Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Bud Light Battle of the Sexes Skins Game pits Sorenstam against Faxon

Annika_sorenstamA baseball versus golf challenge has switch-hitted into a Champions Tour, LPGA Hall-of-Fame battle as Brad Faxon picks up the sticks against Annika Sorenstam next week.

Brad Faxon, a twenty-eight-year veteran of the PGA TOUR and now a Champions Tour star, will fill in for Ken Griffey Jr. at the Forsgate Foundation Charity Golf Classic, Oct. 3-4, at Forsgate Country Club in Monroe Township, New Jersey. Griffey is unable to participate due to a minor injury so  Faxon will join fellow headliner, LPGA Hall of Famer Annika Sorenstam, and will mingle with participants and fans to raise money for the ANNIKA Foundation and New Jersey-based charities.

Faxon and Sorenstam will participate in The Charity Classic’s VIP Reception and Live/Silent Auction on Monday, Oct. 3, participate in a Skills Exhibition on Oct. 4 at 2 p.m. and later at 3 p.m., wage a friendly “battle of the sexes” over nine holes of golf at Forsgate’s renowned Banks Course in the Bud Light Skins Game. 

Faxon was born in Oceanport, N.J., and raised in Rhode Island. An eight-time winner on the PGA Tour and two-time Ryder Cup team selection, Faxon has amassed over seventeen million dollars in career earnings. In August 2011, Faxon “graduated” to the Champions Tour with his debut at the 3M Championship,and he already boasts one Top 25 finish (T16 at Boeing Classic). 

In addition to being known as one of the best putters on the tour, Faxon is also known as one of the most philanthropic. Over the past 20 years, he has raised millions for children’s charities through a non-profit organization he co-founded with PGA Tour Pro Billy Andrade.  

“We are thrilled that Brad Faxon was able to step in and assist us on short notice,” said Forsgate Country Club General Manager Det Williams.  “From his multiple successes on the golf course to his tireless work for children’s charities, Faxon is a wonderful choice to join Annika and help The Charity Classic reach its fundraising goals.”

Gallery Tickets are only $15 and include admission to all of the Oct. 4 afternoon events.  Tickets are available by calling (732) 656-8911 and may also be purchased on-site.

Since 2003, The Forsgate Foundation Charity Classic has raised over $250,000 for worthwhile causes.  This year, the primary beneficiary of the event will be The ANNIKA Foundation, a not-for-profit organization founded by Sorenstam in 2007. The ANNIKA Foundation teaches children the importance of maintaining good health through fitness and nutrition as well as providing aspiring junior golfers opportunities to pursue their dreams.

The Forsgate Foundation will also support local New Jersey charities with any further proceeds from the event.

For the third consecutive year, The Charity Classic will raffle off a new Mercedes (E350 4-matic), courtesy of Mercedes-Benz of Princeton.  The $100 raffle ticket includes admission into the Oct. 3 Live/Silent Auction. For more information, please call (732) 656-8911, visit Forsgate on Facebook, or watch their YouTube video .

Here's a great golf tip from Forsgate PGA Professional on consistency in the golf swing.

Who will win the Battle of the Sexes? My bet is with Faxon because  he's a regular on the Champions Tour. Sorenstam doesn't play in as many competitive golf tournaments as she used to so, although her skills may be up to par, her mindset may not...

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Monday, September 26, 2011

Tiger Woods-Joe LaCava: Golf's new power couple?

Tiger_woods_lacavaTiger Woods has officially united with Dustin Johnson's (and Fred Couples') former caddie, Joe La Cava and water coolers around the country as well as the Twitterverse have something to say about the new match made in heaven.

Words ranging from "replacement" for Steve Williams to how Woods "stole" LaCava have been circulating as quickly as the Twitter stream will load.  Tiger, on the other hand, maintains that he has known Joe for many years.

"Mark [Steinberg] and I were approached by a lot of people, including Joe, who expressed an interest in becoming my caddie," Tiger Woods maintained. "This was an important decision, and I wanted to think about it carefully. Also, out of deference for the FedExCup Playoffs, I decided to wait until they were concluding to have substantive talks. We then spoke to Joe and came to an agreement."

Back in the Twitter sphere, Yahoo! Sports claimed Tiger "hijacked DJ's caddie and Tim Rosaforte said, "After Barclays win, Joe LaCava would have been crazy to leave Dustin Johnson for Tiger Woods. 10 less weeks on road was determining factor."

According to Woods, LaCava contacted highjacking or arm-twisting needed.

Although @Kathleennewsie had an interesting take that she was "hoping to see Snooki on the bag", it was Butch Harmon (Johnson's swing coach) who officially broke the news on Sky Sports after speaking with Johnson, adding that he was "shocked" by the move.

"I'm a little disappointed with the way Tiger handled it. But I'm not surprised," added Harmon, believing Woods should have asked DJ before beginning negotiations with LaCava and possibly showing that he knows Woods' character better than most (Tiger gets what Tiger wants?)

Who reached out first? According to Lawrence Donegan of The Guardian UK, LaCava was "telling friends ...he (LaCava) had quickly become disillusioned with life in the fairways with Johnson." Could Couples have also had something to do with the pairing as he put together the current President's Cup team......?

