability has caused "rigor mortis" in his golf swing.

    The fear which Tiger instilled in professional golfers when he was in the hunt has diminished and, at thirty-five, the mystique of how he was regularly in contention is being replaced with missed cuts and pack-like, mediocre play. Although the odds are good that Woods will win again, he will never again be known as a hero in the world of golf.

    Thank goodness that the fans are finally willing to move on, for the game has been suffering along with Woods for the past several years, unable to pick up and move on. As of this PGA Championship where Tiger M/C'd with one of his worst major rounds, golf media and fans are finally welcoming change.

    Yes, a new era is at hand. Whether Keegan Bradley or Jason Dufner will become "memorable" or win more events cannot be predicted but it is safe to say that the PGA Championship Sunday sudden-death playoff gave the game of golf a push in the right direction.

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    photo credit: MSNBC



    Posted via email from stacysolomon's posterous

    Tuesday, August 09, 2011

    Can new Nike golf shoes help transform Tiger Woods game?

    Nike_free_golfTiger Woods has been sporting new Nike golf shoes since his return to professional golf, according to the press release issued below.

    It certainly didn't help transform his golf game last week at the WGC-Bridgestone, as we saw Woods finish in a tie for 37th position. As a matter of fact, the Post reported that Tiger's former caddie, Steve Williams, earned about 2.5 times as much as Woods!

    Still, Golfweek mentioned that, despite Tiger Woods' yardage issues, he is hitting the ball flush and is ready for his close-up at the PGA Championship.

    Well, since money isn't everything, perhaps comfort will be!


    Tiger Woods Debuts Prototype Shoe on Comeback

    Tiger Woods has been working with one of the Directors within NIKE’s Innovation Kitchen, Tobie Hatfield, and NIKE Golf on a FREE-inspired prototype shoe that Tiger will wear during this week’s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

    Originally developed in 2004 by a group led by Hatfield, NIKE FREE is a ‘natural motion’ technology that is designed to mimic and conform to the natural motion of the foot, coupled with the protection and traction of a lightweight performance shoe.

    The FREE-inspired elements in this prototype model allow greater movement for the front of the foot, increasing stability with mobility. “This will help give Tiger greater stability as he addresses the ball. The freedom of movement that natural motion technology delivers will also allow more power to be released through the swing rather than through the body – which can happen when your feet are too static.” said Hatfield.

    “I love the feel of NIKE FREE for training, so I asked Tobie if it was possible to bring that technology to the golf course. It’s exciting to see a conversation like that come to life and I look forward to wearing them this week,” added Tiger.

    The majority of the upper consists of a polyurethane coated stretch fabric, also seen within the construction of NIKE Basketball’s Hyperfuse 2011. Part of the heel is created from recycled NIKE Air Max units melted into thread and then woven together to create a strong, breathable textile material. The FREE-inspired outsole is directly taken from NIKE Sportswear’s Special Field Boot designed for first-responders.

    This model also has a half heel counter in both shoes to give more stability on the lateral side, particularly in follow through. The shoe also incorporates NIKE Flywire (first introduced in Beijing in 2008) attached to each lace loop, which when pulled tight envelope the foot for maximum comfort and stability.

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    Monday, August 08, 2011

    Former Tiger Woods caddie Steve Williams more popular than Adam Scott?

    The "unwritten rule" of not talking to golf media was broken yesterday by former Tiger Woods caddie Steve Williams after yesterday's exciting win by his new boss, Adam Scott, at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.

    Steve Williams was approached by David Feherty after the final round of the golf tournament and could have said something joyful about Adam Scott's win but instead commented on his own emotional high with an almost laughable countenance condemning his own dismissal by Tiger Woods.

    Williams declared, "I've caddied for thirty-three years and one hundred forty-five wins and that's the best win I've ever had."

    Steve must have forgotten the seven previous wins at this event carrying the bag for Tiger Woods, or did he? Was Tiger Woods a good boss or is Williams just spewing sour grapes?