With history possibly in the making, does it really matter at this point?

More importantly, is this good or bad for the new team of Tiger Woods and Joey LaCava?

"It's a "win-win," tweeted Paul Azinger. "TW trying to pass Jack. Joe can be a part of history … no brainer for Joey! It's not like he won't still get paid."

"And he's Tiger Woods," added Zinger.

Enough said.
Watch for the new dynamic duo October 6-9th performing live at the Open.

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Friday, September 23, 2011

No slam-dunk for former WNBA President leading Golf 2.0 initiative

Donna_orenderThe PGA of America has engaged former WNBA President Donna Orender as a consultant to lead the Golf 2.0 "Connecting with Her" strategy, a key component in the industry's overall goal of reaching forty million golfers by 2020. 

Golf 2.0 is the new long-range strategic plan for the golf industry to substantially increase the number of golfers, the rounds of golf played and the revenue generated from golf over the next decade among current and potential consumers of the game with three core strategies: "Retain and Strengthen the Golfing Core;" "Engage Lapsed Golfers;" and "Drive New Players" to the game.

If Orender wants to be successful in reaching her goal, start by attracting more women to the publinks. According to Greg Nathan, VP of the National Golf Association, "When women are made to feel as welcomed and comfortable at public courses, their play will go up.” Women also bring with them the "power of the purse" which will increase revenue in other areas of the sport such as clothing and golf  equipment.

Although I feel welcome, I am in the minority as I am comfortable with my level of play. I also actively make it my business to go out as a single golfer and meet and greet other players. Most women feel more confident playing golf with their peers, playing from the same tees. Waiting at the front desk of a public course, you will see about one in every ten golfers is a woman. 

In order to reach potential women golfers, it's also not enough to provide TV coverage hoping that women will see other women playing a sport and want to play it themselves. This new consultant is going to have to cross the great divide reaching out to sports fans in tennis and basketball to make golf more visible, fun and easy to start for non-golfers interested in fashion, travel, and exercise for example.

Orender, who served as Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) President from 2005-10, after working 17 years with the PGA Tour, is the founder of Orender Unlimited, a marketing, media and strategy company in Jacksonville Beach, Fla.

During her tenure with the PGA Tour, Ana Leaird, PGA Tour’s Director of Public Relations and Media Operations said of Donna Orender, "Since she’s been here, tremendous opportunities have opened up for other women. I call it the ripple effect.”

Does she play golf? Not that it's necessary for Orender's new position but, in my opinion, it's important to be able to identify with the core group you will represent in order to understand their needs and desires. And, the answer is yes, she does, according to her tweets, @DonnaOrender.

 In her consulting role with Golf 2.0, Donna Orender will:

  • steer industry efforts to grow women's golf participation;
  • identify and shape female-specific programming;
  • create a welcoming environment for more women to enter the game.
  • guide the establishment of partnerships with top women's organizations to leverage knowledge and resources in support of facility adoption and programs. 
  • position golf as an anecdote for women achieving balance in their busy lives, all the while pursuing good health, business networking, and family time in a fun-filled environment.

Perhaps Orender should also be working with Mike Whan and the LPGA to stop the losses of golf tourneys?

According to Golf Digest’s Ron Sirak, "women will have played a woeful 23 contests this year -- only 11 of which fielded 144 or more golfers -- and competed for the fewest dollars since 2001."

"The PGA is thrilled to retain Donna Orender to lead in the strategic development of our 'Connecting with Her' initiative for Golf 2.0," said Darrell Crall, PGA senior director, Golf 2.0, for The PGA of America.  

"Donna's expertise in steering the growth of women's sports at the highest level will be critical in guiding the golf industry, as we tap new initiatives to appeal to women, who represent our game's fastest growing demographic."  

Among Orender's many accolades are being named to the 2005 Sporting News' Annual Power 100, 2005 Fox's 10 Most Powerful Women in Sports, and the 2007 BusinessWeek's Power 100 Sports lists. 

"Donna Orender's name is synonymous with the growth of women's sports nationwide," added Crall. "We are delighted that she will serve as an advocate in the development of new programs for women to positively connect with the game of golf." 

"I'm excited by this incredible opportunity to make a difference in people's lives through the game of golf," said Orender. "Our goal is to build dynamic and engaging growth-of-the-game programs that passionately appeal to women on both a personal and professional level."

Will Orender be successful retaining/bringing more women into golf?
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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

New Golf TV Network, Back9, Gives Viewers Chance to Submit Program Ideas

Back9 Network logo

The world’s first, true global golf lifestyle and entertainment network is launching an unprecedented call for viewer-generated programming.

Scheduled to launch in 2012, Back9 Network is giving an opportunity to sports, lifestyle and media enthusiasts worldwide to submit their video ideas for potential programming via its Facebook page (

“Since we announced our plans to launch a global golf-centric network earlier this year, golfers and other sports fanatics have been telling us how excited they are about Back9 Network celebrating the golf lifestyle on TV and the web,” says Dennis Allen, Senior Vice President for Global Business Development.  “While professional tour coverage certainly has its place, golf embraces a unique and passionate lifestyle. And we think people want programming that celebrates that passion.  This is a chance for people all over the world to get creative and show us what’s on their mind.”

“A fan recently told me that Back9 Network will take the ‘Shhhh’ out of golf!” says James L. “Jamie” Bosworth, President and CEO of Back9 Network.  “And he’s right.  You will be able to turn on your TV, your computer, or mobile device and say that’s the kind of fun I have playing with my buddies on Saturday morning.”

Called Show Us Your Back9, golfers around the world are invited to produce short 1-3 minute video “pilots,” or audition to be a Back9 show host.  Selected videos will be posted on the company’s YouTube channel and be considered for development. “Golf is fun,” says Allen.  “Whether it’s tradition, travel, fashion, food, technology, or an exclusive outside-the-ropes view of professional golf, we want our programming to reflect why we enjoy this game in the first place.”

Viewers are invited to upload their videos between September 19th and October 16th at

Note: Follow Back9Network on Twitter using this link.

Back9 Network will be the premier multimedia lifestyle and entertainment network for golf fans globally. It is being constructed on a multi-platform digital system, providing simultaneous distribution over the Internet and mobile devices. As much a lifestyle network as a sports channel, Back9 will differ from its competitors by focusing on the intrinsic “story” of the sport and examining the players and the world in which golf resides.

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Friday, September 16, 2011

With end of Tiger Woods reign, has golf entered a brave new world?

Heading to the WGC-HSBC Champions for the last big showdown of the stroke play season, all of this season’s Majors and World Golf Championships titles are in the hands of first-time winners at that level. That’s never happened before. Tim Maitland investigates whether it means the sport has truly entered a new era.

Something is happening in the golf world: ten of the last eleven Major winners have been first time winners.  Six of the last seven WGC-HSBC winners have also been new to winning at the highest stratosphere of the world game.

photo: European Tour and

Since the WGC’s were introduced in 1999, the titles have never all been simultaneously in the hands of newcomers to that echelon of winning. Since the end of World War II only three other years have ended with the Majors claimed by first-time winners: in 2003 (Mike Weir, Jim Furyk, Ben Curtis, Shaun Micheel), 1969 (George Archer, Orville Moody, Tony Jacklin, Raymond Floyd) and 1959 (Art Wall, Billy Casper, Gary Player, Bob Rosburg). Clearly, something is going on.

For all the fuss made of Tiger Woods' failure to qualify for Shanghai, it might be more significant that the tipping point for these statistics hasn’t been his achievements.

It’s not Tiger’s last Major – the 2008 US Open – but Angel Cabrera’s 2009 Masters that, statistically at least, seems to herald the end of one era and the start of another. It’s not Woods' last WGC – the 2009 Bridgestone Invitational – but Phil Mickelson’s win a few months later at the HSBC Champions that heralds a shift towards a new type of winner.

Has golf entered a brave new world? Is it not just Tiger, but a generation of his rivals that are being ushered out? Is this just a brief lull in the Tiger era? The answer probably depends on your point of view.

Not Since The ‘50s
The only comparable time to this era – where only Phil Mickelson (2010 Masters) and Ernie Els (2010 WGC-CA Championship) have struck blows for the established names – is the period from 1957 to 1959. Back then, in a run of nine Majors, apart from Peter Thomson of Australia winning the fourth of his five Open Championships, the rest of the champions were newcomers to the upper echelon of tournament winning. 

In fifty years time some of our recently crowned champions may have drifted into the relative obscurity of Lionel Herbert, the ethnic Cajun, who won the last match play PGA Championship in 1957, or “Terrible” Tommy Bolt, who may have added fourteen other PGA Tour wins to his 1958 US Open title, but only remains a household name in the most golf-obsessed of families.

In fifty years time, it’s fair to assume, some of our recently crowned champions will be remembered in the same way we remember a couple of those first-time Major winners from back then. Like 1958 Masters winner Arnold Palmer or 1959 Open Champion Gary Player, it’s quite possible that a Martin Kaymer, a Rory McIlory or maybe a Keegan Bradley will be legends too!

Perhaps those times were just as confusing for golf fans who were yet to fully comprehend that Sam Snead (’54 Masters) and Ben Hogan (’53 Open) had won their last Majors nor realized what the precocious then-amateur called Nicklaus was going to do to their game.

Europe’s Golden Age
What is clear right now is that Europe, and the European Tour in particular, is dominant… or at least enjoying a period of unrivalled parity with the US. In the last two years three Northern Irishmen (Graeme McDowell, 2010 US Open; Rory McIlroy, 2011 US Open and Clarke) have claimed their first Majors along with Germany’s Martin Kaymer (2010 PGA Championship). Tour members Louis Oosthuizen (2010 Open) and Charl Schwartzel (2011 Masters) have done likewise for South Africa.

England’s Luke Donald, Kaymer (8 weeks) and Lee Westwood (22 weeks) have each held the number one spot in the Official World Golf Ranking since Woods relinquished top spot in Shanghai last November. Donald, fellow Englishman Ian Poulter (respectively, the 2011 and 2010 WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship winners) and HSBC Champions titleholder Francesco Molinari have all claimed their first WGC titles.