    "It's the greatest week of my life caddying and I sincerely mean that," Steve Williams concluded.

    The gaffe was not taken lightly by former Ryder Cup captain Paul Azinger and other professional golfers. Zinger tweeted, "most (caddies) don't, a few do at times when appropriate." He added the hashtag #notapopularguy.

    English golfer Chris Wood commented, "Steve Williams taken all the attention off Adam Scott's fantastic win! Played great and nobody is talking about him this morning!!!"

    Tennis star Andy Roddick said, "Am I missing something? Was Steve the one actually playing?"

    Williams speaks what is on his mind; he doesn't mince words. If the public didn't want to hear what he had to say, then Feherty should not have approached him. On the flip side, Steve probably should have politely turned his interview into praise for Adam Scott for giving him the opportunity.

    Since Steve Williams received more shout-outs than Adam Scott heading onto the 18th green, shouldn't he at least been given the right to speak?

    Adam Scott said it best, "He's a popular guy around here...It was fun to get support, whether it's for me or him, I don't care, it's the right team."

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    photo credit:

    Thursday, August 04, 2011

    Tiger Woods spurns pals, do fellow golfers want him back?

    Tiger_WoodsAlthough sports media is quick to report splits between Tiger Woods and caddie, former swing coaches, management and friends, PGA Tour and European Tour golfers have been standing together to welcome the former number-one golfer back onto the fairway.

    PGA Champion, Martin Kaymer said it best, "We need him, we really need him. He's the best player who ever played that game."

    Darren Clarke, winner of the 2011 Open Championship and paired with Tiger Woods for the first round of the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, commented, "Tiger Woods could be a hard man to beat because of his record around this golf course. He loves it so much and has played so well here before. I wouldn't be surprised to see him have a really, really good week."

    But Rory McIlroy, fresh off his latest twitter escapade involving golf writer Jay Townshend, appeared a bit ambiguous and on-the-fence about his true feelings regarding Tiger Woods taking center stage, "It’d be maybe a little intimidating if you knew for sure if [Woods] was going to play the way he did in 2000, 2001, but no one knows that."

    With Tiger Woods' return to golf this week, internet sports have been abuzz with sorrowful tales of short-lasting unions between sports celebrities...sniff...

    Could it be that Tiger Woods really wasn't great friends with sports legends like Charles Barkley and Roger Federer, or even really tight with caddie Steve Williams? As outsiders, fans tend to receive snippets of information as if we were playing "Telephone", an old game where a sentence is whispered to many, one-by-one, and is spewed out differently than it started. The media also enjoys photo-ops and creating buzz around sports superstars, so hanging out at a club "gambling and partying" could easily have been misconstrued.

    A true friend, Charles, does not change his cell phone number without sharing it with Barkley continued, "I’ve been trying to get to him and can’t get to him,” he said. “It’s very frustrating.” ..hint, hint

    Convenience has a way of playing a role in many people's lives. Roger Federer, for example, was number-one in the world of tennis, Woods was the top golfer in the world; so easy to create a relationship built on similarities. With both Woods and Federer slipping from their respective perches, their friendship might have ended along with the "back-patting." This would explain the ease and apparent readiness in which Woods separated himself from his former "pack".

    With Tiger Woods clearing his head and life of distractions, it is only a matter of time before the former champion shows signs of greatness. Champions are made, not born.

    As the great golfer Sam Snead once said, "The mark of a great player is in his ability to come back. The great champions have all come back from defeat."

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    Monday, August 01, 2011

    Is Yani Tseng the next Tiger Woods, Annika Sorenstam?

    The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational is where Tiger Woods has decided to make his first comeback since opting out of the Players Championship after the first nine holes.

    Woods has conjectured that he might also play golf in the Australian Open as well as the Presidents Cup. Just for attending the Australian Open, Woods is expected a huge payday thanks to their government.

    Questions abound:

    Is Woods feeling better, just tired of sitting on the sidelines or is he in it for the payday?