The facts are easier to relay than the reasons: although Westwood argues that the debate doesn’t have to be complex.

“We’re just very good at the moment. There’s no other reason than that. You don’t need another reason other than that. I just think European golf is really strong at the moment. We’ve got a lot of good players, so if you play well you’re going to win. A lot of the players at the moment have been around a while, but also a lot of the good young players have just come through and are getting comfortable too,” says Westwood.

“It’s not something I really think about too much; I’m getting bored talking about it to be honest.”

Not everyone finds the discussion so tedious. Alvaro Quiros, the flamboyant 28-year-old Spaniard, whose Dubai Desert Classic triumph in February guaranteed his place in the field for Shanghai, is far more excited about the situation.

“I think it’s an amazing time, because at the same time we’re playing great golf courses and great events with the best players of both of the main tours. Now is coming out the truth of the golf of both sides; obviously European golf is in a great moment and maybe the only time where European and American golf has been at the same level. We are in different stages, right now. It’s like soccer in Spain. Barcelona is the best team in the world right now… by far, but five years ago it was Real Madrid by far too,” Quiros points out.

Sharing the American Pie
However the shift is not just in Europe. During the PGA Tour’s regular season there were 12 first time winners ranging from 40-year-old Harrison Frazar who popped the champagne after 354 futile attempts having all-but decided to retire – “I hate to say it, but I had pretty much given up!” – through to five rookies, something that has only happened one other time since 1970.

“If you look at this year it’s been the strangest year from rookies winning to veterans winning. It’s amazing. It just goes to show the diversity of golf; all different ages are winning right now, which is crazy!” exclaims 23-year-old Australian Jason Day, whose Filipino roots would have added a whole new level of diversity to the winning equation had he converted either of his second place finishes at this year’s Masters and US Opens into a maiden Major win, but has still emerged this year as the second youngest player frequenting the world’s top 10 after Rory McIlroy.

“I think this is a tremendously exciting time, but not especially because of the shift in power from the USA to Europe,” declares Giles Morgan, HSBC Group Head of Sponsorship.

“There are some far more significant longer term shifts. Firstly, the sport is appealing to a younger generation in a different way. Whether you look at the media profile of Rory McIlroy, the impact Martin Kaymer’s success has had in generating a new generation of golf fans in Germany or the way that Rickie Fowler’s image is resonating with teenagers… they’re all touching a new demographic. We’ve got boys competing on the HSBC National Junior Championship in China who are cultivating his look: to them Fowler is making golf seem cool! All over the world that’s going to keep a lot of boys in the game instead of looking for other places where they can express themselves,” he adds.

“The other thing that excites me is how the game is growing geographically. Look at the season the Italians had last year, culminating with Francesco Molinari winning in Shanghai! Look at the impact that Jhonattan Vegas becoming the first Venezuelan to win on the PGA Tour had! Look at France being awarded the chance to host its first Ryder Cup and what that will do for the game there! Golf is pushing into new frontiers. We’re certainly seeing it at our tournaments in Rio, Abu Dhabi, Singapore and Shanghai… and it’s only going to accelerate the closer we get to golf’s return to the Olympics in 2016.”

Tiger Woods' 30 Per Cent
The steady internationalization, however, doesn’t help make sense of the PGA Tour 2011 winners, which appear to be a swirling void. Perhaps it’s best to regard it as exactly that. Tiger’s dominance, almost unprecedented, ended relative suddenly by injuries and his off-course issues has created a void and the swirling vortex of winners has yet to settle into a recognizable pattern.

“Tiger was special. When he was winning so much he had something that changed the opponents mind and everything was going his way. But now everything is not going his way. There are periods in professional golf that are really tough to understand,” says another of the bright young things, eighteen-year-old Italian Matteo Manassero, who has been lurking around the top thirty in the world since winning the co-sanctioned Maybank Malaysian Open earlier this year.

One of the most compelling explanations for why the golf map seems so confused at the moment is the ratio of Tigers' wins to appearances at his peak. In the Majors, from the 1999 PGA Championship to the end of 2002 he won seven of the thirteen tournaments. From 2005 until the famous 2008 US Open that he won on a broken leg he claimed six of fourteen.

In total, from the start of his rookie season in 1996 through the end of 2009, Tiger Woods played in 239 PGA Tour events and won 71 times. That's a winning percentage of nearly 30 per cent… even before you start to refine the numbers for the periods when he was at his red-hot, red-shirted, fist-pumping best.

Relatively few of the current top professionals will give much credence to the argument that the decline of US golf, at least when it comes to winning the top tournaments, may be the result of Tiger simply denying so many other players the opportunity to work out how to win. Statistically it seems significant.

“One in three years! One in three seasons was stripped away!” exclaims Australian veteran Stuart Appleby, a nine-time winner on the PGA Tour, who booked his ticket to this year’s WGC-HSBC Champions by winning the JB Were Australian Masters at the end of last year.

“Then also, you wonder about the subliminal message of how do I beat this guy? When Tiger’s was on his best? I don’t think people are thinking like that. They’re probably a bit more back into their own thing. You can imagine what it was like when Byron Nelson had his run many years ago when he just went win, win, win, win! For the ladies tour, they’ve been experiencing that kind of thing with Yani. What have you got to do? It can be deflating. What are you going to do?”

Learning to Win
The psychological impact of one player’s domination might not be the biggest factor though. The simple reasoning is this; while Tiger taking 30% of winning experience out of the pool isn’t a topic that the pros tackle with any enthusiasm, to a man they seem to agree that winning at the highest level has to be learned.

“I think so. I think it’s a process that a lot of people have to go through. There’s very few that come out and just go win. Learning how to win is a process and most guys don’t come out and win golf tournaments: there’s been very few to do it. There’s definitely a learning curve on learning how to win,” insists Rickie Fowler, who at twenty-two, is in a similar situation to Jason Day in trying to put the final piece into the jigsaw and turn prodigious talent into victories.

“Being in contention: you don’t get those nerves and feelings just from a normal day of playing in a tournament. It is a new feeling and you have to get comfortable with it and learn how to deal with it.”

Another American PGA Tour Rookie Keegan Bradley, who this year, as well as winning the Byron Nelson, became only the third man in the entire history of the sport to win a Major at his first attempt when he claimed the 2011 PGA Championship, says while his wins as an Amateur and on the mini-tours helped they don’t begin to get you ready to win at the highest level. The 25-year-old New Englander agrees that you have to experience getting to the point where you can barely hold a club before you can work out how to overcome it.

“Definitely! The most nervous I’ve ever been was the second stage of PGA Tour Q-School. I was so nervous coming towards the end. I was way more nervous then, than when I was contending to win at the (Byron) Nelson. It’s one of those things where you almost black out. I don’t remember some of the shots and that’s a huge part of it; you’re just so into it. I was in a play-off (at the Byron Nelson) and I don’t remember my second shot in the play-off. It’s a pretty intense experience. It’s a feeling that only people in sports can experience; it’s just intense!” Bradley says.

“It’s everywhere. It’s physically and mentally, especially mentally. You’re fighting off so many thoughts like getting to play Augusta, the Bridgestone, China things like that. There’s a lot going on in your head that you’re going to have to block out,” Bradley adds.

“It’s tough! It’s tough! You’ve never been there. You’ve been working to be there but you feel different kind of things inside you,” agrees 28-year-old Spaniard Pablo Larrazabal, who bounced back into form this year to beat Sergio Garcia in a play-off at the BMW International Open.

Larrazabal burst onto the European Tour having won his card for the 2008 season. He’d win his 16th tournament that year, but in only his third event, the Joburg Open, he started the final round two shots off the lead and discovered just how surreal an experience being in contention can be:

“I played very badly. I struggled a lot. You can’t describe the feelings. You need to feel them. It’s something special that you can’t explain with words. You need to feel it and conquer it.”

Golf’s New Democracy
The reality is that, in the void left by Tiger Woods, all kinds of golfers have been given the opportunity to work out how to win. Whether it’s rookie Keegan Bradley who, in less than two seasons, jumped from winning on the Hooters Tour to becoming a first-up Major champion or Harrison Frazar who in his 17th season as a pro finally figured out what all those people who told him he was trying to hard actually meant.

There’s Rory McIlroy, who has perhaps indicated that he has the mental strength to be the player that emerges from this confused period the way that the other Player and Palmer emerged from the late 1950s; given the way he bounced back in such a short space of time from blowing up in the final round of the Masters to win the US Open in such masterful fashion.

Then there are also some very talented young players who are just a step away.

“I’ve got to learn to win. Once I do that I can hopefully move on. I’m in the top 10 in the world right now and I’d like to win on a regular basis; that would be nice,” says Jason Day.

“It’s not technique; it’s just time and experience. I’ve come close a couple of times to winning Majors this year. It is a different experience. It’s just time and experience, getting myself into contention and being there, over time I’ll learn how to do it and once I do it hopefully I learn how to do it more on a regular basis. So far, it’s probably been a bit of inexperience; making wrong decisions at the wrong time. A bit of mental toughness would be in the little mixture of that. It’s just a bit of experience I need to have.”

Young Americans
The Americans will bounce back once they’ve accumulated some of the knowledge of winning that Tiger’s 30 per cent seems to have denied them. Dustin Johnson, at 27, has started winning the bigger PGA Tour events and has been right in contention in the 2010 US Open, the 2010 PGA Championship and the 2011 Open Championship. A Major can’t be far away.

Then there’s Rickie Fowler whose tie for fifth at the Open and runner-up finish in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational added further fuel to the fire of those who argue that a substantial triumph is on the cards for the 22 year old.

“I like my chances. I need to work on the first win. It's more something I feel like has to fall into place, you know, not something where I can go out and try and force the issue. I can't go out there and push myself to win. It's something where I just focus on playing well, something I've been doing lately, and if it's my time to win, it's my time,” says Fowler, who believes he won’t be the only young American to emerge.