    Why the Bridgestone? Confidence? Tiger has won the event seven times in fourteen years.

    Are his injuries healed?

    Who is...Why did...Tiger Woods choose childhood friend and head of his golf course design company, Bryon Bell, as his new caddie? Can he take the place of Steve Williams?

    Another big golf story this week comes from the LPGA/LET and all of the ladies in the game. Meet Yani Tseng, number-one golfer on the LPGA Tour and considered by many to be the next Annika Sorenstam and/or the new Lorena Ochoa of the game.

    Yani Tseng holding the British Open trophy

    Watch out when Tseng is in the field; she is proving herself to be a force during any (major) golf tournament. With her come-from-behind win this weekend at the Women's British Open (she won last year's Open too), Yani has won four of the last eight major tournaments and five overall.

    And, Yani Tseng is only twenty-two-years old!

    Comparisons to Tiger Woods and Annika Sorenstam abound.

    As a matter of fact, according to an article on, "Sorenstam was thirty-two when she won her fifth major title, at the 2003 LPGA Championship. Tiger Woods was twenty-four when he won his fifth, at the 2000 PGA.

    What can Yani Tseng learn from Tiger Woods?

    According to her first American golf instructor, Glen Daugherty (and this great article in, "Her place in history is likely dependent not only on her health, but also her putting."

    Daugherty continued, "The sky's the limit for her (Yani), but you have to putt well consistently. That's the tool that bails players out."

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    Can baseball MVP Ken Griffey Jr. defeat LPGA great Annika Sorenstam in golf event?

    A nine-hole celebrity skins challenge will decide whether an LPGA former number-one golfer, Annika Sorenstam, still has the sharp skills needed to defeat baseball legend Ken Griffey Jr., who is said to be a one-handicap golfer.

    Sorenstam, the former number-one LPGA golfer in the world and now in charge of the ANNIKA brand of businesses, will host the ninth annual Charity Golf Classic at Forsgate Country Club in New Jersey this October. Annika has not played professionally since her retirement/baby announcement but that doesn't necessarily mean that her skills are rusty. I give the slight edge to Griffey, though, who plays golf regularly in celebrity outings.

    Charity golf events at Forsgate Country Club have always attracted the finest PGA and LPGA Tour professionals including Palmer, Trevino, Lopez and even John Daly to the two challenging and distinct Palmer and Banks courses. The Banks Course is listed as a "Top-Fifty Course" in the Metropolitan area in The Met Golfer Magazine and the Country Club has received many accolades for service and value, most recently by GolfStyles Magazine.

    From experiencing the Banks Course personally at this year's Writer Cup (and from prior Forsgate golf events), I can say that the very deep soft-sand bunkers, blind holes and the links design make the golf course deceptively difficult for most amateur players. For top golfers like Sorenstam and Griffey, struggles may come from the "heavily-sculptured contours on the putting surface", as stated by golf journalist Dave Donelson.

    The first hole on the Banks Golf Course at Forsgate Country Club

    After a terrific round of golf on the well-maintained Banks Course and a delightful dinner on the patio (oh those lobsters are delicious!), golf writers received a personal video message from Sorenstam asking us to tweet her with the winner of the day's event and invited us to join her at this year's Classic. Yes, I sent her a tweet but not seeking congratulations as the NJ/Philadephia team of writers took home the honors once again.

    Hmmm...My favorite part of our yearly MGWA Golf Outing?

    You too can join Sorenstam and Griffey at the 9th Annual Forsgate Golf Charity Classic which, in addition to the celebrity skins exhibition and challenge, also features its Golf Classic on the Banks Course with silent auction and reception to follow.

    There are several ways in which to secure tickets to the Sorenstam/Griffey Golf Charity Challenge.

    Visit, call (732) 656-8911, log on to, and/or visit them on Facebook.

    Voice your opinion on Twitter at Golf4Beginners ...who will win, Sorenstam or Griffey Jr.?

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