“There’s a really good young group of players in the US, guys who are playing right now and some guys that are about to turn pro in the next couple of year, so the young generation of golf in the US is strong. If a few guys get some wins under their belts we’re going to have some good players. Dustin Johnson is one of my favourite players to watch play as a young American. Nick Watney has a few wins under his belt, Bill Haas, and then younger guys. There are some good young players coming out. I was telling people in the last couple of years that there are a couple of guys in college that are going to make some noise real soon; there’s been a couple to win some Nationwide events and a couple of others who are playing well. Peter Uihlein, Morgan Hoffmann, Kevin Tway… Russell Henley’s won a Nationwide event; Harris English won a Nationwide event: both were amateurs.”

Lee Westwood himself has no doubt that American golfers will soon be back to winning their share of Majors.

“European golf is very strong at the moment and we’ve played well in the right events. The Americans are playing well as well, they played well at the Open; it’s just a matter of time before it goes full circle,” he says.

All that is left to wonder is just how much more global the game will have become by the time that circle is completed, which of the first-time top-level champions might emerge from this period in the way that Player and Palmer did in the late 1950s… and the fact that the twelve first-time victors among the PGA Tour’s thirty-seven regular season events represent Tiger’s number: thirty per cent of the wins.

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Major winners since 2009 (1st time winners in bold)
PGA Championship: Keegan Bradley (USA)
Open Championship: Darren Clarke (NIR)
US Open Championship: Rory McIlroy (NIR)
Masters Tournament: Charl Schwartzel (RSA)
PGA Championship: Martin Kaymer (GER)
Open Championship: Louis Oosthuizen (RSA)
US Open Championship: Graeme McDowell (NIR)
Masters Tournament: Phil Mickelson (USA)
PGA Championship: “YE” Yang Yong-Eun (KOR)
Open Championship: Stewart Cink (USA)
US Open Championship: Lucas Glover (USA)
Masters Tournament: Angel Cabrera (ARG)

World Golf Championships winners since 2009 (1st time winners in bold)
WGC-HSBC Champions:
WGC-Bridgestone Invitational: Adam Scott (AUS)
WGC-Cadillac Championship: Nick Watney (USA)
WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship: Luke Donald (ENG)
WGC-HSBC Champions: Francesco Molinari (ITA)
WGC-Bridgestone Invitational: Hunter Mahan (USA)
WGC-CA Championship: Ernie Else (RSA)
WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship: Ian Poulter (ENG)
WGC-HSBC Champions: Phil Mickelson (USA)
WGC-Bridgestone Invitational: Tiger Woods (USA)
WGC-CA Championship: Phil Mickelson (USA)
WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship: Geoff Ogilvy (AUS)


2011 PGA Tour – 1st time winners
Webb Simpson (USA) Wyndham Championship, North Carolina
Aged 26 ranked 55 in the world at the time of his win.

Scott Stallings (USA) Greenbrier Classic, West Virginia
ROOKIE Aged 26 ranked 224 in the world at the time of his win.

Chris Kirk (USA) Viking Classic, Mississippi
ROOKIE Aged 26 ranked 106 in the world at the time of his win.

Fredrik Jacobson (SWE) Travelers Championship, Connecticut
Aged 36 ranked 110 in the world at the time of his win.
1st win in his 188th PGA Tour tournament

Harrison Frazar (USA) FedEx St. Jude Classic, Memphis, Tennessee
Aged 39 ranked 583 in the world at the time of his win.
1st win in his 355th PGA Tour tournament

Keegan Bradley (USA) HP Byron Nelson Championship, Texas
ROOKIE Aged 24 Ranked 203 in the world at the time of his win.

Brendan Steele (USA) Valero Texas Open, Texas
ROOKIE Aged 28 ranked 231 in the world at the time of his win.

Charl Schwartzel (RSA) Masters Tournament, Georgia
ROOKIE Aged 26 and ranked 29 in the world at the time of his win.

Gary Woodland (USA) Transitions Championship, Florida
Aged 26 ranked 153rd in the world at the time of his win.

D.A. Points (USA) AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, California
Aged 34 and ranked 167th in the world at the time of his win.

Jhonattan Vegas (VEN) Bob Hope Classic, California
ROOKIE Aged 26 and ranked 187th in the world at the time of his win.

World Golf Championships: All-time Winners

16 – Tiger Woods (USA)*
3 – Geoff Ogilvy (AUS)
2 – Phil Mickelson (USA)
2 – Ernie Els (USA)**
2 – Darren Clarke (NIR)
1 – Adam Scott (AUS)
1 – Nick Watney (USA)
1 – Luke Donald (ENG)
1 – Francesco Molinari (ITA)
1 – Hunter Mahan (USA)
1 – Ian Poulter (ENG)
1 – Henrik Stenson (SWE)
1 – David Toms (USA)
1 – Kevin Sutherland (USA)
1 – Steve Stricker (USA)
1 – Jeff Maggert (USA)
1 – Mike Weir (CAN)
1 – Vijay Singh (FIJ)
1 – Stewart Cink (USA)
1 – Craig Parry (AUS)
*plus 2000 World Cup
**plus 2001 World Cup

HSBC Champions
Format: 72-holes, stroke play, no cut
Field: Approximately 78 players, consisting of tournament winners from around the world and the best players from the International Federation of PGA Tours, as dictated by each Tour’s money list, order of merit, etc.
2010 – Francesco Molinari (ITA) 269 (-19) (Sheshan International GC, Shanghai, China)
2009 – Phil Mickelson (USA) 271 (-17) (Sheshan International GC, Shanghai, China)
2008* – Sergio Garcia (ESP) 274 (-14) won on second hole of play-off with Oliver Wilson
2007* – Phil Mickelson (USA) 278 (-10) won on second hole of play-off with Lee Westwood and Ross Fisher
2006* – YE Yang Yong-Eun (KOR) 274 (-14)
2005* – David Howell (ENG) 268 (-20)

* = Before granted WGC status

Format: 72-holes, stroke play, no cut
Field: Members of the most recent United States and International Presidents Cup teams and the United States and European Ryder Cup teams. Players ranked among the top 50 on the Official World Golf Ranking. The past year’s Major winners.

2011 – Adam Scott (AUS) 263 (-17) (Firestone CC, Ohio, USA)
2010 – Hunter Mahan (USA) 268 (-12) (Firestone CC, Ohio, USA)
2009 – Tiger Woods (USA) 268 (-12) (Firestone CC, Ohio, USA)
2008 – Vijay Singh (FIJ) 270 (-10) (Firestone CC, Ohio, USA)
2007 – Tiger Woods (USA) 272 (-8) (Firestone CC, Ohio, USA)
2006 – Tiger Woods (USA) 270 (-10) (Firestone CC, Ohio, USA)
2005 – Tiger Woods (USA) 274 (-6) (Firestone CC, Ohio, USA)
2004 – Stewart Cink (USA) 269 (-11) (Firestone CC, Ohio, USA)
2003 – Darren Clarke (NIR) 268 (-12) (Firestone CC, Ohio, USA)
2002 – Craig Parry (AUS) 268 (-16) (Sahalee CC, Washington, USA)
2001 – Tiger Woods (USA) 269 (-12) (Firestone CC, Ohio, USA)
2000 – Tiger Woods (USA) 259 (-21) (Firestone CC, Ohio, USA)
1999 – Tiger Woods (USA) 270 (-10) (Firestone CC, Ohio, USA)
*From 1999- 2005 known as NEC Invitational

Cadillac Championship*
Format: 72 holes, stroke play, no cut
Field: 65-70, including 44 of the top 50 from the Official World Golf Rankings and leaders of the six Tours' Official Money Lists/Order of Merit.
2011 – Nick Watney (RSA) 272 (-16) (Doral, Florida, USA)
2010 – Ernie Els (RSA) 270 (-18) (Doral, Florida, USA)
2009 – Phil Mickelson (USA) 269 (-19) (Doral, Florida, USA)
2008 – Geoff Ogilvy (AUS) 271 (-17) (Doral, Florida, USA)
2007 – Tiger Woods (USA) 278 (-10) (Doral, Florida, USA)
2006 – Tiger Woods (USA) 270 (-23) (The Grove, Hertfordshire, England)
2005 – Tiger Woods (USA) 270 (-10) (play-off) (Harding Park, San Francisco, California, USA)
2004 – Ernie Els (RSA) 270 (-18) (Mount Juliet Conrad, Co. Kilkenny, Ireland)
2003 – Tiger Woods (USA) 274 (-6) (Capital City Club, Atlanta, Georgia, USA)
2002 – Tiger Woods (USA) 263 (-25) (Mount Juliet Conrad, Co. Kilkenny, Ireland)
2001 – Cancelled (Bellerive, St. Louis, Missouri, USA)
2000 – Mike Weir (CAN) 277 (-11) (Valderrama, Spain)
1999 - Tiger Woods (USA) 278 (-10) (play-off) (Valderrama, Spain)
*From 2007-2010 known as CA Championship
From 1999-2006 known as American Express Championship

Accenture Match Play Championship
Format: Match Play
Field: Top 64 available players (Based on the Official World Golf Ranking)
2011 – Luke Donald (ENG) 3&1 vs. Martin Kaymer (Dove Mountain, Arizona, USA)
2010 – Ian Poulter (ENG) 4&2 vs. Paul Casey (Dove Mountain, Arizona, USA)  
2009 – Geoff Ogilvy (AUS) 4&3 vs. Paul Casey (Ritz-Carlton GC, Arizona, USA)
2008 – Tiger Woods (USA) 8&7 vs. Stewart Cink.  (Ritz-Carlton GC, Arizona, USA)
2007 – Henrik Stenson (SWE) 2&1 vs. Geoff Ogilvy (Gallery, Arizona, USA)
2006 – Geoff Ogilvy (AUS) 3&2 vs. Davis Love III (La Costa, California, USA) 
2005 – David Toms (USA) 6&5 vs. Chris DiMarco (La Costa, California, USA) 
2004 – Tiger Woods (USA) 3&2 vs. Davis Love III (La Costa, California, USA) 
2003 – Tiger Woods (USA) 2&1 vs.  David Toms (La Costa, California, USA) 
2002 – Kevin Sutherland (USA) 1 up vs. Scott McCarron 1 up (La Costa, California, USA) 
2001 – Steve Stricker (USA) 2&1 vs. Pierre Fulke (Metropolitan GC, Victoria, Australia)
2000 – Darren Clarke (NIR) 4&3 vs. Tiger Woods (La Costa, California, USA) 
1999 – Jeff Maggert (USA) 38 holes vs. Andrew Magee (La Costa, California, USA) 

Note: From 2000 to 2006 the World Cup was a WGC event. Winners as follows:
2006 - Germany (Bernhard Langer/Marcel Siem) 268 (play-off) (Sandy Lane, Barbados)
2005 – Wales (Bradley Dredge/Stephen Dodd) 189 (Victoria Clube, Algarve, Portugal)
2004 – England (Paul Casey/Luke Donald) 257 (Real Club, Seville, Spain)
2003 – South Africa (Rory Sabbatini/Trevor Immelman) 275 (Kiawah Island, South Carolina, USA)
2002 – Japan (Shigeki Maruyama/Toshimitsu Izawa) 252 (Vista Vallarta, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)
2001 – South Africa (Ernie Els/Retief Goosen) 264 (play-off) (Taiheiyo Club, Shizuoka, Japan)
2000 – United States (Tiger Woods/David Duval) 254 (Buenos Aires GC, Argentina)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Could the Presidents Cup benefit from a golf tailgate party?

With the kick-off of football season and the golf year winding down, attention is turning to fans hanging out in arena parking lots, barbecuing and reveling in team spirit.

With regards to golf, except maybe for the 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale, a.k.a. the "loudest hole in golf", the sport has always been more "refined" than football... except when Tiger Woods and Team USA get ready to challenge the rest of the world!

The Presidents Cup in November could be the perfect opportunity to give the sport a boost of adrenaline, actively involve current fans and add new supporters to golf with an all purpose "tailgate party" atmosphere!

Andrea Woroch, a nationally recognized consumer and money-saving expert for Kinoli, Inc. recently sent me her "Thrifty Tailgating Tips to Kick-Off Football Season on a Budget". I would like to share a basic "recipe" for success while, at the same time, attempt to make these tips work for a golf tailgate party, whether watching from New York or celebrating down-under in Melbourne, Australia!

For those lucky individuals who will be driving to see the Presidents Cup, Andrea says the atmosphere at a major tailgate party is all about community. Team-up with your friends; assign a couple of people to drinks, several to snacks, and you take care of the grill and meat. Potluck works wonders and cuts costs for everyone. Beer and burgers may be okay for football but in golf where the crowd may be less rowdy(?), how about adding pates, paired wines and cheeses? Andrea also suggested which has dozens of free, fan-submitted recipes.

Don't forget the supplies. Tailgating requires a lot of supplies and preparation before the big day, from carrying oversized coolers and pop-up canopies to folding tables and chairs. Before heading to the store to buy whatever gear you're lacking, find out if you can borrow from friends, neighbors or coworkers.

One of the signs of a high-quality football tailgate party is "a team flag flying high and jerseys as far as the eye can see." The Presidents Cup is the perfect opportunity to profess your national unity. Golf is a global game, so let's all be proud to see every nation's colors fly!

Woroch also suggests that fans "get their game on!"

Whether you find yourself grilling in a parking lot and/or gathering in front of your 60" big screen TV and Weber man-sized grill, include a few games in your plans. Sure it's easy and a great idea to bring along a football to toss around but how about incorporating games like Cornhole and Ladder Chipping golf games? Pull out a few putters and a prefab putting mat too.

For those fans like me who will be watching the Presidents Cup from home, you get the best seat in the house, a better barbecue grill, refrigeration and multiple hi-def replay angles from your large LCD display. You won't have to choose which golfer to follow, the golf tailgate party won't involve cars and parking lots and you won't be fighting traffic either!


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Friday, September 09, 2011

Learn Golf from French Pro Remésy at Paris Hotel Fouquet's Barriere

Hotel Fouquet's Barriere, a luxury Parisian hotel built on the Champs-Elysées, is offering guests the unprecedented opportunity to learn golf from one of France's most renowned players, Jean-François Remésy!


Remésy, a two-time winner of the French Open, will train guests for two days on the Le Golf National course, a.k.a. L'Albatros (a top-100 golf course where the 2018 Ryder Cup will take place) and another course of choice.



Baguettes, steak tartare, fine champagne and golf!  For two days guests will train with a professional golfer and will also have the opportunity to pick his brain over dinner at the incomparable Le Fouquet's Restaurant.

The Ultimate Golf Experience includes:

    * Two nights' accommodation in a Deluxe Junior Suite
    * Breakfast each morning
    * Welcome VIP gift
    * Golf session with Jean-François Remésy, including training, long game, short game, and video analysis (equipment provided)
    * Two rounds of golf with Jean-François Remésy - one at Le Golf National course and another at a course of choice (within Paris)
    * Lunch at the Club House (at Le Golf National)
    * Dinner at Le Fouquet's with Jean-François Remésy
    * Round-trip transfers to and from golf courses and airport

See Paris, play golf for Euro 3,850 (approx. US$5,385) per night. The two-night package is based on double occupancy and is valid through November 30, 2011. Additional nights can be added for an extra fee (of course).


For more information visit:


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